3 months - Yikes!

Forgive me readers - it's been almost 3 months since my last entry.  For years I'd rarely let a week go by without an Around Here or 52 portrait - but this year has been a bit more hectic than the norm.  And for good reason.  Our expanding family really put our noses to the grindstone these past 6 months and although we are still in the tunnel searching for light (not meant to sound so destitute), we are starting to breath a little lighter.

Trent made it.  He graduated - beautifully.  He worked hard, was diligent and mindful and is now a Cincinnati Police Officer.  We celebrated his graduation this month and I'm not sure if I have seen my husband more at ease and content.  Surrounded by his family - all of us celebrating what an achievement this was.  For me, however, realizing how surreal and heavy my future as his wife became.  But I love him and understand his commitment to the community and admire it.

Here he is.  Sitting proudly at graduation.  I kept it together - really I did.  Until... final role call.  They stood up and in military fashion answered loudly when called upon.  It happened so quickly and the 6 months seemed to vanish in an instant.  For this wife, it was his release into the elements.  That this is really happening.  I am so happy for husband, it's a dream of his and means the world to protect the community.  I love you.

First day on the job.  It's been a few weeks now and I am still acclimating!

Along with this giant leap forward - the kiddos are moving ahead as well, at lightening speed!  They are all in school full time starting next month which boggles my mind and we will have our crazy dancing wee one with us in just a few months!  They are reading, writing, making up stories - constructing (their ultimate past time, thank you Uncle Derek), swimming (Soren took the deep end test and I can't get him off the diving board and slide!), visiting parks, spending time with family (thank you Mom for helping me in June! and OMG! - my in-laws are so cool!) and still working on my end. 

We are in the midst of wrapping up our last commercial recording of the year with the Symphony and last opera (Tosca) with Cincinnati Opera.  I am on the road to DVD archive back ups and finalizing masters, dubs and billing (duh, duh DUHNNNNN!).  We've moved out of Music Hall for the year, the Aronoff sounds amazing and I'm interested to see what the Taft has in store for us.  

I miss this space.  I hope not to spend time away from it again.  Coming up will be some great entries from my hubs, updated news on the peanut in the oven (moving as we speak), the three muchachos and how they blow my mind on a daily basis and our busy house hunting days (help?!!!!!  please!!!!).  

authored by Chelsea Crutcher

Final Five - February

Better late than never - February and most of March have just flown by for us.  An update on everything Crutcher Inc. in the next post!  For now - enjoy our Five from February.  They are from our visit to the Fine Arts Sampler at Music Hall.  It was the first concert in Springer Auditorium for the Twins.  SO much fun!

Cheesy smiles and maniacal laughter.  It was a costume concert - Mayer as Batman (vintage - OG!), Marley as Raphael and Soren as Spiderman (he's a little obsessed...)

These are their power poses.  Mayer is... flying?, Marley... strong man - muscles? and Soren... spinning a web?  I think.... 

Batman in Music Hall

Spiderman swinging from the pillars outside Springer Auditorium

And Raphael getting is sand building skills on - turtles gotta dig.

I have to include this last one selfishly because I love this shot.  So - six this month. 

Parenting - Fatigue

Hello space!  It's been too long and I owe you several posts.  Life has been hectic and TIRING.

noun ⎮ Par・ent・hood ⎮ \per-ent-hud\

the state of being a mother or father

I found this Ted Talk when looking up positive parenting solutions.  What she has to say about parenting really struck a chord in me.  To look at our children as equals, more than that - greater thans.  That they are OUR awakeners.  It's much more tiring and difficult turning the mirror on myself as a parent.  That I am the one that needs 'fixing', not the kids.  But worth every minute of introspection.  I feel more whole as a parent and the kids more peaceful and content.

If only it were that simple.  But it's not.  We are parents of three amazing, rambunctious 5-year-old boys trying to figure out where and how their little lives are functioning each day.  This isn't terribly dissimilar to developments with any 5-year-old, boy or girl, blended family or not - but the thing is, our kids ARE boys, IN a blended family and ALL the same age (although in different grades.  Soren's November b-day puts him in Pre-School and the Twins in Kindergarten.  This, too, has been confusing for the wee ones).

Whether or not the kids see things differently in this way, I do.  I'm always second guessing myself and mentally documenting each parenting decision (although my husband reminds me constantly not to be so hard on myself - 'Just look at them fight to sit in you lap!  You're doing great!').  Are they confused by the differences in homes?  Are they trying to find consistency?  Is this a power or attention tantrum?  Honestly, most times - I don't know, or at least it feels that way.  Since they are all the same age and incredibly active kiddos our household can become a Royal Rumpus (they are all Maxes from Where the Wild Things Are).  It's easy to lose your cool, which I've learned is either a play for attention or power.

I am NOT a yelling fan.  I don't like losing patience and more than anything I want to raise children with strong coping skills.  I don't want them to run or bury emotion.  I also don't want them to have outbursts and tantrums as adults.  When conflict arises, I want them to reach for a calm, pragmatic response.  I found this great, FREE webinar through one of my favorite Montessori websites (Modern Parents, Messy Kids) by Positive Parenting Solutions.  Wow.

Of course after the brilliant FREE webinar comes the sales spiel for the rest of the program - which in all honesty seems pretty fantastic if you have the dough to spend.  But if not, the initial webinar is a great place to start.  She goes over the reasons children act out and their needs (power and attention).  How to supply these things without a tantrum BUT they will inevitably happen - so how do you deal with them when the outbursts occur WITHOUT yelling and encourage responsibility and good decision making?

The 5 R's.  Be Respectful and CALM, be sure the punishment is Related to the misbehavior, it is a Reasonable duration to age and maturity, Reveal in advance and Repeat it back to you.

Trying new parenting solutions is great and this one definitely has its rewards.  I really like these methods - BUT it's tiring.  Fatiguing.  Trying new parenting techniques is like starting a new work out routine.  Day 1 - free weights, Day 2 - sit ups/push ups/burpies..., Day 3 - Cardio, Day 4-7 Repeat.  Except with kids - it's every hour of every minute of every second of EVERY DAY.  Even once their sweet heads hit the pillow I am up with Trent going over our day and things that work, things that don't - my new concerns and how the old ones have diminished and are no longer issues but resolve.  It can be so fatiguing.

Living with the Food Police

I was never much of a health conscious person growing up.  My parents didn’t allow me to devour sugar all day, but we would eat out just like most families.  A Friday night pizza, a monthly Sunday lunch, and maybe a parental date to some place special.  I used to think that I was a pretty healthy person….until I met my wife.

I have now entered the uncharted territory of food “snobbery”.  Don’t take this as an attack, this is just how my wife (self-proclaimed) describes it “…my glazed and braised Brussel sprouts with my Lemon Pellegrino… ah snob snob snob”.  While making a kissing motion with her hands and lips.  I spent 4 years eating “food product” and MREs from the military, so when I started coming home to freshly cooked meals and organic products, I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into.

I asked Chelsea for some food pics to give an idea of what I eat now ▲

And what I considered food pre-wife ▼

 (she completely lost her cool when reading the ingredients - 'our government thinks THIS is acceptable nutrition for soldiers putting their life on the line?!?!)

I was the classic guy who would go to the grocery store and find whatever was the cheapest.  Needless to say, I'm no longer allowed to get groceries by myself.  Chelsea and I would be at the store to get something as simple as bananas….

TO MYSELF:  No way I can mess this one up, there is only one type of banana!  It’s either a banana or it isn’t!

…I bring this lovely bundle of bananas back to the cart only to be met with a face of disgust from my wife.

CC:  Um…you have got to be kidding me, those are hegemony bananas!

TC:  No, I’m pretty sure they are Chiquita bananas

CC:  Exactly!  They are made off the sweat and tears of farmers in a country (Jamaica, maybe... I think)  where they aren’t even allowed to sell their locally grown bananas because of the global monopoly Chiquita (or Dole.  Geez, I don’t know) has on bananas!  We definitely don’t support that so go put them back!

At this point we usually find the 1 banana that was hidden under a pile of turnips (that’s where they hide them because let’s be honest, nobody likes turnips - even my food snob wife) and we pay the same price for that 1 banana as we would have for the 17 bananas that I originally picked out.

This is a common scene in our household.  I'm not the only one benefiting from the food snobbery.  The kids do too.  They make trips to Findlay Market for fresh produce, dairies, meats and baked goods on average twice a week!  They've been introduced to so many flavors (both 'mmm, yummy!' and 'tastes yucky to me...')

This is a common scene in our household.  I'm not the only one benefiting from the food snobbery.  The kids do too.  They make trips to Findlay Market for fresh produce, dairies, meats and baked goods on average twice a week!  They've been introduced to so many flavors (both 'mmm, yummy!' and 'tastes yucky to me...')

All jokes aside, Chelsea really has changed the way I look at food.  I now take notice of the ingredient labels and whether or not the food is non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism, ‘chemical seeds’ as she says, 'If a bug won’t eat it - and a bug will eat poop, so we are clear - then we shouldn’t eat it' in reference to pesticides).  She is also very good at finding exactly what we need and still pinch pennies.  She has brought to light things about the food industry that I had no clue about.  On top of my new found respect for my wife and her food prowess, I can honestly say that I have never eaten better in my life!

authored by Trent Crutcher