Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ready for Christmas

I used to get SO excited for Christmas, even as a grown up. But the last few years, not so much. The year Cam was born I was ready to shoot my mother. Maggie's first Christmas I was going through the motions. This year - there is a small chance I went overboard. And I don't care. But of course, it's one of the few Christmases that I could have NOT gone overboard because honestly, the kids have no clue. But we are haivng fun and that's all that matters!

I finally, finally finished re-knitting all those mittens that the dogs ate. The tree is up. Almost all the wrapping is done. I got a few small things for Aaron for his stocking and our family present to each other is a Kinect (already up and AWESOME!). My mom is coming up Friday, and hopefully it all goes nice and smoothly.

I have a bunch of funny little stories, but need to get back to finishing up a few handmade presents instead.

Friday, December 17, 2010

End of the week!

This has been a crazy week. I got invited to go out to the movies on Wednesday night - who ever goes to the movies on a weeknight?! I do! And then yesterday was my companies holiday party -and it was pretty fun.

Thanks for all the support on the church thing. I have to say, I emailed the minister, and I haven't heard back. So. I don't know what to make of it - I've emailed him before to no response, so maybe he is just bad at emailing. I don't feel bad about the whole thing - but I do still feel weird. Ah well. And of course, I can't go to church on Sunday (meeting up with some friends in the morning) so the longer it goes, the weirder I'm going to feel. Sigh.

One thing I want to let everyone know about - is if you are in my part of the world, there is a Scholastic Warehouse sale going on in Clinton, MA. I went on the suggestion of a woman from daycare, and I had no idea! It was awesome! Loads of kids books for super cheap - and even little stocking stuffers. I went on the website and printed out a coupon and fast cart check out thing (you just pick a school name and say you are a parent volunteer - no one checks). Cameron loves books - so I got loads of neat things for both Christmas and then throughout the year. And some books that are just for Maggie too (Cam tends to grab anything and yell MINE. So hoping a few can stay in Maggie's room). The sale goes until Dec 22nd - and is totally worth it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Failed attempts at Christmas Cheer

Well. One successful and one failed.

This weekend, we went to a nearby town and cut down our own Christmas tree for $20. If you can believe it, I've never cut down my own tree! Someone left their land, which included an old Christmas tree farm, to this town's conservation commission. They sell the trees that you cut for $20... but they aren't 'perfect' Christmas trees (which I kind of like better) and the trees are actually about 20 feet tall - but you just cut the tops off. It was a blast! And here is the tree!


The tree was a success. Of course, while putting it up, Cameron was helping pull the ornaments out the box, and broke a snowglobe. What a freaking mess.


The fail of the weekend was trying to take the kids to a Carol Service at church. I was excited to go, as I haven't been in church for a while and was looking forward to catching up with a few people, and also just listening to carols. I love carols. We got there before it started, but the place was PACKED and we ended up in the balcony. I brought plenty of food and things to keep the kids busy - but of course they made some noise. Cam was loving watching the singers - but I had to hold him on my shoulders... and Maggie. Well, Maggie was screeching that she was excited too - but her screeching sounds like crying. So - after about 30 minutes, I decide to leave. In the meantime, a woman comes up, and touches me on the shoulder to tell me that the service is being recorded, and there is childcare available.

What!?!? First off. No one told me either thing. I would have totally put Maggie in childcare - because Cameron is the one that loves the music. And honestly - if I had known it was being recorded - I probably wouldn't have even tried to come - as every time a song finishes, Cameron claps and yells YEAH! So, I'm trying to get myself out of the pew, with two (now very upset because one doesn't want to leave and one wants Mommy) children (oh yeah, forgot to mention that Aaron got called into work so I was on my own) and this woman is now blocking my way on the stairs, continuing to tell me how I'm ruining the recording. THANKS. I was rather rude to her, which I do not regret in the least. Another woman helped carry Maggie down the stairs.

I get outside, in the pouring rain, get the kids in the car, and start to leave, to find out some asshole has blocking the exit. So I need to back out and pray I don't hit anyone. I started crying. I felt awful that I maybe ruined a recording, I felt bad for missing out on the carols myself...and I was just tired from Maggie taking a rather minimal nap. I got home, got everyone settled and in bed. I actually went and looked on the emails that were sent about the service, and no where did it mention that there was childcare or that it was being recorded. Aaron called to check up, and I started crying.Sobbing actually. I told him what happened, and he was PISSED. He was like - it's not a recording studio! They can't get mad at you for that! But I still was upset.

Anyway - we've recovered from all that. The tree is up and the house looks like Christmas and I'm slowly getting into the Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Muffins, with LOADS of veggies

So. I have all these friends who sneak veggies into their children's food. I was against this at first. Surely, I could get my child to eat veggies! That isn't that big a deal!? But, I also don't want to turn dinner time into a power struggle. Pretty much every time I offer some sort of veggie (with the BIG range of things he will try consisting of potatoes, cucumbers, green beans and carrots) he yells NO MAMA! And takes them off the plate. And Maggie will stick them in her mouth, and then pull them out the minute she figures out it isn't fruit.

But Cam also used to hate baked goods - which is where a bunch of the recipes add in the veggies (muffins, french toast, pancakes). Now, we have turned a corner! Monday, I made banana muffins. Cameron was sitting and eating breakfast, pointing at the Tupperware that the cupcakes were in from his party. "Dis! I want dis!"

I had replaced the cupcakes with banana muffins... and he grabbed one and was walking around eating it saying mmmmmm. So, last night I embarked upon a recipe that a friend gave me, and it was a hit this morning. Maggie too! I did add a banana, as my kids seem to eat anything with squished bananas in it.

Oh, and today I snuck pureed carrots into Cameron's mac and cheese. Wonder if he'll notice. Heh heh.

A’s Favorite Fruit and Veggie Muffins
Mix this in a bowl:
½ cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white/all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly grated if you have it
1 Tb cinnamon
1 tsp cloves (I used ground cloves, I assume this is what she meant)
1 tsp salt
Mix this in a big bowl:
5 whole eggs
1 ½ cups plain whole milk or lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
8 ounces grated raw carrots (I’ve also used frozen and that works too)
8 ounces grated cauliflower (frozen cauliflower: heat up then grate in a food processor)
8 ounces grated broccoli (frozen broccoli: heat up then grate in a food processor)
Optional: 1 mashed ripe banana or pear or other leftover fruit
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
Pour in muffin tins; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
Bake at 375 for 15 – 20 mins.
Makes 2 – 3 dozen; store in freezer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Again, with the cards.

Last year, I told you about Paper Culture. Besides the fact that they have an absolutely wonderful product (funky, modern designs, very heavy card stock and rounded corners) - they also have a very sweet, kind and understanding staff. I had ordered the birth announcements for the twins while I was still at the hospital - I was so excited about the cute design I had picked - and we all know what occurred soon after that. So - they dutifully sent me a proof to approve, and I had to tell them what happened and cancel my order. They were SO wonderful about the whole thing (including a personal note from the CEO) that I swore I would order every invitation and holiday card from them. Always.

And I have. And even gotten more than a few friends to do the same.

So Monday, when I was obsessing on getting my holiday card figured out, I finally took the time to sit down and enter in all my outlook contacts into their website because they also have a great mail and message service . I was leery of using this at first, because I feel that hand written notes and addressing is 'more proper'... but honestly, the time and energy it takes to do that is something I don't have right now. And they even use real stamps - not the cheesy mail meter type stamps. That is what sold me. And, you can type in personal notes that they print on the back for each person. The way they do it is cool - you do a standard message for all - like Merry Christmas! Love Us! But then you can go in and change the one for your mom or best friend or whatever to be more personal.

So - I happily sat down and spent a good 2 hours inputing all this info, excited that I'd have the addresses in the system for future card/invite sending. I finished around midnight on Monday. Tuesday, I woke up and realized that I forgot to send cards to my brothers. Whoops. That is the disadvantage of the mail and message - you don't get extra cards in case you 'forget' unless you have them sent to your house for $8.99 shipping fee and I opted out of that. I called Paper Culture, and they told me it was no problem, just cancel the current order and add the 3 addresses in and reorder. I did that and then waited. Patiently. HA! Not!

Wednesday I thought I would just go check on the status of my order, and it wasn't in my account. The old canceled order for 47 cards was there, but not the new one. I did get the confirmation email, but I couldn't see the order. I called and it was, in fact, lost somewhere in cyberspace. The guy who was helping me was mortified. I even tried to re-enter everything AGAIN, and it was lost again. So - they sent me a spreadsheet to fill out and are making sure that my cards go out by early next week. But I have to say, that the whole gang at Paper Culture was so nice and so understanding with the crazy lady that had all these problems! Maybe someone else would have gotten pissed, but I'm already a customer for life with these people, and the fact that they were so good about addressing my problem, calling me back right away, and taking interest in giving me great customer service (the first person who was helping me stepped away from his desk - briefed the other guy on the phone what was going on so when I called, I didn't need to retell the whole story).

Great company. Awesome product. Highly recommend them!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Expectations.

Lets discuss everything I've done in the past 2 weeks.

  • Had Thanksgiving at my house when I wasn't planning on it
  • Hosted my MIL for 6 days
  • Had a party for Maggie to which easily 75 people were in my house
  • Thank you notes for Maggie's gifts were in the mail by Tuesday.
  • Uploaded and ordered prints of pictures for the past few months.
  • Made a special birthday shirt for Cam
  • Drove to NH for a picture with Santa (came out super cute by the way)
  • Was somehow surprised that the anniversary of my daughter's death threw me for a loop
  • Had a party for Cam for which Aaron made a super complicated 3D train cake and 9 two year olds attended, plus all the parents. I even got little chubby cars as party favors.
  • Sorted through pictures that I ordered and sent out to friends and family that would love them, and also put them in our album (and no. I don't scrapbook.)
  • Had the dogs consume a the mitten advent calender that I lovingly and excitedly made for my kids.
  • Spent an hour re-making the number tags, restuffing and rehanging the mittens for the advent calender. I have 5 that have to be reknit to make it to Christmas Eve - but I'm still to angry about it to start knitting.
  • Went to a cookie swap
  • Ordered holiday cards (which I have them send out, so necessitated entering 50 names and addresses and also a personal note on the back of each.)

A neighbor, who has received 2 thank you notes and also cute baby pictures from me in the past week texted me and said she wanted to hire me to organize her life because she doesn't know how I do it.

Honestly, I don't either! All of the things I do, I do because my mother did them growing up. Except for the pictures with Santa. But my mother, who was a single mother, did a Christmas letter every year, sent thank you notes within days of a present being received, cooked all meals from scratch and had a perfectly clean house. I've talked about this before, but I KNOW I can't handle it like she did. But I find myself trying to all the time. People often tell me that I don't have to send thank you notes, or holiday cards or that 2 years old won't miss party favors. But NOT doing it will nag at me more than if I just get it done.

Sigh. I was so excited to have the cards ordered... thinking that I have everything under control... and then realized that I don't have any Christmas decorations up inside the house yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Burned.

Wow. I'm more than a little burned out today! It's been two weeks of gogogogogogogo! And now I need to stop!

I had kind of told myself that this weekend would be no big deal. The anniversary of Nora's death wouldn't mean anymore than every other day, when I also miss her. A lot. But I was totally wrong. I couldn't sleep Friday night at all. Saturday, we went to see Santa at Nini Bambini (a bit of a failure - can't wait to see those pictures! Then - we went to see a cousin perform in a figure skating competition. For whatever reason, from then on, I was on the edge of tears all day. But we made it through just fine.

Sunday, we woke up (well, or exited the bed, in my case) to Cameron opening his presents - a bike, a stuffed lion, and TWO new trucks! He was so excited. But Aaron and I were already burned out - the cakes needed to be decorated still, and I needed to get balloons. And the kitchen was a mess. My mom arrived with her present (a helmet for the bike, which he hated of course). So I left and apparently mom was all over Aaron, driving him NUTS, and trying to get Cam to put the helmut on. Of course, Aaron was super crabby due to lack of sleep and work issues, and that fun continued all day.

The party itself was an awesome blast. Awesome. If anyone is in the area, I would totally recommend the Acton Discovery Museum for a party. They are super helpful, have a GREAT room you can use, and it wasn't crazy expensive. What a treat to not have to worry about hoards of people in your house like we did for Maggie's party.

But then, we got home, and that awesome advent calender. With the mittens? That I knit by hand? That took me HOURS of free time I don't really have? We left the door open to the dining room, the dogs got in there, destroyed all the mittens and ate the chocolate. I saw it and I swore. And I was crying and Aaron was telling me 'that's what I get for leaving the door open' and my mother is telling me not to swear in front of the children and 'that's what dogs do when they want to get back at you'. I was LIVID. Yes, yes. I know that it's not the dogs fault, I should have made sure the door was closed... but I was just SO happy about those mittens and how cute it looked and how much fun Cam was having with it, and to see it destroyed all across the living room! It's not like they just shook out the chocolate! They destroyed each and every mitten too! Even the time I took to carefully stuff all the mittens with one krackle bar each (and other stuff for the rest of us) because those are Cam's favorites.... I was crushed. The good news is that I knit extra, because for a while I thought I would make a mitten for each kid, so the reknitting won't be all that bad. Like 8 hours instead of 24. But seriously.

Now I need to get to work and work on this stupid spreadsheet that should take weeks but my boss told me about Weds night, and it was due on Friday. Sigh. If I ever needed a mental health day, today is the day. But work beckons.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Cam-Man!

The party was quite a success! Many stories to tell, but here are some pictures to tide you all over...


Suzanne is Cameron's godmother - and she was the hit of the party! She was having a blast running around with the gang. Although, after 30 minutes, she was kind of ready for a nap, lol.

Cam was obsessed with the water table this visit, and the shirt? That's right. I made it.

Do you notice the dragon is lighting 2 candles on the cupcake? Yep, it's that cute.

Here is Cam blowing a BIG bubble with Suzanne!

And Maggie - also having a blast!
And finally, blowing out the candles with Daddy on his super special choochoo cake!

And now I shall go to sleep.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Smitten Mitten's

I'm ridiculously happy to have hung this up today.


Yeah, yeah, two more mittens to knit still, but whatever. I'm guessing Cam will have the same reaction to the chocolate inside as Dibits did.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A moment of calm

Now that the Thanksgiving/Maggie birthday craziness is past - I have a few moments of calm before the weekend and Cameron's 2nd birthday on Sunday. I was worried for a bit that it was going to be a rough one - Nora died on the 4th. But, Aaron and I took some time to talk about it - and we both think we are going to be OK. I cried when I was carrying in Maggie's cake and singing Happy Birthday - because damn it - she should be sharing this day with her sister. And I have been thinking a lot about Nora lately.

We talked a little bit about what we should do. Should we do something for Nora on her birthday? But then it would cast a shadow on Maggie's day. What about on the 4th? We did get a candle during her naming ceremony during the memorial service, and I was thinking of maybe lighting that on the 4th. But, honestly, I just don't want have a 'memorial' day either. We are going to live our lives and celebrate our wonderful living children. We are going to stick with our plan to plant flowers near Nora's tree when it is beautiful and bursting with pink blooms in the spring. I don't need to set aside a special time to remember Nora. I can never forget her. She is in my heart and I hold her close always.

I felt like sometimes, people judge a little because I'm not doing things like lighting candles or having a little cake for Nora or something like that. I have lucked into a wonderful friend whose brother died when he was 8. She told me that her mother had a rough time getting past his death, but as a family they also didn't do any memorial things and she doesn't even remember when his birthday was. But her mom did talk about the fun times they had with him... he was never forgotten, but also, wasn't a constant topic of conversation. And that makes me feel better about how we are choosing to deal with Nora. As the kids get older, we will talk about Maggie's big sister, how she was with us for 5 days, and that we miss her... and then we will continue to celebrate our lives and the joy that all of our children have brought to it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quite a year.

Well, my little girl turns 1 today. It's been a hell of a ride - but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I got her this hat off esty - and this is seriously the face she gave every time I put it on. She is totally saying - "Mom. Take. It. Off."

Hmm.... cake.
Is delicious! Yum!

Here Mom! Have some! Yum!


This was all yesterday at the big birthday party. She had SO much fun - we had a face painter here, and Cam was a puppy. I got my face painted to show him how much fun it was, and that also got the ball rolling with the older kids who were 'too cool'. But the 'big' kids (between 6 - 14) were SO much fun with Cam and Maggie. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Maggie got some really great presents, Aaron and I had the most wonderful time sharing with our great friends... pretty much the best party we've ever thrown. For the best baby girl in the universe!(Well. In my opinion. There are a few people out there that my have differing opinions!)
Today the house is quiet. I'm working from home, the kids are at school, my MIL is gone, and Aaron is at work. My MIL was here since Weds, and that was actually awesome. She was great, the kids loved her, and somehow, Aaron and her managed to not push each other's buttons the whole time she was here. It was great.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gettin' it done.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I just lost my whole post. So I will redo in bullet points:

  • Getting a little freaked out on the amount of people that are potentially coming to Maggie's birthday party next Sunday. I think I'm up to about 40 people so far.
  • Maggie is turning one! In a WEEK!
  • Maggie took her first steps on Tuesday night. Now she is up to three in a row... too cute
  • Because I have not only 40 people coming to my house on Sunday, but my MIL visiting for 5 days, I've been obsessively cleaning, organizing and finishing unfinished projects around the house. So far, I've spent an entire day painting trim and doors, another day organizing the pantry and stacking wood outside with Aaron, and yesterday was spent organizing the craft/guest room. This morning, I'm doing my office. It feels awesome to has everything nice and tidy.
  • I need to work harder at keeping it this way. Because honestly, organizing isn't that hard of a task in reality, but I think about how awful it's going to be for far too long before actually doing it (and things get messier and messier while I think about cleaning up).
  • Jen is a very smart woman. She blogged for a week about cleaning, and I did learn a lot - but the best advice she gave is to have a place for everything. Because that IS the biggest problem with keeping a clean house! If there is no 'official' place to put things, you end up not knowing what to do with it, and it's clutter.
  • In the last week, Maggie has gotten 3 new teeth. And woken up almost every night at 3 AM. I'm tired.
  • I'm still on the local twins list, and a mom of twins was asking if anyone had a doorway jumper that they were done with - because they only had one and both girls LOVED bouncing. I knew I used to have two, but had given one away, and wasn't sure about the other. I told the mom this, and when I got home from work - went up in to the attic. Well, I did find the jumper, but karma was in play, because also up there was a whole box of 12-18 month clothes... all perfect for this season! Even cute little christmasy outfits, a snowsuit and shoes!
  • Both Maggie and Cameron's godmother's visited on Sunday (Suzanne to help with the yarn room and Tarsha to do some babysitting so we could go to the movies! Hurrah!). It was really fun to have them both over, and they managed to exhaust both children so they slept like ROCKS last night. Even poor little teething Maggie.

OK - I need to get to work!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wow. A week?

Well - this may be a harbinger of things to come, because I was just so busy this week I didn't have time to blog! My job is finally getting busy again, I was prepping for my weekend away, and more birthday party planning... the week just flew by!

I can NOT believe that Maggie turns one in less than two weeks. Blows my mind.

The weekend was a great getaway. I became obsessed with making Aaron's grandmother a crossword puzzle quilt. (Much more info here) I spent much of my free time last week getting everything together so I could work on that quilt during the weekend! I also made super cute 'paper' luch bags out of felt and made felt food (ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and bread) as presents for my kids and friends kids. It took an insane amount of time to make that felt food - but it was fun.

Aaron was on his own with the kids from Friday - Sunday afternoon, and all reports were great. They slept well for him, had a lot of fun - and one of our closest friends visited with his daughter, Stella. When they were there, they ordered pizza for lunch. Daycare jokingly asked Cam yesterday if he ate pizza all weekend, and his answer? "Don't tell Momma!". I'm still cracking up over that.

Now we are getting ready for Thanksgiving - Aaron's mother is staying from Wednesday - Monday.... so that should be interesting....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lucky Man and well update

I'm fortunate in that I'm able to work from home at least 2 days a week. If not more. And I'm in a management position, so a lot of my day is spent on conference calls. So when I do work from home, I can walk around with a headset on, tossing stuff in the washer, loading the dishwasher, starting dinner in the oven, making baby food, or picking up baby toys. So Aaron is totally spoiled. And he admitted it last night when he got home... so he is forgiven. For now.

The reason I had everything ready to go when he got home last night, was there was special town meeting on the final bit in the drama that is our current crisis (we were even in the news on this issue, here is the article) - the bankrupt well in our neighborhood. I bitched about it here a little bit, but we used to have a privately owned well that served our community of 187 homes. It was horribly mismanaged and went bankrupt. And now, homes that were not designed to have a well on the property (some people have to dig up their driveways or move sheds or other drastic measures) are being forced to do so at GREAT personal and unplanned expense. The state stepped in and they have been talking about low interest loans for us, and last night was the official town vote to allow us to have these loans - and it did pass, thank god.

But the whole thing raises an interesting point about community. It's interesting to see the way people react to this whole thing. Way back in the beginning of this crisis, the town manager made a statement that 'the whole town should not be responsible for paying for 187 homes, when the rest of the town gets nothing for it'. Now, of course, we weren't asking for the town to PAY for it in total, although there were questions raised if the town could buy the well, but the financial situation of the well made it so it would NEVER ever break even - so it became quickly apparent that wasn't a solution. But in the end, there are many families that are affected by this that do not have $10,000 laying around to pay for drilling their own well. And the well was supposed to have been regulated by the town, and then the state. So now, there are people at risk of their home becoming inhabitable because they can't afford a well?! The state said they would give loans at low interest rates, and it did get passed. The way some people talked about it, since they didn't need a loan, they weren't going to the meeting to vote for it.

Call me crazy - but we are a COMMUNITY. I'm lucky enough to have other options to get the money for our well, even if we are tight on money right now. But, I care if my neighbor ends up without water. I care if this stupid course of events causes undo hardship on others. So Aaron went to the meeting, and most others showed up. Aaron said there were about 300 people there, and 4 voted against giving us the loans. That is a huge stress off our plates. So we can all move forward with the rest of the drilling and trenching and filters and all that bullshit - and the cost should be the same as we were paying for the monthly water bill. Which is great news.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vent

Explain to me how it is that any non-husband related stuff is MY stuff. Seems to me that boxes of toys to get rid of, dirty clothes from downstairs on the floor to go upstairs, and other assorted baby shit should be BOTH our responsibility. I swear to GOD if he bitches under his breath one more f'ing time about that sort of thing, I'm never going to pick up after OUR children again and we'll see how the house looks then.

This is after doing (and folding) over 6 loads of HIS laundry and having dinner on the table when he walked in the door.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Totally on top of it.

Well, after my minor panic yesterday, everything is all settled for birthdays and Christmas. Thanks for all your awesome ideas! Maggie is going to get a Leapfrog music table for her birthday, and a grocery cart for Christmas. I'm SO glad I asked you all for ideas - because I remembered being in a toy store with Cam in May, and he fell in LOVE with that exact same grocery cart.

And I saw a posting on the twins list for this tractor yesterday. It has a working front scoop and pedals, and it's going to be a HUGE hit with Cam. I never thought of getting him something like that - they are around $200 new - but this one is for sale for $65. That will be his Christmas present. Aaron is picking it up today, and we'll be hiding it until the big day.

I even got fun stamps to mail the invites with. And the cake pan for Cameron's birthday cake (we already have a pan for a big number 1 for Maggie). I also started asking friends and family to big appetizers to Maggie's party - so I'm not in the kitchen all day cooking... kind of making it a potluck affair. Which will make it much less stressful, I hope!

This also makes me happy to have everything under control, as next weekend I'm off to Portsmouth, NH for my annual quilting weekend with my girlfriends. We all stay in a bed and breakfast, and sit around and sew for a whole weekend. It's a blast, and we get a bunch of projects done! I'm hoping to finish a few Christmas present quilts... we'll see. I'm also planning on letting loose and getting a little bit drunk on one night, as it's going to be my first baby-free night since Cameron was born.... so watch out world!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Birthday planning done and present help needed!

I have to say, obviously not much planning went into WHEN we would have our kids. With Cam, we just did cycle after cycle until it worked, and that ended up with a due date in December. And Maggie, well - she is the definition of surprise. I thought that having a birthday near Thanksgiving and Christmas would suck, and MAN does it. For me, as the planner, at least. But everything is settled now - I can't believe how quickly their birthday's have crept up on me!

Maggie is getting a huge open house party. Huge. I'm inviting everyone under the sun and we are going to celebrate the SHIT out of her birthday. And I got the best invites from Paper Culture -

Maggie never got a birth announcement, I just couldn't figure out what to do - announce just Maggie? But then what did that say about Nora? It was too much. So - I'm using this as an announcement of sorts and sending to everyone. She also didn't get the usual stream of visitors congratulating us on her birth, (thanks to the flu scare, no one was really allowed at the hospital, and we were only home for one night before Nora died) so we are going to do it UP for her first birthday. It falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving - so I actually sent out 'save the date' emails and decided to have the party on Sunday afternoon so that more people could come.

The other thing for Maggie is everyone is asking what sort of presents she would like - and I have NO CLUE. She just loves to follow Cam around. I have no idea what sort of toy she would like! I feel awful. With Cam, I could just say trucks or balls or blocks.... but I feel like with a girl - you can't say dolls for sure - because not all girls like dolls. And we already have loads of trucks and balls and blocks already.... so all those with baby girls - any advice on good presents to suggest for Maggie? Everyone is asking. We already have a play kitchen, a train table, an activity cube and a Happy House. The toy that makes her laugh and laugh and laugh is the Busy Ball Popper - if that helps with suggestions.

Cam's party has a lot of planning too. It's going to be much smaller than Maggie's - but it's also the day after the anniversary of Nora's death. I have no idea what sort of shape I'm going to be in that weekend, so we are doing it at the local Children's Museum. They can take up to 27 people in their space, and you can let up to 18 people go into the museum. I'm just inviting 3 or 4 of his friends, and the rest are his grown up fan club. The party starts at 10:30 and goes until 12:45 - perfect timing to go crazy and have fun, eat pizza and a train cake(!) and then go home for naps. Cam's big present is an Early Rider bike - I think it'll blow his mind.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Success

Our Halloween celebration was a huge success. Everyone had a blast! No meltdowns (at least not from any of my kids), good mix of people to hang out with, and just in general a great time.

Aaron and I have been talking about the fact that we are finally back to 'ourselves'. We are back to doing the little things that we used to do without thinking about it - throwing fun little parties, decorating for Halloween, yard work. Just in general being on top of things. It all started going downhill with our IF struggle, then my pregnancies (just not enough energy to help him with projects) and the final bit - Nora's death. We feel like we are finally 'back'. It's literally been YEARS since we had our house ready for the winter. It's been ages since we had a good shindig at our house... and now we can do it. It feels good.

Aaron and I fell into bed Sunday night, our feet hurting from all the standing and walking (and cooking, and pumpkin carving, and log splitting) we did this weekend. And we shared a happy sigh. Feels good to be close to normal again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Daycare Halloween Parade

We got to do a little dry run of Halloween at daycare today.... Maggie had a blast:


I made her that snail costume and just PRAYED she wouldn't start walking before Halloween:


Can you stand the knitted eyeballs? They crack me up. (Hat pattern here and eyeballs here)


Cameron, on the other hand, was not very happy with the whole costume thing.

I'm really glad I took a friends advice when I was about to embark upon making a complicated costume for him. She said - 'Just take my son's from last year - it will kill you when he won't put on the hat - those take the longest to make and kids hate them'. In the above picture, Cam is FREAKING out because I'm trying to put the hat on.
The school was doing a little parade around the outside of the building, so I convinced him to put the hat on the way I convince him to put all hats on. I told him his ears would fall off if he didn't.
Then he got into it. "Grrrr Mommy!"
And then all smiles as he had fun walking around with all his friends:
Well, I think Sunday is going to be hilarious.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spirograph

So. I kind of hate dealing with birthday presents. Mostly because I never have any idea as to what to get. Next week is our niece's 7 birthday - she is the daughter of the brother that isn't speaking to us. That makes it even harder. I want her to know that we still think of her, but also am totally NOT going to call up and ask what they think she wants as a present.

On a completely unrelated note, I got my daily sale email from Zulily, (which has some really great deals on fancy kid stuff) and there was some really neat winter outerwear with spriograph designs on it!

Light bulb!

I can totally remember the HOURS I would spend playing with my spirograph. I freaking loved that thing. Turns out they don't really make it anymore, but there are a few options available. I ended up picking this one - because it was the one with least sucky reviews. Then, I called my mom to see if she still have my original spirograph kit, and she did! Woot! I can't wait to play with it again!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soup crazed and baby torture

I like soup. A lot. Thanks to NCLW, I found the blog A Half Baked Life - and became obsessed with her soup recipes! I made 4 batches of soup on Sunday afternoon! Now I have bags and bags of soup frozen for lunches throughout the winter! Hurrah.

Last night, Aaron put Cameron to bed. He was playing with a pinwheel upstairs (I forgot how much fun those are). This morning, Maggie and I got up first, I got her all ready and then we went and got Cam. Sometimes, Cam gets VERY upset with Maggie in his room, yelling MINE MINE as she crawls around doing her thing while I dress him. So, this morning he was FLIPPING out and pointing at his train. I was turned it on, because he does love the train... but he kept yelling MINE and pointing at the damn train. I told him if he didn't stop, I was going to turn off the train. He stopped, but his little chin was quivering and watching the train the whole time I was dressing him. I finally put him down, turn around, and notice that Aaron has put the pinwheel IN the train. Whoops.

Poor Cameron. I apologized, handed him the pinwheel. He hugged it, whispered 'mine', and ran down the hallway. Sigh.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another easy yummy recipe and a thanks

Last night, I made Swiss Chicken. Damn that really is a good, easy dinner. I saw my mom this weekend, and she made this apple dessert that was something I knew that Aaron would love. She gave me the recipe, I made it last night, it worked great with the chicken because I was able to cook them in the same oven. It was easy and tasty.

Swedish Apple Pie

1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 cup apples (I peeled and cut them into chunks)
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/4 tsp salt

Beat egg until lemon colored and forms a ribbon. (I didn't know what the hell that meant so I just beat the crap out of it)
Blend in remaining ingredients
Spoon into a greased (I used pam) 9 inch pie pan
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

*ETA - This looks really weird and lumpy before you bake it. For me, it barely covered the bottom of the pan. It spreads out during baking.

I'm going to do the tattoo on inside of my right ankle! Now to decide exactly what it's going to look like. Thanks for all your feedback - I'm definitely going to get it a little bigger (don't want it to turn into a blob). And also thanks for agreeing with me that it's a good idea.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's talk tattoos

Somebody mentioned a while back that they got their babies footprints as a tattoo. I thought that was such a cool idea that I told Aaron - who LOVED it. Nora's footprint is one of the few things we have of her. We only have a handful of pictures, the outfit she came home in - it just seems right. He is planning on getting all three babies footprints (taken from when they were born) tattooed life sized up the back of his calf (like they are walking up his leg). He's going to do order of birth, so Cam's right foot, Nora's left, and then Maggie's right. He is still deciding if he'll put names under each footprint or in it or whatever.

I want to get the same thing, yet smaller - and not on my calf. Now - this is where I need help. Opinions? Remember that I'm not small - and there are rather unfortunate stretch marks on my belly from bearing 3 children in 2 years. I was thinking right over my heart.... but then I'm not sure. I already have one tattoo on my hip. I'm a bit hesitant on putting it somewhere it'll be seen every day - but I'm considering it.

Help?

ETA: For tattoo size - I'm thinking SMALL like smaller than a quarter, same idea as Aaron's (each child's footprint like they are walking). Now I'm leaning towards wrist or ankle.....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Housekeeping Woes

So. We aren't the best housekeepers here at Casa de Childbearinghips. The house is clean(ish) but we have cleaning ladies. Having a crawling child has forced me (yet again) to do more floor cleaning than I have in the past, but we are pretty lax about things around here. We don't sort laundry by colors/whites, after washing them we will keep then in the baskets for a long while before putting them away, I don't iron clothes or cloth napkins (or sheets! I didn't even know people DID that until my Aunt mentioned that she did. I was shocked.). I will often leave the dishes for the following morning, I use Dream Dinners for about 75% of our meals, and we often eat dinner on the couch instead of in the dining room. I have random stacks of mail around the house. I often depend on the dogs for cleaning up after baby dinner time. I do admit to learning a lot about stain removal since the children have arrived, though.

It's not awful - I'm certainly not embarrassed to have people drop in without calling first.... but I do make a big effort to clean when people like my mother or Aaron's grandmother visits. It's not a showcase house by any stretch of the imagination.

This system has worked fine for us - I tidy up/put away things every other week before the cleaning ladies come, and we do laundry when we feel like it.

We have had 3 cleaning crisis in the last week and they are somewhat related.

Crisis 1: When Abby went to the vet a long while back, they suggested that we put the dogs on fish oil. A few squirts in their food. Seemed like a good idea, but it made both dogs throw up everywhere so we stopped (boxers have weird stomach issues). Someone left the bottle on the downstairs changing area. It got knocked over onto the changing table counter (unfinished wood). The whole bathroom smelled like fish oil. I threw away the oil, and the smell lessened. A week passes, the smell is still there. I pick up the changing pad, and there is fish oil soaked into the changing pad. I throw it out and put the cover upstairs to wash. I used all the cleaners I have int he house (clorox green surface cleaner and some other lame green cleaner). It's been another week, and the awful fish oil smell is still in the bathroom. Jen? Any ideas?

You may ask 'Unfinished Wood? For a changing table?' and to that I answer - it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Crisis 2. I went away this weekend with a girlfriend, and Aaron, thinking he was being very helpful, did a bunch of laundry. Before I left, I had done a load of hand wash only hand knit sweaters. I didn't take them out of the washer. They were little baby sweaters, he didn't even notice them, threw in jeans and towels and now they are felted into little tiny sweaters. Little tiny sweaters that took me many many MANY hours to knit. I still get sad thinking of it. I cried when I saw them.

Crisis 3. The final bit of laundry that Aaron did involved the fish oil changing pad cover. I assume he started this load on Sunday. I opened up the washer this morning (minimum of three days marinating in the washer) and was assaulted by fish oil smell. It was disgusting. I threw the stuff in the dryer (bad move - but I did add extra dyer sheets? Hoping that would help!?) and then was greeted at the end of the cycle with HOT fish oil smell. I did a load of laundry after that, so the good news is that the smell isn't in the washer/dryer - any clothes NOT in that load smell ok - but it seems that I have a whole load of laundry that now smells like fish oil. I just did another load with presoak/heavy duty/extra rinse.... but still smell fish oil. Again, Jen? Ideas?

So - I'm wishing a little bit that I was a Susie Homemaker and maybe wouldn't have had these things occur to begin with (you know, since I wouldn't have had open containers of fish oil hanging around and all laundry would be sorted and not left in the washing machine). But I'm not. Wah.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My kids are awesome

What the hell, let's bullet point it:
  • First point - I forget to include the SWISS cheese as an ingredient in the SWISS Chicken. I fixed the recipe
  • Both kids got flu shots on Saturday morning - not a tear. Not one. Cam cried when we entered the exam room, but stopped crying after the gift of a sticker, and never cried again.
  • Then, we got home, Maggie took a two hour nap, and Cam helped us do fall cleanup outside. Nothing is cuter than watching Cam rake. And I got to trim all the crap in the front gardens to a more manageable level.
  • Maggie woke up just in time for me to take her with me to my Block of the Month class - she had to see her adoring fans, of course.
  • When I got home, Cam was up from HIS nap (and Maggie went down for her second) and helped us wash my car. Also crazy cute.
  • Sunday we had Aaron's company picnic at Kimball's - Cam did mini-golf. Here is a picture of that:

  • He was more into holding the ball and the club then using it - but he had a blast.
  • Then on Monday (Aaron went to spend a couple days with friends,so I was on my own), we went to Nini Bambini for an AWESOME open house! Music, crafts, and new shoes for Cam (Creature Shoes from EMU) :


  • Cam was kind of nervous with all the people, but Maggie was all over the place - and had a blast.

Phew! That is the weekend in a nutshell! Lots of fun, and one tired Mama!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Super easy tasty chicken

Tonight I made something yummy and super easy - figured I should share with you all (and get that sad post off the top...)

Swiss Baked Chicken
3 chicken breasts
3 slices swiss cheese
1/2 cup mushroom soup
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 cup seasoned croutons
2 Tbsp olive oil

Spray baking pan with non-stick spray
place chicken breasts in pan
Top each chicken breast with a slice of cheese
Mix soup and wine, pour over chicken
Put croutons on top of chicken
Drizzle olive oil over croutons

Bake at 350 covered for 45 minutes, uncovered for another 20

Yum! I served over rice with broccoli!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Faking it until I make it....

That is my usual theory. If things are bad, you just pretend that they are AWESOME, and eventually they are. So. Nora died. I wasn't really able to fake it so I looked like things are awesome, but at least passable for a long time. I then was able to feel happy, but with this nagging undercurrent of sad. Of loss. Of missing something.

I've been reliving that night over and over when I go to bed this past week - and when I saw my therapist yesterday, we talked about why that is. I guess I figured that eventually, I would be 'ok' with Nora's death. And I try. I tell myself that it was something we couldn't have prevented, and that Nora lives on in my heart.... but seriously, BLAH BLAH BLAH. I came to the realization that the undercurrent of sadness may NOT go away. It may lessen over time, but losing a baby isn't something that you just 'get over' or certainly forget about. That somehow kind of made the hurt lose it's edge. Maybe because I was hoping it would just go away. But now that I realize it's with me for the long haul, I'll just let it live there in my heart and let it remind me of that sweet baby I cuddled with for 5 days.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Maggie's first ear infection

: (

Poor little girl woke up from her nap at daycare yesterday and it took them a good 45 minutes to calm her down. No fever, thank god - but just a little ear infection that we hopefully caught nice and early. Doesn't surprise me, as she's had a cold for over 3 weeks now! And, I have to say, catching an ear infection in the early stages is a nice change from Cameron, whose ears could be falling off but he'd never let us know. Anyway, it was good to see the doc, as we just had that whole 'Maggie turned blue when crying' episode last week and she was happy to see us. She said that although babies turn blue from crying - she maybe gets a call from a parent once every month or so - so not SUPER common. She was so sorry it happened to us, and assured us that she was fine. And was happy to hear that it hasn't happened again. So little Maggie is on antibiotics and is in that "I'm sick and need to be cuddled' phase of illness which I love. She was cuddled up with me for 45 minutes last night... we were both holding each other close (she gives little hugs now, too sweet). I of course want her to feel better... but don't mind that she needs me a bit!

This was such a crazy weekend... Saturday we had a church fair with a bounce house that had a SLIDE. Cameron was in it for almost an hour. The next day, we had Aaron's family over for a visit (a surprise visit) which was nice. This is Aaron's brother - he has a daughter Cameron's age and they had a blast playing. It was so nice to have them make the trip, somehow we are always going there. And after that, I hosted a block party in our front yard! It was a complete success! All the kids were playing in our driveway and our backyard - just having a blast. Cameron was running with the pack... and all the kids were very sweet with him. Maggie got passed around to all the mom's who miss little babies... and we all got to know each other a little better. I'll definitely do that again soon.

This upcoming weekend will be a much more low key - thank god! This past weekend was fun, but I felt like I needed Monday at work to recover!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Advice

Yesterday, I went to the doctor. The only way I can get in to see my doctor (after stupidly missing my appointment last week by an hour) was to do a Shared Medical Appointment. I thought it would be awkward, sitting in a room with other people, talking about you medical 'stuff' - but it was nice. It was a bunch of women, and each had the same issues as me, if not worse. But there was a young woman (maybe 22) talking about 22 year old issues - stuff that is such a lifetime away for me! Like birth control pills or being tired because she goes to her boyfriends place and then home... and her anxieties about starting new job or the fact that she 'doesn't really smoke' because she only smokes a few times a week.

It made me feel grown up and also OLD. But happy that I'm in the place I'm in. Yeah, bad shit has gone down. But to return to my early 20's? That was such a stressful place. You are still in that high school/college space where peer pressure is huge - but also you feel like you need to get set in your career, get married, blah blah blah. Now, 15 years later - I do have an established career, a husband, kids and a house. And I could give 2 shits what other people think of me. If only I could think of someway to tell her it'll all seem so silly in 10 years.

I think it's an Indigo Girl song that says "What would I give for my kid fears." Yep. The biggest fear I had was the monster in the basement.

I could give her advice on Neti pots! After Nora died, I pretty much cried for 2 weeks straight. I didn't think it was possible, but I did. My eyes hurt, my face was actually swollen under my eyes from all the snot... and a girlfriend gave me a sinus rinse thing (I can't find the exact name) but it made such a difference! It took me a couple days to even try it, but once I did it once - I was in love. It works so well! Doesn't really make any sense to me how it works.... but if you have been crying for weeks - or in the more likely case of allergies or a cold.... get thee a neti pot.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is it wrong that I think this is funny?

Every morning, I get Cam dressed. We name all the bits of clothes he puts on - jeans, socks, shoes, shirt, sweater... whatever. And some of his shirts have dogs on them, and he'll yell "Abby!" (because all dogs are Abby because that is our dogs name). A few have balls on them, like soccer balls or footballs and he'll declare "Ball!" when he sees those.

I got him new pack of socks that have footballs and soccer balls on them. This morning, he was running around the house proclaiming "Ball! Sock!" but it came out sounding more like Ball! Sack!

Heh heh.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Perspective

I'm having a rather shitty day. It's raining, weekend plans didn't go as smoothly as I'd wished, Aaron needed a root canal that cost us $1000 in co-pays and we need to figure out how to put in a well (thanks to our community well going bankrupt).

I was starting to feel all depressed about money (or lack thereof) and realized that we are rich. We've got two wonderful kids and a pretty great family and all will work out in the end.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just shoot me now.

I'm sitting in my living room, working from home. The workday is almost over. I get a call from daycare. She starts out by saying 'It's not an emergency, everything is fine....' and goes on to say that Maggie was crying really hard and turned blue.

I hung up the phone and was at daycare within minutes. I called Aaron and told him she was fine but turned blue - and he was on the road in minutes.

I got to daycare and the director was standing at the doorway holding my smiling, happy baby girl. She took me into her office and I just held her and cried and cried and cried. Then I could finally listen to the story. Maggie just had her diaper changed, and her primary caregiver, A, put her on the floor. She crawled her way over the door, when the other provider was loading all the kids up into the stroller to go outside. Maggie just started crying (like she hurt herself or something) so A picked her up and tried to calm her down, at which point, Maggie was crying SO hard that she wasn't breathing and her lips went blue. A gave her a little whack on the back and she recovered just fine. They checked her over and we really can't see any place that looks like she got hurt. (Has Maggie turned into such a diva that she cries when someone turns their back on her? Gad save us if that is true). Daycare at first wasn't going to call. But the way the director tells it, she let A take her outside. And then the director went outside and said she should hold Maggie. And then decided that she should call me so I could hold Maggie.

Our doc and everyone tells us that it's OK. So we breathe deeply and move forward. I'm exhausted from the stress.

I have to say that I love our daycare. They knew exactly what to do. They could have never told me it happened, because I know that kids crying really hard will sometime turn blue. And Maggie recovered right away and was obviously totally and completely fine. But they know what we've gone through, and I swear, love our kids as much as we do. Knew we would want to know and check with our doc so we could be SURE.

God damn kids. Make me love them so much it hurts.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cold Medicine Induced Rant

I was reading Mel's posts about breast feeding. The second I read it, emotions came flooding back to me. I had so much pain when I decided not to breastfeed Cam. But after I made the decision, I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn't breastfeed Maggie for other reasons, but every once in a while I still regret it, even though I know it was the right thing to do.

And that's my parenting style. I do what I think is the right thing to do. For me. For MY kids. For MY family. I take all the information that is being thrown at me from a million different places and I do what I think it best for me, my personal situation, and my children's situation.

Everything is SO personal when it comes to child rearing. For us, we've had to deal with so much - it blows my mind when people make sweeping generalizations about parenting.

I can guarantee that no one can ever say that they know exactly what you are going through. Even if our situations seem similar from the outside -every single person pulls from various life experiences and beliefs to come to each decision we make. I was raised by a single, working woman. I'm too trusting. I had to go through a lot just to get pregnant. I got pregnant 'later' in life, after I had an established career. I had an emergency c-section when I really wanted a vaginal birth. I threw away formula samples that arrived before Cam's birth because I knew I would breastfeed. And I've formula fed all my children. I got pregnant by surprise (who knew that you could get pregnant when you had sex!?). I had twins. I lost a twin. I swore I would never co-sleep, and then slept holding Maggie in my arms for the first month of her life. I want to let my kids learn things on their own, but I don't want to ever see them hurt. I want to give them the best I can. I don't want my kids to have the issues with food and weight that I have had my whole life. I want them to know unconditional love. I want them to have fun with their parents, but I still feel that setting limits is very important. I want them to laugh and have fun and friends and not be too serious. I want them to succeed in life.

And I think that ALL parents want things like that for their family. But our society has changed the obvious goal of parenting - raising a successful child (whatever that label of success may be to you) and tainted it. You aren't successful unless you have a natural, vaginal birth. You aren't successful unless you breastfeed. You aren't successful unless you feed your children all organic foods. You aren't successful unless you child sleeps on his/her back. You should/shouldn't vaccinate. If something bad happens it's all your fault because you didn't do one or all of the above things.

How did we get like this? I know that our parents dealt with this too but it just seems that people have so much more to say about it now. Maybe it's because I'm living through it, but there are days when I hear yet another study telling me why my kids are going to have lower IQs and be obese because of some random thing I just want to scream STOP!

Parenting is a heck of a lot of common sense. Kids should get a good night's sleep. They should eat well. They should be loved and played with and read to. And given as many opportunities as is possible. But there is not one thing that is going to RUIN my child. And it makes me sad that we, as a society, feel that way. And it's hard to weed through the propaganda to get to the truth sometimes.

I guess I'm just wishing that we all lived in a wonderful world where everyone got along and were reasonable, loving, kind people. And, since I know that the whole world isn't like that, I will just try to surround my family with people who are and hopefully teach Cam and Maggie how to be loving and tolerant and kind and to eat their veggies. And try to remember to do the same myself.

Colds and cute baby talk

Well, we're all a little bit miserable in my house this week. The kids and I have colds. Aaron has an infected tooth.

Good times.

To cheer myself up, and also just to write these down so I won't forget - some pretty funny Cam Quotes and other things that he says a lot:
  • "I wanna rock." (this brings to mind the Twisted Sister song, but he is in fact asking to rock on the rocking chairs at the entrance of daycare)
  • "NotMama!" Not what you think it is. Cam calls pretty much anyone he loves a lot Mama. This drives Aaron crazy. But instead of saying, "Daddy" to try and get Cam to say the right name, Aaron would say "I'm NOT Mama". Therefore, Cam now calls him NotMama.
  • "Night-night" He is often telling me to 'Put Maggie night-night". Sorry buddy, Maggie isn't going to bed because you want to play.
  • "AweSOME!" He doesn't use this one in context yet, but it so cute to get him to say it. Of course, since we are in Boston, we are working on Wicked Awesome.... he totally doesn't get that yet.
  • "Wash?" Cam LOVES to wash things. His hands, the counter... his sister. I really have to keep an eye on him in the morning, because he'll take the sponge and wash Maggie face. She doesn't like that.
  • "Abby!". All dogs are Abby. This is because we have a dog named Abby.
  • "Wawa". That's water - it used to mean anything wet - but now it's lakes, the ocean, sprinklers, the tub and water to drink.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Random

Loads of different things going on in my head today:
  • Last night I dreamt that I lost Cam. I was watching him from a distance, watching his little red head play... and when he turned, it WASN'T Cam. All night, in my dream, I searched and I searched and I couldn't find him. It sucked. Thing that helped to freak me out - is that is usually how I watch Cam. He is almost always the only redhead - so if I see a red head in the sea of people playing, I know he is OK.
  • Tomorrow is my birthday. I turn 35. Phew. This year has really aged me! When I blow out my candles, I'm wishing for a low key year, please.
  • I'm feeling pretty loved this weekend. Today, my quilting friends are going out to lunch with me, my friend Suzanne is taking me out to breakfast tomorrow, my mom is visiting and has planned out all meals while she is here. Apparently I'm eating my way through my birthday.
  • I went for a nice long walk on Weds, and yesterday I was so sore I couldn't think about doing it again. Sigh. It takes no time at all to get out of shape.
  • All the new to me clothes are packed away and old stuff put in boxes to leave the house. That is the beauty of knowing you are done with kids - the second something is outgrown it leaves! And having loads of friends with baby girls helps. The stuff Maggie outgrows goes to our best friends daughter, Stella. The stuff I just got that Maggie isn't ready for? My friend down the street with a daughter Cam's age gets it for now. And some other things that Stella will never fit into got shipped to a baby girl in Florida whose mom is has hit financial hard times. If I were a superhero, I'd be BabyClothes Woman!
  • Of course, with Cam, I don't have anyone to hand stuff down to, so I think I'm going to drop them off at the local consignment shop. Anything they don't want will get dumped in the donation bin.
  • I invited everyone I know to a Halloween party at our house. I didn't really think about it in advance, but there is a possibility that 100 people will be there. My plan was to have ribs for the adults, pizza for the kids, and stay outside. Aaron brought up the point - how the hell will he cook enough ribs for 60+ adults? What if it rains? Or is cold? I'm wondering how many people will show up. Like Suzanne says - it'll either be a big success or a good story.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Clothes. Again.

Does anyone feel like all they do is sort baby clothes? Even if I didn't go out and buy HUGE lots of stuff, Maggie grows out of things so fast! At least Cam has slowed down - but I just spent the last week pulling out fall stuff, getting rid of small things, replenishing PJs... phew.

I've mentioned before, I decided to stay on the email list for the local twins group mostly because of the awesome deals they have. Stuff that I'm sure I could find if I scoured the tag sales and consignment shops... but I don't have the time, energy or patience for that. Sure, my heart pangs a little bit to see postings for twins stuff, but the Thrifty Yankee in me can set it aside knowing that the deals are worth it. With Cam, I totally wasn't on top of the whole clothes thing. I would find outfits, brand new, that he never wore, after he grew out of them. I've got a new system, where I put each group of clothes in a bin by size, and on the outside, list exactly what is in there. This way, if someone posts that they have 12 3T boys PJs for $20 - I can pop up and check and see if I do or don't have boys PJs. (That was my latest deal! Does it kill anyone else the price of PJS new? $20!!!! Christ). Thankfully, I also have a group of friends that sometimes will go in on stuff with me - because Cam certainly doesn't need 12 pairs of PJs.

Yesterday, I went over to a woman's house who had identical twin girls and a another girl. I bought this HUGE lot of clothes from her for $250. The stuff is amazing. Funny thing is - a lot of it never even got worn! She is of the school that it's too nice, the kids will ruin it. I'm the opposite. I say - wear the nice expensive stuff! Everyday! To school, in the back yard.... that is what it's for. Sure, sometimes it kills me to see Cam sliding around in the muck with a pair of Tea pants... but whatever.

She must have stored these clothes in a place where a cat slept IN them, or in the attic with a lot of dust - because my allergies were killing me by the time I left. So I took the box right up tot he laundry, and just now finished sorting through everything. I figured I got almost 150 things, and a lot were really nice dress sets, jeans (it kills me how much the jeans for babies cost!) and pjs. Maggie is totally set for clothes until 2T... at which point she is a little thin.

Now to pray that she is 18 month size next summer. The 18 month dresses I got from this woman are insanely cute.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Cam got a super cool new jacket - but I have to say that the picture I took is funnier if you look at Maggie in the background. She is a total ham for the camera.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Alone in the morning

I'm at my house, alone, on a work morning. That never happens. But Cam woke up crying at the top of his lungs at 5 AM and Aaron got up with him. He told me to go back to bed - that he would take the kids to school. I did go back to sleep after Aaron got ready for the day (Cam was in bed with me crying/watching TV until Aaron got out of the shower)... and then about an hour later I hear Aaron stomping up the stairs. I pop out of bed because I swore I heard him say that someone threw up (thinking it was maybe Cam and that was why he woke up crying)... and open the door to see if everything it ok.

He snaps at me that it's not ok - Maggie spit up all over her pants, the dogs were eating the garbage and both kids are sick (coughing and stuffy noses).

Now I do feel badly. I honestly didn't hear him downstairs dealing with all this - I was up half the night with a wicked headache so I was grateful for another hour of sleep. If I knew what a pain in the ass everyone was being, I would have gotten up and helped. But, on the other hand - he never has had to deal with both of them in the morning with out me. And I'm used to it - but this is pretty much some version of what every morning is like for me (minus the Cameron getting up at 5 AM.)

Aaron gives Maggie a bottle before he leaves for work. So I get to sleep until usually 6:30 or 7. I get up, get dressed, get ready for the day, and by then, Cam is up. I go in, get Cam dressed and ready to go, and then we both go wake up Maggie. I then somehow get everyone downstairs. Cameron used to follow me right downstairs, but now... not so much. He starts down the stairs enough that I think he's coming, and then he turns around to get his book. Or his blanket. Or whatever. So I'm downstairs making breakfast, making lunches, and yelling "Come on CAM! Breakfast!". Eventually he will come down.

Then starts the 'helping' phase of the morning. Cam 'helps' me make his breakfast (by standing on a chair and dictating to me what to put in his smoothie. Dis! Milk! Nana!). Cam then totally makes me my coffee - here is a video I took of that:


video

And then I struggle to get out the door before anyone poops. Which is rarely successful.

Anyway, Aaron did take them to school, will be at his office hours later than he usually is and I know he is mad at me. But he also got a little taste of some of my mornings.

I owe you another post on the weekend. My MIL was in full form, and this time Aaron was there to see it - so that was fun. And probably 75% of the reason that he was so crabby this morning.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bah.

Today I saw my therapist (I used to call him my Crazy Doc - as in the Doc that keeps me from going Crazy - but Aaron said it sounds more like I'm saying that Doctor that is Crazy... so I stopped). Things are kind of piling up on me and it was good that I went. I actually almost canceled, but forgot to - and since I'm cheap (you have to pay for the session if you don't cancel within 24 hours) I went.

One of the things I've been struggling with is a way to commemorate Nora. At first, I thought the tree would be the right thing. Help bring closure (whatever the hell that means). Well, it didn't. Putting her ashes under that tree didn't make me feel any better. Add in the fact that the tree looks like it's dying, and I was stressing out. Fortunately, we had a tree guy come and look at it, and it is in fact still alive - just stressed. Which makes sense with all the heat we've had. He told us that a new tree can look rough for up to two years after you plant it. I feel better, but not all the way.

I have a necklace with a very small single diamond on it that I got when Cam was born. I love it and I never take it off. I was trying to think of something similar to do for the girls... and just never could come up with anything. I finally decided to get some earrings. I have 2 holes in my left ear (remnants of the '80's) so my idea was to have an earring with Nora's birthstone in that second hole. I would leave it in all the time. I decided to get two citrines (the girl's birthstone) and one blue zircon (Cam's birthstone). I would wear the girls in my left ear, and Cam's in the single hole on the right. I found some simple hoops on Etsy that I could keep in all the time. They arrived on Tuesday and I put them right in. The one that was for Nora? The citrine freaking cracked.

I know it's silly. It's just a tree and an earring. They don't REALLY represent Nora... but seriously. SERIOUSLY. Can I catch a break? My good friend told me that maybe it's a sign that Nora it meant to only live in my heart - but I just wanted something nice and small... and it seems like every effort fails. The Esty seller is sending me another stone, but it was just bugging me.

So - he helped me talk through those things, and also help me with the fact that I can't stop thinking about what our lives would be like now if Nora was still here. Because I can't stop thinking about that either. You ever think back on little decisions that changed your life drastically? Like what college you chose or what little thing you did that made you be able to meet your spouse? Well, if Nora hadn't died, my life would be drastically different. We wouldn't have the kids in daycare (where we now have lots of friends). Life would certainly be more hectic. I would have had to get a new car, and a load of other huge expenses. I'm sure I would be under massive pressures. But I'm not. I'm under different pressures, but life is good. The kids are good. Aaron and my relationship is good. And he said something that helped - you can think about what your life 'could have been' - but that isn't what it is. Your life is what it is, and you are doing the best you can with it. And he is right.

And something else struck me this week. While I was feeling crappy, Mel wrote a post on jealousy. This part really hit me: I’m not a fan of this idea that we need to be happy 100% of the time. We were given this enormous palette of emotions for a reason. I don’t think it’s our job to always try to realign towards happiness. I think it’s okay to remain for a while in sadness and explore it as long as we don’t allow ourselves to inadvertently board up all the exits out of the emotion.

She is right. Why do we always strive to be happy? Happiness is great, but you should feel sad sometimes. Or angry. Or jealous. So the fact that I'm sad about losing Nora every once in a while - that's good. Or jealous of new moms that have the luxury of complaining about the fact that they are having trouble breastfeeding (I get jealous often of mom's that didn't spend the first three months of their babies lives freaking out that they may die. Sigh). And that I'm feeling these emotions is good too. Not only good, but normal and healthy. And that is OK.

Bah. Sorry to dump all this out at you - but it's good for me to get it out, somehow.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

9 month check up

Maggie had her nine month check up - everyone in the office couldn't stop saying how grown up she was looking. I agree! It's like in the last couple weeks she's gone from little baby to a Baby. She is totally engaged with everyone, smiles all around, and showed everyone just how perfect she is. Maggie is now 28 1/4 inches long, and 19 lbs 10 oz! That's my girl! She is 75% for height and 65% for weight. And perfectly healthy and doing all the right things (babbling, crawling, getting teeth, pulling up).

I used to be so stressed out about Maggie, because I was comparing her to Cam. That has gone away a lot, I think mostly because it's so obvious that Maggie is her own little person. So different from Cam in so many ways, there is just no comparision.

This weekend was awesome. We did so much - want to Edaville, USA to see Thomas the Train, IKEA for a few things, had a playdate with Cam's best friend from daycare, and went to a really fun BBQ with friends. It was a perfect long weekend - nice and relaxed with perfect weather.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tracks

In case you are ever hunting the elusive toddler, I give you this lesson:

Bear Tracks:

Toddler Tracks:
Cam likes to 'sneak' up on the ocean. It never saw him coming.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Re-entry

Well. It's Monday after my almost full week off, and it was great. I got to spend some good time with a friend I rarely get to see, Cam got to learn about all sorts of news things on the shores of Maine (crabs and ROCKS and more water and new friends!) and just focus on something other than normal life for a little bit. Not that my normal life is bad per se, but a little break was needed. I could write pages about all we did - but lets leave it at Cam was such a trooper, taking the 4 hour car ride like it was nothing, meeting all kinds of new people and trying all sorts of new things! I'm so proud of him! And proud of me too - for whatever reason I found myself telling my story over and over again, and I was OK. And I wasn't worried one bit about Maggie with Aaron - I knew Aaron would handle everything just fine.

Maggie and Aaron did great on their own - Maggie is officially crawling and cruising. If I remember with Cam, he crawled first and then tried cruising a month later. Maggie is much more into crawling in order to get close to something she can cruise on. Sigh. And for a little girl that barely made a peep (except when full on crying) she is now talking non-stop. Dadadadadammamamamamnanananananan was all I heard on the car ride to day care this morning! It's amazing the things that change in 4 short days.

And now that my vacation is over, I'm back to the gym. I stopped going when everyone was sick with hand, foot and mouth and also while I was getting over some stomach issues. But I marked today as the day I will go back - I even got a new pair of workout shorts (that fit. I was jamming myself into way too small spandex. Even spandex doesn't stretch that much, lol). Aaron has agreed to stay at home 2 mornings a week so I can go to the 5:45 spin class (he is usually out the door for work by 6) so that will help me stay motivated too.

Well - I need to weed through email, push through laundry, and other various re-entry tasks.... but first step is to hit the gym!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maggie

Not much on baby updates lately - so I thought I'd tell you all how Miss Maggie is getting on. She is almost 9 months(!) old... and is such a happy, happy baby. She is totally and completely engaged in life around her. She loves her big brother - she watches him all the time, and when he wakes her up in the morning (I really need to video that, it's super cute) she greets him with a big smile.

I feel like she is always plotting something - she is such a quiet and observant baby - almost the opposite of Cam who throws himself head first into everything . It doesn't seem to me that she tries anything until she can do it 100%. No undignified falling over for Maggie. If she wants to sit - she sits. If she wants to stand up (which is all the time) she does it. When she is tired, she plops her butt down to sit again. Last night, she was standing up for a good 10 minutes watching her brother run around the backyard:

(side note - can you STAND how freaking cute that dress is? She wears it every time it comes out of the wash).

She wants to be in the thick of things... no riding in the stroller for Maggie! She wants to be IN the wagon with Cam. For a bit, Cam was struggling with that (NO. MINE!) but now he likes to sit facing her and make her laugh.
Health-wise, no more issues for Maggie. She is still on the fancy formula - but done with the reflux meds. She has her 2 bottom teeth in, and if night time fussiness is any indication - the top ones are working their way to us as we speak. Almost daily, Aaron and I comment on just how lucky we are to have such a wonderful family.

September 8th, Maggie has her 9 month check up - I'm dying to see how big she's gotten!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Again

We such a fun packed weekend, that the only way I can sum it up is to do another bullet point post:

  • I took Friday off and had a super fun day with a couple of my girlfriends going to a quilt show. It turned out to be kind of a lame show, but I really needed a baby-free day off.
  • Maggie is 100% moving. I can't say crawling because it certainly isn't textbook crawling...but she does this funny combo of crawling, rolling and sitting up that moves her right across a room. This weekend, if I put her down and turned around, when I would look back, she would be on the other side of the room! She is much more interested in standing up... which makes me nervous about her starting to walk soon...
  • Saturday, we woke up and went to the lake - the weather was so beautiful, and for whatever reason, we were the only people there. It was wonderful.
  • Saturday night, we had a babysitter watch our sleeping babies and went to the movies! Love that.
  • Sunday, we got up and played outside until it was time for our town's Wash the Fire Truck day! Cam LOVED it. I have some great pictures I need to share. And, of course, Maggie was a big hit with the firemen who hadn't seen her since she was 5 days old.
  • It was a little weird to see the same emergency rescue truck that was at our house for a really crappy reason to be opened up with little kids climbing all over it - but I just steered clear.
  • In the afternoon, we popped over to a neighbors house to check on something, and ended up spending a couple hours playing in their backyard. Aaron was sitting in the grass, and began to obsessively remove the crabgrass (they just redid their back yard too - and they have a bunch of crabgrass). Our friend sat down and pulled it with him, then beer got involved.... and now they have a very nice 6X6 foot square of non-crabgrass area on their new lawn. Their new HUGE lawn... but we were all laughing about it.
  • Sunday night, I had some girlfriends over for a night of cards. Aaron and I were talking about it before people arrived, and most people when I said to come over to play cards are like...cards? And then they come and have a blast. I think people forget how much fun playing cards is!
  • In other very random news, a girlfriend gave us this fun book - it's a 'book' that opens up with a pop up town and a wind up fire turck that goes around the town. Cam loves it, I kind of hate it. But in that love/hate sort of way. I thought - why don't we bring it to school? He can share it with his friends, and I don't have to wind up the damn fire truck over and over again every morning, when I'm trying to feed Maggie? So - I was looking it up on amazon to tell you guys about it (because it IS a fun thing - and thought maybe some of you would want to get one for your little boys). It's out of print and worth $70. Oh well. I called daycare so we could laugh about it together.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Normal Weekend

Well, normal for us. We had NOTHING planned this weekend. Just hanging out at home, playing with the kids, and hopefully, getting the back yard seeded so we could have a 'real' back yard and not just mud (although Cam would love that).

The highlights?

  • Saturday morning, I got in my car, and was like - yuck. Smells like garbage. By the end of the weekend, and much drama, we figured out it was a DEAD MOUSE in my car door. Aaron managed to find it, take apart my car door, removed the MAGGOT covered mouse, and get it all back together. I love that man.
  • Saturday I went for a Mom's Night Out with the gals from daycare and had a blast (and margaritas!)
  • Sunday, Aaron woke up with Maggie at 6, gave her a bottle, and then got Cam out of the house to breakfast. Maggie and I slept until 9!!! Luxury.
  • I met up with that twin mom I was afraid to make friends with Saturday afternoon - for $200 I got an obscene amount of clothes for both Cam and Maggie. For example - 33 long sleeve 3T girls shirts and I didn't count, but at least as many long sleeve 4T boys shirts. A winter coat with matching snow pants. 7 pairs of 4T jeans. 3 bathing suits. 3 pairs of barely worn sneakers! 20 pairs of PJs in different sizes. And Cam had a blast running around with them, after he got over being shy. Doritos got him to like them (yep. totally my son)
  • Saturday, I tried to put Cam's sneakers on (to avoid too much dirt/mud on his feet in from our 'backyard'). He said Ow Momma as I tried to put them on. I told him his was fine - and he wore them all day - he was walking a little funny but I pretended I didn't notice. Since I had a coupon, I took him to the shoe store on Sunday. I figured I could confirm he would fit in all the size 7 hand me down shoes I have. Well, he is a size 8. And I'm guessing that was the issue when I jammed him in his size 6.5 sneakers. Whoops.
  • Aaron DID get the backyard seeded and now we are obsessively watering in hopes of a lawn in 2 weeks! A girl can dream!
  • We also cleaned out the garage, which was past due.
  • Now I'm in the process of finishing up organizing baby clothes. You know, until next month when I'll need to do it all over again.