Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers

Thank god for Friday Night Leftovers, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to blog about this crazy disconnected week:

  • I have a cold with a really sore throat. Whine

  • Maggie woke up at 1 AM Monday night crying, which then woke up Cam, and by the time everyone was finally settled down, Aaron got a call for work. I slept from 11 - 1 and that was it.

  • Turns out the reason Maggie woke up crying was that she had a double ear infection. So she couldn't go to school on Weds thanks to her fever Tuesday (you need to be fever free for 24 hours)

  • I usually try to work from home with a sick baby, but decided 'what the heck' and we hung out together and did loads of fun things like go the park and go out for ice cream. It was a treat - a Maggie and Mommy day.

  • Thursday I took Cam into Boston to see the new touch tank at the aquarium. He did NOT love the touch tank - but loved everything else about the day. He is growing up SO fast - it was a blast watching him interact with people at the aquarium.

  • I watched the Royal Wedding. Princess Kate is beautiful!

  • I'm planning a block party for our street - think asking people to pay $30 per family and $15 a couple is too much - considering we are planning on providing hamburgers and hot dogs, a bounce house and carnival games with prizes? There are 42 houses on the block, we are thinking 50% will come.

  • Today, after work, Suzanne and I are taking the kids for our weekend up at the beach in Maine. This is our third year going, and I finally think I have things totally under control.

  • Aaron is staying home and working on the mud pit that is our back yard.

  • I've packed the following - whole bag of extra clothes (4 dry outfits per kid + socks and shoes), a special bag just for what we'll need when we get there to get the kids to bed (we won't be arriving until 8 or 9 PM), the kite and the bag of beach toys. I do need to stop to get sunscreen. I'm currently stressing out about the findings on sunscreen so will just buy the normal stuff until I can figure out what the heck to get.

I think that's it! Happy Weekend! And visit Danifred!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Results of toy re-org (lots of pictures!)

Since Lauren asked, I decided to take an after picture of my work today. No before picture as I didn't think about it but also - it would have been pretty embarrassing.

Our living room is huge (half of our downstairs) and we've dedicated about 1/3 to be the toddler playground. This is the half without shelving - there is a basket with stuffed animals and a magna-doodle, another basket with Rescue Hero's stuff, Cam's 'workbench', Maggie's music table, the indoor ride-on toys, and the train table. The buckets under the train table only hold train stuff right now! There are two empty bins because I have a bag of 'to discuss with Aaron' toys - mostly Mega-blocks stuff that my kids don't use.

I try to not let stuff pile up on that table, but it does become a catch-all at times. We also store a couple BIG trucks under the table. Right now, I have a wooden toy train that we got Cam for his 1st birthday and never uses. I put it in plain sight. If he uses it this week, it can stay, otherwise, it's out of here.

And this is facing the other half of the toddler play area - here are the the IKEA shelves all closed up:

And a close-up:

And what's inside (this half is the trucks, Mr Potato Head and music toys)

The other half is games, puzzles, books and awful electronic noise-making toys.

I'm excited to see that just with maybe an hour of work, I've got a LOT more space downstairs and things aren't STUFFED in places anymore.

And then - just so you don't think that we live in a pile of toys - the 'adult' 2/3's of the room (dog not so blurry in real life)

I know there are a lot of toys still OUT in the public space, but I'm usually able to maintain this level of neatness. So long as I have a plan where everything goes - I can keep it this way. I also have the advantage of my kids only truly PLAYING in the house on the weekends. In the morning, we are in a rush to get to daycare, and at night we go upstairs and play in their bedrooms.

I'll save the bedroom organization pictures for another day.

Kids toys

So. When Aaron and I talked about kids - one of the topics that came up often was that we didn't want to 'spoil' them. We didn't want to be that family that had a HUGE amount of toys. Of course, then we had kids. And I get it. You've got the gift toys. The toys people hand down to you. The toys that you find for super cheap at a garage sale. And then, the (very few!) toys that you actually buy full price for a birthday or Christmas.

Adding to my chaos is the fact that for a long stretch there, I thought that my kids were going to be staying home with a Nanny, so I collected a bunch of toys so they wouldn't be bored. I've slowly been culling the toys. But also adding more.

I have to say that I have a pretty decent setup. Downstairs, we have a bunch of Billy shelves with doors, and that is where most of the toys are stored. The other location is a train table with storage underneath. Anything that doesn't fit in those two places, I force myself to get rid of something to make it fit (that is thanks to advice from Jen. She was totally right, if there isn't a place for it, it stays out and makes a mess). But still. Loads and loads of toys! it's SO hard to get rid of toys!

And I just came into a mother load of free books and board games from someone who is moving. I couldn't bring myself to turn them down, but now I'm forced to do some re-organizing to make space.

Don't even get me started on outside toys. My kids love love love all ride on toys, so I got a whole bunch - and now no place to store them! Aaron wants a shed just for toys, but of course, we currently don't have the cash to get a shed.

So, I'm in the process of paring down the stuff that we don't use to make space for the new. And find a storage solution for great toys/games that my kids are still to young for. Maybe I'll post pictures when I'm done. What do you guys do for toys? How do you stop the madness?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers

This is just the best post idea...I always have a bunch of random crap that I can't fit into a post in any coherent fashion. Visit Danifred for other Leftovers.

Here we go!

  • Cam is so very, very excited about the Easter Bunny. Let's hope we pull it off. Aaron will actually wear an Easter Bunny costume and place eggs around the house. Last year, we had Aaron place ALL the eggs, and it took too long and Aaron almost passed out (it's HOT in that costume). Plus, the Easter Bunny can't bend over to put down the eggs - it is a risk that the head will fall off. And wouldn't that be a vision?! Poor Aaron was doing lunges all around the yard. So this time, we'll do the majority of the eggs before the kids get up.

  • It's like 120 eggs for 4 kids. Too many? I don't think so, but the other parents disagree. Aaron thinks we are going to be finding eggs for months.

  • I got a 3 wheeled scooter for Cam from a neighbor that is moving. It's pink. He loves it with a white hot passion.

  • He wanted to bring it to daycare. I said no. I think we can all guess how that went.

  • We live in a somewhat rural town. I've made friends with a local sheep farmer, and we are going on Saturday to feed the lambs!

  • Last night, Cam was quietly playing. And he came up to me and asked for his 'mat'. He meant the mat that I made him for Christmas, and he hasn't played with in weeks. My heart melted when he remember and asked for it!

  • Every morning, Maggie wakes up around 6:30. The rule in this house is that I don't take kids out of bed until 7. She is so cute - I hear her over the monitor talking to herself. Mama! Dada! *giggle*

  • I've learned that one of my friends, who lives on the same street as me, works from home on the same days I do. It may have been better to have not learned this. We are going out to lunch today. Indian Buffet!

  • This is a sad admission - but do any of you guys have iPhones or iPads? Because if you do, you should totally play the Smurf Game with me. I'm totally addicted. Seriously, let me know and we can be friends on game center.

That's it for today. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nora's Tree

The buds are ready to pop. And I'm so, so grateful that Nora's tree is blossoming, just like her sister.
I think Nora's light shines within Maggie.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A prayer

Lots of important research going on here, like how many Easter eggs fit into my kids Easter baskets (42, for those interested) and if this bed will fit in Cameron's room... so I want to share Tina Fay's prayer for her daughter, because it totally cracked me up:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers

Because I want to be just like Jen, I've decided that doing Friday Night Leftovers is a super smart thing.

  • Tonight, I've got my friend coming over with her family for Rock Band and Taco night. Hurrah!

  • Cameron is participating in a Trike-a-thon today at school. I signed the form - but did no fundraising. Seriously? I have no time for stuff like that.

  • Plus, we have already decided that we are only giving money to our local fire station, and my church's minister's fund. We can not thank those people enough for what they've done for our family.

  • Tomorrow, Cameron is going to the movies with his very best grown up friend, Suzanne. It's to see the Wiggles. He is going to have a blast.

  • And then, when they get back, Aaron and I will go on a date. I have a gift certificate for Outback Steakhouse that I think we'll use. And maybe the movies.

  • Doesn't anyone else SUCK at using gift certificates? I've had this one since last May.

  • I made Aaron a pound cake for dinner tonight, and then I'm making Calliope's Better Than Sex Cake for Sunday night. Aaron loves cake, and I hate it. So I've decided that he is going to get a bunch of cake for his birthday.

  • Plus, Cameron loves singing Happy Birthday - so that's fun too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy with myself

I know you aren't supposed to boast, but seriously. I'm SO proud of what I pulled off for Aaron's birthday. At first, I was going to do a little party with family and a cake. Because Aaron doesn't like to make a big deal of his birthday, and I already have a plan to take him to a movie date on Saturday. But then, he went away to California from Sunday - the morning of his birthday. And I realized I could do something epic because he wouldn't be around to see all the preparations. Since I had all this time, I could do it myself, on the cheap, and totally surprise him.

The plan was to make a fun cake*, invite a bunch of friends (including ones we haven't seen in a while) and cook his favorite foods. The reason this was doable is that Aaron's favorite dinner is tortellini, chicken and broccoli - all mixed together with Alfredo sauce. And the big, flaky biscuits from the refrigerator aisle. I made a HUGE bowl of that (enough for 16 people - that is how many people showed up!), and starting on Monday, made the cake.

That is it all cut up! I was SO excited that it came out this well. I suck at decorating cakes, but thankfully one of my girlfriends visited on Monday, and she helped me put the layers together and also taught me about the all important crumb layer - which allowed me to have the fact that it was a rainbow cake stay a surprise until Aaron cut into it! I was all nervous that with the white icing you would see the cake, but nope! I did a small layer of frosting Tuesday, let it harden, and then a second thicker layer on Wednesday.

As I said, not a perfect decorating job, but he certainly was surprised when he cut into it.

Of course, the party was about 80% for the kids, and we had 8 kids running around, and they just LOVED the cake. But this was a much different party than we were used to. Everyone arrived by about 5:30, and many were out the door by 6:15 to get the kids to bed on time, so we rushed through eating dinner to get to the cake for the kids. I got balloons for each kid to bring home, and that was a hit too. It was a whirlwind party, but a big success - and I'm still smiling about it!

Cameron had SO much fun at the party. I asked him this morning what his favorite part of the party was and he starting singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Too cute.

*For those that want more cake details, go to this website for the general instructions. She does a great job of explaining what to do. There is a Martha Stewart version, but of course everything is from scratch, and I don't roll that way. I will tell you that from my experience, I used a whole thing of red dye to make the red layer - and then forgot that you need yellow AND red to make orange.... so I took some red batter and threw it into the yellow and it worked out great. To split up the cake batter, I did one box at a time (because I only had three 9 inch cake pans anyway) and put 1 1/4 cups of batter in each bowl. With my oven, that runs hot, I cooked the cakes at 350 for 15 minutes and they came out perfect. I also used FOUR things of ready made frosting. It takes A LOT of frosting to make this all stick together.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Losing Touch

I have to admit, I don't often think about the pain that Aaron and I went through to get pregnant with Cam. The ectopic pregnancy and the aftermath, the first IVF and the miscarriage... and just the general pain of the hope/failure cycle that was TTC for us for about 4 years.

Aaron and I have always been really social people. We always had people over for dinner any night of the week, we hosted Thanksgiving, birthday parties, fondue (or as I like to call them, FUNdue) parties. We were members of a triathlon team, and would participate in weekly training rides, open water swims and track practices. Things didn't change until we started TTCing, and I was unable to work out like I used to (so good bye triathlons) and I was just so consumed with the stress of treatments that we slowly, slowly pulled away from our social life. Then we bought a house, went deeper down the IF hole... and I just didn't have the energy anymore. I realized that many of our friends loved coming over and hanging out - but they never had us over to their place. And we honestly weren't really going out either.

Then I got pregnant. I reconnected a little with my larger group of friends after Cam was born, but then I got pregnant AGAIN and was just a mess. Only the rather persistent friends were able to stay close. Then Nora died. So what could I do? Call these friends, ones that were even in my wedding party....we'd only been out of touch for a year... but how do you even start that conversation? Hi! I had a baby, got pregnant with twins, one died. And how was your year?

Anyway. Just recently, I've been getting back with some of the woman I used to have a great time with. I finally have time and am in the right mental place to meet people after work to go for walks. Or drinks. Or to the movies. And I'm slowly starting to have little dinner parties again. And it's fun. And I feel like I'm getting back to me. And us. Because Aaron loves having people over too. It's nice.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Visit to Grandma's

Aaron is off visiting his friends this weekend as a little birthday present to himself. I figured that I would take the trip up to the Berkshires and spend the night at the cabin with my mom. Cam's new favorite word is 'Adventure' and he was VERY excited about the weekend's adventure! We loaded up into the car, and met my mother at the Berkshire Museum. It was maybe a little old for my kids (lots of no touch stuff) but it was fun.

Then we went to the only real restaurant in the area, which also doubles as a biker bar - so it's pretty funny. Cam loved watching all the motorcycles come in, and I love going to place where no one cares that your kids are running around. But not the fastest service, so we end up getting to the cabin right at bedtime.

With over-sugared very tired children. (Cameron's food for the day. An egg, chocolate milk, doritos, french fries, half a donut and a cheese pizza. Maggie? An egg, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chocolate milk, the other half of the donut, 'fruit' treats, and pizza. It was grandma's! It's ok! Right?)

Cam got out of the car, running to follow GRANDMA! and came face to face with her dog. And it was surprised, so barked at him. Cam freaked out, which freaked out Maggie and everyone was crying. And continued to cry for about an hour. It was awesome.

The good news is that even though he was crying, he was super excited to sleep in his tent.A friend let us borrow this, and what a hit. But here is where the story gets so bad, it's funny. First. In the morning, I hear some rustling in the guest room where everyone was so great (once they fell asleep, after about an hour of hysterics) and slept all night without a peep. I went to open the door, and it was locked. And Cam is giggling on the other side, telling me he 'fixed' it. I asked what Maggie was doing, and Cam tells me she is AWAKE! And I here Maggie say - "HI MAMA!". Everyone is laughing, which is good, I guess, as mom and I ended up removing the doorknob.

Cam was very pleased with himself. And I pick up Maggie - and one eye is all swollen. And I'm like.... really!? So a call a friend who is also a pedi, and she is worried that maybe it's peri-orbital cellulitis. Freaking out a small bit (and thankful that my cell phone now works at the cabin!), I call my doc, and do mention that the medicine that I have for her pink eye, I was supposed to give 3 times a day the last 2 days only gave it to her twice a day (because I'm a bad mother - see more proof above with what I fed them the day before). So they told me to give her the drops AS DIRECTED and watch it for the next 2 hours, and if it got worse, call back.

Now Cam wants to go throw ROCKS! in the BROOK! And of course Maggie wants to come too. We take the small walk down the hill from the cabin to the brook and collect rocks. I have to insert here that throwing rocks into this brook was a FAVORITE past time of mine as a small kid. It makes my heart sing a little that Cam loves it too. Anyway. We are all playing and having fun, and Maggie is SUPER excited about the brook.

She gets closer and closer - and then steps IN. It's freaking cold. And she thinks its funny for a few seconds and then flips out.

Quick summary of the weekend. Children scared of big dog and cry themselves to sleep. Lock themselves in bedroom and I have to remove the doorknob. Maggie has a swollen eye. Maggie falls into an icy brook.

Anyway, we do make it home in one piece, and everyone had a blast. And Maggie's eye isn't swollen now that I'm giving her the eye drops as directed. But one thing that is very exciting to me is that the sleeping arrangements were great. So now I have a lot less dread for future trips! Hurrah!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Yesterday, I was the fixer. I felt like a 1950's mom, mending pants, putting away clothes for the winter... I was working from home and was kicked out of my office while the cleaning ladies cleaned in there, so a 1950's mom that fixes things while the cleaning ladies clean my at home office. Ok. So not like a 1950's mom. Whatever.

Cameron is finally of the age where his pants actually wear out before he outgrows them. One pair of jeans that fit him really well, wore out in the knees - so I took an iron on patch and patched it up. He wears those jeans often - and cracks me up when he asks for a band-aid to fix his pants' boo-boo. Aaron noticed that the patch was a decent, somewhat invisible fix - and wanted me to fix his favorite weekend jeans (I was thankful for this decision, as I think he was considering turning them into jorts. Sigh). And Cam had a new pair of hand-me-down jeans that I patched up. I felt very useful. Took me all of 10 minutes and the effort of turning on the iron.

Then I tackled the quilt. First, I needed to print out the letters on that special fabric and wash it. I figured I would throw the fabric in with the current load of laundry (from my morning washing of the dogs, again - so useful yesterday!). Well. I threw in a red bathmat. And the freaking letters turned pink. I was pissed. That special printing fabric is $3 a sheet! Grrr. But, I re-did it, and it actually was a pretty easy fix:

I added Jake and Della, and I feel like you can't even tell. Hurrah for me!

I have a pity party post brewing, but I keep hitting delete. Watch out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blah blah blah

Still in a funk. But I'll survive. I think it's all wrapped up in the whole stress of raising two children under 3 while working full time with everyone with differing levels of sick.

I'll get over it.

But I have a question for you all. This weekend, I'm taking the gang on my own to see my mother. Aaron is going away for a fun extended weekend with his friends. I have made several decisions - any would like the blogs input.

1. Sleeping arrangements. It's currently a pain in the ass to visit my mother because there are only 2 rooms in the cabin with doors. One has 2 twin beds and a crib, and then other has a queen. We used to put Maggie in a pack-n-play with us, and Cam in the crib. But Maggie would wake up and see us, and start her day at 4 AM. It is awful. So this time, my plan is to put Maggie in the crib, and Cam in the twin bed with bed rails. He has never slept in a 'big boy' bed, but naps just fine at daycare on a mat. Am I crazy? It's only one night. I was also thinking of doing the pack-n-play in the same room as the crib, or having Cam sleep on a toddler mattress on the floor, and a friend offered a ‘tent’ sort of thing to sleep in. I just want him to sleep in a bed – as that would make things easier for summer visits, but don’t know if I’m asking for a disaster. But I do need some sort of plan, as I also want to travel with both kids the last weekend in April – and I just don’t think Cam fits in a pack-n-play anymore.

2. The plan. Saturday, we are planning on going to a music class at 10:30, and then making the 2 hour drive to the cabin, hoping the kids nap. I was thinking of meeting my mom at this children's museum - and she suggested this museum. The Children’s Museum is closer and more geared toward younger kids - but the one mom suggested is a little further - but has more 'stuff' (like an aquarium). I'm thinking of going to the further one, hoping for a longer nap - and limiting the time spent in my mom's rather small cabin with the untrained boxer.

What do you all think? Then, I'm planning on leaving after lunchtime on Sunday, to be home to play and relax for the end of the weekend. Then Aaron is gone until Weds. So at least the kids won't say they are bored!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bad mood.

I'm in a supremly bad mood right now. And I can't shake myself out of it. I think some of it is the stressful past couple of weeks I've had. Also having both Cameron AND Aaron be sick at the same time....that has been fun. And I feel like I'm not sleeping either (aided by Aaron's awesome snoring, which is bad enough when he isn't sick). And the weather! AUGH. When is spring coming?!?!

I did take Friday off work and started a very beautiful quilt. It's a long term sort thing - it's nice to have projects like that that. Saturday we laid low, and that evening was my church's service auction. I auctioned off a handmade baby sweater - and was happy that it sold for $50. I, in turn, bought the kid's birthday party! The Religous Education team offered up their services to host a party for up to 20 kids, including activites and a cake! Plus - you can have it in the Fellowship Hall (not have the party in the house is KEY). I got all this for $100. I'll have to sell it to my friends and play down the whole 'it's at the church' part - because one of my girlfriends asked if one of the activities would be 'Pin the Thorn Crown on Jesus' (which just had me laughing out loud - it's a UU church - so nothing of the sort!).

Sunday I finally got around to trying out some freezer paper stencils on the cheap tee shirts I bought. What a success! I copied some fun designs off the internet (not taking credit for the cool images).

I have one more Robot shirt that isn't done yet - we were using fabric paint that a friend gave us, so ran out of colors.

I only made these for Cam. Maggie will have no clothing shortages this summer! But she may need a monster shirt of her own.