Friday, August 29, 2014

August 30th

We've obviously got a lot going at the moment, and sometimes I worry my brain is going to do what my lap top acts like it's going to do when it's working too hard: overheat and explode. But no matter how busy I am, for the rest of my life I will never forget the significance of August 30th, 2012. Two years ago tomorrow, we found out that our second baby no longer had a heartbeat.

As I was waiting for Wade to get home from out of town a few nights ago, I was watching a rerun of 19 Kids & Counting that I had never seen before. It was the episode where they found out that their 20th baby no longer had a heartbeat, and as I sat there watching the footage of Michelle sobbing in the  ultrasound room, the emotions I felt in the moments and days following my own miscarriage all came flooding back. The look on the technician's face when she had to give us the awful news, the way I gripped Wade's hand as I lay there crying, how cruel it felt for the sun to be shining when we walked out of the doctor's office, the tears that covered every inch of my pillow, the songs that helped me through those first terrible days - I will never forget any of it.

Before that day, a miscarriage was just something sad that happened to other people. Certainly nothing I ever wanted to go through, but I had no idea just how heartbreaking it would be if I ever did. I was so sad afterwards that I often wondered if there was something wrong with me. How could I be so torn apart over a little person that I never even got to meet? Simple: that little person was a part of me, we had dreams and hopes for him or her, and for a fleeting time, that baby's heart was beating inside of me. That was our baby, and it hurt that there was nothing we could have done to save him or her.

Today, two years later, I am thankful to be on the other side of that pain. I am thankful for the 8 short weeks I had with that baby. And I am thankful that when I leave this earth, I have the hope that our sweet baby will be waiting to greet me on the other side.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Someone call the whambulance

Greetings from Captain Obvious! Here is a fact for you: having your house on the market is extra lame for a stay-at-home mom of young children.

I am a neat freak through and through, but the clean-up routine that is required each and every time we leave the house is already about to send me to the looney bin. Open all the blinds! Make sure your 3-year-old hasn't peed on any toilet seats and/or forgotten to flush! Move baby monitors and noise machines to more discreet locations! Pick up stray Cheerios that were stuck to your baby's butt after breakfast and fell off in random locations throughout the house! Rearrange furniture that has been used as push toys and/or make-believe forests! Check to make sure nursery doesn't smell too strongly of urine! 

Sure, I don't mind having a spotless house most of the time right now, but I do mind constantly busting my rear to make it look that way just in case and then having no one show up that day. We didn't have any showings on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday (note: apparently the Friday before school starts is not the best time to list your house) and I found myself filled with rage at the end of each day, angry at all these imaginary potential buyers who didn't show up. In stressful situations, you can always count on me to be impatient and irrational. It's a gift, really.

Lucky for me, these things exist:

So until our house sells, you can find me snuggled up with one of these in the evenings, fantasizing about the day when I can leave my toothbrush out on the bathroom counter again. (Until then, hopefully I can crank out a blog post or two that isn't about selling the house!)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Here goes nothin'

On Friday afternoon, two exciting things happened:

1. I went to an ENT doctor and found out I do not, in fact, have a perforated eardrum (like the urgent care doctor thought)! Unfortunately I do have a weird ear infection that is still preventing hearing in one ear but it should go away on its own in the next week or so... preferably sooner rather than later because it's causing me major anxiety to go out in public with only half my hearing in tact.

2. Our house officially went on the market! We had an open house + a few other showings over the weekend, but sadly no offers yet. Darn you, Austin housing market, for putting me in a frame of mind where I am legitimately discouraged that my house hasn't sold in 48 hours!

Because it was the first weekend our house was on the market, we made the intelligent decision to vacate the premises first thing on Saturday and Sunday mornings and spend the day camped out at the apartment my parents have here in town. Sure, maybe it doesn't have everything we need for the kiddos there, like safe seating arrangements for Avery...

... but it's otherwise a great set-up, especially because it's very close walking distance from Starbucks and Trader Joe's.

And did I mention there's a pool?

Somehow this is only the first time we have taken advantage of this pool access in the 2 years they have had the apartment.

It was extra nice to just be able to bring food from home and eat most of our meals there rather than having to eat out all weekend, though we did make one exception on Saturday night to meet up with Wade's sister and our brother-in-law who were in town.

Minus the stress that comes along with trying to sell your home, it was honestly a pretty pleasant weekend - almost like a little end of summer staycation. But still, here's hoping the house sells ASAP and we don't have to make use of the apartment on many more occasions... think happy house thoughts for us!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Welcome distraction

It's funny that a few weeks ago I was complaining about how painfully slow the month of August is for us when the summer activities around town have ended but school hasn't started yet. Believe it or not, I actually uttered these words to Wade before I had a clue what would transpire shortly thereafter: "I wish we could sell our house just so I'd have something to keep me busy!" Be careful what you wish for, I suppose!

We have been more than busy this week with trying to get the house on the market, but thankfully the kids and I have had plenty of fun activities planned during the days to keep us distracted. I hope we can keep this up because the last thing I want our little ones to feel is neglected or forgotten during this crazy time. Yesterday we were grateful that some friends invited us to join them at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. It was a HOT morning, but the kids hardly seemed to notice and we all had a great time.

As per usual, Davis was the sweatiest kid at the zoo. (Side note: I'm a little scared for what his room/laundry is going to smell like when he's a teenager.)

Avery was a total champ despite not getting her morning nap, getting fed about an hour later than usual, and being stuck in the stroller for 90% of our time there.

Despite the usual drama that can go down with a group of little ones, the kids were sweet with each other and their excitement over every little thing was pretty cute to watch.

I know Davis in particular must have appreciated taking this outing, because on the drive home he declared, "Mommy, you are my best mommy ever!"

My only complaint? The more time we spend with friends like these, the sadder we are going to be to leave them in a couple of months.

To the sweaty mamas not pictured: thanks for helping me take my mind off everything for a little while yesterday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Home is where your twin sister is

I love Austin.

It's the beautiful, quirky place that I have called "home" off and on since 1996 when I was dragged here from Dallas kicking and screaming at the age of 13. I spent a couple of months hating it, because change is hard - especially when you're 13 - but it didn't take me long to love it. Even though Wade grew up in the Houston area, it didn't take him long to love it here, either. That's why it was relatively easy to choose Austin as the place where we wanted to start and grow our family after he finished grad school back in 2008. It certainly didn't hurt that half my family was living here at the time, either.

My twin sister (Amanda) wasn't here, but she and her husband (Brian) had plans to eventually move back, and so it was decided that we would wait patiently until they could. Then one by one, my other family members somewhat unexpectedly moved away. The last couple of years have been lonely without having family in town, and it was tough for me to come to terms with the fact that we might be residing in this place I love without them indefinitely. Because as much as I love Austin, I love my family more - especially my twin sister.

Wade and I have had many conversations about these feelings, but it wasn't until we were driving back from helping Amanda and Brian move to Sugar Land on Sunday, August 3rd that I really felt like doing anything about it. He is used to having these sort of chats with me on the tail end of spending a weekend with Amanda; it always feels like I'm leaving a part of myself behind, which understandably bums me out. But this talk was different, and I think we both knew it.

We finished the conversation by agreeing that we would pray specifically for God to open the door if we were meant to leave Austin and move to the Houston area to be closer to family, and if we weren't, that He would slam the door shut. So we prayed, talked about it a few more times, and left it at that. And if this isn't proof that God answers prayers, then I don't know what is: on Wednesday, August 13th, just 10 days after that conversation, Wade was given the opportunity to open a new office for his company in the Houston area.

It's an offer he/we couldn't refuse. So at some point in the next couple of months, the Olivers will be moving to Sugar Land, Texas!

I have always dreamed of raising kids and "doing life" with my sister, so we are thrilled to get to live in the same town as them. We will also be thankful to be closer to Wade's parents, as well as some of both of our extended families. At the same time, we are so sad to leave this city we love, and all the wonderful friends who come with it. As it turns out, even though it's good for you, change can still be pretty tough at 31.

I am overwhelmed at the moment, to say the least. We have been busting our buns to get our house ready to go on the market, then we will need to look for a new one (along with office space for Wade) in Sugar Land. Davis has already been registered for a new preschool, though he will still start the year at his school here in Austin. In the midst of all this madness, I apparently have a sinus infection and a ruptured eardrum, which are slightly (read: severely) hindering my ability to DO ALL THE THINGS while also caring for my children and remembering to leave the house with pants on. It's truly a wonder that I have any brain cells left.

So there you have it: big changes on the horizon for my little family. Though our physical address will be changing soon, this blog is staying put, so you can read all about the ups and downs of our new adventure right here!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The opposite of adventuring

Here are the times when it's convenient for a mother to get sick:

1. Never.

But alas, my sweet little baby apparently didn't get that memo, so she went and got me sick anyway! So our plans to do anything exciting this past weekend were dashed, as they probably would have been anyway since we had a longer than normal weekend to-do list on our hands. However, I am a stubborn gal and just a tiny bit of a control freak, so I chose to spend the first half of the weekend medicating and not resting... which is why I looked like this by Sunday morning:

How beautiful am I? And why do I think it's ok to post this picture on the world wide web?

Thankfully Wade was more than capable of handling the remaining household tasks while watching the kids on Sunday, and he even helped Davis create this beautiful "get well soon" picture for me.

I was also not shocked to see which outfit he had selected for our daughter when he knew I had no say in the selection:

I can just imagine him smiling to himself with amusement as he opened her closet and pulled it out. 

Anyway, now that my knight in shining armor is headed back to work today, hopefully the kids will go easy on me until the sickness is gone for good! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's that time again...

Time for more Davis-isms!

Something randomly reminded him of the house we stayed at in Colorado last month, which spurred him to request that we go back to that house right away. I told him that we couldn't go back there, and when he asked why, I said we would have to fly back there and it would cost lots of money. He said, "But I have lots of money in my piggy pank [not bank, but pank], so now we can go!" (Note: we recently counted the change in there and it amounts to about $5.)

He has gotten a lot of injuries lately - stubbing his toes at the pool, mosquito bites, ant bites, etc. - and he has started saying in a pitiful voice, "I'm the hurtest guy EVER."

Earlier this week, he acquired a little finger puppet that looks like a pirate. I suggested we name him Peter, and Davis approved. Peter has been hanging out on his finger quite a bit, even accompanying him to the bathroom. You can imagine my amusement when I went to check on Davis while he was going potty and he declared proudly, "Peter the Pirate is pushing my _____ while I pee!" (Use your brain to figure out what word goes in the blank.) Sounds like it could be a catchy riddle for a new children's book, no?

After watching all those Michael Jackson videos recently, he got into an argument with Wade over whether or not "that girl" (aka: Michael Jackson) was male or female. We know otherwise, but his argument was pretty convincing.

In true guy fashion, he couldn't remember the name of one of his friends he hadn't seen in awhile. When I tried to help him figure out who it was, he finally told me it was "that boy who had the red boo-boo on the floor at our house yesterday." And because I'm a genius, I figured it out: he was talking about his friend who last came over to our house in November (not exactly "yesterday") and got an injury to his face that made him start bleeding profusely on the floor (that would be the "red boo-boo"). Kids have the strangest memories!

We went to the store on Wednesday afternoon solely to buy a 6-pack of beer for Wade. When Davis inquired as to what we were getting at HEB, I told him, and he insisted that he wanted to drink some. The conversation ended before we went inside, but as soon as we got the booze, he started loudly proclaiming, "I LIKE BEER!" I had a baby on my hip and a 3-year-old in tow demanding to help me carry the beer while professing his love for it. Just keepin' it classy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MOTY Application

Name: Allison O.

Place of Residence: Austin, TX

Children & Ages: Davis (3.25) and Avery (9 mos)

Why do you feel you should be considered for the coveted 2014 Mother of the Year award?:

I give my kid the same thing for lunch every single day. No cleverly arranged cucumber slices in the shape of a dinosaur on Thursdays or mandarin oranges from the local farmer's market on Mondays here! Just a plain ol' peanut butter sandwich, cheese, and fruit... every single day.

I have also recently started bribing him with candy to take naps. Two gummy bears for 1.5 hours of silence? YOU GOT IT.

On Sunday afternoon, I asked my husband to take both the kids with him to Home Depot so I could eat cookie dough and watch Keeping up with the Kardashians in peace.

We allowed our son to watch Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video several times last week until he not-so-randomly started having dreams about monsters this week. Oops.

My firstborn gets more than 2 hours of t.v. screen time every day. Way more. My second kid would too, but she doesn't care about t.v. yet.

Instead of asking my son to graciously share a few bites of his food with his sister when we go to restaurants, I tell him to "look over there!" and then steal his food when he isn't looking.

Sometimes I let his little sister chew on balls of foil, and instead of removing the potential choking hazard from her mouth when she puts it in there, I take pictures.

Vote for me!

Monday, August 11, 2014

More adventuring

The quest to enjoy Austin (and summer) continues!

Last Wednesday, we went to the new "inflatable playground" in our 'hood called Hop N Happy (formerly known as Extreme Fun). In case you can't tell from the sweat covering his entire head and the smile on his face, Davis likes it there.

On Saturday, after Avery and I crashed Wade and Davis's weekly Saturday morning breakfast taco date at Rudy's, we headed to the Thinkery so Wade could check it out for the first time. Note: going to a children's museum with a baby and a preschooler is much more enjoyable with a 1:1 adult to child ratio.

They had a sweet little petting zoo that morning where Davis got to hold a bunny, chick, and hedgehog for approximately 13.7 seconds each before he was tired of it and wanted to hold something else.

After that, it was onward to feed the ducks (and the pigeons and grackles, which are decidedly less fun to feed) at Mueller Lake followed by lunch on the patio at Cafe Mueller, which is a cute little cafe attached to the HEB out there. Our morning in that part of town was so darn pleasant that we ended it driving by all the fancy new houses and daydreaming about being able to afford buying one. 

But alas, nap time was calling so back home we went. Since we had already eaten out twice that day, we opted to stay home and grill hot dogs (we're so fancy, you already know... Iggy Azalea, anyone?) and let the kids play in the inflatable pool (again with the fanciness). We were about to let our redneck flag fly by giving them their baths out there, but them darn skeeters were trying to attack us so we had to call it a night before giving the neighbors that entertainment.

We've got a few more weekends left before school starts and life gets extra busy again - stay tuned to see what fun they will hold for us!

Friday, August 08, 2014

A day in the life: summer edition

Wade was out of town yesterday, which meant I was flying solo until he got home just before bedtime, and it was also a day with zero prescheduled activities on the calendar. Even though it wasn't a "typical" day for us, I decided to document it for the sake of posterity. It's fun to do these posts every now and then to see how much our daily life changes in between them!

6:00am: alarm goes off and I hop out of bed so I can get up and ready before the kids wake up

6:20am: I hear Avery over the monitor but know she will roll around happily/quietly until a more reasonable hour, so I leave her in there

6:45am: just as I finish my bowl of cereal, I hear Davis over the monitor and head upstairs to get him up, dressed, and downstairs for breakfast

7:15am: Davis is finished with breakfast and I start to head upstairs to get Avery but realize she has fallen back asleep, so we turn on Sesame Street and wait for her

7:20am: she's up! I leave him downstairs with Elmo and the gang while I get her up, dressed, and fed

7:35am: we join Davis downstairs and I give Avery her breakfast

7:50am: load the kids in the stroller for a walk to/from the park (going to the park early = tolerable temperatures and no competition for swings)

9:00am: we get home from the walk, I put Avery down for a nap, and then Davis entertains himself playing/watching PBS Kids while I shower and get dressed

10:00am: Avery is still snoozing but I wake her up and feed her so we can get the show on the road

10:15am: off to the grocery store (Brittany inspired me to try putting both kids in the race car cart for the first time, despite my germaphobia - Avery was a fan!)

11:05am: home from the grocery store - I unload the groceries and get lunch started for everyone while the kids play

12:00pm: finished with lunch and clean-up, I indulge Davis with a few rounds of "hide & seek" while Avery rolls around on the floor enthralled with some plastic beads

12:30pm: even though the day has been totally fine so far, I decide to "reward" myself for the single parenting by loading them in the car for a quick Starbucks run

12:45pm: back home and everyone is shuffled upstairs to get ready for naps - we read a book, I tuck Davis in, and then I put Avery in her crib

12:55pm: freedom!!! I head downstairs to enjoy my frap, make myself a snack, and catch up on stalking social media

1:05pm: scratch that - Davis is yelling that he needs to go potty, even though he just went before I put him down, and I silently curse his digestive system for interrupting my alone time like this almost every single day

1:10pm: after pottying, I have somehow convinced Davis to close his eyes and attempt to actually sleep! I decide to enjoy the silence by watching the most recent episode of Teen Mom 2

1:30pm: I hear Avery chatting over the monitor - WHY, on the one day that Davis decides to nap?! - but I choose to ignore her until she has been in there for a more appropriate amount of time

2:15pm: the happy noises have turned into "stop ignoring me!" cries so I head upstairs to feed her and then we come back downstairs to play until Davis wakes up

2:45pm: by some miracle, Davis is still asleep, but I decide to wake him up so he doesn't put up a fight at bedtime - I tell him we are going to get cupcakes "for" Rocky (meaning in honor of Rocky on his birthday) and he responds, "But Mommy, Rocky don't have hands!" I clarify and he decides he is ok with this plan

3:00pm: I load everyone into the car after an argument with Davis about getting in the car and then a brief discussion about who is the boss in this household (answer: NOT HIM), and off we go to Baked by Amy's for a cupcake - this was our first time there and though I only got one small bite of the cupcake, I highly approved of the atmosphere!

3:35pm: Davis is finished with his cupcake and whining that he's "still hungryyy" and "needs TWO cupcakes," but I refuse his request and somehow manage to get him out the door and into the car without incident

3:50pm: we're home - Davis requests Daniel Tiger on Netflix and Avery is lunging toward her high chair, so I set him up with DT, strap her in the the high chair with a couple of Mum-Mums, and enjoy a few moments of peace to start a load of laundry and get dinner going

5:00pm: time for dinner!

5:20pm: finished with dinner and clean-up, but still have lots of time to kill, so we cycle through a number of things: getting the mail, hide & seek, a game of catch, chasing each other, and a short dance party, to name a few

6:20pm: I realize that Wade is just a few minutes away, so we head outside into the inferno to wait in the driveway

6:25pm: Wade is home (!), so I hand the kids over to him and get to work on laundry and making these muffins

7:00pm: after taking a break to help get the kids ready for their baths, I realize Jaws is on and decide I need to watch it while I keep working on the muffins and laundry

9:00pm: laundry is folded and muffins are baked, so I head upstairs to get ready for bed and pump while finishing up the movie

10:00pm: nighty night!