Fall In Love With More Free Templates! Click Here To Get Your Own Smitten Blog Design... »

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dylan to the Rescue

With all the construction going on in our house, there is stuff everywhere! We had to disassemble the kids beds so I have the pieces leaning up against my wall in the hallway. The clutter is definitely in my way but so far it's been manageable. That is, until yesterday!

I went in the attic to grab our Christmas decorations and because the attic is also my present hiding spot, I shut the door behind me so the kids didn't follow me in. Well Camryn follows me everywhere and she started to cry when she realized she couldn't get to me. I quickly grabbed the boxes and went to the door. But I couldn't open it. Something was in the way. I tried again harder and faster but the object wouldn't budge. I could hear Camryn crying and felt my heart start to race.

I called Dylan over and asked him what was blocking my way. When he told me it was the crib headboard, panic started to set in. I asked him if he thought he could push it back up against the wall. He told me it looked heavy but he would try. And sure enough my 4 year old rescued me from the attic!!!

I made a big deal about how strong he is and how he saved me from being locked in there. I explained how I would have been stuck in the attic and not able to get to him or Camryn. Well apparently he never found the need for alarm, he said:

"Mom, why didn't you just climb down the ladder that is out the window?"

I went out the front door and sure enough, he was right!!! There was a ladder leading right up to the window where I was trapped! Turns out my knight in shining armor was annoyed he had to rescue me when clearly I could have saved myself!

Friday, December 4, 2009

All aboard!!

The shiny black engine, puff of steam and loud whistle were enough excitement to make Dylan jump right out of his skin! We had been reading the book every night in anticipation of our ride on the Polar Express.

The trip promised a scenic train ride to the North Pole station, where Santa and Mrs. Clause would board the train. Sleepy servers would provide hot chocolate and cookies. And Santa had a special gift for every boy and girl on the train!!! It sounded like the perfect thing to get us into the holiday spirit.

Not to be the grinch and all, but holiday spirit was not what I was left with!

I was left explaining to Dylan why the train conductor was calling winterized boats icebergs. And why we could see cars driving along the highway on the way to the North Pole. Not to mention why there was no snow when we got there!

I was left with a distaste for anyone who willingly dresses up as Santa but clearly doesn't like interacting with kids. He seemed annoyed when asked to pause for a moment to take a picture and certainly was NOT his bright jolly old self!

I was left wondering if I was on the Polar Express or in an episode of Sesame Street. Our "helper" didn't sing very many Christmas carols but had a variety of puppets that had they own personalities and matching voices to go along with them. Somehow I missed the connection to Christmas...maybe he was hoping there was a talent scout on board.

I was left utterly annoyed at a mom of one of the kids in Dylan's class, who stuck her kids with me in my booth and sat and chatted with a friend in another. I've never formerly met her other than passing by at pick-up and drop-off so I thought the gesture was a little nervy. But it was actually a LOT nervy, because her kids were unruly and Dylan didn't even seem to be enjoying his classmates company. Not to mention I now have random kids in all my pictures!

I was left with an never-ending ringing in my head. All Santa was good for was to provide every little boy and girl aboard with a bell. And this was only the half way mark of the trip. So as you can guess, the bells never stopped ringing the entire way home!

Alright now that I got all my Scroogeness out, there were parts of the trip that I loved.

The kids excitement of being on the train was contagious.

The hot chocolate really tasted like melted chocolate bars just like the book described!

When asked what she wanted for Christmas, Camryn asked for pizza!!

Cookies can make any situation fun!

And just being able to give them my undivided attention for 2 hours was worth it. I think in the long run we really did enjoy ourselves!

But Dylan's really gonna have to lay on the guilt if he wants to go again next year!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

One foot in front of the other

The anticipation was killing me. I was pacing around the house just waiting for the race to start. It was the first one I had every run and the butterflies in my belly were enough to make me vomit. Dylan helped take my mind off it with his excitement and extreme confidence in me. In his eyes, I was going to win, in his eyes that is the only option when you're in a race. In my best motivational speaker voice, I told him that as long as I crossed the finish line, I was a winner! Having heard the "do the best that you can" speech one too many times and realizing it's true meaning, he walked away disappointed, knowing it meant I was not going to win.

I didn't know what to expect of the event or how I would perform. And once I got there, these fears were only heightened! There were over 3000 participants and just as many spectators. Being herded to the starting line with the immense crowd left me speechless. My friend recognized my uncharacteristic quietness and said: "In doesn't matter what place you come in, we all get the same t-shirt!" Her words made me realize the only person who cared how well I did, was me.

A hush came over the crowd as the national anthem played followed by a startling gun shot and we were off. I just put one foot in front of the other and ran. The crowd was so big that it never dispersed. I was constantly dodging people and bumping elbows. I was worried that I would start off too fast by trying to keep up with other runners so I stayed focused on my pace. My adrenaline kicked in and my fears began to fall away with every step I took. I fell into a rhythm and was motivated by the sound of all the pounding footsteps around me.

Seeing my family at the last quarter mile, was all I needed to finish strong. They announced my name as I crossed the finish line and I could have cried, I was so proud of myself. The clock read 44:1o. I had held under a 9 minute pace in my first 5 mile race! A wave of accomplishment and pride flooded me. And now I'm addicted. It's my time to beat. It was an amazing first race, but it won't be my last!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reader discretion is advised...

Breastfeeding both my children for a year, literally sucked the life out of my boobs. What used to be full perky C cups, now barely fill a training bra. No more cleavage shirts for me, unless by cleavage you mean wrinkly folds of skin spilling out the top. I'm a 28 year old version of Magda from "There's something about Mary" In all honesty, my breasts look like two deflated balloons. I know....bad mental picture.

I'm really self conscious of them now. They look disgusting in bathing suits and in tighter shirts, I resemble a twelve year old boy! I've been wearing my same old bras even though they don't fit just to avoid the issue.

So finally I went shopping for myself, let me repeat that....shopping for MYSELF!!! sans kids and took time to buy new bras. The saleswoman at Nordstrom was super helpful and made me feel comfortable (well about as comfortable as you can be when practically getting to second base with a stranger!) And to my surprise, I was still a C cup! Once you scooped all the skin up and shoved it where it was supposed to be, I still had breasts!!!

I can't believe the difference..in the way I feel, the way I look in my shirts. It's amazing what a bra can do these days! So for $80 I feel like I got a new set of boobs!

My husband might beg to differ but the way I look at it, I just saved him $9,920!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Had my hands full

Let me set the stage:
A beautiful Fall morning, unseasonably warm for mid November. A perfect day to take your kids to the park. Make it a playdate with bike riding and it's even better.

So two moms, 4 kids, (2 on bikes and 2 in stroller) and 2 dogs on leash. What could be more relaxing than that?

Dylan is still getting comfortable riding his bike without training wheels. He can stop but not gracefully. He can sometimes turn around and can't quite start on his own yet. So I need a free hand to help him when he needs it. With that in mind, we decided to put the 2 smaller kids in the same stroller rather than both push one.

All was well for the 1st half of our walk/run to keep up with the speedsters on bikes. All was well until I offered to push the stroller. That's when my hands became a little too full!

The other little boy in the stroller started to cry so I stopped to see what was the matter. I peeked inside to find my daughter with a handful of his hair. When I told her to be nice to her friends she smiled at me and proceeded to push him out of the stroller.

At this point Dylan and his friend were so far ahead we couldn't see them. The other mom ran ahead to check on them while I dealt with Camryn. I handed her my cell phone to distract her from her prey while I pushed the stroller along.

I spotted the others up ahead and started to pick up my pace. Callie is not that great on leash to begin with but put a stroller next to her and she's impossible. Well, when she caught a glimpse of Dylan she took off. She was pulling me and the stroller out of control. Before I could drop her leash we clothes-lined a baby who looked like he had just learned to walk. My first instinct was the pick up the little boy we had just trampled. In doing so, I let go of my stroller and handed the crying boy back to his very understanding mother.

After apologizing I turned around to find my stroller, not only with my daughter but also with someone else's baby in it, rolling towards the woods. As I ran to grab it I yelled out: "what kind of mother am I?" to which the mother of the boy I had knocked down and the mother whose baby was rolling away from me laughed! And as I grasped the handle of the stroller, I heard one of them say: "I'm glad I'm not the only one!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Who needs toys

when it's Fall in New England!!!

Remember the good ole days of childhood when you didn't rake leaves for the purpose of getting them off your lawn but instead to create the biggest heap possible simply to jump in!!! Well this weekend we brought those days back and loved every minute of it.

The fallen leaves provided hours of entertainment for the whole family. The leaves were a pile to jump in, a mound to hide under, a handful to throw and to some, even an all natural snack!

The combination of the warm fresh air, no fighting over toys (due to the plethora of leaves to go around) and all being together as a family made for an extremely enjoyable afternoon.

I have to admit though, the fun did end with a thorough tick check...something I don't remember from the good ole days.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


is the feeling that enveloped me as I drove home from my first parent/teacher conference of the year. We went through the basic conference elements like the class routine, Dylan's interests, progress and behavior. But hidden in the conversation was this description of an amazing little boy.

This amazing boy that I sometimes lose sight of because all I'm seeing is his frustrating 4 year old behavior. But there he is out in the world being amazing. His teacher told me about his polite manners, consideration for others and spirited personality. She recognized his interest and respect for books, ability to listen and comprehend them and acknowledged that these traits come from behaviors at home. She painted a picture of the type of kid I work so hard to raise.

Last she shared a few stories that Dylan had told her about things we do at home. She looked me straight in the eyes and said: "He has a pretty great life at home and you are doing an excellent job." In that moment tears filled my eyes and there it was: validation! For everything I do for my kids, for the things I've sacrificed and for the times when I doubted my parenting abilities. It doesn't come along very often but when it does, it makes it all worth while!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Snack Time

These are some fun snack ideas to get the kids in the mood for Halloween!

Apple Teeth

Pretzel Witches

The kids had a blast making them.

And enjoyed eating them even more!!


Ahhh...the sweet sounds of hammers, nail guns and saws-alls! No worries that it's been raining in my kitchen for a week. All of my pots and pans being tied up as water catchers. Half of my electrical outlets don't work and there is no light over my kitchen table so my kids and I eat dinner in the dark. Not to mention all four of us are sleeping in one room, Dylan on the floor and Camryn in her pack and play. Which leaves zero space to maneuver and even less privacy. Most of the ceiling is exposed to the outside in my kids room which lends to pretty cold nights. The workers can see in every window all day so when the kids are at school or napping I feel like I have to look busy so they don't tell my husband I sit around all day. Although naptime has been cut short due to the excessive amount of noise.

But all of this only means one thing...PROGRESS!

My house is starting to look like the plans I was daydreaming about months ago! I'm excited with every new board that goes up. I just hope after the workers are done and it's my husband's turn to do all the work it doesn't come to a screeching halt!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gray Hairs

is what my daughter is giving me already and we are more than a decade from her teenage years.

Sometimes she cries so hard that she doesn't breathe. Counting this morning, she has now passed out on three separate occasions. And let me tell you, it doesn't get any less scary. In fact, while it's happening my brain can't even process that it's ever happened before. I feel like I'm watching in slow motion as her eyes start to close and her body goes limp. I panic, jostling her and yelling at her to please take a breath. Waiting for some sort of response feels like an eternity, when in reality it's mere seconds.

My pediatrician tells me it's actually common among kids and not to worry as long as she wakes right back up. But none of this eases my mind. I still replay it in my head all day long and can't swallow the ball of fear that permanently resides in my throat. It's nothing I ever want to witness again.

Little episodes like this really remind me of how lucky I am to have healthy kids. Because my heart breaks for the mothers of sick children who have to endure such a nightmare. I can't even begin to imagine...

So I will welcome those gray hairs and pray that this is as bad as it gets.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Watch out Bon Jovi

When I went to pick Dylan up at school this afternoon, his teacher greeted me at the door. I could tell by her smirk that she had a story for me.

She told me that it had been karaoke Friday and all the kids took turns singing songs in front of the class. Most of them were songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Bingo and even their ABC's. But not my son, no he stole the show with Devil Went Down to Georgia!

Not only were his teachers in stitches watching his performance but they were impressed at how many words he knew.

If only I could have been a fly on the wall to witness my little rockstar in action!

No trespassing

I've taken my dog hiking every morning for the past 5 years in the same trails near our house. Due to the windy storm last night there was a tree blocking the entrance to the trails so I couldn't get my car through. This minor obstacle wasn't going to deter me from our daily routine so I just parked the car on the road alongside the trail and headed in.

My car wasn't there for more than 30 minutes but it was long enough for a nosy neighbor to take notice. As I was approaching my car, I saw a lady writing down my license plate. So in my best cheery, yet not going to take anyone's crap voice, I greeted her. To which she replied:

"Do you know that this is a private road."

I explained that I did and then the tree situation.

"I see the tree, but did you know this is a private road?"

Now my tone was a tad sarcastic: "Did my car being parked there inhibited you in some way? Was it really a problem that I parked there while I took for dog for a run?"

"Yeah it is and it's also a liability for everyone who lives on this road."

All those people who live on that road, who's driveways are so far down it there isn't even one in sight and most of them are at work right now and not at all concerned about a random car parked on the side of their "private" road.

All I could say to her as I drove away was, "your ridiculous."

Too bad I didn't encounter her before my run because my adrenaline was pumping now!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A different tune

That's what Dylan will be singing right around high school.

We've tried to explain things to Dylan along the way about the addition process. We showed him the plans and got him excited about his own room. But now that construction is underway he can visual grasp the concept that the house will be bigger.

So he took John and I by surprise when he said:

"Now there is room for all the kids."

Feeling a little guilty that we were depriving him of more siblings, we explained that he and Camryn were the only kids that were going to live here.

"No, all my kids. I'm going to live with you guys forever!"

The silence that followed confirmed that John and I were both watching our plans for a carefree, kid-free retirement flash before our eyes. Before panic could set it, I assured John that Dylan would be banging down the door to get out in only a few short years. So for the time being we played along.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rainy days are not figure friendly

I could hear the raindrops pounding on the window and I did not want to get out of bed. It was the kind of Saturday that only 4 short years ago I could curl up with a book, watch girlie movies and fall in and out of sleep all day long. Not anymore. When I heard the two rugrats stirring across the hall I pulled the covers over my head hoping to be invisible. That lasted all of two seconds.

My kids do much better outside where they can run off their energy, so I dread rainy days. By 11' o'clock they are stir crazy and I am out of ideas. So we bake! First we made cookies because everyone can help and well who doesn't like cookies. That only occupied 20 minutes so I figured we could make them into chipwiches so we made ice cream...from scratch. They really enjoyed watching the mixer churn...for about 2 minutes.

We moved on to other activities but due to boredom on my part I found myself visiting the refrigerator frequently. And the smell of the freshly baked cookies didn't help my craving for sweets. It seemed whenever I left the two of them alone one of them was crying within minutes. So another group activity...more baking!!!

By the end of day my kitchen looked like the Betty Crocker warehouse. So my new rainy day strategy is to hop the kids up on sugar all day long so they crash early at night! And then I can indulge in the treats we baked in peace and quiet!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ice cream is my kryptonite!

I'm defenseless against it! I can not say no to ice cream! It doesn't matter what flavor or what time of day it is, it is an essential part of my every day life! I eat pretty healthy all day long and then crash and burn at night but I can't help myself.

A half gallon of ice cream in my house is about 4 servings! I've tried weening myself off the stuff. I started putting it in little ramekins instead of huge cereal bowls but I just find myself filling it up twice. I don't put it on my grocery list but its as if my cart is on auto pilot and I somehow end up in that aisle anyway. One year I went so far as to give it up for lent. I hit rock bottom when I found myself eating an ice cream-less sundae of whipped cream, hot fudge, nuts and sprinkles.

After I put the kids to bed at night, it's all I can think about. I can feel the magnetic pull to the freezer all the way from the couch. It's my own personal bowl of euphoria. With each creamy bite of frozen deliciousness I can feel the craziness of the day melting away.

So superhero, I am not. But I rather sit on the couch with Ben & Jerry then fly around in a cape with Superman any day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Leaving our mark

My grandfather built my parents house that I grew up in and in my mind that simple fact made it more homey. There is a piece of paper with my sister and my hand prints on it built into the wall in the front hallway. It made me feel like I would always be a part of that house and somehow those prints sealed my memories into the walls.

So when the builder asked if I wanted to put the kids prints in our new addition, I didn't hesitate for a second. When the time came Dylan was at school and Camryn was sleeping so as not to miss the opportunity to claim this as their childhood home, I grabbed a stick and etched their names into the floor.

It felt so official. Like this simple act was proclaiming that this was our home where the kids would grow up and so many memories would be made. We were here to stay!

And then Callie reminded us that it already was our home with plenty of memories already tucked inside it's walls. And apparently she wanted to leave her mark too!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The wife of a cook

People always comment to me about how great it must be to be married to a cook. They imagine having a live-in chef, delicious food and no work required. I usually flash the obligatory smile and nod in agreement. But let me give you 5 reasons why they are completely wrong:

5) The hours: other than scrambling a few eggs and popping toast into the toaster oven, my husband isn't home for any other meal, let only cooking it for me!

4) When he is home to cook, he cooks like he is in the restaurant with staff to clean up the mess after him...guess who the staff is at home??

3) On the rare occasion that we go out to dinner together, he lets me know half way through the meal that not only could he have made the dish better but for less money

2) I do most of the cooking at home anyway, but if he is around he has to look over my shoulder, add ingredients that aren't even in the recipe or at least stir something even though I'm perfectly capable

And the #1 reason it's not so fun being married to a cook:

When I do make something that is absolutely delicious, everyone I serve it to automatically gives him all the credit and would never believe I made it!

Construction Begins!

We've been talking about it for 2 years. Should we stay or should we go? After 6 months on the market with no offers, 2 architects and 5 sets of plans later, construction has finally begun!!!!

I'm so anxious to get things going that I encourage demolition. In order to pour the foundation we had to tear down a part of my new deck but I found myself cheering as it came down. My yard is torn up and we have a permanent mound of dirt in the driveway but I have my eye on the prize.

My husband now has a honey-do list that will last him at least 6 months. Dylan loves nothing more than dirt, tools and big machines so his life couldn't be any better. Even Camryn is partaking in the fun.

The deck comes down

The general contractors hard at work

Dylan in his glory

So far so good. Other than the constant mud prints throughout my house, I have no complaints. But this is only the beginning, the roof is getting ripped up, walls are getting torn down, feeding kids without a working kitchen...but I'm so excited about the finished product that I say, "Bring it on!"

Famous last words I'm sure.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Fun Fall Day

I love New England in the Fall. The crispness in the air, the changing of the leaves, snuggling back into your jeans and hoodies. Activities like apple picking and local fairs make Fall fun for the kids too!

Today we went to a local orchard and had a ball. There was a huge sunflower maze that you needed a map to navigate through. Dylan took the lead and the rest of us were just trying to keep up.

I think we ran into ever dead-end possible. But I think Dylan's goal was to stay in there as long as possible. It's amazing we ever got him out!
Then we took a tractor ride to the apple orchards to pick our own. Dylan wanted to pick the highest ones that he could reach.

And Camryn didn't quite understand why we didn't want the ones off the ground in our bag. We definitely owed more to the "Sin Bin" then any other family there.

You would have never known that Camryn had eaten any apples while picking once we got into the orchard store. She made a beeline for the bakery, grabbed onto a package of Apple Cider Donuts and wouldn't let go. Seriously, she wouldn't let up her grip even for the cashier to ring them up. Honestly, it wasn't a purchase anyone was too upset about but my husband and I barely got any!

So when I'm complaining about how much I hate New England in the winter, someone remind me of how much I actually do enjoy the changing of the seasons!

Crazy for Cakes

This weekend was Dylan's 4th birthday party. Every year I pick a theme of something that he's interested in and try to carry it throughout the event. And every year I make myself crazy about his cake. I'm a huge Ace of Cakes fan and somehow think that by watching the show I'm able to create such masterpieces. And then when they don't look anything like them, I become frustrated.

Not only do I have no experience or training in cake making/decorating but my kids don't like real cake, they prefer ice cream cake. So I'm limited in the carving and shaping department. And fondant and ice cream don't make for a very good combination. But all things aside, I think I'm getting better every year!

Here is the progression of my cakes:

Dylan's 1st birthday cake: supposed to be a turtle made out of ice cream, no one at the party could tell what it was2nd birthday: He was obsessed with Cars, hence the race track (this was before I discovered fondant)

3rd birthday: John Deere party

Dylan's 4th birthday cake
Dylan's 4th birthday party cake: he loves to fish with his dad
My personal favorite: Camryn's 1st birthday ladybug cake

I think I'm improving each year! My next adventure is to make a topsy-turvy cake and REALLY drive myself crazy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Posted too soon!

Pre-school drop-off today managed to make my last post null and void. So please disregard it or refer to paragraph two for a more accurate description of today's affair!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to school jitters

All summer long I've been dreading the day that Dylan goes back to school. Not only does it mark the end of summer and our fun-filled days together but Dylan didn't separate well last year. It was actually the worst case scenario for dropping your child at school.

Fighting him to get dressed to go, carrying his flailing body to the car, tearing him out of his carseat, hysterics the entire walk to the classroom and teacher peeling him from my arms while he screamed: "Mommy don't leave me!" And this went on for 2 days a week for at least 3 weeks straight. It took everything in me not to just home school him.

But when I picked him up he had had such a great time I knew I was doing the right thing by leaving him there. It got better after awhile. I would find notes in his backpack that read: I miss you mom but I'm staying happy. Or when I dropped him off he would say: "Look mom, no tears!"

Then Camryn began to be more active and need more of my attention and he felt like he was missing out on things that were going on at home while he was at school. I reassured him that Camryn napped and I did boring housework for the whole time he was gone. So we ended the school year on a positive note.

All summer long I'd been prepping him about a new classroom, with new teachers and friends and he just didn't want any part of it. So you can understand why I had a bad case of the back to school jitters.

On Monday I pulled into the parking lot ready to have my heart ripped from my chest while my little man screamed for me while I abandoned him. But to my delight, he hung up his backpack, went to find his nametag and never looked back!!!

It was amazing and I'm so proud of him! So the cord has been severed and now I get to watch him soar!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mommy who??

You know how some people bring nannies on vacation with them. Well forget the nanny, I want to bring a photographer along!
By looking at our vacation pictures you wouldn't even know I was there. Why, because my husband sucks at taking pictures! He never thinks to pick up the camera and capture a moment of me playing with my kids. I, on the other hand, not only take awesome pictures but later make them into books and read them with my kids so they can relive the memories of their vacations...with dad!

Here are some pictures that I took:

Daddy teaching Dylan to ride a bike without training wheels

Daddy napping with Camryn on the beach

Daddy playing football with his son

Daddy roasting marshmallows with his kids

Daddy frolicking in the waves with his kids

And here are the pictures he took of me:

Here's a great shot of me pushing Camryn in the hammock

One of me jumping off a bridge...I'm the big splash in the water

Look the kids and I are having so much fun in this one

And my personal favorite that will evoke so many memories....

So I guess I'll have to make sure our vacations are so much fun that the kids won't need to look at pictures to remember them!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some more Smore's!

Smore's are a big deal for my kids. Even though they have ice cream for dessert more times than I'll admit in a week, there is something about smore's that gets them excited.

For Camryn it's probably the unlimited amount of chocolate and incredible mess that goes with it.

But for Dylan it's definitely the marshmallows. I don't even think he has ever eating a smore. He takes pride in roasting the perfect marshmallow. From a little boys perspective, what could be better than eating off a stick and playing with fire without getting in trouble!

His love for marshmallows reminds of a story when he was younger. It was the middle of winter and I thought making rice crispy treats would be a fun project for us. I knew I had bought a new bag of marshmallows for hot chocolate, so when I couldn't find them I was a bit confused. Talking to myself and not really expecting an anwser, I asked: "Dylan, where did those marshmallows go?"

To which he replied: "They're all gone. Every morning while you and dad are asleep, I come down and take one."

Surprised and humored I said: "You do, do you?"

And he said: "But just ONE a day!"