sweet desperation and sleep deprivation

Something has happened over the past week. Ethan has stopped sleeping. No one flinches when I say this because he has never truly slept like other people's children. Sleeping is an ordeal, a song and dance I've had to learn to perfect through sound machines and specific lullabies and the hum of an air purifier that simply can't be turned down or off. When he was six months old, Ethan willingly dropped himself down to one nap per day, no longer needing that extra sleep that other children seemed to need. These days, naps are a luxury or a rarity at best and together Ethan and I have learned to adapt, learned to stretch our days and change our routines and mend our end of the day schedules accordingly. But not this week. This week those two hours in the middle of the afternoon we've learned to designate for quiet time in lieu of sleeping on most days have turned into hours of tears and screams and an upset toddler who wishes to spend the bulk of his time in a downward dog position -- his way to demonstrate that he's mid-tantrum. Bedtime has been no better. There are nights I've lost count after sixteen in terms of times I've had to go into Ethan's room to lay him back down.

I can't blame him. I've felt the same way and despite my greatest attempts to mask the down and out way I've found myself feeling this week -- fresh, organic strawberry ice-cream for lunch after picking our own strawberries at the farm and feeding the goats and fish and donkey after a play-packed hour of fun at My Gym -- I can't help but feel burdened with mom guilt that Ethan can somehow see through my smiles.

There is a song I used to love back in the days of plaid skirts with thick leather buckles, the days of tattered jeans and walking around with my Discman on full volume. Everything to Everyone, the old Everclear song. I've had it in my head the last couple of days in particular, ashamedly finding relevance in the fact I've always tried so hard to be everything to everyone, to do what everyone wants me to do instead of what I want to do, to be seven thousand places at once without any effort. I've realized this week that this isn't possible and what I should be doing, instead of trying to please everyone else, is stopping this process of beating myself up for my flaws and imperfections and inability to be completely immortal and just try to focus on the day by day. To breathe in deeply when it's almost 9:00 at night and I seek refuge from the screams coming from the baby monitor for long enough to call my husband and he's still at work and can't understand why I seem to be mad at him despite the fact I'm just frustrated and overwhelmed and mad at the feeling of being alone and the house is a mess and my suitcases are still packed and there's cat pee in my shoes and oh, goodbye, I have to go lay Ethan back down again.

It's been a difficult few days which is strange in the sense they've been good days -- fun days, even -- days holiday shopping and gift wrapping and choo-choo train riding with Ethan. It's simply that I haven't felt completely like myself and apparently neither has Ethan, or at least not at bedtime. I have been strapped for motivation and energy, feeling overwhelmed by tasks that have never before seemed so daunting. They happen, days like these, but I'm ready for them to be over. Ready to put one foot in front of the other and trudge through this muck of my own self-doubt and self-created guilt. And maybe, just maybe, Ethan will find the desire to sleep again.

If we're being honest here.

november sponsors

We love our sponsors and we sure did have some wonderful ones this month! Ethan and I encourage you to check out these great shops, products and blogs!

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bringing home our tree

Yesterday we got our Christmas tree. Finally. I say finally not because it's growing late in the season -- it's still November, after all -- but because I've been bubbling with anticipation and excitement about choosing a tree with Ethan that it's been all my mind has been able to process. I felt like a child myself, wondering each day if today would be the day that we could get our tree. My husband had Tuesday off of work and it seemed like a perfect time, right before dinnertime, to make our way to the tree farm in the church parking lot right down the street and choose our tree. (That's how we do Christmas trees in South Florida.)

I had told him when he found a tree he liked, to sniff it and make sure it smelled pretty. He insisted instead upon sniffing each and every tree in the lot.

We ended up deciding on a tree that was eight feet tall -- bigger than we anticipated originally, but too cute to pass up. It was deemed an imperfect tree because of an ever so slight tilt and some thin branches and so a ribbon was tied around it so people passing by would know of it's imperfections. That made me sad. I, of course, thought it was just beautiful and Ethan happily agreed -- as did my husband, who was likely silently cheering for the fact our imperfect tree was a good $50 less than a perfect tree it's size.

We listened to She & Him's Christmas album and decorated our tree. You know how in your dreams your child is sweetly decorating the tree while everyone laughs and sips cocoa and enjoys this time of peace and tranquility? Well, forget that. It was more along the lines of Ethan throwing each ornament he could get his hands on (luckily, they're all plastic) and trying to pull the ornaments off the tree once we'd hung them up. It was still wonderful, as if decorating the tree could be anything else.

Our tree never has a theme. (Though this year I guess it's "no ornaments on the bottom half of the tree within toddler reach.") Each year, I collect a relevant ornament (with some generic plastic fillers in between) and each year I love to recount all of the memories of our ornaments and the story they tell of our family. From my sister's first Christmas as a teenager to our first family ornaments (just my husband and I and our slowly increasing family of cats), it's great to watch our family history grow through our tree each year.

Ornament-tossing and toddler tantrums aside, the holidays are almost here and we are finally ready. Almost.

november cara box reveal

Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals has put together a wonderful monthly blogger-to-blogger box swap called Cara Box! Each month, you're assigned another blogger and a theme. You get to put together a little box matching that month's theme along with a nice note of encouragement and send it off to your new blogging friend! It's a month-to-month sign-up, so be sure to visit Kaitlyn's Cara Box tab for more information and how to sign up (there have been some changes due to e-mail servers thinking the Cara Box exchange e-mails were spam messages)!

This is my second month participating in a Cara Box exchange and it was so much fun to meet another new blogger. I was paired up with Elizabeth from Tiny Bits of Nonsense!

It turns out Elizabeth and I had a lot in common. From her blog, I learned we're both ridiculously short, love oldies music and antiques and, really, had no idea what to expect from motherhood before it happened. The theme for this month's Cara Box was childhood and it made me so excited that I got to send this month's box to Elizabeth -- because she's a first-time mommy-to-be! I always say that one of the best parts of motherhood, hands down, is getting to relive your childhood over again. I had an awesome childhood, don't get me wrong, but there's something a million times more magical getting to experience it all over again with Ethan. Getting to stick to that theme for a mommy-to-be was pretty exciting -- and it was so exciting, too, when Elizabeth's box arrived for us!

Ethan was so excited to open the box and see what was inside!

Elizabeth also sent some Blow Pops which didn't get pictured here because I initially didn't see them in the box. And, well, it's hard to do a re-do photograph when they've already been devoured! ;)

Elizabeth sent so many awesome craft projects which Ethan loved doing, especially this Gingerbread Man. I helped with the eyes because those required glue, but Ethan did the rest himself. Isn't it beautiful?! My favorite is the smile! ;) We ended up stringing this and adding it to our Christmas tree this year as a little keepsake of this really fun time in Ethan's life.

Ethan and I also added stickers to the garland kit that Elizabeth sent, strung the little mittens and hung the completed garland near our front door for everyone to see when they come in. His day, however, was most definitely made when he saw the gel clings that Elizabeth sent. We took him outside to stick the snowflake gel clings onto the windows. Our first holiday decorating underway (with help from daddy, because I couldn't reach the windows)!

What fun! Elizabeth also sent some awesome stickers which will come in handy during our tot school time, a great notebook (which has a little bird on it and little birds are so my thing!) and some yummy Bubble Tape which brought me right back to elementary school! (And apparently my husband, too, because he finished it off!)

Thank you so much, Elizabeth! We had a blast reliving childhood with you!

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