Flying Solo: Part One

Yesterday my husband Tony left with his best friend for a 10-day elk hunting trip. Hunting and the mountains are some of Tony’s great passions. He’s not been on a hunt since we were married three years ago, so I’ve been (or at least tried to be) really supportive of him going this year.

I caveat “or at least tried to be” because him being gone puts a bit of extra stress on me. This past month and a half has brought a lot of change for the family – baby Kate arrived and Leo changed schools to start first grade – so everyone’s in a bit of a transition phase. And transition phases always seems to make things extra stressful, crazy and over the top.

Only one day in, and I can already tell this next week is going to be a wild ride. So I’m going to document the spectacle that it is. Maybe others will enjoy the chaos and craziness. I know I plan to (as best I can).

Day One:
Bedtime last night was a bit of a disaster. Typically the boys go down for the night relatively smoothly, but not last night. Instead my six year old was a hot mess. It ended up taking about an hour and a half to finally get him to go to sleep. Tears. Attempted negotiations to sleep anywhere other than his bed. Frantic yelling across the house with him begging me to spank him… I was grateful and mentally exhausted when he finally managed to fall asleep.

This morning the baby projectile pooped on me. While that’s hardly noteworthy given how common that type of thing is with babies. But this was the first time Kate’s done that to me, so I was caught a little off-guard and unprepared.

At lunch I got the first call of the year from the school nurse. Leo was running a fever and had a sore throat. Turns out he has strep throat, and that myself and the other kids have already been exposed to it. So that’s going to be fun. I’m hoping I can luck out and the other kids won’t end up catching it, but since I’m parenting alone this week, I’m guessing we’ll end up with a full house of sickies before it’s all said and done.

Stay tuned for updates on the rest of our week. I’m sure there will be many examples of Murphy’s Law that should be good for a chuckle if nothing else.


The Poop Master

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. As it turns out, managing life with two kids hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. I’m going to try to do better moving forward, but with a third on the way in August, I’m not making any promises. So instead of dwelling on my inconsistency, I’ve decided to share my funny morning story (that’s been more of a regular occurrence than I’d prefer).

This morning, unlike most, I was able to get completely ready for work before the boys were awake. Score! As I was putting on my (minimal) makeup and combing my hair, I could hear Alex’s crib mattress creaking and tell he was up. But he was being pretty quiet, and I thought, “No harm in finishing up here since he’s so content.”

Oh. My. What a mistake…

Roughly 10 minutes later I walked into a very poopy-smelling room to find this. Look mom. I took off my own poopy diaper!

My “little helper” had very generously removed his pajama pants. And his poop-filled diaper. And tried to take care of the situation by throwing the poop out of his crib (or, as I discovered a bit later, dropping a big handful behind the crib, causing it to smear all over the wall).

He was in the process of stomping on the little poop bits that didn’t make it outside the crib, thereby grinding them into his crib sheet, as I was walking through the door of the boy’s room. (It was reminiscent of the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel were smashing grapes to make wine. While Alex wasn’t smashing grapes, it was almost as funny.)

All I could do was laugh. And take a photo (I’ll need something to embarrass him with during his teenage years, right?). And draw an emergency bath while Alex as still contained in the poop-covered crib. While I was doing so, Alex proceeded to pee. It was clear he felt bad about the amount of cleaning his crib was going to require, so he made sure to pee right through the crib railings into a nice puddle on the carpeted floor. That way I wouldn’t need to spend any additional time on the crib, but maybe a bit more time on the floor.

Oh my little poop master. You bring such excitement to our lives!

Parenting, a Heavy Weight to Carry

Yes, my boys are both solid, heavy kids, but that’s not really the kind of weight I’m referring to in this post. I’m talking about the responsibility of raising respectful, kind-hearted boys in a world that sometimes seems to be chock full of examples of the contrary.

I know this is a burden that every parent carries, but it seems like some days it weighs on us more heavily than others. For me, yesterday was one of those days.

All week the national news has been reporting on the Ray Rice video and his indefinite suspension from the NFL. Locally, our community is struggling to come to terms with a police officer that was shot and killed after a routine traffic stop went bad. And then there was the anniversary of 9/11, and the reflections of how our world has changed since that awful day when terrorists attacked the Trade Towers.

How has the world gotten like this? (Maybe it’s always been this way, and I’m now old enough to finally comprehend it…?) How can I make sure my kids are raised so they feel safe and secure, yet understand that the world’s a complicated (and sometimes scary) place?

They must have the guidance to become part of the solution and not add to the problem. Respect everyone (and everything). Be kind. Say your prayers. Work hard. Have a good attitude. Don’t take things for granted. Keep having fun.

There’s so much to pass on, how can a parent make sure it happens?


Motherhood, the Second Time


Throughout my pregnancy, I wondered whether I could handle another baby. I was confident I wanted a second child (I’d like to have three or four kids eventually), and I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of this mom-thing with Leo. (It only took about 4 years… that’s probably normal, right?) But I wasn’t sure how I’d handle all the challenges a new baby presents along with taking care of Leo and making sure he was still getting plenty of love, attention and parenting time.

We’re a little over a month into this new adventure, and I’d have to say I think I’ve adjusted pretty well. In fact, mothering seems so much more comfortable this time around. I can’t really tell whether it’s because I’m not “new” at the mom thing anymore and have realized there’s no need to stress over the small stuff. Or, if Alex is just a little bit easier of a baby than Leo was. I’m guessing it’s probably a combination of both.

Seriously, Alex is very chill. He cries when he’s hungry and when I’m changing his diaper. (There’s something about a cold wet wipe against his little baby butt that he doesn’t love.) Other than that, he’s a pretty content kid. I get up twice a night to feed him, but it’s pretty regular so at least I’ve been able to adjust to a somewhat comfortable schedule to accommodate it. Overall I’m probably getting around 6-9 hours of sleep a night. (I realize that will probably only be 6 when I’m back at work and can’t partake in the morning naps like I have these past few weeks.) But for now, it’s working well.

Honestly though, Leo wasn’t exactly a problem-baby. We struggled with irregular sleeping and he had a touch of colic where pretty much nothing I did could make him happy. But in reality, I know lots of other moms with babies that have struggled much more than we did. And Leo’s adorable smiles made it tolerable.

I really think the biggest piece comes from the experience I have under my belt. I’m not over-analyzing things like I did with Leo. I don’t spend every waking minute trying to read everything I possibly can on the internet so I can be super mom. I just flat out don’t have time for that. I have to be mom, and keep the house intact, and get the groceries, and spend time doing fun things with Leo. So my approach is much more fluid this time around. Alex just comes along and gets things done with me. Not even six weeks old and this kid has made several trips to the grocery store, to work, to daycare, to the park, to Kansas City and Emporia and lots of places between. He’s my mobile, go-with-the-flow baby.

The thing I’ve loved best about motherhood the second time around, is to see how much Leo loves his baby brother. I smile every time Leo stops what he’s doing to come over and give Alex a kiss. And when he helps try to sooth Alex in the car. And when he tries to play with Alex. And when he tells his daycare friends, “Come look at MY baby.” Seeing their bond, even at this early stage, is more special and means more to me than I ever could imagine. Leo’s an excellent big brother and Alex is going to love him so much!




Reflections of 2012 and a Look at Things to Come

Wedding Day

Generally speaking, 2012 was crazy. But in a great way.

I ran a couple of races, and played (and won) a lot of softball and volleyball games. I planted and harvested my first garden (yum!). And I got my first taste of rock climbing and trail riding on a mountain bike during my adventure trip to Utah.

Tony & I got engaged at the Symphony in the Flint Hills, and we married a few months later. We bought a house and have started some minor renovation projects to really make it feel like home.

I’ve really enjoyed being a mom. Leo’s communication skills have improved significantly and we’ve been able to start having conversations (that I can understand). He’s a pretty funny kid. Watching him begin to understand the world around him and seeing him try things for the first time (t-ball, soccer, board games) has been fun and more rewarding than I had ever imagined.

Work has been great. I love that jhP continues to let me push our clients forward into the digital world, running online campaigns that perform amongst the best in their industries. I’m constantly challenged to stay ahead of the curve and figure out how things work.

Because of the crazy pace that things occurred in 2012, one of my overall goals for 2013 is to slow down a bit. I want to focus on quality experiences, being prepared and doing my best in everything I do – whether that’s being the best mom or shooting my highest score in a 3-D bow shoot.

1. Eat fresh. I’m planning to plant another garden this year, but this time it will be at our house in Carbondale. I’m still working on plans but have high hopes for another solid harvest which will hopefully result in lots of fresh veggies for the dinner table.

2. Get out and bike. If 2012 was the year I ran, 2013’s focus will be more on biking. Last year’s running was pretty harsh on my knees and started to work against my volleyball and softball performance. I’m hoping cycling will give me the cardiovascular benefits of running without the knee pain. Kansas has a lot of great trail systems that I’m hoping to explore in depth.

3. Make a trip to Wilson Lake. I’ve seen lots of photos but haven’t had the opportunity to  check out Wilson for myself. I think a weekend camping adventure with the bike and kayak would be pretty sweet. It would also give me a chance to try out my sleeping bag.

4. Nurture Leo’s interest in activities. Whether its baseball or soccer or balloon volleyball at my house or something new, I want to continue to get Leo involved in playing and help him develop his skills. An active kid is a happy kid, and I know how much influence these types of activities had on me growing up. I want to make sure he has the same opportunity.

5. Fill at least one of my hunting tags. I don’t have a preference which, but I’d really like to shoot a turkey and/or a deer in 2013. I’m going to be getting in a lot of practice with my bow the next couple of months shooting in our basement. Hopefully I’ll be able to put myself into some good situations in the coming hunting seasons where I will have an opportunity to bring home some meat.