Friday, April 27, 2012

Homemade Friday: BLAH.

Excuse me, I'm too busy being irritated by the fact that my children have strep AGAIN to think about writing silly words about something I've made.

Or, alternate opening sentence:  I've caught the knitting ADD and can't seem to focus on one project for very long, nor see one to completion.  I've currently got six?  Or maybe 7? knitting projects going, not to mention all the food/baking I could be showing you.

But no, I'll save that for another day.  Because now I have another knitting deadline I've created for myself because there is a new baby around, and then there's that other baby who I haven't made something for yet, and Chris finally picked out a sweater that he would let me make for him and even the yarn, so I need to get that going before he changes his mind and also, they have a pattern for the exact sweater in a smaller size so now I have plans to make one for Sebastian, too, and maybe even Adele if it's not overkill, plus I bought all that yarn for that cardigan for me and that other yarn for that shawl for my aunt so really I'll probably not be able to knit anything that isn't on an arbitrary list for years, but we all know that's not going to happen because I am a fickle, fickle knitter.

It's a problem I'm okay with having.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Motherhood and More: Thinking about a third*

When I was younger, before I knew the ins and outs and all the weird, difficult things that went along with parenthood, I always said I wanted four children.

I wanted to hear all the laughter and the giggling and I wanted to see a passel of children, my children, riding bikes together or kicking a soccer ball or making mud pies. Apparently, in my mind, kids only existed outside.

My husband, on the other hand, only wanted two kids. We decided to compromise and settled on three.

And then I had one. And it was hard. And then I had another one. And it was like life exploded in an endless time suck of feeding and changing and feeding the other one and making sure everyone has clean clothes and the house is sort-of clean, or at least not gross and then the first one needs to eat again and the other one wants more milk and, “Hey, Mommy. Come play with me because I don’t want to play alone.”

So now I’m faced with an existential dilemma. I love my kids. I love how silly they are and how creative and how loving. And I could see myself having a lot more of them running around, but in that daydream they are all at least 5 years old and can wipe their own bottoms.

But then there are hard days, or more accurately, weeks. And I can’t see how I can take care of the ones I already have.

Recently this whole parenting thing has been especially hard as my youngest has woken up repeatedly throughout the night, most unhappy. As far as we can tell she’s getting molars in. Either that or we’re late on her exorcism because, as almost any parent will tell you, sometimes that seems like the only thing that will help keep these little demons from crawling down stairs backwards and spitting food at your face.

So I’ve been having an internal debate with myself. Do I want another child? Do I want to go through all the discomfort of carrying one, the sleeplessness of the entire first year, the total rearranging of my life again to compensate someone else, be they ever so small and adorable?

Sometimes, when I’m so tired that all I can do is stare at my bed in the hopes that by some miracle I can lie down in it before 10 p.m., the answer is no. No, I do not want to go through that hardship again.

But then my oldest will come up to me when I’m on the ground playing in dirt with him, and put his arm around my neck and say, “I just love you so much, Mommy.”

When that happens, the answer is most decidedly yes. Yes, I want another 10 kids just like you, little man.

But, oh, it’s so hard to forget the 3-year-old temper that can change so fast I’m left wondering what I did wrong as he runs up to his room and slams the door. It’s so hard to forget the endless diaper changes and endless feedings and endless picking up of random crap that some small person has thrown all over the floor, just to see me pick it up.

But then again, my youngest is so affectionate, and will randomly come up to me for a hug, only to squirm to get down when she’s gotten it. She likes to make silly faces to make us all laugh. She loves to read books and play ball and run after her brother while he rides his bike.

And he loves to let her chase after him. He loves to dig in the dirt and climb trees and look for rollie pollies under rocks. And they both love hugs and kisses and bedtime stories and puzzles.

They both are such good, polite, considerate kids. They both are helpful and kind and friendly and so, so sweet.

And while my free time is not nearly where I’d like it to be, and while I just found a raisin stuck to my computer desk from who knows when, I think, after all, that my answer is yes.

Yes. One more just like the other two, please.

Only not until the youngest stops throwing all of her food all over the floor because, my goodness, cleaning that up takes a good chunk of my day.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on April 25, 2012. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I think I'm like this because I don't see adults very often

Text conversation I had with Christopher this morning because he is Very Important and Busy and can’t be bothered to answer his phone at work:

Him: I cannot talk what to you need

Me: Jessica invited me to go to chick fi lay to have lunch and knit with a bunch of knighted and I wanted you to talk me into it.

Him: Buch of what

Me:  Knitters 

(Did you know spell check changes ‘knitters’ to ‘knighted’? WTF spell check?  I’m pretty sure you should know me better than that by now.  I don’t think I’ve ever used ‘knighted’ in a conversation.)

Him: Go ahead

Me: That’s some pretty lame convincing.

(Jessica is my neighbor, by the way.  And she has a blog.  Go say hi!)

Now you have to look past the fact that neither one of us took the time to make sure our words were spelled correctly, which normally I’d be irritated at because I was an English Major and as we all know those people can be pretty crazy about punctuation and spelling and overall grammar mistakes, but at this point I was in the process of changing a diaper and trying to grab some sort of knitting project that wasn’t too cumbersome to take with me and also trying to rush to pick Sebastian up from preschool in time for him not to be the last kid there.  Spoiler alert: He was anyway.  But once I convinced him that we’d go somewhere where he could play, because apparently just having a strawberry milkshake wasn’t enough of a bribe to get him to just go with the flow of something out of the ordinary, he settled into the idea and even was excited.

And so I went, because up until the point that I turned right instead of going straight to go home I hadn’t been sure.  It’s not that I didn’t want to go, and it’s not that I didn’t think I’d enjoy the company.  I’m not sure if you can tell from my hilarious word spillage that happens on these pages, but I’m a bit socially awkward.  Unless of course I’ve had a shot of tequila, but that didn’t seem like such a good idea at 10:30 in the morning while I had to drive.  Of course, if I was staying home it totally would have been a possibility, except I don’t have tequila but I do have 10 year old Absinthe that tastes like disgusting mouthwash but doesn’t even have the decency to have the wormwood in it, which is what makes Absinthe so special to begin with. 

But anyway, I get nervous whenever I know I’m going to meet new people, and it wasn’t helping that I didn’t sleep well last night and also overdosed on caffeine this morning so was a bit jittery and also twitchy-eyed so I knew that if I met these people I’d have to work hard not to seem like someone coming down off a crack binge.  Do knitters do crack?  It kind of seems like they wouldn’t, although if they did, they’d probably get more stuff done.  Maybe it’s kind of like a deadline thing, like if they’re knitting a shawl for someone’s birthday and they need it done in two days, crack may be the way to go. 

I wouldn’t know about that, though.

On the drive there, when digging around for some chapstick to make my lips look less like the undead, I pulled out an unwrapped tampon.  It wasn’t used of course, just one that had been stored in the glove box and came out of its wrapper, but it freaked Chris out so much when he was cleaning out the car that I took it out of the glove box to put in my purse to throw away later, but forgot about it because I have lots of important things to do that don’t involve remembering to throw away wrapper-less, unused tampons that just happen to be in my purse.  So I put it back in the glove box so I wouldn’t be searching for something to distract Adele with when she started throwing food and napkins and anything else in her reach and accidentally pull out an unwrapped tampon in the restaurant.  Although it would probably be a good ice breaker.  Or maybe not.  Not everyone keeps unused, unwrapped tampons in their purse.  I’ve heard.

But everyone was nice but I can’t remember names because I was nervous and also trying to keep my eye from twitching because I thought if I concentrated enough it would stop.

FYI – it’s still twitching as I type this.

I was able to knit a couple of rows on a sock while Sebastian and Adele played in the play area.  I was hesitant to let Adele go in there alone, but she did fine until I looked up to see her screaming at the bottom of a slide.  I still haven’t figured out what happened but she had a big bump on her forehead.  And after that I figured it was time to go.

I didn’t talk much to the people I didn’t know, but hopefully if they get together again and I can go and spend more time actually speaking.  But it was nice to hang out with my neighbor.  And she didn’t even laugh at me when I banged my hand on the corner of a random piece of furniture that I’m almost convinced leapt out in front of me to possibly make me even more uncomfortable, and it hurt so bad that I couldn’t move my fingers.

It’s better now, but still hurts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Best Job in the World

Today I've been making an effort to get things done, more so than usual, but every time I do that it makes things around the house a little more stressful because the kids seem to want more of my attention than normal, if that's even possible, and all I wanted to do was sit down with Jenny Lawson's book, which is awesome and funny and heartbreaking and thankfully has short chapters because I can read a quick one while the kids are beating each other with plastic swords, but then they come up and want to beat me with them, which is fine but I've got a whole sink full of dishes that aren't going to wash themselves, or they would if we would buy that dishwasher that we've been talking about for months but just haven't bought yet but you'll be happy to know that we've gone to the store to look at them multiple times and discussed the possibility of taking measurements in order to see if the one we like will fit in our kitchen, and so I have to put the kids off again, even though they caught me reading instead of being productive and while I put them off with the excuse that I had to clean because there is still folded laundry all over the house, or at least it was folded laundry until I walked away from it to get somebody some milk and then it became unfolded, strewn about the house laundry, their little accusing eyes aren't buying it and they proceed WHINE THE GUILT INTO MY SOUL. 

And then I saw this video.

And then I cried.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Homemade Friday: That damn striped sweater still isn't finished OH MAH GAWD

Hey remember that striped sweater I told you about months ago that I'm knitting for Sebastian?  Well, I'm not done with it yet.

It really, really isn't that difficult of a sweater.  And I tried really hard to have it finished this week so I could show it to you.

Okay, maybe I tried hard sometimes but other times was distracted by twitter.  But still.  It should be finished already since I started it way back in JANUARY.

I think (hope) Sebastian will love it. 

I forced him to try it on so I could take pictures of him this afternoon before he was allowed to watch TV.  He said it didn't fit, but at least he didn't say it was itchy.

And it's only about 75 today and may possibly get colder, so he might be able to wear it this year before summer hits. (I'm pretending I don't have about 33 million ends to weave in because of all the stripes in this sweater.  But at least the knitting part will be done soon.) 

And just because I think he's adorable, here's a bunch of pictures of him covered in dirt while being forced to try on an unfinished sweater with sharp knitting needles still stuck in it while also holding a ball of yarn that is still attached to said unfinished sweater:

(He's really been digging the dirt lately, spending hours in it.  HA!  DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)  (I haven't had a full night's sleep in a really long time, guys.)

(Also, he told me he likes to have his hair in his eyes.  I'm just waiting for it to grow long enough that he can put it behind his ears.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It’s my blogaversary, bitches!*

I first found out about blogs way back in 2004 or 2005, freshly graduated and working as an ‘office assistant’ at the career services office of the university that had just given me my diploma.  That label, by the way, was a fancy way of saying ‘you answer the phones and we will treat you like you’re still a student and kind of an idiot, even though you’re better at your job than some of us are.’  I’m paraphrasing, of course.  But there was a lot of down time, and in that time I noticed a certain lax attitude over what we did when we weren’t answering the telephone, which hardly rang, or filing papers.  That was probably because the boss, the big, main boss, was super close to retirement and so would have ‘meetings’ where she left the office to go somewhere else and read the newspaper.  Also she played a lot of solitaire on her computer.

So I used the internet to pass the time.  I first was introduced to blogs when looking for knitting help.  (exciting, no?) My first daily read was needles on fire, which hasn’t been updated in years and looks a little sad now.  But that one led me to another one, which led me to amalah, (still one of my very favorites) which opened up a whole other world of things with which to pass the time at work when no students came into the office, which was basically all the time because they all get disappointed when they realized we didn’t actually just hand jobs over to them. 

And I’ve never looked back.  Reading about the lives of others, in their own words, be it funny or sad or disgusting or thought-provoking, was fascinating.  And it was a bit eye-opening, as I had in my last semester of school taken the best writing class of my entire life, with the best professor anyone could hope to have. But when Dr. Hagaman complimented me on one of my personal essays, I said I was always better at writing about myself.  He said that that was fine and all, but I also needed to be able to write well at other things.


I had just spent years, YEARS, writing ‘literary criticism’ essays on things that I was honestly not mature enough to grasp at the time.  But with blogs, here was a way to be creative, irreverent, and FUN, all while talking about myself, which just so happened to be my favorite subject.

But I was afraid.  I was afraid no one would want to read what I’d written, or that people would read my words and judge them harshly.  And so I started with myspace.  Oh, don’t you laugh.  You know you were on there, too.  I’d write short little blogs that my friends would read.  At one point I asked people for a list of subjects, or 'writing prompts' if you will, and had a blast putting my own spin on their topics even when I screwed up and wrote about foot ottomans instead of the Ottoman Empire, like my friend had requested.  But really, we can all say that feet ottomans are much more interesting, right?

But time passed and I got married, moved, bought a house and had a baby, then had another baby and quit my job.  I still read a lot, but wasn’t contributing much to the internets, be it ever so small.

One day we had some friends over and one of my husband’s friends (and I guess mine, too) suggested that I start a blog.  He said that he thought it would be something I would be interested in, or that I would be good at.  I don’t remember the exact words, because it was a long time ago and I was probably drunk, but it was encouraging.

And that was just the push I needed.  I’d been thinking about it a little more since I’d been home alone with two children and no one to talk to.  And that settled it in my mind.  I didn’t care if no one read (okay, I cared a little bit) (a lot).  I didn’t care what someone thought.  This was something I wanted to do.  (Here’s the link to my very first post that all of eight people have read so far.  I’ll wait here while you go read it.)

And so I started it for the connections I would find, of which I’ve found a few.  But I also started it because maybe when my children look back on their childhoods and think negatively about how I didn’t play with them enough, or didn’t create enough glitter and puff-pin flash cards, or didn’t manage to have daily educational activities like all those moms on pinterest seem to, maybe they will read what I’ve written and see that I did my best with what I had.

Also, I was tired.  So very, very tired.

(But kids, you do know all the words to ‘Don’t Stop’ by the Chili Peppers, so I must be doing something right.  Or, excuse me, ‘The Tunnel Tent Song’ as it’s known in our house.  Don’t judge.  It’s the only thing that will get Adele to sit still.)

And while my readership has grown tremendously to almost 50 on days when I post something, and sometimes even 20 on days when I don’t, I still only want for people to enjoy what I’ve written.  I want them to laugh at the fact that I’ve spent hours perusing my childhood journals to bring my shame to you; to cry when I talk about how hard it is to be a mother; or how difficult it is when there are issues with the person you’ve entrusted your child to while you work; to maybe be just a little bit disgusted, but also amused, when I talk about my son shitting outside in our driveway; or maybe to take a different approach to judging celebrities who chew up their babies’ food before spitting it into their mouths.

I want you to read.   

Thank you for reading.

(But if anyone could help me make some money off this mofo that would be awesome.  Mama wants a new dress.)

So as a thank you, I offer you a series of dimly lit, blurry photos.  I call them: Jaime and Adele and dirty bathroom mirrors.

Your welcome.

(Adele kept us up from 2:30 until 5 this morning, so this is the best I can do on account of the absolute exhaustion. Also - please excuse the muffin top.)

*I’m not very fond of that word for the anniversary of when you started blogging, but I didn’t know what other word to use.  Also, I don’t regularly call people bitches just for sport.  Unless they try to steal my wine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Random Monday: In which I discuss Twilight, Thai tea and TURQUO-TEAL

1. I am babysitting today so don’t have too much time.

2. I’m able to sit here now because currently there is a mad dance party going on in my back room.

3. I never thought I’d be grateful for Kidz Bop. Even Adele is running in circles and clapping.

4. My head is a little fuzzy, partially because of allergies and weird, change-in-weather funk.

5. The other part is because of all that wine I drank last night.

6. I bought a big bottle for me and a friend on Saturday, and I had to finish it before Monday.

7. That makes sense, right?  In my mind it totally does.

8. My friend and I started the evening at a Thai restaurant, which was good.

9. But what we really loved was the Thai iced tea.

10. Delicious.  Utterly delicious. 

11. That may be because of all the half and half and sugar in it.

12. I had two iced coffees myself, though, because I hadn’t slept the night before and needed something to wake me up.

13. I think that worked.

14. It was either that or the ridiculously fun company.

15. I hadn’t been out like that in awhile.

16. I mean, I’ve been out, but I haven’t been able to act like a complete, goofy idiot and have someone else act the same.

17. We laughed a lot.

18. We were so high on fun that we decided to try on fluorescent skinny jeans at Target.

19. Well, I did fluorescent, she tried on leopard print.

20. I refused to come out of the dressing room.

21. She made leopard skinny jeans look amazing.

22. We also coined a new word: turquo-teal.  It must be said in a high-pitched, squeaky voice.  Also – emphatically. 

23. As in:  Those pants are TURQUO-TEAL!

24. We also, as you could imagine, embarrassed ourselves with every server/cashier we encountered.

25. Especially when I was carded at Walgreens for buying wine, and Laura told the height-challenged 20-something cashier that my ID was fake.

26. I said “Yep!  I’m really 19.  Twilight, what!  Team Edward!’

27. Maybe you had to be there, but it was one of the funniest things in the history of ever.

28. The cashier was amused.

29. Or maybe he was laughing at us.

30. Either way. 

31. My husband said he thanked my friend when she left for bring out the old Jaime.

32. I said that if he wouldn’t roll his eyes so much at me when I sing ‘Grease’ songs in a store really loud and dance along, maybe I’d be like that more often.

33. He just doesn’t understand my need to dance.

34. I haven’t had that much fun in years, I think.

35. I needed it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Homemade Friday: Bunnies that may or may not be possessed

Because it wouldn’t be a major holiday unless I was staying up too late sewing an awkward, misshapen, weird-eyed bunny rabbit.  Or something thereabouts. 

You’re welcome, children.

Yes.  I did.  The night before Easter.

I seem to have a, shall we say, history with doing things like that.

I’d seen this pattern from Growing Home a little bit ago, featured on Design Mom’s blog.  As soon as I saw it, I kind of knew in the back of my mind that I’d be sewing it for the kids for Easter.  But I didn’t let myself think about it, because it, for some reason, seemed a little silly.  I don’t have a lot of free time, and trying to sew with either of the children around would probably result in a stitch sewn through someone’s thumb.  Sebastian has always been good, but Adele is at the stage now where she wants to be a part of what everyone is doing. 

If I’m stirring something on the counter by myself she’s fine.  But if Sebastian pulls his chair over to help, she’s climbing up on it, too, which usually ends in Sebastian yelling at her, and me yelling at both of them to get out of the kitchen.  Now that I think about it, I kind of feel bad for little Babash.  He used to be able to help me so much, and he really enjoyed it.


Anyway, I kept the idea of the bunnies there in my mind, behind all the other things I needed to think about, not the least of which was hot gluing Adele’s Easter basket I made her last year back together because one of the children got a little too rambunctious when playing with it.

But on Easter Eve I knew I was going to make the bunnies.  It’s just that the pattern looked so easy and fast!  And it was.

Notice the HAND SEWING that was required.

When Adele was napping and I bribed a ridiculously tired Sebastian to try to nap by saying that maybe if he tried to sleep, the Easter Bunny would leave him something a little early.  He didn’t actually sleep, but at least he was up there away from me for awhile.  This gave me a little time to rummage through my fabric and buttons to find what I needed, cut out the bunny pattern and even start sewing a little bit.

I finished it later that night, after everyone had gone to bed.  I said I stayed up late because I took a break from sewing to eat a quiet dinner with Chris and watch TV, but really this pattern could have been finished in no time, a couple of hours maybe.  Or maybe a little longer if you take the time to wash and iron the fabric you use ahead of time.  I didn’t as I was on a deadline that I created for myself by not starting the damn things when I first thought about it.

Adele’s has the white ears and Sebastian’s has the brown.  They seem to like them, even though the button eyes seem to be pleading for someone to help them escape some tortuous experience.  Maybe if I make them again I’ll use black eyes, but that was all I had.  And I want you to note that I sewed those buttons on myself, even though that’s usually a task I outsource to my mother.

Sebastian is convinced his is the Easter Bunny.

The best I could get of the kids on Easter morning. 
Sebastian refused to dress up.  But he loved his new
measuring tape that lasted a whole day before he pulled
the tape completely out.
Has nothing to do with the post, but she's kind of cute.
(Sebastian just came in and saw these pictures and wanted to know 'who that man is who's making the Easter Bunny.'  Way to go, Mommy.  Both for almost ruining the Easter Bunny and for having man hands.)