Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Notes and scribbles from my disorganized mind

We're having some insane weather here in the Sacramento Valley, very strange for the end of June.  It's cold and rainy.  I am LOVING it.  I missed winter here - I spent it in Italy in the freezing snowy Alps (which was awesome for winter), but then we came straight back to California spring.  I thought I would go an entire year without rain, so I've been so psyched for these rogue rain storms that have passed through the last couple months.  Not to mention after hot weather, the cooling rain and beautiful wet earth smell is so uplifting and refreshing.  I love cool mornings in warm pajamas with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Like I mentioned in my last email, life is a bit crazy here.  Luckily, the kids are in preschool three days per week, or I couldn't manage.  I am working part time for my husband's company, which is not a ton of work, but it's a lot of responsibility, and it weighs on me pretty heavily.  I am just getting started trying to move my mom out of her 6000 square foot house, which she has lived in for the last 20 years, and where my brother has left a ton of stuff over those 20 years and is not showing much intention to come get any of it.  My mom is also a packrat.  Oh, and she also doesn't really do anything when I am not there.  She thinks I am going to handle it all.  And she gives me a ton of sh!t when I am there about how I'm not doing enough for her.  She makes me completely crazy.  She has been a bit of an anchor around my neck lately.

So yeah.  I'm spending every bit of free time I have doing crafting.  I know it's crazy.  I have made Tadpole a skirt, which we both love.  Also lots of napkins, which I love.  And a few other little things, like a few pillow covers.  My big upcoming project is a window-seat cushion.  The custom-ordered foam arrived yesterday, and I have the fabric, I just need the zipper now.  I will probably start cutting fabric sometime this week.  If I get a chance.  I'll post pics when I'm done!  I'm also making some outdoor pillows for our benches in our yard.

My exercise is really going by the wayside, which is really bad considering that I have a half-marathon coming up in just a few weeks.  I'm finding that I only have time for one or two things that I want for myself, and when I'm working on crafting, I can't really find time to exercise.  I wish I could find more balance.

To top things off, Turtle is sleeping really badly.  Going to bed late, waking up early, and waking multiple times during the night.  I wish we could fix this, but I'm not sure how.  I know for sure we've developed a lot of bad habits - late bedtimes (but he still stays up really late in bed regardless of what time we put him to bed), too many sweets, not enough good habits like cleaning up after oneself and staying at the table.  Having two kids going through the difficult stages at the same time is exhausting.

My husband invited a business acquaintance and his family to dinner last night.  He told me that they had four kids.  So imagine my surprise when they arrived and I saw four boys come in.  And then a girl.  I thought, ah, well, he didn't realize they had 5 kids.  Then I counted again, and there were 6!  SIX kids, between the ages of 3 and 9.  And about an hour later, another older girl showed up, who I figured out after a while was the nanny (no one introduced us).  And then my husband mentioned that he had invited his two coworkers.  So we went from having a dinner for 10 to a dinner for 15.  Can I just say that I felt like I had been run over by a bus?

I always wanted a big family, and I somewhat knew it was a reaction to having such a small family and no extended family when I was a kid.  I wanted the big family holidays and family reunions and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and I had basically none of that.  But now, I'm not so sure.  I've been yearning for a third child, and in some ways I still want that, but I looked at these people with their nanny and wondered how much time they spent with each child.  How they managed doctors and dentists and school and activities, and meals and getting around town and traveling and running errands and all the LAUNDRY.  And cooking!  And washing dishes!  They had most of their kids only one year apart, so I wonder how much they got to really treasure each child before the next one came along.  I feel like we had a tough road having twins, but I am grateful that with only two of them, I get to spend a lot of quality time with them.  I don't think I'd want a nanny to manage my kids, even though I'm often frustrated by the jealousy and fighting and limit-pushing and daily boredom that can come with spending so much time with 2-year-olds.

Anyway.  I'm off shortly to my mom's house to go look at smaller houses for her to buy.  I hope it goes well, but I'm really nervous.  I'm especially nervous to show up there after not having been there for 4 days and finding that as usual she has not only not packed a thing, but her kitchen is a mess with dirty dishes and there is trash everywhere.  I'm not sure I can handle it.  How does one handle an aging relative who refuses to admit that she's aging if you suggest assisted living, yet expects you to help her with every tiny little responsibility because she can't manage anything herself?  I'm really at the end of my rope here, and will probably be writing a lot about this in the next month or two.  I'm just trying to remember that it will all work out somehow, or as my good friend says, "This too shall pass".

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Questions and quick update ...

I have so many posts I want to write!  But this is going to be a real quick one, with just a couple questions.

1. This question is especially for those of you with boy-girl twins, but I would love feedback and opinions from anyone.  My kids definitely have their own distinct personalities, and society is clearly having an impact on them choosing "girl" toys and "boy" toys to some degree, but when they are not around other kids, they tend to play together.  In addition to "girl" toys, Tadpole plays with cars and trucks, and vice versa - Turtle plays with cars and trucks in addition to dolls and the toy kitchen.  Tadpole's favorite toys tend to be her stroller and stuffed animals, and Turtle's favorite toys tend to be his trucks, but for the most part they both play with everything.  They each have a couple special toys that are their own, but share everything else.  But they're definitely starting to claim toys more and more - this is MINE, and that is YOURS.  I'm struggling now that I'm starting to buy toys that are more "gendered" because I DO want them to have things that are special to each of them, but not to stereotype them as much as possible.  For their birthdays, I'm getting Tadpole a cute little stuffed frog because she loves stuffed animals and especially frogs, and I also got her the IKEA bath set, which I'm expecting her to share for their role-playing games.  For Turtle, I want to get a fancier set of blocks (like this one, maybe), but I want him to share it, so I feel like I have to get him something just for him, maybe another truck or something.

I know bigger issues are coming.  We went to a store with cool wooden toys the other day, and they both loved playing with the (very gender-neutral) wooden dollhouses.  (Why is a dollhouse a girls' toy anyway?  Don't men live in houses?)  They're expensive.  I don't want to buy more than one.  I'm considering getting it for Christmas, but who do I give it to?

So my question is ... how do you handle this?  Who gets what?  How much do they share and how much should I let them have their own toys?   I think it's a bit more complicated because they have their own rooms, so any shared toys have to stay in the living room.

BTW, their big birthday present was a sandbox that I still have to post photos of, and their grandmother is getting them bicycles, so if it sounded above like we did a good job not overdoing it, I'm not so sure ...

2. Kind of random question - my husband and I are right-handed, although he has lefties on both sides of his family.  I don't know of any lefties in mine, but I don't know my extended family that well, so I've never noticed.  Turtle and Tadpole are both lefties.  That seems awfully improbable.  How weird is that?  Also, one of my brother-in-law's two daughters is a leftie, so my in-laws have three out of four grandchildren who are left-handed, and they are both righties.  I'm just pointing it out because it seems so odd!  Cool, but weird!

Hope you are all having a good weekend.  We are about to have some unseasonable cloudy cool weather, and I am LOVING it!  One thing I don't like about where we live is the boring, two-season weather - hot and sunny all summer, rainy and cool (but never cold enough to snow) for a relatively short winter.  I'd love a bit more rain and all-around slightly cooler temps, so I'm really enjoying this variety!

I'm up early to sew, a hobby that's really catching on around here.  I'll have to do another post with photos of my recent crafting, and to catch up on life in general.  It's been awfully busy here - my mom sold her house and is in the process of me packing her up while she does nothing, my kids are in swim lessons and summer preschool, and I'm just trying to hold it all together for everyone - crazy crazy times!  And our first camping trip coming up, and my garden is doing great, and the kids' third birthday is coming up, too!  Lots to talk about, soon!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June is here, how beautiful! (and more preschool discussion)

I'm sitting outside Turtle's room while I write this, and he's asking me to leave the door open over and over and over again. It's already propped open about 6 inches, he's going to drive me nuts!!!!  Obviously, bedtime's not going that well these days.  Our bedtime routine usually involves either playing or watching some TV after dinner while eating fruit, brushing teeth, getting milk bottles and lovies, going into Turtle's room and lying down on his bed, and telling a story.  Then Papi stays with Turtle and I take Tadpole into her room while she finishes her milk and I usually sing her a song.  While we do that, Turtle first protests that he wants Mamma, then Papi tells him another story and maybe sings a song, and then he asks for Mamma.  Again.  And I end up sitting outside his room listening to him talk to himself or ask me to come fix his blanket (like 10 times) and to leave the door open wider.  I think now he's being quiet because he can hear me typing.  Sigh.

Other than that, our only other big problems these days are fighting and crazy tantrums.  Who said that the threes are worse than the twos?  I'm beginning to suspect they're right.  The tantrums are downright insane, and over the most ridiculous things.  It is also true that you cannot reason with a toddler.  They are little mad dictators.

Their third birthday is coming up in just over a month.  For their birthday, I bought the supplies for a sandbox, and we spent a day last weekend building it together with the kids' aunt and Papi.  It was a fun project.  Tadpole helped by swinging constantly in her swing, which honestly was a help because it kept her from being constantly underfoot.  The sandbox is a big success, at least for Turtle!  Tadpole likes to sit outside of it and play with the sand, but is less excited about climbing in.  Pictures will come this week, along with pics of my vegetable garden!

Speaking of the garden, it's doing wonderfully because of our relatively cool (i.e. not crazily hot) spring and a few spring showers that have kept the garden nice and moist.  I think we're ramping up for a good year for homegrown produce.  The weather has been so nice, and we just had our first really hot weekend, which was a great opportunity for having a few friends over for a pool party.  In fact, I'm still in my swimsuit from a nice jump in the pool earlier today.

The other thing I've been wanting to talk about is preschool.  While drop-off is still not fun, everything else seems to be going well.  The kids are basically eating all their lunch, are happy about preschool when I pick them up, and seem to be making some friends, or at least are able to communicate with their peers a bit better.  In fact, I made it a habit to stay and play with them for a bit after preschool, and Turtle then had a tantrum when I said it was time to leave last Thursday!  He wanted to stay at school.  With me there, of course, but still.  He also played independently with another little boy for a long time while I watched, so that was huge progress.

Which makes me think I should leave them at this school.  I don't think that it would be good, now that we finally are adjusting, to switch schools, even if I like the other school a bit better.  They school where they are now is totally fine, and I just don't think the problems caused by a switch would be worth it.  So I'm almost positive I'll be sticking with this school for the next two years, and I feel pretty ok with it.  I just don't know when and how to inform the Waldorf school that we won't be attending.  Sooner is better than later, I suppose.  I still feel a bit nervous about removing what is essentially our "safety net", though.

Well, Papi is home from his run, and I hope to not be sitting out here in a dark hallway for much longer.  Actually, I hope to be going to bed reasonably soon!!!  Good night!