Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Leftovers

I'm not going to get online tomorrow, so I thought I'd throw up my leftovers from the week today.
  • Aaron has a huge project at work, and he knew this week was going to be hard. So my mom arrived yesterday to help.
  • I also have a huge project going on, so I didn't do my normal 'prep' until the day of.
  • I walked into the guest room and I remembered that I had thrown anything I couldn't deal with the day I moved everything for Maggie's Princess bed into the guest room.
  • I opened the closet to stuff everything in there, and the closet was overstuffed. From other visits when I didn't have time to fully clean up.
  • Sigh. So I proceeded to sort through about of year of crap to give away, toss and donate within about 2 hours of mom's arrival. When she got here, the whole downstairs was a wreck because I didn't have a chance to pick THAT up.
  • All mom said was - Wow, you guys must have a lot going on right now, and proceeded to help me sort things out. Hurrah for Mom!
  • The kids love my mom. And my mom loves them. This morning, Cam woke up and went to her room instead of mine, and I could hear the two of them happily chatting to each other downstairs. Love it.
  • I'm taking tomorrow off and going to Davis Farmland with my mom, the kids and a bunch of the kid's friends. It's supposed to be 92 degrees and sunny. Perfect weather (there is a splash pad there too).
  • In the midst of organizing yesterday, I decided to put up the kids train tracks on the train table. I've noticed that when we go somewhere with an awesome train track all set up - Cam will play with it for a long time. But at home he doesn't play with what we have. A good example is at the Great Escape - they not only have the exact same train table, but all the same roundhouse, wooden trains - everything! And when we were there, he played for a good 45 minutes with the train. Then my friend pointed out that it's probably because those tracks are set up, and attached to the table - so they can't fall apart and Maggie can't destroy. So I got a pretty cool track set up and I'm going to have Aaron just stick it to the table somehow.
  • I know that some of the point of train tracks is for the kids to build stuff with them - but they do that at school, so I don't feel like they are missing out. And I was also feeling guilty because doing this ruins both the train table and the tracks - but both were hand me downs. So whoever gets my hand me downs will either deal with the preset up track or not take it. For free. Not my problem.
  • And - hurrah for long weekends! We have plans each day, but nothing stressful. I'm excited for some downtime.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Brave Girl

I wouldn't classify Maggie as shy. But she does like to have me close in new situations, and she takes a while to warm up to new people. Once she determines you are OK, though - you are OK! She'll run up and give hugs and walk around with you... but it takes a while. I don't think that means she is shy, just cautious, maybe? Whereas Cam is super outgoing. He walks up to people and tells them is name and will ask 'What's your name?' 'What's your MIDDLE name?', which always gets a big smile.

She is also pretty cautious about trying new things. She has had numerous chances to ride a pony, and it's always been a no-go. She usually loves to LOOK at animals, but won't approach one unless I'm holding her. When we go to baseball games, she is excited to see Twister (the big orange dog mascot) but certainly will NOT approach him or give him a a high five.

That is all over now. This weekend, we had a lot of fun, but one of the big highlights was going to the local 4H fair. I have to say, if you have one in your area, totally go. I let the kids do EVERYTHING (hay rides, pony rides, tractor ride, bounce house) and we spent $30. Everyone was really friendly and the kids had a blast. But it was Maggie that blew me away.

When we arrived, we were meeting friends. Their daughter loves horses. They actually told us about this fair, so we planned to meet them at the horse competition. Which meant walking through where the horses were being held. Maggie wanted to touch every single one. Cam asked if we could ride one (Cam LOVES pony rides), and I explained that we could go in a little while.  Maggie chirped in that she wanted to ride too. I said of course, Maggie (but in the back of my mind, I was assuming she would back out).

Nope, not today!
She was SO happy. We walked around a bit, visited the chickens and the bunnies and cows - and then were asked if our kids would want to lead around a calf. Cam was first in the ring, ready to go and  Maggie kept saying 'Me too! Me too!' Again, I said sure, Maggie, you can be next, figuring when she walked up to that huge calf she would back away - but she did it! And she acted like is was no big deal.
So then, I started checking the program for other Little Sprout classes, and we made it over in time for the kids to lead around a goat. At this point, it's old hat for Maggie:

We spent a good 3.5 hours at the fair, and the kids had a blast. As usual, it ended in tears when we rode the school bus to the car - Cam insisted on sitting in the way back and we hit a bump and he went FLYING through the air. Poor kid. Although I asked him later if he like riding on the bus, and he said YES! So apparently flipping up in the air and landing on your head is fun. Sigh.

They were SO tired when we got home, I wasn't sure we would be able to make it to the baseball game that night, but they took great naps and were ready to go. As usual, Cam was SUPER excited to see Twister. At the end of the game, the Tykes Club members get to run the bases, and Twister gives everyone a high five at 3rd base. Cam usually runs right up, but Maggie gives him a wide berth. I didn't manage to catch the actual high five, but she did it!
Blows my mind. She has grown up in so many ways in just the last month. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday night leftovers: the bag edition

  • Our weekend is JAM packed. I think I panicked a bit about summer ending and possibly overbooked us.
  • This weekend includes multiple swimming play dates, a date night for us, a fair and a baseball game. And dinner at a friends house on Monday night.
  • Next week is going to be insanely busy for Aaron at work - so I asked my mom to come and help me with the kids. I never do that. I don't really need the help, but it will be nice to have my mom visiting. Aaron will probably leave the house before I wake up and come home after I go to sleep, so it'll be nice to have a grown up to hang out with.
  • Mom has sold the house I grew up in and is moving the cabin full time. This is old news. But she is now packing, and you can tell that she is mourning leaving her home of 44 years.
  • But this has me fielding phone calls daily from her. Long phone calls. God. Save. Me.
  • The drama is starting to ramp up around us not going to a family wedding. Much more on this in a future post.
  • And finally, the two nice diaper bags I'd like to get rid of.
The first is a Nest Bag. I bought this right after Maggie was born. I was so sleep deprived, I thought the price tag said $75..... it was really $175. But I have to admit, it is an awesome bag. The diapers and wipes fit in a zipper compartment underneath the bag, and it really doesn't look like a diaper bag. The handles unclip so you can easily attach it to your stroller handle.

The second is a Fleurville Mothership Bag. I bought this one to travel to the West Coast - and it rocks. Lots of pockets, easy to clean. And I now realize, looking at links, that I paid about $150 new for this thing.

Jesus. It is a good thing I haven't had more kids. I spend a lot of freaking money while sleep deprived. And I no longer feel bad about the $80 I spent on my replacement!

If anyone is interested in one or both, give me a offer. I will note that the nest bag has some wear on the bottom. Anything reasonable and it's yours.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My closet

In April, I got fed up with my crappy, ill-fitting, out of date wardrobe. So I threw it all away. It felt great at the time. I bought some nice things for the spring and summer and patted myself on the back. Monday, it was cool, so I went to grab a pair of pants. And discovered I had no pants.

Glad I noticed it now, while I could still wear my warm weather clothes and not look silly! So I've spent the last few days looking around and buying a few things. I used to HATE dresses. But I've learned that they are a really quick and easy thing to throw on for work. Add one of my scarves from India and funky tights, and you can change the look really quickly too. So I got a few new dresses from Lands End (who has really upped their plus size options) and some funky tights from Lane Bryant.

I needed some pants too, and a friend with more style than I said to get leggings and tunics. And I was like, really?! I'm still unsure, but found a pair on sale and a few fun tunics. I'm willing to give it a try. I'm trying to not be that mom that is stuck in the clothes that she thinks are cool because it is what what cool when she was twenty.

AND. In big grown up girl news, I'm ditching all my diaper bags and bought myself a REAL bag. It's a big one, because I want it to fit my computer for work, and some knitting. And I'm realistic, I'll still need to throw in snacks for kids and toys... but it's a REAL bag. Without a plastic lining and bottle holders. Anyone need fancy, but used, diaper bags?

I'm also going to get some high boots, but still trolling around for a pair that I like that are decent quality and fit my rather abundant calves.

Anyone else doing some fashion changes for the fall? I have to admit, I'm enjoying shopping for myself!

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's purging season again

If I was pregnant, people would be accusing me of nesting. I've been pregnant or have had children for 4 years now, and I can tell you - it's not about 'nesting'. It's about the major season change. Those that know me in real life, know that I'm not the best housekeeper. One of the things that help keeps this house in somewhat decent shape is the fact that we have housekeepers come every 2 weeks. In order for them to be able to clean, I clean up before they come. It keeps me honest.

But, when the weather starts to change, I need to sort through clothes. My hand-me-down storage system involves boxes of clothes and some stored in dressers... and plenty of cute out of season things that I couldn't give away because it was too cute last season so I prayed it would fit again when the weather changed (which it never does).

This purge fest was enlarged by the re-do of Maggie's room. And the fact that the dresser I wanted to move to Maggie's room was in Cameron's closet, filled with Cameron's clothes. Behind a year of stuff I just threw into Cam's closet. I had to start and clean out Cam's closet to even be able to start with the dresser, then empty out the stuff leaving Maggie's old dressers, get the right sized stuff out of Maggie's closet for the late summer/early fall... and move and sort and move. And reorganize. I always feel like a rock star when it's done, but things take about a week or so to shake out. And in the process, the house is a freaking wreak. This time I called it pretty close. I decide I should have Maggie's room looking decent when she got home to her new bed - so I started it about 4 hours before Aaron was coming home with the bed. This is Maggie's room about 45 minutes before Aaron arrived home with her new bed:

I did manage to pull it off. It's always ugliest before the end. I take EVERYTHING out, dump it in the middle of the room, and sort from there. So the above picture was right before I got everything settled back in storage boxes, drawers, donation bags or garbage bags. Proof Maggie isn't living in a pile of junk:

I've got one more re-org to go. Her purple castle is arriving tomorrow! I have a few things I need want to get set up to make the playhouse area more fun, but nothing as disruptive as this last purge.

This time, the shuffle involves getting rid of all of the crib bedding, changing table, changing pads, and other 'baby' things. So we need to put these things on Craigslist. What a freaking pain. But in the end, both rooms will be less cluttered and only storing things that they actually use (or will use in the near future.) This makes me happy.

And somewhat inspired to deal with the guest room. But I need a rest first.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday night leftovers

  • That princess bed. Best. Thing. Ever. Maggie begs to go to sleep every night, and when I give her a final kiss she whispers to me 'Mama, I won't get out of my bed'. Priceless.
  • Today is my stepmother's birthday. There is a small chance that I forgot until yesterday. So I went online and ordered her some flowers. I took a lot of time deciding what to get and how much to spend, and in the end spent about $60 on a sunflower arrangement. She got it this morning, and the vase they sent leaked. She called to complain, 'because she thought they should know', and refused a second delivery. So they called me and promised me 50% refund and a $25 gift card. I just send a really nice flower arrangement for $10. And I'll definitely use 1800Flowers again.
  • In order to get Maggie's room ready for the new bed, I had to rearrange her furniture. I was nervous, because my plan was to get rid of a huge 5 drawer dresser, and another smaller dresser and replacing it with one, smaller, 5 drawer dresser. So I would say her storage was decreasing by 50%.
  • To give you an idea of how badly I needed to sort through stuff, I got all of her clothes into the one dresser with a whole drawer empty.
  • I also sorted through and listed on Craigslist the dresser, the changing table, the contoured changing table pads.... getting rid of all that stuff makes me super happy.
  • I'm more than a little annoyed that I can't even give away the cribs, though. We had brought the second, matching crib to my mother's house for when we visited. Once we decided to switch Maggie out of her crib, we brought the second one home, hoping to sell them together on the twins list. Having the two matching cribs in the garage is bringing out my PTSD in a huge way. Apparently, even if a drop side crib hasn't been recalled you can't even give it away.  It kills me to put such a high quality crib in the dumpster. But it's going to happen soon because every time I get into my car, I see two matching cribs and it hurts my heart.
  • Through Cool Mom Picks I found Wittlebee. The concept is that it's a clothing subscription service. Which for me, is a dream come true. I HATE shopping for kids clothes. All of my kids clothes are either gifts, hand me downs, or me buying a big grocery bag lot of clothes from my twins list. I hope it turns out being as cool as I think it will be.
  • Looking forward to this weekend - no big plans but plans to meet up with friends and play.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Aaron and I both had very different childhoods. I was basically an only child (I have half-brothers, but they are 12 years older than me). My mother didn't have a lot of money, but I had the basics. I was on the swim team, I had a bike, I went to camp. Most of our money went to sending me to private schools, as the schools in my town were sub-par. I didn't have 'cool' clothes or computer games. I had my own bedroom, but the walls were painted white - my mom didn't see the point in pink or purple walls or posters or anything. I had some framed artwork and a cork wall where I could put my posters.

Aaron was the middle child. He never had his own room. Growing up, he shared with his younger brother. When his older brother went to college, his younger brother got his own room and Aaron had to share with his older brother when he came home from college. And he says that his mother expected the rooms to be 'ready for show' all the time... meaning no posters, no visible toys...

First world problems, I know.

But. This has made us both sensitive to the issues of bedrooms. I always knew that I would at least let my kids paint the walls as they like and have a hand in personalizing them. Ask me in 5 years what I think about forcing them to keep the rooms clean, but for now I'm thinking that the rooms will be their personal space - to do with what they wish (within reason). Aaron also really wanted the kids to have fun rooms. And for this princess bed? I was probably more excited about it than Maggie, truth be told*.

When people see things like Cam's fire truck bed, or now Maggie's princess bed (with a SLIDE!) their first reaction is that we are NUTS. They the kids won't sleep - that they will stay up all night playing (which isn't the case - Cam never had an issue, and Maggie slept great last night). I have friends with showcase bedrooms with sleigh beds for their 3 year olds... which is nice, but in my opinion, they will want rooms like that when they are grown up. Kids?! They want to have fun. And I love it that Aaron and I are able to provide it.

*I should note that the woman who sold us the bed couldn't find the bottom tent piece. So I called the store, and they told be it was $50 for that piece. I figured that since I was already spending $50 to get the bottom, I might as well go whole hog and get the purple tent. So pictures sometime next week, when it's all together. And purple.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Her Highness

I'm sure we all remember Cameron's firetruck bed. Ever since Aaron finished it, he has been planning Maggie's bed. Maggie isn't obsessed with anything like Cameron is obsessed with firetrucks, so we figured we go a safe 'castle' theme. We wanted it to be as cool as Cameron's, but different. Aaron also wasn't to keen on his sweet baby girl sleeping up high like Cam, so the plan was a bed (I was pushing for a trundle bed) and then the playhouse part would be the top. He was going to build a curved staircase to the top on one side, and a slide down the other.

Obviously, this would be a big undertaking of effort and time from Aaron, and an outlay of about $500 for materials.

We've been dragging our feet, because we were first, hoping that Maggie would stay in her crib longer than Cam. But when she had the huge BIG girl month last month we realized that wasn't going to happen. We were just about to pull the trigger on buying the materials, when I saw a post on my Mother's of Twins list.

Now, I go back and forth on this. Sometimes, it's hard for me to stay on this list. All the talk about twins, obviously. But in other ways, it's really just a mom's list - and with Cam and Maggie so close in age, I often have the same issues as twin mothers. Plus, 90% of the email traffic is selling kid items. For super cheap.

Yesterday, someone posted this bed. For $500. It is exactly the same bed that we were planning on building Maggie, yet better in a few ways - the biggest being that when you take off the fabric, it changes from a castle bed to a plain old loft bed. Take off the legs? It a normal twin bed. I jumped on it.  And I know Aaron didn't want Maggie sleeping up high, but I can guarantee you, if Maggie was given a choice, she would want to.

Of course, it's blue, and I was worried it wasn't girlie enough. But, Aaron got it all assembled today, and it looks awesome. One snag is that the woman I bought it from can't find the bottom playhouse fabric - and I think that is pretty key to the awesomeness. If she can't find it, I'll probably end up buying a replacement tent in purple. If she does find it, there will be some bedazzling going on, lol.

Pictures of the bed to come...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Biking (and the risks therein)

Maggie used to have one of those Kettler trikes. One of the tricycles with the push bar? She would sit on it and yell PUSH ME! PUSH ME!

Someone got sick of this.(It was me, I admit it). So I got her a 12 inch bike with training wheels. No pushing allowed. Her first attempt on it ended in her telling me that the bike was broken and needed batteries. We gave her some time, and she figured it out.

This weekend, she was obsessed with going for rides on her big girl bike. Which I was all for. And Cam, obviously, went with us. Riding SUPER FAST. And screeching on his brakes to do burn outs. Maggie is not at that level yet, but she very badly wants to be. So, she followed Cam down our steep driveway, got going really fast (with a huge smile on her face) and I panicked and tried to slow her down, and in the process, pulled her over and managed to dislocate my shoulder (it popped right back in and the PAIN, let me tell you...)

She cried for a good hour after it happened. Her elbow was a bit swollen, and I was in pain, and now huge guilt was weighing on me because I basically did it to her, right!? If I hadn't reached for her handlebars, I bet she just would have just careened into the back yard and fallen on the grass (hindsight is 20/20). I got an appointment for both of us at urgent care. When we got there, she was still very, very sad. She ended up passing out on my shoulder, and as the doc manipulated her arm, she didn't even move. So it obviously wasn't broken. She is favoring it a lot, but I think it's just sore (like my shoulder, god damn it).

By the end of the day yesterday, I was so mentally burned out from worry I was physically exhausted. Before I had kids, I never worried about anything enough to take a physical toll. A mother's (and fathers, poor Aaron) love is fierce.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

True Test

Do you have friends that say things like 'my husband would never let me do that'? Usually in reference to going away on a trip kid-free for a weekend or an impromptu movie in the middle of week with girlfriends? Sadly, I do.

Aaron is always joking with me that I don't have to ask permission to go out. That he is my partner and that of course I can go out if I want to. And I do. Just in the last year, I've done a 10 day trip to India, a girls weekend on the Cape, a quilting weekend with friends in NH and small things like Mom's night out with girlfriends or seeing a chick flick in the middle of the week. I try to be fair. I think about what sort of day Aaron has had at work, or what he'll be dealing with (if the kids are crabby because of colds or whatever) and sometimes I'll pass on an offer to go out with girlfriends. Sometimes I miss my kids at the end of a crappy day and I need baby hugs. And I usually plan far in advance nights that I'll be out - so he knows what's going on.

It's very rare that I ping him mid-day and tell him that I'm going out that night. And yesterday, Aaron stayed home with the kids in the morning so I could go swimming. And he had a crappy day at work. But a friend and I were talking about needing pedicure, and she called and told me she made an appointment for that evening at 6:15. I almost told her I couldn't go. But instead, I pinged Aaron. I texted him that I was going to the CSA with the kids after school, and could he meet me there, because I needed to meet my friend for a pedicure?

He didn't even bat an eyelash. My husband rocks.

To me (and many of my unmarried, childless friends), this seems like such a little thing. I bet Aaron doesn't even know what a huge difference it makes to me that he is so laid back about it. And what a huge difference it makes in my stress level that I can count on Aaron to be a 'single' parent for the night so I can connect with friends, child-free.

I love it that Aaron and I are a team.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Monday I took my mom to the Red Sox. We had SO much fun. My mom loves going to Fenway, and she always makes friends. By the end of the game this time, mom had all the surrounding people calling her Aunt Ruth and buying her beers.
  • I have worked out every day this week. I went swimming Monday - Wends and yesterday, on a whim, I went to yoga. It was brutal, but great. I slept without moving for 9 hours last night.
  • Needless to say, I plan on adding yoga into my mix. I even plan on going today at lunch.
  • Wednesday night, we had the first meeting of a book club that I decided to start. It was a HUGE success. 5 of the 10 women live on my street. All of the woman have kids in the same age range (2-5). It was awesome.
  • I made about 2 gallons of sangria and we drank it all. Thursday morning was a little ugly.
  • Having this great group of woman made me realize (yet again) that we live in the best place. I would never move. I've mentioned this before, but we just lucked into this house. I had no idea the neighborhood I picked would be this amazing, and filled with so many fun women.
  • It also makes me excited for my kids childhood. On my street alone, there are 3 other kids Cam's age and 4 Maggie's age. Where I grew up, I was the ONLY kid my age on the street. It sucked. And I like all the mother's of these kids too - which is a huge plus.
  • The weekend is Wash the Firetruck Day in our town. The level of excitement for this event in my house is unmeasurable.
  • I've only been able to watch the Olympics in stolen moments off the DVR... but damn do I love the summer Olympics.
  • I have to say, it's nice to have the ability to fast forward through the interviews and commentary!
Happy Friday!