Nothing But a Number..

When I was growing up it seemed to me that all of my friends’ parents were roughly the same age.  I’m not entirely sure if that was true, but it just seemed that way.  Maybe it’s because they were so much older than I was that their ages all just fit in to the same category - old.  I could probably do some homework now and figure out of it was true or not, but that’s beside the point.

I met my husband when I was 19.  I was a freshman in college.  Of course at that time, I didn’t know he’d be my husband.  That was almost 12 years ago!  We continued to date throughout college, he graduated, got a “real” job, I graduated, got a “real” job, and then we moved in together.  Within a year we were engaged.  After a year and a half engagement, we were married.  A little over a year after that, our first child, Brinley, was born.  I’ll save you time from doing the math… I was engaged at 23, married at 24 and had my first baby at 25.  Sometimes I’d hear that I was so young or moving too fast, but I never let that bother me.

Now, nearly 12 years after meeting my husband, Scott, I am happily married, have two beautiful daughters and pretty much living the life I always imagined.  My older daughter is in Kindergarten this year.  She’s involved in a slew of activities outside of school.  I’ve met lots of other moms along my journey and I wonder how Brinley perceives us all.  Does she just think we’re all old?  Does she think we’re all the same age?  I know for a fact that she has friends who’s parents are almost 20 years older than I am.  She also has friends who’s parents are younger than I am, though not by much.  I’d agree that I’m probably one of the younger moms but that doesn’t seem to have any effect on my relationships with other moms I meet, younger or older.

I hear quite a bit that I’m so young or just getting started but other than some years, I have a lot in common with the moms that are 5, 10 and even 20 years older than me.  We all have kids the same age and that is the equalizer.  Our age… it’s nothing but a number.

Summer Hiatus and the Big K

You’ve probably noticed that I took a summer hiatus from blogging.  There was no particular reason for it.  It’s just hard to stay loyal to something when you’re living with basically no schedule at all and every day is filled with spontaneity.  I’m not complaining at all.  We had a fantastic summer filled with so many fun trips and adventures.  We traveled, took day trips, visited friends, went to parks and ate way too much ice cream.  We were living the life.  I know, you’re jealous!

Now it’s back to the grind.  And honestly, I’m not complaining about this lifestyle either.  Things do seem to operate with more ease when there is routine.  Especially with an almost five year old and a two year old running around the house.  Our daily scheules will be filled with playgroup, dance classes, gymnastics, soccer and a little thing called Kindergarten.

Brinley’s first day was last week and she had been counting down the days for almost a month.  She absolutely loves school and could not wait for the first day to arrive.  I knew she’d do fine in school and that she’d be happy and make friends.  My issue was with the bus.  It just felt so wrong to be sending this little person off on a big yellow bus with no car seat or seat belt driven by a man who I had never before met.  When the bus pulled up that first day I had a huge pit in my stomach and seriously felt like I was going to throw up.  But I stayed strong and didn’t let her see my fear.  When the bus stopped she marched right up the stairs, walked to a seat and sat down never once looking back to us.  As they pulled away I felt my throat get tight as my husband signed “Oh man”.  That may have been the hardest thing I’ve had to do to date.

Today is her third day of school and everything is going perfect.  Though it’s hard to pry out of her what she does all day, I know she’s enjoying it.  When she wakes up in the morning she wants to get dressed right away and has a very hard time waiting for the bus to come.  Since she’s in afternoon kindergarten, the bus doesn’t come until almost noon.  It’s going to be hard to distract her in the morning until she switches in January.

So that’s basically what’s been going on with us.  I’m going to try to get back on track with the blog as I know there are many who enjoy reading about our lives.   What’s new with you?  Any big changes for your family this year?

Days Go By

Amazing how fast time just flies by, huh?  Sometimes I have to stop and think back a few days, weeks or months to really get a grasp on what has been happening in my life.  Would you believe that I turned thirty, yeah 3-0, back in December?  Honestly, how did I get this old?  I remember graduating high school and college and getting my first apartment.  Now here I am a happily married mother of two paying a mortgage and managing a rental property.

Oh and in January, I registered my little girl for Kindergarten.  Seriously, I feel like I just brought her home from the hospital and she’s going to be starting real school in September?  Yikes!  Sometimes I feel like her four and a half years of life have just passed me by.  My little baby has become a real little girl.  She’s reading!  She dresses herself every single day {sometimes much to my dismay} and we actually have real conversations.

And my baby?  Well, she turned two on Sunday.  She’s not a baby anymore!  She can do just about anything {or at least she’ll try to}.  Walking, talking, running, jumping, you name it – she does it.  Her language amazes me.  Full sentences is an understatement.  She speaks in paragraphs.  She knows what she wants and asks for it.  She idolizes her big sister and for the most part they get along really well.

My house is free of baby swings and bottles.  In their place are ballet slippers and soccer cleats.  Gone are the days of walks in the stroller and easily being able to entertain my kids.  Now I’m scheduling play dates and preparing for dance recitals.  My kids prefer playing with each other or their friends over playing with me.

It’s crazy how quickly time passes, how fast we change and how easily we overlook certain things.  Sometimes I wish I could relive the past 5 years of my life.  So much has happened and I want to remember it all all over again.  But as the days continue to go by I look forward to the future and to all of the great things that are yet to come.

Play area police.

Rain, rain, go the eff away!

I say this with mixed emotions.  Most of me is completely hating the rain right now, but the homeowner, lawn owner part of my really likes it.  It means our near lifeless grass which we’ve watered (according to the water ban) with no avail, is now getting a grand old drink and beginning to look green again.  But this is day four of rain and the girls and I are beginning to go stir crazy.

Over two of the past four days we’ve visited malls.  And apparently so did everyone else.  They were both crowded and filled to the brim with kids of all ages.  We got some shopping done and had some delicious lunches in the foot court, but we also had some too close encounters in the play areas.  See, I’m used to going to the mall in the winter during the week when there is no one there except for me, some old ladies, and a few other SAHMs.  So, going to the mall int he summer when school is not yet back in session is a whole ‘nother beast!

Our mall’s play area looks a lot like this one:

It has a little club house with a slide and a tunnel and then 2 or 3 other climb in/sit in play structures.  The flooring is soft and it’s enclosed with benches.  The sign at the entrance specifically states that the area is for children under 42 inches tall and that children must be supervised by a parent/adult at all times.  However, no one mans the entrance or makes sure that people abide by these rules.

So, on Monday, we ate lunch and then hit up the play area.  It was teeming with children of all ages and heights.  I knew it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable time.  Just as I was about to scoop the girls back up and leave, a boy, probably 8 or 9 years old and well over 42 inches tall, clotheslined Brinley and she fell to the ground.  He kept right on running.  No one stopped him or came over to see if my kids was ok.  I took the girls out and went over to the “Member Services” booth.  I asked the lady working there if anyone checked up on the play area to make sure that people were playing by the rules.  She was very nice and said not typically but that if I had a problem that she could call the security guard over.  I said yes, please and left the area to do some shopping.  When we returned to the play area it was much more calm and the girls got to play for a little bit.

Today, we went to a mall again (I know, I know but sometimes you just gotta get out of the house!).  Again, this mall was crowded but I expected it after seeing the mall on Monday.  We did a little shopping and then went to have lunch.  After lunch we went to this mall’s play area which is almost identical to the other one.  It was pretty crowded but most of the kids seemed like they belonged there.  I decided to assume the role of “play area police” today.  I wasn’t mean or rude, but I stood watch near the slide for a bit.  Kids have a hard time waiting in line for the slide and I was simply there to help them remember to take turns.  (I was also watching out for Nora as she climbed the stairs.)  So anyway, Nora made her way up the stairs and then down the slide.  Once she got to the bottom she was so proud.  She stood up and started clapping.  Within a fraction of a second, one of the too big kids ran by her and stiff armed her to the face.  She fell and he kept right on running.

Now if Brinley, who is almost four, gets bumped into a little too roughly I usually let her work it out and things are fine.  But it’s a different story when a 7 year old boy stiff arms your 15 month old daughter to the face.  So, I did what any other mean concerned mother would do.  I stopped the boy and told him that he should slow down and watch where he was going.  I reminded him that the play area was for small children and that if he was going to play here he really had to be careful.  He apologized.  I’m not sure where his parents were but within a minute or two he was gone from the play area.  I win!

So, yes, I’m THAT mom.  I refuse to stand idly by and watch my sweet little bruiser girl get stiff armed to the face by a boy who is clearly too big for the play area.  I just wish some parents would be more responsible.  I know the day will come when my girls are just on the cusp of being too big to go in the play area.  They’ll beg to go in and I’ll have to tell them no.  Rules are rules.  And they’re there for a reason. ::Stepping down from my soapbox::

Minus one child.

I completely forgot how easy it was to have just one child.  I’m not trying to belittle the job that any of you parents of one do, but having just one child is cake compared to having two (or more, I’m sure).

You see, on Thursday Brinley asked me if she could have a sleep over at Mimi’s (my mom’s) house.  I’m not sure if the idea originated in Brinley’s mind or Mimi’s but that’s a moot point.  She’s slept there a few times before when Mimi was babysitting but this was the first time she had asked to sleep over just for fun.  After running the idea by Scott, I said that it was ok.  We were already out shopping with Mimi when the idea came about and it made no sense for me to go back home and get her an overnight bag so we did what any bargain shopping mom would do – we went to the clearance rack at Kohls.  After picking out some princess pajamas and an outfit for the next day we made a pit stop at the car to get her some underwear (I always keep a few spare pairs there in case of an accident).  And Mimi has a toothbrush for Brinley at her house.

So we left the store and I took Nora while Brinley went with Mimi in her car (she has a carseat in Mimi’s car too) and off we went our separate ways.  When I got home, Nora was ready for a nap.  I put her in her crib and felt almost at a loss for what to do.  Usually when she’s napping I spend alone time with Brinley playing games or doing things that Nora makes impossible.  But I didn’t have to do any of that.  So what did I do?  I cleaned the kitchen and swept the floors and did some laundry – boooooooring!  Then I caught up on some blog reading while waiting for Scott to get home from work.

When Nora woke up from her nap, we played and I made her dinner.  She was a joy.  She never whined or cried or screamed.  When Scott got home from work we hung out, just the three of us.  Now of course we missed Brinley but it was really nice to spend some quality alone time with just Nora.  We put her to bed and then watched some TV.  She slept until 8:45am!  When she woke up we brought her in to bed with us.  Then we all got up and had breakfast.  She was a peach the entire time.

This made me realize something.  Nora gets a bad wrap.  And it’s because of Brinley.  They’re both amazing, wonderful, smart kids but when they’re together they get on each others nerves and often bring out the bad side in one another.  Nora is always getting into Brinley’s projects and Brinley is always touching and taunting Nora unnecessarily.  Good ol’ sibling rivalry.  Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times when they’re loving on each other and playing really well, but those seem to be overshadowed by the times when they’re annoying each other.

It was really awesome to be able to focus on just one child for a little while.  Brinley had our undivided attention for 2 years and 8 months before Nora came into our lives.  Nora has never had our undivided attention.  I realize that is what happens when you have more than one child but it makes me feel a little bit bad for Nora.  It will be nice when Brinley is in school this fall three mornings a week and I get to spend some one-on-one time with Nora.  I’m sure she’s going to love it!

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