Day 31: That’s a wrap

We have come to our final day! We did it. Cheers to all the Slicers out there that Sliced this month! Whether you Sliced every day, once a week, or whenever you felt like it. You did it!

Although it can be difficult to get it in, I always look forward to this season of Slicing! I love staying in touch with some of the same Slicers, and continuing to grow as a writer.

See you all next year. x

Day 30: Rubber bands and duct tape

Anyone else have a dad out there that loves to fix everything with rubber bands and/or duct tape? Two solid inventions that can bring anything broken back to life! Well, almost.

Over summer, the handle of our kitchen faucet had a small leak. My husband grabbed an allen wrench, unscrewed the handle, cleaned off the inside of the handle, and screwed it back up nice and tight. Fixed!

Recently, the sprayer hose to the faucet started to come leak, as well. One day it was kind of leaking out of the hose. Then all of a sudden, no water was coming out of the head of the faucet but instead just spraying everywhere from the hose. Like the rest of our townhouse, this faucet is less than two years old!! We decided to replace a part versus replacing the whole faucet. Plenty of good life left in! (Or at least so we thought.)

While we replaced the hose, I unscrewed the head to let it soak in vinegar- just trying to remove some of the hard water residue. When we went to screw it back onto the new hose a day later, the sprayer wouldn’t work properly. It  wouldn’t click back and forth between stream mode and spray mode. Instead it just did both. All the time. While also making a terribly annoying sound. Naturally, I wrapped a rubber band around the head of it to keep it in stream mode. It worked, for the most part. 

Last week, the handle started leaking again. No prob. Charlie was on top of it… 

He entered the nursery where I was nursing Ollie to sleep.

“It just broke off,” he whispered. I just chuckled. It was time. This silly sink had been a real stinker from the jump. 

“Look on Amazon and pick one out. Make sure it will fit in the hole that’s already there,” I reply. Thank God for Amazon. Really. The last thing we wanted to do was make a run to Home Depot. 

Two days later we had a new sink arrive at our front door. We installed it within about 30 minutes or so, and we were back in business! Rubber bands and duct tape can’t fix everything.

*While we waited for the sink to arrive, Charlie figured out we could turn the sink faucet on and off with a pair of pliers!

Day 29: The COVID adjustment

Last April we found out we were pregnant. We were thrilled! Baby Graves would be due Dec 21. Also, great! Charlie would be in the middle of his coaching season for wrestling. Then, I would be on maternity leave long enough that, by the time I returned to work, he wouldn’t be coaching a sport.

WRONG! COVID eff’s up everyone’s plans doesn’t it? (This really has been the ONLY negative affect I have experienced throughout this long season of COVID. For this reason, I truly am grateful!)

Football season came and went. No football season occurred. Wrestling season came and went. No wrestling season in the Winter.

Here we are today.  I have been back at work for about a month. Ollie just turned four months old. Charlie should have ended his coaching seasons at the end of February. But instead, he’s just getting started. Practices until 5:45. Games/meets on Friday nights and/or all day Saturday. (BTW- I am truly happy these kids get their sporting season, even if it does mess up my plans. They deserve it!)

I know we can do it. But, it’s just been a big adjustment. As anyone out there with children in daycare knows, there are so many things that need to be prepped for the next day. I want to be doing this once the boys are in bed because as soon as I get home from work for the day, I just want to be present with them. Love them up and play with them! However, sometimes when I am done nursing Ollie at 8:15, all I want to do is sink into my cozy bed.  So, I know there are a few things I have to check off as soon as I get home.

I think I can, I think I can….

Day 28: Coming of Age

With special birthdays comes special milestones. 

  • Age 16 drivers license
  • Age 18 vote
  • Age 21 drink

New milestone due to COVID-19

  • Age 2 wear a mask

The week leading up to Charlie’s 2nd birthday, our daycare provider suggested we start having him wear a mask around the house to get used to wearing one. I finally got around to ordering a few. We had him wear it for a little while over the weekend. Then, when Monday morning came around, we were getting ready for daycare. Charlie would be turning two at the end of the week! Meaning, he didn’t need to wear one yet. However, he was ready. “Wear mask?” he asked. To him, all his friends at daycare wore one, I am sure wearing a mask felt like joining the big kid club. It was sad and strange, but also super awesome that we didn’t have to persuade him much!

Day 27: Change

Credit is given to Albert Einstein for one of my favorite quotes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I have been thinking about this quote for a long while. It continues to resurface and prove its relevancy in my life, as well as within my close inner circle.

Venting and confiding in someone is so important. We need someone to go to- to get the challenges we are facing off our chest – to know someone else out there cares. Personally, I felt my venting was transforming into complaining. Complaining, it’s easy to do. However, complaining needs to be paired with, “So what are you going to do it about?” Because if you don’t do something about it, if you don’t change anything, then nothing will change!  Hence, the love I have for this quote.  

I am working to remind myself, if I am complaining, I need to own whatever it is I am complaining about. Then, take one step towards the change I am seeking. Because, within reason, most of my complaints can be resolved…  or at least altered and/or enhanced. What I can control, I can change. If I don’t choose to make a change, and then complain some more, the process becomes insanity. Why would I think something would change without me taking steps towards the desired result? 

The steps you need to take for change can be uncomfortable. In the moment, it can be scary. Nauseating. The  I’d-rather-ride-the-salt-n-pepper-shaker-at-the-carnival-and-puke versus steps towards this change. Hot, clammy, shaky…  However, the end result is worth it. What is more uncomfortable? The current feeling of repeated discontentment or the step towards change that results in peace and contentment? 

This quote lifts me up. It reminds me to look at the challenges, obstacles, and sticky situations in my life and say “So what are YOU going to do about it? Because if you aren’t going to do anything about it, quit complaining.” Taking this approach has made me so much happier. I feel calmer. I sleep better. And of course, I complain less.

Cheers to working through tough stuff. 

Day 26: The Island of Misfit Toys

Sometime between last Easter and the beginning of summer, Charlie took a liking to a small stuffed bunny my gram had given him for Easter. Now, “Buh” accompanies Charlie everywhere. By August, his crew started to grow. In tow, he carries his bunny, moose, and two other small bunnies. His hands were full. 

Around December I was doing some winter cleaning. I found a stuffed dog that hadn’t been touched. I had it at the top of the steps for the Goodwill pile. When Charlie woke up from his nap, he immediately adopted the dog to the rest of the crew. Really? The stuffed animal had sat in the toy bin for months. But now that it had finally made it to the Goodwill pile, Charlie decides he loves it to pieces? A couple weeks later I made a similar mistake. In an effort to continue to weed out the island of misfit toys, I tossed “Sheep” over by the steps. Turns out the steps are the perfect location to showcase a stuffed animal in need of some extra love. Again, Charlie woke up from his afternoon nap and kidnapped Sheep. 

Lesson learned- Goodwill piles will be hidden from now on.

I am not sure Charlie could adopt one more lovie if he tried. His hands are full!

Day 25: Nike Run Club

Last March I joined a Nike Run Club challenge with a few co-workers. My first son had just turned a year old. I hadn’t workout since before he was born- and of course I didn’t work out during pregnancy either. So needless to say, it had been a long while since I had worked out. I needed a support group and a sense of connection- the run club provided both of those!

I joined the challenge. Set out to run 30 miles in the month of March. My husband laughed when I told him. I laughed too. Like I said, it had been a while. Surprisingly, I completed the first challenge!

The following month, they increased the challenge to 50 miles. I thought, “I can do this!”. I was energized and feeling good. Unfortunately, I pushed myself a little too hard on some rundown running shoes. My knees couldn’t keep up, even after icing them. About halfway through the challenge, I stopped. That was last April. 

Fast forward to this year! March 2021. The early days of March had me itching to get outside -to get my heartbeat up a bit and get my legs pumping. I told myself to ask my co-workers if they were going to start up a challenge. By the end of the week, I finally remembered to ask them. Turns out, it’s the first one they started up since summer. The challenge was back to 30 miles! “Can I join?!?” I started six days late with twenty five days left in the month of March to hit 30 miles. I could do this!

Okay, so, when to get these runs in? The mornings really aren’t the best option. The middle of the night is still a little unpredictable with Ollie, so I’ll take as much sleep as I can. Starting my day even earlier to run is an absolute “no thanks”.  So, I opted to run at the very end of the day. Also, not the greatest. Long days, so I am already tired. (Typical excuse, I know!). When I nurse Ollie at the end of the day, it’s dark and quiet. We rock together for close to an hour. After an hour, I’m relaxed and VERY sleepy. Most nights I managed to put on my running shoes and drove off to the gym. Weekends are the best because I can run outside while the boys are napping. 

I am 25 days into the challenge. I’ve run about 24 miles. With six days left, I can do this!

Day 24: Long Hair Don’t Care

A year ago, Charlie and I just weren’t sure what we were going to do with Little Man’s hair. Then, when the pandemic hit, there was no reason to take him to a barber. Also, I knew if we got it cut, he would no longer seem like a baby. Instead, he would look like a big boy. I wasn’t ready. He’s two now. His hair is long, and he is handsome. We are almost ready to cut it. (It feels safer to be out and about, and his first haircut will clearly be a family affair. So, in truth, we will probably get in cut soon!)

Until then, for a little boy with long hair, the comments and questions pour in…

“He needs a haircut,” person-who-will-not-be-named.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because his hair is in his face.”

“It’s usually pulled back in a pony. I just haven’t done it yet today.” One. The person that said this knows perfectly well we send him to daycare every day with his hair in a manbun. Two. Cut me some slack. It’s probably 9 or 10 in the morning on a weekend. Regardless, I grab a rubber band and pull up Little Man’s hair.

“He needs a haircut,” a different-person-who-will-not-be-named.

“Why?” I ask.

“He looks like a girl with long hair.”

My response, “And?” 

I can be on board with having hair that looks brush and well-kept. I can support hair that is out of a child’s face. But, really? The whole boy/girl thing? No, thanks. 

Day 23: Yea, I wouldn’t do that if I were you…

Back in November I texted a few of my girlfriends with toddler boys. “Any tips with potty training? I know it might seem like a stretch, but we are ready to start potty training Charlie.” 

I’ve read the research. I know boys typically take longer to potty train and most are encouraged to start around the age of three for boys or just before three. When I sent this text, Charlie was about 21 months. He was showing signs of understanding- he signed “potty” whenever he had a BM and just seemed interested in the process. So, my husband, Charlie, and I decided we wanted to start training him while we were home together for the two week winter break in December.

Response from friend, “Yea, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. He is way too little.”

Typically, I am fueled by someone else’s doubt. However, this time, I totally understood where she was coming from. Nonetheless, the doubt motivated me a tad. He is little. He is young. However, every child is different. Charlie was communicating with us and was starting to show signs he understood. It may be a longer potty training process, but any step towards “trained” was a step we wanted.  What could it hurt? If we started the process and had no success, there’s no harm done in putting a kibosh on the whole thing and trying again later.

On Saturday, December 19th,  the (cloth) diaper came off. Okay, probably another reason we were itching to potty train was because we do cloth diapers. Anyways, Little Man was barebutt for 3 days one whole week. I had heard success stories in the three day bare bottom trick. Since Charlie was so young, we figured three days wasn’t going to cut it. We opted in for a whole week. Charlie and I hadn’t really discussed how we thought this whole thing might go. But, the week seemed to be pretty successful! We knew we couldn’t tickle Charlie, make him laugh, or chase him until after he had sat on his potty. Of course Little Man had a few accidents. One of which being because we forgot to have him go potty before we started tickling him. Fortunately, that week all the accidents were only pee. 

After a week, Little Man was upgraded to big boy undies! Again, still he had a few accidents, and definitely had a few BMs in his big boy undies over the next few weeks. Oiy! That was a bit of a struggle! Overall, it still felt like major progress to us so we continued on in our quest.

(Picking out his first pair! The winner… bananas! Posing for his new undies.)

After the two week Winter Break, he returned to daycare. Daycare is a team effort and we let our provider decide if we could send him in undies or his diaper. She suggested the diaper due to his age and the possible regression in a new setting- busy playing with all his friends with no interest to stop and take a potty break. And, at the time he still didn’t have BMs on the potty yet. We were 100% on board with her suggestion.

The first week or two at daycare did seem like a regression. At times I was almost bummed by the progress we had made during the previous two weeks. I reminded myself of his age and his distractions. We were proud of him. We didn’t let the training process stress us or Little Man. Within about a month or so, he started coming home from daycare with “dry all day” reports. In time, he started having BMs on the potty too.  

Now, we are about three months in. We still send him to daycare in a diaper. We still prompt and remind him to sit on the potty to prevent accidents. Most mornings he requests his undies, but we remind him those are for when he’s at home on the weekends. He’s little and he’s still learning, but I’m glad we decided to try.

Day 22: Sleep Training

 I jump up as soon as I hear him cry out. Then, I stand there. I walk towards the nursery. I walk back towards the bed. I walk towards the nursery. I walk back towards the bed.

What time is it? When did I feed him last? Is he hungry or will he just fall back asleep? Does he just need to be snuggled?

It’s hard to make sound decisions in the middle of the night.

“Babe, do you want to go rock him? Maybe he’s not hungry yet.” I mumble to Charlie. This suggestion is unlikely, yet still it’s possible. Charlie slumps off to try to go settle Ollie.

I lay down. In seconds, Ollie is now wailing. Okay, I’m up. I’m up! I scurry off to the nursery and take Ollie off Charlie’s hands.

Sleep training… We’ll work on it.