Folding the 2T Clothes

I scheduled my hysterectomy today. 

Those are not words I ever thought I would say, at least not in my late 30s, and yet here I am, in extreme pain daily, fighting to hold it together at work and at home and taking more OTC pain medicine than is probably healthy. 

In two months I will no longer be able to have children, which has been our decision for a while, but the thought that this decision is being taken away from me permanently makes me ache in a way I never thought possible. 

No more babies. My head knows it’s the right decision but my heart is breaking in two. 

Tonight as I was folding clothes, I added the 2T pajamas to the baby’s stack, realizing that the next time he wears those particular pjs would likely be the last. His little belly hangs out a little and the arms are too short. They belong in the giveaway pile already but the finality of the 2T pajamas going to another baby, a baby that isn’t mine, is too much to bear right now. 

A Place at the Table

A few weeks ago on a random Sunday, for no reason at all, instead of making food for the kids, serving it at the island and then eating while standing while the kids sat in bar stools, I decided to make supper and actually eat it together at our dining room table. 

Somehow it had never dawned on me to eat at the dining room table when it was just the four of us. Since moving into our home over a year ago, we’ve only eaten at the dining room table a handful of times and only with guests. 

Granted, the baby’s chair is attached to a bar stool and the kids are usually hungry before we are, so most of the time it makes sense to feed them, and then when they’re finished, G and I eat while they play. 

But now I wonder how we let the good old-fashioned family meal disappear from our lives after having kids. Five years in, there was certainly something magical about all four of us sitting at the table at the same time, eating the same food without any distractions. We actually talked and laughed and even though there was cottage cheese on the tablecloth and the floor by the time dinner was over, I didn’t really mind. 

When I stand at the kitchen counter eating, I don’t enjoy my food and usually it gets cold because I’m distracted by other things like the dishes or a spilled drink or the baby hitting his brother with a serving utensil. But when I’m at the table, the kitchen is too far away to do chores while I eat. 

I know this isn’t revolutionary for most people, but sitting down together for a meal was such a refreshing few moments for my family. 

So we did it again the next week. Hey, look at us, bringing the Sunday family dinner back in style. 

The 5 Best Books I’ve Read This Year

My friend Beth asked for book recommendations, so here we are near the end of National Blog Posting Month, and I’m gladly taking requests! One more day!

  1. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld. I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and this was a humorous modern take on one of my favorite books. And while I know the plot of the original backwards and forwards, there were a few surprises in Sittenfeld’s retelling to keep me guessing. Highly recommend.
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I had read about this book on many blogs and book sites, but what finally grabbed my attention was that Bill Gates had read it and loved it so much he was gifting it to his friends. Definitely worth the read!
  3. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes. This is by far the best self-help, get up off your ass and seize the day book that I’ve ever read. I recommend this book to everyone. And listen to the audiobook! You will not regret it. I’ve already made a resolution to listen to it at least once a year.
  4. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. Before you read this one, read or listen to her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. You will laugh and cry and feel less alone in the world, especially if you’ve ever suffered from depression or anxiety.
  5. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. I became slightly obsessed with scientology after listening to one of my favorite podcast’s 9-part series on the mysterious church. So when I heard that Leah Remini had left the church and wrote a tell-all story, I had to listen. After listening to hours of the podcast and hours of her book, I’m still mystified by scientology and can’t get enough!

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

The Magic of ZooLights

We skipped ZooLights last year, but we were so excited to attend last night because it’s one of my 5-year old’s favorite holiday traditions, and based on my two-year old’s expression during the train ride, it has turned into a favorite tradition for him, too. img_8211

The very first thing we did upon arriving at 4:30 is to select train tickets for the first train ride at 4:45. This new system of using timed tickets makes the train a lot more fun, because once you have your ticket, the only line you wait in is to board the train and you know that you will get on the train at a certain time. No more of the long waiting like in years past.

The train ride will thrill your little ones, but older kids may complain that it was too short. It was perfect for my kids at age 2 and 5. However, the only negative is that the train goes through a short tunnel at the very end and the steam from the train filtered back to the train cars making everyone cough. If you have asthma like I do, cover your mouth and nose when you enter the tunnel and don’t forget your inhaler!

While the main focus of ZooLights is not the live animals, we did see bats, fish and elephants. We were lucky that it didn’t rain on us during most of our visit, but it was in the low 40s and cold so I was glad I dressed the kids in multiple layers and brought their mittens and hats.

Be sure to dress in layers! But if you need to take a break to eat or drink, not only can you find coffee and hot chocolate, you can also find food carts, including PokPok and Pip’s Donuts! There are a few picnic tables under a covered area near the Elephant Ears food cart and that’s where we enjoyed our donuts.

I highly recommend taking a stroller for the youngest kids as you will do a lot of walking to see all of the lights (but don’t worry, there’s stroller parking at the train) and even the bigger kids (and adults) will be tired by the end.

ZooLights was a fun way to change gears from Thanksgiving to Christmas and I’m definitely now in the mood for Christmas music and hot cocoa. For more information, check out the Oregon Zoo’s ZooLights page.

But wait, you can win tickets! Just comment on this previous post by 9pm tonight, or visit one of these other local bloggers’ sites to find out how to win tickets from them!

*Disclaimer: I received complimentary zoo tickets to ZooLights for my family as part of media appreciation nights at the zoo. All opinions expressed are my own.

Back to the Grind

Today was all about extended family as our various family members prepared to depart for home. We went to breakfast with my parents and brother, where the boys enjoyed giant chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, then we did a little Christmas shopping and napped before our night out at the zoo. (More on that tomorrow! But have you entered to win 4 tickets yet? It’s not too late!) 

ZooLights was fun, but cold and rainy so we were happy to warm up at dinner with the other side of the family to celebrate a birthday. 

And now tomorrow we go back to the crazy grind of commuting and dropping kids off and picking them up and packing school lunches and buying more groceries, but tonight I’m going to enjoy a Christmas movie and try not to think about any of that. 

Post-Thanksgiving Food Coma

We had a giant meal on Thursday and then another one today. And yet here I am eating a banana split, watching Gilmore Girls. 

This week’s photo challenge is It’s Not This Time of Year Without…

My choice: the food. Why don’t we make green bean casserole and sweet potatoes with marshmallows more often?!? 

P.S. Have you entered to win tickets to ZooLights yet? Check out this post to learn how. 

Gilmore Girls! 

I won’t have time to start the new Gilmore Girls’ episodes until tonight, but if you’re like me and need a refresher, here are two sites to check out:

Where We Left Off
Gilmore Girls’ Binging Guide 
And if you want to see a behind-the-scenes write up of the premiere, along with pictures of our favorite stars, check out Allison’s blog post at Petit Elefant

Happy watching!