Dumb Plans That Work Out Ok

This past weekend we went to Sacramento in order to use zoo passes that were going to expire in December. And we decided to go to Fairytale Town, because it’s just across the street from the zoo. Annnd, we had to go to Ikea, cause we were in Sacramento and therefore just had to go. That’s a lot to jam into one day, but you know what, it freaking worked.

We left two hours later for our adventure than we had planned, but no matter, it was lunch time when we got to the zoo and who doesn’t want to pay $50 for zoo lunch for the whole fam??

And we rented this snazzy zoo mobile. It was totally worth the $8 cause it coralled the crazies, I mean kids.

We saw wonderful animals and scary fake dinos, and the weather was decent so we weren’t sweaty messes by the time we left.

Then we headed to Fairytale Town, which I didn’t have high hopes for, but I found it to be much more charming than I thought it was going to be, and the kids, and Chris, had a blast.

I wish we lived closer to this little gem as the kids would love visiting at least once a week.

Next it was nap time, a very short nap time, but whatever, the kiddos got a brief respite in the car before venturing off to Ikea!

Our first stop at Ikea was the dining area, naturally, since it was dinner time and I wanted meatballs, really, it was mostly about the meatballs. I was super happy that the kids both ate a decent amount of food, but of course the chocolate cake was the favorite as they scraped the plate clean.

We didn’t get much at Ikea, but we looked at bunk beds for the kids and eyed some sofas.

Toward the end of the shopping trip we were racing to the checkout because we were just done, so tired from a very long day, and we still had two and a half hours to drive. The drive getting to Sac was fine, but going home was a bit trickier because Max was beyond exhausted. But, his Kindle, a bunch of food, and two stops helped calm him down.

We won’t be doing a marathon trip like this again anytime soon, but we’re so happy it went swimmingly, and sometimes that’s all I ask for!

Bisous,

Chenay

It’s School Time

Evey started Kindergarten on Monday and it went better than we expected. Of course Evey expected it to go just fine, so that was heartening and helpful when I would get crazy anxious wondering how she would navigate around school, make friends, deal with not being at home, and a million other worries. But this girl, who hadn’t been in daycare in a year and a half, did wonderfully, thank god. She was ready to be more independent, to learn from her teachers, try new things, and make new friends. Her confidence and kid wisdom has come leaps and bounds since she was a toddler, and we’re so proud of her.

Evey had a great week, although she’s getting used to having such a long day: she’s been falling asleep in the car after being picked up and yesterday she mentioned how long her days at school were, and that she’d rather go to work with me, crazy girl. I’m so relieved she’s doing so well, but we’re all adjusting to the new schedule and making lunches and going to bed at a decent time. This week was exhausting, but I know it’ll get easier.

And did I mention that I love her teacher? Obviously that makes a huge difference in Evey’s well-being, and mine😉

Bisous,

Chenay

“Haircuts are the Devil”-Max

No, so Max can’t really talk yet, but I’m sure that’s what he’s thinking every time we take him to get a hair cut (although he’s probably thinking in expletives, because it’s not like he hasn’t heard me throw some of those around). And the boy has gotten his hair cut seven times, SEVEN TIMES! Come on, man, pull yourself together!

Just kidding, it’s OK for him to be pissed that I’m holding him down in my lap and forcing him to do something he doesn’t want, and part of me questions why I’m doing it? Oh yah, the reason is vanity. If he were a girl, I’d just let his hair grow. If he had luscious curls, I’d probably let those grow too.

But I want a short cut on my son, even though every haircut experience is torture for him. Obviously I haven’t learned my lesson and I keep taking him back to get it cut; last time we even buzzed his head just to make it less torturous.

We didn’t get Evey’s hair cut until she was almost 4, because I knew she’d react the same way that Max is doing now, but I only cut his hair because he’s a boy and I want it short, but that seems so wrong when he’s so mad about the hair cuts. Any thoughts on this? Do you force your kids to get their hair cut, even if they don’t want to? Or do you just let it go?

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Horrible blurry scream shot

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Post traumatic haircut snuggles

Bisous,

Chenay

How Do You Say Good-Bye to a Dying Friend?

We’ve known Scott and Debbie since 2010, back when Chris and I both had full time jobs and zero children. Hanging out with these friends was always like a party: drinks, dinners, riding their horses, board games, photo shoots, laying down sod (trust me, this was fun with them), and, of course, actual parties. They’ve got 20+ years on us and wanted us to have kids so they could watch them, which was great, but then they decided to move when I found out I was pregnant to be close to their ACTUAL grandchild, fine fine.

In those six years since they moved, we’ve only seen them once, unfortunately, and Evey was five months old at the time. We’ve chatted here and there, but obviously nothing like we used to when they were here. We were in Texas twice, where they lived until a few months ago, and tried to meet up, but it never worked. And then they visited us yesterday because we were on Scott’s bucket list of friends to see before he dies which, according to the doctors, will be in 6 to 12 months.

When Debbie texted me this information a couple weeks ago, about Scott’s recent diagnosis and wanting to visit, I was sad, but I don’t think I actually let it sink in. I did let it sink in yesterday morning, while at work and fully understanding the gravity of the situation: I have an evening to say good-bye to a friend, how the hell do I do that? Am I just going to be a disgusting mess the whole time? Should I have planned something amazing to do for that evening (We had take-out pizza and went to Yogurt Beach)? And when we actually said good-bye, I wasn’t ready. I had an angry toddler needing sleep and my head was not fully there. Scott told me to keep in touch with Debbie, which was a stab in the heart, because, yes, this is why we were together, to talk about this stuff, and I wasn’t ready.

On the drive home from Yogurt Beach, Chris and I talked about visiting them in Oklahoma soon, and we really want to, but when? Evey starts school soon, life isn’t going to be as flexible as it once was (was it ever?). We’ll figure it out, we say.

And then I decided I needed some child-free time to say good-bye, so I’m joining them and another one of their friends (did I mention they have millions all over the country? Of course they do) for breakfast in twenty minutes. Am I more prepared this morning than I was last night to say good-bye? Um, no. I figured I would go to breakfast and enjoy my friends, like the old times, and give Scott a really big hug at the end, just in case we don’t go to Oklahoma. That’s it, I don’t know if it’s wrong, if it’s not enough, but it’s the only authentic thing I can think of.

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Bisous,

Chenay

Man it Feels Good to be a Gangsta, J/K, I mean a Good Mom

I feel like I know in my heart that I’m a good mom, like, in general. But I have plenty of moments where I feel like I’m failing my kids, but I also have moments where I feel like my parenting will not result in them turning into psychos. But, sometimes, I have these incredible moments where I feel like my parenting was crazy awesome and that I needed to have an audience around so they could have applauded my badass parenting skills…these moments are quite rare, but they do occur.

One such moment happened this morning as Evey was losing her shit after Chris pushed a button on the Play Station remote that she wanted to push, naturally. She would not calm down, and refused to take any steps to do so, she just wanted to watch TV, which I get. However, it seemed like this need to watch TV had gone a little too far, so we turned it off, not as punishment, but to save her, um, innocent little soul? Brain? Because we’re told that limiting screen time is good? Because it felt right in our hearts and guts, or huts, as writer Alexandra Franzen puts it. Yes, we knew this would cause more anguish, but we didn’t give in (sometimes we totally do, of course).

It took a while to get her to chill out, I told her I understood she was upset, I was told I did something mean, and I was pushed (lightly, surprisingly) a couple times, but eventually she cuddled in my arms and we talked about what she was going to do that day and she chilled out and stopped asking for TV.

Let’s be clear, things don’t always go this way. I think it worked out that I was in a patient mood, I had my stuff for work ready to go, and I also didn’t want to leave an emotional mess for Chris to clean up. I was a bit late to work, but I chose to help her rather than be on time. I had that luxury this morning, and I typically do every morning, and I know that some people never have that luxury. I wish that we could always feel like we have the time, as well as the patience, to make our kids feel heard and loved and heal them in the time and space it takes to get them there. Because when that happens, it feels like magic, at least it did for me, and it gives me confidence as a parent.

But I know my patience will be thinner when I get home tonight, it always is, even though I try to fight that. But at least I’ll have this moment to think back on and remember that I can parent her the way I want to, and maybe that will give me that little boost I need to become slightly more patient.

And then there’s Max, who gives no shits about patience and just wants all of the sugar, and dammit, he wants it now. Case in point: yesterday he was eating pretzels, but as soon as someone offered him a lollipop, he threw the pretzel down, spit out the pieces of the pretzel he hadn’t swallowed yet, and shoved that tootsie roll pop in his mouth. And even though I think the sucker was too much sugar for him, there was no way in hell I was taking it away, because my two year old scares me. Hmmm, maybe he’ll be my psychopath.

Cheers to your crazy, Max

Bisous,

Chenay

My Daughter Turned 5, and I Cried…a Lot

My Evey girl turned 5 on May 5th, which was mind-blowing, and wonderful, and exciting, and sad. I didn’t realize how much this birthday meant to me until we were a month out, and I would randomly tear up when I talked about her upcoming day of birth. I started to wonder why I was getting so emotional, because I definitely DO NOT want to go back in time, but it hit me that we are now in a new Evey era, we are in the Evey school era, and we have left behind the Evey infant, toddler, and preschool eras. And, get this, I realized how fast time flies! What, that annoying-ass thing that parents with grown children always say is actually true?? Yah, whatever, but they still need to stop saying it. But anyway, I feel like part of the reason everything went really fast was due to the fact that I now have two children to contend with, and my sole focus is not just on one of them, and it’s a little much for my brain to handle. It’s a good thing I’m not having more kids because I’d probably forget their names or something, just kidding… sort of.

I wanted to do up her Golden Birthday big, and I wanted to go to Disneyland! This was all a go, until we had a major shift in our life situation (Chris is now a stay-at-home-dad and I started work in March!), so we went with a My Little Pony birthday party instead. And it was fun, and she was happy.

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Her party was the day before her actual birthday and I told Chris I wanted to spend a huge chunk of the day with her on her actual birthday, just me and her, you know, because of my crazy emotions. We hung out in Reno for five and a half hours together and it was so lovely.

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It’s amazing how quickly she has changed and become a helpful, creative, insightful, kind, caring, and fun little person. Next up, kindergarten…oh dear god.

Bisous,

Chenay

Breastfeeding Toddlers Stream of Consciousness

I have been nursing for a total of 54 months, which is four years and six months, if you’re wondering. That is a long ass time of making sure my clothing choices are optimal for whipping out a boob at a moment’s notice, nursing through the night (Evey only slept through the night after she stopped nursing, and she was two years and eight months old), and deflecting and/or dealing with biting, twiddling, and pulling of ny nipples. Yet, I’m still doing it, and Max is almost 23 months old. I guess I don’t know how to stop doing it if he still wants it? Friends have told me how great it is that I’m still nursing, but honestly, not nursing feels like it would be more difficult at this point (he would be sooo pissed if I just cut him off!). I feel I could be done and frolic freely in whatever clothing I choose and sleep through the night, something that hasn’t happened in almost six years. Evey stopped because I was pregnant and I dried up, and, newsflash, done with the babies, so that option is gone. I tell myself that age three will be my max with Max (heh heh), but I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be in one month, or maybe it’ll be past the age of three? I feel like I’m only putting a limit on it because I feel like I owe it to others to have a limit? Which is stupid as hell. I give no fucks about nursing him in public as opposed to when Evey was Max’s age because I felt embarrassed, although I really wasn’t, but maybe I didn’t feel confident enough to nurse my toddler in public? All things I no longer care about, such is the glory of second childness. Max doesn’t have to have a boob in his mouth to fall asleep, and in fact that is a rarity and has been for a while. But its his source of comfort when he’s tired, or sad, or mad, or hurt, or I’ve been at work all day and he missed my boobs me. Nursing my toddler is my superpower when it comes to rough times. Boobies and boob milk are magical (words I need to remind myself that I am doing this for a reason).

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Look at that mom in the background nursing her toddler while her five year old celebrates her birthday. Geeze, has she no shame?

 

Bisous,

Chenay

Easter Funness From Your Favorite Atheist

We worship the bunny when it comes to Easter time, because I’m atheist and Chris is agnostic. So yah, we’re all about the eggs, baskets, and candy. We hosted Easter for some friends years ago in our first house and one of our friends commented that it was odd that they were celebrating this religious holiday at the heathens’ house, which I thought was funny, and they still came anyway, huh, Bibees? That’s right, because we’re friendly and loveable heathens.This year was fun because Evey was way more fun and into everything. Max, not so much, but that’s to be expected. Evey had the patience to dye eggs, hunt for them (three times), and was able to discuss how well the bunny knows her based on the things he put in her basket and hid in her eggs.Here’s some snapshots, including the Easter egg crawl we did the weekend before. Ok, so it’s not actually called that, but it was essentially that as me and my friends dragged our children to different downtown businesses and grabbed an Easter egg at each. My buddy Joe was right when he said some adult beverages needed to be served as well…I hope you had a lovely weekend celebrating the holiday, or not.Bisous,Chenay

Annoying Kids and Led Zeppelin

Kids can be so damn annoying sometimes, which I understand is not a mind-blowing statement, and actually, everyone can be annoying at times, like my husband, and me (heh, yah right).

But sometimes the kids’ annoying-ness turns out to be brilliant or hilarious. Take Evey, for instance: a couple days ago she kept annoyingly singing “mom” in a very drawn out way, like “mooooooooooooo-om”. I kept asking her what she wanted, and she never answered me, yet she kept asking for me!

Me: “Why do you keep saying my name?”

Evey: “It’s from when Thor fights the bad guys.”

Me: “What??”

Then it takes me a minute to figure out this four year old’s thought process and then I really stopped to listen to the cadence in which she was annoyingly singing “maaaahaaaahhhaahhh-om!”

Me: “Oh! Well, honey, they don’t say mom, in the song, it goes, “Ahhhhhhahhahhhhhh-ahhh!”

Evey: “Ohhhhh!”

Yep, I ended up vocalizing part of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” for her, so now she sings it correctly and I know longer feel as though she is yelling for me, she just wants to invoke Thor and fight some bad guys. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please do yourself a favor and watch Thor: Ragnarok; it is amazing on so many levels.

And yes, Evey loves that movie. You may start the judging, or whatever.

And here’s a new annoying/cute thing she’s started doing: selfies. She knows how to get to the camera on my phone and now I find 15 + selfies of her on my phone on the regular. Fun fun.

She’s only four and it’s already begun.

Bisous,

Chenay

Is This Going To Be Forever?

Hi, my name is Chenay, and I’m a co-sleeping parent. This role was not premeditated, we sort of fell into it when Evey would only sleep if she was close to us. And Max has joined in the fun, although he sleeps in his crib which is butted up to our bed, otherwise we’d have to buy a bigger bed.

Oh yah, this is how we roll

But, honestly, we all sleep just fine like this. Recently we got Evey to fall asleep in her bed! I would lay down with her and jet as soon as she was out. But of course she wouldn’t stay asleep the whole night and would come in to our room around two in the morning. Fine, whatever, at least she was starting the night in her room.

Aw, doesn’t she look all peaceful?

But then she started having nightmares and developed a fear of the dark and started popping in our room a mere hour or two after she fell asleep. And, honestly, I couldn’t fall asleep because I became anxious about how early she was going to wake up! It got pretty messed up, so we reverted to our old co-sleeping habits.

Of course I would love for my kids to sleep in their own rooms, but I’m not going to force what doesn’t seem natural for my kids. Evey’s got anxiety, and she did some awesome therapy recently that has helped tremendously, and I have learned that I really cannot make my girl do anything she is emotionally uncomfortable with, and I don’t even want to try.

I’m tired of apologizing for co-sleeping to friends and family, because I feel like it’s my go-to defense so they don’t think I’m a pushover when it comes to my kids. But Evey’s anxiety diagnosis has given me the confidence to embrace what we’ve gotta do for our family. And, honestly, I do like looking at their sleeping faces and being able to cuddle when nightmares invade.

This is not a judgement on our friends or family whose kids do sleep in their own beds (lucky bastards) or our friends and family who have chosen since day one to co-sleep, it’s just our story and I love and respect everyone’s stories because there is always more than one way to parent and love our kids.

Bisous,

Chenay