Our Christmas Card photo, for everyone who we couldn’t get a card to this year.
Hope your day was full of love and joy like ours was!
(I’ll be back tomorrow with some pictures before we head out to Oregon for 3 weeks!!)
(First photo at 26)
In addition to all of the holiday fun ‘round here, I had a birthday this week!
We celebrated on Sunday, with me sleeping in and waking up to find that Joseph and Brian had made me a cake.
(Strike one against New Jersey: I couldn’t find our traditional rainbow chip cake anywhere?!)
Then we lounged around, I opened up my presents
(Isaac was the best present that I received at 25)
and we found an INCREDIBLE Italian restaurant with the best pizza I have had so far- and it is 2 minutes from our house.
They make their own mozzarella if that tells you anything.
My favorite moments of the day:
1) Joseph was sooo excited to give me the earrings that he picked out for me.
His little face just beamed as I opened them.
Afterwards he said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYONE!”
2) I told Brian that the kids were hungry and needed to eat before nap. He said, “How can that be possible? I JUST finished cleaning up the breakfast mess?”
A little taste of motherhood for the working man.
3) Isaac discovered that he loves cake as much as his mama does
4) Joseph’s little voice joining in with Brian’s singing happy birthday.
So, here comes 26!
I am becoming more accepting of my weaknesses, my weight, letting my hair air dry and going with the frizz…
It will be a year free of pregnancy (hopefully), moving (hopefully), and full of adventure and watching my boys grow.
I am old enough to know what I’m doing THE MAJORITY(?)of the time, but young enough to not have to worry about wrinkles yet.
Welcome, 26, we’re glad that you’re here!
(I’ve been taking them but not posting them, so I am playing catch up today)
Brian indulged Joseph by letting him finally put the advent calendar to 25.
Joseph shouted “It’s CHRISTMAS TIME!”
and turned with a gigantic smile to stare at the Christmas Tree
waiting for it to…?
One of my favorite childhood Christmas-time memories.
This year, I decided to get a gingerbread house KIT instead of the ol’ graham cracker on milk carton approach.
I realized upon opening the kit, however that these were
a) really hard to assemble
b) took hours (and HOURS!) to dry.
After struggling to make it work for a few minutes and biting my lip to keep from yelling at Joseph to “STOP TOUCHING THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE FOR TWO SECONDS TO I CAN TRY TO MAKE IT STAND UP!” I decided that having fun and touching the gingerbread houses is what it should all be about- and I called it quits.
So we decorated the flat house-shaped parts, and ate the rectangle parts while we worked.
And all was merry and bright.
Note to Caitlin at Christmastime 2011:
Go for the ol’ graham cracker on milk carton approach.
Because I’ve heard that you can’t get enough
Isaac now officially:
- Walks and walks and walks
- Waves and says “bye-bye”
- Says “Mama” and “uh oh”
- Signs “All-done”
- Smacks his lips for “eat”
- Has 5 teeth
- Nurses at least 3 times a day; as long as he doesn’t bite with those 5 teeth.
(“Is it okay if I stick my hand in the cup mama?”)
Anyone who has this cute of a hand
can do just about anything he wants.
Thank you, readers, for your kind words about my mothering post the other day. You are the best!
Here is my wish for all of you struggling mothers like me; in poem form because...well.. why not?:
May your kids sleep all night,
and be happy all day.
May they always listen to what you have to say.
May your ears turn off
at every yell, scream, and whine,
or at least may you learn to not really mind.
May your showers be long,
may the tantrums be fleeing,
may you never be late when the in-laws you’re meeting!
May healthy meals be eaten,
(and with no complaining too!),
But may you know when a trip to the drive-through will do.
May it always be water,
and not pee on the seat,
may you never crunch his favorite toy under your feet.
May you remember the sweet baby,
when your preteen is a snot,
and may your sneaking-out teenagers always get caught!
May you teach, may you kiss,
may you scold, and then,
may you have the strength tomorrow to do it again.
Every house has one.
The hour in which everything is complete chaos and everyone is a big, nasty ball of NEEDS.
In our house it is right about 5:00-6:00 pm.
Joseph starts doing something to get my attention over and over and over and over
(this particular evening he was putting raw carrots into my bowl of cooked carrots…after first sticking them in his mouth)
and my leg becomes a magnet which Isaac cannot resist.
He whines, and yells, and tries to nurse on any patch of exposed skin he can find…'
including my knee through the hole in my jeans!
(Dear Santa: I need new jeans! And a full time housecleaning service! And a pony!)
Another fun fact,
my witching hour always ends with someone in tears,
it often ends with a threat or punishment,
and it sometimes ends with me bellowing “EVERYONE OUT OF THE KITCHEN RIGHT NOW BEFORE I LOSE MY MIND!!!!”
while no one leaves the kitchen, of course.
Because, hello Caitlin, one of them is a baby, and the other one does the opposite of whatever you ask him to do anyway.
I just do it because it makes me feel better.
(Hence the “witch” in the term witching hour, perhaps?)
When is your witching hour?
(Picture by Joseph. He loves me.)
I was watching a movie the other night (while Brian snored romantically on the couch beside me) and in one scene, the characters were going around the room, listing something they were good at.
One of the characters said, “I’m a good mother.”
And my first thought was, “I wish I was a good mother.”
(Record screeches to a halt)
“Where did that come from, Caitlin?” I thought.
So I decided to dig a little deeper.
I KNOW that I must be a good mother. I am. I am one!
My kids are happy, my house is livable, I take my kids on outings and do activities and make my own bread for goodness sake!
So then why don’t I feel it?
Why does motherhood, which I think must be the hardest job in the WORLD (if there is one harder, I can’t do it), also have be the job with the least amount of affirmation? Where is my mid-year review? My bonus? My pat on the back?
I paused the movie, and thought some more. (Brian, aren’t you glad you slept through this?)
What would make me feel like a good mother?
Seriously, what would I have to do to prove to myself that I am doing a decent job.
This is what I came up with:
- Keep a very clean house
- Play with my children
- Serve them nutritious meals
- Teach them to use their imaginations on their own
- Manners, manners, manners
- Never let laundry pile up so that their favorite clothes are ready
- Clean sheets every week
- Craft time daily
- Mama-taught school time daily
- Outings for education
- Outings for expending energy
- Set routine
- Not have to drag them on errands
- Sing to them
- Less tv
- More patience
- Lots more books
Wow. If those are my expectations of myself, I might as well quit now.
It is a miracle that I have felt like a good mother for one day in my life with those impossible standards!
So, I have decided to cut myself some slack, and I think you should too.
Let’s lower our expectations, mothers!
There is no prize for being perfect!!
How about giving our kids clean sheets…every time they wet the bed!
Or not losing our patience…more than twice a day!
So what if our kid forgets to say thank you sometimes? At least he isn’t hitting…strangers!
Let’s be happy with doing less.
Let’s accept that we are human, and that this is our life that we are living too.
I am an imperfect mother, but I love my children.
I LOVE MY CHILDREN!
And that is good enough.
I thought I would take a break from cleaning vomit out of my tub for the second time this week…
(Readers: We won’t we promise!)
(But, really now, Isaac keeps drinking bath water until he vomits, and I don’t always notice right away, so I keep washing him… and then afterwards the chunks won’t go down the drain…)
(Readers: AHHHHH! No No No!)
…to focus and a really wonderful part of motherhood this week- the first snow day of the season!
Snow days were one of the reasons I wanted to become a mother.
When you are an adult, snow is usually just an inconvenience, but once you have kids, VOILA! Insta-magic and a day of free entertainment!
Joseph was fairly buzzing with excitement- and luckily Brian was working from home that day, so I was able to set up a monitor during Isaac’s nap and head out with my big boy.
The fact that he is actually facing the camera AND smiling speaks volumes.
He was in awe.
And then, out of nowhere, he flopped down and started doing a snow angel.
Completely unprompted, I tell you!
“Joseph! How do you know how to make a snow angel?!” I shrieked.
“From Kipper the Dog!!” He shouted back.
You see? This tv is really teaching him life skills.
At one point, I may have thrown a snowball at him and hit him in the ear, making him cry (not pictured), but he quickly recovered and the snowball fight was on!
(I totally won)
It was too powdery to make a snowman, but we tried our best.
(Can you see the small snow-mound next to his feet? Me neither, but it was there, and that was our snowman. Also, he wanted to pose like this)
He added some arms and a chunk of dirty slush for the nose and then took a picture of it himself.
And then he took a picture of the inside of the storm drain for good measure.
(Kids are so awesome.)
After that, he came after me with a stick,
and started beating me about the legs, so it was time to put down the camera!
And I’m glad that I did.
When our hands started aching (“My hands are hurting in my VEINS, mama!”) we came in, I fixed Joseph some hot chocolate with marshmallows, only to find out that marshmallows in his hot chocolate make him gag and wail.
So, good to know.
Overall, a Great day.
Goodnight all, I am heading back to the Bathtub o’ Doom.
Since when did I become a grown up that has to do this kind of thing?
Where is my mother?