Thursday, March 31, 2016

weeks like this deserve no blog post title.

:: This post contains affiliate links.

This week basically has me like:

What a shitshow these last few days have been. There was barfing and PMSing and lost job opportunities and showing up 2.5 minutes late to Rowan's first Easter egg hunt, which was unfortunate, because you know how long an Easter egg hunt takes? About 2.5 minutes. And then all you've got left is an empty half of a plastic egg that someone else discarded. 

So here. This week left my brain with all the verbal power of a Slushee, so have some pictures of Rowan's Easter adventures instead.


Here's my girl on Saturday with Sparky the Fire Dog after the Easter egg "hunt" (AKA thank goodness we ran into friends whose son was preoccupied by the fire trucks long enough for his parents to sneak a few of his eggs into Rowan's basket). Her expression pretty much sums up the freezing, muddy morning:

Her Sunday was much better, considering the Easter Bunny came to both our house and Grandma's house. Plus, outfit on point, awww.

She is STOKED about the toys the Easter Bunny brought her - especially her magnifying glass and binoculars (courtesy of Grandma's UNREAL, amazing Easter basket).

Inspecting the pine cone collection she & Grandma
started in Grandma's backyard

Inspecting the kids' menu at Easter brunch

Keeping an eye out for the hoodlums that egged our
garage last week

She also loved the toys from the Easter basket J.J. and I put together for her. They're pretty random toys, but the Easter Bunny turned in a bunch of loose change at the grocery store recently in exchange for an Amazon voucher, and so the bunny bought some toys from Rowan's ongoing Amazon wish list, and then remembered that Easter was coming up soon so she just saved those toys for the basket. #winning


  •  CAT Mini Construction Trucks: I love these little construction trucks, and Rowan does, too. I ended up getting a five-pound bag of aquarium rocks to go with the trucks, and they're just the right size for scooping and dumping with the tiny trucks. (Also, they're accidentally the same color as my kitchen floor, which is great because y'all can't see the rocks scattered everywhere, but terrible because OUCH.)
  • 50 Counting Bears with Cups: These are little Montessori-inspired bears that are a great open-ended toy for preschoolers. They're perfect for counting, sorting, and imaginative play.

So, you know. This week was annoying, mostly, but it's almost over...so that has me like:

^^ Now if only this ridiculous child would stop playing around in her crib and go to sleep, because it's 9:20 p.m. and I just can't even with anything anymore.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

saying YES to imposter syndrome! wait, no...

[Update: Here's the link, and also why do I blink so much?]

I'm trying to say yes lately.

My sister told me around New Year's that she was starting a "year of yes," à la Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I made fun of her a little bit, joking that I was going to ask her to babysit Rowan for a month or scrub my shower every week, and she'd have to say yes! IT'S HER YEAR OF YES, DAMMIT!

But I got the point. I say no to stuff all the time - sometimes for totally valid reasons like not having time or not wanting to put on pants. Often, though, I say no because I'm scared. I feel not brave enough or not smart enough or not experienced enough. And it's holding me back. I'm in a super weird space in my life right now, trying to forge new career path(s), and this is so not the time to hold myself back. This is the time to break through, to open up, to do the scary thing. To say yes.

So when Dr. Lisa Hammer contacted me to ask if I'd be willing to appear on a local news show with her, I responded with a YES before I even had time to think about it. Dr. Hammer is a pediatrician and breastfeeding specialist, and she was the one who first suggested to me that I might have postpartum anxiety. (She also just opened up a new integrated medical practice for moms and babies - very cool concept.) She and I met up to talk about my postpartum experience after my Scary Mommy article came out, and she thought I'd like to participate in the interview, which would focus on postpartum mood disorders. So, two weeks after Dr. Hammer contacted me, I found myself on the second floor of a wellness center in downtown Detroit, with a makeup lady powdering my nose. (They mentioned that someone would come by to powder our noses, which I thought was a euphemism for forcing makeup onto my face. Nope, she literally dusted some powder over my nose and forehead and moved on.)

The weird - shocking - thing was, I wasn't really nervous. We didn't rehearse any questions or answers ahead of time, so I didn't know what their angle would be or what they might ask me. Luckily, the hosts were super chill and easy to talk to, so the whole thing felt natural. Plus, J.J. was there for moral support, which helped a ton. Aaaaand then the crew were chatting with him and decided he needed to be interviewed, too, which was awesome. (That's also why he was wearing jeans and a wrinkled shirt. Whatever, he still looked hot.)

Fast-forward to today, when the show actually aired. I won't lie, I was WAY more nervous to watch the show than I was to tape it. I was terrified that I'd look ridiculous or say something ridiculous, and that my shame would live on eternally in YouTube infamy. 

Mostly, though, I had a rampant case of imposter syndrome. Despite having been officially diagnosed with postpartum anxiety, I still get the impression that people look at me and scoff, "You were totally fine when I saw you with the new baby. Don't exaggerate," or, "Whatever, I went through some postpartum shit, too. Everyone does. It's not that big a deal." And then I have to stop myself. Because you know what? Dismissing my own experience is just as bad as dismissing someone else's, which I would never purposefully do. Believe someone when they say they're hurting. Also, that diminishes the hard work that so many advocates have done to spread awareness about postpartum mood disorders. A bunch of the comments on my Scary Mommy article about postpartum anxiety were along the lines of, "Oh my god, this is me. I have this. I didn't even know it existed." And I remember what a relief it was when I discovered that's what I was experiencing, and that it could and would get better.

So I'm thrilled that I said yes, that I participated, and that I didn't inadvertently make a fool out of myself. They edited out some awkward parts (phew), along with some witty repartee and very sage advice from me (uh, not actually), and in the end, maybe it'll help even one person out there realize what's going on in her own life or a friend's life, and she'll get support. It's out there, it works, and then? It gets better.

SO much better.

The segment will be posted on YouTube tomorrow, so I'll update here with the link. In the meantime, here's a Fuzzy McBlurry shot of J.J. and me with the show's hosts:

Could you use support with anxiety or depression during your pregnancy or postpartum time? Trust me, you're not alone. Contact your OB and tell her/him you need the phone number of someone specializing in mood disorders. Have your partner or a friend make the initial call if you can't do it at the moment. Because, dude. You deserve to enjoy this time, and you can, and you will. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

about that Etsy shop...

Almost every night lately, you can find me stationed at my kitchen counter, working on paintings for my new Etsy shop. Most people who hear this are like, "Wait, your what? You have a what, now?" Dude. Yes! An Etsy shop, where I sell my (get ready for randomness) watercolor paintings.

It seems totally random because it is. I started messing around with watercolors after a Pinterest binge one day in December, and I was instantly hooked. It was harder than I'd anticipated - learning how the colors work, how to get letters and sizing right, how to time everything so I don't get dry splotches and runny corners. I started posting my final results on Facebook and Instagram, and I got a few requests for custom paintings. And then a few more requests. And then I bit the bullet, asked my friend Tanya a slew of Etsy-logistics questions (her Etsy shop's been booming for years!), and created some listings in a shop that I named Primary Lights.

Most of the painting requests I get are for song lyrics or quotes for children's rooms, which I think is such a cute way to personalize a nursery or bedroom.

{lyrics: Woody Guthrie}

{lyrics: Paul McCartney/John Lennon}
{set of 3 for a nursery. lyrics: Paul McCartney/John Lennon}

There have also been requests for quotes that are totally personal - so much so that I can only hope the customer explains the backstory. Otherwise, I may never know.

{from this short film, which is so awesome}

And there are also quote requests like these, which are definitely not for the nursery. They're great for your cubicle, for your BFF, or, I don't know, your bathroom wall. Wherever!

{from the movie Mean Girls}

My absolute favorite paintings to do fall into two categories: random custom colors, and portraits. Often people will request a shade that isn't in my watercolor palette, and I love messing around until I can get it just right. These two are separate requests for the same Beatles quote, both for nurseries; one needed to be minty-blue; the other, peach.

As for the portraits, I've painted both kids and pets (from digital photos, using a photo light/shadow transfer technique and then filling in with watercolors)...and I can't stop looking for photos of Rowan that will work perfectly.

So far, I've made paintings for new babies, older children, husbands, sisters, grandmas, and friends. They're hanging in nurseries, offices, hallways, and master bedrooms. They've been gifted at baby showers, 25th-anniversary parties, birthday celebrations, and for Valentine's Day. 

And my own tiny apprentice looooves watching me - but not as much as she loves making her own paintings:

Rowan always asks who each painting is for, and after hearing me say so many times that a painting was for a baby's room - Baby June or Baby Rosemary or Baby Pippa - she decided that we all needed paintings for our rooms...and that she was going to paint the one for my room. Love it. (I'm lazy and haven't actually hung it yet, but I will!)

"Here's blue, 'cause it's your favorite color, Mama! And
here's brown, because it's pretty next to your blue."

She asked for paintings for her own room, which was a little tricky. I'd prefer to find the just-right quotes from the just-right songs or books and use the just-right colors, but Rowan was driving that train. She chose the colors (my favorite color, her favorite color, and - who knows why - pink), and we ended up doing three: two with the phrase I say to her a million times a day, and one with a quote she randomly says ("I like kind!" - meaning she likes it when people are kind to each other or characters do kind things in her books), which I think is so endearing.

Head on over to the Etsy shop if you're looking for a birthday gift, a baby shower idea, some new décor, an anniversary present, or a Mother's/Father's Day idea (portrait of the parent with the kids?). You can completely customize your own painting, or you can request one that's already posted - either way! And thanks so much to those of you who have already purchased paintings, because I'm seriously loving flexing a different facet of my creative side.

[P.S. For those of you who are wondering, how my no-candy experiment is going: It's 8:00 on my first day without candy, and I'm just not sure a life without candy is quite as bright as a life with candy. But I haven't caved yet. YET.]

Sunday, March 13, 2016

a week without candy.

I decided today that I need to lay off the candy.

*insert all the crying emojis here*

My love for candy is legendary. Historically, I've had zero desire to give it up, because...why? Candy is beautiful. Delicious. Amazing. Perfection. Plus, you know, life is short. And this time of year - Easter candy season - is the annual pinnacle of my candy-consuming cycle.

But, real talk. Plowing through three bags of candy a week is not okay. Not only is that just a shit ton of sugar, it's not good for the wallet, either. Honestly, I never thought I'd be able to give up candy (mostly because I had no motivation to), but something changed in the last couple months. My kidney scare was a swift kick in the ass, reminding me that I can't just treat my body like crap and expect it to remain awesome...or even functional. (And in that sense, damn, do I miss my twenties.) So in the time between my initial nephrology appointment for the Mysterious Pee incident and my follow-up appointment four weeks later, I completely kicked my Cheez-its habit. I know. I KNOW. Also? I kicked my soda habit. Basically, I'd been sitting down during every nap and after dinner every day and hoover up massive amounts of sodium, sugar, and caffeine - and little by little, I stopped. 

Conveniently, though, this was when all the stores started carrying Easter candy, so I just sort of switched out one vice for another. Half a bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs? Don't mind if I do! Another handful of Bumpy Nerds? Why the hell not?!

Why not? I guess because while, yes, life's too short to deprive myself of treats, it's also too short to keep punishing my system like this. Aside from my snacking habits, I generally eat healthily. I don't eat out very often, I almost never have fast food, and the meals I prepare at home are full of whole, real ingredients. I'm also vegetarian, which can be super unhealthy if done incorrectly, but I'm smart about it. All in all, if I weren't eating so much junk, my diet would be awesome.

So, that's it. I'm going to try a week with no candy. I chose a week as my starting point partially because I wanted to see if I could do it, and partially because I think I need to go cold turkey. This is NOT, mind you, a week with no sweets at all. I'm not planning to embark on an orthorexia journey. Come on, J.J.'s birthday is on Thursday. What kind of wife would I be if I didn't help him eat his cake? But I'd like to see what a week without candy would be like.

Maybe I'll cave this evening. Maybe I'll cave during nap on Wednesday. Maybe I'll make it all the way through Friday night. Maybe I'll cave once and then get right back on the wagon. Who knows? It's worth a try, right? Hopefully I don't transform into a raging sugar-craving bitch within a couple days.

And if I do, I can always schedule another emergency trip to Washtenaw Dairy, like Rowan and I did this afternoon. J.J. had to work all weekend, and I needed a reset after nap today. I thought Rowie would get a kick out of having a donut date, and she totally did. She loved surveying the donut display, and she went right for the one with sprinkles. But - it was her first donut since the fall, and she didn't know quite what to do with it at first.

No worries. She got the hang of it pretty quickly.

After she finished, she jumped in all the puddles on the way back to the car...

...and promptly lost her shit when her "one more minute" of puddle-splashing was over. Ahh, nothing like hauling a sticky, dripping wet toddler to the car and shoving her in as she writhes and screams, "One more minute, Mama! Just one more minute, pleeeeeeease!" Eh. It was hard to summon sympathy for a kid who just had a donut-and-puddle adventure.

Anyway. We'll see how my week of no candy goes. I didn't even get rid of the candy that's currently in our house, so maybe this is going to end extremely quickly. I mean...what if the Cadbury Mini-Eggs get lonely?


It's been less than an hour since I posted this. It sucks already. What am I supposed to do while I watch Walking Dead?!? *more sobs*

Thursday, March 10, 2016

TBT: Our Collaborative Embarrassing Moments.

I want to shake up my Throwbacks to Hell series this week by making the humiliation more of a group exercise. Fun, right?! Must be the social worker in me. Therefore, this post is about ALL of us - our embarrassing childhood memories. I'm going to start us off by recalling some of my own, but it will be so much more fun when YOU all start telling us your stories. You can share them in the comments section (which can be done using your name or anonymously, depending on how awful the story is) or email me at gorgac1980@gmail.com. I'll update this post with everyone's shared moments. Bonus points for pictures, if you have some handy! (In fact, your embarrassing memory may solely consist of a picture. MEGA bonus points for THAT.)

Okay. Here we go.

:: In fourth or fifth grade, I was supposed to go over to my friend Sarah's house after school. At the end of the school day, we were gathering our papers and books at our desks, and I realized I had to pee. I crouched down to hold it in, pretending to rifle through the contents of my desk, but as I stood back up? I totally peed my pants. When we were riding the bus home, I told Sarah I thought we should play in the sprinkler at her house...even though it was springtime and pretty chilly outside. She gave me a funny look and said, "Okay. You can borrow a bathing suit, I guess." And I said, "That's okay! I'll just run through with my clothes on!" So we did, and I still don't know if she ever guessed why.

:: I also peed my pants on the fourth-grade field trip to Lansing - right before we got on the bus for the hour and a half drive back to school.

:: I slipped in the shower on vacation and cut my chin open when I was nine years old and refused to take showers again for a long time; I would only take baths. When I finally started showering again, my mom showed me that there was conditioner in the shower that I should start using. A few months later (MONTHS later), I was about to go take a shower, and my mom said, "Hold on, there's no more shampoo in there. Let me grab some." I replied, "That's okay, I use the conditioner now!" I had misunderstood her directions and was using ONLY conditioner, not shampoo. For MONTHS.

:: Okay, this one is actually an adult memory, not one from my childhood...but it's the one that sticks out in my mind whenever I try to think of embarrassing moments. Once, when I was a preschool teacher, I was talking to some parents at the end of the day while the kids ran in circles around us. One of the older siblings who was playing with my preschoolers ran behind me, and then pulled my pants down. And my underwear.

Not actually a picture from any of the time periods above, but
almost qualifies as an embarrassing moment in and of
itself. The bowl cut, the bangs, the Chandler smile,
the ruffled turtleneck, the vest. THE VEST.

Wow! Super therapeutic to share my moments! And by "therapeutic" I mean "dredging up horrific social anxiety and causing me to feel like a therapy appointment is necessary, stat."

Your turn!


Leeanna said...
"When I was about 11 and my sister was 8, we would pick on each other all the time. I always made fun of her because her legs were so hairy (she was pre-leg shaving age). It would make her mad. So one day we were outside playing with friends and I called her 'Grizzla,' my go-to hairy leg name! And she yelled out, 'Well, at least I don't have spider legs on my crotch!!!' So embarrassing!!!" (For your viewing pleasure, here's a pic of Leeanna. Holy crap.)


{Read about Kendal's awesome trip down the stairs in the comments below! Kendal, I did a similar thing in ninth grade, and of course my crush was standing nearby. OF COURSE.}


Amanda* said...
"I remember this one time when I was 16 and I went to my boyfriend's house for Thanksgiving with his family. It was the first time that I was going to be with all FOUR of his older sisters and was terrified.

During dinner, his sisters started to make fun of 'Michigan sorority girls' - with their long hair, tight black pants, and baby blue sweaters. Picture me sitting there wearing, you guessed it, long hair, tight black pants, and a baby blue sweater. 16-year-old me was mortified and thought that they were straight up making fun of me at the table and that they all hated me. Cue the waterworks.

Little did I know that those sisters would eventually become my in-laws!  They claim they weren't making fun of me, but I'm still not sure!

To cap off the night- a friend of his oldest sister walked in on us kissing! Yay 16!"

*Ahem. My poor dear sister-in-law. I SWEAR I DIDN'T REALIZE YOU WERE WEARING THE SORORITY UNIFORM. I still feel guilty about it!!

Almost didn't post this because it's super cute and
not actually embarrassing. And yes, my SIL is
actually Alex Mack, AKA Bianca Stratford,
AKA Larisa Oleynik.


{Yessss, J.J. commented with his story about ladies' underwear!!!}


"I got my period at 13. The day I decided to try a tampon I went into the bathroom with my instructions and it took me a whole lot of time to figure out how that cross section picture worked. Finally after what seemed like forever and was probably more than half an hour, I achieved my goal and ran down to the kitchen to announce it to my mom, extremely proud and excited. WELL, about a year later (I am 14 then), I get to my mom's best friend's house where I am greeted by her 11 year old daughter who tells me, condescendingly as I walk in the door: 'Ha, I did it on the first try.' Gee, thanks mom! That is when I realized that the confidentiality agreement was cut along with the umbilical cord.

[Hey, Anonymous: I have a similar first-tampon story that I'm actually too embarrassed to share. I forgot about it until I read your story!! Maybe I'll get up the nerve to share it later. Maybe not. lol]


Michelle said...
"For the record, my whole life is a string of embarrassing moments (and I embarrass a lot less easily these days than I used to as a kid, when any unwarranted attention was MORTIFYING). One particular instance I am willing to share was 9th grade biology, first period of the day. On the day of our first semester final, my mom let me eat ice cream for breakfast. I finished my test just fine (and early), but started to feel not so hot. The class was not the closest to the bathroom, but I made it around the corner and was in sight of the door when I barfed. In my hands. All over my sweater. As some senior boy was coming from the opposite direction. Honestly can't think who he was at this point, but I can still recall the rest of the moment perfectly. Sweater was never the same."

[This is totally my nightmare. I hate barfing even in private and am TERRIFIED to barf in public. Also - how in the world did that get cleaned up? Did you have to go find  janitor? Ugh. UGH. TERRIBLE.]

Carrie said...
"I pooped my pants on a walk with my friend. I tried to clean it up in her bathroom, and her parents thought the cat had shit in a houseplant but really, it was me. [Cathy: "Wait, you put your shit in their houseplant?" Carrie: "No!! I just stood next to it for a minute, so it was a particularly stinky area."] Then her sister, who was of course friends with my older sister, walked in the bathroom while I was trying to clean up the giant mess that was my pants. And somehow her dad was involved which was the worst because he was a *boy* and also my soccer coach."

[I have no words for you, sister. This is bad. Really shitty, even.]


Who's next??? :) :) :)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

not sure if this is normal, or if I'm a total asshole. (probably both.)

Apparently, March 6 is turning into my annual Financial Freak-Out Day. It was exactly a year ago today that I posted about how tough it was to stay on top of our bills as a young family. Then, this morning, I spiraled again and had a total meltdown about...um, okay, everything.

It started when I randomly read about a local preschool that a few of my friends' kids will be attending. I really fell in love with their photos, their curriculum, and their philosophy...not to mention their flexible scheduling options and extended hours. Even though I knew it was stupid to torture myself, I decided to check out their tuition costs.

And here's the thing. Their tuition? Is not exorbitant. It's actually pretty reasonable. But it's still completely out of our range right now. 

Because of me. Because I quit my job to be home with Rowan.

Look, I don't harbor a lot of mom guilt. In fact, I feel really good about my relationship with Rowan and my current parenting strategies and abilities (subject to change at any given developmental leap, of course). My confidence and satisfaction come from a combination of having a lot of experience with kids her age, having a relatively "easy" and rewarding child, and being a good temperamental fit with Rowan. Also, I'm not splitting myself (heart, brain, soul, energy) between a demanding job and home anymore, which was sending me over the edge. I don't for a second feel guilty about being a stay-at-home mom in terms of the example I'm setting for Rowan. I love showing her that if your dream is to be home with your babies, then that can come true - and that it's a worthy dream. Overall, she's fed, she's warm, she's loved, she's challenged, she's supported. If we as a little family fell, our bigger family would find a way to pick us up. They already do, in countless tangible and intangible ways. The big issues? Covered.

My guilt is all heaped into the "opportunities" column, which places this entire post squarely in the category of first-world privileged bitch problems

I feel guilty that I can't send her to this preschool or that preschool. I feel guilty that she can't continue with her gymnastics classes. I feel guilty that she's never traveled. I know, I know, she won't even remember trips taken at this age, but I still want her to experience it all - the airplane, ocean, the sand, the change in routine, the new sights and sounds and smells. I feel guilty that we haven't started a college fund for her. I feel guilty that we can't keep up the tradition of new "Obee dresses," which is seriously the most ridiculous thing, because I could get her a two-dollar dress from a thrift store and call it an "Obee dress" (meaning a dress from my mom, who loved to buy adorable clothes for Rowan) and she'd never know the difference...but that stupid Hanna Andersson cart is sitting there in my row of browser tabs, and I'm angry that I can't continue my mom's tradition in the same way. 

Also, I feel guilty for feeling guilty about any of this stuff. I hear myself. I do. I hear how this comes across as whiny and spoiled. These "missed opportunities" that I feel guilty about are so...nothing, in the grand scheme of things. There's someone out there reading this and thinking, "At least you don't..." or "At least you have..." But I'd be lying if I said our financial instability doesn't bother me, lying if I claimed to be skilled at rising above and focusing on gratitude. Sometimes I can! Most of the time, in fact. But god, not today. 

Maybe it's because the guilt is coupled with fear. How am I supposed to fix this problem? Why do I sometimes feel like we're on the road to stability, while other days, I reminisce about having disposable income and start to panic about what I've done to my family? Did I really make the right choice by leaving my job? What do the next two years look like, or the next five or ten or twenty? Aren't I supposed to have this money crap under control, the way we did before we had kids?

I don't know. I keep writing and re-writing this whole post, because I feel like a massive tool for complaining about we don't get to go on vacation, wah wah, especially when the obvious solution is for me to just get a job. Of course, it's not quite as simple as just starting a job, and moreover, I'm working on that piece. But it's slow-going, and I feel totally unmoored as I put together pieces of a new puzzle. In the end? I'm scared that I've messed everything up, and I'm unsure about how to fix it, and I'm super overwhelmed by it all today.

AKA, time for Easter candy. And some twirling with these two, the ones I love.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

at two and a half (...almost).

I'm not quite willing to say that Rowan's two and a half yet. That's still a month away, and it's so...old. So little girl. So preschooler. And as much as I'd love to pretend that my baby is none of those things...she totally, totally is. 

(I felt compelled to catch her shadow in a picture the other day, since it reminded me so much of this series. Apparently she looks more like me than I realize.)

Last week, I posted a picture of her on Facebook wearing nothing but wings and underwear, having a playroom picnic with her Frozen dolls...

...and my sister commented that the picture was "the essence of two." Right?! And I realized I haven't taken time to document her lately - the way I did when she was sixteen months and eighteen months - and I don't want to forget the way she is right now, because she's as hilarious and amazing as ever (you know, 94% of the time). So: here's Rowan, at (almost) two and a half years old.

:: She's majorly into playing pretend. She uses her Frozen dolls (any of the roughly 57 of them we have around), her baby dolls, her Daniel Tiger figures, her Fisher-Price figures, trucks, or just about anything to act out various scenarios. Usually, someone is getting a boo-boo and needs a kiss, but another favorite storyline is that someone has a baby in their belly ("actually, in her uterus," Rowan will clarify, pretentiously) and goes to the hospital to get the baby out. She uses different voices for each character and always picks up right where she left off after taking a break. Oh, and all of her pretend friends have now gotten their flu shots:

I walked in to see this the other day - she had unrolled some paper, just
like the paper at the doctor's office, and Elsa was getting her vaccination. :)

Had to give Mama a quick check-up before sledding one day.

:: Other favorite activities: hide and seek, twirling, dance parties ("Mama, I want 'Shake it off hoo hoo HOO!'"), singing, reading together, yoga, and sledding. She's fearless on a sled, insisting on going down the biggest hill all by herself, and she loves tipping over at the bottom and rolling in the snow. 

:: She loves being outside in general lately, which is great, except that I'm definitely getting tired of getting both of us completely suited up and then undressed again. Not exactly sure how I used to do this every single day with 21 kids her age.

Post-sledding Thin Mints. Maybe THAT'S why she loves sledding so much?

:: Rowan's favorite class right now is gymnastics. It's stupid expensive, but she's absolutely obsessed. Her progress is swift and noticeable - she does something new at every session, and it's been so cool to watch her conquer some of her fears (like the rock wall and jumping from a tall block into the pit). At home, she sets up obstacle courses with pillows, stools, cushions, and ottomans, and leaps from surface to surface. Her primary mode of transportation around the house is somersaulting, closely followed by twirling, and typically she's wearing her pink tutu.

:: Her language is still the most incredible thing for me to watch develop. She speaks in full, complex sentences now, sprinkling in words like especially and miracle, spouting out phrases like, "What do you think about that?" and "I just had an idea!" and "Maybe we can do that two weeks ago." She's getting to the question phase ("Where is Gramma right now?" "Why did he do that?" "What's this part of my apple called?"), but it's still cute and endearing, not constant and annoying (yet).

:: She loves Sunday mornings with her daddy, when they go out to breakfast together, ride bikes along the river (even when it's 20 degrees out), and then play at the bookstore. She found a Deadpool figure there recently and pretends that he's the daddy giving his "babies" kisses good night:

:: I'm waiting until warmer weather to officially potty train Rowan (because I'm laaaazy and really enjoy the convenience of diapers), but she definitely gets the concept. Well, for peeing, at least. She's never had a pee accident during the times when she tests out her underwear or is just naked around the house. Poop is...another story. Two other stories, actually.

:: Every day when she wakes up from nap, she asks if she can go to Gramma's house. She loves being with her grandma and usually cries if I tell her it's not a Gramma day. Rowan has roughly a million toys at Gramma's house, and the two of them love to bake, read, and watch Daniel Tiger together. On Wednesday nights, Gramma comes over to our house for a "date" with Rowie so J.J. and I can go on our own date.

:: Favorite books right now are Little Critter books, Berenstain Bear books, the Froggy series (ugh), Please, Puppy, Please, and really any book that anyone will sit and read with her. She wants to be reading all the time, unless she's singing or somersaulting.

:: Favorite foods of the moment: cheese sandwiches, chocolate kisses, and green or red peppers - preferably eaten whole or using her toes:

Eats them like apples.

And then wears them.

:: She's latched on to yellow as her favorite color, and she gasps whenever she spots it: "Mama! There's my favorite color lellow! And here's YOUR favorite color blue!" She wants to know everyone's favorite color, so if you're a regular fixture in our lives, chances are we've either asked you directly what your favorite color is, or we've guessed it in your absence. According to Rowan, a lot of you like purple.

:: Sleep is kind of funky right now. Her nighttime sleep got messed up when we took her pacifiers away before Christmas, and then she got a cold after New Year's that had her up and coughing during the night, and then...I don't know. She just started waking up once or twice a night and wanting to snuggle. I love snuggling as much as the next person, but nope, not at three in the morning. Once I started breaking her of that habit (gently, since crying it out doesn't work with her anymore), she started staying up later and later at night, just singing and laughing and playing in her crib. All of which is generally fine, but NOT until 10:00 p.m. Hell, no. Plus, it was getting harder to put her down for a nap every day, and she actually skipped her nap a couple times. (Also hell, no.) I subscribe to the idea that toddlers each have a certain number of hours that they tend to sleep in any given 24-hour period, and for Rowan, that number is dwindling (which is appropriate for her age). Rather than sleeping 12 hours at night and taking a two- or three-hour nap (gahhhh those were the days!), she's more likely to need 12 hours of sleep total. So we've been trying to wake her up around 6:30, which is when we adults should really be getting up anyway to avoid our morning rush, and I've been waking her up from nap after an hour and a half or so. Seems to be helping, but I also told her one night (out of desperation! without forethought! at 9freaking30!) that I was going to take her stuffed friends out of her crib if she couldn't stop playing with them. It was an empty threat, because she'd lose her marbles and never sleep again if I took her friends away, but it worked. And I've used it a couple times since then. Note to self: not a good long-term plan, cut it out.

:: She's loving fine motor activities lately, especially building peg towers and these Melissa & Doug pattern boards. She likes to practice using scissors, which is great, but also mind-numbing for me and makes an enormous mess of teeny-tiny cut-up paper pieces all over the kitchen.

It was her idea to get the stool so she could reach higher. Love it.

:: Also, adorably, she asks almost every day to "do a painting like you, Mama." I have a hard time saying no.

All in all, Rowan cracks us up daily, keeps us on our meltdown-avoiding toes constantly, and is becoming quite the negotiator. She's scarily cued into our emotions ("Mama, you feeling sad?" "Dada, you have low blood sugar?"). Her imagination astounds us, and we just love her to bits and pieces. 

So much and every day and all the time.

Negotiator pose: "But Mama. How 'bout..."


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