Friday, June 22, 2012

Packing with Toddlers

It's packing day!

Yaaaaaaaaay! (we really need a sarcasm font)

As I compile the list on my iPhone of all the things we need want to bring on our vacation this week, I am amazed at how two toddlers can require so much stuff.  Nobody told me when I was pregnant that my weekend pack list would go from three things - bikini, sundress, toothbrush - to literally dozens and dozens of ridiculous gadgets and gizmos.  A 30 pound kid?  Lets be modest and say they "require" about 150 pounds of crap.  Now that there are two of these little 30 pound people, we might as well rent a U-Haul.

When John was deployed last summer the packing was one of the reasons I dreaded travel.  Getting everything washed and folded and organized is hard enough.  But when you don't have your man to organize it in the car and make room for your boxer dog (and prevent said luggage from falling on said dog) it becomes a marathon of a chore.  I'm sure my neighbors thought I had consumed way too much coffee watching me sprint between the car and front door. I was worried that in the 2 minutes it took me put the suitcase in the trunk that Kate would have transitioned from watching "Sesame Street" to drawing on the walls or climbing the bookcase. You know those people whose children get into trouble, get injured, make the nightly news and everyone is tsk tsking asking "where were the parents?"  Well, I bet you that dad is deployed and mom is packing the car for grandma's house.  Because I was sure I was going to be one of "those" parents many many times.

Inevitably the packing and loading takes longer than the drive itself.  Then, of course, you forget the most important thing on your list.  Like Connor's "bunny bunny" or my pocket sized wine opener. God help us if we forget bunny bunny.  Seriously.  Not funny.

I think we could create a fairly accurate equation to represent what packing for toddlers is on a family vacation: Child weight x 5 = amount of crap you bring.  Divide by 2 for the amount of stuff you will actually use. Multiply by 1.5 for the amount of room you will need in the car on the way home. Why does stuff take up so much more room coming home? Probably the mixture of dirty clothes, laziness, and that new pet hermit crab you picked up on the boardwalk.

So today I will systematically place all of our vacation crap in the foyer of our home and gratefully allow my husband to pack it in the car tonight.  John, Kate, Connor, myself and "bunny bunny" will be heading to South Carolina tomorrow!
Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Weekend Away

What happens when you mix a weekend away, old college friends, wine, music, and me?

Classy stuff, huh?

This past weekend my mother bravely volunteered to watch Kate and Connor while I attended an old friend's wedding with John.  It was actually my first wedding at Villanova (my alma mater) even though dozens of my college friends have gotten married over the past nine years.  The bride was lovely, the ceremony was touching and funny (the priest's cell phone went off.  twice.), and the reception was at a beautiful old manor home.  The cupcakes - oh my gosh - they were to die for.  The cupcakes might actually warrant their own blog post.  If this was John's blog they definitely would.

There is something really fun and bittersweet about going back to campus with one of my best college girlfriends.  Our memories revolve around frozen yogurt and basketball games and wearing our sweatpants to class (ya know, when 9:30AM was disgustingly early).  Now we are in our thirties, married, mothers.  Lawyers and counselors and Naval Officers.  Adults.  When on earth did that happen?  It felt like a time warp.

On Saturday we are off to Myrtle Beach for a vacation with John's oldest brother, his wife, and our nephews.  Family vacations always come with lots of humor and random observations so I'm sure you'll hear from me at some point.  Happy Summer!
Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lucky Duckies

My kids are the luckiest!

Happy Father's Day, Johnny!  Thank you for making such cute babies with me ;).
Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Facebook Facade

Here is my biggest problem with the Facebook social networking boom that has occurred in the past 5 years. 


I have dozens of friends that I keep close tabs on who have oodles of gorgeous children.  I see thousands of photos each year.  You know what they have in common?

They are all cute, happy, smiling, and perfect.

I know that these children are not cute, happy, smiling, and perfect 100% of the time.  Or, let's be honest, even 80% of the time.  We are all lying liars who lie.  Facebook is not real life.  Facebook is a gigantic advertisement for the life we all want to present.  Our "family brand" if you will.  And this inundation of our kids in matching polo shirts frolicking on the beach with big smiles on their faces is making me insecure.

Well, not completely.  I'm exaggerating as usual.  But after the week I've had it does make me question my mothering abilities.

Toddlers can be assholes.  There, I said it.  I love my daughter but  As she approaches three I feel like I am dealing with a 13 year old who just lost her iPhone.  Only instead of fighting over homework and boys we are fighting over naps and poop.  Sounds idyllic and amazing, right?  As I write this my daughter is screaming bloody murder because I am trying to get her to rest so that we can go out as a family tonight and not burn the restaurant down. 

I am guilty of the Facebook facade too.  Take this past Easter for example.

The pic I would probably post on Facebook:

Cute hubby - check!  Cute kids relatively happy - check! Obligatory excessive Easter bow - check!

The picture that would probably represent the reality of an early morning, too much sugar, no nap, and a long mass:

Mouth covered in peeps -check! Hands covered in chocolate - check!  Eggs strewn around - check!

Kate and I have had a rough couple of weeks.  She is going through some major transitions and learning new things and it has made our routine rocky.  I am looking to find people who have something in common with me, who can empathize, and who will actually look me and say "yep, my toddler can be a real pain in the ass".  Instead, I escape into Facebook and see this:

Mmmmmm... Cake. 

So to all my 30-something friends who do not have kids yet.  Or even to my mommy friends who often feel insecure during this era of social media attention whoring.  Facebook isn't reality.  The people who create the stuff on Pinterest are covered in glue and paint when they are done.  Those cute cherubs you see in their sweet Halloween costumes and who get straight As and just performed in their ballet recital?  They probably threw an epic tantrum getting into that costume or those ballet tights.  And that is OKAY.  That is NORMAL.  That is what makes the other side of parenting, the sweet part of parenting, all the better.

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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