Sunday, August 31, 2014

50 pounds in 5 months

Five months ago, I gave birth to Holden. That day, I weighed 203 lbs. I hear people say that losing baby weight is easy afterwards and the weight just flies off of you. Well that may be the case for some people. But I had already given birth to two children and each time retained an extra 20 pounds. I have an underactive thyroid and don't breastfeed, which I hear helps lose weight. After I have a baby, I just look like I just had a baby.

I refused to retain 20 more pounds with this child on top of the 40 I was already up. I was just too big. I was hoping I would return home from the hospital 20 pounds lighter, but when I weighed myself, I was only down 14 pounds, which I thought wasn't enough. Hell, my baby was nearly 9 pounds and I hear the placenta is another five. What about all the water I was retaining and everything? Why was that weight all still a part of me? I couldn't get started exercising right away due to the C-section - I wasn't supposed to do much for the next six weeks. I'd like to say I started eating healthy, but I'm an honest person so I'll admit that I really wasn't trying too hard there, either.

Then in May, I started walking, doing pilates twice a week, and yoga once a week. Yoga was brutal. In fact, I could only do four minutes the first go-round. But each Wednesday, I tried again until I could finish the DVD and even worked up some balance. My walking was pretty slow to begin with - about 18 minutes per mile. I was no athlete. I was in the worst shape of my life, hands down. I mean, I'm never a physical specimen, but me after Holden was quite a fright sight.

Once June rolled around, I decided to start running a little bit during my walks. I began running just the downhill parts. I got my miles down 12'30" averages. I started eating better. No more pop, fried foods. I began eating salads for lunch instead of my usual giant plate of pasta. I stopped eating ice cream each night. I made sure to work out most days. I had a goal each day to do better than the day before. I wrote it on a post-it which I stuck to the treadmill. That meant going farther or faster. By the end of the month, I cut my walking portion down to just 25% of my workout. The rest of the time, I was running.

In July, I was able to run for my entire workout without stopping to walk (but still usually did stop to walk up the giant hill on my outdoor runs because I wanted to save some energy to get home). I knew that my siblings were doing Hood to Coast in August and I hadn't signed up originally because I had no idea what kind of shape I'd be in right after having Holden. Now that I had been running, I kind of wished I was a part of the relay team. I told my mom I'd be an alternate in case anyone had to drop out. Low and behold, my uncle dropped out and I immediately arranged childcare and bought a plane ticket.

In August, as last minute preparation for Hood to Coast, I ran six miles a day, five days a week. I didn't expect to be winning any medals or anything, but I didn't want to slow down my whole team and be a laughing stock to the other runners. Somehow, I averaged 9'08" miles and passed more runners than passed me. And today, August ends and I put in 127 miles this month. I have also continued to do pilates and yoga and am now in the best shape I've ever been in. Seriously, at age 31, I have muscles I have never seen before. I could still lose 10-15 pounds because this belly is still hanging around - goals for the next few months to keep me motivated, I suppose.

I feel accomplished and so proud of what I've done. But now I'm going to take a bit of a break. I'm going to do more puzzles and take some baths. I will do more yoga and less cardio now. I'm starting to enjoy yoga, after our very rough start. And I can do it rain or shine, day or night. I will continue to keep my Excel spreadsheet of running PRs and try every month to beat the previous month's, because I'm competitive with myself like that. But I like to think the worst is over. I shed Holden's and Brandon's baby weight. I have some of Gracie's left on me, but I also blame that on age. I can't expect to weigh now what I did at 21. I'm ten years older, for God's sake.

I'm not a size 4, but I'm not a size 10, and I can live with any size in the single digits. I'm not trying to be the hottest thing around, just trying to be a healthy version of myself; and most days now, I am. I can keep up with Brandon now while he dances around to Toy Story's "Strange Things." Now my kids will see that I don't just sit around and watch TV and eat ice cream. They know now that we don't eat out every time mom feels like it. I didn't need a personal trainer or pills or a wrap or a meal service or hormone injections. I believe in the good old-fashioned method of hard work. I have now learned that there is liberation in discipline.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just rosy

I will paraphrase yesterday's blog post with this:
Can you believe Steve still sends me flowers after Valentine's Day?

We just celebrated eight years of wedded bliss (most of the time). Take that, seven-year itch!

Friday, August 29, 2014

slow down

Last Saturday, after crossing the finish line and posing for endless obligatory pictures, I just wanted to go back to Puyallup. I hadn't seen my baby in two days, hadn't slept much in three days, and had tunnel vision - hoping to get to tomorrow today. This is actually a problem for me all the time. I am driven to a fault - always trying to get somewhere quicker. Always living for tomorrow but forgetting about today in my rush.

The after-relay plan was to go to a beach house my aunt's friends have. There we could eat a big dinner, soak our aching muscles in the hot tub and get a good night's rest. That sounded terrible to me. I didn't know these people, I didn't want to sleep on the floor, and I am a finicky eater. I wanted to go out to dinner on the way back up I-5, then see my baby and hit the sack at my brother's house. I was in the middle of getting people on board when my aunt told me we were sticking with the plan and heading to the beach house.

It turns out, the night at the beach house was just what I needed. I had never met these people before, but they were the most hospitable people you could ever meet. They grilled us fresh salmon, started a bonfire, and warmed up the hot tub. They had somewhere for each of us to sleep - a bed or a couch for all: no one was left on the floor. I took a very long hot shower and poured the sand out of my shoes. We talked about what we did and didn't like from the Hood to Coast experience. We wallowed in the day - we had just finished a 199-mile relay together and instead of rushing home to go on with our lives, we took the night to relive it.

On the wall in the beach house was this:
I found myself looking at it again and again. In a beach house, where the whole purpose is to slow down and relax and take some time - it was so fitting for both the house and for me.

I am a go-go-go kind of person. I am driven and motivated, almost to an extreme. When I have a goal, nothing deters me from it. I have one-track mind focus and intensity. If I had known this about myself in college, I might have picked a career that suited this personality - like an actuary. But alas, I didn't realize it until I grew into myself. This personality has plenty of perks: my house is organized, I have worked my way up in jobs, I always know what I want and don't dawdle around aimlessly.
But it has it's downside, too. Like I don't dawdle aimlessly. Everything has a purpose, a plan, an agenda. For the last four months I have been focused on losing this baby weight so I have worked out ten times a week. Any free time I have is spent working out or sleeping.

But last night, inspired by the beach house and last Saturday just wallowing in the day, I spent a few hours piecing together a new puzzle while singing along loudly to my favorite songs. I didn't work out. This morning, I loaded up the boys and got coffee and a donut and then stopped at a garage sale where we got a few hundred dollars worth of kids books for $20. I didn't follow my usual agenda. We did what sounded good to me.

Goals are great and getting to some other place is always exciting, but this place I'm in now is pretty fantastic, too. Sometimes I just have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy it, one day at a time. Not all days have to be productive. Some days we can just chill and enjoy wasting time together.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

flying solo (with a baby)

Nothing makes you stop believing in the good in people quite like flying with an infant. I have never experienced such blatant disregard in my life. It starts before I even board - while waiting, the other people around sneak looks at us, then look away as to not make eye contact. They are thinking to themselves, "oh God, don't let me be seated next to them." They watch nervously for which group number I board with, then sigh with relief if it is not the same as theirs.

As I am shuffling down the tiny little aisle in the plane, people quickly look at me, then away. I am carrying a 20-pound infant, his diaper bag, and my purse. I feel like a pack mule. My back is killing me from a half day of this. I find my seat. The people in my row look horrified when I stop. They pull out their earphones hoping I'm only asking how many more rows until 21, but I'm actually telling them I'm the window seat.

I heard audible groans. These people aren't even trying to hide their disgust. Holden and I are like lepers. No one wants to be anywhere near us. They should ostracize us to a bubble in the back. Holden starts crying as the stewardess is demonstrating how to buckle a seat belt. I try to silence him - I jiggle him, let him look out the window, coo to him, try feeding him some old formula, force a pacifier into his mouth. Nothing works. He is tired and just wants to sleep, but these aren't ideal conditions for sleeping.

The man on the aisle says to the man in the center seat, "is it going to be three hours of this?"
"God, I hope not!" center seat shoots back.
I am sitting two inches away. I can hear their conversation. They talk about me and my baby as if we are too stupid to understand them. They must think I am just some frazzled mom, not a person with ears and feelings. They must think I'm not trying to soothe this baby and that I am here merely for their discomfort. Assholes.

I get Holden to sleep before the airplane even takes off. I think of this as a major feat. I expect pats on the back and congratulations from the people around me that didn't even have to hear him scream in discomfort when his ears popped.  Nothing. All I get is another sigh from aisle seat when I ask him to hit the call button. He won't even look at me when I ask him. He doesn't want leprosy. I want to tell him he was once a baby too, and that someone took care of him then so he could grow up to be this giant douchebag. Kudos to his mother, wherever she is.

People are always saying they hate kids. How can you hate a little person that hasn't grown up enough to be mean and jaded? How can you hate someone for being young and needing help? How can you hate the very type of person you were once? People who hate kids are the worst. People who expect to be on an airplane without babies are unrealistic. Mothers with babies on airplanes by themselves are saints. If you see one, don't be angry at her for reproducing. Just give her a fucking break. God knows she needs one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holden meets the family

Holden has now met all of his closest relatives. 
There are certainly a lot of girls in our families. 
I don't think it will ever even out at this point. 
Saryn, who is almost seven, said she would teach Holden to crawl while I was at the race. 
When I got back, she said he hadn't caught on. 
But he did roll over, 360 degrees, which is a first. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hood to Coast

Here's where I was this weekend. My family and I completed the Hood to Coast relay. If you haven't heard of this, it is a 199 mile relay race with 12 people on a team. We run from Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean. One of us is always running until it is over, which in our case was 31 hours.
I was in a minivan with my aunt, three siblings, and sister-in-law. The running part wasn't bad. It was actually pretty awesome to run at four a.m. in the pitch black and to hear a screech owl and see the stars and feel the mountain mist. Then I ran the final leg which meant running down through a forest and out to the beach which was pretty awesome.
The hardest part of the whole thing is being crammed into a van for a day and a half with five other people and not being able to sleep. There were definitely a few meltdowns. A smart person takes every second they can to sleep, or at least close their eyes and fiend sleep.
My times weren't fast, but I ran over 16 miles without sleeping and just five months after having a C-section. And I never stopped and walked. Even when everyone else was. I beat some personal bests. I even passed more people than passed me. By quite a ways. I don't claim to be an athlete, but doing a relay like this makes anyone feel invincible.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

characters welcome

I have put it off as long as I could. But I am now allowing these damn character shirts. Some of the kids in Brandon's daycare were wearing these as much as a year ago. But I stood my ground, other than one Mickey shirt that slipped in as a present. It's a sad day when your child chooses to start dressing himself. I doubt he'll be reaching for his adorable sweaters and polos. I imagine it will be an endless parade of Jake, Buzz, and Woody from here on out. Maybe I'll just let him pick his outfit one day a week.
By the way, these character shirts are a racket. Old Navy is famous for cheap kids clothes - I buy Brandon baseball shirts there for $2 or $3 a piece. But if there is a character on it, the price goes up to $13 to $15. For a damn T-shirt. A toddler T-shirt. So when I found Toy Story ones on clearance, I bought one in each size for the next two years, since Brandon is rather obsessed with it. He completed his first 48-piece puzzle by himself on Saturday. It was, of course, of Woody and Buzz.

We have been working on Holden sitting up on his own. Things get much easier when they can do that. For one thing, baths are so much easier. You can put them in a shopping cart and move them into an upright car seat. I can use the double stroller. Basically, my whole life improves. So yesterday, when he sat in Brandon's reading chair for a few minutes, I was nearly glowing with pride.
In case you're wondering, the amber necklace is working like a charm. And since Holden is so chunky, you can barely even see it on him - it gets lost in his neck rolls.  Maybe his disposition isn't all that grouchy. This necklace has made him a much more enjoyable baby.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

dentist visit

I went to the dentist yesterday. I do so enjoy my dentist visits (seriously). I took Brandon with me this time since next year he will be sitting in the dentist chair. I wanted to show him it wasn't scary. I guess I didn't account for what he would do while I was in the chair. So he kind of kneeled on my stomach and watched the instruments go in and out of my mouth. Then he asked if he could brush his teeth, too. By the end of it, he was chatty with the dental hygenist and they let him pick something out of the kids bin.

I remember my dentist had a kids box. It was a nice wood box with a clasp so it could be locked, but it never was. It was full of those little animals you see at the zoo gift shop. They kept it in the waiting room. Come to think of it, I think those were just waiting room toys. After all four of us had finished, mom would take us to the Gast House bakery down the street where I would get a giant maple bar. Even though you weren't supposed to eat anything right afterwards. My mom - what a rebel. It's amazing these little $0.89 detours that turn into happy memories for your children.

Any way, my dentist doesn't have little animals. This place is set way back in time. It smells like the 70s in there. I'm not complaining. I think the smell is why I go to this dentist. I take a hit of it every time I walk in and it instantly reminds me of my grandpa's house - that musty, slightly smokey smell that I am always hoping to run into again. They have these old magazine ads with things like talcum powder framed up as their artwork. There is one of those wood-paneled video game tables like our old A&W had. I haven't flipped through the magazines because they never make me wait, but I can't imagine they're current. So when Brandon pulled out his toy, I wasn't surprised that it was still those bracelets that I had when I was a kid. Do you remember these friendship bracelets from the 90s?

Pretty cool, huh?

It was 5 p.m. when we left the dentist, so I didn't take him to get a maple bar, but I did stop at the Melissa & Doug store across the street and picked up these lizards he has wanted since the week Holden was born. I had to ask the owner to order them, because I kept going back and he never had restocked them. The store owner was so impressed with Brandon's patience for the lizards. He must not remember that I also bought Brandon the snakes and the bugs to tie him over.

Oh, and if you're wondering, as Steve always does, no, I do not have any cavities. Only once in my life, and it was on my Sonicare hiatus. I eat more donuts than anyone you've ever met, but I still don't get cavities. I really want a maple bar.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

amber necklace

I am not a hippie mom. I didn't save my placenta. I don't puree my own baby food. I never even wore my children. In fact, most of Brandon's lunches are made in the toaster oven. He watches TV. I could never be confused for a hippie mom. But today, I did a hippie mom thing.

I loaded up the kids and took them to a baby boutique to buy an authentic amber necklace. If you haven't heard of these, they are the newest craze for teething children.

The tag says: amber is a fossilized tree resin, and when worn against the skin, the skins warmth releases these healing oils from the amber, providing anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects perfect to soothe a teething baby.

It even sounds like a crock of horseshit. But damn it if I'm not desperate.  Once-predictable Holden has turned into a shrieking, screaming, not sleeping hot mess. He gnaws on my shoulder, drools through multiple shirts a day, and doesn't drink his bottles like he used to. He is tired, hungry, and uncomfortable. Which means I am all those things, too. I am desperate to get normal amounts of sleep again and to have moments of quiet. 

While checking out, I was commenting on how big some of the necklaces looked. "Those are the adult sizes," the cashier informed me. I was a millisecond away from making fun of adults who wore these when I noticed the cashier was wearing one. For once, I did not stick my foot in my mouth. "Do they work?" I asked instead. She claimed it cured her headaches and back pain.

I am by nature a skeptic, but I want to be a believer so badly. I want something to work on my poor little baby. So I can't be sure if today was a better-than-average day or if I just want to believe that the amber works, but Holden fell asleep in the car instantly after it was on. Which was a minor miracle considering he had just taken a nap a little earlier. Then, he woke up from his little siesta and I didn't even notice he was awake in his car seat because he was quiet. He ate his whole bottle at lunch time, and now has been sleeping peacefully in his crib for the past hour and a half.

So who am I to be cynical of spending $20 on an infant necklace made of amber? Hell, if this keeps up, maybe I'll become one of those adults who wears them. I do get headaches, after all. Now if only it could regulate my thyroid, stop my excessive sweating and get rid of my stretch marks in the midst of all its healing powers.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

save for a day far away

You give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing. 
~ From The Descendants

It is never too early or too late to start saving money. And although my kids are two and an infant, I am thinking about what is the best way to get them started in their adult lives. Brandon is sixteen years away from college, which is only about half the time most people take to pay off their mortgages, so saving could definitely start now.

Before I had kids, I said I would pay for their first cars so they could get jobs as early as sixteen if they'd like. Of course, before sixteen, if they wanted to do odd jobs for people or bike or walk somewhere, I'm fine with that. But always being able to walk or ride to work here isn't as realistic for my kids as it was for me living in Washington. Here we have days that are extremely hot or extremely cold, and some days they close school for the kids who stand at the bus stop because of the wind chill.

But now that I have worked and hired people and realized the bias people get because they do or don't have a Bachelor's degree (even if it isn't relevant to the job they're applying for), I realize maybe I want to help pay for my kids' education, too, if they feel so inclined to pursue further education. I want to set my kids up in early adulthood so that they're successful for the remainder of adulthood without me. 

But I don't want them to be spoiled brats, either. Which is why I used that quote. If you enable your children to live as they'd like, rather than as they should, they are bound to get into trouble. When I say I would like to buy their first car, know that it won't be a Range Rover or a Lexus. I'm not about making my children popular, rather about making them practical, responsible, independent adults. I must remember to buy them a car lame enough that they immediately want to work hard to buy a better one.

Friday, August 8, 2014

two boys, two opposite personalities

One thing that surprises me in parenting these two boys is how incredibly different they are. I don't know why that surprises me. I guess I didn't think about it too much before Holden arrived, but I probably just assumed raising him would be the same as raising Brandon. I assumed what worked for Brandon would work again with Holden. I didn't account for different babies. They share the same DNA and are raised amongst the same parents in the same house, so you'd think both nature and nurture would churn out two identical little young 'uns.

Well, it didn't. And I guess if you think of any pack of siblings anywhere, there will never be two the same. We all come out with these personalities already a part of us. Some of us are strong-willed, some are emotional, some are funny, some are peaceful, some are feisty. Some are all of those and more, some are none of those, but someone else entirely.

I don't know what kind of men these little boys will grow up to be yet, of course, but there are some observations I've already made on who they are organically. Brandon is social. When he cries, he likes to be comforted with kisses and snuggles. He likes to have people watching him or listening to him as he shows off what he knows. He wants dad and mom to dance with him when his song comes on. He says "hello" to everyone, even the characters in his books.

Holden, on the other hand, is a bit more of a loner. He can play on his piano gym or in his bouncer without a peep, but then when someone is smothering him, he starts to wail. It was driving me crazy that I haven't been able to get him to go back to sleep after his 7 a.m. bottle anymore. I rocked him, cooed at him, whispered to him that mommy really wanted to go back to sleep. Nothing worked. So I told myself that I now wake up at 7 a.m. too. I started going to bed earlier to cope. I went for a run on Tuesday before most commuters were even out of their driveways. And when I came home, he was asleep for Steve. So the next day, determined to repeat the previous day's success, I tried something different. I put him in his crib, turned on his mobile, and walked away. And what do you know? Within two minutes he was back asleep, peaceful as could be.

Brandon didn't have much trouble with teething. His teeth erupted, of course, but he didn't make too much of a fuss about it. He doesn't get too riled up. Even when he falls now, he just says, "I'm alright," to calm down his overly-worried mother. Holden, however, raises hell if he's unsatisfied. He is the loudest baby in the world. He doesn't have a gentle baby whimper or a sweet cry. He has a ear-piercing shriek. He is high-strung. He wants you to help his hurting gums but not to coddle him while doing so. He wants a frozen washcloth and then to be left the fuck alone in his misery. His misery doesn't love company. He is a recluse when he can be, and he screams when he realizes he needs someone for something.

Brandon's resting face is a smile, while Holden's is a frown. But they both love to laugh. Brandon laughs while watching movies or when reading books, or when he repeats a word he finds funny. He laughs to include people in his joy. Holden laughs if I sing to him or call him "gubby," but I get the distinct feeling that he's laughing at my ridiculousness, not along with it. This could be a paranoid assumption, but it certainly feels like Holden laughs to separate himself from others. He laughs out of superiority at the dummies making fools out of themselves.

Of course, Holden is only four months old, and Brandon is only two. There is so much that will change and shape them as their lives play out. But it is amazing for me to see how different two little guys with so much in common are, even from birth. It's amazing to see this mix of Steve's and my personalities already manifesting in our offspring. Oh, and it's a little scary to think of the evils they will be susceptible to based on how they are. It's something this overly-protective and worried mom would think about. When really, I should be focused on how I don't have infant parenting figured out because I've raised one infant before. It's really starting all over with the second one.

Our siblings. They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing...
- Susan Scarf Merrell

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ignorance is ignorant

If you wanted to know, you would have!
~Jon Taffer in Bar Rescue
(not sure if that's the exact quote, but that's the jist).

My biggest pet peeve in life is probably when someone says, "I could care less." Or when people don't know the difference between to, too, and two. Or when someone cuts me off while driving when they could have waited just two more seconds since there were no cars behind me. OK, there are a few peeves I have. I'll stop there.

But outside of those, something completely irritating I've noticed as an overwhelming epidemic is ignorance. And it drives me insane. Especially in jobs. People want to be told everything over and over again; they want you to show them how to do it time and time again, or sometimes to do it for them. Does anyone take notes anymore so they can refer back to them and do it themselves? Does anyone feel embarrassed asking the same questions time and again? Because I sure as hell do. I would never ask the same question twice. I am too prideful to admit I don't know something I should. So I educate myself. I always have. I am resourceful.

It's not that hard to figure out all the resources at your disposal and use those. I have worked in plenty of jobs with no training. In fact, only one job I've ever had gave me top notch training, and in it, 9 of the original 15 people were let go before training ended because they couldn't catch on. I have trained many people, and probably not to their standards, because I go over everything once and expect that to be enough. Because shouldn't it be? Are we so unresourceful now that we can't figure anything out without it being pounded into our heads? What happened to common sense and figuring shit out for yourself?

Maybe I'm a little more resourceful because I was homeschooled. Sure, we had a curriculum, but when I wasn't satisfied with what I was learning in the books I was required to complete, I went to the library, or read Encyclopedias or the dictionary. I used a thesaurus when I would write to teach myself vocabulary. I cross referenced verses during devotions because I didn't think the handouts they gave at church gave enough meat - just a bunch of fluffy stories and one half of a verse, usually. I have an insatiable curiosity, and maybe most people don't.

I don't think of ignorance as anything other than an excuse. Which is why I love Jon Taffer so much. Because he agrees with me on that. If you want to know something - figure it out! Don't expect knowledge to just show up in your brain in the middle of watching Bachelor in Paradise. You work for what you have. And if you feel like you're dumb, work not to be. If you aren't catching on to your job, work harder at it.

Before becoming a waitress, I had to know the menu inside and out. They actually required I pass a test before I could wear that apron.  I had never had a drink in my life, but I learned scotches, whiskeys, rums, beers and wines. I had flash cards to tell me steak cuts and salad ingredients and cocktail garnishes. I figured the shit out.

I can't stand it when other people don't use their resources and always depend on another person to help them with everything. It's co-dependence. I am teaching my kids independence already. I will have failed as a mother if they still need me in their 30s. I want them to want to hang out with me still, but I certainly don't want either of them living in the basement. This old bitch will be even older and crankier then, and that shit won't fly.

Monday, August 4, 2014

It must be Monday

Today I loaded up the kids as soon as Holden finished his bottle and stopped crying for a split second (this poor kid is teething and shrieks incessantly when he's awake). We drove across town to the Children's Museum because I had promised Brandon I'd take him tomorrow, but then I saw the calendar and realized the cable guy is coming tomorrow (sometime between 8a and 5p of course - they couldn't get any more specific for me - apparently no one can have plans on the same day as their cable appointment). I am a firm believer in not breaking promises (to anyone, but especially kids). So after stopping for gas and finally making it downtown, I noticed the children's museum parking lot was empty. Yes, it is closed on Mondays.
I stopped at a consignment store and got Brandon a few books as a consolation, and then a milkshake (but maybe that one was consolation for me). Damn. Why didn't I just use the internet to double check? All in all I drove 45 miles for some books and a milkshake. I took a scenic route home hoping to find a park, but instead realized the pavement stopped and the gravel began. Holden did not like that. He screamed and screamed some more. At least Brandon got to see some horses and cows in real life. For the first time, maybe. We're not exactly hicks, even though we do live in Nebraska.
Holden and I are flying back to Washington in a few weeks for a long weekend. I asked Brandon if he wanted to come with me, but he said he wanted to stay with daddy. Thankfully, because he's not free anymore and tickets aren't exactly cheap on short notice. Today, I saw a Washington license plate and had to comment on it. Brandon said, "No Washington, stay with daddy!" Now how do I get Holden to stop his ear-piercing screaming before our plane rides?