You Caught Me!

100_2666Red lipped.  Er, red handed.

I haven’t blogged in almost four weeks.

Why?

Well it has been a crazy busy four weeks here at the Domesticated Physicist household.  I just finished up two online classes last week, which, by the way, is not what I would recommend when you have two little people at home.  That’s a lot of school.  Just, you know, for your information.

But other than that, we have had quite an adventurous few weeks:

100_2674 100_2679I have had some one-on-one time with my Clara Squish.  Watching her learn to sit up, then get on all fours, and now army crawl has been awe-inspiring.  I cannot tell you how special and amazing it is to watch this little girl move.  And, of course, her joy in her new mobility is great.  She squeals and squeaks happily while hurling herself across the living room floor.

100_2685The girlies continue to grow to love each other.  Most days.

100_2710Miss Madeline has recently learned how to put on shoes.

No, not just her shoes.  Any shoes.  Daddy Beard’s are her favorite.

100_2735

 

We visited the beach!  Our little Bitsy Girl went only about this far into the ocean.  “Water scary”, as she reminded us every time we got on to the sand.

100_2717Clara was skeptical, as well.

100_2731All in all, though, we had a good time with family and friends.

100_2743

 

This momma got some relaxation in.  Because somebody liked napping on the beach.

100_2745Might I suggest beach tents for your next family vacation?  These things are amazing to make babies sleep while listening to the ocean.

Best $25 ever spent.

Last but not least, we celebrated a birthday:

100_2772This little girl turned two!

(Next year she’ll be 22, mark my words.)

Also, I love this photo of Madeline looking at her cake, but I have yet to figure out why I look so much like a praying mantis.

So I offer you this picture instead:

100_2774I know, not as good.  Plus my creepily placed hands are still there.  Weird.

Anyway.

Friends, I am back.

(Cue “Welcome Back, Kotter” Theme.)

Hey, it’s my blog.  I’ll do what I want.

Tune in tomorrow for the continuing adventures of:

This Domesticated Physicist.

 

 

 

 

 

Not a Reflection of Myself

It’s funny to me that I remember hearing parenting advice years ago, but never paid any attention to it.  I didn’t have children afterall.  Heck, I wasn’t even married.  But when I think hard enough, I can remember hearing older family members or friends’ parents say things that I should be heeding right now.

Yesterday, that piece of advice was the following:

Your children are not necessarily a reflection of yourself.

It is true that both Beard and I have to put in hard work to raise Godly children with all the fruits of the spirit.  Unfortunately, though, we cannot control our children’s behavior.  We can teach them how we want them to behave and discipline them when they do not behave accordingly, but they are still their own individuals.  They are people separate from their parents.

Boy is that hard to tell myself.

We have been potty-training for the last several days, and yesterday we ran into several instances where Madeline would sit on the potty for almost 20 minutes, get down, pull up her training pants, then go pee in them.  It literally takes all of my patience and self-restraint to not yell at her.

Why?  Because somehow, deep down, I got the notion that if she can’t potty-train quickly it is my fault.

But it’s not.

It’s a new habit, as my mother keeps telling me, and she needs time to incorporate it into her schedule.

And as her mom what I need is patience to let her learn this habit without feeling guilty for how long it is taking her.  I can expect only so much of her, afterall.  She is not even two.

 

In other news:

100_2635This is my mildly embarrassing food waste photo for today.  I have some Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce in the container with the black lid.  I cooked chicken breasts in the sauce almost a month ago.  It has to go.

On top of that is an old piece of toast from the last time Beard wasn’t feeling well.  Again, about a month ago.

The two purple lidded containers are sour cream and ranch dip.  Both of which had gone to work with my husband for lunch, and when he doesn’t finish them, he brings them home.

Then never looks at them again.

The blue lidded container is also ranch dip.  Same M.O.

Below that are salsa and ketchup in two green lidded containers.  They, too, went to work with Beard, then got shoved in the fridge.

Finally, the large green lidded container has some food substance in it that I don’t even recognize.  I think there are grapes in there, and maybe yogurt, which leads me to believe it was some breakfast of Madeline’s.  But it’s hard to tell.  So to the garbage it goes!

Oh well, here is to a clean fridge!

FoodWasteFriday

 

The Scary Things Toddlers Say

Lately Ryan has been reading some things on the internet where people share some of the scary things their children have said.
We have experienced a few of our own with the Bits, since she has quite a vocabulary nowadays. For example, on a recent car ride with just daddy, Madeline continually shouted, “Bug! Chair! Daddy! Bug!” while Ryan was driving. Needless to say he was terrified. Because, really, how much information can you get out of a toddler? One would love to know what kind of bug, or how big is it? Or is it crawling towards my face? But all he could get out of Madeline was “bug”, “chair”, and “daddy”.
Another instance involved part of Bitsy’s new nighttime routine. I usually read a book to the girls, and while I nurse Clara, Madeline will continue to look at the book. Sometimes she will keep it in bed with her until after I leave the room. Usually I have no problem with that, until I heard this come out of her mouth one morning:
“Madeline eat book.”
“Oh, would you like to read a book while you eat breakfast, Madeline?”
“No, Madeline EAT book.”
Then I looked and realized she had literally taken a bite out of the book. Perhaps she got hungry?
This morning, though, while I was changing the girls and getting them ready for the day, Madeline said perhaps the scariest thing I have heard her say to this day:
“Madeline eat Clara Bean.”
Please, Child, no. You’ve only got one sister. Don’t EAT her!

Both Feet in, But Not Saturated

Being a stay at home mom is exactly what I thought it would be.
But it is also nothing like I thought it would be.
Just over a year ago I fantasized about how wonderful it would be when Beard would go to work everyday, leaving me and Madeline behind to play, have fun, and of course, keep a super clean, tidy house. He would, of course, come home to a fantastic home cooked meal.
For those of you that are stay at home moms, you are giggling a little bit.
Or laughing at my (e-)face.
I was right, Beard would go to work everyday, but he leaves me home with two very needy little girls, plus a whiny pitbull.
(Did you think that was possible? I didn’t.)
My girls are not especially needy for an infant and a toddler, but compared to myself, they sure require a lot of care. They are both still in diapers, and neither can prepare their own meals. Madeline occasionally “forgets” how to use a fork and spoon, requiring me to feed her.
My girls need to be played with and cuddled and read to, as well as bathed, soothed, carried, and put down for naps and bedtime.
I knew all of these things before taking this job.
What I didn’t realize was how much time and energy these tasks can actually take. This is literally the ultimate full time job.

But that, friends, is not what I am struggling with today, or in the last several months. I don’t mind doing the work of motherhood, until it completely absorbs me.
Motherhood is one of those jobs that just sucks you right in. Baby is born and you dive in head first. You spend most of your time with your baby, you read about baby care and baby milestones, you talk to other moms (oh heck, anyone who will listen) about your baby.
A once perfectly normal adult woman because a baby-obsessed freak.
And, honestly, it happens to so many mothers.
I find myself now two babies deep. Stacked on top of each other, that would be about waist level. And that, folks, is a pretty good interpretation about how I feel most days. I am wading through babies, having a hard time maintaining myself.

I was once a young woman who proclaimed herself as a nerd. A book-loving freak. I ran for fun, loved to cook, and played guitar. I was a hopeless romantic, constantly trying to one-up my husband with super cute, silly surprises.
It’s easy to forget these things about my former self when I have the constant care of babies to worry about.
Sometimes I feel I am completely saturated by my job. Motherhood has soaked me through, and there is no other woman left.
These are my worst days. The days when I feel like a cow, maid, cook, and servant.
What I am striving for, though, is just to have both feet in.
I want to work hard at my mothering (and my housekeeping!), but I don’t want it to define me. It is just a part of me.
Because 18 years from now, my girls will be adults. They may be in college or holding full time jobs. They may even be considering moving out.
(But hopefully not until 20+ years from now.)
If I saturate myself in caring for and raising these girls, when they leave I will have nothing.
No hobbies, no passions, no marriage.

So today, for those of you reading that are stay at home moms, or are considering staying at home in the future, I pray you keep this in mind.
Strive to not become saturated in your motherhood.
Instead, try your hardest, work to the best of your ability, but at the end of the day, try to maintain the woman you were before.

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s House.

Exodus 20:17.

These words written almost 3500 years ago by a painfully shy and not-so-well-spoken servant of God have been ringing in my ears recently.

Let me explain.

When my husband and I decided to move from our last rental house so we would have room for a baby Madeline, we looked into both renting and buying options.  We hadn’t been married very long and were still (and are still :-/) paying off some student loans, so we really didn’t have any down payment saved up.

Being my traditional, we-need-to-do-things-the-“right”-way self, I spoke up and said we should just rent for a while longer.  Ryan, on the other hand, had heard that in rural areas, one could buy a home with little to no money down; this, he told me, would be a better option.  He reasoned that at least the money we spent on housing each month would actually be going towards a purchase, rather than just rent.

And now I can see that he was right, but at the time, I fought his decision a bit.  Mainly because without a down payment, our price range for a home was fairly small.  Sure we could buy something liveable and with enough room for us and a little one, but I had grand plans.  I wanted a family room and a living room, a fireplace (or two!), multiple bathrooms, and a classy looking porch.  And even more.

Our home, is not so grand.  It is modest at a little over 1000 sq feet, and it has a very simple layout.  There are no fireplaces, and there really isn’t too much quirkiness or character to the home at all.

Friends and family members around our age/life stage are beginning to buy homes, and it has seemed that everyone’s house has so much quirk and character.  I’ll admit, I have been very jealous.

Not to mention that it seems as though when our friends have bought homes, they have quickly painted and decorated, making their houses homes almost immediately after buying them.

We have been in our house over a year and a half now, and I still haven’t even finished painting our hallway.  In fact, I finished a can of paint about 3/4 of the way down the hallway.  So it just looks a bit ghetto.

And it has looked ghetto for the last, oh, 8 months.

Since the new year, I have gotten very annoyed with myself over the state of our home.

Please don’t misinterpret me, here.  Our house is fairly neat-ish, most of the time, and it is usually clean.  I just really haven’t been able to make it very homey.  Each time I went to a friend’s house and they had decorated nicely I would feel down about my own skills

These feelings culminated a few weeks ago.  We were driving home from a very artsy friend’s house, and I honestly broke into tears explaining to my husband how inadequate I felt that I couldn’t create a home like my friend could.  He tried to comfort me as best he could, but I knew my husband just couldn’t understand my distress.  What he kept reminding me was that there were so many other things I excel at, and so what this wasn’t one of them?

And then it really hit me.  Although I thought I had been coveting other women’s homes, I wasn’t.  Instead I was coveting their skills.  I coveted their eye for color or their ability to pick out and coordinate fabrics and furniture in their home.  I coveted their ability to work within a budget to make their home a comfortable place for their family.

I simply don’t excel at those things.  But like Ryan said, so what?  God has given me other gifts.  I can bake a mean loaf of bread, and I can memorize almost any number I see, including license plates and social security numbers.

I am essentially my own Rolodex. 😉

So, readers, I wrote this long post just to say that I have surrendered to that fact.  I simply don’t have the artistic ability to make my home look like a picture-perfect magazine house.  Instead, I am striving to not only discover what it is I like, but how to incorporate it in our home within a budget.

No longer will I worry and fret over what other people think when they walk into my living room.  Will they judge my color choices?  Will they think I hang weird pictures?

Who cares?

It’s our home, not theirs.  And it may be a plain Jane kind of house, but it’s my plain Jane kind of house to put my mark on.

Fun Finger Foods for Toddlers

(I am tagging this entry as “silly Beard moment of the week”, when in fact it is awesome Beard moment of the week.  I apologize for any confusion.)

I have posted before about Bitsy Girl’s wonderful eating habits.  She really has never been a picky eater, and she has always loved the most random but nutritious foods like sweet potatoes and avocados.  Recently, though, she has grown a bit pickier about the things she puts into her body, especially things with different textures.  I know this is natural in toddlers her age; she is becoming so aware of colors, tastes, textures, and temperatures, and it only makes sense that she would prefer some over others.

Although I understand this change in her eating habits is natural, it is still a little frustrating.  Bitsy Girl has been pickier about what vegetables she will eat, and if given the choice between multiple foods, she will always pick the carbohydrate, then the meat.  Oh boy!  A meat and potatoes kind of girl.

A few weeks ago, Beard and my good friend’s husband were watching all of our children (so my friend and I could spend the day at IKEA; score!).  The two men were better at feeding preschool age children than I had expected.  It was that particular day that Beard taught our little toddling Bitsy Girl how to enjoy raw vegetables with dip!

Apparently dipping foods and eating them is very fun for young children.  Who knew?  Our daughter loves dipping baby carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, and even some broccoli in ranch dip.  Both Beard and I eat veggies like this often, and I think that is part of the novelty for Bitsy Girl; she feels like a big girl who can dip and eat her veggies.

I know this method of serving veggies won’t necessarily work for all picky eaters, but it is worth giving a try.  So far we have only tried ranch dip, but I plan to try hummus and maybe even peanut butter (which I use to dip baby carrots in).  I could probably try other vegetables as well.

What methods do you know for getting picky eaters to eat their veggies?  Anything tried and true?