Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Truths

Linking up with the Froggy & the Mouse (one of my most favorite blogs to read!) for what I thought was a great idea for a post.  Check out her "Christmas Truths" after you read mine, and join in the fun.
My Christmas Truths:
1.  The LED lights suck!  I don't care about the "energy conservation" hoopla...they just look plain stupid.  I don't think they're white at all...they're blue...and they annoy me.  (although we have given in and put them!).  And please, neighbors...don't turn them on until it's December 1st.  Thank you.
2.  Holiday music makes me puke.  I'm sorry.  It might have been my horrific past with retail (I worked at The Limited Too...yes I'm showing my age here, because it's now "Justice" I think).  For years and years I was FORCED to listen to the same couple of mix CDs over and over again, from Black Friday on.  It has completely scarred me for life.  But...if I had to listen to anything, it would be Mariah's "All I want for Christmas is You".  Love!
3.  Santa HAS TO have different wrapping paper than anything else that is wrapped, and the kids names have to be cut out of newspaper.  Thanks Mom for this ransom-esque tradition I just can't seem to kick.
4.  My Christmas Tree has it's own set of truths:
        -  It must be REAL! 
        -  I must place the red, green, silver and gold ornaments equally around my tree.  OCD-much?!
        -  tinsel is a must, as gaudy as it is
        -  there can be no tree in our house prior to December
        -  White lights only please, thank you.
        -  the tree skirt must face the normal traffic of the room, and be straight at all times.  More OCD-isms.
5.  It's not Christmas unless there is a plethora of vodka, captain morgan, baileys, wine, beer & whiskey and half of the family trying to get the other side drunk enough so that they don't go to church that night.
6.  We open our presents on or before Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning is for the kids only!
7.  As random as this list is...we MUST have all of these food items at our Christmas EVE celebration every year:  kilbasa, ham, turkey, pickles, shell salad, shrimp and cocktail sauce, jello with fruit and marshmellows, cheesy potatoes, potato chips, rolls, party press cookies, sugar cookies and all of Grandma's specialty cookies (stained glass windows, peanut butter sittin pretties, peanut butter blossoms and chocolate dreams).
8.  If we're not staying in some seedy hotel, it's not Christmas.  My Dad's family has way too many members to all meet at someone's home, so we find a "top of the line" ::rolls eyes:: hotel every year. If I don't shed tears, it's too nice.  Classy.
9.  Egg Nog rocks!  I don't care how bad it is for me or how many calories or fat grams there are.  When it hits the shelves come November, it's found in my fridge too.
10. The movie Christmas Vacation is funny EVERY SINGLE TIME we watch it Christmas Eve.  EVERY TIME! 

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Wine+Family = Laughs

Hubby's cousin came dressed as a turkey to our thanksgiving feast (see previous post on our Turkey Day to see the whole costume...yes...there was more...).  By the end of night, I just HAD TO try it on.  I bet I'll regret that this picture even exists one day (okay...I already regret it).  YIKES! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rival Saturday

This may not be our banner season, but we're still die-hard fans!  GO BUCKS!  O-H...

**Her shirt, a hand-me-down from big bro, says "Poop on Michigan" :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Milestone Monday ~ 11.21.11

Another big week for B.  She started babbling consonants this week, bbbbbbb, mmmmm, and ddddd are her favorites.  She says "ba", "dada" and "mmmmmma" but as much as we'd like to think they mean something, I think it's just baby talk.  She also said goodbye to the baby bath, and is now happily accepting the blow-up duckie bath.  The big news was her first tooth poking out.  It's her bottom left tooth, that has now successfully cut through her gums.  My guess is that it's part of the reason why she's been unable to get over her cold.  Poor baby girl.  There have been no biting incidents yet, but this is a a whole new world for me.  T didn't get teeth until I was done breastfeeding, so I'm very scared to experience the biting.  yikes!

T's big first this week was his first sleepover.  Although it was just at mimi and papa's house, it was a big deal.  He was going over there just for a sleepover, leaving us at home with only one kid.  It wasn't because we were going out, or a babysitting situation.  They invited him over.  He took his sleeping bag and overnight bag, and was very excited.  It was so adorable!  I'd like to tell you we layed around and relaxed, but with 1 kid and a backsplash to finish, there was little time for "rest".  To be honest, we both commented a number of times on how much we missed him :(  The next morning T was the ball boy for his papa's 8th grade basketball team.  He even got to be part of the huddle.  It was a big moment for him.  Papa even got him a shooting shirt so he could feel like part of the team.  It's an added bonus that Papa coaches in the same school district I teach in. 

Our milestone for the weekend...a completed backsplash!  Whoot!  :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wishlists: A Do or a Don't

I confess, I hate Christmas.  ::insert gasps here:: I'm a bah humbug. A grinch. A scrooge.  It's a fact...and I'm sorry to all you shiny, happy Christmas lovers.   
Why, do you ask?!?  I guess I've become jaded by the whole "commercialism" of the holiday.  The season of "giving" has turned into the season of wanting, stressing and spending.  People are actually mean and nasty to each other, instead of cheery and giving.  Take the local mall, for instance.  I won't go near it between October 31st and about January 15th when all the returning and sale madness has died down.  Those people are INSANE, seriously certifiable!!  Me and black Friday certainly don't mix either, unless it's online bargain shopping from the comfortable safety of my home, away from aformentioned greedy, scary, crazy people.  It just gets me in a very bad mood (kinda like those ya-whos on my treadmill at the gym come January 2nd...GET OFF!  We know you'll only last till maybe mid-February, so how about throwing in the towel now so I can have my treadmill back.  Thank you!).  BAH HUMBUG!  I have started adopting a family for the holidays, and this has helped my Christmas spirit incredibly.  I recommend everyone try it.  Pre-Christmas events have helped as well, like a trip on the Polar Express, going to see Santa, and checking out the holiday Zoo lights with my kiddos.  I find much pleasure in my little ones enjoying the little, simple, much cheaper joys of the season.  I guess this is why Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday of all.  It's fairly greed & stress-free, and includes all of my most favorite things:  a pre-feast run (a yearly tradition), food and family.  Yippee!

So now, after a long-winded explanation of my distaste for the Holidays (sorry!),  I come to my point.  What are your thoughts on the use of electronic wishlists for your children for holidays/birthdays (i.e. Target, Toys R Us or Amazon)? 
I should admit at this point that I am a user of said electronic "lists".  I started when Tyler turned 2 (if memory might have been the Christmas before that), because family members were pushing me for ideas of what to buy him.  I have used Toys R Us for years, but have switched this year to, as I couldn't put one more member of my family through the trials and tribulations of a trip to the local ghetto (literally) craziness of that God-awful, overpriced, unorganized place! (can you sense my distaste!?) 

At first, I was resistant to use such a tool.  I felt like I was being somewhat "greedy".  And, lets face it, it's like "registering" your child for gifts.  It felt a bit wrong (given my current feelings on "asking" for gifts anyway).  But...Tyler is now 4.5 and I've since gotten over the negatives.  It has proven to be quite useful, and as each birthday or Christmas comes up, families continue to ask for the list to help them with their shopping.  What do YOU think about them?  I promise, no judgement here! are just a few of the items on my kids' "wislists" this year (with the help of of course!)  And no, they're not getting ALL of this!  I recycle the lists for the next birthday and refresh it with new items:

For T:
LEGO Ultimate Building Set

5.  Wooden Barbarossa Pirate Ship & Pirate Figurines

Along with Bearnstein Bears books, superheros, the Green Lantern Jet, the game Operation (Toy Store version), a remote-controlled monster truck, light-up shoes, DVDs, leapster games for his Explorer and a few other odds and ends.

For B:

3. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn My Pretty Learning Purse

4. Bath toys like these and this

5.  Some girlie books like this one & this one

B is also asking for the start of our girlie DVD collection:  Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid (yippee from mom!), a nuby bristle teether, a tub seat and a new crib toy.  I also put a little playkitchen on her list, as well as a few toys she might use when she's finally walking (hopefully not for a while!). 
Any other cute ideas, new toys/gadgets we've got to add to the wishlist for a 7 month old girl or a 4 year old energetic boy??? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PYHO: I'm Scared to Death

I have a confession to make.  I'm terrified of something horrible happening to my kids. 

I'm sure I'm just like every other mom who worries from the moment you know you're carrying a fetus.  Every stage brings new concerns, fears, and frustrations.  However,  sometimes I find myself having literal panic attacks when I think about what could happen to my babies.  I'm a natural worrier anyway, a bit "high strung" if you will.  I'm not embarrassed.  I'm sometime neurotic.  But these are my BABIES!  I worry about them stopping breathing in the middle of the night (this one is constant), falling down and having head injuries, choking on food, breaking bones, getting serious diseases that I have no control over, you know...the usual.  But lately, I've had a less-than-rational fear of my babies being sexually abused.  Maybe it was the horrible events that happened at Penn State (those poor little boys) or the absurd and disgusting local story about a teenager raping a little 5 year old girl in the playland at McDonalds...or the countless talk shows and national news stories I read, watch and hear (damn talk radio) describing so much horrible physical and sexual abuse against the innocent,  but I'm TERRIFIED! 

So this leads me to my most ridiculous recent panic attack, which falls under the umbrella of this topic.  Yesterday on the way home from picking T up from daycare, we are carrying on a conversation about his day (very normal behavior for us).  He starts to tell me about sometime during his 2.5 hours at preschool where he was alone in a classroom with a teacher (and here's the part where my stomach started churning and my heart started pounding uncontrollably) IN THE DARK!  My palms got sweaty, my heart was racing, and I started to almost interrogate T about why in Gods name he was in a classroom ALONE with a teacher IN THE DARK!!!!!!!!  I asked him things like;  "was it your teacher", "where were all your friends", "why were the lights off", "was it only for a short time", "has it happened before", "did you feel scared or uncomfortable".  There were a million more questions, and some he fielded with great detail, while others he was much more vague or confused...which caused me to go off the deep end even more.  Then I had to have a conversation I don't enjoy very much with my innocent 4 year old, the 'your parts are only for you' conversation.  I could tell my hubby has also discussed this with T, as he knew his butt and weiner (I know...weiner...judge if you must I'm not having him use the formal term) were never to be touched by anyone but him...yadda yadda.  It was a nightmare.  I started to feel like I was going to puke.  After discussing in great detail with T, I came to the conclusion he was actually a bit "in trouble" because he was taking so long packing up his backpack for the day to go home...I his teacher was standing by the door urging him to hurry up.  I'm hoping I'm getting this partially right ::says silent prayer::  T seemed to not think it was a big deal, and he assured me his "parts" were undisturbed.

Now was this fear irrational, probably so, as these are female preschool teachers (some of the most gentle, patient ladies around) that came highly recommended.  Let me also remind my readers that I too am a teacher.  I have the utmost respect for my fellow educators, and I would like to think I can trust the majority of those of us that take on this difficult job, especially those saintly preschool teachers.  But...can you ever be too careful or inquisitive when it comes to the health, well-being, and safety of your baby?!  I think not!   

Link up with "Pour Your Heart Out", for more confessions, complaints, and debates.  Maybe there are some you can relate to.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Milestone Monday: 7 Months & a Post-it

First let me tell you a very important milestone we hit yesterday...B said mama!  I was so excited!!!  She said it multiple times, and even my hubby agreed I wasn't crazy.  I'm in LOVE!!!  See below stats for more milestones from B.
T got ANOTHER "post it" home from preschool, with the same "problems".  See my post-it nightmare post for background.  We are working hard to correct his behavior.  He's an exausting 4 year old BOY...ALL BOY!  What can I say, he's spirited.  He is going to attend a middle school basketball game with his Papa this week to field rebounds.  That's a big milestone for him.  He has a new shooting shirt Papa got him to wear.  He's so excited about it that he asked to wear it to school today.  We are also starting to transition out of taking naps ::gulp::  It's just more of a struggle than it's worth sometimes.  He had his first "quiet time" with a movie on the couch in our basement.  It went fairly smoothly.  Ty also left his room to go potty on own for the first time.  Good step in finally ridding ourselves of those pesky pull-ups (God willing)

Here are B's recent monthly stats:

Age: 7 months (wow...time flies!)

Stats: not sure...gotta get her on that scale.  She's definitely filling out and growing out of her 6 month clothes finally.

Size (diapers, onesies, etc.): Still in size 2 diapers.  We have one more "sleeve" of 2's left from our Amazon mom shipment, but we have a box of 3s in reserve.  I'll probably move her over to 3s when the 2s are gone.  She's basically grown out of her 3-6 months stuff, and some of her 6 month stuff still fits (here and there).  I have started substituting in her 6-9 or 9 month stuff slowly, but it's still big on her.

Sleeping: She wakes up for her binky 1-2 times per night.  I usually shake hubby awake to give it back to her, because if she sees me it becomes boob time!  I long for the day when she can retrieve that binky and pop it back in on her own.  She's sleeping from 8:30 - 5am still, and goes back to sleep till 8 or 8:30am on the weekend.  No change really here.  B is still sleeping on her back with her hands above her head or in her hair. 

Eating: Still BF and still maintaining 9-10 bags of milk on reserve in our freezer.  I'm feeling great about how we're doing.  Here feeding schedule is as follows:
BF 5/5:30am
BF/bottle 9/9:30 am & cereal (2T + some organic fruit)
BF/bottle 12:30/1pm
BF 4/4:30pm
baby food (2 cubes) - tonight it's a new food...PEARS! 
BF 7:45/8:15pm
**See my post about a working mom's pumping woes**

Milestones: There were SO MANY big ones this month!  She changed with leaps and bounds!
2. introduced puffs - banana
3. first run in the jogging stroller
4. yesterday she said MAMA!  She's starting to call for me when I'm not right near her.  I lovvvveee it!
5. her first tries in the walker (judge me if you must)
6.  The swing was retired (snif!), as it's not very useful anymore.  I got very sad.
7.  We also retired the baby tub (double snif!), and brought in the blow-up duckie bath.  Ty loved this!  B, not so much.  She SCREAMS every time.  We can't figure it out. ???????

Memorable outings: We took a trip to Chicago to see my parents, which was a long time coming.  Our baby jogger adventure was a big milestone as well.  Otherwise...we've been pretty grounded, trying to wade through our normal chaos.

Favorite toys/activities: Much of the same from last month.  Binky is numero uno!, she loves her aquarium in her crib, jumperoo, exersaucer, taggies blanket, rings, stuffed animals (she likes to bite on them and rub her face in them), hair (hers or anyone elses), paper, my blackberry (lol), baby keys, and anything that crinkles.  We got her a few more toys now that she's sitting. I got her a rolling bee that laughs.  We also brought out a gym "bar" that Ty played with, and learned how to pull up on.  She's not all that impressed so far.  To be honest, she prefers to be held BY ME, if she could choose. 

Funny moments: Yesterday during her first "mama", when she said it she did it in this low frog-like voice.  It was hilarious!  Of course she wouldn't do it on video.  Natch.  Also, when she's trying to poop...she tears up and her face gets ridiculously red.  It's sad and funny at the same time.  Watching her try to eat puffs is pretty hilarious too.  We find them in her diaper, down her pjs, stuck all over her hands, on the dog...etc.  She rarely gets one in her mouth successfully.

Looking forward to: Thanksgiving!  It is BY FAR my favorite holiday.  It's just family, food and fun.  I love it!  I'm also excited for a few holiday activities we do with the kids;  visiting santa, the polar express, zoo lights and others.  I am not a big fan of Christmas, but I'm pumped to share those events with my TWO kids this year!

A Venti Project

So there are a million things to post about today.  I'll start with our weekend, and leave the big milestones to my milestone Monday post later today.  Our big weekend plans were putting in a back splash (I exciting ::eye roll::).  However, to me it was, as I have wanted one since the day I chose to put in granite in our kitchen 3 years ago.  I was elated we finally found the time and money to do it.  We tend to put off projects until we can pay for them in cash.  We worked for 10 hours on it on Saturday (it takes an extra-long time when you're constantly handing off a 7 month old and trying to entertain a 4 year old) and 4 hours or so on Sunday.  It's not completely done yet, we still have to grout and buy some new outlet covers, but the stone is up.  I'm pumped!!!  Here's our progression:

 I am very proud of our kitchen & for my handy hubby (I hit the jackpot there!!).  We have installed a new undermount sink, upgraded the faucet, put in granite, installed under-the-cabinet lights, replaced the pulls with new modern nickel, put in a new overhead light (the previous owners had a fan in the kitchen...ummm...weird) and now put in a back splash.  I'm in love!  Now if only I could stain them cherry...then it would be my dream kitchen (okay not exactly "dream" about attainable dream kitchen).   
I also "graduated" to the chiptole burrito of the coffee world...a VENTI!  ::blushes:: I guess a mommy of two needs her big girl coffee now.  I frequently saw others ordering and walking around with those GINORMOUS coffees, and I always thought, wow...who needs THAT MUCH coffee?!  Ummm...this girl! 
So here I am with my coffee-as-big-as-my-head (literally!).  LOL! 
I love the fact that you can see T in the background! lol!  I'm not exactly looking my best either...hence the need for an extra-large coffee. :)

We had a busy weekend, but a pleasant for the fact that T has a horrible cough that keeps me up half the night, while B has a plugged up nose and puked and snotted all over me all weekend long.  Ahhhh the joys of parenthood.  I remember when I realized what lengths you go to as a parent when we were out to dinner with my parents on vacation and T began to choke...then throw up.  And what did super mommy do....I CAUGHT his puke in my hands.  Yep folks, puke-catching...that's when the light bulb went on.  This parenting thing is no joke! 

Hope your weekend was as family-friendly as mine!  I just wish the weekends didn't go so darn fast. 

Check back later today for our Milestone Monday and B's 7 month stats.  Can you believe my little princess is 7 MONTHS!  Crazy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Home is Where Your Heart is...

and half of mine is back in my hometown of Chicago.  We don't usually get back "home" very often, especially in the summer when we meet my family at our lakehouse in Michigan.  Last weekend, we took a random trip up North.  My family is incredibly close, and it's very hard to have them so far away as I work to raise my babies.  I cherish every little moment I have with them, and that they have with my little ones. 

Uncle Brian with T & his friend Hunter
 Uncle Brian & the boys
 Daddy & T
 T loved the tanks!
 T & H being silly at the deli
 Granddad, B & T
 Grams & B working on sitting

Missing a Milestone

I'm a working mom of two.  Judge me if you must, but it's what works for me and our family.  I am a child of two working parents, and I think I'm debatable normal. :)  My son flourishes at daycare and preschool.  He's a social chatterbox that could make friends with a flagpole.  He's active, independent and (I think) intelligent.  I do attribute some of that to our parenting.  We are very "present" with our kids, and we're all together ALL THE TIME!  But, some of his great qualities are, I think, attributed to his status as a "daycare kid". 

I am very comfortable in my decision, most days, but there are always some days here and there that tug at my heartstrings.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I missed a milestone.  I know there will be many of them with B.  There have already been some with T, and I got over it, eventually.  But it's hard, nonetheless, to be the second person to witness some of the firsts in their lives.  I have already thought ahead to the fact that I will NEVER be able to see my children off on the bus on the first day of school ::snif::.  I am a high school teacher, and our day starts at 7:25am, no exceptions.  I can't call my boss and tell her I'll "be in late", because I have 31 (yes, I seriously have 31 kids...ridiculous...but that's a discussion for another day) freshmen and sophomores sitting in my class waiting eagerly to learn biology.  It's a hard pill to swallow that I will NEVER be a part of that first.  Being a working mommy is very hard at times.  Mother's guilt is a very strong emotion to overcome.  I struggle with it daily, especially on days like yesterday.  So now onto the milestone.  I got this picture text from my MIL near the end of my day yesterday, with the caption "guess who's sitting?".  ::sigh:: ::tear::
Don't worry...I made sure to have her practice her new skill for me right when I picked her up for the day, then again for a photo-op, and again when Daddy got home :)  Practice makes perfect!  I might be slightly biased...but can you get a cuter little girl?!  :) 

And on a completely unrelated note, thank God Mississippi voters rejected their ridiculous anti-abortion initiative 26 (read about it here). Let me be clear, I am, by no means, pro-abortion.  I would never choose to get one myself.  However, I am, most definitely pro-choice and against the government telling women what we can and can't do with our bodies, our birth control and our fertility.  I get pretty irked when people automatically think I'm pro-abortion just because I'm pro-choice.  I was completely against this initiative 26 not just because of the abortion issue, but mostly in support of those couples in Mississippi that have infertility issues and have or will undergo IVF.  This initiative would prevent further embryos from being created and frozen, and women would have to use or put their current embryos up for adoption.  IVF would, as a result, be "illegal" in Mississippi after a certain date.  ::gasp::  As a suffer of infertility, I will always vote for the women's right to choose and be in control of her fertility.  The initiative would also ban the usage of some forms of birth control.  Ummmm...not cool!  Okay, enough politics! :)