Saturday, July 30, 2011


When was the last time you put on your bathing suit and ran through the sprinkler in your back yard?

During this last week, with heat indexes soaring between 100-110s, that is exactly what we did.

All of us: Bug, Monkey, Hubster, and, yes, even me. We all dressed in our swim suits, and than ran, squealing and laughing through the icy cold sprays of the sprinkler. We didn't care what the neighbors thought. We didn't care how old we were supposed to be.

Afterward, we laid on our beach towels on the deck and dried off, our feet covered in dried grass clippings, laughing and eating popsicles.

This is how I remember summer as a child.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Guinea Pig Child

Dear Bug,

As much as I would like to deny it, when you were born, your dad and I had absolutely no idea what we were doing.

We understood the basics. We knew how to change a diaper, rewarm a bottle, sanitize a pacifier, swaddle you. I had several lullabies memorized. We knew how to take care of you. But as far as actually raising you, we had no idea.

And as much as I would like to deny it now, we still don't.

I once read that parenting is a job done by those least qualified to do it. I disagree. I don't think our inexperience makes us unqualified to be your parents. After all, we came into this job with pretty valuable assets. We had patience (most of the time), a (seemingly) endless capacity for sleep deprivation, and love. Because, wow, we love you. We loved you then when we were inexperienced parents with a newborn. We loved you when we were inexperienced parents with a toddler. We loved you when we were inexperienced parents with the terrible twos and threes. And we love you now that we are the inexperienced parents of a 9 year old.

I'll admit it. Sometimes, all the love in the world doesn't make the fact that we still have no idea what we are doing any easier. Every first for you is a first for us too.

We've learned how to navigate childhood and parenthood right along with you. I wish I could say that you weren't the guinea pig child, but you are. You were the one that I tried different methods of sleep training. You were the one that I realized I had failed nearly all of them, as I woke up when you were four years old to realize that you still didn't sleep through the night, and you still slept in our bed most nights. You were the one that I tried many different forms of discipline. You were the one that make me realize that I wasn't comfortable with spanking, that reasoning doesn't work with a two year old (no matter how well they speak), and time out doesn't always work.

You were the one that took all my lofty ideas I had read in books, shredded them, and made me pay attention to you. Just you. You are the one that make me realize that this parenting thing is not a one size fits all type of suit.

Please continue to be patient with us. Because as we deal with self-consciousness over glasses, struggles with friends at school, and media exposure, we have to figure this out as we go. If it feels like we don't have all the answers, it's because we don't. We are still trying to find the right way to deal with things, the right way to help and guide you through these years.

I think you are doing just fine. Despite us.


Monday, July 25, 2011

What We've Been Up To

Summer is fully upon us.

Even as work continually threatens to eat my schedule alive, we try to fill each day with delight, fun, and memories.

There have been bike rides.

There has been camping (and being rained on while camping.)

There have been s'mores to be made and eaten.

There have been nanny interviews.

There has been evening walks through the neighborhood.

There has been basketball to be played.

There has been so much, and I feel like I've been able to capture so little.

So pretty much, it's business as usually here at my house.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flashback Fridays: Slipping Away

In many ways, I feel like this is my last real summer. After this, Hubster starts dental school. We will have even more schedules to juggle. Life will continue to become more complicated. I've been trying to take advantage of every moment, but the beautiful, hot, humid days just keep slipping away.

So, as part of Karen's Flashback Friday, I am reposting my favorite post about summer. I still feel this way, each and every day, as autumn approaches...

Confession Wednesday Button

The days until the start of school tick down. The evening comes sooner and dusk is shorter. Sun no longer pours through my bedroom window at 6 am. There are yellow leaves in the backyard, just a few, hiding away between the crowd of green, but they are there, just the same.

I can feel it.

The end of summer.

The days are still warm. The mosquitoes are still plentiful. The corn is still tall and rippling in the endless fields as we drive to the lake.

But it is still there.

The end of summer.

Summer ending makes me sad in a way nothing else really does. It is not the heartbreak of losing someone dear. It is not the twinge of sadness I get when I watch Finding Neverland. It is not the nearly crushing sadness that overcomes me when I'm sorting through boxes and find a picture of Bug or Monkey when they were just weeks, months old and I wonder where the time has gone and what did I do with it and how, why did I waste a second of it.

Summer ending is a diluted emotion compared to many of these. But real regardless. I feel some of the same ache that I wasted any of the sun laden days. That I will soon say good-bye to the hum of the evening insects, the rustle of the leaves, the glow of the fireflies, and the soft hush and ripple of the corn.

The season, that like so much of my life, I take for granted until it is gone.

I love fall with all the dynamics fall offers, everyday different. I can't help but smile when the first layer of quiet silver snow finally obscures the starkness of empty branches and bare ground. And I enjoy the energy and growth that each spring gives.

But summer...summer is my dearest friend.

Relaxed. Mellow. Good for me. Reassuring me that if I don't get to it today, it's okay, because it will still be there tomorrow. Tomorrow will still be warm, sunny, and happy.

But gradually, daily, I can feel it slipping away. My mind immediately jumps to fall, winter, spring. And now, even now, with the thick humid air still around me, I'm already looking forward to next summer.

Originally posted August 3, 2009

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Daycare Dilemma

Our Childcare Crisis.
The Nanny Nightmare.
The Babysitting...I don't have anymore alliterations.

For the last two years, Hubster has stayed home with our boys. It has been absolutely wonderful. They had spent more of their lives up to that point in daycare after daycare. So to have them be able to be home, with someone who loved them, was a dream come true. Not to mention how much money we were saving.

With Hubster starting dental school next month, our current arrangement was obviously not going to work. Our original plan was to have the boys in the before-and-after school program at their elementary school. We signed up on the waiting list over a year ago, and then did just that...waited.

As spring came around, and we still had not heard if the boys were in the program, we started getting antsy. There were meetings, phone calls, and e-mails, in which we were always given the same reassurance. We were 8th on the waiting list. Last year, there had been 20 children on the waiting list, and they had all gotten in. They were confident we would get in.

You know where this is going, right?

We got an e-mail the first week of June saying the boys had a spot in the before school program, but not the after school program. So now, with just 2 1/2 months before Hubster starts dental school, we had no childcare plans.

We instantly started calling every single daycare in the area. Since Hubster and I would have to be at work/class in the afternoon, we needed a daycare that would be able to pick the boys up after school. After calling nearly 20 daycares, we were still empty-handed. There were plenty of daycares that had spots for both boys, but not a single one that would pick them up after school. Apparently, our sons' elementary school is just too far out of the way.

I contacted the local university for the list of occasional childcare providers, which are university students who are able to babysit after their classes. I sent out a dozen e-mails and got a dozen negative responses.

At this point, pure panic set in.

That's when I decided to do something we had never done before. I placed an ad in the university job website for a nanny.

The response has been amazing.

And this is where I need your help!

I've never hired a nanny before. I know what I want from one. I want them to be nice, and clean, and reliable, and friendly, and to play with my kids, and help them with their homework. But what do I ask? Are there questions that I should be sure to ask, and questions that I shouldn't ask? If you've ever hired a nanny before, what things did you wish you had known? What things should I look for? How should I organize the interview? I've already reviewed their resumes, and call all their references (all of which gave glowing reviews of each individual.)

And here is the other thing. Currently, we have four people lined up for interviews. Hubster thinks this is too many. It means that we will have to tell three people no. I have several more e-mails from people that would like to interview. Do I just tell them no, that we have enough candidates? Or do I just keep interviewing, with the fear that the one person I end up not interviewing would have been "the one?" This is worse that dating, I tell you!

I'm nervous, but I'm excited. I think this will end up being the best thing for our family. It will be a single individual watching our boys. They will get to be home, instead of at an unfamiliar setting. It will end up being more expensive, but since we're using Hubster's student loans to pay for it, what's an extra $10,000 of student loans at this point?

Our first nanny interview is this Thursday. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Flashback Friday: Speeding Up

All summer, Karen, at A Peek at Karen's World, is using Friday as a day to share some older posts. I love this idea, since I have posts that I wrote before I had a single follower, and since this summer is crazy busy I barely have time to write. Seriously, I always think I'm so busy there is no time for anything, and then I get even busier. I'm not sure how my life is even being held together, since it feels like it defies all laws of physics and the space-time continuum. But speaking of time, here is a Flashback Friday from a post that I just loved, and still feel this way, even all these years later.

Confession Wednesday Button

I'm not sure exactly when I noticed it.

I think it was late in my senior year of high school.

Before then, life, despite its ups, downs, highlights, and disappointments, had moved in a normal pace. School. Home. Summer. Winter. The rhythm was the same.

But now, I was on the brink of the rest of my life. All the major events of my life were about to start taking place. The ones your parents start planning for the day you are born. I was going to graduate high school. I was going to move into my own apartment. I was going to start college. I had met the man I was going to marry.

I was 17.

And at that point, time sped up. No just figuratively. I could actually feel time moving faster. And was still accelerating past me.

I recently read that as we age, one year becomes statistically shorter. When you are 2 years old, one year is one half of your life. When you are 50, one year is 1/50 of your life.

I wasn't aware of the math then, but never the less, I could feel it.

I still feel it every day.

I blinked, and college was over. I went to sleep, and medical school was over. I turned around, and my children are taller.

Some days still trudge by, measured out by pager beeps and sibling squabbles.

But most days, I feel things slipping past me, sand between my fingers.

And there are days I hate time for stealing my children's youth when my back is turned. They were infants, then toddlers, and now children. And my heart aches to think they will be teenagers, adults, and leave.

The strangest part of all of this is that I feel stationary, stuck in the same place as when this began. I feel 17 while the times of my life speed past me.

Originally posted January 2, 2009

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kitchen Window

Happiness is...

The view from my kitchen window.

Not that watching my boys playing tag makes me like doing dishes any more, but it sure improves my mood while I do them.

Visit Leigh vs Laundry for 52 Weeks of Happiness and post a photo of something that makes you happy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth

Our Fourth of July has been filled with all the things the holiday should have.

Parade routes lined with camping chairs that are continuously inched back into the shade.


Homemade caramel swirl ice cream with peach cobbler.

These two characters.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Happy Independence Day!