Friday, March 16, 2012

Unblogged events/photos of 2011

You know those photos you take thinking "ooooooh, this is totally going on my blog!", or that thing that happened and you thought "I'm going to write this down tonight so i never forget it!"

My photo gallery and draft folders are full of such unfortunate moments and pictures--things that live in the land of Someday I'll Get To That....a land whose population is being multiplied and replenished daily in obscene increments by one creature--me!

Today I plan to rescue at least a few memories from that wasteland.

1) Reid travels around the world.  And a broken dishwasher

After James was born, we had 6+ glorious weeks of paternity leave.  We enjoyed every single minute of those six weeks.  Reid helped so much--i had the fastest recovery I've ever had.  Our dishwasher stopped working, but with Reid around--who needed a dishwasher?  I didn't worry too much about replacing it. Instead, we traveled to see family, we played at the zoo, the parks, the museums, and I wondered how in the world was I ever going to survive when he went back to working 9-hour days??!?!   The answer was simple--I wasn't.  So, rather than allowing us to ease back into things, Reid's (former) employer decided to send him all over the globe and leave me here to die. (okay, it was really just this hemisphere, but please allow me the theatrics--it felt quite dramatic at the time)

Reid spent his first week back at work (the day we got back to Colorado after a 3 week road trip) in the Tropical Rain forest of Ecuador.  He was there working on a big-law case, representing a big oil company for a big law suit.  Although he doesn't miss much about big firm life, he admits that this trip was a highlight of his time there.  Chances are high that he'll never again take a case that sends him to the Amazon.

The view from his "5 star" hotel in the-Middle-of-Nowhere, Ecuador. This town reminded him of the impoverished towns he served in as a missionary, and of how fortunate we are to have running water and air conditioning!  

Here's my Tarzan himself

So green and lush!  And check out those monkeys!!
Reid not only went to Ecuador right after paternity leave ended, he also spent 4 days in Boston, and took three separate trips to NYC.

Reid at his first Red Sox game.  His biggest regret when we left Boston was that we never  went to a game.   So he righted that wrong on this recruiting trip out there.

So why didn't I post my complaints about all of this when it was going on?  What did I do to stay sane?  how did I survive without a husband OR a dishwasher?  Well, that leads me to #2  

2) Karen comes out for 10 glorious days
I have no photos to prove it.  I have no evidence left of all the cleaning/organizing/dishwashing she did.  In fact, I was in such a haze, i'm not entirely sure that it was anything more than a wonderful in which my little sister-in-law flies out here to rescue my kids from a sleep deprived husbandless zombie who calls herself their mother.   She cleans my whole house, hand-washes all of our dishes for 10 straight days, organizes my cupboards, declutters my clutter areas, entertains my kids, stays up late watching shows that Reid would never watch with me--it must have been a dream 'cause it sounds too good to be true!  I can't believe I don't have any photos of her time out here!!!  It was so wonderful having her here, i'm not entirely sure how I let her leave!  And the only photo I took was of this GINORMOUS Hobo spider that Karen had the misfortune of finding in my basement.   I freaked out, Karen hyperventilated (literally) and none of us went back down there for weeks.  I would've gotten a better picture, but we were so insanely terrified of his massiveness that we vacuumed him up, dumped him in the garbage, TRIPLE bagged the garbage bag, threw him in the big garbage can and then put heavy items on the lid...just in case.

And lucky for us, she's coming back here in just a couple months!  My list of projects for her to do for with me is already growing :)

3) Teeth--lost and found
Grace lost her first 4 teeth in 2011.  One came out at a restaurant, moments after I said, "Grace, that tooth is gonna fall out any day now!"  We searched the filthy floor, all the plates of food, and finally found it resting on her collar!
When she came down the stairs the first morning after the Tooth Fairy visited, she was clearly very disappointed.  When I asked her how much $$ she got she said, "only $2!"  I spouted off something about how that was 8 times what I received as a little girl and some nonsense about inflation.  She then informed me that her friend Lilly got $20 from the Tooth Fairy!!  No wonder she was disappointed!  So was I!!

Although her 4 bottom teeth are now all but grown in, I want to post these pictures of her first toothless smiles, which I love so stinkin' much.

And on November 3rd, I found the cause of James's recent fussiness--his first two teeth!  (I remember the date because i called my sister that evening to wish her a happy birthday.  She informed me James's new teeth were surely a sign of his love for her.  And now i'll never forget the day he got them! :)

Just guess how he felt about me taking photos of his newest arrivals:)  I do love this picture...

4) Grace's 1st and 2nd seasons of soccer, Spring and Fall 2011
Grace is a very good little athlete.  She's fast, she's coordinated, she doesn't tire easily....which is why i'm investigating a potential mix-up at the hospital.  Well, I guess Reid actually brings lots of that to the table.  But i thought that my genes held enough anti-athleticism to cancel out any that his have.  I was wrong.  That girl has got skills!  It was no surprise that she caught right up with the other girls on her team who had been playing for a few seasons.

Her sisters went to nearly every game

This was the game where she learned how challenging it can be to run with a full bladder .  I was insensitive enough to take a photo of her agony.  I was also 8 months pregnant and didn't feel too sorry for her highly elastic and youthful bladder.
Her coach was awesome.  He'd bust out these fake teeth at the end of the season and make all the girls laugh and laugh.  We couldn't have asked for a better coach!
Grace is a really good soccer player, but sadly, she has no interest in playing any more.  She's currently in what she's adamantly insisting will be her last season of soccer.  It's too bad, because she is so good at it.  But Reid and I don't feel like we should insist she play.  And who knows, maybe she'll change her mind someday...though when I talk to moms with kids in "real" soccer leagues, I secretly rejoice in her decision :)

5) Crusade of the Unpaid Maid
It's no small secret that I hate cleaning my house.  I guess that most people actually hate cleaning their house, but the joy they feel over having a clean house impels them to push through that hatred.  Or, alternatively, the malaise they feel at having a messy house motivates them to do something about it.  I, unfortunately, have neither of those issues.  I neither love a clean house nor do I really mind a messy one.  Well, at least not as much as I wish I did.

Reid, however, loves a clean house.  And I love a happy Reid.  (I can't help but love a cranky Reid, too, but I prefer a happy Reid, who prefers a clean house).  So, i did what all nut-jobs like me would do--i made a project out of cleaning by creating a little friendly competition.  I did a little research, found a few websites run by people who clean their houses enough that they have blogs dedicated to it, and designed a "daily cleaning schedule".  The competition would last 6 weeks.  I assigned points to each task, came up with many names for our little competition, and enlisted as many of my friends as I could.  We each put $10 into the pot, and whoever won got the $$ for carpet cleaning!  It was a brilliant idea!  Fail proof!  Fool proof!  I was going to create a website, sell advertising space, go public and make millions!! Not to mention have a clean house!!

Alas, it was not nearly as successful as I'd imagined.  At least not for me.  My house was spotless for 6 entire days.  Baseboards, window sills, blinds, junk areas--spotless!  But my children did not fare so well. It turns out that cleaning like a mad-woman turned me into a mad-woman.  Literally.  I was always angry.  And if they even so much as looked at my sliding door I'd yell at them to "get away from the cleanliness!"   We didn't read any books, play any games (how could we? that would just make a mess!) and we certainly did NOT get out the playdough, the crayons, or really anything FUN!!  I couldn't handle it!  I couldn't figure out how to be a mom and have a clean house.  My hat is off to all of you amazing women who do this on a regular basis!

The extreme cleaning made me crazy.  And so i stopped.  And so did 12 of the 15 fellow crusaders who joined.  But the 3 who didn't?  Well, maybe they can leave a comment about how it was awesome and life changing and the best 6 weeks of their lives!  But I doubt they will.

Anyway, on the off-chance that one of my dear blog friends wants to know exactly what the competition looked like, i've attempted to imbed it here.  And if you're wondering what those oh-so-clever names were, well, here are just a few...
Sparkling Quarters for Sparkling Quarters
Immaculate Habitat for Humanity and Sanity 
Order in the Roost
Dirtless Dwellings
Spotless Abodes a la mode
Spic and Span for your Man
Lean, Mean Squeaky-Clean Machines
Crusade of the Unpaid Maid

and here's our point-tracking system...for the 0% of you interested in this...

6) Eliza's 3rd Birthday
It seems wrong to include an event as significant as my 3rd child turning 3 in this long list of random events of 2011.  But the poor girl turned three at a fairly crazy time. (Reid travelling all over the world, my sanity barely hangin' on, school just starting, etc)  We felt very pleased that a cake was made, candles were blown out, gifts were given,  and she was as happy as a clam.  Bless her heart for being so least in this one way :)

Eliza didn't necessarily want a train cake, or request a train cake.  But, when I found the mold buried in my cupboards, I excitedly asked her if she'd like a "pink and purple train cake?!?!"  She so kindly obliged :)
Here she is, thinking hard about what her wish is going to be.  It was probably something about how she'd like to have a real birthday party someday.  
I just found this picture and had to post it--mostly because it tells me how much she has changed in the 6 months since her b-day.  She never runs around without clothes now, and she's fully potty trained--night and day, and has been for months.  How has she already grown-up so much?    

7) My Garage Sale Baby Shower
Some dear friends of mine insisted on throwing a baby shower for me.  I insisted that they not.  And who won?  we ALL did!

We met up on a Saturday morning, divided into 4 cars, and hit every single garage sale in a 10 mile radius--all for my little James!  It was absolutely awesome!  I mean, most of us LOVE going to garage sales anyway.  And all of us LOVE finding amazing deals.  And we ALL agreed that it was the best twist on a baby shower ever!!  We met up at Einsteing's where I opened all of my gifts.  There were soooooooooooo many clothes there, in soooooooooo many different sizes.  I mean, the table was completely covered in gift bags that were FULL of clothes, blankets, shoes, toys, etc.  It was so fun seeing what people found and hearing their stories.  And James got an entire wardrobe of clothes--3-24months!!    Thank you ALL for the best shower ever!  Any chance we can repeat in about 8 months when I run out of clothes?  just a thought....

This picture does no justice to the magnitude of clothing there was, and does too much justice to the magnitude of baby I  was carrying...
It took 3 full loads of laundry to wash all these clothes!
8) Abby's Preschool Graduation
Abby attended preschool 2 days/week in 2010/2011.  It was such a good thing for her.  She was so cute at her little graduation, singing all the words to all of the songs and smiling for the cameras.  She loved the attention she got :)  I am so grateful for the wonderful teacher she had!!  we love Little Farmer Preschool!

9)  Cloth Diapers
For the first 4 months of James's life he was (mostly) in cloth diapers.  I really liked using them, and it was easier than I'd imagined.  But once he grew out of the size small diapers I'd bought, i decided not to buy the next size up. I realized that I wasn't quite as committed to using them as I needed to be.  But I did learn the answers to two major questions I'd always had about using cloth diapers.  1) Doesn't all the energy/water you use to clean them cancel out the environmental benefit of using cloth diapers?  2) Isn't it lots more work/effort than disposable diapers?  

The answers?  No and Yes.  

By just throwing his diapers in the wash that i was already doing, and then sun drying them, I definitely determined that i can no longer believe that cloth diapers waste energy or water, even if I'd thrown them in the dryer.  They use about as much as all my girls socks and underwear do. 

But they ARE more work.  Not a ton, but definitely more.  And I guess I got to a point where that little bit of effort that had been worth it at the beginning, no longer was.  I still think about maybe getting some G diapers and maybe i will someday.  But for now, life feels like it has me just inches away from the edge of a very tall cliff so I'll probably stick with Huggies for a while.

But i learned something so invaluable by doing cloth diapers, I have to share with all baby-having readers out there. Are you ready for it?  Baby poop stains--you know the ones that don't come out with Shout, Clorox bleach, Spray 'n Wash or anything?--those stains easily come out with 2-3 hours of direct sunshine!! You just have to rinse it out, put it in the sun, and voila!!!  When I learned this I secretly hoped it wasn't true, b/c it's so crappy that i didn't know this earlier! (get it? crappy!  so funny!) It only took having FOUR babies to learn this little trick that surely billions of moms before me have known.

And on that lovely note, i'm gonna wrap this marathon post up!  Maybe now I can blog about what's going on in 2012!!


Kyrsten said...

I will say that I have used your sunlight trick many times. Thanks for the update, since may be the only way I will keep in touch with people for the next year or so.

Letia said...

Dear woman you amaze me! And I absolutely love the garage sale baby shower. I will pass that on.

Melissa said...

So loved catching up on your life. What a post! You have been one busy woman. You constantly amaze me at all you accomplish. Now if only I could do half the things you do, that would be something else.
So glad you are doing well. Love ya!

Sarah said...

I LOVE that photo of James! And I totally get you on the "clean" house thing, totally overrated! I can live in a pretty good mess, but I do like it clean. I figure I am a good mom since the older two do 3 chores a day and the house stays much cleaner without me spending all my time doing it! But as with Reid, clean makes happy and I like happy hubbies. So fun to read everything!

carin t said...

Reading your updates make my happy. Although I could have done without the spider :)