Friday, February 22, 2013

Hibernating

We have become quite the bunch of couch potatoes around the McCullough house in these last 2 months.  I remember telling myself back in November, when it first started getting chilly, that I would never let a little nip in the air stop my kids from getting their daily dose of fresh air; we were just going to have to bundle up and deal with it for the rest of the winter.

Then, it became a once or twice a week event, and now... well, let's not even talk about it.  The closest I've come to fresh air in the last 2 weeks is pulling the curtains open on our living room windows.  I guess its just something about the 20 minute bundling-everyone-up-process and then knowing that Brendan is going to pull his mittens off the second we get outside and I will spend the entire time fighting him to get them back on.

Either way, we've been doing a lot of jumping on the beds, puzzles, and coloring lately (and definitely more TV than I would like to admit).  That, and a lot of goofy face photo shoots...




So luckily, we had a play date at the building museum last week with some friends.  For Niall, it was probably a pleasant memory of what it's like to get out of the house and do something, but for Brendan, it was like his first taste of sweet freedom...






He even made a little girlfriend with his mad lego building skills...  Well, it was more like he was some kind of small animal and she wanted to pet him, but let's not split hairs over the details. 


And Niall, of course, wanted to show Brendan everything he knows about construction and make sure he was doing it right...

 



Whenever we do get out these days, I remember how much easier it makes my life to let them go blow off some steam for a few hours.  And now that it's finally February, I feel like I can actually get my butt in gear.  Even though it is still pretty cold outside, it just feels more like spring.

So no more excuses for this lady; I'm on a strict 3 days a week outside regimen until its warm enough to be outside every day... starting after this weekend's cold spell passes, of course :)


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cats in the Cradle

Lately, when Niall asks me to do something, like play a game, work on a puzzle or read a story, I find myself coming up with a million excuses why I am too busy to do it-- and they all feel very legitimate at the time, but it still eats away at me.

I just spent an hour trying to get Niall off my back about this encyclopedia of animals he recently got as a gift.  He always asks me to read the Octopus & Squid page; it's the only one he's interested in and his face lights up every time like he's never seen it before.  It's priceless.

"After I make lunch... after I do the dishes... after I put Brendan down for his nap..." and then after sitting here on the computer for ten minutes, just realized that I never sat down to read it with him.

How can I be this busy when my job is to stay at home raising my kids?  And yet somehow, I am.  I've been feeling a lot of guilt about this recently, especially after noticing that Niall has now just learned to move on to something different after he repeatedly asks me to spend time with him and I repeatedly put him off.  It's with friends, too.  I can no longer pick up the phone to touch base with someone I've been wanting to catch up with because it's too hard with the kids either all over me during the day or asleep and fear of waking them with my chatting.

I wish there were just a couple more hours in a day, but I know deep down that if there were, they would just be filled with some other "to-do"s.  I try to take the boys out to do something fun with their little buddies most weekday mornings, but when it comes to one-on-one time, I have been seriously slacking.

Niall is so sweet and I can't help but smile when he gets excited about the littlest things or makes commentary that doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever.  "Yea, mom, spiders are mean, but spiders are actually nice.  Spiders like kids but they don't like mommies and daddies and grandpas," and other ramblings like that. 

It's hard to believe that in a couple years, he won't be asking me to play with him anymore or wanting to have conversations about which animals are which or why people are allowed have the same favorite color.  I want to savor this time, and even while I see it flashing before me day by day, I make a conscious choice to clean the house, and make long, complicated dinners that involve lots of dishes, and work a couple hours a day, and write on my blog, and check my email... and not play with my kids.

The problem is, cleaning and cooking and working are all things that actually do need to happen.  It's not like I'm out shopping, drinking and gambling.  So where do I draw the line?  That's what I'm working on.  There has to be a way for me to spend more time with these guys-- really tuned in to what they are doing and not just sitting next to them thinking about other things, robotically saying "oh, cool, mm hmm." 

Teaching my kids to be independent and self-entertain is definitely important to me, but showing them that I care and I'm interested takes the cake.

So I'll continue to work on this, and finding the balance in general, and hope that it will somehow all fall into place.


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love

I love how Valentine's Day has become this holiday for children-- remember when February 14th was that one special day of the year for people who are in love?  Well, in our house it is more like the Easter Bunny came early-- and not for me...


I mean, where are my chocolates and slap wrap bracelets??  Just kidding, I honestly don't really care about holidays like this.  I'm more of a birthday and anniversary kind of gal.  Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and all the other ones like that are just this kind of awkward "please don't get anything for me" but the other person doesn't know if you really mean it kind of situations. 

Valentine's Day is especially tricky for me because I can ever think of anything appropriate to get for Matt.  It's not a holiday for real big ticket presents, but I'm not going to get him flowers or boxers.  I don't feel like guys expect anything, but every year I rack my brain anyway to find something comparable to what they are supposed to get for us (and usually end up with nothing). 

This year, Matt and I both definitely slacked.  We won't be going out to a nice restaurant and I didn't even plan a special dinner at home.  But in the true spirit of celebration and love, I tried my best to create something festive for when Matt came through the door tonight...



Cookies from a box covered in frosting from a can.  It doesn't get much better than that, does it?

I have to admit, there were 10 when Niall and I started this morning-- then he wanted one... and then I proceeded to eat half of what was left.  I kept telling myself that Matt and I each only needed 2 for dessert and then it turned into "Matt can have 2 and I can have 1."  Now I can't even guarantee that there will be any left by dinner time. 

The whole thing is especially pathetic because I was initially going to give up sweets for Lent, but as I was making the cookie mix, I decided to switch my sacrifice to "not being negative."  I guess you could say I'm in a bit of a lazy funk lately, but taking care of 2 kids age 3 and under apparently allows me to be this way time and time again, so we'll chalk it up to that :)

Hope you have a great Valentine's Day!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Brendan's First Year

Better late than never...






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