My friends and I are tired, rounds 1 and 2.

While we did our little kansas loopty loop, we popped into Topeka to visit some friends, Jessica & Tom. Jessica had texted me that our other friends Mike and Gina were flying in from florida to visit family in Wichita and staying the night. She suggested we do too, but since it was on a thursday and I knew Ryan would have to take off, I didn’t even mention it to him. He hoards his vacation time and says I ask him to take off every week. I can certifiably say that I have no recollection of these demands, but I wouldn’t put it past my little-sleep self at 6am. It’s my last ditch effort for an extra hour of sleep, even though Annie normally wakes up anyway so I wouldn’t sleep in if he had taken off, but still. It’s nice to be sleep deprived with other people.

Wait, no isn’t. Haven’t you watched Survivor?

Anyway, I came in late with this group, meeting them through Ryan in college, but they’ve already seen the best and worst of me, so it’s all good.

I call Jessica my gateway baby drug because I was scared as heck to start a family. We just kept delaying, delaying, going on trips, delaying, sleeping in, delaying, delaying. And then Jessica got pregnant and watching her go through it and coming out alive on the other end urged me to do the same. And after I got pregnant, Gina got pregnant. So our first borns were all within that year. Fun!! And what better way to celebrate our soon-to-be girlie friends than a trip to South Carolina!

But as we discovered, there may have been better ways. Because, hi, we were tired.

I was too tired to even write about the trip and even took a mini-blogging hiatus afterwards that’s how zapped I was.  So before I nod off this time around let’s go down memory lane and revisit this vacation.

Ruthie did pretty well on the plane, sleeping for most of it. When I had to nurse her, Ryan would hold up a blanket really high thinking I’d appreciate the privacy. It really only drew everyone’s attention to the guy holding up a pink elephant blanket above his head

DSC_5416 DSC_5409
We landed in Jacksonville and visited my cousins briefly before driving to South Carolina. I did manage to write about it: here. We made a pit stop in Savannah for a quick tour with the most hilarious trolly driver in America and I did wrote about that as well: here.

So after we got in the car and drove a bit more, we finally made it to our beach house. Ahhhhhhh. Serenity now.
DSC_5251Little did I know, though, that the majority of the trip would be spent on that blue deck with a teething baby on my chest. See ya serenity.

But yay! We’d made it! And I forced Mike and Gina to take a selfie within .03 nano seconds of arriving.
DSC_5257Then we looked at the clock.
DSC_5252Holla, I yelled with a high kick. It’s after 12:00, someone grab me a beer!

That was my first and last attempt at getting loud and wild. I probably went in the back and took a nap afterwards. But soon we were out the door to hang out on the beach!
DSC_5260The weather was nice. I think we got there right before high season, so it was cheaper rent, but getting warmer.
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DSC_5282
DSC_5275Then all of a sudden everyone spotted something and started pointing. What is it? What is it????
DSC_5285Oh, just that chick nursing again.
DSC_5284So even though it was warm, it turned windy. Fast. To the point that our umbrella blew away and I never went back down to the beach.
DSC_5271Because this happened:
DSC_5303Mucho sand in the face.

So we moms spent a lot of time playing inside or on the deck.
DSC_5291Isla and Ruth getting to know each other.
DSC_5300The rest of us did too, over a heated game of Pictionary. There were four other people that came, and Jessica and Tom were arriving the next day.
DSC_5302And when Jessica did arrive? She walked in with a baby bump!! She was 5 months pregnant with her second just as Gina and I were finally coming to terms that we’d had our first. It was a complete shock and I of course squealed like the house was on fire.

It almost was, with Ryan’s birthday cake. Oh yeah, his birthday fell during this week and we through him a mustache party to celebrate him. And his mustache.
DSC_5315Pin The Stache on Ryan. This is called: What games can I make before hand and take on the plane without taking up too much room because, for the love, this baby girl’s stuff is all of a sudden crowding into my cargo space.
DSC_5307
DSC_5313There was also a mustache pinata.
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DSC_5330After Jessica and Tom arrived, we decided to go to the downtown and have a little picnic. I think everyone else went on an excursion to a fort or something.
DSC_5319We walked around for a bit and then went home… to probably nap. I feel like that’s all I did. I honestly can’t remember any stories. I think there was something about a group of girls staying in the house next to us and we were egging the single guys in our group to go over and talk to them. I think it was funny? I can’t remember.

You want to know what’s not funny? How about being the same size as a five month pregnant woman?
DSC_5321Breastfeeding does not shed the pounds off this body. Whatever!!

So that’s that. We got home and solemnly swore that we would not take babies on another beach vacation. When they’re older, yes for sure!! Babies? Nah. You guys are sitting out next time, sorry.

But I do love visits! And that’s what we did at our little pit stop last week. Our girls are getting to be at the same playing level, which is so fun to watch. But what’s awesome is that after Jessica had her second baby, Gina and I followed suit within that next year. So our seconds are also within a year of each other! I love it.
DSC_8240These two cracked me up.
DSC_8243I just remember Ruthie running up to Olive, poking her in the belly, then Olive poking Ruthie in the belly, them both laughing and then running off. Yes! Friends!

And the mommy friends had some fun for themselves too. Texts were thrown between us beforehand with suggestions on what we should do: thrifting or wine tasting… and then Gina mentioned that she’d love a hair cut. Next thing you know, Jessica had us all booked for a cut that afternoon.
DSC_8247I was so happy to have someone wash my hair and brush it. Happiness.

I got done first, so started roaming the store searching for an elusive brand of hair product. When I was in 9th grade, my friend Geneva had the best smelling shampoo/conditioner on earth. I’ve yet to find it since, but I was sure it was here. And enlisted an employee for help. I described the smell from a childhood memory for about five minutes and pointed to a hairspray that kind of looked like the bottle I remembered.

She firmly insisted I stay away from that brand because it would make my hair look crunchy, gently led me to another area with medium hold, and showed it to me.
DSC_8250I stood there, locked eyes with her and daydreamily said, “What do I do Sarah? Do I go for a brand that will make me look pretty or do I go with a brand that will bring back wonderful memories and smells?

[pause]

“What.” she said. Not asked. Said. She was annoyed. So I bought both for wasting her time.

The emotional buy ended up not being the one from my childhood. But I did find it! It’s no longer sold in the US, only Canada… Revlon Outrageous.. and seriously, I’m not the only. Every review mentions the smell: http://www.makeupalley.com/product/x_showreview.asp?page=3&pagesize=20&ItemID=12492&

So I left poor little Sarah with her cute braid and found Jessica in the makeup department giving herself a makeover.
DSC_8251Gina finished up with a cute cut and color and we were off!
DSC_8256I had to get a shot first though.
DSC_8259We did stop at a goodwill just so I could get a fix while the dads were watching the kids, and then we went home for dinner and playing. By 8pm, the kids were going strong and the adults were slowing down.

I love seeing our kids’ reunion and can’t wait for more of them, but dang we’re tired.

I think an adults trip sans the kiddos is in order. No offense Ruth and Annie. You need to spend quality time with your grandparents, that’s the real reason.

Ahem.

This makes me happy.

We got back on another tour d’Annie and are exhausted. But we saw family and friends and family that are like friends and friends that are like family so it’s all good.

But before we jump into that excursion, here are some snippits that I enjoy.

1. Tap Dancing with Ruth.

DSC_7968I found those sweet tap shoes at the Goodwill for $1.50. Yes, please! She slipped at one point and I never thought I’d get her into tap shoes again. But after a few more attempts on the “swippry” floor, we’re back in business. I think we’ll put her in a class next year. She’ll probably tell the teacher how to really tap. B to the Ossy. I have NO idea where she gets that from.
2. Finding a horseshoe in our backyard.
DSC_8099Do you see it? It now hangs in our living room. I like to think that a family in a covered wagon heading up to Kansas City to catch the Oregon trail threw it into the bushes and it happened to land perfectly in the good luck position. Thank you Sarah or Laura or Jane, whomever threw it.

I guess I better check and see it’s covered in cholera. You know, because that’s how cholera is spread… via rust on a horseshoe. You’re welcome.

3. Feetsies in the air.
DSC_8192That’s it.

4. Somersaults
DSC_8209Only because I can’t do one anymore to save my life. I guess I could if it were to literally save my life. But I’d probably die from doing it, so what would be the point? At least on my obituary it would say I never gave up. Not even when asked to throw my legs over my head for no good reason.

5. Nose pickin’ and hanging with the sister
DSC_8206These two scare me together, but they do make me happy. It’s a happy scared. Or I’m scared happy.

I need sleep. Good bye.

Terrible Twos or Terrific Twos?

I’ve heard both. And we’re in the middle of both for shizure. As often as Ruthie’s mood swings will shift throughout an afternoon, so will mine in my anger to exasperation to pride to joy then back again.

But here we are. She’s officially two.

We kept it low key (again) this year. Considering how much she’s changed from age 1 to age 2, I’m sure we’ll throw an actual party next year. But this girl would be happy just to have me and Ryan right now, so we obliged.

The night before her birthday we gave her our present. It was a craigslist-bought play kitchen. Oh, did I mention I’m cheap too?

DSC_8110In fact, her previous present was going to be a cardboard kitchen from all of our moving boxes. Ryan is a great artist, so I thought it’d be neat to create. But I also kept one eye out on craigslist just on the off chance that something would pop up. And it did. An un-opened little kitchen.

I almost didn’t buy it though.

There was some, let me see, slight miscommunication which I took for WEIRDO ALERT. In actuality, it was the owner’s 9 year old daughter communicating with me b/c they were spanish-speaking. Yes, mom, Ryan came with me and we met at Walmart. Settle.

Anyway, we were hoping she’d like it.

She was silent.
DSC_8113We took that as a success, because she went right to work.
DSC_8121I, of course, squealed for her. When was the last time I squealed over pots and pans? Uh, never. Wait. I take that back… maybe when I wheeled and dealed with the Sams Club lady over a set of pans. It was the display set and they weren’t going to reorder it, so I asked for even more money taken off.

That reminds of when my sister and I watched an Oprah show on how you can haggle for everything. It showed a guy at Target asking for more discounts on something, and them giving it to him. So we jumped in the car, drove to the mall and haggled the poor pimply-faced teenager behind the register to death over a pair of already clearanced out earrings.

We ended up putting them back. Whatever.

Haggling.

This also reminds me of on a trip in Mexico with some girlfriends, they asked me to haggle in spanish for more money off some drinks at the duty free port. You know, where they also all speak english? I think we ended up paying more than the asking price.

Whatever.

Again.

DSC_8123Those clothes are part of a washing machine part on the side. That’s her favorite part. Good for her, I say.

The next day on her actual birthday, I made her favorite breakfast: yogurt, yogurt, yogurt.

She was ecstatic as you can tell.
DSC_8124Even more so while eating it.
DSC_8125Happy Birthday Ruthie, here’s a broomstick with a horsehead to run around on.
DSC_8131It’s like Wicked meets Godfather.

We played outside for a little bit and then got ready for her birthday dinner: breakfast burritos, pancake donuts, OJ for the kid, and mimosas for the adults!
DSC_8144We quickly sang happy birthday before the house burnt down.
DSC_8145Her highchair decorations crack me up. They reminded me and Ryan of something from our childhood. No cutesy tootsy perfectly arranged decor here (I’m amazed that moms have the energy to pull that off!). No, it’s called “Let’s see, here’s a couple balloons, a couple wrinkly ribbons, and some crumpled tissue paper to hide the masking tape. It’s PERFECT.”

I really wanted to make a banner out of the old printer paper to polish it off, you remember with one letter on each paper? From this printer?
But I couldn’t drive to my parent’s house and back in time.

Back to the singing. She definitely knew what birthdays meant this year. It was cute.

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DSC_8147
DSC_8148
DSC_8152Nathan and Allison gave Ruthie a gift they knew she would like, since she uses her aunt’s whenever they’re together.
DSC_8154What any toddler wants: A waterbottle!
DSC_8156But check this chick out. She’s obsessed. About water. Because of the bottle. There IS a God!!
DSC_8158The rest of the night was low-key, talking in the living room while Ruthie watched cartoons.
DSC_8159Happy Birthday Ruthie!

You crack me up and you’re only two. Yay!

Labor Day

No I mean we literally labored. And the child that came out of us was a cleaned up front and back yard. We couldn’t have done it without my sister and brother-in-law. They are freaking work horses and this was their, well at least her, idea to spend the weekend to accomplish this.

We love having company! Especially other rug rats to play with my rug rats.

They drove in Friday night and ate dinner at my brother’s house. I stayed as long as I could before Annie made her time-for-bed battle cry and then waited for them back home.

It was dark when they showed up but everyone was wired. So of course we had to start sharing youtube videos.
DSC_7992After a couple hours of catching up, we went to sleep.

Ruthie had already crashed before everyone came over, so it was a surprise for her to see them. Each morning was the same: she ran out excitedly and then after 30 minutes would refuse to leave Ryan’s side. After another 30 minutes of adjusting she’d venture back out to play.

And boy do I love see these cousins play. Now I know why my Joe offered us $500 to have a kid 6 years ago. When I got pregnant, I asked for that money. He said the statue of limitations had expired. Whatever.
DSC_7993 DSC_7994After Ruthie came once, went away, and came back to us, they gave her some birthday presents.

You’ll never guess what one of those presents was. Well, actually, this photo will give you a clue:
DSC_7996Hair accessories! My gosh, look at that rat’s nest.
DSC_7997There was only one day since they’ve left where hell froze over and she asked me to put a barette in her hair. Every other day has been spent throwing the teeny tiny fluorescent hair ties all over the living room.  I’m just vacuuming them up, sorry Lisa. But don’t worry, there’s about a million more.
DSC_7999I’m sure everyone thinks I’m just too lazy to fix her hair. This is partly true, but I have two witnesses who saw her move her hair back in front of her eyes after I tried to brush it to the side, like so:
DSC_8079I have a feeling she’s going to be the odd duck at school. Thank God! Odd ducks are so much more interesting.

After the birthday wishes, we had an impromptu dance party. I got up in the mix and Joe yelled out, Pat!! (My mother’s name). I know he’s suggesting I resemble 67 year old Pat and not 22 year old Pat (or “Peaches” as she was known in college), but I am still flattered.
DSC_8002In the midst of the dance party, Annie came out with the most ecstatic expression in baby history.
DSC_8004We passed her to Will to settle her down. Nope, still freaking excited was this girl.
DSC_8005The first day everyone met up with Matt at the local water park. Annie and I stayed put as it was really hot and humid. So we squeezed in some reading
DSC_8008and coloring.
DSC_8009Before they left, Lisa and I discussed what to do with that front room. I had thought about a dining room, but kind of nixed it. Then Lisa said one thing: Lots of memories are made around a dining table.

So that sealed it for me, and while they were out I started moving furniture.
DSC_8010Their dog Alistair came along for the ride.
DSC_8011And it ended up in the toy room, which I love. And not because I can lay there pretending to be sick so Ruthie makes me some fake soup.
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I also see a girl laying there in the afternoon sun reading Pride and Prejudice or Alice in Wonderland or Little Women, forgetting that there’s a world around her. My mom says she has distinct memories of reading during the summer with a big bowl of popcorn at her side. She told me that in highschool and so one summer I followed suit. Tanned skin from swimming, laying on a couch in the air conditioning with buttered popcorn, reading a silly romance novel when I hadn’t even kissed someone yet. Yes, this late bloomer was in heaven.

A while later they came home and we immediately all changed and put in a movie. I knew Ruth needed a nap, but there was no way she was gonna miss out on all this.

DSC_8016I left them in the very capable hands of my husband to go nurse Annie. When I returned, the baby was finally napping.
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Awww.

Ruthie tried playing with him, but eventually went back to the movie.
DSC_8018Some other randoms. Learning the cup dance thing.
DSC_8022Getting chased.
DSC_8019And having dinner in our soon to be dining room.
DSC_8021The next day was slightly less hot. So we got up, ate breakfast and went to work outside. Our yard was a jungle and it took all of us (thank you Annie for taking a decent nap) to help. Ruthie liked tagging along.
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Elayna found a caterpillar and named it Squirmy or something like that. DSC_8029We don’t know what happened to it. Ruth probably ate it, but if that kept her occupied for five minutes, then I’m all for it.
DSC_8030I’m going to show some before and after pics, but first let’s get through this day. It literally lasted for. EVER. (name that movie! Wrong – it’s The Sandlot). That’s the kind of summer day you want…. if you’re at the beach. Not when you’re working. Or having to stand and spray the Slip N Slide because the water pressure through the hose wasn’t enough.
DSC_8038Annie didn’t care.
DSC_8035Neither did they.
DSC_8036 Okay, maybe she did a little.
DSC_8042It’s nice to have these extra set of hands. It’s also nice to see how eager Lisa is to hold her too. Thank you for showing them so much love.
DSC_8043But back to this.
DSC_8049My humor is apparently that of a sixth grader because I guffawed.

After a bit, we brought out some fireworks that were bought on the fourth but never used. I mean, what better way to get on my neighbor’s good side, right? This was my idea and then I ended up being the one running into the house red-faced and embarrassed after a screaming rocket ship something or other explodes in the air.
DSC_8060The smoke drifted over to the neighbors and into the road. I was so paranoid, I was sure each driver that went by was going to call the cops.
DSC_8059You can take the girl out of school, but you can’t take the school girl out of the girl… what? Whatever, you get it. I am a rule follower at heart and even those sparklers had my eyes darting around waiting to get called to the principal’s office.
DSC_8054We rounded out the evening with a little soccer in the soon-to-be dining room and a little talking. With my niece and nephew. We took turns sharing stories about them when they were little and I could tell they liked it. I hope they will one day sit around telling stories like my parents and uncles and aunts do. It’s what drove my passion for our genealogy. We come from a line of farmers on either side and I just learned how to make jelly. I knew it was in me somewhere!! There’s even talk of a spring roadtrip to see where my dad’s side lived, which ironically is in Arkansas. I think we thought all of us were from Missouri/Kansas.

So after the reminiscing, this (always) tired mom went to sleep.

We woke up and threw on some bacon and eggs before they drove home.

Joe tried one last time to get Ruthie to hug him. It’ll happen, Joe. It’ll happen. She did imitate your laugh, so you know you’re in her heart somewhere.
DSC_8062Someone wanted to go with them. If I had known what the next two weeks had in store for me with this girl, I would’ve gladly sent her. Holy Super Nanny guerilla tactics.
DSC_8064But I was blissfully unaware and gazed fondly on her as she crashed on the sofa.
DSC_8094We’re so excited to see them again.

Happy Sad Happy Sad Happy Sad Happy, I’m exhausted.

It started with bananas in her yogurt. The world apparently ended.

Then she threw a toy at me. I told her I was sad and that I’m frowning.

What do you say when you make someone sad,” I asked.

[Pause]

Thank you,” she said.

Later I put on an apron. She looked at me sweetly and said that my dress was pretty.

We rocked the music box. Happy.

DSC_7943DSC_7939DSC_7940
Uh, oh. Sad/Mad again, and I have no idea why. I’m scared.DSC_7944
Ryan came home and saved the day. He asked Ruth to help him clean the kitchen. Happy. (Let’s hope that continues through her teenage years).DSC_7948DSC_7950

That map is hung up now by the way.

After a few books that evening, Ryan took Ruthie into her bedroom to go to sleep. I ran into the room and gave her one last kiss as they made up her bed. We looked at each other as I slowly closed the door to walk down the hall. And then I heard, “Mommy. Mommy! Hold you? Hold you?” Out she came running down the hall arms outstretched. She even asked for me to brush her teeth which is normally a daddy/ruthie gig. Before I tucked her in I said a prayer for her. About my love for her, thanking God for her, for patience for one another, to treat each other with love.

Another day, another mood. Or actually the same moods, over and over.

Lazy morning = Happy.

DSC_7985 That mood continued as she played mother Mary with a blanket.DSC_7988 I see she’s following in her cousin’s footsteps in the nativity play. Elayna was a natural Mary.DSC_7990 All she needs is a donkey. And a baby Jesus.DSC_7991 Speaking of babies. And speaking of being happy.

Annie.

Happy so. much. of. the. time. I jumped in the shower during a nap and came out to find this pair look at me.

DSC_8085 She kills me. Over and over again. DSC_8083DSC_8091 Whenever I nurse her, it takes about 10 seconds before she pulls away, looks up and smiles. Big smiles. DSC_8088That wasn’t a smile, but it was in between grins. The girl has to take a break occasionally, okay? Love her.

But Ruthie man. We’re knee-deep in the throes of it. Especially when Ryan is there. Also, especially when Ryan’s there holding Annie.

So sad.

DSC_8065 Maybe she’s upset with the hole in her shorts. Nope, it’s Daddy holding Annie.DSC_8066DSC_8068DSC_8067 Ryan kept asking her to let Mommy hold her. She would run to me, kiss me, and then yell Daddy’s turn. She yelled at him to put Annie down on her dangly thing on the ground. She rolled around under the dangly thing. She crawled on all fours. She reached out, she clung. It was sad for us all.DSC_8072 But Ryan and I waited out those five minutes (that felt like 5 hours), she calmed down after realizing he was not going to give Annie up, came over to me, and we read some books together.DSC_8078Happy. And sweaty.

I’ve never gone through so many mood swings in my life, except for when I tried that metabolife in college. I don’t think Ruth has been taking metabolife though. We always compliment her thighs.

Whew! I wonder what tomorrow is going to bring. Our first day back to just mommy, Ruthie, and Annie in over four days. We may need an ice breaker. Maybe we’ll just cry together.