Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh Wow

Everyone has places that they think about, but never expect to visit. Maybe its another continent, a remote paradise or maybe its a special rare event like the Olympics.

During our vacation, we took the oppertunity to make one of these rare visits... to a place that was full of bright bold colors, unique shopping and dozens of other families.

It was honestly a little bit of a suprise, because we had driven past so many times, but never taken the time to "stop and smell the roses."

Can you guess where we stopped? It was along I-95.


Would you have guess South of the Border?

Well, its true. And it was such a unique place.


I hadn't seen one of these phones in years. I think the last time I was about 10 and we were at Dollywood.

Oh. And they also had cars and motorcylce rides just like they have at the mall.


Only here - they are still a quarter. See the sticker on the side? Two bucks got us a half hour of fun.

We also took some time to see the sights. Here are a few pictures Big Girl took.




Would I stop again? Without a doubt - its not on the top of my list. It was clean, not littered with trash, but grimmy. the food was well... and the bathrooms. Hummmm. I'm glad the kids didn't need to go.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Toddler Boys vs. Toddler Girls

The last few weeks – and even months – I’ve started to realize how different boys and girls are. Even at an early age.

As Little Man reaches 18 months (yikes!) I was reflecting on the differences between my kids as toddlers.

Potty TrainingBG was mostly potty trained. She’d sit on the potty several times a day, even ask to go, and was starting to stay dry at night.

LM loves his diaper. You ask him if he’s dirty and he shakes his head no. You ask him if he needs to go potty and he will run into the bathroom, pull his shirt up and laugh at you. I dare anyone to put him on the potty. He cries and makes the same face as when you ask him to give up his paci.

TalkingBG: This is a big one. She had a vocabulary that surprised nearly everyone. She could have a whole conversation with adults. No baby talk. “I have a letter.” “I have purple shoes.” Lots of please and shanks (thanks).

LM: Just got to his first sentence about a week ago. Ma straw now. Translation, mommy I want strawberries. Its combination second child, sister loves to talk for him and she was kinda ahead on the whole talking thing.

Attention SpanBG: She could sit still for a long time. 30 minutes or more. We’d play Duplo’s for what seemed like hours. She’d sit on the floor and color while I cooked. Free to have her crayons and/or markers and I trusted her on her own.

LM: Ummmm. Let’s start with the fact that he has a blue streak through his hair right now. He frequently has blue lips and fingers. It’s no reason to stop him from coloring, but he certainly needs a lot of supervision.

Bedtime RoutineBG: She liked the ides of bedtime. The bath. The stories. The snuggling. She didn’t like to actually get into the bed. Not unless she was sound asleep. There were nights that I would sit up rocking her for an hour or more after her bed time. I couldn’t keep track of how many stories I’d read a night. (Eventually we had to impose a three story rule.)

LM's idea of routine is that every night involves a naked lap around the upstairs of our house. If he's not naked its in his diaper. The only exceptions are when he's zonked out in the car on the way home from some event and we carry him upstairs fully dressed. Like his sister he likes his bath and some nights he likes reading stories, but very few nights go exactly the same. Perhaps its something we need to work on, but it could also be one of those personality things.

I could go on. I won't. At least not now. If you have great stories, share. I'd love to hear them. It will make our crazy days seem a little more normal.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Postvacationitis

Postvacationitis. Its a real thing. After a big vacation when its back to reality, its that thing that makes your body ache thinking about work and grocery chopping and laundry. Well that's how it feels for me. For the kids its a little bit different.

After 10 days of at least one ice cream and at least two desserts or servings of candy a day we were on our way home from Charleston when we stopped for lunch at Subway.

After we ordered our sandwiches she went looking for dessert. Just like she'd become accustomed to on vacation.

"I can't decide if I want and ice cream bar or a candy bar," says my daughter.

"Ummm. How about I help you out? Neither. Vacation is over," I reply.

Oh that is when the wining started. Along with the tummy ache and the head ache and the ear ache that was really swimmers ear because it didn't go away after healthy food and a nap.

I promptly diagnosed her, "You have postvacationitis."

This caused both her and hubby to pause. Then he looked at me across the front seat of our SUV and gave me a little smile and thumbs up.

After a pause, but before we were even out of the parking lot, she said, "Mommy that's not a real thing."

"It is," I assured her. "Your big cousin H gets it. His mommy has told me so. And so do Mommy and Daddy. We'll probably have it really bad tomorrow when we go back to work."

With that she bought it. I told her that taking a nap in the car and eating healthy foods would help it go away faster. She should probably make sure she gets to bed on time as well, because when you have postvacationitis its important to get your schedule back to normal.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Celebrating 90

My kids were so excited to make the trip to Virginia to help their great-grandfather celebrate his 90th birthday. It was more than just a party in his neighborhood, it was a whole weekend of fun.

The adventures started with a farm field trip of Friday night.

Little Man loved watching the "dogs" eat. He also tried to pet them!

Big Girl and her lil cuz (and one of the big ones!) gathered eggs.
Then on Saturday there were more adventures.

Planting tomatoes.

Playing the piano... please don't think for a second that this means we want or need one. We don't!

Playing "derp."
Saturday at dinner time was the big party and I didn't remember my camera.

Then on Sunday, more fun family time.


It was so nice to spend time with everyone and just chill out. Can't wait to see them all again so soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hanging Basket

Y'all I love the new hanging basket that Big Girl and I made for the back door. It was so easy. I've told several people about it. And people that have come over have loved it... So I decided to share it here as well.



It started with an old plastic flower pot and spraypaint. Then we drilled three holes near the edge of the flowerpot and tied on twine.

After a trip to Lowe's, we added the flowers and hung it up.

So easy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Love

The older my daughter gets the more challenging it can be to show her how much she is loved. She is only six now. But, I am sure it is not something that is going to get any easier any time soon.

This afternoon, without even thinking about it, without any hesitation, I showed her how much she is loved.

The story starts out like this.

We were on a walk through town on vacation. We were several blocks. Probably no more than six or eight from the hotel and had been playing in a big beautiful fountain.


It was wet and Big Girl was wearing new flip flops. They are plastic, but not the super cheap Old Navy kind. They are really pretty cute... Okay. I'm getting off subject.

The cute new flip flops started to hurt her feet. We weren't even out of sight of the fountain when she said in a very earnest and not whiny voice, "my feet really hurt."

Hubby started asking if she could make it back to the hotel and she looked like she wanted to cry. She asked if he could carry her. (She is way to big for carrying.) So, instead, I took off my nice comfy Rainbows and told her to put them on. I asked if they felt better and she said yes.

I walked all but the last two blocks back through town barefoot. looking at the ground all the way to make sure I wasn't stepping on anything sharp - but barefoot. As we reached the busiest street before the hotel and one block from the cobblestone I stopped.

Hubby started to say that she should put her shoes back on, but I just took them from her and wedged most of the onto my own feet. As I started walking I could feel them exchanging a look. I had a strange feeling that one of them was about to say something, but they didn't. Not a word.

As we walked up to the hotel - me still  in pink and yellow zebra plastic flip flops we ran into Uncle D and his family. (You may remember the awesome lesson he taught about reading instructions to make milk for the cows when we visited the farm last spring.)

Hi how are you! All the excitement of seeing them for the first time on this trip. As we headed on to to our room I took Big Girl's flip flops off and again went barefoot.

This time through the Doubletree instead of the streets.

Love. I couldn't help thinking to myself. It is such a powerful thing.

I hope my daughter knows how much I love her. (My husband and son too. But today it was defiantly about my daughter.)

Headboard Project

At the beginning of the year I set out to spruce up our guest room. So far there have been two are projects for the walls - one with painted canvases, the other with fabric covered boxes.

A few days ago I (finally) finished the headboard.


It was not a difficult project - but it was time consuming.

I started by going to the home improvement sotre and having a piece of plywood cut to the width of the bed.

At home I nailed 2x4's around the edges to frame and stabilize the headboard.


Next I used the staplegun (so fun!) to attach the padding - left over from the crib bumper that I took apart to make curtains in Little Man's room - to the frame.

Then I took out the old curtains that were up in the house when we moved in two years ago. Ironed them. Ughhh. Then ironed them again with starch. Double Ughh.

I lined up the fabric and stabled across the top starting in the center and moving out - one staple on one side, switch, switch again. (See you also get a little workout with this project!) So that you don't see the staples I wrapped the fabric all the way to the edge of the 2x4 closest to the middle of the back of the headboard.

Then I went down the sides the same way so the fabric stretched evenly.

Finally I turned it upside down and stappled the last of the fabric to the bottom.

Before the new headboard could be called done I trimmed the extra fabric that was around each side.

Oh. Wait. Last step - pull out the bed and wedge the headboard between the bed and the wall.


Perfect!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Keeping Score

Do you keep score? Some people perfect parents people say you shouldn't keep score when you're playing games with little kids. Its supposed to teach them something, the rules of the game, focusing on taking turns...

I understand the idea in t-ball and soceer. But, at our house we are always keeping score - who ran down the driveway first, who's won more games of Guess Who. You get the idea.

Most recently husband and I have been keeping score in the Parents of the Year contest. You know, the one that we totally made up?!?
Here are some of the things we've kept score on:
- 1 taking Little Man out in the cold on Sunday morning
+1 a little culture for Little Man by watching his dad run in a marathon
- 1 letting Little Man play on the floor at one of our favorite resturants/bars
+3 new swingset
+3 pulling off the swingset as a total suprise to Big Girl
- 2 baby falling down two stairs because we weren't supervising him
- 1 checking the backpack Monday night and finding the Friday folder
+1 catching that Big Girl didn't do all her homework before she went to bed
- 1 forgetting to have her finish the homework before bed

Friday, June 8, 2012

Family Dinners

Weekday dinners aren't easy. They need to be quick, healthy and loved eaten by all. If everyone truly enjoys a meal, then I earn a medal. Seriously folks. It ain't easy to please everyone.

Over the last few months, since we've added a toddler to the crowd, I have come up with a few winners.

Here are the criteria in more detail.

1. Quick. We prefer 30 minutes or less, but can stretch to 45 minutes from opening the fridge to bottoms in the chair on certain days.

2. Healthy. This means such different things to different people! I've talked to several nutrition experts and try to use the My Plate diagram they, and our pediatrician, recommend for the kids.
For myself, I'm trying to do fewer grains (sorry Kansas folks!) This said, a healthy dinner at our house requires a protein, a vegetable and either a grain or a fruit. (We eat fruit at both breakfast and lunch, and the kids and I drink milk for dinner.)

3. Eaten by All. Simply put, everyone will eat the meal. They don't have to love it. As long as more makes it into the tummies than on the kitchen walls, we are good.

We have two meals that have been working well for us recently and ironically, I served one on Tuesday and the other one is coming up tomorrow night.

Meal One: Yellow Rice, Carrots and Chicken

- Goya or another saffron yellow rice
- Steamed carrots
- Grilled chicken breast (diced) 
- Honey mustard sauce

How I Do It: Defrost chicken by moving it from the freezer to the fridge the night before. When I get home from work I turn on the grill and fill a pot with water for the rice. Then I run upstairs and change clothes. While I'm changing the kids come in. Back downstairs the rice goes in the pot and the kids get fruit or cheese sticks as an appetizer while I peel and slice the carrots and toss them in a Ziploc microwave steam bag. With snacks underway, I take the chicken to the grill (somewhere in the mix I've seasoned t with salt, pepper, smashed garlic and parsley) and get it started. Inside again, I stir the rice and talk to the kids about the day. Somewhere in here my husband arrives home and jumps in to help (truly he does!). The rice is done about the same time as the chicken, as it comes inside I hit start on the microwave. Two minutes later when the carrots are added to the pre-assembled plates we eat.

Its a good meal because you can mix it all together and add a little honey mustard for more flavor (if you're a grown up/kid who allows their foods to touch) or have it on the more bland side without anything touching. Either way food is served about 30 minutes after we walk in the door.

Meal Two: Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Topping

- Goya or another saffron yellow rice
- Chicken breast (diced)
- Black beans
- Pineapple
- Jerk Chicken seasoning

How I Do It: See above for chicken defrost and rice prep. This time the chicken cooks in a skillet in the kitchen. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle with jerk chicken seasoning until it is fairly covered. After the chicken is cooked, add the pineapple (keeping a few slices out for the kids) and half the juice to the skillet for 5-10 minutes. As the chicken is cooking, I rinse the black beans and then put in water to warm up in a small pot or in the microwave.

When the rice is done, I put rice on the plates, then black beans, then chicken and pineapple on top. Finally I use a spoon to drizzle some sauce on top.

Yum.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hiding

I feel like I've been in hiding lately.

The kids are being kids. I'm being mom. Hubby is being sweet and helpful and wonderful. All is good. But I haven't been blogging.

Instead I've been changing little boys up ladders to the slide. (Who gave him permission be be big enough to climb all eight rungs on the ladder by himself before reaching 18 months old?!?)

I've been crafting with my wonderful daughter.... And enjoying the wonderful few weeks at the end of spring and early part of summer before Raleigh turns into an all out sauna.

Back to the hiding part.

I have to confess that I'm a Pintrest freak. Love to pin and pin and pin. Unlike others, who may pin every little thing they see, I try to only pin stuff that I will actually make or try.

So, while I haven't been blogging as much as normal lately, I have been doing some projects. Many with the help of my sweet (almost seven year old!!!) daughter.

Project 1
Earring Holder/ Master Bathroom Art



Project 2
Fabric Covered Headboard



Project 3
Hairbows


Project 4
Hairbow Holder

Its been a fun few weeks and we have even more projects in process for the summer. I'll get together some how-to's soon and be back to the regular posts as well!