Thursday, October 30, 2014

This and That

Riley and I have recently been having some interesting conversations right before bedtime, She is so full of curiosity and questions these days that I sometimes have a hard time knowing how to answer.

The other night while getting Riley ready for bedtime she asked me "how are cats alive?"

Me: Um, you mean how are they born?

R: Yeah.

Me: Well, it's like with humans... where they have a mom and a dad who make them.

R: But how are they alive?

She kept asking, not quite satisfied with my answers. I finally had to get into some details.

Me: Well, see moms and dads come together and contribute these tiny little cells and those cells, from both mom and dad, help create a baby. So you started out super small, then grew to a size of a bean, then a banana (I got big eyes from her on this one), and then a watermelon. Then I gave birth to you and you were about 8 pounds which is smaller than Lucy (our cat). Only mommies can grow a baby inside them - dad's can't do that. So that's what happens with cats too.

Riley: Why can't daddies grow babies?

Me: They just can't. Their bodies aren't made to have babies inside them.

Riley: What does 'birth' mean?

Me: (omg, how do I explain this?). Welllll, a baby grows inside the mommy and when big enough has to come out. That usually means the baby comes out the vagina.

Riley: (Cringing), but, but... I don't want to do that because it sounds like it hurts.

Me: (Haha, yes it does my child) I took some medicine to help it not hurt so much.

We talked a little more about how people and cats are made and she seemed satisfied, but then had one more question.

R: How do cats get milk?

M: You mean from their mom?

R: Yeah

M: The mommy's body makes the milk special for her kittens. The kittens drink it from the mommy cat's nipples - just like you did when you were a baby (we've talked about breast feeding before).

So then we had to find Lucy's nipples which was extremely difficult to do on a hefty cat. I finally found one before Riley was on to talking about human nipples and showing me her own.

I wasn't expecting this conversation yet.. or at this level of detail. My answers seemed to satisfy her curiosity, but I was exhausted by the end of it. Apparently, I need to brush up on my sex ed information before I was planning to.

Then the other night we were reading a new book we picked up at Goodwill. It was a Magic School Bus book about the body and I could barely get through it. I think it took me at least a half hour to read the book because she wanted to know every little detail about how the body works. Often the answer was on the next page, but her questions were shooting out so fast we had a hard time getting to the 'next page'. "Where are my lungs?", "How does my heart pump?, "Can I see my blood?". I tried to answer each question the best I could, but I finally had to ask her to hold on to the questions for a moment so we could finish the book. At the end of the book she said "Ok, I have two questions for you now." so I'm guessing those last few pages answered some of her other questions.

The next morning she continued to ask me questions. "Is this blue line on my arm where my blood is?"... and so on. I've promised her that we would go on the computer and find more stuff on the human body. This is something she talked about at preschool last year, and was curious about then, but has waaaaay more questions now. Still a lot I could not answer, but slightly less awkward than our "how are cat's alive" conversation.

Besides our riveting nighttime conversations we spent a day taking into some more fall activities. Saturday we went to a local event called the Pumpkin Festival. We went a couple years ago and found it worth going to again. It's nothing big, but there is entertainment and kids can go trick or treating at the stores there. This year Riley is going to be Anna (from Frozen, of course - in case you've been living under a rock or something). This sort of surprised me as I thought she might pick Elsa because of her blue flowy dress (and the ice powers and all), but I guess I can see Riley feeling more of a connection with Anna. Anyhoo, we dressed her up and headed over to The Shops at West End where the event was held.

It was a beautiful fall day. The event wasn't that busy at first, but things picked up as we walked the few blocks it covered. Riley's favorite thing was trick or treating at the stores, followed by the mini bounce house. She seemed utterly petrified of the small spinning wheel that you spun for prizes. Later, we went to Home Depot where they are selling this life size, creepy, automated witch. Riley absolutely loved it. Sometimes I just don't get this kid  - usually she'd be freaked out by the witch and want to spin that wheel over and over.

Cool marimba ensemble from Breck school. They were really good and were selling CD's. When we first arrived in this area they weren't performing. I thought these were just interactive and anyone could play on. So Riley and I did. I'm guessing we received some looks, but we didn't notice. Oops.

The Twin Cities Road Crew was also pretty entertaining. They basically just danced and got kids to dance. There was probably more to it than that but we were on our way out.

But first a stop to decorate a bag. Riley wanted nothing to do with this on our way in, but insisted on it on the way out.

Nothing too exciting, but really just our speed. Just the right sized crowd and an excuse for Riley to wear her costume (like she needs one). Love our neighborhood and what it has to provide.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day in the Life - Fall 2014

It's time for another Day in the Life post as hosted by Navigating the Mothership.

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
Riley is 4 years 9 months
I'm 42 and Jesse is 39 

Nightly stash on my nightstand

I went to bed just after 10:30 the night before and as soon as I laid down I felt pain in my neck and back. I worried that I would have a hard time getting to sleep, but I don't remember much after that. Overall, it was a good nights sleep for me.

2:06 - Wake up and head to the bathroom. It's actually a good thing I wake a couple times a night because I often fall asleep and don't move until I wake up. My one side hurts so I know to flip over and sleep on the other side. I fall back to sleep right away.

4:43 - Up again, bathroom. Probably do another body flip and fall back to sleep right away.

5:52 - I wake up from a dream that I can no longer remember and my mouth is super dry. Drink some water and fall back to sleep. I then dream about being in a large building where an airborne poison has been released. I come across a guy who has made a makeshift mask to save himself, and it's then that I realize there is no hope for me. I keep following him in an attempt to leave the building and next thing I know I am being chased by the guys who released the poison and they are trying to keep me from leaving. I keep running, but instead of the guy with the mask I am now running with Lorelei and Rory from the Gilmore Girls. We escape outside; the bad guys are hot on our tails...

6:34 - And then I wake from my dream because Riley is yelling for one of us. She never gets up on her own - she'll just stay and bed and yell for "daddy" or "mommy". I always wonder why one day she yells for me and other days for her dad. Also, I later find out that Jesse had a dream that a tornado was coming and I was hiding out in a train car. Such doom in our dreams this night.

I go into Riley's room and try to get her to snuggle. She always wants to go right down stairs. On mornings that Jesse goes in to her room he obliges - probably because he is trying to be considerate of me still sleeping in bed, but I want to get in a little more sleep time. Extra sleep never happens, but Riley is now starting to humor me and will let me rub her back for a few minutes before asking to go downstairs.

6:44 - We head downstairs and Riley gets right into drawing. She makes me a card and tells me that I have to keep it in my office in the basement and that whenever I want to see it I have to go to my office. Well, ok then.

While she's drawing the card I start cleaning up the kitchen, do laundry and straighten up here and there. We head to the basement to put the card in my office and she asks if she can do some art down there as part of my desk is actually set up for this. She draws a picture, but asks if she can do paint so I pull that out. A few pictures later and she's on the ground, this time asking to make a book. I staple together some paper and she starts to draw on the front page. After a couple pages she looks up and sees other art stuff on a shelf and starts to ask to play with it when I notice a package of foam fairy stickers that I bought, but never gave her. She spends much of the day with these stickers putting them in her homemade book, on other pieces of paper, a Kleenex box and even a tissue.

8:00 - Jesse finally gets up at about this time. This is really late for him (or any of us) to sleep in. He visits us in the basement and then goes to make himself breakfast. I've also been doing more laundry, more dishes (where do the dishes keep coming from), changing the broken door stop, and cleaning out the basement cat litter during this time. I prep the ingredients for another batch of apple crisp to use up the last of the apple orchard apples from a couple weeks ago.

8:30 - Riley eats some cereal and I follow with some scrambled eggs and toast with soynut butter on it. Riley has been exceptionally content with her artwork this morning. I love mornings like this. It's almost like she's showing off for this day in the life post. We let her watch a little TV with her breakfast, but she actually turns it off after a little bit. 

I take advantage of her self play and sit down at my computer. I thought Lightroom was saving a copy of my photos on my backup drive and I realize that hasn't been happening. The night before I went through a bunch of my files and deleted pictures I no longer wanted since I am running out of room on my main drive. This morning I go through and find what isn't on the back up drive and make sure there are now copies there. Apparently, I still need to find a good process for this.

9:10 - I put together the apple crisp and get it in the oven. I follow it with cleaning up the kitchen again and finally, FINALLY, there are no dishes, clean or dirty, on the counter or in the sink. 

OK, there is a water bottle there, but that's pretty much always there. It doesn't count.

9:55 - Apple crisp is almost done so I go upstairs and clean up Riley's room and make my bed. I grab her some clothes and change into my gym clothes. I greatly dislike going to the gym this late, but Jesse is ready to go and that's enough motivation for me today.

Off to the gym and hauling out the garbage

Jesse getting Riley in the back seat.

11:25 - The gym is busy, but the childcare center is insane. So glad we usually go earlier. After a leg workout I get a banana granola protein shake and we head on home. I sit in the back seat with Riley per her request.

At home, Riley wants to hide 'presents' for the puppet show party she was working on earlier this morning. She tells me the party is for me and I will have to find the presents she hides. I jump in the shower so she can hide the presents (some of her toys and markers).

Side tangent: I've been using Q-tips in my ears for at least 15 years. I know they aren't recommended, but I thought that was because you could damage your ear drum or something. I recently read a article on how you are packing away wax further into your ear and then heard a friend's personal account of this. I finally decided to give Q-tips the ol' heave ho. It's probably been a few weeks at this point and I am doing ok, but my ears are itchier at times, and I definitely have wax building up in the outer ear (TMI?). I don't love it though... I miss how my ears feel clean and not water logged after a shower. Anyone, make this transition and have coping tools? Wax still builds up so do you syringe them from time to time? I know they are supposed to naturally clean themselves, but the reason I started using Q-tips was because of wax buildup that a doctor had to remove. Sorry if this topic is gross to people, but the shower talk reminded me of this major change in my life. :)

OK, back to this day...After my shower, Jesse takes his own shower and Riley asks for some food. I make her a sandwich, cheese stick and carrots.  Afterwards, she says she's still hungry so Jesse gives her a tortilla and a veggie pack. She and the cats are super hungry lately. Wondering if it's just the change of season or if Riley's in a growth spurt. I eat a wild rice turkey burger with mushrooms and a side of green beans.

Finally, after lunch it is puppet show party time. I'm told we need music so I put on the DeeLite station on Pandora and we all do a little rocking out as I walk around the living room finding my presents. 

1:10 - As much as I want to keep the party going, I convince Riley to go outside for a little bit before rest/nap time. We've been planning to mow the lawn and mulch the leaves, but I decide to rake a couple piles up for Riley to play in. While we are outside playing in the leaves, Jesse is inside cleaning the house, but we convince him to come out to play for a little bit.

My new favorite picture of Jesse

Telling secrets

1:52 - Back in the house, Riley heads upstairs with her dad to read a book and then rest. She still randomly takes a nap and today is one of those days. I work on writing down some of the morning as it's felt like such a whirlwind.

2:30 - I get up and clean the cat box upstairs (we have two) and start to move some stuff from our living and dining room into the guest room. We are getting a bunch of new windows on Monday so we need to clear the spaces near these windows. We'll wait until Sunday do the curtains, but I want to move as much of the little stuff as I can now.



It feels so empty and so wonderful just to have all the toys out of our living room that we ponder how we can make that a daily reality, knowing it won't actually happen.

3:46 - Jesse goes to wake Riley. If she sleeps too late she will be up late tonight. We usually let her sleep until 4:00, but she was up late the night before so we want to make sure she gets to sleep at a decent time tonight. When she and Jesse come down they share that we are taking the wagon to the park. We load up some water and snacks and head out to what we call the orange park. We walk and play for some time and even play hide and seek at the park.

1, 2, 3, 4...

In my hiding spot

As we are headed back home I realize that my camera is not in my pocket. For some reason, even though I brought my DSLR, I had my point and shoot in my pocket. I second guess that I brought it because it makes no sense that I would, but I distinctly remember it being in that pocket at some point during the day. I think about turning back to find it (and I have a good idea where it would be), but I convince myself that I never brought it. Plus, I've walked so much this day I don't want to walk out of my way for it to not be there. Every step I take closer to home makes me feel that much sicker that my camera has been picked up by someone and forever lost to me.

I get home and my camera is no where to be found. I want to puke and realize I need to get back to the part right away. Jesse mentioned wanting peppercorn pork for dinner so I offer to stop by Target after the park to pick it up.

4:55 - Camera found! It was right where I thought it was. I had been on the ground taking pictures of leaves so it made the most sense that it would be there.

My red camera blended right in with these leaves.

Next, I go to Target and shopping goes fast. Feeling really good at this point because I am making good time, until I get in line with a super slow cashier. I know enough of the cashiers at this Target to usually know who to go to and who to avoid, but I wasn't aware of this one and I paid for it by waiting a long time. I also want to pick up some wine since the bottle I have at home is horrible. It's not often that I want to dump a bottle of wine, but I do with this one. I have a favorite liquor store (they just have a really good selection of wine), but decide to stop at the place down the way from Target to save time and glad that I did. Great prices and great service. Oh, and not that I drink all that much at home, but after the camera loss scare I decide to just get a box of wine. It just seems appropriate.

5:34 - I get home and start dinner. Jesse starts the grill and I make a pasta dinner staple in our house. He ends up making a salad and adds the pork to it and I stick to the pasta. So good. After dinner, Riley resumes her art and I fold some laundry.

7:15 - Usually we head upstairs by 7, but Riley was busy finishing her art project so we get a late start up. Love that she was so into creating things today. We both change into our PJs while Riley sings. She's been singing and talking nonstop all evening. I ask her to be quiet for a couple minutes and she stops for about 15 seconds before she starts up again. It is the most glorious 15 seconds of the evening.

Then Riley brushes her teeth, and goes to the bathroom. A new thing we do is pick out a book, hide it, and then let Riley find it so I do that with one book. She finds the book and reads it to me. We take a bunch of pictures... mostly at her request. In fact, she had me take a picture of each page of the book. That girl. I pick out a couple more books and hide them so she can find those and read them after I go downstairs. We cuddle and play "what's your favorite..." after a few of these questions back and forth we take a few more pictures before I head back down.

"Mom, take my picture here"

After I tell her she can't sit in the play highchair she asks me to take a picture of her being frustrated.

One of the pages she insist I document

Girl did a lot of coughing today. Hope it doesn't get much worse.

"Take a picture of me with Lucy"

"Take a picture of me brushing my teeth, mom"

We take a bunch of self portraits and this is the most flattering one of me. Riley was absolutely adorable in all of them. Note to self, don't pucker your lips like this - you officially have old lady creasy lips.

7:50 - Usually, I leave Riley around 7:30, but again we are running behind a bit tonight (with the photo shoot and all going on in Riley's bed room). I go downstairs and pour a glass of wine, turn on Hell on Wheels and write up more of this post.

I was invited to two different events this evening, but obviously didn't attend either. One was a 'try wine before you buy' event. That seems like a no brainer to go to. The other was a Halloween party. I'm not really into costume parties, but the theme of this one was the 'People of Walmart'. That means it pretty much gave me permission to show up in my pajamas. And not even my good ones. Why would I not go to this? In the end I was just beat and feeling like I didn't want to interact with the public. Happens a lot for me. Actually, I went out twice earlier this week so it was a somewhat busy social week for me in case your worried that I am a total hermit.

8:58 - I realize it's been a long time since I've heard Riley upstairs so I am glad she fell asleep at a reasonable hour. I decide it's time for me to have a portion of apple crisp and then load the pictures I took today.

I ate about half this apple crisp - not sure why I thought I would eat this much.

10:20 - Time for bed. I check my fitbit and see that I walked 16,606 steps today. No wonder I am completely beat. I sleep hard and only wake up once before Riley wakes me around 6:30 in the morning.

A cute story to add about the next morning... I had a migraine come on so I took some medicine, but the medicine can have uncomfortable side effects (like I can feel it pumping through my blood for hours). After Jesse got up I decided to go lay down. Riley had been singing all morning so I told her I was going to go lay down upstairs and she would have to be very quiet. She asked if she could get me some blankets, play me some music and sing me a lullaby - all stuff she's done before when I didn't feel well, but those times were not when I had a headache. It was so sweet, but I couldn't fathom the idea of anymore noise being made. I tried to explain that it wasn't needed, but she said "I just want to take care of you". I'm pretty sure my heart exploded at that moment. She's such a caring kid. I went upstairs expecting she'd come up as she said she would, but I'm pretty sure Jesse convinced her otherwise so I could get some rest. Love that girl.