Tag Archives: sleep-deprivation

I’ve Got the Joy

15 Sep

Whine: I have been very successful in getting myself to bed earlier in the last few weeks. Unfortunately this is not the same as going to sleep earlier. Not at all. Lying in bed awake for hours at a time does not quite give you the same restful feeling as it would if you could actually convince your brain to go to shut the heck up and go to sleep.

Cheese: I am a lot better rested than I was six years ago today, as I had been up for two straight days trying to convince Big Sis that she really did want to enter the world and not stay in utero forever.

I remember waddling into the tiny, cramped room with Mr. Dad at my side. I remember oofing myself up onto the naugahyde exam table. I remember the cold feeling as the sonogram tech prepped my belly. I remember crying softly as she said, “It’s a girl.”

The first thing we did before we even finished the appointment was choose our firstborn’s middle name. It would be four more months and a melodramatic delivery room monologue (you’d be amazed how persuasive one can be mid-labor) before I we picked a first name. But from those first minutes of knowing we were having a daughter, we both knew one thing. We were filled with Joy.

And Joy she is and has been.

Kisses from an adoring Brother Bear.

Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments of unjoy. In fact, it’s her extreme happiness when things excite her (like a cardboard box or the number 10) that makes her extreme displeasure (having to stop what she’s doing to eat dinner or getting a pink balloon instead of a red one) so difficult to bear.

See what I mean?

She is also a tiny bit of a crazy person. I often come into the room and notice that she has hung necklaces from the ceiling fan. Or tied all the pull-toys in the nursery together to make a parade (those knots are a booger to undo). Or she tells me from behind the shower curtain as she takes a bath “Mommy, wait, I have a surprise for you.” then proceeds to drench me with bathwater and laugh maniacally while I scowl like a drowned cat. And as much at those moments as I might want to sigh violently and wonder when school starts, I love that crafty little brain of hers.

This pretty much sums her up. A dainty ironman ready to (gently) kick some butt.

School finally did start for her last week. My baby’s in kindergarten.

I wasn’t sure how this would all play out for me because Big Sis is doing a 3-day program at the same school she’s been going to for preschool. So in reality kindergarten is no different for us in location or schedule than it was last year.

But my first clue to my fragile emotional state was the night before the big day when I couldn’t get my First Day of Kindergarten sign printed which was all Mr. Dad’s fault, of course, (I mean, not technically, but still) and I wasn’t going to be able to appropriately capture her fist day and have it on film forever and I started sobbing hysterically and couldn’t stop. Then when  my sister-in-law swooped with my precious sign after a late-night trip to Kinkos and I could barely get the ‘Thank you’ out of my mouth before I was sobbing again, I knew we were in trouble.

Drop off the next day went fine. I managed to keep all the crazy inside and get my little sweetie shuffled into the waiting arms of her new teacher. I made it out of the building and headed to work. Where I did no work. Unless having a four-hour case of cry hiccups and sobbing your way through staff meeting counts as work. Which, since I work at a church, it kind of does.

This makes you cry, too, right?

Big Sis is rocking Kindergarten. She’s joined a soccer team because (her words) “I am really good at soccer.” She makes her own turkey sandwiches and (her words) “Saved Brother Bear’s life the other day.” She has started reading and writing–even sometimes on paper–and she can add and make patterns. I don’t know how, but we’ve seemed to fast forward  from the day (yesterday, right?) when we were teaching her that a cow says “moo”. But then again, it seems like she’s been a part of our life forever because I can’t really remember what it was like without her.

Sweetness

And we have our moments. Moments when one or both of us is frustrated that things did not go according to plan. Times when we both want to call the shots. But that’s mostly because, as Mr. Dad likes to point out as we’re locking horns over the correct way to frost a cupcake, she’s my little me (only smarter and way cuter).

She is my little light. Generous and kind, she runs to welcome her friends with a pair of open (sometimes suffocating) arms. She mother-hens her brother and younger cousins. She often shares her top bunk with Lil’ Sis as they giggle into bedtime. She reminds me to be content with what I have “Mom, don’t be jealous of Aunt A, it’s ok that she has a bigger bathtub”. She’s the one that has given me my dream job. And in a few years when we are locking horns over trigonometry homework or the appropriate length of a skirt (ankle, right?), I want to remember just how grateful I am for this joy she’s given me down in my heart.

We both look shockingly young, don't we?

 

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Radio Silent

26 Aug

Whine: I feel a little guilty. I should be rustling up some grub for my posse instead of writing.

Cheese: They’re not going to eat it anyway (we’re having fish). See? It’s magic. The guilt is gone.

I am not unaware that my most regular posting streak has been interrupted by a most unfortunate lapse in any and all communications. If I were a spy (which I totally am in my fantasy life) and my blog were a sat-phone, the last few weeks would be what we spies call “radio silent.” Which is a tactic by which a super-smart (and ridiculously good looking) spy decides to throw her enemies off the trail by no longer communicating with command central. Which is totally why you haven’t heard from me in such a long time.

While I’ve been out thwarting dastardly plans for world domination, life in my house seems to march on. Brother Bear continues his improbable growth spurt. 28+ inches at his four-month checkup. Which explains his ongoing need to wake me in the night. Last night’s hourly awakening being no exception. Except the night before, he slept all night. Which just goes to show you that he is quite clever, because he knows that changing up his attack each night will be the quickest route to insanity for me and therefore I will be pathetic and defenseless and prone to feeding him whenever he makes even a tiny peep. And yes, I am complaining about him sleeping through the night. Hate me if you must; it is very hard to save the world when you are sleeping in 1-hour increments, although it never seemed to bother Sydney Bristow.

Apparently all this world-saving has me neglecting proper nutritional education, as Lil’ Sis just pulled a lime half out of my drink and said “I love cherry limes” right before giving it a big lick. Yes, she thinks they are called cherry limes, since she only ever sees them at the bottom of my 44oz styrofoam cup.

Another byproduct of my super-awesome alter-ego is that there is quite a heap of big news to share, but I’ve been too busy kicking bottom and taking names (this is a g-rated blog after all) to share it.  So here are three of the biggest news items, in no particular order.

1) I have a job. It pays.

2) I have a ‘new’ vehicle. It does not require that the three car seats be stuffed end to end in the back seat.

3) Lil’ Sis is 95% potty trained. Goodbye Pull-Ups.

Both item #1 and #2 seemed to drop out of the sky and into my lap. #3 is as big surprise to me as it is to you.

The job is very part time. It is for my church, working with the elementary kids’ program. And every day is Bring Your Brother Bear To Work Day. Which is especially awesome, as I sit through a planning meeting with Slurps/Burps McGee attached to me. But it works for us, and I (ahem) LOVE my new boss.

The vehicle is new to us. It’s a minivan and it used to belong to some very generous people who also happen to be closely related to me. (In other words, my parents got sick of watching us cram their precious grandkids into the back of a sedan and gave us their car.) It is so much easier to get from Point A to Point B without having everyone have to hold their breath just to fit in the back seat. Also, the lock has a clicker. Which I realize is soooo 2001, but my old car didn’t have one, so I’m just saying it’s nice since I usually end up trying to unlock my car looking like a pack mule and/or bag lady (it’s one of my undercover disguises, you know).

And Lil’ Sis has just decided to make my life easier. At least in the bodily fluids department. I still clean up messes from time to time, but she has pretty much single-handedly potty trained herself. And for that, she will get a car when she is 16. (The minivan will still be running then, right?)

We have been jetsetting and swimming and living it up this summer, and I sure hope I eventually get a post out of that excruciating day of travel (only one excruciating day of travel? surely you jest.), but first we have to go on one last road trip because the all the other ones we just finished weren’t enough. And also because fantasy football drafts are just better when you’ve driven 8++ hours each way over a long weekend to do them. Heh.

My name is Aaron and I like to boogie. At 5 AM.

We got free hamburgers for dressing like this. So there.

A picture of my uber-blonde alter ego. But shhhhh, don't blow my cover.

Five for Friday

9 Jul

Whine: Polishing silver is not as glamorous as it sounds.

Cheese: Unless, of course, as my friend Carah said, you have somebody do it for you. Which is why I have Mr. Dad.

You may be wondering what I am up to since the posting around here has slipped into a cycle as irregular as an antique washing machine. Or you may not be wondering, since you are just assuming that having another kid has put me in over my head, with little time for luxuries like blogging or opening the mail. You would be right.

But there’s another reason that I am in over my head. I am insane.

Which means that I do the same thing over and over (e.g., bite off more than I can chew) and expect a different result (e.g., to not lose my marbles and/or temper in the process).  Thankfully, this also usually means that Mr. Dad (and several other pitying souls) jump in and saves my bacon. Zebra cupcakes at 2am, anyone?

Here are pictures from my our latest episode adventure. Delicious treats for my friend Jen’s birthday soiree.

Mini Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Sea Salt

Got this recipe from Martha’s new Cupcake cookbook. The caramel was not as gooey as I was expecting, but let me tell you, sea salt can cover a multitude of ills.

Raspberry Cheesecake Lollipops with Fresh Raspberry Garnish

These are basically mini-cheesecakes on sticks, covered in chocolate. Take a bite and pop in a fresh raspberry. I’m sad they are all gone.

Croquembouche

And finally, the piece de resistance, my nemesis – – the croquembouche. Essentially a tower of cream puffs glued in place with caramel. After one and a half failed batches of the pastry, a few “choice” words and a swift kick to the cabinets, I almost gave up. Reason and Mr. Dad both told me it would be fine to use (gasp) store-bought cream puffs. But insanity and my friend Tina told me to forge ahead, and so, of course I sided with the crazy angel on my shoulder and kept filling those half-flattened puffs with the pastry cream whose directions I accidentally forgot to follow. Then I overcooked the glaze, rendering it unchewable for human teeth. Good thing I never got around to making those caramel apples last fall, cause we melted down those leftover Kraft caramels and started engineering our cream puff tower.  By then Brother Bear was howling, so I turned over the engineering to Mr. Dad. The results were quite tasty. A little hard to pull off the tower, but what’s a little effort when there are cream puffs involved?

The Spread

I hosted the party with my friend Roxanne, whose culinary exploits make croqembouche seem like a grilled cheese sandwich. There are not words for her level of fancitude, which is why I just made one up. Delicious rosemary skewers, biscuits with pecan cheddar spread, tiny stuffed tomatoes and a cheese plate (you know how I feel about cheese plates. . .).  Her silver was all polished and her signature cocktails rocked the house. I’d throw a party with her any day.

The Birthday Girl

And finally, the birthday girl. My very beautiful friend Jen. Whose ridiculous good looks only serve as a vehicle for her awesomeness as a person. She once cleaned my kitchen when I was too sick to move, and let me tell you, that is a good friend, because that was before my “do the dishes every day” phase of life.

This Five for Friday would not have been possible without LOTS of help. So here are a few gold stars to my helpers.

Gold Stars

Mr. Dad: For baking tiny cupcakes, rolling lots of cheesecake lollipops without sampling too much of the goods, stacking the croquembouce you told me I didn’t have time to make and (drum roll, please) cleaning up the kitchen. You leave me speechless.

Roxanne: For letting me ride your rockstar hostess coattails.

Tina: For enabling cheering me on, then washing my dishes. (No, washing my dishes is not a requirement for friendship with me. It just keeps happening.) Also for taking those exquisite pictures of the party.

Rachelle: For making emergency flower arrangements after I dropped the stuff off at the last minute on your doorstep.

Everyone Else: For listening, ad nauseum, to the tale of the croquembouche and not looking visibly bored. Also for lots of help and suggestions and withholding judgement when you know I’m in over my head.

NOTE: Please stop by Monday for the first installment of the What I Did on Summer Vacation series. There will be multiple posts, all in one week. Insane? Impossible? You’d better believe it.

Life’s a Beach

11 Jun

Whine: People should not drink Coke Zero at 11pm if they wish to go to sleep anytime before 2am. People should also not leave their 4 year-olds unattended in the kitchen the next morning while they are sleeping off the late night, lest little hands decide to cook their own “syrup toast” in the toaster oven.

Cheese: At least some 4 year-olds come tell on themselves when the smoke from the scorched syrup fails to wake up their mommy.

Let me give you a word of advice: When that nagging little voice inside your brain finally manages to break through your permanent baby-haze and warns you that you are in over your head, be smart enough to stop and listen to that little voice. Or at least grab a life preserver.

So when my mom decided that we should all go to “the lake” (a one-acre man-made glorified swimming pool) for the day when my sister and her family came in town, I should have thought twice.

Then, when Mr. Dad asked if he could go golfing in the morning before our lake day, thus leaving me alone to pack swimsuits and waternoodles, apply multiple coats of sunscreen to slippery little urchins, and somehow get out the front door without causing harm to a child (with or without intent), I should have thought three times.

And when we finally arrived with fourteen bags full of swim diapers, trail mix, arm floaties, and diet cokes to a cloudy, drizzling sky, I should have just stayed in the car.

But, I am a Mommy. I can and will do anything for the amusement of my children. Including, but not limited to dancing a jig in the middle of the grocery store aisle, making cupcakes to celebrate the fact that it’s Tuesday, and checking out 700 books from the library and keeping them two weeks past their due date, thus incurring a fine of approximately 1 million dollars.

So against my better judgement, I got of the car and began to set up camp while the rain sprinkled down, doing my best crazy-lady-who-mutters-under-her-breath-about-life’s-injustices routine. I hid Brother Bear underneath an umbrella and the girls scampered off with their aunts and cousins undeterred by the rain.

Within minutes, the rain had been completely scorched away by the glaring, hateful sun and my preparations were hindered by the fact that I could not see through the streams of sweat pouring down my forehead and into my eyes. I continued my muttering routine, while trying to keep an eye on my children who like to run off and get themselves into mortal danger. (Death by fiery syrup toast, anyone? How about by imbibing three gallons of dirty lake water?)

I finally got settled in, only to realize that it was time to feed Brother Bear (again). Big Sis had also had an unfortunate going under/lifeguard rescue moment and was completely OVER this whole lake thing, which she emphasized quite vocally until I let her lie down in the backseat and read (thank goodness I shoved some library books into one of my fourteen bags) while I sat in the front to feed the baby. Some lake day. It makes me laugh at my former self, whose biggest beach worry at age 14 or 19 or even 27  was the fact that I looked a little jiggly in a bathing suit. Hahaha, I thought that was jiggly?

Eventually, we coaxed both Brother Bear and Big Sis back into the water. I found my happy place in a hot pink raft shaped like half a barcalounger, complete with two cupholders. One for my trailmix and one for my Diet Coke. Brother Bear slept peacefully on my chest, while I scooted us around like an uncoordinated sand crab and watched the girls splash and slide and jump in the water.

But then the reality of potty breaks (or not, I sure hope they clean that water. . .) and hungry tummies and more sunscreen broke into my personal nirvana and I was back on duty.

After hot dogs and chips and de-sanding and changing diapers and clothes and finding missing blankies, we piled into the car and headed home. The backseat was eerily quiet, as everyone immediately slipped into unconsciousness when we shifted into drive. Mr. Dad took the rare moment of quiet to ask me if I’d had fun.

Fun? Well, that’s one word for it.

Gratuitous

20 Apr

Whine: Four am is definitely not the time you want your kids to figure out that they outnumber you. Last night Mr. Dad and I had to switch from the man-to-man defense we’ve used up until now and implement the zone.

Cheese: (cue music) The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. . .

gra·tu·itous  \grə-ˈtü-ə-təs, -ˈtyü-\
1. not called for by the circumstances : unwarranted

Cuteness

Serious Cuteness

More Cuteness

It's almost too much, the cuteness.

Gratuitous.

Sorry for the short post, but I figured with pictues this ridiculously cute y’all would just pretend to read the words anyway, so I figured I’d save us all some time and leave the pictures as is.

Charlie Bit My Finger: Guest Post by Andrew

1 Apr

Whine:  I haven’t blogged in a really long time – and I’m suffering from performance anxiety.

Cheese: At least I’m not mother to a hungry newborn where I’m forced to take a blogging sabbatical due to a sore body, irrational crying and sleepless nights.  With that being said, inspiration can often strike in the middle of the night.

Hi, I’m Andrew Clogg… and my name rhymes with blog. I imagine my daughter will grow up hearing cyber jokes instead of plumbing jokes like I did.  I’m Sarah’s brother-in-law, and in addition to being a guest blogger, I serve as her part-time technical support guy (though she really doesn’t need my help). I am father to Avery (aka “Aves’ the Brave”) and Charlie (aka “Char Char”) and a beautiful wife who I won’t mention (because we once had an internet stalker – no kidding).

I am also the first male ever (besides Brother Bear) to post on Whine and Cheese… so don’t expect any acronymical anecdotes referencing OBGYN’s or PMS. I wanted to take this time to encourage all of you aspiring bloggers and internet junkies to continue following your passions. Your time will come – even if it’s not what, or when you expect.  I’m living proof of this.

About a month ago, a production company in California found my youtube clip titled “dog disaster” which profiled my dog’s “while-you-were-out” escapades, involving a large living room plant and my study bible.  They asked if they could use it in an upcoming mini-series for Animal Planet about dogs who behave badly.  Yes, it’s not exactly “good press” and no, I didn’t make a killing ($50) – but it was my first lucky break!

Shortly after, I was contacted by the Science Museum of Minnesota to use a different clip of my daughter, “Avery talking to Mommy”. The video footage will be featured in an upcoming exhibit on childhood speech development (…If you knew Avery, she couldn’t be more perfect for the role!). It’s not as though these clips have a TON of hits -only a few hundred – and yet, they were still FOUND; even though they were a couple years old.

As a proud daddy and dog owner I’m thrilled that there are others out there who find MY day-to-day moments worth commemorating.  Whether it’s a spontaneous video, or witty blog post – I think we ALL have equally memorable moments that are worth sharing.

So, keep blogging, tweeting, and youtubing,  friends! You never know when your story will become the next internet sensation!

 

Andrew (aka Uncle Andrew) sells trash cans for a living. Really big trash cans. Ok, they’re actually dumpsters. In his spare time he likes starting “discussions” about taboo political topics, teaching his dog funny tricks and playing every board game Germany has ever produced.

 

Eyeore-itis

2 Mar

Whine: I’m on the home stretch of this pregnancy. Which means he could come today or three weeks from today. The uncertainty (and the uncomfortable nature of carrying another human in my belly) is really wearing me down.

Cheese: People return your calls when you’re this pregnant. I like to call, hang up and not leave a message just to freak them out. That’ll teach them to screen my calls.

Remember the spring semester of your senior year? The one that came after you got accepted to college (or got that job) and really didn’t matter much at all. Remember how oppressive and pointless every quiz, group project and term paper seemed at that point? Do you also remember how it took exponentially more energy just to get your sorry behind to class (if you went) and do the bare minimum just to get the heck out of dodge? And in response to any inquiries about your sudden loss of motivation there was an easy answer: Senioritis.

Apparently the last few weeks of pregnancy for me have a similar malady associated with them: Eyeore-itis. You know Eyeore, the fluffy grey donkey, Winnie the Pooh’s gloomy pal. He continually walks around feeling very despondent about losing his tail or having his house of twigs crushed by an over-enthusiastic Tigger yet again.  He mumbles and complains about his difficult state of affairs. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for old Eyeore, I mean, his favorite food is thistles. 

So these days I’m feeling a little Eyoreish. I’ve lost my tail (and my phone, and my keys, and definitely my patience) more than once today and am surrounded by a couple of little Tiggers who generally knock over anything I manage to actually clean up.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m supposed to be at the height of my nesting potential, rehanging light fixtures and shellacking (it’s a real word, look it up) diaper changing tables. Instead, I’m letting the laundry mount and staring despondently at the heaps and heaps of baby boy hand-me-downs that really ought to be in drawers instead of Hefty bags.

Mostly I’m just really, really tired, my ginormous belly (which now literally has a mind –and body– of it’s own) hurts more often than it doesn’t, and my overly ambitious Before-He-Arrives List suddenly doesn’t feel like joyful preparation and now hangs over my head like I’m being held in the stocks while tiny townspeople hurl things at my immobilized form. (You think I exaggerate?? I cannot tell you how many stuffed animals I’ve barely dodged in the last week alone. Lil’ Sis did not fare nearly as well. And the stuffed gorilla that hit her had a tiny battery pack that came loose just in time to whack her in the face.)

I know I really shouldn’t complain. For lots of reasons. One being that I get to have a sweet little sunshine of a baby boy sometime this month. I know this. But I also know that we are all real people, and that if I spend every blog post blowing sunshine about how great my life is, everyone will stop reading because we all know that it’s misery that loves company. Besides, this blog is my outlet and it’s way cheaper than therapy.

I also shouldn’t complain because I’ve had worse third trimesters. Like ones that occur in August. Where my fingers swell so much that I can no longer wear my wedding ring. Ones where I get carpal tunnel syndrome and for my last four weeks of pregnancy my hands hurt so bad I can’t hold a pencil, type on a computer, crochet that stupid baby blanket I’ve been meaning to finish for months. Where it even hurts to grab my toothbrush and brush my teeth, although I manage somehow. Four weeks without brushing my teeth would be a long time. Even for me.

So yeah, life’s not that bad. I can (obviously) type on the computer. And hopefully if you’ve seen me recently you know that I am still brushing my teeth, although some days that’s about all I manage. And really, by the third baby there’s not much on the List that actually has to be done. Car seat? Check. Dusty from a year in the attic and inexplicably sticky? Yes, but still functional and more importantly fits in my car with the other two.  Bed? Check. Also have a few boxes and an empty dresser drawer he could sleep in, just in case. Somewhere to ship the sisters to when the Blessed Event occurs? Check. Definitely don’t want them in the room to witness the ugly side of the “miracle of life” just yet.  

But just because he’s my third doesn’t mean I don’t want everything just right for his arrival. I want his room to at least resemble a kid’s room and not just the guest room into which we are stuffing his cradle. I’d love to have all his tiny little clothes folded sweetly into those dresser drawers I haven’t emptied of random collections of junk yet. Having a few packs of diapers would probably also be a smart idea too.

And all of these tasks are feasible. I’m not immobilized by the sweltering August sun. I’m not so interminably large that I can no longer move. I even get time to myself now and again. But I’m staring at my List and it all seems so impossibly huge, and I just feel so sleepy. So instead of doing the one or two things I might manage today, I curl up on the couch and eat some thistles, right before I give up and fall asleep.