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Disney Day 2: Revenge of the Sweat

We are finally recovered from Disney and I’ve got a bunch of posts coming on our visit, tips, my favorite things and the Wilderness Lodge. For today, I went back in time, way back, to day 2 of our Disney World vacation. Feel the history…..

Day 2 was fantastic…until we over did it! It started out great. We got there at 9am and left before anyone was too grumpy around 2. One of the best parts of the day was getting a delicious Disney treat. The baked goods at Disney are phenomenal. We told the boys they could get one treat each day that we were at Disney. If we hadn’t, Carter would ask for ice cream every half hour starting at 9am. So the boys chose these adorable ice cream cones.

Adorable and delicious

Adorable and delicious

I got this massive chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich because I’m a pig.
Aww yeah. Come to Mama. She's judging me. I can see it in her eyes.

Aww yeah. Come to Mama. She’s judging me. I can see it in her eyes.

Seriously, you are burning a lot of calories at Disney World. Eat the treats.

Seriously, you are burning a lot of calories at Disney World. Eat the treats.

What could be better than that after a hot day? Actually, it’s pretty disgusting eating so much sugar in the hot, hot sun. But I don’t care. I’m on vacation and I’m gonna make it work.

Ok so, we actually broke our one treat a day rule on the second day, but it was a lollipop, so that doesn’t really count. They could barely eat them they were so big. Aren’t they delightful??

boys and their lollies

boys and their lollies

On day two, I think I really nailed it on food. We didn’t spend a dime, aside from the treats (take that Disney – ha!). For several reasons I like to bring my own food to the park. Mostly because I’m frugal. Disney is a very costly vacation and worth every penny. They do the most wonderful job with hospitality, entertainment, herding the crowds and keeping so many moving parts organized and coordinated. I don’t mind paying for quality, but Disney food (aside from the the aforementioned treats) is not all that great.

So that morning, I packed sandwiches for us. I also chopped up a watermelon which was the most welcome treat at 11:15 when I was hot, hungry and thirsty. The best part about bringing your own food is that the kids can just eat it in the stroller. So no matter where you are, you don’t have to rush to find a table or a bench to sit on. If they are hungry, I just hand them a sandwich and they gobble it up. It takes very little time and we can be on the move while they eat. Plus you avoid the frustration of trying get a table at a quick service restaurant or spending an hour in a nice restaurant only to leave and still be in the park. I know people that love the dining plan. Maybe when my kids are older it will be worth it.

We do eat out at Disney. We did two character meals that were great and two other meals that were up and down. I actually cancelled one dining reservation the day of (Wednesday) and they didn’t charge me (there is usually a cancellation fee) which was nice. We were all just too tired to go to a restaurant. That’s the problem with having to make the dining reservations so far in advance, you just don’t know how you are going to feel that day. You can always cancel the night before though without a fee. So definitely book any meals you think you might want as soon as possible. Restaurants like Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare and 50’s Prime Time usually have availability about a month or two in advance. Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey and the Cinderella castle meal have to be booked on the day the reservations open up which is 6 months from the day you want to go. You can book everything on the Disney app (which I highly recommend), by phone or on their website.

Anyway, we got back to the hotel and I did laundry while Craig took the boys to the pool. I met them out there and then we came back to the room, bathed and I made dinner. It was a nice break from people and having to be somewhere and act appropriately for a restaurant. We should have probably just stopped there and rested up for the next day. But we didn’t, oh no. We were out until 10:30 – gasp! And we were all terribly exhausted the next day. Cardinal rule about Disney – don’t over do it! You can’t do it all and that’s fine. Sometimes you just have to say, no. But of course, I didn’t do that.

Also, we sweated a lot on day 2, in case I forgot to mention. Disney = Sweaty.

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Disney Day 1

WE ARE AT DISNEY!!!!!! This is already a very different Disney trip than our first one and it is only day one. We got to the Magic Kingdom around 12:30. Last time, we were leaving for the day at 12:30 – off to the hotel to swim in the pool for the afternoon and hope the boys would nap. I have been so looking forward to this trip, remembering the sweetness and rather ease of our first visit. We walked in and there were three times as many people there as when we came in September two years ago. Near the castle, they were having one of the dance parade thingies and the music was blaring. As we walked up, they announced the next song, “And now we’re gonna get down to ‘Shut up and dance'”. Really Disney? That’s the song you pick for a theme park geared toward 3-6 year olds? The word “Shut Up” is in the title. I thought to myself, “What did I ever like about this place? There are too many sweaty people here and my children are freaked by this over stimulating parade.” So we ran from the dance party as quickly as we could. It had only been ten minutes and the back sweat was already collecting.

We went to the Swiss Family Robinson Tree because the boys loved that movie. From there everything got much better, even though it was crazy crowded. The sweetness all returned after the boys road “Goofy’s Barnstormer” and “Flying Dumbo”. We finished up the day with Buzz Lightyear and Winnie the Pooh. Then we got one of the amazing cake pops that have frequented my dreams since our visit in 2013. They did not disappoint. The baked goods at Disney are the BOMBDITITY! Just look at these treats.

YUMMMMMM!!!!

YUMMMMMM!!!!

But when we went over to catch the boat back to Wilderness Lodge there were no seats. Ok. We can handle that. We also had to fold up our stroller – not a big deal. What ruined the magic was that they just kept letting people on. It was more crowded than the 6 train at rush hour. Oh but this boat has no air conditioning and is filled with sweaty people who have been at Disney for 8 hours and may or may not have remembered deodorant this morning. And I’m holding Henry because he’s 4 and he’s exhausted. I often say to my self, “Will he remember this? Will he remember riding the flying Dumbo ride and putting his sweet pudgy hand on my leg?
I have this same picture from when he was two and we came. I love it! It's maybe the reason to come.

I have this same picture from when he was two and we came. I love it! It’s maybe the reason to come.

Will he remember that I put him on my shoulders in the blistering heat so he could watch the fantasy parade and he was completely sitting on my hair the whole time causing my neck to rear back? Will he remember our sweaty embrace on the Wilderness Lodge boat? My knees shaking as I was about to drop him because we waited for twenty minutes while they let 500 people on the tiny boat? No, he won’t. I probably will because I’m making a mental check list of pay back items for them :).

Anyway, that was disappointing, but nothing else was. The Wilderness Lodge is fantastic!! It is so perfect for kids. The theme and decor is adorable and my boys notice every little detail. Carter loves all of the Native American headdresses and tools and Henry keeps saying things like “this whole building is made of wood. They built it up, up, up..” After dinner at Whispering Canyon they were positively giddy.

Whispering Canyon is so fun for the kids

Whispering Canyon is so fun for the kids

It is such a fun place where they yell and bring twenty ketchups to your table and then you do the same to another table.
Henry looks unenthused by all of the ketchups, but he loved it!

Henry looks unenthused by all of the ketchups, but he loved it!

They loved our waiter!

They loved our waiter!

And the food was really good. My boys love the pool and they got to roast marshmallows. There is going to be a water balloon game on Wednesday. Tomorrow we are doing a sing a long with Chip and Dale. It’s the best. But they need bigger boats though with more seating and a big place for strollers and possibly a bar on board. I know it’s only a 15 minute drive, but sometimes there is traffic on the waterway.

And let me tell you who the real heroes of this trip are so far. These crazy water bag things from Target!

If you find one of these awesome bottles, never let it go.

If you find one of these awesome bottles, never let it go.

Holy crow – I am always griping about water bottles because they are hard to clean or don’t hold enough water. These suckers are the best. They hold 22 oz and are BPA free. You can put them in the freezer and they stay cold for hours, even in the heat. I got them at Target before we left because they were on sale and I thought – “well, I’ll try this.” But assumed they would leak or suck in some significant way. Couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised. Even if they only last through this trip, they are totally worth it. $5 (on sale from $10) go get one.

My other tip if you are going to Disney is bring water. OMG the water here tastes like liquified toots. Blech! I had to run out to a super target to get some (which BTW is not all that far and very handy).

That is all for now. Tomorrow we are back at Magic Kingdom. I am going to pass out now.

Victoria’s First Birthday Party

My adorable god daughter turned one! Look at this angel!DSC_2316

Her mom let me help with the decorations which made me sooo happy! Unfortunately, for the third time this year, I was sick. I had laryngytis, was coughing, couldn’t talk or sleep, but I didn’t care. I finally got to do a girls birthday party!!! AND she wanted a pink and gold party. It was like I died and went to birthday party heaven. So here it is….my dream first birthday party

Isn't it adorable?

Isn’t it adorable?

We stayed up for 3 nights until 11 making the decorations. I hear you laughing, but you have no idea. Every night, I am in my pajamas at 7. My eyes are closed and I am sawing logs by 10. If Craig and I go out to dinner, we go at 6, home by 8. I’m only 40, but I’m living every day like I’m 65…and lovin’ it! So staying up until 11 just shows how psyched I was.

It all started with Victoria’s pink tutu.

look at her. already walking!

look at her. already walking!

Sarah wanted to make a table skirt to match. So we did!:DSC_2314 It was pretty easy to do. It just took a lot of tulle. You can get it on spools at Michael’s. I think we used 10 spools for a 6 foot table.

We made the pink and gold tassel garland and the banner.

If I had any cleavage, I would thank Victoria for strategically placing her head in front of it to protect my god motherly demure image.

If I had any cleavage, I would thank Victoria for strategically placing her head in front of it to protect my god motherly demure image.

For the tassels, we used pink tissue paper (hard to find the right color). For the metallic gold tassels, we reused the ones I made for my 40th birthday party which were a gold fringe table skirt that I got at Party City cut into strips and then rolled together. I tried cutting metallic gold tissue paper and it was so frustrating. The paper just rips – not worth it. For the banner, we cut triangles and then used the gold foil sticker letters that you can buy at Michael’s.

Sarah wanted to display all the the pictures she took each month of Victoria’s first year. So we found these cute shiny gold cards and glued the pictures to them. Then we taped the cards to bamboo skewers and stuck them into boxes wrapped in this awesome pink and gold paper that Sarah found at Home Goods.

so cute, right?

so cute, right?

We got this gold glitter paper at Michael’s and I used my heart punch to punch out glitter hearts which I taped to the bamboo skewers and put in the box too because you only turn 1 once. You should definitely guild the lily.

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Check out this GORGEOUS cake Sarah got at Henri’sDSC_2322I wish I could make one like that. I did make this shiny, gold “1”DSC_2324 and it is FABULOUS!
Victoria liked the decorations so much, she even let me hold her. Well, not the first time I tried…DSC_2257
And then, like all people, she realized my awesomeness and was all over me.DSC_2291 Look at this pretty girl! She makes me so happy!

I’m already dreaming up what we will do for her second birthday!!!!
Happy Birthday Victoria!

Happy Birthday Victoria!

I’m thinking about getting vein treatments, but I’m too cheap. I’m waiting to see what shape my veins take when they are done expanding. If they start to look like an eagle or a line drawing of Geoffrey Rush’s character in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, I may turn them into a tattoo instead. #savingmoney #vainvein

Halloween Candy Rankings 2014 – candy corn dead last yet again

imageLast year, I ranked Carter’s Halloween candy from best to worst and it created quite a stir. Well, I’m doing it again and anybody that wants to argue that Milky Ways aren’t awful can suck it. Obviously, candy corn is dead last again. Thankfully, our neighbors had a better fiscal year and we didn’t get any of that crap. Even in absentia, candy corn is the worst. But there have been some changes at the top spot. Maybe it’s my advancing age and subsequent palette changes, but Kit Kat has usurped the candy throne from Twix. Ring Pop made it to #3 largely based on the novelty of a Ring Pop. Henry actually got a mini, gummy hamburger, but ate it too quickly for me to photograph. Otherwise, that would’ve been top 5 (that house is #1 in my book btw). The variety of M&M’s we received was impressive and properly scored. You’ll notice Almond Joy is conspicuously absent. In a dick move, none of the neighbors gave them out this year. Way to ruin my Halloween. AJ is #1 ADL (all day long for those of you who never waited tables).

I don’t want to hear it about Whoppers being #6. Whoopers are so abused in the candy hierarchy. They are delicious. They are almost exactly like robin’s eggs from Easter. I love their crispy, airy quality. So just stop – stop it with your Whopper hatin’. I do question why I put Crunch ahead of Whopper. I could go both ways on that one.

All in all, it was a really good haul this year. Twizzlers, sour gummies, lots of chocolate – a little something for everybody. The oversight of Almond Joy is unforgivable though. So 2014 is the worst year for candy thus far.

Red Baroned

Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 8.09.28 AM(this blog post to be read in the voice of Keith Morrison because “Dateline” was on while I was writing it.) If there is one thing Hayden has learned as a parent, it is if you smell a bad smell there is always a source. Do not stop until you find that source because if you wait….you just might get…..RED BARRONED(insert gutteral “mmmhmmm” Keith Morrison noise for curiosity here).  On Monday, Hayden went grocery shopping. She bought all of the essentials, milk, eggs, bread and……Red Baron frozen cheese pizza.  She is an earth lover, so she brought her own bags to the store and they were filled with her family’s food for the week.

Hayden got home that hot afternoon in Georgia, unloaded the groceries and went about her little life, but something was different (“mmmhmmmm”).  On Tuesday, it was lovely out and she rode around in her Honda Odyssey with the windows down, her two boys happily singing along with Elton John’s “Someone Saved my life Tonight”. At one point she thought something smelled funny in the van, but figured it was outside. On Wednesday it was hot out. Very hot.  Hayden thought she smelled a strange smell, like Italian food in the car, but they hadn’t been out to eat so she knew there couldn’t be a box of left overs anywhere (insert Keith Morrison “Ahhha” sound here). On Thursday her dutiful husband, Craig took the car to get cleaned and it came back looking wonderful, but still a faint odor of lasagna remained. On Friday, Craig, who has a very reliable nose, still smelled the offensive smell. He searched all over the car, through the storage box in the front, the cool box, even under the children’s car seats. Then he went to the trunk and what he found would haunt his olfactories for the rest of his life.  Inside a Trader Joe’s grocery bag for cold stuff was something unbelievable (mmmhhhmmmm).  Inside was (pause for dramatic effect) the Red Baron frozen pizza Hayden had purchased on Monday. All week long it sat in the hot van, roasting, stinking, sweating, losing it’s artificial sheen.  It was the only thing in that one bag, so, of course she missed it! A frozen pizza is flat and the same shape as the bag. Who puts one thing in a bag when you buy $200 worth of groceries? No one, that’s who.  And yet, on that blistering hot day in Atlanta, someone did. Oh they did. (ahhhhha)

The moral of the story: whenever there is a smell, there is always a source. Never stop looking. (this is also true for poop smells).  Hayden learned this lesson all too well (mmmmhhhhmmmm).Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 8.12.46 AM

I probably had it coming…

Pretty!!!

Pretty!!!

What with all my catering to his every need since the day he was born and all. Yeah, I deserved this.

You should see the other guy.

Oops, did that hurt? Now read me a story old lady!

“Oops, did that hurt? Now read me a story old lady!”

Being a mom is dangerous..

You want a piece of me?

You want a piece of me?

Does this eye bruise make me look fat?IMG_3437 Is this a rite of passage as a mother to two boys? My first black eye?

It was an accident.

Here’s what happened. The boys love it when I play this game with them where I push them down on the bed hard. They just try to sit up. I push them down on the pillow. They laugh and laugh, “Again Mommy! Again!”. Pretty simple. Usually harmless. A bit unorthodox. So, we were having a lazy afternoon lie in the bed. We were about to get up to go swim at our neighbor’s pool and we started playing that game. Henry was next to me and Carter next to him. They took turns sitting up and then I pushed them down. Eventually, the game ended…or so I thought. I was lying there with my head on the pillow reading to Carter when I got blind sided by Henry lunging himself backward onto my face. It HURT. Like real bad it hurt. Like I shot up and said, “Henry! Oh My God!” and just held my face in a pillow saying “Oh My God! Oh my God” over and over for at least a minute. I was waiting for the pain to subside and it took way longer than usual (because I do get hit or rammed once a day or so). By the way, Henry was totally fine. I felt a goose egg on the back of his head, but he didn’t seem affected by that. He’s still in that “two year old sociopathic phase” where he feels no one else’s pain. All he said was, “Read to me!” Sweet Carter took control, “It’s ok mommy. Take deep breaths. I’ll go get an ice pack.” He went down stairs. He came back with those giant hard plastic ice packs for the cooler. “The Spiderman one Carter!”. I went into the bathroom and saw my face. “MY Face! My Fortune!” No, I was not cracking wise anymore. I started to cry. The pain was gone, but I cried anyway because I was bleeding from my face(!) and it swelled up like Tina Turner’s after that hotel fight with Ike. Ok, not that bad, but at the time, I was very hyperbolic.

I facetimed Craig. He gasped! “you may need stitches.” More crying from me. “My modeling career!”(hardeeharhar…mmmm…Hardee’s…FriscoBurger). Then I called our neighbor who we were supposed to swim with. Lucky for me, she and her husband are doctors – yay! They are very kind to allow me to sometimes overuse them as my personal physician since Doug Kwon (my previous personal physician/male bridal attendant/MDPhD in Molecular Immunology/AIDS research friend who has his own lab at HARVARD – yes, HARVARD!) lives in Boston. Seriously, it was such a relief to have them look me over and apply the bandage. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Martha & Danny!

And that’s it. Whole story. My husband doesn’t hit me. I didn’t have a car accident. I didn’t fall down drunk anywhere. It was just an accident that looks way worse than it seems like it should. Actually, it didn’t look that bad after the first day. It just looked like I had a LOT of purple eye shadow on one eye and some crazy eye liner. I could have just gone to the MAC counter and had them do the other eye the same way and no one would notice. Gradually though, it has gotten worse. Here’s the progression:

We immediately put the matter behind us. Easy to do since he still hasn’t noticed anything different about my face or the fact that he had anything to do with it.

My Little Ike Turner

My Little Ike Turner

My Resume

Subordinate at Carter & Henry Kelly                                                      4/09 – present

Stay at home mom, children’s entertainer, pretty decent cook, semi-professional doctor, AMAZING children’s birthday party strategist, crafter, professional pant buttoner, bottom wiper, demoralized potty trainer, intermediary, amateur popsicle opener, personal valet, official Lego finder, miserable sport teacher, favorited bedtime story reader, excels at working under pressure in a hostile environment with constant interruptions, accomplished hugger/boo boo kisser.

Mom Camp

on the top of the Empire State Building. How can I top this?

on the top of the Empire State Building. How can I top this?

I have been a little terrified about this summer. We are went away for the first week and now we are home. We will just be here. Hot and grumpy all summer long. I want them to do camp, but not every week or even every other week. It’s too expensive for one and I want them to have a break from getting up and having to go somewhere every day. So I’ve been pinning all kinds of ideas on pinterest and I’ve come up with what will hopefully be a fun and productive summer!

I used the Power of Moms blog post as a guide. First, I gave the boys a plan for every day of the week.
“Make it Monday” – We will make something that day. I’ve pinned tons of crafts like rocket ships, jet packs, stepping stones, etc.. Last week, we made hand prints in clay. (check out my pinterest page for ideas)
Travel Tuesday – We will visit some place like the Children’s Museum or grandmas.
Wet Wednesday – Pool, splash pad, water park (if I can find one).
Thinking Thursdays – We will go to a library or museum and research something based on our weekly theme.
Fun Fridays –  Whatever they want!

2. Weekly themes. We  chose a theme to focus on each week. Then every day after lunch we will do an activity around each theme. We have Outer Space week, Art Week, Theater Week, USA week (4th of July). For example, on Outer Space week,  we will make a rocket ship (found it here) and watch a video of rockets launching. Maybe will make a mobile of the planets too, if we have time. We will also go to the Natural History museum and learn about the planets on “Thinking Thursday”. The other days don’t have to fit into our theme, but it’s fine if they do.

Other Weekly Themes:
Art Week – we will visit the High Museum of Art, make a self portrait, work with Water colors, make stepping stones for outside out of cement
Trains Week – we will ride the subway, visit the Train Museum in Duluth, play trains :) and read a book about trains.
Theater Week – we will go see a puppet show or a children’s play, write our own little play, do a puppet show and play some improv games.

3. A schedule. I remember my summers of just lazing the days away watching copious amounts of TV and eating lots of Doritos and bean dip. While I enjoyed that sloth life, I don’t think it was necessarily a good thing for me. So we have to keep a bit of a schedule. We’ve already talked about it. We get up whenever we wake up (so 7 for them, sigh). Eat breakfast and then do our chores and daily activities.
4. Daily Chores are 1. make bed 2. put clothes away 3. get dressed/brush teeth 4. Feed Lucy. After chores we get to do one of our daily activies “activity”.
Weekly Chores
Each day we will complete one of our weekly household chores.
Monday is sweep the porch. Tuesday is tend the garden. Wednesday is dusting. Thursday is give the dog a bath day. And Friday is laundry day. I seriously doubt we will do these every week (especially bathe the dog), but every other would be a good thing.

Goals – I have set some tentative goals for the boys as well.
Writing: Carter (5) is always reluctant to write. I don’t want him to spend the whole summer not working on it, so 5 minutes of writing time a day. Henry (3) loves to write so that will be fun for him to draw or write too.
Reading: Carter(5)will read one Bob book (these are excellent learning to read books) a day and I will read a story to both at least once a day.
Bike: Carter’s goal for the end of the summer is riding his bike without training wheels. For Henry, it was riding his tricycle. We will also spend some morning time practicing a sport – soccer, baseball, tennis, frisbee whatever they want. They can also use this time to play a board game if they like

Carter is so into this. He loves a schedule. It was getting late on Monday and he said, “we haven’t made anything yet and it’s a make it Monday”! We went swimming on a Thursday and he said, “but it’s not a wet Wednesday”. It gives them something to look forward to and makes them feel secure to have a plan, I think. It’s great for me to not be struggling to come up with an activity every day or to be asked every day if we can go to the pool. Hope this helps y’all!  Have a great summer!!!!

I'm going to be 40 in less than 48 hours and I just got a zit on my chin. Not bragging. Just sayin'.

Me

Cable vs Netflix/Amazon Prime

I love the spontaneity of regular old cable television. I have netflix, amazon prime, but I spend more time just flipping the channels to see what will draw me in after a few minutes. Right now, I’m watching this HBO documentary on Stephen Sondheim and I just happened to turn it on as they were discussing “Company”, which I’ve never seen. They played a recording of the song, “Being Alive” which is all about marriage, the mundanity of it, the joy of it and the need for it. I’m really glad I saw that and I wouldn’t have without cable. So I’m keeping my cable. It’s expensive and becoming an anachronism, but so am I, I suppose.

This is happening

IMG_2422

There will be tears – New Mom Series

My friend Tara had her baby girl last Thursday!!!! I am so happy for her and Andrew! She is a beautiful, healthy baby. And now, their work begins.

The first week is scary and hard.  Lots of insecurity and lots of tears, not just from the baby.  I cried every day for a solid month after Carter was born. Sometimes I had no idea why I was crying.  Sometimes it was because “he’s so beautiful.  I don’t want him to get any bigger”.  I definitely had the baby blues. Craig said it was sweet that my emotions were so available, but it kind of sucked to feel so out of control.  I was happy when that part ended, although, there is a comforting release in tears. So, don’t be alarmed if you cry for a month. That’s normal. Tons of hormones are leaving your body all at once which is crazy.

It is also normal to cry for known reasons, like frustration, sleep deprivation or fear. You really do just have to take it one week at a time. It kind of seems like you are hanging out all day since you never leave the house, but you are working or worrying 24 hours a day.  So, it’s not at all like hanging out all day. That was a crazy thing to say!! It’s so hard. The end of the first week will feel like an achievement. “Yes!  the baby is still alive and so am I.” A little bit, I remember checking off the weeks, like, “another one down.” Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. OMG there is nothing sweeter than a newborn.  It’s this weird combination of being glad that a part is over, but sad that it is over at the same time. A friend once told me, “parenting is letting go”.  That’s very true. And some weeks will be easier to let go of than others.

Craig and Carter in the delivery room

Craig and Carter in the delivery room

I was the type that never put my babies down. I would wear them or lie with them. Part of that was because you have to nurse so much. When we went in for our one month check up, I remember the doctor looked at me and saw how exhausted I was because my eyes were swollen and I looked like a dried up human. He suggested I pump and let Craig take a night feeding. That sounded great in theory, but I could never fit that pumping time in. I mean, any “down” time I had was spent bathing, urinating or doing other survival tasks. Pumping was a luxury, like flossing or shaving. It could wait. So I did every feed. I LOVED breast feeding, even though I had some issues with it. I definitely got that little endorphin rush that God built in there to encourage mothers to nurse. It felt so intimate and so important. It was frustrating, but it was a task I was willing to do just about anything to accomplish.

It’s hard for the daddys to feel like they are doing as much, but Craig definitely helped me a ton. He would rock the baby back to sleep in the middle of the night, fetch me anything and everything I needed and he was just there. I just needed to know that he was there, ya know. He had two weeks of paternity leave and the morning he went back, I cried in a way that I haven’t cried since my parents divorced when I was in the first grade. I had other people there to help me, but I only wanted him. The bond of the struggles of a newborn moved our relationship to a whole new level. I mean, we cried tears of joy in the hospital when Carter gave us a golden shower. Not because we love golden showers! But because the nurses said they would give him a catheter if he didn’t pee in the next hour. (Again with the cathethers!)

Know that there will be tears because this is the biggest and best thing you have ever done in your entire life. Accept help (although, I remember just wanting everyone to leave, even though I needed them). And just do the best you can. It is survival mode for the next few weeks. Good luck!

Cute Henry baby.  love the puffy newborn eyes

Cute Henry baby. love the puffy newborn eyes

 

It’s Birthday Party Time

I LIVE for my boy’s birthday parties. I didn’t know this until Carter’s second party when I first learned how to use the Wilton icing tip and made this purple cow cake by myself (Carter has loved purple since he was 18 months old. He asked for a purple cow cake for his 2nd birthday).

Purple Cow Cake!

Purple Cow Cake!

I still can’t believe I made that. I have no artistic ability. You can cover a lot of mistakes with just more icing. The next year, I discovered printables and the Hostess with the Mostess website and went to TOWN on a pirate party. Then I discovered pinterest and the rest is history. So, now I’m working on Carter’s fifth birthday party – a Spiderman party.

the invitation

the invitation

I’m learning photoshop and got this invitation idea from here. Before I delve into it, let’s take a little trip down memory lane. We’ll start with Carter’s third birthday, the pirate party.DSC_1307 I saw that someone made a pirate ship out of refrigerator boxes. So I asked Craig if he thought he could do it. He could because he is awesome!

Isn't this amazing!  Craig is so talented!

Isn’t this amazing! Craig is so talented!

He is a great artist, which is so fantastic. I have lots of ideas and enthusiasm, but little ability. So he cut it, painted it and set it all up. The kids could actually climb in and out of it. We saved it and Henry is having a pirate party this year for his third birthday! Win!
We went on our neighborhood message board (it is the best!) and borrowed a truly amazing Captain Hook costume that Craig wore as a surprise guest at the party DSC_1325
I made a challenging pirate ship cake with all the Peter Pan characters on it

I know it doesn’t look the best, but I promise, it took me forever!
Plus, just for giggles, I made those little ship cupcakes in the gallery below. (by the dubs, you can get amazing FREE pirate party printables HERE. I got the sails for the cupcakes on that site.)


We didn’t plan to get so elaborate. We just kept making stuff because it all seemed so awesome. The birthday parties are so much fun for us. I love to create these worlds and hopefully bring some of their fantasy to reality. Or at least, heighten their imaginary play a bit.
Carter was Captain Hook

Cap't Carter!

Cap’t Carter!

and Henry was my little Smee.
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Mommy, daddy and the birthday boy were all really happy


And everybody had a great time! Except for my friend’s little girl there at the bottom of the ladder.
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Tomorrow: Henry’s first birthday party – circus theme!!!

Breastfeeding and the remote – VERY IMPORTANT FOR NEW MOMS!!!

One of my most favorite people in the world, Tara Copeland Eastwick, is about to have her first baby. So I’ve decided to write a series of posts about all those things you just have no clue about the first time around.  The whole pregnancy you are consumed with worry about delivery and what is going on with your body.  And yes, that is important, but I spent zero time preparing for once the baby arrived.  (Actually, I know that Tara has done far more than me already).  I never babysat much, most of my friends didn’t have kids and if they did I wasn’t around them.  I  didn’t even take the breast feeding class (it’s natural, why do you need a class?  Woah boy – did I regret that).  So, hopefully this will offer some insight for new moms and a reminder to seasoned moms of what it’s like to have a newborn.

Breast Feeding and the Remote

I know you are getting a ton of advice right now, but if there is nothing else you remember, do remember this. Before you sit down to nurse your newborn, make sure the TV remote is right next to you because your ass is gonna be macramed to that chair for the next hour.  You may start out watching the Today show, but by the time the hour long nursing session has ended,  you are well into Hoda and Kathie Lee.  OMG – this totally happened to me all the time!  The remote, was on the dresser by the TV, way out of reach.  There was no way I was standing up because once that baby latches on, you really can’t move.  It’s not worth the risk of the baby becoming unlatched and having to go through the whole latching process again (which can take a LONG time).  I got to the point where my body froze up once he latched and if there was any shifting needed, it had to be made in slow, smooth motions all whilst cradling a newborn in my arms – it takes both arms to cradle- which, by the way, gives you carpal tunnel.  Usually I was too scared to move, so I would hold my body for an hour or more in contorted, cramping positions just to make it through.

So Dads, this is on you too.  Make sure she has all she needs before you walk out the door.  Moms have to remember a hundred things for each nursing session (which I had like 12 a day for the first few months): my breast friend, nursing stool, burpees, extra pillows, nipple cream, the baby.  That took all of my energy to remember.  Then I was holding my sweet baby, he was latched and I could finally relax (as much as one can in a stiff, uncomfortable position).  I looked up and Kathie Lee was on TV and the remote was WAY over there.  So, of course, it was Craig’s fault for leaving without bringing me the remote. Breastfeeding is sweet and all.  I really do mean that.  I LOVED breastfeeding even though I had a lot of misery because of it.  But once that first minute, minute and half of awwww is over, you need some TV.  You can’t talk on the phone.  You can’t use the computer.  Can’t look through a magazine.  The only parts of your body that you can move while nursing are your eyes…and your uterus because it naturally contracts while you nurse – neat fact, right? So please, for the love of God, keep that remote close to you. In a way, your life depends on it. You’re welcome

Valentine’s Day crafts

IMG_1992We started making Valentine’s on January 8th.  It’s winter and we are inside a lot.  We need something to do.  Plus, I love Valentine’s crafts and Carter has 21 kids in his class so it takes a while. He bores of crafting after about three minutes.  Or so I thought.  It’s been so interesting to see his development into a worker.  I credit Montessori with a lot of it.  Last year in Montessori, he came home every day and said, “I don’t want to work (they call what they do in the classroom “work”).  I just want to play.”  This year he says, “I don’t want to play.  I just want to work.”

And he has done a lot more work.  He sticks to tasks longer and takes real pride in saying, “I did all this work on my own.”  I get very excited when he does these things.  I have the hardest time getting him to write though.  I’ve heard that boys don’t really like to color or write much.  OMG that is so true for us.  Carter is also left handed and I can see how awkward holding a pencil or marker is for him.  Henry seems to be right handed and he just has an easier time already.  I used to get very stressed out about it.  Maybe I tried to push it too much because this past summer, he would never write at all.  One day this fall, we were driving and he said, “Mom, I want to write my name.”  I abruptly pulled the car over, got out his writing tray, paper, pens, crayons, pencils markers whatever and let him write.  It is so rare that he wants to even hold a pencil, much less write.

So, I got him some alphabet stamps for Christmas.  He is starting to read and I thought these would be a fun way to work on sounding out, since he isn’t writing much (btw: the Bob books are great for learning to read). He loves the stamps.  We stamped each child’s name on a little bag.  This proved to be rather taxing and I had to finish the last 8 or so.  Carter had strung three beads on a pipe cleaner and made it into a bracelet; one for each child.  So we put the bracelets in the bags that we had stamped and decorated.  Another interesting thing, I got foam heart stickers.  At first, we were just randomly putting them on the bags.  But then, I pulled out these shiny bead stickers and Carter came up with a cute heart design with a bead in the middle.  He did it exactly the same for each bag.   I was fascinated.  He never wants to paint or draw much, but he seemed to really like the order of the hearts and making them all exactly the same.  He referred to it as an assembly line.  Could it be that he wants to work in car manufacturing plant? :)

For Henry, I saw this little pot idea with the seeds on pinterest.  I got the seeds for $.25 each at Dollar General, which is the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere.  Henry sort of decorated his, but I did a lot.  They are so cute right?IMG_2052

I also saw this dinosaur/volcano valentines tutorial and printable which I just had to make.  Way too difficult for the kids, but I made some for us to give to our best boy friends.image  OMG – so cute right?????  So easy too.  I’m not done with valentine crafts yet.  I should probably stop, but I can’t!  oo, I made these cute cards that I saw on pinterest.  LOVE.image

We are having a little valentine’s day party here if any of the neighborhood kids can get over here in the ice.  Carter spent the day putting big hearts all over the house and blowing up balloons with the bicycle pump.   And we made heart cookies for the kids to decorate

Making the best of the bad weather for Valentine’s Day.  Thank you Hallmark :)

A minivan is just a roomier hearse. Your life is over now that you have kids. Drive a car that reflects that.

me

Henry is funny when he cries

It's hard being 2

It’s hard being 2

This is Henry’s favorite book. It was on my bedside table and he picked it up one day. He carries it everywhere pretending to read it. He hasn’t really absorbed much of its content though. Still, I think it’s making his 2’s a bit better. He likes to show me that he is reading it.

look mama.  i read.

look mama. i read.

As if that will, somehow, make up for the tantrums. “At least I’m working on it,” is his theory. I put the book far away on a remote shelf in Craig’s office, but he still found it.

just a couple more passages before this really sinks in

just a couple more passages before this really sinks in

Henry’s 2’s really aren’t that bad.  He’s still pretty funny and charming through all the tears. I always try to distract him when calming him.  When he cries, he just repeats the last words you say to him, which makes me laugh.
Here are some examples:
Henry crying because he had to get in the bath (we bathe him. we are monsters!):
Me: “Don’t cry Henry. Do you want to play with the pirate?”
Henry: (crying) “Play with pirate!!!!!”
Henry crying because he dropped his waffle:
Me: “Don’t cry Henry. Here’s a pop tart”
Henry: (through tears) ” Pop Tart!!!!!”
Sometimes I just like to get him to say funny stuff. Henry crying because we have to change his diaper.  (Again, we are horrible, awful parents to want him in a clean diaper.):
Me: “Henry, do you like the films of Orson Welles?”
Henry: (crying)“Orson Welles”
Me: “Henry, would you like some crack cocaine?”
Henry: (crying)“Crack Cocaine!!!!!”
Me: “Henry, Do you think that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?”
Henry: (crying)“Lee Harbey Oswalk act awone!!”

So, there you have it.  Lee Harbey Oswalk act awone.  Done.

 

New Year’s Eve = amateur night

For years now, I have chosen not to go out on New Year’s Eve and not just because I’m old…ish. New Year’s Eve is amateur night.  It connotes “getting crazy” or “partying all night long”, “raising hell” etc. etc. which means, every one is trying to do that which is uncool. I remember all the fools I saw puking on the street in New York City or stumbling around loaded. No thanks. I’ll get sloppy drunk when no one else does, so I can really stand out. Wait…I hadn’t thought about it that way. I guess, if you get totally wasted and make a fool of yourself on New Year’s Eve, at least no one will remember because they will all be pretty much the same. Well, there is another reason why I don’t like going out on New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to start the new year off with a hangover. I actually really love New Year’s Day! I love the idea of starting fresh. I like making my New Year’s resolutions, waking up early and getting things done.  So, there are two reasons not to go out tonight. Read more…

“Joy’s soul lies in the doing”

That’s what’s been going on with me.  Lots of doing.  So lots of joy, I guess.  If Shakespeare is to be believed.  I’ve been sewing, crafting, baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping and sometimes rapping (wicky,wicky, wicky).  The one thing I haven’t been doing is blogging.  My mom texted me from Joann’s the other day and asked if I wanted anything.  I told her I wanted some canvas fabric to make a tote bag.  She said they had cute tote bags at Ballard’s and I thought of that line from Shakespeare’s ‘Troilus and Cressida”.  It wasn’t one of my favorite plays, but I loved this one passage.  I memorized it because, I felt at the age of 20, it was something I needed to remember in my dealings with men.

“Women are angels, wooing;
Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.
That she beloved knows naught that knows not this:
Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.
That she was never yet that ever knew
Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
Achievement is command; ungained, beseech.

Troilus & Cressida, Act I, iii

Not that it has anything to do with Christmas or my world in that context, just something that occurred to me as I realized that the little make up bags I was making for hours for my friends, were really my joy.  Not sure if they would like them or care that I made them, but the joy it gave me to make something unique and beautiful to me was meaningful.  I felt proud. Read more…

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