in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

not so bad

john the sartorial genius
so from where we sit, the impact of hurricane isaac was pretty minimal. i know there are other areas that were much more negatively impacted, and our thoughts and prayers are with them. but here at our house, we were without power for less than 24 hours and we're getting close to back to normal.

it was definitely an adventure keeping a two-year-old occupied when elmo, yo gabba gabba, thomas, and bob the builder were not an option. john did seem to understand that the tv was "broken," but he didn't like it at all. we had a lot of fun playing yahtzee and coloring, and we read about a billion books by lantern light. overall, it was actually pretty fun.

daddy had to go back to work today, so john and i ventured across town to visit our family and see how everyone else was holding up. a lot of baton rouge is still without power, but they have a generator over there so they're holding up just fine. and we were in for a lovely surprise when we got home - our power was back! the a/c is now cranking, we're watching curious george and - i love this - still reading lots of books - while we wait for daddy to get off work and come home.

tomorrow i go back to work, too, and john's school is open (thank you, a lil ones!) so it will be an almost normal day.

although, i might let john pick out his own outfit again. especially in the dark this morning, the results were quite entertaining (see photo above).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

our friend isaac

suddenly i want to make spaghetti for dinner.

if you haven't heard, there's a hurricane in the gulf that's going to eat the universe.

ok, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration. (tho not much of one if you believe the alarmists!)

the bad news: we're in for some rough weather overnight and tomorrow. tons of rain, some damaging winds for sure, likely power outages, etc. 

the good news: isaac seems not as big and bad as they feared even yesterday, tho it is officially a hurricane now and will certainly bring yukkiness this way.

as you can see from that map, louisiana is getting a direct hit. and pretty much every model has the storm coming straight through baton rouge.

the mall is closing at 3pm today, at which point i'll be heading home to hang with the family and continuously drug the dog. (wouldn't you do the same?) i'll update as much as possible, and as your resident wind-fearer i'm a little bit terrified, but i have a feeling we'll be just fine. ;) we'll probably have some good stories to tell later!

mommy's work

fun at mommy's work playground

this past weekend, my husband was out of town for a men's retreat with our church, so it was just little bug and me hanging out. saturday morning we had to come to the mall because i had two events going on and needed to make sure everything was set up properly. john had a great time playing on the playland playground, and we only had to be here a couple hours, so then we headed out for the REAL adventure: going to see mike the tiger at lsu's campus!

i'm not sure what's cuter - the sleeping tiger or the row of kids clinging
to the fence to watch him.
mike wasn't very active - in fact, he was just sleeping on his back in a shady spot. but it still made a heck of an impression on john (who had insisted on wearing his lsu shirt that morning in anticipation of visiting the tiger), who will tell you even now about "mike the tiger sleeping in the grass with his foot in the air!"

lunch at the union and home again for naps and housework and the like ... all in all a wonderful saturday with my little man. sunday was less awesome thanks to an on-going stomach bug that plagued us both, but we're back to normal now ...

... and battening down the hatches for tropical storm (hurricane?) isaac.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

under the weather

'bout sums it up.
so, she said self-centeredly, you may have noticed that there was no john update yesterday. there are two good reasons for that:

reason #1: under the weather (see blog title)
there is no one in our family who is feeling 100% right now. ok, buddy might be fine - it's hard to get a self-diagnosis from a dog. but my husband's sinus/tonsil issues appear to be back, i've been exhausted and experiencing belly issues, and john is suffering from some generalized two-year-old malaise that manifests in a desire only to curl up on the couch with a blanket.

reason #2: traffic
that might not seem to make a lot of sense on the surface of things. but yesterday was the worst traffic day i've ever experienced in baton rouge. a tanker carrying isobutane (similar to propane if i understand correctly) was in an accident on i10, so the interstate was closed down in both directions from 3:45 yesterday morning through 6:00am today. this led to the most ridiculous city-wide traffic jam you've ever seen.

it took me 3.5 hours to get to work yesterday. i got to the mall at 11:30 a.m. and, fearful of the commute home, i left at 2:30 to work from home so i could make sure i made it to pick john up on time. 

so, after that adventure, i just didn't have a lot of umph left for a blog post. 

and apparently, i don't have a lot of umph today either, since this is maybe the lamest post i've ever made. so just focus on that cute blanket-buried kiddo in the pic up there, and maybe tomorrow john's family will be up to more shennanigans and hijinks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

opinions

actual quote:
"i wear a book hat, mommy!"

waking up came early for no apparent reason for me this morning. 5:29 a.m., fast asleep ... 5:30am, mentally making media plans for the holiday season. what??

the good news is, that means some quiet time before the rest of the house stirs. and even once my husband is up, we just listen with one ear for a little voice as we go about our morning routines.

around 7:00am, i hear a telltale sound and pop into john's room to help him get up.

"i'm sorry, mommy." is the first thing he has to say. his eyes are still clamped shut and he barely even knows i'm there.

"sorry for what, little monkey?"

"sorry for not listening, mommy."

i'm not sure if that was a preemptive apology or if he dreamed he was being bad, but i guess i'll take it.

the next thing he said was that he wanted to get dressed. i said ok, and pulled out a pair of shorts that he helped me wiggle him into.

"do you want to wear your alaska shirt, john?"

"NO!!! mommy, i want a red shirt."

(cue mommy on a hunt for a red shirt. it's in the dryer, hasn't been folded and put away yet.)

"how about this shirt, baby?"

his eyes lit up as he nodded excitedly and we wiggled into that shirt as well.

"would you like red socks, too?" i asked.

"OH YES! mommy, red socks." came the reply.

so we put on red socks.

"how about these shoes?" i suggested.

"no, mommy. i want other shoes please," said my sartorially inclined child.

"how about THESE shoes?" i asked, holding up a different pair of sneakers.

"no, mommy, OTHER shoes!" he said, pointing at the closet.

the only shoes left were his tuxedo shoes. so yes, we wore blue plaid shorts, red t shirt and socks, and tuxedo shoes for the morning. by the time we left the house, i had talked him into regular sneakers. but in the meantime, he ran about happily, a ridiculous testament to the power of his own opinions.

pretty cool, if you ask me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

dirt covered noise

another john-selected outfit:
sports sweatshirt, sweatpants, and chuck
taylor all stars.
in south louisiana in august.

mom's impromptu draping job to keep the applesauce
off the couch. apparently it exhausted the little guy.

my husband recently heard somewhere that little boys are "dirt covered noise," and nary a more appropriate statement has ever been made. between the drumset, the loud voices, the mud puddles and the applesauce baths (see draping job above), john is a living breathing case in point.

we had a very full weekend (cousin brooke was back in town, and we had a send-off family dinner for cousin ashley before she goes to study in shanghai for a year), but two stories stand out as dirt-covered-noise examples in primary.

#1
this is kind of a gross story. if you don't like gross stories, skip to #2. it's not gross.

on sunday afternoon, john was eating some applesauce and drinking juice at the kitchen table. i ran into the other room to get some laundry, and when i came back i found him standing in his chair, leaned over the juice cup to drink from the straw. i ducked out of the room again, and when i came back he looked less than pleased.

i walked over to check him out, and noticed his juice looked very cloudy - with a sigh, i figured he'd been dunking his spoon in the juice again. "john," i said, "did you put applesauce in your juice?"

abashed, he looked at me and said, "no, mommy. it's yukky."

and then i got a whiff, and quickly figured out what had happened. he gagged himself on his straw, and threw up in his cup. "are you ok, baby?" i asked him.

he looked at me wide-eyed and said, "i burp in a cup."

i just about fell on the floor laughing from that oh-so-accurate description. fortunately, burp-in-a-cup is relatively easy to clean up, tho he did get some on his shirt and required a bath. and for about 20 minutes, he just kept saying, "i sorry mommy. i burp in a cup."

#2
when we were over at my aunt and uncle's house for the going away party, we spent a lot of time hanging out outside, as usual. john loves to run around in their big, vegetated yard. with all the rain we've had lately, i knew he would get muddy, but i firmly believe mud puddles are a formative part of childhood, so i wasn't too worried.

as i stood and talked to my cousins, john would periodically run up to me and say, "i make a mess, mommy!"

i would respond, "ok, baby, go make a mess again."

a few minutes later, we'd repeat the process. "i make a mess again, mommy!" "ok, baby."

finally, i kept a closer eye on him, trying to figure out what, exactly, he was doing to make such a mess. and i caught him in the midst of a six-foot-long, six-inch-deep mud puddle, jumping and splashing and squooshing around. my cousins asked if i wanted to go grab him and i thought - nah, he's having fun.

by the time it was time to go inside, there was mud EVERYWHERE on that kid from the neck down. (miraculously his blond blond hair was unsullied!) there was nothing to do but strip him down and hose him off in the backyard. and for the rest of the evening, he ran around in just a diaper, informing everyone he could about making a mess.

so, dirt covered noise? yeah, i'd say that's about right. but you know what? i wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, August 17, 2012

mommy date

you really can't see the full effect of the
salsa in this pic. imagine this cute face ...
with salsa ALL OVER IT.
last night, my husband was stuck at a meeting late - he's an engineer whose company does municipal work, so when a project of theirs is up for discussion, he has to attend town meetings and the like. so john and i were on our own. 

like a true champ, john came shopping with me when i picked him up from school - i had to find a new purse. he behaved himself so well while we shopped, and i decided to treat him to dinner out because he was so awesome.

as we drove toward walmart, which would be our last stop of the night, i planned on stopping at subway for cheap/easy dinner. but john pointed at a mexican restaurant and said, "mommy, eat dinner THERE?" and mexican sounded good, so off we went.

and you know what? it was spectacular. he sat in the booth next to me and enthusiastically ate his weight in chips and salsa and bean dip, and then still ate a good third of the burrito we shared for our main dish. he was COVERED in salsa and dip - and so was i - but it was so worth it. we admired the lizards on the wall ("look, mama! another lizard over there!") and talked the ceramic parrot hanging over our booth ("blue bird, mommy! he's climbing a ladder!") and every time john took a bite of burrito, he said, "mmmmm ... burrito tasty! more burrito mommy!" overall, it was just fantastic.

a quick stop at walmart and home to daddy for a little family time before bedtime. it was an awesome first-ever mommy-son dinner date.

*   *   *
as we were going to bed, john started playing a new game - he makes chewing sounds, then tells me what imaginary food he's eating. we shared cupcakes ("take the wrapper off mommy!") and watermelon and ice cream cones and hot dogs. it was an imaginary feast fit for kings.

this morning in the car on the way to school, i heard john "chewing" in the back seat. "what are you eating, son?" i asked.

"quack quack," came the reply.

giggling, i asked again, "ok, silly duck, what are you eating?"

and my imaginative little fellow said: "quack quack, a big duck dinner!"

i am still laughing.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

chicken in a jungle

first, a little bit of background. my mom (john's grammie) is famous for her awesomely ridiculous silly videos that she sends for john. grammie is a creative, funny, lady, and her videos reflect that personality.

this was last night's video from grammie:
video
(i can't seem to make it un-sideways without spending way
more time editing than i have to do that right now. sorry!)

needless to say ... john and i found this utterly hysterical. so after several minutes of pure laughter, we decided to make a video to send back to grammie:

video

the crazy wiggles in the middle are when john started attacking the phone while i tried to record him. after we recorded the video, we watched it a couple of times, and i'm not going to lie - john and i cackled like hyenas for a good ten minutes.

basically, a good time was had by all.

look out for that chicken in the jungle. he'll get you every time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

chaos? what chaos?

i have two sippy cups ...one for each of you.
this morning my husband was feeling under the weather. it's the same crud, i suppose, that i've been battling for over a week now. but since he wasn't feeling well, he decided to stay home and rest today rather than trying to get up and go to work. i tiptoed around a little bit and tried to stay out of his way so he could sleep.

that whole process used to be much easier. now we have a semi-autonomous morning monkey who randomly decides that instead of eating cheese, he would like to jump on daddy's bed. (this is particularly poignant as another new favorite song is "no more monkeys jumping on the bed!")

add in a dog who only wants to be glued to my right hip, and it's a little hectic on the best of days, let alone when we're a man down and i'm trying to be quiet. then, that's absolute chaos unfurling.

so, my apologies, sick daddy. i did try to protect you. i hope you rested well today and are up for some more "controlled" chaos this evening.

(as if we're ever in control.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

awesome/not awesome

molting.
today seems like a perfect day for a little game of awesome/not awesome.

we'll start with when i picked john up at school yesterday.

awesome: we had to go to the produce market to get a bunch of fruit and veggies for the week, and john had a great time. he helped me pick out grapefruit, we discussed the fun-ness of going to the "fruit store," he walked around with me and behaved beautifully. he was a good sport when they didn't have any blueberries (he's been asking for them for days) and when we checked out he said, "mommy, i pay!" and handed the girl my check card. another stop at the grocery store on the blueberry hunt was equally enjoyable, with singing and willingness to buy strawberries instead and general cuteness abounding.

not awesome: the pure two-year-old fallout almost as soon as we got back to the house. he wanted dinner. he wanted peas and cheese and milk. i gave him peas and cheese and milk. he threw them, dumped them out, and hit me with them. i told him i would spank him if he didn't behave. he was good for two seconds, then spilled the peas intentionally again. when we finally gave up on dinner and went to check on daddy, who was using a clippers to cut his hair in the bathroom, john flipped his sh*t. went berzerk. freaked out about the clippers and whatever mommy was doing to daddy as i helped finish off the haircut. no amount of explaining that it was a haircut would help. no amount of reassurance would quell the tide of hysterics. tears, snot, panic. the only solution was the prospect of a bath ... which did ultimately calm him and we were all ok by the time he went to bed. but still. not an awesome evening.

awesome: john is learning to dress himself and undress himself. he can pull a shirt over his head, needs a tiny bit of coaching to get arms through sleeves, and can pull up his pants with a little help as well. shirt removal is harder, but pants removal is accomplished with aplomb. his favorite part of the day might be stripping down before bath/bed.

not awesome: john is learning to undress himself, so walking through the grocery store while carrying our strawberries seemed like the ideal time for pants removal. so there i was, in the middle of the grocery store, walking with my independent two year old ... who dropped trou and continued to waddle with his pants around his ankles. proclaiming proudly, "i put the pants off, mommy!" he stumbled along until i could whisk them up and over his little diaper-clad booty.

ok, so that was sort of awesome too, i won't lie. i had tears streaming down my cheeks from laughing so hard at his antics, and he was laughing making mommy laugh. but he was also listening when i told him he had to keep his pants on until we got home. so all in all, that was a win.

the rest of the night ... not so much. we all have our moments, i suppose ...

Monday, August 13, 2012

catchup

besties.

we had a whirlwind weekend. i was under the weather, but we still managed to fit a lot of excitement in. in short:

we put all of our cars in a row:


and then we played baby godzilla:



one of the most exciting parts was that my husband's brother and his wife and their sweetheart daughter came to stay with us. they live in charlotte so we don't see them too often, but brooke is only four months older than john, so they were perfect playmates:


or maybe bandmates? and definitely ducky bathmates:


and all that play made john a very very sleepy boy:

unfortunately, the visit with the family was short. fortunately, they'll be back next weekend! but the fun wasn't over. first, we colored. then we dumped out all the colors because, dang, that tupperware would make a fine hat:



then we tried on daddy's belt and shoes:


then we decided a backwards baseball cap is a whole heck of a lot like a football helmet. so if you grab a blue plastic football and run around the house yelling "football, football!" and roaring like a tiger, you must be on lsu's football team:


and on saturday night we had some awesome friends over for dinner - a lovely couple and their two sweet kiddos. the kids had a great time, the grownups had a great time, and all was right in the world. the night was capped off (for the kiddos anyway) with brownies for dessert.

so as i tried to settle john in for bed (an hour late), he was literally jumping in my lap and shouting "no more monkeys jumping on the bed!" (that's his current favorite song.)

after ten minutes of failed efforts to settle him down, i exasperatedly said, "no more brownies for you, little monkey!"

and suddenly he sat very still. he leaned in VERY close to my face. and he whispered, "no more brownies for YOU, mommy." and kissed my nose.

how's that for a perspective shift?





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

time out

sad and dejected

monday was a little bit of a trying evening at our house. john was in a defiant mood, there was an impending thunderstorm so buddy was a mess, and we were trying to just sit down and just have a low-key dinner as a family. but between buddy jumping on the couch (and peeing on the couch) and john refusing to sit at the table, there wasn't much low-key about it at all.

finally, my husband told john that if he didn't listen, he was going to get a spanking. to which john replied, "no, i go in time out. i bad. i go time out."

and he went and sat in a corner.

worth noting - we've never put john in time out before. my husband and i just looked at each other and whispered, "how long do we leave him there? what do we do?"

and after about a minute or two, we told him he could come out and he cheerfully ran over and sat at the table and all was well.

so the next morning, when i dropped john at school, i told john's teacher the story, and said, "i guess y'all must do time out here since that's where he learned it - so how do you do it? we'll try to do the same thing at home when we do time out so it's consistent."

and the teacher busted out laughing. "john? he's NEVER been in time out here! sometimes we have to correct him or tell him not to do something, but he's so good he's never had to do time out."

::insert beaming motherly pride here::

she did explain that they do one minute per year of age, which is what i figured, and it's not rocket science so we'll figure it out. but i am more dumbfounded by the fact that john has never been put in time out so he put himself there.

and then he decided it was funny face time (thanks, yo gabba gabba):


so after we cleaned up the dog pee and the thunderstorm passed, we had an enjoyable evening after all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

incognito


has anybody seen my kid?

shiny shoes

hell of a match.
last night while running around the house in just a diaper (as usual), john suddenly got a wile hair. "shirt! i need shirt!" he said enthusiastically.

"TIGER shirt!" he added.

since he doesn't have a tiger shirt, quick-thinking daddy drummed up the next best thing - a lion pajama shirt, with matching pants for the bottom. shew, disaster averted.

a few minutes later, another cry. "shoes! i need shoes!"

so daddy took john back to the closet and let him pick out his own shoes. he chose the shiny faux-patent tuxedo shoes from the cruise. they set off the jungle pjs nicely, i think.

back to the living room. just a few minutes later, one more cry, "i hug buddy! i hug buddy! SIT BUDDY! i hug buddy!"

fortunately, buddy is every bit as obliging as daddy. even more fortunately, we caught it on camera:

is it just me, or does buddy look just
a tad bemused? i'll pretend it's at john's
fashion faux pas and not the hug.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

daddy's drummer boy

video

john's been at his drums a lot more lately - doing different things with each hand, and this evening he started to use his foot on the bass drum pedal while drumming on the snare and tom - very cool. it's so neat to watch him discover the different sounds he can make ... really an amazing process.

and if that's not cute enough, try this on for size: thursday night, my husband had a meeting that ran late and he didn't get home until after john had gone to bed. john woke up just in time to give him a hug before he left for work friday morning.

as we were driving to school friday morning, john asked me, "daddy coming?"

i said, "no, baby, daddy's at work, but you'll see daddy after school."

john responded, "no, see daddy tommorrow." in a heart-wrenchingly sad voice.

i said, "baby, did you miss daddy yesterday?"

john said, "i miss daddy EVERYDAY, mommy."

how's that for love???

(and as i told my husband, i don't think this should make him feel bad at all - after all, he spends tons of awesome quality time with john. instead, i think he should feel great that his kiddo loves him so much that he misses his daddy every moment that they're apart! i think that's pretty flippin' cool.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

it's hard to be unhappy

snuggle party!
last night, i was in a little bit of a funk. no particular reason, just feeling emotionally iffy. it happens sometimes to all of us, i suppose. my husband wound up having to be out late for a meeting, so it probably didn't help that he wasn't home, but i was already feeling somewhat yuk.

fortunately for me, it is nearly impossible to be unhappy around my child. we had a lovely snuggle party on the couch while we watched the olympics, and it was so good for my psyche.

perhaps the highlight was a wonderful game we've invented together. here's how it works:

i shout, "i love john!" as loud as i can.

john giggles, and shouts back, "i love mommy!"

i shout back again, "i love john!"

he shouts back again, "i love mommy!"

repeat ad nauseum - or at least until the next synchronized diving event comes on. (john calls it "jumping" and loves to watch it.)

this morning, the snuggle-buggy-ness continued, as he bundled up on the couch with a blanket and watched "today" - because swimming was on. we played the i love you game again in the car, and he happily skipped (literally) off to school.

depression is not even possible with this kid around.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

great job

my little bookworm assures me the
airplane is ok - it's up in the sky!
john has always given lots of positive feedback to us inept grownups in his life. when i changed his diaper on the glacier-sightseeing boat in alaska, for example, as soon as i was finished he shouted, "great job changing john's diaper, mommy! great job!"

and if he comes into a public restroom with me, after he sings "mommy on the potty" while i pee, he will cheer after i flush, saying, "good job, mommy, you did it!"

i've always found that characteristic of my little sunshiney fellow to be particularly endearing, and now i am noticing something else cool - when he feels a little uncomfortable, he calms himself down by offering positive words to the people around him.

the past two nights in the bath, he's been ok lying down on his back for me to rinse his hair, even though he doesn't love it and you can tell he's fighting hard to keep his cool. tuesday night, through clenched teeth and tightly closed eyes, he was saying, "great job, mommy! you're doing great washing john's hair! great job! great job!"

and last night, it was "you're almost done, mommy! almost done, good mommy!"

and you can see through his facade that he's trying SO HARD to keep his cool. that by saying nice things to mommy, he's resisting his own fear. and even though he doesn't understand it right now, i want to tell him what an awesome coping mechanism that is. that if he keeps sing-songing against his fear, he is going to do awesome in this world. that the power of a few sweet words against fear is so amazing ...

i won't tell him that now. but i will say thank you every time he tells me i'm doing a "great job."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

abcmommy

video

john is beginning to learn the abc song. but in case you can't hear him in the video above, his version currently goes like this:

a b c d mommy two five six r mommy.

sometimes we throw a q in for good measure.

i could listen to him sing it for days. and DAYS.

i will probably ask him to sing it again on the way home tonight.

how are children so unbearable, irrefutably, amazingly cute and unbelievable?