Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dating My Husband

Marriage is hard. Marriage after a baby is harder. Steven and I had a really amazing talk the other day. One of our "takeaways" was that he felt we were more disconnected after Felicity was born, while I felt we mostly struggled with baby related things, where as I feel more disconnected now, and he feels we're mostly struggling with baby/toddler related things. I find it fascinating that two people living the same experience can have completely opposite feelings on it. Just goes to show how different we are as humans with unique personalities and perspectives, and how important it is to communicate. My neighbor and friend recently told me that she and her husband have an "unplugged" date night once a week. In a time of our lives where dates outside of the house are rare to nonexistent (Clare doesn't take bottles), I thought this was a fantastic idea. Especially since Felicity is going to bed a little later, Clare is a bit of a wild card, and by the time they're both down, we're so exhausted that we both hunker down to our computers happy to not think or talk to anyone for the rest of the night. Well, that may be relaxing but it hasn't been great for our marriage. So we decided to jump on board this unplugged date night. I found the unplugged part so important because I could see us easily picking a movie night many weeks which, while fun, isn't really face to face time. I wanted to be sure we were really interacting. We've decided to take turns planning it each week and it has been fun to do and also a lot of fun to plan! We did this early in our marriage as well, except the dates were out of the house. But we took turns planning and it had to be something new each week. It really helped us get creative and branch out, and was a ton of fun experiencing something together each week. Anyway, I thought I'd share our first 3 weeks in case anyone is doing the same thing, or wants to, and might need ideas. Thankfully pinterest has quite a bit, too!

The first week was my week and we decided kind of last minute so I put together some games for a Game Night. I didn't want it to be all board games so I reached back to my youth to think of some things. We played "dots" (where you have a sheet of dots and take turns drawing lines, the last one to connect a line to make a square gets to initial that square, whoever has the most squares at the end wins), hang man, and one card game. I planned for us to have a word search race, but I left the word search books in the room with a sleeping Clare so that got cancelled! We had some snacks and talked while we played, and it was really enjoyable!

Steven's date night was next. For the first part, he decided we'd sit on the porch and talk. Honestly, I was kind of thinking we'd spend a lot of time just sitting. Lately we suck at conversation because, like I said above, we're just so tired at the end of the day. He said he would look up some questions if we needed to. But we didn't! We sat on the porch for almost an hour, by the light of a citronella candle, and just talked. The conversation flowed to the point that we lost track of time for the second part of his date! He had bought 2 Dollar Tree journals and had us each write a page of a story that we made up, then switch journals and write a page based on what the other had written, then switch again. It was fun seeing how differently our stories started out, and frankly being a bit ridiculous together.

This week was back to my turn and I decided to be a bit more creative. I settled on a carnival theme and had a lot of fun! I made up 5 activities: ice cream sandwich sundaes, face painting, kissing booth, animal ring toss, and tossing balls into a bowl to win a goldfish (cracker). I made signs with pictures for each activity and hung them around the living room and kitchen so we could make our way through the 'carnival'. Besides the fact that the cat jumped up beside me and puked during the kissing booth, it was a ton of fun. My favorite activity was face painting. I'm not artistic at all but it was a lot of fun! And we realized we're both very ticklish with a paintbrush near the corner of our eyes, so we used that to torture each other during painting. We enjoyed it so much that we ended up both painting each other's faces twice. And ice cream... I mean, how can you go wrong? The date was a bit faster than I thought, especially for having 5 activities, but neither of us minded since we'd had so much fun. I wonder what Steven has planned for his turn! 

Does anyone else do this? I'd love to hear date idea if so!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Things Done

I think all the time that I don't do enough. On some days, I really don't do enough. But on most days, I consider keeping 2 children alive and relatively happy and the household running mostly smoothly to be a lot. The days I do more than that? Bonus! But it's easy on a day like yesterday to look around at toys scattered on the floor, a greasy feeling kitchen floor, and dishes in the sink and feel like I'm not doing a very good job at this whole homemaker thing. Then I took a step back to really assess the situation. Toys were scattered because my child was playing (no easy feat in our house... Felicity struggles to play independently), the floor was greasy because I spilled butter but I tried a new, complicated meal that my family loved and the floor had previously been clean because I had swept and mopped that morning, and the dishes were out because I was rushing to get everyone fed before bedtime. If I look at it in a list, even a small portion of what I did yesterday looks like a lot:

  • cleaned up toys after bed time
  • swept and mopped kitchen floor and guest bath
  • deodorized and vacuumed living room
  • made a new recipe for supper 
  • 3 loads of laundry
  • 2 mile walk with the girls
I did more than that, of course, but the point is that it's easy to look around at what didn't get done and beat myself up over it when, in reality, I've done quite a bit! I was telling my mom the other day how much more frustrating housework is now that I'm a SAHM. When Steven and I were both working and had no children, I'd clean a room or vacuum and it would be done for a week. I would do laundry and be done for 3-4 days. I had a sense of accomplishment because I would get a task done and then have multiple days to enjoy the fruits of my labor until it needed doing again. Now, however, I mop the kitchen and a mess is made an hour later. I do a load of laundry and another one is waiting right behind it. I vacuum the living room and crumbs have accumulated by the next morning. There's no feeling of ever being done with anything, and more of a sense of a vicious cycle of chores. Two + years in and I'm still struggling with that reality!

 I ordered a planner today that I'm really excited about. When I was choosing, one of the options had a "to do list" section that I was drawn to. Then I thought, "that list will be full constantly and I'll never make much of a dent" so, instead, I chose one that has graph paper. I can write anything in that section but I've decided to track what I get done, at least every few days. I think that seeing what I've done, rather than what's left to do, will be way better for my morale!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Clare Sophia: 4 Months

I'm 1 day late, but basically on time ;). My little bear is becoming such a baby and has pretty much lost all the newborn-ness! She laughs and smiles, watches us, loves watching Felicity and her friends play, and is grabbing toys all the time now.

Weight: I'll come back to this after her appointment next week

Height: I'll come back to this after her appointment next week.

Medical issues: I tested her dairy intolerance yesterday with a large ice dream cone from Chickfila and it went pretty well so I may try the things I know bothered her soon... like cheesecake. 

Sleep: Clare is sleeping more predictably these days. She is only up about 90 minutes between naps,

and takes fairly short naps (which is probably why she's only up 90 min!). It actually works pretty well for me because she wants to be held most of the time she's awake, so it gives me more frequent breaks to get things done or interact with Felicity. She will do one long nap in the middle of the day if I come lay with her when she wakes up, which I do so that she'll sleep longer. And I can't say I hate the cat nap that I get either! Then we get up when Felicity does. She goes to bed between 6 and 7 and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30. We are definitely in the 4 month regression but it's not too bad... it has just been the addition of needing me for her nap and now needing me most of the night, but since I sleep through most of it, it hasn't been a huge deal. I mostly just miss being able to flail around in my sleep :). 

Clothes/diaper size: Clare is in in the same as last month... 3-6 clothes and size 2 diapers. 

Likes: watching kids play, snuggling mommy, sitting upright, grabbing things, being tickled, any type of motion- seeing people jump, swing, run, often sends her into giggling fits.

Dislikes: being in the stroller (our walks have been rough lately), being put down.

Nicknames: Clare Bear is still her main nickname. 

Milestones: Clare is getting toys to her mouth now. She can sit in the tripod stance for a few seconds at a time before falling to the right. She found her feet which is one of her favorite "toys". And probably Clare's biggest milestone was rolling front to back, which she does approximately every time I try to get her to do tummy time. 

I don't want to forget this: I mostly just don't want to forget her infancy in general. It's so crazy how quickly they change. She's a bit easier than Felicity and I'm a bit more experienced, so I really want to hang on to this age a little longer, even though it's somewhat more demanding. I love watching her smile at Felicity and hearing Felicity exclaim "she's smiling at me!!!", and seeing Felicity run in first thine in the morning to say good morning and kiss her. Clare is so loved! I love that she beams a huge smile every time I smile at her or talk to her. She is so easy to make happy! All it takes for her tears to go away is for me to pick her up.