7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 5)

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

— 1 —

Do you remember those hydrangeas from my last Quick Takes? The ones that were supposed to inspire me to clean my whole house? Well, it only took an entire week, but I finally cleaned… one whole room. And I folded about 1/6 of my clean laundry and washed about 1/12 of the dirty. FAIL.

Still, do you want to see my clean kitchen?

Kitchen Shot 1  P1150167

P1150172  P1150190

— 2 —

But really, this is what my house has mostly looked like lately:

Family room mess

— 3 —

Which leads me to yesterday. I had a terrific idea. We’ve been going through that whole pre-dinner-time misery that is The Witching Hour, and I was fantasizing about somebody taking my boys for two hours (4 to 6pm, that is) every evening. Think of all the quiet… and the productivity… and the not dealing with weepy/hyper/aggressive/loopy/destructive/clingy toddlers…

And then it occurred to me – don’t working (outside of the home) people do these things called “happy hours”? These things that I maybe, kind of remember from a life I lived long, long ago? How absolutely amazing would it be to have a sitter come pick up the boys – and then chauffer me to a happy hour? (A stressed-out-mommy happy hour – not a normal, working-outside-of-the-home people happy hour. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about my disheveled clothes and that dazed witching-hour look in my eyes.)

The idea reminded me of this post from Ana Hahn. The happy hour playdate! How brilliant is that? I could do that! Except… I live a half-hour’s drive from all my friends. None of us would feel comfortable driving after sharing cocktails. C’mon, Ladies! Don’t you want to move out to this beautiful little downtown?

Baled Hay

See? Isn’t it peaceful?


— 4 —

Speaking of the witching hour, on Tuesday we spent it at the eye doctor’s. (Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?) It had been FOUR years since my last appointment and therefore my last pair of new glasses. It had been one year since my son ripped one of the arms off said pair. The arm was taped into place until about a week ago, when the tape would no longer hold and I just made do with the glasses perched precariously on my nose and left ear. It’s very attractive, I assure you.

(Perhaps I can seem slightly less pathetic by informing you that I only use my glasses to drive, so it’s not like I have to walk around with just 2/3 of the frames on my head. But then again… this is not the first time I’ve resorted to wearing glasses with an arm missing. For an extended period of time. I believe my last pair met the same demise as my current one. It’s pretty sad that what excites me most about new glasses is that they rest on both of my ears.)

Anyway, on to the kiddos’ doctor’s office behavior – or misbehavior, as it is better described. Here’s the good and the bad of the experience:

  • Good: I had the foresight to buy the boys bribery milkshakes on the way there.
  • Bad: The shakes lasted about five minutes each. And I had to jump up from the examination chair about a million times to wipe up the splatter, using half a package of baby wipes in the process.
  • Good: My older son was asleep in the double stroller at the onset of the appointment.
  • Bad: He woke up about 15 minutes later.
  • Worse: My younger son didn’t sleep at all.
  • Good: My younger (20-month-old) son knew enough about the alphabet to shout out “F!” as I tried to discern the letters on the screen.
  • Bad: Um… let me reiterate that the letter he chose to shout was “F.” Also, I felt like I did one-thousand times worse on the tests than I had ever done before.
  • Good: Before arriving, I had told the boys what to expect from the appointment, resolved to keep them in their stroller the entire time, packed plenty of books and toys, and warned them that, no matter what, they were NOT TO TOUCH ANY GLASSES.
  • Bad: They cried. They squirmed. They panicked. I caved on the stroller thing. They climbed. They screamed. They grabbed pair after pair after pair of glasses. They wrestled me as I tried to wrangle them. They wrestled each other because that’s what they do. They tried to make off with the keys to one of the glasses cases. They pushed the stroller into another case of glasses.
  • Good: They did no real damage, except maybe to my blood pressure.
  • Bad: As I told the poor optician, this was the worst in-public behavior I’d ever had from my boys.
  • Good: She said it was not the worst they’d ever had in their office.
  • Better: The staff could not have been nicer or more patient about it all.
  • Good: By the end of the ordeal, I had ordered two new pairs of glasses – regular ones and (my first-ever! I’m so excited!) prescription sunglasses.
  • Bad: Even with insurance and discounts, they cost about twice what I expected them to.
  • Good: They cost a little better than half what my husband expected them to. (This is pretty indicative of our wildy different styles of estimation: He allots himself more than enough time, money, etc. I always estimate a level way below what I need.)

— 5 —

I feel like I should step back from the complaining a bit to acknowledge that my boys gave me a bunch of sweet moments this week too. Even when I’m in a funk and everything’s a mess and the boys are rolling around the house like a pair of lion cubs, they brighten my day like almost nothing else can. This week my 3-year-old twice asked me if I was a princess. I told him I was. His imagination is taking off; it’s a thrill to see him always “yookin’ for abenture.” Both boys are expert snugglers; they give me lots and lots of hugs and kisses. The three-year-old has started to randomly tell me that he loves me. (Sometimes he’s especially clever and says “I wuv you” just as he’s about to be scolded for something.)

Frequently when I find myself worked up over something the boys have done, I have the blessed insight to ask them for a hug. I get a big bear hug from one or both of my little guys (both at once is the best) and I feel a world better, even if nothing else has changed.

— 6 —

And speaking of needing to feel a little better… I can’t say that I want to get into some controversial issues of society, religion, and politics on this blog and not touch on the Supreme Court’s DOMA and Proposition 8 decisions this week. I was not surprised; it’s clear to me that Western society is well on its way to accepting gay marriage. But the decisions still hit me hard. I was saddened and disheartened and I am allowed to be so.

I understand the jubilation of the gay couples wanting to marry and that of their friends who want marriage for them. But gay marriage is one of the most fundamental changes to the concept of family in all of human history. It is no small thing. And its impact is not confined to the individuals whose legal union it will enable.

I have a lot to say on the subject. I will say it. I hope you’ll read and consider what I have to say and weigh in with your own opinions. But I’m not going to say it all here, in number 6 of a “7 Quick Takes Friday.” Here, I’ll just acknowledge the enormity of what happened this week.

— 7 —

To end on a brighter note, let me say how happy I am to be having our dear teenage friend/ridiculously distant cousin Nina visiting us from Germany for a few weeks. I picked her up at the airport last night. We’ll be trying to fit in a bunch of fun activities while she’s here (and we also have a vacation to Minnesota coming up), so I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be able to do in July.

I hope, though, to have a chance to write up the story of how I met Nina’s family. To super-condense what is a very long, strange story: When I was studying in Germany 13 years ago, I visited the village that one of my ancestors had come from over 220 years before. While there I rang the doorbell of Nina’s grandfather’s house and he and I became friends. On one of my subsequent visits we discovered that we were indeed related – but that our last common ancestor lived in the 1600’s.

Myself and Nina in Germany, ten whole years ago

Myself and Nina in Germany, ten whole years ago

And believe it or not, my husband and I did something similar with his cousins on our honeymoon in Ireland. As my best friend puts it, “Julie, that’s just like you to walk into random villages and find people you’re related to!”


Go visit Jen to check out the rest of the Quick Takes!

9 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 5)

  1. 4 Quick Comments:
    1) Your kitchen looks beautiful!
    2) “Normal, work-outside-the-home-people happy hours” are really only for “work-outside-the-home-people-without-kids.” Those of us who work outside the home and have kids don’t get to partake in the happy hours anymore, either! But I love your idea of a sitter and a chauffer to allow all mommies (and daddies) to join in on the much-needed fun!
    3) Welcome back to Nina! Hope she (and you all) have a fabulous visit!
    4) Looking forward to reading more about your thoughts on DOMUS and Prop 8 when you get the chance to write that post.

    • Of course you are so right about number two, Cate! So let me revise my scheme: we need specialized babysitters/chauffers who pick up bedraggled parents and their offspring wherever their location, deposit the parents at a happy hour, and run the kids around the park enough times to make them sleepy and compliant that evening. Does that sound about right? 😉

  2. Kitchen looks awesome! I’m impressed that Jude knows some letters! And new glasses are definitely exciting (and, yes, super expensive!)

    • Thanks! I have to say that my excitement about the glasses grew even more last night as I squinted around looking for Nina at the airport. It will be so nice to be able to take my glasses around with me if I need to! (For the past year, I’ve been too fearful of it falling to pieces.)

  3. The first thing I told hubby when I was preparing to go back to work after my mat leave was that we’d be hiring someone to clean once a week. We recently cut back to once every two weeks and she was here yesterday. I’m currently revelling in my clean home while it lasts. Which should be for about another 2.8 minutes, by my calculations. 🙂

    Love the happy hour thing! I typically banish the boys from the main floor of the house to someone’s bedroom to play while I do the supper thing. I find after a day at work I just can’t handle the noise, even that from the TV or a DVD (my other go-to during the witching hour – yes, I’m that mom 😉 ). Most of the time the change of scenery is enough of a distraction for me to at least get some dinner prep done.

    • I can definitely see getting to the point where we’d consider hiring someone to help with the cleaning. For now, my strategy is to (1) try to deal with toy pick-up, dishes, and laundry on a daily basis and (2) only do actual cleaning when someone is coming over to visit. Ha! So, we’re (or maybe just I’m) comfortable in our own filth. 😉

      Good idea, re: banishment. I’m sure I’ll do that when they get a little bigger (and I guess I already banish them to the other side of the house as it is), but for now I don’t leave them alone upstairs. We’ll get there!

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