Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Happy Birthday to My Girl

I know I haven't been writing, and I apologize, but you've heard my apologies before.  What can I say (a lot, actually).

I really just wanted to wish my beautiful girl a very happy 4th birthday.

I am sorry she was under the weather today with a bad cough and that I dragged her to the pediatrician downtown.  But I'm glad her Papa got to stay home with us for a breakfast birthday party.

Perhaps I will keep her home tomorrow so she can continue to rest and eat rice crispy squares with her brother and I.

I can't believe the babe is 4. 

Last night she and I looked at pictures from her first week of life.  My huge stomach before I left for the hospital.  Her screaming 9.6 ounce body on the nurses table as she was measured and inspected.  And her swollen little face after she was bundled up in a hat and swaddled in her blanket.  It seems like so long ago now.  But looking at the pictures reminds me that she is still my little one.  She is old, but she is so young. 

Happy birthday my sweet, amazing, beautiful, challenging, wicked smart, and inspiring girl.  You made me a Mother, and I am grateful for every day you have been a part of my life.  I love you. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Decisions

Lately it seems like everyone is asking me if my son is going to go to preschool in September 2011.  Applications are due soon and the process of guaranteeing your spot is a serious one.

This has brought up a lot of issues for me.  Do I go back to work and put both kids in preschool all day, every day?  Do I put them in school until 3:30 pm and get a nanny to watch them until 6:30 pm every day?  Do I try and find a part time job that will give me more flexibility? 

OR

Do I just embrace what I am doing and keep my son home with me for at least another year?  Just because his older sister was so obviously ready for preschool at that age, it doesn't really mean he will be. 

I have been a Stay-at-Home Mom for 4 years this month and I've never really had a long term plan.  I've been hoping the right answer would just come to me.  It hasn't.

And I don't like that I am feeling pressure to make a decision.  I had my hair cut today (it had been a loooong time), and my hair stylist asked who was pressuring me.  Good question.  Maybe I'm the one putting all this pressure on myself.

Anyway, I don't usually read my husband's Wall Street Journal, but today there was an interesting set of articles on the state of Motherhood.  Check out Mother Madness by Erica Jong for an interesting perspective.  And then check out the author's daughter's perspective, Growing Up With Ma Jong.

Common sense would lead me to conclude that I really just need to do what I feel is right for my family and I.  Only problem is, I don't know what is right!

To be continued....

Late, Late, Late

I'll admit it.  We are late for school every morning.

Something happened when we moved to our new house.  I'm not sure what has changed in our schedule, but all of a sudden getting out the door in a timely manner is impossible.  As organized as I think I am the night before, something always comes up to throw us off.

I hate to be late.  And I am pretty hard core about keeping everything moving tickidy boom from the time I get out of bed.  I may be staying in bed a bit longer these days as it's colder and darker.  And I may be letting the babe sleep in a bit more because she has been coughing for weeks and weeks and I want her to get all the rest she can.  But really, it's starting to get to me.  Apparently I'm not the only one.

Parents from my daughter's school receive frequent emails from the administrators keeping us all up to date on classes, activities, bake sales, and the like.  On Friday we got a reminder about daylight savings time and timeliness.  It went something like this:

Just a reminder, please drop off your child at or before the 9:15 a.m. start time. If you drop them off after 9:15, one of the staff will take your child to the classroom. We are still in the 3-month acclamation time frame and we want to insure the least disruptions to the school day as possible. We also do not want there to be crowding by your child’s classroom for safety reasons.

My husband asked if I had read the email and proceeded to ask if it was directed at me specifically.  And yes, I admit that I have been a fairly consistent offender.  And yes, I am trying to change.  But no, I am not the only one in this boat.  And no, the email was not specifically directed at me (I can easily list off a number of other Mom offenders).

Somehow I'm going to figure this one out.  The fact that we moved 5 minutes further away should not make us 20 minutes later.  There are 15 minutes I have to account for and the fact that I have a bigger house isn't a good enough excuse. 

If you have any awesome morning routine secrets you'd like to share, feel free to do so!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Putting It Together, Part Deux

A few weeks ago, the little guy took another monumental step on the path to verbal independence; he put together 3 words: "Duck, Duck, Goose."

I did not push him to say this, he chose these words to be his first 3 words put together all on his own.  Although I will admit his sister was going through a phase where she kept wanting us to play the game.

The little guy and I have been reading Silly Little Goose! (by Nancy Tafuri) at night, and although it is not about the game of "duck, duck, goose," it does have a goose and some ducks.  He now points at it and says "duck, duck, GOOSE."

Regardless, I am one proud Mama.  I never thought those words could sound so sweet. 

So, here's to duck, duck, goose.

That Time of Year

I have been a little sick for about 11 days.  It started out strong (fever, exhaustion) and calmed down pretty quickly.  Some days I have felt I am on the upswing and some days I have felt I am on the down slide.  Today was a down slide day.

I am washing my hands frequently, drinking fluids, not getting enough rest, and drinking wine. 

I also have a sick daughter.  She has had a cold and cough for longer than I have been under the weather.  The problem is that she is unaware of how to prevent spreading her germs everywhere.  She picks her nose, wipes runny snot onto her shirt sleeve, coughs onto everyone (although I know she's trying to remember to cover her mouth with her arm) and she has no problem touching everything and anything with her germy hands.  It is overwhelming to try and correct every germ spreading behavior every time I look at her, because it feels like it's constant.  There's only so much I can nag. 

She, like me, has had some upswing days and some down slide nights.  Last night was a down slide and had us all up for about an hour and a half due to the babe's hacking cough and inability to calm down long enough to fall back asleep.

I called the pediatrician today and was told I could:

-NOT give her cough medicine
-give her homeopathic soothing honey type substance (not available at a standard drug store)
-give her decaffeinated tea with honey (yes, I did remind them that she is 3 and not yet a tea drinker)
-keep a humidifier running in her room (while the dehumidifier runs simultaneously in the basement)
-use saline drops to loosen the mucus (squirting this up her nose caused her to almost throw up)

If we see a fever, notice any trouble with her eyes, notice ear pain, or anything funky, we are to call immediately.  If the cough doesn't get better by next week, we are to call for an appointment.  At this point it seems like every kid in her class sounds the same, and they are all just spreading their germs back and forth to each other.  I suppose this is the age where this kind of thing is pretty standard. 

Anyway, if you have any tips on how the babe and I can return to our former glory, please feel free to share.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Congratulations!

A few words of congratulations to some good friends:

K & B had a beautiful baby boy on September 2nd, putting the labour back into labour day weekend!  Good work guys!

K & S had a sweet little girl on October 16th (I was hoping she'd arrive on my b-day which was the 20th, but no luck).  I can't wait to meet her (and her older brother!).  Why is the West Coast so far away?

And my friend Kimberly Palmer, writer and mother extraordinaire, just released Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing and Giving Back.  You should definitely check it out!  You can also check out her blog, Alpha Consumer, at US News and World Report.

It's Been One Month (and a day)

Looks like I just took a break.  Yikes.  The more days that went by, the harder it was to log in and write.

I have been too afraid to look at my site meter stats, but the last time I looked it was pretty bleak.  Who could blame you?  I wouldn't bother checking in with 24-7 Mommy either!

But here I am.  In my new house.  Setting up our old routine.  And trying to keep things moving tickidy boom.  It has been a crazy few months but I finally feel like we are getting to where I wanted: the "new normal."

The babe and the little guy have adjusted quite well to our new home.  We have a few more night wake ups than we were used to, but I figure it will pass.  I am thrilled to walk in the door and am still in shock that it's our home.  I feel blessed.

I wanted to share a little story, since I'm here and all.  For the past 5 days I have been tearing apart the house in search of the Winnie the Pooh costume my daughter has worn for Halloween the past 2 years.  I desperately wanted the little guy to wear the same one as it's just so freakin' cute!  I was also looking for the baby cow costume both kids wore as wee youngsters to lend to a friend.  I knew these items were located somewhere, in some box or other, and was pretty determined to find them.

I apparently didn't give myself enough credit, because this morning, when I was about to break down and head to Target for Halloween stuff, I dug into a bin of "too big/new clothes for the future" and low and behold, guess what was in there?  A bag with 3 Halloween costumes and a Halloween themed orange size 4 shirt for the babe to wear to her class party on Friday.  Looking at the price tag, I apparently bought it last year after Halloween for the bargain price of $2!  I had also bought a race car driver costume for the little guy to use a few years down the road.  I appear to have shockingly been organized enough to put all of this stuff together in a "safe" place so I could find it easily. 

Now I realize that all those messy boxes I looked through were just trying to teach me a lesson.  And that lesson is that I need to continue on with my dream of having everything organized and in its place.  As a stay at home Mom, I am committed to making this dream a reality.  I dream big, don't I?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Putting It Together

I just wanted to share a break through.  Tonight, as I was lifting him out of the bathtub, my adorable son said "Bye, duck."  He had been playing with his yellow duck during bath time and I suppose he just wanted to say a proper good bye.  Very polite, indeed.  AND, the first time, to our knowledge, that our son has put together 2 words in a logical (any) fashion.  Moving forward....in more ways than one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Apologies, Apologies, Apologies and an Update

I feel SO GUILTY! I just got my Site Meter stats and saw that you're all still checking in. And what have you been seeing here lately? NOTHING! And I'm sorry...so, so, sorry.

I think about what I'd like to write every day, but just haven't found/made the time to get it written. Perhaps I should be tweeting (joking).

There's a lot of stuff going down over here. We are moving in 5 days and I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed by it all. For instance, today I had a complete meltdown because I waited for the phone/internet/TV guy for 4 hours and then spent an hour on my cell phone trying to sort out what was going on. And I was in an empty house. With my 21 month old son. That was not my idea of fun. So I got back to my rental (and realized I had forgotten the lap top at the new house) and just started balling. That pretty much says where I'm at.

But I'm OK now....in fact, I forced myself to get over it quickly because I had another appointment to cancel for tomorrow, so I stopped crying and made my next call. And you know what I did next? I put the little guy to bed, made some lunch and watched TV all by myself. There was no computer to distract me with tasks, and I have a lot of catch up watching to do (Weeds), so I did. It was a necessary distraction from my current life.

We all know moving sucks. But I think we manage to hide it away in our minds and gloss over it when we think back on it (kinda like what they say about child birth....although I will NEVER forget that). Moving with 2 kids is a whole new world of pain. It is hard. The kids are always around and they don't care if you need to focus on packing, cleaning, dealing with contractors, or making a zillion phone calls to people who don't really care about you. And life doesn't stop. There's still laundry, 3 meals a day, pick up, drop off, bills to pay and errands to run. It ain't like the old days, that's for sure.

So, back to the kids. I think they've spent enough time at the new house that they aren't going to completely freak out when we officially move in.  I actually think the babe understands that our days in our rental are almost over.

The babe is doing well and is so happy to be back in school. Sadly we just had a very scary experience; she was attacked by a swarm of wasps as we were leaving the playground on Monday (she lifted up the wrong rock). It was one of the most disturbing things I've ever been through and I am so grateful we didn't end up in the ER. I was putting the little guy in his car seat and had placed her on her side of the car temporarily. I walked around to load her in and found her swarmed by a LOT of wasps. I grabbed her and ran across the street trying to get away (I've never had to deal with anything like this before and wasn't exactly sure what to do). They were everywhere....in her hair, up her shirt, on her legs. It was overwhelming and terrifying.

I didn't know if she was going to go into anaphylactic shock as she had about 20 bites on her little body. After the spectacle on the sidewalk (I ended up pulling her shirt off to swat the wasps off her body), I ran back to the car with her where I proceeded to hold her in my arms in the driver’s seat. I called my husband and he searched the internet for information on wasp bites while I tried to calm her and give her a healthy dose of Benadryl. The screams I heard while the wasps were attacking her are something I won't soon forget. I ended up taking her home and watching her closely. I've now learnt that it may be the next exposure which we have to be concerned about. I hope that day never comes.

The little guy is flourishing despite all the chaos surrounding him. Today he walked up to me holding a book (Where's Spot), saying "boo, boo (which means book). I like that he's asking me to read to him.

And last week he learnt how to say "bubbles." Really, that made me day. Bubbles. It sounds so sweet coming from his little mouth.

I'll try and do a better job. I miss you and my writing. It feels like I've been ignoring an old friend, and I don't want that. I want to be 24-7 Mommy....in Maryland. Thanks for reading...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting Paid

Hello friends.  It's been a while.

As usual, I have a lot to say and no time to write it.  I am the Queen of distraction these days.  And I must admit, I've been going on short walks around my neighborhood at night before bed instead of sitting in front of the computer.  I feel like the walking has been helping more than the writing can right now.  The big move is 2 weeks from tomorrow and I'm slowly getting closer to being ready.  And I can honestly say I am ready to be ready!

Anyway, something happened today that I needed to share.

We were driving to school this morning and the babe was talking about school versus work.  I always tell her how lucky she is to be going to school to learn and play with her friends.  This morning she said she'd rather be going to work because at work they pay you and then you can buy things.  I wasn't sure whether to be horrified or impressed.  I suppose I'm both.  She's not even 4 and she's already worked out the basics of our consumption oriented society.  I keep telling her she should enjoy going to school and being young because things get a lot harder when you get older. 

I think it may be true what they say, youth is wasted on the young!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hair Elastics

I'm not sure what it is, but the little guy loves hair elastics (and we have hair elastics all over our house).  He has a thing for putting them over his wrist and pushing them up as far as they can go.  As he's normally in a T-Shirt, I only realize he has a band on his upper arm when I get him ready for bath or I'm lifting him and his shirt sleeve goes up.  He doesn't appear to be able to get it to the point where he is cutting off his circulation, which is good.  But it is a little strange, no?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Satisfaction

I am not getting a lot of satisfaction these days.  I am a tad overwhelmed but don't want to drag you down in my muck.  Like I said the other day, these are all good problems to have.

Anyway....

I do all the laundry in the house (surprise, surprise).  We have one central basket and everyone's dirty clothes get thrown in there every day.  The basket is usually empty for about 10 seconds before someone is throwing another item in it.

What I wanted to tell you about is the feeling of satisfaction I have when I have completed and folded a load of laundry.  It is such an awesome sense of accomplishment.  As a Stay at Home Mom, I suppose my perception of "accomplishment" has changed from my working days.

I am almost sad to put away the basket of folded clothes because the evidence of my job well done is gone.  How sad is that?

Anyway, here's a shot of my latest "accomplishment."


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Strange Days

It was a strange day.  Mostly good, but strange.  We dropped the babe off at school and the only one crying was the little guy.  I think he knew he was losing his play mate.  The babe was happy and confident and gave me a great big hug before we left.  She was thrilled to be back.

The little guy and I then went to the dermatologist to have a potentially funky mole I recently found checked out.  Turns out it was nothing to be concerned about.  Another good thing.

After nap time the little guy wandered around the house calling out his sister's name (not really, but his version of it).  He had forgotten she was at school and couldn't understand where she could be.  Poor kid.

But the story I think you'll really appreciate is the poop on my foot story.  At bedtime I brought the little guy upstairs and took off his diaper at the entrance to his room.  I assumed it was just pee in there.   It was not (you know what they say about making assumptions).  So I brought him over to the changing table and tried to avoid allowing any poo pellets from falling on the ground.  I was concerned I had gotten poop on the bottom of my black pants so I took them off.  I cleaned my son up and put him in the tub.  I then realized I felt something strange on the bottom of my foot.  I had a look and found a nice chunk of smushed poo on my left foot.  So there I was, standing in my underwear, with stinky poop on my foot, and a happy son in the tub.  Not the end of the world. 

I got my husband and daughter to watch the little guy while he played in the bath so I could retrace my steps and wipe up any poop smudges I could identify (there were a few).  I will never know if I missed any spots.  Luckily I hadn't walked beyond my son's bedroom and the bathroom.  Regardless, it was gross and totally my fault.  Lesson learned, I should always assume my son has poop in his diaper!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer 2010

I never thought it would happen.  I never thought we'd make it.  But tomorrow is September 1st and the babe, the little guy, and I, have offically made it through the summer together in one piece.  I have to be honest, I wasn't sure we were going to be able to pull it off.  It has been hot, hot, hot.  There have been a million mosquitoes ready to attack us whenever we leave the safety of the indoors, and there were many, many, many hours to fill.  But we somehow managed to fill them, buy a house, deal with a zillion contractors, and sort of keep our sanity.

Tomorrow morning the babe will head back for a second year of preschool.  And while she initially complained that she didn't like being home and liked school better, I think she's going to miss the little guy and I.  And frankly, while I know my life is about to get WAY easier (even though I'm moving in less than 4 weeks), I am going to miss having her around as well.  My daughter keeps me on my toes and is quite the conversationalist (unlike my son).  I can't get much past her and she really challenges me to be a better parent.  And I try and challenge her to be a better kid. 

Hopefully we will all come out of the summer of 2010 better and stronger people.  I'll admit it has been really hard to keep it together at times, and that I'm not always the most patient, stable and loving parent (or wife).  Buying your first house and trying to coordinate renovations while watching 2 little ones in the middle of a ridiculous summer is not a recipe for "good times," but I recently heard a great saying, "these are all wonderful problems to have."  Once again, I will be attempting to focus on my many, many blessings.   

With that I will say good night. 

And thanks for checking in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Talking About Desserts...

The babe polished off her dinner (which included a lot of olives) tonight with gusto and then wanted dessert.  As she'd been fairly good throughout the day (except when I was trying to have a conversation with the chimney inspector at the new house), I told her she could have some chocolate soy pudding.

While we were chatting, she pulled off her bib.  I know some kids this age don't wear bibs, but my kid does.  She is sloppy and I don't feel like doing any more laundry than I already do.  Anyway, I asked her why she took off her bib before her dessert.  She told me not to worry and that she'd "be careful."

I then asked her what I could do if she did spill any chocolate pudding on her dress.  She looked at me and replied, "you can clean me up!"

I sometimes wonder if she really is just 3 years old or if I somehow bumped my head and missed a few years.  The girl has a mouth on her, but I was impressed by her comment so I let her eat her chocolate pudding without a bib.  And ya know what?  She didn't spill any pudding, just the soy milk I asked her to finish up after the pudding was done.

The Nannies at the Park

I'm on the neighborhood list serve so I can "keep on top of things."

A couple of this week's posts made me stop and think.  And I'd like to start off by saying that I'm not anti-Nanny, but as a Mother who spends a lot of time at the park, I do agree with these comments. 

I'm not saying all Nannies are bad.  They are not.  I am also not trying to generalize (in fact I met a great Nanny just this morning).  But there are a lot of negligent care takers out there and I'm sure the parents who employ them would be horrified at the lack of care and attention being directed to their children.  Just something to think about.

From the list serve:

Re: NANNIES @ TURTLE PARK

Are you confident that your Nanny is properly caring for you child?

I have been taking my grandchildren to Turtle Park this spring and summer. I have been overwhelmed at the poor quality of child care being provided to the young children who come to the park with their nannies. I have been hesitant to post something, but today after observing a nanny hitting a child, a nanny talking on her cell phone unaware that her charge had fallen & was crying and a child open the gate and leave the area without being noticed by the nanny, I am posting this asking families to make unannounced visits to Turtle Park at a time your child and nanny plan to be there.

I am a retired Early Childhood Educator with over 35 years experience. I would fire many of the care providers I have observed this summer. They are regularly completely distracted by their cell phone conversations or their adult group conversations.

I hope that you can find a time to observe and ensure that your little ones are receiving the quality of care you are expecting.

Re: NANNIES @ TURTLE PARK

I've seen the exact same thing and would be horrified for most of the the local Nannies I've witnessed to care after our child.

While at Turtle Park some weeks ago, I saw a toddler vomiting in to the side of the sandbox while his Nanny continued talking on the phone; almost like she couldn't be bothered to attend to him.

Crazy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Colors of Us

I wanted to recommend another book.

A friend gave us a copy of The Colors of Us (by Karen Katz) a while back.  We hadn't read it to the babe much when we originally got it because it was a bit beyond her.  But we are now at the perfect place for this special book.

Such a perfect place that the babe has me read it to her every day (a few times).

I quickly looked at reviews on Amazon, and while the majority are positive, there are some which attack the book, claiming it reinforces negative stereotypes of different racial groups.

This criticism doesn't really mean much to me because the babe likes the book and so do I.  I'm not sure how much I've mentioned in the past, but my husband is of Indian descent and I am a mix of Irish/English and French.  That makes our kids a mix of many things, and with Indian names and slightly darker skin, they are going to confront issues I never confronted growing up.

This book talks about all the different shades of brown and I like that it brings so many groups of people together in its simple story line.  Tonight the babe asked what color she was and I told her she was a creamy cappuccino (the book has many flavour references).  That made us both giggle.

While we have been slowly broaching the subject that Mama and Papa have different skin colours, it seems as though we are still at a point where that is perfectly normal, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cute Things

My son turned 20 months old today, so I was planning on going on about that. There's a lot I could say about the fact that 20 months have quickly passed us by, but I think I want to share a few very cute stories about the babe, instead.

As we were driving to the park this morning, the babe asked if I could open her window (we finally had a fresh day today).  I opened it less than half way.  She was trying to stick her hands toward the outside and asked if I could open it just a bit more.  I complied with her request and put it down a bit more.  She then told me it was good to get fresh air into her bones.  After being stuck indoors because of the RIDICULOUS WEATHER that we have experienced in DC this summer, all I can say is, how true my love, how very true.

We had a lovely play date at the park, but sadly the babe didn't listen when it was time to leave.  Despite the fact she had promised she would leave when I said it was time to go (yes, I had believed her when she made the promise), the babe was completely rude and uncooperative.  I was fuming mad when we finally got to the car after her little episode and proceeded to ban all treats, desserts, hanging out in the bath tub at bed time playing, and bed time stories (no, not forever.  Just for today). 

I was reiterating these punishments as we got back from the hardware store just before dinner.  It was pretty late and I had a bunch of stuff to do in the kitchen, so I mentioned she was allowed to watch TV while I prepared dinner.  She looked at me very serious like, and said, "but TV is dessert for the eyes, Mama."  

All I can say is, how true my love, how very true.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hi Everyone

I haven't forgotten you.  I swear. I think of you all many times every day and I wish I could be sharing all my thoughts with you.  But I honestly haven't been sitting down for quality time with the computer of late.

My awesome and uber helpful Mom just left last night.  She was with us for 11 days and we accomplished a lot.  She is an amazing organizer and packer and kept things moving along.  From packing our stuff, to doing our laundry, to feeding my kids and wiping their dirty bums, my Mom was there for me.  It was not always pretty, but we made it through a very crazy time together as a family.  I hope I will be able to do the same for my kids one day.

Buying your first home and then embarking on a ton of repairs is nuts.  All those nights of watching Home Garden TV couldn't have prepared me for what has happened in the past month.  But I remain so very, very excited to move into our new place.  It's not ready and nor are we, but in the next month it will all come together, I'm sure.

With both kids at home, I am now rather limited in terms of what I can achieve in a day (like meeting numerous contractors and hauling 3 car loads of stuff over before dinner).  But I figure we did so much work that I'm going to try and have some fun with the babe before she returns to school on September 1st.  The kids have been holed up here far too much and while I got a lot of work done, they have not had all the summer adventures they were supposed to have (2 weeks in Canada and a week at the beach).  Watching Mickey and Dora while Mom and Nana pack is not going to make up for that.

So hopefully we can make the most of the last few days of summer vacation and just have some fun.  Because we are all due for some.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Words

Today the little guy learnt a very important word: ME.

We were standing in the front entrance ready to go on a mini car adventure when I asked who wanted to be brought to the car first (it was in the middle of a serious down pour).  The babe yelled "ME, me me."  The little guy then started yelling "Me" as well (he does love to copy her, after all). 

My daughter, my Mother and I all applauded him and had him say it over and over again until we realized we should probably actually leave the entrance way and go on our mini adventure.

It was a special moment of our day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Shoe Story

Yesterday my Mom and I took the kids to the mall.  We had a few things to check off our list, including getting the kids feet measured and buying some appropriately sized foot wear.  It had been a few months since we'd had any measurements done and I wanted to go to the back to school sale.

I apparently was way off on the little guy's foot size.  I'd been noticing it was getting a little harder to fit his feet in his sneakers and sandals of late.  And last week I noticed both his big toes were a tad bloody and the top of the nails were broken.  He had been running around up and down our front path with bare feet and had experienced a wipe out. 

Looking back, I'm now wondering if his big toes were so messed up because I had been shoving his feet into shoes that didn't fit or if he had hurt his toes when he fell.

I don't know, but I feel guilty, either way.  Now he's in a size 7.5 (he was in a 6), even though he's a 7.  I figured I'd play it safe at the rate his feet appear to be growing.

The babe was about a 9, and was in a 8.5 sandal, so I'm not feeling so bad about neglecting her (her feet are growing much slower than her brother's).  We got her some new sneakers and some snazzy rain boots for school (which starts 2 weeks from tomorrow!!!).

After the shoe shopping, we headed for the food court which has a play area and a train that you can ride around on.  Good times had by all, including the babe and her Nana who stood in a line for half an hour to get a flower shaped balloon from a clown (which was broken within 2 hours of getting back home).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Little Things

I figure if I stop writing, you're going to stop reading, and I certainly don't want that.

Home ownership is hard when you are trying to schedule a ton of work and don't know what you're doing.  It is all consuming, like a newborn baby.  When I do get to sleep, I dream about it.

But what I wanted to share was my favorite moment of the day. 

We were all really tired, especially the little guy.  After bath time I was holding him in his little brown bear towel when the babe came in.  The little guy was crying so she decided to cheer him up with a little goofy dance.  She started bouncing around in the buff with her fingers in the sides of her mouth and her tongue hanging out.  Before I knew it we were all laughing and both my naked children were bopping their heads around with their tongues hanging out.

After the babe left us for her bath I got to play peek a boo with the little guy and it was awesome to just relax and laugh together.  The last 4 days have been incredibly overwhelming for all of us and I'm so grateful we had such a blissful moment right before bed time.  I'm going to have to remember it whenever I get overwhelmed and wonder how I'm supposed to move to a new house with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old.  In the end, we'll finally be in our own home, and I know it's going to be worth it. 

I'm going to ask you to bear with me over the next month and a half until we can get ourselves into the new place.  My writing may be a little less frequent, and possibly more centered on how to pack and move with kids, but I know things will settle into a "new normal" before ya know it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Big News

Hi everyone!  I have a secret.....today we bought our very first house!  We've got a lot going on so I may not be able to write every day, but I didn't want anyone out there to worry because I haven't written.  I'm super excited for my family to finally have a home to call their own.  And right now I'm super excited to have a hot shower and go to bed, so good night!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Birds and the Bees

I was going to write about our music class today and how the little guy pulled a stack of chairs over on himself and we had to make an early departure.  It was our last class of the session and I'm not sure when we will be singing up again, so it was upsetting we had to leave under such circumstances (especially as I've been going to the same class with the same teacher since the babe was 1).

But then I also wanted to write about how the babe really loves olives, dill pickles and capers.  I thought I'd ponder what that meant in a 3.5 year old.  While cleaning up after dinner, I had come to the conclusion that these food likes say a lot about my daughter.

And while I was saying good night to the babe, it became clear what I should be writing about.  My own Mother, otherwise known as "Nana," will be arriving from Canada tomorrow morning for a visit.  I mentioned that Nana was my Mama and I was so looking forward to seeing her.  Then I mentioned that Nana took care of me when I was a little girl because she is my Mama (I thought I was just harmlessly going over the basic facts).  The babe looked at me, all serious like, and asked where she was when I was a little girl and Nana was taking care of me?  I replied that she had not been born yet.  The babe then asked if she had been dead then?  I said that she wasn't dead because I hadn't made her yet.  And guess what she asked next? 

"But how does the baby get in the Mama's tummy?"  WHOA.  I didn't think kids asked that question so young.  So I stalled and kinda dodged the question.  I am all about being honest with kids but I frankly hadn't done any research on how to discuss the birds and bees with a preschooler.  So I told the babe that it was scientific and I had to look on the Internet to see how doctors and scientists suggest parents explain these things to kids (I tell her I have to look things up on the Internet all the time).  I told her I wanted to make sure I explained it correctly to her so that she would understand.  "OK, Mama," she replied. 

That was a close call. I guess I better look into how to discuss these things in the most age-appropriate manner.  But ultimately I guess I'll have to trust my Mama gut.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Owie Obsession

Not to be overly dramatic, but the babe appears to be obsessed with "owies."  In tonight's bed time story, Curious George had an owie.  The babe immediately tried to grab the book to investigate the nature of his owie.  It wasn't evident, but I knew it was somewhere on his foot.  The babe was quite determined to figure out what was wrong with George but I ended up turning the page so we could move on.

I have been told this kind of obsessive behavior around minor or believed injuries is normal at this age, but frankly, I am pretty tired of hearing about it.  Sadly we all get owies during our lives. And it's important to learn how to deal with them in the best and most positive way possible.  It's not easy, but it's a very real part of being human.

When the babe comes to me with an owie and "needs" a band aid (daily), we have a little chat about the owie, check it out, and I usually give her a band aid if that will make her feel better.  I have learnt that I have to pick my battles and am not willing to fight over band aids. 

The thing that really gets me is that the babe appears to be a picker.  I think it may be genetic, the tendency to pick, because I can remember my maternal Grandmother being a big picker.  The babe will sit around and pick at her finger nails and toe nails constantly.  My husband and I are always telling her to quit it, but the pause will only last a few seconds before she's at it again.  I do not normally give band aids for any picking related injury unless there is real blood oozing out (which would not be a good thing). 

I am REALLY looking forward to this obsession with owies to pass but am afraid that the picking phase may not...some people are just pickers.  I hope it's not an indication of nervous energy. 

If any of you have had similar experiences with the owie obsession, feel free to share!  All tips on how to handle this predicament are more than welcome.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Love

This morning the babe told me she doesn't love me.  Her exact words were, "I don't love you."  She was pretty clear, but I was luckily able to just let it roll off me.  I was surprised, as it was the first time, but I had expected it would happen eventually.  It was a bit of a rough morning.  I tried my best but know that I was at fault as much as she was.

I've mentioned that I find weekends difficult as a Stay-at-Home Mother, and this weekend reminded me why.  Having all 4 of us home for 2 days just seems like a long time.  Kids don't given parents much of a break, even if the parents need a break.  These early childhood years can be both brilliant and challenging.  I always hope for more brilliance and less challenge, but it doesn't always work out that way.  Especially on the weekend!

I commented to my husband this evening that it felt like we were living in an insane asylum (the kids were running around chasing each other and screaming at the tops of their lungs).  But I followed up with the fact that I was glad we had had the little guy so close to the babe so they could be buddies. As much as they drive each other nuts, and drive us, their parents, nuts, I suppose it's all good in the end.  I have been told we will look back at these years with fondness.  And while that may be hard to understand right now, I have no doubt that it will prove true (even if my daughter declares she does not love me while I am trying to enjoy my morning coffee).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's All in the Name

It's hard to chose a name for your child.  But what you don't realize when you chose the name of your first born, is how many times a day you will be saying it.  At one point I think I said the babe's name back to back four times when I was trying to get my message through to her.  I caught my husband doing the same thing.

A name is a critical thing.  It will be a part of your child's identity through life.  It will be used in both positive and negative ways.  And it is a lot of pressure to chose the right one.  In fact, our son was nameless for 3 days as we weighed different options.  In the end we stood over his little hospital basin and repeated a few names to see what he would react to.  We had a clear winner and we went with it.  And I still think it was the right choice.  I'm actually quite happy with the names we chose for both kids.

My only recommendation to new parents is to chose a name you don't mind saying over and over and over again.  Because if there's any chance you'll tire of it, you need to keep on thinking.

Friday, August 6, 2010

All Kinds of Pills

I'm not a fan of taking a lot of pills, but I use them when I consider medication/herbal remedy necessary.  I deemed it necessary today when I was hit by a splitting head ache and was stuck indoors with my kids. And while I still have stiffness in my hands (which I'm hoping is hormonal and not arthritis), I have decided to hold off on taking regular drugs for the problem.  I am not ready to make a daily commitment to address the issue.

I am, however, a fan of taking my multivitamin.  I feel it fills in the gaps that have been left by my diet. 

I was also very dedicated to my prenatal vitamins.  But I never took my last one.  After 4 years of taking them all through pregnancy and breastfeeding, I was too emotional about taking the last pill.  It is still sitting in its container on our vitamin collection tray (a bar tray).  I don't think I'll ever be able to take it because it was such an important part of my life for so long.  And I don't think I can get rid of it because that will mean saying good bye to that period of my life.

All that said, I am going to look into a herbal pill which apparently helps you chill out a bit.  A friend has highly recommended them and I think I'll give it a try.  She is the mother of a 2.5 year old and says it has totally calmed her.  It's called Calming Complex with Gaba made by Source Naturals and I am going to pick some up next time I'm at Whole Foods.  I'll let you know how it goes.  It's all about taking the right pills!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wake Up Call

As parents, we have sort of had to get used to waking up early EVERY DAY.  It has been a difficult transition for my husband and I as neither of us are morning people.  While the babe is getting better at waking up at a decent 7 to 7:15 am time frame, the little guy seems to be going in the opposite direction.  This morning he was up at 5:50 am.  Who needs an alarm clock! 

There is nothing like being jolted out of a deep sleep by a crying child.  And the quick realization that the crying child will wake your other child if you don't bolt out of bed immediately and try to calm the crying child.  That's what happened this morning. Sadly, I wasn't able to calm him back to sleep and he just kept on crying every time I tried to leave the room.  I broke down and brought him into our bed. 

Unlike the babe, who loved to sleep with us when she was little, our son has never been a fan of sharing a bed with his Mama and Papa.  He is, however, a fan of watching cartoons in Mama and Papa's bed when it is too early for Mama and Papa to leave the bed.  We resisted his demands for a good chunk of time and tried to doze, but eventually we had to give in.  The TV was turned on at quite an early hour.  No wonder he was so annoyed by the time his sister woke up at 7 am.

I am wondering how I can promote him hanging out by himself in his crib on the days he wakes up at a silly hour (like anything between 5 and 7am).  My friend has the Fisher Price rain forest crib music/light/moving figure thing set up and says it works.  The kids pass a lot of time being amused by it and aren't as needy when they first get up.  Perhaps it is something we will need to consider, because Mama and Papa need their precious sleep!

 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Holding a Grudge

I have been known to hold a grudge. It's not a good thing, and I don't intentionally do it, I'm just saying it can happen.

That's why it's so difficult having young kids. They can do things that hurt you physically as well as emotionally. The babe has told me many times over the past week and a half that she likes school more than being at home. And she likes hanging out with her friends better than being stuck at home with me. I get it. I like school better as well. But August is a month we must all spend together and I'm trying to make the best of it, despite the weather.

I did a rare thing today and lay down on the couch in front of both my kids. The little guy brought me a blanket and tried to tuck me in and give me kisses. The babe abandoned her play doh and ran over to get in on the action. Before I knew it they were both crawling all over and suffocating me. I was handling it all pretty well until the babe started pulling my hair. I asked her to stop, telling her it was hurting me, but she didn't stop. With about 60 pounds of weight on my upper body I wasn't able to pull her off effectively. In the end I got them off but not before I had lost some hair as well as my temper. I suppose kids like to push things past the limit because they don't understand where the limit is.

The babe acted as if nothing big had happened and continued on. I tried to talk to her and explain I didn't appreciate having my hair pulled out. As she walked back to her play doh in the dining room I realized that sometimes I need to let things go. My kids are little. And while I am trying to teach them how to be good people, it doesn't all click in overnight. I cannot hold a grudge against them because they said or did the wrong thing. It is my job to teach them to be good, honest, respectful, loving people who do not hold grudges.

So next time they are being ridiculous, I am going to try and check in with myself and remember, THEY ARE JUST LITTLE KIDS. I need to keep my very high expectations in check. Before I know it, they will be grown and I will miss their precious innocence and imperfections. Hopefully I'll still have the hair on my head.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Tricks

The little guy copies everything his big sister does.  Although he can't say her name, he is rapidly increasing his verbal and physical abilities due, in part, to her assistance. 

The babe will stand next to the little guy's high chair and practically yell words she wants him to repeat: "SAY HOT," "SAY ROLL," for example.  He gets a kick out of it and so does she (and yes, those 2 words have officially been added onto his ever-expanding list).  That said, I know he is not speaking as much as he could BECAUSE he has an older sister who does all the talking for him. 

Another new trick is blowing kisses.  The only trouble is, he doesn't understand that he needs to actually move his hand away from his mouth after kissing it.  The intent is obvious, and that's what matters.  He also likes to do the "shhhh" gesture with his finger up at his mouth when it's time to be quiet.  It rarely works out that anyone is quiet around here when they're supposed to be, but it's very cute to see him try.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Potty Talk

I suppose I should be happy the babe goes pee and poop in the potty on her own.  A while back, I would have never believed we'd arrive at a place where she can walk upstairs by herself, go to the potty, wash her hands, and come back down to re-join the little guy and I.  But here we are.  The only problem with our arrangement is that the babe never flushes the toilet.  Good for for the environment, bad for me.

Pretty much every time I run upstairs to use the bathroom I am confronted with a yucky looking toilet bowl.  The babe tends to do quite a few smaller number twos throughout the day and will just leave them floating there. 

Again, I know I shouldn't complain, but given the fact that I rarely get to use the toilet alone, it would be nice to actually enter a bathroom with a toilet that "appears" to be clean.

In the grand scheme of things...this is not a big deal.  I know things are going to get a lost more disgusting (again) when it comes time to train the little guy.  But for now, I'd love to be able to just sit down on a clean toilet and do my business.  Ah, to dream.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Cuddles

I have a good friend due to have her first baby at the end of the month.  Today she came by with her husband to pick up some baby stuff we're lending them.  I am glad to see it put to good use.  But it also made me realize I don't really need to keep all this stuff.  My baby is 19 months old now and will never need a little swing or bouncy seat again.

Thinking about it made me a bit sad.  It also made me long for the cuddles I used to get from both of my kids when they were babies.  There is a closeness you lose as your children grow, and I miss it.

So it's funny that on a day I was missing my snuggles, my son gave me such a special gift.  The kids went to bed a little later than usual tonight and my son was exhausted by the time I was getting him in his onesie and sleep sack.  I don't know how it happened but I ended up holding him and rocking back and forth while humming.  And he let me just hold him.  He didn't squirm.  He didn't try to wiggle out of the hug.  And he didn't push away from me with all his strength.  This lasted a few minutes, and it was bliss.

There's nothing like holding a little one in your arms.  A few years ago I wouldn't have believed that I could miss it.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Family Book

On our recent trip to the library, we picked up The Family Book, by Todd Parr.  It a great little book that looks at all the different kinds of families out there.  It has simple and colorful graphics, and a straightforward message: familes come in all shapes and sizes and they love and take care of each other.  The babe has fallen hard for this book and wants to read it at nap time AND bed time.  She makes the same comments on the same pages at every reading.

I have tried to explain what stepbrothers and stepsisters are and have had to explain that she has one Mama and one Papa, and will never have two Mamas and/or two Papas (as discussed in The Family Book).  But she really seems to want two Mamas and/or two Papas.  I have tried to reassure her that her Grandparents are also like parents because they are her parents, parents.  Apparently that doesn't do it for her. 

I'm glad she thinks it's cool and I am happy to expose her to all the wonderful variations of family we see in this world. She is learning that it takes all kinds and that there's no right or wrong way to be a family.  It's all about the love! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

The New Tradition

Over the years, when I have wanted a special treat, I have always made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (based on the recipe for Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies).  They are shared with my husband on Friday and Saturday nights as we chill out and watch TV.  It has become a special tradition.

Today I decided I wanted some of those cookies.  I figured with all the vegetables we've been eating from our awesome garden, we were due for a sweet treat.  But I wanted the babe and her brother to be able to enjoy this special tradition with us.  I can't believe it took me so long to try this, but this afternoon the babe and I put on our aprons and altered my recipe into a non-dairy, non-egg version, and it worked out really well (although it was hard to shape the cookies as the batter wasn't really sticky).

I wanted to share my new version of an old favorite with you:

1 cup (2 sticks) of softened non-dairy Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 mushed up banana
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Dash of salt
3 cups of old fashioned uncooked oats
1 cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

1. Heat oven to 350 F
2. Beat together melted buttery sticks and sugars until creamy
3. Add mashed up banana and vanilla; beat well
4. Add COMBINED flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well
5. Stir in oats and chocolate chips; mix well
6. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookies sheet
7. Bake for 11 minutes
8. Cool 1 minute and move to plate or wire rack

The great thing about this recipe is you can load up 12 cookies for immediate use, and divide the rest of the batter into 2 separate bags for the freezer for future indulgence.  It's reassuring knowing you've got another 24 cookies just waiting for you.  When the last bag is done, time to start all over again.

After years of buying allergy friendly Cherrybrook Kitchen chocolate chip cookies (which are great), I think I'll be making more of an effort to make the kids cookies from scratch.  It just feels (and tastes) right.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nana

It is the sweetest sound when my son learns a new word.  This week it was "Nana."  My Mom decided to call herself Nana when the babe was born.  She didn't like the sound of Grandma.

We were speaking to her on speakerphone the other day when I asked the kids to say hi to her.  The little guy was really excited and kept yelling "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" into the phone.  I asked him to say "Nana" expecting him to keep saying "Hi," but he surprised us all and actually did it.  We were all so psyched to hear his proper pronunciation of this very important name.  He kept repeating "Nana" to prove he had this word down pat. 

I wish I could have seen my Mom's face.  I'm assuming her smile was as big as mine, if not bigger.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

I wanted to share some photos from our trip to the zoo today, but the computer is giving me grief.

On top of the zoo, we made it to the library after nap time.

It was another successful non-school day.

I think the trick to having both kids at home all day every day is to plan activities and get out of the house.  It makes the time fly by and tires us all out.   

As such, I'm off to bed.  Good night!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just Driving Home Minding Our Own Business

*****WARNING: This is a rather disturbing post which discusses Anti-Choice Activists*****

Despite the fact I have a graduate degree in political science, I am not one to get into political arguments.  I figure people will believe what they believe and there's no point in me wasting my time trying to convince them that I am right and they are wrong.  Too each their own unless it hurts me or my family.

That is part of the reason I was SO DISGUSTED today as we drove by a large truck with HUGE photos of aborted fetuses all over it.  It was obviously carrying the anti-abortion message, but in an excruciatingly graphic manner.  I just don't think this kind of thing is necessary and I found it very offensive.

The reason I got so upset is because the babe pointed at the truck as I tried to speed by it and started asking questions about it.  "Mama, did you see that truck?" she said.  "What was that?"  As she was talking, I realized the truck was only the beginning.  There were about 15 people on the side of the road with very large posters of aborted fetuses at various stages of development.  The light ahead turned red and I was stuck.

I was panicking.  Somehow, the babe was managing to look at me and not at all these crazy people on her side of the car (I had switched to the furthest lane possible at this point).  I tried to keep her attention on my side of the car so she wouldn't clue into what was going on outside our windows. 

I wimped out and told her I hadn't noticed the truck and asked her what she had seen (I was trying to assess the damage that had been done in her little brain).  She told me she thought is was pictures of a toy bug or something.  I made the "hmmmmm" sound and said that perhaps she was right.  The light turned green and I sped off as fast as I could.

I felt like my children and I had somehow been abused.  It was just not right to have such large and disturbing images out in the open like that.  I almost rolled down my window to yell something like "I have children in the car, you freaks," but held myself back.  I didn't want to make matters worse for my innocent little babes.

I suppose this is all part of living in a free society, but this subject matter is not something I want my children exposed to right now.  I'm just grateful the situation turned out as well as it did.  The babe could have noticed a lot more and could have had a lot more questions running through her very active mind.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Buckling In

When it's time to go for a car ride, I usually open the back door by our side walk so the babe can climb into her seat while I walk around to the other side of the car with the little guy to buckle him in.  I'll admit there have been a few times when I've lost concentration and started to go to the drivers seat instead of walking back around to the babe's side to get her settled.  Don't worry, she never let's me get away with it.

As we were leaving for the park today, I was going about our routine and getting the little guy buckled in when the babe announced that I had better come back to put her in her seat properly or the police would come and put me in jail.

It's a good thing someone is paying attention.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Words

Another Sunday.  Another Sunday brunch.  The kids were already climbing the walls by the time I was making our pancakes this morning.  At one point, both kids and my husband were in the kitchen and there was a lot going on. 

The little guy was loudly babbling nonsensically when my husband told him he needs to start using words.  "You're almost 2 years old; you need to start using words, dude," said my husband.  My son walked out of the kitchen to his high chair.  He started pointing at his high chair while yelling "Eat.  Eat.  Eat."  I was shocked and drew everyone's attention to the little guy's valiant efforts at communication.  How awesome!  We were all thrilled and had him repeat his new word throughout our meal.

After dinner, and after a huge storm had lifted some of the oppressive humidity, we went for a little walk around the block.  We heard some birds and the little guy started to try and do the sign for bird (he was putting his hands by his mouth...which is close enough).  He was so excited and kept repeating the sign every time he heard another bird.  Further into our walk we heard a plane going by and the little guy stopped and pointed at the sky yelling something close to "PLAAA, PLAAAA."

In my humble opinion, I think we witnessed another language explosion.  There is hope after all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Second Hand

Why didn't I think of this before?

If you have kids, you know how quickly they grow out of their clothes.  It is so annoying to have to spend good money on clothes that you know will not last (especially as there is only so much unisex stuff I can buy the babe).  I pretty much buy the kids stuff at Target, Costco, and the occasional outlet mall, but I still find I spend more than I'd like to.  Honestly, I'd prefer to spend it on clothes for me that will last for years to come (because, as I've admitted before, I can be selfish at times).

So, when I stumbled upon a second hand store having a 50% off sale, I quickly realized how much I could be saving if I made this part of my regular shopping pattern.  The little guy and I were stranded in the way out suburbs of Northern Virginia having the oil changed and tires rotated on our car yesterday.  After grabbing an iced coffee (for me, not my son), we made our way over to a depressing and run down mini mall.  I didn't have very high expectations.  Boy, was I wrong.

We made our way into this second hand store with trepidation.  But once I got into the kids clothing section, I started grabbing stuff and piling it on top of the stroller.  I was getting brand name clothes which had barely been used for ridiculous prices like $1.25 for LL Bean snow pants, $4.00 for a fall jacket, $2.00 for Polo dress shirts.  It was crazy!  I ended up spending $27 and getting 15 items.

Second hand shopping certainly worked out for me this time.  The fact that the store benefits a shelter for victims of domestic violence made the experience even more worthwhile.  If they had a website, I'd include it.

Not sure if I can make the ridiculously long drive out to this store with any frequency, but I'll certainly be looking into what is going on closer to home.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Today was the babe's last day of school.  It is now officially summer vacation.  I'll admit it, I'm scared.  I am not good at dealing with 2 kids all day, every day.  That is part of the reason the babe has been in school 5 days a week.  But I am going to try and have a positive attitude going into this.

I remember loving summer vacation as a kid.  The feeling of freedom was awesome.  Playing outside was awesome.  Not going to school was awesome.  But when it comes down to it, I think the babe loves school.  She gets to play with her friends, play outside, and learn all these cool things.  My task is to make home as cool as school.

I don't have much of a plan other than to write a list of activities that we can do every day.  I am thinking a "schedule" of sorts will be helpful.  If we can get out of the house every day by 9am, there's a good chance we will still be sane by lunch time.  I am going to stick to a daily nap time for both of them, and think of arts/crafts related activities to get us from nap time to dinner.

As tempting as it is, I MUST NOT let them watch an insane amount of TV every day.  To do this, I am going to have to let a few things around the house slide, but it's only for about 5 weeks.

This is my time to test my Mama skills.  This is my time to shine.  Can you hear me psyching myself up?  I can do this.   

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Joys of a Good Read

A few times this past week, I have caught the little guy sitting on the floor with a book in hand.  He has been turning the pages and doing his usual baby babble thing.  I try to be very quiet so he isn't interrupted.  He is so concentrated and you can tell that he really believes he is "reading" the book.  I am going to take it as a good sign.  Regardless, it really is the cutest thing ever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

They Swim Among Us

In my former life as a professional, I crossed paths with some pretty important people.  I'm not saying this to brag, I just wanted to get it out there before I tell you my story about swimming class this week.

In my current life as a Mom, I don't really cross paths with anyone of "note."  But this week was different.  The babe, the little guy and I were the first ones by the pool for swimming lessons.  We were standing there and counting the stars and stripes on the big American flag over-hanging the pool when a few men, an older woman, a medium aged woman, and a girl walked by.  We all nodded and said hello as they walked past us. I didn't really think much of it.  Obviously the girl was just having a private swimming lesson.  And perhaps the others were with the swim club.  Anyway...

The babe's classmates arrived and they all got in the pool.  The other parents and I went back up to the lobby level to watch the class.  That's when the Mom next to me questioned why those other folks got to stay down by the pool.  "Just because she's the daughter of the President," the Mom said.  Holy Cow!!!!  "Did I hear her right?" I thought to myself.  And indeed, after taking off my Mommy Goggles, and upon further inspection, I realized that it was Sasha Obama and her Grandmother, along with several undercover secret service agents.

When I told the babe who she had had a swim class next to, she couldn't really have cared less and moved onto the next subject.  I suppose I was the only one who thought it was super cool that my daughter "kinda" took swimming lessons with the President's daughter (even though Sasha was in the bigger pool next to ours.)  I suppose I chose a good swim school after all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Turning the World Around

Last night was a rough one.  Therefore today was a rough one.  The babe was up half way through the night and then she went back to sleep.  Then her brother woke up, and didn't go back to sleep.  I was in and out of his bedroom constantly for half the night and couldn't sort out what his problem was.

He didn't have a fever.  He didn't have a nasty diaper.  I gave him water, so he wasn't thirsty.  He didn't have a hair stuck around his toes.  Ultimately, I think it was his tummy.  He let out a few farts but I think there was a lot more stuck in there.  I felt bad for him but he wouldn't let me comfort him.  But he also didn't want me to leave his room.  I finally fell back to sleep in my own bed at 6:00 am.  It was like having a newborn.

Needless to say, we didn't quite make it to music class this morning.  I just didn't have it in me.  Instead we picked up a mocha, a few groceries, and chilled out at home until it was time for an early nap.  The thing that made everything all right was listening to Raffi.

Have you heard of him?  If you're Canadian, you probably grew up with his music.  If you're from somewhere else and have not heard him, I encourage you to check his children's music out.  He has great lyrics, wonderful messages, and music which can be both calming and upbeat. 

Check out the lyrics to Turn This World Around (2000, Homeland Publishing).  You'll see what I mean:

"We heard it from Mandela, turn this world around

For the children – turn this world around.
He’s done it once before, and now we hear his call
For the children, turn this world around.

The dreams of our young ones born into this world
Need respect and love to come alive.
Honouring the children is what we’re here to do
Now is the hour and we’ve got the power to

Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.
Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.

If every nation’s leaders put their children first
Care and provide for every child
Each and every household could sing a song of joy
All round this planet, a new light within it could

Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.
Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.

And the children sing: help our light to shine
May we all be fed, may we all be loved.
May the elders here open up their hearts
To this song of ours, may they do their part.

May our dreams unfold, may we find our place
In a healthy world, embracing every race
May we all be free, may we live in peace –
Hear the children sing, hear us sing.

Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children

Turn this world around.
Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.

We heard it from Mandela, turn this world around
For the children – turn this world around.
He’s done it once before, and now we hear his call
For the children, turn this world around.

Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.
Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around.
Turn turn turn, turn this world around – for the children
Turn this world around …
For the children, turn this world around –
For the children, turn this world around."

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Tomatoes

I wanted to share a special thing.

The other day we were having a "family" dinner.  My husband and I were still eating but the babe had left the table to wash her hands.  At this point we weren't so relaxed because our family dinner hadn't gone so well (see below).

The babe came back to the table with one tomato for her Papa, one tomato for me, and one tomato for herself (the little guy doesn't like them).  These were the tomatoes she had picked from our garden and washed herself.  How incredibly SWEET is that?  I am so proud to be her Mama.

The thing that gets me is that we didn't ask for the tomatoes, she just brought them.  It's gestures like this that make me think that things are getting through to her and maybe we aren't doing such a bad job after all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Meals?

I may have already mentioned this to you, but I generally don't like to eat dinner with my kids.  I feed them before my husband gets home from work on week nights, and we generally feed them before we eat on the weekends as well. 

We do this for a number of reasons:
  • So we can eat
  • So we can talk
  • So we don't hear yellls, whines and screams while we try and eat
  • So we don't have food or utensils thrown at us (that would be the little guy)
  • So we don't get indigestion
That said, I do encourage a weekly Sunday brunch.  We always have the same thing: super healthy pancakes (with banana and soy milk as our substitutes), organic maple turkey sausage and fruit.  The kids always eat a ton and I am convinced it is their biggest and favorite meal of the week.  I usually make it to the table to eat about half way through and am left eating after everyone has long gone, but it's nice to do it one time a week.

This weekend was a bit different.  We actually had THREE family meals together.  They all had varrying degrees of sucess, but ultimately, the brunch was my favorite.  It reaffirmed that we don't need to have dinner with the kids.  It's just too much work, and it's too hard to eat.

I do look forward to the days when they will be able to sit with us at the table and take care of themselves.  But I'm in no rush.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Those Nasty Little Mosquitos

Sun Screen:  CHECK

UV 50 Protective Swim Wear: CHECK

Bug Spray:  WHOOPS

It was another hot and stinky one here in DC.  We decided to throw the kids in the sprinkler to burn off some steam and enjoy the great sweltering outdoors.  My husband sprayed himself with OFF and I used my "natural" deet free bug spray as we sat on the porch watching the kids.  We seemed to forget that perhaps the kids would also benefit from some bug spray.  But they were in the sprinkler....

They both got bitten extensively, but the little guy had at least 5 bites on just his face.  Poor kid was scratching his eye so much I wondered if his eye lid had gotten bitten.  The thing about 1.5 year olds is that they're not so great at swatting bugs off themselves.

Anyway, I felt negligent.  But the after sprinkler bath we had once we returned to the air conditioned bliss of the house seemed to help sooth the kids pain.  By bed time, those bites seemed forgotten.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Words

Baby.  Bear.  Car.

These are the words the little guy seems to have picked up since YESTERDAY!  It started with "Baby" after we watched the Baby Signing Time DVD (thanks, K!).

You may recall I have had a few concerns over his slow verbal development, but it appears as though we've hit a bit of a growth period in this department.  I am pretty psyched.  It just makes me so unbelievably thrilled to hear him say these simple words.  I am bursting with joy and pride.

Mama.  Papa.  Done.  Hi.  Baa (his pacifier).  Yes.  No.  Uh Oh. 
(Plus animal sounds including: dog, lion, sheep, monkey)

These are the words he had already perfected.  I can't wait until he can say his sister's name.

All in all, it looks like our vocabulary is growing in leaps and bounds!  Yay for growth!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sleep Sacks

I had a horrible headache last night and I think I was asleep before my daughter.  It's better off you didn't have to listen to me rant anyway (I wasn't in the best mood!).

Anyway, to make up for it, I wanted to share my sleep sack preferences with you.  Sleep sacks are an amazing invention and I have used many different brands over the past few years.  I'm not a huge product endorser, but I really wanted to share how much I love Sleep Huggers.  They are a Canadian company who make sleep sacks for the summer and winter, and are one of the only companies who make seriously extra large sacks.  They provide awesome customer service and their products are of exceptional quality. 

The little guy had grown out of his Aden and Anais sleep sack and I wanted a new lightweight sack for him.  As he is 95% percentile for height, I had trouble finding many options.  But we love his Sleep Huggers winter sack and I decided to try the lightweight option.

It's super long, comfy, and my husband thinks it looks like a dress, but the little guy loves it and so do I.  So if you're looking, I'd highly recommend them.  It's worth the price tag!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mean Girls

We were at the park this afternoon after school.  I was doing my best to keep an eye on both kids, although that has definitely become increasingly difficult as the little guy has gotten older and is running around and climbing on everything he sees.

At one point I switched my gaze from the babe (who was doing her thing on the monkey bars) to the little guy.  I caught him waving to a little girl by the small plastic house he loves to play inside.  The little girl proceeded to push him.  My son looked a bit surprised but continued giving his beautiful smile and his sweet wave.  She didn't seem to care about his obvious charms.  "That is definitely not the kind of girl I want my son hanging out with," I thought to myself.

It made me realize he is growing up fast and I won't always be able to be hovering above him.  That said, he's still my sweet, sweet, little boy and I will always be there to watch his back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lawyers

I had another (short) conversation with the babe's new teacher today.  She asked me if I know what my daughter wants to be when she grows up.  I replied that I thought she wanted to be an astronaut (she keeps talking about going up in a rocket).  The teacher shook her head and told me that today the babe announced she wants to be a lawyer.  Yikes.  I laughed and did a fake shudder.  Why would a 3.5 year old want to be a lawyer and where is she learning about this stuff?  No doubt, she'd be an awesome lawyer.

I told my husband the story and he asked the babe if she knows what a lawyer does.  She replied that lawyers are people who tell you what you can and cannot do.  It's amazing how smart kids are these days.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Old Soul

I had a little chat with the babe's new teacher on Friday at pick up (the babe was finishing up her sports program at the time).  We spoke about how the babe is doing so much better these days and that her outlandish behavior of a few weeks ago was probably just a result of changing classrooms and having a new teacher.  It was a huge relief!

The babe's teacher continued on and told me a few stories about some recent conversations with the babe.  Apparently even my daughter's teacher forgets she's speaking with a 3.5 year old sometimes because the babe is so verbal and has such a high level of comprehension.  I was also told that my daughter can be a drama queen (no surprise there), and that she is an old soul.

It is that last comment that makes me feel reassured.  The babe has so many amazing qualities, but for a 3.5 year old to be an old soul...well that's just cool.

PS-I realize I dropped the ball yesterday and didn't post.  I just didn't have it in me, and I decided that was OK.  I figured you wouldn't hold it against me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"You and Your Heart"

I know I mentioned that the babe has been quite good company lately, but that doesn't mean she's any less bossy.  Sometimes I forget she's only 3.5 with the way she can order me around.  Luckily most of those orders are coming my way in the car when she's telling me which song she wants to listen to.

The babe is OBSESSED with Jack Johnson these days.  I bought his new album, To The Sea and have been playing it in the car lately.  But all she wants to hear is the first track, "You and Your Heart."  She wants to hear it over and over and over again.  Slightly obsessive behavior.

Anyway, last weekend my husband was in the car with us and the babe requested her favorite tune.  My husband obliged and cranked it when she asked him to turn it up.  The kids proceeded to laugh and bop along to the song while my husband looked back at them also bopping his head with a huge grin on his face.  It was definitely a moment.  Only trouble is, the babe is constantly trying to recreate that moment.

I don't mind listening to the song, but I have to tell you I am pretty sick of it.  I'm also not willing to crank it every morning on the way to school.  But when I do play it relatively loud, and take a quick look back at them, they are both bopping their heads to the beat and making each other laugh.  It is so freakin' cute.

Jack will be coming to DC this month, and I know the babe would get a huge kick out of seeing him in concert, but she may get annoyed when he wants to play more than just her favorite song.

You and Your Heart from To The Sea
Jack Johnson, 2010

"I’ll watch you when you say
What you are
And when you blame
Everyone, you broken king

I’ll watch you change the frame
I’ll watch you
when you take your aim
At the sum of everything

You and your heart
Shouldn’t feel so far apart
You can’t choose what you take
Why you gotta break and
\Make it feel so hard

You lay there in the street
Like broken glass
Reflecting pieces of the sun
You’re not the flame

You cut the people passing by
Because you know what you don’t like
It’s just so easy

It’s just so easy

You and your heart
Shouldn’t feel so far apart
You can’t choose
What you take
Why you gotta break and
Make it feel so hard
You and your heart
Shouldn’t feel so far apart
You can’t choose
What you take
Why you gotta break and
Make it feel so hard

You draw so many lines in the sand
Lost the fingernails on your hands
How you gonna scratch any backs
Better hope the tide
Will take our lines away
Take all our lines and….

Hope the tide will take our lines a…
Hope the tide will take our lines away
Take all our lines away"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

18 Months

The little guy had his 18 month doctors appointment/check up today.  I am pleased to announce that it went very well and I have a healthy and thriving son.

He is:
  • 26 pounds (50-75th percentile)
  • 35 inches (95th percentile)
  • with a head circumference of 18.5 inches (50th percentile)
While I was concerned about his language development (or lack thereof), my mind was put at rest after my conversation with the pediatrician.  Boys develop slower than girls.  The little guy has a high level of comprehension and will respond when spoken too.  He is a very physical boy, which may partly explain why his verbal skills haven't exploded like his physical development.  He also has a sister who speaks all the time, which could also play a role.

Regardless, I will sleep well tonight.  And once again, I count my blessings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two Things

Last night, after his bath, the little guy was experimenting with his body.  By that, I mean he was sticking his fingers down his throat and gagging himself as I got him ready for bed.  I have been through this before with the babe and know that it will pass.  But I was still slightly disturbed by my son's determination. 

I had managed to get his diaper rash cream and diaper on when I must have looked away for a second.  He managed to stick his fingers back down his throat and threw up all over his clean little body.  He was surprised but not really bothered by this experience.  I, however, was bothered.

We managed to contain the vomit to the towel he had been lying on and dumped him back in the bath for a full wash down.  I had to pick pieces of my son's dinner out of his hair and my husband had to clean up all the food chunks that landed on the bathroom floor when I took off the little guy's towel (thanks, honey).  Yuck.  The thing that bothered barf boy was having his hair washed (he's not a big fan), so I'm hoping he will associate self inflicted vomiting with hair washing (for now, anyway). 

On another note, the babe has been quite lovely of late.  This morning she walked into her quiet and studious classroom and announced to everyone (quite loudly), "I'm wearing a dress today."  The little guy then ran in after her yelling "Hiiiiiiiiiiiii."  My kids sure know how to make an entrance. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Anniversary of Another Kind

A year ago today my Mom arrived from Ottawa.  She had flown down with a day's notice because I needed her.  We had just experienced one of the most frightening nights of our lives and my Mom knew it.  I didn't have to ask her for help.  She just offered to come, and I accepted.

On the 4th of July, 2009, I walked into the little guy's room to find an oscillating fan on fire, a room filled with noxious smoke, and my screaming 6 month old baby boy stuck in his crib.  It is an image I will never forget.  I can not believe a year has gone by since that day. I really tried my best not to dwell on it over this past weekend, but a one year anniversary of something so disturbing can not be forgotten.

My husband said we should take the opportunity to be thankful on the 4th because the little guy made it out of that room OK and the fire didn't spread to the rest of our house.  I agree that we should celebrate our good fortune, but I also find myself asking, "what if."  I try not to go there in my head, but sometimes I can't help it.

I wanted to share a few photos with you.  It's not that I think you aren't following proper safety protocol in your home, it's that I want everyone to remember that bad things can happen and we need to be as aware and alert as possible when it comes to our kids and their safety.

I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again:

Please install a smoke detector IN your child's bedroom.

Do not fully close your young child's bedroom door.

Have a working fire extinguisher on EVERY floor of your home.

As parents we do our best.  But it helps to learn from other's mistakes, and this is a mistake I don't want anyone else to make.



Monday, July 5, 2010

Swimming Lessons?

We pretty much planned our afternoon around the babe's new swimming class.  I have signed her up for 5 weeks of classes at the Curl Burke Swim Club at American University (AU).  It is the "beginner" class and she is supposed to learn how to put her head in water and blow bubbles, doggy paddle, and float.  These are all awesome things to be able to do and will help build her confidence around water.  So, needless to say we were all pretty excited to head to class after nap time.

All four of us piled in the car to make the short trip to AU.  We left plenty of time to make sure we could find it and wouldn't be late for our first class.  The directions and instructions were very specific and we didn't want to mess around with these people.

We managed to find our way to the pool and waited where the pamphlet with all the class information had instructed us to.  The University was pretty deserted, as you would expect the day after Independence Day.  A few other families showed up and we all continued waiting.  Class time came and went and we were still waiting.

My husband and I realized that no instructor was going to be joining us.  We are pretty sure they thought today was a Holiday and just didn't show.  However, the pamphlet clearly states that classes begin on July 5th.  I called the number of the swim school and left a message explaining that there was no instructor and that I expected a call back.  I am still waiting.

The babe proceeded to cry all the way to the car and half way home.  We were all disappointed, annoyed, and hot.  It's unfortunate we got the babe so psyched for class and they couldn't deliver.  In my 3.5 years of taking children's classes, I have never been stood up.  I will be expecting some sort of compensation from the swim school.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Some Pictures

This is our chocolate torte anniversary cake which we polished off last night.


This is the little guy (bottom right) watching a plane come in for a landing yesterday afternoon.


These are our first 2 cucumbers and a tomato that were picked by the babe from our garden yesterday!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Food, Planes, Food

Last night was a beautiful night out.  The weather was perfect.  Georgetown, where we first lived together as a newly engaged couple, was action packed with all the pretty people.  We managed to have a drink by the water/people watch and make it to our dinner reservation, no problem.  It was 4.5 hours of bliss (although we did eat a rather large amount of food a little too late).  To not have the diaper bag was a real feeling of freedom, even if we were only a 10 minute cab ride from home.  We should do it more....famous last words.

Today had a wonderful second half.  We drove out to the park by Reagan National Airport and watched the planes coming in to land.  The little guy got the biggest kick out of it.  He would point at the planes flying just overhead and start yelling and jabbering in his special language that only he understands.  The babe was a big grumpy pants, but we managed to ignore it enough that it didn't ruin the experience. 

We then took a chance and did something crazy.  As we were already in Virginia, we decided to pop over to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner (despite the fact we went to a "real" steak house last night).  We thought it would be cool to do something special with the kids as it was just Canada Day, our Anniversary, and it's Independence Day tomorrow.  This restaurant welcomes families, has booths, serves your food fast, and is good at dealing with food allergies (in our rather limited experience).  I have to say it was about as successful as I could expect, even though we constantly felt like we were one step away from chaos.  I managed to scarf my pasta down while trying to get the kids to eat their steak and chicken.  They basically ate the snacks I had in my bag already.  We didn't break any dishes or glasses which felt pretty good (at one point we had 9 glasses of various liquids on the table!).  A very different experience from our dinner the night before!

Anyway, it's the long weekend so the good times will continue.  Hope you're all having fun out there.