Sunday, September 27, 2009

27 kid-free hours

On Friday morning, I took the kids up to my parents house for a sleepover. I hung around for lunch and left them at about 2 p.m.

And didn't have to pick them up until 5 p.m. the next day.

That was 27 whole hours without kids. And let me tell you, it was pure bliss.

The reason for this blissful 27 hours was that Ryan and I were going to a concert on Friday night with friends for a friend's birthday and we knew it would be a late night. (And it was. It was 2 a.m. by the time we rolled in -- having had just one, two...or maybe it was six drinks.) So rather than hiring a sitter, we asked my parents if they were interested in taking the kids.

They jumped at the idea -- and so did we.

Because in the three and a half years since Austin was born, we've had several nights out -- whether it be a date night (which we don't do nearly often enough) or a concert or even a meeting at the bank -- without the kids. Nights out are great and, as a parent, are very-much needed to maintain some sense of sanity.

But by sending the kids for a sleepover instead of getting a sitter, not only didn't we have a curfew on Friday night but we also didn't have a wake-up call on Saturday morning.

So, for only the second time since Austin was born, we woke up in our own bed on our own accord. So, yes, we slept until 10:30 a.m. And the only reason I got out of bed at that time and didn't roll over and go back to sleep was because I really wanted McDonald's breakfast -- and it ends at 11 a.m.

This isn't the first time the kids have gone for sleepovers -- but with the exception of that one other time three years ago, the sleepovers have always been because we wanted to go out of town. And yes, it's nice to go somewhere fun and sleep in a hotel -- and we've been on a few really nice mini-vacations since the kids were born --but when peace and quiet don't normally reside in your home, there's something really awesome about waking up in your own bed to a quiet house. And then taking full advantage of the peace and quiet by enjoying a cup of coffee while reading the paper and watching TV.

Which is exactly what we did when I got home with our greasy McDonald's breakfast.

After a couple of hours of that, we figured that we should use the kid-free zone to our full advantage and, as much as lounging around all day is nice, we got some stuff done around the house without interuption. We moved some furniture, cleared out some clutter and then, just because we could, we lounged around and watched some more TV before it was time to pick up the kids and return the house to its normal state.

I love the normal state of this house and I wouldn't change it for the world. But stay-cation sleepovers are definitely going to be booked into the calendar again from time to time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bye bye nap time

It's official. Austin has given up his naps.

I was quite surprised when it happened actually, which is odd because I should've been expecting it. He started fighting nap time over a year ago but I persevered and managed to get him to start napping almost daily again. I had to, I couldn't fathom the idea of having an infant and a two-year-old non-napper all day, every day.

So I fought with him and I was more stubborn than he was. And I won. For the last year, he slept most afternoons for one and a half to two and a half hours. It meant later bedtimes, but that didn't bother me, because it meant that both kids slept every afternoon and I could get stuff done. Whether it was laundry, cleaning, cutting the grass or working on my latest writing project -- I could get stuff done.

Not anymore.

Three weeks ago, Austin stopped napping. Just like that. In fact, in the last three weeks, he has slept only one afternoon. It doesn't matter what we do in the morning -- play at the park, go to the pool and even walk (not ride in the stroller but walk) around the zoo -- he does not nap in the afternoon. Instead, he goes into his room soon after Alex goes down for her nap. We read a book, he gets under the covers and I turn out the lights. And he lies there, sometimes quietly, sometimes not, for about 20 minutes.

And then he calls me to come back. And I tell him he can't come out of his room yet and give him a pile of books to read. When he's done those, after anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, he comes and finds me.

So I sort of get 30 to 45 minutes to myself to get stuff done. But I have to run up and see him half way through that time. And, let's face it, 30 to 45 minutes isn't really a lot of time in the grand scheme of the number of things I'm trying to accomplish. Some days, if I still have a lot I need to do -- or I just need some more kid-free time to myself -- I pop in a show or part of a movie for him. (Which is what he's doing right now while I spent a few kid-free moments with my computer. Although, for the record, he's watching a movie because I'm waiting for a response to the work-related e-mail I just sent.)

I realize I'm going to have to re-think the way I do things. Letting Austin sit and watch a movie some afternoons is great -- because I need time away from him and to work on my freelance writing and he does need some down time -- but other afternoons, I need to focus on spending some quality time with him. We could do preschool crafts or play board games or bake or any other quiet, yet productive, activity.

All fun things, yes, but unfortunatley, none of those fun activities get my laundry done or my freelance work written.

One thing's for sure. I'm going to miss nap time. A lot.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flashback finds

Apparently at some point in my life, I had a bad habit of putting pictures on top of pictures in frames. By this I mean that when I wanted to change or update a picture in a frame, I would leave the old one behind it instead of removing it.

I don't know why I did this. I don't even remember doing this. But I obviously used to because in the last few months I've found not one but two old pictures of me and Ryan behind the picture that was old enough to need replacing in the first place.

The first one of the two of us was taken after my commencement ceremony -- so 10 years ago. We both looked so young and it made me laugh so I tacked it to the wall by my computer.

Then last night, I found an even older picture of the two of us. I was actually moving a wedding photo to a new frame when I discovered that behind this wedding picture was a picture of us from what I think might be a rez semi-formal. But I'm not sure. We looked young. Really young. And the photo really made me laugh.

This happened to me a few years ago too but that time it was a high school photo I found. And once, awhile ago, I opened up a frame and found a picture from a friend's wedding in the back. This friend is now divorced and has been for quite a few years. In fact, she's remarried, so I have no idea what possessed me to keep the photo (although, to my defense, I may have hidden the photo in the back before she remarried).

I don't know if this habit is because I was being sentimental when changing the pictures or because I just didn't know what to do with the old ones when I put a new ones in. But I am pretty sure that I have now checked all my frames for any old finds.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The countdown to race day is on

...and I'm getting nervous. Really nervous.

What was I thinking signing up for a 10k race? What would possess me to want to do something like this? Ten kilometres is really damn far.

Especially when, with a little over a month to go until race day, I'm still 2.2 kilometres shy of being able to run that far. (So, yes, that means that my personal best is 7.8 kilometres. Although a typical run for me isn't quite that far.)

Not only am I getting nervous -- but I don't seem to have a lot of time these days to get out and train. Between baseball for the two of us (although at least mine is done now) and me being so busy with two projects on the go right now that I've been working almost every evening for the last week or so, there's few hours left in the day to sleep, let alone go running. Yesterday morning, when I went out, it was the first time I'd been out running in 11 days. 11 days! I'll never be able to push past 7.8 if I only go running once every 11 days!

I just need to keep thinking positive, keep reminding myself that I can do it and tell myself that I will run, not walk, over the finish line. Because if I'm nervous even though I have the will to do it, goodness knows that it's not will that will get me to finish the raise, but sheer stubbornness.

Monday, September 07, 2009

From relish to salsa

The relish project went so well and tasted so good that this weekend I made salsa. Now that I've used up all my cucumbers (except for the three more that are growing out back), I now had to use up some of my tomatoes.

The relish was easy -- all I had to do was chop up the veggies, let them sit for an hour in pickling salt and then cook it all up for 20 minutes in a pot with some spices. And, even though I stressed about the canning process beforehand -- thinking it was going to be difficult -- it was pretty simple and straightforward. Really, I just followed step-by-step directions.

So, I made salsa on Friday night while Ryan was out for a boys night. For starters, it was a lot more work. From the time I started chopping vegetables to the time I finished canning the last jars, a little over three hours had gone by.

I now have 12 cups of salsa in my basement and unfortunately, it's not that tasty. In fact, it's not really all that edible with chips. It's too vinegar-y. But it's not my fault, I followed the recipe and the directions to the letter, it's just not to our liking.

Oh well, I'll use it up over time for cooking with -- it'll probably be tasty when cooked up with chicken.

But one bad recipe won't deter me. In another week I should have enough red tomatoes again to make salsa all over again (and then a week after that there should be enough tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce -- yes I have a lot of tomatoes). And this time I'll use my friend's recipe -- I know it's good. If it doens't turn out then I'll give up and no it's me.