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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Climb On : Getting It Done (Or Not)

The gym where we climb (here) regularly takes down and adds new routes. The bouldering wall gets this treatment far more often - there are almost always new routes on that section - but the top roping wall recently got a big revision and several new routes as well.  While it's good, they currently don't have a lot of routes at my skill level to try. I have been sending 5.8s pretty regularly (usually not with great footwork and sometimes relying on the rope a bit more than I should) but 5.9s are still way out of my ability range.

At this point there's only one 5.8 that I haven't gotten at all - this damn green route (actually a 5.8+, meaning it's a little harder than a normal 5.8)  that has a "complicated" move where you have to balance between two walls and push off the holds to get to the next set of holds instead of hold onto them (that probably makes no sense at all). I put "complicated" in quotes because the average climber could get it with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their back. It's just complicated for me, The Newb.

Me (in blue) belaying Kimberly (on the wall) as she attempts to climb the crack - getting up the wall using only the crack. 

There's one other 5.8 that I got with cheating, where I used a foothold that wasn't mine. I have NO idea how to get that one without cheating, though. I need to watch Kimberly or Jenna climb it clean to figure out what to do with my feet, because what I think I need to do...I can't. It'd involve getting my foot up by my head and I'm not that flexible yet. Or ever. I'm hoping there's a foothold or move I missed somewhere so I can get it without cheating.

But after those two 5.8s are done, then I can either keep climbing 5.8s that I've already gotten and perfect techniques and moves, or I can move on to 5.9s and just.....not make it up to the top ever. Well. Eventually, probably. But it's a huge leap from 5.8s to 5.9s (and an even bigger leap from 5.9s to 5.10s, which is the stage Kimberly is at). Jenna just recently started working on 5.9s and it's hard even for her, and she's been going much longer than I have been - and going twice a week, which is a huge advantage. I'll probably work my way around the wall, re-doing routes that I've already completed, and try to get them cleanly. The only reason I don't like doing that is because HELLO? What if I don't get it again? Massively demoralizing. Last week I tried a 5.7 (FIVE SEVEN!) and failed miserably because I had a deep cut on one of my fingertips that was located exactly where I needed to exert pressure to complete a move and I just couldn't get it. Even though I knew it was because of my finger, it still comes off as BLAH BLAH BLAH EXCUSES EXCUSES and you just want to crawl under a rock. Artificial rock, in this case.

 Kimberly attempting to tie-in like a velociraptor would. Seriously. That's actually what's going on here. 

Jenna wondering what the hell Kimberly is doing. 

I really, really (really!) need to increase the number of times I'm getting out and climbing. Right now, I can usually get out once a week, but since Chris works the other nights of the week and I work Sundays, I usually can't make it on the second day that Jenna and Kimber go. The weeks when I've been able to go twice have been fantastic, and the second day you just plain start out at a higher level than you did the first day, since you're still wired for it from the first day. Going once a week is like going back a half-step each time. One step forward, half step back. Progress, but slooooooooow progress. 

It'd probably also help to start some other exercise program and watch what I eat. I'm the queen of carbs (which are fine, just not in the form I eat them....cookies. cake. ice cream) and sugar. I completed a two-week clean eating challenge recently, and while I didn't get crazy bursts of energy like I was hoping, I did notice a huge difference in my gut. It was much happier. Doing that on the semi-regular along with just being more active in general would be hugely beneficial for my climbing life. 

Jenna getting her harness and shoes off after a long night of climbing. 

And, you know, probably life in general.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Letters to Emmy : Five Months

April 12 to May 12, 2014
Dear Emmy,

Well, dang girl, this is a week late. Apparently time just keeps trucking whether I write your monthly letter or not. I don’t recall approving that decision, but whatever. I GUESS.

This month you’ve just gotten bigger and happier and even more in love with your sister, which I didn’t even think was possible.

You’re huge. You’re the chubbiest chub who ever chubbed, with your rubber-band wrists and squishy thigh rolls and giant round cheeks and dimples. I LOVE IT. It is literally physically impossible not to nom on you. (If you’re reading this in, say, 10 years and you’re wondering what that means, it’s a…um…what is the expression for this decade? Did we ever decide? The Naughts? The 20-10s? No? No idea. Anyway, it’s a current-time thing that might not make sense to you in future-time and means munch on.) Anyway. You’re just SO NOM-ABLE. And squishable. And loveable. You feel so perfect in my arms (those rare times you let me actually cuddle you). I know from experience that this chub-a-dub stage won’t last long – your sister was totally chubtastic and slimmed down quite a bit when she started crawling and walking – so I’m just making it my goal to squish you as much as possible while I can. Also, P.S., Carys calls you “Chubs,” which is either totally adorable or will totally mess you up later in life. Sorry about that!

You don’t care about anything except for BEING BIG (and eating, but don’t we all). You want to be JUST like your big sister. You could not give two ducks about those, psh, baby toys.  If your sister isn’t playing with it, you don’t want anything to do with it. But if she IS playing with it, my god, you want that thing more than anything in the world. You are constantly reaching for whatever she’s playing with – and to give her credit, she’s very good about sharing with you. Granted, she picks out her least favorite doll of the bunch of dolls to give you, but at least she’s sharing. You want to be in eyesight of her at all times if she’s awake. You will literally crane your neck 180 degrees to watch her if she’s behind you. You’re part owl or something, I don’t know.  And the laughs she elicits from you? Giant, long, deep belly laughs. The rest of us get laughs, but she gets LAUGHS. Underline/bold/italics/etc.

You aren't on a great routine yet - meaning I can usually mostly guess what time you'll be sleeping and what time you'll be awake and for how long, but it's not an exact science. You're still at the age where you'll fall asleep in your carseat or wherever we are, though, so I'm not pushing on onto you yet. We let Carys set her own routine by paying attention to her cues, and by the end of her first year she'd put herself on a routine that was exact down to the minute. So I'm hoping that you follow suit, because I don't really know how to set a routine. I prefer to let my kids just parent themselves (/sarcasm). Note to self, though: If you're fussy and I can't soothe you, you probably just want to be laid down to sleep and left the heck alone. You're not big on being rocked to sleep, which is both awesome and sad. I don't get to cuddle your relaxed, sleeping body very often since you prefer to be laid down awake and you'll fall asleep on your own. But on the other hand, hopefully I won't be crying in the middle of the night in a few months trying to get you to transfer from my arms to the crib successfully, which is what happened with your sister. 

You’ve got blondish-brownish-(dare I say it)-reddish hair that’s so light and fine, it can be hard to see. Little wisps all over your head. You have brilliant, deep blue eyes. I constantly wonder what you’re going to look like when you get older. Carys as a baby looks nothing like Carys as a toddler, so I have absolutely no history to go off of here and cannot possibly guess. But I’m excited for it.

You sit up really well. You can roll both front to back and back to front (thank GOD, because for a while there you were only rolling back to front and you really dislike being on your stomach and expressed this discontent quite loudly whenever you found yourself on your stomach). You can move around, though I’m not really sure how you do it. You start on one side of the room and five minutes later, you’re on the other side, and I’m not really sure how you did it.

Your hands are in your mouth ALL. THE. TIME. And if not your hands, then a toy. And if not a toy, then my shirt. And if not my shirt, then my hair. Anything that comes within reaching distance you instantly grab and it goes directly in the mouth. I don’t think you’re teething (I don’t see any white dots or feel anything, and Carys didn’t get teeth ‘til around 9 months) but my god, you will have it and you will have it in your mouth, thank you very much.

Because of the “chewing everything” thing and since you sit pretty well and since I started Carys on solids (baby-led weaning style) when she was about 5.5 months old, I thought I’d throw an avocado wedge your way and see what you thought. Nope. Not ready yet. You sucked on that thing like it was a bottle, then smashed it into the tray on your high chair and proceeded to gnaw on your bib. You chewed that bib good, though. That bib had it coming.

You’re such a content baby. You don’t care who is holding you (yet – separation anxiety is a’coming, I know) and as long as you’re part of the action, you’re happy. SO happy. You love sitting in your high chair and watching me (and usually Carys) while I cook. If anyone so much as glances at you, they are rewarded with a huge smile and usually some excited kicks. When I pick you up from daycare on Mondays and Tuesdays, I feel like I’ve won the lottery or like I’m a celebrity or The Most Important Mom in the Universe after your excited greeting. I’m pretty sure if you greeted Kim Jong-Un every morning, he’d turn into a happy puppy cavorting in a field of daisies.

You’re (OMG AM I REALLY GOING TO TYPE THIS OUT KNOCK ON SO MUCH WOOD) a really good sleeper. You’re not sleeping through the night, but you go down by yourself, so I can lay you down mostly awake (with a swaddle and paci, usually) and you’ll put yourself to sleep. Last night happened to be one where you were awake for a while in the middle of the night (some infant dance party at 3am or something? You have a better nightlife than me!) but usually when you wake up, you’ll eat and go right back to sleep. Co-sleeping is a huge reason for this, I think. Usually you start out in the crib, then you’ll wake to eat, sleep with me for a couple hours, then I’ll put you back in the Rock N Play, then rinse and repeat until morning. What am I going to do when you’re in your crib all night? Who will keep me warm?

I say it constantly, but you’re such a perfect addition to our family. I love how Carys has a deep need to know where you are at all times (“Where’s baby Emmeline? She sleepin’?”) and I love watching your dad interact with you and I love simply sitting with you and looking at you. If it’s just you or Carys and the other one is gone or sleeping, I feel incomplete. Even if you’re just two rooms away sleeping, it doesn’t feel right. It feels bizarrely easy, for one thing, to have just one kid, but it also feels all wrong. We need you.

Love you so much, Chubs McGubs.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Third Time's the Charm? Nope.

I've been getting asked lately quite a bit whether we’ll have a third (or more?) child. Right now, we’re a house divided – or at least uncertain. I have no idea if we’ll have a third one down the line (we’d probably stop there). And my second child is still a baby – it’s too early to be thinking about this! Let me enjoy her being a baby before I even think about adding a third! And yo, back off the current or future state of my uterus, dawg. That's not your business. 

But of course I've thought about it. Come on.

Chris is completely fine (and sometimes even adamant) about stopping at two. Me, though? I’m totally uncertain. I love larger families (I was one of four) and love a bit of chaos and love kids in general. But a third kid would be expensive (Three kids in daycare? Three kids to feed? Three plane tickets if we went anywhere? A new car to hold three kids [or all new carseats at the least]?? A new house???]. And a third kid would tip the scales in the kids’ direction – they’d outnumber us! And it’s not quite that critical mass number where adding another kid just doesn't matter (that happens at four kids, I hear). And in the back of my mind is a study that found that parents with three kids were the least happy. Although I can’t find that study now, so maybe I just made that up. And we’re in a good groove now. But….KIDS. SIBLINGS. CHAOS. FUN. I love that; I crave that; I thrive on that.

If we did, it wouldn't (ideally) be until Emmeline is at least two years old. I really like the age gap between Carys and Emmeline. But then, I've never had a four-year-old and a two-year-old AND a newborn, so who knows how that would work in reality (who knows, except, you know, all those other millions of people who have had that age combo). And maybe Carys will be a complete terror of a four-year-old or maybe Emmeline will be the most devil-y two-year-old ever and in two years I’ll tie my OWN tubes with a rusty spoon just to ensure that no more children enter our house, lest I spend the days covered in spaghetti sauce coaxing a toddler off of the top of the fridge and trying to trade her chocolate for whatever dangerous chemical she’s attempting to drink. Although that’s not all that different than my life now, I guess. And I kind of really love it now.

Can you keep a secret? I will admit to a teensy massive bit of baby fever whenever I see a pregnant lady or newborn. I love being pregnant. I love newborns. I kind of want one now. BUT NO LARA. BUT NO. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Holidays 2014 : Easter

This one isn't quite as bad as the Christmas-in-July post since it's only....two?....months late. But it's still pretty bad. In case you're wondering what the eff you're reading about Easter in the middle of July for, my excuse is that I wrote posts about Christmas and Easter and forgot to publish them and only discovered them when I was clearing out my millions and millions of "Draft" posts (where half-formed thoughts go to die).  In the interest of being a huge attention whore, I'm going to post them now (because hello, even though they are ancient, they're still cute pics of my kids) and then back-date them to the appropriate months so it doesn't immediately look like I'm a huge blogging failure. But we'll all know the truth deep down.


In the week leading up to Easter, we did several Easter Egg hunts. Her preschool hosts one every year, and it's always my favorite. It's a very community-oriented preschool, and many kids from her class attend these types of events, so it's always fun for her (and me).

She couldn't wait to crack open her haul. 

Quick swinging break with daddy (in blue sweatshirt) before we headed home.


The day before Easter, my sister and parents came over to decorate Easter eggs. We're getting progressively more creative as the years pass. This year we broke out the hot glue gun.

Her Nana and aunt Kimber coloring eggs

On the left, very serious about helping her grandpa with his egg. 

Olaf the snowman (from Frozen) in progress.


In the morning, each of the girls got to open their Easter baskets. 

Yes, if you're wondering, Carys decided to wear her Thanksgiving dress (a vintage dress my mom had made for me when I was Carys's age!) for Easter. Kids these days, right!?!?  She doesn't normally get "bigger" gifts for Easter like the Dyson vacuum, but I got a great deal on it and decided to give it to her then instead of just randomly.  Almost everything is comes from Target's Dollar Aisle, with the exception of a couple books.

Poor Emmeline got a chew toy. And that's it. Hashtag second child syndrom. 

I also grabbed some more pictures of the eggs that we'd made the night before.

All the ones Carys decorated.


We then headed over to my parents' house for a brief stop before going to my maternal grandparents'. 

You were probably (not) wondering what their dog looked like, right? His name's Toby.

Why yes, she is wearing two different shoes. It's called FASHION.

One of her gifts was a little egg filled with confetti.

More egg pictures. I couldn't help it, all right, we were freaking creative geniuses. 

I decided I wanted a family picture. It didn't quite work out.


After that, we headed to my maternal grandparent's Easter celebration (which now takes place at my aunt's house). This is a huge family celebration, with four generations represented and dozens of people.

The great-grandkids in attendance (at least ONE of them was happy to be there).

Carys worships my cousin's daughter Mariah.


Easter egg hunting. Carys is using DJ's bucket, because she wanted to match Mariah.

The oldest and (current) youngest of the family.

After the kids had their hunt, we organized the first annual adult hunt, tentatively called "Kegs and Eggs." There were many decoy eggs hidden around, but only one golden egg (seriously) (well, not real gold, obviously) (but gold-colored). The person who found it won a giftcard to a local restaurant. 

Everyone racing to search. 

My sister Kimberly, who hid the egg, is giving us a hint as to what side of the yard it's on, after we searched fruitlessly for about 15 minutes.

Laughing at our failed attempts to locate it.  In the end, one of the cousins found it, and I'm so mad I didn't get a picture of her!


The next day, we headed over to my husband's sister's house for an Easter celebration over there. 

My mother-in-law is going through treatment for breast cancer, so it's always wonderful to get to spend time with her. 

Blowing bubbles with her aunt.


"Daddy, blow bubbles like this. No, I'll do it. [heavy sigh]."

Filthy feet. But worth it. 

Before we left, her uncle (well, soon-to-be uncle) initiated an Easter grass fight with her. Glad I didn't have to clean that up.

And then we at chocolate and candy until we passed out.

The end.