It’s Christmas Eve

By on Dec 24, 2014 in General Family | 1 comment

In my mom’s family Christmas Eve was the big to do. My mom’s mom, so my Baba, would be cooking up a storm: borsht, periogis, the mushroom things that went into the borsht, the grainy sweet stuff that everyone ate first (these things all have Ukrainian names which a) I don’t know and b) if I did I wouldn’t know how to spell), etc etc etc. I have an image of my grandmother cooking in her kitchen, in the house in Schererville all dressed up for people to come, some kind of dress, nylons, her hair done and make up on…and then on her feet…slippers. As soon as people started arriving…or maybe even when it was time to sit down she would change into her dressy heeled shoes. Why I always wondered. Wouldn’t you just want to finish getting dressed and get your normal shoes on? Note, that I hated (and still do) slippers. Anyways. her over the stove in a dress and slippers is a very strong memory I have of my grandmother. Now as memories go maybe it was just one year that she did this…I don’t know. My grandfather would be down in the lower level (it was a split level house) entertaining the dudes and refilling drinks and whatnot. I would be bouncing of the walls in excitement, because of course after all this nonsense the presents parade started. We did presents on Christmas Eve night there. For a long time I was the only kid. My mom is 9 years older than her brother. I mean she had me when he was only….let me do some math in my head…19..18? Maybe? something like that. He didn’t have kids till I was like 12 or something. So for a long time it was Me and a Bunch of Older Ukrainian People. All speaking Ukrainian (which I didn’t). And I had to wear a dress. Blech. I remember being very very annoying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Moooommmmmmmmmmmm. When can I take this dress off? After dinner? No one even cares what I’m wearing! Can’t I go put my jeans back on? Mom? Mom. MOM!” My god I want to punch little me in the face. JUST WEAR THE STUPID DRESS YOU PROBABLY LOOK REALLY CUTE. My grandfather used to just set a video camera up and aim it at the table while we were eating dinner. What was with that? Did he go back and watch the home movies? Of people eating? Where are those videos now? Am I on them…sulking because I’m still in the stupid dress? My mom and I would exchange our presents to each other after we got back home and we were the only two. We’d watch White Christmas usually while opening presents. Still to this day I think of my mom when that movie comes on. So it’s Christmas Eve and now my mom lives in Florida and I won’t see her today. And I miss her. We are forming our own new traditions here in our house. This year it’s pizza and Christmas movies with friends and family. Next year who knows! Maybe I’ll get it together and pull out the fancy china and make everyone dress up. Lucy of course will love it whereas I’ll try and dress-up some jeans to be “fancy”. Tomorrow of course is the Big Day. We have lots of surprises for the kids and are looking forward to it. I will of course make sure Jason and I wake up at 4-5am. We watch Four Christmases before the kids wake up. Of course Jason says if we ever get divorced me setting an alarm on Christmas morning will be one of the grounds for said divorce. This year the alarm is Little Miss V of course who is waking up between 4 and 5 which is perfect. Merry Christmas Everyone. May you holiday be filled with laughter, cheer and happiness…oh and booze…important component of any christmas...

Life in the Rieger Household

By on Dec 18, 2014 in Life With Three, Parenting | 1 comment

The Potty Mouth I feel like Leah and I should stop swearing in front of the kids (or at the kids*).  The other day we were at the dinner table and Rocky just started saying “fuck fuck fuck fuck.”  That’s the sort of thing that’s funny when it’s just the five of us, but what about when the Queen of England stops by for dinner?  Or worse, the Alderman! So yeah, we have to stop swearing in front of the little ones. Or do we? Maybe we just need to wait it out.  A couple weeks back, Leah was looking for a package that was supposed to have arrived for Lucy’s birthday but didn’t seem to have arrived.  On the phone with her mom, Leah said something along the lines of “shit, where is it.” That sparked Lucy’s attention. Lucy: “Daddy, why did mommy say that word?” Me: “What word, kiddo?” Lucy: … “I can’t say it.” Me: Oh, right.  *That* word. So maybe there’s not really a need to stop swearing around the kids, but rather to just keep Rocky out of society until he learns the words he can’t say. Because, really, being around the kids doesn’t make you want to swear *less*. (*Kidding! We only swear at the kids within the confines of our own brains.) Winter This is the time of winter that I actually kind of like, and I think Leah would agree with me.  The cold is the level of cold that just feels nice and crisp and Christmas is just a couple of weeks away.  But, as every parent knows, best of all is the early sunset.  I can tell the kids it’s late and time for bed anytime from 4:30 0n, depending on how badly I want to sit on the couch, watch TV, and drink beer. “Come on guys, let’s hurry up with the PJs.  Hurry, hurry, it’s soooooooo late. You guys must be soooooooo tired.” If they don’t like it, they can learn to tell time. Of course, in just 3 weeks the lack of sunlight will become soul-crushing and the only part of the cold that will matter will be how long it takes to get the kids into their seventeen layers of winter gear. But, until then, bring on the dark. The Potty Training Rocky’s training is about 95% complete, just like Luke when he arrived at Dagobah**. But now that he’s feeling good about the potty training, I really think he’s decided to fuck with us. (** Hopefully he can get out of diapers without me having to cut off his hand, have him cut off my hand, then have me throw a wrinkly guy off some scaffolding right before I die, my body then being dragged back to a nearby moon where it’s burned while a bunch of teddy bear’s dance around it.  Because, really, all I’m trying to do is get him to not shit himself) Rocky’s got it all figured out.  His pants go down to his ankles and he squares himself up to the bowl, his business in hand.  He aims and then he lets fly, hitting center bowl.  Winner! But then, I don’t know.  Maybe he gets bored? Because suddenly the stream starts to…drift.  Up up up the stream goes until suddenly he’s peeing on the toilet seat hinges.  Then, down the stream goes again, across the bowl until he’s peeing directly on the rim of the bowl.  And don’t forget, Rocky is a meter tall, so he’s hitting that rim point blank.  That’s no accident.  And hey, I’m not expecting perfection.  I may have, on occasion, landed less than center while engaging in a #1.  Nobody’s perfect.  But I’ve looked into his eyes. It’s deliberate. He’s fucking with us. So, what, we go back to using Cheerios?  I mean, sure, that’s a proven tactic, but how would that work?  He goes on his own 5 times a day.  I don’t really think one of us can be around at all times to pop some O’s in the bowl.  Do we install a dispenser by the toilet, like feeding ducks at the zoo? He turns a crank and out pops a handful?   Maybe that would work, I don’t know.  But I’m pretty sure we’d walk into the bathroom to find him squatting under the dispenser, mouth open, turning the crank, smiling while Cheerios to flow into his mouth. All the while peeing his...

Mommy, I have to tell you a secret

By on Dec 10, 2014 in Parenting | 1 comment

At night. The bedroom zoo. All three of the kids share a room. The smallest room in the house. I love it. I think the kids love it. Me as an only child that never had a roommate is a little jealous. I’m sure as the kids get older and don’t have their own room they’ll be jealous of my childhood with all the quiet time I had. Or they will be kids and just live the life they have. ANYWAYS that is neither here nor there right now. Sidenote…for some reason I thought I should watch Mama Mia…and I’m remembering that I love it so much (that’s right. I’m admitting it) and I am wondering why I don’t just have it on a loop during the day. Dancing Queen. Yes. So, at night we put the elders to bed. Then give Baby Veronica a bath and give her one last feeding and put her down. Rocky is usually still awake usually being quiet and just talking to himself in bed, while Lucy is already passed and snoring. After I put Veronica in her crib he says, “Mommy, lay with me for two minutes.” Which I do and we chat about what we are going to do tomorrow. Give each other hugs (the only time of day I can pull a hug out of that kid) and high fives. Sometimes I say, “Rocky I have to tell you a secret” as he comes close I whisper, “I love you.” Tonight he said, “Mommy, I have to tell you a secret.” As I leaned in ready to hear “I love you.” He very very quietly whispers, “Poop.” I laughed myself right out of the...

Potty Training Part II: Ready, Aim, Fire

By on Dec 4, 2014 in Parenting | 1 comment

We’ve entered stage two of potty training which, as every parent knows, is the stage known as “going pretty darn well” (stage three would be “getting to talk with your spouse about something other than peeing or pooping”).  I’m not sure how it happened, but the accidents started to go away and Rocky decided he didn’t want to sit in his own filth anymore.  I don’t think we did anything all that miraculous with him, although I suppose Leah might have while I was at work.  It certainly feels like a miracle. As you may recall from earlier posts, Rocky is a boy with a wiener (a pretty standard boy trait).  That wiener affords him the option to peeing either standing up or sitting down (just one more advantage of being a male in this society), so every time I take him to pee, there’s a decision to be made.  Do I ask him to sit down or ask him if he wants to stand up?  I see pros and cons to both. Argument for standing* I really, really don’t want him to grow up to be an adult male who sits down to pee.  It’s just not something I want for my son.  And since he’s going to need this skill, might as well get started with it. If he stands, he doesn’t have to take his pants all the way off to do his business.  If he tries to pee sitting down with his pants on, he has issues pointing…certain things**…down, resulting in the confusing “made it to the potty, still wet my pants” result. Easier to spit in the toilet post-pee from a standing position (* A trick we’re using to get him to aim when he pees is to put cheerios in the toilet and let him aim at them.  A great trick and pretty effective, but is there anything more first world than literally throwing food in the toilet and peeing on it?  Also, how long before he grabs a cheerio out of the bowl and eats it?) (** his penis) Arguments for Sitting He’s either too short or too tall.  Grandpa made him a stool, but when he stands on it, he has to aim because he’s at a normal peeing height.  But he’s also still two and a half, so there’s generally pee everywhere, especially at the start (nobody ever knows where the initial stream is going).  He corrects quickly, but it just takes a moment to hose down the wall with urine. If he doesn’t use the stool, his Mr. Peeper can just barely see over the bowl, which requires him to pee on his tippy-toes.  While I don’t want him to be an adult sit-down pee-er, I also don’t want him to be an adult tippy-toe pee-er. When you’re new to the potty business, sometimes it’s sort of hard to see the big picture when it comes to the bathroom.  Sure, you have to pee.  But is there anything else that has to happen?  Maybe an urge comes upon you when peeing, but you’re standing.  What do you do?  I just don’t want him to get surprised and have the potty visit turn into a bi-directional event. It’s the only moments of the day where he sits still. We’re going to push for standing, of course.  We’re not animals. But I will admit that if he doesn’t have clothes on (pre-bath, for example), I’ll generally just throw him on the toilet in a seated position.  Sure, it’s the easy way out.  No aiming.  No work.  But even though it might seem more of a pain to pee standing right now, it makes me happy to know that he’ll get to go through life being able to just whip it out and pee wherever he...

The Last 10lbs

By on Dec 1, 2014 in Fitness, Running | 1 comment

I am a little bit vain. Maybe vain isn’t the right word at all….I just called Jason to ask him if he thought I was vain. He says no. What’s the word….health obsessed? Judging by the pile of halloween candy on the table next to me maybe that’s not right. What’s a word for, ‘I like to fit into my size 8 jeans without having the muffin top’. How about we make an acronym of that ILTFIMS8JWHTMT Sure that’s easy to remember. In short, I like being thin. Maybe that’s vain. Maybe that’s normal. I don’t know. But I do. I like when my pants button easily. I like when I can see stomach muscles under my skin. Well, maybe I don’t care about the stomach muscles because I have a pretty strong sweet tooth (my dentist will vouch for that….do you floss? not really….do you eat candy? um, yes I love gummy bears…no I’m not going to stop eating them, they are like magic.). I tend to work out so I can eat (and drink…hello Christmas beer next to me) basically what I want. Ok, I’m not crazy about food or treats one way or the other. I’m not crazy healthy, I’m not crazy junk food. It all has it’s place. Anyways. Right now – 2 months post baby 3 -I’m not even close to where I was before I got pregnant. And to be fair I was, I think, in the best shape of my life before I got I got pregnant with little miss V.  And so, to get back to where I was before is going to take more work. Maybe not to lose the weight in the end, but to be at the fitness level I was at in terms of strength and running ability (yes I do know that Rocky was 18 months old when I got pregnant and I’m now two months post baby and thus I have some time to get back to it and I should have some patience….I’m not patient though..it’s a flaw). And I’m having a hard time with it. A harder time than I’ve had in the past. And I know for the general population of women who have had babies two months ago, I’m not doing too bad. BUT…BUT BUT BUT BUT. It’s bad for me. It’s bad in my eyes: the scale readings (AND GODDAMN IT I DON’T EVEN OWN A SCALE WHY THE FUCK AM I WEIGHING MYSELF AT THE GYM I KNOW I’M NOT GOING TO LIKE THE NUMBER), the jeans that are still too tight (but hey..they button…that’s a win right?), in general how I look. So I did weigh myself at the gym today. I’m 10lbs over where I was when I got pregnant. And I’m trying to get motivated to get it off. I forced my good friends to challenge Jason and I to a milage game in December. The couple with the most miles for the month of December wins and the losers buy dinner. As they have just run a 15K they will probably win….BUT, I’m nothing if not competitive so I got my ass to the treadmill today (and oh my god I’m done with that shit. Let’s get this done in the cold). 3 miles. Slow. But it’s more than zero. This is my favorite line when having a bad run (too short or too slow)…”It’s more than...