Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When it rains... causes an avalanche.

That's how that goes, right? 

Either way, that's certainly how it feels at present. 

What I neglected to mention in the telling of the that The Barbarian was sick throughout. I think he started feeling crappy the day before I went to the doctor and it evolved into major congestion and a hacking cough. But, ultimately awesome barbarian that he is, he remained solid the entire time, holding, cuddling, and playing with the wee folk most of the weekend, as they attempted to work through all of this (being wildly upset with and wanting little to do with me comprising a huge part of that work, of course). Seriously, I couldn't fathom a better partner. I am constantly--CONSTANTLY--being told how lucky I am to have him by everyone. He's that amazing. 

So what, then, could possibly be the only downside to the wee folk spending all that time in his embrace over the weekend? Wait for it...

THEY'RE SICK. Really and truly sick with a virulent cold virus for the first time EVER. They made it through two entire cold and flu seasons unscathed, and their second spring arrives with this. They are MISERABLE. Fevers, runny noses, congestion, horrible coughs, obviously achey and just plain SAD. 




Okay, seriously? What shit is that? I'm forced to wean my kids long before I had planned because of some lame infection, and they IMMEDIATELY get sick? OF COURSE they do. This is us. We have the very best of luck--and the very worst. We are just that cool. 

Oh, and it gets better. Ready? 

The Barbarian was OUT OF TOWN LAST NIGHT. 

HAHA! Isn't that hilarious? I mean, what's not funny about our very first night alone after emergency weaning falling only four days after the fact, and having the wee folk be wretchedly sick for it to boot? 

I'll tell you: EVERYTHING. Everything is not funny about this. Because I just spent one of the most trying nights of my life desperately attempting to catch hold of and keep a firm grip on sleep for two miserable tiny humans and one exhausted beyond words mama, and found it, of course, ever elusive. You know, fuck you, sleep. Seriously, what have you done for me lately? Fuck all, sleep. That's what. Fuck. All. Because our horrendous first night alone sans nursing, in which I maybe dozed in half hour increments here and there, ended at 4am this morning, and although they passed back out before 10am, they have been waking intermittently to cry and be completely inconsolable, so we are back in the glider and my hopes for a real nap have died a loud and protesting death.

So, yeah. That last post about being stuck in the glider while they napped and how sad and tragic everyone and everything had been for three days? KTA woke up from that very nap with a fever, The Goblin Queen followed suit a couple of hours later, and the past two days have just been insult added to injury. 

I just... I can't even with this nonsense. I can't even with this infection or this virus or this altered course forced upon us


Oh, and you know what else I can't even, now that we're on the subject? I can't even have a godsdamn drink to take the edge off my plight. No joke. Apparently nuclear bomb strength antibiotics and alcohol don't play well together in one's system. Who knew? So I haven't had a drink during this entire bout of asinine shenanigans, and I won't get to have one till next week. Obnoxious, right? 

BUT. The earth is currently getting a drink in our drought-stricken region of the world, and that makes me very, very happy. 

So have one (or five) for me, Mama Earth. You deserve it. 

I'll just be over here counting down the hours till The Barbarian gets home and giving myself pep talks. 

I won't throw tiny humans at him and run for the hills when he walks through the door...I won't throw tiny humans at him and run for the hills when he walks through the door...I won't throw tiny humans at him and run for the hills when he walks through the door... 

Monday, March 24, 2014

One day at a time

That's definitely how we're proceeding here. 

We are over 72 hours into our new life of no nursing, and I am happy to report we have all survived thus far.

But that's about the extent of the good news. We're surviving. Our thriving has been put on hold.

To say world-shattering sadness has ruled our house these past three days just doesn't even begin to describe our reality. Having my children beg for the most integral part of their lives thus far, the part only I can give them, yet the part they will now forever have to do without, is like nothing I've ever experienced. It's tragic. It's literally the worst thing ever.

Hyperbole, much? Yes. But? ALSO, YES.

I've chosen to be completely honest with them. I've explained that mama has an owie and has to take medicine that makes my milk yucky, so we can't nurse anymore. The first time I told them this, they really seemed to stop and attempt to process it, especially The Goblin Queen. And for a large chunk of that day, she would go to ask to nurse but actually stop herself as she remembered that she couldn't. It was pretty amazing. But as the day wore on into night, the surprisingly mature self-control waned, and that night, I experienced her scream and throw a fit--arching her little back and throwing herself around--like I have never witnessed before. 

It fucking SUCKED.

King Toad Agooga, on the other hand, is mostly just sad. So very, very sad. And his brand of sad is just heartbreaking. We always joked when they were super tiny that when he was unhappy, his cries just sounded SO sad and his little face just looked SO sad. It crushed your very soul to look at him and hear that pathetic sound. Yet TGQ just looked and sounded angry. Like an angry cat. Exactly like an angry cat, in fact. Doting parents that we are, we even called her that and frequently asked her why in the world she was just. so. angry. In these moments she's always reminded me of quite possibly my favourite Little Critter book (and I was a big fan), I Was So Mad. Funny that that was my favourite one. Hmmm. (Apparently her and I have a lot in common. I don't see it, of course, but this is what they tell me.)

These temperaments have remained the same and obviously affect the way they're dealing with this ultimate disruption in our lives. The very angry goblin screams. A lot. She screams at me specifically. Often when I hold her, she just sits in my lap facing me and screams at me. I let her. It's horrible. But I let her. I get it. I would scream at me, too. And the very sad toad cries and cries. He prefers The Barbarian to hold and cuddle him and put him to sleep. When he does let me hold him, he asks to nurse with a face full of hopefulness tinged with a knowing, a knowing that I'll say no. And when I do, he shakes his head violently, scrunches up his adorable face, turns his little body away from me, and utters his "engh, engh, engh" noise that signifies disagreement and disappointment. This happens a couple more times before he finally either gets down to find The Barbarian or, on rare occasions, actually lets me cuddle him. I always offer the cuddles. I tell him we can't nurse, but Mama will always cuddle him. ALWAYS.

I'm so happy when he lets me. I miss cuddling with them. I miss it SO much. It dawned on me yesterday how much we haven't cuddled these past few days. I mostly have to seek out the closeness now, and it's often, understandably, not good enough for them to just cuddle. It's too close to what they really want without being anywhere NEAR what they really want. It's almost offensive to them in some ways. And not taking it personally is an enormous struggle for me. I literally feel like they don't like me much of the time. Of course that's ridiculousness itself. But knowing that doesn't help that feeling go away. At all.

But I will say that things are getting easier as the days pass. They don't ask to nurse very much at all during the day now, and TGQ especially continues to go to ask and then stop herself. And KTA does look at the boobies sometimes and then force himself to look away without asking. I'm truly in awe of them.

Bedtime is hard, but not nearly as hard as mornings. Mornings are the absolute worst part of our day. They're sleeping impressively well overnight, but by about 6:30, they wake up for good and are immediately reminded that their nightmare is real. There's no nursing to wake up to. There will be no nursing all day. Ever again. So they cry and scream. A lot. 

And because this is the absolute most tragic part of their lives to date, I find myself wanting to spoil them and do things we don't normally do. They're allowed to watch shows or a movie when they get up now. It calms them down and helps take their minds off the sheer disappointment of waking up yet again to this stupid, unfair reality. Also, not having ever found a milk they like, I caved and bought some vanilla soy milk and was super stoked when they drank some. TGQ likes it much more than KTA, but we'll keep trying. And we started giving them bottles in the morning. No, I don't want them to get attached to bottles at 19 months, but in the midst of this upheaval, they can have some godsdamn bottles if they want. As I've mentioned, though, they've never been fans and KTA mostly wants nothing to do with it. TGQ, however, has taken to it a bit, and when I ask her if she wants milk, she nods and proceeds to play around with it and drink at least some. It makes me happy. It makes me feel better if she can find something to replace nursing. Even if it's the equivalent of being served a single shaving of chocolate in a plastic bottle cap when you were really in the mood for an entire fancy, layered chocolate cake on a sparkly platter. Because...clearly...boobs are like sparkly platters and breastmilk tastes like...chocolate? Whatever.  


Today is our first day without the constant presence and support of The Barbarian, and my small triumph thus far is the fact that I got them both to sleep on my own without nursing. Yay. We're, of course, now all stuck together in the glider because there's no way I can even attempt to get up and transfer them without them waking and crying. But you know what? 

I'll fucking take it.

One day at a time, folks.

One. Day. At. A. Time.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thank you, FeedBurner

Dearest Subscribers,

Of course, shortly after changing the settings and having the title of the post added as the subject line of your email, I decide to use a bit of naughty language in the post title. And seeing as FeedBurner formats it to then also be the heading of the actual content of the email and displays it yet again as the clickable title of the post, what you see in the brief blurb in your inbox (as well as the actual email) is it repeated three times. Lovely. At least there can be no question as to how I truly feel about diverticulitis, though, eh?

Most of you know by now that I use "bad" words sometimes. Occasionally. Or a lot. Either way, it is what it is and I'm sure most of you don't care in general. This is also my blog and, of course, I get to use whatever kind of language I want. I don't apologize for that. As the saying goes, I'm a lady with the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor. It happens.

What I do apologize for is having it sort of thrown in your face like that if it's not something you're comfortable with. I realize it could be a bit off-putting for some. And while it's not something I normally do in a post title, I'm sure it will on rare occasions happen. So again, my apologies. But it was fitting and I do stand by that assessment. Especially this challenging next morning. Sigh. 

And I could have emailed you all, but as you're often the only ones who read these, I made a whole post about it just for you. Because I love you. Simple. 

As always, thanks for reading! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fuck diverticulitis

I nursed my babies for the last time this morning.

And I am feeling broken. And incredibly sad. And angry. Very, very angry. 

I started having abdominal pain in the mornings on Sunday, but by Wednesday, it was lasting all day and getting worse by the hour. Wednesday night I had to leave the wee folk with The Barbarian and escape to the guest bed, where little knees and feet weren't bumping into my belly, and where the softer bed cradled my poor, painful midsection a bit more gently. 

Not being a fan of going to the doctor in the slightest, I had finally caved at The Barbarian's insistence and made an appointment Wednesday afternoon for Thursday morning. Nana Banana came and stayed with The Goblin Queen and King Toad Agooga while I went, and having gone over the symptoms with Dr. Google, I wasn't entirely surprised when, after the exam, the nurse practitioner suggested diverticulitis as the cause of my extreme discomfort. What did come as a shock, though, was the pronouncement, after she conferred with several colleagues and researched for 15 minutes in an attempt to come up with a better solution, that there was absolutely no way around taking two specific antibiotics, neither of which are okay to take while nursing.

Ummm, I'm sorry. WHAT? I have some random, surprise infection, and I just have to STOP nursing? Just like that? Not over the course of a week or two...or even a few days? Just...immediately? Immediately stop nursing two toddlers, to whom I won't really even be able to explain what's happening or why? Immediately stop nursing two toddlers who depend on nursing to go to sleep? Immediately stop nursing two toddlers or forgo treatment and most likely land in the hospital and potentially need surgery? What the actual fuck?    

The only other option I had, then, was to pump and dump the milk for at least 10 days (and probably longer to make sure it was all out of my system) in order to keep my supply while I simultaneously weaned my children COLD TURKEY in the interim. At first I thought I could handle that, but as I waited the remainder of yesterday and overnight for the lab results (I wanted to be absolutely certain I did, indeed, have diverticulitis before beginning the antibiotics, even though she was almost positive of the diagnosis and urged me to start them as soon as possible), I really struggled with whether I was willing and prepared to do that. 

TGQ and KTA still nurse/d frequently--like way more than many toddlers their age. Only for the past couple of weeks have they gotten used to not nursing from after the time they fall asleep at night till about 4:30am. Other than that stretch, they're generally nursing every 1-2 hours still and for the entirety of their nap. So going from that to nothing is going to be extremely challenging. On ALL of us. Add to that me stealing away several times a day to pump? Because I sure as hell can't do it in front of them. And add to that the fact that I HATE PUMPING? Like SO MUCH. I hardly ever even pumped when they were younger so others could give them bottles (we were all on the same page, though--they hated bottles as much as I hated pumping). And then what happens when we start up again in a couple of weeks? What happens if they become even more obsessed than they are/were with it now/before? I seriously couldn't handle that. Or what if I go through all that pumping and dumping and they decide they're just done anyway? No thanks, Mama. We're good. DUDE. Dude. 

Do I want to wean my children right now, at 19 months, when I had every intention of nursing them for two years? NO. No, I do not. Do I want to wean them coldfuckingturkey? NO. I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT. But those labs came back this morning and they were NOT good. I had no option but to start some hardcore antibiotics immediately. And I just... I just don't think I have it in me to pump for the next couple of weeks. And that devastates me. Completely and wholly DEVASTATES me. 

I wanted weaning to be on OUR terms in OUR time. BUT, if I am being totally honest...a large part of me is feeling very, very done nursing two toddlers. Toddlers are generally extremely abusive of the boobie privilege, and mine are no different. Their nursing manners are atrocious. They are downright OBNOXIOUS about it sometimes. Our sessions often end these days with me abruptly announcing we're ALL DONE, swatting them away, and jumping up in exasperation. Seriously. But to never again have them snuggle in close to nurse in utter contentment, one tucked cosily under each arm, falling asleep peacefully that way when they're tired, the way they have for the overwhelming majority of their sleeps thus far in their tiny little lives? Am I ready to give that up today

No. I'm not. 

But I did.

I nursed my babies for the last time this morning.

Fuck diverticulitis. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Inaugural crazy-making week

Well, I had an idea to do a daily document of this week of firsts, but due to the very nature of said week, that didn't happen. I am forgiving myself, however, because my gods, people. This was a WEEK.

The special circumstances surrounding this past week? The Barbarian was decidedly missing. Far, far away. In Texas. All week. Or, well, close enough. Before we're up Tuesday morning till after we're in bed Friday night counts as all week in my book.  

Why, you might ask? Why would The Barbarian leave his tiny goblin and tiny toad and larger-than-average dear wife (I mean, let's call it what it is, right? And on that note, King Toad Agooga would actually be quite a large toad, wouldn't he? Hmmm...) for an entire week? There are very few legitimate reasons he would do this, and this was about the most legitimate of all.

Work. The Barbarian left us for work. And this, my friends, constitutes one of those major changes I mentioned the other day. The Barbarian now travels for work. A lot. Like, potentially every other week, he'll be gone for a significant amount of time. Some months he may be home one week, gone the next, home the next, and gone the following. That kind of a lot.

Deciding for him to take this new job took serious deliberation, as it came with an extensive list of pros and cons. We lost our ridiculously awesome benefits, including our health insurance (which was so fantastic, I can't even begin to describe--and for which we paid a small fraction of the premium), our stock options, our generous 401k plan, our employee discounts, and The Barbarian's company car. So our overhead has gone way, way up. Health insurance entirely out-of-pocket, a new car payment, along with maintenance, insurance, and registration costs for the vehicle, paying a larger percentage of our income into savings and retirement in order to keep on track, etc. AND the wee folk and I now find ourselves on our own, which, as you can imagine, is...huge. And scary. And overwhelming. And many, many other adjectives of that nature. And The Barbarian has to be far away from his babies, and that's just plain heartbreaking. I can't even fathom it. It's hard enough on my end having him gone, but to be the one far away and not get to hold them and cuddle them and kiss them and watch their silly antics? UGH.  

But on the other side, assuming all goes well, we will see a significant increase in income, and The Barbarian now works for a small, local, highly successful and well-respected company, who takes phenomenal care of their employees and promotes a work ethic that follows the ideal of working to live, not living to work. They work hard and they play hard. And that's freaking awesome. And he now has a REAL PEOPLE SCHEDULE. For over 10 years, he hasn't had a weekend off unless he's taken vacation for it, and THAT FUCKING SUCKS. We were the couple who could never make it to ANYTHING, and if we did, he had to go in early, leave early, and we were still always late (in addition to an odd day-of-the-week schedule, it was also an odd time-of-the-day schedule, shifted much later than most people's workday--which had its benefits when we were childless, for sure, but meant he was coming home not long before the wee folks' bedtime some nights, and that sucked). AND we couldn't even watch football together on Sundays. Like, seriously. What the shit is that? BULLSHIT. That's what that is. 

But the real deciding factor on the pro side for us is the fact that this position is fun, challenging, and rewarding for The Barbarian. His old job was basically static, with very little, if any, change, and absolutely zero chance for mobility. It was rote, it was boring, and it was infuriating (working with the public has that effect, no?). And his happiness at and with his work trumps all the benefits we lost and the fact that we now have a new reality, one that will take some serious getting used to, but will become easier as time goes on (PLEASE, GODS, SAY IT WILL). We can handle this. At least, I'm pretty sure we can. Many families do, right? And it's not like he's leaving for months at a time as some parents are forced to. Military families? You have my utmost and sincere respect. That I'm not sure I could handle. At all.

So my necessary mindset about it, then, is that now we'll have less actual time together as a family, but the time we do have together will be precious and, therefore, of more intense, better quality. Because one of the areas where The Barbarian and I are similar is in our lack of motivation to actually, you know, do stuff. We are serious homebodies and are seriously into just chilling. So basically, we're lazy. As I've mentioned. But we have kids now, and we don't necessarily want to model that (all the time). And going out and doing stuff as a family is freaking awesome and so much fun. And now we can take advantage of stuff like fairs and festivals and all that fun shit that happens on the weekend. We fully intend to, too.

So, with all that as background (I tend to give a lot of background in the telling of things--you either love it or you hate it), my point with this whole post is to let you all know that we did, in fact, survive our first big business trip. Perhaps not with flying colours, but in the appropriate number of pieces and with nearly all sanity intact.

But my gods, was it intense. As anyone who has spent an entire day caring for tiny humans knows, it takes A LOT to keep it together, and by the late afternoon, I am SERIOUSLY counting down the hours and eventually the minutes until The Barbarian walks through the door. Knowing the calvary is not coming to relieve you changes everything. It takes some major mental focus and power to push through the point at which you are normally ready to run as fast as humanly possible out the front door as your horde of wee folk assault your husband arriving through the back door, and hope no one notices and comes looking for you. And your reward for pushing through this point? The most challenging part of day--dinner and bedtime--to be performed solo. Solo, and seriously outnumbered. THEN, you get to wake up and do it all over again. Several times in a row.


Oh! AND we're currently in the throes of night-weaning! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!! I mean, that affords me extra props for handling this as well as I did, right? Because, man, you don't even want to know what our nights were like. Or at what time our days began. Let's just say none of it was ideal. In the SLIGHTEST. I'll leave the rest up to the imagination. (Hint: Imagine the worst...or at least, the really, really terrible--do it.)  

But by far the most gut-wrenching part of this week occurred the morning after The Barbarian's arrival, as The Goblin Queen, Daddy's Girl, worked through her very big, very deep feelings about having him gone for so long. She was SO torn over wanting him to hold her and clearly being extremely upset with him. There were lots and lots of tears (not just from her), and when she finally allowed him to cuddle her, she just melted into his shoulder and talked quietly to herself and to him for a few minutes as she tried to process it all. It was one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed in my life. It broke my heart. Very, very much so. I can't even imagine what it did to The Barbarian's.

So this is where we stand. It hit me the night of the second to last day that here I was steeling myself to just keep it together a little longer, to hang in there until the weekend, when he'd be home and we'd be back to our normal routine--yet we were just going to have to turn around and do it again. And again. And again. It really brought our new reality home, as you can imagine something all you want, but until you're in it, you really have no fucking clue.

But the only way to effectively handle it is to see it as a challenge, right? We've GOT this. Eventually, my husband will come home from a weeklong business trip and I'll be waiting in heels and pearls, perfectly coiffed, his slippers and drink in my hands, a smile on my face, the children quietly attending to puzzles in the corner, the expertly groomed dogs sitting statuesque beside the children, the smell of pot roast wafting from the oven...

You just wait.


As the post title may imply, I've been tweaking my FeedBurner feed. Turns out, the default settings are not entirely awesome. Go figure, eh?

The most helpful post about such things I stumbled upon spoke of "optimizing" one's FeedBurner feed. And when I think of optimizing, I think of Optimus Prime (as any tomboy from the 80's worth her weight would). And when I think of Optimus Prime, I think of phenomenal awesomeness. And when I think of phenomenal awesomeness, I think of myself. And when I think of myself, I think of my blog. So, see? It all makes perfect sense. 

Among other features, the main thing I wanted to tweak was in order to be completely and totally obnoxious--I'm now forcing all you dear, lovely subscribers to actually visit my blog in order to read my fantastic nonsense in its entirety. I know, I know. Told you it was obnoxious. But I like to be able to see how many people visit the site, as, for a SAHP, every hit feels almost like an actual interaction with another adult. Almost. Close enough.

So if nothing else gets posted today, this will at least serve as a way to ascertain whether I made all these changes successfully. Because, well, tech and I have a way of not really seeing eye to eye sometimes. Shocking, I know. 

See you all at the blog, then, suckas! 

(I hope...)   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I heart cooking

So much.

Like, seriously. SO. MUCH.

And it always totally bums me out when I hear that people don't like to cook. It's the same way I feel when people say they hate history. WAT. My mind just cannot comprehend. I just feel so sad for them. Because cooking and history are AWESOME. Trust me on this. Both counts.

Cooking in particular (because this post is about cooking, not history--much to your insane disappointment, I'm sure) is super freaking awesome mostly because it's so damn rewarding. And it can be such a fantastic creative outlet, especially once you're beyond the stage of needing to follow recipes for every meal. Once you learn what goes with what and which flavours complement each other, and how to turn the randomness in your fridge, freezer, and pantry into a scrumptious meal, the possibilities are endless--as is the boost in confidence and self-esteem with every contented sigh erupting around the dinner table. (Do sighs technically erupt? Hmmm.)

We all have to start somewhere, though, and I was more than halfway through my twenties before my cooking journey really began. I had had a penchant for baking since I was a young girl, and I could cook basic things pretty well and follow recipes just fine. But both my mom and my sister COOK. And bake, man. Those two are ridiculous in the kitchen. And I was not of that caliber for a long time. And honestly, I worked full-time and ate out very regularly. I think back to how much I ate out when I worked, and it's astonishing compared to how much we eat out now. But really, that's the thing with making more money, right? You make more, you spend more. You make less, you do with less. This is not, of course, to say that some don't actually make enough money to comfortably live on. This is the States. A LOT of people are currently, depressingly in that position. But for those of us existing in that shifty, multi-defined (but undeniably shrinking) realm that is the "middle class," it's truly phenomenal how much you can cut expenditures and still live comfortably, and ultimately, happily.

It took us a loooooong time before we felt we could handle the transition to one income, but we've been living quite well on one for a few years now. And a large part of that success is indeed the choices ("sacrifices," some might call them, but please--we're not talking foregoing entire meals so our children can eat, like more people than we like to think about are doing in this world) we've made in terms of our priorities. Do we enjoy letting other people cook and serve us our food? HELLS YES, WE DO. But is it worth me working and letting someone else raise our kids so we can do that regularly? Ummmm, no. No, it isn't. Not at all. But we're lucky. I get that. Not everyone can make it work, but I have to say that I know quite a few families our age who are making that work--in California, of all places. And that makes me very, very happy.

So, right. Cooking. If I was someone who professed to hate cooking, this would never work. Buying prepared and convenience foods is freaking expensive compared to the cost of buying basic ingredients and going from there. But luckily I found myself, in my mid-twenties, with the time and inclination to devote to learning to cook. I started with one food blog I stumbled across and really liked (and whose author was based not far from my home, in the capital of my home state, something that made my living-over-4700-miles-away-in-another-country self happy) and lots and lots of phone calls to my mama. But I slowly built my repertoire (and my herb and spice collection), and within a year, I was ALL ABOUT COOKING. And it really didn't take long before I was ready to ditch the recipes all the time and just do my own thing, my preferred method to this day. I get a bit nervous when people ask for my recipes, because I'm all, oh, ummmmm, sure... Are you okay with weird, approximate measurements and rambling directions...? No?

And while I do like and appreciate fancy, involved recipes and meals, I find myself marveling over the super simple, easy ones we rely on as staples week after week, and wondering that everyone doesn't cook like this most every night. I realize that when you've been doing it for a while, you make it look easy to someone intimidated just by the very idea of cooking from scratch. But I think the basics of cooking delicious, wholesome meals for yourself and your family is way easier than most people in that position imagine. In fact, I know it is.

The Barbarian and I were discussing this the other night after one of our weekly go-to meals--baked chicken with quinoa and some random veggie I'm not remembering at the moment (the days run together around these parts--hard to believe, I'm sure, but so very true). Yes, I realize to the uninitiated, that meal may sound supremely boring, but I assure you, it is scrumptious. AND SO EASY.

One of the easiest ways to prepare food, in my opinion, is to fancy it up a bit and throw it in the oven. We do this A LOT. It's especially great for meats/fish and hearty veggies. And the method is the same for both: Place in a baking dish, drizzle or toss with some oil or butter, sprinkle with some mixture of salt/pepper/seasonings, put it in the oven, set the timer, and walk away. (...bwahahahahahahahaaaa!! Makes it sound like I just waltz off and kick my feet up on the couch with a cocktail or some shit while dinner cooks. I kill me.)

But truly, that's it. Have a grain simmering away on the stove and call it done. Or dinner. You can call it what it is. Transparency in the kitchen is not a bad thing, per se.

So, specifics, for those interested. Because I am seriously on a mission to make this whole thing less scary, people. OKAY? (And if you're like me, you're hearing Sigourney Weaver's voice in your head... "Look, I have ONE job on this lousy ship, it's STUPID, but I'm gonna do it. OKAY?")

Also, yes, I'm a big, fat nerd.

But speaking of fats! Fats are important. Don't forget. They make everything tasty. We eat quite a bit of butter because we don't think saturated fat is the devil--and because it's RIDICULOUS in the yum factor department. I mean, am I wrong? But I do cook with oils a lot and my go-to is grapeseed. It has a fairly high smoke point and a mild taste that lends itself well to just about anything. Avocado is another favourite. It has an even higher smoke point and deliciously mild flavour. We use it as a topping in place of butter on things like quinoa, too. The wee folk love it like this. And of course I use olive oil as well, but really not as much as I used to. Mostly just when I want that specific flavour, so for salads and dipping bread and sautéing at low heat, etc.

Seasonings can be a place where one's eyes glaze over a bit and a cold sweat breaks out on said one's forehead. I get that. There are so. many. But what's key is to learn a few flavour combos and go from there, as they can be added to or tweaked for many other things. One of the very first combinations I tried and realized was a fantastic base for so many things is garlic salt and lemon pepper. Seriously, just topping something with those two is a win. The other go-to I use is herbs de Provence, as it's delicious on just about anything. Put those three together and you are well on your way to amazingness in the oven. Add a few other things, and magic begins to happen.

So, for chicken, atop my drizzled fat of choice, I am currently often doing:

-garlic salt (or just granulated garlic and salt, as I'm out of garlic salt and have a huge thing of granulated)
-lemon pepper (or, again, this Flower Pepper blend from TJ's because I am out of their lemon pepper, and their pepper blends are the best and should most definitely be explored)
-herbs de Provence
-a little extra parsley (because I. love. parsley.)
-dry mustard (I use this for a lot of meat and poultry dishes)
-and a splash of fresh lemon juice (fresh lemon and lime juice make everything better)

I bake it at 425 for half an hour or so, and voila.

For fish (salmon, tilapia, etc.), which I almost always use butter for:

-garlic salt
-lemon pepper
-red pepper flakes
-fresh lemon

I bake it at 500 for 8-10min, and finish it off out of the oven, covered in foil. So, so good. Oh, and for an easy homemade tartar sauce, I mix mayo with a spicy/flavourful mustard (The Barbarian is partial to Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale mustard), fresh lemon juice, parsley, and dill. I don't eat the stuff, but The Barbarian loves it and swears this version I randomly concocted one night is bomb. I wouldn't know, but there you have it.

For veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, etc.:

-garlic salt
-lemon pepper
-herbs de Provence

Bake at 400 for half an hour or so--you want the outer bits basically burnt, as that adds amazing flavour. Oh, and as an aside, this was the exact preparation used when The Goblin Queen gobbled up all that broccoli the other night. Now you know.

And like I mentioned, we eat grains or potatoes with just butter or avocado oil and some salt/pepper, or I'll sometimes dress them up beforehand. Couscous is delicious with some olive oil or butter, salt, toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins (add the oil/butter and salt in with the water to boil and the rest with the couscous). Pilafs are also easy and fabulous. For quinoa, I'll sauté/brown the dried quinoa with some shallots and garlic and maybe pine nuts (I love pine nuts...a lot...the best, maybe?) first, then add broth and cover and simmer like normal. Mmmmmm.

Also, I'm not gonna lie--we do frozen veggies like corn and peas regularly because why the hell not? They are not expensive (Trader Joe's seriously wins here), have most of their nutrient profile intact (I think frozen green beans actually have an increase in nutrients?), and they keep. Oh, AND. I normally cook them in the microwave. GASP. I know. Killing my family. Or something.

There, then, is a rather long, rambling explanation of why I love cooking and how you, too, can take part in this epic adventure happening in kitchens everywhere with minimal stress and work.

So please join us. We have cookies.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Pocoyo junkie

So I've mentioned before that I totally let my kids watch shows (I would say "TV," but we don't actually have TV, so I make the distinction--no commercials and intentional watching, not endless, passive intake), and I will not lie--it's pretty much a daily part of our routine. Do I like that that's the case, considering the recommendation for under-twos is NO TV at all? Not really. But it's perhaps the one place I allow myself a pass of sorts.

I'm picky about the way my children are raised. I'm picky about what they wear (natural fibers, mostly cotton), what they eat (actual, you know, food), where they sleep (with us), how they're treated (with respect), their toys (ideally open-ended), their main care-provider (me...this one's a bit of a double-edged sword, I won't deny...), their days (not super scheduled and regimented), their main form of comfort and supplemental nutrition at this point (the ever-popular boobie), etc. And for the most part, I feel we're coming out on top.

But I do really mean that I feel these choices. In my bones. Hovering at the fringes of my sleep-deprived brain. Stirring the pot of my often fragile emotions. SIGH.

Basically, raising babies is HARD WORK. (And yes, you are absolutely supposed to read that in a George Dubya drawl--seriously, can anyone see or hear those two words and not at this point?)

So, basically, I need a freaking godsdamn break during the day. And because I lie down with my kids for nap, meaning they sleep really, really well, but also meaning that I don't get that time to myself to, you know, DO stuff around the house, or write, or blog, or sit on the couch staring off into space while enjoying the silence--which really would actually consists of the dogs intermittently barking at NOTHING and the endless cars going by along our busy street (and seriously, in the absence of two tiny humans, THAT IS SILENCE, DAMMIT)--I actually need a break late in the day. I need to be able to deal with all the glamorousness that is the life of a SAHP without tiny hands constantly clutching at my pants, making it near impossible to walk without someone falling over. Without listening to sometimes constant-seeming crying and fussing, or stopping every 12 minutes to nurse, or allowing them to "help," or PATIENTLY removing them over and over again from wherever it is they're ALL UP IN MAH BIDNESS.

Dude. Seriously.

So I let them watch shows, and sometimes an actual movie. BUT. Remember that whole picky theme? Well, it totally comes into play here. We don't have TV because the vast majority of TV makes us twitch uncontrollably in horrified disbelief. This goes DOUBLY for children's TV. Now, I've been a connoisseur of children's TV and movies for many, many years, as that's sort of in the job description of a nanny. But my gods, people. There is such an enormous excess of jaw-droppingly obnoxious children's shows and movies out there these days, I am just...appalled. I have tried so many via Netflix or Amazon and literally just shut them down after a minute or two. Even if it's just on in the background, it needs to not make me want to scream or vomit or pull my hair out or any other supremely melodramatic and highly unlikely antic I could insert here.

Combine this with the fact that my freaking KIDS are picky as hell, and well, you have a recipe for a very selective library of acceptable shows. As in, like, three. And two movies. That's it. We started out with Backyardigans because I remembered them from years ago and the show is just adorably awesome. Catchy songs, singing, dancing, imaginative play, episodes that play homage to genres and characters/stories parents will totally get and appreciate (Star Trek, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Jules Verne, to name a few of my favourites). I LOVE BACKYARDIGANS. Then came Pocoyo. Simple, cute animation, a little boy and his few friends (primarily a duck a an elephant), short clips, relevant themes, the main character is kind of a shit sometimes... Realistic and adorable. Then came Pingu. And I admittedly was not especially keen on Pingu to begin with, but a friend suggested we try it again and it quickly became a family favourite. Claymation penguins with zero intelligible dialogue, a quaint, Antarctic, small-town setting, family themes like a new baby, stressed out mama, and kids who act out (main character is also kind of a shit...hmmm...). Basically, it's fantastic and highly entertaining and I love it. (The movies that have gotten tiny thumbs up are Cars and Shrek, by the way, but they are viewed much more infrequently and were only added to the library recently--and Shrek is still sort of hit or miss).

So these were the shows in our rotation until nearly two weeks ago, when lots of things started falling apart. The Barbarian, who has a new job as of a few weeks ago, after 10 years at his old job, will now be traveling for work regularly (I can only imagine this will be fodder for many post to come--stay tuned). Fortunately, they started us out easy with just an overnighter the Monday before last, but it seemed to have a ginormous effect on The Goblin Queen.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned, but she is a daddy's girl, through and through. First thing she does upon waking in the morning is glance over at him, smile, and say, "Dada!" First thing upon waking from nap is to ask for Dada. For a while there, while I was changing her diaper, an activity she especially despises, she would sob, "Dada!" if she could handle the travesty if only Dada was performing the necessary duty. He would get home from work, the dogs normally alerting us to his presence as they race to and whine at the back door, and she would RUN to the door, no matter in what she had previously been engaged.

But seemingly about the time of that first overnighter, things changed. She no longer ran to the door upon his arrival or asked for him upon waking. She eventually stopped demanding he rock her to sleep, her usual nighttime request. And in addition to these Dada-centered changes, she began to be OBSESSED with Pocoyo. She would ask for it upon waking in the morning (they almost never get shows in the morning, nor do they normally ask for them). She would ask for it upon waking from nap, and as she almost always wakes before King Toad Agooga, she would become beyond upset when I wouldn't get up and put it on right away, eventually crying and nearly hyperventilating (and risking waking KTA up) in her continued request.

In addition to this, she outright REFUSED to watch either of her other beloved shows all of a sudden. She would just emphatically shake her head when I asked, and when I put another one on in the hopes she would eventually acquiesce once it started, she would fuss and cry and ask for Pocoyo. The behaviour has even begun rubbing off on KTA and he now prefers only Pocoyo. What the hell?

Part of it, I think, has to do with the fact that the start of this new obsession occurred around the time she became able to ask for the show by name. And for a toddler newly on the awesome adventure that is learning to talk, being able to use the correct words to ask for what you want--and be understood--is HUGE. I can't even fathom how gratifying it must be after months and months of trying to get your point across with mixed results, and often in vain. So I get that this is most likely influencing her preference for this show. That makes perfect sense.

But around the same time, something else started happening in relation to the show. I couldn't pinpoint what it was exactly she was reacting to for a while, but I finally realized that her occasional freakouts during the show were in response to one of the characters, Elly, the big, pink elephant. Now, again, this is a show she's watched for months and months, and has always loved and never gotten upset about. But all of a sudden, whenever Elly came on the screen, she would shriek and often run or look to me for reassurance. Sometimes she would run into the kitchen and only watch by peering around the shelves by the doorway to the main room where the TV is located. At the very least, she would make it known that she was NOT okay with Elly's appearance on-screen, and I was able to confirm that it was Elly that made her upset by asking her once I made the connection.

Being that the show is completely benign and something she's been okay with for a long time, I have zero clue what's actually upsetting her about Elly, but it's clear that whatever it is is a pretty big deal for her. Yet she demands to watch the show at every chance. She is clearly working through something that is making this dichotomy apparent, and I wish I had some insight into what it might be.

But I don't. And so because this show has become such an obsession and elicits such intense and often negative behaviour and reaction in her, we are taking an indefinite break from Pocoyo. I'm really not sure what else to do. But she seems okay with it. I've just been telling her that Pocoyo is all gone and we can't watch it anymore. It's been a few days and she still asks for it, but doesn't do the near-hysterical plea she was performing daily, and I think that's making all of us feel better. They're actually not really asking for shows much at all post-nap now, and I think that's a good thing.

So, in conclusion, toddlers are complex and fascinating creatures--in case you were unaware. They are learning and processing information at an enormous rate, and that affects them in ways we can't even begin to anticipate or imagine. But we are their most important allies on this epic journey to adulthood, and I think respectful and loving limit-setting is one of the most effective and supportive things we can do for them.

It's a delicate balance most of the time, but a worthy endeavour.

And endeavour, we shall.

Sunday morning me time

Well, here I am again.

I sat in this same cafe last Sunday morning, at the urging of The Barbarian, to get in some much-needed me time, while he wrangled and spent some much-needed daddy time with the wee folk. And it was here last Sunday that I firmly decided--and even took the next step of announcing--that I was breaking up with Facebook. The announcement was met with a range of reactions, from admiration to understanding to sadness and even a bit of distress. But here I sit, having officially deactivated my account on Friday, and while I am still adjusting and do miss the ease of checking up on those dear to me, I am very, very happy with my decision.

One day perhaps I'll go into detail about why I left, as that's the first thing everyone has wanted to know. The reasons are many and varied and quite personal in some respects, though, and while I am a pretty open person, I'm not ready to shed light on all of that at the moment. But there definitely seems to be a trend within some circles of taking longer and longer breaks from actively using Facebook, and several friends recently have made the decision to stop using it altogether. And with every new disengagement from the host, I was impressed--and envious. Taking that step felt really, really right for me at this point in my life, and as I can tend to be fickle about decision-making, it seemed important to listen to that.

What I am ready to do is to write. Writing has always been a constant in my life, for as long as I can remember. I thoroughly enjoy it, I find it immensely satisfying, and I have received perhaps the most strikingly generous compliments ever in my life about my writing. And at this point, I need something in my life that isn't connected to my roles as a wife and mama and keeper of the home. I desire something to engage in that satisfies needs other than caring and providing for others. Because those are absolute needs of mine. I am a nurturer by nature. When I did work, I was a professional nurturer in many respects. It's a major part of my being and self-identity. And I like that. A lot.

But my extremely wise sister-in-law said something the other day that I know intuitively to be true, and it really hit home for me as I find myself in a position of wondering something about my life at present--what else? What else do I need? What else do I want? What else do I want to engage in that isn't wrangling adorable barnacles all day? What is something that defines and satisfies me outside of the purview of my home and family? For what she said--and she apologized a bit beforehand, as she described a choice I've made--is that women who focus solely on raising their children and being keepers of the home often find themselves at a loss once that portion of their life is over. They sometimes can't let go of mothering their children once they're beyond a point where active and intruding mothering is appropriate or welcomed. They don't know what else to do with themselves, as their entire identity has been wrapped up in facilitating the growth and maturation of their children. And it can be an extremely difficult transition for some and even pave the way for unhealthy and non-beneficial behaviours, feelings, and habits. Clearly reaching a stage where your children are grown and don't need you as much is a difficult time for every mother. But there is definitely an added element for those who have lost themselves a bit in the journey.

And what else do I have but writing? My career, which I won't be returning to, was childcare. And while many have assumed that I would be interested in opening an in-home daycare, I have zero desire for that. Zero. I put a lot of myself into helping to raise other's wee folk, and now that I have my own, I just don't have the energy to offer additional children (or the desire to do so even if I did, for that matter). Childcare is just not something I can half-ass, and my own children take a lot out of me. It's worth it, of course. But the way we parent is intense. INTENSE.

I also never finished my degree or sought out the career of teaching that I always imagined I would undertake. And I honestly also have zero desire to go back to school. My thoughts and feelings on school in general, and college/university in particular, is a post for another time perhaps. Suffice it to say, I just don't fit the mould. And jumping through the bureaucratic hoops just for the sake of a piece of paper and often misplaced pretense of prestige is just not on my agenda at this point.

But writing? I like writing. All kinds of writing. I could write every day. (That's a modified childhood quote of The Barbarian's, by the way. The original concerned fish, if you're curious.) And not only do I want to blog as a way to fulfill that activity and outlet of choice, I'm stoked to start working on my other writing projects again as well. I have always been a writer of stories, most unfinished in notebooks that have been, sadly, lost over the years (I'm bad at keeping stuff--I take purging to the extreme). And apparently I was a wildly entertaining teller of bizarre stories as a child as well, at least according to my cousins. Many have lamented over the fact none of those were ever written down. I'm not sure where my thoughts on the matter stand, however, remembering the overall theme. I was a weird kid. But I currently have two ideas/projects I'm working on here and there. I have grand plans, of course, but we shall see. The idea is the easy part, after all.

So. The Barbarian is insisting that I plan to take a couple hours to myself a few times a week going forward to get out of the house and do whatever it is I would like to do. He's pretty damn awesome that way. And I think what I'd like to do is write. I'm liking these Sunday morning me sessions, and the prospect of adding even more every week is downright exciting.

So there you have it. Things are changing for us in lots of ways right now (more on that soon), and we're embarking on what feels like the next stage of our life as a family. It'll look a lot different than it has since the wee folk arrived, but I think the changes will benefit us all in the end and bring about new growth and further connection and ultimately, hopefully, lots of happiness.

Because seriously--how are you gonna go wrong with happiness?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Another vote for broccoli

Oh, man. All these awesome mama moments in one week? How is one to handle such things?

And really, I shouldn't say "mama" moments at all because they really have little to do with me. They're about my children growing and blossoming and becoming their own awesome little selves, and I just happen to be noticing. There's some pride in there, too, however. Full disclosure.

Tonight's bit of awesomeness? The Goblin Queen ate roasted broccoli. Not only has she never wanted to join our enthusiastic clan of roasted broccoli-eaters, she's never cared for the stuff no matter its preparation. Neither of them have. But I really do believe it's important to just keep offering them foods, regardless of whether they eat them, as it often takes dozens of attempts before they finally decide they will deign to allow the offending food to pass their lips--and possibly, if no one's watching, like it.

So tonight, as I prepared their little divided plates (which, incidentally, I love for many reasons, but really do think contribute to the classic childhood aversion of food touching--we consequently only have a pair of them), I stuck a small floret of broccoli in each of the very American-sized (read: TINY) vegetable sections and assumed they wouldn't be touched. Or, in the case of King Toad Agooga, tossed disdainfully on the floor, as he deems the fitting fate for all things he finds on his plate that fall in the category of "Oh, HELL, no."

BUT. As we ALL know--you make an ASS out of (YO)U and ME when you assume things, and this night, I did, in fact, make an ass out of myself, and I suppose my children...? Hmmm. Not sure that adage always works entirely properly. No matter. I love it all the same.

This is excepting, of course, in the case of KTA, who did, dutifully, toss said broccoli on the floor in disgust. But the goblin! The goblin ate the broccoli. Both The Barbarian and I spied her pick up the first piece (for whatever reason, even though they were small, I thought cutting them a bit might prove more beneficial to success--mama intuition, people) and glancing at each other, we held our breath while she put it in her mouth and proceeded to make the most adorable "I'm not sure I like this at all, or even whether it's really food, but for some reason, I can't stop eating it and think I might, in fact, actually like it" face. Trust me. The face said ALL those things in quick succession, The Barbarian and I stealing glances at each other and attempting not to burst out laughing. And then? THEN she reached for another! And another! And finally had a few more pieces from my plate. What in the world is actually going on around here?

So there you have it. My child ate roasted broccoli and I couldn't be happier.

It's the little things, right?

(But seriously, crossing to this side of the "I Heart Broccoli" fan club is NOT little. This is where the cool people reside, after all. THIS IS HUGE.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


So, apparently there are some issues with the subscribe via email function on the blog, and as I'm breaking up with Facebook and want people to be able to follow me here, this is problematic. Some have managed to make it work, but I'm not able to see all of you from my end, so I'm a tad...confused.

This post is for you subscribers, then. If an email alerting you to this post shows up, please comment here and let me know! I've also disabled the word verification feature for commenting for now, as I know people have had issues with that in the past--however, because of that, I've chosen to moderate comments, so don't be alarmed to see that. 

We'll figure this out, dammit. 

I swear it shall be done!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I had a moment today

I totally did. One of those moments as a mama when your heart swells a bit in your chest as you watch your child do something compassionate and thoughtful and helpful for another person, a look of wonder and pride on your face. It was exquisite. 

We don't, as you might imagine, get out that much. There are, of course, several factors at play as to why that is, the obvious one being that our children arrived in a two-pack. Seriously, just getting us all ready and out the door and safely buckled into the car feels like an accomplishment. I'm sometimes ready to just head right back inside for a snack and a nap after that. I swear I haven't actually done that, though. Yet.

Another reason I don't take them out with me all that often is because we are blessed to have family close by. In fact, both sets of grandparents and the majority of the aunts and uncles reside within a 30-mile radius, and the outliers are only double that. Several days a week, we have family come over to help wrangle toddlers while I attempt to get something--anything--done. And yes, often a shower is on that list. Or IS that list, depending on the day. So, honestly, when help is so forthcoming, and my choice then becomes to run errands with them while we're on our own, or without them while on my own... I mean, right?

And the other facet of this is really, really simple: I AM LAZY. I am. I so totally am. Which is hilarious actually, especially in this context, because I used to do this for a living. I used to help run households, all with at least a couple, if not a few, children, and getting them all ready and out of the house and to various engagements and back home again, on schedule and with all details seen to comprised my workday. Every single day. And more than a few times over the past year and a half, I have considered that our lives could be so very different if, say, I worked full-time and we all had to get up and out the door every morning on a schedule... And then I immediately realize that I'm pretty sure THAT WOULD NEVER WORK. Like my mind cannot even comprehend that reality for us at this point. And so how lucky are we that that doesn't have to be our reality? SO. LUCKY. And...what the hell happened to me? Nevermind. Let's not go there. 

BUT. My children do still need to get out of the house, and ideally, that's done with help, because, well, because twins. And eventually we'll look into preschool because even though we plan to homeschool, preschool is AWESOME and I think they would LOVE it. The new toys and activities and songs and stories and fellow wee folk and adoring teachers... And I think I would LOVE it. For all those reasons, of course. And also maybe because FREE TIME TO MYSELF. Because, apparently, that's like a thing in some parenting circles. I intend to investigate. Fully. Soon.

So until then, my children--because we don't really have friends with similar aged children we see on a regular basis--really only interact with other children here and there, usually on the playground. But this means it doesn't happen all that frequently (remember that whole LAZY bit?), which makes what happened today that much more awesome. Granted, they have each other, so they have a leg up on dealing with other fellow tiny humans, but the question is always whether that translates over to dealing with strange fellow tiny humans. Not strange as in strange, of course, just strange as in, not of this family. Strangers. Assuming they're anything like us, though, perhaps just a different brand of strange. I mean, we're all mad here, right?

Anyway. So what actually happened today while we were out with Grandma Lemur at the indoor playground at the mall? Well, I'll tell you. I was following King Toad Agooga around the playground when a little boy dropped his granola bar near our feet as we passed. I, in fact, didn't even notice until I saw KTA bend down to pick it up, and assuming he was about to eat it himself, I was just opening my mouth to stop him when he immediately and without hesitation handed it to the little boy who had dropped it.

My 18-month-old, an age when many are in the throes of "mine!" (according to the updates I receive from that ubiquitous love it/hate it source of baby and parenting info), a child who has not had the opportunity to interact with children he doesn't intimately know on a regular basis, didn't even stop to think about it. It was reactionary and intuitive. AND IT MADE MY LIFE. 

Oh, my sweet, sweet boy. I love you right up to the moon.

AND BACK.      

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yep, I still suck at this

So we have this new setup around these parts, wherein the iMac has been moved from the office (which is now simply the guest room) to the kitchen, to make it more of a "family" computer, as The Barbarian has insisted upon. I was hesitant at first, partly because I was convinced he actually liked it in the office so he had an excuse to go hide and do whatever it is barbarians do on computers. But apparently that was extremely unfair of me because we ALL love the new arrangement. He can now do whatever it is barbarians do on the computer while still hanging out with us, it's now easier to control the music we listen to and shows we watch via the Apple TV, we now have music in the kitchen (my life has clearly been lacking, it's true), and, it just dawned on me today, that this will probably make it easier to write and blog. The Barbarian. He wins, I tell you.

When I had a chance the other day, I popped on to look at the sad, sorry state of my blog and couldn't help but notice the two separate attempts I've made since the 3rd of November to actually explain and atone for my lack of blogging since then. And those two drafts don't even begin to cover the countless other posts I've started in my head over the past few months. Sigh. It's been a long winter. So instead of trying to sum up all of my justifications (read: EXCUSES) for not blogging since November, I'll just insert the first of those drafts, dated the 23rd of November, and we'll go from there:


Remember that whole thing wherein I was going to post to my blog every single day during the month of November? Well, I haven't done that.


Maybe. Maybe not. But really, I haven't. Not since the 3rd. And seeing as today is the 23rd, that's a whole lotta days that I neglected to do that. Basically the entire month. So maybe I should have just vowed NOT to post the entire month of November. That would have been way more realistic. Must remember that for next time.

At first I was a wee bit embarrassed. Just a tad. It takes a lot to really embarrass me, and this didn't completely qualify as something that might cause full out embarrassment, but it did bum me out. I actually really wanted to post to my blog every day for a month--or longer. I had grand visions for the topics I would cover and the inaneness I would offer the internets all month. But, alas.

The basic fact is that I am tired. I am exhausted. I am so ridonculously weary, I have essentially just been going to bed early with the beebs every night since that last post. And seeing as the hour or two I can steal after they're asleep for the night (which makes it sound like they sleep all night...HAH!) is the only real time I have to write, I completely forfeit that opportunity if I just crash out with them. And please believe me when I say that I truly want that time to myself, especially to write. So then also please believe that I am THAT tired that getting back up out of bed for even an hour just does not in any reality that exists sound like something I can physically undertake. That is, until tonight. Not sure what the winning formula was, but I'll take it.

And yes, the sheer exhaustion of raising twins at this stage works like that. Some days I surprise myself with my level of energy and optimism and the tasks I'm able to check off my never-ending to-do list. Other days I feel especially accomplished if I actually cook meals for my children instead of just sprinkling some variety of cheese, crackers, and fruit on their little table at regular intervals. And many days I find myself just sitting on the couch, nursing. Nursing, nursing, nursing. All the livelong day. Which is easier than working on the railroad, but no less tedious. I think. Having never worked on an actual railroad. Brio ones, yes. But that's a different world entirely. I think.

Anyway. Seriously. The nursing. From the mamas I've been in contact with who still nurse generally on demand at this stage (and in the grand scheme of things, there aren't many of us), this is completely normal. And I believe it."

So there you have it. Clearly the "winning formula" that night wasn't all that winning after all, and clearly things are a bit different around here now...but really, not that different. I am still going to bed with the beebs the vast majority of nights, and I am still mostly too exhausted to get back up once they're asleep. We are still nursing A LOT during the day (and night), and I have decidedly mixed feelings about that.

But there is one major change, and that's that I am ready for a change. They're 18 months old now (HOLYFUCKINGCRAP) and aren't really babies anymore. Clearly the choices we've made in parenting are what's led to the current situation, and all in all, we're completely happy with those choices. We're happy because we have happy, healthy toddlers whose needs are always met and who are respected as their own people at their own, specific level of development. And it shows. They are beloved of all, if I do say so myself.

However, there have been sacrifices for that, and most of those have come, naturally, from my corner. My time, my sleep, my energy, my body, my relationship with The Barbarian. And as the old adage goes, if mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy. Or something like that.

So change is coming. We're (finally...again...) on the road to night-weaning, and will work on encouraging them to sleep on their own for nap as well. Losing out on the possibility of a couple of hours to myself every day is definitely wearing. I literally have zero time to myself, and that...well, that situation is not. tenable. anymore. I'm absolutely petrified as to how this will all go down, but it needs to happen. Of that, I'm sure.

And I am quitting the Book of Faces. It's true. Many are, understandably, saddened by this. My little family is not NOT awesome and popular, and our friends and family want to be in the loop. We totally get that. So I am making a commitment to blog regularly and find other ways to share details and updates and pics of us with those we love. We'll make it happen. I promise. But Facebook is just something I need to cut from my life right now, for me. I will miss many aspects of it, especially being able to easily connect with our loved ones, but I am confident we can make up for it in other ways.

So there you have it. The first of (hopefully) many regular posts to come. Please consider subscribing to the blog so you can receive updates regarding new posts. I really think it'll be the best way to keep in touch for the time being.

To what's next, then, eh? I'm sure it'll be pretty kickass, regardless of the form it takes.

I mean, this is us, right?

How could it not?

(Yes, it's true--on occasion I am a tad full of myself. Full disclosure, and all.)