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Friday, December 4, 2009 excuse to shop!

Oh, how I used to love to shop. I would enjoy browsing, too...I didn't have to actually spend any money, but I was quite talented in the sport during my pre-Caroline years. Caroline does NOT have the gift. Not yet, anyway. Her favorite thing to do while in a store (or mall or airport or county fair or theme park...) is run full speed in the opposite direction of me, jollily laughing and escaping me by just a hair- so as to elevate the fun (for her.) Yes she will also, on occasion, run through the aisles and hide under the clothes racks...but I think that's just when she gets out of breath and needs a little breather for the next round. On extra special days she might even throw in a loud shriek or two.

Yesterday bible study was cancelled, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity (read excuse) to hire a babysitter and do some Christmas shopping for the kids. I probably should have left PR at home, as shopping for him is on the same "fun" scale as having his appendix removed, but I thought he would be helpful (wrong) and enjoy picking things out for his children. Owen wanted a robot, and we had no idea what to get Caroline...Hudson will probably receive one of the toys Owen got for his first Christmas (really, do you think he's going to complain?!) The first 10 minutes at the first store were okay. But he then reached his tolerance of annual shopping minutes and began complaining about getting home (cleverly blaming it on the babysitter.) I admit, I was trying to sneak in a little extra sight seeing in the women's shoe department...but what woman can resist? Shoes are fun and fabulous and an excusable indulgence! Plus, I was sort of looking for new running shoes for him. (He didn't buy that line, either.) I left barefooted, but we accomplished our main objective. However, it was painful (for both of us).

Oh, did I mention we ended up buying the kids' gifts online?

The robot is SUPER cool. Check out the video!!!

Caroline is getting a little play house (which she can clutter and destroy all to herself.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ideas for making family memories

So we had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Orlando...lots of family, great weather, Disney, several mornings of sleeping until 7:30am. Unfortunately, our family lost its patriarch the week before. My Pop Pop was an amazing man. Well, first off he put up with all the women in the family (we're ALL talkers, not just me.) Not just our yakity yakking, but our sermons on how we know best about various topics, our crazy antics, our quirky obsessions, and our bossing him around.

The man was 92 years old and had at least three mothers. I remember during one of his visits to our home, I had made him spaghetti squash with pesto. Now, I think it's absolutely delicious. But this is a meat and potatoes man. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking...maybe I had convinced myself that he'd think it was actually just pasta that was quite al dente? Anyhow, the man took his first bite and didn't say a word, but I could see his look of confusion- what is this girl feeding me??! Despite this, he finished it.

My memories of my Pop Pop include chocolate chocolate and more chocolate, with some trips to Disney, playing his favorite card game cribbage, sitting with him while he would watch Cash Cab or Dirty Jobs, dining at one of his favorite places, Bob Evans, and his famous expression, "Oh?"

I feel blessed that we were close. I made a point to call often, visit as much as possible, and plan vacations with him. Can you believe in the last 10 years of his life he travelled with us to Ireland, cruised with us through the Baltic, Alaska waters, and well as a few Caribbean Cruises. (I'm talking WITH the kids.)

And reflecting on the times we shared, my only wish is that my kids will remember him. Owen is only 5, Caroline 2....Hudson is only 7 months. Why did I not break out the video and tape more? Grrr. Pictures are just not the same. And so I urge those who would like to capture memories and precious moments...and create opportunity for you and your children to hold on to loved ones in your life, I give you these suggestions I wish I had thought of before I lost my grandparents:
-My grandmother was an opera singer...why couldn't I have taped her singing lullabies or children's songs...or even saved old tapes of her performing for the kids to watch???! How cool for kids to know something about their grandparents before they were grandparents?
-Record grandparents reading bedtime stories. Have you ever read, "I love you through and through?" A precious story. And how cool to hear a grandparent saying "I love you" to your child.
-Interview family members on their past. This is especially cool if they have stories to share that you may have not they met their mate, what they wanted to do as a child, their favorite flavor of ice cream....anything, really. If you have older kids, they can write the questions and do the interview. We were lucky enough to have a few interviews...whenever my Pop Pop would start telling an old sea story, I would turn on the camera and try and get it on film. And my cousin's son did a school project and interviewed Pop on how he won the Purple Heart, what it was like in the Navy, questions about fighting in a was wonderful!
-Capture moments of the family members interacting with your children. I have Pop Pop tooting a train whistle with Owen while they create a track for Thomas, reading him a sailor story book.

That's all for now....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ode to the Bumbo Seat

I'm not sure why I just discovered Bumbo seats, but it is a lovely invention that needs some praise!

Why do I love thee, Bumbo?

I can bathe my baby and my other two at the same time,
I don't have to have an enormous high chair in my kitchen;
preparing dinner is now "entertainment" for my little one;
trimming toenails is so much easier...
I can stick him in the shower with me...he plays with bath toys and I can actually shave and shampoo!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Um, it's been awhile

So my "newborn" is now 6 months old and I have yet to send out a baby announcement. I've attempted to take a billion pictures, without a single shot of all three looking at the camera. It is just not possible, with any amount of sweet talking, bribing, threatening, or begging (I swore I would never use those tactics for parenting, BTW.) Should I wait until Christmas, send out just a picture of the little guy, or completely surrender on the idea? Ugh.
Well, I'll at least satisfy my mom's request to post updates on milestones so that I can narrowly avoid being named "worst mommy of the year award."

Hudson, in a nutshell:
month 1-shrill like cry, LOVES his pacifier, breaks a smile, pees on us nearly every diaper change, finally loses his nickname "bruiser" when the bruise on his cheekbone fades.
2 months- sleeps 8 hrs, tolerates siblings like a champ, burps like a 13 year old boy, very alert
3 months- hates the bottle (actually swats the thing away), but enjoys blowing bubbles and he's a rock star on car trips (12 hrs to and from Michigan with only one wailing outburst.) Also, first giggle and smiles at everyone
4 months- loves the exersaucer, transfers objects, rolls to his side, giggles from the belly and clasps his little hands together like Dr. Evil, can bend in half and fit nearly his entire foot in his mouth, and he had his first trip to DisneyWorld and first train ride
5 months- sits up, rolls over pretty consistently, enjoys the Bumbo seat (that thing ROCKS- I use it for baths, during dinner prep, and when we're eating dinner), loves to play peek a boo, and refuses to eat rice cereal
6 months- I finally got this stubborn kid to eat food, baby oatmeal with banana. He loves to snuggle, he'll grab your ears and pull you towards him until we're nose to nose...he really loves to grab just about everything. I forget when I'm wearing him on my front in the bjorn or the wrap and then he reminds me by pulling anything and everything toward him (and usually down to the floor.)

Caroline- my "busy" one:
Recently she's been hoarding and hiding food from the pantry. I've discovered boxes of chocolate milk in the closet and under the kitchen table, and last week she found one of Owen's hidden candies in his backpack...she quietly exited the room, closed the bathroom door (with the lights off), and returned with a big smile, enlarged cheeks, and a wrapper hidden behind her back. I cornered her at the trash can and held out my a sweet angel, she handed me the wrapper and gleamed a wide-chocolate covered smile. How sweet!

Every time I turn off the car and unbuckle she asks eagerly, "Can I come, too???" as if I'm going to leave her in the car.

When she gets excited about things, she jumps and claps (even if it's just "dinner time."_

Owen- who's recently decided he's the expert on everything:
Still my germophobe. He unbuttons his shirt and covers his head with it when he ventures into the back wooded area because we talked about how ticks could fall from the trees. (To his credit we did actually find a nasty, bloated tick on his head when Hudson was born so he's probably trying to avoid that fun "tick recovery" episode.) After he's pottied, he won't touch anything (even his pants to pull them up) until after he's washed his hands. On the flip side of the story, I discovered dried up boogers on his bed rail a few months ago, what's up with that???!

His newest trendsetting attempt is going to school every day with two mismatching shoes. If that's his rebellion, then I'll take it!

He'll soon be 5, and we're currently devising a plan on erecting a volcano for his "dino" themed birthday.

Now that it's 2 am, I'm off to bed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where is the summer weather?

Today is June 1st. So why was last night 37 degrees? Weird. It actually warmed up today when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, but the air was pretty chilly. I'm hoping this was some sort of freak thing and we will soon see the warm weather return.

On to bigger and better things. Updates on kids...

Owen, 4 1/2:
  • He now thinks "Star Wars" is cooler than anything else (BTW, he hasn't actually seen an entire "Star Wars" movie yet)
  • Owen has already become bored with just riding a 2 wheeler (after a month and a half of learning how) and has moved on to "tricks." Yea. (Can we say skinned knees and concussions? Where is my nurse mother when I need her??!!!)
  • Suddenly, he dislikes strawberries, string cheese, and he extremely picky about macaroni & cheese. However, he's very fond of any kind of soup- especially broccoli cheddar.
  • Owen comes home this week telling me where my taste buds are located on my tongue and reciting addition equations. My baby is growing up too fast!
  • I'm very sad to report that Owen now suffers from allergies. Ug.
  • Owen loves to play soccer at home with us. However, he is NOT a fan of being on a soccer least, that's what we've tome to conclude. During his soccer games, he either plays with his shirt or his hair, watches the other games, or simply stands there and daydreams. His coach suggested he put is hands on his knees and be ready as a defender, so he literally spent the entire game hunched down with his hands on his knees- even when the ball was inches away and waiting to be kicked. The next game, the coach suggested Owen "play the line" so Owen spent the entire game literally standing on the line...walking side to side along it, but never leaving it. Hilarious! Last week, Owen actually did kick the ball - and even scored! Unfortunately, it was for the other team. But he was pretty darn proud of himself.

Caroline, 2:

  • In the crazy world of Caroline, marshmallows are the perfect way to start the day. The other morning she had snuck down the stairs, opened the pantry, and found a bag of marshmallow hiding on the back of the shelf. When I entered the kitchen, I was greeted by a very enthusiastic little marshmallow cheeked girl. (I installed childproof knobs exactly two hours after this incident.)
  • Caroline cracked the enigma of a locked bedroom door and the bedtime game, I also added a childproof knob to her room.
  • The girl was riding her trike out front this week and I was breastfeeding Hudson on the front she thought it would be a good time to try and jet on down the middle of the busy road. Can you imagine how ridiculous I looked chasing after her with a newborn attached to my front?
  • Another fun event: Caroline found a cosmetic bag in my room and took it to her room. When I walked in the room, I discovered she had wiped some sort of lotion all over her body and was then trying to wipe off the excess with a few pairs of her leggings. Unfortunately, instead of lotion, she had in her possession a tube of Mary Kay benzyl peroxide. The leggings were totally bleached out, and so is the carpet in her room. (Why did she have to use the super cute leggings???!!!)
  • Today Caroline asked to go swimming. I explained it was too cold outside, she sweetly asked, "PLEEEAAASE???" This is her new thing. I again told her it was just too cold to be in the pool, and she disappeared upstairs, returning with TWO swimsuits on- on top of her pants and top. I guess she figured she'd keep herself warm in the pool with her pants???

Hudson, 7 weeks:

  • Hudson is sleeping most of the day. He's awake no longer than an hour and a half after I feed him. He has a wake time around 7 ish every night for about an hour...and he looks around the room wide eyed and looking very cute. At night, he sleeps from about 10:30 to 5 or 6 am, waking once.
  • He's using his arms and hands more...he actually knocked over two glasses today, touching them a few times before giving them a good wack. Probably not purposeful, but still worthy of note.
  • The little coos he's making are sooooooo adorable.
  • If I put him in a sling or use the "Hooter Hider" to feed him, he's out in a matter of minutes. I just can't keep him awake!
  • He's smiling now when I do "Patty Cake" with him...and he still smiles all the time while he's sleeping.

Dinner time is still crazy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Learning to Juggle

So now that there are three little ones in the house I can say that I fully understand the meaning, "chaos." Gone are the days where I was looking for a project, skimming through cookbooks or magazines, surfing the Internet, or lazing in front of "Food Network." I always thought I was a pretty good multi-tasker, but now I definitely have some skills. Breast feeding, making dinner, helping with homework, talking on the phone, and disciplining my two year old can now be done simultaneously (though I might count it as my work out!)

My dad just left after spending a weekend with our brood. It was a great visit...Saturday was lovely, so we ventured to Washington's Headquarters for a tour of the grounds and a picnic lunch on the grass. Other than our one outing, we stayed close to home and did nothing extraordinary...and yet my dad (who is so full of energy he normally works out twice a day) took at least one nap a day! It made me feel a little less guilty for abandoning my piles of laundry and avoiding scouring the bathrooms for a rest while the kids are snoozing (which I've been guilty of nearly every day the last three weeks!)

Every parent must be sleep deprived at some phase...maybe until their children leave home. However, it's my theory that most of these parents are the moms. Let me first say that my husband is wonderful about getting up with the newborn and changing and burping him, even on days that he's working. But if I don't nudge him forcefully, he'd sleep through 10,000 babies screaming in his ear. He falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. And he heads up to bed without a glance to the unfinished dishes in the sink, the kitchen table that hasn't been wiped, or the pile of folded laundry that needs to be taken upstairs and put into drawers. Hmm. How nice!

After a long night last week with Hudson (who decided to wail between 2:30- 5 am), my husband says to me, "Why don't you get a good night's sleep tonight?" HA! First, he is out of town and I"m juggling the three kiddos plus trying to get the house together for my dad's arrival. Second, WE HAVE A THREE WEEK OLD. Third, our two year old and four year old wake up at 6:30AM regardless of what time they go to bed. (Fun for me, the anti morning person!)

Does he really think I enjoy being sleep deprived? I've read the benefits of sleep, and let me tell you- I'm a fan! 7 Hours of sleep a night can increase your metabolism, reduce your risk of several cancers, preserve your skin...even increase your lifespan. (Who wouldn't want 7 hours of sleep a night??!!!) I suppose I'll just have to day dream about a good night's sleep until this little guy gets on a schedule...or I get a child free vacation.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fabulous Hawaii

We spent a glorious week in Oahu visiting family and enjoying a little warmth during this cold season. It's been almost 5 years since PR and I have been to Hawaii, and it's a little different when you have children with you- but still wonderful.
We enjoyed the Paradise Cove Luau- complete with the opportunity to see and hold parrots, take a canoe ride, make leis, and watch the roasted pig be lifted from the underground pit (I could have missed that part.) The food was okay, but actual show was stellar- hula dancers, fire jugglers (Owen's favorite part), the whole nine yards. I highly recommend it to anyone comparing luau shows. We also hiked Manoa falls- not quite 1 mile each way. The kids did pretty well, it was very scenic and the falls were beautiful. We did get rained on and soaking wet with mud...but it was all in the fun of the adventure. My sister in law also let us know about the Hilton Rainbow, which has just recently opened and has African penguins, flamingos, turtles, a big koi pond, and a man made lagoon perfect for families. It's just off the beach, stocked with tiny fish for the kiddos to enjoy, and open to the public. We were staying at the Hale has a great kiddie pool which the kids enjoyed almost every day. It's in walking distance to the mall and all the great restaurants...including the newly opened PF Changs (to my delight!) The food wasn't quite on par with most other PF Changs, but really...can you complain? You're in Hawaii! We also dined at California Pizza Kitchen, which offered 20% off your bill if you asked for the discount when being seated. (We ate there for dinner, lunch, and ordered take out once and were given the discount in all cases.) The prices are higher at all restaurants than their other chains just because you're in Hawaii, so I guess the 20% was an incentive...and it worked on us! FYI- the kids .99 cent hot fudge sundae was ENORMOUS!!! Of course, I tried to enjoy as much seafood and fresh pineapple as possible. Yum. I was a bit disapointed, however, when the woman at the Dole Plantation picked out a $6 pineapple for me and I when I cut into it, it was bruised and past its prime. Thanks alot! The train ride was a big hit with the kids, and I could eat a Dole "WHIP" every single day of my life, so I won't hold it against them.

Other helpful travel tidbits...we went to the store and stocked up on breakfast stuff, juice boxes, and snacks to save and then were able to splurge on ice creams, shaved ice (very big in Hawaii), and seafood for dinner.

Now we're back to the cold. 10 Degrees to be exact. TEN! (And that's during the day.) Brrr.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


We leave tomorrow for Hawaii...and the timing couldn't be better! It started snowing this evening and more snow and rain is in the forecast for this week...I am so ready for 70 degrees and sunny!!! Of course, this means I'm up half the night packing things that I've left out until this point. I've had the piles of clothes for each of us sitting, waiting to be suitcased. My new tactic for packing is that I lay the things out for a few days to be sure there's not anything I'm forgetting (like the time I only packed one pair of shoes for Caroline, and she lost it in the airport as we arrived. Lovely!)
Since the new policy on airlines is to pay for every single checked bag, PR has limited me to two bags plus the car seat. We've decided to be a little crazy and attempt to put Caroline down in the bed with us (I can feel an ulcer forming in the pit of my stomach.) The luggage we're using is what I call "body bags," because they are monstrous and long like a golf bag. It is absolutely amazing how much you can cram into these suckers, and since I've been restricted from packing my hairdryer (hello ponytails), there's really nothing breakable. My only worry is that the baby shampoo is going to open and spill from those very trusty airtight Ziploc bags I pack them in and all our clothes will be bubbly. (Speaking from experience, unfortunately.)

Our second hurdle (after packing the bags to be no more than 50 pounds) is the ELEVEN hour flight. Yes, it is fabulous that we will not be bumped or miss our connecting flight by booking a direct flight...but ELEVEN hours???! I'm wondering what to do with Caroline for 10 of those hours, praying that the kid will sleep maybe a total of 1 hour. There's only so many $1 Target bin toys you can stuff in your carry on.

But, it will all be worth it....I can see it now, me- relaxing on the beach sipping a Pina Cola.....dangit! Okay, virgin Pina Colada is the best I'm going to do. Hawaii, here we come!~