Saturday, January 30, 2010

Through The Eyes of Children

So often you hear people complaining about the snow. How they get stuck in the house for hours on end, or can't get to work, or hate shoveling/plowing/moving the snow. Snowstorms lead to traffic problems, high heating bills, and unnecessary delays in most people's busy schedules. I've never disliked snow. I actually enjoy the serene feeling that comes from being in a warm house listening to the sound of tiny snowflakes blow onto my window. I love watching my husband bundle up Joey to go "play" in the snow. I look forward to the days when we can use the snow as a family bonding experience sledding, building snow forts, and snowmen together. In my opinion, God intended for snow to slow us down, take a time out, and enjoy each other. But it can't be enjoyed for long. Roads have to be plowed, cars have to get dusted off, and sidewalks have to be sanded and salted. The world rarely slows down for snow, and it is so often viewed as a big white inconvenience.

I feel that I'm one of the lucky ones who is really unaffected by an impending snowstorm. I don't have a full-time job that expects me to arrive come rain, snow, or hurricanes. I don't have children in school that I have to bring in late, pick up early, or keep home altogether. And at this point in my life, I don't even have a driveway or sidewalk that I'm responsible for shoveling or clearing off.

So this morning I was free to see the snow through the eyes of my children. Joey raced to the window to see the "tow-man" outside, then called to Katelyn by saying, "come see, Katelyn, come see ow-side." And for a good 5 minutes the two of them stood at the window in awe of the falling snow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So Excited!

I was contacted yesterday by a well-known brand of baby food to try out a new product line and offer a giveaway package to my readers.  I am not yet going to reveal what it is, but just wanted to let you know that I'm totally excited!  In the meantime, you'll just be left to wonder...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Staying Connected

The hardest thing about moving is the people you leave behind. Joey has bonded with a lot of friends and family members in his 2 years of life, and saying goodbye to those people was (and still is) a huge struggle for me. I don't want him to lose the strong connection to the people who matter most to him.

We were quick to set up our computer with Skype, so that Joey could continue to see his BFF (and cousin) Mollie, and his now far away grandparents, Nana and PopPop. Skyping is something that we've all come to know and love, but Joey still enjoys the plain old telephone.

Since my little boy has ants in his pants 98% of the time, I really think he prefers the phone to Skype due to it's portable nature. When he's on the phone with Nana and PopPop, he is often wandering from room to room describing the things that he finds along the way. I'm pretty sure that his telephone companions have gotten used to hearing "wook, na. wook dis," while Joey tries to 'show' his blocks, book, or random household object.

Furthermore, Joey enjoys finding little crevices of the apartment to climb in while he's on the phone. I think he likes to shut the world out and just focus on the love that Nana and PopPop are sending him through the phone.

Here is Joey sitting amongst the clutter in my bedroom closet:



And here he is laying in the ottoman in the living room:



After I took that picture Joey said, "bye, bye mom. my go ah-ah-man." He then closed the lid, and carried on his conversation in private.

*Please note: these photos were taken on different days. Different weeks, actually. It is purely a coincidence that he is wearing the same outfit. I swear he has other clothes.*

Monday, January 25, 2010

Free Cereal? Yum.

I love cereal. It is actually my 2nd favorite late-night snack to have after the kids are in bed. I find that it is a great alternative to my guilty pleasure of a bowl of ice cream. Especially Cocoa Puffs. When I was pregnant with Joey I ate Cocoa Puffs every night. In fact, every time Ron sees me eating Cocoa Puffs late at nightI think he gets worried that I'm pregnant again. (I'm not.)

Lately I've been enjoying my Cocoa Puffs for an entirely different reason. General Mills provided me with 4 coupons for a free box of cereal through MyBlogSpark. General Mills Cereal is committed to reducing the amount of sugar in many kid's cereals to less than 10 grams per serving. As a company, they are also striving to increase the nutritional value of cereal for children by increasing calcium, Vitamin D, and using whole grains. So you never have to feel guilty about letting your child, husband, or self snack on General Mills Cereal!

Want a free box of cereal too? Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite kind. I'll pick a winner sometime next week.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Funneling Beer

"Way to go, Joey!" I said to my little man as he drank from my water bottle.
My husband, puzzled as to why this was a big deal said, "what did he do?"
"I just gave him a sip of water from this bottle, and I realized that he can swallow without closing his mouth." Upon my answer, Ron quietly shrugged his shoulders. He was probably wondering if this was some kind of important milestone that he skipped over while reading the baby book.
"Don't you know what that means?" I asked.
"No," he replied.
"He's going to be like really good at funneling beers and doing keg-stands when he's in college."
My husband hesitated. Finally he turned to me and said, "I'm not really sure you should be proud of that. I think worried is a more appropriate reaction."
I know he's right, but I'm having this vision of an entire party full of people cheering on my son while he demonstrates one of his many God-given talents. And as any mother is when her child shows potential for greatness, I can't help but feel a little bit proud.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Next American Idol?

This is Joey's first official singing video. I've been working for a long time to get him to even be interested in singing a real song. I'm so proud of my boy! Yes, he got his words a little tangled around the "One for the little boy who lives down the lane...", but that's a lot of mumbo-jumbo that no one really cares about a tough spot of the song. Regardless, this is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen... how about you?


video

And yes, he is hanging out in the ottoman of our living room. It's his favorite hideaway.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Water in the Wall

Apartment living has its ups and downs just as any other situation in life.  I especially like that there is no maitenence involved.  Something breaks? We make a phone call.  Not 42 trips to Home Depot.  However, I still haven't quite gotten used to having people live above me.  I've never actually met my upstairs neighbors.  I do know that they have lots of obnoxious energetic children, and are awake at all hours of the night.  They are quite heavy footed, and one of their children enjoys running from one end of the apartment to the other around 3:30pm every afternoon. 

I've also learned another interesting fact about the family who lives above us.  They are extremely clean.  Their bathroom is located directly above ours (all units resemble each other in apartment buildings), which is located directly behind the livingroom wall.  So as I sit in my livingroom, I hear the water from the shower upstairs running through the pipes.  ALL DAY LONG.  They shower in the morning.  They shower in the afternoon.  They shower at Midnight.  These people shower more often than anyone I've ever met. 

I thought by now I'd be used to the sound of water trickling through the walls of my livingroom, but I'm not.  I don't think I'll ever be.  Even Joey notices it.  The water starts going and Joey goes to wall saying, "What's that, Mommy?"  And I can't use the word 'shower' to explain it to him, (remember this?) So I usually just say, "Oh, that's just the water in the wall honey." Again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This is Why I Pick Out His Clothes

I did my shopping at Kohls for Ron's birthday, as usual.  I bought him a couple of pairs of sneakers, some new slippers (because his stunk so bad that I threw them out the front door...), and a fleece jacket.  Unfortunately, only 2 out of 4 of his presents were keepers.  One pair of shoes was too small, and the jacket didn't fit right.

I offered to do the returns for him.  I figured I'd be able to easily exchange the sneakers for a half-size up, and pick out a different fleece for him.  However, for some reason unbeknownst to me, my dear husband decided to venture into a clothing retail store on his own this afternoon.  He came home proud that he actually took matters into his own hands, and did his own returning.

As I was preparing dinner, Ron walked in showing off his new "jacket."  I'm not really sure it can be called that.  Perhaps it's more of a sweatshirt?  Or a parka?  I really don't know.  What I do know is that it is God-awful, and this man shall never be permitted to pick out his own clothing.  See for yourself:



Ron: "How do you like this?"
Me: "Are you Serious?"
Ron: "Yes."
Me: "I don't.  Not at all"
Ron: "You really don't? But the sleeves unzip to turn it into a vest."
Me: "You're serious."
Ron: "Yes, I'm serious.  You really don't like this?"



Me: "No.  It's awful.  All that's missing is plaid pants and a cane."
Ron: "But the sleeves unzip."
Me: "That makes it worse.  Not better.  I'm telling you, that does NOT look cool."
Ron: "Oh.  I thought this was like the best jacket ever."
Me: "You really did?  Did you look in the mirror?"
Ron: "Yea, I really thought I looked stylish.  I guess that's why you do the shopping."



Yes, honey.  This is perfect evidence of why I do the shopping for you and the children.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cardioke

I'm proud to announce that I've been exercising regularly for several weeks now.  I still make some bad choices as to what I eat. (like the box of mac and cheese that I just ate with Joey), but the exercising has got to count for something, right?  Anyway, we have a "fitness center" at our apartment complex, and back in December I finally started to hit it up for some work outs. ("fitness center" = a small mirrored room with 3 cardio machines and some weights, but whatever.)

Sometimes it's hard to coordinate time to get to the gym, and I put off getting showered knowing that I'll be getting sweaty later in the day.  Ron is out for the morning, and my plan was to go to the "fitness center" later this afternoon.  The babies were napping, and Joey was locked gated in his cell room to play, and I began to think, "wouldn't it be great if I could get that workout out of the way now?"  Then I discovered yet another reason why I love On Demand: Exercise TV.  Did you know that there are like a bajillion different work out videos available (for free) at your fingertips?  Well, now you do.  So you don't have a reason to not be exercising either.

After perusing my options, I selected "Cardioke."  Coordinated aerobics is not my strong suit, and neither is singing, so this probably wasn't the smartest choice, but I closed the living room shades and got moving.  I'm not even sure I can describe the unsightly spectacle that took place next.  One can only imagine (or is perhaps trying not to) the disastrous sight of an out of shape, uncoordinated, tune-deaf Stay at Home Mom trying to burn some calories by singing and dancing in her living room.  I didn't even attempt the "oke" part of the "Cardioke."  It was hard enough to try to keep up with the steps and make my erratic arm swinging and foot stomping even resemble some kind of fluid movement.

Ever heard the expression, "sing like no one's listening, and/or dance like no one's watching?"  Well, since I don't have any other way of singing or dancing I tend to follow that as a rule of thumb.  And today I was very grateful for the fact that no one was listening or watching as I got my groove on with Cardioke On Demand.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy!

I'm not a morning person.  I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely hate the first 30 minutes that I'm awake.  I'm tired, stiff, groggy, and haven't had nearly enough caffeine running through my veins to enable me to deal with anything.

My husband, on the other hand is definitely a morning person.  He enjoys being up early, catching up on Sports Center, checking his email, and quietly sipping his ONE cup of coffee.  For the past 6 months, he has been the one to get up with the kids in the morning, allowing me to sleep a little bit longer until Olivia needs to be nursed.  This has become our routine, and I've gotten way too used to it for my own good...

Anyway, today (his birthday) started unlike any other day.  Ron was up early, got each child out of their crib and into a fresh diaper, and brought them out to the living room to play.  When Olivia's tummy started to growl and her volume started to crank, I knew it was time to get up.  As I sleepily headed into the kitchen to make myself some tea our conversation went like this:

Ron: Good morning sweetie.
Me: Good morning.  Happy Birthday.
Ron: Thanks.
Me: I'm sorry, I should have let you sleep in.
Ron: It's OK; the kids are throwing me a party.

My Sweet Girl

Dear Momma,

Thanks for taking a little extra time to have fun with me in the bath last night.  I've never actually had a real bath all by myself before, ususally it's a quick dunk in the tub with my brother, and then I'm wrapped in a towel, handed off to my Daddy, and switched out for my sister.

But last night was different.  It was real special momma/katie-bug time.



I loved splashing and squealing with you.



You are so funny, Momma.



I love showing off all my teeth!



And check out my eyelashes.  Just wait for the day that I get to put some mascara on those bad boys.





I love you, Momma.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Can't Hear You!

This is Joey sitting on the couch with Ron at 10pm tonight.  I brought him out to the livingroom so I could take his temperature and give him more Motrin before heading off to bed myself.  When I told him it was time to go back in his bed, he responded with the good ole' fingers in the ear trick.  Even in his sickly state, he still knows how to push my buttons...


Sick Puppy

Until last night, I've been fortunate enough to never have had to take one of my children to the Emergency Room in the wee hours of the morning for illness.  Joey has gone to the ER twice in his lifetime -once because we thought he broke his leg (he didn't), and another time for an unfortunate incident involving a crayon and his nostril. (the crayon won.)

Joey started showing signs of illness on Monday.  Low fever, runny nose, a little cough.  Then he was up all night, and yesterday my boy was really sick.  His fever was higher, nose was runnier, and the cough was worse.  His fever was very persistant throughout the day, and never dropped below 101 despite my best efforts. 

If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Joey, you know that he doesn't stop for nothin'.  It takes a lot to slow this kid down, and even when he's sick, he's still bouncing off the walls.  Literally.  Yesterday was different.  He was lethargic, cranky, glassy-eyed, and very tired.  I decided I'd hold off taking him to the DR for one day, and take him today if there was no change.  This decision was mostly driven by our lack of health insurance at the moment, and having to pay out of pocket for a visit and prescription was not something I was looking forward to.  That probably sounds terrible, as I really shouldn't put a price on health care, but Obama has, so why shouldn't I?

Anyway, Joey's fever got higher over the night, and was approaching 103.  No amount of Motrin, Tylenol, or cool compresses was helping him.  So at 3:30 in the morning, my forever-thoughtful husband made me a cup of tea and packed up my little man, I plugged "hospital" into the GPS, and off we went.  As luck would have it, his fever had come down 1.5 degrees by the time they got him checked in, and another 1 degree by the time we left the ER at 5:45.  Go figure...  Don't misinterpret that.  I'd been praying for that fever to break for 12 hours.  I was relieved beyond belief.  But somehow it always seems that as soon as you head for the doctor's office, the kid is better.  Or maybe it's just my kids.

Well, the nurses and doctor at the ER were very responsive.  They determined that Joey has the flu.  Probably H1N1, but they don't test for it unless it's a very serious case and the patient is being admitted.  Doctor prescribed lots of fluids, rest, and hugs from (a very tired) Mommy. (and Daddy)

Here is a picture I took with my phone in the ER.  Doesn't he look sad?



All my munchkins are napping now, and I shall go do the same.  Or maybe I'll get caught up on some laundry.  I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Breaking our Resolution Already

I caved.  I've already given Joey his binkie twice outside of naptime or bedtime.  Once yesterday while we were in the car because I just wanted some peace and quiet, and again today because he is sick.  My poor little guy has been running a fever for about 24 hours now, and I just didn't have it in me to come between a boy and his (pink) binkie. 

The good news is that I now know that he is capable of getting through the whole day without it, so when he's feeling better I'll get on this bandwagon again.  But in the meantime we have failed miserably at our New Year's Resolution and I plan to let him have his binkie whenever he wants it until he's on the up and up.  This is why I'm generally not a fan of New Year's Resolutions.


My Little Peanut

She may be tiny, but this girl's got moves.  At 15 pounds and less than 9 months old Olivia can already pull herself up to a stand.  Look at her go!


her first official stand!


playing at the activity table


she can do a split too!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Locks I Love



I just absolutely adore the color of this kid's hair.  It's almost not fair that he's a boy because what girl wouldn't kill for this color hair?  I'm afraid that he just won't appreciate it the way that a girl would.

I've taken to blow-drying Joey's hair after his bath because I really hate for him to go to bed with wet hair.  Tonight for some reason I was just so taken aback by his beautiful, fluffy red hair.  So I grabbed the camera got snapping.  (And I was pleasantly surprised that the little point-and-shoot camera that my 11 year old nephew is loaning me did a pretty decent job of capturing the moment!)



Then I started thinking.  (this is not always a good thing...)  10 inches is the minimum donation for Locks of Love.  Wouldn't it be great if Joey's hair could be made into a wig for a child in need?  I'm sort of considering letting it grow just so someone else can benefit from the gorgeous hair that my son has been blessed with.  It would be my way of giving back.  Somehow I doubt my husband would go for this.  So I guess Joey's hair will just have to remain as Locks I Love.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mover's Remorse

Remorse is an interesting word.  According to the internet, the word remorse can be defined by deep and painful regret for wrongdoing.  When applying it to my current situation I'd say that's pretty dramatic, but I can't think of another way to describe how I am feeling.

We've all experienced buyer's remorse.  Most of us have experienced seller's remorse.  And now I find myself experiencing a new kind of remorse.  Mover's remorse.  This temporary feeling that I am having is just that.  Temporary.  I know that, and you should too.  But since our return trip to our new home I've been longing for my old life.  The life where I was a homeowner and my kids could play outside.  The life where I could take a walk that wasn't around an apartment complex full of parked cars.  The life where I could call up a number of different friends or family members to get together for lunch, dinner, or a simple morning playdate.  I miss that life so desperately right now.

This is not a post announcing my unhappiness.  I am not unhappy.  My children, my husband, and even my still meaningful relationships with the people we've left behind make me very happy.  I am just a bit lonely.  I did not feel this way when we first arrived here in October.  We had so much fun exploring new parks and places to bring our children.  We enjoyed the warmer temperatures, the amenities in the area, and dreaming about what the future holds for us.  But even North Carolina has a winter and the cold weather has restricted our exploring.  Being inside with nothing to do and no one to call has made me see the harsh reality that my network of available friends is 600 miles away. Kinda far for a playdate.  I'm (mostly) sure that we made the right decision in moving here.  Ron had very little job prospects in Connecticut, and we could no longer afford our lifestyle there.  We are now living a bit more comfortably and he has a job starting this week after 6 long months of unemployment.  But apartment living is hard on a family of three young children. 

I'm trying to focus on the big picture.  We will have a good life here.  It will feel comfortable eventually.  We will make friends, connections, and memories here.  Our children will thrive because I will see to it that they do.  I've already joined a nice group of moms that have frequent playdates.  I've signed Joey up for a movement class at the community center, and I am researching other activities that we can get involved in to help us make new friends.  In the spring we will (hopefully) start house hunting and we will settle into a nice neighborhood.  So the future looks bright.  But when I sit in this apartment with the heat cranked up, the children bored with being inside, and all of our wonderful outdoor toys stacked a mile high in a storage unit it's sometimes hard to remember just how bright.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Greasy Head

Olivia has a mild case of cradle cap.  In case you are fortunate to never have heard of such an ordeal, it is basicaly dandruff for babies.  It is harmless and NOT caused by uncleanliness.  (I looked it up, so don't even go there...)  Olivia's is hardly noticable but she does have some flaky yellowish flakes on the top of her head.  Her case has come and gone since birth, and has recently resurfaced.  I'm guessing this is probably due to the change in climate and our very chilly trip up North last week.  For some sick reason Ron and I both enjoy applying baby oil to her head and combing out as much of the crusties as we can before bath time.  As I said, it's sick that we find enjoyment in this.  We both like to examine and compare how much we have retrieved on our respective baby combs.  And poor Olivia just hates this whole process.  Tonight her hair was covered in oil, sticking straight off of her little red scalp, and big crocodile tears were streaming down her cheeks.  So I did what any respectable mom would do.  I said, "Wait a sec.  Let me get my camera," so that I could capture a photo and some good material for my blog.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Joey's New Year Resolution

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions.  I've never really technically made a "resolution," but I do often spend some time on January 1st looking at my life and assessing certain aspects of it.  This January 1st is no different.  I've decided to spend more time taking care of myself.  I've started working out, and I might even try to eat healthier too!  In another light, I've decided it is time for Joey to make a change.  I love that at his young age I can decide this for him.  His Resolution is to get rid of the binkie.

Joey walks around constantly with the dreaded plastic pacifier in his mouth.  He removes it to eat or drink, and that's about it.  I really feel that his binkie-addiction has hindered his speech development, and now at 2 and a half, I'm afraid that it is time to move on from his favorite personal item.  During our trip to Connecticut we managed to lose all but one of his beloved binkies.  I was planning to go cold turkey on him, and just eliminate binkie usage all together.  But I'm afraid that without a binkie my child will not get a good night's sleep.  This may or may not be true, but I just can't risk it at this point in my life.  So we have agreed to only let Joey have his binkie in his crib.  Not in the house, not with a mouse, not in a car, not in a boat.  He will not eat green eggs and ham... Oh, sorry.  I got carried away.  But you get the idea.

Today went surprisingly well.  We stayed busy during the day, which helped keep him from asking for his binkie, and he only had one little episode missing it.  And this may be wishful thinking, but I think his speech is already improving from just one day without the plastic plug in his mouth...

We're BaaaAAAck!

Wow.  I haven't been here in forever.  Well, not actually forever, but it does seem that way.  After an exciting yet exhausting trip to CT, we are back in our humble abode enjoying getting settled.  Again.  Luckily I have the best husband.  He hates to come home from a trip and leave the unpacking to do for later.  I was raised to leave the piles of stuff and deal with them later.  But he wasn't, so the kids' Christmas presents are being unpacked and opened at rapid speed as we reorganize everything.

I'm off to throw in yet another load of laundry... stay tuned for stories from our adventure.

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