Summer – Bleh

I remember when I was in school, any age really, and summer was the awesomest thing. Summer meant sleeping in. Beach trips. Family vacations. Pool! Camping! (Of course, one year it also meant Algebra summer school but…whatevs.)

We cleaned out desks or lockers. The hallways were always full of trash cans and screaming youths. In college, the packing was usually very last minute, throwing all non-essential items into a giant box and hoping I could fit it in the back of the van with all the TP I intended to confiscate.

I worked as a camp counselor for several summers throughout college. After the first summer, I trained and received my lifeguard certification. I guarded the pool, lake, and canoe trips down the river. I wore a bathing suit every day. I swam every day. And I still got to ride horses and go hiking and sleep under the stars.

And then I grew up. Theoretically. And summers became just like every other day except a lot hotter and a lot more crowded. I work constantly, and don’t really like to vacation during the summer because everyone else does. A Tuesday at the beach in September is near perfection. A Tuesday at the beach in July is damn near hell. Besides, if I can continue working, maybe I can catch-up on some stuff and feel ahead of the game when the client comes back from their Caribbean getaway.

But Hannah. Oh how she loves to be outside. How she enjoys the water so stinkin much. I wish I could give her a pool membership. Or that we lived closer to the beach and I could drive her out there after work everyday. I know she is still too young to retain these memories, but I feel inadequate only being able to offer a sprinkler and bucket o water in the backyard.

And so I am equal parts genuinely excited for her and overly stressed for me that we are heading to my In-Laws’ lake house next week. I bought Hannah a life jacket so she can go out on the boat. They have a lot of land for her to run around and explore. We’ll pick up another little pool for her at Wal-Mart so even if she isn’t on the boat with us, she’ll be having a great time with Meme. And no matter what, Hannah will not go without. If I forget anything, it will be purchased for her. She is going to have a great time.

I on the other hand am going to be anxious. Stressed. I will probably have more grey from this relaxing vacation than I ever have. See, we’re getting new laptops at work, scheduled for the week I am out. Which means I have to leave my current computer in the office so it can be imaged and transferred to the new one. Which means a full week without being able to just check in, delete unnecessary communications, forward pertinent information, or just know what evil horrendous garbage I have left for my back-ups to clean up for me in my absence.

I still feel so out of sorts with this job. I am constantly confused, defensive, and trying to dig out of horrifying and so obvious errors made by the previous owners. Meanwhile, I know I am probably creating some pretty large issues myself, not billing or not following a procedure correctly or not keeping adequate records or not using the correct type of pen which renders the whole study completely useless. And it is stressful to think that someone else will be responsible for a week and catch all of these things and think me an idiot. That is really more hurtful to me than getting lectured, or fired. Someone finding out that after this long, I still don’t know what’s going on.

Summer. Bleh. Go home and give me Autumn with some pumpkin flavored crap and a hoodie.


All Things Considered

We had game night. We went to a festival. We threw a party.

I know, what the heck right? From nothing ever to three social events in one weekend? Back the truck up Shemanda. Save some fun for the rest of the world.

We went out for game night Friday. Beth came over to babysit and Hannah tricked her into letting her stay up until almost 11! But it worked out ok, she slept all through the night and until about 10 the next morning.

Beth decided to stay the weekend with us to help out with the party prep and child wrangling and just have some good old fashioned friend time. It was invaluable. She and Hannah played. She took Hannah on walks. She helped in the kitchen. Beth even made her signature dip and deviled eggs!

I spent most of the day Saturday mowing the lawn and attempting to get things organized. I made trips to Lowes and Kroger, got more plants and a kiddie pool and sprinkler, and a couple of other necessities. Then showered up and headed out to the middle of nowhere!

A friend’s band was playing an outdoor gig out in the country. It’s usually a pretty small affair, a few arts and crafts stands, a few farmer’s market type stands, a few food trucks. There’s a covered stage that faces a pretty low sloping hill that is usually packed with blankets and birkenstocks. Also a slip n slide made out of two giant uninflated outdoor pools. Anyway, we went to hear our friend sing and tooled around the little stands. Hannah danced and scurried. We stood in line for the slip n slide but it was a little slow and though she would have had a great time, she started to move on and I was totally OK with encouraging that.

Sunday I spent most of the morning repotting plants and cleaning up the outside areas for the party. We were prepping the outdoors but also trying to prepare ourselves for the fact that it was probably going to rain. We rearranged furniture, steam cleaned carpets with Shelby’s brand new steam cleaner, and then went out to dinner so as not to dirty all the dishes before the party. But then Shelby and Beth stayed up late working in the kitchen making gigantic messes anyway. So make that 4 social events. We went out to dinner!!!

Monday we officially started at 4 but invited people as early as 2. the first carload (and I do mean carload) arrived at about 3:30. The last person left at a little after 9:00pm. All in all, I think we had a success! Everyone seemed happy, chatty, well fed and content. It didn’t rain. The mosquitos weren’t too aggressive. We had another little girl come and she and Hannah spent most of the time in the pool. They did take breaks from splashing every once in a while to run through the sprinkler with some adult or other. Hannah also took occasional breaks to wave at her adoring public. (She was totally being paparazzied all day.)

Oh yeah, and our neighbor called the cops on us. WIN!

Date Night

Shelby and I have had very few date nights since Hannah was born. And we haven’t really had the most traditional dating life anyway. OK, let me back up and tell you about a time BB (Before Baby).

When Shelby and I first started dating, we did the traditional thing. He’d pick me up, we’d go for food, take a walk around campus (college town though very thoroughly not college people), go dancing, go to the zoo…It did not take long before we were just completely comfortable sitting around a house watching TV or playing games or hosting parties where others had to come to us.

And then we got married and were both heavily into theatre. We spent most of the time at separate rehearsals and then would meet up at the bar afterwards. Or we’d get home as fast as we could to sink into the couch and melt each other’s stress away. Our “dates” were primarily theatre based; go to see the other’s show, go to a show together…we’d still take day trips to the beach and maybe try to find a hotel to stay in if we were too tired to drive home.

And then I got pregnant. We were both still into theatre, but it is a lot less fun hanging at the bar when you can’t drink and you’re tired and either no one knows you’re preggers yet and you feel ginormously fat or you’re about 2 months from your due date and are actually ginormously fat. And we were trying to buy a house. And our cat was sick. And it just made more sense or maybe it was nesting but I would just come home from work, pop some netflix on the iPad and pack boxes.

Enter baby.

Hannah was born November 4, 2015. The first time Shelby and I left the house at the same time, together, without Hannah was March 17, 2016. I think the second time was September 17, 2016 when I went to watch Shelby perform and then rushed home right after. I’m not really sure if there has been a third time. So that would make tonight the third time.

It’s no big thing. Some friends invited us over for game night. It will be casual. We won’t be too far. Beth is a fantastic babysitter. Last time (I mean apart from the time she rescued us when we had the flu), Hannah had such fun and then fell asleep and slept all night which was rare at that time. This is a good thing. And I am trying to convince myself here, this is a good thing. Social adult time together as husband and wife. Blah.

Zoo 2.0

We joined the Zoological Society. I don’t know if I mentioned that before but it seemed logical given our child’s deep devotion to all things animal. The membership basically rocked our socks the first time we used it because one of the perks is your own fancy pants entrance. We foolishly went on a Saturday and the line to get into the park was almost to the parking lot. But not for us, we strolled right on up and right on in.

This zoo is broken into two regions; Africa and North America. That first time, we started in Africa. But there are two loops, one for the big game animals and one for the little guys. We kinda did it wrong and ended up going through the monkeys and bugs a couple of times before linking up to North America. It got late and the park was getting ready to close so we tore through North America kinda hurriedly. We also missed some of the animals that had already been put away for dinner or whatever they do behind the scenes when the tourists are all gone. Still, we walked back to Africa and got to glimpse the giraffes and elephants which are my favorite animals by far.

This time, we started in North America. It was hot. Most of the animals were asleep far away in the shade but we did get to see a lot of the aquatic exhibits that we missed the last time. The sea lions were out and being very photogenically compliant in their swimming around in front of all the windows (I mean for those who are halfway decent at photography unlike yours truly). There were lots of fish of course. We saw the otters being silly. But once again, the polar bears were not available. They haven’t been available the last several times I’ve been to the zoo. Methinks they may no longer be residing in the zoo at all, and the teams are just buying time until a new pair arrives, but that is mere speculation. We may just have fantastically bad timing.

sea lion

They also have several kid zones throughout the park. Animals are cool n all, but all that walking gets kinda boring. Let’s SLIDE! I let Hannah loose in one while Shelby rejuvenated with some french fries and shade. I’m fairly certain we could have just stayed there all day and she would have been pleased as punch. Instead, after about 20 minutes of playing I lathered her in sunblock and strapped her back in the stroller to continue our trek toward Africa.

And that’s when it all started to go horribly wrong.

It was hot. And though the paths offer a lot of shade, they also offer a lot of hillish type walking. Particularly up to the exhibits. Oh yeah, did I mention that Hannah had one of her UP UP UP nights the night before and didn’t let us go to sleep until 5:00am? So everyone was already kinda edgy and raw from being up all night. Hannah was tired of being in her stroller but could not be counted on to stay on the path. Shelby was hot, tired, and soooo not interested in chasing Hannah and the subsequent hysterics when we tried to wrangle her back into the general direction we were attempting to walk. I was hot, tired, and trying to balance humoring Hannah and appeasing Shelby.

And then Hannah started sweating sunblock into her eyes. Which she tried to rub out with her slippery sweaty sunblocky hands. And she would only eat a bite of one snack before getting upset and requesting something else. And Shelby ran out of ice cold Diet Coke. And then Hannah just had a complete meltdown about shoes and heat and stinging eyeballs and WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT PARENTS? ALL I SEE IS A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT COLORED ROCK BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY MY BRAIN CAN CHANGE THAT INTO A SLEEPING GRIZZLY BEAR.

It was nap time but I couldn’t stroll Hannah fast enough to get her relaxed and sleeping. (She falls asleep in the stroller often, but really only if she has consistent movement at an up pace. Not super fast, but also not general meandering.) We never made it to Africa. We got as far as the center junction before we finally decided to call it quits and catch the tram back to the North America entrance. I took Hannah to the restroom while Shelby started the car and got the AC blasting. Hannah found contentment sitting in the sink and turning the water on, completely dousing her shoes and legs but thankfully not her outfit as I had stupidly not packed her a spare. A quick and loudly protested diaper change later, we buckled her up in the nicely cooled backseat. Within seconds, she was napping peacefully and stayed that way the whole drive home and then some.

I’m glad we paid for the membership. I would have been frustrated and harbored resentment if we had driven the almost 2 hours to the zoo and paid full price for about an hour and a half inside only to then drive 2 hours back home. But as it was, we recorded some valuable lessons about what to pack, how to manage time and expectations, and what times to shoot for given the kid’s temperament. I look forward to further exploring presentations and feeding times to increase our likelihood of a) seeing active animals at all and b) showing Hannah something super cool. (I mean, this trip she seemed to be the most fascinated by a large bird that sat fairly closed to the exhibit viewing area cleaning it’s wings. So sleeping lions and tigers and bears lose out to something that actually moves. Imagine how cool it would be if we actually saw lions tigers and bears moving! [I don’t think this zoo even has tigers.])

We’re also planning a quick trip out to the coast this summer as our Zoo membership includes access to several aquariums as well. I think that will be a more successful trip what with the indoorness and air conditioning and water. But then again, she may just have a meltdown because we won’t let her in the tank with the fishes.

Toddlers. It’s a darn good thing they’re cute.zoo


C’Mon Kid

Just when I thought we had everything sorted, she goes and does THIS again…

Tuesday she went to both the dentist and the doctor. She was given high praise at both appointments for her above normal perfection, her plaqueless teeth and her positive demeanor. She was poked, prodded, stabbed and made generally uncomfortable. Her nap schedule was all off. I was worried about how she would sleep that night, but she slept like a dream.

The next two nights however…

There are so many things. Things that are likely contributing but not solely responsible for the disruption. Individually they would not be cause for alarm, but together they make for an unholy amount of garbage for a toddler to deal with and I don’t know how to fix it.

She’s 18 months old and gaining her independence, but still so very much a daddy’s girl. She shushes when he’s sleeping, but can’t help herself from running to the bedside screaming “DA!”. If momma tells her no, she runs to Da for comfort. If Da tells her no, she runs to Da for comfort. The mention of his name makes her smile. She is happy to stop whatever amazingly fun (read inappropriate toddler activity) she is engaged in to see where daddy is, or bring daddy something, or say bye-bye, or blow kisses. Shelby has a show that opened last night and has been at rehearsal most nights when she goes down. She looks for him when I take her up. She blows kisses to the couch and then frowns at me. She is restless without him.

She has 4 new teeth coming in. Like whoa. 4! Overachiever. They don’t seem to be causing her much pain or anything. She’s not overly chewy or cranky. I didn’t even notice them until we went to the dentist. But maybe they are bothering her more than I realize?

She also shot up 4 inches in the last three months. So there are definite changes happening fast and loose with her body. Who knows what other havok is ravaging her body and mind, immeasurable by stethoscopes and a twenty minute observation session.

The temperature in our house (and let’s be fair, the weather in general) is so all over the place right now. Her room is either a super sauna or an ice box. I can’t seem to dress her right to account for either scenario though both are likely to happen ALL IN THE SAME NIGHT EFF U NC. And the vent in her room blows directly over her crib. But she sleeps with a quilt now. It used to hang over her window to make it darker in her room until she pulled it off the wall. Then, I just hung it over the side of the crib to help block her face at least from the intrusive sunlight during naptime. It didn’t take long for her to start pulling it into the crib before I even got out of the room, so now we just leave it on the mattress for her to do with as she sees fit. She still hates having blankets cover her legs though. Often she wakes up with freezing feet and a sweaty head. Pull it together toddler. Pull it together.

And then there’s the nap schedule. We’ve toyed with pulling her to one nap a day. We’ve been inconsistent lately and I know that is screwing her up. She is the kinda kid that sleeps better at night when she sleeps well during the day so her nap schedule being all wonky could be contributing to her overnight schedule. Her previous sleep schedule:

7:30 – 9:00 AM – wake up.

10:30 – 11:00 AM – first nap in which she sleeps for about 30 minutes to an hour.

2:30 – 3:30 PM – down for second nap in which she sleeps for 3 hours.

8:30 PM – bedtime routine starts including bathtime, bedroom prep, and “chapter book” which is usually watching 15 – 20 minutes of a movie with Da!

9:00 PM – bed

With her tendency to not sleep at all for one or the other of her naps, we started looking at the probability of reducing her to one nap per day. But as I say, we’ve been inconsistent. With some of her appointments scheduled based on her previous schedule and our own fatigue and attempts at getting the house in some sort of functional state, we just throw her at the crib when she gets cranky. Sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she has quiet time, sometimes she lays there talking to herself louder and louder until she finally works herself up enough to yell for Da! So we don’t have a consistent schedule anymore, and I think we just need to pull the trigger and set a one nap a day schedule and get her used to it, but dang it’s hard to even deal with right now.

Tuesday she had her appointments. Tuesday night, she slept all night and was still out cold when I left for work Wednesday morning. I am told she did not nap well on Wednesday though. That night, she got cranky early and I had spent the day googling the transition to one nap a day and blah blah so I put her down a little early, like 8:45. She slept for a few hours, her typical second nap duration, and then she was up. Up Up Up. Talking, playing, trying to engage us in chasing and tickling. Begging for shoes. Like, dude, it is 2:30AM, we are simply not going outside! Wednesday night she woke wide up and wouldn’t go back to sleep until 4:30AM. She still only slept until 8:30 Thursday morning. Unsure of how to handle a night of no sleep and the wishy-washy ness of one nap or two, Shelby put her down at about 11:00 AM Thursday morning. She slept for about an hour and a half. And then she was up. She played hard, inside and outside. I thought groovy, maybe we’ll get her so tired that the whole second wind will even be exhausted by bedtime, but her dad suggested we put her down at 3:45 (and she was a SUPER crank right about then) so we did. And she did not sleep. She talked to herself for an hour before finally screaming to be released from this boring prison. Once again, because of Dr. Google, I pushed her bedtime routine a little early and had her in the crib by 8:30PM Thursday night. She slept until ten minutes to 1, at which point she woke up shrieking. We both let it go and she soon settled down but then spent the next hour tossing and turning and groaning but never crying for more than 30 seconds. Until 2, when she was once again up uP UP and in no way interested in sleeping.

Since I had to come into the office today, Shelby was in charge of staying up with her. He took her downstairs and I fell asleep after about 20 minutes of convincing myself he had it taken care of and the best thing for me to do was sleep. About 30 minutes later, she was at my bedside saying “Shh Shh Shh. Momma!” The explosion in my heart blew my eyes wide open. But it was short lived as she then punched me in the face. (It seemed accidental, but also looked pretty darn purposeful if you ask me.) Once it was apparent she just wanted to play in the bed and wasn’t going to lay quietly and go to sleep, Shelby took her back downstairs. That was at 4:00AM. I didn’t hear much activity after that and fell asleep again pretty hard, so I’m hoping they did too.

6:30 my alarm went off. 6:45, I heard rustling and the unmistakable timbre of toddler garble downstairs and figured I’d better get my shower started in case there was some significant momming that had to happen before I could leave for the office. By the time I got downstairs, she was once again asleep in the crook of Shelby’s legs.




She calls the moon a ball. We go out for a walk in her stroller and she catches glimpses of the half moon in the sky. She points and shouts “BALL!” which comes out really more like “BOH”. And then she keeps pointing and shouting. And I say “moon” and she says “MOH!” and twists in her stroller so she can continue pointing and staring. And the she hears a dog and straightens out, looks everywhere for the hound, and ever so silently says “vuh vuh vuh” which is her version of “woof woof woof”.

If I ask her to hand me her plate she will. If I ask her to bring me the iPad she will. If I ask her to put something in the sink, or give it to dada, or take it upstairs, she will she will she will. I’m not sure how it transpired (though I have a fairly good idea), but when I came home from work the pantry was doused in Cumin. One of those giant bottles almost completely emptied onto the floor. There were tiny handprints and long dragging finger scrapes all around the edges. I handed her the dustpan and she dove right in, doing more damage than good but clearly understanding that she was given a tool to clean up with and did the best her uncoordinated body parts would let her do.

When I ask her to hand me her bowl, she hands me a ball. She does love that word.

She hands me her little toddler bathtub before climbing into the big bath fully clothed. We brush her teeth every evening. With toothpaste.

She loves to be outside. And if there is even the tiniest hint that she can go, she grabs a pair of shoes. Sometimes they are her shoes and she smiles sweetly at you repeating “shss…shss” (very little in the way of vowels) and sits and presents a foot to you for her shoes to be put on. Sometimes, they are your shoes which may or may not be entirely appropriate for the adventure. My rainboots are a favorite of hers since they are quite easy to slip on and she can fit her entire body into one. But today she gave me the heels I had kicked off at the door, like those were totally acceptable for shoveling bark in the backyard.

She is fast. She has always been fast. But now she is fast, and brave, and taller than usual. She can climb higher than she used to. And boy does she love that. Did I tell you about the time I had a dream that she was like Lord of the Game of Thrones/Hunger Games tribe because she climbed the tallest heights? Yeah, still true. She climbs on chairs, stools, desks, beds, couches, end tables, real tables…our house looks like some kinda of weird checkers game because you can never have a chair too close to a surface or she will wreak havok.

She goes up and down stairs without holding on. She goes up and down the brick stairs outside just like an adult. No squatting, no hands, no turning around and sliding down on her tummy. Straight up core strength body correction and balance to lift a foot and place it on a lower step without falling over. I still catch my breath every time.

She likes piggyback rides. She kinda sucks at staying on for horsey rides, but piggyback rides are a win.

OMG she lotions. And combs her own hair. And wipes herself between diaper changes. And remembers we put the sunglasses on the bookshelf before her nap so she can have them after. She sleeps with a blanket. She has a possessed toy that won’t stop singing at the slightest vibration so it sits under the crib. We turn it on to put her to sleep but then it doesn’t go off all night when she shifts. She throws stuffed animals at it to make it start up again. She is smart. I mean, she’s smart for her age. She totally headbutts the cat and the baby gate, so she’s not that smart, but she is smart for her age.

Which is 18 months. Already.

All the Animals

OMG that one Friday that one time. We took Hannah to the Animal Kingdom. And she loved it. The End.

Just kidding.

But seriously. She loved it. She likes animals. All shapes and sizes. All breeds and species. If it moves by itself she is entertained. And in love. She meows at the cat when she sees him at the door. She barks toward every dog in the park albeit super quietly so they don’t really hear her. Her eyes light up and her mouth spreads into the biggest stupidest uncontrollable smile the world has ever seen. This kid will have a lot of pets.

We did the ape walk. A little trail surrounded on both sides by netted enclosures of various apes. Hannah had just recently learned the monkey sound so she oo-oo-ooed at each one she saw. She pointed, smiled, hugged tightly around the neck of whichever adult took her close up to see. (The other thing she does when she gets really excited is squeeze your face. Sounds cute. Is actually quite painful.)

She enjoyed it so very much. So when we got home, we joined the zoo.

And then we went to the zoo. And she loved it.

The End.