Sunday, January 29, 2017

There were never such devoted sisters....

Lucie: "Nora, I think you ate a really good dinner."

Nora: "No, YOU ate a really good dinner... you had almost more than ME!" (She didn't. This is an absolute lie.)

Lucie: "But I think YOU ate a really good dinner, because, I LOVE you!"


It's okay, I'm allowed to have that reaction, even as their mom. I promise. In fact, BECAUSE I'm their mom, I get to make that call, and I say, yes, in this case, a "BARF" response is sometimes what's called for.

But, this. This is sister love. Right here. Innocent, unconditional, and, well, always when I least expect it.

These girls are so in love with each other. Like, so much, that it sometimes makes us nearly cringe and gag as their parents. And yet, somehow - in between all this lovey-language and hugging and baby talk to each other - they are screaming and hitting and snatching toys from each other and mortal enemies. Day and night, Jekyl and Hyde, whatever you want to call it.... these little Two-Faces can switch it on and off like nobody's business.

It's a sister thing. 

I remember this too, with my sister, but as an adult, feel like the petty arguing and fighting over toys or clothes or which game to play or who-hit-who-first make up a very small percentage of the childhood memories I have of the two of us. I do remember, very clearly, lots of make-believe... using our young brains and active imaginations to create our own little worlds - playing "apartments" in our bedrooms upstairs, or "store" - or building houses out of couch cushions or lawn chairs and beach towels - or just running laps around the coffee table listening to Elvis's Blue Hawaii or the Cabbage Patch Kids record. I see echoes of these scenes when I'm called into Nora's room to see an after-breakfast "performance" of Moana (involving a lot of jumping off the bed "into the ocean" and improv songs that are definitely not found on the soundtrack), or see cart-loads of stuff wheeled into the living room for a picnic in the "woods" complete with winter hats and gloves and scarves and various wild stuffed animals. That is, until, Lucie explodes because Nora sang over her part of the finale song, or jumped too soon, or brought TWO picnic blankets out when OBVIOUSLY there's only supposed to be ONE blanket for the picnic, even if this picnic is apparently taking place in the arctic.

I think, as sisters, we made it through adolescence pretty well - not too many actual physical fights (I will not forget the times that I playfully slapped her on the side of the face and ran away - on more than one occasion - just knowing how furious it made her). And, most of our arguments (that I can remember anyway) only centered around me complaining that I wasn't invited or welcomed to hang out with my older sister and friends at the point in your lives when a four-year age difference is most dramatic. I'm left now with what seems like half a lifetime of really great memories with an awesome, (only slightly) older version of myself in many ways, who I consider my very best girlfriend that knows me, understands me, and loves me, more than anyone else.

I watch my girls play and hug and fight and wrestle and cry and then hug again, and wish and hope with all my heart that when they're old enough to realize it, they'll be so lucky to see what they really have in each other.

.....Okay, now it's your turn - don't worry, I'll allow it. I deserve it: 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Dinner Party

It's been a long short week.

Work has been busy, busy enough to be stressful - trying to find enough minutes in the day to actually get everything done while still remembering to go to the bathroom and eat and keep a bit of my sanity. These days and weeks come every so often and without warning.... when everything seems to hit all at once and create a crazy whirlwind of a thousand things coming in from every direction that can instantly paralyze me like a giant jellyfish if I'm not careful. Sometimes it's on a Friday, when I least expect it, and am ready for a peaceful end to the week to ease into the weekend. Like today.

At the end of one of these days and weeks, I want nothing more than to come home and just completely zone out - which is impossible when there are two little hungry monsters waiting for me and the first question I get walking in the door is "WHAT'S FOR DINNER, MOMMMMM???"

And the day continues.

I enjoy cooking. I don't claim to be great at it, or even good at it. I'm mediocre, really. I am capable of cooking food. Fact. But most of the time, I really do enjoy it and can occasionally come up with something that actually turns out to be delicious. This is dependent on a number of variables. One of the most crucial being the percentage of my attention I'm able to devote to the task at hand - which, when the afore-mentioned hungry monsters are present and circling - decreases significantly. Kids in the kitchen used to really stress me out. Don't get me wrong, I adore my children - even being the monsters they are - but when you're responsible for making a full meal of food for four human beings, involving heat and fire and sharp knives, and trying to accomplish all of this in a timely manner so such a meal can be eaten sometime prior to bedtime (which is already way too late for these kids, but that's another story), their presence can really make cooking dinner feel an awful lot like an absolutely terrible reality show that's some combination of Hell's Kitchen and American Ninja Warrior.

But, it's hard to turn down an offer from a six-year-old to PLEASE help you make the salad (when your lazy butt wasn't even planning to make a salad in the first place, but thanks for the nutritional reminder and subsequent guilt trip, Daughter) when she's already trying to be super helpful and pulling all of the ingredients out of the refrigerator. So, I give in and agree to let her help, and by some Disney kind of magic, it turns into a cooking party with me making pasta and Nora making salad and Lucie running laps around us singing indecipherable songs, and before I know it, dinner's ready.

And I remember that sometimes the best way to let go of a stressful day is to just give in and let your kids melt it away. It turns out they're actually pretty good at that.

Oh.... and a glass of bourbon is also helpful. Or so I'm told.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blog Black Holes

Heeeeyyyyyyyyy there, strangers!

Look at me, I'm back! 

It's been a while. Quite a while. There's apparently this blog-internet-black hole thing that I just, one day, fell into, about.... HOLY HELL, FIVE YEARS AGO?!? (Side note - did you know you can just go find your long-neglected blog on blogspot five years later and it's still just sitting there, still active, waiting for you, like a sad abandoned puppy? You can!!)

Well. In that case: there's a quick recap needed here before we get back into the real, hard-hitting funny-because-they're-truths of everyday life. Not to make it all about me, but..... well, let's be honest: this is my blog and it's pretty much always been all about me, and you must care at least a teeny tiny bit, or you wouldn't be here. Or, maybe you're visiting for the first time and have no idea what you've stepped into. (Hint: it smells. You should probably go wash your shoes off and come back in a bit if you're brave enough and don't already hate this.)

Ready? Here's what's been going on in my universe over the last, give or take, 1,825 days, in a nutshell:

Had a baby. 
She's now no longer a baby. She's now a three-year-old monster, who can be obnoxiously adorable at least some of the time. 
Meet Lucie.

Found a big kid.
My first baby somehow transformed into a now six-and-a-half-year-old in first grade who knows every word to every Taylor Swift song ever recorded and who I sometimes fear is better at math than I am.
Meet Nora. (She's like baby Nora, only a bigger, smarter, more expensive model. Kids are a lot like iPhones.)

Went to Disneyland... three times. 
(That helps answer my question about where all our "savings" have gone over the last five years.)

Lost a good chunk of family.
Said goodbye with very heavy hearts to my father-in-law, mother-in-law, and grandmother, among other family and friends along the way. The last couple years have taken some of the very best from us and I know that there's now gotta be a rager of a party going on beyond those pearly gates.

Started a new job.
It's now been nearly two years since I bid farewell to my federal job and took up SBA lending for a bank. The absolute last industry I ever thought I'd find myself in, and loving it more every day.

Lost our dog. 
Unexpectedly and very quickly.... his a-hole-ness finally caught up with him, and though he was an a-hole for most of his doggy life, he was our fluffy little a-hole and we miss him everyday. 
Long live the mighty Dundster-Meister.

Gained a cat. 
A trip to the store for a fishtank lightbulb somehow resulted in cat ownership. I'm told this happens. Apparently only in our house. 
Meet Lily Lightbulb.

Gained an almost-sister-in-law.
My brother finally proposed to his girlfriend of many years and later this year, there will be a new Kim Carruthers in this world... she'll be almost as good as the original (except probably way Nora, she's also better at math than I).

And am now the wife of a prolific baseball podcaster. 
He claims I'm only re-starting this blog because I'm jealous of his stardom. Yes, dear. That's exactly it. I, personally, am offended I've never been invited on as a guest. I'm the second most knowledgeable person about baseball in this house. (do cats count? nevermind.) So, if you like baseball and especially enjoy podcasts where there is muffled yelling from children (or me yelling at children) in the background, then you should most definitely check this out:  
(YOU'RE WELCOME FOR THE 8 BILLION NEW SUBSCRIBERS...... now can I please come on as a guest???)

Gained a VitaMix.
I saved this for last because it's clearly the most important and exciting and life-changing. I've wanted this since I was 12.

So now we're all caught up. I promise it won't be another five freaking years before you hear from me again. I just talked with my State Farm agent (thanks, Keng!) and got internet-blog-black hole insurance. So we're good.