Thursday, July 29, 2010


My worst fears have come true.  Well, not my worst fears, because, as you can imagine, those involve unspeakable horrors about outliving my family or dying young or any number of other disturbing thoughts that cause me to simultaneously mutter prayers and shake my head vigorously as if trying to knock the bad thoughts loose.  I’m a chronic worrier, worst-case-scenario-imaginer, and, as Tony likes to point out to me on a regular basis, extrapolator to the nth degree.  Meaning, whatever has been going on recently is clearly how it’s always going to be forever and ever amen unless something drastic happens right this instant, DUH.


Like last night.  Now, I don’t know what’s wrong with our “master” bathroom sink.  “Master” must always be in quotations when referring to this bathroom, because it is clearly not the “master” of anything.  Not bathrooms, not rooms, and certainly not bathroom fixtures.  I won’t even use the shower stall because I can’t get it clean. The tile grout is rotting and the stall inset has that kind of texture that gathers nastiness under your feet and makes me think of tiny creatures that will burrow under my toenails and cause them to turn green and fall off as they eat my flesh from the inside.  So Tony showers there, because he is a boy, and he doesn’t care.  I have come to accept this.


Anyhow, the sink.  Is always clogged.  And my parents must’ve fixed it somehow when they took care of Charles while we were in Mexico because for awhile after that, it ran smoothly.  And it was so awesome!  I mean, how disgusting is a sink that drains so slowly that there is a ring of toothpaste-spit around the bowl when the water’s finally gone?  Or little hairs from Tony’s shaving? *shudder*  So, I’ve been asking Tony for a couple of weeks now to take the P-trap off and see if he can clean out the damn thing, and the only thing I can imagine is that he hates the sight of sink clogs as much as I do but won’t admit it.  You know, I have had my hands in someone else’s bodily mess every single day since Charles was born and I don’t squirm, I don’t even wrinkly my nose.  The other day, the daycare accidentally sent home some other kid’s poopy pants with Charles and I just dumped it all in the laundry and then washed my hands.  No big whoop.  But drain clogs?  Oh, barf in my mouth.  So yeah, I asked Tony to clean the drain.  And he hasn’t.  For weeks.  So I don’t think I’m so out of line with this extrapolating nonsense.  After all, we own enough baseboard to put it throughout our entire house, but for 2.5 years it has gathered dust in our garage.  Clearly, the sink will be clogged forever.


I guess it’s time for me to turn over a new leaf, right?  Buck up, learn how to do this shit myself?  I don’t know.  Tony’s busy and puts the money in the bank so that food makes it to the table, so I want you to know, this isn’t a complaint about him.  It’s a complaint about me.  I had this professor in grad school who told me (before I had kids, of course) that people who have kids just need to lower their expectations.  You can’t have a clean house with children, you can’t have all the sleep you want, you can’t have the social life you did before, you can’t be the same career-minded person you would have been otherwise.  Lower your expectations.  Well, this has always seemed both ridiculous and frustrating to me, because I have high expectations for myself, always have, and I don’t think I should be forced to compromise.  But also, I know I have to.  The sink in the bathroom off of my bedroom might forever be clogged, so I’ll just move my toothbrush and facewash down the hall.  We might not have baseboard until we sell the house and move into a retirement home because there’s just no time.  The floors are unclean, the counters not fit to eat off of (even though we do anyway – we’re building up our immune systems around here to get ready for Zombie Apocalypse), and dammit, we should be thankful we at least have clean clothing.  I am frustrated because I know it is true.  I need to lower my expectations.  I can’t have or do everything.  And neither can Tony.


This week, Charles reached a milestone and confirmed my worst fears about us and children (see how I came full circle there?).  Out of the past five nights, he has slept through three of them.  And now he sleeps, in his crib, until 7 am everyday.  And my expectation of myself as a person who has a sleeping child (God, we’ve only waited 21 months for this!) is that I would continue to get up a bit before 6am, get to the gym or go on a run or do a workout video, shower, and then be ready to make breakfast just about the time Charles woke up.  But the reality of the situation?  The reality is that I sleep until 7, too.  And so does Tony.  After so many, many months of getting up at 4 with Charles to bring him into our bed just so we could coax another hour-and-a-half of sleep out of him and get up for good by 5:30am, I am reveling in the extra sleep.


I had recently begun saying to people that we should probably have another child before Charles starts sleeping through the night with regularity because we might get used to the sleep and not want to go back.  And after a few days, I am totally LOVING the extra sleep.  I might be fat because I can’t work out in the morning, I might not eat a healthy breakfast and I might go to work with wet hair, but I am getting sleep.  Blessed sleep.  So I guess I have to lower my expectations of myself to accommodate a fat slob who sleeps in everyday, has a clogged sink, dirty floors, and no baseboard.  And I don’t think I want to give it up, maybe not ever.  Maybe not for another baby, unless I can be guaranteed that the next one will sleep better.  I’d like to say that after the past twenty-one months of little sleep, we deserve a sleeper with the next child, if we ever have one.  But I don’t deserve it.  I get mad at my husband because he’s just as tired as I am and also probably hates drain clogs and I don’t clean often enough and I detest dusting and the groomer said I need to spend more time brushing Buster to keep his mats to a minimum.  I need to be a better wife, mother, and person before I can expect any favors from God.


I guess I’ll try to be happy with an extra bit of sleep for the moment and then buck up, get up early, and try to change things.  The cleaning never ends, but if I sacrifice some of this new sleep, I should be able to get a handle on it.  Maybe I’ll even overcome my drain clog revulsion.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my family, and it’s time I step up and take care of things.  After all, there’s only me to do this stuff, and even if I don’t deserve it, my family deserves to live better.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bits ‘n’ Pieces

Like father, like son, they say:

Charles May-June 2010 149

And yes, this is a different photo, a different occasion, than the one I posted a couple weeks back. They do this all the time. It’s like they’re related or something.

Also, I’d like to note that they’re usually the ones sleeping in around here. And I’m not.


I’m back on the 30-Day Shred, and I’ve been running lots. Trying to fill the blank spaces inside of me with something other than chocolate, and also to get a bit thinner before I go on a cruise to the Caribbean with some girlfriends in September. I’ve already become the girl-who-didn’t-lose-the-pregnancy-weight, so I guess now I’m just trying to look respectable in a bikini. If that’s even possible. Also, a few more workouts opens up my daily calorie count to allow a few more pieces of chocolate and glasses of wine. So yes, technically, I am working out so I can drink more, both now and on the cruise. But I don’t particularly think it’s problem-level drinking, just paranoid-about-weight-gain level drinking. Sigh… you all know what they say about rationalizations…

I haven’t ever done the 30-Day Shred all the way through, though I have attempted it twice. The first time, I made it to within a few days, and then Tony and I got food poisoning, then Tony got appendicitis, then he got an infection in his incision, and then we cancelled our anniversary because he was fighting gangrene (or something) from our bed. Otherwise known as the Worst September Ever. Let’s hope something changes to make our 5-year anniversary a nice one this year. Though at this point it looks as though we will be bunking with my cousin for a weekend and Tony will be running the Kirkland Triathlon, which means he’ll probably sleep right through the anniversary part.

The second time I attempted it was tax season, and I just plain lost motivation. After all, in the winter I can wear sweaters to hide the rolls.


Our yard now looks like this:

Charles May-June 2010 150

On Saturday, Tony moved 2 tons of sod from the backyard to the truck (and neighbor’s trailer) and then from the truck (and trailer) to the recycling facility. I helped a little bit, but he did most of the work. I am, frankly, amazed. Then, on Sunday, he and my brother put in two trenches for drainage. Another one will go in sometime this week and then we have to coordinate having dirt brought in, leveling said dirt, and rolling new sod. But! The light at the end of the tunnel is almost visible.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Personal Drinking Fountain


Hmm.  Water park, you say?  Can I drink from these things?


Holy crap, people, did you see that!?!  The water just COMES OUT OF THE GROUND!


Daddy, did you see?  Can you do something about this?



I’m just not sure this is right.  In my experience, drinking fountains look much different, but if you say so…


I tried drinking and it splashed my face!!!  Daddeeee!


The relative safety of daddy’s hand is nice.


Hm.  Now what?


This really isn’t as neat as you all think it is.  And I’m cold.



Ah, better. 



Oh, hi mommy.



Look!  A camera!

*I am genuinely sorry I didn’t capture Charles drinking from the water shooting up from his feet.  Priceless, I tell you, priceless.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Heading Home, Whistlin' a Tune

After a fantastic weekend at the beach (other than the stuffy noses with which we wake up after being assaulted by new allergens), we are about to head home. Here are some highlights:

-Charles stayed up VERY late to watch the Ilwaco fireworks from the Ankeny St (a boat) in the harbor, and the display was awesome. He learned to say "Oooh" and "Aaah" like a pro. We also confirmed that we have to completely wear him out if we want him to sleep the night through, so that has become our mission after naptime everyday.
-Charles rode the Merry-Go-Round in Long Beach after Grampa Joe bought him his first baseball cap (which says something about fishing, natch).
-We took the dogs to the beach - always one of my favorite things about this trip.
-Our friends Jarrod and Carole passed along a rocking tiger that Charles adores. My mom worries that he's almost big enough to tip it over.

We're heading home today, through the mad I-5 post-holiday traffic, and it occured to me and Tony that it has been awhile since we've done an installment for theme songs. And the newest category is this: Whistling Songs. You know, songs that contain whistling.

  • Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon
  • Centerfold by J Geils Band
  • Home by the Magnetic Zeros

... and countless others! Now you go!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dirt Pits, Bad Weather, Scraped Knees, Parties, Strawberries, Espanol

It’s a bit hypocritical to complain that no one writes blogs anymore when I rarely write myself.  So!  I’ll start, you follow.  I’m dying to know what’s going on in your lives.


May-June 009

Come here, you lovely face, you… let me squeeze your cheeks.


Life has been stressful lately.  Charles is ever the horrible sleeper, usually waking a few times per night and struggling to go to bed in the first place.  He is much more difficult about it when he is ill (we have both had colds for a couple weeks now), and this takes its toll on our daily existence.  I constantly feel like I am doing 100 things at once.  I work my butt off at Goodwinds, then I rush home to prep dinner and clean the house in that “is this clean enough so that we won’t all die of diseases or slip on something gross?” sort of way, then pick up Charles and spend the next several hours trying to exhaust him, feed him, love him.  Finally, after he is down-ish for the night, we have been working on our yard. 


The yard, which used to look like this:


May-June 023


now looks like a dirt pit.  Tony rented a machine last weekend to dig trenches and pull out all the sod (which only grows nice-ish, patchy grass in May and June and is dead the rest of the year because most of our yard is hard-packed clay), and now we’re kinda stuck.  Tony is stressed about work and now the yard is in a horrible state not fit for humans or dogs, and we’re just not sure what to do next.  This is the problem with not being professionals at a certain job, not being able to afford professionals, and not having the time to do much research on how to complete said job in a professional manner.  So, we chip it off bit by bit, and it drives us crazy.  Our next goal is to get all the dirt off of the sod that is in three man-height piles, get rid of the sod, spread the dirt around, and then get more dirt.  But we might need to put in drainage first, who knows?


May-June 047

before the sod removal


I miss having a yard to play in with my boys, even though this project should eventually yield a better yard, one that is level and grows grass well.  For now, we are stuck with the ever-gloomy dirt pit. 


The stress has reached a tipping point a few times in the past several weeks.  Most memorably, during a furious bout of cleaning/baking/meal prep, I managed to cut my left index finger open on an immersion blender (I know, I know) while I was frantically cleaning it so I would have enough time to bake a cake for my friend’s birthday before picking up Charles from daycare.  So, an hour in the ER and the most expensive bottle of superglue I’ll ever buy, and I’m almost good-as-new.  Sigh.




I’ve been feeling a bit like there’s a hole in my life lately.  Maybe it’s all this GO! GO! GO! without every getting anywhere.  Maybe it’s the fact that Tony is so busy with 10 hour workdays (yeah, it’s not tax-season hours, but it still sucks), Habitat board meetings, and triathlon training – and he’ll be even busier in the fall once he starts his master’s in taxation program – that I feel a bit lonely and kinda like I am not accomplishing much while he is out conquering the world.  Maybe it’s the residual 10 lbs that I can’t seem to lose, no matter how often I work out or how well I eat.  Maybe it’s the second babies my friends are having and “when are you going to have another?” question I hear all the time that are making me a bit crazy.  Maybe it’s just never feeling like there’s enough money or enough time to do the things I want.  Whatever it is, most days are feeling a bit, I dunno, not enough


What I really want is to be able to slow down a bit and enjoy summer.  Like this:


May-June 035


And the Pacific Northwest hasn’t really been accommodating to that dream lately.  Though with the yard the way it is, there is nowhere to put lawn furniture anyhow, so my fantasy barbeques while Charles and Buster tool around the lawn and Tony and I enjoy burgers and corn-on-the-cob whilst occasionally lobbing morsels to our overactive toddler to sustain him remain fantasies.  Maybe by late August, huh?




There have been some moments of light in the past few months.  I had a birthday, turned 29 for the first time, and had a great weekend involving a trip to Seattle, a long visit from Stephanie, the arrival of a new employee who is helping us take Goodwinds to the top, and a barbeque (indoors due to bad weather) with family and friends.  Charles enjoyed the dogs of Seattle, and they enjoyed him:


May-June 005

mmmm… toddler face.

We had some sunny days and I bought a water table (doubles as a dog dish):


May-June 028


And!  It’s strawberry season!  One of my favorites, and the family has been indulging in strawberries for a few weeks now.  The local strawberries are so sweet, it’s almost criminal.


May-June 038

whipped cream, strawberries’ best friend


Charles got his first scraped knee a week or so ago.  We’re so proud, son.


May-June 041


Stephanie came for another weekend and we took Charles to Seattle to be there for Maggi as she finished the Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon (wow.), went to Karaoke (I might have a video of that… we’ll see how it turned out), went bowling, and had lots of food and fun.  I sure love that girl. 


Charles LOVED bowling.  I wish I had brought the camera.  I have photos on my phone, but I’m not sure how to get them off of my phone.  Any ideas?  I have an LG Shine.  Anyhow, we put the lane bumpers up and they had this rack thing for Charles to use for his cute six-pound ball (which he carried himself!).  So fun!


Finally, as if you needed proof that Charles is his father’s son, observe their sleep styles:


May-June 043


Charles is now in the 2-3-year-old room at daycare because he is “advanced”, which basically means he has a lot of energy and needs more stimulation.  His vocabulary has exploded, in both English and Spanish (two days per week are Spanish only at daycare), though he doesn’t so much speak as just clearly understand and repeat words when forced.  Jugo!  Like, “duh mom, jugo, of course, now give me the darn juice!”  He gets so much stimulation in the morning, in fact, that he now takes 3-hour naps at daycare, from which the teachers have to wake him, even after all the other children are awake and playing and eating snack.  This has presented problems at bedtime, because by 8 pm, he’s only been up for 5 hours, and he’s not tired.  So yesterday I made Charles walk all the way to the park about 1/2 mile away and all the way back in addition to 30 minutes of play at the park after dinner.  He went right to sleep and slept the whole night through, praise God, hallelujah.


Well, that’s all for now.  I’ll try to write more often, as I do find it cathartic.  Also, you grandparents (“bampas and mamas” to Charles) need photos, don’t you.  I thought so.