How Not To Blog

I wrote most of a post in mid-November about my thoughts and theories concerning Frozen, as only a mom who’s seen it a gazillion times can. However, I just went to tweak that post and it’s gone, all of it. I’m so not going to write it again, but I just want you to know that it contained information regarding Kristoff’s birth (his mom was a prostitute, who was a client of most of the ice guys, and she couldn’t take care of him, and no one knew who the father was, so they all half-assedly pitched in to raise him), as well as my annoyance at Anna and Elsa’s alienish features and their lack of forethought for others. It was a good post.

I was also going to write a post about how we killed October, in a good way. We participated in so many fall-like and Halloween activities and I didn’t feel overwhelmed until the very end (we really should have skipped one of the activities right before Halloween). I’m so happy we had a successful trip to Apple Hill and that we got to wear our costumes a ton, so, yay.

November was somewhat of a shit show, thank you, illness. Although, it really could have been worse, and even being quarantined on Thanksgiving wasn’t that bad. But I almost feel like November gave us the finger, or just reminded us to slow down after our packed October; I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

Now, due to the fact that Thanksgiving was so early, I feel like we’re already halfway through December, although it’s just the beginning. We are all decorated, I’ve wrapped all the presents, have shopped for angel tree kids, we went to the tree lighting, and yet today is only the 5th. But that’s nice, because I feel like we get to spread the holiday out more. There’s a lot planned, but there’s also a lot not planned. Most of our plans revolve around having friends over for hot drinks (of the alcoholic variety, we all have kids) or dinner, making cookies with friends, going to an ornament exchange party, going to two friends’ annual Xmas parties, and the Santa Train. All activities are meaningful, and we’re spending good time with good people. And some of these things are our annual traditions.

We’ve got loads more memories to make this month, and if anything seems to be too much, or too difficult for our family, it’s going to get a no. Sometimes (not always because, well, I’m human) I’m incredibly grateful to be home with the kids and know that we can have a lazy day because we’re doing some kind of activity that evening and I don’t want to completely fill up their tiny brains and hearts.

I hope you guys are only saying yes to what matters to you and your family this season!

Bisous,

Chenay

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The Time I Let Chris Cut My Hair

Growing out a pixie cut is a huge pain in the ass. There’s so many different short layers that look super weird if you don’t trim them up, and if you keep up on the regular trims, then it seems like it’s taking forever to grow. I should know, I’ve been growing it out since January and it’s still really short because I’m trying to get my hair all one length. I’ve been dutifully getting the bottom cut so I didn’t end up with a funky mullet, and I was paying $40 for it! So I said peace out to my stylist and started going to Great Clips and paying around $16, which is much better, but I was tired of paying that too just to cut off the ends.

Now, I’ve read about people cutting their own hair, and it was always something that I decided I would never ever do. But then I read Meet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames, and I was convinced that I must give it a go. I’ve been reading Thames’ blog, by the same name, since January, but it wasn’t until I read her book that a more frugal way of life seemed possible, and dare I say, intriguing. Thames’ way of weaving in personal experience, raw emotion, and hard reality grabbed me like no other money saving blog or book has, and I devoured the book quickly.

Now, back to the hair, Thames’ describes her situation in which she was done paying for haircuts and asked her husband to cut her long hair. After watching some YouTube videos, the cut was successful and she never looked back. We didn’t watch any YouTube, I just went in with blind trust in Chris because, well, he’s a perfectionist, and, thankfully, everything worked out just fine! My hair looks good and I didn’t spend a dime! Chris told me about mid way through the cut that he was terrified, but I honestly couldn’t tell, he seemed Uber confident.

If you have a desire or inkling to cut your hair yourself, I say educate yourself and then go for it! It’s only hair, right?

Bisous,

Chenay

The picture on the top was Chris partway through my cut and the picture on the bottom is the finished product. Huzzah!

Suicide

Hearing of Kate Spade’s suicide on Tuesday was not good, of course. Suicide is always awful, fraught with so many emotions and questions and people can quickly go down an awful spiral if you dwell on the “why” for too long. And then I heard about Anthony Bourdain on Friday, and I’m just done. No, I did not personally know this human being, but damn, I enjoyed him immensely. I am most definitely mourning his loss from this world, in part because I think he made it a better place. And the fact that he committed suicide makes it that much harder. Was he mentally ill? Was it a one time event that caused him great pain? Did he plan it out, or was it a last minute decision? See, too many questions arise, and maybe we can answer some, but not all, ever. And that’s why suicide is so fucking hard, there are questions you will NEVER know the answer to.

I’ve had two friends in my life commit suicide. The first friend was a senior and I was a freshman at LVA, and I remember her telling me that she had been shooting holes in her closet with a gun. I did not know that I should probably have told someone at school about this, and we didn’t really share any mutual friends, we were bus buddies, and I didn’t even know her parents, but I should have told an administrator at school. But would she have been mad at me for telling on her? Would she no longer want to be my friend? My 33 year old self understands that none of that matters, but my 14 year old self did not. I spoke with a school counselor for a little while and I went to her funeral. Then that summer I had another friend tell me he was suicidal and I jumped all over his ass about getting help etc. etc. He did not commit suicide, thank God. Maybe because of me saying something? I have no bloody idea, but I tried to help, so at least I learned something about suicide prevention, right?

But then seven years later I had a co-worker friend commit suicide when I was working for the Feds. I was shocked, pissed, confused, and depressed. I ended up going to a suicide support group weekly and it helped tremendously, but when I felt better, I couldn’t go any more because it was so depressing. I was the only one there because of a friend, and I’m not belittling our friendship, but I hadn’t lost a kid or a spouse, like everyone else who was there.

Suicide sucks, and we need to work on keeping communication open with people who may be on the verge. However, I totally understand that some people attempt it multiple times after being thwarted by family and/or friends, and still keep at it. It’s incredibly frustrating not knowing what to say to help people, but thank goodness for suicide prevention groups out there. Support them, participate in walks, donate your time and/or your money.

Bisous,

Chenay

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You Perforated My What??

Went to my new gyno earlier this evening to have an IUD put in; I had one after Evey was born, no big deal, hardly even hurt and these bitches are supposed to be painful.

Well, karma came to bite me in the ass because not only was it incredibly painful (I’d like to interject right here and say that I was warned to take 800 mg of Tylenol before the procedure, and I totally forgot, but they did give me some right before, which doesn’t help with the actual pain from the procedure, just the pain after. But it was a breeze the first time, right, so why would I need drugs??) but my gyno informs me that she accidentally perforated my uterus!

I had no idea what that meant in terms of my health, like, do I need to be rushed to surgery right now? Am I going to bleed out on the table? Suffice it to say, I was totally freaking out. My gyno is super great, and I just met her yesterday, but we clicked and she’s friends with one of our midwives from Evey’s birth, so that’s pretty awesome. However, she talks a lot, and talks super fast, and I think she was uber nervous after what happened and she talked incessantly, which totally amped up my anxiety, which doesn’t help anything. In fact, she said that I was having a vasovagal response to the whole situation after I told her I was nauseous, and apparently my coloring was not so good, so that clued them in as well.

Vasovagal responses are pretty common and happen when your heart rate and blood pressure both drop due to a stressful trigger, and you can feel like you want to faint, or you will actually faint. I did not faint, but the staff had me chill in the office a bit longer so I could readjust. However, going back to my chatty gyno, I honestly feel like she was upping my stress so it was nice when they felt comfortable enough to send me home.

So, it was a no go on the Mirena insertion, naturally, and I have to wait eight weeks if I want to do it again, but I’m thinking no thanks. It seems like the perforatiln was in part due to my tilted uterus (too much info? Oh, you love it), which the gyno attempted to account for, but it still didn’t work. Apparently if I try again, perforation can happen again, so hell no. Someone please give me the name of a good urologist who’ll give Chris the ol’ snipperoo, k thanks (still too much info? No, it’s funny).

I have no pictures to post of this incident, because that would be too much information, so here’s a pic of my kids, because they’re cute as hell.

Bisous,

Chenay

Reflections On Your Fourth Birthday

I’m sitting here and crying looking at pictures from the day you were born; I typically don’t cry when I look at them, I usually just smile and revel in how much you’ve grown. But, now that your party is over and all the friends and family are gone and you are officially four years old, I’m sad.

I don’t know what it is about the age of four, but I feel like I’ve really been looking forward to it. Articles I read about high needs babies, now kids, becoming more independent around four probably had something to do with that. And it’s so true. You are so much more independent and self-sufficient. Things are a lot easier now than they were when you were a baby. Four years ago I was scared shitless, and sad that my freedom was gone, and worried about breastfeeding, and what to do when we took you home. And tired, so damn tired.

I do not recall feeling this sentimental at your first, second, or third birthdays. Maybe because you were still so little, then? You were still a clingy little baby, then toddler, but now you are a kid, no more babyness for us. Now you’ve got a big kid bike (which totally broke my heart to see you ride today) and we’re taking you to go see The Avengers tomorrow, and I’m not worried about you being loud/annoying/meltdowny at all, because you’re so different now.

Getting a year older is a big deal, but so is becoming a big sister, and I feel that has changed you a lot. Your brother came on the heels of your third birthday, so your fourth year was full of change and newness. And now that I’ve got two births under my belt, I really stopped to think about yours as I was scrolling through hospital pics.

The way I felt when you were born was very different from the way I felt when Max was born. Like I said, I was terrified, and excited, but really tired too (24 hours of labor and three and a half hours of pushing will do that to you). I feel bad about the fear, but I know that I couldn’t have changed it. I was new to the job, and with Max, I was old hat. And I can honestly say that you could not pay me enough to become a mother again for the first time.

You’ve taught me so much these past four years, Evey girl, and I honestly feel like a have become a better version of myself since becoming your mom (hello, patience). You’re an incredible person with an amazing imagination and odd sense of humor (favorite joke: you like to whisper in our ears: “I’ve got a penis! Ha ha ha!”). I’m kind of sad we’re out of the baby and toddler days, but I’m so excited for the years to come.

Love,

Mom

Comparison is a bitch, yo

We went to our favorite ice cream/soup place a couple weeks ago to get some dessert: I got death by chocolate in a cone, Evey got a cookie, because although she likes the idea of ice cream, she doesn’t actually like ice cream, and Chris got clam chowder, because nothing screams dessert like slimy-ass clams. Shortly after we arrived, a family with a preschooler and a baby also came in, and of course, the comparison of behaviors/skills comes into play because I’m a glutton for punishment. I really do think this behavior is unconscious because I slip right into it, and I need to be mindful of when I slip into it, but that’s not what this story is about.

I gave Max some veggie straws to munch on, which he usually adores, but didn’t want because mommy had this large brown smushy thing on a cone, which must be much better than his food because mommy was eating it. And he didn’t want to stay put in the high chair, of course. But the other baby was cool just sitting on her dad’s lap eating her healthy snack and didn’t ask for the sugary treat her dad was holding. And Evey was up and about instead of sitting in her chair and calmly enjoying her dessert, you know, like the other kid her age was.

Maybe those parents discipline better than we do, maybe their kids are Stepford children, maybe it’s in their nature to be chill, or maybe they just had a really lucky night, I have no effing idea. But obviously I need to stop this horrid comparing because it robbed me of having a good time.

Moral of the story: Your kids are a mess/acting like hooligans/not listening? Fuck it, don’t compare them to the (possibly) other well behaving children, and maybe just join in on the mess/shananigans, or roll your eyes at your spouse or friend and continue your conversation.

Bisous,

Chenay

This was a different eating out experience and this one wasn’t bad, just a plethora of croissant crumbs. See, Chenay, they’re not always heathens.

FOMO Baby

Oh buddy, Max has serious FOMO. You know, fear of missing out, but I’m currently trying to center our lives around JOMO, the joy of missing out, so he’s totally effing with my plans. FOMO’s an issue, right, it messes with your brain and causes you to overbook yourself and do things and buy things that you probably don’t want to do, and don’t want to buy, just because you don’t want to miss out on them. But here’s the thing, we can’t do ALL of the things, or see ALL of the things, or buy ALL of the things, or visit ALL of the places, or read ALL of the books (I have to admit, those last two things get me right in the gut).

So how does this relate to my eight month old, a baby who does not know about all of the things? Well, in his limited purview of the world, IE his family, the cats, food, the ceiling fan, enjoying pulling up on damn near everything, random cords, and his toys, he loves everything and doesn’t want to miss a thing. This manifests itself in his inability to fall asleep in a timely manner. He will chat, touch my face a lot, and roll all over his crib. Sometimes, he will get so close to falling asleep that his eyes will shut, but only briefly, and he will flutter through this state for a while, like the ceiling fan is going to do something different while he’s asleep and he just cannot miss that.

It’s rough having a FOMO baby, but I do enjoy his zest for life thing because he is always smiling, and you can’t beat that. So I will deal with the FOMO, as long as he maintains his pure and unadulterated joy for every single damn thing in life.

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FOMO baby in his rare sleepy state.

Bisous,

Chenay

Haircut and Bribes

Last weekend we finally cut Evey’s hair. She’s almost four, whatever. I’ve been threatening to do so for some time now, mostly due to the fact that she’d run away when I would attempt to brush it. But, recently, I just could not get the brush through the thicket of split ends, so we bit the bullet and decided to go to Team Clips in Carson where they have seats that are cars and cartoons on constantly. It all sounds good, right? Yah, not to Evey, so I had to throw in a bribe (I know I say ‘had’, I’m sure there would be parents telling me that no, I didn’t ‘have’ to do a damn thing except sit her down in a chair to get her hair cut, and I get that, but I’m a pushover, I guess, and also didn’t want her screaming as if she were being murdered, you know, priorities). Said bribe was a Batman toy, since she’s a new fan. So, we went, and it was a successful haircut experience.

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She was stone faced the whole time.

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Huzzah for TV!

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That long, long hair. We only got two inches cut off, nothing crazy.

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No, Max did not get his hair cut, but he did enjoy sitting in the car, I mean, what baby wouldn’t?

We got a lock of hair and a special ‘first haircut card’, both of which filled that empty spot in her baby book.

After the hair cut, we headed to Target, naturally, to get said Batman toy/mom’s a pushover/I give no shits, just don’t scream and cry all through your haircut bribe. She ended up getting a five pack of superheroes and let me tell you, she’s been playing with them every damn day. She’s taken them with her every where we go. They play together, apparently they fight, too, and push each other off of cabinets, but whatevs, best bribe ever.

Bisous,

Chenay

Circumcision and Guilt

Max was circumcised last week due to the fact that he’s had two UTIs so far in his short little life and the urologist found his foreskin to be abnormally tight, so the surgery was recommended and we agreed. We chose not to circumcise Max when he was born because we deemed it medically unnecessary, but now we had a medical reason, so there you go.

As we found with Evey’s tonsillectomy, surgery for little ones can suck; not that surgery is awesome, but you can’t explain to an infant, or in Evey’s case, a 21 month old, that they can’t nurse, have water, or food for a while. At least with breastfed babes you don’t have to cut them off at midnight, just four hours before surgery. We had to be at the surgical center at 7 am, so my plan was to wake Max up around 3 am and top him off, but I guess he was good with the 2 am feeding he woke up for and didn’t want anything to do with my boobs, frickin fine. He did pretty well with being cut off for a while , even with him not going back to surgery til 8:30 am (total BS by the way!); it helped that Chris was the only one holding him, and he eventually got him to sleep before surgery.

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Tired, but oh so stylish

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His first hospital bracelet! The little things you don’t think about when you have your kid at home.

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Evey was totally cool, she had her Kindle and a muffin.

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Awww

When I was summoned after Max woke up, I was nervous, and I blame the PTSD I developed after Evey’s crazy ass emergence delirium, but Max was just fussy and was soon soothed with some milk. He’s doing great right now, just a bit of overall fussiness. I have to say, though, that I thought I was going to vomit the first time I changed his diaper: it looks so nasty! So, I made Chris change every diaper while he was home, but what does Max do today, the first day with me flying solo again? He shits all over himself, like everywhere, and I’ve got to clean shit off his penis and his stitches, by myself. So I did what any self-respecting mom would do, I let him chew on my phone while I went about my work. Fucking nasty.

The fact that Max had to be circumcised stirred up a bit of mom guilt: this included thoughts of failure for our original non-circumcising plan falling through and thoughts of guilt for not circumcising him as a newborn, which would have prevented him from having two UTIs (goddamn hindsight). Obviously neither of these thoughts are helpful, or make any sense, and I really haven’t been dwelling on them, but it never ceases to amaze me how guilt and blame can crop up so easily (I’m pretty sure this is mostly a mom problem).

Here’s to no more surgeries in the near future, unless Max has massive tonsils like his sister and mom, then we’re screwed.

Bisous,

Chenay

Superheroes and Some Art

Last month we trekked to the Wilbur D. May Center to check out their new exhibit, Hall of Heroes, because, you know, the three year old is obsessed. We decided to go the first day because they had actual live superheroes there (or locals who were great at cosplay)! Evey typically does not enjoy people dressed up, even when they are in the form of her favorite people, or mice (hello Disney trip), but I was really hoping she’d warm up to these guys. Did she? Hell no, she didn’t, and Captain America was super nice and non-threatening, like he is! All well, we had fun anyway, and Max enjoyed ogling Wonder Woman (no joke) and making sure Captain America didn’t get his shield back.

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The Hulk and Evey, she didn’t even want to pose with the statues

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There was hardly any Spider-Man stuff! No worries, Evey brought all the Spidey that place needed

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Old school Bat Mobile

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Brave Max walking high above the city

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Evey testing her super speed

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Zoom!

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An offering to Iron Man?

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Agility testing, or just DDR

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a little bit cute and disturbing at the same time

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The Cap is my home boy

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Heh heh, you’re not getting this thing back

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Are you made of kryptonite? Because I’m weak in the knees.

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I told that dude I had no idea who he was, he blamed it on Batman and then told me he was Nightwing, aka, older Robin, who knew?

Later in the month, we traveled to Vegas to visit family and friends, a bunch of whom hadn’t met Max. It was a nice time, just the usual visits that included good conversation, food, drinks, and riding in Uncle Justin’s sandrail.

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Uncle Justin’s toys are the best

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Yah no, little boy, no riding for you yet

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This girl had a blast and took two rides

Visiting Vegas typically includes the same old stuff, and while visiting family and friends is nice, sometimes I wish we would shake it up a bit and go somewhere new. I will advocate for this next time, and I tried t talk the fam into seeing Seven Magic Mountains with us, because it was only three minutes away from where we were sandrailing, but no one was interested (uncultured swine;) ! The four of us went, and it was amazing.

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Holy neon, Batman!

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Incredible!

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The kids dug it too

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The rocks in this pic look a little phallic, just me?

I felt very zen being around the Seven Magic Mountains, and the lighting couldn’t have been better. I learned a lot about this art installation when I worked at the Arts Council and when I saw the companion exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art. To learn more, click here.

Til next time,

Chenay