Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Time - Lincoln Style

I panicked the weeks up to Christmas that we would all endure the same flu that we had last year and Christmas would, once again, be ruined. We were all sick again, but this time just with a head cold. So, the magic was able to unfold without pause. And we just got to be in it, simply soaking it up.

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Christmas eve was our annual crab feast with all of my family present. We cover the table and just dump crab in the middle and go for it with our hands. It's messy and sticky and glorious!

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After dinner the boys got in their Christmas jammies and some serious cuteness was found under our tree.

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On Christmas morning Max awoke and said, "Merry Christmas!" and ran out to see what Santa had brought. Seeing this holiday through the eyes of a two year old is pretty amazing.

The big hits this year were a broom and vacuum. Our boy likes to clean.

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Later that morning we went to my dad's to do more presents and Christmas dinner. We celebrated with my mom the following night. How lucky the boys are (and us!) to have 3 separate celebrations!

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Hope yours was a merry one! So sorry for the extra huge photos. I forgot to resize and now it's just too much work ;) Next time, I'll do better, kay?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Quiz

I just saw this Quiz over at Marigold Road and thought I'd share my answers and put it out there for anyone wanting to do it! Get us in the holiday spirit!


1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Definitely hot chocolate!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He wraps them, unless they're too big or awkward then he gets a bit lazy.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? No lights. Bah, humbug!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? We do a big crab meal on Christmas eve and that's my fav.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Sharing a room with my brother (or making him sleep in my room if we didn't share one) and forcing him up with me to go look at all the presents in the morning at about 4 am.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think 9? I was one of those kids whose parents had to sit me down and tell me because I refused to give it up. But, my brother was 6 years younger so I got to help keep the secret alive for him.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. One year we'll start the whole jammies on Christmas eve tradition, but not yet.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We have bell garland, white lights and ornaments.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Well, I love the idea of it! But I'm sure if I lived in it I would dread it.
12. Can you ice skate? Probably?
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I have a favorite from each year. But my favorite of all time was probably my diamond earrings from my husband.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? The joy of seeing the magic through my children's eyes.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? oh man. Apple pie? Cookies? No, no - I take those back. FUDGE. Oh. YES. Fudge. I think I just gained five pounds thinking about it right now.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? It's a tie between cutting down the tree and the crab feast with my entire family on Christmas eve.
17. What tops your tree? This year - nothing! We have an angel though.
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Definitely giving. I try to be creative or at least put a decent amount of thought into gifts for others and I'm so rewarded with their appreciation of that.
19. Candy canes: Yuck or Yummy? Oh YUM.
20. Favorite Christmas show? A Christmas Story. Hands down.
21. Saddest Christmas song? Is there a sad one?
22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Baby, It's Cold Outside

Your turn!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Second Decade Part 1

As I head towards my 30th birthday I've decided to look back and recall the major events of each decade of my life. I've chosen to break the second decade into 3 parts, as each part is significant and vastly different. You can read about the first decade here.

Now.. onto the second decade, ages 10-14. Oh, and please forgive the weird white space around some of the scanned photos. I'm super tired and way too lazy to figure that out right now :)


I was in 5th grade at the start of my second decade and basically just like most other 5th grade girls. I liked to talk on the phone and listen to music. I was a tad boy crazy. My dad used to say around this time that I should have written a book to help him keep track of who my current best friend was and which boy I liked since it was always changing. I guess I wanted to keep my options open. 5th grade was a brutal time for "boyfriend/girlfriend" relationships. Which, in our lives at the time, meant someone asked you to "go around" (what the hell does this mean, seriously?) and you would say yes (unless it was someone that you wouldn't be caught dead "going around" with). Then, after roughly a week of avoiding each other completely because you wouldn't know what to do with one another one of you would publicly "dump" the other one.

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When we weren't fighting, this girl and I were inseparable. Some of my best memories come from my friendship with her.

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My core group of friends in 5th and 6th grade. We were SO close, the 4 of us.

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See? I liked to talk on the phone. A LOT.

I used to play basketball because my dad used to coach a local team. I was on his team so I got to actually play despite the fact that I was terrible. It was around this time that things began to get rough between my dad and me. He was a huge fan of having me actually understand WHY my math problems were solved the way they were (you should actually know this, by the way - when I was a teacher I used to totally make my kids tell me why something made sense instead of just having them memorize the steps). Anyway, I hated that with a passion. I would be up with him for hours fighting over homework. My dad and I are very similar. We like to fight when we're mad rather than walk away and neither one of us is wiling to be wrong so we both would just argue for hours and hours until I would lose because I was the kid. I can now appreciate what my dad was trying to do for my education, but in the moment it made me strongly dislike doing my homework with him.

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Creating a halloween costume with my brother.

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Still so innocent and loving the holidays!

Sixth grade got a little better for me. I was heavily involved in Junior Theater and had a great group of friends both within the theater program and at school. As I entered Jr. High I was unaware that I was about to enter the most tumultuous two years of my entire life. What a nightmare Jr. High was! Is it that awful for everyone? I was so lost. In seventh grade, I wasn't sure which crowd to even associate with because I may as well have had multiple personality disorder. Was I a well behaved scholarly type? Or did I wear my jeans two sizes to big with a crop top that bared so much stomach that it broke the school dress code and black lipstick and make out with boys in the hallway? OR, did I don a flannel shirt and cry when Kurt Cobain died? I think I may have dappled in each of those roles until, in 8th grade I finally settled into the middle one, sadly. Either of the other would have been preferable (especially for my parents) but nope, I went the saggy jeans, black lipstick route.

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The early years of SCJT (Santa Clara Jr. Theater - now called the Roberta Jones Junior Theater after the amazing woman who ran the program for years.)

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In the play "Oliver" - see that boy to my left? First kiss, he was. Ahh... to be in 7th grade again...

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These were my BEST BEST junior theater friends. They were all older than me and I felt so amazingly cool being able to hang out with them. They also deeply cared and looked out for me. Especially regarding my crazy boyfriend choices early on. Good looking out, girls.

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And... onto the unfortunate photos of me (barely) dressed in black lipstick. Oh, and the Jennifer Aniston haircut from "Friends" way back in the day? Love it. This was my best friend in 8th grade. We lived across the street from each other and hung out every. single. day.

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Oh, with the black lipstick.

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Oh, with the horrendous tie? And black lipstick. Just... awesome. I think my mom may have been making fun of me in this picture. Mom?

Jr. High brought some newfound independence. I had a best friend who lived across the street from me and we would take the bus to and from school together. I also used to take the bus to Junior Theater. All of this freedom gave me the ability to make some poor choices. The first poor choice being getting involved in my first real relationship. I would say he was my first love. I was 13 and he was in a much tougher crowd than I was. I started smoking cigarettes with him and experimented with drinking some (this was VERY minimal - and by the way, I'm not proud of any of this, but it does make up my history, so here it is). He was constantly being sent to and from The Bill Wilson Center (a program for children who were always getting into trouble and it was either there or jail). Once, while he was there he asked me to go into his house and retrieve some of his paraphernalia from his bedroom so his mother wouldn't find it. I did and I got caught. I was cuffed and read my rights before his mother dropped the breaking and entering charges on me in exchange for my agreeing to stay away from him (for my benefit, by the way, she didn't blame me for any of this). I'm sorry to say that I did not stay away from him for several more months. It wasn't until he called me from juvenile hall release because he had used a blow gun to shoot a child in the leg that I completely severed ties with him. It took me a long time to realize what a bad direction my life had taken. In the course of 8 months or so I had smoked, drank, ran away from home and been arrested before I decided enough was enough. I wasn't going to date someone who injured children for fun. At that point I made a drastic change.

I have no photos with that kid because I was a definite burn-every-piece-of-evidence-that-person-ever-lived type of break-up-er. I had a flair for the dramatics, what can I say?

I was lucky to have several core friends from both Junior Theater and school stick by me through all of that drama and see me through to the other side. I clung to them as I needed them to help me through the loss of my first love. I worked at mending the relationship with my parents that had been damaged, particularly the one with my father. I swore off smoking and drinking and breaking any rules. From there on I was "the good girl". This is not to say I was perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.

I ended Jr. High on a high note. I had made decent grades (except in P.E., of all courses) and I had good friends to celebrate with. My graduation was perfect. I felt amazing that day. My hair and nails were done and I had a pretty blue dress. My best friends and I had a blast dancing the night away to our favorite music at the Graduation dance. The boy crazy little girl in me still existed though and that night I fell hard for my second love. The boy that I would date for the next 4 years.

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More awesome Jr. High friends. Those girls have all become amazing women, so clearly I was on the right path by surrounding myself with truly good people, despite my choice in boys.

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8th grade graduation day with the bestie!

You'll learn more about him in Part 2. High school and the first two years of college deserve their own posts. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Motherhood: There's Two of Them

It's 6 O'Clock. Ritchie's leaving work now but it takes him 30 more minutes to get home. The fridge is open and I just caught Max taking eggs out of the carton and exclaiming how cold they are. Ben stares up at me from the carrier giving warning whimpers. He's got approximately 2 minutes until total meltdown mode. I'm making sure to get this all down fast before it flees my mind. (I had to stop at this point and pick up again around 8:30 - after bedtime). Oh, and I'm going to get all heavy on you at the end so be forewarned.

Here was how my day went today - a mere glimpse into my life with two children.

6:00 a.m. - Ritchie gets up to leave for work. The mere act of him moving around the room wakes Ben enough that I get him out of the bassinet and bring him into bed with me. He proceeds to kick and squirm and grunt and fuss until, finally, my nursing/holding/rocking/shushing settles him back into slumber at around 6:59.

7:00 a.m. - Max starts to cry. I go into his room to tell him it's still time to sleep (7:30 a.m. is the unspoken rule around here and we try very hard to keep our kids quietly in a sleep like state until then). He quiets down.

7:15 - Max starts to cry again. I ignore him until 7:30.

7:30 - I "baby proof" the bed so that should Ben roll around he won't roll off and move all of the covers to the foot of the bed, as far from his head as humanly possible. I go to Max's room and bring him into the twin bed and try to get him to snuggle with me. He doesn't want to. For 30 minutes we go back and forth with me trying to get him to lay down and him trying to "wanna show me" something in a ploy to get me up.

8:00 a.m. - Ben starts crying. I give in. Clearly there will be no more sleep this morning.

8:15 or so - Max requests cereal and milk for breakfast. I give it to him. He says, "no" and shoves it at me. I tell him he needs to eat his cereal and milk. He turns the bowl upside down on his tray and glares defiantly at me. I resist the urge to scream and (as calmly as I can muster) I remove the tray and tell him breakfast is over. He cries. Then Ben cries.

8:30 - I manage to calm Ben enough to start my own breakfast. I decide on Dutch Babies since it has eggs, but you put sugar on top. Protein AND sugar? Awesome. Plus, maybe I can get Max to eat some.

9:00 a.m. - Dutch baby complete. Max picks off all of the sugar and refuses to eat any of the rest of it. So far the food score today is Max:2, Mommy:0.

9:15 - Rapidly begin cleaning and dressing everyone in the house because we have a play date at 10:00.

10:00 - Play date is running late. I am wearing Ben in the carrier because if I don't, he cries. Max is obsessing about the vacuum, broom and cereal and milk simultaneously. I'm on the phone with my best friend ever trying not to lose my mind (our daily chats might be the only thing that keep me going sometimes).

10:30 - Play date arrives. Max cries hysterically and demands that I carry him. I'm already wearing Ben and I'm not supposed to lift over 25 pounds anyway (Max is 30+ at this point). I repeatedly tell him I cannot carry him to which he repeatedly cries and throws a fit. Max then begins launching toys at the play date Mom. Then he screams into pillows. Then he gets the broom 3 times even though I've told him he can't have it. I am mortified because obviously I have zero control over this child. I give him tylenol because he MUST be teething. Yes, that's it, teething. This behavior can't be permanent, right? It will pass once the teeth come in.

11:30 - Our play mates leave. They say they need to be home by noon for nap, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she fears her child will learn my monster's son's atrocious behavior and immediately turn into the devil.

12:00 - 2:00 - I do my best to feed all three of us and give Ben some play time on the floor, which he basically refuses. I had about 24 pretzels and a few chunks of cheese for lunch and 2 diet cokes. Yes, it was a 2 diet coke day. Oh, and I had 4 cookies.

2:00 - I tell Max it's nap time. He immediately starts to cry. I try to talk him out of this and soothe him and be all compassionate and stuff, but eventually I just put him in his bed and walk away, closing the door behind me. There's no reasoning with him and he needs to just nap already. Plus, Ben's crying and needs to nap, too.

2:05 - BOTH boys sleeping!!! Victory. I make soup on the stove and open my laptop and turn on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills which has been saved from last night on my DVR (what? you other moms clean and such during nap?? Hogwash!)

2:10 - Ben wakes. My soup sits and gets cold while I nurse Ben and then put him in the carrier and try to get him to sleep. I don't get to eat my soup, but the Housewives stay on. Priorities, people.

2:30 - 5:00 - Okay, so Max DID take an insanely long nap today. This is not the norm as of late. Usually Max is up by 3:30. So in that respect today was heavenly. However, Ben required constant wearing during nap time today and he wouldn't allow me to sit. So I stood and rocked and swayed and watched TV for the ENTIRE nap. 3. EFFING. Hours.

5:00 - Max cries when he wakes. Awesome. This means he's in a wonderful mood. I put Ben down (silence for once from that kid!) and carry Max around for a good 10 minutes so he doesn't have a total meltdown. I finally get him happily eating 3 cuties (those little oranges? Max will eat them ALL day). Ben starts to cry.

5:15 - I've nursed Ben and he is happily playing in his Mat. Max is watching Cars and playing with his toys. This is IT! My one moment to be free. I hop in the shower. It's at this time that Max decides that he MUST have a drink of both milk and water at the same time and he simply cannot wait until I get out of the shower. So, he stands at the shower crying and asking for milk and water. Ben starts to cry somewhere in the mix.

5:30 - It's around this time that I completely give up for the day. I put my hair into a wet, unbrushed top knot, pull on the same clothes I was wearing and strap Ben on. He's still not happy, but at least I can get Max his damn milk and water and walk around bouncing aimlessly trying to soothe Ben. I decide to do what any normal 2011 mom would do. I get my iPhone and begin documenting the current shitty situation on instagram so I can attempt to find some humor by captioning the disaster with witty remarks.

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Here is how I looked this morning.

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Here is how I looked after my shower. I mean, really? How is this an improvement?

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Bennett and I have a showdown in the bathroom about him not wanting to let me get ready for the day. You know, at 5 PM!!

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Max finally gets his damn milk and water. I liked to get a laugh out of a double fisting joke in my head until it occurred to me that if I had the opportunity to double fist anything at that exact moment, I would have.

Thank you, instagram. You at least gave me 5 minutes of some good, technological fun.

6:00 - Ritchie calls on his way home and like the good wife that I am I begin to bitch and whine about how hard being a stay at home mom is. It's all very dramatic in typical Jamie fashion.

The rest of the night was better because my mood drastically improved when Ritchie arrived home. Max began to sing Jingle Bells with the hand motions that I've been working on with him for a month now in hopes he'd have it down by Christmas. Score one for mommy. We get burgers because I haven't had time to grocery shop and there's nothing worthy of cooking for dinner in the house. Max is being charming and Ben takes periodic breaks from screaming his head off in the car.

We got them both to bed half an hour late, although Ritchie is still with Ben trying to get him to sleep because he woke after I put him in his bassinet after holding him to sleep for 45 minutes.

Seriously? How do people with more than 2 children do this? How do people with TWINS or TRIPLETS do this? How do single parents do it? I must be the biggest whiner known to man because I can't hang much longer. I adore both my boys and love them more than I thought I could ever love anything or anyone. There's never a question of love. But, I am fresh out of patience. I feel isolated and exhausted and pushed to my personal limit. I've even begun to question whether or not I have some postpartum depression with how I've been feeling. I'm just not enjoying being home right now. I hate that I feel that way, but it's true.

So, tell me. Does it REALLY get better? Am I alone in these feelings or are they normal? How do you do it? Tips, advice and love needed tonight. Because mommas need love, too.

Oh, and no promises (because you all saw how my day went today) but I'm going to REALLY try to get my second decade post up tomorrow.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Insta Friday 12/2

Okay, I know I'm a day early, but our internet is being taken from us tonight for 3-5 business days (oh, the torture - I'm not sure I'll survive) so I'm getting ahead of the game. I'll try to link up to Life Rearranged before we lose the internet tonight, but we'll see if I make it in time...

Here's this week in Insta Gram captures:

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Blogger gift exchange item!! It's a lovely yellow hat and it makes me smile.

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Cutting down the tree with Papa!

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A little pose with Mimi.

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My favorite Christmas ornament. We write down all the significant happenings for the year. I love looking back at each year as we decorate.

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Ben will rarely fall asleep on us like this, so we like to treasure it when it does happen.

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I WANT this SO badly!!

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Max took some ornaments for a stroller ride.

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We did some crayon art! Thank you to Meg over at Whatever (an awesome blog you should check out!) for the great idea!

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Max has rediscovered the Bumbo. Move over, Ben!

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Each year we get a Charlie Brown tree - it's tradition. This year, it's more of a bush, but whatever.

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Hey!! It looks like fall around here!

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Ben took his first stroller ride sans carseat. He looks WAY to big in there for my liking.

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Aww...

I hope you all had a wonderful week! I, personally, am very happy to have this week over! We have date night on Saturday (just bringing the wee one out while Max goes to his preschool for pizza and Christmas movies!) and it's our 9 year dating anniversary. Hopefully, as a gift, our children let us sleep some.

life rearranged
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