Friday, April 20, 2012

I Love You So Much

Will says "I love you," but usually only after Ben or I have said it to him. He's never really said it on his own, unprompted.

But this afternoon, while I was kneeling on the floor playing, Will toddled up behind me, wrapped his arms around my waist, and said, "I love you so much." Melt.

I love you too, sweet boy. More than you'll ever know.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guest Post: Rebuttal from the Destructive Dad

The man in question

Dear Sam,

While it may seem like a tornado passed through out living room, I'd like to point out a couple flaws in your "14 toddler " theory. I will admit that there is a fair amount of stuff on the floor, however, half of it is two feet or less from its home and the other half came from Will's music basket. As you know, the music basket is generally completely emptied unless the piano happens to be the only instrument removed from said basket. I did intend doing some clean up before lunch, but I got distracted by my iPad (surprise, surprise) and once I heard you reassembling the music basket, I figured you had the rest under control.

The real exception I have with your post is the use of the word destructive. Nothing in the photo was damaged in any way, shape or form. In fact, if you reference the word in a dictionary, I'm pretty sure you'll find a photo of our adopted child (i.e. our dog) whom I'm more than willing to get rid of but you will defend until the death. I'm just sayin'.

In conclusion, us dad's are not by nature, destructive. Lazy? Perhaps. Messy? More often than not. But destructive? Not so much.

Thank you for the opportunity to explain your well-spun photo.


Your Husband

On Dads and Destruction

Wow, three posts in three days! Welcome back to blogging, Sam. (What can I say... when it rains, it pours.)

I can be home with Will all day, and we play with lots of different toys, books, etc. But when Daddy is home with Will, he takes play time to an entirely different level.

Oh, did you have fourteen wild toddlers over?
Nope. Just a dad and his boy.

Watch out. Daddy + Will = Chaos. I'm sure the difference is that I actually pick up throughout the day, but this happened in just over an hour. Is this compulsion to pull out every toy you own a universal dad trait, or something that only happens at my house?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

29 Years Old

I actually wrote this right after my birthday last month, but never posted it. My friend Maggie did this for her 29th earlier this year. I am unabashedly stealing the idea. (Thanks, Maggie! xoxo)

I make a point to chronicle Will's growth and development (almost) every month, but what about my own? I turned 29 on Tuesday (March 20), and I took a moment to reflect on the year that was. Here are my thoughts, which I hope I will find endlessly entertaining 10 years from now.

What did you read?

Almost all of my reading was dedicated to graduate school. The stuff I enjoyed the most was on adult learning theory, technology trends, and student retention initiatives. I fully understand that your eyes just glazed over (Ben, I'm talking to you). But I love it, thus why I'm studying it.

I did find a little time for fun reading over interim breaks, which allowed me to read the Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins), Enrique's Journey (Sonia Nazario), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me And Other Concerns (Mindy Kaling), Run (Ann Patchett), and The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). Although I have traditionally preferred reading nonfiction or classics, I'm definitely in a contemporary fiction phase. I attribute this largely to the amount of scholarly reading I do on a monthly basis. Fiction provides an escape.

What did you watch?

TV shows I obsessed over this year include: Downton Abbey (PBS) and Sons of Anarchy (FX). We also watch a ton of old shows on Netflix. I'm still working through Brothers & Sisters, but I got through all the seasons of Gossip Girl and the one glorious season of My So Called Life early this year.

What did you do with your spare time?

Ha. Ha, ha. Oh, that's a serious question.

Well, if you define "spare" time as time not used working or being with my family, I guess most of my "spare" time goes to graduate school. I typically do most of my homework between the hours of 8:00 and 11:00 PM, so that leaves little time for a social life if I also want to see my husband, sleep and be up with my kid at 7:00 AM.

When I do manage to get out, it's usually for drinks, dinner or a run. All of which I enjoy. All of which help me chill out and reconnect with myself.

Where did you go?

We haven't taken a real vacation in years. Years. We did go to Door County last summer, but we had to cut our trip short to close on our new house. I visited my dear high school girlfriends in St. Paul for our annual sleepover. And made countless trips (at least once a month) back to my parents' house in Minnesota. We also spent some time in Madison for football games, and one particularly raucous hockey game.

What thrilled you?

Selling our house in just a month! We had a kick ass realtor, and I had that place staged damn cute. We worked our butts off for that offer, but we did it. And we love our new place.

What scared you?

My Mom and Dad were both in really serious car accidents. Mom vs. ditch in November and Dad vs. car going 55 MPG while on his motorcycle in March (just two days before my birthday, in fact).

What are you most proud of?

Juggling it all - mom, wife, student, professional, informed citizen. It's not always pretty, but most days I'm making it work.

What would you do over?

I need to figure out how to say yes to less. Just because an opportunity is exciting, doesn't mean I have to do it. I need to prioritize and find focus.

If I could go back, I would also obsess less over Will's helmet. Although it felt very major at the time, it really was such a relatively short period of time. I'm glad we did it and I'm glad it's over. But it wasn't worth all my worry and tears. We made it through, his head is beautiful, and everyone is fine.

How's married life?

I need to find more time for Ben. He often gets overlooked in the chaos. But I love him with all my heart. He's the one person who can always make me laugh, let me cry, etc. He just "gets" me. And at the end of the day, there's no one I'd rather snuggle up next to.

How's parenthood?

Will is, without a doubt, the greatest thing I will ever do with my life. The toddler stage can be trying at times, but more often than not, it's a blast. I love this age way more than having an infant. Watching him learn and interact with the world is so awesome.

How's work?

Work is crazy busy. In case you haven't been keeping track, I now have two part-time jobs and a full-time graduate student schedule. Insane! Every day is an exercise on finding balance. I'm still learning, and trying to figure out how to prioritize.

What's next?

The next year is poised to be a big one... I'm graduating in December, and Ben and I have started talking about having another baby. I really don't want to start trying until after I'm done with school, but hopefully I will have some fun baby news to share before my next birthday. Not to mention that birthday will be a big one... 30 (eek!).

Friday, April 13, 2012

Remember that blog I used that have?

Oh yeah, Me too.

I'm really ridiculously behind on my letters to Will. I sense a mea culpa and some combo months fast approaching here.

The long and short of it is: I'm busy. Damn busy. But doing some really fun and exciting things. I love being a pseudo stay-at-home mom to Will. Taking him to early childhood development classes, putting him down for naps, exploring on the trails by our house, reading books, playing cars. I love that. But I also love getting to go to work a few days a week. I love my new part-time job as a career services advisor at a local technical college. My students are awesome and my colleagues are great. I feel so fortunate to be working in a field I'm really, stupidly passionate about.

Even when I'm up to my ears in research papers and lit reviews, I love my graduate program. I love that I get to think critically, contribute to a community of learners, and read interesting perspectives from experts in adult education. I love my relationships with my professors and my fellow students. And I love that the end is in sight. (I graduate with my M.S. in Educational Leadership in December. Yay!)

I love my husband. I love that he's so supportive of my dreams. He holds me up and lends extra support (with minimal grumbling) whenever it's needed. He gets overlooked a lot in my crazy working/mom/student life, but he's really the most important piece to the whole puzzle. He literally holds everything together.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows though. Some days are really hard. Some days I get home from work and can't find the energy to read "Click Clack Moo" for the thousandth time. Some days (er, most days) I only get five or six hours of sleep. Some days I literally forget to eat. I got home from school on Thursday night and realized the only thing I had eaten all day was a granola bar. Some days I'm beat up and exhausted, left wondering "how the hell am I doing this?"

But I'm making it. With lots of support. One day at a time.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Finding Balance

This is going to be a short one, because, guess what? I've got way too damn much going on.

In fact, I feel like I'm doing everything in life half-assed lately. I'm pretty sure I know what needs to go, but I'm having trouble actually pulling the trigger. In pursuit of trying to do it all (mother, wife, employee, student, volunteer, friend, daughter, blogger, etc), I'm finding that I'm actually doing nothing well.  Like most mothers, I'm really struggling with how to find balance.

So I'll leave you with this thought from a career blogger that I follow: "To make real progress, you have to get rid of busy and replace it with focus."

I will be giving that some serious thought.