Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas and Santa Claus

O.k... this whole thing is WAY HARDER than I had thought it would be.

This year, we were able to push Christmas up by one day because my Dad had to travel - so, otherwise, it would have been super rushed and no fun.

We could do this because Katie is 3 and didn't take too much stock in which day Christmas was - I think this is the only year we will be able to do it because she's CRAZY clever!

So, there we all were - kids were sleeping and we started getting the presents out from their hiding place. (Have you asked YOUR parents where they hid presents when you were growing up yet?? go ahead - do it - you will be amazed at how much STEALTHIER they probably were than we are!!)

Anyway - the hubs and I had decided that Santa gifts would be unwrapped and ready for play. (Assembled, batteries in, etc...)

Then there was everything else that we had bought and all the stuff my parents had bought - so how do we tell Katie who brought who? As far as she knows Santa brings gifts - not mommy and daddy - we had planned to tell her some were from Santa and some were from us and my parents, but she kind of kept saying - things like... "O.K. mimi and grumps bought this present, but Santa brought all the rest"

So, we didn't really argue.

So, does that mean that next year everything has to be from Santa? Can some be from us? Do we keep doing the unwrapped versus wrapped thing? Does Santa fill mommy and daddy's stockings too or just kids???

Way more complicated than I had anticipated!

We got through it, and it was AWESOME. She was so excited and so good with the presents
"Mommy, can I open this one? Does it say Katie... I see a K!!!"

She didn't just dive in - she was very patient. She did toss clothing presents aside and even through in an, "I don't want them" comment about socks and leggings but all in all - was very very well behaved.

She liked all of her presents, although I'm surprised at which things she has played with the most so far. I think she's just overwhelmed and can only handle one thing at a time:)

The baby wasn't that into opening... but did like playing with new stuff. His favorite were his sisters princess dolls and this textured, nubby, sensory ball.

We do Christmas all over again next weekend with my in-laws and they are going to get enough stuff that I have to take my tree down to make space for it - and I can't wait to see her face when she sees her MAJOR AWARD - this super, deluxe - monster princess castle with all the princesses and a Cinderella staircase, etc - the whole shebang! She's going to DIE - and then she's going to SCREAM bloody murder when her brother tries to pull himself up to stand on it - but she's still going to die:)

Christmas is awesome.

Next year, I hope to adopt a family so that we can spread our good fortune because as I think of all the kids getting spoiled rotten with toys they will only play with for a few hours - it is hard to not think of those poor children do who not even get one toy - or who don't know where their next meal is coming from.

So, my new years resolution is to donate more all year long - not just at the holidays because you never know... it could be you or someone you know and everyone deserves to get something.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grocery Shopping Race Game

I can't take credit for this entire idea... my friend Kate mentioned making a special grocery list for her 3 year old with pictures and letting him help pick things from his list while shopping and I just added a race to it.

Here is what we do.

I make the grocery list - based on specials and coupons.
I split that list up in 2 for me and my husband.
Then I make a special list with pictures from the flyer for Katie (she helps me glue them)

Then we split up into teams at the grocery store - one of us takes the baby and one of us takes Katie. We tell her we are racing and have to find everything on our lists... We cross paths during the trip to say hello and check in.

Grocery shopping gets done in 1/2 the time.
We still get to spend time together.
Katie has fun.
Ben loves sitting in the grocery cart.

All is right with the world;) Even on a Sunday - which is the day we have done it for the last 2 weeks.

Just another idea for making normal chores manageable:)

Happy Saturday night!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Transitioning from a stay at home to a FT working mom

HOLY Cow the last few weeks have gone by crazy fast and have been crazy, crazy hectic!

The kids started daycare FT, I started working FT and then the holidays started.

The first 2 weeks were rough - both kids were sick and cranky and not adjusting to daycare well at all.

I was sick with guilt and worry and totally stressed out.

My husband was overwhelmed with all the emotion in the house.
Everything seemed chaotic and time consuming.

However, I had a plan from day one.

Prepare early.

  • Crock Pot Dinners, pre-packing snacks, lunches, diapers, etc...
  • Making dinners after the kids go to bed at night so we can re-heat them the next night when they get home after daycare instead of cooking from scratch.
  • Pre-labeling everything they take to school as soon as I get it. (I feel like a movie star, signing autographs on all their food/snacks with a Sharpie - I don't know how they do it - I get tired after the first 5 jars of baby food)
  • Packing school bags at night so that in the morning all we have to do is grab and go
  • Ordering Groceries online and either picking up through Shop at home, or having Pea Pod Deliver. Both end up costing around the same when you figure out the prices of food, and sales and really - the extra $10 - $14 bucks is way worth it to me because that means neither my husband or I have to waste our minimal "downtime" grocery shopping.
  • I even have a plan for cleaning. I clean in spurts - a little every day. One morning before starting work, I might do the kitchen floor, and then after the kids go to bed, I will do the bathroom - one room at a time and I eventually get to the whole house and don't have to waste time doing it while the kids are awake.
Now, I have to get creative and figure out healthier snacks to send to school for Katie - so far I have jumped on the working mom bandwagon and have been giving her pre-packaged, easy to pack, horribly unhealthy stuff... but I'm working on that part and I try to include at least one piece of fruit or fruit snack cup a day!

This is the 4th full week of this schedule and it is finally starting to click.
I have my energy back, (Thanks to my Thyroid meds) the kids are adjusting and happy at school and like their teachers and they are sleeping better at home.

Dave and I work as a team. We each pack and take the kids to school depending on the day. It would be so much harder if I had to do it all myself all the time. I love that we live 5 mins from school and 10 minutes from Dave's job. It gives us the extra time we need to get everything done so neither of us is completely stressed out.

It's also nice to know that on the 2 days that I make my hour long commute to the office, Dave is 5 minutes away from the daycare in case anything happens.

The only thing missing from my life right now besides a full nights sleep (Ben still wakes up every night) is figuring out how to get some gym time in for myself. Right now, I just can't see going to the classes I love at the gym because they are only offered during family time before bed and I just can't see being away from the kids all day AND at night. I know I could easily work something in for when they go to bed at night - but I've always been total crap at working out at home. Maybe we'll suck it up and get a treadmill or elliptical or something - but for now - I will dream of the spin classes I miss so much!

Who knew that transitioning from Full Time Stay at home mom to Full Time working mom would be such an interesting journey?

So far, it's win win for everyone:)

P.s. this little system of ours worked so well that this morning, when we all woke up at 8 - we were able to both shower, get the kids dressed, fed, out the door and to daycare by 8:40... It was kick ass!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Never Traveling overnight again.... grrrrrr

My kids love their grandparents. Katie in particular is crazy close to them and LOVES seeing them and going to their houses... which is good cause their houses are 2 and 6 hours away....

She used to go to my parents house all the time for overnights cause they are the closer of the 2. She even has her own bed there...

So, yes, we hate the drive and we realize everyone is going to be a little off - but we pack it up and head up for Thanksgiving.

We leave early Wednesday - pick the kids up from daycare and start out drive.

Of course, we hit traffic.

Of course, my kids decide they don't want to be in the car. Katie didn't even want to watch tv - which is our fail safe for long car rides.... Ben screamed, and screamed - even though Dave was squished in the backseat between them talking/playing with him.

It was a stressful 3 hour drive.

We got to my parents house and I had already told myself - next year we are staying home. It's too much work packing up, leaving early, driving, etc.... and I just want to enjoy a peaceful, restful holiday.

I called my parents and told them this while we were stuck in traffic. I was grumpy already.

Then, we got there and all was right with the world for about 4 hours until bedtime... Ben freaked out during his bath (he never does that)
and Katie and I had to share the big bed in one room and the boys slept in the other room in the crib/twin bed respectively. Katie moves so much she kept slamming into me, waking herself up. She woke up and screamed bloody murder for about 5 minutes - mostly incoherently. I couldn't calm her down and she just kept freaking out. I finally got her to sleep and then Ben woke up - so Dave took him downstairs to keep him away from the sleeping people and he was loud and played for hours.

Katie woke up again... crying over god knows what.

They were both awake by 6:30 Thanksgiving morning.

The next day we put katie in the twin bed by herself and moved the crib into the other room with the big bed. She woke up again, screaming and yelling and wouldn't stop until DADDY went in there.
He talked/sang/gave her water - she was still freaking out. She calmed down and he left - she freaked out again. At this point, all the grandparents were sleeping in the house and we wanted to minimize the crazy interruption of screaming kids - so Dave took a blanket and slept on the floor next to her in the other room.
Luxurious right - the things you do for kids.

Ben woke up after she was done and didn't go back to bed until after 3 - so I was up from 10 til 3.

We decided then and there we were leaving the next day because clearly the kids just couldn't handle it.

Of course we ended up staying - because we all like going to Mimi's house and she volunteered to stay on the floor with Katie in case she was scared. (mimi's rule)
So, like idiots - we were like... ok - we'll stay.

She did it again - screaming and yelling bloody murder.
Until Dave went in.
And slept on the floor again.

So... Moral of the story is:
As much as we love seeing our families for the holidays and all being together in one house - the kids clearly can't handle being away from home - particularly at night. So... we will stay home for Christmas and we will stay home for the holidays next year.

It sucks, but we are just going to have to stay put for awhile so that the kids get their sleep and we don't have a stressful, crazy, hectic visit.

I am writing this here so that next year when I get the bright idea that it won't be that bad - I will be reminded of just how bad it really is - I swear, we aren't going. Thanksgiving will have to be at our house - wherever that is and no matter how small the house.

P.s. the kids have both slept wonderfully and peacefully since we got home and Katie even took a nap sunday - so I think it was just a little too much excitement for them and there is just too much going on right now in our lives for them to be able to handle that.

I swear - we are staying home for all the holidays next year. It's just tooooo much stress and toooo much sleep deprivation and it's hard to watch and entertain your kids in a different environment.

Maybe when they are 10 mom!;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why did we have 2 kids again?

I always wanted a big family. I had dreams of maybe marrying into one.. but then I fell in love with an only child - so one dream dead - but another fulfilled:)

So, when my husband and I decided to have a kid - in my mind we would always have more than one. I even had ideas in my head of having 3. I figured the more you have, the more likelihood that some of them like each other and would be close.

We had a good thing going. A great thing actually. We had the most perfectly behaved, insanely smart little toddler. We were sleeping at night, she was good during the day and we all had a great relationship as a perfect little threesome.

So, we thought - hey - we're pretty good at this - let's do it again.

I'm starting to think that was a bit of a mistake.

The past few days I have been questioning our decision to have 2 kids so close together in age...

Let me start off by saying, I love my kids!!!

Absolutely, positively, love them.
I like them... most of the time
You know what I mean..

So all you ladies and gents out there gasping in despair at the fact that I would admit something like this.... Chill - cause if you are a parent - you know what I mean. I'm just gutsy enough to be honest about it.

This blog is all about being honest, right?

So... here goes

I miss my old life. My sleep in til whenever we want to, go out whenever and wherever we want to for however long freedom. I miss lazy sundays and friday night spur of the moment dates.
I miss playing Nintendo all day long without a second thought about how that would affect anyone else.

I miss drinking alcohol in a bar after 9pm.

I knew having 2 kids would be hard. Double the work - but I feel like the reality of the situation, is that having 2 kids under 3 actually means triple or quadruple the work.

I understand now why parents of multiples have such high divorce rates... it's tough and the little buggers turn you into tired, cranky, mean, angry people sometimes.
I miss sleeping more than 3 hours at a time.

Now, maybe it's more exaggerated for me because my thyroid shut down, rendering me pretty much helpless physically and mentally for most of the last year. Add that to the fact that Ben took to nursing with a vengeance and didn't give me more than a 3 hour break away from him for the first 6.5 months of his life and you have a very tired, exasperated, struggling mommy.

Add to that, the fact that my perfect little family of 3 has turned into a stressed out, crazed, fighting group of 4 and you have an exasperated family.

Some days I feel like we're failing.

Katie doesn't like Ben. She won't go near him most of the time and she screams and yells when he touches anything in the house.... poor Benny just wants to play with Katie.
Katie plays us against each other and pushes every last button we have as human beings. Bedtime which used to be fairly simple - has turned into an hour long production AT LEAST. Meals have turned into a cage fight.

Ben is a happy baby, but he teethes with gusto - with fevers and snots that make him not breathe and crying... Katie never did that. Ben also wakes up at night still wanting to hang out - sometimes for hours at a time, and sometimes more than once.

I had no idea.

Thank god Katie has been potty trained for a year because I can't imagine how frustrated I would be if I had to change 2 kids diapers all day ;)

We keep telling ourselves and each other that it will get better. It has to. It might take 18 years. But - in my head, they will be best friends. They will give me lots of grandkids. They will call me every other day and be successful individuals who buy me expensive gifts and marry people that we like to be around ;)

The other day, we were so broken down that we started talking about not being prepared for how hard it was going to be... and Dave said that we should warn our kids so that they don't do it to themselves... but I said... NO, cause I want grandkids!!!

Dave said... that's why we're here. Our parents knew how hard this was and they didn't tell us because they didn't want to scare us so they could have grandkids.

Damn it!! A little heads up would have been nice. We would have had Ben eventually... just maybe later.

I know, I know... here she is complaining again. Well, it's a blog. Blogs are mostly complaints and thoughts of the individuals writing them.

This is where my head is at these days.

Again, I love my kids. Every day, they do amazing things that make me smile and laugh and every day they make me proud... but then no sooner than I wipe my last proud tear - is Katie yelling at Ben for looking at her. And then I get brought back to reality!

The good news, is that they are adjusting to daycare wonderfully and work is going CRAZY WELL. I can't tell you how much better I feel as an individual now that I am back to work. And it makes me so happy to see how much Katie is learning in Pre-K and how much Ben likes his teachers. It has given me the break I need and it will allow us to be in a good place financially for our house search.

As far as I can tell, so far - it's win, win;)

So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel... it just feels like a REALLY, REALLY long tunnel.

Needless to say, there will not be a 3rd child. Unless we can pop him out at a stage where he will be self sufficient ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I swear this stuff all really happened

If I was reading this on someone else's page, I would think there was no way so many things happened in 2 days... but it did. And thankfully, none of it harmed any of us - but the ridiculousness of the situation has created some stress as you can imagine.

It started Friday - my first day working from home. The kids were at their daycares, coffee was ready and I was running downstairs to throw laundry in before my 9 am interview call. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I noticed water - lots of water... I walked around the basement to the back of the house and realized it was all along one side of the basement - under the dryer and through the length of the house.


I called the realtor responsible for the house and she proceeds to call me a billion times while I'm on calls all morning and I finally had to explain to her that she just needed to come over because I was working.

She comes over in the middle of the day with some old guy and explains that it's coming from our furnace... which makes NO SENSE because the furnace is on the opposite side of the basement where all the water was - but she thought it was perfectly logical, and I was working... so whatever.

I go get the kids at the end of the day and the daycare drama starts. I get them home, get dinner settled, get daycare settled and sit down to enjoy the night when the realtor comes back with her husband. He investigates downstairs and proceeds to tell me that the furnace looks like it hasn't been serviced in years and is probably going to cause problems.

He then finds a dead bird behind the water heater (which must have been there before we moved in as I think I would have noticed a freakin bird flying around and then slowly dying since I am down there doing laundry ALL THE TIME) Yes, I almost threw up right then and there. (yes, he took the bird out for me, cause he's awesome)

Then, he starts to investigate for REAL the water leak because he and I agree that it's not the furnace. He moves some old building supplies that the owner left lying around and knocks over a can of paint that was open and about half of it spills all over the floor.

I swear to you, I am not making this up.

Now there is paint on the floor, water everywhere, old, dead bird germs behind the water heater and he finds 2 industrial sized bolts sticking straight up through the ground right smack in front of the problem.

The main drain for the house - which drains the shower, sink and kitchen sinks, has rusted completely through and there is now a 6 inch length of pipe that has literally disintigrated. The main drain of the house now drains directly into my basement, because the piece that would allow it to flow out under the house - rusted off so it pours right onto my floor.

They call a plumber - plumber shows up around 8 says he can't do anything until tomorrow. Then changes his mind when I tell him we have kids, and he says he can try to fix it tonight - just has to get the charges approved.

He gets a call from his office and tells us he has to leave because the realtor has not approved for him to do the work.

I call the realtor and she SWEARS she didn't tell him to leave. (which is total BS)

While he was investigating, he did something to our water heater - which is now steadily leaking water onto the floor to make the water situation worse.
I discover this as I go down there to check out how bad it looks before bed.

We go to bed with the main drain still completely open and she says she will send someone in the morning.

She calls in the morning and says the original plumber isn't coming. (interesting right, as she never told him he couldn't do it the night before but he instead told her he could only do it the next day... like I said BS)

She said she could send her husband to do it.

Her husband is not a plumber. I tell her I want plumber... she gets irritated like that is a ridiculous request. I also tell her about the water heater - she doesn't believe me.

We leave to go meet up with friends... have a lovely time... Realtor never calls me.

I call for an update. The water heater is overpressurized and needs a special valve so it doesn't burst or something, the furnace needs to be adjusted so that the heat actually flows through the house right, the plumber will come by at night to do the work.

Let me shorten this by giving you bullet points of how the rest of the night went.
  • Plumber finally shows up around 7:30 (bedtime for kids right)
  • Plumber makes lots of racket - terrifying our toddler
  • Plumber does fix drain YAY
  • Plumber tells us while we are putting Katie to bed late and exhausted that he needs to do something in her room in 45 minutes meaning we can't put her to sleep.
  • Katie's heat gets fixed - we wrangle her to bed
  • Ben wakes up
  • Ben vomits all over me
  • Then smiles
  • He seems fine for awhile, then vomits all over Dave
  • We have to call the pediatrician after asking FB friends for thoughts
  • It ends up being nothing and he's ok - just slept roughly - we get him to bed finally like, after 1 I think
  • Katie wakes up at 4:30 for the day - we explain it's still nightime and we have to sleep - she tells us we are wrong.
  • We eventually get Katie back to sleep around 5 something
  • Ben wakes up at 6:30
One of these things I could have handled - all of them on a weekend when we have to lose an hour and I can't wait for Monday so we can start over.

These were all small things... the reason it stressed me out is because renting you have no control over who does the work and these owners always pick the cheapest option:( and we always have other issues to deal with.

Everyone is ok and I'm thankful for that. but I'm also thankful that today is a new day!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day Care DRAMA

O.k..... so Katie has been going to a daycare now for about 2 months. It's int he basement of a church and kinda dark and old and dingy (because it's in a basement) but I heard FABULOUS things about the teachers and really liked them when I met them. When I first put her in, it was only for a few hours, 3 times a week - basically to give both of us a little break so I could spend time with Ben and she could get playtime with kids her age. So, I wasn't really concerned with curriculum or brightness... newness...

Fast Forward to a few weeks ago when I decided to go back to work. (Mostly because Katie took to going to daycare so well )

Daycare A is the place Katie was in PT. They were actually in the process of opening a brand new location in a Huge old house and it included infants through full day kindergarten. (daycare B) State certified, beautifully decorated and designed for kids and it was all inclusive so all I would have been packing every day was formula. It was opening November 1 - so I signed Ben up for the new place because I didn't want him going to the old place since it would be full day.

The plan was for both kids to transition over to Daycare B when it opened and the timing was perfect because it was opening a few days before I went back to work so that we would have a few days of transition before I had to commute/work FT.

Daycare B - didn't open November 1. They were having trouble with permits and inspections - and they couldn't tell me when they were going to be able to open. They thought most likely the end of the week (like Thursday or Friday)

In the meantime, they were going to juggle some things so that they could take Ben for me at Daycare A for 2 days as I was scheduled to work. So, it was very nice of them to juggle things, but I needed to know if my kids had a daycare for sure because I was starting work.

Wednesday comes and they still don't know for sure.

So, I go and visit Daycare C which is in the town my husband works in (and one town over from me) it's only a 5 minute drive and that's only because of a long light -

I go check it out and fall in love. The infant room teachers are all sweet little old grandmas with one super hip young girl to balance it out:) They have a big open space to crawl, walk, play and I liked the way they were set up. They give me a sheet every day to tell me what he's eaten, his diapers, etc... he has his own crib there and it's just very nicely organized.

So... they have a spot and can take the baby. I decide I don't want to send him to Daycare A for just 2 days to then end up switching him out and Daycare B still had no definite opening date.

(p.s. I hadn't been given ANY OF THE PAPERWORK for Daycare B either yet)

Sorry... this is long... so I'll shorten it. This is what happened
I signed him up for Daycare C and they said they could take Katie too and that she could start in the Pre-K 3 class with her friend. My intention was to leave her at Daycare A for 2 weeks because that is the policy so I told Daycare C that she would start in 2 weeks but that Ben would start this week - they were great!

I called Daycare A/B to find out what is going on and of course they had JUST gotten the ok to open... So, I tell the owner that I had to sign my baby up for a different place and she was clearly irritated and said how she had told me they were opening on the 7th - and I explained that she had said she thought they were but that the date had already been pushed back 2 times....

So, I tell her that I'm sorry but that I needed to find coverage because I have to work and I agreed to leave Katie there for 2 weeks and I was perfectly ok with that because she really likes her main teacher.

Katie goes to Daycare A Thursday and Friday. Ben goes to Daycare C Thursday and Friday. All is right with the world. I'm feeling guilty and considering leaving Katie at her daycare because she likes her teacher....

I go to pick her up Friday and her teacher tells me it's her last day.

I had agreed to 2 weeks... If I had known they were going to make that her last day - I would have prepared her. My kid is smart, I didn't want to just pull her and tell her from one day to the next - I would have told her she wasn't gonna see her teachers anymore...

The freakin owner wasn't even there to tell me, she made the main teacher do it.

As you can imagine I was livid.

At the end of the day, Daycare C agreed to take them both on Monday - so it all worked out in the end - but I can't express how disappointed I am that what had been a VERY GOOD experience overall for us as Katie's first daycare and teachers has turned into a sore spot for me.

It didn't have to go down like that. I wasn't a complainer, I wasn't a meddler, I wasn't even holding them accountable for not knowing when they were going to open. I simply had to find a spot for my son because they couldn't guarantee me one as they had originally said they could.

In the end, It's better for all of us. They will be in Dave's work town so if we move, it won't be a drive to a random town for daycare drop off. Katie will be in Pre-K with her little bestie. Benny will be with the sweet little grandmas and we won't have to deal with all the kinks and problems that I am sure will arise from a facility opening for the first time.

And just to throw in a little more for my pity party and then I will stop - before all of this drama came about Friday Afternoon, I had found a flood in the basement, that ended up being the main drain for the house. In the course of figuring out what it was, the realtors husband found a dead bird in the basement, (I literally almost threw up at the announcement) he discovered that the furnace has probably not been maintenanced or cleaned in YEARS and that the main drain in the house literally rusted clear through and broke off... yes broke off. So, we can't use any water in the house until that gets fixed.

But... My pity party is over. The drain will get fixed and we will hopefully be moving VERY SOON. (this weekend has bumped my house hunt to a whole nother level) and the kids will be safe and hopefully happy at their new daycare - Daycare C.

Oh.. and I totally plan on writing a review on Daycare B to let other moms know the ridiculousness that ensued... it was the owner, not the teacher and I'm still bitter.

Here is to a better day today!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clothes Shopping - FOR ME

O.k. I know... what's the big deal - clothes shopping - people do it every day.... but I don't - hardly ever!

I'm the type of stay at home mom who wore sweatpants all day at home - the same PJ pants I wore before I was preggo, got me through my first pregnancy and also my second! I was lucky that I didn't have to buy an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes because a lot of what I had fit even during pregnancy. (although probably not well!!!)

Needless to say, my closet needs an update. The clothes that are in there are the same clothes that were in there before I had my daughter almost 3 years ago and those clothes had been in there - since right after college. (ok I'm not gonna lie, some of it is from college)

So, this mommy is planning on splurging - I'm talking take a paycheck and go shopping on just me splurging.

Now, that is my intention, but my husband will tell you that the likelihood of me actually spending a significant amount of money is really slim to none - but I'm mostly committed to doing it!

My wardrobe doesn't just need an update - it needs a Clinton Kelly Makeover - start from scratch - throw things out and start over.

Lucky for me, my awesome new job is business casual so I can get nice jeans, sweaters, etc... stuff that I can also wear on weekends. Even luckier for me, I will be working from home 3 - 4 days a week - so I can still drag out the old stay at home mom pants if I want to.

Being home for so long has given me motivation to get up and get dressed every day as if I was going to an office. Now, I'm sure that will wear off soon enough - but until it does, I think that my almost 3 years of service to my family and home which including pinching pennies that didn't really need to be pinched, and saving by not buying things for myself has qualified me for a huge, over the top, makeover!

So... Ben and I will be going out shopping after his nap to get some stuff - fingers crossed that I find stuff I like and that it fits well:) I did not miss disappointing dressing room visits the past 3 years!

Yay for shopping!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Name Bubbles Take 2

O.k. so as I finalize the details of my return to work, I keep finding myself playing around with the Name Bubbles website to create mock ups of what Ben's Daycare labels will look like.

Here is my trouble - there are too many adorable options to choose from! I know I want something that is going to be bright and stand out because Katie's labels match some of her stuff so her teachers don't notice them. (plus I think we need to change where we put the labels on her cups, and food containers to make sure it's the first thing they see.)

So, I have done this about 4 times and just haven't pulled the trigger yet because I just want to pick the right ones.

I know, what's the big deal. I just think they are adorable and I feel such pressure to get them "right" There are 42 different pictures to choose from if you want to pick the icon style. Right now, I'm partial to the guitar since my hubby plays. Then on top of all the cute pictures to choose from, you have to pick from 24 color combinations. Some are more boyish and some are girlish, but I feel they have some very nice gender neutral options as well.

I love these things. They have stayed in all of Katie's clothes after repeated washings and haven't budged on any of her cups or food containers, despite the fact that we REFUSE to wash dishes by hand around here and they go through the dishwasher every night.

I'm having a hard time picking which "pack" I should order because the kids aren't allowed to take any toys to school with them, so it will just be bottles, food containers, clothes and eventually - shoes. So, I think I will order the sampler pack because as cute as the shaped labels are, I just don't think we have any use for them right now.

I think these would be a great idea for people who work in places with shared refrigerators and lots of people instead of writing your name on your tupperware. You don't have to choose icon pictures, you can pick monogram styles and they will not look like they were intended for kids.

I think I'm gonna place my order tonight in anticipation of finalizing my new job tomorrow. Maybe it will be my good luck.

Either way, check them out - you will love them.

OH, and as a friend pointed out, they have fund raising options - so maybe this is a good idea for your school or organization too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Going back to work!!!

So... this has been a big week for us all!
I got 2 job offers, the new daycare I want the kids in, is opening up next week and Ben is crawling and climbing as fast as lightening!!

Yup - 2 job offers. It all happened kind of quick and kind of random but I am super happy to say that I was able to choose from 2 VERY nice job opportunities for going back to work FT.

I am going to be working for my old company - from my home office - with a one day a week commute to the main office. (it's about an hour each way)

I will be doing a little recruiting/HR but mainly, a brand new, totally challenging, business analyst job. The fact that I will be working from home means that my lunch "breaks" and "commuting time" will be used to do small things around the house instead of eating, like laundry or dinner prep so that after 5 pm, things won't be as crazy as when you have to commute to and from a job every day. The kids will be at a daycare 5 minutes away and since my husband works 5 minutes away - we can share the drop off/pick up of the kids, doctors appointments and sick days!

The daycare we are putting the kids in is all inclusive. So, I don't have to pack diapers for Ben, or lunch and snacks for Katie. That will help significantly with the packing/unpacking portion of the day that a lot of working moms complain of.

The crockpot will be my new best friend, as well as freezing meals on weekends to throw in the oven so that we can still eat around 5:30 most days.

I am so excited to be going back to work, and even more excited because it's going to be such a different position than what I was doing before.

This also means that we will be kicking it into high gear on the house search!

Big Big week for us around here!
I plan on celebrating with Dunkin Donuts Hot Chocolate since I have lost my taste for alcohol!!! :)

Any working moms have any other time saving ideas for starting daycare??? I see crock pots meals, sandwiches and casseroles made over the weekend as being the focal point of our nightly meals. What do you do when your kids aren't awake when you have to leave in the morning? Who is responsible for drop off/pick up?

We will be sharing the responsibility depending on our work schedules.

I'm so excited, nervous, happy all at the same time that I can't stand it. I have 1 and half weeks before I start FT and I hope to be able to start the kids FT next week to iron out any kinks and selfishly, to get a little time for myself before things get crazy again!

Happy November everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Candy

I know a lot of parents don't love Halloween but I LOVE IT. I think there is nothing sweeter than all the little munchkins dressed up, walking around and asking for candy.
I truly enjoy it!

So.... my post today is about the SWAG! What do you do with your kids Halloween candy?
Do you let them have it all?
Do you let them eat candy as they trick or treat?
Do you inspect it for needles and poison and torn wrappers. (I remember doing this as a kid)
Do you let them keep the candy to eat during the weeks after Halloween?
Do you take it work?

Do you let your kids use pillow cases or do you buy fancy bags, containers for it?

What time do you take your kids out?

Katie didn't get much last year because she was so little that she didn't last long and it was COLD so we went to a few houses and came home. She doesn't eat a lot of candy normally (was never really into it and we certainly never pushed it on her) so it was no big deal what her candy disappeared after like 3 days.

This year will be different. She has an amazing ability to inventory everything and I am sure she will keep tabs on what goes in her fancy schmancy Thomas the Train Candy bucket (courtesy of her grandparents - it's adorable)

Ben is so small, that I am sure we will want to go out as early as possible so as to not disrupt bedtime too much - but if Katie is having a really good time, I suppose we could split up and she could stay out a little longer.

I used to think it was weird when people went out before it was dark, but now that I have little kids I am SO HAPPY that people around here do that because it means we can go out and get back before it gets REALLY cold and it won't ruin bedtime - so I'm hoping to be out by 5 pm and back by 6 pm. (although out by 4 would be even better:))

Wishful thinking probably - but that's the idea, timeline for me.

How about you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My favorite gifts for new moms

A FB post today made me want to re-post about my favorite things to give a new mom.
A medicine kit!

I like to include:
  • Infant Ibuprofen
  • Infant Aspirin
  • Saline Drops
  • Cornstarch Powder
  • Different Diaper Creams
  • Mylicon
  • Vapor Bath
These items are INVALUABLE to a new mom, particularly as colds come on QUICK and sometimes at night so there isn't time to run out and buy this stuff... Plus, as a new mom, you might not know which types of stuff to buy, so a little instruction with the kit can help out a WHOLE LOT! My cousin gave me a kit like this that was pre-made at my baby shower and it ended up being one of the best gifts ever!

I don't suggest getting the pre-made kids because you can't see the expiration dates on the individual items so you might be giving an expired gift (sucks I know, they should really regulate that stuff)
Also, you won't know if the items inside are a part of a recall.

I also like to make diaper cakes with different brands/types of diapers. I find that every kid is different and what works for some, doesn't work for all and it's helpful for a new mom to get to try one or two of one kind instead of having to buy a whole package only to find out they don't work.

I gotta run, it's baby hat making time for a brand new little bundle of joy that just arrived and then it's on to some craft fair crocheting... I'm making breakfast sets with eggs, bacon and toast:)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Selling Breastmilk on Craigslist... WTF

I know, I know, my previous posts regarding breastfeeding were controversial, however, I Can't NOT talk about this!!!!!

I browse Craigslist all the time particularly for things for my kids like outdoor toys. I am always VERY careful as there are crazies out there - but I have used it with great success in the past.

I was browsing looking for something in the kids section and came across this posting... I swear to you, I am not making it up - it's still there on the NY page if you don't believe me... October 15, is the date of the posting. Here it is in Italics and to be CLEAR - this is not MY posting (in case you are just skimming this post) this is a posting I came across online....

Currently 32 weeks pregnant, and planning to sell breastmilk to mothers unable to bf, single fathers, adoptive mothers etc. $2 an ounce given daily, or frozen and given weekly. Breastmilk should only be stored in the fridge for 24 hours, or three months in the freezer.
Coming from a healthy mom, that doesnt smoke, drink or do illicit drugs, nor have any disease, and willing to test to verify at buyers expense. Not taking any medications, aside from folic acid suppliments (assists in brain development for baby) and prenatal vitamins.
Cash only, and pick up only, until mobility is fully restored, then we can work something out.
Due date is december 9th, and mature milk forms after 2 weeks, so it can be given by roughly christmas.

Already producing colostrum, if wanted, for $100 a days worth. Please keep in mind, colostrum is for newborns, and although boost the immune system among other benefits, is usually only given for the first 2-3 days, in very small amounts. A small amount on a plastic spoon, five times a day for three days is the norm. It is produced, and expelled in small amounts, and i am unsure if you can freeze it, so if you want colostrum please have the time to bring back the baby every two hours or have some idea of sanitary storage

Ummmmmm WHAT????

Ok. - I am huge advocate for breastfeeding - however I advocate for breastfeeding your own child. I understand there are instances when moms can't breastfeed and want to very badly, or where preemies or babies with illnesses might require breastmilk to help them have a fighting chance, and that there are actual, sanitary, regulated breast milk banks for these types of situations.

However, buying breastmilk from a stranger that you find on Craigslist seems like the most insane thing I have heard of in a long time.

I fully understand and realize that WET NURSES existed and allowed lots of babies to survive when they otherwise would not have - but that was before the invention of formula (for the most part) which is a safe alternative. AND wet nurses were usually people that lived in the house who you knew and could "monitor" if you know what I mean.

How do you know what is in this breastmilk? How do you know the person doesn't smoke or do drugs or have any illnesses, or drinks alcohol... I mean - It's CRAIGSLIST.

Can anyone tell me a good reason why someone should actually consider something like this?
Do you all think it's as crazy as I do? Am I overreacting to the idea of this?

I know I have seen postings for people selling breastmilk previously - so I don't think it's a one off type posting that I just happened upon.. although a little research doesn't show any other postings like this in about 5 states that I checked - but I know I have seen it before...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Going back to Work and Day Care

O.k. so I have decided to pursue the idea of going back to work. Selfishly, I need this for myself for many, many reasons. I also think that in my current state, it would be better for the kids to be with people who have more patience with them and who can teach them new things. (Katie is doing so incredibly well right now learning -it really makes me happy)

So, now begins the job search. In a perfect world, I could go back part time and the kids would only have to be in daycare for half a day and then home with me for the other half - giving me the break I need and them the exposure to other kids I want them to have.

However, no job exists that will pay enough working part time to supply enough money for 2 kids in daycare - even part time. I would be working to make just enough to send them to daycare and that's not what I was looking for.

How do other working moms do it? How do you quantify how much you make versus how much you pay for daycare.

At first, my decision to go back was mostly selfish because we don't really need the money to pay the bills day to day - but then we went and got pre-qualified for a mortgage and ended up getting less than we can actually afford.

(Thank you banking jerks who encouraged people to spend more than they could afford, thus creating the cluster f*&k that is mortgages right now - which is resulting in us not getting as much as we KNOW we could actually afford...)

So, now if we want to buy a house in the next 6 months, I have to go back to work so that we can up the amount for a house because we also have certain requirements we want to stay within during the house search - including staying close to jobs so that we can maximize our time home with the kids - staying close to jobs means - $$$$$$$$ houses and taxes...

So... how much is too little for a paycheck when you have to send your kids to daycare?
How do you deal with the guilt of only making enough money to pay for daycare?
How did you find an affordable daycare that has a good curriculum and nice facilities for your child?

I of course, want it all. High tech facilities, awesome, state certified teachers, nice location with ample play space - well, around here that costs a minimum of 400 - 600 A WEEK for full time care for 2 kids. I feel like I'm drowning in decisions and choices and pressure. I want to make sure I make the best choice for everyone involved and at the same time, I want to make sure I can bring something to the table financially because I think it's time we get a house and really get ourselves settled and start meeting people, getting the kids involved in town, etc...


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Splitting Holiday time with family

So... halloween is almost here which means the Holiday season is going to be taking over our lives VERY QUICKLY. (for those of us who don't start in June that is;))

And every year we have the question of where do we spend the holidays. We do not live near our families (or anyone that we really know for that matter...) So, our holidays have always been split between CT or Maine. The year that we were pregnant with our first child, we selfishly decided that we didn't want to drive ANYWHERE (granted I was 8 months pregnant) so, we spent our last single christmas morning, alone together to open presents and have breakfast and then my family drove down from CT for the rest of the day. It was nice and I'm glad we got to do that just once.

The first year after our daughter was born, we spent Thanksgiving in CT with BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS. (all of us get along really, really, well, so it was a good time for everyone)

Her first christmas we spent at my parents house and it was lovely! There is just something about having christmas with my parents that makes me happy. Then we got to have a christmas weekend with Daves parents at our house a few weeks later. It was a nice way to let Katie have christmas with both sets of grandparents privately.

The hard part of spending Christmas at my parents was that we had to drive out there, sleep somewhere other than our house (which is ALWAYS hard for kids and us for packing supplies, etc...) and pack and tote around presents and then bring all her stuff back to our house... that part I could do without.

Katies second year, we hiked all the way up to Maine for Thanksgiving. It is a 6 hour drive minimum with no traffic or stops... not easy to do with kids AT ALL. I think we drove late at night so that she slept in the carseat and we might have had to stop at a hotel in the middle of the drive because she wouldn't sleep -either way, it ended up working out ok and not being too hard. She always slept poorly when we travelled and then slept poorly for a few days after travelling too... So, it's not something we like to do all the time.

We love going to maine, but it's such a far drive that it makes it very hard to do. Now with Ben, it's even harder to do because he doesn't sleep for long in the car and won't sit in the car awake for too long before he tries to break out of his carseat - so we aren't sure what we are doing for holidays this year. It's hard to travel as a family of 4 and stay overnight anywhere - especailly with a baby who doesn't sleep through the night. But, at the same time, we like spending holidays with our parents - so every year we are torn about what to do and where to go.

How do you split your holiday time? Do you travel? Do you refuse to travel? Do you have people come to you? Do you pick a time other than the holiday itself to get together so you can avoid high priced tickets and expensive, travel with traffic??

When do you decide to just have holidays be for you and your kids?

Lucky for Dave and I, we don't have siblings that we have to share holiday time with or plan around their plans - so I can't even imagine if you come from a big family, how you get to see everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings. I feel for you because I can only imagine all you want in the world is to sleep in your own bed and stay in pj's all day - cause sometimes that's all I want - but then I think to myself - how is that any different than any other weekend (well, except for the presents of course) and I end up deciding to have holidays with our parents because it's more fun that way!

I think this year, we might have our Christmas be just the 4 of us - as we are in a house now which to me, feels a little more festive and manageable - but who knows - I will probably decide that's too boring!

Thanksgiving is tough too because I don't know if Ben will sit in the car for as long as it takes us to get to Maine and the trip home always ends up feeling like it takes FOREVER....The holidays are stressful enough right? If only someone could come up with a way to teleport instantly! It's 2011, someone get on that please!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sleep Habits

My kids only sleep in their cribs or their car seats.
NOT because I am crazy rigid and make it that way - but because for some reason it is impossible for me to move my kids from the car into the house for them to continue their sleep.

I am so jealous of all you families out there that can move your kids while sleeping. I even saw a lady at Sesame once with her kid sprawled out in a double stroller (not in a very comfy position I might add) SOUND ASLEEP - pick her kid up - take her to take pics with Big Bird and the little girl never woke up! I wanted to run to that mother and say - HOW DO YOU DO THAT???

Ben and I went out for a breather this morning while Katie is at daycare and he fell asleep in the car. He should be EXHAUSTED - it's time for his regular morning nap.. he fell asleep on the 10 minute ride home and as soon as I put him in his crib he did a ninja roll over onto his belly and was up on all fours in like 2 seconds flat.

He's currently up there playing with toys...

Is it something you do to help them be able to sleep in different places? Katie never even napped in her stroller except for 1 time at Sesame Place when she was beyond exhausted and we had to keep her moving or she'd wake up.

I just wish we didn't have to plan our days around their critical nap periods because I hate to deprive them of their sleep because I want to get something done.

Maybe if I give him a bottle, he'll go back to sleep???
Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Creating an environment of support

I am sad that breastfeeding is over for me. I am sad that we had to give up after 7 months of exclusive nursing with no break because my son never took a bottle.

I am however, happy that he is sleeping better at night and that we now know how much he is eating at every feeding.

I am sad at how mean spirited the blog turned both from my original posting and the comments that ensued.

I would like to be able to continue having conversations on here that support each other and the way that I worded my inability to understand why some moms choose not to breastfeed was not conducive to that, nor were the comments that followed - so I took it down because I do want this to be a place for discussion without judgment and I didn't accomplish that.

I am sorry that I offended people and that my words were judgemental, but I still hold on to the fact that I support breastfeeding and sticking to it as long as you can. Every one has a choice and I hope that people make their choices for the right reasons and perhaps it's not up to me or you to decide what the right reason is for each other.

Breastfeeding was right for me up until this weekend and I am sad that it is over, but I am SOOOOO looking forward to wearing normal bras again and not leaking randomly. That's for sure.

Thank you for posting comments to get the conversation/argument going and for making me see that it was not a supportive posting but a one sided and apparently hurtful one. Things like this only make people better and I hope to be able to proceed with fun/insightful/supportive posts that generate comments of the same nature.

After all, we are all in this together as parents are we not?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Name Bubbles

I was so excited to get my "media" packet from Name Bubbles today. They sent me some samples to test and review and to be honest, I was only expecting one type of label.

I received shoe labels called Bubble Toes, Bitty Bubbles for clothes, Fun Bubbles, Shaped Bubbles and Giant Bubbles.

They are all dishwasher or laundry safe. They are also the most adorable things I've seen in a long time! I want to label everything! I immediately started pulling out her stuff so that I could try them out.

Katie LOVES them. She was so excited and wanted to know what she could put the pretty stickers on! I understand her enthusiasm

There are TONS of designs, colors, font options and motifs to choose from.
Fun, playful pictures, modern designs, colors that pop against whatever you are putting them on and the fact that they are washing safe is a huge time saver.

(Previously, we had been using a Sharpie to write her name every day on her lunch items... how boring and how time consuming as we have to do it after every time it gets washed.

I have labeled a few of Katie's items for testing and am happy to report that her cups come out of the dishwasher with the label still in tact and with no color fading. Her clothes that went in the laundry came out with the label in the exact place I put them on.

I love, love, love these labels. I can't wait to find something to put the larger ICON ones on that are in the shape of a train. (She can't wait either, cause she keeps asking where we can put them)

Overall, I couldn't be happier. I think the baby is going to be headed to daycare soon as I go back to work, so I am excited to pick out colors, designs for his stuff too.

Check them out, you won't be sorry!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Creating a new generation

Yes folks, as dramatic as that sounds - it is what is happening RIGHT NOW!
(no, not me - I stand by my 2 is enough stance right now - particularly as sleeping is NOT getting any better!!!)

ANYWAY - the point of this posting is to send a HUGE congratulations to all of the people in my life either directly or indirectly, who have either JUST had babies or are about to embark on this journey through pregnancy.

We literally are creating the next generation - and I think it will be a multi-tasking, technologically superior and HOPEFULLY HEALTHIER AND NICER breed:)

I do however, beg and plead that you take this seriously. We are creating the next generation, which means how they turn out, mostly depends on us. So, put your baggage in the closet, and treat your children with respect and love and understand that you can never give too many hugs or kisses but that it is possible not to hug or kiss enough - and that sticks with your children.

Be prepared to support them, encourage them, ground them, teach them manners.

Please do NOT let them get fake nails ANY EARLIER than 16 or 17 OR let them get fake tans, or let them wear words like Juicy on their asses until they are out of your house, living on their own. It's disgusting and highly inappropriate - yes they will hate you - but they are supposed to hate you - you are their parent, NOT their friend.

Please teach your sons how to respect women and others and to be open hearted of others, regardless of sexual orientation, coolness factor or other totally non important factors.

NIP BULLYING IN THE BUD! It's a horrific, horrible thing and parents should take it seriously. I'll never forget once I posted something publicly on AOL (back when AOL was dial up and super cool) about a fellow classmate in highschool and it was mean and despicable and my parents found out and took away my AOL for good. Cancelled the account completely right then and there. I hated them for it, but they were right - what I did was the lowest of the low and I thank them for teaching me right from wrong.

Being a parent is more than dressing your kid up in cute clothes and showing them off to anyone who will look. (Although enjoy that while it lasts - because toddlers are harder to coax into crazy outfits!!)

Understand that life no longer revolves around you. Although I preach autonomy in a serious way - please know that I seek balance in allowing myself to have a SELF outside the kids - but that ultimately my kids come first. It's part of parenting - if you are doing it the right way.

If you don't stay home with your kids and pay someone to take care of them - please make sure you treat their caregivers with respect and appreciation - they are doing an amazing thing for you and although it's their "job" the good ones do a better job than some of us could do on our own and we need to respect that.

I watched the movie the Back Up Plan and Anthony Edwards has a scene in a playground where he is talking about parenthood and he hits it right on the nail... I can't remember it exactly, but the message is something like this...

Parenting is a whole lot of terrible, awful, disgusting, horrible things - followed by something unbelievably amazing and heartwarming, which is followed by something else terrible, awful and disgusting, then horrible, then something amazing happens again - and that cycle is what parenting is about - particularly in the infant/toddler years - and it's QUITE a ride!

Happy Parenting - Congratulations and welcome to the club!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I love this stroller!

When we started looking for double strollers - there were a few things I wanted out of it based on other doubles I had seen.
  • I wanted a tandem because side by sides are cumbersome.
  • I wanted the front seat to have a snack tray (My MacLaren didn't have one and it kind of bugged me after awhile.)
  • I wanted the front seat to recline so that the kid sitting in it could take naps.
  • I wanted a decent sized basket so that I could put stuff down there.
  • I wanted it to steer easily, and possibly with one hand.
  • I wanted it to fold down easily and not take up too much space in my trunk.
  • I wanted Katie to like it so that she would want to use it during those times when we want to be able to walk a little big faster.
  • I wanted a large sun canopy, because my MacLaren was definitely lacking in that area and I had to buy an extended visor for ours so that Katie wasn't in the sun all the time,
So, I did some reasearch and found the Joovy ultralight caboose.

Before I made the purchase, I researched on Craigslist to try to find a used one - and I did - an Orange one from 2009. We bought it and immediately fell in love.

I liked it right away because you could use an infant carseat and then once the baby was older put them in the stroller seat itself like the bigger double strollers.

It is SUPER COMPACT - although it's a double, it feels more like a large single stroller. I LOVED that because I drove a friends sit and stand tandem before and HATED IT - it was heavy, unbalanced and hard to steer.

It's light and folds down with one step and fits nicely in my trunk, leaving some room for groceries, etc...

It has some funky colors - which I like.

Katie LOVES IT. She will stand on the platform sometimes or sit on the toddler seat and when she's really tired, we put her in the front and carry Ben and she can relax a little.

I can also steer it with one hand, even with both kids in it which amazes me!

The Sun visor is AMAZING and covers everything.

So, after having the used one for about 4 months, I decided to sell that one and splurge on a new one. (there are very few things I splurge on now a days)
We went to Buy Buy Baby with a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond (WHICH THEY ACCEPT) and got a brand new one in Greenie color (Katie's favorite color is green) for 20% off.

We brought it home and Katie and I put it together - it took about 20 minutes maybe and then we were off.

The only downside I have found so far is that it doesn't hold up well "off road." We went apple picking and pushed it through the orchard and it felt a bit wobbly and I was worried about the wheels because they are plastic, not air - so you could tell it was struggling. But it made it just fine, it was just a little hard to push and I was overly nervous about it because we had just bought it!

We bought it because we don't plan to jog with it, or take it hiking, etc... We plan to use it around town, at the parks or if we go out shopping and it is perfect for all of those things.

So, if you are looking for a double stroller to use for the same things that we use ours for - definitely look into the Joovy Ultra Light. They also have jogging type stollers that have good reviews. Also, if you are going to buy one - take a coupon and get it at Bed Bath and Beyond - what a great deal!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, September 23, 2011

I posted about this on my FB page and it generated a very interesting conversation so I decided to expand and see what others have to say.

Let me preface this with this, this is not a place for bashing. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I want everyone to feel free to share their perspective.

Personally, I can't really see a good reason for home schooling... Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and sending your kids to school would somehow be a huge time consumer. Then, maybe I could understand it. Or, I have heard that some states actually offer serious support to home schooled childen and allow them to be involved in extracurricular activities with the school kids - then maybe I could understand it.

Now... by homeschooling - I don't mean you teach your 3 year old to spell - I am doing that with mine and I don't consider that homeschooling. I am talking about serious - all day long full time education of your child at home instead of enrolling them in a school program from Kindergarten on. I just think you are doing your child a huge disservice for a million different reasons.


Learning Style


Separation from the home

These are just a few things that I think of whenever I hear or read of someone homeschooling.

I think that unless you make a huge effort to ensure your kids are mainstreamed in other areas of their life - their social skills are going to suffer regardless of how hard you try to teach otherwise. You can't really teach how to be social with other people, particularly people that are different than you unless you experience it firsthand.

Learning style & Adaptability- I would think that most parents would have a very hard time not catering to their child's best learning style - which means your child might not learn how to adapt to different teaching styles... goodluck in college with that one... particularly as teachers change their styles from day to day and class to class.

Separation from Home. I really feel that kids need to be able to survive and thrive away from their parents and their home. Unless you plan on keeping your child at home with you forever - this will probably not end well for your child. They are going to have to go out on their own eventually and they are going to have to be able to figure things out for themselves. I don't know if it's in our parental makeup to allow your child to learn from experience and mistakes the way it is for a teacher. We have that innate desire to protect our children from everything we can -so I would think that homeschooled children would be sheltered.

Now, I am totally open to hearing how homeschooling parents avoid these pitfalls and negative "side effects" if you will of homeschooling. I would also love to hear some real time reasons for homeschooling your children instead of sending them to school.

Personally, we are getting ready to look for a house and the top item on my list is checking out the school system before we decide where to move. If the school system isn't rated well, then we are moving that town to the bottom of our list. (although I'm not eliminatng these towns completely) Perhaps that's not something that everyone is able to do, but it is part of the foundation of us choosing where to lay down our roots.

Also, I don't agree with the concept that other people aren't qualified or capable of teaching your child and that only you can do a good job.

Education should not be the teachers responsibility only - parents NEED TO TAKE AN ACTIVE PART in their childs education and I think the combination of regular schooling plus parent participation is the key to a successful experience for any child.

O.k. thoughts!!!!!!!!!

Big Week for us

  • First week of school for my 2 1/2 year old

  • She also got her first shot all by herself at the doctor (flu) with minimal crying

  • First tooth broken through for my 6 month old

  • 6 month appointment got an A+ and he only cried for a few seconds and then he was back to his happy self again

  • 6 Month old has started sleeping all night, with one night feeding between 1 and 2

  • My PT job is going well and keeping me busy and happy

My kids are growing up! It's amazing.

The only bad part to my week is that I can't seem to find the costumes I made for my husband and I last year for Halloween and I really want them for a party at Sesame Place tomorrow.

Things are looking up!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First day of Big Girl School!

SCHOOL(copied from my personal blog as I feel it's relevant!)

Monday was Katie's first day of school. (Pics to follow)

We made a biggish deal out of her leaving and she picked Ba BA up and told him, It's ok baba I have to go to school but you will pick me up later and kissed him.... it was ADORABLE!

Dave took her for drop off and then Ben, Ba Ba and I went and picked her up after lunch. I could tell she had been crying because her little pink eyes said it all... The teacher said she was really good until some of the other kids started getting picked up - then she got a little sad and asked for me, Baba and Ben...

She didn't pee the entire time she was there - but didn't have an accident either....

She did however, eat her entire lunch which was VERY impressive because she's so finicky at home.

She told me about the teachers (whose names she doesn't know - but she calls them, the mean teacher, the brown teacher and the blue teacher)

Apparently the mean teacher was mad at some other kid - I couldn't get a clear story - although today she said the Mean teacher liked her a lot and gave her a hug....

The Brown teacher is another story - I asked her what was brown because I was hoping she was referring to her clothes (like the blue teacher) but nope - she said her face and her hands....

What do I do? She's not wrong - I just don't want to offend anyone... I'll deal with that later...

She also sang the circle time song and pretended to do circle time with her friends at home.

Fast forward to this morning... she woke up later than usual and we had a bit of a rush to get out the door. She was a big apprehensive about school so we were worried she would be upset - but Dave said as soon as they got to school she cheered right up and was fine.

I didn't call to check on her today because I don't want to be an annoying mom and there really isn't anything I could do since I won't go get her....

Baba, Ben and I went to pick her up and she didn't see us walk in - she was happy as a clam and playing... When I told her it was time to leave her response was, But I didn't play play doh yet...


The only problem so far is she refuses to pee - but we go as soon as we get home. I also use hand sanitizer on her hands once we get to the car and wash her hands right after the bathroom to try to help with delaying a house full of sick people thanks to daycare germs...

They let her go with the PreK kids during lesson time - and that makes me happy because they are learning spelling and words, etc....

So far, so good - now I just gotta find her fun snack/drink holders and cups that are personalized so that we don't have to write on ours with Sharpie every day. (it doesn't stay permanent on those items)

There's lots of cute stuff online, but I gotta do a little more research!

More later - just wanted to put up a quick post - it's working and so far everyone is happy!

Yay for Big girl school!

P.s. I just researched some labeling products and have fallen in love with - I think I will be placing an order shortly - they are dishwasher, and washer safe and they have ADORABLE pictures and color choices! I can get her trains with green and pink and purple on them - PERFECT!!

Has anyone used these? Anyone have any other suggestions for labels for school stuff???

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why I wish I had my second child first!

O.k. O.k. you are all right - the second child is different.

You don't jump up every time they put something in their mouth, you don't jump to their every cry. You don't try to wrap them up in a protective bubble like you do your first.

I wish I had my second child first, because Katie would be a better eater. I would have forced her to eat more, earlier and she would eat what we eat for dinner.

Ben is 6 months old and I find myself mixing peas with apples for him or squash and green beans - I never did that for Katie and I was super cautious of letting her eat things because she didn't have teeth and could choke, blah blah blah

You make noise around your second kid. Dave and I used to sit silently in the car while Katie napped because we were afraid of waking her up - I don't even think I vacuumed when she was around because I was afraid it would scare her.

It's different with your second. We went to an event for Katie and I had to put Ben down for a second and all there was was the carpet that people had walked all over and wasn't exactly clean - so I put him down - I never would have put Katie down on a carpet like that hahahaha

He survived and he's just fine!

I let him play with a spoon today. It made him happy - I was watching him - he didn't choke

I really wish I had had my "second child" first because I feel like we would have had a less stressful first year with Katie!

I can only imagine what it's like when people have 3 or more... they probably don't even use car seats

We won't be having a 3rd. Ben has sealed the deal on that one with his inability to sleep at night. He wakes up betwen 2 and 3 and wants to hang out and play for about 2 hours and then he has the nerve to be happy, playful and cheery in the morning - while we are dreary, cranky and sad!

So unless we can have a kid who will come out around 5 years of age - 2 is it for us!

Maybe we'll get a fish


How/When do you do it?

I'm dying here. I want nothing more than to get to the gym for a spin class or a Zumba class - but then I would be leaving during dinner time and I don't think that's fair to Dave - plus I can't justify spending the money right now on a gym membership.

I don't know what it is about going to the gym that is so fun for me, but it is.

AND I'm horrible at working out at home - as in I can't do it. I don't know what it is, but I'm incapable of doing a video or doing one of the on demand things. I always find an excuse to stop and do something else... which I wouldn't do in class.

Is it bad that I'm not that concerned about REALLY getting back into shape? I mean I want to, but not enough to actually wake up early to get some sort of work out in or force myself to do a video.

How do other moms find the motivation to get workouts in??
Particularly since I'm working a little at the moment, it's the LAST thing on my to do list after the BAZILLION other things I have to do. I'd much rather sit on the couch and catch up on DVR.

The only way I think I would be able to do it is if I somehow force myself to get a gym membership and then go while Katie is in daycare and put Ben in the nursery for an hour. But then he isn't getting the one on one time I wanted with Katie being out of the hosue for awhile, so the guilt kicks in.

ugh - I wish there was a pill you could take to stay fit - only while your children are young - once they are more self sufficient, I will have NO PROBLEM going to the gym - but for now. I find it very hard!

Want to know what I find easy? Eating ice cream in front of the tv after a very long day. Or having cookies and milk before bed - that's easy! And almost Guilt Free;)


O.k. ladies - it's getting close to Halloween time.

Do you buy or make your costumes?? How do you pick what your kids are going to be>? Do you do themes? Do you you let your kids pick?

Last year, we were a Sesame Street Bunch.
I crocheted an ERNIE sweater for Katie because she LOVED bert and ernie at the time - put her in a pair of jeans and then bought her red converse to look like him because she loved him.

I made Dave a Bert shirt by painting stripes on it the color of the shirt he usually wears on tv and got him green pants and drew him a serious unibrow.
I made myself a Big Bird shirt with cut out "feathers" made of fabric which I then glued ALL OVER A while shirt that I had to dye yellow. I also made myself a Big Bird hat that looked like a Beak with styrofoam eyes.
I also got myself some leggings that I made to look like Big Birds legs.

It was awesome - except people didn't really know who we were and that made me sad, With store bought costumes - there is no need for imagination, etc... so I was kind of bummed but Katie loved it and we loved it and had a good time.

This year, Katie said she wants to be Thomas the Train. I looked it up online and can make her a train to wear out of a box - so it would be a 3D costume. Ben could be either another train or Sir Tophamm Hat (she originally asked that Dave be Sir Tophamm Hatt and I be Mrs. Tophamm Hat)
I was so excited at the prospect of making costumes, and then I got busy with trying to prepare for a craft fair as well as working a special project part time for my old company.

But, I am dedicated to making costumes again this year - I enjoy it and even though it's not cheaper - I feel like it makes Halloween more special. Making costumes is NOT that much cheaper than buying and it takes time and energy to put them together - so it's certainly not an "easy way out"

I also figure my time is running short in terms of being allowed to make costumes by my children - so I will take advantage while I can!

Do you make, buy? Who picks costumes? Do you dress up with your kids?

I love Halloween - particularly because they are so little. I get such a kick out of seeing all the different costumes and kids:) I feel like it's a day for innocence and fun and I'm holding on to it for as long as I can!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Separation Anxiety

Thank God for my parents.

They are as active in my kids lives as grandparents can be. I think the first time we left Katie with them, she was 5 weeks old and we went to see a movie.
Then when she was 3 months old, my grandfather passed away in Puerto Rico and I had to leave her with my dad and husband to go get on a plane and go be with my mom.

It wasn't easy - but I did it and knowing my dad was there to watch her made it ok.

Now, I have left her with close friends before for short periods of time but not that often. She has been ok as long as it's someone she knows. I have tried to take her to the gym with me and leave her in the nursery and they always have to come get me because she freaks out. Usually it's when another kid starts crying - it sets her off and she starts her crying, screaming, hyperventilating thing... it's not pretty and breaks my heart.

I want my kid to be independent. I want her to be able to stay somewhere without us and be ok and happy and have fun. Her experience at the gym nursery had made me nervous about her being away from us.

Fast Forward to now. She's 2 1/2 and has started going to my parents house by herself for sleep overs. At first, I didn't know how she would be because she was so nervous before when we weren't around - but with my parents - she doesn't even think about us.

Literally - when my parents ask her if she wants to call us - she says no.
No tears, no asking for us, no nothing.

I am not pining for her because I know she is having a great time and I know they are having a great time too.

Is this bad? I don't think so. I think it's healthy for parents and their kids to be able to be away from each other occasionally. I think the fact that she has no separation anxiety is a good thing. My husband and I take advantage of the fact that my parents and my kid like being together and we use that time to get away together sometimes because we think it's important to have time alone away from the kids to remember why we got married in the first place! To try to have conversations that don't revolve around the kids (although that's easier said than done)

I'm nervous about her going to daycare in 2 weeks but I know it will be good for her and that after the initial transition - she will love it.

Our kids will not be by our sides or under our roof forever. I want them to be independent and strong and happy individuals who don't need me all the time. This is not to say that I don't get sad at the fact that she doesn't even want to talk to us on the phone after being away for 3 nights - but I know that ultimately, it's good for her and for us.

With Ben being so dependent on me because of nursing, we had a rough patch where he had a little anxiety being away from me - even with my husband - and we made sure to encourage their time together so that he would get over it. It worked and it made me happy. I didn't want him to ONLY be happy when he was with me - I think some moms kind of like when their kids are like this, but me, it made me sad.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding Daycare

Well, the time has come. I am ready to send Katie off to daycare part time so that she can get some structure and socialization and I can get some one on one time with Ben and maybe some time for working too!

It's exhausting. We haven't lived here long so it's difficult not having too many people we can ask for references for. Money is also an issue as I stay home - so we are on one income.

I am not looking for a 5 star educational program - but let me explain why - she's 21/2 - I am looking for her to start playing with other kids her age and have some structure to her day. I know where I want to send her for Preschool and they have an EXCELLENT curriculum - so when I am back at work - she can get the 5 star treatment. For now - we are on a budget.

Luckily, we live fairly frugally - so think we will be able to accept the extra expense because we know it will be good for all of us. Ben, me and Katie will all get time we need. If for some reason, it doesn't work out - we can take her out and it won't be a big deal.

So far I have called around 6 places and they range in price from $35 per day to $75 a day. (FOR PART TIME HOURS - 3 days a week) Yeah - talk about sticker shock.

I visited one place yesterday that I wasn't in love with because it seemed so day-careish - but that's what it is - a daycare! I heard good reviews - the price is right AND I really liked the teachers I talked to and the flexibility within the program. I asked for some parent referrals and am waiting for them to call me back and then tomorrow I am going to go down and leave a deposit to make sure I grab the spot available in her age group.

I'm nervous because I don't want her to cry on her first day - but I know she needs it and I know it will be REALLY good for her. She doesn't have much family - so I really want her to be around kids. Although I am ready for this and I think she is too - I can't help but be nervous because she's never been away from us with anyone but family or close friends....

How did you find daycare for your kid?
Did you have to change programs? Why?
How did you handle the first day?
How many of your kids get upset when they DON'T get to go to daycare???

Tell me, tell me:)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I need a break from staying home

Don't judge me. I have been home FT for over 2 and 1/2 years and I am spent. Absolutely, completely, exhausted. Here comes 100% brutal honesty - I am sick of playing - in fact, I'm no good at it. Katie asks me a million times a day to play with her and no matter what we are "playing" I am always doing it wrong, or I take the wrong thing, or she changes her mind 2 seconds into it, etc...

I am not cut out for this.

I potty trained her, I taught her her ABC's and numbers and counting and to love books and reading. Lord knows she talks so much because she is just like me - so I will take responsibility for that too...

But I am done. I am ready for someone else to step in. I want to be a part time parent for just a little while. I know it sounds awful - but it's the honest to god truth. I got a little taste of working again doing a special project for the company I used to work for and I had forgotten how GOOD IT FEELS to work. To have deadlines, and talk to grown ups and do interviews and organize files and get emails.

I love all of it. I'm good at it.

Ben is still waking up 2 times at night - with one time either being in the middle of the night where he wants to hang out for a few hours OR a wake up for the day between 4:30 and 5:30. Between that, and my thyroid still leveling out and the millions of other things I am doing during the day, I realized that I want to work - I don't really want to play.

I'm not saying I don't do things with her - we baked cookies today while Ben was sleeping and it was great - I read to her all the time and I take her to the park and the library and gym classes too - it's just that I need a break. Being a stay at home is way harder than I ever thought it was - and I miss working. I can't explain how good it feels to work again.

She's 2 1/2 and she's ready for daycare. Pre-school won't take her until she is 3 - so that is next September - so I think I am going to suck it up and find a part time morning program for her so that she can have more structure and play with other kids and maybe learn some stuff that I can't teach her.

It will also give Ben some one on one time with me, which he hardly ever gets and it will give me more time to work and pursue work and figure out when and how and where I am going to go back Full Time.

I never thought I'd be a stay at home mom at all - I was always gonna have a career outside the home. That's why I got my Masters at night while working a FT job.

I'm proud of the fact that I lasted as long as I have. I just think I am tapped out at the moment. Who knows, maybe I'll finish this special project and then decide that I want a break from working - or maybe she won't do well in daycare and I'll have to pull her out again - either way, I have decided to try to make it work for her and for me. It's not fair to her that I am so tired and burnt out and cranky when she changes her mind a million times - she's 2, it's what they do.

Before you judge - please realize that the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side and staying home full time isn't for everyone.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sleep Training

Ben is a SERIOUS nurser. What can I say, he likes boobs and HATES bottles.
So unfortunately, he started nursing himself to sleep - which meant it was the only way he'd fall asleep unless he was in a car or stroller.

It's one of those things you say you will never do - get caught in a bad sleeping situation - but it happened. With a 2 year old who is VERY active - I found myself letting him fall asleep that way because it meant we could keep to a schedule and I would get definite time with her.

It's been probably a good 2 - months that this has been the case and we just kind of fell into the habit. It wasn't bad at first, but then he started waking up 2 - 3 times at night and would only go back to bed if he was nursing.

With all the issues my thyroid was creating, this became MISERABLE for me. I had insomnia as it was (thank you thyroid) so getting such broken sleep for such a long period of time on top of having NO ENERGY despite anything I did (thank you thyroid again) was not good.

Someone suggested the Ferber book - so I got it from my library
(have I mentioned how much I LOVE THE LIBRARY)

Anyway, I didn't read the whole thing - but skimmed around and got to the part that made sense to me - Ben was in a pitiful spiral where he nursed himself to sleep - and then peed and got wet - which woke him up and then had to nurse back to sleep - causing the peeing to happen a few hours later - endless cycle = lots of very short feedings at night for my little man and horribly broken sleep for me.

So, I started sleep training. I was not looking forward to this because no one likes to hear their kid cry - especially when you know you are the sole reason they are crying and pretty much the sole comfort they know. (cause nursing is such a comfort for him)

The first day, I switched around his feeding schedule and put him in his crib without nursing.

He was not happy

For a good 30 minutes, back and forth - him crying - me waiting a few mins and then going in to rub his back or pick him up and kiss him and tell him it's ok - but put him back without nursing.

30 minutes - and he was asleep.

The second time it took only about 20.

The third time - it was under 10.

Now, I put him in his crib - he pouts his lip at me - (a little young for a guilt trip, no?) and cries for maybe 5 minutes - if even and then sleeps peacefully.

I haven't had the heart to make him cry it out at night yet because
a) he's teething (I feel like he's gonna get married toothless because we have been waiting so long)
b) with the Hurricane and tornado warnings, we had to camp out all together which messed up everyone's schedule and that wasn't his fault
c) he's only been waking up 2 times at night max

So, next week - if he is waking up numerous times at night, I will have to start to make him cry it out so that hopefully we get 8 - 12 hours straight out of him.

It wasn't fun - but it wasn't horrible either. He took to it in one day and I never had to give in once I started - which surprised me.

Anyone else have any luck with sleep training? Any tips for what to expect during the middle of the night?