Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Ups and Downs of (Gender)Role Reversals

For those of you regular readers, you know that my family is currently rocking out a role reversal of sorts, where my husband is a stay-at-home-dad and I work full time. "Why?" you may ask. The answer to that is basically just that with my Masters degree, I currently have more earning potential that my husband and this non-traditional flip allows him to attend school and watch Everleigh while I work. He's not laid up on the couch eating bon bons ether ;) For those of you stay-at-home moms, you KNOW that it's tough work.

Most of the time, I enjoy our arrangement. I get to spend time with Ev in the mornings, I come home for lunch every day (we live 2 blocks from my work), and when I get home she's all mine til bedtime (and usually throughout the night at least a couple times). From 8:30-noon and 1-4:30PM, I get to be a grown up and do grown up things at my job (I'm currently a wellness coach/therapist at an outpatient behavioral health agency).

The pro's:
  • When I get home, the house is always clean (Scott, you are kind of OCD, but you ROCK!)
  • I know my daughter is home all day with someone who loves her, plays with her, and teaches her things.
  • She misses me while I'm away and is always excited when I come home. It's nice to have that :)
  • It's free. Kind of. In theory.
  • I get to further my career and be a grown up while still having plenty of time with my girl
The cons:
  • There is literally no space in there for a break. Not to take a bath, go to the bathroom, go to happy hour, go to the CVS for a leisurely stroll. None. From the second I wake up to the second I fall asleep I am needed by my daughter or a client. Sometimes both at once.
  • If I'm really honest about it, sometimes I'm envious of my husband and the time he gets to spend with Ev. I know his job is also very difficult, but the grass is always greener, right?
  • Having to "ask" me for money (he doesn't really have to but usually does) and explain our arrangement to other people sometimes makes my husband feel bad. When he isn't happy, nobody's happy.
  • When I have a rough day at work, I still have to muster up the energy to play with Ev until she falls asleep (sometimes at 8, sometimes at 10:30 depending on how much she fights bedtime).
  •  We both feel overworked all the time. But maybe that's normal for parents? I'm new to this still.
  • When my husband goes back to school later this month, he'll be pulling two 12-hour school days a week and watching her the other 3 days. I'll be working full-time and juggling her alternate care (Grandpa and a Mother's Day Out program 1 day a week), then watching her alone most nights while he's in night school. Which means we will basically have 0 time for each other.
Whenever I feel stressed about money and time and lack of energy and EVERYTHING, I always think of you amazing single moms out there. I'm really not sure how you guys do it, but hats off!

I guess I just wrote this because I know I am SO blessed to have my daughter at home with daddy full time. However, you never really hear an open honest reflection of what that's like for the working/bread-winning mom. It's great in some ways and kind of awful in others. Yes, you're working, but to your kid, you are also Mom and that doesn't go away or lessen or get easier just because you see them less. I think us 21st Century girls really bit a lot off! 

That said, I think it's great that gender roles are changing. That regardless of who works when and pays which bill, most couples are approaching child-rearing from a loving and pro-active standpoint. Everleigh thinks it's awesome that Daddy is home with her all the time. I just hope someday other people will too :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everleigh's First Art Lesson

Last week, Scott busted out the colored pencils and paper, and treated Everleigh to her first art lesson :)

She was really digging the blue, and didn't want to give it up. She would draw for awhile, then take it over to show me and give herself a round of applause.

We hung the two pieces up on the refrigerator, and the next day asked her, "where's Everleigh's art?" Wouldn't you know she was able to walk us over there and point. Genius I say, genius :)

The funniest part was her dead-serious stare as she worked. She was fully committed!

Here's a taste of her developing style (with a little help from Dad)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aunt Flo

I don't think I have that many male readers, but regardless of your gender, if you're generally grossed out by some mild period talk, you might tune out.

Moms--I don't have to tell you twice that one perk of pregnancy is the lack of your monthly gift. And since I've been breastfeeding for the past 13 1/2 months, I haven't had an actual period since...August of 2009. And you know what? I didn't even miss it a little bit.

However, somehow Aunt Flo didn't get the message and has decided to revisit me after almost two years. I guess I thought as long as I kept breastfeeding (during the day and at lease once during the night) that I would stay period-free, but alas...all good things eventually come to an end. I think she may be making up for lost time with the cramps, bloating, irritability, and overall suckiness.

Here's to the carefree days of yesterday. Welcome back panty liners, tampons, Motrin, and my old friend the heating pad. Blast.

PS: in thinking of an appropriate/fun picture to pair with this post, I stumbled on some pretty whacked out pictures of artists who paint using only menstrual blood. So...whatever you want to do with that information. I mean, I love being a woman and everything, but jeeze. I was not ready to go there with it on a random Thursday. Google it if you're up for it though :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweeter Than Honey

This weekend Scott, Tory, Ev and I ventured out to the River Market to soak in the sights and sounds and purchase some fresh, locally grown goodies.

We've taken Evie several times now to the River Market, and every time she loves it more. On this particular day, it was roughly 106 degrees F outside, so our visit was a bit more brief than usual. We stopped to check out the veggies and snagged some yummy tomatoes, grapes, peaches and cream corn, and yellow/red/green peppers.

We oggled the display of Volkswagon vans/buses, which were super hippy-tastic, and wished we had one.

We bought some honey sticks from local bee-keepers (classic honey, root beer, apple, and raspberry).

We picked up some homemade tomato-basil pasta from a local pasta-maker, and grabbed up some fresh-baked focaccia bread from the Bloom bread co (along with 2 cookies and some water).

Then we headed home to cool off and cook up a delicious Italian meal. Perfection.

The night was topped off with an evening swim with my family :)

And then it was over. Weekends are always such a sweet time! Evie seems so comfortable with Mommy AND Daddy there, and I try to savor every moment with my baby girl who is becoming more grown up by the day. It doesn't get any sweeter than that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Song Worth Hearing

My hubby tipped me off to this band, and we've been listening to them ever since! Sometimes we put this record on while the sun shines in through the kitchen doors and we feed Ev breakfast or while we're driving through the lush summer countryside.

Somehow these tunes really make us feel like we're on vacation, even if we're just doing the same old stuff we always do :)

Check them out, for reals.

Orchestra Baobab (recommended song to start with? Mouhamadou Bamba)

Listen to it. Love it. Take a vacation, even if it's at home.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Art Show. Part II

Hey guys! Scott's show went off great :) I tried to take some pictures of Everleigh, but she was SO EXCITED to be able to run laps around the wide open space and take in all the colors I literally could not get one shot that wasn't the top of her head or her blurry back as she ran from me.

Here are some fun shots of the night:

Also, as a additional awesome thing to add to the already perfect night: Scott found out he was formally accepted into the prestigious Kansas City Art Institute on a huge scholarship. He is so excited to step away from the public university system with its algebra and chemistry and into a school made for crazy artists like him :) Congrats to my loving husband. Our future looks that much brighter!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Art Show.

As many of you know, my husband is a painter. He's actually currently a full time stay-at-home-dad/freelance artist/college student.

Well, tonight he has his first gallery show since before our little family expanded. I can tell he's really excited and anxious, but it's funny cause any time I ask a question, like "when do you want to get there tonight?" He's all like, "quit freaking out over this! It's NOT a big deal!" etc. Can we say "projection"?

Seriously though, I hope it's fun and gorgeous and that there's a really good turn out. I'm going as his personal secretary/salesman/business partner/wife since I'm usually the one convincing people they don't just want, no, they NEED to buy his art :)

If you're local, come out tonight and join us at the Monarch Gallery, 3829 Main Street, KCMO from 6-9PM.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Everleigh (13 Months!)

Dear Everleigh,

Today you are 13 months old, but you think you are a big kid :) And in many ways, you are right! Just last night your Daddy and I were commenting on how grown up you seem, and how little by little your baby-ness is fading. You're crying less and communicating more. You're growing so tall and strong, getting those little teeth in, growing your little baby hair. Every time we look at you, we are overwhelmed by how our love just seems to grow and grow--almost as quickly as you!

Here's what you're up to now:

Applause, applause, you LOVE a good round of applause (confession: I always did too). You love it when people clap for you, or heck, even when you clap for yourself. Now every time I sing you a little tune, you applaud afterwards, and you think it's pretty funny when I bow and say, "thank you. thank you very much. I love you all".

Eating. A long time ago I taught you the sign for "milk", which you use at will. You also developed a method of telling us you want real food instead, and that's by opening and closing your mouth like you're chewing something. You eat. and eat. and eat. Lately, every time I look at you, you're giving me the milk hand or the chewing face. You love yogurt, cheese, Cheerios, fruit, and your organic green snacks.

Talking. You're now saying lots of fun words, which I sometimes understand and sometimes don't. You've added "up" and "apple" to your repertoire, along with "pappa" (for grandpa), and "augy" for Tory (not the nickname I would have chosen, but ok :). You're also making lots of fun animal sounds, like a whispered "roar" for lions, a "who who" for owls, and your old panting sound for doggies. It's super sweet, and girl--you are an animal lover.

Recognizing pictures. It's amazing to me that you were literally born just over a year ago, and you've already learned so much. One of our favorite games right now is to look at your books with you and say, "Everleigh, where is the pony?", or "show me the umbrella". You point right to it about 85% of the time, and when you do, you always give yourself a round of applause :) Mommy's girl.

Big girl room. We decided to skip right over the crib phase, since it was not working for you, and get you a Big Girl Bed to go in your big girl room. It's been fun reclaiming your bedroom (since you've been sleeping in ours for the past 12 months and yours became a makeshift storage space. sorry!), and you absolutely love the bright yellow curtains Grandma sewed for you and the owl and tree decals on your walls. I love that Target actually makes a bedroom set that matches all the handmade items we worked hard on and also received as gifts from family and friends.

Your hugs and kisses. Lately you've been feeling the love and giving out lots of hugs and kisses, which always warms my heart. You like to do it when you want though, and not when you're asked. I like that your spunk is still there--like, "you can't tell me what to do". That may not be cute forever, but I'm choosing to love it right now :)

It's so fun to watch your personality develop, and to constantly reflect on how you are changing and also how you are changing me. Nothing makes me happier than seeing you laugh or hearing you whisper "mama" as you drift off to sleep. I'm right here. I'm right here.

Love you always,


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

My sexy husband holding Ev at Riverfest :)

Everleigh is not so sure about the pouring rain

Daddy and Ev bonding

Ev giving a smooch the only way she knows how: all out

The clouds part and we hit the carnival

Ev does a stroller dance to the jazz music that I captured on video and will attempt to post later. Awesome

Mommy has not mastered the art of the hold and shoot self-portait!
This extra-long holiday weekend has been so great! I've really been soaking up the family time (and ignoring the computer: sorry readers).

Friday night my Evie, mom, big sister, and her mother-in-law all attended the art gallery openings at First Friday downtown. It was pretty fun showing off the art scene to my family, since most of them aren't all that familiar with how that world works. At one point, we were all given fliers for a local event called "Queerfest", and while I thought. "hmm...I'd go to that", my mom was embarrassed. Oh parents, what are you gonna do? 

Saturday, Scott, Tory and I took Everleigh to Day 1 of our downtown Riverfest, where we watched some kites and listened to some ragtime music before giving up on the 106 degree heat. Later that night, I got in a mini girl date with my friend, Jen and had a pomegranate martini and some seriously uplifting conversation. A much needed break.

Sunday, Scott's mom and sister (along with her 2 year old daughter) met up with us and we braved the RAIN (???) to go back for Day 2 of the Riverfest. We literally walked half a mile through mud and puddles to enter the park and huddle under the large ragtime tent because it was pouring outside. Then, the sky cleared and we hit up the carnival. Scotti and I even rode the Tilt-a-Whirl together :)

We all went home, put on dry clothes, ate some pizza, and headed back into the (now)gorgeous day. We  ate sour Dots and drank water and watched Ev chase around with her cousin and give baby hugs. We saw the big kids on the pony rides and the bouncy toys. We watched the sun go down over the river, then stuck around for the best fireworks display in town. We were worried how Ev would handle the fireworks, but she loved them and kept exclaiming, "ooohh! ahhhhh", pointing and clapping for the best ones. 

Today, we have plans to cookout with my family and maybe squeeze in a walk and a nap :)

Hope everyone's having a great 4th!