Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 1

So, that whole "get rid of stuff" challenge?  Yeah.  I failed day one.

BUT, we did donate a bunch of wet cat food and cat toys yesterday to an awesome shelter.  Can that count?

Also got rid of a lot of the twins' bread by feeding it to ducks.

Okay, try again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stuff

I'm a declutterer, a cleanser, if you will.  I love to donate stuff (only if it's my idea, of course).  And "stuff" is definitely something we have too much of around the house, even though I regularly try to go through it all.  But really, three duffel bags, two suitcases, and a carpet bag?  Eleven jackets?  Two cats?

I kid.  About the last one.  But I've decided to do a one-a-day giveaway: for the next ten days (at least), I'm going to put an object in the donate pile.  I'll try to write about it each time.  Maybe I'll get inspired and give away both cats!

Aaand now I get to run screaming from my angered wife.  Oh true love.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gender

I've been doing some research on gender and preschoolers for V, for a paper she's working on.  It's bringing back all sorts of fascinating articles and memories, like the now-infamous story of a preschool boy's Daphne costume and the startling picture series of children's gender-colored belongings.

It's also making me think of Patrick, of course.  He's mild on the gender-nonconformist spectrum, only wearing a daily ponytail or barrette and wanting the pink bed at Ikea.  In my world, that's mild; when I'm reading about Jazz's young transition, Patrick seems downright normal.  And life with him is pretty normal.

I forget these things until we go out.  Thankfully, he's young and cute enough that people don't make negative comments, and having his sister always with him helps "normalize" what might be his "deviant" behavior.  We walked to get ice cream the other night, and three different people commented: one lady told him she liked his hair, one girl said to her boyfriend after we walked past, "oh how cute!," and a guy on the street looked at me and said "nice ponytail," pointing to Patrick.  Each time was jarring to me.  I forget that people don't see him everyday, don't know that this is one of the most normal parts of life for us.  Grab one or two ponytails for Lilly, grab one for Patrick.  Do their hair while they eat breakfast.

Even their dad is resigned, now.  I'm sure he thinks Patrick will grow out of it, and he very well might.  I'm totally okay if he does.  (Well, I'll be a little bit sad.)  But each time Patrick pulls a certain shirt out of his drawer that is sleeveless and slightly longer than some of his others, he exclaims, "This looks like a dress!" and gleefully puts it on.  I want to buy him a dress, but that would cross the line with his parents (gut feeling).

Anyway, there are always a thousand thoughts in my head about gender.  And I love that Patrick keeps it in the forefront of my mind, and is so willing to buck tradition even without knowing it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Oval

V and I just went to an awesome live-music adult skate night.  My brain is running in ovals, my feet keep trying to slide, and I'm on an adrenaline high.  Also, other lesbians exist!  That's always such a friendly reminder.

Speaking of, I had my first acupuncture appointment today (which went well - not too much to tell), and the lady who runs it kept asking me questions about V and I, then apologizing.  I of course can talk about our journey and baby wishes and families for hours.  Finally, she said, "I'm sorry I keep asking things.  You're just such an interesting person!"  That also made me smile.

Now I'm so tired, and the cats are so not.  Please let us sleep...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Red

Well, we saw the big red furry guy today.  As expected, none of the kids were super thrilled.  Oh, they all loved the idea, but the actual large animal/monster/creature?  Of the kids, Kali, who's all of a year, came the closest to voluntarily walking toward him.  Her older sisters, and Patrick and Lilly, wanted nothing to do with any of it.  And it was crowded, warm, and loud.  All in all, a fairly miserable hour and a half - but then it was over.

We followed Kali and company back to their house for lunch, which was great.  Their mom, V, and I sat and talked, while the four older kids played in the playroom and Kali walked/fell/whined/walked/etc.  Of course Lilly then threw another kicking and screaming tantrum before bed.  Their mom comes home tomorrow, so I'm hoping that will bring back a sense of normalcy.  I mean, I'm pinning her legs down to get a nap time diaper on her, and she's screaming "Don't sit on my legs!!"  Sorry, kid, but if you'd just hold still...

Though in the van after leaving Elmo, we had an adorable conversation about how he had to go back to Sesame Street now, and we decided it was far away from where we live, and that he probably drives a red car.

Also, Patrick's ability to tune out his sister when she's tantrum-ing is both wonderful and hilarious.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yoga

I love yoga nights.  They just seem to settle me, and life seems more manageable.  Which I need: without going into it too much, Lilly's tantrums and behavior issues are only escalating.  I know in part it's because her mom is out of town, but just in general, she's been a mess lately.

I'm also going to start acupuncture.  There's a place about a mile up the road that does affordable, community-style acupuncture; I figure it's worth a try.  I definitely need some help with my body and brain these days.  Huh, just like a certain three year old I know.  Though to be fair, I don't kick people/things.

I went grocery shopping on the scooter tonight.  I need to stop doing that, as only so much can fit under the seat and in a bag or backpack.  Though I'm impressed with myself: a gallon of milk, a box of cereal, a bag of frozen chicken nuggets, two bags of frozen veggies, two cans, a big tub of yogurt, oil, chocolate chips, and four pears.  (Yes, we're eating horribly lately.  It's the end of the semester and I've been a mental mess; meal plans aren't on my radar right now.)

Tomorrow is Elmo day.  Can I get a collective "ugh"?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

WTF

If you are not at work or in a place people might question laughing and/or spewing liquid at the computer screen, and you can sit through use of the word "codpiece" to describe what, in fact, goes underneath the codpiece, and you want to keel over laughing, I have a mission for you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Top

I haven't updated my top posts lists (on the right) in a long time, and now I'm too lazy to go back through my entire archive and see which ones jump out at me.  I do want to give people a starting point, though, if they just are popping in...a feeling for my writing, my topics, all those things that draw someone into a blog.  Any solutions?  Do I just get over being lazy?

Update: I got over being lazy, or rather, I put off doing real things, and went through my links. Some stayed, some went, some were added, and I can stop thinking about it now.

Money

V and I are in the middle of seven straight weekends of photoshoots, which is awesome.  It's also great from a financial standpoint; we were paid today after our shoot, and we went and "blew it," which for us means we hit two different thrift stores and spent just over $30.  Five shirts, three dresses, a pair of shoes, and a random small bucket that happens to have V's brother's name on it.  (It actually says ___'s Bucket Brigade. Oh yes, we bought that.)

As V said, "I think we needed to get paid."  So much of my income (by which I mean all) goes to rent and bills, and her dance teaching income usually ends up supplementing that, so it's nice to just go out and spend some cash without worrying that there are places it needs to go.

Next weekend we're shooting 4 year old pictures for boy/girl twins.  That'll be my kids in five more months!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Elmo

A few weeks ago, when I took the kids to the dentist with their mom, there was a raffle to win a "playdate with Elmo" - whatever on earth that means.  Patrick and Lilly's mom grinned and entered them.  I thought, "Oh, great, that means they're going to win, I just know."

Well, last night I got the "Guess what, Lilly won the Elmo playdate!" email.  It's next Thursday, at the dental office.  Sadly, their mom is traveling for work and will miss it, but I think I'm going to drag V along to photograph.  Lilly can invite friends, too, so we'll have a whole little party.

But really, a playdate with Elmo?  Ugh.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Comparison

I've recently introduced the twins to the Lion King soundtrack, but after listening to that over and over, today I put on Pocahontas for the first time.  They were very confused as to this new word/name; Lilly said it sounded like "hummus."

And so, with every new song, they asked if this was still "Pocahummus."
And I said yes.

And then put Lion King back in.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fan

One of our cats, the slightly denser but hopelessly adorable one, has met a new foe: the ceiling fan.  The other night, it was thundering, and she sat on the floor under it and looked up with a mixture of apprehension and terror.  Any loud noise makes her glance at it.  Just now, for reasons unknown, I called her name, and she stared at the fan.

She didn't even know it existed until we turned it on for the first time a few weeks ago.  Meanwhile, her older sister walks around with a "you stupid-face, you're ridiculous" look emanating from between her whiskers.

Gratuitous cat pictures, commence.
Calcifer, too smart for her own good.





   























C again, also too adept for all of our goods.
Calcifer on a box; Mei Mei in a box.  This wasn't posed.
Mei Mei, who is gorgeous in real life but hard to photograph.



Friday, April 13, 2012

Names

I'm not sure if I've talked about last names before, but after reading A's thoughts over at Two Mothers McGill, it's once again on my mind.  V and I have talked about me taking her last name.  I first proposed it a year or two ago; since we know I'll carry the first baby (whether there will be more, and who will carry them, is TBD), we want to have as many protections in place as possible.

V being linguistically tied to our child doesn't do much, but it's something.  Sadly, when you're two girls trying to make a family, you take the little somethings.  The problem: I'm not attached to my last name until I think of "losing" it.  Hers is prettier.  It's simpler to spell.  It's more elegant.

Mine doesn't work at all as a middle name, or hyphenated (and we wouldn't do that anyway).  I think the solution is to take hers.  I want to.  Just...not yet?

Work

It's take your wife to work day!

Actually, it's "V displays some of her pictures in the family center where the kids and I have class on Fridays, and it's time for her to take them down, so there's a legitimate reason for her to accompany us" day.

Whatever.

As long as there's a second person between me and Lilly, life will be better.  And who knows, maybe Lilly will be better.  I actually slept last night, unlike the night before, so I think I'm at least somewhat better.  Well, sleep, plus the hour-long sobbing mental breakdown I had at Bug and Andrew's yesterday (they were napping; their mom was out) after the twins and before going over Seth and Isabella's for the evening.  (Overbooked?  Me?)

Also, happy first birthday Kali!  We're doing her pictures tomorrow.  Hopefully there will be one I can post.  I miss that not-such-a-baby.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ugh

The cat did not let us sleep last night.
We're going through a cold snap that ends tomorrow, but in the meantime, the house is at 57.
V and I are both whiny, and both have full days.
I don't want to get on the scooter.
I'm not sure I want to see Patrick and Lilly.
I'm tired.
And cold.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eating

The twins' parents are home, I'm back at my home with two kitties instead of two kiddies, and I'm practically eating my weight in danish.  I preceded it with leftover asparagus though, which semi-justifies it.  I'm PMSing and destressing; when V gets home from class in a few minutes, I'm going to nag her to go out and get food.  (She'll probably say no.)

The experience was good.  Patrick actually didn't want to say goodbye to me (not like I won't be back there tomorrow morning), though about two minutes after his mom walked in the door, he looked at me and asked, "Why you not leave yet?"  Thanks, kid.  But then I got two hugs and a kiss before he'd let me.

I'm looking forward to my bed tonight, and resuming normal life.  I just wish it was the weekend - it already feels like it!  Speaking of, we're shooting Kali's one year pics on Saturday.  I can't believe she's that old already.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Obvious

Kids are so good at stating the obvious.  Tonight, at dinner-
Lilly: I don't like this. It's too spicy.
Me: You have it for dinner all the time, because we have leftovers for lunch all the time.
Lilly: But it's too spicy.
Me: What usually happens when you have it for dinner?
Lilly: Well mommy tells me to, and I throw a tantrum, and Daddy and Patrick feed the dog.

(Feeding the dog, by the way, is one of the incentives for eating a nice dinner.)

I love how matter-of-fact she was about the common progress of events.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ikea

With the twins' parents gone, I have more freedom than usual to do what I want with them.  For a long time, I've wanted to take them back to Ikea; with V around, it's even easier.  We packed dinner, ate in their cafe, and then went through the store a bit because we needed shelves.

When we reached the main beds section, Lilly shrieked, "I've never seen so many BEDS!!!"  We cracked up for a good long time.

They each picked a desk and worked for awhile, answering the phone, typing away, looking at the computer screen.

In the kids' bed area, Patrick curled up in a big pink plastic bed and announced that it was his favorite.  I took a picture and sent it to his mom.  This is the same child who was distressed in the van because we accidentally left the house without a hairbow for him.  (A ponytail in my purse placated him, thankfully.)

Who says Ikea isn't a playground?  Or, for that matter, is just an adult's playground?  We all had a blast.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday

Curled up on the couch with V, breakfasting/snacking on yogurt, leftover pancakes, blackberries, and whipped cream (of course!).  Photoshoot in an hour and a half, with a four year old and a two year old, at a playground.  Good friend coming in tonight on her way from home to college.  Ham and potatoes and corn and eggs and pudding and no family to look forward to tomorrow.

Monday morning through Wednesday at 5: living at Patrick and Lilly's while their parents take their first trip without the kids since the kids have been around.  I'm so excited.  I love when it's me, V, and some kids.  Especially those two.

There are few things happier than Lilly running across a room, arms open, to dive into your lap for a hug.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Entertainment

Today, we had zero tantrums.  Quite a few near misses: quick redirection, a brief stint of ignoring, or being silly averted them, though.  And we had a blast!  I've been on a creative streak this week - finally coming out of the depression fog I've been in for far too long.  Yesterday, we made picture frames out of popsicle sticks, which they glued buttons onto and decorated with glitter glue.  Then I cut out cardboard from a box in the recycling, glued paper to it, let them color it, and glued it into their frames.  Patrick's is now in daddy's office upstairs, and Lilly's went to mommy's office this morning where she put it on her big white board (she sent me a picture to show the kids).

Today, we used toothpicks and mini marshmallows to build towers, chains, shapes, etc.  They'd never seen toothpicks; Patrick tried to tell his dad what we were going to play with and he called them chopsticks.  When they ate all their marshmallows and were still playing with the "sticks," I realized we could make mini kabobs.  I gave them bowls of cut up apples and bananas, cheerios, fruit snacks, and a  few more marshmallows, and they strung them on and ate them.  Or rather, Patrick stuck an apple on each toothpick, stood it up, and pretended it was a candle to blow out.

I think those two things literally kept them occupied for an hour.  It was amazing.  No fighting or arguing, plus it was adorable.  Just goes to show that if I can put forth a little effort, I can engage their minds enough so they won't be quite so bratty.  Not always, but definitely a helpful start.  Hopefully this creative streak will continue a bit longer.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No baby

I don't want a baby right now.  I want a preschooler.  And I want him/her in order to make the right decisions, as opposed to the ones Patrick and Lilly's mom make.

Let me back up.  I do love their mom, and I know she wants what's best for them.  But in her mind, they aren't three and a half.  I think they're more like two and a half.

We have such different clothing styles.  I really, really wish I could buy the kids' wardrobes.  Because what I have to work with this summer?  Sucky.

I think they'd thrive in preschool.  Now.  Not when they're almost four.  For goodness sake, Lilly wants something to challenge her, wants a fight.  She'd love an environment where she was actually engaged.  Instead, we go to the zoo, and we go to the park, and we take walks around the neighborhood.

Those are all good things.  I think we should keep doing all of them.  But I also really wish they were in some more structured activity.

Their mom asks me to keep a schedule with them that she doesn't stick to on the weekends.  That lack of consistency is hurting them, I think.

When I started with them, I considered it lucky that I'd found a family whose views I could mesh with.  It was true then.  Apparently, the older they get, the less we mesh, and it's becoming a source of tension.  Not between us, but within me.  And that's coming out, in my lack of patience with the kids, who are acting out, because they aren't stimulated and on a regular schedule...

I hate nannying.

Head

There is too much going on in my head.  I've been fighting a lot of unexpected stress and depression yesterday; it's very much taking its toll.  I've dreaded going to work both yesterday and today, and already do for tomorrow.

I'm going to start back to yoga on Wednesday nights.  I've dropped that, and I think it was helping keep me balanced.

I'm going to make a more conscious effort to have a community when I'm with the kids.  We've been going places with Kali, Laura, and Danielle's mom, and one of her friends.  It's so much nicer - and I realized that, were I a stay at home mom with the twins, I would have this sort of group.

I'm still fighting motivation, though.  I did stick to the meal plan tonight!  Then I ate too much cookie dough, and now I'm reading the internet.

Have you all see leasthelpful.com - because if not, go prepare to laugh and shake your head.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shoot

Anyone want to donate to the get V a new camera fund?  She's been shooting with a pretty bottom of the line body, and has gotten amazing results, but it's time for a step up into the world.  But I've learned that big steps cost big money.

I asked why she had to have such an expensive hobby.  Her response was that hopefully it will stop being a hobby and start being an income (it already is, though sporadically).  In the meantime...can anyone convince Canon to have a half off sale?