November blues; December challenge.

Some of you (I hope!) may have noticed that I have been neglecting my blog. November is always a hard month for me emotionally, and this year was no exception.  

In November of 2000, I lost my uncle in a car accident, and my high school graduating class lost one of its well-loved members to suicide. All loss is devastating, and my teenage self struggled to cope with the fleeting nature of life. Although I wasn’t particularly close to either of those people, it is the first time I recall my pseudo-adult self feeling the profound sense of loss that comes from being a sympathetic person – I saw that other people were heartbroken and it in turn affected me deeply. 

It’s understandable, then, that I was wary about the following November. It turned out, as a matter of fact, that November of 2001 would hold what I consider a defining moment in my life. On November 5, I broke my neck in a car accident. It’s a story that I’ve told so often I feel like it’s all one sentence: “I broke my neck in a car accident fractured C1-C2 they didn’t notice iron halo three months college freshman halo didn’t work surgery to fuse the vertebrae neck brace lucky to be alive yes I’m a miracle its AMAZING I’m fine now.” 

When you repeat something over and over again like that, it starts to lose significance. When you experience something as an eighteen year old, you don’t understand its significance. For these reasons, I feel like I didn’t start to realize what I could have lost, or what I had actually lost, until each subsequent November when I would reflect on it. 

There have been wonderful Novembers. The 2008 election; my 2011 honeymoon. I realize it sounds superficial to put them side by side, but isn’t a blog about my life inherently superficial, and thus immune to such judgment? It should be. This November, I was too distracted by most recent loss to contemplate my past losses, which was a blessing and a curse.

I have entire novels inside of me that are dying to come pouring out, relating to loss and my life and November, but I find too much navel-gazing at once to be uncomfortable and I always fear the reader will become bored with my reflections. Some day I’ll get the heavy stuff out in pages, instead of a few scattered thoughts at a time – maybe when the boys are older.  Right now, I feel like I have been lurking in the shadows of melancholy, and the onset of December has inspired me once again – as it does yearly – to snap out of it. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all. 

On that note, I’ve decided to do a Daily December blog post photo challenge. I realize I’m a day behind, and the posts might not always be on the right days, but bear with me. I hope that by sharing some holiday spirit and silliness, I’ll be inspired to feel lighter. 

 

Sunday Reflections

I’ve been seriously neglecting my blog, due to the fact that I’ve taken a role as producer for an upcoming podcast with New Mommy Media, in addition to teaching full time, in addition to raising toddler twins… and I’m supposed to somehow keep my house clean?! Thank goodness for my husband.

Now that work is in full swing, I’m noticed that I have less time for social media. At first it felt frustrating, as though I was missing out on important information. Lately though, it feels a little liberating. Don’t get any crazy ideas; I can’t stand to be unplugged for more than a few hours at a time! But it is nice to know that I’m so far behind on everyone else’s life that I don’t need to check for updates every thirty minutes. I’m sure if I miss something really important, someone will tag me.

On the flip side, teaching History this year has forced me to more involved in the news and current events, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I was quite enjoying my little bubble where the real world didn’t exist. There is something to be said for burying one’s head in the sand when it comes to all the big bad things in the big bad world. Irresponsible, probably, but comforting. It does, however, feel good to know a little more, even if it’s scary, and it feels really good to have conversations with teenagers about the world around them. I have always loved teaching 16, 17, and 18 year olds. They are so confident in their omniscience. I miss being that smart. Remember how smart you were at 17? You knew everything. Some people might think I’m crazy (I am) but I find it refreshing to hear their opinions, educated or otherwise.

Back at home, things are wonderful. I enjoy my toddlers even more than I enjoy my teenagers. At 14 months, every day is something new and adorable. I could be stressing about how hard it is to come home from a long day of crazy students and walk into a house full of crazy toddlers (and some days, I do) but most days I’m just delighted to see them. They could not be more fun at this age. This week brought belly button poking, “asking” for kisses, signing “more” and “please,” saying “Pah” for Grandpa, tilting their heads coyly at strangers, running away from diaper changes, running toward the bathroom for “bath bath bath bath bath bath” time, and just generally being dancing, bouncing, loving baby boys.

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Sunday Reflections

This has been the longest week ever, I think. Usually when I sit down to write these, I think, “It’s already Sunday?” Not this week. Part of that has to do with the absolutely oppressive heat we have been experiencing. The expression “moving like molasses” crosses my mind. I know, I know – there are places hotter than San Diego. We are spoiled. But it’s September and it’s in the 90s and it’s really not the heat, IT’S THE HUMIDITY. Thankfully the worst of it has passed.

Unfortunately, I spent most of this loooooong and sticky week in a bungalow with no air-conditioning with 62 not-impressed teenagers. Toddlers are so easy to please and entertain that it has been a huge culture shock to return to the full time song and dance of teaching high school. I spent most of last year out on leave (that’s another blog post entirely) and while I taught summer school, this is my real return to the workforce. I am lucky to have a husband who is home during the day, and he is lucky to have a wife who is home at night, and we are both lucky that we get to spend time with our gorgeous children and not pay any money for daycare. But it is EXHAUSTING. And we are already noticing that it is harder to communicate as we spend hours and hours away from each other. Most days, the only time we spend together is from midnight to 5am, asleep in the same bed.

It’s not all bad, though – he can spend their nap time gaming or watching TV; I get evenings after the boys are asleep to stalk near-strangers on Facebook and write these blogs. Last night we had “date night” after he got home from work – a drink, a movie, and a chocolate eclair. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I’ve noticed that while I miss the boys during the day, I feel like I am more appreciative of them in the evenings. They change so much each day and I’m really able to see those differences and enjoy them. This week, Sawyer has decided he loves the glider. He wants to sit in it alone and rock to his heart’s content. He’ll read himself a book or bounce up and down- but he does not want to share the chair with anyone.
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Greyson is a pro walker – but he still stops frequently to investigate the world around him. I’ve seen some kids take off running – not him. He may speed up, but then he will slow to a stop to investigate something new.
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Sawyer will happily listen to music for as long as you’ll let him – this week, Grandpa introduced him to the Stones and he was in heaven. He will frequently walk over to “Pa” to demand “DIS!” (the beloved iPhone.) Greyson’s new thing is to offer a trade. If you have something he wants, he will bring you a different treasure in exchange. The other day, he brought me an empty cup and then attempted to snatch my XL Diet Coke. Nice try, sweetie. Mommy needs caffeine. And on that note, I hear a stirring over the monitor. Happy Sunday!

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Sunday Reflections

Today’s Sunday reflection is 100% devoted to the upcoming season – I used to call it “fall,” but apparently that was just crazy talk. No, the season from September to January can be summed up with another F word:

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The fam is currently on vacation in Oregon (more on that when we return home) and we happened to be in Eugene for Fan Day at Autzen Stadium. My husband has never gone to church, but his relationship with the Oregon Ducks football program is as close as it gets to spiritual. After a nice long car nap (is there any other kind while traveling?!) we arrived at his place of worship with the littles and their buddies.

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We could have been an ad for Beco baby carriers – the Butterfly IIs have been our best baby purchase to date. The boys are definitely pushing their limit size-wise, though, so we are in the market for something more toddler-appropriate. My friend Carrie is demonstrating what happens when you’re in Oregon but your carrier’s in Idaho! Don’t leave home without one.

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Almost immediately after entering Autzen, we were approached by a news crew who wanted predictions for the upcoming season, so we happily obliged.

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The boys weren’t fully sold on the Autzen experience – they jammed out to the fight song and happily chewed on water cups, but never strayed far from Mom and Dad.

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The menfolk really enjoyed checking out all the players and coaches, the music was great, and the cheerleaders were on fire. All in all it was a unique adventure – and a great way to start the indoctrination process for little Duck fans.

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Sunday Reflections

I love the chance to look back and reflect on each week. I typically take an inordinate amount of pictures, Instagram them, dump them on my hard drive, and move on. Going back through them once a week makes me realize how much we actually do! And it helps me to see the changes, the beginnings, the endings, the milestones – the little things that are big things, and vice versa. I’ve also noticed that I take a lot of pictures of the mundane, everyday things – but when we do big and exciting things, I’m too caught up having fun to snap pictures! I think I kind of like this.

This week started out with a trip to Buy Buy Baby to stock up on travel gear for our upcoming trip to Oregon.
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Mid-week, we spent a little time at Sea World exploring the Sesame Street Bay of Play. Sea World passes were far and away our best investment. We got a Fun Card for Mom, and a Silver Pass for Dad. The Silver pass gives us free parking, and you can pay it in monthly installments. I consider it a gym membership for the kiddos – we rarely do anything except let them get all their wiggles out in the Tide Pool play area for little ones. On Thursday, we took the boys to a casual swim lesson – five twin families getting together in the evening at a friend’s pool. SO much fun! The boys are water babies like their parents and happily splash-splash-splashed.

Friday we celebrated a birthday at the new Karl Strauss tasting room. I was a little hesitant about babies at a brewery, but they had an absolute blast.
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Mom and Dad had a tiny bit of fun as well.
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It was great enjoying evenings with my hubby – he works from 2:30pm to 11:00pm, so I’m usually on my own with the babies five nights a week. He got a day shift this week, so I had him for three nights in a row – it was like vacation! Sadly Saturday he went back to his usual schedule. I’m lucky that Grandma and Grandpa usually have us all over for dinner, but since they are enjoying their vacation, dinner was all on me. It’s amazing that a task that seemed SO daunting six months ago (feed myself and two dogs and two kids all at once? HOW?!) has become so simple. Dinner time is still a huge mess, but at least it makes everyone happy.
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I took the boys to Target this morning –another task that appeared insurmountable at first, but is now no big deal. It gave my husband a little break before work, and now they’re peacefully asleep.
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Sunday Reflections

Our week started off with a beautiful lazy breakfast at Humphrey’s by the Bay after the hubby and I celebrated my 30th birthday. The boys had their first trip to the dentist and their first trip to the Birch Aquarium. We enjoyed mid-week brunch with family friends at The Broken Yolk, and the boys picked up some sweet new kicks. The weekend was full of fun with Twin-B-Que (EIGHT sets of toddler twins!) and my sweet niece’s very first birthday!

Highs:
-First stickers at the dentist.
-First real walking in real big-kid shoes.
-Learning how to answer the phone and turn on the radio.
-Eating carrot cake cupcakes at their cousin’s first birthday party.

Lows:
-Still battling a tummy bug.
-Bumps and bruises and cuts for both boys.
-Mommy anxiety as they become independent walkers.

A moment of joy:
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