Thursday, June 14, 2012

Monthly Snapshot: May 2012

Hello, hello!  It's time again for our monthly snapshot!  Drumroll please........

And heeeere are the Puff family highlights for the month of May!

Incidents & Events

Hands down the most dramatic event of the month was that my sister's car was stolen.  Michelle moved to Colorado with her new husband Chris back in February, and they had driven her car out there so she would have transportation.  One morning, while Michelle was out riding her bike, someone stole her car right out of their driveway  Welcome to Colorado, right?

At any rate, the police didn't have a lot of hope for recovering her car, so she was told to wait a certain number of days and then turn it in to her insurance company.  However, the next day police found her car.  It had been dumped not all that far from her home and completely gutted, most likely so the thieves could sell the parts.  When I say 'gutted', I mean gutted.  Like, they took the headlights, people.  Gutted.

Michelle and Chris debated for a short while and ended up purchasing a new car with their insurance money - a fancy Honda hybrid!  I'm excited to see it!

Norah and Josiah on a Jeep adventure in the African Safari
In other news, this month we invested in the purchase of a membership and yearly pass to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.  I've taken the kids to the zoo three times so far, so the pass has already paid for itself (really, a child's entry fee is $8.50.  $8.50 - how much does is really cost to host a 3-year-old at the zoo??).  We've gone once with Erica and her lovelies, Josiah and Sophia, once with Nicole & Sarah and her red-headed beauties, Leila and Ellie, and once with Jessica and Kimberly and their littles, Liam, Caroline, and Maya.  I've discovered that the zoo makes an excellent space for talking to other moms - the kids are occupied looking at the cool animals, and we can actually get more than one sentence out before getting interrupted! Whoo!  The zoo pass is also going to be great for those days when we're just having a rough time and need to get out without spending money.  I feel like this is going to be an excellent summer for the zoo!

Why hello there, Sophia! When did you get so big?
Ellie, Norah & Leila
1.25 seconds before I shot this, all three girls were looking at the camera and smiling.  For realz.

Really, mom, I said no paparazzi...
True story from the zoo:  When we went with Sarah, Nicole, Leila, & Ellie, Sarah planned to buy the kids popcorn.  She brought these lovely paper bags with her because she is a prepared grown up, and she knows that having your own bag of popcorn is way cooler than sharing with everyone else.  So Sarah bought a bag of popcorn and split it up into three paper bags and gave one to each of the kids. 

Norah was not having this - she wanted her own bag of popcorn from the popcorn stand.  These kinds of moments can be pivotal in a parent's day: do I fight with her about the popcorn?  Force her to take popcorn from Sarah?  Tell her she can't have any popcorn at all if she doesn't want to share theirs?  No matter what I do, it's going to suck - and at this point I felt my decision had the potential to make or break the entire rest of the day (which you may or may not believe - if you are a parent, you believe me).  So, right at that moment I decided that the popcorn fight was not worth having.  Non-parents call this permissiveness, or 'raising a brat'.  Parents call this 'choosing their battles'. 

(For the record, if you give in to every battle, or to most of them, you cannot say you are 'choosing' your battles.  At that point you are actually losing the entire war.  You do have to actually raise them, you know.)

So anyway, I walked over to the popcorn stand and bought a bag of popcorn.  Norah promptly insisted that this popcorn be in one of the paper bags.  In my head I was like, "Dear God, are you freakin' serious?", but what I said was, "Sarah, could we please have a paper bag?".  She very kindly obliged and I poured all of the popcorn out of the zoo bag and into the paper bag.  I handed the bag to Norah and she looked up at me, and said, completely deadpan.....

Popcorn?  What popcorn?

wait for it.......

"I'm not really hungry,"

and handed me the popcorn.


I felt slightly better when Sarah laughed her head off and said it made her feel better to see someone else's kid doing this - apparently I'm not the only parent in the world who has ever had this problem.

This month also marked the opening of Mom & Dad's lake cottage, and we went to the lake for Memorial Day.  I made myself a fancy mesh sling for wearing Miles in the lake, and it turns out he is a fan of splashing in the water.  Norah was absolutely thrilled that it was lake season again and poured her heart into swimming around, jumping off the pier, and building sandcastles (or mudcastles; she's still a little unclear on the sand to water ratio needed to for a strong sandcastle foundation).  Most of the Mills family was on hand and we had a lovely time.
Note her intense concentration - I think we've got an architect here, folks.

This month was also a big month for big news amongst my friends!  Erica & Jason sold their house, packed up, and moved a little ways away on Kensington.  Three couples I know also got engaged!  Justin planned an elaborate proposal to Carissa, which she loved.  And said yes, by the way.  Curt proposed to Mike while they took a Memorial Day camping trip.  And Jason and Anna also got engaged recently.  Looks like 2013 will be a big year for weddings!  Jason & Anna are planning for March 30 of the coming year, and I believe (though I'm not sure) that Justin & Carissa are looking at a 2013 wedding, as well.  Curt and Mike are planning for a long engagement, as they are waiting until Indiana legally recognizes same-sex marriages before they get married.  As Curt so eloquently put it, "I want a wedding, not a gay wedding."

I've had a hard time with this lately - not so much about having to wait for their wedding, but with my feelings about marriage equality.  I've had a lot of thoughts lately about the rights I'm afforded for no other reason than I'm straight and I can get married.  For example, if something were to happen to me, I know, without a doubt, what would happen to my kids and my assets - no one would ever question or contest Daniel's getting both.  I'm afforded the ability to stay home with my kids because I can automatically get health insurance through Daniel's employer.  And so on, and so on.  I have a crapload of rights and assurances because I happen to have been born straight, and these have a major impact on the decisions I'm able to make for my family.

My closest friends don't have those same rights.

And that is wrong.


I have had to try to explain to Norah why Jason & Anna and Justin & Carissa can get married next year, but her 'Uncle Curt' can't.  How do you explain that to a three-year-old?  That Curt & Mike want to get married needs no explanation - three-year-olds get the concept of love with surprisingly little prejudice.  It's inequality they don't understand.  It's bigotry that makes no sense to them.

Oh, that we all could look at my friends like three-year-olds.

My Lovelies

Heeeeeere I go!
The biggest news, kids-wise, in our house is that Miles is ready to crawl!  As of this writing, he's taken off all over the house, but in the month of May he wasn't quite there yet.  He was doing that 'almost crawling thing' for awhile there, where he would get one knee under him and one stuck up with his foot flat on the ground, then get mad that he couldn't get anywhere.  Then he got onto his belly and somehow managed to scoot around backwards.  Now he's just crawling around like it's the easiest and most natural thing in the world.

Miles has also been trying all kinds of new foods.  I can't believe what a crazy good eater this kid is.  He is in love with berries - can't get enough! - and is also quite fond of scrambled eggs, but he'll eat just about anything we put on his tray.  The other night we made bacon wrapped chicken with homemade honey mustard and he chomped his way through it like it was nothing.  I'm telling you, this kid must be a Quinn.  Because he picks up his food and eats it himself, there's no keeping him clean, so I've been putting him in the sink after meals as of late.  That's normal, right?

There's a baby in my sink!

How shall I describe the month with Norah?  Let's just say it hasn't been as easy as some of our past months.  We're doing a lot of work on asking for things politely and listening.  There has been a lot of screaming demands in the past few weeks, which just isn't flying with me, so we have been spending a lot of time on learning new ways to cope with the giant three-year-old feelings that just don't fit all that well in her three-year-old sized brain.  Despite the unusually difficult month, she's still such a sweet little girl and loves her little brother to bits.

You're right, they are a little big.... 

Norah has been working on recognizing letters with her bathtub letter set.  She often asks me what letter something is when we're out and about, what sound it makes, and what word starts with that letter.  This actually sounds like, "What's that letter for?" which, as a mom, I have cleverly deciphered as her wanting to know a word that starts with that letter.  She is very good at identifying 'E', 'I', 'N', 'M', 'D', and 'T', and is working on all the rest.

Norah has also become very independent in the past month, and has been using her kitchen stool to cause all kinds of mayhem.  One night while she was home with Dan she decided to 'wash dishes', which, in reality, consisted of scrubbing down exactly 3 dishes with nearly an entire bottle of Dawn dish soap, and enough water to irrigate the Sahara.  I have also found random objects in my refridgerator, such as a play doh container filled with water and ice cubes.  Uh, what?  But she is working on doing things herself and despite some of the craziness, is becoming quite capable at various tasks.  Norah can make scrambled eggs mostly by herself (she has trouble getting them entirely scrambled while mixing and needs a little help), including being able to pour them into the skillet and flip them around without touching anything hot.  She's also doing quite well at asking if she can have a certain snack and then getting it herself.

I swear, she was just born, like, yesterday - wasn't she?  Now she's getting ready for Top Chef.  *sigh*  It all goes so fast.

Are you ready for an adventure?
Here we go!  Hold on tight, baby brother!

Both kids have been spending a lot of time outside playing, but Norah has especially.  She's a big fan of the both the sprinkler and the kiddie pool, and she often comes into the house completely drenched!  She's also getting our money's worth out of the playset we put up last month.



Food & Health

Probably the biggest change I made in May in regards to my health was that I joined CrossFit Fort Wayne.  CrossFit seems really different than gyms or exercise programs I have seen or done in the past, and I really like that.  Less 'cardio', more strength and conditioning.  Workouts are varied, short and intense, involve functional movement (oh, I can actually do something in real life with what I worked on today?), and cover a wide range of fitness skills (endurance, strength flexibility, etc...)  I like that I can go to a class and get instruction from a trainer rather than just showing up at a gym and not knowing what to do.

This has been an enormous challenge for me, and I'm really, really proud of myself so far.  I'm not, by any means, athletic, even remotely.  My idea of an athletic activity is to move the coffee table closer to the sofa so that I can reach my drink while I read a long-ass book.  Kind of like my idea of outdoorsy is to take my book to the front porch.  There's a theme here.  And in fact, most of why I used to go to the Y was because for 2 hours I could utilize child watch and I could walk on a treadmill or elliptical machine at a pretty sad, slow pace and actually get some time to myself that was quiet enough to read a book.

So, needless to say, I'm not running circles around everyone at CrossFit.

I'm actually fairly pathetic, though apparently that's why I need to go in the first place.  I do have some decent flexibility going for me, but that's about it.

Before I could start going to regular CrossFit classes, I had to take a start up class called On Ramp, where I learned some of the basic CrossFit skills.  Now my friend Beth, who got me interested in CrossFit in the first place, told me not to worry about not being fast or good at anything, because she said she couldn't run 400 meters when she started and look at her now! (Actually she did not say the 'look at me now!' bit, because Beth is very modest.  So I just looked at her now all on my own, and she is rockin' it!)  So I showed up for my first On Ramp class, thinking, "Eh, I know I'm probably going to suck at this, which is the whole point of me being here in the first place.  But other people surely suck at it when they first come too, so whatever."

I was promptly placed into an On Ramp class with two other people, both of whom are clearly athletes - like, probably lifelong athletes.  The two were an engaged couple, and the girl mentioned her indoor soccer league, having run track, cheerleading, and gymnastics in the course of 2 evenings.  Erm.

Not spectacular for my self-esteem

The first night of On Ramp we did a workout that was 8 minutes long.  For me, anyway.  It was 5 minutes long for them, because they are fast and fit and can get shit done.  So I almost doubled their time at it, plus I felt like I was on drugs afterwards- my arms and legs felt all funny and rubbery and I couldn't focus my brain.

I sat in my car and cried for probably 10 minutes when it was done.  I knew I was bad at this, but geesh!  Rub it in a little?

But I have kept going.  I am still not terribly good at anything, but I am going.  I signed up and paid for 6 months and if, at the end of that, I'm still not good at anything and I don't feel any stronger or more fit, I will quit.  But I don't think that's how it's going to play out.

I think it will take me awhile to feel ok with CrossFit and with myself and with everyone there.  Not that anyone there has been a problem for me, or anything, but I have come to realize that I have issues with the concept of 'athletes'.  What's an athlete, anyways?  Apparently I'm working on becoming one, or something.  And apparently everyone there is one.  I've been thinking about it and I realized that in my mind there are two subsets of this thing called 'athletes'.  There are: 1) my sister and her friends, and 2) people who are total assholes to me.  So there's a slight mental block there that I'm working my way around.  The good news is that I've spent a lot of my time over the past 6-7 years intentionally being uncomfortable for the sake of some goal - building community or trying to be better at something and so on.  I'm so totally uncomforatble at CrossFit, but I think that's a good thing.  I think I just need some time and experience and perspective and hopeully things will fall into place.

And lastly, one more thing before I shut up about CrossFit:

One of the awesome things about CrossFit is that is aligns well with my Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Plan (ZAPP), which is really just a short list of things I should probably have in order in the event of a major world crisis.  Zombie Apocalypse sounds way cooler than 'if that Captain Tripps thing really comes true' or 'if WW3 happens and we get invaded and I have to run to the mountains on short notice'.  At any rate, being fit enough to run away from the Zombies is important.  Jason told me that a lot of first responders use CrossFit to train.  He said something like, "It basically prepares you to run into a burning building, lift a beam off of someone, pick the person up, and run out of the building with them to safety".  Really, how badass is that?  It's like Chuck Norris meets Heather's fitness plan.  Zombies, look out.

I'm sure I could go on (and on and on and on.....), but I think I'm out of steam for our May 2012 report.  I'm going to wrap up with some additional photos of the kids, and I'll see you again when I wrap up with June!

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