ode to my husband

In the words of the great Ron Swanson, “….find someone you like and roll the dice.”

This year marks mine and Matt’s nine year wedding anniversary.  I’ve read a lot of blogs about “how to stay married 50 years” or “best marriage advice ever” and I thought about writing a blog post similar. and then I realized I wouldn’t know what to write.  Tips such as, “don’t go to bed mad” and “forgive and forget” are great nuggets of wisdom.  But they don’t keep two people together.  I don’t actually know what keeps two people together.  In my best guess, two people stay together because they stay together.

Matt and I are in our infancy of marriage.  Not quite ten years, we hopefully have 40 some years left of sitting on the couch, watching reruns, and sharing ice cream (which he hogs and eats WAY too fast, and then makes it worse by accusing me of hogging it and eating too fast).  So I feel silly offering any marriage advice.  Who can I advise? Those married 8 years and 10 months?

I will say this, we’ve been together long enough to learn certain things.  We now know that sometimes it is better to go to bed mad, sometimes it’s better to just NOT SAY ANYTHING ELSE.   Sleep on it.  Get over it.  Move on.

We’ve been married long enough to gauge between Big Things and little things.  And to learn to completely ignore the little things.  and to seriously NOT ignore the Big Things.

We’ve been together long enough to truly know the importance of saying sorry.  and that the quicker you do it, the faster you can get back to sitting on the couch sharing ice cream.

We’ve been together long enough to realize that you don’t really forgive and forget, you forgive and get over it.  and that’s better (and harder) than forgetting.

We’ve learned that we don’t always like the same TV shows, or movies.  But we watch them anyway.

We’ve seen each other through the death of a parent.  Through three children.  We’ve seen each other’s darkest side.  and we stayed.  we rolled the dice, we stuck it out.  but yet, we have so much to get through.  So much to learn.  I pray the years will be good to us.  That we continue to find our way back to each other, despite the chaos and the craziness that settles in.  I pray that we continue to listen to each other, to support each other.  and to always see each other.

an Aunt of mine works with the elderly and asks each of them the secret to a good marriage.  Their answer? “Stick around.”  Seems slightly unromantic.  But that’s the truth of marriage.  The hard times often outweigh the easy.  The anger sometimes seems louder than the laughter.  But you pull back the covers, and you climb into bed.  and you stick around.  for another day.  another fight, another apology.  and more ice cream.

Matt and I met when we were 15 and 17.  We couldn’t be more different.  A vegan and a carnivore.  He DVRs rock concerts and I prefer silence.  I ‘fold’ the laundry by smashing it into drawers, he literally folds the laundry.  But it works.  I have no idea why.  Maybe because we are like a pair of old jeans.  or maybe because we truly are soul mates.  or maybe we just lucked out on the dice roll.

 

 

 

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dog days are over.

“hey, can you guys get up?”  Lincoln runs back and forth from my side to Matt’s side to my side.

“what time is it?”

“It’s 46.  46 o’clock.”

“really?  are you sure?”

“um, actually it’s 65 o’clock.  it’s 65.  that means time to get up.”

“well, it it’s only 65 o’clock then that means we get to sleep for another hour.”

 

I really can’t complain about sleep at all at this point.  Last night no one woke up until 4:30, and that was Lincoln asking for a cup of milk.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  After about four years straight of being up every 2-3 hrs, a night of 6 hours straight is comparable to a Fuji vacation.

Life has actually gotten quite fun lately.  I remember with each kid how easy and fun they became once they hit a year.  Right now they are all three at good stages.  Stella is coming out of her rough spot of ‘The Twos’.  Jack is at that adorable Still Baby but Almost Big Kid stage.  and Lincoln is coming up on four and had become quite the companion.  Matt and I both agree that going somewhere with just Lincoln is better than going somewhere alone.  Mainly because Lincoln usually serves up an amusing commentary for whatever trip or errand you are on, making even the dullest trip to get milk or gas fairly enjoyable.

I’m actually shocked in general how easy life has gotten with them.   we can leave the house now.  and not have every trip end in screaming and tears.  I can usually manage a trip to the grocery store with all three, even during the busy after work hours.  Stella walks by my side and *gasp* stays by my side.  Lincoln and Jack sit calmly in the cart.  We’ve gone swimming solo and have plans to go to the aquarium and go hiking.  Yeah, hiking with all three. That’s how easy they’ve gotten.

This new freedom is an odd feeling.  I’ve kind of gotten used to feeling like I’m constantly on house arrest.  In any of the previous years or months the thought of running to the store for milk would give me a headache or a panic attack. Most people reading this probably think I’m a pansy.  The whole “Get Over Yourself Babies Aren’t That Hard” mentality.  yeah, one baby isn’t.  Two babies aren’t so much (kinda).  But three are.  And it was even harder when two of them were in various stages of ‘The Twos’.  aka random, unpredictable bouts of screaming and throwing things.  It generally takes us 25 min to just get everyone buckled into their carseats.  That alone is usually reason enough for me to not go anywhere.

But it’s over.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 are out of ‘The Twos’.  Thing 3 will hit them soon, but when he does, he will be the only one.  and the rest of us are pretty good at diffusing bombs at this point.  He’s out numbered.  Life is opening up.  We can confidently go to the store.  the farmers market.  take a trip to the city.  We still spend a lot of time at home, but that’s mainly because I am antisocial by nature and prefer my solitude.  (as solitary as my life is with my traveling circus).

Three kiddos in less that 2.5 years wasn’t exactly the easiest way to go.  There were a lot of tears, a lot of struggles.  But I wouldn’t have done it any differently.  Even now when I realize with nostalgia that all my baby days are over, I also immediately rejoice that ALL MY BABY DAYS ARE OVER!  and then I start packing for our next adventure.  because yeah, we can  leave the house now.

dinosaur kisses

“Only women think this age is cute.  Everyone else knows it’s annoying as hell.”  Matt said last night as he searched the house for a remote so we could turn the sleep timer on the bedroom TV.  (It’s our compromise. He can fall asleep with the TV on as long as he sets the sleep timer so it doesn’t wake me up all night long.)  All the remotes are gone because Jack has an obsession with remotes and puts them in his special place.  Along with keys, DVDs, pan lids, and anything else shiny or important that catches his 14 month old eye (like bills-or my toothbrush.  now Stella and I are sharing her Mater toothbrush.  If that’s not gross I don’t know what is…..)  Most things seem to oddly resurface in the toilet a few days later.

Matt’s right, this age is challenging.  He can’t be left in a room alone because he attempts to jump off the couch, swim in the toilet, play with the stove, eat the fish, etc etc etc.  He’s constantly losing or breaking things.  everything seems to be covered in a goo of some sort.  Communicating with him is similar to speaking to Chewbacca, everything is a tonal series of the word “DA”.  the phrase, “ohh JACK!”  is heard often in our house.

But there are aspects of this age that are intangible.  He chases Lincoln around the house growling like a dinosaur.  When he catches him he dogpiles him in a fit of glee and giggles.  When he hears a motorcycle or loud car he mimics the way he thinks the noise sounds, to us it sounds similar to an old man clearing his throat or perhaps dying, but to Jack it probably sounds EXACTLY like that cool motorcycle.   He empties the recycling bin on the kitchen floor and then starts throwing cereal boxes, old cans of beans, and waffle boxes at my head while shouting, “hot!” “ack! HOT!”  Chewbacca for “feed me! make me hot food!”  Annoying and slightly gross?  yes.  incredibly adorable?  extremely.  It’s his first attempt at communication.  I have to give him points for being innovative and using props.

The best however are the dinosaur kisses.  Remember that irresistible urge to grab a baby and blow raspberries on their skin until they cry from laughter?  To bury your face in their chubbiness and soak up their smells?  Jack has started to return the favor.   He will come up, dogpile you and then seek out any exposed skin.  He will then start growling like a dinosaur, start half chewing/half licking/half blowing on your skin until you laugh from joy and fear (fear that at any second he’s gonna BITE!) During the first couple dinosaur Jack attacks I couldn’t figure out what exactly was going on.  But at one point he stopped the growling and just started breathing heavy.  Smelling me.  Soaking me up.  and I realized, he’s doing to us exactly what we’ve been doing to him for 14 months.  He’s loving us.  Every last inch of us.  He might not be able to say, “I love you.”  but he can tackle us and lick us, and smell us.  and that’s worth a thousand first words.

floating.

“The days are long and the years are short.”

I read that quote and thought it was very fitting to parenthood.  at least motherhood.  most days I ache for bedtime.  but I also spend a good portion of my days taking mental snapshots.  memories.  trying to squeeze permanence from every laugh, every smile, every moment.  it’s odd living and desiring two opposite things:  for them to just GO TO BED.  and for them to NEVER GO AWAY.  maybe that’s why mothers are so scattered. our brains and hearts are constantly at odds.

summer is here.  hopefully to stay.  we got a BIG plastic swimming pool, big enough for Matt to stretch out in.  I plan on spending our down time in swimsuits and doing a lot of nothing.  nothing but memory making.  We are going to soak up the sun, the summer, the hours, the days, each other.  The years are short.  Lincoln will be four in the fall, and Stella three.   Preschool will soon morph into Kindergarten, Kindergarten into college.  This might very well be our last summer of no plans, no activities, no obligations but to just float.  Float and giggle.

We are gardening, eating fresh raw veggies in abundance.  We are in love with wheatgrass and kale smoothies.  Life is very simple right now.  I feel like we are in the calm  amid the storm.  Baby bootcamp is over.  Life of school chaos has yet to hit us.  we are floating in that sweet spot of childhood.  Lord let it last.

I know it will be Christmas in the blink of an eye.  but, until the leaves turn and fall, we will be floating.  all five of us, in a store bought plastic swimming pool.

 

dinosaur eggs.

today Lincoln asked me 47 times if we have a ‘chim-dee’ (chimney).  he then asked 57 times if everyone else in California does.

Jack decided to nap for 20 min.  that’s it.  while I was attempting to rock him back to sleep for the 3rd time, Stella came into the nursery.  She mumbled something about her ‘wost’ cup and needing some ‘moik’ (milk).  I told her as nicely as I could to go wait for me in the living room.  She smiled and shouted, “ok! fanks! here ya go!” and proceeded to shut the door and lock it.  (our landlords reversed the knob in that bedroom, so the push button to lock is on the outside.  probably so their teenage girl couldn’t lock them out, or they could lock her in?!)  I was sitting there with a No-Longer-Sleeping Jack grinning at me, grunting as he tried to wiggle out of my death grip and thinking, “shit.  she just locked me in here.”

this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Matt once got locked in with both Lincoln and Stella.  it was an interesting afternoon is all he will say.  After that I started keeping a supply of q-tips by the changing table so that we had ammo to get out, easy to pick those knob locks with a q-tip.  but alas…..you put q-tips by a changing table and guess what, they get used.  so, stuck I was……part of me considered curling up in lincoln’s little toddler bed, turning on the the white noise and going to sleep.  but I knew they’d sniff me out after awhile looking for wost cups and moik.  so I pounded on the door and shouted until Lincoln came to investigate.

“why are you being so loud?  you might wake Jack up.”  really?  thanks for the tip.

We rushed up to the store since naptime was tossed out the window.  Jack appeared starving, so I gave him is favorite, greek yoghurt.  he ate the entire thing, I picked him up and he vomited all over me.  greek yoghurt chunks running all down my shirt, into my belly button.  I reeked.  nothing like greek yoghurt baby vomit to really enhance the no-shower-for-three-days look I had going.

we attempted to dye easter eggs.  what a disaster.  I hate dying eggs.  the dye freaks me out.  they spill everything.  I gave them straws (I know.  Not smart.  It was all I had.  it was that or paring knife) to ‘stir’ the eggs in the paper cups, told Lincoln 47 times to NOT DRINK THE LIQUID.  it was NOT JUICE.  I look over and he’s slurping it down.  seriously?!  after asking, “WHY?  why?!”  he goes, “I was trying to make bubbles and it went the other direction.”  sadly, that answer makes sense.  the eggs turned out ok.  the colors were a little off because I used beet juice and a combo of cake decorator food coloring.  This was really a last minute activity.  Lincoln seemed unimpressed and asked if we could try again with Daddy.  He’s only three and already knows that Daddy tends to follow directions better than Mommy.   Stella was in love.  she kept cuddling the eggs.  whispering, “oh so prwertty.  you so coot!  so coot.”  Later I watched her jam her finger into one crushing it.  she exclaimed in disappointment, “ah! whered de dinosaur?! dere no dinosaur in there!”  she seemed slightly heartbroken.  I guess, what would you expect to pop out of a pink egg?

The lack of sleep is getting to us.  Making all of us punchy.  We packed it up, I gathered up my vomit covered self, grabbed chunky Jack, my purse, the other two crazies, and we left.  Read books out loud during dinner, a communal shower, and all off to bed.  Tomorrow is Friday.  our last day at work.  my last day in the 20s.  I promised Lincoln a Starbucks breakfast.  It has been a hard week.  in the words of the great Dr. Suess, “Today was good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one.”

I wish we all lived in a world where dinosaurs hatched from pink Easter eggs.

Wednesday.

life is loud.   like, impossible to concentrate loud.  they are so loud.  talking, laughing, fighting, wrestling.  it’s all loud.  constant attention.  if one isn’t pulling on my leg, than another one is shouting for me to ‘look!’ “look!”  or asking for something to drink.  or eat.  they are constantly eating.  how can one person eat so many crackers?! (“oh yed I’d wike some mawr cwrackers.”)

it’s getting challenging at the store.  babies were cute, and easily forgiven.  toddlers/preschoolers are stepped over.  literally.  at least our store will never be accused of being empty and quiet.

I’ve come to realize one thing.  kids are a lot of work.  seriously.  you can’t really cut corners.  and even if you try, it’s still hard (because cutting corners with kids backfires).  they are a lot of work physically.   mentally.  emotionally.  I am beat at the end of the day.  just beat.  I had a friend recently tell me I wouldn’t enjoy being a baker because it was a physically demanding job.  I was sitting there holding 25lb Jack and 34lb Stella was using me as a jungle gym.  I thought I was gonna die laughing.  my life is a physically demanding job.  for me, sitting down is a physically demanding job.  standing up and moving is damn near an olympic event.  bedtime?  Lance Armstrong probably couldn’t pull it off.

they have been hard lately.  and not naughty, acting out hard.  just plain old, truly exhausting hard work.  jack’s been wanting to comfort nurse all the time.  like basically any time he sees me.  which is often.  like every 20 min.  or less.  lincoln and stella FIGHT all the time. squabble.  bicker.  they don’t share.  then they make up and run and scream and laugh until my eardrums want to pop.  and then they fight again.  LOUD.  this life is loud.  (I’m the kind of person that really truly loves silence.  I rarely listen to music.  I only watch TV if there’s a program on.)

my life is 80 miles an hr.  from sun up to sun down.  with the volume cranked ALLLLLLL the way up.  I can’t remember anything because I’m constantly being badgered with requests for milk and attention.  I don’t accomplish much.   They are alive.  clean.  fed.  Stella thinks she’s a princess.  Lincoln is learning respect.  Jack is learning that security is there.  always. every 20 min.  or less.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining.  I’m not.  I’m just digressing.  Unloading.  Releasing.  someday I won’t remember exactly what a Wednesday felt like.  I want to be able to remember.  To say, “ah….yes…..it was loud.  but what a noise….”