Sunday, February 26, 2012

the last to-do list

After having a long conversation with Abe tonight about what we want life to look like for the first few weeks after our baby is born, and after reading a friend's blog post about her first few weeks after after baby #8, I came to a conclusion.

I want to throw away my to-do lists.

At least for a few weeks (really, much longer than that and they'd probably have to put me on life-support or something).

What I really mean is that I really want to carve out some space after our baby comes for a break from life. Except that I know that life isn't going to really slow down for us. Genghis will still need the help and attention that he always needs. Plus we'll have this newborn that we'll be responsible for, and I have conveniently forgotten how demanding no sleep, breastfeeding, and soothing a crying infant can be.

So I don't want to have any false illusions that I can make this a blissful, stress-free, euphoric time.

But I do want to get rid of the non-essentials. Cereal for breakfast instead of pancakes. Laundry every other week instead of every week. Laying on the couch while Genghis plays on his own instead of picking another area in the house to de-clutter and re-organize.

The best way for me to think of this is to get rid of all my to-do lists. All I really have to do when this baby comes is meet the needs of myself and my family as they come, instead of planning, preparing, and proactively running our household. (Like I said, just for a few weeks, because I secretly really enjoy all of those p-words).

Of course, the best way for me to put aside my to-do lists is to make one final to-do list. Already on the list (you're surprised I've got one made?)...

- Make 1 month's worth of freezer dinners (done! and something to blog about later)
- Stock the pantry (done!)
- Organize the baby closet (done!)
- Get out the basic baby supplies (burp clothes, pacifiers, swaddles, bottles) and have them on hand
- Install both car seats
- Pack hospital bags and overnight babysitter bag for Genghis
- Deep clean the bathroom - I mean, nursery
- Renew our rental contract
- Finish taxes
- Make a double batch of bran muffins and freeze (assuming I can find space in the freezer)
- De-clutter the house and take a few loads of stuff out to the garage

I'm curious. Two questions.

#1. What sort of things would you put on a to-do list for this week if you wanted to get your home in as much order as possible? Thus, making room to take a few weeks off to spend your time with family (or another noble pursuit - reading good books, saving the world, watching Downton Abbey).

#2. Particularly for those who are father or mothers, what would you ideally have on hand to make the newborn stage as relaxing as possible for yourself? (some ideas: bubble bath, a fridge full of chocolate chip cookie dough, good audio books on demand.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

friday photos - documentation of the memoir week

For this week's Friday Photos, I thought I'd do a photo wrap-up of my "week in the life of Erin" series that I did from Tuesday, February 14, to Monday, February 20.

Tuesday, February 14 (see the entry here)
Genghis and play mate enjoying "yummy" and "yucky" snow, represectively.

Wednesday, February 15 (see the entry here)
Genghis helps me with morning deep cleaning.

Saturday, February 18 (see the entry here)
Purchase 40 baby hangers at Target to organize the baby's new closet in our bathroom. Things to note:
1. This is a bathroom
2. Labels for clothing sections
3. Rigged up shelves to a 90 degree angle using nothing but pipe cleaners in order to turn them into hanging rods for the clothes.

Monday, February 20 (see the entry here)
Buy a shopping cart overflowing with pantry items to stock up before the baby comes.
Haul items in from the car, while Genghis pleads desperately for a banana.

Arrange items in hall closet. Again, note the labels. I'm particularly proud of this labeling system because it references the actual location of items in the kitchen. So if you run out of something in the kitchen, you look it up by location in the pantry to see if we have more. The only problem is that sack of potatoes, which is neither an "Oat, Oil, Vinegar: cupboard above the sink, right" nor a "Condiment: fridge" but lives there because it's the only place it fits. Maybe I should make it its own label.

Monday, February 20, 2012

day: the last

Day 7 of 7.

I debated whether or not to write this post tonight because I'm in quite a negative mood from a work issue that came up. But maybe it will be therapeutic to do something I can (almost) completely control, as long as my anger doesn't taint the writing too much.

7am. Alarm goes off early today b/c I have a to-do list that needs to start before Genghis does. Get up miraculously 10 minutes later and start in on scripture study. Afterwards, check in on some emails, shower, get ready for the day.

8am-1pm. Genghis gets up. We play with legos in his room for a while, then venture out the main room for breakfast. Oatmeal, toast, and bananas. During breakfast I write out the ingredients I need for some freezer meals I'll be making in bulk with a few friends later in the week. Part of my baby prep plan.

Genghis and I play around the house after lunch. I reorganize my office space, and he helpfully empties some drawers for me. I also inventory our pantry food supply in preparation for a trip to Aldi's later in the day, where I shop for bulk pantry goods.

We take a long route to the car in the late morning to enjoy beautiful outdoor weather. Genghis expresses interest in running into the half-frozen pond by our house and I exert my parental authority to prevent him. We drive to the home of a woman from our church for visiting teaching (see an explanation here). Genghis's quietest moments during the visit are spent spinning around in an office chair in her living room.

Back at home, we have lunch, Genghis stacks some balls up on the couch, gets extremely frustrated when they don't look just so, and I round him and his grief up for nap time.

1-3pm. Good nap today. I plan out an extensive shopping list for the afternoon's trip to the store. I also put some time into work and general email catching up. Does anyone else notice that "checking email" is the biggest time sink in the world?

3-6:45pm. Soon after Genghis wakes up, we head out to the grocery store. Genghis is close to angelic as I pile more and more goods into the cart, almost supplanting him with a sack of potatoes towards the end. It may have helped that I was feeding him white fudge gingerbread cookies during the trip. I am not above food bribes in the grocery store.

I can't get everything on my list because it won't all fit in the cart. This is probably okay, since I just spent an entire month's food budget in one trip. But our deep cupboards will be stocked for the next two months. Abe told me later that he heard a report about the cost of living increasing, mostly in food bills. That made me feel (slightly) better.

When we get home, Genghis watches from his car seat while I haul load after load from the trunk of the car to our front porch. He starts to get antsy, perhaps when he sees me carrying away the bananas. Once I'm done and get him unloaded to the porch, he hunts through the bags until he finds the bananas and brings them to his high chair. I acquiesce, hoping to buy enough time to make dinner. 90 seconds later, Genghis has finished the banana and is requesting more. I set him down and request his help in unloading the rest of the groceries. He complies, though him dumping bags on the floor turns out to be not quite as helpful as I originally imagined.

Abe comes home a bit early, and entertains Genghis with vacuuming, while I finish stocking the pantries and getting dinner ready. I collapse at the table while they finish up and join me for dinner. I have never felt more grateful for bath time with Daddy after dinner. I sit on the couch and read, not moving a muscle.

We do a quick family home evening, where I share a lesson about the importance of families as taught in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. We play tag for an activity and suddenly it's bedtime for Genghis.

6:45-11:15pm. Abe and I spend some time trying to think of names for our baby girl. Until now, we've just waited for the name to come to us; now we're doing due diligence. After, I continue to spend a good while reading on the couch, while Abe rows, talks to his brother, and cleans up dinner. I also get involved in the frustrating work issue that I mentioned at the beginning of the post, and spend the rest of the evening trying to get over it. I think I'm almost there. I'm at least to the point where I want to stop letting it bother me because I want to move on with happier, more productive things in life. Abe and I play a round of Agricola, and now head to bed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

not bad, for a day of rest

Day 6 of 7 (everyone, including me, says, thank goodness!)

7:30-8:40am. Wake up, shower, get ready for church while Abe gets up with Genghis. We have cereal, toast, and bananas for breakfast. In a bit of a rush to move the dining along and get Genghis ready for church as well. In the past we have been helping at a congregation of all young single adults, which meets at 1pm. However, Genghis is now old enough to attend the children's nursery during the second two hours of church. They don't have a nursery at the singles congregation, so Genghis and I are starting to attend the "family" congregation. Abe will continue to help with the singles until there's a replacement for us (in our church, we have a lay clergy, so the members are given assignments to help run things, and are changed in and out of assignments every few years).

All of that is to say that we need to get ready and out the door sooner than usual for a Sunday. Surprisingly, Genghis and I make it by 8:41.

9am-1:15pm. Get to church and find an open bench to take over for the next hour and fifteen minutes for services. The first 15-20 minutes of services are considered the most sacred, when we take sacrament. My rule with Genghis is that he doesn't get snacks until after this part is over. This turns out to be more difficult to enforce in the family congregation than the singles congregation. Genghis never saw the single members chowing on handfuls of snacks during the meeting. Here, we happen to sit behind some kids who manage to devour almost an entire box of Cheerios in this first 15-minute time frame. Genghis is going bonkers at the sight. We make it about 2/3 of the way through. The decision is clear: give him his graham crackers or take him out of the meeting.

Graham crackers it is.

We'll think of this rule as a stretch goal instead.

The rest of the meeting, Genghis eats grapes, makes silly faces at me, and sorts his foam alphabet letters into the empty grape container. I get to listen to most of the messages about the importance of scripture study.

After services, I deposit Genghis into the loosely supervised nursery and enjoy attending 2 more meetings child-free. Church has never seemed so ... relaxing ... before. And I'll get a whole 3-4 weeks of this before Baby #2 comes.

I pick Genghis up at noon and we head home for lunch. He gets PB and honey, and I get leftover Indian from last night. We are both happy with the arrangement.

1:15-4:30pm. Nap time for both of us today. Not long, though, since Genghis wakes up at 2:30. I spend the next 30 minutes trying to wake up while he wanders around with toys. Naps are like a rich, chocolate dessert. They are so wonderful while you're in the middle of them, but once it's over, the effects can be hard to recover from. And when a baby wakes you up from a nap it's like dropping your half-eaten chocolate cake on a hairy carpet. You just gotta let it go, cause it's gone.

We Skype with my parents for about an hour, talking about Genghis's new words, how I'm feeling with pregnancy and logistics for visiting when the baby's born. Genghis seems a bit stir crazy by the end of the call. I open the patio door to check the weather for walking and quickly decide to do an afternoon bath instead. We've moved on to the foam bath numbers, since Genghis has mastered the letters. He listens carefully while we go through 1-8 (can't find 9) and then decides to switch to blowing bubbles while on his tummy instead.

4:30-7:30pm. After bath I mash the potatoes that have been crockpotting all afternoon with the roast. Just as I'm finishing the gravy, Abe gets home from the afternoon congregation and we are all ecstatic to see each other. You'd think we didn't spend most days apart, but somehow it's harder to be apart on a Sunday. I spend dinner telling Abe even more details about the day than are recorded here. Then we head over to a neighbor's house for a small birthday gathering for their one-year-old daughter. Genghis is so distraught about sharing the giant ball with the other kids that it gets banned from the play area (if he were older, they may have banned Genghis instead...).

We head home close to 7 and put Genghis to bed. Abe and I talk for a few minutes in the living room until I realize he has fallen asleep. So I write this post and close up looking ahead to the rest of the night. The only thing on the agenda is a church activity planning meeting at 8:30 that I need to go to. Otherwise, I plan on catching my breath for next week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

the perfect saturday

(see this post for title reference)

Day 5 of 7.

7:15am. Oh, wait. No alarm clock on Saturdays!

7:30am-1:30pm. Genghis wakes up. Abe gets up with him today, per an agreement we made the night before. I enjoy sprawling out in a nice, warm bed for about 20 minutes, then join the family. Leftover muffins but fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast. Abe and I spend the morning discussing his latest business idea, until Genghis gets insistent on reading books with me. Abe takes some time in the bedroom to row (yes, we managed to squeeze and entire rowing machine into our bedroom, with surprisingly few stubbed toes). In an effort to expand Genghis's repertoire of obsessive compulsive games, I teach him to stack each of his plastic animals carefully on a separate wooden block. Then I take some time to clean out the laundry room, including popping the now-sagging party balloons and putting them in the trash. A few minutes later, Genghis joins me. I go in the other room while he plays at opening and closing the door. It gets suspiciously quiet and the door is closed, so I step inside the laundry room. Genghis has opened the trash can and is peering in at the balloon remains, asking "boon? boon?". Tragic moments follow.

We all head out the door at about 10:45 for a trip to Target for baby hangers, a belt, and a few more maternity clothes to get me through these last few weeks. I am most excited about a clearance pair of gray lounge pants.

After Target, we pick up lunch at Quiznos and go to the indoor botanic gardens. Once Genghis sees the water fountains in the gardens, he cannot be bothered with lunch. Abe and I switch out eating and watching him. Genghis runs around the gardens non-stop for approximately one hour. I am fascinated by a kaleidoscope exhibit, where there is a bed of flowers that you can spin while looking through the top through a kaleidoscope lens. It was like a beautiful and natural form of tie dye.

1:30-3:30pm. Genghis conks out for almost 2 hours after the gardens. I spend most of the time listening to "Anne of Avonlea" while transforming our bathroom closet into the baby's closet. She is going to sleep in the master bathroom for the first few months, so we're also storing all of her belongings there. I rig up an ingenious system for turning the shelves into hanging rods, and use up all 40 new baby hangers just on her 0-3 month wardrobe.

Maybe I should have given her my closet and I'd take the bathroom.

I finished off the look with my latest favorite home organization tool: labels. My labels are made with scratch paper and permanent market, laminated with packing tape. They work amazingly well. One day, I will go through my house, photograph all of my labels and post them here. The baby closet has the following labels:

- Onesies - long sleeved
- Onesies - short sleeved
- Outfits
- Dresses
- Pants
- Sleepers
- Swaddles
- Blankets and burp clothes
- Misc

3:30-8:45pm. Genghis wakes up just as I finish and I have to hurry to get him an early dinner so we can drop him off at the babysitter's around 4. We do a babysitting swap with 3 other couples every other Saturday. That means we spend 1 Saturday babysitting 4 one-year-olds, but in exchange get 3 Saturdays of date nights. The only downside is that it can be difficult to find things to do from 4-7pm, especially in the winter.

Abe and I start our adventure with a ride to the new hospital where I'll be giving birth, mostly to make sure Abe knows how to get there and I won't have to give directions. Then we go out to eat with a coupon for a place that does Middle Eastern / Indian cuisine. We get enormous amounts of food to meet our coupon minimum of $35 and enjoy much more of it in one sitting than we should. We end the night with a trip to grocery store and the gas station.

We pick up Genghis, put him immediately to bed, and part ways for about an hour and a half of working time. I finally re-read my draft paper (work project of the week) and am surprisingly pleased by the result. I do touch ups and send to the team for feedback. Then I trade off time reading a book and writing this post.

Our friends just arrived for visiting and games.

Friday, February 17, 2012

in love with the end of the day

Day 4 of 7.

7:15-9:15am. Alarm, sleep 15 more minutes, then get up. Genghis is up on the early side of 7:30 and he's headed to the babysitter's at 9, so I go in to his room right away for some quality time together. I think he's been missing me (could I possibly be projecting?). We spend a while in his room organizing his animals. Then I use his coyote hand puppet to sniff around the room asking "Where's Genghis" while Genghis squeals in a corner until coyote finds him and tickles his tummy. We enjoy this until Dad comes in for a morning hug and Genghis asserts his independence by stiff-arming Dad and running out of the room.

We have leftover pancakes for breakfast, along with yogurt and grapefruit. I think about all the years of delicious, fresh grapefruit I missed out on when I was grew up in Arizona and didn't like the fruit.

We get ready to go to the babysitters, which involves the traumatic experience of packing up Genghis's truck in a small toy bucket. He demands to have the truck back and I finally distract him with a pink balloon from the bow party last night. He follows me around the house for the rest of the morning, softly repeating "boon".

The babysitter comes over at 9am to pick Genghis up. She happened to be in the area, so we arranged for a pick up instead of drop off. This is Genghis's first time with this babysitter, so I have overpacked his bag with toys, food, a change of clothes, and a list of "Things to Know About Genghis", including a warning clause about the hazards of diaper changes. Genghis cries when I leave him in the car but I try not to think about that the rest of the morning.

9:15am-12:45pm. Time for work. I put in my trusty retainers and slog through another section of the paper. Almost done. Take a break for a client phone call and let myself get distracted by email more often than yesterday. By noon, I have a complete rough draft of the paper and quickly close the document so I'm not tempted to re-read. For the next 45 minutes I listen in on a conference call. My goal in this set of conference calls is to try to find one useful thing to chime in with on each call, so I can break the habit of being a total mute. Unsuccessful yet again. I hang up early to go pick up Genghis.

12:45-4:45pm. Genghis is having a jolly time at the babysitters when I arrive, going back and forth on the rocking chair and yelling "Weee!" (Usually rocking or spinning of any kind is accompanied by this phrase.) The babysitter reports that Genghis enjoyed playing with his truck in the yard, following their 10-year-old as she lured him around the house with a giant bouncy ball, playing with the neck wrinkles of the aging family dog, and eating just a bit of vanilla ice cream for lunch. He also obediently laid down during his whole diaper change. Go figure.

I have a hard time getting Genghis out of the house and into the car, which is a good sign. Looks like the trial run of babysitting went well, so we're set to do it again next week.

The only downside I can see is that they live on a dirt road. That combined with the spring thaw means my car is completely covered in mud. Every time I brush up against the car, I have a new mud cake on my outfit (if lounge pants and a sweatshirt can be called an outfit). I take a mental note to wash the car ASAP. I like to wear those lounge pants often.

Genghis falls asleep on the way home but I still have to pry the balloon (he's had it with him since the morning) out of his tight grip before getting him in the house and into bed. He rouses during the transition and immediately looks around for the balloon. After a brief mental debate, I pull out another balloon from the party stash and let him take it to bed. 15 minutes later, I am worried that he has surely strangled himself on the string (bad mom, bad) so I sneak in to his room, grateful to see the balloon floating on the other side. I guess he was pretty tired.

Nap time involves some scripture reading, a bit of work, a bit of vegging to TV online, and a half-hearted attempt to reorganize the office. I think I'm feeling Friday tired. I bravely eat a whole carrot instead of one of the frosted cupcakes on the counter. In full disclosure, I also have to change my clothes because I sneezed twice and bladder control at this point in pregnancy is just not what it used to be. Genghis wakes up after about an hour. We have a snack together (still holding out on that cupcake) and then pack up to go to the car wash and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at the park.

Genghis brings his balloon along.

4:45-7pm. After the park, we pick up Abe from work. We briefly flirt with the idea of take-out, and then turn towards home where I scrounge together a dinner out of the items left in the fridge. Not bad, but leaves me craving Indian curry. Genghis lets the balloon out of his site during bath time and I hide it in the laundry room. We enjoy a lovely evening of play time (my favorite part of the day is often between bath and bed). Genghis shows me his new trick of sticking his fingers in his eyes and spinning around. This time he is concentrating too hard to say "Weee!" He also runs into the bookcase. Should I worry?

7-?pm. Finally! An evening with just Abe and I, and no work on the agenda. Abe just finished the dishes while I wrote this post. I hear him setting up Agricola. And those cupcakes are waiting for me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

working day

Day 3 of 7.

5:15-7:15am. Wake several times, but it doesn't bother me because each time I know I still have more sleep before I have to wake up. Alarm clock at 7:15. Snooze.

7:30-9:30am. Wake up, having time for a full 30 minutes of scripture study. No attempt to shower or get dressed. I hear Genghis waking up around 8am so I run into the kitchen to whip up some pancakes for breakfast, because I'm tired of oatmeal. Genghis and I enjoy a pancake breakfast with applesauce and yogurt. He is content to dally about the house but I get to take him to his side of the babysitting swap at 9, so I am rushing him to get ready. We make it out the door at 9:15.

9:30am-3pm. This is my working time for today. As soon as I get home from dropping Genghis off I set about writing this paper that I avoided yesterday. I don't even let myself get sucked into email first (okay, really, it was just that no one had emailed me). I worked for an hour and a half straight and made amazing progress. Writing is much easier when you decide beforehand that everything you type is perfect the first time you type it. And when you decide that if it an idea seems to difficult to express, it probably is, so you should just let it go.

Have a phone meeting from 11-11:30 which leaves me with an hour of follow up work. Determined not to let that deter me from the paper writing. But I do get myself 15 minutes to shower, dress, and eat lunch. Okay, maybe 30 minutes. I love working from home but I have to muster up all the discipline I learned years ago, practicing the piano for two hours every day after school.

I write for another hour and a half and get through the majority of the paper. Plenty to feel good about at the end of the day. As long as I don't go through and re-read it. That's another tip for writing: it's like letting bread rise. Once you finish a draft, don't go back to revise until you've let it sit for a few days.

3-6:30pm. Pick up a neighbor and her child, then pick up Genghis from the babysitter, and all four of us head to the house of a woman in my church for what's called "visiting teaching". The basic idea is that pairs of women go visit other women in the congregation, to check in, provide any help that's needed, and generally make sure things are going well for her. Unfortunately, today's visit mostly involved me trying to console a crying Genghis who wanted to play with this woman's older daughters but was (I think) afraid I was going to leave him again and he just hadn't had enough mom time that day. Also unfortunately, he will be going back to her house tomorrow morning for actual babysitting. Hopefully both he and the woman do not lose sleep tonight at the prospect.

When we get home, we consider going on a walk around the neighborhood but Genghis is in such a bipolar mood that I decide to just stay inside until dinner time. The crankiness continues, but at least I don't have to lift and pull him away from things; he has free reign of all rooms in the house (at least, below the 3-foot mark) except our bedroom.

Dad comes home at 5:45 and we enjoy white chicken chili for dinner, which I miraculously remembered to put in the crock pot around noon. Dad does bath time while I write this post. I'm leaving soon for a bow-making party in celebration of our coming daughter. Pretty sure I'll be too tired at the end of the night to write.

Looking back, days are much more calm and perhaps less interesting when I'm working all day.

(Update: 6:30-11pm. Put Genghis to bed, talk with Abe for a few minutes, head to bow party. Enjoy three hours of talking with friends, eating delicious food, and making all colors and styles of bows for a baby girl.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

down dogs relieve pain during pregnancy and provide a nice distraction from writing

Day 2 of my 7 day life chronicle.

7:15. Alarm clock.

7:30-10. Get up, shower, but no time to do hair before Genghis gets up. I'm starting to really like that my hair is long enough to pull back.

Genghis spends much of breakfast fear-stricken that I will leave the room. Mostly, I'm just walking around trying to get the next food group ready to put on the table. Oatmeal, toast and peanut butter, milk, grapefruit. After breakfast we enjoy playing with some toys and practice only getting a few categories of toys out at a time. Instead of dumping out all the animals, all the blocks, all the balls, and all the books and then tripping over them for the next 8 hours, we try to play with the balls and blocks, then put the blocks away when we decide to move on to books. Genghis seems a little bewildered by this new attempt at structure, but goes along with it pretty well.

Eventually, we migrate to the bathroom for a diaper change and dressing for the day. Genghis methodically brings all of his animals and his "fuzzies" (comfort blankets) into the bathroom before coming in himself and carefully closing the door behind him. I have given up on getting him to lay down during diaper changes, but today as he roams the bathroom and I chase him with wet wipes, I am nervous about how many loads of animals I may have to run through the wash if things get out of control. Luckily, all goes well.

Unluckily, the next thing on my to-do list is laundry, and I realize that a soak in cold water was definitely not helpful in taking butter stains out of yesterday's clothes. How much do I care about these clothes? The answer must be not much because now, at 9:30pm, they are still just sitting on top of the washing machine, albeit sprayed with stain remover.

Perhaps to balance out the chaos of stained clothing, I decide to deep clean Genghis's high chair area for the morning project. Genghis himself is busy emptying the kitchen cupboards, and discovers that he can make silver mixing bowls spin round and round to his endless amusement. In the meantime, I scrub his high chair, the chair it sits on, the plastic covering underneath, and the walls around. My arms are getting tired by the time I get to the walls. Genghis has also crawled under the table at this point and is watching me intently with an expression that clearly says "my mother is crazy and it's making me exhausted".

10am-1:15pm. Once the cleaning is done, we head out to the car for the downtown library to meet a friend and her children. I know going into it that this trip will involve a lot of re-directing of Genghis's attention (for example, hefting him away from the DVD rack which he can swipe clean in under 10 seconds). We happen to be there during story hour - the one geared for the 2-5 year olds rather than the 0-24 month olds, which is what Genghis and I usually attend. He is clearly interested in what all of the tall little people are doing and expresses it by running through all of them and up to the front of the room to spin around in circles and cry out "Weee!"

More hefting.

We settle in at the back of the room for most of story time with some yogurt-covered raisins and a car puzzle.

After story time Genghis terrorizes the library for about 30 more minutes while I try to snatch bits and pieces of conversation with my friend. When we leave, my back and various tendons in my midsection are hurting so much that I literally hobble to the car, grateful for umbrella strollers that double as walkers.

Next, lunch, adorable playtime that involves me sitting on the floor and not moving, followed by nap.

1:15-5:30pm. This is a working afternoon for me. Abe comes home to watch Genghis and I attempt to be as productive as possible in the other room. Today's big task is to write a project report. The first step to good writing is to avoid it as long as possible. Luckily, I had several emails and project logistics to address. As a bonus, there were unread blog posts in Google Reader. At 3:00, armed with some peanut butter and chocolate chip graham crackers as periodic rewards for getting work done, I seriously start in on writing. I make myself wear my retainers between rewards, possibly to remind myself that some things are more painful than writing.

5:30-6:45pm. I close up work and join the family for dinner. Abe and Genghis have just finished and are heading to the bath. Genghis runs back and forth between the living room (where I am) and the bathroom (where the bath is), clearly communicating that I must come watch him in his bath since he hasn't seen me all afternoon. I eat a plate of spaghetti sitting on the toilet next to 2 diaper pails. But, I'm rewarded with hearing 2 new words from Genghis. "Please" and "Oh no!" He says the latter in a distressed cry while swishing back and forth on his tummy in the tub. I think he's imagining a shipwreck in the Pacific or something equally dramatic. Play time after bath, and bedtime at 6:45.

6:45-9:40pm. I fall asleep on the couch for 30 minutes. Abe is working from home for the night. When I wake up, I head back to the computer to work on our finances, which always boils down to 2 basic emotions: 1) frustration with (I have mixed feelings about the site) and 2) lamentation on how much I consistently overspend on groceries and home supplies. I wrap up my evening work by brainstorming some ideas for an upcoming church activity for the women in our congregation and writing this post.

I have no idea what I will do for the next hour. It will likely involve chocolate and a book or chocolate and a movie. Or perhaps just chocolate and a bed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

and now, the life story you've been waiting for

Inspired by a great book I'm reading for Book Group this month (A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel), I decided to write out the details of each day of my life for one week. Just on the chance that some day it may make for good material for a memoir.

Turns out it's hard to be so egocentric on my own, so I also decided to post said details on this blog.

Today: Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

1am. I wake up to Genghis crying for bit, and finally go in to check on him. I rock him and sing a few songs while he talks about the possible cars he could be seeing out his bedroom window if only the curtains weren't closed. I determine that he is feeling well enough to go back to bed.

7:15am. My alarm goes off, much to my dismay (I will copy/paste this line to use every day this week).

7:45am - 10am. I sit up in bed and stumble through a brief morning prayer. Genghis is rousing so I quickly dress and prep for the day (read: wash my face, pull my hair back). When I get Genghis up and take him into the living room he discovers a new (used) swing that I'm sanitizing for his baby sister. He rocks the swing somewhat violently back and forth yelling "Weee!" for the next 10 minutes. He will be a great big brother.

We have breakfast: cereal, bran muffins, eggs, milk. I try to get some cleaning, sanitizing and scripture study done between assisting Genghis with his various morning games such as "Dump all my animals out of the bag" and "Throw all of the balls behind the couch where I can't reach them, make Mom get them out, and then Do It Again". Eventually, we get him dressed and head out to the car. We drop a DVD off at the library, attempt to cash a check at the bank until I realize it's actually a 1099 form, and swing by the store for 4 cans of frozen OJ because Dad's got a cold.

10:30am - 12pm. We end up at the church for the weekly play group. Genghis has learned how to commandeer any of the "ride on" toys, sometimes two at once. After an hour and a half of general bullying of children both young and old, Genghis is tired. We head home.

12 - 1pm. Genghis is joined by his play mate for the afternoon, as part of our weekly babysitting swap. He enthusiastically greets her by talking, laughing, and spinning in circles. I get some Mac N Cheese, softened carrots and grapes halves going for lunch. Both kids are enjoying their meal so I start in on baking some bread. I pull a bowl of melted butter out of the microwave, which I immediately dump all over myself and the floor. I run to the bedroom, strip down, throw my clothes in cold water, and find something random to wear. I come back to the kitchen and mop the floor (Genghis cries during this because he can hear the sound of the water squirting out of the Swiffer Wet Jet, which for some reason really bothers him). I walk out to the dining room to check on the kids, and see that they have methodically thrown every carrot piece and macaroni noodle on the white carpet, cheese included. Hmm... I go back in the kitchen to finish the bread dough.

1-1:30pm. I clean up children, floors, counters, chairs, table, dishes. Children play and chase each other around the house. I sneak in bites of leftover Mac N Cheese between tasks. We migrate to the bathroom for diaper changes and then put each child down for a nap. I collapse on the chair, read and eat chocolate for 15 minutes.

1:30-3pm. Work time. I take care of emails, then spend an hour on a Skype call talking to a client group about our strategic evaluation plan. At the very end, I can hear Genghis waking up. We end the call and I go back to being Mom.

3-6:30pm. Genghis wakes up knowing the word "banana". He insists on having one for snack right away. I agree, and set him up his high chair for a "mana" while I put some lentil soup on for dinner. His play mate wakes about half an hour later and within 15 minutes we're back at snack time, this time for yogurt covered raisins and graham crackers. Afterwards, Genghis keeps spitting up when physically exerting himself and I suspect he has over-eaten. I empathize with my pregnancy-induced acid reflux (feeling the dark chocolate from earlier in the day).

As the afternoon progresses, the kids manage to get into almost every toy container and book shelf we own, so I decide it's time to play in the snow. Genghis's friend gets the snow pants. I put Genghis in his footed PJs with two layers of pants on top. Once all the layers and boots are on, the kids keep face planting on the carpet while trying to make it to the open door. We walk in the snow, roll snow balls, and do some taste tests. Genghis declares the snow "yummy" while his friend insists it is "yucky".

Genghis's friend goes home just before 5pm and we play out in the snow a little longer. We come inside and Genghis is in a grumpy mood until dinner, which includes fresh bread and honey. After dinner we do bath time because, if nothing else in my house is clean and orderly, at least my child's skin can be. After bath, Genghis is insistent on seeing Dad, who is not home from work yet. He melts down and I lose my temper. Dad comes home about 10 minutes later to an unhappy family. He wisely plays with Genghis while I radiate bad vibes while cleaning everything in the house.

6:30pm - 9pm. We put Genghis to bed, a bit on the early side. I apologize right before for being in a grumpy mood and Genghis is quick to forgive. So is Abe. After bed time, Abe and I discuss our day, I read my book, and we play a game of Agricola (we are addicted to this game and have spent several irretrievable hours of our life staring at the board and lamenting how hard it is to be homesteaders).

9-10pm. Abe sits in on a weekly conference call he has with friends about geeky things. I put in my retainer (trying to wear it again after 6 years off) and write this post. I consider that tomorrow, I will not write as many details. I also consider that tomorrow, I may not write anything at all.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

friday photos

A few weeks ago, Genghis and I took a trip to my parents'.

We spent one morning sledding, although the snow was very hard and crunchy. Genghis enjoyed pulling the sled himself on the driveway as an alternative. Turns out that was much easier for me as well.

We also went to the downtown winter festival. Genghis is trying to sneak some kettle corn here.

Grandma feeding him pineapple smoothie from a straw.

Discovering a more efficient method.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

friday photos

Babysitting swap - painting with chocolate pudding in the tub. Most of the painting was done by me to set the example. I don't know where they learned to put the pudding in their mouths instead.