Pretty Sure I Shouldn’t Be Driving…

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it’s amazing how good you can feel after getting (almost) 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep, when that much sleep has escaped you for so long.  i write that with not a hint of sarcasm.  as i sip my coffee, project runway streams in the background, and Z sits on his play-mat, aggressively manhandling a caterpillar toy.  all feels pretty right with the world.  except that it’s still dark.  and you know, almost 4 hours is enough sleep for…no one.

it’s been a long couple of weeks in casa bn since returning from our summer in westport.  it has been oh so good to be home, to catch up with friends, to hike and run along our coast, to play in our spaces, to cook in our kitchen, to sleep in our beds…well, some of us anyway.  but transition is tough for a 5 month old (yeah, totally missed that post) and an almost 4 year old (as she will readily tell you) and so is teething.  on all of us.

turns out EBN must have been the easiest baby on the planet – ever – because Z continues to give us, me, a run for my money.  he won’t take a bottle.  he doesn’t sleep through the night and his teeth are causing (us all) quite a bit of pain.  typical baby stuff – but hard and exhausting none the less.  the kid is SO stinking cute, it’s sorta unbelievable.  i think that god must have a greater plan – like this kid has to be tough because otherwise i’d want a boatload.  but the kid also has to be beyond cute because, boy, this kid is tough.  did i mention he sits?  because he does.  like a pro.  and he loves his mama most of all – duh.

EBN starts school a week from monday, not that i’m keeping track :).  although in all honesty, she is too.  oh, and a last minute change in plans: she is going 5 mornings a week.  we’ve been going back and forth with the decision for a while, well, i have anyway.  i think that ABN mostly felt ok leaving the final call up to me.  we all know that she loves school like WOAH, but i also want her to keep her very strong connections here in pacifica.  but this year many of her pacifica friends are also doing preschool in the am and with afternoons still free – 5 days felt like the right option in our house.  she’s already asked if she can go 6 days next year so i think she’s feeling pretty good about things.

while we anxiously wait for school to start we’ve been filling our days with mini pacifica adventures (bug catching with friends), a million projects (legos and beading are big these days), the last few swim lessons (my girl has GOT this) and of course, helping to raise Z.  i literally have no idea what i would do without EBN by my side.  she is so helpful and whenever she walks in the room Z gets the biggest smile on his face.  he just loves his sister – and so do i.

ABN has been working a lot which is what was expected – and tough (theme?).  he’s excited but also stressed and i’m supportive but also stressed and so it’s a difficult balance (often shifting more towards the stressed side for both of us).  last night, after i put both kids to bed and realized that we had no chocolate in the house (how this is possible i do not know) ABN saved the day by stopping at safeway on the way home (which wasn’t until close to 11pm) and picking up an its it.  #herostatus.

 

Runner’s World

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10 weeks ago, i started running.  i know this because of instagram and other social media.  without this “record” of my life, i would remember nothing.  seriously.  if it doesn’t get posted to facebook etc, it is basically as if it didn’t happen.  especially now that we have two kids.  i can’t keep track of anything.

anyway, i started running because i knew i needed to do something to help shed the baby weight.  running is cheap.  running doesn’t require a lot of advanced planning or a specific schedule.  running doesn’t require a ton of equipment.  for all of these reasons, i decided to give it a try. if you are a long time reader you’ll remember that way back when (think late 2011 – i’m telling you it feels like a lifetime ago) i attempted to be a “runner.”  i tackled couch 2 5k, but then i stopped.  like completely.  it wasn’t just that i never pushed myself beyond a 5k, (honestly, i’m not sure if i ever got quite that far — i ran for 30 minutes but never kept track of distance or pace) but i put away my running shoes and called it a day.  i’m not really sure why but if i had to guess it was because there was always something else i could be doing – and running was never ever, ever at the top of my list.

but now, and no one is more shocked at this than me, it is at the very top of my list.  not because i LOVE running – because i don’t.  i spend the vast majority of my running time thinking about, praying that, this run is almost over.  but, my run is me time.  and me time is so precious now.  i’d rather go for a run than sit on the couch and watch pretty little liars.  i’d rather go for a run than hide in the basement and crochet.  i’d rather go for a run than try to get an extra hour of sleep.

running lets me clear my head.  i’m a crazy woman who listens to podcasts while i run (the time passes by SO much more quickly than listening to music + the added bonus, i sometimes learn something new!) and so i’m often running with a ridiculous grin on my face because of something that peter sagal has just said.  sometimes i have tears streaming down my face because my run is the 1st time in days that i have been able to walk away from my whining kids and my dirty house and my husband who i feel like is CONSTANTLY getting the short end of the stick and the guilt i feel about that – is just too overwhelming.  running is my chance at a little freedom.  i live in fear of when Z turns 6 months old and is therefore old enough to go in the jogging stroller (who am i kidding, the kid is 16 lbs and can hold is head up like a pro – he’s ready now.  but the label says 6 months and i plan to hang on to that excuse as long as possible).  it won’t be as easy for me to walk out of the house and leave both kids behind – it won’t be as easy to get away.  (also, running with a stroller seems WAY tough).

i’m stronger than i’ve ever been (which may not be saying much…but still) although EBN did ask me today if i had another baby in my belly (thanks kid).  and i’m tan – in a way that only someone with fair skin and freckles can appreciate.  i get to breathe in the fresh, salty, pacifica air.  i get to run past the ocean and through the canyons of the mountains.  i get to clear my mind and think deep thoughts while wearing shorts and shoes that are so bright they glow.  can’t see a reason to stop anytime soon.

While You Were Sleeping…

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another hiatus – although this time, it was less because i was overwhelmed by life and more because of technical issues.  seems ABN’s server was hacked (yeah, i also have no idea what that means) and so we were not only off-line for a while but he also spent many hours that he really doesn’t have getting this space back in some semblance of order (it should be noted, all this work wasn’t JUST for my blog – the server, apparently, is sorta the center of a lot that is important to ABN – at least the things that aren’t living and breathing).  ANYWAY, all of this is a very long way of me saying – hi.

things are good.  it’s been 4 months since Z made his debut and we are finding our groove – although, that groove has a constant way of switching things up…but still…we’re making it work…most of the time.  i continue to believe that having two kids is like the hardest thing ever (and feel strongly that the silence around the subject is some weird evolution thing– otherwise us humans might die out!), other than 3 or more which is just damn crazy.

our summer continues to trek along.  EBN spends her days at “camp” (which is exactly the same as school except i pack a lunch and she brings a swim suit that she uses at a water table) and at swim (which i drive to the other end of the earth for but it’s worth it because the kid is learning to swim).  and Z gets schlepped along.  he rarely naps for more than 45 minutes but he also rarely gets the chance to nap in his crib so really – he can’t be blamed.

EBN also continues to manhandle her brother at every opportunity.  it’s like a magnet pulls her directly towards him.  she grabs his feet and does wheels on the bus, she squeezes his cheeks and tells him he is so cute and she falls on top of him and covers him in kisses.  it’s adorable and it is also…a lot.  i figure at some point in the not too distant future he’s going to slug her but for now, it works.  i guess.

we leave for the east coast in a little over a week.  truthfully this seemed like a great idea at the time – and by that i mean when Z was no more than a bump on a log and i figured he’d nurse and sleep and not move much throughout the 6 hour flight.  but now the kid wiggles and rolls and is huge and, of course, still spits up a ton.  so that should be fun.  luckily, EBN will have her binder (more on that in another post one day when i get around to it) and the iPad (i seriously have no idea what we would do without that thing) so it will just be all Z all the time.

oh, and we’ve been sleep training (and by WE i mean me because ABN is useless in the middle of the night – i say in the most loving way possible.  all i really need for him is reassurance that we’re doing the right thing and not scarring our child for life, because when the kiddo cries at 3am it hurts my soul.  but if i wake ABN and say Z is crying, he leaps to his feet to run to the rescue, forgetting the intended goal.  not helpful).  you can go ahead and judge me but the kid is 4 months and 16 pounds and while i’m happy to still feed him once a night (which i think is generous of me, really), i’m not prepared to feed him every two hours.  and i’d like him to be able to go to sleep on his own rather than being rocked because, well, i want it all.  he cries for 5 minutes every time i put him down (yes, i’d prefer him to babble for a bit and then roll over peacefully but there are somethings you just gotta go with) and sleeps from 7-5 with a brief waking around 3 in which he rolls around and fusses and i watch him intently on the monitor.  i think we’re doing pretty well.

alright, EBN and ABN are on a rare morning walk which means i should take advantage of only having one kid and give him some direct eye contact.  more sooner rather than later…

On Why Two is Tough

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if i’m being completely honest, and at this point, why the hell not, the hardest part of this mama of two thing isn’t that Z cries a lot or the lack of sleep.  it’s not the endless laundry or the fact that i have basically no downtime and am therefore only on episode 3 of the new season of OITNB (for shame).  without a doubt, my greatest struggle is how little patience i have these days.  and this amazing girl – the one riding her bike and learning to swim.  the one who says things like “freaking awesome” and “mommy, take care of my baby.”  the one who would like to do “projects” until the end of time and has created her own mash-up of jingle bells and do you want to build a snowman (that oddly works).  the one who calls me her best friend. she is the one who is mostly bearing the brunt of my short fuse.

it is literally heartbreaking to me – when she gets quiet, puts her head down and says softly, “you talked in a not nice voice.”  oy.  she’s right.  i allow her to poke gently every inch of the baby, even with her dirty hands, but when she squeezes his nose for the 3rd time after i have asked her to stop, as i’m chopping vegetables to go in the slow-cooker, i snap at her to stop touching.  i allow her to pile him with soft toys and wave things in front of his face.  but when she pushes too roughly on his tummy, while i’m opening windows and making beds, i bark at her to get away.  when she goes into the closet where i keep the art supplies and starts rummaging and i hear a crash as i am changing a dirty diaper, i yell at her to get out of there and that the planned project is cancelled because she went where she wasn’t supposed to be.

and i know, she’s just trying to help her mama out.  help by entertaining Z as i try accomplish the smallest of tasks.  help by dressing herself so we can get out of the house more quickly.  help by attempting grown up jobs (like collecting art supplies).  but it is rarely that simple – Z starts to cry, getting dressed takes 3 times longer than necessary, things crash to the floor.  and i react “in a not nice voice” before i have time to take a breath.  and it’s like a punch in the gut – even as the words are coming out.

when i was pregnant i had a lot of anxiety about how a new baby would effect my relationship with EBN.  i mean, we’re a pretty dynamic duo who had a pretty great routine going on.  i was worried she’d resent the fact that i didn’t have time for our regular backyard mani-pedis or massive cooking adventures in the kitchen.  and while those activities are now few and far between – i’ve made the effort to make sure EBN and i get some “girl time” to do our thing.

sure, before Z she did things that made me not so happy, but i always had the time and energy to explain why something wasn’t safe, or why it made mommy’s life more difficult or why i’d prefer if she did it differently.

for now, i admit my mistake.  after a beat i bend down and hug her close and apologize for using my “not nice voice.”  i tell her that i know she is trying to help and that i can’t imagine doing this without her by my side.  and she quickly moves on.  and i wallow and sulk and stress, and cry to ABN that i feel like i’m letting her down.

this being a mom of two stuff is really hard sometimes.  but we are all trying our best.

Is 7:30 too Early for a 1st Nap?

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i can’t believe i’m about to type this, but this whole 5am thing isn’t really so bad (i say now, check back in at about 3:30 this afternoon.  on our drive back from a swim lesson.  when both kids are crying.  pretty sure i’ll be in desperate need of a diet coke).  the house is quiet, the sun is (almost) up and i’ve got this chubby dude throwing smile after smile my way.  i’ve had my first cup of coffee (there will be more), changed three diapers -two poopy – and one outfit (there will be more), and now, once the rest of the house wakes up, or at least ABN, i’m ready to head out on a run.  weird.

i think that in an effort to keep EBN occupied during the two weeks between the end of school and the start of camp (please note – as far as i can tell there is very little difference between school and camp: same room, same teachers.  i guess the kids change depending on the week.  and there is more outdoor time which for us just translates into a greater probability that EBN will get sunburned.  and i have to send a lunch), i have totally overwhelmed her.  the girl is exhausted.  between playdates and picnics and swim lessons – she is just so very tired all the time.  and, i can’t seem to get her to catch up (although as i type this, it is 7:12am and while she doesn’t usually get out of bed until her “owl turns green” at 7:20, she’s typically singing show-tunes by 6:45…so perhaps she is sleeping in?!).  she still naps for the most part but i’ve cut it from 3 hours (which she would take if i let her) to 90 minutes tops because otherwise she’s up til all hours and mama needs like an hour sans kids at night.

on saturday morning i escaped to crochet and ABN was alone for the 1st time with 2 awake kiddos.  not only that, but he ventured out!  it’s true, sometimes it’s easier to be out of the house than stuck inside.  we all start to go a bit crazy.  i’ve been making a point to take hikes in our county park with Z and i’ve been wanting to know if EBN was ready to come along as well.  i typically do a 3 mile loop trail and while i’m pretty sure she’s not ready for that, i was wondering how much she would be willing to take on and what her attitude would be.  by all accounts there trek was a success.  ABN sent lots of pictures of a very happy trio and my little girl happily scaled the mountain looking for “fairy poop” (that’s really another post for another time).  as i wrapped up my time away i did receive a desperate phone call from ABN that our minivan door wouldn’t close and he was sure the car was broken forever and he’d never be able to get the kids home.  or something like that.  i smiled as i drove up to save my brood. turns out, all it needed was a mama’s touch.  glad to know they i’m not totally replaceable.

When They Say it’s 5 O’clock Somewhere, I Don’t Think They Mean THIS 5 O’clock…

yellow thing dino 24119 it’s 5:17 on saturday morning, and apart from my coffee drip, drip, dripping into the pot, and happy babbles and a chorus of toots from this guy – the house is quiet.  so while it is ungodly early, and i didn’t spend nearly enough hours in my bed last night (stayed up an hour later than i should have, comforted a little girl who had a few too many nightmares) i’m pretty content. photo 4 24119 things are on an upswing (which, considering the crap-tastic day we had yesterday means i’m either eternally optimistic – um, no – or a few weeks ago it was really really really bad). the baby is crying a whole lot less and smiling a whole lot more. EBN is learning to swim.  ABN is taking great care of all of us – really how he gets up and works a full day, makes an extra effort to spend time with each of the kiddos and then deals with ME (clearly, the biggest challenge), i will never know.  and i’m running – for as far and for as long as possible.  because it is my only time truly alone.  and so it is my favorite time.  which is insane . hashtag 24119 it is quite possible that Z is the very cutest baby of all time – rivaled by only EBN.  we make cute (and round) babies.  stam.  too bad we are done.  as some random guy in an elevator remarked, its like he’s storing nuts in his cheeks for winter.  his cheeks weigh his entire head down and so he’s got some stevie wonder head bobbing moves.  he loves to be held (i mean, who doesn’t) and worn (thank you bjorn with lumbar support) but will tolerate direct and constant eye contact while talking AND playing as an alternative (which is why it is now 5:57 and i’ve written 3 paragraphs).  basically it’s easier to mostly never put him down. he is obsessed with his sister.  no one can make him smile like her, no one can distract him like her, and no can manhandle him like her.  it’s insane.  her hands, lips and feet (uh huh) are constantly on him.  if i was a better mom i’d probably work with her on personal space but for now (until he gets sick), i’m picking my battles (as long as she isn’t covered in ketchup and peanut butter – i live in fear of her giving him a spoonful of yogurt). photo 5 24119 speaking of EBN – omg, who is this kid?  all of a sudden my baby who at 28 months still would sit down on her tush to scoot rather than risk walking down a stair, is learning to ride her bike, becoming a fish in the pool and going down the big slides at pump it up.  clearly, not my child (hi, i was 10 when i learned how to ride a bike and it was only because i was finally shamed into it because my baby brother could do it so well).  yes, she’s ALWAYS been super social and friendly and the life of the party but physically she was timid and reserved (like me).  well, those days are over.  and with the extra scrapes and bruises comes one very happy, and exhausted, little-big girl. photo 3 24119 she finished her 1st year of preschool on monday – and what a year it has been.  i get all teary thinking about (it’s hormones, i’m also already losing my pregnancy hair – i swear the extra thick hair is the one part of pregnancy that i look forward too) but it has been such a good year.  yes, i’m pretty sure i could drop EBN off at jail and she’d walk in waving at the guards with a bounce in her step and a smile on her face – but she really found a second home at the temple.   i like to call her the mayor, as she greets her supporters each morning.  during this year of change in our family, when at times i was a less than stellar mom, she got the extra love and attention from school.  and i (mostly) kept my sanity.  luckily she is sticking with it this summer.  we have a two week break right now – and i think we are all ready to be on the other side of it.  of us BNs thrive with a more regular schedule.  sorry kids, pretty sure i’m responsible for that. photo 2 24119 we’ve been spending lots of time with pacifica friends too.  i really don’t know what i would have done without our community here.  i mean, holy crap.  not only do we live in the most beautiful place but i’m pretty convinced we are surrounded by some of the very best people.  with family so far away, i’ve come to rely on a small group of women.  and EBN has these amazing buddies who she gets to grow up with.  again, i get a bit teary but we look forward to being part of this community for a long time. alright, the house is starting to stir (that’s how long this post has taken) and i’m thinking Z might be getting ready for a nap, or to eat, or at least he seems to be over the “play with your rattle” portion of the morning.  just don’t wake your sister dude.

And Then There Were 4

disclaimer: i’m not really back.  i’m just writing now.  and that’s something.  maybe i’ll come back regularly, maybe sometimes, maybe never.  in the last 6 weeks i’ve learned to expect the unexpected.  but i need a place to write it all down and this still, in some weird way, feels like the best option.  i’m keeping a regular journal – just a line a day – which is all i can really take on right now, but sometimes a line just isn’t enough…

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we’re 6 weeks into this whole 2 kid thing.  and 1 week in to doing it on our own, sans nani and p’pa.  honestly, it feels like they left a lifetime ago.  how can a week go so quickly with little room for record or memory and at the same time, how can a week ago feel so very far away?  i blame lack of sleep.  when in doubt, it’s probably lack of sleep.

things are going.  and honestly, i am happy (this has a lot to do with the wine i am drinking and the fact that i finally made my return to the hot tub after a 10 month hiatus).  i look from EBN to Z to ABN and i think – these are my people.  this is who i am supposed to have in my corner.  i didn’t feel like we were missing someone before Z was born – but i do feel like we are who we are supposed to be as a family now.  i just wish we were a family that cried a little less :)

Z cries a lot.  i think all babies do.  well, not all babies, but a lot of babies.  my dad insists i didn’t cry.  i also apparently never had a bottle which is impossible since i was doing overnights at my nani and eddie’s from the ripe old age of 9 months.  but he insists.  i think it’s a bit of a selective memory but maybe that means i won’t remember all the crying we’ve experienced over the last few weeks – doubtful.

the crying is hard but i can deal with it.  i am glad that Z is kiddo #2 because if he had been kiddo #1 i think this crying would have freaked me out.  i’m not freaked out.  i’m tired.  i’m sad that he is sad, or uncomfortable or just doing what babies do.  whatever it is, it makes me sad that he cries.

EBN has been incredible through it all.  she doesn’t like his crying and deals with it in her own way – by running into her room, by covering her ears, by saying, “baby ezra, it’s okay,” or “mommy, my baby is crying,” – duh.  but when he’s not crying – she loves on him like no other.  it’s crazy – he can be screaming his head-off and she can be screaming right along with him (because that happens too) and then i will calm him down and she’ll immediately kiss him and say, “my baby is so cute.”  unconditional love.

the house is full of constant noise.  crying, toddler chatter (and neediness).  there is no escape – and honestly, i feel bad for wanting to escape.  and for my reaction at times.  EBN has gotten the short end of the stick over the last few weeks (although balance that with an awful lot of chocolate) and i’ve found myself tiptoeing into her room to apologize for snapping, for swearing, for slamming a door, for attending to Z instead of her.  this has been the hardest part.

we’re working on a schedule.  and trying to soothe his gas.  he gives the very best smiles.  and has cheeks that could sustain him for weeks.  and he can hold his head up like a champ (seriously, he’s gotta have the strongest neck muscles around).

i realize that attitude, while not everything, counts for an awful lot.  we’re doing great over here.  seriously.  the 4 of us are doing awesome and i’m 99% sure things are only going to get better.

but still, this shit is hard.