Tuesday, December 18, 2012

{merry everything} from the carlsons

Chances are we haven't spoken with you in a while.  Return phone calls have been slow; emails neglected.  See that little man sleeping in the santa hat?  We blame him.  And the new home is a little at fault as well.  

Our move (five blocks from our first home) was greatly needed and has opened up a new world of possibilities.  Previously,each day ended promptly at 7pm since Chase was in bed and his room had a partial wall.  Lights were dim, movement was limited.  People were allowed in only if they did not laugh.  Or speak.

Now we shut the door to the kids' rooms and behave with reckless abandon.  Our new life is filled with lights on full blast, a TV which can now use volume, and speaking to one another above hushed tones.  

With the not-so-great real estate market, our decision to keep our previous home has added "landlords" to our growing list of responsibilities.  This new role would be going swimmingly, if not for the major antifreeze flood in our unit.  The resulting damage to the wood floors, closets, walls, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom was massive; leaving our tenants homeless for a month.  Pretty sure they won't be renewing the lease.  Just. pure. joy.

On a happier note, Kevin was promoted at work!  However, he was disappointed to learn waving around his new title doesn't allow for "opting out" of diaper changes at home.

Tracy spent a majority of the year pregnant, then the remainder of the year partying it up with the new night owl in our lives.  Thankfully, with age comes wisdom and Kiefer has (temporarily) hung up his party hat to sleep well at night.  With him clocking 8-10 hours a night, my restless nights are instead the result of returning to work.  

Chase continues to entertain us on a daily basis (click here for examples).  We could go into more detail, but he already has a whole blog devoted to him.  No need to inflate an already healthy ego.  

Outside of smiling and laughing, Kiefer's family contributions have been minimal.  We will most likely have more on him in 2013. 

All the best to you and yours this holiday season!

Love, The Carlsons

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Signs You Have a Toddler - Part I

Are you often singing a tune you wish you didn't know?  Perhaps someone is trying to convince you nap time is over (when it definitely is not)?  These are a few indicators you may have a toddler in your home. 

Below are 4 of the top 8 signs our house is occupied by a toddler:

(1) There is an upbeat, but irritating song in your head.
Half the time it takes me until noon to even realize a toddler tune has been buzzing around in my head and to those nearby all morning.  Then reality sets in: this song won't stop reminding me of the joys of new foods (Try it!  You'll like it!) until a new, equally positive and repetitive song replaces it.  It's a never-ending cycle.  

Somehow an Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song snuck into our home and now those squeaky verses about hoola-hoops are horrifyingly playing over and over in my head.  If you see me staring blankly ahead while at a busy crosswalk, I am most likely weighing the pros and cons of throwing myself into the oncoming traffic to make the voices stop.

(2) You lose arguments. Even when you win.

Chase: Mom!  Mom!  A PS truck! 
Me: Great job seeing the UPS truck!
Chase: No Mom.  PS Truck.  No UPS.

This conversation took place on auto-loop for about 5 minutes before I just let him have the victory.  Honestly.  I'm arguing with a 2 year old.  They don't fight fair.  They don't even know the rules.  

We also have a daily discussion on eating candy for breakfast.  Every.  Morning.  While I never cave, his determination is steadfast.  I am sure as he thinks it's only a matter of time before he breaks me as he tilts his head to the side, slightly raises his eyebrows, and uses his sweetest voice with arms out-stretched: Candy?

The weirdest arguments to date are over songs...sung correctly.  Example:  

All:  A B C D...
Chase: (interrupting angrily) No mom.  Like this: A B C D...
Which, as seen above, is exactly what we all just sang.  
We start again:  A B C D...
Chase:  NO MOM. Like this: A B C D... 

At this point, I just stop singing because (based on history) I will never get it correct.

(3) Story time is apparently judged like American Idol
Against my wishes, a new tradition at Chase's bedtime is to tell him a story.  What a cute idea, right?  Well, the receiver of the stories tends to be a bit critical and while my husband is a master story teller (and coincidentally an amazing liar), I am not.  Growing up on a farm gives Kevin all sorts of made-for-small-boys stories involving cows, chickens and scooters.  

Chase caught on quickly that story time isn't my forte.  Try as I might, most stories illicit the reaction of My no like that story mom with him offering me the chance to tell a new one.  Most likely hoping the next one will be better.  It will not.  One night it was apparently so bad, he asked "Where's Daddy?" 

(4) You say weird things
The statements of "because I'm the mom, that's why" and the like aren't ideal, but saying them is not weird (or surprising).  Instead, it's phrases like the below which continue to throw me off.  Never did I expect such sentences to come from my lips:
  • I will dunk you through the basketball hoop one more time, then we have to get ready for bed
  • Please don't fist-bump your brother while he's sleeping
  • That's not 'penis' butter, you mean 'peanut' butter (I'm not kidding)
The other four Toddler signs to follow in the coming weeks....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, It's Back to Work I Go

A small view into our morning walks to school....

It's officially been 12 weeks and it's back to the workforce I go....with mixed emotions. 

After getting into a routine of having two babes, Chase (the oldest) and I were able to create a new relaxed morning routine in order to spend some extended time together.  With no need to arrive at school by a certain time, we packed up the littlest family member in the car seat and meandered our time away.  

There was extra time spent getting ready for school, petting the piggy (yes, there is a pig in our park), and cheering on the construction & landscape workers along our route.  Stopping to hop on tree roots and spontaneously dance on the sidewalk was no problem.  

And while the beginning of my time with Kiefer was inexplicably hard (see What Not to Say for proof), the past few weeks have brought smiles and coos unlike I have ever seen.  Even Chase is entertained and has full blown "conversations" with his Lil' Bro.

Besides spending time with the kids, my maternity leave gave me the ability (and stress) to settle into our new home.  However, this "settling" takes some extra cash as we re-modeled, re-painted, and re-decorated.  

It is safe to say my husband is glad to have my attention focused back at work with less time to spend money on our house. 

While the return to work creates a more hectic morning routine and less time to fix up the home, I look forward to it for a myriad of reasons.  I won't bore you with all of them, but the short and sweet of it is I actually love my job.  Being back with my clients, bringing vision to reality, and the fast-pace of it all is exciting.   

Additionally, as I folded the last of our laundry and put away the last dish, I can't ignore another big milestone of our new normal.  With my return to work, the household duties are shared!!  As a non-lover of laundry and dishes, this will not only ease my load, but make me an all-around happier person.  

However, there is no denying the most exciting change.  There is pure bliss in relinquishing my reign as the solo night-time pal of Kiefer's each (long) night.  After 3 months of not sleeping, I look forward to getting a luxurious 6 or 7 hours of sleep tonight.  And every other night.

And with that, I bid you good night -- someone (this girl!) needs to figure out how to work the alarm clock again ~