Let’s do this like a Band-Aid

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything that it keeps getting harder and harder to actually post something. Like a phone call or a text message that you keep meaning to return and keep meaning to return until so much time has passed that you’re more embarrassed to return the call or text than you are to just forget it.

So let’s just do this as quickly, briefly, and painlessly as possible, just like taking off a bandage. Let’s get an update out there and then I’ll be able to work on longer posts without the guilt.

Here’s a quick picture recap of what we’ve been up to lately:

Building and filling a new raspberry bed -an ordeal which deserves an enormous post of its own!

Taking our second annual (we hope!) trip to Hilton Head and introducing Itty Bitty to the joys of the pool

Getting to be such a big girl! 6 months old tomorrow!!

Sister love in Hilton Head

Getting the garden ready for spring

Practicing bike skills

Spending quality time with Daddy looking for grubs

First tutu! I die from cuteness.

As you can see, we’ve been pretty busy. But a garden update is forthcoming. As are ones on the girls, because they’ve been up to some pretty awesome stuff lately.

And now that I’ve taken the first step and finally posted something, hopefully the next post won’t be quite so daunting.

Tooting my own horn

I’m just proud of myself – the big girls and I ran the Colin Cancer Coalition’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5K this morning. 


And I actually managed to jog the whole thing! I finished in a little over 39 minutes, which isn’t too damn bad considering I was pushing a double stroller with nearly 80 lbs of kid. 

(For reference, my first post-Itty Bitty 5K on February 12 was about 31 minutes.) 

Everyone was super supportive and cheered when they saw us coming, which was so nice. 

I am working on updates for all of the kids and the garden and the brewing – or lack thereof- but it’s a slow process. Stay tuned! 

It’s the final countdown!

It absolutely boggles my mind to say it out loud, but I go back to work a week from today.

I have no idea where my maternity leave and the first twelve weeks of Itty Bitty’s life have gone. It truly seems like it was just yesterday that maternity leave stretched infinitely before me and I was never going to get to go back to work and I was going to lose my mind before the end. Don’t get me wrong – I am so very glad and grateful that I have been able to stay home with my babies for 12 weeks each time. I love not having to put them in daycare until they are a little bit older and sturdier.

But having spent time as a stay-at-home mom and spent time as a working mom, I can tell you that I think being a working mom is much easier than staying home with my kids. Being a stay-at-home mom is, in my opinion, the most difficult job on the planet and one which I am not mentally equipped to undertake. Perhaps it would be easier if my children were older and I wouldn’t find it to be so excruciatingly isolating and difficult if I stuck at it for months and years, but I doubt it. When patients frequently tell me that they’re sorry I have to work and that my kids go to preschool, I always want to reply, “Why? I get leave my girls with people who have nothing to do all day but interact with them and teach them and care for them while I get to come and do a job that I absolutely adore and I’m actually pretty damn good at. If we were all home together, they would not be getting my undivided attention because I would still have laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning to do, in addition to taking care of them.”

But I digress. This wasn’t actually supposed to be a foray onto my soapbox of “Staying at home with kids is really hard and those parents don’t get enough credit.” This is supposed to be a brief update on Itty Bitty and life in general with three amazing girls.

Itty Bitty is, without a doubt, the smiliest baby ever.

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She gets so incredibly excited anytime anyone comes and talks to her or interacts with her. She particularly adores the Littlest Brewster, a feeling that is mutual as LB thinks that her littlest sister is the bee’s knees. Itty Bitty is pretty laid back for the most part, cycling through eat, be awake for a bit, sleep for a bit most of the day without much crying or fussing. Like most babies, she gets pretty frotchety from 4:30 or so onward and doesn’t want to be put down; though as long as she’s being toted around or is on someone’s lap, she’s a happy camper.

I feel like we have been exceedingly lax at trying to get her on a schedule re: naps and bedtimes. I need to go back and look at the monthly updates I did for LB and BIT (something you’ll notice I did not do for IBB) and see if they were on more of a schedule by now or if I’m misremembering. Granted, I know I haven’t really pushed the schedule issue because 1) with the bigger two being in school and having to get picked up and dropped off daily (I don’t do both but I do at least one or the other every day), Itty Bitty and I were rarely home for an entire day, 2) with the holidays and travel, it’s super difficult to maintain kids’ schedules and 3) I knew that whatever schedule I managed to get IBB on would go to pot as soon as she went to daycare. So I sort of went with the “sleep whenever you’re tired for as long as you feel the need” schedule during the day. Nights, we mostly try to do bath, bottle, bed between 6 and 7. She will typically be up once or twice a night and then up for the day between 6 and 7 in the morning. I’m usually pretty accepting of still being up with her during the night, though I get kind of frantic when she has the occasional “bad” night and is up more than that and I convince myself we are doing something wrong and she will never sleep through the night, ever, and I will never be well rested again, ever. Thankfully, she rarely has more than one difficult night in a row and I breathe a sigh of relief the next night, secure once more in the knowledge that we haven’t ruined her sleeping forever through our erroneous attempts at parenting.

On the whole, I feel like life with three kids is going pretty well. It helps that the Littlest Brewster is now old enough to be sort of helpful and sort of autonomous. And both LB and BIT really love Itty Bitty and we’ve been blessed that there has been no actual anger or malicious jealousy over how much of my time and attention she gets. The DreadBrewer, while always an incredibly involved father, has started doing even more with the big girls (if possible), which has definitely helped with the transition. He does baths about half the week and bedtime most of the week for them. They love doing things with Daddy as he is definitely more fun and rough-house-y than Mommy is. (I just don’t play like that. I’ve tried and I can’t do it. I also have serious guilt issues that I can’t take care of everyone in the family all on my own but that’s just my own insecurities talking.) All in all, I feel like we’re settling into our groove as a family of five. Though I’m sure that will all go out the window when I go back to work next week and we have to establish a new routine all over again.

But it’ll be worth it. I could use a break. 😛

Snow Day Fun

Here in NC we got some actual snow this weekend. Well, we thought we were going to get snow, 4-6″ being predicted, so everyone ran around like crazy preparing for the North Carolina version of Snowmageddon. (Funny aside: based on what Itty Bitty and I saw Friday as the city prepared for snow, the most important things to buy when facing a “blizzard” are bananas, cucumbers, steaks, and booze. Everything else was still well stocked but not those four staples. Go figure.) Our city ended up with a few inches of sleet underneath an inch or two of snow, which naturally meant that everything shut down for 2 days while we recovered.

Even today, with the high climbing to 40º, pretty much all of the schools are closed and many businesses are operating on shortened hours. So everyone in our family has been home for days and by yesterday afternoon we started to get a little bit of cabin fever.

The DreadBrewer and I had bought ourselves a GrainFather as a Christmas gift to each other, which came packed in an enormous box with a vast quantity of packing peanuts, of which we had yet to dispose. As an incentive to get the big girls to nap without complaint (a Herculean task some days), I told them that there would be a super fun surprise for them to play with after nap, but only if they were good nappers. That was enough to get them to lie down and go straight to sleep. (Another aside: the incentive today is baking cookies post-nap, in case you were wondering. Whoever naps gets to make cookies, whoever doesn’t has to watch and drool.)

And this is what they woke up to:

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It took them a few minutes to catch on that we were really going to let them play in that and make as big of a mess as they wanted, provided they followed the two rules: 1) Do NOT put the packing peanuts in your mouth and 2) we have to pick them ALL up when we’re done for the day. But once they understood that, LB and BIT were in it to win it.

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For play and especially for clean up, the dust bins were absolutely essential; it was really fun to scoop up a ton of peanuts and shower them down on each other. The girls were kept happily occupied for a good 30-45 minutes playing and then it only took another 5 or so to get all of the peanuts back in the tub. I had planned on having them clean them up back into the box for disposal, but we’re not currently using that bathroom for anything (it’s usually our beer fermentation and root crop storage area), so we figured we’d let them play in them as long as we’re stuck home due to inclement weather.

Anything to keep small children occupied while stuck inside, right?

Let’s Be Cliché

Indeed, let’s be cliché and put our New Year’s Resolutions out there for all to see. Actually, since you all have no way to amend this blog (barring comments, which I would LOVE to see containing your New Year’s Resolutions), this will just be MY list of resolutions. Or goals, as I have decided to call them this year.

Goal #1: I will exercise 3 times a week for >30 minutes and will ultimately be able to run a 5K without stopping.

HOW: (This is how it’s different this year, pardon the idiocy factor. I am making plans for how I’ll succeed, as opposed to just making broad generalizations of what I would like to accomplish.) I am halfway through the Couch to 5K program, so I need to keep up the momentum. And I need to recommit to getting out for runs in the morning, before 5 am, since that is the only time I really have to myself. (Though not tomorrow as it’s a 100% chance of rain. I can run down to 37° or so, but I can’t run in the rain. Yet. Give it time. And awesome run gear like I got from Jessie for Christmas.)

Goal #2: I will eat 3 balanced meals a day and I will focus on choosing healthful foods.

HOW: I know I am going to have to seriously work on weekend prep once I go back to work (less than 2 weeks!) . If I don’t have healthy options easily available, I won’t pick them – so a big Sunday prep for the week may have to be the new normal. BUT I think if I can get into the habit of doing so this will be my easiest resolution to keep as I actually like healthful foods and how they make me feel.

Goal #3: Cut back to one glass of wine during the week and two on weekends (defined as Fri/Sat/Sun).

HOW: No idea – it’s impossible. Just kidding… kind of … … I know it can be done as I’ve obviously cut back even farther while pregnant without deleterious effects. I think it will be a two prong strategy consisting of 1) Get fancy teas and other no- or low-calorie beverage alternatives so I don’t blow up like a blimp with non-alcoholic beverage calories and 2) Put off having said glass of wine as long as humanly possible, i.e. after kids are in bed. Which, as you all know, is an eternity, particularly when they are being very kid-like (read: absolute shits).

Goal #4: I will floss daily, with a minimum goal of 5 days/week.

HOW: Just do it. Actually, I should maybe start doing it in the morning and get that box checked for the day. Or at anytime of the day besides bed time. Because 45 seconds to floss when you are damn near dead on your feet after 9 pm is 45 seconds too long.

Goal #5: I will adopt a cash-only attitude and stick to a budget of $20 a week.

HOW: I will actually get cash out! And I won’t use my cards (except for gas or other crazy big purchases, like groceries). And I will stop going to Starbucks or Target just because I am bored and lonely and I would like to interact with someone besides the Itty Bitty Brewster, no matter how briefly. We have a latte maker at home if I get the itch and we certainly don’t need any more crap from Target. Cash only, Starbucks only with the Littlest Brewster as a “Friday Morning Tradition.” No deviations.

And there you have it. My list of 5 achievable, with effort, goals for 2017. Sure, I have a ton of other goals – yell at my kids less, write to mom twice a week, keep in better contact with Elise, Kristen, and Anne, text Jessie every day, don’t take out my random frustrations on the DreadBrewer, – but those are all vaguely nebulous and not necessarily achievable. And if there is one thing I have learned, the whole “Make sure your goals are SMART” (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) nonsense is actually not nonsense. So while it may make me feel virtuous to say “I’m going to yell at my children less!”, unless I can actually check a box or measure progress towards it, I’ll just get frustrated and give up. And probably yell more in the process.

So let’s start with some SMART goals for the year. And if by achieving these, I can perhaps yell at my kids a little less and email my friends a little more, I will be one happy camper. And if not, well, I’m human. And I’ll try to do better tomorrow.