Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm obsessed with y's, deal with it!

Hi Dear Readers!  I've missed you, and I've been craving catching up all your blogs.  I'll be off to read and comment after posting this entry.  Being on vacay (whoot!)  I missed both TAT @ Growing up Geeky and PYHO @ Things I can't Say this week, so in honor of both of my bloggy friends and their weekly series, I bring you my naming PYHO.  I like Y' deal with it.

Naming a child is a very stressful say the least. For us, there were very simple rules to follow:

1. We had to both like it.
2. It couldn't remind me of any annoying or bad student (which can be difficult as an educator)
3. There had to be a family name in there somewhere.
4. It couldn't remind hubs of anyone he didn't like (which seemed to happen a lot...mind you)
5. It had to be able to be shortened (we like nicknames)
6. Had to be a name that sounded cute for a kid but strong and becoming as an adult
7. We had to be able to invision ourselves yelling his or her full name when he or she was in trouble.

These rules weren't incredibly hard to follow...but we still had to "discuss" our choices. With T, we were lucky. We had always loved that name early on in our relationship. If we had a boy...he was always going to be Tyler. His middle name also came easily, as hubs lost his beloved father when he was just 19.  So Tyler James was always #1 on our list. We toyed around with Lucas and Cole, until my two close friends named their sons that. There were other names in the running, but nothing really held weight like Ty. If T ended up a girl, we had no backup plan.  Girls names just scared us. 
So began my obsession with names with Y's in them.  I know such Y additions drive some people crazy.  I knew my choices would annoy many.  I didn't care.

I grew up with a very ordinary name, and one that was shortened for me.  I was born Kristin Lynn, but became Kris in 3rd grade.  I hated it...and still do to this day.  It was important for me to love their names, and hope they loved them too. 

Naming B wasn't quite as easy.  If she was a boy, we had agreed on either Nolan Thomas or Bryce Thomas.  When we went in for our 20 week u/s and they said we were having a girl...we were shocked and intimidated.  So began the name game, that I wrote about HERE.  We toyed around with Jordyn (Jory), Alexis (Lexi), Loring (Lori), and some others...but, in my mind, I kept coming back to Brinley.  I had heard it a long time ago and, early on in our SIF journey, I had run the name by my two best friends when we were on a girls trip.  They were both so enamored with the name, that it made me love it even more.  I was actually afraid to bring it up to hubs.  I liked it so much, and I had convinced myself he would hate it.  He's not a huge fan of non-traditional names, so I assumed Brinley was a no-go.  I held onto the idea for a bit, then finally told him and...shocker...he liked it.  We played around with other names, but always came back to it. 

It was me who changed the spelling.  I knew I wanted to be able to shorten it to Bryn, and I didn't much like Brin (in Brinley).  I thought Brynley was too much of a good thing (Y's that is) so I started googling.  I found the Gaelic spelling of Brynleigh, and I loved it.  I liked that as an adult if she wanted to go as Bryn or Leigh or Brynleigh, she could do any of those, and I'd still love it and be proud of it.  I think it's a cute little girl name and a sexy and strong womanly name.  I just loved it.  I get the side-eye a lot when I say it, then spell it.  But we like it.  I hope she does too.  Anne came from my strong late Aunt that I idolize, and we felt it needed to be a short 1-syllable middle name to go with a long first and last.  So Brynleigh Anne was born (or Brynleigh Annie, as T calls her...::swoon::). 
The name game can be stressful.  My only piece of advice is make sure the two of you love it.  Don't let others get into your head.  If you think they might spew their own negative feeling onto you, keep your choice to yourself.  Ty and Bryn were the perfect choices for us.

Speaking of our's a sneak peek of our trip down to Myrtle Beach...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why Traveling Makes me Crazy

We've made it, it's finally here.  Yes folks, one of the big perks of teaching...SPRING BREAK!  Although I definitely envy those of you that can travel on weeks that not everyone and their mother is trying to buy flights, I am thankful to get this week.  It is a much-needed break from reality, frustrating students, stacks of grading, the stress of planning to take over AP next year, taxes, household projects, bills, and all that makes me stressed in my daily life. 

Unfortunately...traveling drives me equally bonkers!  It's not exactly a stress-reliever when you have 2 kids under the age of 5, hell, even traveling with 1 kid was so much more elaborate and stressful than when it was just us two.  Oh the amount of crap one family of four needs for a week.  It's virtually insane.  It's times like these I realize why moms often drive mini-vans.  Where the hell are we going to put all this crap?  Not to mention the weather is very middle-of-the-road where we're going.  I have to pack for every situation, every weather pattern, every possible activity.  It's enough to drive me to I need a reason... 

My hubby is a good man, a really amazing father, and just a helluva hubby.  But...when it comes to our trips...he's really not much help.  I admit, I am a control freak.  Yep, me, type-A, firstborn, OCD, organized crazy person, listmaker.  Even if he offered to help (which he knows better after so many years) I probably wouldn't relinquish control.  So, I make lists, check twice, pack, unpack, reorganize, make another list, check it again, rearrange, pack the car like a complex puzzle, walk around the house at least three times before we leave, clean like we're having company, and have every activity/movie/stop/meal/snack planned for the kids along the way.  I'm nuts.  But...these practices also make me so stressed out!  I hope when we finally arrive at our destination I won't start thinking about the preparations for the trip back right away.  ::sigh:: 

I wish I could relax.  I wish I could learn to delegate.  I'm no good at that, at home or professionally, or really socially either.  I'm a do-er.  I can't help it.  Lists make me calm.  They make me feel in control.  They are soothing. 

Does anyone else feel this way when traveling?  Tell me I'm not alone! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PYHO: Why I hate Urgent Care

The last 15 days have been rough in our house.  B has been battling illness for what seems like forever.  I feel so horrible for her.  It began with a runny nose and a pesky cough, which prevented her from sleeping (therefore, neither did we).  After about 7-10 days, her body wasn't fighting what I had thought was a pesky virus.  I had gotten sick and better in that amount of time, already.  B was still not herself.  On Sunday, my tired ass was fed up.  I took her to Urgent Care, since her Ped wasn't open to see her.  Big Mistake...HUGE!  I curse myself for not driving her directly to Children's to be seen.  I have been scolding myself for 4 days now that I waited as long as we did to have her seen. 

This is our sick baby girl in hubs' shirt, after she puked all over her clothes at T's soccer practice.  Since I wasn't there (I'm always the prepared one, of course), hubs didn't have the baby bag.  No bag = no change of clothes.  Poor sweetie. 
I was trying to be the calm parent of 2.  I was trying not to be an alarmist.  All the while, she's struggling through and we are not sleeping...night after night after night.  I figured it was a virus.  I was partially right.

So onto my hatred for Urgent Care.  First off, it's URGENT yet doesn't open until 8:30am every day.   What if something "urgent" happens before 8:30 or after 10pm??  Then, with not a soul in waiting room except me and my crying baby girl, I waited....and waited....and waited to be seen.  An hour.  That's how long I waited before we were even brought into a room.  Did I mention the people in front of me had come AND GONE..but I was still in the waiting room?!  Yep. 

What you have to understand about my personality is, I HATE confrontation.  I get very uncomfortable in certain situations.  I'm not good at advocating for myself.  I've always been a bit of a pushover.  I'm an easily embarrassed, wimp.  So when I started pacing, I knew it was a bad sign.

When we got in the room, the nurse came in and took a spotty-at-best overview of B's symptoms.  Oh, let me not forget to mention that within the paperwork I filled out at registration was no medical history form.  I mean...who treats an 11 month old baby without medical history?!  WTF.  But, back to wimpy me...I didn't advocate for my child.  Shame on me.  Don't worry...I do...eventually.

The office didn't even have a scale to measure my child's weight.  Yes folks, we weighed her via displacement (the ole you two get on, then give me the baby, and subtract). Accurate. ::eye roll::  After the no medical history, lame nurse, and faulty weighing...I was already pretty worked up (oh and that 1 hour waiting didn't help my nerves, either!).  Then the nurse left, and I waited...AGAIN...20 minutes, 30 minutes.  All the while, B was screaming bloody murder.  I had had enough.  I was done.  My patience was out.  I was gonna raise some hell. 

Another thing you must know about me is, I may be a pushover most of the time...but when I switch over to the dark's like Jekyll and Hyde.  I go from 0 to 60 quickly.  I'm a Gemini, and all, two personalities is quite accurate (just ask my hubby...sorry Babe).  I stormed out of the room and down the hall.  I glanced over to see the only Dr typing away at the computer and all 3 nurses hanging out in front doing God knows what with the non-existent patients.  I wigged.  "Is anyone going to see us.  Is anyone going to help us.  I've been waiting a ridiculously long time with an 11 month old baby.  I just want someone to see us.  This is ridiculous.  What is going on here?" (I wasn't exactly calm, or quiet, when I was saying this).  The nurse said "excuse me, but, there are other people here in rooms, waiting".  I then said "Where?  Where are these people?  I saw the two people in front of me walk out the door while I was in the waiting room".  Then I said a few other choice things under my breath and stomped back to my vacant room.

Guess what folks...the Dr appeared within 30 seconds (imagine that).  Score one for mommy.  Unfortunately, he was nothing short of a dick.  Could it have been me?  Probably.  But...WTF!  So, he proceeded to talk down to me, like I was some complete idiot (background...I have a microbiology degree, a bio masters and another kid at home...not exactly a novice here).  I was infuriated.  I was even more pissed when he looked at her for 2.2 seconds, told me that babies don't get strep (didn't even ask if we had another kid who could have passed it at home), she had no ear or throat infection and that it was just a virus...but...(here's the kicker)...he'd be glad to write me a prescription for amoxicillin, just in case.  WTF!  It's a virus...but you're writing me a prescription?!  What is going on here?!

I had to deal with the bitchy nurse when I checked out.  She was less than pleasant.  Needless to say, they didn't ask me to fill out a comment form (like they have before)...wonder why.

Long story, short...okay...not really...we didn't trust anything this quack and his lame team told us, so we took her to our pedi the next day.  Guess what...RSV AND an ear infection that the doc-in-the-box didn't catch.  Could it have been the 2.2 second "exam", perhaps.  Today, 4 days later, she's still feverish, puking, lethargic, snotty and not eating much of anything.  This sucks.

So is the story of why I hate Urgent Care, and I will tell anyone who will listen to never, ever go there!  Email me if you're local and want the name.  I'll gladly bad-mouth them some more.

These are pictures sent to me by my MIL, who is watching our sick LO.  She is definitely not feeling herself.  Breaks mommy's heart.

Pouring My Heart out with Shell @ Things I Can't Say...come play!

Wordless Wednesday: Sibling Love

Caught this moment the other day (bestill my heart)
**Sorry for the poor photo quality, but I was driving...and it's a blackberry photo (not exactly an iPhone)**

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TAT: Our Top Pre-K "Stuff"

Those of you that have been with me for a while know I have a rambunctious 4.5 yo boy.  He's energetic, easily bored and always in need of an activity or playmate.  This may not pertain to you now, but one day you'll have yourself and talkative, stimulant-craving Pre-K'er. are my top 10 Games/Activities to have on hand, when dealing with a preschool-aged kiddo (in no particular order):

10. Activity Books
Coloring books just won't cut it with this kid.  We needed books with word searches, dot to dots, age-appropriate puzzles, mazes, and the like. 
9.  Leapster Explorer or pad
I like this product because they are easy to play and usually educational in some way.  The Explorer and pad play the same games, which is a plus.
8.  portable DVD player
We have one in each car.  For long trips, or extended time in traffic, this is a must.  I, however, refuse to use it for normal trips to the grocery store, school, etc.  It's a privilege!

7.  kid games on your iPad, Nook, Kindle, iPhone, etc.
Here are some T loves (some are $$, some free):  BlastMonkeys, 9Innings2011, Smurfs, SpongeMarble, Turkey Blast, Angry Birds, Super Why!, Helicopter Taxi, Jelly Cars 2, The Pianist, 3D Mini Golf, Toss It, Action Bowling, Scribble Lite, Memory Match, Freshwater Aquarium, Cut the Rope, Plant vs. Zombies, Smack Talk!, Alphabet Animals, Pocket Frogs, SkeeBall
6.  board games
Here are our favorites right now;  Candyland, Memory (they have character or regular), Chutes & Ladders, Trouble, Don't Break the Ice (Scooby Doo version), Operation, Uno, Guess Who (we have the electronic), Mousetrap, HedBanz, Pictureka
5.  bubbles & chalk ~ Can't go wrong with these simple tools.  Not exactly hours of fun, but definitely 20 minutes, or so:)

4.  nerf guns - I was so anti-guns, until I had an active little boy who would make just about anything into a gun.  Then, I gave in.  They're fun for the entire family.  There is definitely a more "age-appropriate" nerf selection.  I prefer the below...a Nerf Reactor!  We have two, but I think we need a couple more (especially when B gets older).  They're fun, and not at all violent.  He has one that shoots suction cup darts too.  Just make sure if you buy a suction cup Nerf gun that he/she can pull back the mechanism, as some of them require some muscle. 
3.  matchbox cars and track, or a road carpet to drive on
To say T has a car obsession is an understatement!  He's nuts about matchbox cars.  We have hundreds!  It's always nice to have some track on hand, as well.  Sadly, we have 3 road carpets (mostly hand-me-downs).  They allow the kids to use their imagination, and build cities.
2.  Legos
...and if you can swing it, a lego table!  We got ours for free from a family member.  It's a great place to actually STORE the millions of legos.
1. A power wheel
Judge if you must, but my kid LOVES this toy!  He and the neighborhood kids drive their jeeps around, he can drive it over the grass when hubs is mowing the lawn (it has off-road capabilities), he gives rides, plays make-believe with it, and he still uses his bike and scooter just as much.  We've even loaded it up with pool stuff to take down to our neighborhood pool in the summers.  You can get a pretty good deal if you catch it on sale in the winter (which is when we got ours at to store) or on amazon.
The one below is the one we own.  I recommend if you have two kids, or more, or plan to have more than 1, get a vehicle that can hold more than 1. 
  What's on your list??

Now Toddle on over to visit Mama G @ Growing Up Geeky, and link up!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Revisiting Milestone Monday ~ 03.19.12

We had an uneventful weekend in our household that was still full of the mundane and ordinary family time (which I love).  We were very active outside, did some spring cleaning, did lots of laundry (natch) and ran errands (the norm...aka obsession).  Unfortunately, we also took B to urgent care on Sunday...but that's a horrible story for another day...lets just say the nurse was lucky not to get my fist in her face...::argh::

On the positive...
T had a big milestone this weekend...5 nights with a dry pull-up!!!  We were doing the happy dance...until he didn't make it to day 6.  Back to square one.  Our goal is to have him be dry 7 consecutive days in a row, then we'll move to big boy undies at night.  He just sleeps like the dead, so this has been a struggle.  During the day, naps, he's fine...overnight...not so much.  We'll take 5...and hope for 6 or 7 this week.  Progress.

We also got T into spring baseball.  He is supposed to be playing tee ball, but those teams were full.  So...he'll be playing 6U big-boy baseball.  He's beyond excited, even had to try on a baseball glove and batters helmet at our Target run.  We spent lots of time outside this weekend having him practice hitting with a metal bat and we tried to play catch with him (which he wanted no part of).  Even Mommy and T got some one-on-one time batting practice together (rare with baby B attached to Mommy every second of the day).  I'm excited, but nervous about him playing.  My boy is growing up!  ::snif, tear::

B also had a couple big milestones this weekend:
Taking some steps with her walker, alone!  She isn't interested in taking steps, even holding our hands or in the walker, so this was a big deal! 
*video to come*

Her first bike ride with the fam.  She was definitely none to pleased with the helmet and strap, but once we got going, she was happy as a clam.  I was a bit concerned, as she hates the swing, but she was great once we got going.  I was a bit nervous having our little peanut on the back, but biking with the whole family around the neighborhood was such a joy!

She looks so tiny back there:)  I'm looking a little worse for the wear after a run...eek.

Meal Planning Monday: Week 2

I'm jumping on board with The How to Mommy for week two of her Meal Planning Monday series. 

Although we got slightly ::insert sarcasm:: off schedule last week...I'm going to try to be accountable again ::sigh::  This week is a bit different, as we're traveling at the end of the week.  It's my spring break, Thank the good Lord, so we're headed to the coast for a little relaxation!  I can't wait!!  Is it Friday yet?  With that being said, I have a lot less days of meals to plan.  But, I'm going to come play, anyway.

Lasagna Cups (can't wait to try this!)

Pizza Night (soccer)

Apple slices or Mandarin oranges

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (packing day & Buckeyes game)

Chick-fil-a (on the road for spring break!!)
I'll take a #1 on a wheat bun with fruit and a Diet DP, please :)

Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf (it calls for chicken, I use turkey)
Red Potatoes
Apple Sauce

Seafood!  The perks of spring break on the coast!

Happy Monday, all!  Stop by later for an overview of our weekend.  
Linking two of my favorite recipe sites, too...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mr. Personality

T man is definitely nothing short of hilarious.  Although he can be frustrating, stubborn, and challenging, most of the time he's such a gift.  He's sweet, loving, friendly, talkative (understatement), cuddly, energetic, sarcastic, funny, athletic and very smart.  He's also a ladies-man, always acquiring new girls that want to "marry" him.  The little person he is growing into is unfolding before our very eyes, and it's amazing to watch.  I just love my little goober butt.

Here's what happens when I grab my camera for a B photo-op...some cutie pie 4.5 year old gets in the way.  He's definitely not lacking character. 

 I had to try to teach him what a "chick" was, when we bought this shirt.  Now he says "chicks love me, mom".  LOL.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Next Stop, One Year (B)

Little B turned 11 months on the 14th.  She's such a great baby, when she's not sick.  B is also the exact opposite of her big brother, in basically every way.  Although some skills are honed from being the parents of T, we're learning lots of things from scratch with our timid, petite, vocal little princess.   We're having a blast, and can't believe how fast a year has gone being parents of two! 
 Age: 11 months.  1 year milestone is next, and I can't believe it's flown by so fast!  Wasn't I just pregnant?!

Stats: I'm totally guessing...maybe 17 lbs?!  I'll confirm when I get to a scale.  I don't own one.

Size (diapers, onesies, etc.): We have introduced a lot of 12 month clothes, finally.  She's still fitting in the majority of her 9 month stuff, I was just bored.  Plus, it's been amazingly warm here, so I've been able to use lots of the hand-me-down items from my neighbor I never thought she'd get to wear (her baby was born in October, so some clothes are opposite seasons we need).

Sleeping: When she's not sick (which she has been much of the last 2-3 months) she sleeps really well now.  We usually get her down between 8:30-9pm and she sleeps until 5:30am, or so.

Eating: I'm still BF, but we're hanging on by a thread.  On a good day, I pump 3-4oz, not enough for even 1 bottle.  On a bad day, 1-2oz.  Thank God for our frozen stock.  She's only getting about 3 oz of formula a day in 1 bottle.  I BF in the morning, she gets a mixed BM/F bottle, a full BM frozen bottle, and I BF her before bed.  I'm taking it one day at a time.  I original goal was 6 months, then 9, then 10, then 11.  I'm hoping to make it 1 more week.  I have spring break in a week, so that would be a perfect transition time for us. 

I'm contemplating switching her to soy milk first, because it's more easily digested, then going to whole organic cows milk.  We shall see.

She eats table foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner now, with 1-2 snacks in between.  She's a great little eater!  Her favorites are still yogurt, cheese and she loves her fruits and peas.  I'm still struggling with proteins she will eat.  I'll just keep trying, I guess.  She has already gotten peanut butter and honey, so no issues there.  We're still giving her a prescription laxative every few days to help her digest. 

Lots of waving, and saying "Heyyyyyyyy" when I arrive to pick her up.  She's also started to consistently pull up, and this weekend she took her first unassisted steps with the walker (big step!She's a huge wiggle-worm in the bathtub, trying to crawl out, and crawls away without being dried most nights.  She can stand up in her crib or the pack n play, and can transition to and from sitting to tummy to sitting then standing really easily now.  We are getting ready to transition her out of her carrier (thank God), since the weather is warmer and she's getting so big her legs are about hanging off.  B can use her sippy cup and hold her own bottle. 

Favorite toys/activities: CrocWagon with blocks that make noise is #1, her vtech walker is still big on her list, any electronic device, Tyler's toys (cars, guys, etc), my lip gloss, her activity cube, rolling snail, her "purse", and all the usual toys from last month. 

Here are some new photos of her from the last few days
 Our first day in a dress with no tights!  yaaaaa!
 Here favorite fake food item from her Picnic Basket toy.  She carries it around everywhere.
 The back of her hair is finally filling out.  Not sure what to do with it now.  As a mommy of a boy, we just cut it into a cute boy cut (he had 3 cuts before now).  With's just wild.  What do I do with a girl's hair?!?
 B does have a favorite, me, but no one can make her laugh like her big brother.  Sometimes I catch them holding hands in the backseat after I pick them up after work.  ::swoon::
 B is incredibly cautious, the opposite of her big brother.  She is timid, and scared and not into some activities that her big bro was.  Case and point, this swing ride lasted about 2.2 seconds.
 We got our sand and water table out and added sand, no water yet.  B loved standing up and taking toys away from her bro.
 It was a little tricky letting her "play" but not "eat" the sandy toys. 
 New skill, pushing herself around with her feet on her dragon. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

11 Things, Guess it's my Turn

I've been tagged by Mrs. G over at Growing Up Gardner to complete this 11 things questionnaire that has been passed around the blog-o-sphere lately.  I appreciate her tagging me, as I very much enjoy following her family of four, as I, myself, have that dynamic.  I appreciate her honesty, randomness and tips.  I have been following her journey since she was pregnant with her little guy, and I was pregnant with B.  If you haven't read her blog, go visit, and follow too. goes...

1. Post the rules
2. Post a photo of yourself & 11 random things.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter/facebook and tell them that you've tagged them.

You've seen enough random photos of me with my family.  So, here's me doing one of my most favorite "alone time" activities yesterday, in some of the most beautiful March weather ever!

11 Random Facts:
1.  I have my belly button pierced, and kept it in for my first pregnancy and most of my second.  I was forced to take it out with B when my belly button became non-existent.  I never put it back in, and I miss how it looked.
2.  I love chocolate, a lot, but I HATE chocolate cake or cupcakes.  I WILL NOT eat cake unless it's white or yellow.  I could actually do without the cake.  Just give me the frosting.
3.  I eat a yogurt everyday! 
4.  I have a thing about always using the #8, like at the gym, I search for an open locker with an 8 in it.  Not sure why...
5.  Sometimes I still question naming B the less than traditional name.  I just hope she likes it one day.
6.  I lived in Italy at one point in my life.  I used to speak fluent Italian, but if you don't use it, you lose it.  I can still understand it, though.
7.  I have a Chicago accent, especially when I get mad, but I say "ya'all" all the time.  Thanks southern college roommate.
8.  I'm a wedding singer, okay only 3 times...  I don't usually broadcast that I can sing.  I'm not even that great.  They ask me anyway, and I do it.
9.  My mom is my best friend.  I want to be just like her when I grow up :)
10.  I used to work at a bar in Wrigleyville, and I would walk away with $500+ a night, until Bartman ruined it for us all ::sigh::
11.  I'm ridiculously competitive, at everything.  I don't even show mercy to my 4.5 yo.  Life, ain't fair, kid.

Questions from Mrs. G ~
1. Have you ever been to Disneyland? If so, what is your favorite thing to do there? If not, do you plan on going in the near future?
No.  I did go to Disney World once when I was about 12.  I wish my parents would have taken us earlier.  I did enjoy myself, but would like to take my kiddos much sooner, maybe in 2 years when T is 6 and B is 3.  I have a girlfriend that lives in LA, so maybe one day we'll go out to visit her and take the kids to Disneyland.

2. Ocean or Mountains?
Toughie.  When I was 6 we started going snow skiing every year for spring break.  They are some of my best memories growing up.  Lately, however, we've been vacationing on the beach, and I love it!  I would say where we are in our life now, ocean.

3. A memory from your childhood.
Besides spring break, my favorite memories take place at my family lake house.  We used to toad hunt at night, play flashlight tag, have bonfires, go out in the boat and sing and dance at night, have ice cream at a local shop, and do water sports for hours.  It was truly the life.  I was so carefree then.

4. Your favorite piece of furniture in your home.
Definitely my couch...when I actually get to sit down.

5. A picture that you treasure.
I only have a few pictures of my best friend who passed away when we turned 15, so those are very precious.  Photos of me with my grandparents and aunt are also very important to me. 

6. An evening with no plans would be spent:
With pizza, an animated film and the family all playing on the floor, then cuddled on the couch.

7. Camp fire or fireplace? Why?
Campfire.  This goes back to the lake, water ski team memories and bonding with my family.

8. Something you wish you could buy at half price (either a one time purchase or something you have to buy often).
Daycare?!  just kidding...kinda.  I guess groceries.  I'm a half-assed couponer.  I try.  But, when it comes right down to it, I only truly coupon when I'm off work in the summer.  I just don't have time.  It might be a cop-out, but it's my truth.

9. You get to go back to high school and re-live one day. What day would it be?
Graduating.  LOL.  Ironically enough, I hated high school.  I wasn't popular, I wasn't the star in the play or in choir, I wasn't the president or the brain, I was just a little of everything, and being stuck in the middle was a lonely place to be.  To remind you all, I now go to high school everyday (I teach HS science).  Now, however, I'm the boss, or the queen, as I like to remind my students.  There is no democracy, just a monarchy...or maybe I should say dictatorship. 

10. You're at your favorite restaurant. What do you order?
Recently, I'm obsessed with Bonefish Grill.  I'd order Bang Bang shrimp (lord have mercy...I could eat it everyday), edamame and tilapia or salmon with a huge glass of merlot

11. Mama always said:
"You're a (insert last name here), we can do anything.  Us (last name) women are strong.  You can do it"  This pep-talk STILL works. 
"If you don't put your toys away in 10 minutes, they're all going into the black bag" (eek)

My Questions:
1. What's your favorite form of exercise?
2.  If you could change your career, what is your dream job?
3. Do you have a favorite drink at starbucks?
4.  What is one piece of advice you want to give other women before they have kids?
5. Are you on birth control?  What form? Why or why not?
6.  Kindle, Nook, Ipad, paper book or another option?
7. Do you buy organic?  If you do, what products?  If you don't, why not?
8.  Who is your movie star crush now?  Who was it when you were growing up?
9.  Toilet paper roll, from the top or the bottom?
10.  Why did you start blogging?  Does it serve the same purpose now?
11.  I could not live without ________ because ______.

I tag:
verstreateh @ My Organized Chaos
KJW @ Baby W is on the Way
Emily @ the Conger Cronicles
MommaM @ Home For Three
Erin @ Growing a Foosa
Wonder Mommy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PYHO: Judgy-Wudgy

I'm a mom.  I'm a mom of two (11 months and 4.5 years).  I'm not perfect.  Sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing.  I waver on some things, stay strong in my convictions in others and I'm learning as I go.  Sometimes I feel confident in my abilities.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm even scraping by.  It's a roller coaster, but I wouldn't ever want to miss the ride!

Although many of my friends from back home have children, and can relate to my struggles, confusions and elation.  In Ohio, I don't have very many mommy friends.  I try to be social on my street, and the ladies are wonderful and welcoming.  But, for some reason, they act like I'm the "baby" of the group, and, to be frank, don't really give me very much credit.  Sometimes I feel like an afterthought.  I certainly don't think they feel I have anything to offer in the mommy advice department, as my kids are both under the age of 5.  My work friends are mostly "trying" to get pregnant.  As someone who has struggled with SIF, I know the "trying" isn't always easy, so I don't pester them or bombard them with mommy stories.  They are amazing, supportive women, but until they are in the throws of mommyhood, we all know, they don't quite understand or really want to discuss some topics (although they try, and I love them for it!).

Because of my lack of IRL mommy friends, I have, for years, looked to the Internet for support, guidance, humor, and understanding.  I have been a frequenter (not sure if that's even a word) of theknot, turned thenest, turned thebump for years.  I still carry on regular conversation with bump friends, follow blogs, join fb groups, and just participate in their lives.  I very much appreciate that many of them do the same.  

However, sometimes the Internet can be a double-edged sword.  As much support, help and advice you can get, you can also get judgement, trolls, badmouthing, and doubt.  As I said in the beginning of this post, I'm not a perfect mommy...not even close.  I'm still learning.  But, aren't we all?!?  I sometimes feel like I'm not doing everything right.  I sometimes feel like I'm screwing it up royally, especially after I read posts/blogs/fb messages and the like that make me doubt myself over and over.  Most of this doubt comes from the Internet.  Am I not wearing B enough?  Do I not discipline T the correct way?  Am I the devil for giving my kids cows milk? (this was a recent discussion on my month fb group and it made me second guess myself)  Will the environment put a hex on me for not cloth diapering?  Did I fail my child because I didn't make it to a year exclusively breastfeeding?  Why are other pre-K'ers writing their first and last name, counting to 100 and starting to read?  Is it my fault that I'm not doing more practice with him at home?  Should I be "schooling" T on the weekends?  Is he not in enough activities?  (my one IRL friend has their son of the same age in soccer, tennis, basketball and art do I suck...T just does 1 sport at a time).  See...I doubt...a lot! 
Kidding of course!

So my point is, how can I still look to the community that I have begun to rely on for support, but not start to question every decision I'm making as a parent?  I love my blogging.  I love the community I have begun to feel a part of.  I very much enjoy the back-and-forth of my April group on fb.  I do jump on the bump from time to time if I'm having an issue or don't know how to handle something with the kids.  So...why do I come away with such doubt over the decisions I am making?  Why can't I be secure enough in myself as a mom that I can come away with a bug in my ear, but can confidently make my own decisions based on that knowledge AND my own?! 

For now, I'm sticking to my cows milk, disposable diapers, 1 sport 4.5 year old, mix of BM/formula, playing instead of teaching T when he comes home, buying organic...sometimes, wearing my baby...sometimes, use a reward chart and timeout for T, read 3 books every night instead of forcing him to write his name over and over when he gets home, and hope that I'm not screwing up these kids royally. 
How do you cope with parenting woes or doubts in yourself?  I would love to hear your coping skills.

Now go Pour Your Heart out and link up with Shell for her 2 year anniversary of PYHO!  Congrats!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TAT: Kiddie-Friendly Food

My T is pretty picky, okay...really really picky.  He'll like one thing one week, but hate it the next.  Every meal can turn into a knock-down, drag-out fight.  So...I'm always on the lookout for fun foods that I can put my "healthy" and organic twist on.  Plus, now that B is eating table foods, I like to find items that they can both enjoy, since I'll be a SAHM this summer.  Yes, ya'all, I've already given B peanut butter ::gasp:: and honey ::double gasp:: (it's so different with your second).  I can't wait for all these TAT ideas that I can hopefully add to my repertoire.  I can't really take credit for 2 of the 3 items on this list, but, hey, don't we all rely on the Internet for inspiration?!  I'm a pinterest freak, and I love to try all kinds of new things on my 4.5 year old picky eater.  Here are our favorites that have been a hit thus-far:

1. Peanut Butter & Banana Roll-up
I recommend the mini chocolate chips, natural peanut butter with honey (we like Skippy) and organic bananas with a wheat wrap.  I usually cut the wrap in half, as a full one is too much for my boy's tummy.  With those ingredients, it's a bit less indulgent.  T is a big fan!
2.  Spaghetti Monsters
We had such a blast making these, even hubs got into the fun.  I thought they were tasty.  We used turkey hotdogs and wheat pasta, boiled until pasta was cooked, added ketsup for dipping, and it was a fun meal. 
3.  English Muffin Pizzas
This one is all me, although not that inventive.
I make veggie purees (carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower work best)
Toast wheat English muffins, spoon on organic tomato sauce and add spices, sprinkle Parmesan cheese, add veggie puree(s), sprinkle shredded Italian cheese -or- use fresh mozzarella, microwave or use oven to melt cheese and cut into bite-sized pieces. 

Link up with Mama G @ Growing up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday, and share those baby/toddler/kiddo ideas! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

I was very excited to see The How-To Mommy do a Meal Planning Monday blog hop. 

I'm always looking for new and easy ideas for the fam.  As a full-time working mommy, I try to do it all, but at times, it can be hard to juggle being a teacher, cleaning lady, cook, nurturer, wife, friend, playmate and overall life planner.  I do tend to plan my meals ahead of time.  However, I don't usually decide which meal will be on which day, as who knows what curveball life can throw at us, or what tastebuds will be prominent that day.  My hubs and T can be pretty difficult to please, and they don't have even close to the same taste.  I do a much better job clipping coupons and trying new recipes when I'm home in the summer.  Plus, I have our garden at my disposal, which helps in meal planning (I heart my garden!!!).  Oh, how I long for nights of BBQ, shucking corn on the cob, fruit salad, fresh garden veggies, cut flowers from my yard on the table, fresh herbs from my herb garden...::sigh::...I digress... 
Here's what I'm planning for this week (although I reserve the right to shuffle the order a bit:)).

Turkey Parmesan Meatloaf
Smashed Potatoes (Sweet Potato for B & Salad for me)
Apple Sauce

Chicken, Rice and Noodles w/ Teriyaki
Tomato & Mozarella Salad

Tuesday: (Soccer Day)
Subway :)

Potato Soup w/ scallions and turkey bacon
Mixed Fruit

Beef Burritos w/ guac and salsa OR chicken and rice roll-ups

Pizza Night - family time

BBQ - Pork Chops (hubs & T) and Parmesan Crusted Tilapia (me)

Check out these two sites (I use them frequently!) for great ideas.  I got most of my meals (above) from one of these two sites. ~ What's Cookin' Chicago - 365 Days of Slow Cooking


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Ahead

What amazing weather we had this weekend!  It was incredible to get the kids out in the beautiful sunshine to play, and do a little spring cleaning.  I just wish I could spring ahead to summer, so I could be home with my kiddos enjoying the weather every day.  I can't wait!  2 weeks till spring break and then 1 more quarter of school.  ::whoot:: 

B got to experience her first ride in the push buggy.  She LOVED it.  She bounced around and giggled the entire time. 
 T very much enjoyed giving his sissy a ride.  My heart exploded.  It's these moments when I realize how much I wanted to give him a sibling, and why SIF was so painful.  Watching them interact just makes me giddy with happiness.
 B is taking to the road...and gotta love my shadow.
 A few new B-isms this weekend were playing peek-a-boo, saying baba for brother, getting incredibly hard to wash and keep seated in the ducky bath (might be time to transition to the big bath), new toys (I kept some back from Christmas) and finally pulling up consistently! 

She loves her crocwagon.  It was a huge hit!

 Although she prefers her walker backwards, we are elated B is showing interest in pulling up and standing, finally.
 T got a haircut this weekend, went to the library and got a ton of pre level 1 and level 1 books for us to work on his reading, went to McDonalds playland with Mommy and B, made the entire congregation laugh at church, played superheroes with his buddy Landon, brought home a very good report card from preschool (thank the lord!)and gave himself a good shave.  LOL!

I am still trying to process the great loss I experienced, recently losing a former student I was very close to.  It was great to get together with some students and then some colleagues to share happy and fun memories of Jake, and just be there to support each other.  The services are Tuesday.  I'm not good at dealing with funerals.  That will obviously be very difficult.  It's just been hard for me to relive such a similar tragedy to that of my best friend I lost when I was just 15.  Opening old wounds is never fun.  Thank God for my family, as they give me a reason to be bright and cheery every day, spin class and a good coffee always help too.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!