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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A home again

Despite my frustration and the amount of complaining I do, I love my hardwood floors!!! Not only are they finished, gorgeous and sparkling, but I now have a space to put my new piece of furniture!!

It's the only new thing we've bought so far. It's been sitting in the garage in boxes since the start of construction. It's the beginning of the end of construction. It's making my house into a home again! It's going to create order and organization! It's my solution to the new "No Shoes Allowed" rule!

Without further ado:

Bah Humbug

Christmas is 10 days away and I'm not really in the holiday spirit. Usually around this time of year, my days are filled with decorating, wrapping and baking. But this year, I'm just not feeling it.

Perhaps it's because we have no where to put decorations. There are no shelves to put knick knacks on, no hooks to hang stockings and our Christmas tree stands alone in the corner of a practically bare room. Or maybe it's because every waking moment I'm laying hardwood floor, wiping away sheet rock dust or painting.

We've been under construction for over a year and I've reached my limit. From all camping out in one room, living with walls down to the studs and now without a kitchen. I've tried the positive attitude: "It will all be worth it in the end" or "Someday we'll look back at this and laugh" and "Look how far we've come." All of those statements are true but honestly, all I want for Christmas is my house to be back together!

This table holds my kitchen essentials.

This is the current state of my kitchen. Notice anything missing?
We've been surviving without a stove. Luckily our family owns a restaurant and won't let us starve. But the kids no longer think breakfast for dinner is a fun concept.

Here is where I do dishes. And as you can see I can't let them pile up very much.

But I can always count on Camryn to brighten my mood. She must of sensed I needed a dose of holly jolly so she made it snow.... inside!!!
Not only is Styrofoam not environmentally friendly, it's not Camryn friendly either.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birthday party politics

I didn't know birthday parties were already a popularity contest in kindergarten!!

The good thing about Dylan's birthday being in September is that we don't have to invite his whole class because he doesn't really know them yet. So far the parties he has been invited to have been his entire class. Not being familiar with protocol, these parties led me to believe that is the kosher thing to do.

So just to make conversation while waiting for my teacher conference, I asked a mom if they would be attending the party we were going to this weekend.

Wrong thing to say!!! It was as if I had punched her in the gut and knocked the wind out of her. Not only did she proceed to tell me that her son was not invited and how much he would love to go, she began grilling me about party details! When did I get the invite, where was it and at what time. Trying to be as vague as possible, I told her I would have to look at my invitation.

Luckily the teacher called me in for my conference and I was saved! For the moment: As I exited the classroom, in true elementary school style, she passed me a note. She had scribbled her e-mail address and asked for the other mom 's phone number so she could have a talk with her!

Of course I blantantly disregarded her demands and instead gave the other mom a heads up on what I had sent her way. Only a few months into school and I'm already causing trouble. I better be careful with my big mouth or Dylan's going to be the one not invited to any parties!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Midnight snack

Well it wasn't exactly midnight....

We had a jam packed day. My sister had a gingerbread decorating party. So the kids were hopped up on frosting and candy just in time for our town's tree lighting. Needless to say, all the fun and excitement, as well as crashing from their sugar high, the kids were ready for bed early.

Dylan fell asleep while we were reading and Camryn looked content sucking her thumb when I walked out of her room. With the kids in bed so early, I had enough energy to squeeze in a little run before I tackled the dinner dishes. So I jumped on my treadmill and searched my DVR recordings for something to entertain me along my run.

The noise of the treadmill and the elevated volume of my television, keeps me from hearing the kids. But Dylan rarely gets out of bed and when Camryn does, she comes into my room to see what kind of fun she is missing out on. But again, they were exhausted from the day, so I wasn't expecting to hear a peep.

Feeling good I extended my run and kept on trekking for an hour. Now all I needed was a tall glass of ice water. But I got more than what I bargained for when I got downstairs. Camryn had crept downstairs for an after bedtime snack. She pulled a dining room chair across the kitchen to climb up on the counter. And there she sat, happily eating all the candy off her gingerbread house!!!

I have no idea how long she was down there but by the looks of her bare gingerbread house, I'd say I wasn't even a mile into my run by the time she had all the gumdrop shingles off the roof.

I think I need one of those alarms that beeps when someone walks out the door, except for the kids bedrooms!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


With my husbands work schedule, the kids and I have dinner without him 6 nights a week. Dinner time for me has always been important and I don't want my kids to grow up thinking they can scarf their food without ever lifting their head up and conversing with one another. But it's hard to engage a 5 and 2 1/2 year old without another adult to strike up a conversation with. So I instituted the high/low game. We go around the table and everyone has to tell the best and worst part of their day.

Not only is it a great conversation starter but it gets Dylan talking about school without me asking: "what did you do at school today?" which doesn't have a very high success rate. Everyday Dylan says something different and I can usually string it along to pull more details out about his day.

Camryn doesn't fully comprehend the concept of high/low yet. Sometimes she copies what Dylan says. Other times she names things we did but neither were something you would consider a high or a low. But last night I think she got the hang of it. When I asked her what her high was, she replied:
"My fluffer nutter!!!"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Punishment fits the crime

When shouts ring out from one of my children, the other one is usually responsible. Whether it was grabbing a toy, teasing or playing too rough, I try to make the culprit right their wrong. But when chaos ensues and both kids are up in arms, I don't care what happened or who did it...I just want it to stop. So I send them to their respective rooms for a break. They are free to play or read books but it gives them space from one another. It's also a bit of reverse psychology.

My mom used to send my sister and I to our rooms when the going got tough. Our rooms were across the hall from one another and once we both calmed down, we would open our door and wait for the other to do the same. While my mom was downstairs thinking we were quietly playing by ourselves, we would roll marbles to each other, play Simon says or create our own version of sign language. And it worked...being punished for not playing well together and forced to play alone only made us want to play together more.

So as I stood in the hallway outside their doors, I listened for what I knew would come. Dylan coaxed Camryn over to the shared air vent. They could talk and see each other through it. Before long, they were planning their escape, passing things back and forth and having a grand old time. Best of friends again, the unpleasant incident a thing of the past.

Their laughter made me smile to myself and realize just what a smart lady my mom is!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The other half

Last night we got to see how the other half live.

Our friends let us tag along to a charity event and it was the most extravagant Christmas party I have ever seen in my life!!!

We pulled into the 18 acre estate on the water to see 3 huge tents decorated with lights. Life size Nutcrackers guarded the entrance as the smells and sounds of the holiday season enveloped you as you entered the heated tents.

The main tent was more elegantly decorated than any wedding I have ever been to. Lanterns hung from the ceiling, tables were draped with silver silk linens and real trees donned lights. The shrimp cocktail was served in a sleigh shaped ice sculpture, there was a made to order sushi bar and a fabulous spread of any type of food you could imagine.

The second tent was for the kids. Tables were lined with lollipops, Christmas trees were decorated with candy and stars twinkled on the ceiling. Santa was giving out presents, each child could make a Build-a-Bear and there were photographers that could make you into a flip book. There was a popcorn machine, hot dog stand and enough mac and cheese to sink a ship.

The band stopped playing to send everyone outside for the tree lighting. On the way out each guest was handed a green or red fleece blanket and flashlight. We snuggled up while waiting for the tree to be lit. OH and then....it started to snow!!!! They made snow just for extra ambiance. Once the tree was on, carolers got us into the Christmas spirit.

Back in the kids tent, a magician entertained us while we stayed wrapped in our new blankets. Dessert was a dream. Flowing hot cocoa and spiced cider. From gingerbread men, cupcakes, rice crispy treats and chocolate covered strawberries to chocolate dipped marshmallows and whoppie pies!

The band played on as the kids sugar rush wore off and we headed home. Golf carts escorted us back to our cars and then kids were asleep within minutes. It was a magical night and one we won't soon forget!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Time to go to work

Honestly, I probably "work" less than 10 hours a week. And that is a busy week. But the kids are still not used to me going to work.

Dylan is enjoying his holiday weekend off from school and soaking up all the play time he can. So this morning when I announced I needed to go into the office, I put a wrench in his plans of staying home and playing together all day!

Mom: "Dylan, I only have to go in for 2 hours"

Dylan: "Well how many minutes is that?"

Mom: "120 minutes. And daddy is home to play with you so you won't even notice I'm gone!"

Dylan: "But if you think about how many seconds that is....it's a long time!"

I feel loved!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mommy and Me Time

Since the start of kindergarten, my time with Dylan has significantly decreased. I miss him when he is at school and by the time he gets home, there is only a little time to play before dinner and bedtime routine.

A few weeks ago while reading together before bedtime, he asked me if we could have some special time alone together. He pointed out that I'm always alone with Camryn but never with him. My heart melted on the spot. I didn't realize that he noticed and felt horrible. But at the same time I was glad he missed our time together. We headed down to the calendar to schedule a date immediately.

Our date was Saturday to the new Science Center. We headed out first thing in the morning. I pulled out all the stops to make sure he knew he had 110% of my attention. No music, just car games on the way up there. I left my cell phone in the car when we arrived at the museum, so there would be no distractions or interruption. These were our only plans for the day, so there was no time limit and I never once rushed him through an exhibit.

What kids doesn't love to play in the water

The more we danced the more the colors moved

A new kind of basketball

Space exploration....by far Dylan's favorite of the day

His best fastball....16 mph....MLB here we come!

A sweet treat to end a sweet day!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I decided to revitalize myself and go visit my girlfriend in the city! Just one night away from the kids, construction and household responsibilities. Dylan laid on the guilt bright and early yesterday morning.

"Now I know you are really leaving...because you even packed your bag!" The kid can lay it on thick but I wasn't falling for it. I held back the urge to tell him if I was REALLY leaving, my bag would be a lot bigger, and comforted him by explaining I would pick him up from school the next day.

There is something about having 90 minutes of nothing to do but sit on a train that only a mother can appreciate it. Although I was anxious to get there, I enjoyed the flashes of scenery and rhythmic sounds of the train on the track.

Upon arrival the chatting began and didn't cease until well into the night. We went to dinner, grabbed some drinks and laughed with old friends. It was so good to catch up with her and I had a blast.

But I also had a hidden agenda. Bon Jovi just happened to be in the city performing on the Today Show. And I was NOT about to miss an opportunity to see him, especially for free. My girlfriend couldn't be convinced to do anything that resembled tourism...so I was on my own.

I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and hailed a cab to Rockefeller Center, where I stood in line for 2 hours and made some new friends. Then we were herded into the viewing section where I was stuck behind a wall of women standing on a barricade. When he came out to warm up, I couldn't see a thing. I was disappointed that I waited so long to not even catch a glimpse of him. I debated leaving, but had come so far I wanted to stick it out.

After another 2 hours of waiting in the crowd, the boys finally appeared on stage. The crowd went wild and all eyes were on them. So I squeezed my body through the barricades and ended up in the VIP section, much closer to the stage I rocked out to "You Give Love a Bad Name" and even had a cameo on TV.

My adrenaline was pumping after the show as I walked back to her apartment. Luckily, she was heading home to her parents house for the weekend so I got 2 bonus hours of quality time with her in the car. We hopped into her Mercedes convertible and her 3 month old Bernese Mountain dog cuddled on my lap.

Fifteen minutes into our drive, that cute little puppy threw up all over me. With no where to pull over, I had to stomach the sight, stench and feel of it for 15 more minutes. I passed the dog into the backseat in case it happened again. Which it did, this time all over my bag. We pulled off an exit into a parking lot of a country club. I got out, grabbed my nasty bag and squatted between two cars. As I was changing my pants, she was flinging dog vomit out of her car onto the pavement with a rag. Of course, 10 old men came driving by in their golf carts, right at that very moment. Their expressions were priceless and the incident was forgotten.

I had a fabulous time and am definitely revitalized. But seeing how excited the kids were to see me, solitified the expression: "There is no place like home!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reason # 28

why I hate hunting!

John went rabbit hunting the other morning and brought one home to make stew with. Fine...at least he eats what he kills.

But could you dispose of the remains a little better. Dylan called up to me this morning: "Mom, there is a dead animal in our playroom!"

My initial thought was how is that possible. Well it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out once I went downstairs. Our new french doors were blown wide open. (That should really help our heating bill!!!) So our dog was able to go in and out at her leisure throughout the night. She sniffed out her father's catch and brought it in to have her go with it.

A furry, bloody rabbit carcase on my new rug, is not my idea of a good start to my day. My kids stood frozen, bug eyes glued to me as I disposed of it. I used some Resolve on the carpet but I'm pretty sure it doesn't list those kinds of stains on the back of the bottle!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It's amazing what routines can do for you. Since Dylan was born, I've had him on a routine. Feeding routines, bedtime routines and that translated well into his school routines. He thrives on them and is at his best when they are followed. Camryn too!

I never know what I'm going to get when I pick him up from school. I would say the majority of the time, he is his happy go lucky, energetic self. But there have been occasions when he appears to be fine and can only hold himself together long enough to get into the car. Once safe inside our comfortable and contained environment, he falls apart. Most likely the meltdown is caused by over stimulation or just plain old tiredness.

But yesterday it was because he had a substitute teacher. When I asked him how school was, tears welled up in his puppy dog eyes as he said: "I didn't get to see my teacher." A little more probing, got me information about the substitute teacher and that she doesn't know how to do things right in class. The worst part about the scenario was that Dylan was uninformed about this change in his daily routine. He needs advanced notice if the schedule will be interrupted, with time to process it.

Once we got home and started to play, all was forgotten. But at bedtime when I told him to have sweet dreams, he said:

"I hope I do, because I had a rough day!"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Festivities

Halloween is by far my least favorite holiday. I despise dressing in costume and find it awkward ringing random people's doorbells and taking candy from them. However, I do enjoy seeing my kids in their adorable costumes and have no qualms about raiding their candy bags late at night!

My Air Force Pilot and Pink Butterfly

Dylan's decorated pumpkin for the Monster Mash at his school

Cleaning the pumpkin

Carving the pumpkin

The trick-or-treating crew

Now Camryn wakes up asking for candy for breakfast every morning. And Dylan thinks he is all set with trick-or-treating and said he would rather hand out the candy next year!!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Itch

Four of my friends just had their third baby. I have to admit that when each one announced their pregnancy, there was a tinge of wonder. I loved being pregnant so as their round bellies grew, there was a small longing to feel a baby kick. I was secretly worried that once the babies arrived, I would be sad that we decided to stop at only two childen.

Well, the babies are here!!! They are all small, beautiful and precious. They have that amazing baby smell, can curl up into the tiniest ball and make the sweetest cooing sounds. As I hold them, I soak it all in. But surprisingly, no itch!!!

I don't miss the sleepless nights, breastfeeding around the clock or trying to juggle a toddler and newborn (let alone 2 toddlers). Life is good, life is easy. Don't get me wrong, I loved when my kids were babies but now they are so much more fun! I'm enjoying each stage as it comes and goes and it just seems to be getting better! The absence of the itch confirms to me that our family is complete as is!!! Or is it....

My sister-in-laws' dog just had puppies and I feel the itch now. Not only because they are the cutest little furballs but to see the way my kids responded to them. Dylan was eager to hold them and learn all about them. Camryn was instantly nurturing and motherly towards them. I want them to be able to expereince a puppy, the responsibility of taking care of it, the process of training it and running around the yard while it nips at their heals!!! Callie is an integral part of our family and when we lose her, I won't be able to replace her. So I want to get a puppy before that happens, so we are never without a dog.

It's safe to say that there will not be any more two-legged additions to our family, but four-legged....it's only a matter of time!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loads of Fun!!

What is it with kids and laundry???

Regardless of the fact that they make an insane amount of it. Why do they have to play in it?

Everytime I dump out a clean pile of laundry, be it on the floor or even on my bed, they see it as an invitation to jump in it. What goes on in their little brains that translates a pile of clothes into a freshly raked pile of leaves?

And it isn't bad enough that they jump in it but they have to throw it in the air and scatter it all about. They play dress up and put random articles of clothing on random parts of their body. I've witnessed my undergarments being slingshot across the room, while the other ducks for cover under the pile.

And the folded piles....sometimes they resemble frogs jumping from one lilypad to another and other times they are baby Godzillas destroying the tall buildings of Toyoko.

If they just let me fold it and put it away, I would be able to play with them so much sooner. But I think they prefer the once a week romp through freshly cleaned clothes.

It's actually the only time they play without their clothes getting dirty!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Musical Beds

is a not-so-fun game we play at our house once in awhile in the middle of the night.

Everyone starts off in their own beds and falls asleep soundly, enveloped in their own sweet dreams. Usually the game begins when one of the kids wakes up crying or calls us into their rooms. But they like to change it up a bit and every now and again they'll just stumble into our room and sneak into bed with us.

Half asleep, I'll walk down the hall and climb into bed with the initiator and make the first move of the game. Once the first move has been made, a second move is inevitable. Something will make me stir and I'll realize I'm not in my own bed and return to my own bed next to my soundly sleeping husband.

As sure as the sky is blue, the game will continue when I'm beckoned into the other kids room. I lie down and rub their back, trying to keep my eyes open so not to end up sleeping in this bed either. Once I'm convinced they are fast asleep, I tip toe once again back to my bed, where my husband is still sound sleep.

Now that neither child is in a deep sleep, they eventually notice that I have escaped from their beds and it's time for them to make their moves. One at a time, they make their way into our bed. Snuggling deep under the covers, right along side me. They quickly resume sleep, as if it was never disturbed.

To seal the deal our 70 pound Golden Retriever wants to play the game too, abandons her bed and finds a cozy spot between my legs. I try to hang on to the idea of sleep, while one leg is dangling off the bed and my covers are now a luxury I no longer possess. The crowded bed becomes too much for my husband when his slumber is finally disturbed. So he makes the last move of the game, retreating to one of the kids empty bed. He lies down smack dab in the middle, stretches his entire body out and pulls the abundance of covers up to his chin. When I hear the rhythmic sound of his snoring I know the game is over and that he has won!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whatever happened to

learning your ABC's and how to tie your shoes in Kindergarten!!! Dylan is amazing me with the stuff he is coming home with.

Last week at dinner he told me, very matter of fact: "People on the other side of the world don't have freedom! They get told who to marry and some people aren't allowed to go to school."

I've heard about the "big wall" that they had to crush so people could be free. He told me about the pilgrims finding our country and when they got here all they could find were Indians. He ever touched on the Americans battling with the British and we won!

His enthusiasm for learning is fantastic. He can't wait to go to school in the morning, comes home happy and full of things we wants to teach me. I've learned new songs, letter sounds and even some math skills!

It's such a sigh of relief to see him truly enjoying himself. He got his very own library card at a ceremony last night for all the kindergartners. He loved seeing all his friends and interacting with them outside of the classroom. Watching him last night confirmed that he is in the right place. I'm glad that I followed my heart in sending him.

Now I better brush up on my schooling so when he asks me all these questions, I can answer them!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The good old days

It's such a shame how we wish our lives away. It seems as if we are always looking forward to the next stage or next big thing and never really living in the moment. And then when we look back on the times that we were wishing away and we wish we could go back and appreciate them as they were happening.

All this nostalgia is stemming from my trip to Ithaca this weekend. We took the kids to see the Fall foliage, where I went to college and just get away and spend the weekend together. While we did exactly that, I left with a sense of wanting to slow life down and focus on living in the moment.

It's was bizarre to go back to my college town. Upon arrival, I instantly yearned for that carefree time in my life. I was missing my girlfriends and realizing that we never really knew how good we had it. I mean when are you ever going to have that much free time on your hands, or live with 5 of your closest girlfriends? Never again will you go into a bar and know all the people in it. College was am amazing experience and it went by way too fast. Although I enjoyed every minute of it, I couldn't wait to graduate, get married and have kids.

So this weekend, I did it! I slowed down! We went hiking and I let the kids lollygag behind.

I soaked in my surroundings and found Ithaca more beautiful then I ever remembered it.

I let the kids throw one more rock, exhaust themselves on the playground and stay up past their bedtime.

It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But I'm making it my mission to stop and take it all. Cause it goes by so fast and you can't go back!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rough Day

Last night we took the kids to the Big "E". Dylan has been anticipating this trip since last year. We saw Hilby, The German juggler who made quite the impression on him and he couldn't wait to see him again. He looks forward to catching bead necklaces at the Mardi Gras parade, going down the big yellow slide and his one corn dog of the year.

The rain held out all day until it was time for us to head to the fair. We warned him of the possibility of everything being closed due to the rain but he insisted he still wanted to go. So we went!

We arrived dressed in our raincoats and dawning umbrellas but our spirits were still high as we purchased our tickets. We noticed that the rides were not going but held at hope that they simply turned the big yellow slide with burlap sacks into a water slide. That was not the case.

So we filled Dylan up with corn dogs, baked potatoes and ice cream to keep him happy. As we approached the stage of the German juggler, we knew bad news was coming our way. The stage was filled with puddles that would be dangerous for Hilby to ride his unicycle while juggling things that were lit on fire, so the show was canceled. Luckily, Hilby stopped by on his unicycle and Dylan got to meet him and take a magnet home as a souvenir.

The lady at the gate assured us that the parade would go on rain or shine. So 1 out of the 3 wasn't horrible. Dylan still seemed to be having fun despite all the mishaps. We had just enough time to walk around and look at all the useless gadgets people buy before the parade started.

After escaping all the pushy salesmen, we started in the direction of the parade. A policeman randomly asked Dylan if he wanted a beaded necklace. To which I replied: "No thanks, we are going to catch our own at the parade." To which he replied: "The parade already went by."

I looked at John, he looked at me and we sprinted while dodging people with the stroller to where we thought we might be able to catch the end of the parade. We found all the floats parked in the back lot, waiting to be put away. Dylan got to look at them as we passed by. I saw a woman with a bag of necklaces, explained the situation and she was kind enough to give the kids a few.

With big puppy dog eyes, brimming with tears, Dylan looked up at us and said: "I had a rough day!"

My heart broke for him. I was so proud of him for handling it so well. There was no emotional meltdown or screaming fit. He just knew he had a rough day and I let him know it was ok to cry about it.

But in the end, he was able to look at the bright side. The rides were closed, but he did get to go through a fun house. He ate enough junk food to last him until next year. He was bringing home Mardi Gras beads even if he wasn't able to catch them himself. And best of all, we had a magnet of Hilby, The German Juggler to hang on our fridge!!! Really, what more could you ask for!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Animal Lover

I can already tell that Camryn loves animals. She gets excited to see them, uses a special voice to talk to them and is always gentle and kind to them. She is even nurturing to her stuffed animals.

While I was busy getting dressed this morning, Camryn was playing quietly in her room. When I went in to get her because it was time to go, this is what I saw:

I panicked when I saw the mess on the new carpet, but as I got closer I realized it was dog food. Naturally I asked her why she dumped Callie's food all over her floor and she said:
"Cause they yittle and eat yittle food!"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

X-mas shopping in September

I'm one of those people who shops for Christmas gifts all year long. If I see something that someone would like, I grab it and stash it away until Christmas. This has been very helpful in the budget area, because come December I don't need to dish out a ton of cash that we don't have. A little bit all year long doesn't get noticed as much as one huge chunk all at the same time.

The other day when Camryn and I were out shopping for Fall clothes, something caught my eye. In order to distract her from what I was going to look at, I grabbed a stuffed animal and handed it to her in the stroller. I pushed her far enough past the item so she couldn't see it. It was essentially a paper doll set, except it was wooden and magnetic. She could dress and undress her doll as many times as she wanted. It was perfect and better yet 30% off. Gotta love Melissa and Doug toys!

I made it to the cash register with the item slyly hidden atop the stroller and handed it to the cashier upside-down for extra assurance. Camryn was happily playing with the stuffed animal and hadn't taken notice to what was going on. The cashier rang it up, I paid and as I was putting my change in my wallet, she turned to Camryn and said:

"Here honey, you can take this home to play with." Handing her the Christmas item in exchange for the stuffed animal that apparently she thought I was going to steal.

I know I could have said nothing because really there was no turning back. Camryn had the toy in her hands and would definitely want to play with it when we got home. I realize the cashier was probably trying to make giving up the stuffed animal easier for Camryn, because she was in fact getting a new toy. But I was disappointed that an item I had already placed under the tree in my head, would be old news by the time December rolled around. So instead of holding back I said:

"Actually that was going to be for Christmas...but I guess now it's not."

She was immediately apologetic and now I was regretting my snide remark. So I left the store without a Christmas present or my previously happy demeanor. Maybe this year I'll change up my game and give Black Friday a try...everyone knows those are Christmas presents!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The princess and the frog

Dylan can catch anything. Fish, worms and frogs to little boys running on the playground. He even caught one of those tiny really fast geckos on vacation! So whenever we stumble upon a usually slimy little creature, he needs to catch it.

To his delight, there was a frog in our yard and so the quest to catch it began. But it wasn't your typical backyard frog. It was RED! We've never seen a red frog, except for the ones at the zoo. So naturally John, Camryn and I wanted to get a closer look.

Camryn, however, does not like to hold these creatures that her brother catches. But she does love to look at them and talk to them in her quietess, most high pitched, how small creatures like to be talked to, voice!

But as Camryn got a little too close for her brother's liking, he yelled:

"Camryn, don't kiss it, it might be poisonous!"

John now wants him to accompany her on her first date, using those exact words!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Household Chores

With all the construction going on in my house, I have to admit I've been slacking on cleaning because it just gets dirty again. I mean really, why mop the floors when they are going to be replaced? So I do the minimum: vacuuming and surface cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen.

But with the family coming over for Dylan's birthday party, I knew the house needed a good scrubbing. My husband has heard me complaining about the mess the addition is making and how unmotivated I am to even attempt to keep it clean. And not that he has many household chores to begin with, but his main focus has been working on the addition. So I have been left to do all the cleaning myself, I even took over mowing the lawn!

It was time for the "just because I stay home with the kids all day does not mean it's my job to do the laundry, make the food, do the dishes and clean the house!" talk. Let's face it ladies, we know we've all given the speech with little response. But this time it worked!!!

I was upstairs frantically scrubbing, dusting and vacuuming when I came downstairs to find my husband vigorously cleaning the kitchen. He had taken everything off the counter to wipe behind things, cleaned the inside and outside of the microwave and even removed the crumbs from the toaster oven!!!

But that's not all, the best part was he was sporting an apron...no, not to keep his clothes clean rather to show me how he would prefer I dress when I clean the house!

He may not be great at household chores but he can always make me laugh!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm the mom...

of a 5 year old!!!!

I can't wrap my head around it quite yet but Dylan is 5! I feel like 5 is such a huge milestone. The end of the toddler era. I don't know when it happened but I woke up this morning with a little man as my son!

The whole school thing and now turning 5 has really thrown me for a loop. I mean when did my chubby cheeked, only wanting mommy baby turn into such a big boy. I'm sure the transition has been gradual but all of a sudden it feels like he's a new kid overnight.

Every mother knows, they'll take care of their son up until the day he finds a wife to take her place! So this new found independence is amazing to me. This morning I sent him off to school with lunch packed in his bag, a birthday treat to share with the class in his hands and a huge smile on his face. He walks himself to his classroom, eats lunch with all his friends and I'm sure performs many other tasks all by himself.

He came home this afternoon with a birthday crown on his head and a grin from ear to ear. He told me his birthday at school was super great. They announced that he was turning 5 during the morning announcements, all his friends loved his birthday snack and he got to check out his own book at the library! He counted for me in Spanish and taught me some new songs!

I tried hard to make sure the tears welling up in my eyes never rolled down my cheek. It was a bittersweet moment, to see a glimpse of the amazing kid Dylan is turning into and to remember him as a little baby snuggled in my arms. It's crazy that after 4 years of hoping all the things you are teaching them are sinking in, they wake up one morning and prove to you that it did .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

There is a ringing

and it's not in my head.

This is the third night this week, I have been woken up in the middle of the night by a telephone ringing. Of course, when you hear your phone ringing in the middle of the night, you immediately think the worst. It has to be an emergency because my girlfriends know better than to call to gossip that late at night.

So in a panic, I run downstairs, yes we only have one phone, thanks to my kiddies dropping it in the dog's water bowl, and it is inconveniently downstairs, to find that it's not my phone ringing. It never fails, it always stops as soon as I reach the phone. So I check my caller ID and no one was calling me.

Confused and annoyed to have been woken up, I head back upstairs to my bedroom. The TV in our bedroom is off, so I can rule that out. Luckily, my husband is awake and I confirm that he heard it too. I lie awake and listen to his rhythmic breathing, jealous of his ability to return to sleep so quickly and effortlessly.

I, however, need to first calm my nerves and realize there is no emergency because no one was actually trying to contact me. And second, ponder what else could the noise have been. It's an unmistakeable telephone ringing. The kids have toy phones but I can distinguish between the singing sound of the toy ring and the actually telephone. Could it be our neighbors phone? How loud must their phone ring for us to be able to hear it with all our windows closed?

Not able to solve the mystery of the midnight telephone call, I finally fell back asleep! But it was the first thing on my mind when I woke up. I am determined to figure out what it is, so I can be spared the midnight dose of panic!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I survived

the first day of kindergarten!!

Dylan was super excited and woke up at 6:00 am ready to go to school. He picked out his first day of school outfit, I packed his snack, he put on his backpack, hopped on his bike and we rode to school. I walked him to his room and he barely looked back.

When I picked him up he had a grin from ear to ear. He was eager to go again this morning and has lots to tell me when he gets home. He is anxious for school to be all day so that he can start going to his specials, like gym and art class. I hope the enthusiasm lasts all year long!

At his screening this afternoon, he managed to make all of my fears about his readiness disappear. He was able to perform all the required elements and if he wasn't certain, he paused to think about it and then confidently repsonsed with the correct anwer. His teacher told me and has a great "jump start" on kindergarten!!! He made me so proud and a little guiltly for ever doubting his abilities.

Camryn on the other hand, is not taking him going to school so well. She cries when we drop him off and begs me to let her stay too! I think once she gets used to 100% of my attention, playing what she wants and not having to share her toys, she'll get over it pretty quickly. We start swimming lessons on Friday and music class at the library next week. I give it a month or so before she's like: "Dylan? Who's Dylan?"

I'm so grateful that the transition was easy and so proud of what a big kid Dylan is turning into. I think he has a great year ahead of him!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Big Girl Day

After sleeping in a big girl bed all week long on vacation, Camryn was not happy about being put back in her crib. She expressed her unhappiness by safely exiting her crib until I was so tired of putting her back, I let her fall asleep on our bed.

So it was time to purchase a big girl bed. We woke up early, made the trek to IKEA and purchased the bed that matched her new dresser. She picked out pretty new sheets at Target and to keep with the theme of the day, a new big girl pink potty!

To save us some money, we took my old mattress from my parents house and headed home to put it all together. The kids were eager to help assemble the bed, which made the process take a little bit longer. Once we had it all together it was time to put on the mattress. The kids anxiously awaited to test out the jumping quality of Camryn's new bed. But when we went to put the mattress on, it didn't fit!!! We had purchased a queen size bed and planned on buying a double.

Needless to say I had to take the entire thing apart and try to repackage it to appear as if it had never been assembled. However, there were wooden dowels stuck in holes and the box barely held all the contents after the kids claimed it their fort. So as not to disappoint Camryn, I put her new sheets on the mattress and she was able to sleep/jump on that until the next day when we got the right size bed frame!

Her pink potty purchase kind of went the same way. Although potties are one size fits all, kids learn at all different times and paces. Potty training Dylan was such a process, I swore I wasn't trying with Camryn until she was 6!!! She picked it out at the store on her own and I figured if she wanted to use it every once in awhile that was fine. But I was not attempting to potty train her!

Much to my surprise, she went pee on the thing almost all day long. She carried it from room to room, even up the stairs, so it was always with her if she had to go. One time she peed but forgot to take her undies down. Fine, I changed the undies, easy enough. The last potty trip of the night she peed and then flip the entire thing upside down on Dylan's rug to use it as a stool to get on his bed. Not wanting to clean up any accidents, I've insisted the potty stay in the bathroom and that she still wear a diaper until further notice!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

End of Vacation Blues

The thing that sucks about vacations is that they end! And in the blink of an eye, it's like you were never even gone. Everyday life kicks in and the relaxation, uninterrupted family time and responsibility-free days are just a distant memory.

We came back from Disney with only a few fleeting days of summer left. No matter how hard I tried to hang on to them, they spilled away and I now find myself so unprepared for what's coming next.

Dylan is off the kindergarten and all my doubts about sending him are resurfacing. Luckily, he is super excited and making the transition easier on me. I swear if he cries when I drop him off, even for a second, I'm going to snatch him up and run out of the building, not to look back until next September!!!

It's bizarre to think that we are already in the next stage of parenting. Instead of filling his days with play dates and toddler activities, his day will consist of school and I'll only be left with homework and mealtimes to worry about. I need to switch gears from being the activity organizer to being the chauffeur to the activities.

My life is about to change dramatically and I feel like I'm watching from the outside

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Camryn now does the old Harry Houdini out of her crib. I excepted when the day came I would hear a loud thump and be alerted to the fact that there was an escapee on the loose. But she waited until she was able to master the trick.

I heard a pitter patter of footsteps and immediately suspected Dylan. Followed by his unmistakable laughter, I knew I would find him in her crib. The shock must have been apparent on my face when I found her snuggled up with him in his big boy bed.

Curious to know the secret behind her escape, I asked her to show me.

"Otay! I doed this (one leg over) and this (other leg over) and slide down!"

She has mastered it alright and now I was in trouble. I was having flash backs of sitting outside Dylan's room threatening to close the door when he was learning to stay in his new bed. I enjoy my peace and quiet at night. It's me time...me and a bowl of ice cream time. I don't want to have to go through this all over again.

Well it's been three nights of fighting with her to stay in her crib. The battle lasts until she is too exhausted to climb out anymore and I'm too frustrated to even try to enjoy the rest of my night.

I guess it's time for a big girl bed. Which on one hand, I am excited about because it will complete her new room. All matching furniture and a fun new comforter. But the battle it's going to be tough. So when we get back from vacation next week, I'm going into the trenches. It's big girl bed boot camp time!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pastry Chefs in Training

You know you've seen too many episodes of "Ace of Cakes" when your kids build sand cakes instead of sand castles.

Proof that your kids are paying attention to what's on the TV even if you think they aren't:

"Look Mom, I decorated it just like Duff!"

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summertime Friends

Every summer growing up as a kid, my grandparents would take my sister and I to their lake house in Vermont. We would stay the entire summer and most of my childhood memories are of the times I had up there.

I had friends up there that either lived in the area or came up on vacations. It was always so exciting to see them because we were only summertime friends. We didn't go to school together or even know what our lives at home were like. We were able to just have fun together and enjoyed re-connecting every summer. We kept in touch throughout the year writing letters and an occasional phone call, but once we got back together it was as if no time had passed at all.

Although my in-laws lake house is only 20 minutes away, we really only use it in the summer. And Dylan has already made some summertime friends.

He actually misses them throughout the year and looks forward to seeing them every summer. It's fun to watch the friendship develop from just waving to each other from their respective docks, to swimming together and playing at each others' houses, even without mom!!!

This summer Dylan's confidence in the water has helped their friendship. He can keep up with them in the water, play king of the swim dock and even teach them a few tricks on the tube.
It's funny how these friendships are so different from friends at school. These is no pressure or competition, it's simply carefree summer fun! The problem is I can already see the beginning of summer love!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sometimes pictures are better than words

Family Day at the Beach 2010

Obstacle course
Nice Arm
Look at that fast ball

How low can he go?
Some sugarAnd more sugar

Water slide
Water balloon toss
Too much fun
Too cute for words