Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

SHORT VERSION OF THIS INSANELY LONG POST: I did not accidentally have a baby while my husband is gone and our van is dead. Hopefully next week I will get a new minivan and a baby. 

Now that this week is 90% over, I no longer feel – both literally and figuratively – like I am drowning. Now it’s more like I’m treading water while holding half a pool noodle and also a baby. It’s been a really, really hot summer here in CT, sauna-levels of hot and humid, except you can’t just sit around wrapped in a tiny towel and the warning not to spend more than 20 minutes at a time in the heat can’t be followed because you can’t leave. In past years we’ve had a week or two of this weather, but not so many days in a row I lose the ability to leave my bedroom. Our house feels both way too big (how can I be expected to walk down a flight of stairs EVERY TIME I have to pee? why is there no way to air condition the open main living space?) and way too small (GET AWAY FROM ME CHILDREN) and I actually cannot wait to go to the hospital to give birth. Not because I like the hospital. I hate the hospital. Not even because I want to meet the baby. Obviously I do. But mostly because they have air conditioning AND a bathroom only 3 steps from the bed. HEAVEN.

Last week was a culmination of everything that could go wrong (besides actual baby-related stuff) all happening at once. It was hot (did I mention that yet?) and I had to drop Evan off at Seaport camp every morning with 2.9 other children in tow. There is not drop off line. You park across a busy street, take everyone in with you, sign one kid in, then have to convince everyone else to leave again when what they really want to do is play at the Seaport. Last year I had no problem staying. This year I felt like I was going to die just from crossing the street, so spending several hours walking around just wasn’t possible. I am literally unable to chase Linc if he runs away and he is deep in a running-away phase. Have I told you he also refuses to wear shoes? Because that’s also true. So no shoes, doesn’t listen, bolts at every chance AND at a waterfront location is just asking for trouble. What I’m saying is that week was already stressing me out.

Then our downstairs fridge stopped working. Good news: we hardly ever use that fridge. Bad news: we hardly ever use that fridge, so I have no idea what was in it or how horrific it currently is. Pretty horrific, I’m guessing. I can’t deal, so I’m waiting for E to get to it so he can deal. In the meantime, I’m just not opening the basement door.

Anyway, back to camp, sort of. On Thursday when I dropped Evan off, the oil light in the car kept turning on and off and on and off. Since we had the car serviced and the oil changed LITERALLY 9 DAYS AGO I planned to call the car place when we got home and ask them to take a look. But by the time we got home it had stopped happening and I figured it was a glitch, the way my airbag light and my tire pressure lights are always on (I’ve had them checked multiple times, there’s actually nothing wrong). On Friday, on the way to drop Evan off, it started happening again. This time I called E at work and asked him if he could call the car place and make sure I could drive straight there after drop off because maaaaaaaybe this was an actual problem. But how could it be? We JUST changed the oil. Surely they would have noticed a major issue. He called, they made an appointment and told me to bring it in. After I hustled the children back to the car, I decided to take the fast way – the interstate – back to town instead of the back way – country roads – because I wanted to get there as soon as possible.

I’d been on the highway less than 3 minutes before I realized my car wasn’t accelerating. It was barely running. I pulled onto the shoulder and burst into tears because I KNEW how screwed I was. The engine wouldn’t turn over. I was stuck on I-95 with 2.9 children.

Luckily, E was still in his building and not unreachable (he is very often unreachable at work) and someone found him and he came to rescue us. Or at least he came to provide a car with air conditioning that worked to sit in while we waiting for AAA to come. And waited. And waited. And waiting. Eventually the state patrol truck came to check on us and suggested we put oil in the van. A while after that I called AAA back and they couldn’t find a record of my call (of course) so they put in the request again (of course) and then I got a text saying my request had been canceled (of course). So when the van started, we decided I would put the kids in E’s car, he would drive the van, and we would try to get to the car place. We made it to within 5 miles of the car place before the van died again, for real. So dead. RIP Minivan. We used the car to push it off the road into a parking lot where we could wait for AAA. AGAIN. This time, they managed to actually put my request through and we got updates from the tow truck so we knew we had time to run home, let Caroline pee, grab lunch and go back to the parking lot to wait some more. After we got the van to the car place and the kids home (Evan was still at camp) we both made calls to reschedule the rest of our day.

Later, the car place called to confirm that our van was in fact a giant blue brick and replacing the seized engine was going to cost twice what the van was worth. It turns out there was a huge hole in the oil pan. I’m still not exactly sure how an oil pan that was looked at NINE DAYS AGO can have a huge hole in it, but they assured us it wasn’t their fault. I don’t have the energy to argue, especially because I am SURE the only way they would agree it was their fault was in small claims court and I can’t prove anything. I mean, Judge Judy would TOTALLY be on my side, but I don’t know about real life judges.

So after we took a break from that disaster to go see the show at Foxwoods on Friday night, we spent Saturday looking at new vans. It was horrible, because car shopping is horrible and children are horrible. Plus it was a million degrees and most car dealer lots are already as hot as balls, so when it’s even more hot than usual standing around looking at cars is almost unbearable. And there’s no good way to test drive anything when it means moving over 3 car seats every time. We did not buy a van. Our current car is a Ford Fusion, which means yes, we do all fit in it well enough to drive around to dealerships, but NO, we are not going to fit as soon as I have this baby. We have to have a new vehicle. We definitely want another minivan. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to buy something. But we failed on Saturday.

But why didn’t you just buy a car on Sunday? you ask, like a normal person. Oh, right, because my husband left for a week on Sunday morning. Because who doesn’t schedule work travel when their wife is 38-39 weeks pregnant? SEEMS LIKE A GREAT TIME TO BE HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD. (It’s not his fault, just add it to the list of ways the Navy DGAF.) On the one hand, it means I can use his car this week while we browse internet listings for a van. On the other hand, if he was here we could just buy a van. Putting 3 kids across the back of a mid-size sedan is awful, especially because we still have Linc rear-facing aka perfect head-kicking height for his brother. Plus there’s not room for things like “the groceries a family of soon-to-be-six actually needs to feed themselves for more than two days”. It’s stupid. Everything is stupid. I just want a car that works.

Also, we have a fruit fly invasion, the garage door isn’t working, the a/c is about to die from overuse, the shower drain is all backed up, the shelf over the washer and dryer collapsed, the dog won’t stop eating used diapers, Linc has a rash, I’m pretty sure I have a mild kidney infection again, my heartburn is unbearable, the kids are ALL sleeping in my room, my pelvis feels like it’s going to split apart and I am still pregnant. Plus last night I realized I have done NOTHING to get ready to have a baby. I didn’t buy a new Boppy – the only thing I was actually going to buy – I didn’t find the bin that has the baby clothes, I don’t have any diapers, I haven’t even begun to pack a hospital bag. I am an actual disaster who probably should not be adding another child to her life but IT’S TOO LATE NOW.

I keep trying to focus on all the ways I am very, very lucky. We can (mostly) afford to replace the van. It’s not ideal, but it won’t be impossible. The day the van died, E was here and reachable and able to take over 90% of Dealing With It because I didn’t feel at all capable. No one got hurt. We do have a space in our house with a/c and we aren’t suffering from heat stroke. I’ve been able to put almost everything on pause and just keep the kids ALIVE this week while waiting for E to get back. I didn’t go into labor with no back-up plan while he was gone. In a week my mom will be here and she can help with finding the bin of baby clothes and making sure the kids eat something besides carrot sticks and popsicles while I lie down not handling things. And soon I will have a nice, new, clean, van with FOUR car seats installed so I can have this baby without also having a panic attack. I’ve gone from completely overwhelmed to at least capable of talking about it without crying in the course of a week. I feel like that’s about all I can ask for right now. My goal for today is the hospital bag, finding the rock-n-play, putting away enough laundry I can see the nursing chair and once again, keeping my children alive. Tomorrow, van shopping. Then I can be just plain whelmed.

p.s. Still no name for this baby.

p.p.s. God bless the lake for keeping me from completely losing my shit this week, so please enjoy these lake photos.

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p.p.p.s. My new updated WordPress says the readability on this post “needs improvement”. CAN YOU NOT, WORDPRESS?

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Why Do Pregnant Women Stand Around In Creeks?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

I have no idea. I’m not sure why this is a thing, but I saw maternity photos like this in one of my photography groups and I’ve been dying to recreate them. I suppose it makes as much sense as pregnant women standing around in a field or on a beach or anywhere that isn’t Target or the grocery store.

Most of these are slightly out of focus, or at least nowhere near as sharp as “my” photos usually are. That’s because it’s impossible to stand in a creek AND stand behind the camera, so I had my husband take them. He did an amazing job, but I failed to double check my settings before passing over the camera and made some rookie mistakes. Life has been too crazy to go back and try to re-do them (and honestly, I doubt that’s going to happen before I give birth and I didn’t want to be in labor shouting “WAIT NO FIRST WE HAVE TO STOP AT THE CREEK”) so I edited them the best I could to fit my vision and you know what? They’re super. This is what a crazy pregnant woman who wants to climb around a creek in 90-degree weather at 37 weeks pregnant looks like.

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I feel like E needs extra credit for the above photo – Linc was just sitting there, waiting for me to get out of the water and E looked over and was like “Wow, that light!” and took a picture. I must be rubbing off on him.

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And this photo of Evan is the one right before he pees in the creek.

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Why yes, Caroline and I DID both bring multiple outfits to wear in a creek.

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Super soon that baby on my back will be the big kid and a new baby will be the baby. I’m feeling a little sad about it, since Linc makes such a nice baby. He is cuddly and loves to be worn and still barely talks so it’s super easy to THINK of him as a baby. (As a sidenote, I’ve resubmitted him to Birth to 3 so hopefully this time we qualify for speech therapy because I have NO IDEAS left on how to get him to say real words.) But since he understands every single word I say, has started showing interest in the potty and sleeps in a real bed with no problem, he’s not really a baby. I’m pretty excited about having an actual real baby again. Or maybe I’m just really excited not to be pregnant anymore. DEFINITELY that last thing.

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Local Fun: Cirque Eloize Saloon at Foxwoods

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

I’ve written before about how much we love living near Foxwoods, and that continues to hold true. We’ve been lucky enough to attend lots of cool events in the past couple of years (from beer to bowling to kids shows) but I think our Friday night trip to see Cirque Eloize Saloon was the best show we’ve ever seen.

From their press release:

This captivating and energetic show transports audiences to the height of the Wild Wild West era, telling the story of a piano tuner’s astonishing journey through a world filled with gold diggers, rail workers, chorus girls and cowboys. Mysterious and intriguing characters will light up the stage to explosive live music, resulting in a series of unexpected situations packed with rhythmic acrobatic prowess and original choreography. The series begins Friday, August 12 and runs through Sunday, August 21 for a total of 12 remarkable performances at a variety of family-family show times.

It was amaaaaazing. Caroline and Evan could barely stay in their seats, they were SO excited about all the tricks and acrobatics. It was lucky we were sitting with other bloggers and the Foxwoods people, because I would have been worried we were annoying regular show-watchers with all the audible gasping and “MOMMY DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!” Even Linc got super into the show, especially the hoop spinning thing (Cyr wheel, according to Google) and the singing, which he joined in enthusiastically. Like I said when I gushing over the show on Instagram, it’s like a musical combined with America’s Got Talent, two things our family loves. There was a part with a teeter-totter board that made me almost as annoying as the kids, cheering and clapping every time no one killed themselves (spoiler: no one killed themselves, they were all incredible).

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Our 4th row seats were awesome

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Enjoying chocolate strawberries at the reception, like a good blogger

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Step and repeat expert

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We borrowed a pen and the kids got their tickets signed. Everyone was SO nice.

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Caroline: Are those REAL HORSES?! (No, but fake horses are still very exciting)

Our Friday before the show was an epic disaster. No less than a dozen things went wrong and around 6 pm we were debating whether or not we could pull ourselves together enough to even TRY to enjoy our evening. But the air conditioning plus the amazing show plus the chance to meet with the cast afterward was exactly what we needed to cheer ourselves up as a family and have a great time. If you’re suffering through this unbearable summer like we are, I cannot recommend a night out to see Cirque Eloize Saloon enough. Then you too can start to teach your kids hand-to-hand in the lake.

Video taken by the 7-year-old, but it’s still awesome.

Cirque Eloize Saloon is currently playing in the Fox Theater at Foxwoods. Shows are scheduled for: August 12, 7:30 PM  August 13, 4:00 PM  August 13, 8:00 PM  August 14, 2:00 PM  August 14, 7:00 PM  August 17, 7:30 PM  August 18, 7:30 PM  August 19, 8:00 PM  August 20, 4:00 PM  August 20, 8:00 PM  August 21, 2:00 PM  August 21, 7:00 PM

Tickets start at $35

We were invited to the opening night of previews of this show at Foxwoods because I’m on their press list and they’re super nice. No other compensation was provided and all opinions and photos are my own. 

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It’s Time…To Talk About Back To School #FirstDayEveryday {Sponsored}

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Kohl’s and Carter’s were kind enough to partner with me on this post, so I could shop for back to school. I was compensated as part of the #firstdayeveryday campaign but all opinions and pictures are my own. 

The current temperature around here is about equivalent to that of the surface of the sun, but that doesn’t mean the end of summer isn’t on the way. Also, our district doesn’t seem to believe in the idea that school should start after Labor Day, so the big kids go back the last week of August. I’d be lying a little if I didn’t admit I was mostly ready for it – as fun as summer is, entertaining 3 kids 24 hours a day is a lot of hours of constant needs.

I’m NEVER ready for how much the kids grow between seasons though. Caroline was down to two pairs of leggings and zero pairs of actual pants for fall, Evan had only one pair of jeans, and poor Linc survived last fall in footie pajamas, which isn’t going to cut it this year when he’s an actual person. Thanks to Kohl’s, Carter’s and Caroline’s excellent shopping assistance, we’re no longer in desperate need of ALL THE THINGS and instead can stock up on freshly sharpened pencils, markers for important coloring homework, and thinking about the fact that I’m due to have a baby the same day school starts. Actually, no, let’s not think about that last thing. Let’s look at clothes instead!

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Right away Caroline was in love with the trends for fall – lots of florals in different patterns and scales, leggings for under everything (including her uniforms on school days and dresses on weekends), and fun details like belts, lace, and embroidery. She decided she loved navy and pink together, so everything she tried on ended up coordinating.

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We bought two pairs of these jeggings. They have real pockets and a real zipper, but they are so soft and stretchy. She declared them the best pants ever and has worn them almost every day since. She loves the shirt too, with the flower corsage detail.

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Is it weird that I am jealous of my 5-year-old’s jean jacket? It’s like the perfect level of broken in already and is going to look SO GOOD this fall to extend the life of her summer dresses. You can expect to see it at least 100 times in my weekly photos.

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She is pretending to be a bird, because there are birds on her dress. Obviously.

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Lucky for Caroline, our Kohl’s also sells Carter’s accessories. Sparkle bracelets for the win! We also bought this two-pack of leggings to use as alternates to the jeans with the polka-dot top or to wear under the bird dress. I think we ended up with at least 5 different outfits when you mix and match.

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Our uniform code says “solid cardigans” are appropriate for over uniforms with no rules about color. What could be better than pink?

In the boy’s department, I found matching brother shirts and pants for Evan and Linc. Carter’s goes up to size 8 and runs true to size, in my experience, so Evan will still fit in the brand for at least another year. I got him a couple more t-shirts and a pair of jeans too, because you cannot have enough jeans when you are 7 and rip through the knees of your pants almost on a weekly basis.

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In the baby department, I bought a bunch of stuff from the outdoors/bear/camping collection and from the sheep/cloud collection. They also have great nautical stuff (MY FAVORITE).

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Look at those outer space jams!!

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Whales! To wear to the seaport!

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Baby boat shoes, just what every baby needs to wear with their red pants and button down woven shirts for the fall. Because of course I bought Linc and Baby #4 matching red pants and woven shirts for fall.

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While we were looking at pajamas, Caroline asked if they were for boys or girls. I told her they were for both, because anyone can like dinosaurs and trucks, so she was excited to pick out matching pajamas for her and Lincoln. We went with sharks and blue stripes.

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Linc also got a set of dinosaur pajamas, which are great for the transition from summer sleeping to cooler fall nights. (I’m really excited about cooler fall nights.)

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That blue flower shirt dress is another of Caroline’s new amazing fall choices. As you can see, she was really excited about our shopping trip.

Our last stop was to check out the Carter’s shoes.

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These were the winners. Easy to put on, closed-toe for school, goes with everything, and that adorable bow. I loved that the Carter’s brand finds that balance between trendy-fun and age appropriate (especially for Caroline), so I could let her shop without worrying that I’d have to say no to half her choices.

Once I have a new baby – fingers crossed for NOT the same day as the first day of school – I’ll have so many adorable new baby outfits for him to model. Until then, I hope all the photos of Caroline will do. She’s very good at style, you know. But here’s a sneak peek of what we found:

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Two onesie sets (dinosaurs and foxes), the outfit that matches Linc’s red pants, sheepy onesies, and of course, MORE FOXES.

Thank you so much to Kohl’s and Carter’s for including me in this super fun campaign. The kids and I LOVE new clothes and it’s such a great way to start the countdown to back to school!

Starting August 1st, Kohl’s is having $10 off a $40 purchase of back-to-school clothes and shoes! It runs 8/1 through 8/17 and you can shop online with the code BTS10.

 

HAPPY SHOPPING!

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Lake of the Woods 2016

Monday, July 25th, 2016

I promise to have Linc birthday party pics up soon, but these are a) done and b) on a drive that hasn’t yet overheated so I still have access. Plus I like documenting our annual things the best, since I can go back and look at last year vs this year. (I took way more pictures last year, because I was way less hugely pregnant.)

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