Monday, June 15, 2009

Star Wars

Hysterical series of videos for any Star Wars fan. The True Hollywood Story of R2-D2. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ah, Wednesday...

You're going to get a bit of rambling today. Sorry. 

My son is currently sitting on his little riding car wearing 2 baseball caps and Elmo slippers. Quite funny. 

I have some errands to run today, mainly buying more diapers and milk and bananas. The lifeblood of my house, we can't seem to operate without those items. I also need to bake more bread. 

I bit the bullet and ordered some cloth diapers today. I've been wanting to use them for some time, but I keep hoping that he'll be potty-trained soon.  He's not showing much interest yet. Then I remembered that even if he does, he's not likely to stay dry through the night for several months/years after that, so I could need diapers for quite a while still. Boo. We'll see how cloth goes though. 

I've been reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley to see if it had some ideas for us. (Thanks Mommy Geekology for the recommendation!) My biggest take-away so far: we are completely normal. All of the things that I was seeing as problems, are just normal for his age. Which makes me feel a lot better. We will be reinstating a set bedtime and expanding on his bedtime routine a little. We had done those before, but basically got lazy and stopped. It's created problems like never knowing when he's going to fall asleep and unpredictable naps. So, we're getting back on the program. 

Oh, part 2 will come later today or tomorrow, including some excerpts from my diary. Fascinating stuff, I know! 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our love story, part 1

This Friday is DH and my 4th wedding anniversary. In honor of that, I'm going to fill you in on our classic love story. 

It all started in the 3rd grade. We were in the same class. I was new to the school due to zoning changes (there were 3 elementary schools in our district), he was new because his family had just moved to town. I honestly don't remember him at all. But he noticed me, and in his words became "intrigued" by me. I think that's a big word for a third grader, so I say that he fell in love with me then. I have pictures with him in them, but my main concerns back then were learning multiplication and trying to keep up with the other girls. 

Cut to 5 years late. We're now in 8th grade. My older sister is in high school and is friends with his older brother. I walked to his house with my sister; they lived about a mile down the street from us. While there, we saw their emus and wallaby, and I thought about how cool it is that they own those animals. (My in-laws used to raise emus in their backyard, and had a pet wallaby. There are many uses for emus that I never knew about before then.) Then we hung out in their house for a while. I remember this very shy boy that seemed my age. He spent most of the time not speaking and hanging out either on the stairs or on the other end of the couch as me. 

The following Monday, I got on the bus and noticed for the first time, that the brother is on the bus with me. We began talking and our friendship grew from there. 

We didn't have any classes together so our conversations were limited to the bus. I remember he used to tease me a lot. He had a peach fuzz mustache. He had very kind eyes. At the spring formal, where I went with another boy, I remember he seemed a little sad or annoyed. Over the summer I didn't see much of him, but our story was just beginning. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And now, for some randomness

I've been having a hard time sleeping lately. I think my brain just won't shut off. The other night, I couldn't fall asleep until 3 am. Boo. I'm working on it. 

And now for some 2-year-old antics:

He thinks he's a battering ram and we are jungle gyms. He decided it would be fun to sit and bounce on hubby's head. And he jumps on our couch. Can't get him to stop. 

Last night, he was full of energy and running around as usual. Then he came and sat down next to me and the next thing I knew he had passed out sitting up. No warning. 

We had a VCR that we were using to convert some old tapes to DVD and while we weren't looking, he shoved an apple core and 2 markers into it. 

As I was cooking last night, I put some flower in a bowl and let him "cook" as well. He then took out every single one of my cooking spoons to use and ate the flour. The flour got all over everything, but at least he had fun. 



He looks so sweet & innocent doesn't he. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More time and summing it up.

It's that time of the week again! Time for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.


This week there are some great prompts, including one inspired by a post yours truly. 

So, I think I might do more than one.

First is "If you could cut back on something in your life that takes up your time, what would it be? And what would you prefer to spend that time doing?"

I would cut back on housework, specifically dishes. They are never-ending and the biggest mess-makers in my kitchen. Unfortunately, the other option is to use paper plates all the time and that's not very earth or budget-friendly. I would rather spend that time playing outside at the beach, or reading, or maybe reading blogs. Really anything but dishes. 

My other prompt is based on this article in the St. Louis News-Dispatch. I'm summing up my past, present and future life in 45 words. 

Kat was a well-loved mother, wife, sister and daughter. She spent her life caring about those around her and entertaining the world with her witty writing. Please join her family for a memorial service commemorating her incredible life. Details to be announced. 

So there you have it. The bane of my existence (dishes) and how I'd like to be remembered.

Head on over to Mama Kat's for more of the fun. 

New books

We got a package in the mail the other day from Connor's godmother. In it was this beautifully wrapped present. 


I opened them up and found these:


They're books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she works. I've known this woman since the 6th grade and she is the only friend from high school that I still talk to regularly. She has impeccable taste and spends her days cataloguing things in the museum basement. Look at the insides of these books. 


Each page has a letter and word and then examples of that word represented by different works of art found in the museum. The other books have the same concept. 


Aren't these beautiful. I love looking at them and can't wait to share them all with Connor. There's nothing like learning letters and numbers while taking in great works of art. 

I kept the wrapping paper too. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it was too pretty to throw out. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

A frocking good time

Today was the frocking ceremony for hubby. It took all of 10 minutes but was a nice way for everyone to get recognized. There were 8 sailors promoted to 1st class and 2 promoted to senior chief. The entire command was there and the family members of the promoted sailors. The CO said a few words about the sailors and then handed each one their promotion certificate, shook their hand and posed for a picture. 

Below is the only decent picture I was able to get due to the horrible lighting in the hangar bay and the cranky boy. You can see on Matthew's left arm the new patch. The 3 chevrons indicate that he's a 1st class. I'm so proud of my boys. :)


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ten things that make me happy

It's time for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop again and I'm back in the game. 
For this week I chose #5: List ten things that make you happy.
1. This photo
Such sweetness. :)


3. Relaxing at the beach- It's a good thing I live 10 minutes away from it.

4. Nature- Nothing calms me down more, except maybe hugs from my family.

5. Naptime- Ahhh, quiet time. 

6. Nutella- If you've never tried this delicious, chocolate hazelnut spread, you're missing out. 

7. Seeing Connor explore and discover new things. 

8. My family.

9. A good meal with good friends.

10. And last but not least, finding a new song that I love. 

Click over to Mama Kat to see more thought-provoking answers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crazy schedule

The next 2 days I won't see my husband at all. He started a Navy class yesterday that will continue until the beginning of July. That alone will take up his normal working hours. But due to circumstances at work that leave him as the only one to do his job (I'm not really allowed to get into details) he still has to work as well. So that means for the next month and a half he will be gone for long hours. Then add in the fact that today and tomorrow he has to take a 1st class Indoc Class* and get frocked** during the day, so he needs to make up the class time he misses at night, and the next 2 days he will leave the house at 5:30 am and get back after midnight. 

I don't mind the time away from him. Two days is nothing really, but I feel bad that he has to go-go-go for so long. I know how he is, so chances are he won't really eat and he won't have a chance to just sit. He'll come home and crash, sleep for a few hours, get up and do it all over again. Luckily it's only for 2 days. It'll be over before he knows it. I'll have to make sure he gets lots of rest this weekend. Although David Cook and Matt Nathanson will be here on Saturday for a free concert and I can't miss that. :)

*Yes, the Navy makes you take a class to learn about your new rank. Indoc is short for indoctrination.
**Frocked is the term for when you officially get to put on your new rank. Tomorrow there will be a frocking ceremony after which he can wear his new patches & pins. Here's a pretty good explanation and history of the term.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Living in the moment

Yesterday afternoon I was given a wonderful gift. My husband sweetly suggested that I go out for a few hours all by myself. I've been very emotional the past few months over everything going on in our lives and have started to take it out on him and Connor. So I left the house shortly after lunch time. I went to Barnes & Noble (one of my favorite places in the world) and lazily browsed the aisles. I looked at many, many books but chose 3 of the most promising. I wrote down a bunch more titles to look up in the library. I was definitely amazed at how many vampire books were on the main display tables; a tribute to the success of the Twilight series I'm sure. Then I made my purchase and proceeded to drive down roads I haven't been down before. 

I made my way through tree-lined streets and a neighborhood I hadn't seen before. I finally found myself in a little park that had a small play-structure and some swings. I sat down on a swing and started to read. The sky was cloudy with the promise of rain later. I could hear birds chirping and the occasional car passing by. It was very relaxing and allowed for a bit of introspection. 

I've been having a hard time adjusting to the whole stay-at-home thing. I've always been a busy, busy person and find it hard to turn off the need to always be doing something. Maybe it's because I know that I will end up sitting on the couch watching tv or being on the computer most of the time. But I really don't know how to just enjoy the moment. Hence why I read. It fills the time. It allows me to explore without exerting much energy. And it allows me to ignore what's going on around me. 

Anyway, I've been trying to simply be happy in the moment. But it's hard. I think I'm going to start writing down what I want out of every day and then seek to actually do it. I'm tired of waiting for life to happen to me. I need to make it happen. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I just want to remind everyone to take a break during all the BBQ's and celebrations this weekend to remember what this holiday is for: honoring our troops. 

Regardless of your political stance and feelings on war, our freedoms are protected by men and women who deserve our gratitude. Many of them are barely 18, yet they put themselves in harms way for us. I think that earns them our respect. 

Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend and having lots of good food!

I leave you with a picture of my Navy man hanging out on his ship during a deployment last year. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Boo boos and big news

This has been a big week for our family. 

First and the biggest news, hubby found out that he got promoted! This is a huge deal, and now he's a 1st class, which is considered senior enlisted. It means more responsibility and more expectations, but he's going to do awesome.

So to celebrate we went to a local deli. Now, we grew up in NY so our expectations in a deli are pretty high. But this one is run by a Jersey native and we've heard amazing things about it. It did not disappoint. Lots of pastrami and brisket. Yummy potato pancakes, and sandwiches the size of your head. A little pricey though so we won't be back too often. Definitely the best deli I've been to in a while though. 

Then for dessert we came back home and made strawberry bread. I had gotten the recipe from a friend and since strawberries are very in season and therefore cheap, I went for it. Let me just say, they're delicious. I'll post the recipe soon. Connor can't get enough of them. 

And then yesterday, Connor and I went to the zoo with our playgroup. We always have a great time there. He loves to see the lions and elephants. He's taken a huge interest in animals lately and can name quite a few. But of course he fell down while we were there. Scraped his elbow pretty badly and we had to go by the first aid station for a band aid and neosporin. Now he keeps taking the band-aid off and then acting devastated that he doesn't have one on. 

Today, we're off to the Strawberry Festival, to eat strawberries in 50 different ways and see the pig races. Gotta love it. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Words

I've been reading like crazy lately. It's something I've always enjoyed doing, but other things were more important for a while, like work and parenting. 

I started to read at the old age of 3, desperate to be like my sisters. I can actually remember seeing a tv commercial and wanting to understand the words on the screen. My 2nd oldest sister, M, taught me to read with the book, The Little Red Hen. Since then I've loved the written word. I would read books during bus rides to school. I carried a book with me to family parties and would spend them reading in a corner. It's what led me to journalism in the first place. But I always was happier reading than anything else. I would spend my summers reading books outside under trees. 

Luckily, Connor is getting my love of reading. He gladly sits on the couch to read with me and requests multiple stories at bedtime. I limit it to 3, but he usually wants more. He'll even lay in bed while "reading" his books on his own. 

Books have been important to me lately because they help me forget my own problems for a little while. I've been needing the escape. On that note, I'm going to get back to my new book. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

How does your area look?

The AP has created a map that shows the economic stress index throughout the country. I though this map was very interesting and wanted to share it. Take a look and let me know what you think. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bake-off

My hubby has challenged me to a bake-off. 

We were at a friends for dinner and they mentioned they were going to have a cook-out this Saturday. She asked if we could bring dessert. Hubby said that he would make something because he is the better baker. I sincerely doubt that.

At one time he definitely was the better cook. I've written before about my struggles to make good food, but I have improved quite a lot in that area. In comparison, he cooks once or twice a month. On the other hand, I've been a decent baker since I could measure on my own. I've only seen him bake once in the 9+ years we've been together. 

But the challenge has been made, so it's up to me to prove him wrong. So, what is the best dessert you've ever had? I have an idea in my head, but I want more. 

I need to win this challenge!

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Technology

So I always thought of myself as an early-adapter to technology. My dad is a computer guy so we always had the latest technology growing up. We had DSL as soon as it was available in our area. I was on Facebook while it was still a college-only thing. I lived for new things, but the past few years I've fallen behind. I didn't start this blog until January, I haven't really done much with Facebook, I don't have a Flickr account and I'm still learning about the social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious. It all makes me feel old and out of touch.

But I got an iPod Touch for my birthday so I finally get to play with that and today I joined Twitter! Not like I really need another thing to spend time on, but I wanted to see what it was about. You can follow me if you like; my username is Daredevilparent. 

I've got a bunch of stuff going on this week so I need to start making my to-do list. Groceries, navy stuff, writing, forms to fill out, cleaning, reading about homeschooling, babymaking, library storytime, music class, etc. Not enough hours in the day to get it all done. 

So, I leave you now to make my official detailed list. Hopefully, I will be energized and ready to tackle everything once I'm done. 

Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day in pictures

2007

2008

2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Readjusting

It's taken me a bit longer to adjust to our normal schedule than I thought it would. My baby sister drove back up with us last week, so I spent almost a week making spending time with her. We read a lot (one of her favorite things to do), went to the Botanical Gardens, an amusement park, a cookout, and a walk in the state park. I had laundry to do, dishes, unpacking, posting here, my blog reader and a million other things to take care of. But, I ignored them all so I could spent quality time with my sister. 

For the record, I have 4 sisters. The oldest, J, just got married, the next oldest, M, lives in NY and has 2 kids, I'm in the middle, the next youngest, S, has a little boy and lives in FL, and my baby sister, K, is in college and was visiting me. My dad enjoyed having all the girls, but I think we did have a lot of drama. 

Now, my sister is back in Florida and it's time to get back to reality. The laundry is done but needs to be put away, the kitchen is a wreck again, still haven't unpacked, but I'm posting again and trying to get through everything I missed while I was gone. I think I need to make a to do list again so I can remember everything. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Wedding

Wow, I was gone a lot longer than I expected to be. Our trip down to Florida went very well. Besides some traffic in Georgia things went smoothly. Connor slept a lot of the time, we made a few stops for him to run around, and he watched Bolt (his current favorite) many times on the portable DVD player. When we finally arrived, it was great to get out of the car but there was lots to do. 

My mom was doing a lot of the preparations for the wedding which kept her pretty busy. So, one of my sisters, Melissa, and I spent the bulk of the time watching the kids. There was Connor, Alex and Isaiah (all 2) and Liliana (6 months). The boys had a lot of fun playing together, but I think we said "You need to share." and "Don't fight." every couple minutes. By the time the kids were all asleep I was exhausted. I fell into bed soon after. I have new respect for moms with multiples. I don't know how they do it full-time. 

Finally, the wedding day came and we rushed to get ready. Of course the ceremony was perfectly timed with the boys' naps so they fell asleep on the car ride to the beach. We had to wake them up and then carry them down the makeshift aisle while a couple beachgoers hummed the wedding march. The ceremony lasted about 10 minutes and then it was time for some pictures. My sister Jen's 6-year-old daughter cries "I didn't want you to get married!" My mom calms her down and we head to the reception. 

The clubhouse in my parent's community was beautifully decorated with the beach theme. There was even a playroom for the kids. But, the back doors opened to the pool area, which is also where the food was. When the boys all saw the pool they took turns trying to get in. It required an extra watchful eye to make sure they didn't get too close. Soon after dinner, the exhausted kids became very accident prone and we decided to take them home. They fell asleep pretty quickly. It was a great day, but a lot of time and energy went into it and I couldn't wait to fall asleep. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Travel Necessities

There are a few things I do to prepare for a road trip that I think are key to a successful ride. 

I pack a cooler with food and an activity bag for Connor. 

Since this trip is longer than our usual ones, I'm taking along more food than I normally do. I'll pack dry cereal and fruit for breakfast. String cheese and more fruit for snacks, sandwiches for lunch, juice boxes, raisins, these small milk cartons, crackers, and a bottle of frozen water. This prevents stopping just for food, not to mention the high price of a restaurant or the unhealthiness of a fast food place. 

The activity bag is even more important because it keeps Connor entertained during the times he is awake. I pack a few of his favorite books, a couple matchbox cars, color wonder markers and paper (no drawing on the car doors!), a couple figurines, and my favorite thing, a wooden tray with paths for a duck, a train and a car. The paths are cut-out lines in the tray that let the car move along it. It's part of a larger activity set but it detaches from it very easily and is great for playing in the car. You could make something similar with a metal baking sheet. Make roads on the sheet with masking tape. Attach magnets to the bottom of some toy cars and voila, you have your own play road. 

There's one new thing that we're taking on our road trip, a portable DVD player. A friend let us borrow hers, so I packed that and some of Connor's DVDs to use in case of emergency. He's usually pretty good in the car so I don't know if we'll need it, but it's certainly nice to have. 

We're probably on the road by now, so I will let you all know how our trip goes when I get internet access again. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Haircut

I gave the boy a haircut today so he'd be all handsome for our trip. Not like he's not handsome normally, but I figured shorter hair would be better in Florida. So I got out our buzzer and cut his hair. 

When I was done, he had little hairs all over his neck. I asked hubby to clean it off for me, figuring he'd brush it off with his hands or use the compressed air thing. 

He takes Connor outside in the backyard. I'm cleaning up the hair off the bathroom floor when I hear the leaf blower turn on and little man start crying. 

Apparently, hubby thought the leaf blower was a good tool to use to blow away the little hairs. Connor didn't agree. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Things

 There are a few new things that Connor has picked up lately. 

First is "Ta da!" He will put a blanket over a toy or himself then lift it up and say "ta da!" as if he's just done the greatest magic trick in the world. He will do this when he finds the remote hidden behind my back as well. 

Then there's the throwing himself onto the floor. He "fell" on the floor the other day, acting like he had been pushed or tripped when he really did it himself. 

He will spin around in circles. I think he learned this from my friend's little girls. 

He will put socks on his hands and pretend he's a boxer. Often, he will lift his arms up in a muscle show-off pose, scrunch up his face into a "mean" look and run at the front door in an effort to defeat it in battle. 

And my favorite: at least once a day he will throw himself on to me, wrap his arms around my neck and say "squeeeze." I will then squeeze him in a big hug while saying "squeeeeze."

I can't wait to find out what's next. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Playground Friends

This week I decided to join in Mama Kat's writing workshop. I love reading every week. 

My participation is prompt # 5: Tell us about that thing that happened at the playground that time. 

Connor and I were at the park 2 weeks ago when he hit it off with another little boy about his age. They were immediately drawn to each other and played very nicely for over an hour together. The mom and I chatted and also hit it off. We agreed to meet back at the park the next week so the boys could play together. When we went to leave, I told Connor to say goodbye to the little boy. I expected a hug or a wave, but instead he walked right up to the boy and kissed him on the lips. Umm, yeah. I could hear what hubby would say if he saw that. But it's how he shows affection to us, so it's only natural that he would do the same with a playmate he had fun with. 

The next week, we met up again and the boys decided to make mulch pies on a little table that's part of the playground. When a little girl tried to play with them, he pushed her away, multiple times, despite my best efforts to get him to stop. 

We haven't seen them again yet as the mother was having a baby this week. But I'm sure that we'll meet up again. It's fun to see how Connor interacts with other kids, even if he is mean sometimes. 

Don't forget to check out Mama Kat's for more stories!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Road Trip

Connor has taken many road trips with me before. His first was at 2 months old. Since then, we've driven up to NY from Virginia at least a dozen times, if not more. The trip takes about 7 hours with minimal stops. I try to get on the road around 4-5 am so Connor sleeps most of the trip. He's awesome in the car. 

So, we're taking a road trip down to Florida for my oldest sister's wedding. Hubby won't be joining us unfortunately because he has to work. It's a 15 hour trip that we're breaking up over 2 days. I plan on getting on the road at 5 am Sunday morning so that Connor will sleep for the first part of the trip. When he wakes up we can stop, have breakfast and find a park for him to play in for a few hours. Then around lunchtime we can get back on the road and he'll be able to take his nap in the car. We should arrive in Jacksonville around dinner time, where we staying for the night with a friend we haven't seen in a while. The next day we'll get back on the road for the next 4-5 hour leg of our trip before we get to southeast FL where my sisters and parents live. 

It should be an interesting trip and definitely an interesting visit. My 4 sisters, 2 nephews, 2 nieces, 3 grandparents and, of course, my parents will all be there. It will be the first time our family has all been together in a year, and the first since my 6-month old niece was born. So, yeah. I'm expecting lots of great stories next week. 

But in the meantime I'll let you know how our preparations for the trip go. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter


Just wanted to share a picture from an egg hunt we went to on Friday. I love the look on his face.

I'm wrapped up in a freelance project and taxes, so sorry for not posting more. I've got a big event coming this weekend, so I'll post news soon. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sports Dilemma

We got a package from my mother-in-law today with Easter gifts for Connor. A Sponge-Bob book (whom I loathe, but my son loves), the Pinnochio DVD (her & my hubby's favorite Disney movie) and a baseball outfit. 

Connor loves baseball and enjoys watching the games on tv, but we are Red Sox fans. Always have been, always will, despite the fact that we grew up in NY. The in-laws still live in NY and went to the new Yankee stadium for an exhibition game last week. While there, they picked up a Yankees outfit for Connor. Now, do they really expect for us to put our future Red Sox fan in a Yankee outfit? That's just insanity!

So, what do we do with it? Take a picture, send it to them and then pack it away in a box? It seems unfair and unthrifty to do that. But I just can't imagine letting him wear that. It's just an abomination to our sports allegiances! 

Have you ever gotten a gift you don't want to use from your family? 

Friday, April 10, 2009

A sign of the times

Connor attended his first storytime this Tuesday at 11 am at the local library. This was the biggest of the local libraries and the parking lot is very large. And it was packed. The entire parking lot was full. People had taken to parking along the curbs. Some were waiting for cars to pull out of spots. It was like the mall on Christmas eve. 

I'm not sure if there was something going on or not, but I've never seen a library that packed in the middle of the day. I guess there were just a lot of people using the library's awesome resources. It's a great place to use the internet for free, read new books, rent DVDs, and more all for free. The library offers a lot of entertainment options all at no cost. Paid for by your tax dollars. 

Just out of curiosity I checked the holds on the Twilight books (I just watched the movie for the first time and loved it! So now I must read the books). The 1st book had 33 holds, the 2nd had 30 and the other 2 had close to the same. The DVD had 141 holds! I couldn't believe it. If everyone keeps the DVD for 1 week, the last person on the list won't get it for almost 3 years. It's definitely a popular book/movie and I finally understand why. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Watch my garden grow.

Connor's feeling much better today thankfully. He's been a bit congested from allergies and (this is kind of gross so skip this next part if you're eating!) I think some of the mucous drained into his stomach while he slept and then mixed with his milk in a bad way. Gross!

He did get another injury though; a scratch below his eye from the dog. He punched the dog in the head and when he pulled back his arm to do it again, Jack went back on his hind legs to get out of the way. Connor stepped closer and right into the dog's paw. I swear this boy looks like we torture him. 

In other news, I got to do some garden shopping yesterday! I've been wanting to grow some of my own vegetables and herbs since last year, but was too nervous about it. Well, I got over that fear and purchased some pots, seeds and some plants. I have three pots right now. One has lettuce and celery. One has a strawberry plant and chocolate mint. One has bell peppers and eggplant. I need to get one more pot to put my herbs in once they sprout. I'm hoping I'll get some decent vegetables this summer. It should definitely be interesting as I haven't grown anything since a bean plant in kindergarten. It's raining right now but I'll get some pictures tomorrow. 

Connor had a great time playing with the dirt and is looking forward to doing some more gardening! I love being able to find ways to expose him to new things that are fairly inexpensive.

Anyone have any gardening tips to share?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rough Weekend

It's been a rough couple of days for my little boy. 

Friday, we went to the aquarium where he fell on the pavement, resulting in popped blood vessels and a bump on his forehead and scratches on his nose and cheeks. 

Saturday was a trip to the park with him and the dog. Before we even get in the car, he manages to run into the leash and get rope-burn on his neck. 

After we get home, I go outside to do some work in the yard and Connor keeps me company. He falls into the ditch we have next to the patio and cuts his hand. Then he falls on the cement patio and scrapes his ankle. 

That's a total of 5 injuries in 24 hours. They're all minor and are simply because he likes to run and not pay attention to where he's going. 

And then this morning he wakes up, and after having a half-glass of milk, proceeds to throw it all back up. All over the couch, himself and then me (including some in my hair) as I'm trying to carry him to the bathroom. So I clean us both up, and the couch, call the hubby to let him know what's going on, throw the blanket and towel used in clean-up into the washer and sit down with my sick boy. When Matt got home, Connor fell asleep so I went to take a shower. Halfway through that, he pukes again. He is now asleep with his head in my lap with hopefully the last of it out of his system. 

He doesn't have a fever, so I assume it's just a stomach bug. But I hate when he's sick. The injuries I'm used to. This is the boy who fractured his wrist when he was just 16 months old. He always rebounds quickly. But when he's sick, he's just so helpless. I wish I could take it away but instead I'll simply spend the day cuddling with him on the couch, comforting him as best I can.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Attack of the Orange

My DH was driving along the road yesterday going about 40 mph when he heard a loud BANG that sounded like something had hit the roof. 

He looks in his rear-view mirror to see an orange fly off his car onto the median where several sea gulls start attacking it. Apparently, the sea gulls were flying overhead carrying the orange when due to fighting or a loss of a grip caused the orange to be dropped onto his car. They must have been pretty high up too, as the dent left by the orange was the size of a bowling ball. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mmmm, Blondies

No, I don't mean people with blond hair, I'm talking about the blond brownies that are oh so yummy. And so easy to make. And sooo yummy. Connor helped. 

Connor has been very interested in helping me in the kitchen lately. So I had two choices, continue to keep him out of the kitchen, with him getting very upset at me, or try to involve him in my cooking, and deal with the extra clean-up. I chose to let him help me. 

At first, I tried to just tried to keep him busy. I gave him an empty bowl and spoon one night and that satisfied him for a few minutes. The next night, I gave him a pot with a bit of flour in it and a spoon. He had a blast, but there was plenty of mess. A few nights he was simply content to stand on a chair watching me cook. 

Today, I decided to take it s step further, I let him help me cook, or, more accurately, bake. I filled the measuring cups with the ingredients and he dumped them in the bowl. I helped him crack an egg and he put it in the bowl. I mixed the ingredients together and then he used spoon to eat the mix while I was putting it in the pan. 

Normally, I pour the batter in a 9x13 pan but I decided to try something different this time. I poured the batter into my mini-muffin tin. There was enough left over to fill two heart-shaped tins. These are part of a set of 6 that were actually tied to the car on our wedding day. Don't worry, they've been cleaned many times. 

This is how they turned out.
Notice the 2 missing that I couldn't wait to eat. And sorry for the blurriness, there's a smudge on the lens I can't get off. 


Do you involve your little ones in the cooking? If so, what's your best tip for keeping it interesting?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Randomness

I'm having writer's block lately. I just don't know what to write about. How awful is that? 

It's not that there's nothing going on in my life. We went to a birthday party yesterday that involved some run-ins with an obnoxious kid who yelled at the birthday girl and bossed her around while she was opening presents. Oh and he provided a running commentary on the worthiness of her presents (an 8-yr-old boy critiquing a 7-yr-old girl's presents, how does that work?). 

Then, there's the overwhelming feeling of the housework that will never be done. There's the call I have to make to my doctor's office to see if I somehow messed up the referral process and am now on the hook to pay for a doctor's visit. There are the taxes to finish, and the spring weather to enjoy, and a project to do that I'm getting paid for (yippee!). But somehow, I don't feel that there's a story worth telling. 

I will say that I've been daydreaming lately about living in Italy. Hubby is up for orders this fall and our dream is to go overseas. There's a distinct possibility that we may move to Italy, and I can't wait to find out. We definitely don't want to stay here if we can avoid it. We'll essentially move anywhere else in the world to avoid staying. Not that it's a bad place necessarily, it's just not for us. So I've been doing lots of research to mentally prepare myself; I have planning issues and sudden changes freak me out. 

I promise to write more often this week though. If I can stop daydreaming long enough anyway. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Schedules

Since becoming a SAHM one of the things I've struggled with the most is our schedule. I wasn't quite sure how our day should be structured or what we should even be doing. Do I try to teach him now, or wait until he's older? What kind of structure should I be aiming for? How often should he be interacting with other kids?

I'm trying to figure it out as we go, learning, researching, seeing what others do. It's possible that this is part of my problem lately. There's no focus to my life, no concrete plan. As someone who always needs a plan, this throws me off. 

So, I'm getting back on the planning wagon. I figure with just a little more work, I can bring some organization to our days and feel better about it. 

We've also adjusted our bedtime for Connor. I was pushing him to go to sleep at 8:30 when he apparently just wasn't ready then. He was still sleeping until 8:30 in the morning and his naps were suffering, only taking 30 minutes. And then after he got night terrors, we decided to make some changes. By waiting until 9:30 or 10, he sleeps better at night (he's slept through the night ever since) and his naps are back to normal. He's just a night owl. 

Why haven't I learned yet that Connor does things his own way, on his own time? I can't force him to do anything. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cries in the Night

Connor went to bed as usual last night. Teeth brushed, PJs, story, kisses and lights out. All good. Then at just before midnight he woke up yelling and crying inconsolably. 

I heard the crying in my dreams first. Then I woke up and went into his room to calm him down. But nothing I did helped. He continued to cry for a long time. My husband woke up and came in the room too. I tried to lay Connor back down in his bed, but he just sat back up again. I tried holding him, but he kept straining against me, pushing on my arms as if to get away. I continued to hold him as best I could until he finally calmed down. I put him back in bed, pulled the blanket up and waited to make sure he was ok. Then I went back into my room and fell asleep. 

A few hours later, my husband repeated the process when Connor woke up again screaming. He turned on the hall light thinking that maybe the darkness was scaring him. 

An hour later, Connor was up crying again. This time he was at the top of the stairs in the hallway. At this point I picked him up and brought him into our bed. Being in the same room as us tends to calm him down, but he still had a hard time falling back asleep. 

I'm not sure what to do for him. He might be having nightmares, but I think it's actually night terrors. I know that can happen with kids his age, but it doesn't make it any easier. There's literally nothing we can do to calm him down, just wait it out. And often he doesn't even open his eyes while he's crying. I'm not sure he remembers any of it. I feel so helpless when this happens, but it's not every night. Hopefully, he won't have another one for a while. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just... ew

A few weeks ago my husband went on a mission to catch the rat living in our attic. He tried a humane mouse trap first with no luck. Then he placed a night-vision camera to catch the action. He then discovered it was a large rat, not a mouse, that would never have fit into the humane trap, and he was too smart for the glue kind. So the snappy kind were set up instead. The rat was caught within a day and all was good. 

Within a few days, hubby thought he still heard scratching in the attic, but the camera didn't show anything. I told him to ignore it, it was probably just a tree branch scratching the roof. 

I was wrong. 

Today, I moved the stroller in our attic from near the ladder to the back part of the attic as I was rearranging things. Then I went back down the ladder with a box in my hands. As my head was nearing the opening, I looked to where the stroller had been and saw something gray and furry. And big. 

It was a dead rat. The companion of the deceased, the one I thought didn't exist. I froze and then proceeded down the ladder. I closed the attic up and called to my husband to dispose of it, which he gladly did. 

I hate rodents. They're diseased and they poop everywhere and are just plan nasty. I didn't want to go back into the attic after that, but I need the boxes of stuff out of my bedroom. I just hope there are no more rats hiding up there. 

Please rats, just leave us alone!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rain, rain, go away

It was nice out again yesterday but we couldn't spend much time outside because the ground was still wet. It rained all last weekend, and on Monday, and then again last night. That's a lot of rain. Add in how close to sea level we are here and the ground is pretty saturated. 

I guess I shouldn't complain too much since we were having a bit of a drought the past few years. But when your son begs you to go outside every 5 minutes, it's hard not to give in. 

We did go to the park yesterday, and I'll try to get him outside today too. I'm trying to be ok with him getting dirty, after all he is a boy, but I don't want him falling in mud puddles. How would I put him in the car without that getting dirty too? 

Rain is an important part of spring. And I'm definitely glad spring is here. I can't wait to spend more time outside and be active. I always feel like a log when I stay inside all day. I've got a nice bike with kid seat that I need to start using again. I want to start running again. There's an unused kayak sitting in the backyard. And my #1 priority this year is to learn how to surf. I tried it once last summer and actually got up on one wave. Woohoo! I just have to figure out how to surf with a 2-yr-old on the beach. I may have to employ babysitters to accomplish that. 

What about you? What are your big plans for the nice weather?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. When I got home I started on a cleaning project that has been bugging me for months, my attic. We kept shoving stuff up there in whatever container we had that it finally only left us with a little 1" by 3" spot on the floor at the top of the ladder. I had to fix that. 

We don't have much attic space to begin with because of the way they build roofs down here. But shove 5 boxes of christmas decorations, 2 years worth of baby gear, 5 boxes of DVD cases, a bunch of suitcases and old furniture and it's pretty much full. 

So I've been taking it down bit by bit this week, sorting through it, organizing it better and making a pile of stuff to get rid of. We don't have quite enough for a garage sale, but a few items will go on craigslist, some on ebay and the rest will be donated. Hopefully they'll be of use to someone else. I've still got to sort through the suitcases and DVD boxes and then I can start putting stuff back up. Then I will finally have some peace of mind and my bedroom back. I'll post a picture when I'm all done. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm back!

Hello again!

I am back from visiting my beautiful nephew. My brother-in-law and his wife are so ecstatic to be parents. It makes me think about when my little boy was first born. It's so great to see how far he's come. Only 2 years ago he was the same size as my nephew, so helpless, so dependent on me for everything. There's something so precious about a newborn, but 2-year-olds are a lot more fun. 

Don't get me wrong, I love babies and can't wait to have another one. But their interactions with you are much more basic. With a toddler you can actually play games and get hugs and kisses. There's nothing quite like hearing your child say "I wub you." 

But I've had a great time playing with little babies lately. First my nephew and then I attended a baby shower this past weekend where I got to play with more little ones. Their giggles and little smiles and pure joy at the world. Ok enough about babies, I've got over 200 blog posts in my reader to catch up on. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Visiting

I'm in NY again this week, visiting my brand new nephew. :) He's adorable and I wish I could stay longer, but alas, I must go home soon. 

In the meantime, check out The Hunger Site, by clicking a button you can donate a can of food or a mammogram to someone who needs it. It's absolutely free and you don't have to register so check it out now!

Monday, March 9, 2009

dirt

The boy has discovered dirt. 

We've been spending more time outside lately so he's had more opportunities to explore our backyard. But our yard is tiny so there's not much to see. Except, on one side along the fence is a dirt ditch. It doesn't get much sun and tends to get water-logged when it rains. It's small too, only about 3 inches deep and about 4 feet long. And it's still muddy from the rain we had last weekend. 

Yesterday, Connor was picking out rocks and tasting the dirt on them. Then he decided that wasn't quite adventurous enough so he picked a spot and sat down in the middle of the ditch. He sat and sat and sat, poking at the mud, picking some up, plopping it back down. And then it hit him, he could put it on himself! He painted his legs and arms with mud, seeing what kind of lines and shapes he could make. 30 minutes were spent this way, playing in the mud. 

Now supposedly kids are supposed to eat a pound of dirt before they grow up. It builds their immune system up. Not to mention it's great sensory play; mud doesn't quite feel like anything else. But it's still kind of icky. And requires clean-up and a change of clothes before doing anything else. 

Some days I wish I were one of those moms who didn't care and played in the mud with him. But then I remind myself that mud is icky. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm a thief!

It is gorgeous here again. :) Sunshine always makes me feel better. 

Yesterday we went to the commissary where I got 5 bags of groceries for a total of $65. My coupon-clipping, price-searching, sale-watching ways are finally starting to pay off. I also accidentally stole an apple. Connor likes to munch on one while we shop and then I just have them ring up one apple twice. But I went through the self-checkout and forgot. Oops. 

Then hubby got off work early so we went to the state park again. We walked for about an hour and little man had a great time picking up sticks and rocks and throwing them in the woods. Right before we turned around we came across a hanging ladder. It's one of those exercise things that is similar to a playground where you can hang on one bar or travel the length of it. Hubby of course had to try it out, which means Connor had to try it out. He loves to do this at the playground to, but he hasn't quite learned to grab the next bar. He'll just hang onto one bar for a couple seconds. Well this time my little he-man held himself up for over 30 seconds! That's some impressive arm strength. 


Then we get home and I have to finish grouting a few replacement tiles in our kitchen. The dog's water bowl was placed in the hallway so he could still have access to it. Of course this means Connor must pick it up and dump half of it out. Then he proceeds to step in it and walk all along the hallway taking wet, squishy steps. He thought it was great fun. So all in all, a pretty good day. I can't wait for more days where we can spend time outside. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

One of those days

I'm sure you guys have days where it's a struggle to make it to the end, right? Well today is that day for me. Actually it's kind of been that week for me. 

I don't know what it is, but I just want to crawl in bed and stay there. But instead, I get up and take care of little man. I make him breakfast, get him dressed, play with him, and deal with his constant need to climb on me. Today we ran a few errands where I had to force him to sit in the cart by letting him play with my wallet, he likes to take the cards out & put them in again. We went to the park where he chased after a bird and landed face first in a mud puddle and then played in the sand. We came home and got him changed then ran back out to meet a friend for lunch where I felt guilty for spending money I didn't need to and Connor kept dripping water from a straw all over the table. Then, we came home and I tried for 2 hours to get him down for a nap with no luck. Finally I put on a movie and he falls asleep leaning on me within 15 minutes. 

I try so hard every day to make it fun and educational for him, but I  struggle. I feel guilty when I leave the tv on too long. I feel guilty when I lose my temper with him. I feel guilty all the time. 

I know guilt is part of motherhood. Everyone wants to be the best mom they can. No one is perfect. Part of the joy of being a parent is that those little people need you so very much, for care, food, comfort, guidance. But part of the downside is also that need. It can consume you. 

At least when I was working full-time I had adult time. It may not have been fun adult time, but it was something. Now that I'm home, I don't have that as much. Everywhere I go, Connor goes too. I guess it all boils down to a need for more kid-free time. I love my son and wouldn't trade staying home with him for anything, but I need some me time too. 

It doesn't help that my husband has been incredibly busy with work and studying for his advancement test lately. The good news is that his test was today so I know I'll get a break soon. Hopefully it will help me break out of this funk. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Egg Rolls

I know it's a day late but here's the recipe for egg rolls. They came out super yummy.  

First boil 3 chicken breasts until done. While they are cooking, finely chop one bag of carrots and one head of green cabbage in a food processor. I only have a magic bullet so this step took much longer than it should have. When the chicken is done, let cool a bit and then finely chop that as well. Mix them all in a bowl and add soy sauce to taste. I use about a cup. 

Put about 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mixture and cook for about 7 minutes. The color will change to a darker brown (kind of like stir-fry). 

Put the mixture back into a bowl to cool. 
Get out the egg roll wrappers (my grocery store has these in the produce section of the store) and put one on a plate. You should also have a small bowl with water in it nearby. Put a heaping spoonful into the middle of the wrapper. 
Take one corner and fold it up, pushing the sauce out a bit. If there's not enough liquid to cover all the edges, dip your fingers in the water to make sure it's damp. Fold in each side corner so it looks like a house. 
Fold the top corner down and they are wrapped. Be careful with this because the wrappers can tear and then you have to double wrap. 
If you have a deep fryer you can cook these in that. If not, fill a sauce pan up with cooking oil (I used vegetable oil) and heat over medium high heat. Wait until the oil is good and hot and then start adding the egg rolls. Place them with the seams up so air can escape from the inside. I did 4 at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil. Let cool and enjoy! The recipe makes about 36 egg rolls. 



Monday, March 2, 2009

Productivity

After my fabulous revelation that I can actually cook yesterday, I've had another good day. I woke up early and did yoga. It's been snowing all day; a huge deal in this area despite the fact it's only a dusting. I finally replaced a couple broken tiles in our kitchen. I went to the grocery store for a couple basics. And now it's naptime. 

There are lots of days recently where I don't feel productive at all. I think that's one of the downfalls of being a SAHM. Parenting is hard work, but it doesn't feel very productive. You play and clean and read books and sing songs and prepare food and then repeat. It can get kind of monotonous after a while. The immediate sense of accomplishment that you get at work is missing when you stay home. Not to mention that coming up with new and fun things to do takes a lot of creativity. So, I'm glad I felt productive for once. 

Ooo, I'm making egg rolls for the first time tonight (it's a recipe from a friend). If they turn out ok, I'll post the recipe tomorrow with pictures! 

In the meantime, if you stay home with your kids, what do you do to break the routine?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I can cook!

It's taken a long time, but I finally feel like I can cook well. I made dinner last night from scratch without following a recipe. And it actually tasted good! This is the first time that's ever happened and is a huge accomplishment for me. 

Growing up, my mom always cooked. I occasionally baked, but never cooked. So when I went off to college I had very few skills. My first attempt at cooking, the chicken was dry and I misread the recipe, instead of 1 tsp cumin, I put in 1 tbsp curry. It was not good. At all. 

The first few years of college I basically ate at the dining hall, had cereal or a sandwich, or cooked chicken on the george foreman grill. Rarely did I attempt anything more complicated. Then I got married and there was no more dining hall. We ate out a lot. Probably, 3-4 times a week. When I cooked, it was by following a recipe to a T. Even then my attempts often failed. My husband was sweet enough about it, never really complaining. 

But finally after all this time, I can finally cook well. I've got that famed cooking instinct I feared I would never have. I know this is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but when you have to cook dinner every night, I want to make sure the people eating it actually enjoy it. 

What about you? Do you have any bad cooking stories? 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nature Walk

I forget how calming nature can be. It gives me a serene feeling, like everything is right in the world. Ok, enough cliches. Connor and I had a great time, even if we didn't actually walk very far. 

There were pine needles all over the ground, which gave a nice scent to the air. We walked past some ponds that had broken tree trunks and fallen trees in it. Connor tried to climb down the hill to play in the water. 

I had to catch him at least once from falling down the hill. But he did find a lot of great treasures, including rocks and prickly balls (not sure what they're actually called). 
My favorite part was the little dock that went over part of a pond. We walked along it to get closer to the trees. My little daredevil pretended it was a thrill ride. He kept walking up and down it saying "whoa, whoa, whoa" and tilting his head like it was a wobbly bridge. He'd take big, careful steps so he wouldn't fall into one of the cracks, which were a whole half inch wide). Maybe he's big enough for a real roller coaster already. 

I know it's cold still in a lot of places, but as spring creeps in it's nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Hopefully, those of you still enjoying frigid temperatures will get to thaw out soon and enjoy your own nature walks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cars and Guitars

Little man was sick yesterday so I didn't get much accomplished. He's very tough and doesn't complain too much, but he gets very clingy when he's sick. He insists on sitting on my lap, or being near me at all times. There were even a few times where he was so exhausted, but instead of laying down on the couch, he sat next to me and nestled into my side. Soo cute and adorable. But I still felt bad for him. He's doing much better today though. 

Today has been catch up day, which means dishes, laundry, general cleaning, etc. Lots of fun. But we did make it out of the house for a whole half hour! Woohoo! 

My other project for the week is going through all the baby clothes I have. My niece is outgrowing her clothes already so I want to send some neutral things to my sister. Also, I have a brand new nephew who was just born (as in today!) and I want to see what I have so I can send it to my brother-in-law when they need it. I just kind threw things in bags and then in the attic as Connor outgrew them, so they're not very organized. Hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow or this weekend. 

As far as activities, we obviously did not do much yesterday. But today has been spent playing a lot with cars and his guitar. I try to talk about the number and color of the cars when we play with them. And I try to talk about what the cars are doing, i.e. "the blue car is crashing into the green one." It's a great way to expose him to more language, which he's been picking up like crazy. I think tomorrow we're going to try to spend some time outside and maybe go for a walk through the state park. We can talk about the different things in nature. I love nature walks. I'll try to take some pictures to share tomorrow. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Grout

First off, thanks for easing my guilt a bit about the tv. I know it's not bad in moderation, but it's easy to feel like something is getting the best of you.

In other happenings, I spent 4 hours on my hands and knees yesterday. Cleaning grout. With a toothbrush. Our kitchen tile grout had gotten so disgusting in the 3 years we've lived in this house that it was brownish-gray. Originally, it was off-white (bone to be exact). You can see an example here:
The upper right portion has been cleaned, the bottom left has not. Biiiig difference. 

The tile floor was our first project when we moved into this house and it was my first time tiling. I made mistakes, but learned from them. Some of the tiles are different heights, the grout lines are not straight and I did not cover the backs off all the tiles completely with mortar (hence why some of them cracked in the corners and have to be replaced). But I learned and our most recent tiling project (the kid's bathroom) turned out much better. Don't be afraid to tackle tiling. It's actually a lot of fun and practice makes perfect. But don't forget to seal the grout!

Lastly, here's something to think about if you plan on selling your house anytime soon:

I found this on Owlhaven who in turn found it on Challies, so check them out too!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pillow Fight!

I am addicted to tv. Seriously, I could watch tv all day, even when there's not much on worth watching. I don't know when it started because I didn't watch a lot of tv growing up. When I was in high school I did get a tv in my room that I would have on at night. I go to school, stay after for drama club, track, or some other activity, come home, do homework, eat dinner, do more homework, and then go to sleep watching tv. This is how I came to watch shows like "Oz" (the violent show on HBO set in a jail) and late-night Showtime (you know, when it wasn't kid-appropriate anymore) and not much else. 

In college, we didn't have cable access. The only channels we got were through bunny-ears. If we were lucky, we got two channels. But some of my friends were tv majors. Or film majors. Or ad majors. I was a journalism major. So all of our lives revolved around some type of media. Then in junior year, our campus gave us cable tv. I think tha'ts when my downfall began. We would spend Sunday mornings watching the Food Network. We would have show viewing parties every week. But still, I had much more important things than watching tv all the time. Then I graduated and moved away from all my friends and family. My nights were spent watching tv, because there wasn't much else to do. Fast forward to today where I can tell you the schedule of pretty much any show currently airing on a major network. 

Now that I'm home full-time, it's a bit of a struggle not to have the tv on all the time, every day. Now and then it's fine. But I don't want my son to be a couch-potato. I want him to learn, be curious, do things. Plus, when the tv is on, all three of us tend to sit around like logs; this is not quality family time. So I've been making an effort to keep the tv off for most of the day. We watch primetime. And I'll allow some cartoons in the morning. But other than that, I want to keep the tv off. 

That in my long-winded way brings me to last night. What did we do with no tv? We had a pillow fight! It was our first as a family. It started out with hubby and I doing our sorta bickering. Then he's tossing pillows at me. So I toss them back. Connor sees this and thinks it's a lot of fun. He goes and grabs his little pillow and joins in. There we are, playful hitting each other with pillows. For a good half hour. It was a lot of fun. 

Do you try to limit tv time? If so, what do you do instead? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Unexpected Moment

My leg tonight was used as the scene for a chicken race between 2 matchbox monster trucks. I held one of them while Connor smashed the other one into it and went "boom!" 

The cars crashed again and again. Then he picked them up, cradled them in his arms and rocked them as he whispers "my baby" ever so sweetly. Then the cars crashed again. 

The tender moments mixed in with the destructive. The wonders of little boys. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boys don't do pink

Yesterday morning Connor and I went to a playdate at a friend's house. This friend has a 3-year-old girl, but her toys were a pretty good mix of "boy" toys and "girl" toys. She had just as many trucks and cars as she did play house things. Connor spent most of his time playing with the cars and trucks which are some of his favorite things. But near the end of our visit he caught sight of a guitar. 

It was pink. And Barbie. And played music. And had a lot more features than his guitars at home. And it was pink. 

I could care less. He was happy to be rocking out and playing the guitar. So happy that I couldn't get him to put it down so we could go home. 

My friend graciously told us to borrow it for a while. "She'll never realize it's gone and when you bring it back it'll be like a brand new toy."

Worked for me. 

Connor played with it while I was buckling him in. He played with it the whole car ride home. He played with it while we were walking in the front door to our house. 

"What the hell is that?" asked hubby. 

"It's a guitar."

"It's pink."

"It's a guitar."

"It's pink."

"We were at a little girl's house."

"It's pink."

"We're just borrowing it."

"It's pink."

Hubby couldn't quite get over the color despite the fact that pink used to be the preferred color for little boys and despite the fact that it is just a color. But he's a man, so only manly things are appropriate for his little boy. Silly men.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes

Yesterday we had a small celebration for Connor's birthday. Instead of the traditional cake, I decided to recreate something I saw at Coldstone Creamery. It's a chocolate cupcake shell, with cupcake in the bottom, a scoop of ice cream on top and then whipped cream to look like frosting. It looked delicious but a little too pricey for me. So I decided to recreate it myself. I sadly forgot to take photos while making them, but did take one of the finished product. 


The hardest part was figuring out how to make the shell. I ended up using 2 jumbo foil cupcake wrappers. I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips in a bowl (about 2 handfuls per shell), then sprayed pam on the inside of one wrapper. I used a big spoon to scoop some chocolate into the bottom of the wrapper, then scraped some more along the rim. I took the second wrapper and pammed the outside of it, then pushed it into the chocolate until it seemed like it took the correct form. I refrigerated the chocolate for a couple hours until hard. 

Next, I made a batch of cupcakes that were normal sized. I cut off the tops and put the bottom part in the shell. I topped with a scoop of ice cream and some whipped cream. I made my own cake mix and whipped cream, but you could always use store-bought. 

Here's a top view:

They were super yummy but a little too involved to make in a large quantity. I made 11 and it took probably a total of 2 hours to make them, not including refrigeration and baking times. 

I definitely recommend trying them though! I had one extra and put it in the fridge. The ice cream melted and absorbed into the cake making it extra mushy. Mmmmm. 

Oh, and I took the cupcake tops and made a chocolate trifle. Layer the cupcakes, chocolate pudding, and cool whip in that order. Repeat for a second layer and you're done. I usually use Entenmann's Chocolate Fudge Cake, but figured this would be just as yummy. Hubby is bringing it to work tomorrow so I'll let you know how they like it. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Interview!

Jenny from Perfectly Disheveled was interviewed by a fellow blogger recently and then offered to interview her readers. I jumped at the chance to tackle some tough questions! I've enjoyed reading her blog immensely so make sure you check it out! Here goes:

1) How did you meet your husband? And how old were you when you got married?

First a warning: this story almost always gets an "awww" response. 

I met my husband in the third grade. (See, there you go awwwing) I have a picture of him from field day that year; he was standing in the back row, I was kneeling in the front row. Despite spending a year in the same class, I don't remember him. He, however, does remember me. In his words, he became "intrigued" by me and kept an eye out for me ever since. Then in 8th grade we were on the same bus. His older brother was friends with my older sister, so I went over to his house with her one day. I remember him being shy and not talking very much. After that, we would talk on the bus every day and became friends. Then he asked me out freshmen year of high school. I said no. I wasn't ready to date yet and didn't want to lose him as a friend. That fall, he asked me to a dance. I said no. Being the independent woman I was, I wanted to go to one school dance alone. Then, 2 short months later, we went to the winter semi-formal together and, one minute to midnight, he asked me out again. I said yes and we've been together ever since. He proposed when we were 18 and we got married at 21, just as I was finishing up college. He was my first and only boyfriend, and the only man I've ever kissed. 

2) How many children do you want and would you ever consider adoption?

I've always thought I wanted 4; my husband says 2. We compromised at 3. I would definitely consider adoption and would love to do some foster care once my husband is out of the military and we don't move as much. 

3) What are your guilty pleasures?

TV is definitely my guilty pleasure. Especially teen dramas like One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl. My husband doesn't understand it, but I can't help but watch them. 

4) You've now been both a Working mom and a SAHM. Which is harder and why?

I think both are hard in different ways. As a working mom, I worried I wasn't spending enough time with Connor. I was constantly stressed for time and felt guilty wanting some time away from him in the evenings or weekends to do grown-up things. I already spent so much time apart from him for work, I didn't want to do anything to increase that. I also found myself going through the motions a lot of days. But I did love interacting with other adults on a regular basis and having that sense of immediate accomplishment. Staying at home is some of the hardest work I've ever done. You have to search out activities and people. It can be very lonely during the day. You don't know if anything you're doing is accomplishing anything until much later. And my independent streak doesn't like not having a steady income. So, while both have their advantages, for me staying at home is more fulfilling work. Working full-time was not fulfilling anything but my bank account. I wouldn't trade this time with my son for anything. 

5) George Clooney or Brad Pitt?

Neither and both. George has those looks that kill me. That tall, dark, handsome confidence. Mmmm. But he seems self-centered and I don't think he'd be much fun for too long. Brad on the other hand is very handsome, but not my type. However, he seems very giving and family-oriented, which are qualities I greatly admire. If you could combine them, that would be perfect. Although I doubt I would say no to either of them if the circumstances were right. :)


Thanks Jenny for the interview! 

If you would like to be interviewed, let me know in the comments and I'll dig my journalist brain for some great questions!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Just wanted to say a quick Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th. Oooooo, scary.

It's Friday the 13th today! Most superstitious people believe that bad things happen today. But I disagree. Some of the best things have happened to me on Friday the 13th. My mom was born for starters. And that has lead to a lot of 13 related happenings for me. My favorite is that my son was born in delivery room 13. In my dazed mind in the middle of labor, I remember seeing that number and breathing a sigh of relief. That number is a lucky one, regardless of what other people say. 

Maybe it's just a matter of believing that good things will happen, so they do. If you focus on the negative, the bad will come to you too. So, go out and enjoy the wonderful Friday the 13th and believe that good things will happen!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Note to My Birthday Boy

Connor, 

You are a whole two years old today. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed! It seems like just yesterday that you were just a sweet little baby. 
You were so small then that you didn't seem real. You're so much bigger now. You're so smart and creative and funny. Here are some things that I hope I never forget about you at this age:

How you would laugh maniacally at random things. 

How you would say "I wub you" and "Peas" (please) while nodding your head. 

How you would say "Stop it" and cry a little when your sleeves wouldn't stay down. 

How I would ask you for a hug and you would wrap your arms around my neck so tightly. 

How I would ask for a kiss and you would press your cheek to mine and wait for me to kiss you. 

How your laugh would make my heart ache with happiness. 

How you were fascinated by all moving vehicles, but especially trains and cars. 

How you would stop what you were doing at the playground when a truck passed by, point, and yell "Bus!" 

How good a climber you were and your love of slides. 

How even at this age you would say "please" and "thank you" and wait your turn to go down the slide. 

How you loved all animals, sometimes a little too much. 

How you loved to draw, on everything. 

How you would rock back and forth on your feet to dance to tv theme songs you liked. 

How you would instantly charm everyone you met.

And most importantly, how much you were loved by everyone who met you and how thankful I am to have you in my life. 

So Happy Birthday Connor!!!! I look forward to celebrating many more with you!

S.W.A.K.

We Are That Family is having a S.W.A.K. carnival to honor the men in our life. Check out her blog for all of the participants, but here is my contribution.

My husband was deployed for the first time a mere 6 weeks after our son was born. He was home 6 months later but then shortly left again for another deployment. All told, he was gone 11 of my son's first 16 months on this earth. When he finally came home, we had to figure out how to be a family. We had been a couple for a long time, but a family was something new. I think we both worried about the transition. 

But my husband was born to be a father. He was patient when Connor called him "mama" for the first few months, and is still patient as our son still calls him that more times than not. He is not shy about showing his love for our son. When he walks in the door and Connor goes up to him and gives him a hug, you can see the weight on his shoulders lift. And I swear that there is nothing sexier than hearing him and Connor play choo-choo trains or seeing them snuggle under a blanket together and reading a book. 

I am so thankful to have him in my life. He's the only one I ever wanted and the fact that he is such an incredible father is a bonus. I know that our military life is not going to be easy on Connor. The frequent moves, his father's long absences, the distance from our extended family, that all adds up to an unstable environment for kids. But I know that together, he and I can provide stability for Connor. The past 2 years have not been easy, and I know we will have difficult times in the future as well, but I still believe that as long as we make our marriage a priority, we will be ok. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Changes & Parks

Sorry for all the changes in the appearance of this blog lately. I've been trying to figure out what I want it to look like so I keep trying things out. I should have one look pinned down soon, so bear with me until then. 

On another note, we've been enjoying more nice weather today. Connor and I went to the park near the commissary (military grocery store) for a little while before we went grocery shopping. It was right near the water, in a wooded area, and empty. We hadn't been there before, so it was nice to be the only ones to enjoy it. 

My favorite part was that they had a toddler play area. The slides were a bit shorter and the climbing things were chunkier; less of a chance for him to fall through. This didn't stop him from tackling the big play area anyway. He wanted to go down the fireman's pole and tackle the big slides. 

My little crazy man. 

Yet somehow, the wobbly bridge proved too scary for him. I had to hold his hand across it once, and then give him reassurance from the sidelines the next couple times. I can't quite make sense of what scares him and what doesn't. I know he doesn't share my fear of heights though. If he's anything like his father, I know he'll only get more adventurous.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beautiful Sunshine

I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Virginia we had a beautiful weekend. Today, it was 75 and sunny. 

Absolutely gorgeous!

That's one of the best things about living down here: you don't have to wait too long for spring to come. I'm sure we'll have more cold days soon, but this week it will be sunny and in the 60's. And it's only the second week in February. 

I love sunshine and springtime and the chance to spend time outside. But, I've been saying all winter that if only it were warmer out, I'd go for bike rides, and hikes, and be more outdoorsy in general. Now there are no more excuses. At least this week. Besides, it's a great chance for Connor to learn more about nature. Even if it's by trying to eat dirt and/or bugs. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Activity

Yesterday, Connor got to enjoy some new activities. 

First, I took an empty plastic jar and filled it with about 1/2 an inch of dry navy beans and put the cap back on. Then I gave him a bowl and some measuring cups. He spent about 20 minutes unscrewing the cap and transferring the beans from jar to bowl and back again. He would use the measuring cups to scoop some out of the bowl and put them back in the jar. We stopped when he tried to eat the beans. They're edible, but not great when they're dry. The activity helps expose him to a new texture and practice his fine motor skills. 

We also drew for a bit using colored pencils. They're narrower and longer than the crayons he usually uses, so it provided more of a challenge to hold. Again, this works on fine motor skills, and stimulates his creativity. His drawings have started to be more purposeful, more straight lines and circles, less random. 

We've also been working on up and down. He loves to to jump up in the air, even though he only gets about an inch of the ground. Luckily though he hasn't quite gotten brave enough to jump off things. He prefers to climb them right now. 

Next week we're going to work on the alphabet and dressing himself. He's good at taking off his sweaters or jackets, but he hasn't quite gotten anything else. Although he is very good at putting his socks on his hands.