Wordless Wednesday: Who is This Big Kid?

*Photo courtesy of our ever-awesome neighbor, Evan.


Working Mom

Those who know me best realize that from mid-October until mid-December my life basically shuts down and I go into "Gala mode." I fall off the map. The Gala is the focus of my job, an event that raises over $3 million and takes countless hours of management. Luckily, I've worked for an incredible boss and always have really smart, talented colleagues, so working long hours hasn't been as bad as it could be.

This year marks my sixth Gala, my third since having William. And it will be my last. A month or so ago I accepted a new role within my office, one that will allow me to focus on a few areas that I'm really interested in and not demand the hours that event management does. It is definitely a good move for me professionally and personally, but it was a tough decision. I don't let go of things easily.

I ultimately made the decision because I realized this: I am not the same person I was when I was hired on to manage this Gala. I've become a mom, moved to the burbs, and all that makes these months so much more difficult. Every Saturday or Sunday that I go into the office is a choice of work over William. Every night I'm there late is a day that I only spend a rushed hour in the morning with the little guy. And, at the end of the day, that's not fair anymore and makes me feel I'm letting him down. You can love your job and love your kid, but feeling like you have to make a choice is not something that I love.

So, here's to my last Gala...


Playing Barista

"Hi, baristas!" is often what we hear from the back seat when we drive by a Starbucks. Yes, between days spent with my mom and our own coffee-loving ways, our child is very aware of all things coffee. I think "coffee" was one of his first words. He'd point to our mugs in the morning or to-go cups during afternoon trips out and correctly identify what was inside. It doesn't hurt that there is a drive-thru Starbucks near our house and our pediatrician's office.

Last weekend on the way back from Michigan we were stuck in traffic. It sucked, but then we heard a little voice behind us say, "Would you like a grande skim latte?" And so the game of barista began.

Our new traffic game is playing barista. We take turns ordering and William makes our coffee drinks. Every now and then we get to play barista and make him a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream, something he's never actually tried, but seems to think the pretend version is delicious.


Making Sure William Will Be Alright

For the From Left to Write Book Club, we read "The Kids Are All Right" by Amanda, Dan, Diana, and Liz Welch, a book about a young family torn apart after losing their father and then their mother. This post is inspired by that book.

We were standing over William's changing table, as I pulled his pants back up and I turned to my sister Christina and said, "You know that if anything happens to us, we want to you to take William, right?"

Maybe those weren't the exact words, but it was something like that. I didn't know that I was going to ask her right then. I didn't know what I was going to say before I said it. Sure, Matt and I had talked about it and decided it was best for his future. We went through our list of options and knew that my sister and her then fiance/now husband Tristan would be the most prepared to give William the closest thing to what we would give him.

If we die, they would raise him best. It's not something you ever want to think about, but as parents, it's reality. But, asking your sister to care for your child, provide for him, love him, educate, clothe, and feed him if you're not able to do so yourself, isn't really taking care of his future.

We have a lot of work to do. We need a real will, a real plan, a better savings account for William's education, and we need to do everything we can to be sure we're here as his parents as long as possible. Sometimes in the early years of building your family, you don't focus on what's down the road or the "what if's" in life. Honestly, why would you? Sometimes the "what if's" in life are too scary to even think about.

That fear is what left the mother in the book frozen in the face of choosing who would raise her kids once she was unable, forcing them to live apart. Being apart was, to me, the opposite of what I would want for my family. It made me want to reach through the pages of the book and give each of these kids a hug and a home where they could live together. It kept me glued to the book, wondering what I would do if I was their aunt or mother's friend.

And it made me realize this: In asking Christina to take responsibility for William I was also silently asking her to tack on whatever future children we may have. If they have a few and we have a few, am I asking them to be willing to double their family if something happens to us? I guess I am.

When you think about it that way you really realize it's not a simple question to be asked over the changing table at the spur of the moment. We should at least buy them dinner.

This post was inspired by the book "The Kids Are All Right" by Amanda, Dan, Diana, and Liz Welch, which I received complimentary as a part of From Left to Write Book Club. See how other bloggers connected to this book here. See how other bloggers were inspired by this book here.


ABC's: Baby Steps Forward, Toddler Step Back

William has been reciting his ABC's and identifying letters on their own since he was about a year and a half. It was just something that came naturally to him. The alphabet quilt on the wall of his bedroom and lots of time playing Starfall are credited with this. However, once he mastered his letters, we stopped some of the things that made him so excited about them to begin with. Starfall was played less often. We quizzed him on letters less and less.

Recently we've realized that his spot on letter identification has slipped a bit. He's started to switch some letters around lately or takes a second to come up with the right answer. We've learned a valuable lesson. Just because something is figured out doesn't mean you have to keep working on it, which is true in all areas of life. I have a feeling this is one of those parent lessons we'll continue to learn.

Last night I was wearing an IOWA t-shirt and William looked at it and correctly identified each letter.

"Do you know what it spells?" I asked

"Yeah, I do know what it spells," he replied.

"What does it spell?"

"Gap." He looked at me with the straightest, "duh" face you can imagine.

We're clearly not onto reading yet and this kid has defined the everything that drives me crazy, yet is totally brilliant about Gap.


Will I Ever Master Timing in the Kitchen?

For the first book of the newly formed Bloggers' Book Club, we read "Too Many Cooks" by Emily Franklin, a book about "Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes." This post is inspired by that book.

I remember the first time I had friends over for dinner after I had William. I was making Greek chicken, salad, rice, and pumpkin spice cupcakes (an embellished recipe from the box). I was on maternity leave and Matt was catching a ride home from the city with our friends, Kari and Anthony. All week Kari encouraged me to order pizza, to not worry about cooking something, but I was determined to prove that I could still host friends for dinner with a newborn.

When they showed up I was quite possibly on the verge of tears, had no make-up on, a crying kid sat in his bouncy chair on the kitchen floor, and dinner wasn't ready yet. But, I was almost done. They shuffled in, played with William, and I was able to focus and finish it up. And I learned I could do it. It took me longer than I imagined, I got a ton more frazzled. But, I did it.

I've never been great at planning ahead when it comes to cooking. I underestimate how long it takes to chop things and think I can make three dishes at once without a real plan for how it will go down. But, somehow I *almost* always pull it off.

Tonight I decided to make The Best Split-Pea Soup Recipe Ever from Too Many Cooks. I, of course, realized that I was short a half pound of split peas and a pot large enough to hold all the soup the recipe would make, so when the soup should have been simmering on the stovetop, we were out tracking down these small necessities. The recipe calls for putting the soup in the oven for two hours. I gave it an hour and 15 minutes before I had to take it out to keep us from eating too late. I figured it would be fine. And it was. We enjoyed some awesome, complex split pea soup. (See, somehow it always works out.)

So, I guess nothing has really changed. In my head I can chop two leeks, two onions, six carrots, five celery stalks, and eight cloves of garlic in ten minutes and then saute all of it in about two minutes. Clearly, this is not possible. I drastically underestimate stuff like this. I'll for sure make this soup again, as it was a huge hit. But, I promised Matt that next time I would leave enough time for it to spend the recommended two hours in the oven to see what it's really supposed to taste like.

This post was inspired by the book "Too Many Chefs" by Emily Franklin, which I received complimentary as a part of The Bloggers' Book Club. See how other bloggers connected to this book here.