Just Say No

We live a pretty active lifestyle. No, not in terms of exercise (I wish!…still haven’t found my groove after baby 3), but by staying busy. Yeah, the pandemic has caused us to adjust. Still, we like to get outside and do things and go places. We ARE homebodies, but we have trouble staying home/indoors because that’s when the bruises go nuts, the bow gets clingy, and this mama gets fed up, anxious, and antsy. (Notice hubby didn’t get mentioned – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him stressed out a day in his life. It’s like his body and mind do not know stress. I wish so desperately this could be me!)

But staying busy also forces me to be more aware of and accept the fact that I need to say no sometimes.

It’s Labor Day weekend. The perfect weekend for one last hurrah or one last summer weekend getaway, right?

We said no to this weekend. We said no to Cape Cod (sorry Nardos!), we said no to Block Island (sorry Lex – miss you so much!), and we’ll probably say no to anything else that comes up…By “we” I mean “I” but my husband is pretty supportive and usually lets me call the shots (again, no stress, go-with-the-flow). We even got into a silly argument because it’s my birthday this weekend and he kept asking me what I wanted to do for it. And all I wanted to do is NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING FOR IT AT ALL. I didn’t want to be the one to make decisions for once.

After the chaos of this past week getting the kids back into their school and daycare routines and the bananas start to a new school year, I knew my body and my mind just needed a break. I wanted to have normal Friday pizza night with a side of s’mores at the fire pit. I wanted to wake up in my own bed at no specific time. I wanted to not care what my kids dressed themselves in each morning (let’s be real..Dominic will probably run around naked all weekend anyway). I wanted to finally be able to wage war on the chipmunks (don’t worry, I don’t plan on harming them) who keep eating the tomatoes from our garden. I wanted to sit on the deck and drink my coffee while the bow got her normal morning nap and the hubby took the bruises to the grocery store (side note: first time taking the kids back into the grocery story since the pandemic and I feel weird about it). I wanted to do dishes and laundry on Saturday morning so that I’d feel somewhat organized and have my sh*t together, and therefore enjoy a relaxing rest of the weekend. So that’s what we did and that’s what we’re doing.

We’ll drive down to the CT shore tomorrow for a little taste of the beach. But a day trip was about all I could handle in terms of plans. While my social media and group texts will probably be flooded with the traditional last of the seasons – beach days, camping trips, cocktail hours, girls’ nights, and big nights out – I’ll be content with my little family nestled up at our house with nothing to do.

I think it’s really important to feel like it’s ok to say no sometimes! Social media forces these absurd expectations on us – like we have to go out and get the perfect pictures every day just to stay alive. That’s not reality, and I’m most happy in the small, simple moments of my life. So that’s what I’m toasting to this weekend. Whether you have big plans or small plans, I hope you remember to do the same!

We said no to this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Happy Labor Day weekend, y’all, and remember to take care of yourself!

The Isaias Diaries

On Tuesday, August 4, 2020, we got hit with tropical storm/hurricane Isaias, resulting in the longest I’ve gone without power since my kids were born (it’s a lot harder when you have littles relying on you!). Knowing I wouldn’t have internet for the foreseeable future, I kept a diary on Microsoft Word (how archaic!). I decided not to go back and edit these entries to keep them as real and raw as possible, and to be honest I don’t think this post is going to draw a lot of interest. But sometimes I think life’s ordinary challenges end up being the most reflective opportunities for growth, so for that I think it’s worth it.

Disclaimer. This isn’t a pity party! I know there are people who have and will experience far worse than a week long power outage in the middle of summer. I’m always one to count my blessings, and this is no different. It’s just my own emotional rollercoaster put into words for me to remember and to reflect on.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Hiding from the tomato in our basement

Day 1. Oblivious. Luca’s camp is canceled for the day, even though all weather forecasts told us it isn’t going to hit bad until between 2:00pm and 10:00pm. We know we are getting the “wind” side of the storm, and not the “rain” side. When the tornado warning comes through at 3:11pm, telling us to seek shelter, we bring all the Goldfish and Smartfood and iPads downstairs into the basement with our flashlights and make a treat out of it. The boys have fun with it; we keep it really lighthearted and even bring a bottle of wine down for the adults. In Dominic’s words, a TOMATO is coming! By 4:00pm, the “tomato” warning is over even though the winds are still pretty bad. We get word from our neighbors that a massive tree branch is down across our shared driveway, so the boys put on their rain boots and plow through the debris to check it out. Afterwards, I hop on the grill to prep burgers and dogs since we now have no power, while dad heads over to help the neighbors chainsaw the tree up. Bedtime goes smoothly, then for whatever reason I down a bottle of wine…I think for two reasons: (1) my mom-tuition knows we are kind of in for it the next few days, even though my real brain refuses to accept it, and (2) UTI symptoms start (sorry, if TMI, then stop reading now, but this is unfiltered) and hell no I’m not going to deal with this through a hurricane during a pandemic. I am going to mind-over-matter the sh*t out of this UTI.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A good excuse to use a good Anthropologie candle

Day 2. Dumbfounded. We awake to still no power, and the first obstacle is explaining to my creatures of habit that they can’t have their morning milk or watch youTube kids. A few protests but overall they take it pretty well. Here goes being totally unplugged for the foreseeable future. It being Wednesday and a workday and Mike having just started a new job this week, he HAS to go into the office. Surprisingly, camp is open so while Mike treks into work I trek to camp. A normally 20 minute drive takes me 1 hour and 20 minutes, of which I pass (I’d say) between 10 and 20 downed trees/telephone wires. Luca’s camp is only a few miles away. Damn. I guess it is A LOT worse than we thought. We make our way home, and Dominic, Tessa, and I decide to go for a walk since there is nothing better to do. We turn out of our driveway and manage around the corner to be stopped by a massive tree across the road with power wires strewn all over the place. Like a tangled-up delicate necklace. In shock, we head over to our brother and sister-in-laws for dinner and showers, since somehow they are the only house in their entire vicinity to not lose power. Meanwhile, UTI symptoms still lurk despite my best out-of-sight-out-of-mind attempts. We drink more to stave off reality one more time.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Day 3. Hopeful. At this point we realize we are probably in it for the long haul. So Mike wakes up extra early and literally goes to the stream behind our house to fill coolers with water. We have well water, so no power means no water. He heads to work, I to camp. Once home with Tessa napping, Dominic and I decide to help Daddy out. We head outside to clean the yard. For every adult tool, we have a little one to match. First we pick up sticks and branches, then we rake, then we wheel-barrow, then we sweep. Three hours later with the baby still sleeping, this mom is feeling like superwoman because not only do we do a whole lot of cleaning but my Dommy is such a champ the whole time. We get Luca from camp and wait for Daddy to get home. After realizing I forgot to eat lunch, we whip up a pretty darn good dinner using just our grill – steak and baked potatoes with fresh cukes and tomatoes from the garden. And while at work, Mike is able to see on Facebook that our area of town is on track for lights on by 11pm. Hallelujah! Wine to celebrate! We go to bed feeling realllly hopeful.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Day 4. Hopeless. Wake up at 4am with UTI symptoms so bad I sleep on the bathroom floor in fetal position covered by a towel till 6am, and still no power. Bummed and exhausted, but realizing this was inevitable, we have to figure out what to do with the two extra freezers full of breast milk that were now 3 days into defrosting. Mike’s argument is to just throw it out (?!?!?!?!), since Tessa won’t take a bottle anyway. My argument is HELLO SHE STARTS DAYCARE IN TWO WEEKS WHETHER SHE LIKES THE BOTTLE OR NOT. So, we make plans to drive the freezers 40 minutes away to my parents’ house who have power, but luck is on our side. Turns out the in-laws regained power overnight, 1 mile down the road. We load the freezers, the kids, and whatever food and gear we scramble together into the car to house-squat at Nana and Papa’s for the time being. And this is when the waterworks start. I think the stress and anxiety (and going on day 4 of no coffee) is finally getting to me. Plus, naptime isn’t going well and Dominic tore through the toys here in an hour, leaving us 4 hours till camp pick up with nothing to do on a rainy-ish morning. We throw rocks down the drain and walk to the end of the road to watch cars and trucks go by – I’m pretty sure people driving by are puzzled and maybe even concerned? Unkempt, unshowered woman with a baby and a toddler sitting on the curb on the side of a busy road? Just us, no need to worry! Not to mention my UTI is now roaring but with no cell phone service I can’t even call my doctor to have him order meds. I cry off and on all day, while Mike calls my urogynocologist (yes they exist and yes I have one…that’s what baby 3 will do to ya) and beg for meds, only for them to deny unless I go for a urine test but QUEST WON’T LET YOU IN WITH ANYONE BECAUSE OF COVID AND I HAD 3 KIDS TO TOTE AROUND. I think the doctor feels bad because the nurse calls him back a little while later asking me to call if I could so the nurse could talk to me – NO I CAN’T CALL I HAVE NO POWER AND NO SERVICE. I call back while picking Luca up from camp and finally get her to agree to call in meds if I promise to give a urine sample the next morning (Saturday). Needless to say, I forget to eat lunch again, and hubby shows up after work to Nana’s and Papa’s with a variety pack of hard seltzers, a bottle of wine, a few pizzas, his Xbox, and Trolls World Tour so the kids can finally watch something and give us a good 20 minutes of FREEDOM for the first time in 4 days. Dang, what a day. And thank god it’s the weekend, because I think today is definitely my rock bottom.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

LOVE my MIL’s cute sense of style!

Day 5. Grateful. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep, coffee, and antibiotics does for me. I feel like a new woman. And by 9:30am the tree around the corner from us is finally cleared, leaving just the mess of wires. A good sign. But Eversource released the estimates by town and we’re not scheduled to be back on the grid until 6pm Monday. And we still only have cell service for what seems like a few hours in the evening so we spend most of the morning off the grid completely. Breathe, just breathe. Decide to get out of the house so the whole family goes to the lake for the afternoon. Even though the amenities here are also without power, crews have the snack shack up and running with generators and the weather is beautiful. Things finally feel a little normal, even though they are far from it. Gets me thinking, of course.  Healthy and safe kiddos, in-law’s down the road to escape to if needed, no tree damage to the house or property, mango hard seltzers, ruffles cheddar and sour cream chips…you know counting my silver linings.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Day 6. Apathetic. We do our normal wake up run back to the house to grab clothes and any needed items for the day and to check on the power situation. And today it’s same old…no power. So we hit the lake again and meet up with some friends, and we immediately notice all the amenities at the lake have power again. You’d think it’d ignite some hope, but for whatever reason I’m just over it today – maybe just emotionally drained – so I feel like I’m not really feeling at all. Head back to Nana and Papa’s to make an early Sunday dinner, and we stop at home to grab some food items we need. We’ve gotten in the habit of driving down the road to check on the tree and wire situation, so we do what we normally do…TWO LONELY LINEMEN WORKING ON THE WIRES!!!! Mike yells, “You’re my hero!!” out the window as we drive by, and sure enough a few hours later we have power. By this point, the kids are in bed so we decide to just stick here for one more night and migrate home in the morning.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Day 7. Mixed emotions. You’d think I’d be elated that power’s back on and we’re headed home, which I am! But I’m also extremely overwhelmed. Nana and Papa’s house is a mess and we’ve been living out of my car with essential items packed in re-useable shopping bags. I pack up what I can, leaving the mess to return to and clean after bedtime tonight. I get Luca off to camp and get home. We walk in the door and I’m excited to be home but I’m gob smacked in the face with a war zone of a mess. I don’t really remember leaving the house because everything is such a daze, but apparently we left it torn apart. Everything from dirty dishes in the sink, rotten fridge, stinky garbage, cluttered playroom, laundry. And still no cable or internet so I do the best I can to call into two work meetings despite looking like I got hit by a bus. I just can’t keep up. Dominic and Tessa take a killer afternoon nap and internet finally comes back on.  And ultimately I come to realize that while this whole Isaias saga is over, it’s still going to take me a few days to catch up and return to normal. I gotta learn to cut myself a break sometimes. And judging from the pictures I snapped each day, I don’t think my kids ever even picked up on the stress and anxiety of this whole thing, just the excitement of the TOMATO warning, real life flashlight using, and the big-bed sleepover at Nana and Papa’s condo. Pizza for dinner because we just survived a tomato and its aftermath (and really because I haven’t restocked the fridge yet).

Bruises, Bows, and the Beach Part 2: All the Help

Short and sweet. This one’s going to be short and sweet.

Yesterday, I wrote about the goods and the gear — all the things I usually pack for a day at the beach with two toddlers and a baby. One of the essential items on my itemized list was ALL THE HELP YOU CAN GET. I still haven’t figured out how to actively supervise all three kiddos around water, especially when Tessa is nursing. She’s a sleepy nurser who doesn’t like a lot of movement or interruption so I’m usually pretty stationary if she’s eating. And if you have a two year old like mine – who doesn’t listen to a damn thing you say, ever – you can’t afford stationary at the beach.

So, we enlist. We enlist anybody and everybody who wants to help. But really this post is a special shout out to the usual suspects. Our help crew runs deep, and we’ve gotten pretty darn systematic about it. So even though I may not get to ‘relax’ the entire time at the beach, I’m usually able to steal at least a few minutes…all because of our handy helpers.

Between Nana, Papa, Auntie Ally, Uncle Pauly, Uncle Nic, Auntie Lindsay, Gammy, Popsy, and the occasional Uncle Dave, we’ve got it made. The boys are usually a tag team, so as long as one adult is willing to go in the water, catch hermit crabs, build sandcastles, or catch shrimpies, then we’re good. Initially at the beginning of the summer Tessa was a little fussy at the beach – lots of stimulation and she wasn’t sitting up yet so she didn’t like not being able to see what’s going on. So if she was awake, we’d have one adult on her. Recently, she’s stronger sitting up and is easily distracted by just sitting directly in the sand so as long as someone’s in the vicinity, we’re totally good. That usually leaves 1 or 2 of us out of the rotation, effectively allowing us to take shifts. Inevitably, the person who is off-shift ends up being the drink runner (adult drinks, that is). But amidst drink runs, that lucky one gets to park it for a few minutes and maybe, just maybe, close their eyes or read a book or sit in peace and quiet. And then the shift changes and we do it all over again.

Ultimately, though, we’re SO dang lucky. We’re so lucky we have family that happily agrees to tag along with us, even when deep down they know a day at the beach with kids our age is no easy feat. I imagine every time a Cape weekend or a WT day comes to an end, all the helpers silently and secretly cheers to our departure so they can go back to their calm, quiet, luxurious day. So if any of my immediate family has made it this far in my post and are still reading, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for sticking those (not-so-relaxing, crazy, hectic, exhausting, sweaty…) beach days out. It means the world to my kids, and means the world to me too. ❤

“But Mommy…” And Other Pet Peeves!

Last week was one of those weeks. You know, those weeks where everything your littles (and hubby?!) say or do irritates the daylights out of you. I’m pretty sure I can blame my week on my lack of sleep and thus short fuse, and when I make it through weeks like this it’s funny to look back on how laughable some of it was. I’m listing some of my bruises’ biggest pet peeves (specifically from last week) below.

The “BUT MOMMY…”.

Luca started this recently. He starts every sentence (even if it’s a simple statement, and not, in fact, in disagreement with something I’ve said) with this. “But Mommyyyy, when can we go to the playground?” “But Mommyyyy, I want to watch more games” (he calls youTube kids ‘games’). “But Mommyyy, you said I could have a snack.” I’ve started doing it back to him and he stares incredulously at me like he’s never heard it before, and like I’M the crazy one.

The “BUT WHY…”.

The classic 2-year-old discovering he can question his parents. I don’t even think I need to explain it. Let me just give you an example of a conversation from a day in the life of Dominic:

Me: “Dommy, it’s time to come inside for dinner.”

Dominic: “But whyyyyy?” with the biggest vocal fry you’ve ever heard (Howard Stern reference). Anyone else’s kid randomly start exaggerating everything they say so it sounds like they have an accent and adding vocal fry for emphasis?

Me: “Because it’s time to eat.”

Dominic: “But whyyyy?” With even more vocal fry this time than the first.

Me: “Because I said so.”

Dommy: “But whyyyy?!”

The Baby Voice

A classic, for everyone I think. Luca does it especially when he’s trying not to cry. It’s hard being the oldest in the house. The good news is this one’s easy to handle. I usually just say, “Try again like a big boy,” and he switches right out of it.

The Purposeful Underbite

Last summer, or maybe even last fall, Luca randomly started this underbite thing. He’d pop his lower jaw out so when he’d talk, play, or run around, he’d have this constant underbite and it would bug the crud out of me. Initially in the first few days I was concerned. I think I even called the dentist worried something was wrong with his teeth or jaw. (They laughed at me.) After a while, I’d see him do it and just scream, “Luca, TEETH!” and he’d know exactly what I was talking about while everyone would turn to me like “What??”

The Floppy Fish

I can. not. stand. the floppy fish during diaper changes. Luca never did it, but at times Dominic can be the floppiest of all. It ends up being the fight of my life, and usually by the end of it there’s poop on my hands, all over him, and the new diaper is hanging by a thread on his body while the old diaper is smeared into the playroom mat.

The Scooch

I don’t know if I spelled that right. But we call Luca the scooch sometimes. He’s got that “I know how to push your buttons and get away with it” personality. Totally takes after my husband. It’s no secret we’ve been struggling for a long time with Dominic’s physicality. He currently solves peer conflicts by hitting or biting, and his brother usually gets the brunt of it. But more times than not, if I happen to catch the lead up, I catch Luca doing something sneakily on purpose to egg him on. Poking him or pretending to bite him so that Dommy bites him back are usual suspects. We’ve called him “the scooch” or have said “you’re being a scooch” so many times now that he’s learned the context of it. He’ll even call Mike and I out when we annoy him. “Mommy, YOU’RE being a scooch!”

Guys…I could go on forever. There’s soooo many pet peeves of mine that I encounter on a daily basis. I think it comes with the territory of being type A and anal retentive. But you wanna know something? If there’s anyone who can be crowned the king of my pet peeves, it’s my hubby, Mike. I’m including him as an honorary bruise in this post. (Sorry, babe!)

The Never Put Things Back Where You Found Them

Because I’m type A and anal retentive, I’m over-organized to a fault. But I married the complete opposite of me. I’ve often wondered if he has undiagnosed ADD for several reasons, but the trail of breadcrumbs he constantly leaves behind everywhere he goes is a main suspicion.

Last week Tessa had another blocked tear duct. We keep the eye drops on hand because she gets them so often. Well, we lost the eye drops because the time before that Mike was the last one to use them and left them hanging around downstairs. You better believe any time I’d use them they’d be right back on her changing table where we keep all of her other supplies. Being home ALL THE TIME during this pandemic has exasperated this times 1000, and the good thing is once my frustration around said missing object is over with, we’re usually able to laugh about it.

The “Babe Where’s The…?

This one gets me. Every time. I’ll just provide an anecdote to illustrate and I think you will all relate. I need Mike to change a diaper for me because I’m wrapped up with something else for a minute, so as he gets up he immediately locks eyes with me and says, “Babe, where’s the wipes?” Meanwhile, the wipes are exactly where we always keep them. Right there on the coffee table in front of him, or in the diaper bag by the back door.

OR here’s another classic. *Husband starts to open fridge* Before he even gets the door open far enough to see what’s actually inside the fridge, he says, “Babe, where’s the ketch-up?”. And then he proceeds to search for the ketch-up (sometimes even saying “Babe, I think we need more ketch-up!”), when in reality, the ketch-up is staring front and center on the shelf back at him. I come over to help him out, take one glance, and immediately pull the ketch-up off the shelf and hand it to him. My mother-in-law and I have commiserated lovingly over this one before.

The “I’m just going to mow the lawn real quick!”

Ladies, I think you all know this one. It’s that mysterious one where all of a sudden the kids are all going nuts, you can’t make anyone happy, and the hubby decides it’s the perfect time to mow the lawn. “It’ll only take me 20 minutes, I swear!”

3 hours later…*husband re-enters house from “mowing the lawn”*

Me: WTF took you so long?????

Him: I noticed the weeds growing through the fence so I weed-whacked, and I really liked using power tools because I felt manly so I decided to cut down a tree and chop some wood.

Me: (To myself) It’s the middle of summer, why in g-d’s name do we need wood right now?. *Throws baby at hubby.* I’m going to shower (Because the shower is every mom’s safe-haven, right?).

What’s your biggest pet peeve, either little’s or partner’s? I’d love to hear your stories…a good laugh is good for the soul. Drop a comment below. 🙂