All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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School Has Begun….

… Thank God!

Summer camps ended on August 12th and the final pool closed on August 21st. Turns out, all of those camp counselors and lifeguards want a few days of relaxation before returning to school the week of 8/22. When you parent kids who start school after Labor Day, you don’t think of such things.

The final 3 weeks between camp-end and school starting were rough. We were all pretty tired of each other and it was too hot to do outdoor activities after 11:00 AM. The kids watched too much TV as my fuse got shorter and shorter. Next year will be better since Matthew will start kindergarten the same week as the lifeguards and camp counselors!

This morning, we were ALL ready to get back to business as usual. Matthew proclaimed his excitement with smiles and laughter and Bryson was upset that he had a delayed start rather than starting at the same time Matthew did. Everyone went into their classrooms happily as I drove off happily to listen to a podcast (too hot here to run). Structure and routine are so wonderful!

Both boys had great days and Bryson had so much fun, he fell asleep on the drive home. They’re already making me promise that they get to go back tomorrow! 😁

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They’re All In School Now… Bryson is Off!

Bryson was so ready for school to start!  As everyone knows (because I over-share on FB and here,) Bryson threw a MAJOR fit when Matthew went to school without him on Tuesday.  He wanted to be with his brother, he wanted to “play with school toys,” and he begged me, “do not take me!”  It was EPIC!

Today, it was his turn!  I had no concerns, I was so excited for him!  I took him to the mall to pick out a different shirt yesterday (the one he picked out last week was long-sleeved and it’s the most beautiful week here!) and he picked out his shorts to go with it last night.  I loaded up his little backpack for him and put him to bed, promising “you’re going to have so much fun at school tomorrow!”  When he woke up at 6:30, he wanted to go for a run with me and that was really nice – the one thing that I’ve done with him, and not his brother, for over a year now.  It was special!

Everyone got dressed, and we headed outside for the obligatory pictures on the front stoop.

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Matthew had to be at school at 10:00 (late start) and Bryson at 10:30 (will start at 9:00 next week), so we quickly headed for “first day donuts” (again) and then to drop Matthew off.  Bryson did not understand why he was not getting out with his big brother, but the offer of “coffee” (a steamer) from St.arbu.cks calmed him down.  Ha!  He had his steamer in the back seat as we headed back to school, and he was READY to get out!  We snapped a few pictures outside the school before heading in!

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He knew just where to go and showed us the way, leaving us in the DUST!  He hung up his backpack, hugged Daddy (then me, super quickly), let me take a selfie, and he was off.  Just like that!  He was so busy in his classroom that all of the pictures were blurry.

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I picked him up just an hour later (they’re easing them into 2.5 hours a day) and he did great – Mrs. Young said, “he was so polite, he talks to everyone, and he shares so well!”

OK then!

I did not cry once during the morning, until I was looking back through the pictures while waiting in the parking lot to go in and get him.  Even then, it was just a few tears… but it has hit me that my baby is no longer a baby, and there will be no more.  This was my very last “first day of preschool.”

But it’s going to be GREAT!

 


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School Has Begun For Matthew…

… Thank GOD!  I think all three of us let out a collective sigh last night as we got clothes laid out and the backpack ready.  Matthew has been going to preschool since he was 2, so this was just another rung on the ladder for us.  After 2 years of preschool and 2 summers full of camps every-other-week, he was ready to be back at school.  It was exciting, but uneventful, just how I like it!

Matthew insisted on having a fire truck shirt for the first day of school, so I headed off to Ga.p last week to get the one that he liked after he asked for it three times (he’s very flakey right now and really doesn’t care too much about clothes, and I wanted to be sure so I asked him over and over again for days).  It was a big win… until he got his “Food Truck Shirt” (truly, it has food trucks on it and he is fascinated by food trucks).  This morning, he said no to the fire truck shirt and asked for his food truck shirt, but it was literally in the washer so that was a no.  He’ll wear it tomorrow.

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How cute is this shirt???

Hottie was out-of-town on a work trip (my fault, I forgot to put the first day of school on his calendar) so it was just the boys and me this morning.  Matthew does not like having his picture taken – he’s told me so several times – so I asked him to please smile for 5 pictures and then we’d go get a donut before school.  He didn’t know that the donut was happening no matter what, so he obliged!  Bryson wanted to sit on the porch with Matthew for every picture, and Matthew was perfectly fine with that and even asked him to help him hold up his sign.  Bryson was NOT happy about Matthew leaving.  He would not smile for me and just looked so sad the whole time.  I didn’t read into it, I thought he was just a bit tired.

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We headed off for donuts and that was fun – and FAST!  Matthew is as neat as a pin, so Bryson lapped him on the donut consumption but we had plenty of time for him to take his sweet time eating (like his dad!).  Sprinkle donuts for both boys!

We got to school too early and had to hang out outside his classroom.  Matthew was so excited, he could not wait to get in there!  We took a few extra pictures before heading in to the cubbies.  It was fun watching Matthew welcome and hug his old friends and make new friends instantly.  The kid is a master at introducing himself and asking his friends their names and then asking them something about themselves.  He truly amazes me every day with his friendly, outgoing personality!  Bryson didn’t want to leave his brother’s side and I should have known it was going to be rough when we had to leave.

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It was finally, finally, time to go into the classroom so he ran in, washed his hands, grabbed his name tag, and kissed me goodbye.  “Bye, Mom!  I love you!”  That was it… with Matthew.  Bryson did not want to leave and I had to tear him out of there.  He was kicking and screaming the whole way to the car and then several miles down the road.  “Don’t take me, don’t take me, MOM.  I want Matthew!  I want to play with school toys with Matthew.  Go back, go back NOW!”  It was the worst melt-down he’s ever had, which isn’t really saying much because neither of my kids completely freak out very often, but it was definitely a melt-down.  It was not good.

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We ran errands, Bryson played at the mall play area, and it was time to go back to school (short days to ease them into it this week).  I left Bryson in the car – I did not want a repeat of the freak-out – and went in to get my big kid.  Matthew came running out, said he had a great day, said he didn’t get in trouble (yes, I asked), and asked for his brother.  I reunited them in the parking lot and all was right in the world.  🙂

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Upon our arrival home after the park and lunch, we noticed that the neighbor’s dumpster was being picked up by a dumpster truck, so of course we had to watch that before calling it a morning/afternoon and heading to naps and quiet time.  You don’t see a dumpster truck every day  😉

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It was a great first day!

Bryson’s first day is Thursday.  I am expecting full cooperation and excitement.  We shall see…


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Onto Pre-K (Round 1)

Matthew finished up 3 year old preschool this past week. This school year finale was much easier on me than last year, when I cried and cried because I couldn’t imagine him having different teachers the next year. Getting new teachers is a fact of life and I’ve accepted it… And also worked hard to get him into the Pre-K class with his favorite teacher from this year as the assistant. 😁

Yes… I’m that mom. I make no apologies for it. I want my kid to be comfortable with the people who know and understand him. He has a lot of energy, and we’ve worked hard on that this year, learning to not push and hit when frustration sets in. Mrs. M helped us with that and also “gets” boys, so he’ll have her again next year. Yay!

We’re not sure if we’ll hold Matthew back until he’s 6 to start kindergarten our not, so I’m looking at this as Pre-K round one coming up. We’ll see… A lot can happen in one year!


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A Week of Transition

Next week, summer will officially be over in this house.

I’m sort of sad about it.

We had a really great, busy summer – the type of summer I always envisioned with kids.  Weekend trips away, full weeks of summer camps, swimming lessons, trips to the parks and zoo, and a bunch of other random things thrown in there.  Bryson changed leaps and bounds and turned into a bona fide toddler – walking, more talking, stacking blocks, holding his own with his brother, and turning into quite the comedian.  Matthew turned into a big kid overnight – learning to be confident in the water, becoming an excellent talker (you’d never know there was ever a delay there!), mastering how to introduce himself to strangers and soliciting their names in return, and deciding that “I’ll do it myself!” is his preferred way to do EVERYTHING.  Hottie and I somehow found our way out of a rather concerning slump and ended the summer completely in love with one another once again.

So yeah – a little sad to see it end.

But with this seasonal change, our routine is changing too and that’s a great thing!  Matthew starts school again on Tuesday and will be going three half-days a week this year.  I’m going to be his “room mother” – something I’ve wanted to do since we started talking about school but knew it would be too much last year with a new Bryson in the mix.  Hottie’s role is changing a bit at work and he’s looking forward to the change, even if it means a loftier quota goal.  He’s always up for the biggest challenges, and never fails.  We’ll see how this year goes, but I have high hopes for him!  I’m full-on back into my own health and fitness and have a lot of goals of my own in that department, as well as goals to not make things all about me, me, me while sticking to my health goals.  I am a mother, first and foremost, after all!  If I can find time to go to the gym every day, I can find time and ways to keep my kids engaged and soaking up the good stuff that life has to offer!

So this past week has been about transition.

Hottie had to take a work trip to NYC to better engage one of his clients, all while taking part in this fiscal year’s planning meetings remotely.  The timing wasn’t great for him or his partner, but they made it work well enough.  Kicking off the fiscal year is always a time of stress and extra work for Hottie and all of his coworkers – but it’s also a time of intense energy and optimism!

Matthew had his sneak-a-peak at school on Wednesday and was very excited to meet his new teacher (and sad to finally realize that he’s not going to see Mrs. E and Mrs. Y every day – he loved his teachers last year!).  He did great meeting Mrs. S and Mrs. M and introduced himself to them like a pro!  His new classroom is twice as large as last year’s, and I’m excited for him to have more space to explore.  He’s already talking about going to Mrs. S’s “house” next week (everything is a house – the pork house, the chicken house, the yogurt house, Katie’s house (our hair stylist), etc.) and is super excited to play with his new friends!

Bryson is getting more comfortable with his mobility and is making me very aware that parenting him is going to be an entirely different experience than was parenting Matthew.  He is so adventurous and always trusts that he’ll land on his feet (I hope he always does, literally and figuratively).  He is so hilarious, even though he only has 10 words.  He’s going to keep me very entertained when Matthew is in school!  Bryson is still needing two naps a day, but sometimes he takes just one.  Poor kid – he’s always in the car!  This fall is going to be one of big-time effort kicking that one night-time feeding and probably weaning him.  I just don’t think he’ll sleep through the night until he’s weaned.  He likes to have a visit from mama (and her boobs).

I’ve spent the last week fine-tuning my fitness plan and finally have it worked out to not interfere with school and to maximize my one-on-one time with Bryson while Matthew’s in school.  We bought a punching bag for the garage and I started running this week, so I’ll do those things on strength days and then serious cardio 3-4 days a week at the Y.  I’ll still be going to the Y probably 6 days a week, but at times that work better for the boys.  I’ve also taken a step back from a friendship this week that was becoming a bit toxic.  I need to write a post all about that, just to get it out, but it’s worth a mention because I’ve been trying to find a way to step back for months but finally found a way yesterday – during transition week.

Like I mentioned earlier, Hottie and I have really found our ways back to one another.  We left the boys overnight for the first time ever last Saturday in preparation for our trip to Colorado without them in two weeks.  We plan to leave them again later in the fall for a weekend.  We’ve been going out on more dates and have been really making each other a priority – and it feels great!  We’re getting back into fitness together – the entire reason we met in the first place – and are working out together whenever we can.  When I finished my 10 week fitness program on Saturday, Hottie and I went out for our night without the boys and he had a card for me that was so nice and so thoughtful – that I cried.  He texted me last night after the frustrating exchange with my friend and told me that I’m a great mom and “AWESOME wife” – something I’m not sure he’s said much in the last couple of years (man, having young kids is hard on relationships, isn’t it?  How do we forget to care properly for one another?).  I know I’m riding on a high here, but it feels like a great transition that we desperately needed.

Change is good.  Change is necessary.  Change is the name of the game.  I’m just glad we took a week to really focus on the transition and embrace what the changes mean.  So often, things change without us noticing, but I knew back on 8/1 that this week would be one of reflection and transition – and it’s been good!

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Stressful Week… Productive Week

I’m solo-parenting this week. I’m half-done. I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams. It’s really not that bad, but it’s tiring.

Bryson sleeps like crap, and I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I think he is frustrated by not being able to stretch out in his rocker, but he refuses anything else. He’ll sleep 4-6 hours. Then is up every 2 hours. Midnight, 2:00, then 4:00 last night before I put him in bed with me. Then Matthew woke up and needed me (us) at 5:33. At 5:53, all three of us got up. Holy hell! It’s a good thing I napped yesterday!

It’s really just the nights that are killing me. And this morning. I’m just so tired. B can’t get home soon enough! He left Sunday morning at 10:00 and comes home Friday at 5:30. It’s essentially 6 days and 5 nights in a row on my own. It’s hard. I have so much respect for single parents, especially those with more than 1 little one.

I enjoyed alone time with Matthew when B would travel.  A week of him being gone never fazed me, because, well, one kid is easy.  Two kids… someone is always being ignored and that makes me sad. 😦  I just pile on the self-guilt when I can’t give either of them what they truly need and want from me.

I told B that Saturday is MY day. My only kid responsibility is to nurse Bryson.  I’m sure I’ll choose to hang out with them all most of the day, but I want to SLEEP and I want to go somewhere, anywhere, by MYSELF while they nap.

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The above was written this morning, when I was grumpy, tired, and… pissed off.

I’m much better now.

What changed?  I have no idea.  Maybe it’s the realization that despite the exhaustion and pissiness, I know that things aren’t that bad and that in all honesty, I get a lot of shit done when B is out-of-town.  I mean – I GET SHIT DONE!  Here’s what I’ve done that would normally go by the wayside when solo-parenting:

Sunday:

  • I tried out my new pouch maker!  I steamed up 5 apples and 4-5 sweet potatoes, pureed them, and pouched them up for Matthew to try (I got only 4 applesauce pouches and 4 sweet potato pouches out of that, saving most of the sweet potatoes for a later recipe and also freezing some in cubes for Bryson who starts solids after Christmas)
  • Met up with one of my best friends who moved away a few years ago, and learned that she may move back (YAY!)
  • Bought heaps of produce to make more pouches
  • Laundry
  • Everyone in bed by 8:45

Monday (Preschool Day):

  • Took Bryson to get his photos taken with Santa
  • Scheduled all 3 cats’ vet visits ($$$ ugh!)
  • Bought Christmas PJ’s for our trip to St. Louis after Thanksgiving
  • Ordered 12-18 month sweater one-piece outfits for Bryson (everything we have 12-18 months is for SUMMER)
  • Everyone in bed by 8:36

Tuesday:

  • Matthew’s dental exam first thing in the morning (went well!)
  • Lunch with my friend, K
  • Trimmed and steamed 1 large butternut squash, 12 apples (variety), 1 bag of blueberries, 2 bunches of fresh carrots, 2 large parsnips, and 4 bananas for pouches (with Bryson strapped to me on the front as he napped)
  • Blended 5 different types of pouches ending up with 34 pouches and 3 trays (36 cubes) in the freezer
  • Changed out all towels
  • Laundry
  • Everyone in bed by 8:30

Wednesday (Preschool Day):

  • Took one cat to the vet while Matthew was at school
  • Forced 2 pouches on Matthew who refused them until just before dinner
  • The cleaners came (yes, I have cleaners… but most everyone knows that)
  • Took both boys to see Santa (and Matthew rode the train)
  • Dinner at Chip.otle
  • Changed all sheets
  • Laundry (all done now)
  • EVERYONE IN BED BY 8:05!

Here’s what’s on-deck for the rest of the time while B is gone:

Thursday:

  • Gymnastics
  • Watch my friend’s daughter
  • Go to the grocery store for more produce
  • Steam up the produce I still have (peas, pears, broccoli)
  • Blend 2 types of pouches and freeze them

Friday:

  • Zoo activity at 10:30
  • Buy new sheets for Matthew (he’s picking them out!)
  • Lunch and naps before picking B up at the airport at 4:30!

I’ve come to realize that even though things get stressful, I like to stay busy when B is out-of-town because I get lonely.  You can only watch so much Bre.aking Bad before you want to just DO SOMETHING.  I’ve always been this way, which is why I have a ton of super crafty scrapbooks to showcase my travels as a single person.  When I’m alone, I don’t like to go to bed – I’m a night owl.  So if I’m going to be a night owl, I should use it to my advantage and get shit done.

I’ve also come to realize that I am really, REALLY good at putting my kids to bed.  I wasn’t sure how it would go with B out-of-town since he reads to Matthew while I nurse Bryson, but we figured it out and will actually modify bedtimes from now on because of what we’ve learned.  Matthew has RUN to his room every single night with B out-of-town because of one little change I had to make (let him watch 15 minutes of CG while I nurse Bryson).  He is excited to read his books now, rather than fighting us because it’s bedtime.  The break between bath and books is what he needs to not feel overwhelmed.  AND THESE KIDS ARE GOING TO BED EARLIER!  I always tend to roll bedtime back while B is out-of-town, but then it slides a little here, a little there once he’s home.  I’m not saying it’s all his fault.  But what I’m saying is that it’s all his fault.  😉  He just isn’t tough enough with Matthew, and I am.  Bedtime, from this day forward, is now 8:00.  Lights out at 8:00.  No toddler needs to be up past 8:00!

So yeah, I’ve been stressed, but I’ve also done a lot of good stuff.  I’ve loaded up our freezer with healthy snacks for Matthew (and some essentials for Bryson that he’ll need in just a month – WOW!), I’ve got all the laundry caught up (this is very important to me before B comes home), everyone is sleeping on clean sheets, we’re still getting out of the house at least once (if not twice) a day, I’ve gotten everyone (including the cat) to all activities on time, and bedtime has been moved back to a reasonable time.  Good things happen under pressure, I think!

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Whew!  It feels good to get all of that off my chest!  Now, it’s time for some Breakin.g Ba.d!

I’ll leave you with photos of my boys with Santa!  It went really well – my plan worked and although Matthew did not smile, he did go sit with Santa willingly and gave us some cute things to capture!

Awe... this is IT!

 

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