Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Empty Nest

Today, Mom and Dad headed back to the States. (Becky, now more than ever, a sad trombone is appropriate.) Wah, wah, wah indeed. I feel so lucky to have had a whole month with my family here. It was such a blessing to watch the cousins all play together and hang out with each other.

Yes, it's sad to have your parents leave the nest, but eventually you have to let them go so they can spread their wings and all that. I mean, you prepare them the best you can, teach them all you know, and then it's up to them, right?

And then there was the Iphone round table. What with the comparing of the apps and the connecting to the Wi-Fi and the general infatuation. I would say that, cumulatively, Iphone usage, maintenance and discussion took up about 2.75 weeks of the month altogether.

(Dad, Becky and Jason in their secret Iphone club. Snobs.)

Warm fuzzies aside, I'll miss the extra help with the kids! Jason left to take Mom and Dad to the airport at 7 this morning, so it was my first time to do the whole morning routine sans help, plus three kids. So that's getting me dressed, getting them dressed, getting them fed, lunches and backpacks packed, finding car keys and Baby Bjorn, and out the door for school. "Big school" dropoff for Ava, then "little school" for Nate. Whew! We did it, though, without any tears. And the kids didn't cry, either!

I didn't wanna come home to a family-less house, so Grace and I took ourselves to the mall for a couple hours. She is a doll, y'all! Just about ready to crack 9 pounds (4kgs!), bless her.

That's what's happening at our house. What's shakin' with you?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

See? It takes so little to make me happy.

You know about the secret microchip, right? The one that activates the secret signal that draws me to Ikea? Yeah, that one. So today, off we went.

Mom wanted to buy me a lamp,you see, and good daughters let their mamas buy them lamps. And since it'd been a few weeks since I'd make the great pilgrimage, I decided it was time. Besides, someone needs to keep those bespectacled, black-clad Swedish designers in business. Otherwise, how will they afford lingonberry jam and pickled herring?

So, we got our lamp (Thanks, Ma!)and then, across a crowded room, I saw this.

I mean, really, how CUTE is that tray? Doesn't it just say to you, "Hi, I am an adorable tray, free to be used for oh-so-many purposes. Or just to be admired. Love me. Buy me. I am only 8 bucks." Well, it said that to me, at least. It makes me happy just to look at it. Let's see that again, shall we?

When I saw it, I was like those seagulls in Finding Nemo. "Mine. Mine. Mine! MINE!" Becky shares my love for Ikea, so we emailed her a picture and then tormented her via text message about it. And these little bowls were the cherry on top.

They didn't actually speak to me, but they are super-cute as well. Mine! (Don't you love how I artfully arranged them? I think I'm gonna start me one of them fancy design blogs!)

Then it poured rain, we fought through some major crowds to get to the car, and Grace screamed all they way home. (Dad said if Grace had possessed nuclear capabilities at that moment, we'd have all been blown off the planet.) But my little bird tray made it all better. Bliss. Calm in the storm. Not bad for 8 bucks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Six Weeks

Grace is six weeks old today. Today, I took her to get her first round of immunizations. I talked to her about it beforehand, preparing her for what was to come. Because that is the kind of mother I am. I was hoping she could be mature about it, given her advancing age. I mean, why scream and cry about what is, (a)necessary, and (b)preventative of big, scary illnesses? In hindsight, maybe I shoulda shown her some photos of what measles, mumps and rubella can do to a person. Cause no, she just cried and got all ticked anyway. I'm just gonna say this--sometimes she is kind of babyish.

But in memory of happier times, here are some pics I took this morning to commemorate her being six weeks old.

This morning's unpleasantness aside, she is a real sweetie. And still so itty bitty! When we are out with her, people often think we are fresh out of the hospital. Well, I guess being petite just runs in our family. Umm, sure. Anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reports of my blog slackerhood have been greatly exaggerated. Except not really.

You know how, when you have an email to answer or a phone call to make, only you put it off for too long and then you think, "Oh there's so much to tell now, how can I get through it all?" That's a little how I've felt about this blog, dear readers. It's been a little busy here at my casa, what with the whole my-family-is-here thing and then the whole i-am-a-bit-tired-and-i-have-a-newborn-and-oh-wait-i-also-have-2-other-kids-thing. And now I'm tired from pressing the hyphen key so much. See how hard my life is?

So that's how I was feeling. "Arghh! I need to blog." But then I realized that the internet is actually kind of full of things to read and that, as lovely and nice as you guys are to read my little piece of interwebs, you probably have lives and stuff and aren't all that freaked that I haven't posted in a week or so. It's not like this is an issue of national security or anything. At least it wasn't the last time I checked. So I decided I'd just come and say hi. Cause I miss y'all. Really, I do.

The last few weeks with my family here have been a real treat. It's amazing how we pick up right where we left off, and how normal it feels to have them here. That's a comforting feeling--that even though we are hemispheres apart, there's no re=entry or introductions needed. My sister and I immediately return to checking the status of each other's highlights and muffin tops, we tease my mom about her abnormally short forearms, my dad reads to us from his Iphone about supernovas. And that, my friends, is what families are for.

Becky and her crew headed back to Atlanta today. I am so thankful they went to the trouble and expense to come here. We had a great time! Last night, I asked her if she thought we'd savored the time together enough. (Sometimes, my savoring the moment is inhibited by my wondering if I've savored the moment enough.) I think we did, though.

Here's a couple things I'll savor:
--Nate and his cousin Hank's continual competitions: fighting in the car about who was a "happier boy", seeing whose fake burping was better, arguing over whose mama Shrek most resembles. (No comment on that one.)

--Sharing some of my favorite Aussie treats and sights with my family: lamingtons, fresh scones with jam and cream, the Blue Mountains, the ferry ride into Sydney Harbour, and Hugh Jackman. (Ok, not really. Just seeing if you're still reading.) (And I know scones aren't just Aussie treats, but you know what I mean.)

--My dad's supernatural ability to keep Grace asleep on his chest for hours at a time. Seriously, if you have a newborn in your house, see about renting his services for a week or two. It's a powerful gift.

--The memory of Nate running towards a statue of a naked man at a plaza in the Blue Mountains, grabbing a crucial part of the statue's anatomy in his fist (take a guess) and yelling out joyously, "Look, Mama! His hiney!!" Why he calls it a "hiney", I have no idea. The groups of tourists walking by at that moment made it especially awesome. I just had to ask Mom and Dad the best way to spell hiney. I thought maybe it should be heinie. That is also what families are for.

Dad has been holding Grace so I could write this post. She is blissfully asleep, but I think he'd like to go to bed now. Even the supernaturally gifted need their rest. So I better close.

Any moments you've been savoring lately? Or if not, any naked statues? Cause those are kinda cool.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My mind is as sharp as a tack. If by "tack", we mean something more like a Q-Tip. A soggy one.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that post-pregnancy hormones mixed with sleep deprivation produce a serious case of "baby brain". Many of you know what I'm talking about. When you go into a room of your house specifically to retrieve an item or perform a chore, forget what said item or chore is, and have to return to the starting point and stand...and think...and still have no clue. When your five year old can easily defeat you in a battle of wits. When you say to yourself in the morning, "I absolutely have to get X done, no matter what," only to reach bedtime and realize it never crossed your mind to do X, not once, the whole day.

This is where I find myself. Ah, but here, dear readers is the cruel irony. I find that, between the hours of 2 and 4 in the morning, I am lucid, sharp and able to recount with accuracy what I didn't do that day and really need to do once daylight comes around. Sitting in the dark, feeding the baby, my mind ticks through the to-do's and things I need to remind Jason of, bills we need to pay, emails I need to compose. I analyze Nate's latest behavioral peculiarities and strategize new parenting tactics. "Right...ok," I say, trying not to chastise myself, "I will be all over that in the morning." Fast forward three hours and there I am, standing over my teacup in the kitchen, trying to remember if I've added sugar already or not. Cause I'm sure more sugar would help. Don't you think so?

I had something else really smart to say about this, but it's getting late and I kinda forgot what it was. Can we just pause and agree though, that you would've found it terribly interesting and that it would've filled you with a potent mix of empathy and affection for me, mixed with a strong desire to make the world a better place? Awesome. And you're welcome.

In the meantime, please enjoy these photos of my family hanging out with me in Sydney. How lucky am I?

Here's Becky and I touring Elizabeth Farm--one of the oldest homes in Australia. And yes, we are this fabulous in person.

My esteemed parents, on the ferry ride into the city.

Ava LOVES having her cousin Laura here.

And here's our first pic as a family of five! Though Grace isn't exactly taking active part in the photo. That girl--not much of a team player. However, it is a minor miracle that Ava and Nate are both smiling at the same time.

Now what were we talking about? Oh, right--I'll take care of it first thing tomorrow.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's What Dudes Do

So I haven't told you about the other new member of our family.

When Jason saw her on sale at Kmart about a month ago, it was love at first sight. You know how mothers will talk about the instant connection and love they feel for a newborn. Apparently this phenomenon applies to inanimate objects. That barbecue was destined to be ours.

Bright and early the morning of the sale, Jason was at Kmart as the doors opened. And here we are, the proud parents of a truly ginormous, 6 burner barbecue grill. (It has lots of other lovely features Jason could tell you about, but if it doesn't come inside and vacuum or unload the dishwasher, then I'm not all that interested.) But I'm happy for Jason--now he's a true Aussie. Barbecues are like a national religion here. (We don't throw any shrimp on them, though, ok? Plus, it's not "shrimp", it's "prawns". There.)

I can totally get the satisfaction that dudes must feel while barbecuing. There's open flame involved, and machinery. There's skill and marinating, debate over which sauce is the best, and even a beverage or two. I can see why they dig that. Jason is in his element while barbecuing.

He also informed me yesterday that Aldi--our local discount grocery store, is a grocery store for men. (Not that women can't shop there--just that it's appealing to men.) He loves to go there and stock up on stuff for us. If you don't know about Aldi, here's the deal. It's a no-frills type of place. Small, a few aisles, weekly specials and cheaper stuff. You go in, fill your cart, and bag your own stuff. The checkout people are so fast, stuff goes shooting off the conveyor belt and you better be ready to load it up or you get the stinkeye. None of this, "How are you? Did you find what you needed?"

I'm a little intimidated by it all, to be honest. I feel like I used to do trying to play sports in school. The ball is always hitting me in the head and I'm never in the right place at the right time.

However, Jason thrives in these situations. He said to me, "I like it there. I go in, get what we need and get out. I don't have to wander all these aisles and... make decisions." I loved that--grocery shopping for dudes. Me? When I get to go to the grocery store by myself, it's like my own little date night. I know, that is pathetic. I can get a coffee and wander around, see what's new. Dudes don't really do that, do they? Unless power tools or electronics are involved. (I know that's a stereotype--but sometimes stereotypes are created for a reason.)

Anyway, my family and I are enjoying the fruits of Jason's labors. The pantry is overflowing from an Aldi trip, and last night he barbecued enough meat to feed a room full of linebackers. Wanna come over for dinner? We'll force feed you freshly grilled sausage!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Card Games and a Reality Check

A miracle occurreth! Y'all, nearly my whole family has come to Oz. If only Dave and Katie were here, it would be perfect. (Miss you guys!)

Whenever I get to hang out with my family, I have this urge to just lock all the doors and not go anywhere and not let anyone in--and just hang out, play cards and talk for two weeks. They are pretty much the coolest people ever. We are doing well--they've only been here a few days, and Becky and her family showed up sick, so we've been taking it easy to let them adjust and get better. Yeah, I was all--Thanks so much for showing up with swine flu. Can we just like rub my newborn all over your face now?

We are adjusting to and enjoying being a family of five. Nate has found this to be a bit of a challenge. The other day, on a ride to my beloved Ikea, Grace was crying a little in her car seat. Nate asked, "Mama, why you put Grace in the car?" Jason and I told him that Grace is part of our family, and that she goes where we go now. I could tell he's thinking, "For real? Like she's always gonna be here?" Then he said, "Mama, you know what? Grace bothers me." Why is that, buddy? "I don't wanna tell you," he said. Then he sighed. Bless his little middle child heart.

Harsh reality, y'all. It hits us all from time to time. How are things in your world?