October 19, 2012


I am now thirty-three! My birthday was on Monday, the 15th. And now I'm another year older. Still not experiencing any age anxiety. So far, I think the 30s are the best age. You are more settled into yourself. For me, I finally feel more my age. I was always too old for my younger self. As a teenager and twenty-something I was constantly frustrated by people my own age, including myself sometimes. As a teenager I would actually think, "I can't wait to grow up and be done thinking and feeling this way!"

Now that I'm in my thirties, I think I'm more what I want to be. I have responsibilities and beliefs and ideas that are well suited to my age and life station. It's nice!

For this birthday, I got to do some great things. I was in a very good mood this year, which doesn't always happen around birthdays. Even though I don't mind getting older, I don't usually like my birthday very much.

Jim arranged a surprise date for us on Sunday. He didn't tell me what we were doing but he arranged for my brother-in-law to baby-sit and I knew we had to leave to go downtown at 1pm. We stayed home from church so the morning wouldn't be rushed and spent some time as a family. It was not too cold and a little rainy, so we went for a walk in the neighborhood to enjoy the autumnal beauty.

S was in a two-year-old mood, so that part wasn't fun. But the other three of us had a great time taking pictures, collecting leaves and acorns and just walking in a rainy fall wonderland.

Years ago I started a tradition of collecting leaves and other natural things in autumn and putting them in a vase to make a pretty centerpiece. K helped me find leaves, a cool seed pod and some acorn tops the day before and then we got a few more during our walk.

After getting S for a nap, we had a little church service for K, Jim and I. Then we got all dressed up to leave. This is not the best picture, but oh, well.

On the way, James told me we were going to Navy Pier and had me guess what we were doing there. He had bought tickets to a play at the Shakespeare Theater! I've always wanted to go there but hadn't gotten around to it yet. They actually had no Shakespearean plays (?) running this season, so we saw one called The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by a Scottish acting troupe. And it was definitely strange!

The seating was tables and chairs like a restaurant, the actors move all around the room and the whole thing was very interactive. To begin, a few of the actors played and sang some Scottish ballads. Then the other actors came around to tell us all to rip up napkins on our table to throw when given the cue so it would make snow for the setting of the play during a blizzard. Everything was really creative like that: the main actress "drove" to a conference on the shoulders of another actor while more ripped up napkins were thrown at her "windshield". The actors spoke in the round, trading off rhyming lines all around the room. They sat, stood, and laid on tables; I got faux strangled with my scarf in one scene; an old lady pretended to karate chop the actor challenging her during another scene; a guy had one of the actresses sit on his lap for a bit; and one poor guy got a lap dance/dry hump from one actress and two actors!

As a whole, it was a bit more risqué and embarrassment inducing for me than I prefer, but I enjoyed being out and experiencing something new so much that I just suspended the "normal" for a while. It was so well acted, funny and creative. Plus I love Scottish accents, so it was great.

The theater is beautiful, with lots of windows in the hallways and stuff so you can see out over the Pier and the lake.

After the play, we had amazing soup at a restaurant called Riva. Lobster Bisque for me and Clam Chowder for Jim. Since that restaurant was more expensive that we wanted, we decided to spread our culinary experiences out. After the soups (and bread they give you for free), we went to a Greek place in the food court for gyros, then to the Hagen Daas counter for dessert. It was great to spend the day together and have some different experiences.

The next day, my actual birthday, I went to work for the morning then picked up James and met my parents at a local asian restaurant, Chi Tung, for lunch. They recently added a Hibachi grill and the lunch prices are half the cost of dinner, so we did that. Another new thing for us since we had never done Hibachi. The chef does all kinds of tricks with the food and his tools while cooking your meal. 

See the onion volcano smoking in front of him? The food tasted great and we had a fun time. Since it was my birthday, I also got free ice cream with a candle and a coupon to come eat for free next year.

To cap off another gorgeous fall day, the boys, James and I went outside when we got home to play in the leaves. I raked up all the leaves I could find in our yard (not a lot because our landlord has a lawn service that mows everything up once a week) and we jumped in them for a bit. S was hesitant at first because I don't think he remembered it from last year. But then he got used to it and we all had a blast. 

With 33 starting out like this, I think it's going to be a great year!

October 9, 2012

It's all too much

Sometimes parenting young children just seems impossible. And I don't feel like I've been doing very well lately. Just overwhelmed by everything.

My house shows the signs-it's pretty dirty.

Our meals have shown the signs-I haven't cooked much and we've had some less than fulfilling meals lately. I've realized that most mornings I don't even fully feed S. He grabs cheese sticks from the fridge, takes a few bites of cereal or whatever I'm eating, and maybe some fruit. Part of that is his fault, though. He won't eat while sitting down in the morning for the past few months, and I never know which foods will interest him each day. I just don't have the energy/desire to get him breakfasts that he won't eat.

I went back to work in the middle of August, and that's been great, but it also takes up a lot more of my time than I think it will. It also cuts us down to only one day a week when James and I are both off of work at the same time. And that day is Sunday so we have church and often family or other obligations.

We've all passed around a crazy cold that I've had for three weeks that keeps knocking me down at random times. That's the joy of the changing weather. I'm still SOOO thankful for a healthy family that just gets a few colds, flus and other normal things each year.

Annnnnd S is very much a two-and-a-half-year-old. I almost forgot how annoying/frustrating/challenging this age can be. I remembered the cute parts, and still enjoy those. He's learning new words all the time, learning to show affection more, showing more personality, learning letters and numbers and colors and all that stuff, etc. He makes the cutest faces-propped up with his chin in his hand to watch TV, laughing while playing with his brother. Purposeful hugs and kisses are so sweet after those early years before they know how to really show they love you.

But then there are the tantrums. And S is good at those. He cries, throws himself on the ground, throws things, hits, makes himself throw up sometimes. It's just so exhausting to go through those. Sometimes I'm not sure I have the wherewithal to fight his natural kid tendencies to misbehave for the next year or two. Two and three are such crazy ages. I'm sure I'll rally eventually, but it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

I have a couple of friends who have or are about to have their third kids. The idea of being pregnant and having another kid is completely terrifying to me. I wasn't sure if I would change my mind about having more children, but I don't think so. James is with me. No more babies! We're ready to have older kids who can do things themselves and with us, instead of what we have now: either following them around while they do what they want, or dragging them around while they act crazy while we do what we need to do.

K is definitely more into the easy, doing stuff with us phase. And I LOVE it! However, I don't want to just endure these times with young children, because I know everyone says they go so fast, and I'll miss it when it's gone, and it's such a special time, etc. But it is so overwhelming. And I think I will be glad when it has passed. In the mean time, I'm trying to do more than just stay afloat!