Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I love my girls!

Delaney likes to help keep her sister entertained..

.. and she gives her lots of love in the form of full-body hugs. Annie doesn't mind. She's a love sponge.

Delaney poses with her pretty pigtails that she calls "bunny ears."

So kissable!

Delaney is amused by my fish lips.

The kangaroo hold works much better when the baby's awake, but doesn't she look so comfy anyway?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our first family 5k

We had a great time, and the girls did well, even though we kept them out way later than usual. The race started at 7:15. As we drove home home, Delaney said a couple times, "Mama, dark. Mama, dark." We laughed, realizing that Delaney doesn't even know what nighttime looks like!

We started all the way in the back of the group, because that's where all the other strollers were, and we figured we'd be one of the slowest ones in the herd. That turned out not to be the case at all, and it was a challenge for Tim to maneuver our extra-wide stroller around all the slower people, for about the first half-mile. There is no sneaking around anybody with that thing. The crowd began to spread out as time went on, but not much. I thought Tim was going to have to start running people down. I was pretty impressed at the pace he was able to keep while pushing that stroller. I offered to take over for at least half the course, but he wouldn't hear of it. Eventually he told me why: when we run a 10k in October, he wants it to be my turn. Isn't he a sweetheart?

Our finish time was 28:27, and we were both really pleased by that, especially considering all the time we were just barely jogging. I was hoping for 35-40 minutes. Alone, we can run three miles in a good time, but with the stroller, we didn't know what to expect. Amazingly, Tim credited the stroller with keeping us at a good pace. He said it was pulling him along for most of the way, even giving him the momentum to power up a good little hill.

After we finished, we hung out for a little while at Barnett Field, where everyone was spread out on the grass, listening to a band. Delaney couldn't wait to do some running of her own, and visiting with all the dogs. Very soon after, we were all worn out, sweaty and ready to go home.

Now, in a blink of an eye, this weekend is done, and it's another busy week for Tim at EWS.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What's for dinner?

Tim and I had a spirited discussion this morning about meal planning. I guess we're beginning to feel the pain of planning meals for six days a week. While he was out running errands with Delaney earlier, he had texted me, saying, "Start working on the meal plan for this week." I said, "OK," and I sat down with a scrap of paper. 'Hmm.. Monday will be chicken.. what kind?.. Chicken caesar salad. Can't serve that by itself, so we'll have bread with it.' Yummy, and good for our waistlines, as long as we don't go too heavy on the caesar dressing. Tuesday has to be a fish, so I wrote down salmon with rice and veggies. Wednesday has to be a pasta, and we still have plenty of chicken, so I wrote down penne with chicken and a salad. 'What to do Thursday.. I'll come back to that.' Friday is always pizza. Then I realized I'd forgotten Sunday, and I had to leave that blank as well. But I was satisfied that I was most of the way done with the menu.

Tim took a look at the menu and said it was no good. He said that this menu looked a lot like last week's menu, which looked a lot like the week before it. I said, "Don't you think a lot of the meals are going to look a lot alike after 6 days a week, all year long, for 20, 30, 40 years? This isn't the Food Network, there's going to be a lot of repetition."

Tim said, "You didn't rack your brain to come up with any of this stuff." I told him that I was not going to be racking my brain every week for the rest of my life, that takes way more mental energy than I have, and the priority for expending mental energy goes to the girls, first and foremost; then, trying to keep the house in some semblance of order, and keeping us in clean clothes. Eating is what you need to do to live. It doesn't require creativity.

I told him that growing up, a lot of the meals we had were similar, but so what? Protein, starch, veggy. That's what your bodies need. Tim said, "I bet you guys complained to your mom too. 'Chicken again?'" I said, "You're right, we did, and my mom persevered making healthy substantial meals for us ungrateful jerks, giving us the nutrients we needed for our growing bodies!" [I think anybody's dinner menu is going to include at least two or three nights of chicken, seeing as it's a healthy and inexpensive source of protein, right?]

Tim maintained that creativity needed to be exercised when coming up with a menu for the week in our household. I said, "I hereby name you head of creativity." "I veto that," said Tim. "Well, I veto your veto!"

In the end, we decided that we would fill the empty Folgers can with 31 different and distinct meals, and every week, we would randomly pick six. Tim came up with the number 31, so that not a single meal would be repeated all month long.

And that Folgers can is still sitting on the counter empty.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life with just me and the girls

For the first two months of Annalise's life, I had Tim home with us, and that was certainly a luxury. The timing of her birth with the end of his tour as Boston OSO was impeccable. I knew I had it easy, and he reminded me often that he was going back to work and eventually I'd have to get by without him. I reminded myself of that too, anytime I took off to get my nails done, or went to a store by myself.

I'm finding the adjustment to having Tim gone all day again to be going a lot more smoothly than I'd anticipated. The girls and I have settled into a pretty good routine. In the morning, after the usual puttering around, eating breakfast, and me having my coffee, we usually go out and do something. It might be the commissary, or the playground, or the story hour that is held a couple times a week at the library. We come back, have lunch around 11 or 11:30, play, and then naps around 12:30 or 1. And yes, Annie, bless her little heart, takes a nice long nap in the afternoon too. That's when I try to get this house into some kind of order. Sometimes Tim's back from school before they wake up.

I'm learning how to take them places without stressing out. I have a lot of anxiety, especially when I'm in parking lots, as I've talked about before. If there's ever a place where so many things can go wrong, it's in a parking lot. I would make Tim go with us when I wanted to go out, or have him watch one or both of them at home. He'd say, "Eventually you're going to have to do this by yourself." Blah, blah. I'd say, "I know this, but not yet." I'm so worried about Delaney being hit by a car, or me hitting someone else because I'm distracted, tired, whatever. But I'm getting bolder and braver. And yesterday and today, I made some discoveries.

Yesterday, I went to Rite Aid and on the way out, as usual, I just wanted to get them in the car as quickly and safely as possible. This time, I put Annalise in first, and I told Delaney, "Touch the car." She touched the car, and stayed put. I'd given her clear enough instructions, and she knows how to listen and do what she's told. Before, I might have said, "Stay right here," but in her two-year-old mind, that's a little vague. I always have to remember, whenever I'm telling her to do anything, to use language that's as clear and concise as possible.

But today, I found out something better. On hot days, the car can be too hot to the touch. Outside the commissary, I told Delaney to touch the car, and she said, "Hot." Then a lightbulb went on, and I told her to climb in the car and get in her carseat. I said to myself, 'Why didn't I think of this before?' Then all I had to do was clip Annie's seat in, then go around to the other side to buckle Delaney in. I had just cut about three steps out of the process, and our outings are going to be a whole lot easier from here on out. I don't give her enough credit for being a two-year-old, and being able to do some things all by herself!

Speaking of things she does all by herself ... At this point, she puts on her sandals (on the correct feet too, don't know if that's just luck or what). She climbed the wall at the playground today, with me there only to spot her. She went down the twisty slide too, after much deliberation. She can also do a lot of other things that I'd rather she didn't. For quite some time, she's been a master at taking off her clothes. Seeing her put something on was a nice change!

I've taken back over all bathtime and bedtime duties for Delaney, since Tim has a lot of studying and homework to do now. It was nice to have him do it for awhile, and great that he and Delaney bonded so much in the weeks and months after Annie's birth. I can see that the two of them now have a special connection. Tim is really enjoying her, and although he still has to tell her no sometimes, she's got him wrapped around her finger.

I don't want Tim to read this and figure I don't need or want his help with the kids. That's definitely not what I'm saying. I still appreciate help whenever I can get it!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We're on our own now.

We got to Quantico Wednesday night, after an 11-hour drive, during which we stopped three times. Once Tim dropped his dad off at the train station the next morning, he said, "Now we're really on our own." We knew this would be difficult, and at times we do get very sad. Just yesterday morning, when Tim brought Delaney downstairs, he told me when she'd woken up she'd said, "Girls (this is how she refers to her cousins, b/c she hears her grandparents call them "the girls.") bye-bye? Auntie bye-bye?" Ouch.

We are glad to have a nice place to live for the next 10 months, though. It has a lot more living space than we had at our old condo. There's plenty of room to play. We have a fenced-in backyard. On every corner of our neighborhood on base, there's a playground. Delaney loves to point them out as we drive by.

Here's our house. No idea whose car that was.

View from the front porch. I like the flowers but Tim doesn't.

Here is our first weekly menu with meals planned for 6 days. No more Friday pizza and Sunday dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Annie's been spending a lot of time in that seat as we go on endless shopping trips for things like furniture for her bedroom and who knows what. I wish I could say she spent all of her time in that seat smiling.
We're already looking forward to Columbus Day weekend when the Schlossers and the Bradys come visit us.