Friday, December 30, 2011

Fancy Necklace T-Shirts - Make 'Em With Kids

Long title but it is true. What is better for a little girl than an art project that she can make and wear? What is better for a momma than an art project that costs $0 if you keep art supplies on hand (or almost $0) and is actually useful and not tacky? These shirts that we made for Christmas presents are a perfect combination. They would also be great for Valentine's Day if you did lots of red and pink.

If you only have boys you are out of luck on this one. Maybe they could make them to give as gifts - if you have the patient enough for crafts and can be trusted with permanent paint kinda boys.

Okay, enough of that. Here is what you need.
  • T-Shirt (If you already have a plain one at home its perfect. If it has a stain from a spill, just plan your design to cover it up. I'm telling you it will be perfect!)
  • Cork from a bottle of wine
  • T-shirt paint
  • Old hair ribbon in colors that coordinate with the paint
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Sharpie
To start, make sure the shirt is clean. Cover the workspace with newspaper and insert a scrap of cardboard in the shirt. We use empty cereal boxes for kids shirts and a wheat thins box for a baby shirt.

Then use the Sharpie to draw lines for the beads to go on. Squirt some paint on to another piece of cardboard. Then you just use the wine cork as a stamp to make "beads" on the "necklace." If the paint colors get swirled together a bit its fine and end up looking cool.

I think it looks better with a little space between the beads, but my daughter didn't agree.....

When the necklaces are filled with beads, let the shirts dry and then tack on a bow with some thread and a needle. We raided the hair ribbon stash and then ironed a ribbon flat before making the bow.

Project complete.

1st Birthday in Photos

Little Man's first birthday may have been my favorite party so far. (Of the kids parties I've thrown. The grown up ones are totally different!) It had lots of great DIY projects and so much love. What started out as a small family gathering turned into 25 people including the kids.

Without further delay, here are some of the details in pictures.

Banner tutorial here.

Wanna make these cool cars? Here you go.
I know. I know. No people pictures. I totally put my camera down and enjoyed the celebration once the guests arrived. Grandma has more. I will try to add them soon.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Final Push

The final push is on to wrap up holiday projects. I had really hoped to have at least some of them done earlier to share, but guess how that turned out? Not exactly as planned. As I attempt to get everything done in the next 36 hours, here are some of the pictures of projects that are complete and some still in progress (cookies being worked on by my special assistant as I type!).

A few of these are gifts, so if you live in my house, are a cousin or grandmother that we will see on Christmas stop reading!

Lets start with the projects that have gone well.

1. Necklace Shirts.

Washed shirts, used a cork from a wine bottle and dipped it in swirled paint. Made it look like a necklace and added a bow. Super love this one. My own creation. Hope you enjoy. Very easy if you have a girl.

2. Plastic Bottle Snowmen

Saved up a few plastic drink bottles. Modge podged white tissue, cut a hole in the bottom for a battery operated candle, spray painted the lids black and used beads that we had on hand to make faces. Oh - the ribbons were left over from another project. This idea was not mine, totally swiped it from Family Fun magazine.

3. 12 Ounce Reindeer.

Filled up a make your own six pack at total wine. Then used googly eyes from the dollar store, beads from our art supplies and pipe cleaners from my Mom's classroom (score!). Big Girl helped with this one. If you try it at home don't use Gorilla Glue. Its normally one of my favorites, but it just didn't hold on beer bottles. Hot glue was way better. Large gift bag + white tissue and its waiting under our tree.

Okay, so on to the blah projects.

1. JOY candle holder. Also from Family Fun. Tin foil, glass jars from the recycling bin. Printed letter on the computer, put them on top of the foil, empty egg carton underneath and punched with a nail. Another Big Girl project. Looks was cooler in the photo which is at night. Maybe ours will be better without the lights on too. For now, I think they look pretty junky. Hope grandma likes them anyway!

Now the cookies.

Going well. I'll let the pictures tell the story here.

If I had known that watching them bake would be the highlight of the project and how long it would occupy the kids, I would have been baking daily for the last few weeks.

"That's not enough to keep you so busy you can't blog," you say? I've also been cleaning up after a quite mischievous elf. Look at the trouble and messes this one has been up to. Might as well have another kid!

Look at those photography skills. I even cut the elf's head off. Maybe she will tell Santa I need an SLR.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cardboard Box Cars

Kids love cardboard boxes. Crawling in them. Crawling out of them. Teething on them.

This isn't my baby. No way I could get that great of a photo.

As they get bigger, kids still play with boxes. They do goofy things like put a box on their head and dance around the yard.

When they get bigger, they turn them into goofy Halloween costumes.

Or furniture.

Or they make them into art.

Wait. That was me. About two months ago.

Little Man is no exception. He loves a good box. He also loves cars. So, for his first birthday I combined his passions to get this.

All I really needed was time to gather the buttons and assemble. I made one for each of the kids that attended the party to play with while they were there and then take home as their party favor.

I enjoyed the project. The kids enjoyed them at the party.

Here are some diagrams of the how they were put together.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rockin' Birthday Banner

I was inspired to have lots of cute DIY projects for Little Man's first birthday. It happened in a moment of sheer Mommy madness. You know the kind, when you forget the you have a full time job, a week long vacation and two kids that need you and only focus in on the incredibly cute and time consuming details. Okay. Maybe you don't know exactly what I'm talking about here, but maybe you do.

During that exact moment - of unparalleled ambition - I blogged about all the big fist birthday party plans. By some miracle of family. Including sister-in-law craftiness and grandma's turning into Mary Poppins (yep. both of them pulling off Mary Poppins magic at the same time) all the details came together.

Of the final results, my favorite project was the birthday banner beer labels car cake birthday banner.

Clearly they were all super cute. Even if the cardboard box cars didn't turn out quite as cool as the ones I found on pintrest. Honesty people. Honesty.

I had planned to give a little DIY break down on the banner and the cardboard box cars and maybe even the cake. Since I've already had a few requests for the banner details - and the pattern that I worked up - I'm gonna start with that.

So, it all started with some uber cute banners that I saw on Etsy and Pintrest.

Pintrest Banner by Nicole Wind

Etsy Banner by JustBeccuz
I liked the little boy feel of the first one and the squares from the second one. After picking out paper from my scrapbook stash (have I mentioned I used to scrapbook?!) to coordinate with the other party materials, this is what I came up with.

 A pretty rockin' birthday banner.

It was really pretty easy, and certainly cost less than the Etsy ones.

Start with standard 12x12 scrapbook paper. Use a paper cutter to cut each page into 6" squares. (Half across the middle then in half again.)

Then cut around the edges of each square with scallopped scissors.

Next use a template that I designed to type up and print the text. (leave your e-mail address in comments and I can send it to you. MS Word doc's don't load to the blog.)

I purchased scrapbook paper (five pages at $.69 each) to get the cardboard look. If you start with a 12x12 square, use the paper cutter to trim it each page to 8.5x11.

Glue, twine from the garage (normally sometimes used to tie limbs together to take them to the curb).


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Adventures

Our Elf on the Shelf spends most of his days sitting around. Every once in awhile she gets crazy. Maybe she is finding ideas of how to stir up trouble on Pintrest.

Does your elf get wild and crazy?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gifts for No. 2

When you have your first child every toy, every blanket, every little outfit is new - at least to your family. If you shop consignments sales and cherish hand-me-downs like we do, you also teach your kids that being new doesn't always mean a straight off the toy store box or tags from the mall. It really means something great that is new to you.

That worked great with the first child. Now we are on child number two. When our oldest was little I always knew I wanted more kids, so I bought many of the infant and toddler items - especially toys - in unisex colors. So far its been great. My second child is enjoying many treats as he grows without breaking the bank or even running to the store. Its just a quick climb up to the attic and he has a new book or truck or whatever.

Now its Christmas. I've got a two big. BIG. Plastic tubs of age appropriate toys that I pulled down. Some of the toys in them I didn't even remember having. Its like Christmas morning in a box and we didn't have to pay for it.

Before I go on, let me say that we like to be frugal, but we aren't cheap. We use coupons, but we don't buy stuff or pick it up at the store just because its a deal if we aren't going to use it.... Okay. So maybe I just covered this in the whole "we saved our toddler toys" section. I'll move on.

So should we or shouldn't we just wrap up whats in the attic for the Little Man for Christmas? Its all new to him. Big Sister doesn't remember most of it.

Before you make your decision judge me/us, take a look at this list of the items that we have and how much they would cost on Ebay and

1. Little People Fire Truck   
 - $36.99 collectibale - ha! - used
 - $12.99 used

2. Little People Bus in yellow
 - $19.99 used     
 - $32.99 new

3. Fisher Price Peek-A-Boo Blocks in a big case
 - $19.99 used

4. Wagon for Fisher Price Peek-A-Boo Blocks
 - $19.99 used without as many block as we have, extra blocks go for $12.99 for four
- $42.99 new without as many blocks as we have. I didn't pay this much. It was a two coupon and wait till its on sale situation. I think I paid $25.

5. Fisher Price Gumball Machine
 - $7.99 used

6. Kettler Trike
 - $219 new
 - $129 used

7. Eric Carl Board Books (we have four)
 - $11.99 to $5.99 each new
 - $30 (what are they thinking?) to $2.50 each used

Its a lot of money. Right? So, I'm asking for your feedback. What would you do?

There is a Reason its Called the Windy City

Sunday after Thanksgiving we packed up the troops and headed to the Windy City. It was actually a pretty easy "pack up" and drive since we were already in Northern Indiana for a Fantastic Family Wedding.

It was a whirlwind adventure. In three days we managed to catch most of the big name attractions for families and some of the smaller ones as well.

We also battled high winds. Not just the normal Chicago winds, but the kind that prompt locals to stand against the Hancock Building to block the "breeze" and local tv news stories about it being a windy day.

Early in the morning husband went for a run - even going along the road that runs parallel to the water for a bit. Crazy! Then later in the morning with stroller and six year-old we managed to walk down Michigan Avenue to about two blocks from the lake (a.k.a. the source of all things cold and windy).

It was freakin' ridiculous. Ridiculous. Little Man lost his hat and it was blowing down the road. Some super nice guy ran through traffic to pick it up just as I told husband "I guess we'll need a new hat." There was no way we could have left one adult with both kids in the crazy wind. It was tryin' to pick both them up (LM in the stroller) and carry them away.

After our battle with the winds we spent two hours in American Girl. To say that Big Girl was awestruck was an understatement. She and Addy had a great time and picked out some treasures.

Addy liked seeing all the treasures that go with her stories, but she also loved Kit.
She also added a few things to the Christmas list and has started a nice long letter e-mail text letter to Santa.

Pretty much one of everything is on the Christmas list.
To wrap up the kids shopping destinations we visited Legoland, Hershey, the BIG Disney store (It really wasn't that much bigger than the one at our house.) and then headed to Rock Bottom Brewery for a grown up treat.

Side Notes on Rock Bottom: The beer and food were both great and they offered a special kid treat/entertainment with a make your own pizza option for kids. It was pretty basic - the dough was already rolled out, so she just added sauce and cheese, but it was a nice change from crayons and paper in so many restaurants. Super duper bonus point for giving us five more minutes to enjoy our drinks without an "I'm bored!"

Okay, so that was the final day of our trip. Other highlights are captured in pictures.

Starting with... Day One:
Kindervillage: Ate German food. Went in little headed craft vendor tents and Santa's house. The food was great and the crafts were cool. Big Girl tried a milk chocolate dipped apple - it was a big hit (would y'all ever have guessed?!). The cool part to grown ups - Santa's house. It was cute and cozy and warm. You got to see his Christmas tree, desk, etc and the whole thing including the pictures were free. They gave you a card at the end to go online and download your picture.

Walked all over town, including tours through Macy's, Lush, Nike Town and famous Chicago deep dish pizza for dinner.

Day Two:
Field Museum. On the way we walked through most of Grant Park. I wish it had been summer. Its beautiful with the statues, Buckingham fountain and the gardens. The gardens must be spectacular in the summer. The Field Museum was great. I'm going to do a separate post on it soon. Then most famous Chicago food for dinner.

Day Three:
That is all covered at the beginning of the post.

It was a really great vacation. We had so much fun and spent lots of time together.

Little Man loved the cold. I just can't get over how much fun he thought it was to have the wind in his face.

Big Girl loved the metro. Or subway. Or whatever you want to call it.

She could have stayed on it for hours.

When she went back to school and told her classmates about her trip she mentioned that people pee in the elevators in the subway, so sometimes instead of taking the elevator Mommy and Daddy carried the stroller up stairs.

BTW - Do you see the stains on the hood of her jacket? They weren't there before this subway ride - and guess what? They are still there. Special souvenir I guess.

More on the trip and Field Museum soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adios Ba-Ba

We are officially saying goodbye to the bottle. Its been a crazy, busy and exciting year since Little Man was born.

We did the nursing thing for as long as he wanted - about eight months.

After using up the stockpile of milk in the freezer it was on to formula. That was another type of adventure. One I hadn't experienced before.

Then in October (don't get all crazy telling me my baby is gonna get sick because he is fine) we started making the slow transition to cows milk.

By mid-October we were on the cow full time making Thanksgiving travel a breeze. Well, as much as a breeze as it can be with two kids. But we didn't have to worry about formula, where it was packed, did we have enough for a full day when we headed out in Chicago. Instead it was, "do you see a 7-11," or, "lets hit up that Starbucks and fill the bottle from the milk at the condiment bar." Soooo much easier - especially when your flight gets delayed. Then delayed again. "Yes kind lady at McDonalds walk up counter just a milk for us."

Through it all (well, since I went back to work) Little Man had had his "Ba-Ba." Husband has loved teaching him to say "Ba-Ba," and I admit that it was cute, but the last few weeks I've been efforting a name change.

Milk isn't easy to say for most kids. Big Girl just said "milk" when she was one, but she talked more than any other one year old I've met. Our niece is almost four and still drinks "milch." I've heard of kids calling it "Moo" and thought that may be the way to go. So, we have moved on to the sign for milk.

In just a few days he has picked it up.

Good, because back when I was nursing, I was mortified of him (or Big Girl) signing for milk. I mean really - I already felt like a cow - I didn't need a baby reinforcing it with sign language.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What We Are Listening To

Are you always looking for new kids music? We seem to be. Most of their tunes get stuck in my head and then make me want to pull my hair out after just a few, "can we listen to that one again?" requests.

When Big Girl was a Little Girl (like 2 or 3 year-old) we discovered Bill Harley. His songs are hilarious, kid appropriate and tops on my list - they don't have the sing-song style voice that can get stuck in your head for days on end.

We recently rediscovered them. My current favorite is about a boy that doesn't want to eat a pea but he wants his ice cream. Somehow it gets stuck up his nose but he says he still has to eat it. It makes me laugh. Like out loud. Every time.

We may even have the video on our itouch. Maybe.

A few days ago Big Girl was getting in the car after swim practice and was going on and on about how she doesn't "win" and I was explaining that its about having fun and that winning is a bonus. When. Like a sitcom moment - should have had our camera rolling cuz you probably think I am making this up - The Love of The Game came on. With the chorus that says:

Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you win
If they knock you down, just get up again
If you’ve done your best, then don’t be ashamed
‘Cause you play for the love of the game

Big Girl totally loves Cool in School. Its pretty cute.

So, if you are looking for something new to listen to in the car, I would seriously suggest Bill Harley. Love him.

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any to provide this post. I just Bill Harley is awesome and I think you will too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful: Part Dos

Thanksgiving is over, but since we just returned from our holiday travels, we still have Thanksgiving decor. This morning it sparked an unexpected, but very sweet list of what Big Girl is thankful for.

1. Brother
2. Mommy
3. Daddy
4. All of our family
5. Candy
6. Swim Team
7. Candy
8. Food
9. Our house and stuff
10. Santa

More on the travels soon. First let me unpack, prep for the upcoming birthday party and make it through a day at the office.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby Names

No. I'm not pregnant. (Although my SIL is.)

As Little Man's first birthday approaches I've been thinking back to some of our best pregnancy memories. I instantly think about picking a name, and announcing the name to our family.

Picking a name for a child is one of the toughest decisions, to me, to make between deciding to have a child and their arrival.

We had some fairly normal requirements, like no names that make weird initials or initials that could be awkward later in life like PMS, LOL, SNM.

We also wanted a name that wasn't super common, but one that teachers wouldn't mess up the first day of school. I spent some time playing with the baby name wizard. I loved how you could type in just a few letters and even without the full name it started to chart the popularity of names that were similar. (If you haven't seen it, this thing is really cool, just to put in your own name and see how popular it was at different points in time.)

Another idea was that either the first or middle name come from a family member.

We also wanted to include the future big sister in the discussion - and she had some great ideas.

1. Flip
2. Flop (Named after our fish at the time.)
3. Fiona
4. Shrek
5. Grass (She couldn't decide if this was a boy name or a girl name.)
6. Baker
7. 'Lil
8. Charming (As in Cinderella's prince.)
9. Strawberry

She also came up with regular people names.

1. Tyler
2. Andy (From Toy Story.)

Big Girl certainly had a lot fewer of the normal people names. That may have something to do with none of her ideas making the final cut.

In the end Little Man ended up with a pretty normal name. Except for his initials. They are also the name of a drink - ICB. We'll raise a glass to that one and hope he doesn't have too many when he's a teenager.

Monday, November 21, 2011


We have so much to be thankful for. My family is healthy, we have a safe and beautiful home. Plenty to eat. As Thanksgiving approaches and we hustle around to unpack from one trip and repack for another its good to step back, sit down and appreciate all that is right in the world.

Okay. Now that I'm done with that, here is a bit of a cheeky list of things we're thankful for.

1. Our washing machine is nine years old and its only had one little problem ever. A leak. Last night. Its still running today - or was when I left for work.

2. Sweet kids who can't get enough of us. Even when its way past bedtime and snuggling more will equal grumpy kids in the morning. They are getting so big, that just a few more hugs is worth it.

3. Hair color. I'm totally getting freshened up before the big weekend festivities. Every one has top primp. Required.

4. Cute shoes and new pants. We always try and keep an eye on the budget and even with the holidays coming and gifts to buy my awesome husband totally encouraged me to buy new pants this weekend. New pants.

5. Loving husband who knows me better than I know myself. Feeling down about the way I'm not yet fitting into all of my pre-baby clothes? "You should get another pair of pants then." You are the best! I totally got two. Thank you Khol's sale.

6. Mama. One little word that lets you know you are the center of their universe. Makes my heart melt. So thankful for my little man.

7. Girl Time. Thankful that as by Big Girl gets bigger she wants to hang out with me. Haircuts. Mani, Peti. Shoe shopping. Can go to Children's Place on the computer and look around? Don't know how she could have come up with such an idea - online shopping? I know nothing about that (smirk). 

I could go on and on. But here is the point. We have a good life. A very good life. I'm so thankful for all of the blessing we have received and for the love of so many friends and family that make the tough moments and days easier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It seems like I'm always talking about food. From Little Man's crazy eating, being the milk machine myself, making baby food, etc. Then there is the garden. There is seriously a lot of food talk in this corner of my world. And - there is about to be more.

This weekend, after visiting with family and friends, we were driving home around dinner time. We really try to not make a habit of eating fast food and frequently carry healthy snacks or get carry-out instead of dashboard dinning. But tonight. Tonight we went for fast food. McDonald's to be exact.

Here is the thing about McDonald's. While some families with two kids (or more) and two working parents head to the golden arches on a weekly (or more) basis, we aren't exactly frequent customers. And there is a good reason why.

But before I get to the good reason, here is a bit more of the story from this weekend (I know you wanna hear it!).

So, its 5:45 on Sunday afternoon and into McDonald's we go. We walk up to the counter and Big Girl just stops. At Chick-Fil-A she heads right up and places her own order - 6 piece, milk and fruit cup. Here, in the land of "I'm Lovin' It," my kid is lost.

She looks at the menu and looks at me and Dad and back at me as I ask, "what do you want?"

She doesn't know and has quite a difficult time settling on nuggets, apple slices and milk. We order a cheeseburger to go with the pears in a tube and milk I brought in for little man. Husband gets a burger of some kind and we both get water.

To my left Little Man doesn't even want to touch his burger. The 11 month old who can eat more spaghetti with meat sauce than his sister and polish off three nuggets and most of a fruit cup at Chick-Fil-A won't eat a McDonald's burger. He only let one piece of "meat" go is his mouth and promptly spit it out and threw it on the floor. He ate about a third of the top half of the bun, but that too was a struggle.

He was clearly hungry and sucked all the pears out of the tube and finished off the dried yogurt and puffies and was looking around for more, but flat refused the burger and bun.

To my right (after 30 minutes) Big Girl had eaten one nugget and half her apple slices. She finished her milk and was working on my water. The kid who was whining because she was so hungry didn't even eat half her dinner. Not half.

The good news. I don't have to go back any time soon. The bad news - we'd paid for food to send it directly to the landfill.

Back in the car, we knew we should have stopped somewhere else. Really anywhere the kids would eat. Jinklebells (Bojangles) would even be fine. But we didn't. We stopped where Big Girl wanted to - and clearly it wasn't for the food. Damn marketing to kids.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthday Planning

We're planning Little Man's first birthday party. I know he won't remember it, but I want to remember it. I want it to be a special day filled with special things just for him. Things that he enjoys and for the memories to be a snapshot of him at this time in his life.

Cars like those he likes to push around on the floor.
His favorite foods. Um okay - bread and bananas - aren't for everyone....
Fun things to crawl around, over and through.

With all that is going on in our busy lives, it is so important to me to find the time for the personalized touches. Its a way for me to show my son how much I love him. I know he won't recognize it now, but maybe one day he will.

Here is a preview of some of the details.

Personalized Invitations
The invitations set the tone. Personable and fun (Thanks Shutterfly). Not too many bright colors, but they feature a pretty cute little face.

The back includes a personalized message "We'll have some of my favorite foods plus you can watch me get my first taste of cake and ice cream. Hope you can make it. Love, LM"

Birthday Boy Brown Ale
You read that correctly. A custom beer. For a first birthday party. With a custom label. Its a good thing husband is a novice brew master. Ironically he brewed the beer back in September on his birthday weekend and we are going to share it with family and friends for Little Man's birthday in December.

This is the draft label. The art work is going to be cleaned up and the white background will be gone. I really think its going to look great when its done.

Happy Birthday Banner
I was totally inspired by this banner on Etsy. Ours is currently a work in progress, its going to use the same light aqua as the invites and a complimentary green the background colors. The letters are going to be printed on brown craft paper and I'm still working on just the right ribbon to hang it from. I am also thinking of skipping the ribbon between each letter, but we will have to see how it looks.
Brown Box Cars
My kids love playing with boxes and so do other kids we know. So, we are combining Little Man's love for "vroom vroom" and cardboard boxes to make cars for the kids to play with. I plan to cut out some number ones to put on the front of each car. They can play with them during the party and if the older ones get bored, I'll also have markers and other supplies on hand for them to decorate their cars.

Gotta have a cake. I've always enjoyed making birthday cakes for Big Girl and cousin CZ. Now I'm going to make my first boy cake. Again finding online inspiration. This time from Betty Crocker.

I'm going to try for a small car cake for Little Man to have for himself and then a larger car cake for everyone else. Going with the colors from the sign and the invites. We will have to see how that goes when I start baking and decorating.

There will be more details about the party soon after its over (and I have time to upload photos).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Travel Plans

When you have kids you have to plan ahead. To make a normal Saturday run smoothly, I usually have a plan by Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon.

This Saturday it was:

7:00 Wake Up, Breakfast, Get Dressed
7:40 Leave for Swimming
8:00 Swim Team
9:15 Return from Swim Team, Eat Snack (Bojangles Biscuits!)
      Shower for Big Girl, Finalize Grocery List, Final Coupon Check, Make Bottle and Pack Snack
10:30 Grocery Shopping
11:45 Return from Grocery Store, Unpack Groceries, Make Lunches
12:45 Leave for Toy Store
1:20 Pick Out Birthday Present, Thanks Complimentary Wrapping!, Try not to Destroy Store
2:00  Arrive at Birthday Party, Snacks Again, Cake, Fun Fun Fun
4:00 Pack Up
4:30 Finally Wrangle Kids out of Bounce House and Into Car
5:15 Hope Dinner is Started
6:00 Eat Dinner

It continues until 8:30 or 9 p.m. when I sit down on the couch and fall asleep before making it through even one show on the DVR.

If that is what a normal Saturday takes with two kids, what is a six day vacation going to be like. Air travel, rental car, switching Little Man to cow milk, rehearsal dinner, wedding, family functions, brewery tour, museums, Lego land. Wow.

With just a few weeks to go, we have tentative plans for each day. Travel arrangements were made weeks ago, but we are still unsure what relatives we are staying with for the first two nights. I've started picking out clothes for the kids to wear, but am still unsure if we have enough luggage for all the gear. We've picked out some activities for non-wedding days, but should go ahead and reserve tickets for those things that need them. Also need to look at the TSA website and confirm all the latest information about traveling with babies - car seats, milk, etc.

Wow. I need a day off from work just to make the lists. Never mind the first birthday party the weekend after the vacation.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Radom Things Part 2

Everyone has their quirks. The strange things that they do - and probably don't notice or don't want to notice.

A few days ago I wrote about things you probably don't know about Big Girl. Now its my turn. This post is a guest compilation by my husbands and me.

1. When they play battle of the sexes on the radio, I always win. I mean. I don't call in, but I always know the man answers to the questions they are asking the women. I credit this to Sports Center every morning and my husband having strangely similar sports and entertainment preferences to the male DJ. Erie. Now if I could just get through when they ask for callers we would be on our way to Disney on Ice.

2. Bananas make me ill. Especially when I am pregnant. The first time, I could throw up with a person in the cube across the aisle from me at the office left a peel in the trash can the shift before. Yea. Peel, six to eight hours old. it wasn't pretty. It got so bad that I would hold my breath and walk to this person's desk when I entered the work area and then take their trash can down a far off hallway breathing as little as possible before running to the bathroom. Not pregnant, I still don't like to touch them. I don't know why, they are kinda gooey and yuck. Yuck. So what do I do, I feed them to my kids. They love them. Eat them every day. Just clean up your own freakin' peels.

3. I go back and forth on being addicted to caffeine. I just realized this. Although, I probably should have realized it when I blogged about it so creatively twice in a month a while ago. I am back to one serving about every other day. I'm trying really hard not to give in. Wait, it would be better if I just embrace the soda and have one in the morning on my way to work like I did when I was pregnant a few years ago.

4. I drink milk for dinner every night (when we eat at home). Skim milk. With Ice. Allegedly, I slurp it. Problem with ice in milk is that the ice cubes stick together and its difficult to drink it. But, I like really cold milk.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Three Random Things

Everyone has their quirks. Kids included. Here are three random things about my oldest that most people don't know.

1. She has a random southern accent. Random. I'm talking one word in a whole conversation and not even every day. Its the deep Alabama type of southern, no Eastern North Carolina here. When it comes out I feel like she should be in the "Roll Tide" ESPN Commercial.

2. For some reason she still isn't good at swings. Okay. Let me restate. She loves to go on the swings at the park. She loves to be pushed on a swing. She isn't good at pumping. Something about it just doesn't work for her. At first I thought she may have inherited my lack of coordination. Then I realized - there is no may about it - she did. However she can ride a bike and has better ball handling skills than me when it comes to other sports (really doesn't take much).

I think she may also be slightly stalled by the fact that when she wanted a swing we got a rope one. No pumping required.

Missed learning opportunity? Maybe. Picking the coolest swing ever, that both husband and I wished we had as kids - for sure!

3. She is a reading machine. Okay. So if you know us well, you probably do know this. She can go through a grade level appropriate chapter book in an hour. Last weekend she cruised her way through four chapter books - two Magic Tree House, one Disney fairy and one something else that the school librarian recommended.

Headed home from the library Halloween party. Books in her hands = one week supply.

P.S. - The school librarian doesn't have any idea what reading level my child is at, that book was done in about 45 minutes and it was 30 pages.

Friday, November 4, 2011


When you have kids you learn all kinds of new things.

You learn about nursing and breast pumps. You learn about peanuts and strawberries and that even though you thought babies just ate what big people ate that is far from the truth.

You learn that Curious George is now a TV show and that the Usborne books people rock the kids book world with all the That's Not My... books, and no matter how many times you read your full collection of them you are still going to read them again. (Maybe you didn't learn this, but just go with it, its what I learned.)

You learn sing along songs and can recognize the tune to Elmo's World. Anywhere. Even when a stranger is humming it in the doctor's office.

You learn to draw. Or re-learn to draw. You spend hours coloring and drawing pictures with your kids.

Pictures with chalk on the driveway. Pictures with paint on the easel. Pictures with markers. All for your sweet children to color in.

Then one day it hits you. You are not actually being creative when you draw. You are just drawing to the best of your non-art teacher ability goofy little animals. Then like a pile of rocks rolling down a mountain....

You realize that they aren't just goofy little animals, you are seariously drawing the dancing fruits and veggies and fish from Elmo's world.

They have the same smiles. The same eyes that are just a little bit more open than they really should be, even for the people type of eyes that they have, even though they are animals.

It makes you (okay me) realize that as much as you adore your children, you probably need to get out more. And that you should take a break from Elmo while you can, beacuse soon enough he'll return to your life.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Whats in My Bag?!?

Last week - okay a few weeks ago - a family friend blogged about how her life - and purse - has changed since her daughter was born. Things are so different that in looking for her debit card she actually pulled a shoe (full size, not baby sized out of her bag).

Last Monday, I had a similar experience. Dumping bills and half eaten Cheerios out of my purse while looking for my work cell phone. Yes people, I have a separate cell phone for work. One that is supposed to be on all the time and that before having Little Man went everywhere with me.... I digress.

The cell phone had only been missing since Thursday evening, since I was off Thursday and Friday I didn't worry too much.

At any rate, the battery was certainly dead, so the calling the phone to locate it trick was out of the question. And, now that it was Monday morning, well, I really needed to find it.

As a working mom, I carry a purse to the office and diaper bag everywhere else. There is a wallet - glad I remembered it today - keys, personal cell phone, and several pairs of sunglasses (gotta have options!) that meander back and forth. Many days I forget at least one of the back and forth items.

Along with the phone (#9) I found all of this crap that is making my arms sore junk incredibly useful stuff.

1. Purse. Large, silver, I thought it was kinda trendy but still large enough for both my laptop and lunch. I also figured that the straps were on the softer side, so when I put my big-ol - no tablet for me :( - laptop inside my shoulders survive.
2. Grocery list from about three weeks ago. Ummmm. Didn't think I had it that day at the store. :: sigh
3. Pen. Purple. Can never find it when I need it.
4. Paper napkin. Had a cookie in it - gulp - a few days ago. Trash.
5. Cortizone 10. Did I mention that I had poison ivy under my arms. Totally gross. If you are gardening and wearing a long sleeve shirt and take off you gloves. Don't put them under your arm. Somehow that junk goes through the fabric.
6. HSA Debit Card. Needs to go back in the wallet or I will seriously never find it again. Seriously.

7. Shoes. They used to be my favorite heels ever. Now they make my feet hurt. They were in my bag to get resoled. That was probably two months ago. Now they are riding around in there and I pull them out when I need to be a grown up.
8. Sunglasses. Two pairs. I'm not even going to try and explain why there are two..... Well, maybe. One is a dark rim and one is a light rim. I have trouble keeping up with them, so two is better than one. The "expensive" pair was $7.99. Ha!
9. Work cell phone. Hallalujah.
10. Umbrella.
11. Work stuff
12. Family papers. ie. a file of new art work.
13. Badge and office key. Check out the awesome broken clip. Two clips down in two days. What is the deal with these things. All I want is for them to stay put on the side of my purse. Really. Is that too much to ask.
14. Camera card reader for work laptop. For some reason the card reader on the computer was broken when I got it and this is the solution from our IT team.
15. Wallet. See the seems popping? Not from the cash flow. Its more likely from all the receipts (and fantastic small works of art that I "have" to keep according to my daughter).
16. School Photo. 4x6 or something. I need to change it out and replace last year's on my office shelf. The photos were only taken in July. Its been in my purse for about three weeks. Think I'll take care of that today....

17. Halloween cards. Yeah. Cheesey. But if you are getting one you will love my novice art work and the updated pictures of the kids. It will be a few more days before these buggers go out because I gotta go buy stamps.
18. Graphic design idea. If it works out for the first birthday bash I will be sure to share the final version.
19. Dental receipt. Must remember to file. Not so bad on this one. The appointment was only last week.
20. Pencil pouch. Yep. Looks like make-up but its full of pens and a toothbrush and toothpaste. Plus lipstick when it gets back in there.
21. Keys.
22. Bill to call about today. Can I just say I HATE CIGNA. We are still sorting out everything from Little Man's birth last December.
23. Letter to mail to super cuz Alina.
24. Photo wallet. Full of cuteness.
25. Laptop charger. I was so looking for that this weekend.
26. New photos for photo wallet from a girl friend. It really makes me feel better that they are from the end of July and she gave them to me last week. I am so normal. :: sigh - again.
27. Coupons. Printed from dated 9/16. Still in my purse. About half of them have been torn off and used. Plus Shutterfly. Hit me up on comments or email if you want a share with friend code for 10 percent off plus 5 free cards. I have a ton of them!

Yikes. And that is only my work bag. Imagine if I showed you the wallet and or diaper bag. Totally messiness and I'm so not a messy person. I like clean counter tops and laundry put away. I organize suitcases and plan snacks ahead of time - somehow my bag is not in order. (For that matter, neither is my car.)

If you want to read more from Melissa over at Oh My Olivia, here is the link to her blog. Plus then I heard that Roo over at Nice Girl Notes is giving away a hot Elliott Lucca bag away. So, you know I gotta get in on that!

P.S. The strap on this bag is about to fall off. Maybe related to the laptop I lug around. Maybe. Maybe I need a new bag.