Sunday, December 30, 2012

On a Rainy Day...

We've had several rainy days in the last week. And as a temporary stay-at-home mom, I've had to get a little creative on entertainment.

We've made forts, gone for bike rides in the garage (small circles in Dad's spot while he's at work!), and tried out new phone aps (little success there.)

One of the biggest successes was actually pretty easy on me, and came about because someone didn't want to take their nap.... Driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Yep. As it turns out, when the forecast is for rain and more rain, little ones can take great joy in looking at lights mid-day.

If you are lucky like me, it will be enough excitement to wear them out for a nap!



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Adios Emmie

With all the fun and excitement of Christmas there is also always a moment of sadness - when the kids realize that the Elf on the Shelf is gone!

Here is a look back at Emmie's adventures this year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Craftin'

Big Girl has been busy crafting this holiday season. She made a really sweet pink tree for baby A, and painted wooden cars for three special little boys. For about a half-dozen adults we tried out a really simple Pintrest project.

For this one, we had to ask around and gather up wine corks from family and friends (thanks!!).

Then it was a matter of setting he up to dip the white ends in green paint.


When they were dry, she lined them up the way she wanted them and I used hot glue to get the corks to stick together.

We finished the project by tying gold ribbon around the triangles and then putting a safety pin in the top (we used wire cutters to take the closure off and then pushed both pointy ends into the cork) so they could hang as ornaments.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Only One Place

Have you ever heard of a kid that would only poop at home?

I have. In high school I knew this kid (fortunately he lived on the same street as our school) that would leave during lunch to go home to go to the bathroom.

He wouldn't take a dump at school because he didn't want anyone to walk in while he was in there. He didn't tell many people, but it came up in Spanish class because our teacher saw him walking back on campus when we weren't even supposed to leave. The kid explained the situation and she didn't "turn him in."

There is a middle school kid that is a family friend that does the same thing. Several days a week when he gets off the bus he bolts into the house and straight to the bathroom. I don't know what he does in there, but its the first place he goes.

Another friend says that she knows preschoolers who only poop at their house.

What is wrong with these kids? My daughter can poop anywhere. Not anywhere. But, any bathroom. She doesn't care. Never has much.

Then there is my son. Little Man is not very far into the whole potty training thing.

In fact when he actually used the potty last week I was surprise because he hadn't been willing to try for awhile.

Then he went again the next night.

And the next night.

Three nights in a row. Then again on Monday night.

But so far he will only go with me. He hasn't gone for anyone else - including hubby or the sitter. And he will only go in the downstairs half bath. Doesn't even want to try upstairs.

I don't want him to end up coming home from high school to use the bathroom.

But, I also don't want to squash the progress we are making.

And man, I want him to poop in the potty. Wet diapers aren't great, but they are easier than poopy ones. Any day!

So, when and how do I get him going somewhere else? I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Girly Tree

Big Girl is getting really crafty. Here is one project that she tackled this weekend.



 PS - Don't show it to baby A, its a suprise!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Choo Choo. He's Two.

Little Man's second birthday was all about trains. He likes to watch Chuggington on the Disney Channel, and has Thomas pajamas and books. Since he likes them all, we I went for more of a classic train party.

It was fun making the invites and signs, cupcake toppers, etc.

Here is a look back at the details of the big day!

 
Party favors were at the door for young guests to enjoy as they arrived.
 
 
Upside down. Photo editing software is being difficult. Little man's favorite snacks including popcorn, cheddar rice cakes and Ritz crackers. Simple was the name of the game for snacks.


Cupcake toppers. Made in Microsoft Project. Printed and glued to colored Popsicle sticks.
These are displayed on an upside down casserole dish since the cake plate was also full.

 
Simple art project. The frame, title and track were pre-printed and the cloud, wheels and smoke stack were cut out so all the little ones had to do was make a hand print and use the glue stick.
 
 
Signs like these were for the Dinning Car, Arts and Crafts Car, Dress Up Car (favor station at the front door) and welcome sign. The train details were also on the invites.
 
 





Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bless Her Heart

When Big Girl was not so big, she would turn in circles in her crib. She was old enough that we had taken the bumbers out like the pediatrician recommended, so we she ended up all twisted around.

For at least a week she ended up like this.


Every morning. Bless her heart.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Brush. Wash. Smile.

I'm on a quest to finish decorating our home without breaking the bank.

Its not easy - and several projects have failed had to be reworked a few times to end up the way I want them.

A few weeks ago, I felt pretty successful creating some art for the kids recently painted bathroom. (Before and after pics are on Instragram.) It went like this.

1. Paint an old board (with Big Girl).
Some yellow, some orange, some mustard colored paint. Squirt it all on the board and use a foam brush. Funk and bright. Perfect.

2. Draw the letters to the words on clear contact paper.
This was more difficult than I expected. Only because she changed her mind a few times on what she wanted it to say. If you aren't into drawing your own letters, try printing the words on your computer and then tracing through the clear contact paper with a Sharpie.


3. Stick the letters on the board.
Warning/lesson from my own experience: If you don't measure the board you coudl end up with letters that don't fit and have to draw them again.

4. Brush with a thin coat of darker colored paint.
More help from my crafty seven year-old.


5. After it dries all of the way remove the letters.
Let me repeat. After it dries all of the way.


6. Put a frame holder on the back of the board and hang on the wall to enjoy.

Cheap. Fairly early. Takes up blank wall space. Love.

The next one is going to be Joshua 24. (as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD) If I can figure out how to make the words into the shape of a house. If not, I may buy it on Etsy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Indoor Play

Its starting to get cooler outside, but that means nothing to toddlers. Nothing. They still want to run and play. So, we are learning about indoor play spaces.

Just as Big Girl is outgrowing them, Little Man is starting to enjoy them.

Do you know what that mean?

I'm the one that ends up crawling through the tubes made for people a quarter of my size. If its not me its hubby or the sitter (we have a new one lined up!!).

Since I don't make it to the top of the Chick-Fil-A play structure very often and the lighting is super unique, I had to take a picture.

Check out the little curls!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grocery Store

Every child has embarrassed their parents that the parents wanted to melt into a pool of water and disappear like a snowman on the fourth of July.

My kids have done it to me.

I know that I did it to my mom.

Its something that we share. All of us adults who enter the parenting club. There is no way around it. It is just part of the deal.

I've been debating whether or not to share my latest such embarrassment, but decided, "Hey. Why not."

It was just another Sunday in the neighborhood when Little Man and I pulled up to the grocery store jammin' to Wheels on the Bus when all of a sudden...Little Mister Assertive showed up.

You know. The kid that screams and kicks and hits until he gets what he wants.

He showed up. At the grocery store.

The moment I opened the car door he started screaming. He didn't want to sit in the cart. He didn't want to be buckled. He wanted to sit in his car seat and go "home."

Just screamed. Loudly. Without stopping. All the way through the produce. I looked around and the whole section of the store was empty. People were walking in and detouring the apples and watermelons and green beans - instead heading for the floral department.

I couldn't take him out to the car to quiet him down, because that was exactly what he wanted. Instead, I distracted him. With grapes.

The crying stopped. Things went smoothly for a bit.

Then we got to the cereal aisle. He insisted on holding a box of Special K.

Fine. Its cereal. Even if he opens the box - whatever.

I walked around to the back of the cart while he was shaking the box and rearranged. Put a few items in. Then. Then I looked at my son.

In the moment I had turned away. While he was strapped in. He had opened the box. And the bag of cereal and was eating.



And. You know what. I just let him eat. He was quiet. He was happy. It was going well.

... That was until we were leaving, and a teen bag-boy put a package of ground beef within his reach. He made a dive, got the meat, and tossed it at a woman.

Not just any woman as it turns out. A nice lady who I've met a few times that works in the same building as I do.

She looked up. Saw me. Recognized me. And said a little too sweetly, "here's you're meat."

Ugh.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sitter Searching Part 2

You would think that in six weeks time we would have found a new sitter.

Its the same thing over and over. Ask friends, family, co-workers, search online (try to pick the least scary person off a web page). Talk to a half dozen on the phone. Eliminate three crazies. Meet two or three in person. Say, "Heck yeah! This is going to work!" Then. Nothing. The wheels fall off.

Either they don't call back when I call to call to get references, they don't respond to emails, or in the case of one really nice girl - she got an offer from her neighbor.

Seriously. This is getting old.

On the flip side...  the more crazies I talk or email with the more hilarious content I have for you all.

Here is part of the online posting:

We are looking for someone to take care of our two cute kids (almost 2 and 7) from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 to 6 p.m. Duties include:
- car pool
- making snacks and lunches
- learning games
- light homework help
- assisting with potty training
- playing outside
- going to story time at the library

- visiting museums
- having fun!


We are open to a care provider with a child of their own, but would prefer not to have a large group setting. We are looking for a long-term person that would be with us a few years. Recommendations needed, background check will be run.

Expect to pay X per week including mileage.

Here are a few of the emails I've gotten. The first two are the very initial emails from people. Neither with a, "Hi. I'm so-and-so and I would love to watch your kids..."

Not the Nanny 26: What ages are your children? Will you be willing to pay higher than $X/hr? Do you pay for mileage?
Me: See posting. No. No.

Not the Nanny 27: I have a child in the 4th grade in Cary. I can't do carpool at your school because its too far away. I'm still interested in the position.
Me: Thank you for considering us. However, I don't think that you are the best match for our family.

Not the Nanny 28: I would love this job. I'm dependable and trustworthy.... I don't have a background check and I don't have phone numbers for any references because my phone broke. I would still love to visit with you and meet your family.

Not the Nanny 29: I am great with children... I took a CPR class, but do not have a certificate to be able to show you. I hope this will be okay... I was terrible at school, so I don't feel comfortable helping with homework.

Ugh.

Four more "no way" candidates off the list.

We have another interview tonight. I have a good feeling about this one, so wish us luck!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween Recap

To say this Halloween was a success would be an understatement. Amid the chilly fall air and the bags of candy we had some pretty freakin' awesome moments.

1. Wardrobe Choices
When its cold and you tell a girl to change her outfit to stay warm it can be dramatic. I know, because it is for me. (Go away pesky weather man with bad news!) So when its a special outfit for a special occasion - as Halloween is for most seven year-old's - brace yourself. As it turns out, loading up on candy and starting quickly was waaaaay more important than displaying the full Princess Jasmine mid-drift. So, on went the tights and turtleneck without so much as a second thought. Score!

For younger ones, the idea of a costume. Can be a little much. They don't know what it means. They don't know why they need different pants to run around and roar one day than they did the day before. Truth be told they don't. Its the old siblings and parents that need the outfit. For his part, I switched out LM's pants during a diaper change. No big deal. Downplayed the costume by calling the dinosaur hoodie a jacket. Then, put on your hood so you stay warm while we go on a walk. "Go out? Otay."

2. Candy
Some parents go with the, "wait till you get home to eat candy, we have to check it for scary things," approach. I say, "give me your Kit Kats and Reese's Cups."

Needless to say by the ripe old age of seven, there is no sneaking candy out of Big Girls' candy basket without her noticing. So, she snacks too. Mother-Daughter bonding.

LM has not been much of a candy or sweets fan. At his first birthday he refused cake, frosting and ice cream. He sees sweets coming and buttons his lips. The exception has been for teething cookies when he was smaller, and the Oreo's in the yellow package at the beach. There was also the day that he ate a mincemeat cookie with Grandpa. But on Halloween I pushed ahead and we made a break trough.

He was getting fussy. Wanted to be held. Didn't want to go in the stroller. I was getting tired of carrying him. (He didn't want Hubby to take him.) So I started offering candy. Theory being a little sugar and he would be off and running and my back would get a break. Tried a few things, and then we got to Nerds. Straight up sugar. I just stuck one in his mouth. Probably more like three because I was expecting they to come back out. He loved them. "More momma more." Sure. I'm cutting you off at six.

He was off and running again. He keeps asking for more. "Nurd momma nurd." Um. Not for breakfast.

3. Family Time
We all enjoyed ourselves. We were giggling and running around together. All four of us. Very little fussing. Major score!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sitter Searching

The last few weeks we've been searching for a new sitter/nanny. After more than five years, ours is moving. We've met several nice women, but still haven't found "the one." As we continue our search, here are some of the entertaining highlights so far.

Me: So, on the phone we talked about the pay rate being around ### per week. Are you still good with that?
Not the Nanny: Oh. I thought that was per kid. I need that per kid.
Me: Um, okay. We aren't going to be able to do that. Thanks for chatting with us.

Not the Nanny: So my rate is no less than ## per hour. You need me to be available 50 hours a week, so even if you aren't using all those hours, I will need to get paid for them since I can't do anything else. Traditionally a nanny will also get a car or an expense card for gas and the kids meals and what not. My last family did a car plus a credit card. I really find that to be the easiest way to go.
Me: Oh okay. (Whotheheckdoyouthinkyouare?)
Not the Nanny: So you think that would work out for you all?
Me: I think we could do that.... (Yeahright.Youcangetoutofmyhousecrazylady.)

Me: We've really enjoyed meeting you. I think that we will be able to work with you. Do you mind if we do a reference check and then be in touch about a start date.
Not The Nanny: That sounds great. This is such a blessing. I am so excited.
Me: We are excited too.
Then the references didn't call back and she didn't respond to two phone calls or any of the texts. Dropped off the face of the earth.

Me: So, our daily routine is.....
LM: Cock. Cock.
Not the Nanny: Oh shirt. He says cock.
Me: He likes clocks.
Not the Nanny: Darn. I just said that and the kids are here.
BG: Mommy says that is a bad word too.

Me: So our son is interested in going potty, but we aren't exactly potty training yet.
Not the Nanny: So how are you teaching him to pee.
Me: Well we are sitting him down.
Not the Nanny: Oh no. That is all wrong. You teach boys to pee standing up or you just have to teach them again.
Me: Well he isn't exactly tall enough.
Not the Nanny: You just focus on your work and I'll focus on the kids and tell you how we are doing things. It'll be a lot smoother that way.

We're going to keep searching for the right sitter. More stories to come. For sure.






Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just Another Day

The days are really starting to run together. I remember the same thing happening as Big girl reached two and then suddenly she was three.

Those days were peaceful. We got into a routine and enjoyed so much fun together. Cooking together, playing together and almost daily trips to the park.

That was back in the era of one kid. And many fewer square-feet of house to care for.

These days the routine, which allows for outbursts associated with an early-onset case of terrible twos, is anything but routine. Quick to get ready in the morning, quickly out the door, rush home to rush through dinner. The weekends aren't any better.

I think that there will be one weekend at home without major festivities before Thanksgiving, but that too could easily be lost.

I want to find more time to enjoy each day, to enjoy the peace of snuggles with my kids, quiet time with my husband to just be us. But how?

If you have any suggestions let me know. I'm certainly open to them.... and I'm not above calling in "sick" to prevent myself from getting "sick and tired" of the rush.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ready

When you get ready for a trip you dust off the suitcases and count out socks and underwear. You fill the car with gas or print out your boarding passes. If you're traveling with the kids you also round up the lovies and hide fruit snacks every place you can think of so they are ready to be popped out at a moments notice.

But for this trip there are no fruit snacks. Instead there are lots of chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas and waffles, mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, apples and V8 Splash in Fruit Punch. There are also grandparent treats - Chocolate Special K, tea, Diet Coke, Mt. Dew, popcorn and red wine.

This box is reserved.
No, we aren't all going on vacation together.

We are leaving the kids at home. With the grandparents. For three nights. Three nights.

So instead of the lovies, there are cute skits. And tops that are great for dancing and bars (but like the suitcases need a good dusting because they don't get out very often). There are nights out with friends, time to relax in warm weather - oh - and a wedding!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fancy Dinner

Okay. So that may not be the most accurate title. Here is what I made. You be the judge.


It was inspired by Jalapeno Lime Shrimp that I tried a few months back at Applebee's. And it was surprisingly simple.

Ingredients:
- yellow rice
- shrimp (about 30 med to large)
- 1 lime
- 1 can of black beams
- 1 can corn
- 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
- 1/2 of a med. onion diced
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups diced zucchini
- fresh diced jalapeno
- cilantro
- olive oil
- chipotle seasoning

Start the rice since it will take about 30 minutes. While the water is starting to boil, dice the zucchini, onion and tomato. As soon as the zucchini is diced toss it into a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and chipotle seasoning (to taste, I used about 1/2 tablespoon). After 2-3 minutes add the shrimp, a few tablespoons of water and more chipotle seasoning. Cover.

While keeping an eye on the skillet, rinse the canned corn and beans in a colander, then put them in a dish with a teaspoon of cilantro and a coating of olive oil. Stir and microwave for two minutes. Then add the tomatoes and onion. Stir the skillet again! Squeeze the juice from half of the lime into the bowl and scrape some of the pulp in as well. Stir and microwave for one more minute.

When the shrimp and zucchini are almost done, add a tiny bit of diced jalapeno, and stir.

Stack the plate with layers. Yellow rice first, shrimp, veggie salsa. Garnish with lime and jalapeno if desired.

Yum.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Night

I'm glued to the DVR (I've had enough of the debate!). So, here is a cute picture. Big Girl made it to make a friend feel better.


Kids are great at that. They don't even know exactly why someone is sad, but somehow they know how to make you feel better. Its one of those completly wonderful things about being a parent that they don't tell you about. Clover flowers, heart shaped rocks, stickers in your hair... its something that you learn for youself once you become a parent.

I cherish these memories and the hugs that go with them. When I'm apart from my kids I look forward to these little moments. They make me smile even at the toughest times. And - that is one of the biggest rewards of being a parent - the memories you create, because even when your kids aren't with you, the memories are.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birthday Cake

Today was/is my hubby's birthday.

In the middle of the day I let him know about a special birthday surprise.


Okay, so I had nothing to do with it, but it was pretty cool that Google had a birthday cake on the front page on his birthday.

I also surprised him with a home made carrot cake. It was no small feat of working mom magic to get off from work, shop for ingredients (if I bought them during the normal weekly grocery trip he would have know = no surprise), shredded carrots, melted chocolate.... cake and frosting from scratch. Unfortunately he picked today to come home from work early, so I assembled the cake in a rush so it would be ready when he walked in the door.

He opened the presents and turned back to the cake to find it looking like this.


Warm cake + warm frosting = disaster.

I knew this. I put the cake together anyway. I thought that maybe. Just maybe the universe would be nice to me today... But no such luck.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mo Juice

We go through some juice boxes. Lunches, trips in the car, the park. They are on our grocery list every week. I really don't mind because every re-usable bottle we've tried leaks. At least after a week or two. Plus, I buy the sneaky ones with vegetable juice, so they've become a crutch for getting veggies in both my kids.

But this morning, we ran out.

"Mo Juice?" is the phrase Little Man uses. And, we all joke about it.

So, as hubby was making lunches he asked where they back up stash of juice was. He had looked in the fridge, in the pantry and in the garage. (Yea. He makes lunches. I know you are jealous!)

This is how it went.

Hubby: I know you have more. But, I can't find them.
Me: In the car.
Him: (giving me the you are crazy look) ok.

Then I heard the back of the car open.

Him: I don't see them.
Me: In the front.

Waiting.

Me: On the floor. On the passenger side.

More car doors.

Him: (more looks)
Me: They were in the garage, but the box was open. The kids thought that meant they could get into them. They can both open them now, so I put them in the car.
Him: (the you are crazy look)
Me: Plus, I always have them. I don't have to count out juice boxes each day. They are there.

Pause.

Me: I think I'm just going to keep a box in there.
Him: (walking away)
Me: It does. Right next to the box of fruit snacks and the granola.

So now, I'm really curious about this. What do other moms keep in their cars. I can't be the only one driving around with a snack bar. Let me know. I love comments.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ready to Read

Reading is a part of the daily routine at our house. We finish dinner, pay for a few minutes, then the kids take baths and read before drifting off to sleep.

When Big Girl was a toddler we would read for 30 or 45 minutes a night. Snuggled up together with a pile of board books. It was a really special time for us to spend together that I will never forget. As she has gotten older and learned to read on her own, I am so glad that we spent the time together with books early on.

I recently learned about a new initiative called Every Child Ready to Read (ECR2R) that helps parents (and other folks around little ones) help children prepare for reading.

ECR2R focuses on five simple skills – talking, singing, reading, writing and playing are familiar and easy for parents to integrate into everyday life, with the use of books and literature. Demonstrations and research have shown that by using these simple practices, children develop early literacy skills that will make them successful readers.

In our area, as well as many others nationwide, librarians incorporate these skills into library programs for young children. And - they are teaching parents how to incorporate them into routines at home.

At the story time we recently attended they talked for just a moment about how songs help kids learn by repeating. The librarian said its as easy as repeating a song about letters that we were getting ready to sing throughout the day.

Here is Wake County, libraries are now offering more than 150 weekly programs for young children, more than doubling the number of programs previously provided. To find out about children's programs, you can call or visit your local library. If you are in the Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, etc. area you can visit www.wakegov.com/libraries to find a story time that works for you - they even have them in the evenings and on Saturdays!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Peeking, Peaking, Pea King...

Second grade has been a challenge. Not just for Big Girl, but also for us as parents. The first quarter was full of transitions, and finally - as we start fall break - its beginning to be less bumpy. One of the ways I know we are making progress is homework. The last week or so there has been less grumbling about it, and less help has been needed.

That was until last night when the assignment was to play charades with the vocabulary words. Not so much help in the traditional way, but the whole family got involved.

This weeks vocabulary words centered around skiing and synonyms for words associated with it.

- ski
- skiing
- slope
- peak

You get the idea.

So, she handed out the cards with the vocabulary words. Everyone got two - including Little Man who was very excited to participate.

She acted out her words. Ski. Slope.

Little Man acted out his words with my help. Climbing. Cold.

I acted out my words. Peak. Skiing.

Then it was my husbands turn. Peaking. He hid his face. Peek-a-boo. Got it.

Next word. He put a toy on his head. "King!" he gave the thumbs up. Then he went into the bathroom and shuts the door. We heard him going to the bathroom. "Peeing," BG yelled. "Put them together," he tells her through the door.

Even before she said it she started to giggle. "Pee King!"

Ummm. Not exactly what I'm thinking the teacher had in mind.

After the game she sat down to write about it for her journal for the day. She didn't want to share, so I'm pretty sure the pee king made it. However, I forgot to go back downstairs after she was in bed to peak...

Can't wait to hear back from the teacher on this one!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brownies to School

The kids that carry baked goods into school always get the smiles. The teachers. The parents. When you can tell its homemade it makes people HAPPY.

So, when the opportunity came up to help with a luncheon at school I quickly signed up from brownies. Besides making people happy and for a luncheon brownies have the added bonus that I can send them something in the morning and not have to worry about setup or getting dishes back. True working mom perfection.

The night before the luncheon I stayed up late baking two pans of brownies. Let them cool and in the morning carefully wrapped them up. Paper plates in Ziploc bags. Two of them. Placed carefully on the counter ready to go to school.

Ready to go to school.

Enter my wonderful caring and loving daughter.

Not my super coordinated, carefully listening daughter with perfect balance. Because on this day, she had a one track mind: Brownies to School.

I said time to get in the car and before I could mention the brownies she took one plate, placed it on top of the other plate, and topped them off with a lunchbox. Then scooped up the pile and headed to the car.

My beautiful brownies were now mushed.

As we drove to school we talked about how they may look a little nicer for the teachers if they weren't quite so flat. She recognized that this was important and said she wouldn't put them on top of each other again.

That lasted until we got to school.

She hopped out of the car, piled the plates back up and proudly walked into school. Big grin on her face. Beaming with pride she headed to the school.

Thank goodness for the smile on her face, because she didn't make it 50 yards before tripping on the curb. She was just beaming with the flat brownies in her hands. Didn't see the curb. Same curb. Same spot as its been the last two years.

I don't know the last time I was so glad to be at her side, because I jumped in front of her and saved her a serious face plant. But my child. My child didn't even realize it. She said, "Mom! Why did you jump in front of me?"

It was all I could do to get out of the way and let her keep walking. Amidst the giggles of a few sympathetic moms I couldn't even think of what to say. So, we just exchanged a look and a smile.

Then. I looked back. To see the brownies on the ground. Upside down. Darn crack in the sidewalk. As I picked those things up and told her I would hold them until we got to the door, all I could think was, "Thank goodness I put these brownies in a plastic zipper bag." "Thank the freakin' goodness!"

When we went in the door I reminded her that the brownies needed to go to the teachers lounge. Since it had been "that" kind of morning I had her repeat it back, "teachers lounge."

At that point I had to go into the office to sign in. I was honestly kind of glad to let her go. She had to be safe. She was in the school and she said she knew where she was going.

Fast forward 10 minutes as I was chatting in the hall I saw her carrying the brownies into the classroom. All I could do was giggle. (I'm laughing right now just thinking back to it!) But I stifled the giggles as I watched the brownies fall back to the floor. Once again, plate in the air food on the ground.

The teacher I was talking to really didn't help. Although she meant well, she said, "oh. she is so sweet. you know we will eat brownies no matter how they look. They are home made girl and we are teachers!"

I couldn't take it anymore. I had to turn around. When I collected myself, she was actually handing one tray of brownies to each of her teachers.

They saw me around the corner and waved me over. I explained that they were for the luncheon and they both laughed. So, I graciously took them back and headed to the teachers lounge.

My wonderful caring and loving daughter - bless her heart - didn't have a clue.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jewlery Project

The last few years I've really enjoyed collecting more jewelry, but a traditional jewelry box really isn't my thing.

So, I combined a few ideas from Pintrest with a few ideas of my own and came up with this.



I know. The picture is on its side. I tried to change it, but the computer is acting up!


For the earring holder I used a insert/refill grill shelf from Lowe's. The frame came from a thrift store for about $2 and I painted it. The bracelets are on a paper towel holder. Also from Lowe's.

My next challenge is necklaces? Have you tried something creative and had it work out? Please share!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oops Poops

Its a real phrase. And. Its becoming a common one at our house. Oops Poops.

There are all kinds of uses.

You break a plate. Opps Poops.

You leave something where a toddler can reach it. Oops Poops.

Its classic really. Right up there with "Crud Muffins" and "Gosh Darn." We're gonna make it famous. And - it all started with a turd floating in the tub.

The other night Little Man was all clean and splashing around in the bathtub. When all of a sudden he stood up. He isn't a kid that stands up in the tub. We have to pull him out screaming when the water is cold.He is also a toddler that loves to crawl and get into trouble.

So, when he stood up I said, "Sit down please while I get your towel."

He sat and I reached for the towel.

In the split second that I looked away he was up again, and as our eyes met he uttered the now famous words, "Oops Poops."

It was very clear, but he hasn't been very good at telling us when his diaper is dirty, so why would he get it right now, so at first I wasn't sure what he said.. but he said it again. Clear as day, "Oops Poops!"

As he said it the second time I looked in the tub and sure enough there were five turds floating around.

They hadn't been there 30 seconds earlier, but sure enough. There were "poops." And it was certainly an, "oops."

Oops poops.

Famous words. I'm sure you'll find a use for it to.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Turtles

We've had several turtles in our yard this summer. I think we were on sighting four or five since school got out.


 


Seriously. I took pictures of turtles y'all. BG and I thought we could look at the pictures and tell them apart.

No suck luck. She was sure they were different.

100 percent sure.

I was not sure. So. We started tracking them. By painting them with nail polish.

We have "Blue."

And we have "Pink" (not pictured).

So far, we've seen Blue three times. Pink may have moved on, or if he/she is smart to another part of the yard - far from the swing set.

We've got white nail polish sitting on the counter ready for the next one.

We also started learning about turtles. You know. By googling. Because isn't that how kids learn stuff in the 21st century?!?

Here are BG's fav facts:
- turtles eat fruit veggies and meat
- turtles shells aren't hard until they are 7
- turtles live to be 30 years old or more
- turtles go back to their home, even if they are picked up and moved

They are around enough that LM has learned to say "tu-tull," and can spot them out the sun room window and call for us to let him out to torment the poor animals go see them.

We hope to see more turtles in the future.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Easy Wreath

My crafty side is making a comeback folks.

Its gonna be better than the NKOTB tour in 1998. With the album now going for $0.01 on Amazon, I'm feelin' that my odds are good.

Yea. That was a bad joke. Don't ask how I knew how much The Block was selling for - without googling it for this post. Just don't.

The thing is. My crafty side is pretty awesome.

I like having fresh eucalyptus around. Its smells fresh and clean. We have a family friend that has some in their yard, so every once in awhile we have fresh eucalyptus.

Enter creativity.

After the kids were in bed a few nights ago, I pulled out the fresh eucalyptus, chip clips, wire and wire cutters and decided I would try to make a wreath.


I cut the wire into several pieces that were about four inches long. Then used chip clips to bend the eucalyptus into a circle and hold it up to the door.

When it was adjusted to a size that I liked with the chip clips, I used the wire to pull the scraggly branches together. Some of the wires were fairly loose with the ends just barley coming together while others were pulled tight.


Once everything was snugly in place. I took the chip clips off and returned them to the pantry.

Went to the front door and placed it on the wreath hook.

Tried and tried to get this picture the right way. It didn't work, so you'll just need to turn your computer. Or your head.
If you don't have wire, you could easily straighten out large paperclips and use them. The project took about ten minutes and was even easier than I expected.

Next time, I'll get Big Girl to help. Its be easy for her to assist and possibly do it on her own at 7.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting It All In

After two kids and a major lack of motivation, I'm trying to get myself psyched up to work out. Again. Back in the day I was in shape. I was cuter. I was (for a bit) even skinny. Amazingly, that was between kids!

Now. Well. Ummmm. Not so much.

I've been doing Pilates for about five years. My friend/instructor Lori is amazing. Her place is cute and smells good. Not like sweaty socks and slimy men like most places.

Ahhhh. I wanna be there now!
The greatest thing is scheduling. For years. (Yea. I know.) I've been going at 5:30 the same evening every week. Every week. For more than a year now with two of the same girls in my class.

More recently, I've added another class. Mornings. Early mornings. 6 a.m.

Go ahead. Make fun.

Its my hour for me.

Its pretty quiet. Peaceful. No traffic getting there.

There is also yoga. All with the great neighborhood feel right in the middle of Five Points.

Vive. Fantastic!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Potty Training

We have started potty training Little Man.

Wait. Let me get this right.

I've attempted to potty train Little Man. More accurately, he's having a great time getting me to run around after him whenever he mentions anything potty related.

The last few days it has gone like this....

Sitting on the couch spending time with both kids. He walks up grabs his junk and says, "poo."
I say, "do you need to go potty?" He laughs, turns his face bright red and poops his pants.

Making dinner. He says, "momma. momma. momma. momma." (you get the idea). I says, "yes?" He pulls up his shirt to show his belly. I say, "yes, belly!" He runs to the bathroom yelling, "poooo." When I get in there he is trying to lift the lid to the toilet and pull off his pants (neither of which he can do on his own - even when just doing one of them) at the same time. I put him on the potty. Nothing. We wait. And wait. Dinner burns. We wait. I take him off the potty. Put a diaper on him. Pick him up and his pants are warm. He looks at me and laughs.

I think we have a clown on our hands.

Do you have any tips for potty training the funny one? I feel an uphill battle coming on!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Laughing and Crying

Every once in a while something happens that makes we laugh so hard that I cry. It used to happen more often. When Big Girl was in preschool there were times when I was crying and trying to parent at the same time about once a week. With tears streaming down my face, squashing the giggles, I would pull of fantastic feats of parenting.

The day we were at the playground and she unwrapped her snack and buried it in the ground.... I looked at her, and having watched Curious George earlier that morning, knowing that she was saving the snack for later, just like George and Jumpy the Squirrel. (Season 1, Episode 9) I tried to talk through it with her. I think I got as far as, "what are you doing honey?" before I had to turn around and stop the giggles and tears.

That day I just let her bury her snack bar. I talked to her later and explained that while it worked out for squirrels, people should really not put snacks in the ground.... because you know, bugs live there, and while she is great at sharing, its probably not the best idea to share food with bugs.

Looking back I ask myself what I was thinking. We don't put food in the ground because its not a good idea to share with bugs. Seriously. Not it will spoil, or it will be full of germs. Nope. I covered sharing with bugs.

... Now Little Man is getting to that age.

The other night we were distracted by the missing library book discovery (P.S. I forgot to turn it in, so now its overdue anyway!) that we left the door to the garage open.

The next thing I knew Little Man had the huge flying disk inside.



He learned how to throw the Frisbee outside earlier this summer - and has become quite successful at it. and, thus far avoided disaster. No trees. No injuries. Good times. Thus far.

Back to the other night.

He grabbed the disk from the toy boy, ran up the few stairs and into the playroom. Very happy and very giggly. He got to the middle of the room, yelled "Ma."

Before I could stand up from the floor or get the words out of my mouth to hubby, "he is gonna throw that. All that work teaching him, and he is gonna get it to seriously fly in the house."

Just as the word "house" came out of my mouth, and I was standing up all of the way. BAM!

Frisbee in the face. The forehead and eye specifically.

It has a soft foam edge. It really didn't work, but I had to turn around because I was crying instead of laughing. I tried to say something to him.

I thin it was, "Don't throw the Frisbee at Mommy."

But I just couldn't keep it together. So, I turned around. As I was collecting myself Hubby told the kids to go give me hugs because I was hurt badly. The climbed on top of me. Burying me with hugs.

Ha. He thought he was so funny. He took the Frisbee back outside.

Don't throw the Frisbee at Mommy. Never mind your Dad or sister or friends. Go ahead an throw it at them. Brilliant. Never mind the house. Never mind the big 'ol TV that was spared by my face catching the Frisbee. I came up with "Don't throw the Frisbee at Mommy."

It seems the funnier the kids are, the worse my parenting. That's okay. Because, these silly times are some of my favorite memories.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Listening Ears and The Missing Book

For a minute earlier this evening I thought I was a genius.

Pure and simple, a genius.

We had a missing library book. I'd been getting e-mails that it was due today, and soon it would be overdue.

I asked her to look for the book, but she was only half looking. Actually, she was just wondering around the house, not really looking for the missing book at all.

So I said, "If I find the book I'm gonna eat candy and you're not." Mature. I know. At least I followed it with, "and if you find the book then you get candy."

Suddenly she sprang into action. As she dashed up the stairs I reminder her that the book we were looking for was about good listening. She said, "I know. I know."

Hmmmmmm.

Then she was downstairs tearing apart the playroom, then out to my car. Then back upstairs to her brother's room.

Then we started looking. Under the couch. In the diaper bag. Seriously, where could this book be?

She ran back in and told us that she gave up.

So I reminded her again, "its the book about listening. I think it had a green cover."

Then it happened. The line of the night. "Oh. That book is in the car Mommy. I thought we were looking for the other book."

The other book? What other book?

Ummmm. Yea.

She didn't listen, so she couldn't find the book about the importance of listening.

This is my life. Every day. I seriously couldn't make this stuff up.

So, while she read the book (and then explained to me the lesson of the book!) I pulled out the candy.

White mystery flavor Airhead. Yum.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

His Best Buddy

Little Man has a best friend. He sees him every week day. As soon as he sees T he is ready for me to "go go mama."

But he has been a little sad recently, and even going to the back door looking for his buddy.

See, T is our sitter's son and she was off for a few weeks.

He is a sweet boy. He gives big hugs, romps on the floor and teaches LM everything a toddler could want to know about being a preschooler.

You know. Things like how to drive cars through your sisters' hair and how to beat up a tree with a stick. Then there is the useful stuff like how to sneak up and tickle someone and real pirate words that moms just don't know because all we hear is background noise after the first few episodes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Oh. I'm the only one that tunes out Jake. I think I'm fine with that.

At any rate, he misses his best buddy. But.... the reason he's gone for a few weeks is about the best reason ever to be gone. He had a baby sister.

Not him actually, his mom. But you know.

We wish Big T and his baby sister well. And. We won't totally leave you alone while you're on maternity leave.

Sorry.

We love you too much!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another Birthday

Every birthday deserves a celebration. If you're six or 46 or 96. Birthdays are a celebration of life. They are a celebration of accomplishments and the love of family and friends.

Today my Dad would have celebrated his birthday. Today we would have celebrated with him. If he were here we would have met for dinner and without any doubt dessert.

He loved his family so much, and cherished the time that we spent together.

So, today, we celebrated his birthday the way we celebrated so many birthdays when he was here. A busy day of keeping up with work and kids and day-to-day life. Then, we wrapped it up with his favorite after dinner snack - frozen custard.

It was a small celebration, just Hubby and I this year.

Big Girl missed him so much that days like this are tough on her. Little Man never met him. They have so much in common, including a name, but not a love for frozen deserts.

Even though he's been gone for more than two years, today is his day.

I love you Dad!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Picture This

Little Man has been talking for awhile. He has become quite the master of communicating in a combination of sign language, grunts and one and two word phrases. Plus there is the goofiness.

Did you poop? Nope.
Are you sure? Ma.
You are smelly. Hahaha.

Ugh!

But that is normal toddler stuff.

His first full sentence. Well, not quite the normal toddler stuff.

Let me set the stage.

Its breakfast time. The kids are sitting at the bar in the kitchen and the TV is on Sports Center. I'm pretty sure they are watching top plays.

Hubby gave them both waffles and milk and I was over on the other side of the kitchen making my own breakfast.

So, the kids backs are to both of us.

Big Girl is eating her breakfast. So, I think its all going fine.

Then LM starts. In his deep baby voice. He yells, "Momma."

Oh great I think. His favorite phrase, I'm gonna hear it about ten times in a row.

Instead, its just once more, "Momma I want eggs."

Huh?

You don't speak in sentences. But he did.

I was so proud. I didn't know if I should hug him or run over and start cooking eggs. So, I do both.

Hugs, then I start cooking.

How can a day possibly not go well when you start it off with an accomplishment like that?


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tough Lessons

You know how there are some things that kids do exactly as their parents do?
They play the same sports, drink the same beverages, even brush their teeth the same goofy way.

Then there are others that they do exactly the opposite?

Like the teenager who says, "my parents were so strict!" So, ten years later their own children are running around crazy and end up being the "we unschool and spend all our time in a family rock band" type clan on Wife Swap.

Both are the result of how you nurture your kid.

I want to think that you can teach them to be good with money works the same way we will (one day - a long time from now) teach them to drive a car.... You start teaching a little bit one day, more over the next few weeks and then watch closely and pray they do the right thing before setting them free.

I want to think that. And if wishing and hoping could make it happen. It would be awesome. Totally and completely awesome.

But here is the truth. I don't think it works that way with finances.

Dang it!

But I'm gonna try my best to make my kids money smart anyway... and at some point in their 20's or something I'll probably want to wring at least one of their necks for doing something stupid and feel like it was a total waste. But still - I'm gonna try.

So tonight at the grocery store I tried.

We were on the fruit snack aisle. It was already dinner time and it was just me and the kids. We needed to get some fruit snacks, get some cheese and head home. We needed to be quick and I didn't feel like dealing with a melt down.

I really didn't want to hear any fussing or crying. We'd been having a great afternoon.

Then it started. I picked up our normal box of fruit snacks. I turned to put them in the cart. And in the moment between my hand and the bottom of the shopping basket the whining started.

"But I want the Tianna fruit snack."

Ugh.

"But these are the ones we get because they are healthier and a good value, and its time to go home."

Totally the typical way that I handle questions.

Then I paused. I looked at my daughter and said, "Do you know what I mean when I say a good value, or would you like me to explain?"

She picked explain and I laid it out for her.

The fruit snacks that Mommy buys for us are a good value because they cost less than the others and we have a coupon. So, we have extra money left over that we wouldn't have if we bought the princess ones.

That is when I looked over and could tell she didn't get it.

So, I started over.

If we buy the fruit snacks that you want we need almost all of these four dollars. If we buy the ones Mommy usually gets we need one dollar and a couple coins. So, we have almost three dollars left over.

Three dollars isn't a lot, but we buy fruit snacks every week. If we do it Mommy's way after four weeks we will have enough dollars left over for two people - like you and me - to go to a movie.

(Okay, so it would have to be a matinee and not in 3D, but I'm trying to make a point.)

"Really?" She says.

"Yep," I reply. "So knowing that what would you do if you were the Mommy?"

"I'd buy the same fruit snacks as you and take my kids to see Nemo like they talked about when we went to Brave."

Sweet. She made the choice I wanted her to make.

Guess we'll end up at Nemo in 3D.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seventh Birthday Recap

We have a pretty awesome family tradition going for birthdays. Its pretty simple and super meaningful, especially since I work outside the home.

To celebrate birthdays I take the day off from work and spend the day with the birthday child. Its a time to connect one-on-one. Something my daughter and I haven't gotten to do a whole lot since her brother was born. Most years we spend most of the day hanging out just the two of us.

When she was little I picked the activities. For her first birthday it was a simple trip to her favorite park, a few rides, and lunch at Chick-fil-a. Come to think of it we did the same thing for Little Man's first birthday too!

Its a sweet tradition that I really hope she will not outgrow anytime soon.

This year since Big Girl is well, big, and seven, she picked out the activities and I just figured out which ones were realistic (um, no we can't go snorkeling in the Bahamas again quite yet!) and how to fit them into the day.

This year started with an early morning - i.e. early for the girl that sleeps like she is 17 not 7 - toast with sprinkles and a candle in bed.


...Another example of my excellent not so excellent photography skills.

After the 7 a.m. wake up it was downstairs for presents, playing with presents and some snoozin' on the couch. (Did I mention a little teen like sleeping going on?)

Then it was onto Chucky Cheese for games and pizza.


This was followed by the movie Brave.

Honestly, I should have done more research on this one, and take Andrea's advise. It was scary for her and she cried and asked to leave. We didn't because the scary parts past (mostly) quickly, but it was the biggest downer of the birthday.

After the movie it was on to a swim meet for more fun. I'm not big on bragging, but if you have an athletic event on your birthday, isn't it pretty sweet to win? She did.


Also got to swim her first relay with the 7 and 8 year-olds. They got third, so she was super excited about that as well.

All in all, a fun day.

Do you have any special traditions with your kids? Anything special you do for birthdays? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Snorkeling

When we went on vacation to the Bahama's a few weeks ago we took Big Girl snorkeling. It was a completely fantastic experience.

Our boat left from the Hilton in Nassau. There is no way to describe this place other than downright beautiful. I couldn't get a picture of the whole thing from, but here is a shot from their own site.

www.hilton.com
Seriously y'all. We were here. Has to have been one of the coolest places I've ever been.

We went with Blue Hole Water Sports and the boat went out with just six people on it. So much better than my prior snorkeling experience on spring break in college with 100+ people! This was small with a really great guide.

The fit us for our gear before we got in the boat to make sure everything worked correctly and fit us just right. While they fitted people one-by-one we got to hang out on the totally awesome beach!! Then, our captain Mark took us to two different locations.

At six, my daughter is a pretty strong swimmer.

She jumped right out of the boat and into the water and was off. The coral and fish and even just the scenery off the side of the boat were amazing.




At one point our guide asked if we wanted the fish to come closer and threw out fish food. The little guys came right up to us. It was amazing.

BG asked if it was okay to pet them. (Which made him chuckle.) So, he save her a handful of food that she dropped around her belly. The fish of course came right up and she got to pet them.


After the snorkeling ended we got a quick (about 15 minutes) side trip through Atlantis. More amazingness.

Totally in awe I forgot to take pictures until we were leaving.
It was a fantastic experience at a great price. If you head to Freeport, look them up. Blue Hole Water Sports. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fish. Fish. Fish.

Mid vacation we took a beach break and visited the Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.

We usually steer clear of touristy trap kind of places. Okay, not so much recently considering we went to South of the Border last month..... But. We'd been to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher several times and decided to try something new.

 It was the middle of the week and it was pretty crowded. Fortunately, when we walked in the door there was no line to meet the Mermaid - one of the big crowd draws - so we jumped in line and met the real mermaid right away.

She was probably in high school, but did a great job interacting with the kids. Big Girl thought for sure she was Ariel from The Little Mermaid (even with brown hair!) and they chatted about King Triton.

The costume looked pretty good and the kids didn't question if she was real or not. All the girls around us (some older than our daughter) thought she was real.

We were a little bummed that you couldn't take your own pictures with the Mermaid, so no photos of that one.

After hitting the touch tank.


 ... another big hit, we grabbed a seat early for the Mermaid show.

I'm gonna be honest here. It was pretty goofy. But the kids loved it. Not just ours, but all of them gathered around.

The mermaids in the show were older than the meet and greet one. They jumped in the tank with several of the large fish and small whales and swam all over the place for the crowd.

They did flips and turns and blew bubbles in heart shapes. Even sitting on the floor, the kids loved it.

Then it was onto the Underwater Glide Path. This was pretty cool. First off you were on a moving sidewalk, so it really helped with the crowd flow. The sidewalk took you through a tunnel of fish called the Dangerous Reef.


There was tons of bright coral and of course plenty of "fish."




On the way out, we decided to see the dinosaur exhibit. If we had it to do again, we would probably skip it. The line was pretty long, and the dinosaurs were all motorized.

Suprisingly, Little Man wasn't freaked out by the dinos and liked a few of them. The cool part here is that you could touch the dinosaurs. There wasn't very much in the way of educational materials, but by that point in the trip, I wasn't even taking the time to read all the names. We were all getting tired and were ready to head back to the beach house.

Overall, Ripley's was pretty cool. It was kind of pricey. For the three of us (toddlers are free) tickets run over $50. For two hours of entertainment. The kids did enjoy it, but I really wish it hadn't been so crowded and that we could have taken our own picture with the mermaid.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Ocean and the Sand

My son loves to be outside. Any activity. He is fussy, you say, "Want to go outside?" and he is happy again.
So, we were looking forward to his second trip to the beach. Outside. Sand to play in, wind (he couldn't get enough in Chicago). Plus the fact that he loved it. last year.

So. We thought the beach would be fun for him.

Not so much.

He didn't like the loose sand. He didn't like the wet sand. He didn't like the firmly packed and slightly damp sand for more than 10 minutes and wouldn't sit on it for anything. He didn't like the waves. He didn't like the water.

Pretty much the only thing that he liked was his shovel and bucket and sitting in his little froggy chair with his legs sticking out in front of him.

After a few days we convinced him (with flip fops and t-shirt on) to squat and dig in the dirt.

Dirt. We couldn't call it sand. He would flip out.
It made me sad. My daughter and hubby love the beach. Since her first steps on the sand together, they've been inseparable.

Cuteness back in 2007!
I like sitting on the beach and watching them play and being alone with my thoughts. Its fantastic. It leads to napping. I also like going for walks. And napping on the beach.

The view from under our tent.... If only I'd gotten to spend more time here!
So, while LM and I spend short intervals on the beach (no more than two a day) the rest of the crew had fun, we enjoyed the air conditioning and snuggles and snacks.

Not the traditional beach trip, but it was ours.... and we are already thinking about next year!