Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It takes a village

I read a study recently which examined a shift in the way children are raised in the US. The old idea that "it takes a village to raise a child" is giving way to isolated mansions, suburban sprawl, and ideas that we shouldn't ask each other for help when we need it.

My parents, and maybe yours too, talk about playing in their neighborhood until the literal dinner bell or dinner whistle called them home to eat. For most of us the idea that we could just let our kids run around outside casually supervised by a mom or pair of moms enjoying a gin and tonic or hot cup of tea makes our blood run cold with fear.

Outside is not baby-proof. It's not safely contained or controlled. It's scary for us moms to throw safety and control by the wayside even if our kids could benefit from learning independence, exploring their imagination, and even exploring social rules without their parents hovering reminders to share, use your words and be nice to your friends. I embrace control as a mother; parenthood is a scary thing and my attempts to maintain control makes life little less overwhelming. But it's best for me and my kids that I let go of that from time to time.

I live in this unique little gem of a neighborhood. It's like a big family, there is a lot of love and respect among the neighbors but we bicker like brothers and sisters sometimes in that happy dysfunctional sort of way. Our little townhouse community is like a throwback to the 1950's and 1960's. Moms sit on our front stoops watching the kids play, occasionally shouting a reminder to stay away from the street. We let the kids run and play until dinner time when, because many of them are toddlers, we have to carry them kicking and screaming home.

Our children aren't afraid to say how they feel. They love nights like this. They love playing with their friends until the dinner bell rings and even then they don't want to stop. If we're being honest, sometimes, neither do we. We'd love to stay on the lawn chatting with each other until way past our bedtime. Bonding, commiserating and supporting each other.

The kids love running around barefoot past their bedtime because it's a special end-of-summer party. We love it too; it's a rare thing to find a true community among the suburban sprawl. It's special. Even though we're planning to move these people will always be my neighbors.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting Lazy

I could blame...

the summer heat.

my general fatigue.

my sweet boys.

writers block.

or Plants vs. Zombies.

But... I've been unmotivated, unwilling or otherwise incapable of producing good-blog material for a while now. Bear with me. I'll get back on the wagon soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Chaos

When two mommies with 4 kids 2 and under get together, it's happy chaos! My friend Jen from college had us over to meet her precious Bella, here's mommy and baby girl- just 2 weeks old! Jack and Brody hung out too.
Henry tried out the exersaucer. He was VERY excited. I might need to get mine back from my in-laws basement.

A pleasant surprise

It's been opressively hot here lately but this morning we had a glimpse of fall. We woke up and it was 65 degrees this morning! In celebration I had some Earl Gray and a scone. Yum!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things I think about when the kids are asleep



When I'm not a mom, for a few hours each night I think about non-mom things. I think about how much I love fall how it is the one season I could easily enjoy year round. You see fall, in the mid-Atlantic, is beautifully unpredictable. Tank top and jeans one day, sweater and hat the next. I think I care a lot less about how I look in the summer time, because it's so hot and humid that I think to myself "what's the point?!" Fall is right around the corner and that means alt. rock blasting with the windows down... okay, the windows a little down... there are small children in the car. Using a blowdryer. Putting on make up. Maryland Renaissance Festival. Love. And there's the ever exciting hiking and walking when the leaves are changing.

Lately, I am thinking about houses. For the area that we're looking in our price range all the houses need work. We're pretty handy, so this is not a turn off. Some need a kitchen remodel, some need a kitchen because right now they don't have one; but they all need work. We're finding that we're choosing between a ideal location in a cute neighborhood with great paths and playgrounds but with no real land or sweet piece of ass land but kinda isolated, no potential for neighbor-friends and the house has no 'wow'.

Finally, I think about my identity or what's left of my identity as it's becoming overgrown by motherhood. I love being a mom, I think I'm pretty good at it (except when I think I'm shit at it) but I don' t ever want to be the type of mom who is utterly defined by the 'mommy' status. I used to do yoga twice a week, which I absolutely love, but it's really hard to find the time with 2 little guys. I love to paint but my current house doesn't have any more walls to spare for me to hang my art so I either need to start giving it away... or better yet selling it. I really should do that, the stager that came through our house commented on my paintings and asked who did them because one she was thinking another client would like and I said "Me" and she said "Would you ever sell me some?" ... "Yeah." ... "Lemme get your number."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to the drawing board

So today we found out our deal fell through with the Bank soulless demon who owns this house. I'm surprisingly cool about it. I was just so over the up and down and up and down and did I mention up and down about the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, this house made me inspired, but I'm sitting here typing this with a list of 5 houses we're going to see tomorrow. This house was going to be great... after about 10 years of me wanting to rip my hair our. What if I found a house that was great now, or good now and great because we could afford vacations and a new car 'cause, in case you don't know, mine's gonna die any day now.

I just don't feel like this is the worse thing to happen. It's just a thing, it's time to move on... and I don't know about you but I LOVE house hunting. Seriously, I'd go every year just for fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


In the middle of the living room in the middle of the afternoon.

Durin dinner in the dining room.
I believe right before we took this Jack said "It needs light, in the cookies." Which is not something he gets and I don't... it's sleep-babble. Hilarious and adorable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I play games with my kids... and sometimes my kids play games with me.

When we go outside Jack says "What's that sounds, Mommy."
And I'm supposed to say "I don't know, Jack, what is that sound?"
Jack says "It's the cicadas, Mommy. They are in the trees!"

When we're inside Jack comes running up from playing in the basement and he says "I'm scared de dark, Mommy!"
Which is my cue to say "Why are you scared of the dark, Jack."
Then Jack gets animated and his eyes light up and his hands start jesturing "There's crabs in the dark, dey go pinch pinch." Pinching his claw-hands.
"There aren't crabs in the house, only at the beach! They're scared of you!"
"No way, Mommy. So silly!"

Henry plays a few games of his own:
  • rolling as soon as no one is near the video camera (or the card is full).
  • pulling my hand (holding the spoon full of food) towards his mouth with both hands and both feet. Because two hands aren't enough.
  • blowing raspberries.
  • doing sit-ups. A skills that makes most of his swing and bouncy seats totally unsafe. Bummer.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Working on it...

I'm working on this post about what's going on with me right now and I'm having a hard time putting it into words. The problem is several things at once: I'm stressed out about selling & buying the houses, I'm feeling like a sub-par mom lately, I don't know if I should just hold on for dear life and trust that it will all be over soon or I should put on my big girl panties and get out of my funk. I don't know that I have the where-with-all to pull myself out of this funk.

Usually I'm pretty good at self-reflecting and seeing what it is that I need to snap out of it and then I just do it. I think I'm feeling like life is coming at me from all sides so I don't know where to start.

Pedicure and a ladies night out, though always good for the soul, might not be enough this time.

I also find myself avoiding my friends because I'm such a Debbie Downer that I don't want to subject people to me. Which I know is part of the problem...

I need to get some fun and not overwhelming activities on my agenda. I know I deserve to be in a good place but my kids also deserve a mom who can roll with the punches not a mom who gets KOed by them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Henry's on the Move!

Henry is now rolling front to back! He rolls for toys, mommy and to keep an eye on his big brother Jack. Since Jack seems unwilling or unable to slow down for Henry the clear solution seems that Henry is planning to hurry up and move so he can keep up with Jack. Hold me, I'm scared!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pregnant Women are Smug

This video is hilarious. Please enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lunch Date

Cady came to play while her parents supervised the packing of their house or as Cady puts it: "the box was packed for Carolina". I'm impressed that her parents have fit everything into only one box... They slipped into traditional gender roles right away. Try as I might to get them to switch Jack insisted on fixing the car.
While Cady demonstrated her culinary skills with dishes like "bananas and cheese" and "orange juice peppers".

Which inspired me to whip up actual lunch. We ate outside on the deck so instead of make more than one trip I used my brain (which was thankfully plugged-in that day) and grabbed the serving tray.

At first things started out fine. Then there was an unfortunate "Cheers" incident where in Jack spilled his milk all over his side of the table. Being the little usurper problem solver that he is...

He just moved on over to Cady's side. Which lead to a terretorial dispute. But they were able to negotiate and eventually were able to make it work.
Jack sure is going to miss his Cady.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Buying A House?... *UPDATE*

We live in a townhouse in a really adorable neighborhood. There are always kids riding bikes and always friends just down the street for me to talk to and the boys to play with. We really love it here but with interests rates so low and home prices dropping it's the perfect time for us to upgrade to a larger house on a piece of land. We called our Realtor who is awesome, BTW, and asked if she'd take us to see what's out there.

We found the house.

The "I'd like to be buried in the back yard because I'm dying of old age or because this house needs so much work it's going to kill me" house. Either way.

Fast forward to now, our house is on the market, there has been a lot of interest, we're feeling pretty good about things and we're negotiating with the Bank (read: evil, evil bank) who owns our little foreclosure of a house. The negotiations are not going well, or maybe the bank's asset manager is schizophrenic, who knows.

First they're willing to fix things. Then we have to wait till after the home inspection before they're willing to agree to fix most things. Then after the home inspection they'll fix the dual zone HVAC and the mold but not the roof which has about a billion leaks in it. Then while we're negotiating how much we'll get as a credit and how much it's going to cost to have X, Y, Z fixed they then decide they're not fixing anything. Um, excuse me? So we've sunk more than a grand into inspections for the home, the well, the septic field and the roof and hvac estimates and now they tell us they're not willing to fix anything?! Since our entire deal was negotiated with the understanding that they would be willing to fix some things and now they're changing their minds entirely the Husband and I are thinking they didn't negotiate in good faith and we're PISSED.

Who knows how this will end. Maybe there has been some miscommunication between the bank's asset manager and the seller agent. Mayb we're still on track or maybe we've some how managed to misunderstand everything from the very beginning... but I highly doubt that.

As of tonight, we're a little pissed, a little confused and somehow still convinced that this is the right house for us. But by tomorrow we might be asking for both our earnest money back and compensation for the costs we've incurred thus far. But I hope we'll be sitting fireside singing Cum Baya by tomorrow.

Cum Baya, my Lord; Cum Baya.

Yup, we were just confused. Thank goodness! I'd explain more but I'm off to get my hard did, without the kids! Woo Hoo!

I'm in denial.

The Carlsons are moving from the lovely MD to NC. Emily said it best, and has some great pics too of our little send-off party. We had a fabulous time at the Casa-de-Kentobean and we're very sad to see Lindsey, Cady and Kevin go but I see this as an opportunity to invite myself down south once in a while to visit my old grad. school stomping grounds and to visit my friends in a place with such delicious venues as: The Hibernean, Cookout and El Rodeo.

I will not say goodbye, I'll simply say see you later, alligator.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Horray for maternal instincts! Henry is now happily enjoying solid food. We skipped rice, because it tends to block babies up, and went strait for oatmeal. Such a happy boy.
See? Happy. Boy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Henry's Stats... and a rant

As Big-Brother-Jack would say "He's HUGE." And it's true. Henry is 26.5 inches long and 16lbs 12oz (which btw is only 85th percentile- for real I want to meet the last 15 percent, because I refuse to believe that kiddos come much larger than what I got). So from now on when I say things like "Hank the Tank" and "Oy! My aching back!" you all will believe me.

At 4 months Jack was not exactly the same size...

On a slightly related note I saw a different doctor in the practice from our normal guy because he's enjoying a vacay. We do delayed immunization with the boys, partially because I think 4 shots all at once for little babies is just mean, partially because it's an awful lot for their little immune systems to handle at once and partially because I'm paranoid about autism (I know those studies were de-bunked) but I'm a mom therefore I worry.

So this other doctor is like "You know it's completely inadvisable to the health of your baby to delay immunization, right?" (I'm no rookie mom, and my personality type which I'd call outspoken b*tch is not one to be intimidated)

So I say, "Yeah, I know."

He's like "Um, okay, good. I need you to bring any articles you've read that suggest this method."

Me "Okay." Thinking: Whatever, buddy, our regular doc doesn't think I'm dangling by baby over a proverbial balcony.

And now this is me stepping on my soapbox.

I get it. I'm not a normal parent in the sense that we use cloth, we tummy sleep, we delay immunizations. But I don't understand how a pediatrician who deals with all types of parents (it's a diverse area) can be so intolerant. Parenting is hard, we don't need discouragement and judgment we need encouragement. What makes this even more bizarre is he knew Henry is a tummy sleeper.... which is way riskier in my mind than his chances of, say, catching Hepatitis. I guess I just expect more support out of my health care professional.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Henry!

You are 4 months old today. Man, oh, man the time is flying!!

We love you, sweet boy.

They were having a sale

On boys. I got three (four if you count my husband) for the price of one.
One. Popeye mustache free with purchase.

Two. Fuzzy-yellow-bed-stealer.

Three. Gigantic 4 month old boy. (4 month pictures coming later today.)

Monday, August 2, 2010


Okay, so it's not like we're ready to move right now. Yes, our house is on the market, but it doesn't mean I'm not obsessing about this GIGANTIC room and trying to figure out what the heck I hope to (contracts willing) do with it. So, ladies (I think the only gentleman reader is my husband... correct me if I'm wrong...) take a look at the pics of the "great room" and tell me what you'd do... clearly it needs work... but what work does it need?!
The living room & entry, view from above.

Entry... clearly we need new glass in the door...

The living room.

The dining room with painted white brick hearth meant for a free standing wood stove.
So, the room is an "L" shape, so the entry, living and dining room all need to coordinate. Have at it! Tell me everything!