The week, in recap

How is it that a short, holiday week can just seem even more busy? No worries now – it’s Friday, meaning pizza & drinks all around!

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It was delightful. I’d kind of forgotten that I liked pepperoni pizza, what with us mostly making cheese & sausage. We’re liking the pizza crust more and more. There’s been a few times when it’s been too … doughy. Blech.

We’ve fixed that problem. It’s now crazy delicious.

Even with Gabe pulling all sorts of crazy hours, I did manage to get a few things done. I finished a knitting project. Dr. M was excited.

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As soon as I was done with it, he threw it on, and then rocked it all day. A fellow friend requested one, which I feel like is high praise. And maybe he’ll get one, just for the compliment.

I’m in the midst of a couple different WIPs, including some gifts & dishcloths. I am not if anything but practical and pragmatic.

#FridayReads is happening, too. Look at me, being all on time and whatnot.

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I decided a few months back I really could read 100 books this year. Maybe it’s crazy. Still, it’s beauty of the library & blogs with amazing suggestions. This week, I’m trying to finish up some oldies, but goodies, including The Problem of Pain, Notes from a Blue Bike, & Evensong. I read a wonderful memoir/cookbook, The Sweet Life in Paris, and another memoir, but with baseball (squeal!), Wait Till Next Year, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It was delightful, and I bawled at the end. Combining the death of her mother & the Brooklyn Dodgers leaving for California was about the saddest thing I’ve read in awhile.

We’ll finish off the week with our standard Friday Night Movie Night – we’re in the midst of the Marvel series, with Iron Man 2 up for tonight. With that, I say adieu!

Fresh Starts

‘Beginnings could happen more than once or in different ways.’

– Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

 

It’s been a bit quiet over here for a while. For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say in this space, to be quite honest. Even now, I’m still wrestling with what my voice will sound like, look like – I’m finding I’m more comfortable with the thought of that, and accepting that it’s totally okay to not have all the answers for how the blog should look. I tend to not do something [okay, a lot of things] because of my ever present fear of failure, rejection and potential humiliation. I also absorb styles, voices, templates, and other blogs m.o.’s, to the point that I’m not sure what is my voice as opposed to a parroting of someone else. So these are baby steps, to restart something creative in my life and do it just because I want to, to see what’s really in my soul and thoughts.

I feel like one reason why the blog stumbled a bit last time was due super specific kiddo posts. That is, after all, where the idea for this space started, due to our major move. But one kiddo is old enough to be aware that social media exists, and rather consistently will only grant permission for a photo with the caveat of “But don’t post it! Wherever you post it to, don’t do it!” [Even that, she probably wouldn’t love that I just shared]. I do respect social media autonomy. And her autonomy, just in general.

Beyond that, my life is more than just the kids.

Ha! Ehh … sometimes, anyway. I like to try and convince myself of that.

As I continue, they’ll be around, too, but I am going to free up space for what’s going on with all four of us and not feel like I have to box myself in. Do I want to write about knitting? Cool – that’s what I’ll do. Do I want to talk about the thousands of books I read this year? Awesome – there will probably be some really bad Instagramed photos of their titles. Will I make you totally jealous of my new-ish location with beach photos? Definitely. Do I want to throw up a dozen photos of the kids, while I’m at it? Totally [with permission, of course].

Will I also talk about world topics, national & local drama, or whatever else I’ve been mulling over in my mind? Probably. Potentially yes, anyway. Will I talk about things that I’m interested in, but maybe don’t know a ton on? Yes – hopefully with humility, tons of questions, and a smidge of wisdom, with the hope that the wisdom will only grow.

Whatever this space ends up looking like, I’m hoping you enjoy the journey! Also, pictures of the kiddos. Because let’s be honest, they’re cute stuff that I can reel y’all back in with! [And yes, she approved of the photos this morning, knowing they’d be widely dispersed!]

Also, come on? How do you not share this one? A mischievous pair, these two.

the one where I talk about hair. a lot.

“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”

– Calvin Coolidge

Thanks for all the kind words since my last post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with a budget. And food. And the lack of desire to cook all the time.

Speaking of budgets, frugality, and thriftiness, I definitely cut my kids’ hair this week.

Oh boy.

Do you know what? It was actually all kinds of awesome. So, the Gabe-ster needed a haircut bad. So, very bad. Here’s him, about three weeks ago.

just eat up all that adorableness

Just eat up all that adorableness. And crackers.

I loved, loved, loved his hair. It was soft and adorable and he had beautiful baby curls in the back. We also had visions of him looking like a surfer dude all his days. [I have grander visions of him becoming an actual surfer, but that’s for another time] I didn’t cut Sophia’s hair for a long time, and was in no rush to have Gabe’s cut either. The problem for him, though, was his hair never stayed out of his face. It grows pretty straight, smack into his beautiful li’l eyeballs. Insert complications of coordination, stumbling, and overall falling over. [Now, he still does fall, but now it’s no longer my fault. the dude is too fast on his feet] I also got a gentle smack-down from our GP, who informed me that Gabe’s eyes will develop inappropriately if the hair is in his face all the time. Stuff about how one eye will overcompensate for the other, since it has hair dangling in front of it. Given that our GP is not an over-emotional or sensationalist guy, I thought I’d rely on his judgment. He saw how hesitant I was to give Gabe a trim, though, and he said even if it was just the bangs, it needed to go.

So, I go home that afternoon, “researched” [read: I watched 1 YouTube video one time, didn’t look any further, and thought I was ready] how to cut li’l kids’ hair. I did no prep, had poor equipment, and just chopped it.

eh. that is definitely not the greatest haircut I've ever seen.

Horrible. That looks horrible. [And the photo is crappy. Man. Double horrible.]

It was super choppy, I didn’t do any shaping so it looked like a mullet, and then I kind of gave up. Because, you know, I do that sometimes.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and then I find out that our go-to stylist is moving out of town. [which is sad on a couple of levels, since she’s our cousin and we’ll sorely miss her] I also could not justify the prices of haircuts, for as often as both kids truly need them. Kids & mens are $25; if we went monthly, it’d be $75, plus tip and product, not counting my own visits throughout the year. [Right now, my budget is dying a little inside as I type this.]

So, I did real research. I watched several how-to videos from professional stylists; heck, I even RE-watched them. And took notes. How’s that for the real deal? I wrote down a list of supplies I needed; we made a mad dash to the box store in front of our place, and we set up a barber shop in our kitchen.

Dr. M is out of town, so 1.) he wasn’t there to document any of this in video and 2.) he’ll be in for quite a shock, either in reading this blog or when we go to get him from the airport tomorrow. All three of us went under the scissors, and are the better for it. Or, so I would argue.

Here’s Gabe, before and after:

He's a disgusting baby. A sweet baby, but a disgusting one all the same.

He’s a disgusting baby. A sweet, smiley, wonderful baby, but a disgusting one all the same. I have no idea what is on his tray & face, but it only got worse as we added candy and hair in the process.

This photo is a smidge blurry. It also denotes a calm, peaceful, happy baby. He was not any of those things while the clippers were on.

This photo is a smidge blurry. It also denotes a calm, peaceful, happy baby. He was not any of those things while the clippers were on.

 

Here’s Sophia, in just an after:

She's a sweet li'l thing, no? She said she liked having me cut her hair, because "going to the salon takes so much time and I don't get to watch Baby Avengers. So I like that you do it Mom"

She’s a sweet li’l thing, no? She said she liked having me cut her hair, because “going to the salon takes so much time and I don’t get to watch Baby Avengers. So I like that you do it Mom. Also, you give me candy.” [everyone, just shake your heads with me – this girl]

Her’s was a little more difficult, surprisingly so; she doesn’t like to sit still for anything, so the back ended up being longer than the front. I fixed it once it was dry, and honestly, it doesn’t look awful. I bought thinning shears, too, and took out a ton of bulk. She had a hair cut in August, so it was time. Her hair is just like mine, surprisingly thick and wavy. She continues to say that 1.) she never wants bangs and 2.) she wants to grow it out. As long as that is her goal, I’ll keep trimming it myself.

And here’s me, in an after:

well, how do you like that?

well, how do you like that? by the way, I’m loving that it’s cold enough for this scarf to be justified!

So, if you hadn’t seen my hair in a bit [I think my most recent photos were in July – face palm], it had been relatively short [see my Twitter photo for an example]. But, that was in May. My hair had totally bulked out, looked weird, and I kept throwing it into buns because I didn’t have time to style it. It needed something. So, like I did with the other two, I researched how to cut your own bangs. They’re a little choppy, but that’s how I like ’em. They also look good pushed over. I think I’ve found a winner!

I’m also considering ditching shampoo, at least in the “traditional” sense. I’ve come across it in my perusing of the Interwebs; the basic idea is you use a baking soda mix for your “shampoo” and apple cider vinegar mix for your “conditioner”. I’ve seen a few folks talk about how they love it; I know some who already do it, and they love it. Pros:  you are saving money on hair care products, your hair is healthier than ever, and saving time because you remove heat and chemicals out of the hair care equation. Con: It’s a bit of an upfront commitment [apparently your hair goes through a detox process for a couple of weeks, where it looks gnarly and people might think you’re a hobo. or a hippie. or something else equally unflattering.] have any of you ever done? thoughts, tips, suggestions?

rain, Kiawah, & car trouble

“I see that children fill the existential hollowness many people feel; that when we have children, we know they will need us, and maybe love us, but we don’t have a clue how hard it is going to be.”

– Anne Lamott

don’t they just kick your ass? kids, I mean. whew. they have no idea. S was a bit of a chore this week. I don’t even remember how or why, but she got herself wicked grounded [for who even knows what now], and lost television for four days. four days?!?!?! Dr. M handed down that punishment – it was rightly deserved, but definitely cut into me, especially as the days got rainier and rainier, and she got whinier and whinier about having lost it. we stayed strong, though, and she went without for four days. and I survived.

the babe is back to sleeping through the night – yea! [cue dance party!] he’s still struggling to go back to sleep on his own. boo! [cue sad face] some nights, it’s been a couple hours worth of hearing him scream/talk/rage while I keep an eye on the clock, and go back to bounce/cuddle/shush/love on him. while the crying and having to go back every 20 min is tiresome, the snuggles are not. he’s hugging back now, and initiating the snuggling. you can’t hate that.

to brag on them for a moment, though. my dang car technically broke down on Monday. I say technically, because it wouldn’t start when I wanted it to and I had to stay put until someone came to help me. I knew exactly what was wrong with it, though. that is to say, I’m an idiot. I went to clean out the car [I’m starting to drive the Civic now, as Dr. M is taking the bus]. it was disgusting. I’m pretty sure Dr. M never once washed or vacuumed it out while he was in charge of it [and he immediately owned up to it, once asked – silly boy]. point being, it took a long, long time to get it cleaned out. the whole time, I ran just the battery for our local news and music options. by the time I was done, the battery was toast. of course, I have no phone. of course, it’s wicked hot and the kids are sweating in their car seats. of course, when I ask for help at the gas station, no one has jumper cables or the ability to help. I started to panic, a little. I hadn’t broke down while in our new town, and I normally call my dad to come rescue me. unfortunately, that was not an option this time around.

the pros of this whole situation … I broke down at a freakin’ gas station. we had a bathroom, we had the ability to buy snacks & water, we had the option of borrowing their phone. it was heaven compared to some other places I’ve broken down at. I called my insurance, who gave me the Emergency Roadside number. I called them next, gave them my policy number, and a tow truck driver was there within five minutes. I didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket for anything, and I was on my way. the kids were AWESOME. no crying, no whining, they were champs with the heat, and they were cool with the disappointing news that we weren’t going to the park because I had melted and was hungry. all in all, it wasn’t awful. yea for happy kids!

we made up for all the trouble by going to the beach on Tuesday. we decided we’d go to Kiawah Island again, and hang out for a couple of hours. we went there with some friends a few weeks ago, and thought it was worth another look. it’s so nice. the water is calmer, so we can actually swim with the kids and not be in constant fear of their impending drowning. the beach itself is nice and clean, and it’s not a big one. not near as many people can fit on it, so it’s just quieter and nice for kids. they also have changing rooms, so we can wash the kids off and change them before our 30 min drive back home. it’s a little off the beaten path, but it’s worth it.

I love going to Folly for different reasons, some of them including that I can walk it. my friend and I went walking on Sunday, and quickly realized we’d done something like six miles or some craziness like that. we walked from the pier towards Morris Island – and we almost got there! we finally had to stop, see how far we’d gone, and realize we’d quickly lose the light if we didn’t head back. it was awesome.

I wish I could say we walked more this week, but alas, that would be a lie. Dr. M had different meetings and happy hours to attend; the kids weren’t the greatest to leave Dr. M with every night; the kicker was the almost-constant monsoon we’ve been encountering. since Monday, we’ve received incredible amounts of rain, causing my phone to vibrate constantly with Flash Food Watches and Warnings. downtown floods so easily, I had to keep an eye out for Dr. M to see if I needed to grab him early! it’s been nuts. I love the rain, though, so there are no complaints. it has also dropped the temperatures down about 20 degrees, for a couple days anyway,, so that’s been lovely.

overall, it’s been a good, productive week – we’re mostly ready for school, Dr. M is back in the full swing of work, and the weather has been awesome. you can’t ask for much more than that.

she’s getting so big!

just a quick post, in trying to get everyone caught up with the family. S is next on the docket, as we progress through. I fully realize it’s now February, but I feel like this year has gone by so quickly! if I slow down long enough, I really see the differences in the kids from even a couple months ago. it’s startling, to be honest.

S is doing well. she still loves school [which I’m praying it stays that way!], and has really grown socially in these past couple of months. I wasn’t sure how well she was getting along with anyone at school, and was about to inquire with her teacher. then, we got back from our Christmas travels, and they all seemed to really miss her! all of this means that she has weird friend rivalries, odd style choices [based on other girls’ odd style choices], and some friction as they all learn how to communicate and engage with one another. it’s good times.

we found out that she got into a fabulous charter school. we’re really excited about it, as there weren’t necessarily a lot of spots on and based on a lottery. it’s about 20 minutes away from our current place, so it means some driving on both our parts. R volunteered to drop her off most mornings, so that frees G and I up to take the mornings a little slower then I first thought. we’ll get her in the afternoons, and have a chance to get the run down of her day. we’ll have more on that as time passes, once PTA meetings kick off and kindergarten orientation happens this spring or summer.

she has a hilarious sense of humor. being around R has certainly paid off. she jokes just like him, and then grins so mischievously, followed by a “I’m just jokin’!”. a crack up, that one. she’s still very into art. her lessons start up at the end of the month, thanks to her Granny. she’s been experimenting already with different mediums; she likes to use chalk on construction paper, nail polish on computer paper, acrylic paint on whatever she can get.

she’s a fabulous big sister. as G has become incredibly mobile, she’s helpful with getting the floor cleared up and keeping an eye on him when he crawls into their room. school has been helpful in this, too, because she’s got her own space and her own friends in the morning, and therefore is not stressed that she had to be with him all day. that’ll change in the summer, but we have plans to be at the beach often so that should take care of itself.

she’s amazingly inventive and creative. I certainly hope that her new school and art lessons continue to foster that for her. she’s an amazing person.

here’s some photos to hold you over. I know some are planning trips eastward, but it all seems so far away still!

from KC - getting set to go outside in the freezing snow!

from KC – getting set to go outside in the freezing snow!

post-snow. yes, it was extremely cold!

post-snow. yes, it was extremely cold!

she informed me that she wanted to run errands dressed like this. oh, okay.

she informed me that she wanted to run errands dressed like this. oh, okay.


not totally of her, but she's in there [I promise!] she and R built a sand castle the last time we headed to the beach. we had an extremely warm spell, and headed out one afternoon. it was awesome.

not totally of her, but she’s in there [I promise!] she and R built a sand castle the last time we headed to the beach. we had an extremely warm spell, and headed out one afternoon. it was awesome.

and the Milners are down

this will be short & sweet. I had intentionally postponed getting an update done during the week because I had wanted to go through photos and write this really nic li’l piece.

and then we all got sick.

well, the baby didn’t get sick. so that’s nice.

it’s not anything incredibly awful or life-threatening – just annoying. S has had it the longest, just cough stuff. R & I have whatever it is, plus nasal congestion and sinus pressure. we laid low yesterday, thinking sleep and a slow day would aid in our recovery. and then we woke up this morning, with our heads filled back up with everything we thought we’d gotten rid of last night.

it’s no good.

we’re not making it to church, and are just going to curl up with the NFL this afternoon. hopefully by tomorrow, we’re square and ready to go. love you all, and I’ll post soon!

ups & downs [and then up again!]

we’ll keep it short today – not because I don’t want to share more details of my lovely life with you wonderful folks. it’s just that the main event of the week is this evening, and we will be sure to post all of the fun and fabulous photos of tonight’s festivities. for those of you on the fence as to whether you’ll be headed out to our Carolina Jubilee – please come! I may have mascara running down my face all night long, and many kleenex boxes may be used, but it will all be in the awesome name of saying good-bye to all of you lovely people who have made Kansas City so special and so dear to us.

in other news, my son may actually be learning to sleep on his own! glory be! we’re figuring him out, he’s figuring us out and it’s all good. he’s such a great smiler right now! he definitely looks like a Milner. for a while, he had a bit of S in him, but that’s fading. over the 4th, many an Asby confirmed how much he looks like R and his uncle, E.

S has been her awesome self. she’s loving school right now, I think mostly due to the large amount of art projects they’ve been doing this summer. I think she’ll flow right into preschool with little problems. apparently all that work on her LeapFrog and iPad is paying off – the kid can make some decent letters and “read” some familiar books. it just warms this li’l English mama’s heart!

on a more sober note, my uncle is doing better. for those of you who followed the drama on FB, you know our family rushed down to Springfield this last weekend. he had had a massive heart attack the night before, and ended up being LifeFlighted from his home in southern MO to a hospital in Springfield. we rushed, mostly because the doctors didn’t think he’d make it through Sunday. my mom and grandma flew in from Kentucky [which is another LONG story as to why she’s there – needless to say, this has not been my mom or her family’s year]; his son flew in from his naval base in California; his girlfriend had been there the whole time, and her family was there to support her and see him, as well. even into Monday, the staff was prepping the family to say they’re good-byes and warning he wouldn’t last though the night.

and then he woke up! he’d been in a medically-induced coma for a couple of days, wasn’t responded how he should have to prove brain functionality, and then woke up as people were saying their heartfelt good-byes – wow! he’s far from out of the woods; he’s still in the ICU and they’re running tons of tests on him to see where he stands currently. as my mom has said, though, just take it a day at a time because that’s all they can handle at the moment.

with the exception of my uncle, this week has been what you would expect for a family moving half a continent away. we’ve been packing, hanging out with the kids, watching my nephew, and officially saying good-bye to friends. tonight is, of course, the big shindig and I look forward to seeing some awesome friends and family! photos and hilarious stories will follow soon.