THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD WALK


So, yesterday had been one of those days, or rather, this week has been one of those weeks. 

One of those weeks where I am out of breath with every flight of steps I walk, and I have a long list of things I want-to/need-to/would-like-to-do. One of those weeks where my husband seems to play too many video games for my liking, and my kid throws too many tantrums, and my patients grind their teeth while I am attempting to poke their tough, leathery, weathered skin with the smallest possible IV... you know, grinding them just to make my skin crawl.

I walk outside and immediately find it a little harder to breathe in the thick and wet air. My stomach hurts after I eat anything. Nothing I make looks right, everything I clean gets filthy within an hour, nothing stays folded, I can't do my make-up right. 

You know...I might as well have my period too.

But I am still pregnant. So no period. I am thirty-one and a half weeks.  And if one more person asks how long I have to go, and then follows it up with an apologetic look... well then I just don't know what I am going to do.



Throw myself on the ground? Cry? Yell at them to not patronize me... because their apologetic look implies sympathy, and I am pregnant - not sick or maimed. Wildly scream at them to save their sympathy for someone who needs it! Whatever it is.. I will make them wish they had never asked.

or just make them believe I am crazy.

And yes, isn't it crazy that when you get tired and weighed down by stuff, that you feel like everyone is out to get you? And you know deep down that the world is pretty much good, or that people, for the most part, intend good - at least I know I do. But you get so exhausted sometimes, of doing life, just like everyone else is doing, and begin to feel that everyone is against you, and you are fighting whatever fight there is, alone...
 
So, tonight I just had enough. I was so full of complaints and frustration, that I just needed to go. I put chloe to bed after what I decided would be the last tantrum of the night, replaced the boxer shorts that I had borrowed from my husband's drawer, with a skirt and sandals, and told Christian that I was going for a walk, and quickly asked did he want anything? He asked if he could go buy me ice cream. He asked if I wanted to go out and get a pedicure and offered to pay. 

No. None of those things are what I need or want. I want to walk. I must walk by myself, freely, and just do whatever I want to do. Without needing to push a stroller, or handle requests for blue slurpee/angry birds popsicles/a grey rock, or explain why I must hold your hand when we cross the street. I wanted needed to walk alone, like I used to. 

So I walked to my little cvs, and I perused the beauty products and thought about doing my nails, but decided not to after a bit. I selected a new eyebrow brush/lash comb. I passed by a beauty sponge that resembled a sex-toy and thought of buying it as a gag gift... then realized that I had very few friends or acquaintances that would realize the joke of this item - that would know what it resembled. I would never possibly be able to explain the item without raising some eyebrows or laughing to the point of tears, like a middle-schooler. But, when you are a nurse you learn about items that people stick in their bottoms... or rather ones that get stuck there. And if that sponge didn't look like a little hot pink butt-plug.

I put it down.




I moved onto the seasonal products. They had the tiniest little cacti and succulents, fake humming-birds that fed from fake flowers, but looked pretty darn real when they were moving so quickly. There was a big revlon display featuring Olivia Wilde, and I giggled while at the same moment feeling sad about how obviously they had covered up her one ever-so-slightly wonkey eye with her hair.  Because Olivia's wonkey eye makes me sincerely happy that she is so beautiful, and yet still possesses a characteristic that some might consider  a "flaw". Then it began to make me angry that her eye was hidden, as if there was something wrong with it. As if there was something wrong with her... and for that matter as if there was something wrong with anyone who has a bit of a wonkey-eye, or a hairy mole, or freckles, or acne scars, or a funny nose...




I took a breath and walked on.

I decided that I would buy my husband his favorite candy - airheads rainbow sour belts, because I hadn't been the nicest wife, and I liked the thought of buying him something. Then grabbed a copy of Vogue, because i liked the idea of flipping through it while doing nothing else.

little luxuries.

I walked around the store a few minutes more. Enjoying the air conditioning. Enjoying not being rushed by a husband would wanted to be home, or a child who was bored. I enjoyed every minute as I slowly walked to the counter, when I was ready, and paid for my three items. 

I left the store and continued my walk to the ice cream stand. Our local ice cream stand used to have the best ice cream stand name ever: Custard's Last Stand. Perfect right? It was a tiny little ice cream stand, with a few benches behind it, and a very large fluorescent ice cream cone on the top of it. the stand was painted white with bubble-gum pink trim. But now it has been renamed (Richman's), the pink trim has been replaced by red, and the glorious ice cream cone is gone. Oh yeah, the prices also went up about fifty perfect.

But I still go there, and so does everyone else, because it is the only ice-cream stand in walking distance. I got a small hot fudge sundae with soft-serve frozen yogurt, and surprised myself with how quickly I was able to devour it on the walk home. I paid for the ferocity in which I devoured it shortly after, when my stomach reminded me that it has very limited space to store ice cream and a baby. I gently pushed on the side of my stomach to try to move the baby and give my stomach room while grimacing from the pain I had caused myself by eating my frozen treat.

I smiled, because despite my stomach feeling that it was going to explode, it felt good to have eaten ice cream alone. And it felt really damn good to walk like I used to before I had a husband or child. To just walk to the store and think my own little thoughts, and walk down the isles I wanted to, and to just be alone and selfish in those minutes... and to relish it all.

Because I fervently adore my husband and my child so much with every bit of myself, but sometimes I need to just walk alone for a few minutes, and remind myself that I am a person who has thoughts and makes choices. I still have autonomy, gosh-darnit!

Even if it's just thoughts about Olivia's wonkey eye, or the decision to make of which isle to walk down at CVS.








NESTING: WARDROBE EDITION



so last week, i blogged a little about "nesting", and how this time around is has been different from what it was when i was pregnant the first time, with chloe. i contribute this to a few things: i now have a few years of experience of being mom, and i know what seems to work and what doesn't (for us). 

after i had chloe i expected to be able to wear the clothes i wore pre-pregnancy, and early in my pregnancy, home from the hospital. i must have been delusional. i was not only unprepared to face the changes that my body had undergone, but also the changes that i would undergo in the following few months and years when it came to my own personal style. high shoes and uncomfortable clothes  that i used to suffer in for the sake of fashion, didn't get touched, and when they did, they were quickly removed and replaced by more practical and comfortable options. eventually i wound up either selling or giving away many items, repeatedly editing and re-editing my wardrobe... and each time feeling that i was getting closer to being more comfortable with what my wardrobe had become - a collection of items that felt like a well curated home to me.

okay, so it's not my whole wardrobe, but what you would see if you looked in my wardrobe. lots of grey, black, denim, and neutrals.



i realized i didn't need a bunch of statement items and shoes, but that all i need to get me through most days is a good pair of jeans, a few presentable shirts and some tees, and perhaps a very easy and flattering dress or two. decent underthings (that work under anything i wear), and shoes are also a must - but i don't need a whole lot of them, just enough in good quality. my jewelry is pretty much always the same - a few rings that i love, a sterling cuff, and maybe a pair of earrings, or a necklace. being able to get dressed quickly, without a lot of fuss or thought, became a priority - but along with feeling effortless, i wanted to feel like myself when i got dressed. to this day i am continually editing my wardrobe, but i find that i buy much less, and often look for items that i can move around in, wear often, dress up (or down), and that are well made. my purchases are carefully considered, and i often find myself asking myself if i can make something similar. when it comes to making a big purchase, i like to feel that i am really treating myself, making an investment (especially in a quality hand-made item, like one of these, that i am oogling), and will wear it often for many years.

the same wardrobe guidelines go for my children - a pair of sturdy sneakers, some sandals, a pair of boots, and perhaps a pair of ballet slippers are all chloe needs as far as shoes go. her entire wardrobe fits into one drawer. most of it is made up of easy play-skirts i made myself, a couple pairs of jeans, and very basic tees and tanks in neutral colors. all of her things are good quality, but she probably has just enough to make it through a little more than a week. which is perfect, because i do laundry at least once a week, maybe twice. i love that she can pull clothes out of her drawers and be pretty-well matched. also, she loves wearing her play-skirts, and they have been super-easy for potty training.

chloe's outfit on a typical day consists of a play-skirt, a top, and some shoes of her choosing.



when it comes to dressing a new baby i am trying to keep it really simple too. i plan on needing to buy some basics. some fresh onesies, a few soft sleepers, and a hat or two. i had put away many of chloe's things from when she was a baby, only saving the best onesies and sleepers, but darnit if i didn't unpack them all to discover them worn out in ways that i just don't remember. i also do not remember owning so much pink (chloe's gender was a surprise, and i thought we had owned mostly green and yellow clothes) so i pulled out the most special items to wash and mend, and donated the rest.


a sweater i knit for chloe when she was a newborn, and a sweater and hat for the new baby
i plan on making a few things for the baby, chloe, and myself. for the babe: some muslin swaddlers, a couple knit sweaters for the fall, and a few hats. chloe will also get some sweaters, and both of them will get some handmade slippers. it sounds like a bit of work, but it is actually pretty simple for me to manage making warm little things, and i find it satisfying to see my kids in stuff i made them. 

all this to say, that simplifying our wardrobes has really helped save time and money for us in the long run. i don't have a ton of money to spend on clothes, so i make some, and try to buy things that i know will last and be worn a ton, rather than buy a bunch of stuff that doesn't wash well and wears poorly... not that i mind a good worn-in tee or jeans (they are my favorites), but stuff that is cut badly and looses shape quickly is so disappointing, and is not the kind of worn-in that i am going for.

so, yeah, it took me a while to get to this point where i own way less clothing than i ever have, and feel more comfortable with it than i ever thought i would, but it has made my life much easier, and my wardrobe much more enjoyable to wear and build.
if you are looking for more information for how to simplify your wardrobe, i recommend this blog post, this one too, and that you google "the five piece french wardrobe" (and take what you want from it)... and then taking whatever principles you see fit, and applying them to kid's wardrobes. now, it's a little trickier as kid's grow like crazy, and need stuff more often, but i found once i started paring my wardrobe down, that chloe's followed suit.


if you would have shown me how little i needed before i had chloe, i wouldn't have believed it, but having less clothes has been key to keeping me sane when it comes to getting dressed.

25/52

"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."



a little top knot, and breakfast to start her day.



joining in with jodi.

NESTING


As I am preparing to welcome another baby in just a little over two months, I have started nesting. This has consisted of not only getting my house clean and decluttered scrubbing the crap out of the corners and crevices of every bit of our home (remind me if i am ever given the chance to choose cabinets that i never ever want beveled cabinets - ever!), and will not only involve setting up the bassinet and folding teeney tiny clothes. No, not just getting the house together, and throwing away anything remotely dispensable, but also trying to simplify my parenting a bit, and straighten things up as far as "the rules" go. 

When you have one kid, it is easy to be a bit loose as far as these things go. Many days it's just me and Chlo, and so a pop-tart for breakfast, and (watered-down) juice all day, and some fries thrown in the oven, with a side of toast or cereal sans milk, just happen (especially the day after i have worked until three in the morning). On those days, sometimes IPad time happens. Heck, sometimes she will get a hold of my phone and peruse youtube for "surprise eggs", or "play-doh cookie monster soup", while I doze off next to her in my bed, just happy for a few moments of rest after getting three hours of sleep the night before. At seven months pregnant,  it is easy to allow this stuff to happen, even if I don't necessarily think it is great parenting.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I don't take her outside to play every day. I take her for very long walks, and I try to encourage healthy eating as well (we eat apples like they are going out of style!)... but you know, crap happens, and happens very easily when there is just one child. This stuff just seems a bit more forgivable with one child, than i imagine it will be when I have two. I can allow the rules to bend a tiny bit for just one, but once I have two, I feel like what has been going on, just can't... or well, not as much as it has been. I have been a little lax, and instead of welcoming a new baby, who is sure to rock my three-year-old's world, and make all of our lives much fuller, and then enforcing a stricter set of rules, I have decided it is probably best to work on these things before the new baby comes. Also, this way if we have chicken nuggets on occassion it will be a really big deal, or more of a treat. I just feel like treats have become a way of life all too often in our home.

Also, taking a look at how I spend my time, and what I am putting into my body is under some good scrutinization.  Obviously my work and activities have a big effect on how my home runs. As a soon to be breast-feeding mom who will also be parenting a pre-schooler, I am going to need to be a little more careful about how much I work, how I spend my time, how I spend money, and how I care for myself.

All this to say, that this time around I feel like I am spending more time preparing in ways that I never thought I needed to for chloe's arrival. It's not just getting all the baby crap together and packing a hospital bag, but it's about considering how our days are going to change, and what needs to change in order to make it not just livable, but enjoyable and healthy for all of us. I have been finding that it's about making things simpler and more focused on the basic needs of our family members, and less about stuff.

Over the next couple weeks I hope to blog more about how I am doing this. I will share things I am reading, things I have listened to and found helpful, struggles I have had - the practical side of it all, and i would love to hear your feedback. I feel as though "simple" is the new hash-tag for parents among my generation, with everyone striving for it and buying into it.... and it looks so good - even beautiful. But it's not easy, and it is full of struggles (imagine what an a--hole hippie I am going to look like when I go shopping with my toddler and new baby strapped to my chest, and refuse to buy orange juice or strawberry milk for my kid, because of the sugar content!).

Still, I feel it is a worthwhile venture for my family, and perhaps a worthwhile blog discussion.



Momma's of two, three, four (or more), how did nesting look for you the second, third, fourth time around? Do you have a take on the whole "simple life" culture that is being portrayed by so many? Am I completely delusional to think I can simplify and prepare us for life with two children?



24/52

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."



enjoying a sweet treat.


a few favorites from this past week: 

a sweetly content face, enjoying simple summer pleasures / the lighting and shadows of these two portraits is just dreamy / such a spectacular scene, and the most perfect of moments - is there anything better than watching your child enjoy sand and sun?




joining in with jodi







The week my toddler said "facebook" and "crotch"



Chloe said two words in the same day this past week that I would have never imagined would have ever come out of her mouth. I am both embarrassed by them, and entirely responsible for them (as with most words we would rather never hear our children say). I did a double take when i heard these words, and might have squealed, "what did you just say?!". Which is totally not cool. Totally not the response I should have given, because you know - once you make a fuss over something, a kid then knows. They know they have just said something that has warranted a big response. They just set off fireworks. I just couldn't believe my ears though.  I was mortified... and only happy that nobody else was around to hear her say these things.

Okay, so you want to know the two offending words?

"facebook"

and

"crotch"

Now, for the first word: I have been off of facebook for a while, or atleast my personal facebook (for the most part - i might check my messages once a week or so, but yeah... pretty much over it). However, I still post to my FLWL facebook with blog updates, photos, and links during the week.

Well, the other say she was trying to take my phone from me. I have been trying to keep my phone out of her little hands lately, and limit her interaction with my electronic devices (which is a whole other blog post in and of itself), but as I was pulling my phone close to my body and attempting to turn it off and shove it into a pocket, or crevice of the sofa, she yelled "FACEBOOK MOMMY! FACEBOOK".

WHAT?! What the heck? Who told you about facebook? You are three! No Facebook!

As she whined for the next few minutes over not acquiring the phone, I sat and thought about the whole thing. She hadn't said anything "bad", just something that was not age-appropriate.... three year olds don't use facebook. And it dawned on me, that the only way she knows about facebook is me. My husband doesn't have one, nobody else around her uses it. I didn't even think I talked about it around her, but I must have, because there she was asking for it. It has me all sorts if questioning my use of social media... you know?


Alright, so now for the second word, and the story behind THAT. The biggest embarrassment in this is that I referred to the genital area as a crotch. As a mom, and a nurse, I have tried to be really good about calling body parts by their correct name, and have been really trying to get my husband on board with this as well.  I see no shame in saying "penis" or "vagina", and I prefer my children know and say the real name for their body parts, rather than calling them by some code-name or nick-name. There is a ton of stuff out there written about the importance of children knowing the correct name for their body parts, and it just makes sense to me. As a nurse I have met too many grown women who are still calling their vagina a "coochie", and it really bothers me (this is probably a whole other blog post as well).

But don't you know... I was sitting on the sofa watching Peg + Cat with her and caught her picking at her underwear. I asked her if she needed to use the bathroom. To which she responded "no". Then I said "well then keep your hands away from your crotch." There was silence. I didn't even realize I had said the word, until I heard...

"A crotch?"

"oh, I mean your vagina. Please keep your hands away from your vagina."

"IT'S A CROTCH MOMMY! A CROTCH!"

"no no no.. it's not. The correct word is vagina, Chloe."

"NO MOMMY. IT'S A CROTCH!" nodding her head with some new-found authority on the matter.

sigh.

"No Chloe, that is not a nice word to use. I didn't say the right word. I am sorry. The right word is vagina."

"CROTCH!"


sigh....


like a little sponge, eh?


22 & 23 / 52


"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."


week 22

taken using my "real camera", without checking the settings - oops. however, the half-braided hair, and the pink yogurt-eating pucker, are bits of her i want engrained in my mind always.

week 23

her face after i agreed to walk to the bakery that day... it didn't take very much convincing, and that look sealed the deal.


joining in with jodi, whose portrait of her sweet poet, this week, is breath-taking. the kind of image that comes to your imagination when you are reading fairy tales.  




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