Rambling Regretful Post About Running Out of Time

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Here I sit at 11:23 on a Sunday night. I've been working on a client book and watching episodes of Breaking Bad. (Still in Season two, guys, so don't spoil anything for me.) My intention was to crank out this client book and then take some time to edit some Quinn 8-month photos really quickly. Have them ready to blog. I really want Sunday nights to be MY photo night, not my clients'. But here I am,  at 11:23, and it's late. I know if I start, I won't get anything satisfactorily done in any kind of timely manner, and I KNOW tomorrow will drag and I will be far more likely to be the crabby version of me I don't like.... So I sit here, and I feel a sense of loss. 

I didn't get to tackle my own images tonight. 

And tomorrow is a new work week... and I'm behind on client editing, so I won't take the time for my own photos tomorrow either. Or Tuesday. Etc. 

But if there is one thing I've learned in this last eight months since the huge jump to becoming Mom-of-Three, it is that Crabby Emily is NOT the Emily I want to live with. If I want to have a remote shot at being centered and attentive to what the coming day asks of me, and to be able to face it with a cheerful heart and a sense of peace, I cannot skimp on the sleep any more than I already am at 11:28pm.

Especially on a Sunday night. Monday is a big day in the grand repetitive round of life. It is the First Day, the one that can set the tone for how the whole week plays out. So if I can get myself to bed and gear up for a GOOD Monday, that will make all the difference for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

So here I am. 11:30pm. 

I have so many dear and precious photos of my own life--my own kids-- I want to spend time on, and then to share. 

But I guess tonight is not that night. 

I'm more than a little bummed about that. 

But tomorrow: Fresh start. New day. Perhaps with a tiny bit more sleep tonight, I will find the motivation and energy to carve out a little corner of time tomorrow prior to tackling the client work, to at least start my own personal photo work. 

So to bed. to make it a good week. 

Ah well, my photos.... perhaps another time.

I Need a Hug

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I need a hug. I was supposed to finish editing a session tonight, and instead did a million other things, and that session isn't editing itself. 

I need a hug. Quinn is teething and waking more than usual, but nursing LESS than usual, and it's just all-around not-so-smooth around here. 

I need a hug. I worry sometimes that Noah's time with me is slipping away and I've not been enough of a mama to him-- not nurtured his individuality or taught him enough songs or allowed him to believe in make-believe enough before he goes off and grows up on me. 

I need a hug. I wonder if I'm being my truest self. Or if I am living so deeply in my unnecessary minutia of life that I'm missing the POINT of life.

I need a hug. As much as I try to march to the beat of my own drummer, I sometimes get caught up in the waves of the world and let myself feel not good enough, not ENOUGH.... Wishing for more recognition, or more success, or more "new things", more more more.

I need a hug. I'm trying to keep my photography workload manageable, so I'm having to turn client inquiries away, and that is always a scary leap of faith--- hoping that the Lord will see that I'm trying to keep balance so that I'm a better mama here at home, so He will be willing to send more clients my way when the timing is better... I want to trust I'm not burning bridges by saying "no" more than usual. 

I need a hug. I feel tired and deflated tonight in general... just a snowballing "ennui" from answering emails and feeling behind and bouncing around social media and skimming through other's sad stories just enough to scoop up some of the sadness or worry from them, but not enough to actually be deeply committed and useful to those stories. Just feeling LESS THAN.

I need a hug. And a nap. And several good nights' sleep in a row. And to take a hot bath and some deep breaths and get back to work afresh. 

That's all I have to say about that tonight.

Quinn: Seven Months Old

Friday, September 6, 2013

 Oh my sweet baby boy. Seven months. You're on the cusp of the "older baby" season--- the season where it is apparent the toddler you are about to become. You're not quite there--- you're still my little baby, still in that first part of babyhood where you're teeny and mostly dependent on me. But you're on the cusp. So I try to inhale every moment of your baby-ness, because before I know it, you'll be so big.

At seven months:

* You are loving baby food so much. You have a fruit and a veggie at lunch and again at dinner. Sometimes I stir in that nasty-smelling baby food meat puree. We almost always mix in baby oatmeal to thicken your food, and you are in love with every speck of it. Well, except that one time I tried to mix avocado with baby food meat. It was disgusting, and you knew it. Your faces were classic!

* You are sitting up on your own! It started about a week after you turned 7 months, and now, 18 days into your 7th month, you are at 75% ability-- almost never tipping over!

* You love your exersaucer. You love laying on your back and rolling and shimmying all over the floor. You love your Bumbo because now it means food. (One day I suppose we'll move Lucy out of the high chair so you can get a turn.)

* You take two very consistent naps-- one from 9-10:30am, and one from 1-3:00pm every day. Your bedtime is 7:00pm, and you get a warm bath every night before bed. 

* You are a part-time binky baby--- just a silly thing we tried the other week and you kind of liked it! So we offer it to you if you're getting grumpy... but not really at your bed or naptimes, so for now, it's not a sleep aid. I'm kind of glad about that. 

* Your chosen lovey is NOT the raccoon I chose for you, but the orange soft taggie blanket that the hospital gave you as a gift. You LOVE it. You still love the raccoon, but that orange one-- true love. 

* You say "mmMOMmmmmmmm" when you're starting to get fussy--- I like to pretend it's because you're calling for me... but I think the truth is that closing your lips around your gums feels good right now because you are going to pop in your first teeth any day.

* So no teeth yet--- but a definite increase in drool and mouthing things. Noah got his first teeth right at 7.5 months old, and Lucy was almost 8 months old, so you're due anytime. 

* You love to look out the back door at the trees and the sky and the yard. I love holding you while you clap your hand on the glass door to feel the cool and hear the sound. 

* You still love to be held in my ring sling. It  is my favorite method of transporting you-- I get snuggles and I get to kiss your head whenever I want. 

* You almost always wake up happy and chatty. I am so so happy about this--- that you are loving your life and feeling rested and confident enough to wake quietly and happily instead of abruptly and with tears. 

* You smile so very much, and your smile is completely heart-melting. You laugh so easily too. You are utterly charming. 

* You love your siblings. Noah loves you back, and Lucy is finally showing interest in you, even though recently, that interest manifests in her patting your head a bit too hard, followed immediately by a light stroke and her mimicking my words, "Soft!!! Soft!!" She's still learning, I guess. :)

* You love your daddy and get so happy to see him when he walks in the door after work. You are so good for him, and he is sweet enough to take one of your night wakings/feedings if I am too wiped to do it. He says he loves the nighttime snuggles. 

*You are doing a great job sleeping from bedtime at 7 until 1 or 2 am. You then will either wake once, around 2, or twice, at 1 and 4ish. I'm okay with this for now. 

* You love Puffs and Mum Mums and chewing on Hot Wheels and blowing raspberries and taking baths and being tickled and nuzzled and anything that makes sounds.

And I love you just like this. JUST LIKE THIS. In no time at all you'll LOOK different with TEETH, and you'll start trying out mobility... and you'll try to feed yourself... and just like that, you'll be "Older Baby"... Chunky and toddlerish and toothish and clever-expressioned and babble-y and AWESOME, of course... but older. And for now, I will cherish that you still need me entirely and that you still fit in 6 month clothes and that you still look mostly like that littler baby you were a few months ago. I don't need time to go any quicker than it already is. I completely love Seven-Month-Old Quinn. 

Quinn at 6 months
Quinn at 4 months. (5 months didn't happen. Bummer)
 at 3 months
at 2 and 1 months.  

Day 5: Our Day These Days

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oof. I have been SO. TIRED. So tired for so long now. I finally crashed out in total burnout this weekend, and didn't do a THING productive after kids went to bed. And that includes blogging here. So much for a post-a-day for a week. But 4 posts in a row was pretty good, yeah?

For tonight, I wanted to write one of my "Our Day, These Days" posts. It's a tradition I began back in 2009, writing a long post that gives minute details about how life looks for us at the time of the writing. Here are the ones I've done in past years:

It's amazing how even though we might do the EXACT SAME THING for hundreds of days in a row, somehow time marches on and routines begin to subtly shift and within a year or two, the "dailiness" looks completely different than before. It's because these changes do happen that I feel a yearning to put it down on paper now, so that when it's shifted once again, I can go back to these posts and remember. How quickly the details fade, you know? I want to remember more than just the general idea of life with my little ones. I want the play-by-play, as much as possible. In fact, it hurts my heart a little that I didn't do this back in the spring--- I'd intended to. To catch the days where Noah was still in preschool, Quinn was just starting to settle into some predictability, but everything was still slow and home-centric and we weren't yet about to begin packing and moving and growing and changing so very much. But I missed it, and those days have shifted, and here we are, three weeks into a new version of our daily lives, the Noah is in Kindergarten Edition. 

So, before this time runs out too, here is our day, these days. 

Our days begin at 7:00am. Joe has been awake since about 6:15, when he showers, eats breakfast, dabbles on his computer game and checks soccer news, Facebook, etc., makes his lunch.

At 6:51, my first alarm has gone off, and I've hit "snooze". I get to snooze once. This is still rough for me--- before the onset of the school year three weeks ago, I'd sleep until Joe left for work, around 7:30 or so. I don't know why, but this 7:00am wakeup, not very much earlier, is REALLY hard. I'm really still more baby-in-the-house-sleep-deprived than I realize, I think.

Joe wakes Noah at 7 and gets him downstairs to get breakfast. Noah is still getting used to this waking time, and the fact that his body isn't waking on its own like he's always been able to have happen. He's a pretty good sport about it... just groggy. 

Noah eats cereal or an egg or mini muffins, or sometimes a combo of all of the above. I try to remember to eat breakfast-- at least a Carnation Instant Breakfast. 

Lucy typically sleeps til 7:30, bu will sometimes rouse when Noah is getting woken. On crazy random days, she'll sleep later. The other day, she slept til NINE. ??! (Growth spurt??) Quinn is usually waking around 7:00am or 7:15, and he wakes up so chill and happy. I love this. It tells me he is rested and it is a good time for him to be waking. I don't know why, but his room smells like graham crackers--- warm and sweet. 

Joe helps out as best he can with whatever kids happen to be awake, but all too soon it is time for him to head out the door to go to work. Since moving out to West County, his commute has increased significantly, so he has to be out the door at 7:20 at the latest, and it always bums me out to see him go. I love having his help, and really I just love how our family feels with him there. 

 By 7:20, Noah needs to have finished eating, because we're now in the "countdown to bus" time. Between 7:20-7:30, he needs to get dressed, brush teeth, and get shoes and backpack, etc. I don't bother dressing Lucy and Quinn unless somehow a window of opportunity has presented itself and there was a little extra time. I try to be out of my pajamas for the bus stop walk, but I don't mind that my younger kiddos are still bed-head-y scrappers. 

At 7:30ish, we head out the door to take Noah to the bus stop just 4 houses down. I usually ring-sling Quinn and hold Lucy's hand as we walk, but we've also grabbed the wagon and I've pulled Lucy to speed up our walk. Noah's bus stop is at one of his friend's houses, so it's fun that he gets to ride the bus with a buddy. I really enjoy the family who's house it is, so we chat a bit if we get the time. The elementary school bus comes pretty quickly, and then the high school bus comes just minute after, so I'll often linger and talk with the older sister of Noah's friend, a high school senior, and so sweet. I think I'm going to ask her to babysit for us sometime soon. I really like her attitude, personality, etc. Their mom seems like someone I could get to be good friends with, too, so I am glad we get this almost-daily chance to get to know each other.

After the buses head off, I usually just go home to feed and dress the little ones. But once it is not so hot, I could see that being a good time to take the double stroller and head off for some exercise-- a brisk walk with music, maybe some portable breakfast for Lucy and a bottle for Quinn. I look forward to the option. For now, it has been so muggy and HOT, even early, that it is the last thing I feel like doing. So we head home, and I confess: I LOVE the quiet promise of a morning at home stretching before me when I walk in that door. I LOVE that I don't have to pack kids into a car to take anyone to school. I LOVE that I get to ease into the day this way. 

So we walk in the door and I make sure both Lucy and Quinn get fed and dressed for the day. (Lucy: cereal or Nutrigrain bar or fruit and yogurt, or eggs; Quinn: nursing and possibly a formula supplement). I get myself presentable. And we play a bit, trying to stave off Quinn's morning nap til 9:00 if we can. At 9:00 I prepare a bottle for Quinn, making it nice and warm to help him get drowsy, and I put Sesame Street on for Lucy. She has already learned to stay downstairs while I put Quinn down. I'll sometimes find her sitting on the bottom step when I come back out of his room, but she is so sweet and good, waiting for me at the bottom instead of coming up to hover and whine and fuss while I attend to her baby brother. And lately, there are even days where she'll stay in the tv room and watch Sesame Street, getting more and more trusting that even if I'm not near, I'll be back soon. Meanwhile, I take Quinn up to his room and turn on his sound machine and settle into the glider with him and his bottle. I sing to him as he eats, and I love to see him get drowsy and sleepy at the end of the bottle. I burp him and sing him "Twinkle, Twinkle" as I lay him down. He has chosen his orange taggie lovey above his raccoon loveys, so I drape it over him and he rolls to his side and nearly always go right to sleep without a fuss or a peep. 

I come back downstairs to Lucy and we watch Sesame Street. I will try to do some housework at this time-- dishes or breakfast cleanup or laundry folding, or something. I've been able to slowly wrap up much of the unpacking/moving into this house once and for all during this time, and it feels so good to just be home and puttering... one baby asleep and content, the other one watching PBS or just keeping me company wherever I wander around the house to do chores. Some days we both just laze out in front of TV for longer than just Sesame Street... but lots of days we move to the other rooms and listen to music while she plays and I work or clean or unpack or whatever... and sometimes I just enjoy her and play with her. Eventually I want to get motivated to do some Morning Art with her during this time of day--- to work with her in an even more intentional way than I've been doing. I truly love getting this one-on-one time with her, undivided by Noah's talking and questions or Quinn's baby-needs. One beautiful morning, we even played in the back yard the whole time, Quinn's monitor nearby so we could listen for him. 

Quinn naps from 9-10:30 usually, though lately he's been taking extra long naps--- growth spurt?? Because he loves this nap and thrives with it, I make no grand plans for our mornings. Noah is only in half-day kindergarten, so he is due home by 11:30 every day. By the time Quinn wakes from his nap, there isn't time for me to take the two littler ones anywhere for any kind of fun or errand, so our mornings are just slow and homebound and calm and really really lovely. 

When Quinn wakes, I nurse him again, and we play. He is just barely starting to sit up on his own, so he is loving his new perspective on things and it's fun to just sit and hand him things and play with him and Lucy in the simplest of ways. We start to watch for Noah's bus at 11:30 and he come running home when it drops him off right in front of the house. He is full of stories about his day, and reports of his "green" (good) behavior, and this and that, usually followed immediately by an "I'm HUNGRY"... so we move indoors for an early lunch. I can usually put Quinn in the exersaucer and he stays content while I make lunch. I try to keep Noah's and Lucy's lunch similar--- perhaps a few little personalized tweaks here and there... and I also prepare a bowl of baby food for Quinn. We settle into the dining room and I feed the baby and supervise Lucy and we all eat and chat and enjoy having Noah home. He is loving school and seems to be thriving there. 

After lunch, around noon, we'll sometimes go outside, or sometimes go up to Noah and Lucy's room to play... or I'll put on a short cartoon of Noah's choice. By 1:00pm, it is Lucy's naptime and time for Quinn's second nap. I take them both up, Noah trailing behind, and I put Lucy down first. She LOVES her nap, and is usually eager to get right to it, so we don't really read stories or do any kind of lengthy bedtime routine. She has been napping on her crib mattress on the floor like a big girl (but still in a pack and play for nighttimes), so she'll run right over to it, lay down, and I'll tuck her in with her Bunny Bunny and Daddy, put her soft blanket over her, and she'll roll to her side and be ready to sleep. I sing her two songs and the boys and I leave her in her room alone and head to Quinn's room. Quinn gets a diaper change and a small bottle, sound machine and songs, and he's ready for a nap as well. 

At this point, I've just started a new system for Noah being able to earn "screen time". After the two little ones are in bed, his Quiet Time begins. Quiet Time is time in one room, alone, either spent reading/looking at books, coloring, or resting. He can choose to have a 45-minute quiet time or an hour-long quiet time, but whatever he chooses, he gets that correlating time afterwards for "screen time"--- usually time on my iPod, playing his favorite games or watching a favorite Netflix cartoon. This has been working beautifully: not only do I feel like he doesn't just assume he gets to play iPod stuff all day long, but that it is earned... but he willingly engages in hour-long quiet time right when the others are sleeping, so I still get to have that hour or so to myself to work or relax (or most often these days, nap myself). He spends his Quiet Time in my room so he can't bug Lucy... so if I'm going to nap anyway, I will lay down next to him and sleep while he reads or colors or rests for his hour. Once his time is up, I give him my iPod and go back to sleep... ha. Or we both go downstairs and he plays games and I get myself moving again. 

Quinn typically only naps for 1.5 hours, so he is up between 2:30 or 3:00pm. I'll nurse him then put him on the living room floor with toys and play with him while Noah does his screen time thing. This is a super chill time of day, so this is often when I play "catch up" on Facebook or with my online groups of friends. Lucy is up between 4:30-5pm, so about that time of day we all get moving again and start to anticipate Joe getting home. Sometimes Noah's neighbor friend will come by and they'll go play for a good hour or so before dinnertime. Lucy alternates between waking up so sweet and happy to waking up just crabby and crying and a hot mess. I confess if the boys are both in a good mood, I don't mind snuggling her on those rough days. But if both of the other kids are whiny or needy, it gets pretty overwhelming to have a sobbing Lucy, too. We make do, somehow. 


When Joe gets home, usually around 5:30, I start to think about dinner. Joe plays with the kids and we listen to Pandora and we manage to get dinner made and ready and we eat around 6:00pm most days. Quinn gets more baby food and loves to be part of the family meal, sitting in his Bumbo on the dining room table. Lucy is a happy and content dining companion, even if she doesn't eat as much on some days. Noah can be a bit temperamental-- either grumpy that we're making him come to dinner when he's been having fun doing something else, or acting reluctant to eat what is on his plate. But we just try to stay calm and consistent and he usually gets back on track eventually. 

Once dinner is over, it's time for Quinn to get a bath and go to bed. We try to have him in bed by 7:00pm. The other two kids will play while Dad gives Quinn a bath and I clean up dinner (or vice versa), and I usually put Quinn to bed since he gets to nurse before he goes to sleep. Joe winds down the evening with the kids and they clean up messes around 7:30. If it's a bath night, he helps them get baths (Noah gets a shower) and gets them in jammies, teeth brushed, etc. I will help out if they need me. Then one of us will read books and sing songs. We've been getting both of them in bed by 8:00pm. With them sharing a room, it works better to have them have the same bedtime so that one isn't disrupting the other with a later bedtime. They chatter a bit before they fall asleep. When they first started sharing a room 2 months ago, I worried they'd NEVER be able to work it out and get to sleep... their laughs and hollers would go on and on and on and it would take two or three visits from Joe or I before they'd finally settle down and go to sleep. But its gotten better and they still enjoy each other, but in a much more reasonable span of time. 

At 8:10 pm or so, Joe and I are trying to remember to play a nightly game of backgammon as a way to connect and be together before we head to our individual responsibilities for the night. After backgammon, I head to the computer to work/edit/email/place orders/etc. and Joe gets to work on his online classes he has this semester. Joe tries to get to bed by 10, and I have not been good about getting to bed before midnight each night. Which is NOT working for me. (as I type at 12:14am.) I'm going to have to change this to 11:00pm FIRM, or I will continue to just be too exhausted all day long. Quinn has been waking at around 1am and again around 4am, and even with Joe taking one of those wakings, I just feel HAMMERED all the time. Sleep-deprivation-accumulation. UGH.

But there it is, our basic day these days. We swerve from the path sometimes--- If I want to do something fun with the kids, our best time is lunch time, so I have intentions of packing up lunch and heading off to do fun things once Noah's bus drops him back home. We went to the City Garden last week at lunchtime. I've also taken Lucy and Quinn to the playground right after Noah goes to school. On Wednesdays, Joe works late, so I've packed picnic dinners and taken the kids out in the evening on those days sometimes. But for the most part, we're sticking close to home and for the most part, we're loving it. Lots of sunny playtimes on the floor, lots of Pandora music in the background, lots of just maintaining the house and continuing to settle in and make it more and more of a home. It's not really super exciting--- but it's our life, and I do love just being here and seeing my little ones' faces every day. 

For now, it's more than enough. All too soon it'll be even quieter as they grow and all go to school... so for now, I try to revel in the "mom of little ones" era. It's a special time, and I love it. 

(all photos are iPhone snaps from the month of August... I loved looking for ones that kind of illustrated this post.)
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