Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mister Baggins Can't Sit Still

Baggins on the Move: A baby-crawling picture essay.

By nature, a picture essay should not have words,
 but let's just talk for one minute about those little crossed ankles...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And then it was November.

 Um, guys? Thanksgiving is in a WEEK. Like, 7 days. What? WHAT?! It's like someone slipped something into my beer at a frat party and I slept through 2012. Only, I don't drink. Or go to frat parties. And also, why would someone bother with drugging me? A dark, quiet room and a catheter and I'd be out until Bug graduates from Kindergarten.

I've been thinking a lot about blessings. I guess that's pretty typical this time of year, but it's been especially poignant for me this season. Yesterday, I cried all the way through this video.

Just a glimpse of the devastation these families are facing was enough to make me squeeze my babies and send up a silent prayer of thanks for my electricity. And while it's a painfully obvious observation, it strikes me that it's all from a storm-- a random, unpredictable, and completely uncontrollable force of nature with no rhyme or reason for it.

 In my line of work, I have the unique opportunity to regularly see families on what is, to put it mildly, a really bad day. Folks roll through those doors bleeding and broken, and (if we're lucky) crying out in pain. I am so ill-equipped to heal them. Sometimes, the hurt isn't on the outside. There is no cut to stitch or bone to set because what is broken is inside, in the brain or the soul or wherever our ability to cope with the world lives, and I can't fix that in the ER, either. So I leave all of this to the practiced fixer-uppers, and instead, turn my attention to their loved ones, because most everyone has a mother or a child or a wife or a best friend (and really, it's worse when they don't) and it's my job to look them square in the eye and tell them that they will make it through this, over and over again and convincingly enough until they believe me.

It's easier, a little, when it feels like there's a reason. When we can look at each other in those yellow gowns while we peel off the gloves and think, Well, he really should not have done that, and move on with our lives, confident that we'll never be there because we would not make such poor choices.

And then there is a storm, or an earthquake, or someone else makes a bad decision a little too close to where we are standing, or something just plain awful and accidental happens for no good reason at all and there we are. (In my case, naked in front of my coworkers on a stretcher, and that'd be really embarrassing.)

It is what it is, right?

And all of this to say: I AM SO BLESSED. I am happy. I am healthy. I am well.

I have the most beautiful children.

(And just to eliminate any discussion on the issue:)

I have a strong, handsome, wonderfully funny husband who I love with all my heart and soul. 

(Further proof:)

I have fantastic friends (like the ones who took these pictures) and family and a foundation that tells me way down deep in the core of me that even when things aren't OK in the moment, they are going to be OK someday, always and forever.

And the long and short of it is that I am so blessed, and so lucky to have the chance to celebrate that next week with family, friends, food, and football. My life is so, so good.

Like, SO GOOD.

Aaaaaaand, end overly dramatic Thanksgiving post.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some kind of birthday party.

You know how some people like to joke that they turn 29 over and over again? I guess because they don't want to admit that they're thirty-something now? I'm not overly concerned about admitting my age, but even if I was I'm not sure I'd really elect to celebrate my 29th birthday over and over again, at least if future parties were last, well, interesting as this one.

It sounds a little harsh, I know, but hear me out. I really shouldn't complain about the first three-quarters of the day, besides of course the horrible awful snowstorm that reminded me that my birthday falls a lot closer to the Winter section of the year than Autumn, gag-barf-and-carry-on-blah-blah-blah. I spent my birthday lounging around with my babies, accomplishing a whole lot of nothing besides spending obscene amounts of time on the internet reading all about how angry/disappointed/thrilled/nauseated/ecstatic various groups of people are after this week's election. Mister gobbled up an entire yogurt for lunch and after I cleaned up the cottage cheese Bug accidentally dumped all over the carpet (CURSE CARPETED DINING AREAS!) we had an all-around relaxing day.

Honestly 8 seconds before the cottage cheese launched itself onto the floor.

Two minutes after that. Who's my favorite child? (Kidding.)
That afternoon, the Schmoopse got home from work and I jumped in the shower to get ready for our date night. I washed my hair (for the second time in two days, might I add, and that's a lot of hassle) and Paddy packed up the kids to go hang out at Grammy Lu's house. The plan was to have dinner without the kids and then catch a movie without the kids and maybe even dessert without the kids. Parents, raise your hands if you understand the importance of those last three words. Right.

So into the car we piled, kids, diaper bag, husband, and me with my clean hair, and we made it exactly half of one block--very literally down the road and around one corner--when we heard an awful sort of knock-pop sort of sound. We both looked at each other, made a couple of jokes about running over a cat, and thought maybe that was the end of it. Another two or so blocks down the road we stopped for a red light, and when that green arrow flashed brightly and Schmoopsy hit the gas, my birthday hopes and dreams ground to a halt with the odd rumbling sound coming from the back drivers-side of the car.

You guessed it. We had blown a tire. (Sort of wish we'd hit a cat.) (KIDDING.)

So anyway, we pulled into a parking lot and stood in the falling snow looking forlornly at the absolutely completely flatter-than-a-pancake tire and trying to think up a reasonable solution that included a snowstorm in the dark with two tiny children. And no jack to lift the car. (In our defense, we just bought the vehicle.) Oh yeah, and a husband who had worn a short-sleeved shirt with no coat because, in his own words, "I"ll be fine! Have you planned some sort of sledding activity?"

Famous last words.

So anyway, eventually Paddy decided to jog down the road to a tire center outside the mall that was blessedly very close to where we found ourselves stranded. They were kind enough to let him jog out of there with a tank full of pressurized oxygen, even if he was wearing the little lightweight jacket belonging to his WIFE that was luckily hanging out in the backseat under the diaper bag. We blew up the tire as best we could, and even though we could hear the rushing of the air leaving the destroyed tire, we rolled as carefully and as quickly as we could down the parking lot of the strip mall, stopping to re-fill the tire every 150 yards or so. We made a break for it across the busy road to the tire center and felt so, so blessed that we made it there in one piece a mere half and hour before they closed. 

The tire was a complete loss, and we weren't really interested in replacing all the tires on our 4-wheel drive vehicle right in that exact moment, so the good folks there put on the spare (which they had to inflate, so the lack of jack from earlier was really a non-issue) and we limped ourselves home. Speeding down the freeway to Grammy Lu's house was not an option anymore, so the long and short of it is that my clean hair and I whipped up some name brand macaroni and cheese, Schmoops used our other car to pick up a piece of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, and we huddled in for the night with our babies and a movie from the redbox.

And now, looking back, I really, really can't complain. We spent the night as a family, which is rare and treasured with the crazy schedules we keep. The tire exploded quite close to our house and even closer to a tire center where we could get help, instead of on the freeway in the dark on the way home. We were nearly always safe and warm and together, and we got to teach Bug about how our family is a team, and sometimes being on our team means being your very bravest self, even when you'd really rather go to Grammy Lu's and play store. 

Together, with my little team, was not a terrible way to begin 29. Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monster Mash

Happy Halloween! This year, the spooks began a week before the big day when we went to a fun toddler-sized Halloween bash with some friends. Bug started out the day in a timid sort of mood

 but with the help of her sidekick

she warmed up pretty quickly. We had a great time watching the littles play around on the floor while the bigger kids played games and ate snacks. I'm hesitant to post pictures of other kiddos, but you should have SEEN all the babies just Mister's size swapping slobbery toys and looking all-around adorable in their little costumes.

When I was a kid, (how old does that make me sound?) Halloween was always FRIGID. I swear I nearly froze solid to the ground a couple of times on the trick-or-treat route when I was small. In fact, every year I wanted to be a princess for Halloween, and every year my mom said no because she couldn't fit sweats under the princess costume.

So it was fitting that the year I dress my children head to toe in fleece it turns out to be a balmy 75 degrees on the big day. Bug's poor little Dalmatian puppy was super hot in his costume, and obviously less mobile than he would have liked.

Bug, on the other hand, was thrilled to be dressed as a "fire-gril." She's really into pointing out all the firetrucks around town, and loves driving past the fireman station where the big trucks are kept. She's already super jealous that Mommy works where the helicopters live (because we live so close to the hospital, she's seen LifeFlight land and take off a bunch of times.) If she knew that I also get to see firefighters every single night, she'd be green with envy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

You've had a birthday, shout hooray!

Two weeks ago, our Buggy girl turned 3. After my tears from the night before dried up, we planned a great day as a family to celebrate with our little pumpkin. Even though I offered to make purple and pink pancakes for breakfast, the silly goose opted for boring ol' oatmeal, instead. The two littles and I spent the morning together playing with the balloons we left in her room and managed to get everyone dressed and ready for the day. Daddy took half a day off of work, so once he got home, we packed up the family and headed to Chik-Fil-A to take advantage of the birthday girl coupon we got in the mail.

After lunch we headed to the Living Planet Aquarium. Daddy and Bug went once a long time ago, but I had never been. We splurged on family passes, so we plan on hitting that spot a lot once the weather gets cold.

 Checking out the otters close up. Bug wasn't sure what she thought of that plan at first.

 Mister Baggins had a fun time, too. He's a good sport about hanging out in a pink butterfly stroller when we don't want to haul out the big double one. Daddy, on the other hand, felt guilty the entire time.

The day after her birthday was the day of the big party. I spent most of the day decorating and frosting all sorts of treats for the party. Since I'm not as creative as other internet moms, I googled all sorts of ideas for decorations and treats. I had decided on a goldfish theme in honor of Bug's most favorite snack in all the world. I don't Pintrest (figure I waste enough time online as it is) but luckily I stumbled across this site and this one with all kinds of adorable ideas for a goldfish party.

I was so thankful to my mom for letting me steal her enormous kitchen for prepping and the party. We have a big family, so we definitely needed the extra space. I couldn't have pulled it all together without my sisters helping like crazy. Left to my own devices, guests would've arrived to find me still in my grubby clothes frosting cupcakes blue until the end of time. Megan jumped in to frost and tape paper goldfish to balloons and MJ twisted crepe paper streamers and cut out sea plants out of green marshmallow fondant so I actually had time to shower before the party started.

Bug was totally spoiled by everyone who came. She is swimming in adorable clothes and fun toys. Her daddy and I were super excited about our big birthday surprise. Do you think she liked it?