Das Ende

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This is the end, my friends. I’ve had a good long run on this little blog, and am forever grateful for everyone’s likes, readership and support. But, as I feared, the likelihood of finding additional free time, subject matter and desire to keep up with this project has dropped down to zero. I’m taking a break from the writing I held myself to for this blog, mostly because it stopped being fun and started to be something I didn’t look forward to doing. Looking back on the post history, I’ve gone through a lot in the years I’ve had this site up and running, and I think I’ve grown tremendously from it. I’m glad that I kept up for as long as I did, having the courage to face some of the stuff I was working through, and sharing it semi-anonymously online. I’m grateful for all my readers and am sad to let you down by closing down production. I feel like I’ve run out of things to say, so I will end here, on my final post. Thank you.

Much love,
The Hajisaurus

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Disney Bound

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Money has been tight this year, given the changes in my husband’s job and the addition of another person under our roof. But one thing that’s always been true is that we love to travel and making time for it, in spite of being less well off financially than we’re used to, is a big priority. So when our tax return came in, we had an opportunity to take some extra cash and make something awesome out of it.

We’d looked into different resorts in various places, but in my heart, I wanted to take the kids to Disney. Our youngest hadn’t yet been and there was a resort that had a Cars theme that seemed too perfect not to investigate. We decided that the best time to go for us would be later in the year, and picked the week of my birthday.

It was a lot of stress, getting a baby and a 4 year old ready for their first trip on an airplane, but I was so stoked to get back out on the road. Wanderlust ran strong in my body throughout both pregnancies, and my kids seem to have an innate sense of “YES!” when it comes to getting out into the wide world.

The gamble paid off in a huge way. My baby slept on the flight down and back and our older son was a champ at being good on the plane. We arrived at the resort to see the characters from Cars everywhere and my older son just took off running towards them, the biggest grin across his little face. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

The parks were also fantastic, and although I did get sick the first night (I think the high heat and humidity got to me, nothing I ate was that suspicious and I had only two drinks), we managed to get out and see all the wonders that Disney has to offer.

The best day of the trip, I must say, was our experience at Animal Kingdom. We were given a truly random and wonderful Disney moment when I asked when the Africa section would open, citing it was our first time at that park. A cast member behind me overheard and pulled us aside, saying “Oh it’s your first time here? Follow me!” I thought she would have given us a tour or shown us around the park or something, but no, she took us right to the safari ride and put us through. Just our family and her and the driver, going through the tour and seeing the amazing animals up close and personal. It was truly amazing and I’m so grateful that Disney gives their staff this kind of leeway to make someone’s trip so memorable.

We had a nice time at the other parks, and were definitely sad to leave when we were done. Of course, trips like this always leave us wanting more, so we are already planning our next one. My son keeps asking when we can go back to Radiator Springs.

Lady Beer Day

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I’m often dazzled by how much things change when you’re not paying attention. This idea that, as I move on with my own life, that things I leave behind are somehow just sitting silently, doing nothing in my absence is laughably absurd, but yet that’s how I imagine it. (Probably because projecting the infinite possibilities of the universe that take place just outside the sphere of my own personal experience is too cumbersome a thought process, and not just innate human self-absorption.)

Nothing is more true of this than the growth of the craft beer scene in the area where I live. When we moved to Delaware, there were maybe 4 craft breweries in the entire state. I was very lucky to be given the chance to work at one of them, even if just for a short period of time. That window of time, I might add, is now ten years passed and so much has changed since I left. The cast of characters I knew in that life have gone on to do some great and amazing things, one of which is a a very clever business model present in a very popular new microbrewery that all my friends rave about.

So, when I found the opportunity to spend a childfree day with a friend, we opted to go there and see what all the fuss was about. The person who left the business I worked with him in and began his own has done fantastically well for himself. I couldn’t be happier for him, honestly. Their brewery does limited release Saison-style ales with a great restaurant in a suburban, yet affluent part of Pennsylvania.

Seeing what this person has picked up from the successful businesses he’s worked for previously and transformed it into one of the arguably most popular breweries around makes me incredibly happy, not just for him, but for the community at large. While chasing the dream of being a professional brewer wasn’t for me, I’m enjoying the happiness I feel on their behalf as it raises our industry higher and lifts up all the ships on their rising tide.

It was amazingly sweet that my friend wanted to bring me here, too. I’m so grateful for the people who make sure I get to do adult stuff after my kids were born. It makes me happy to know that I’ve got the right people in my life that they know exactly the kind of activities we can do to make me happy.

Gone Beer Festin’

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When I was pregnant, to get me through the rough days, I promised myself that once I was done growing fetuses, I’d treat myself to a day of adulting. There’s a beer festival that a town not too far from where I live takes place, but it was always a weekend we were away at the beach. (Prime beach weekend for us was the weekend after labor day.)

So when a friend offered to watch the kids, if I ever wanted to, I happened to ask if she was free that weekend, because I’m not the person to turn down free child care, especially from my awesome friends. I didn’t expect her to be free (as childfree people often make plans to do stuff on weekends), but she was, and readily agreed once I told her where I wanted to go.

The stars aligned and the weather was sunny and beautiful. It was a lovely venue, outdoors over several historical homes’ backyards. There was music and food and plenty of really awesome beer. My husband and I opted for the VIP tickets, which gave us extra time to sample, a food ticket for each of us, and most importantly, quality time. It had been a long time since we’d been able to have a conversation that wasn’t interrupted by the kids.

To her credit, my friend who knows me so well, texted updates and pictures of the boys to let me know they were okay and having fun. It’s wonderful when you have people in your life who get you and are willing to do something so kind and thoughtful. I’m truly blessed.

Weekend away

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Parenting is a challenge. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. The more kids you add to the equation, the more difficult your balancing act becomes. There’s no time of the day where this is more evident than at night. When most people are sleeping away, ours is a tenuous bargain with the volatile little people in our home, hoping that they will allow us to rest and get some sleep of their own. It’s a lot of trial and error, hoping to find a solution that allows us to cohabitate without wanting to kill each other. The boys wake up a LOT at night, sometimes it’s the baby doing what babies do, sometimes it’s our older son, talking in his sleep or just awake and trying to fill in the hours before the sun comes up. Regardless of who starts it, the chain reaction of one child waking the other sets off a series of events that usually ends in tears (mine) or yelling (either adult), but always accompanied by a day’s long crankiness that will only resolve with the elusive sleep that no one seems to be able to get enough of.

After listening to my husband complain about needing this rest, I did my best to come up with a solution, which was to beg his parents to let me bring the boys up for a weekend so he could catch up on sleep, hoping against hope that I might be given a gift of a nap in return. Luckily they agreed and off we went. I’d never travelled with both boys and not had another adult with me, so I wasn’t sure how that would play out. The drive up was tough, but we made it. Construction on the turnpike meant the car slowed to a stop at some point and crawled to an unpleasing roll during the merges, which woke and angered the tinier human. He regaled us with screams and howls of displeasure, stressing me and the less tiny human to no end. Unable to stop the car or do much to help, I had to ignore it as best I could and keep driving until we got to where we were going.

Arriving at my in-laws, I learn my FIL had a broken rib and couldn’t hold the baby. Not that the baby would have let him, mind you, as he was going through a very clingy, mommy-only phase and was essentially glued to me for the whole weekend. My arms ached from holding him. We got the boys set up, ate some yummy take out, and settled in for a long night. The night shift fell entirely on me, which ended up being two separate waking incidents, before we finally just decided to call it morning around 4:30 a.m. The other adults didn’t wake up until much later, so I tried to keep the kids quiet and occupied until they awoke.

It was a lovely sunny summer day, and figuring the boys were antsy and not wanting to particularly listen, I decided to take them for a walk. It was then I realized how much I really should have brought a stroller, because holding the baby was beginning to take its toll. Still, we looped the neighborhood, chatting with the people out mowing their lawns and what not. When we arrived back to the house, we loaded in the car and headed to the children’s museum.

The grounds for the children’s museum was on the campus where I went to college fro my undergrad. It was a very bizarre experience, having last been there years ago as a mostly irresponsible, degenerate asshat and now trying to pass myself off as a functioning adult and parent to hopefully less irresponsible, not-degenerate children. The museum itself had lots for the boys to do and see, which was great. It was tricky getting them to leave when it was finally time for lunch, but we got them off campus in time to make our reservation. My older son ended up eating most of my lunch as he decided mommy’s ravioli looked better than his pizza, so I resigned myself to batting clean up and holding the now sleeping baby for his nap in my lap.

We headed back to the house for a much needed nap myself, as I woke up around 8:00, just in time to put the kids to bed. I had to run out and get more formula for the baby after that, and got lost trying to remember the backroads that had all changed since I’d lived there over a decade ago. Another night of baby duty, waking several times again before he finally peed through his diaper, soaking both him and me. By then it was just after 4:00 a.m. and I was out of clean clothes, so I just said fuck it, and got dressed for the day.

When the other child awoke, we dressed and packed the car. We promised to stop over at the other grandparents house on our way home. I wish I had the patience for more time, but by then the sleep deprivation, stress and general irritability got the better of me and we left. The baby screamed pretty much the whole way home and by the time we rolled up at our house, I was 100% done. I learned that while I can travel with two kids, it’s not ideal. I did figure out some stuff that would be helpful the next time we took the show on the road, and definitely promised myself no matter what, I would bring the damn stroller.

The unicorn poop paradox 

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So, we’re reading this lovely book with my kids. I highly recommend anything by the beloved Liz Climo. She lends her creative hand to the artwork for this story about a boy who wishes for a unicorn and it comes true!

But he soon realizes the error of his ways, as unicorns have some…unexpected quirks. Such as…

Okay, that’s problematic. Or is it? Apparently unicorns poop cupcakes.

So the question becomes, would you eat a mountain of cupcakes, knowing they were pooped out by a unicorn? Do the unicorn turd-cakes taste like turds or cupcakes? What’s up with the flies? Are they to symbolize bad smells? Do they smell bad but taste good? I can’t even…

The question remains unresolved, but I ask you fellow reader, would YOU eat them??

Frailty

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Some days, my mental health just isn’t where I want or need it to be. As far as I can tell, there’s not really a cause, other than perhaps biology, exhaustion, or stress. But I’m writing today because I’m in the thick of it. No matter what I tell myself, my brain is full of sadness and feeling without purpose or meaning. The core of my self always feels this, I think, but most days I can put enough layers of seeming normalcy around it that the frayed and sharp edges are softened enough and I can pass like everyone else.

But today, well, I feel like most of those layers are gone, and what’s left is so transparent that people regard me as though I might break at any moment. It’s strange, because in these moments, the broken people in my life, my inspiration for healing, seem to sense that I’m doing poorly, because inexplicably, they reach out.

And, while the darkness inside me should recoil and surrender at these kind gestures, it doesn’t. It’s made of strong stuff as well, and doesn’t move well for anything other than itself. It whispers lies in my ear, that in the face of this evidence that I’m loved and worthy of it, how much I don’t deserve it.

It’s frustrating because thoughts like that feel juvenile and regressive and nonproductive, and the fact that I continue feeling them well into my adulthood makes me feel like I’ve never matured enough to move past them. I feel stunted and immature and petty for these concepts that my mind won’t let go of. I feel angry at the fixation that stands in the way of nearly anything I’m trying to do.

And because all these thoughts don’t feel grown up enough to broach with anyone in my life, I keep them to myself, embarrassed and silent. The ugliness festers, and the barely protected exterior struggles to contain the roiling interior.

Depression isn’t feeling sad, it’s feeling irredeemable and utter hopelessness. There’s not a platitude on the planet that could fix it, so why my brain yearns for some sort of outside validation seems comically misplaced.

Perhaps that’s the lie, as I look for someone else to help me process it, I get to overlook my own abilities to fix myself, because I’m already filled with such self doubt. It’s crippling and heartbreaking and without end.  

Adventures in Jury Duty

Unlike most people, when I receive a Jury Duty summons in the mail, I’m excited. I know, I’m weird, but I really enjoy Jury Duty. Having an opportunity to be part of the judicial process is something every American has the right to, and being on the judging part rather than needing judgment is always preferable.

The last time I had Jury Duty, I was actually selected and got to serve. I found the experience wholly interesting and was satisfied that we gave the finding we did, letting a young man who wasn’t guilty of the nonsense they were trying to pull on him walk free with his family that day.

This time, though, things were slightly different. I arrived to find a line of people waiting to get in, as I was a little early. Not wanting to stand around, I took a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air. When I arrived back at the courthouse, the doors were open and we all proceeded through.

I spotted all sorts of folks outside, which made me oddly proud of our melting pot America, how we are all different, but also the same. Making our way through security, it was no less stressful than going through the process at the airport. Things were beefed up a bit more than the first time I’d gone, but that probably had something to do with the fatal shooting that took place there a few years back.

So, after getting through the check in process, I took my seat in the room with everyone else, and began to read quietly. Soon they called my name and we filed into the elevators to the courtrooms upstairs. We received some instructions and were given the opportunity to disclose anything to the judge or attorneys that would preclude us from Jury Service.

Unlike the previous time, they called me but then I was immediately dismissed by the defense attorney. I assume it was because of the type of case (another second degree assault charge, ironically enough), and that middle-aged white ladies are less likely to side with a guy who punched someone in “self-defense.”

They were probably right to dismiss me, I guess. I don’t know what I would have decided, given the evidence. But I probably wouldn’t have bought it, and may have found the guy guilty. But, not being picked wasn’t so bad, I got to leave early. When I did though, the most interesting part of the day was getting lost in the parking garage with the hundreds of other people trying to figure out what floor they parked their cars on, each of us wandering through the levels, hitting our keyfobs and listening intently for our cars. It took much longer than it needed to, but that’s the case when you’re trying not to be somewhere, I suppose.

Beach Trip – Part Two

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After our first attempt at a beach trip was pretty much ruined by roaming norovirus infestation and sleeplessness, we gluttons for punishment nevertheless persisted. The hotel we booked for our second trip is my favorite of all time, beachfront, awesome pool, fantastic suites, amazing restaurant and great location. We arrived on a Friday afternoon, taking our usual time to get down, stopping at a lovely family friendly brewery with a playground on site for lunch.

We brought our own pack & play this time, learning from our previous mistakes. We were able to set up a nice place for the baby to crash in the front room of our suite. We spent most of the time either in the pool, but I was able to convince my older son to come down to the beach to “meet a friend of mine” (aka, the ocean – Moana reference anyone? anyone? okay!).

He was hesitant at first, but then got to making sand castles with me at the shore line and enjoying the fun as the waves crashed over them. That evening we had dinner at the crab house with my in-laws, and the baby showed off his new eating skills by housing a lemon and two oranges from our drinks, as well as mangling an ear of corn and tasting some awesome blue crab.

That night, I took my older son in search of the fated Ferris Wheel, but when push came to shove, he was afraid of heights and wouldn’t go on. Instead we found plenty of other rides that were just as enjoyable, and rode them well into the night. We met lots of other fun moms and dads. One russian mom told me that her coffee cup was full of wine, making her my new hero.

Although I was beyond exhausted, we still had to walk back to our hotel. I ended up carrying my son for most of the trip, until we walked by a bus stop where some jackass decided to piss, and splashed onto my leg as we walked by. It was the longest four blocks of my life, followed by ridiculous scrubbing once we got back to the room. Even though I was sure I’d get no rest, the baby inexplicably slept until 5:00, which is almost unheard of these days. It was a true gift and one that I desperately needed after a long weekend with the boys.

Beach Trip – Part One

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This year was supposed to be one of cutbacks. With a new baby and a change in careers for my husband, there was definitely going to be less money to go around. But that’s hard to explain to our older son, so we tried our best to make travel happen over the summer, as much as we could, so that he wouldn’t resent his brother for existing and stealing his fun. So, we cashed in hotel points where we could, booking our favorite hotels near the beach at least once.

The first trip to the beach was our very first as a family travelling anywhere overnight, save the few nights we spent over the holidays at my in-laws. The hotel was in a great location, and had plenty of amenities, like an awesome pool with swim up bar, and fun lounging hammocks, but they were sadly out of rollaway cribs. Had they actually called us even one day prior to our arrival, we’d have brought our own pack & play, but since they didn’t, we were stuck trying to co-sleep with the baby in a strange place while we were all in the same room.

The baby got up several times in the night, and by sunrise, I was completely exhausted. Inexplicably, as I’m rocking the baby trying to get him to go back to sleep, I became overwhelmed with nausea, and sure enough, managed to hand the baby off to my husband just in time before the subsequent stomach eruption. Whatever I had, knocked me down hard. I tried my best to tough it out, and I managed to rally a bit by midday. I got a short nap while the baby took his, and that helped enough to make me feel like dinner might be okay.

At the restaurant, we had a lovely time. The boys were incredibly well behaved, the baby tried all kinds of new foods, and my older son actually ordered off the adult menu. We had a lovely meal and after a few, we went back to our room and the nausea came back full force. I spent another hellish night handing off the baby to puke, and then not sleeping, and generally miserable. We had another full day booked, but with storms working their way up the coast, it looked like the best times we could have were behind us.

It wasn’t our worst trip, but it certainly could’ve gone a lot smoother. It won’t deter us, though. We’ve got another one coming in a month.