Thursday, September 27, 2012


I think that little boys need their own fort/club house/hiding place/retreat.  Whatever you want to call it, a little space of their own is almost necessary.  Hubster and I have often thought about building a tree house, but there isn't a good place to do so on our property. 

Bug often uses his top bunk as his get-away place.  When he's stressed, or tired, or just needing to escape the burdens of big brotherhood, he climbs up the ladder with a book or a game or his binoculars. 

Monkey also needed a space of his own.  Granted, many times he was worried about getting scolded, or there were chores to be done, he would hide inside the storage ottoman in the living room.  But at the rate he's been growing, that spot definitely has a shelf life.

So, for Monkey's sixth birthday, I made him a tent. 

I found a pattern for a teepee (on Pinterest of course).  I wanted it to have almost a safari feel, so instead of using colorful or patterned fabric, I used canvas painting drop cloth.  It also seems like it might be a little sturdier of a fabric - and study is what counts when Monkey is involved.

The project only took me one afternoon to make (although it did put my sewing machine to the test - attempting to sew through five or six layers of canvas at once is apparently asking a little too much.)

On Monkey's birthday, I set the tent up in his room while he was at school.  When he came home, he ran upstairs, and then immediately came back down.  He stood on the stairs and looked at me. 

"There's something in my room."

"I know!  It's for you!"

At that, his face lit up, he ran back up stairs, grabbed several blankets, an arm load of stuffed animals, and crawled right in.

He's pretty much never left since.

He reads in his tent.  He plays games in his tent.  In the month since he's had his tent, he has slept in his bed once.  You'd think that sleeping on the floor would get old, but when you are six, apparently things like mattresses just aren't really that big of deal.

Even on nights when he falls asleep on the couch and we tuck him in his bed, by morning, he has found his way into his tent. 

Bug is only allowed in by invitation. 

Finally, Monkey has a spot of his very own.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Sitting down to dinner with my family, I suddenly had an epiphany.  It hit me so out of the blue that I stopped eating and put down my fork.  I stared at Hubster.

He looked at my somewhat suspiciously.  I must have had the same look that I get when I tell him we should go on a last minute trip to the city or I would like to start repainting the house.  "What?"

"Oh my gosh.  I know what's wrong with me!"

For several weeks, I just haven't felt like myself.  Yeah, yeah, I know that I'm now 31 weeks pregnant.  having your feet swell up, loosing the ability to pick things off the ground, and needing to sleep with three pillows under the mattress to combat the heartburn can have a way of making a person not feel like themselves.  But that isn't what I mean.

I've been much more tired that usual, more tired that I can simply explain away with baby growing. I've been whiny, short tempered, easily distracted, having a hard time sleeping.  I haven't felt like myself.  But I was only semi-aware of it and hadn't given it much thought, other than to think that the change of seasons might not be agreeing with me.

 "What do you mean: what's wrong with you?"  Hubster is waiting for a medical diagnosis, like the time I was convinced I had a brain tumor in medical school.

"I'm stressed!"  I piped, almost cheerful that I have arrived at an explanation for my poor behavior.

Hubster puts down his fork and stares at me.  "I know.  Seriously?  You didn't think about this before?"  He laughs at me and keeps eating his tortellini.

Lately, I may have bitten off more that I can chew.

First off, I decided that the best thing I could do would be to get all my hospital calls done for Duck arrives at the end of November.  Granted, I can't get them all done, since I still have a month of ICU, a set of nights, and an OB shift that has to be done in the spring.  But other than that, I was determined to get as much call as I could out of the way.  Easier to take call pregnant than with a new baby at home, was my thinking.  I aggressively traded with my fellow residents, front loading my schedule as much as I could.

The end result: I have worked 8 out of the last 9 weekends, and am still scheduled to work 5 out of the next 6.  And while I still think that taking my call pre-baby is a good thing, I think I failed to recognize how hard it would be.  I've been physically and mentally run down, and not having weekends to recoup from difficult work weeks.

I've also taken on a lot of baby related projects: painting the nursery, making a quilt, sorting through boxes of 6 year old baby supplies, finding a home for everything that used to reside in the now nursery.  Granted, no one is forcing me to hand paint trees on the nursery wall.  No one is forcing me to cut dozens of green, blue, and orange quilt squares.  Hubster thought the plain blue walls would be fine.  My mother said it would be perfectly acceptable to forgo the handmade baby quilt this time around.  But I would have none of it.  To not finish would be to admit defeat, and that will not happen.

I've also be reorganizing almost the entire house.  Maybe it's nesting, maybe it's just neurosis.  But I feel like I can't walk by a closet without yanking the door open and starting to sort through everything.  My bedroom is now full of boxes needing to go to Goodwill.

And let's not mention the fact the Hubster and I have started to remodel the basement.  Since our office/guest room is now a nursery, we need somewhere for all our books and somewhere for the occasional guest to stay.  So naturally, we turned to the unfinished basement.  We have drawn plans, called for plumbing and electrical quotes, bought piles of lumber (with the intention of doing it ourselves Hubster doing the work), and filed for a building permit.

I'm half way through my permanent licensing paperwork.

I'm attempting to study for my licensing boards.

I'm still trying to keep on top of the laundry/meal preparation/housework/personal hygiene.

So I guess I've been a little busy.

I just honestly didn't realize until a few days ago that I was stressed about being so busy.

I have great plans that this next month I'm going to take some time for myself, get a massage, get a pedicure, get my wayward hair cut.

Right after I finish packing a hospital bag, buying the remainder of baby essentials, and repainting the master bedroom.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My boys are constantly teaching me lessons.  Lessons that no book or website can offer.  Lessons such as the fence in the backyard will never be tall enough, there are always ways around a bedroom door lock, and there is no such thing as "child proof" or "food every child will like."

They have also taught me how to make things better.  Pancakes are always better with mini chocolate chips in them.  Afternoons are better with a snack. 

Backyard games are better if all the players wear funny ears.

Saturdays are better with mustaches.

Sleeping is better inside a tent.

Every day is better with story time.  Every bedtime is better if preceded by a piggy back ride.  Every drink is better if it has a straw.  Chores are better with music. 

Days are better together.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I feel like I'm spending most of my free thoughts perseverating over summer being gone and now it will snow.

But then I remind myself that there will be a couple months of autumn between now and then, and that there are still many things to make me happy.

Some of my favorite things lately have been found in my kitchen.

Honeycrisp apples.

 I am convinced that there is no better apple on earth.  They are crisp, sweet, with just enough tang to make them interesting. Not to mention they are beautiful, with their yellow speckled, red blushed skin. During the fall, we get our Honeycrisp apples from a local orchard.  After the local crop is gone, I continue to buy them from the grocery store, clear until their price shoots up in February and I have to go back to settling for Gala apples.  You should definitely check out your local orchard/store to see if you can also start enjoying the absolutely perfection of this apple.

And what better to go with apples than my apple slicer? 

Hubster got this for me last year, and I love it. It makes baking things like apple pie, apple crisp, and apple turnovers so much easier.  Or just slicing apples for snacks. Monkey loves slicing his own apples with this (and then eating the long peel that comes off.)

 Another absolute favorite thing is this vintage kitchen scale that Hubster bought for me.

I saw this in an antique store over a year ago, and kept kicking myself for not buying it.  It's not that I have an overwhelming practical need for a kitchen scale.  It's just that I loved the look and the color and the idea of having one. When Hubster's mother visited last month, they were antique shopping together and came across the same scale, still sitting a little room of our favorite antique store. So Hubster bought it for me.  Because even though he doesn't understand why I would want a rusty old scale that may never serve a practical purpose, he loves me that much.

Now the scale holds a pot of ivy and keeps the Mason jars by my sink company.

  And it makes me happy every time I see it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Project 52...It's Been A While Edition

Initially, Project 52 was supposed to be a weekly thing.  Each week, those who participated would update their progress on their yearly goals.  Right from the get-go, I knew that once a week wasn't going to be feasible for me. I can't remember which day of the week is library day or garbage day. There is no way I would be able to consistently do a weekly post.  So I thought I would do monthly posts.  That seemed infrequent enough I wouldn't be overwhelmed, but often enough I wouldn't completely forget and end up adding Project 52 to my list of unfinished endeavors. 

Well, you know what they say about good intentions.

My Project 52 updates have become more like seasonal updates.  But that doesn't mean I'm not getting things done. 

For example...

1. Find one drawer/closet/cupboard to clean out each month:  I just cleaned out the junk drawer in the kitchen.  I have cleaned and organized the master bath cupboard and the main food cupboard in the kitchen. I also completely emptied the closet in the previously-guest-room/office-now-nursery.  Tomorrow, I'm going to get a start on my closet (and maybe Hubster's closet.).  I know I should technically be at nine cupboards/drawers organized, but I think I'm doing pretty well.

10. Visit three new places. This year, I have gone to Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I've also gone to a couple towns/places/restaurants/stores nearby that I had never been to.  So I think I'm done with this one.

11. Get serious about finding a job, meaning I actually have to submit my CV or talk to an actual person. I have some news about this I"ll share later...

17. Send a handwritten letter to 5 friends. I bought some cute stationery and have sent 2 letters so far.

25. Go to a drive in movie theater.  We did this.  It was awesome.

33. Visit two museums. We visited the Mississippi River Museum and a model train museum.  The boys are still upset that we have not go to the art museum in Chicago.

44. Have family visit. My sister stayed with us for a month this summer.  Hubster's mother and sister visited for a week last month.  For living over 2000 miles away from any family, I think we did pretty good.

45. Invite friends over for dinner.  We did this twice this summer.  I want to do more.  But I'm tired of having to pretend that my house is normally clean.

46. Let go of the clothes that don't fit.  Well, nothing fits right now. But I am getting rid of things that I do think I'll wear again.

49. Sew something.  I am sewing a baby quilt.  I may never finish...

Slowly, slowly, I'm chipping away at this list.  Maybe, by the time it snows, I'll have finished everything.  Although, by the time it snows, I'm also hoping to have had a baby.  So maybe not...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Boys of Summer

Dear Boys,

While of course you are always my boys, I like to think of you as my summer boys.  Summer is where, no matter my work schedule, we seem to have plenty of time to spend together.  There is no school to distract our attention away from just being a mother and her boys.  Our adventures are  never ending.  Both of your birthdays are in the summer.  Summer is truly our season. Now that it's over, now the school and orchestra and homework and bedtime schedules are back to demanding all the attention, I can't help feel a little sense of loss. 

I know there will be next summer.  But next summer, there will be three of you, instead of just two.  Next summer, you will both be older.  Next summer, I'll be older.  This was the very last summer of its kind, the one where, Bug, you turned 10, and Monkey, you turned 6.  The last summer where there were just the perfect number for every small boy to have a piggy back ride.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm so excited for the changes that are happening with our family.  This is new and exciting and happy.  I just wanted to make sure you know that, even before this, you two were enough, enough to make my heart overflow with love, enough to occupy my every thought.

I've watched the two of you develop a new, closer bond.  This may partially by due to the fact that Monkey has stopped chewing on all of Bug's toys and can understand the rules of board games.  I also think that the thought of a new little boy in the house has united you with the attitude of "it's us against that." 

You have taken to sleeping together, usually in Bug's top bunk.  At first I was worried that this would bother Bug, having Monkey always being the clingy little brother, asking to sleep with his big brother.  But you, Bug, reassured me that it didn't.  In fact, it was completely the opposite of bothering you. Your response...

"You know how sometimes, you wake up in the middle of the night, and it's all dark and you can't see anything?  Well, sometimes it's nice to know someone's there with you."

Granted, the sleeping in the same bed has delayed the actual sleeping, as I hear you two giggling well past when you were tucked in.

Most non-school mornings, you both wake up and play games together in your room.  Your game of choice?  Chess. 

One morning, about a month after we had told the boys we were expecting another baby, I was up early getting ready for work, when I overheard talking coming from the top bunk. I listened from behind the partially opened bedroom door to overhear Bug talking to Monkey about the new baby. 

"So, Mom's tummy is going to get really big.  I remember that.  And she won't be able to play as much.  But that's okay.  When the baby gets bigger, we'll be able to feel the baby kick, while it's still inside her tummy.  And when the baby gets here, it will cry a lot.  That's what you did.  But that's okay. That's just what babies do.  They cry, and eat, and sleep, and then cry some more.  But it will be a lot of fun."

Listening to this little pep talk from big brother to little brother melted my heart.

How can I not wish to pause time and soak up more of these sun-bleached blonde headed, tanned, little ones?  You two are every blue sky, humid afternoon, and firefly specked twilight rolled into the form of childhood.  You are truly my boys of summer.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


...of the way done!

At 28+ weeks along, I am official full into the third trimester.

And how are things going, you might ask.

 Well, the nursery is half painted.  All the quilt squares for the baby quilt are cut, but not a single thing has been sewn.  The nursery is still filled with office/guest bedroom furniture.  We think we've decided on a name.  My heart burn is worse than ever, despite medication.  I'm getting the start of what promises to be some fabulous low extremity swelling.  This little boy is already strong enough to keep me awake at night with his kickboxing routine.  I'm sporting some wicked lordosis and a belly large enough that people don't hesitate to ask me when I'm due.  (Even though they expect me to say next week, instead of Thanksgiving.)

I don't even want to think how big this belly is going to be in 12 more weeks!

And despite all that, I'm finding that I'm enjoying this pregnancy more than I did the first two (please, do not mistake this for wanting to do this again.)  Somehow, realizing that this is the last time allows for more perspective.  I'm attached to my baby bump, instead of being resentful of the changes.  I already have the stretch marks, so there is no new crying over the few new ones.  Don't get me wrong, it will be wonderful to be able to lie down without overwhelming nausea or the remains of my dinner refluxing back into my mouth.  But I have an appreciation and a patience that only now do I realize was lacking last time.

Give me another 4 weeks, and in inability to get my wedding ring off my swollen hands, and I'm sure I'll take all of this back.