La, la, la…

Wide aerial camera shot slowly, carefully pans across a wooded setting on the outskirts of Southern City X and pauses in front of a humble, cedar-shingled house with a very overgrown yard. Following the welcoming warm light beaming from the front windows, we peek in and see our protagonist surrounded by the detritus of toddler-life, a 35-yr-old, disheveled, increasingly fat-and-frumpy housewife who is sitting at her computer.

She types. She deletes. She types some more. She deletes some more. She gives up, closes her blog window, and heads over to Pinterest instead. She reads other people’s words, but she doesn’t seem to have many of her own, at least none that seem worth anything. We see this scene play out many times over before the frazzled housewife finally sighs and guiltily pokes her head out from under her rock, and timidly waves…

Er, hi. Sorry for the silence. And thanks for those of you who have checked in on me. Things in the Bee’s Hood are… oh, I don’t know. I feel foolish saying things are bad, because they aren’t. My children are lovely, my husband is an (generally) incredible (if somewhat broken) person, our house still stands, our bank account is (mostly) not completely empty at the end of the month, I’m relatively healthy and whole. But I’d also feel foolish saying that things are good, because they’re not. I’ll save the details for a password-protected post, but for those of you waiting for an update on the last post, I can simply say that I heard a great quote on a radio program today– there’s a difference between a cure and being healed. For some things, there is just no cure, and so we hope simply for some healing. I’m still in that hoping place right now. (I’d appreciate references to specifics in the last post to be left out of any comments on this non-password-protected post…)

Mostly, I just want to poke my head out here to say that I am hanging in there, and I thank you so much for your kind words on my last post. I know I have many casual readers who don’t feel they know me well enough or just don’t want to read such personal stuff, and this is, perhaps, a post to include those people– I count you all among my friends, even if we aren’t such buddies as to tell each other our darkest secrets.

So.

My boys, my beautiful boys:

We are 21-month-olds now. We are walking, talking (sort of, not that you can really understand us), jumping (one of us), stomping, climbing, giggling babies. We say all kinds of things: please, thank you/danke, water/wasser, kuh (aka cow), car, cake, ball, eat, doll, help, bowl, go, call, up, no, frühstück (aka breakfast), diaper, hop!, bath, and many, many more (including, of course, a full complement of animal noises– mooooo!, kack! (aka quack!), baaa!, neigh!, bok!, meow!, oof!-aka woof!, etc., etc., etc.).

We do incredibly funny things, like filling the trunk of our tricycle with popcorn:
Fill 'Er Up!

And we go to the library for Toddler Boogie Time:
Toddler Mob Scene

Henny climbs at the park:
Henny Climbs

And Jack swings at the park:
Happy Jack!

We lay around and play together:
Playing In A Sunbeam

We say “bye, bye!”:

We laugh and laugh and laugh:

We steal cupcakes:

It’s a good time to be a toddler in the Bee In The Bonnet household.

I’m working on finding time to run. I am much happier when I do, but I admit that when sleep eludes me, it’s really hard to get up early in the morning and take the time to work out. It also doesn’t help that my back is pretty well destroyed, and sometimes, randomly, my back will get much, much worse after a run. But sometimes, randomly, it gets much, much better after a run. I’m confused at this point, really. Perhaps weight lifting is the answer for now, though I certainly don’t get the stress relief from weights that I do from a good, solid run. Or swimming might be good, but that would require a pool, which I don’t really have access to (not to mention that it requires traveling to a spot away from my house, and if I cannot even manage to hop on the treadmill for half an hour, I’m guessing I wouldn’t do very well with committing to driving elsewhere and donning a suit, cap and goggles and pounding out the miles in a pool…).

Anyhow, I’m feeling lumpy. I’ve gained back 10 or so pounds that I lost in the year after the boys were first born, and now, I’m sitting about 15 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight (or, in honesty, about 20 lbs over my pre-IVF weight, though I’d be perfectly satisfied to just be back to pre-preg numbers at this point). My shorts from last summer don’t fit, which is a major bummer. I know it won’t take much to get myself back to a weight where they fit, but it’s just depressing to know that I’m bigger now than I was a year ago. Ugh. I keep reminding myself that I have a few odds stacked against me (major stressful life events, day-to-day twin stress, back pain issues, still nursing, taking a medication that can cause weight gain, etc.), but in the end, it still comes down to the fact that I might still be heavier than I was, but I’d be a lot happier if I made the time to actually exercise. And I’d be a lot happier if exercising brought me the results that it used to, pre-babies, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sigh.

So. Thanks for reading along with me this far. I appreciate the time my friends take to catch up with my (increasingly boring) life. I am not exactly sure when or how, but I anticipate going mostly password-protected with future posts. I know how annoying it is to have to enter a password, or to have to email a blog author, or to feel like maybe you don’t know the author well enough to ask for the password, whatever, whatever, but just take this as my invitation, even if I don’t know you well, or at all, to feel free to ask me for the password. I am not hiding my story from strangers, but rather from people in my life with whom I’d rather not share intimate details (there’s something for the therapist, eh?). I guess what I really mean is that I’ve been burned in the past by being found out, and I know how valuable other blogs were for me when we were going through infertility and IVF, etc., so I have no problem sharing my story with “strangers” who are part of my infertility community, but I don’t want to give anyone any ammunition.

Yeah. Long way of saying thank you, and don’t be offended/shocked if future posts are password-protected…

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The Most Excited Gnome Ever



The Most Excited Gnome Ever, originally uploaded by k8izgr8.

Grumpy Gnome is not pleased. However, much like his mother, his attitude was greatly improved upon discovering that dressing like this got you some free chocolate.

And how was your Halloween? Ours was pretty much a non-event, at least tonight. Last night, we met up with a few friends for a public trick-or-treating in a local historical district, which was cute and fun. Tonight, though, we intended to go to the two houses adjacent to us, where our elderly neighbors love to coo over the boys, but they didn’t have their lights on this year, so we skipped it. Instead, we drove over to one of H’s colleague’s house and crashed their dinner (smooth!). We used to see them often, but post-baby, it’s been difficult to find time to get together with them. They happen to live in the hot trick-or-treating neighborhood, so we knew they’d be giving out candy and that they’d enjoy seeing the boys, so we stopped over and hung out for 20 minutes or so.

They are childfree by choice, but they very much enjoy other people’s children (not a very common occurrence, I think– most childfree-ers don’t really care for children generally). And the boys LOVED seeing them. Jack is generally pretty friendly toward everyone, but he was just having a blast, giggling and running and “sharing” his candy with each of us, being the little charmer he can be sometimes. Even Henry was getting in on the fun, shrieking and laughing and walking a lot (which is a new thing for him. He’s finally starting to get more confident on his feet, and choosing to walk when he might not have something close to grab on to). Henry always takes a while to warm up, and is usually pretty parent-centric, even after warming up to new people, but he really took to H’s colleagues.

Anyway, the cap to the night was the colleague’s spouse pulling out the juggling beanbags and giving the boys a chance to see juggling in person. And they went absolutely WILD. Who knew that juggling was so absolutely AMAZING?? They clapped and screeched and laughed and lunged for the beanbags. It was hilarious!

So that was our wild night. We had one group of trick-or-treaters show up at our house before we left, and those greedy little turds took HALF of our candy stash! I guess it’s sorta my fault for telling them that they could take a few more pieces (when they asked if they could take a few more pieces…). Man, they cleaned us out! I was counting on having most of that chocolate leftover for ME to snack on!

So, a fun “first” Halloween, even though I guess it’s technically their second Halloween. This was their first actual celebration, their first real, dress up (in a costume made by Mama), go around to houses (try to, at least!) , get candy, eat a few pieces of candy, carve a pumpkin REAL Halloween.

What about you?

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Hey, Jealousy

The boys are 16 months old, and for the first time, I forgot to take a photo on their month-day-turning thingy. I’d try to make up some good reason for that, but the truth is that I thought of it a couple of times during the day, but just never found myself with an opportunity to sit them down and take a photo, and oddly, not really feeling very motivated to create that moment. Oh, well. I don’t think I had any lofty goals of continuing the monthly photos forever, though it would have been fun to be sitting down with my 210-month-olds*, telling them to hug the bear for the picture (*that’s 17 1/2 years for those without calculator-brains).

As summer wound down, and we turned the corner to Fall, I found myself doing a lot of pondering on the state of things in my world. I haven’t actually had full thoughts or conclusions on any of these ponderings, so maybe I should just switch to list form:

1) If you can’t tell by my prior hippy-dippy posts, I’m not the world’s best disciplinarian. I am fond of rules, but mostly so that I know exactly where the boundaries lie and whether I feel comfortable stepping over those boundaries. I look at my boys, and 99% of the time, they’re happy, and well-behaved, and kind. But that other 1%, they are screeching, flailing, biting/shoving banshees, and I don’t know what to do about it. I bought the Happiest Toddler On The Block, but I think I need to watch the video, because my poor, idiotic, toddler-addled brain is incapable of following much of his FFR/Toddler-ese, Clap/Growl, etc., and seeing how it’s all supposed to work together. Time-outs are about to become a fact of life, but I frequently find myself feeling like I don’t really care about their various infractions. H gets wound up about them climbing on the tables, and I just don’t really care. I figure they’ll eventually fall off and either learn how to balance better, or decide not to climb up there anymore. There’s nothing that can hurt them, or that they can hurt– I just don’t care. BUT, I also recognize that dancing on the coffee table isn’t civilized behavior, and should probably be curtailed. I think I’m at a place where I just don’t know what to do.

Those of you who have already surfed this wave (or for those who are starting to get there yourselves), what has worked for you? Any particular methods you like? I’m stupidly jealous of moms that seem to have it together in this area. It’s hard.

2) Oh, money, money. Lately, I find myself getting increasingly incensed that I’ll probably be paying off my student loans for the rest of my life. The interest alone is several hundred dollars monthly, and we are barely scraping by as it is, so it really looks as though the principal will never be touched. I love getting to raise my boys, and I don’t think I could bear to put them in daycare (it’s a personal thing with me, having worked in a daycare– I’ve just been scarred by it, and can’t imagine risking that my child would end up in a situation like what I saw in my workplace). But at the same time, I know that a lot of our financial difficulties would be significantly eased if I were working. Of course, if I were working, we’d really need a second car, and I’d no longer be in unemployment-deferment with my student loans, so I might actually be worse off after paying insurance, car payment, loans, day care, etc. It just feels overwhelming sometimes.

I admit to feeling jealous when I read other people complaining about financial circumstances, because most of the time, I know we are probably worse off, and that it’s my fault that we are.

3) That said, I keep coming up with all new ways to deplete our savings account. Oh, how I want a Kindle Fire (and hey! I got exactly $200 in birthday money from my MIL, but yeah, that had to go to floating our overspending last month. YAY for doctor bills!). And the boys desperately need new car seats, but DAMN, they are expensive when you’re buying two at once. I’d love to put them in preschool once a week, but again, two at once is cost-prohibitive on our budget. It’d be great to be able to join the Y or something similar– I need a way to exercise more often without neglecting the boys, but in order to use the free childcare, the “family” monthly fee is outrageous. I’d love to travel more often, but even filling up the gas tank has become a major budget consideration, much less a plane ticket and/or hotel costs. And, you know, maybe I’d like to have another kid someday. Maybe. But I hear they’re pretty expensive, too. (of course, both sets of grandparents have made it clear that girl grandchildren are the ones that really count, so maybe they’d chip in some more if I managed to produce the coveted female heir… not that they don’t adore the boys, but my MIL at least has made clear that she’d LOVE a granddaughter…)

H has recently begun to acknowledge frequently that my “job” is ridiculously hard (does he finally get it, or is he just finally getting that I need to hear him say that he gets it?). And has acknowledged that I really need a break. And fully supports me in whatever way he can, by watching the boys for an hour when he gets home from work so that I get a break at the end of my long day, and by doing lots of chores around the house that I just don’t get around to while watching them. And he says often how I deserve these things I want (travel, gym membership, Kindle thingy, etc.), but we both know the reality is that those things are outside of our means right now. “Breaks” cost money– a sitter, a pre-school, the cost of a movie ticket or a massage or whatever. We can afford some of those things some of the time, but lately, other things take priority (like specialist co-pays which have doubled in the last year. Yikes.) And even if there were a way to raise the funds to get those more expensive items, we both know that those funds could really be used much more beneficially on other, more practical things.

So whatever. I guess I’ve just been feeling some jealousy lately that people can afford to do and have things that I can’t. And that’s not me. I try really hard not to be so damn materialistic, so needy, so constantly wanting– I already have so much stuff, more stuff than I could use in a lifetime, more than I ever really need–, but when I’m physically and emotionally exhausted from caring for twin toddlers, and my doctor chirpily suggests getting a massage for my back pain, it makes me want to cry, because that’s just out of the question right now.

4) Which brings us to the chronic back pain I’ve been dealing with that has just gotten worse and worse and worse over the last year. I finally went as far as to get cortisone injections in my hip/butt (BIG progesterone-in-oil shot flashback while up on the table… shiver…), and it provided relief for a week or two, but the pain came back worse afterward. Some mornings, I wake up and I don’t know how I’ll stand up, much less make it through a day of caring for babies. I’m at the highest dose of vic.odin that I can take, and I’ve become almost immune to it’s effects, and there’s not much else I can take while the boys are still nursing (not that they nurse all that often, but the 2-3 times a day that they do, they demand it!). It’s just one more thing that feels overwhelming. I’m jealous that other moms are able to function throughout their day without wincing in pain while chasing their kids. I’m jealous of other moms who can actually just hop out the door and go for a run without thinking twice about it (running used to help immensely with my back pain, but around two months ago, it went from helping to hurting, so I’ve stopped running. Which makes me terribly sad, since it’s one of the few things that keeps me feeling sane.)

—–

So basically, I’m one huge lump of jealousy, and I’m jealous of stupid things. I have so much. I know I have so much. I have these two amazing babies that I waited forever to have, that I went through insane, invasive procedures to have. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with them. But lately, it just gets harder and harder to focus on what I have, to focus inward. I just feel trapped in this cycle of outward focus, worrying about myself in comparison to others, and wanting so badly to have these things, these abilities, that I don’t have, that I may never have.

More than anything, though, I find myself jealous of people who have family close by. I may not have always gotten along with my mother, but there’s no doubt that my parents love my boys. With visits from both my parents and H’s mom this month, it’s driven home to us how different our lives with the boys would be were we not living across the country from all of them. But sadly, it’s just not feasible for H to find a job closer to any of them. I wish he could, but in his line of work, jobs are scarce, and GOOD jobs are all but non-existent. That he has a great job in a department full of great people, AND that it’s a job he loves? All of those things combine to make it a terrible idea for him to even consider taking a job somewhere else, even if he could find another with the same status and stability and pay, etc.

So what about you? What aspects of your life hide that little green envy monster? Or are you gloriously above all that, able to be completely happy with what you have and where you are?

P.S. Do you vaccinate your kids? If not, why not? How do you feel about people who choose not to vaccinate? I pretty much feel that if you choose not to vaccinate, you should take yourself out of society, and go live in isolation with others who choose not to vaccinate. (I guess that tells you where I stand) I found out recently that this woman in my playgroup did not vaccinate her child and was “100% okay” with her decision, because she thought about it “a lot” and “researched things” and then, she … PRAYED… about it, which somehow, I guess, makes risking the health of my family okay. You know, she prayed. And God told her it was right to refuse to prevent disease and potentially spread it among society, and to risk the health of tiny, unvaccinated babies and fetuses, too, because whooping cough or rubella or chicken pox or whatever might not be a big deal to her kid, but could kill/injure others. But God said it was okay, because God didn’t want her to risk her son becoming autistic, because I guess God must’ve reached in and screwed around with the results of scientific study after study debunking the myth that vaccines cause autism, because he WANTED more parents to give their children autism. Huh?

P.P.S. Can’t end on that note, so here are some gratuitous photos of cute babies!

Henry's Dinosaur Jacket
Henny models my dino-embellished hoodie

Jack's Hoodie
Jack wears his hoodie (for three seconds before yanking it off his head)

Swings!
Swinging on a fall day

Jack Found The Gnome!
Checking out the garden gnome (Jack)

Henry and the Hats
Henry and the hats. Kid LOVES hats.

Family
The fam at Oktoberfest (boys and H in traditional North Sea sailor garb)

And a short video:


How do I know they’re German? They dance to the beat of the vacuum and then applaud when it’s over. They appreciate a clean floor, and the sounds of a vacuum make them very happy. Weirdos!

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Busy-ness and Projects!

5×7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

So, when I’m not chasing the boys around, I’ve been trying to do better with my documentation of their baby-hood. Taking more pictures, actually printing those pictures, and also, trying to do a few projects with those photos. I recently made a really awesome album of the boys’ summer on Shutterfly, and then today, they sent me a code for ten free cards. I don’t usually send holiday cards, and I don’t know if I’ll get around to it this year, but with the offer I got, I figured I’d give it a try. The card above is the one I created for the boys. I’m not religious, but I do love Christmastide. There’s just something magical about it– not just the general attempt at good cheer we all make at this time of year, but just an attitude of cooperation that seems to permeate everything and everyone. So yes, while Christmas definitely falls outside my Humanist ideology, it does not fall outside my Humanist ethic.

Anyway, I love that they had plenty of non-Christmas holiday cards to choose from, and plenty of really, really nice religious messages, too, if that’s something you’re looking for. Right now, I think you can order a single sample card for free (code CARD4U, valid through Sept 28), which is a nice way to try the service to see if it’s something you might want to order more of. And there’s plenty of time between now and the holidays to try it and/or order more if you like the result. The card-making process was insanely easy (choosing the card template I wanted was actually the hardest part– so many to choose from!), and very intuitive. And while shipping is a tiny bit on the high side, the fact that the cards were free definitely made up for it.

So, that was my experience using Shutterfly for cards. I haven’t received the cards yet, but generally, their shipping is pretty quick, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I have them in my hands.

Additionally, PINTEREST. Oh, man. Pinterest.com has taken over my life. So many pretty things to look at, so many fun things to think about, cute ideas, clever solutions. Oh, man. I can waste hours just looking and looking and looking.

If you’re on Pinterest, look me up. I’d love to have another person to gather ideas from!

Otherwise, things are… oh, they’re fine, I think. Henry’s been extremely fussy, and both boys have been trading Back-To-School germs. Oh, and they’ve officially learned what a real temper tantrum looks and sounds like, and both enjoy employing it at increasingly inconvenient times. So, basically I’m exhausted. I’d love a little more sleep, but with their fussiness and sickness rounded out with a little teething, their sleep schedule has been shot to hell, and that means I haven’t been getting my daily nap-with-babies rest. It’s just a phase, a short one in the grand scheme of things, but I’m worn out lately.

Saturday marks the completion of 35 trips around the sun for me. Thirty-four has been a pretty decent year for me. I’m looking forward to seeing what 35 holds…

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Henry, With A ‘Woof’ And A Kiss



Henry, With A ‘Woof’ And A Kiss, originally uploaded by k8izgr8.

Ah, friends. Still not much time for writing these days. Still working on the Jack post, and no, it’s still not ready.

Instead, here’s a short video I shot tonight of Henry playing with his stuffed doggie, and wearing his doggie “backpack” (aka Baby Leash*), which he LOVES to wear (he will cry if you try to take it off). His “woof”s are quiet, so you have to listen carefully, but without fail, if you ask where “Woof Woof” is, he will go and get his stuffed dog, and say “uf! uf!”

Jack also says, “uf!”, but with a bit more enthusiasm than Henry. Jack likes to say it, but he isn’t as crazy about the stuffed toy. He prefers the real thing, which he points out and loudly says, “UF UF UF” when he sees them. So cute.

Henry has also learned how to make a kissy-face, and it is so. stinkin’. cute!

Anyhow, we’re still hanging in, settling into fall (My GOD, I cannot believe it’s September already…). What about you guys? Any fun Fall stuff planned? I’m thinking about looking in to a pick-your-own apple place, but wondering if my boys will be up for it…

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Mini Update



Henny Stands!!, originally uploaded by k8izgr8.

I’m still working on the Just Jack post, but for now, here’s a little video of Henry, who has finally (FINALLY) figured out how to stand on his own. He is really enjoying standing and sitting (and standing and sitting and standing and sitting…), and also enjoying the applause he gets for performing his “trick”.

Things are busy here. Busy, but good. The weather here is making me a little crazy– thunderstorms, drenching rain, all day, every day, all week– but at the same time, I have a very hard time complaining about it when I’m very worried for friends and family in the Austin area who are surrounded by immense drought and wildfires. I’ve been working on my mind-control of weather, but, you know, it’s just not working yet. So instead, I sit here whining about how annoying all the crazy rain is while my friends beg for just a few drops to help put out the fires, to quench the parched land.

Very luckily, my parents seem to be safe for now, although their land in Bastrop is pretty much wiped clean (there wasn’t much of anything there to start with– just trees and some old mustang grape vines– so luckily, there wasn’t much to lose). Others we know have lost so much more, though again very luckily, no one has lost their life.

Anyhow, my heart is heavy thinking about home these days, but lightened by these two crazy boys who surprise me with something new every day. They make it all a little more bearable, I guess.

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