Friday, December 31, 2010

What a year!

It's been almost a year since I started this blog. Looking at the stats, I've only posted about 85 times. I was really hoping to do better than that, after all I had 21 posts last January alone! Hopefully I can do better in 2011.

I was looking for a way to sum up this year, and stumbled upon this idea on several other blogs: Take the first sentence or two from the first post in each month of 2010 and that's your year in review. So here goes...my 2010 in blog....

January (my very first blog post): "I used to love journaling, but frankly, I just never make the time anymore. Now I love reading blogs (especially those of the "mommy" variety). So I thought this might be a good place to jot down all those random thoughts that I may want to look back on one day."

February: "The boys' Gramma has been visiting for a few days, and I've taken full advantage of having someone else around to entertain the boys for a change! I squeezed in a long overdue doctor's appointment for myself, and was also able to read 2 books, bringing my grand total to 3 books read so far this year."

March:  "Parenting is an exercise in firsts. First bath, first foods, first day of school... And this week as C turns five, we will embark on yet another first--the first "invite your whole class" birthday party."

April:  "Driving home from school yesterday... C: "Tomorrow is April First! That means it's April Fools Day, Mom!""

May:  "Due to a major water main break, we spent the last few days without drinkable tap water. Until the "boil water" order went into effect, I had never really thought about how often I use tap water." 

June: "It's been almost a month since I last posted."

July (from the one and only post): "This summer is just flying by. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but my calendar keeps insisting that next week is AUGUST!"

August: "This has been a sad week for me. On Monday I learned that one of my oldest friends passed away unexpectedly."

September: "I have suffered from insomnia with all of my pregnancies."

October: "In the last few weeks, O has gotten back into the habit of waking up around 5:45AM and often ends up crawling into bed with me and talking my ear off. While I really want to nip this in the bud before the baby comes, I've just been too tired to fight it, especially since he's generally quite adorable and always wants to talk about his little brother at this time of day."

November: "You know it's bad when...your Hubby is the one who points out that you haven't blogged in almost a month."

December: "One of C's favorite parts of Kindergarten is "Writer's Workshop" where the kids write and illustrate their own stories."

Hope I'm still blogging when it's time to ring in 2012!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hope your holidays were as fun as ours!

Utterly spoiled...

First big snow of the season...



Can't wait to see what the New Year will bring...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

50 Books in 2010--update #5 (I DID IT!!!!!)

That's right! I did it!!! I thought it might be impossible, but...
I really did read 50 books in 2010!!!!!!!!

I actually finished this challenge about 2 weeks ago (knowing that if I didn't, the Christmas hubbub would cause me to go permanently off course), but didn't get a chance to post about it. A lot of the credit for my finishing this challenge has to go to the Kindle that I got back in September. Having a new gadget to play with definitely reignited my interest in reading, and browsing the Amazon Kindle forums for free books and new author suggestions led me to a lot of interesting and cheap reads! I've also been taking advantage of the free samples offered on most books. It's great to be able to read the first few chapters of a book, especially if you are trying out a new author. There have been a few samples that clearly showed that the writer's style or content were not my taste, but more often than not, the sample is just enough to pique my interest so I end up buying the book. 

So without further ado, here are the rest of the books I read this year...

31. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
I struggled to get through this book. I picked it up because I had heard so many rave reviews about it, but I lost interest in it several times and kept putting it down for other things. It took me several months to work through it, and in the end, I only kept reading because I wanted to finish it for this challenge, not because I really cared about the characters. Perhaps it was the short stories within a story format that didn't work for me. I just never got invested in it.

32. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
This was the first book I read on my Kindle!! I happened to have read a magazine review of this book that sounded fascinating the week before I got my Kindle, so I figured it would be a good first purchase. The story of a mother, and her son who has spent his whole life in one room, as the captive of a kidnapper, seemed apropos of all the recent news stories about these types of cases. Using the son as the narrator, and seeing the situation through a 5 year old's eyes was both interesting and chilling. Definitely a great read, but one that stayed with me and disturbed me for a while afterwards.

33. Half Baked by Alexa Stevenson
I've read this author's blog Flotsam, on and off for the last year or so, and much of that was about her attempts to publish this book. As a latecomer to her blog, I wasn't very familiar with her backstory of miscarriage and having a premature infant so I thought that this memoir would be interesting. And it was. Funny & poignant.

34. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
I first heard of this book when I saw a trailer for the movie version several years ago. I have never seen the movie, but the stars Kate Winslet & Ralph Fiennes are two of my favorite actors. So when I saw the book for 50c at the library book sale, I snapped it up. I did enjoy this book, and if we ever resubscribe to Netflix, I'll have to put the film on my list too!

35. Barefoot in Baghdad by Manal Omar
I stumbled on this memoir while browsing in the Kindle forums and figured since it was less than $3 I would check it out. It turned out to be an interesting read about a Palestinian American woman's experience working for a women's nonprofit in Iraq during the early days of the current war.

36. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
I really enjoyed this book! This story of a young girl growing up in WWII Germany and the effect of certain books in her life, which was narrated by Death, seemed strange at first, but once I settled into Death's narration of events, it was a unique and inventive read.

37. Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal
I've read a lot of modern Indian-American fiction over the years, but would probably never have stumbled across this book, had it not popped up as a free Kindle book for a brief period. Of course I snapped it up, because what's better than an interesting book for free! This was a cute, coming of age story of a misfit Indian preteen boy who loves dancing, makeup, and thinks he may be the reincarnation of Krishna.

38. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourne
39. Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourne
40. Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourne
41. Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourne
I discovered this series through the mysteries forum on Amazon. I was looking for a new author to start reading, and noticed that many people recommended these books featuring Lady Julia Grey, a Victorian era woman who stumbles into investigating murders, after the death of her husband. The first three books were offered as a Kindle bundle for only $9.99, which seemed like a great deal, and after enjoying the first few chapters of book one in a free sample, I didn't hesitate to buy the bundle. I raced through these books as they were fun reads with enjoyable and interesting characters. When I finished the bundle, I couldn't wait to buy the 4th book in the series, even though it cost almost as much as the first 3 books combined. Good marketing technique! It was great fun to discover a new series and I hope there will be more Lady Julia Grey books in the future.

42. Wet Desert by Gary Hansen
This book is another cheap Kindle forum find by an independent author. An interesting story of ecoterrorism against some of the major dams in the Western U.S., this book was definitely worth more than the $0.99 I paid for it!

43. The Time Hunters by Carl Ashmore
Another $0.99 Kindle indy book, this was another easy read. A time traveling mystery for children and adults alike.

44. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
One of the first, classic true crime novels, this book was slow to start, but ended up being a satisfying read.

45. The Sex Club by LJ Sellers
This was another book I would never have bought if it hadn't been for the Kindle forums. But after reading a lot of positive reviews, I figured I would take a chance on this book since it was only $0.89. This mystery that begins with a bombing at a Planned Parenthood clinic was a quick and easy read, but I still didn't figure out all the twists ahead of time.

46. Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden
47. Genghis: Lord of the Bow by Conn Iggulden
The free sample for the first of these first two books in a historical fiction series about the childhood and rise of Genghis Khan really grabbed my attention. These were well written and interesting, reading like a gripping novel. Since I didn't really know much about Genghis Khan prior to reading these books, it's been fun to learn about this time period.  Another great marketing coup for this series, since I picked up the first book in the series for $1.59 but will likely end up paying full price for the rest of the books, because I can't wait to see what happens next.

48. The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
I thought this book was great. Written by a descendant of a family of hangmen, in this German historical fiction novel, the town hangman attempts to save the life of one of the local midwives when she is accused of witchcraft by proving her innocence. Touching on the history of hangings, witchcraft, midwifery, and early medicine, this was a really different and satisfying read. 

49. A Simple Amish Christmas by Vanessa Chapman
Being the Christmas season, I figured I would pick up this Kindle freebie. It was an easy and fluffy read, but not particularly memorable. 

50. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I'd heard great reviews of this book for years, but somehow had never gotten around to actually picking it up. But recently watching the PBS documentary Circus, piqued my interest in reading this circus related novel. I really wasn't expecting the graphic descriptions of sex and violence that were in this book, but the story was interesting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Give or Take 3 weeks...

This morning, the dresser for our baby was delivered. As we only have a 2 bedroom place, C & O share a room and the dresser we bought back when C was born. The baby will be bunking with Hubby and I for the foreseeable future, and since stumbling back and forth between bedrooms for changes of clothes and sheets in the middle of the night didn't seem like the greatest idea, we needed a new small dresser for the baby's things. Luckily we have a big enough bedroom, that the baby can have his own nook. It's a bit cramped but hopefully, it will do. Today after dropping the boys off at school, I came home, stared at this view...and got a little teary eyed!  Hubby and the boys set up the crib last weekend, but now with the dresser and rocker in place, I'm really starting to feel like this might actually be happening!!

Now to wash everything and load up those drawers...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In the Holiday Spirit

It's been all holidays all the time around here. The tree is up, holiday cards have been sent, and I'm pretty much done with the holiday shopping. It's been interesting to see what the boys are learning about the holidays in school. O learned about Hanukkah at preschool last week, and was thrilled to show me the menorah he made. He also came home with a dreidel and a baggie of chocolate coins. Well, he came home with the chocolate coin wrappers at least (the coins didn't survive the car ride!).


O's Menorah


We've also started working our way through our collection of holiday books. This story was a new one this year, and has been the biggest hit for the boys. Thank goodness C can read it to O on his own, because I am getting tired of it already!  Who knew runaway cookies were so thrilling?!



Friday, December 3, 2010

Kindergarten Stories

One of C's favorite parts of Kindergarten is "Writer's Workshop" where the kids write and illustrate their own stories. Initially this started out as a simple picture with a one line caption, but in the last few weeks they have progressed to writing 3 page illustrated stories.  Today C told me about his latest one. Apparently it goes like this...


Page 1: "My mom has a rule about videogames."

Page 2: "I can only play on Friday, Saturday, Sunday."

Page 3: "I can't wait for the weekend."

I can't wait to see the pictures that go along with that one!


*          *          *
Today C mentioned that they started a dancing unit in PE class, so I asked him what kind of dances he was learning. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I figured they were just free dancing, or maybe learning  a simple line dance. I was totally caught with the giggles when he said "You know...the Macarena!" and then proceded to demonstrate it, complete with a very proud "jump turn" at the end.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

Just one of the pages from the "I am Thankful for..." book that C made in kindergarten.


I'm so thankful for them too! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Because I'm hungry!"

When I was growing up, my family always celebrated birthdays by having cake for breakfast. This started because it was often the only time of day that the whole family was together, but I loved it because it lent a festive atmosphere to the whole day. You have to be in a good mood at school when your belly is full of cake!

I've continued this tradition with the boys and it's still the highlight of any birthday around here. But sometimes, rather than making the morning joyful, the anticipation becomes too much and things fall apart. Hubby's birthday turned out that way this year. From the minute O woke up, he started whining that he wanted cake. And whining...and whining...and whining...until abruptly things were silent. Apparently the rest of us were taking too long to get ready, because when I went downstairs to investigate the sudden quiet, I found this...

Yup, that's a palm print...


O had managed to remove the locking cake cover and had happily dug his fingers right into the cake.

When I saw his chocolate covered face, I couldn't help but shriek "O!!!  THAT'S DADDY'S CAKE!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!?!"

"BECAUSE I'M HUNGRY!!!!" he wailed back.

He's never been more lucky that he's so cute...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

You know it's bad when...

...your Hubby is the one who points out that you haven't blogged in almost a month. I think he thought I was crazy to even start this blog, but I guess now he's gotten into the habit of reading it. Just as I've gotten out of the habit of writing it. Figures.

I do want to write more though, so I guess it's good that he said something. It's been hard to get motivated to do much of anything since I'm so tired all the time. Hubby keeps remarking that this pregnancy seems much harder on me than the previous ones, and he's right. I've been feeling very achy and rundown, not to mention humongous! No one can believe I still have 8 weeks left to go...

I've been using my occasional bursts of energy to tackle some nesting type activities--Christmas shopping and wrapping, sorting & washing all the baby hand-me-downs. I just feel like I've got to get all these things done in case Baby #3 makes an early appearance! I'm not sure if my contractions have really tapered off, or if I'm just used to them after having them for 5 weeks. After all the anxiety at 27 weeks, I wonder if I'll end up going all the way to my due date in January.  I do hope that's the case! But I figure it's better to be prepared.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bored...

Ugh.

That's how I feel about things right now.

My contractions have slowed down, which is great. Thank goodness! But in order to keep them in a manageable state, I've had to really curtail my activity level. No more gym. As few errands as possible. And as much time as I can lying down on the couch. I was just starting to enjoy my 9 hours of kid free time a week, and was happily packing in as many things as possible into that time period. Now I spend that time lying down.

BORING! 

Obviously, I will do whatever it takes to keep this baby growing as long as possible, because in theory, I still have 12 weeks of pregnancy left! But it's difficult to strike the right balance. I'm not officially on bedrest but am supposed to minimize my activity and rest as much as possible. But with 2 boys who have school and activities, a Hubby who works ridiculously long hours, and only me to play chauffeur and nanny, minimal activity is not as easy as it sounds. I feel great in the mornings, but by midday, after taking the kids to school and running an errand on the way home, I am contracting by lunchtime. So far, lying down in the afternoons has been able to get them to stop, but the boys are bored. And so am I.

I could be taking the time to blog, but have been feeling just too grumpy to do so.

One good thing about all this time on the couch...I have done a lot of reading for my book challenge! I'm currently working on book #42. Maybe there is hope for this 50 books in a year thing after all?? Updated reviews of books 31-40 coming soon...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jittery

Today we have a great day planned. C's soccer game in the morning, a birthday party for O's classmate in the afternoon, and a long awaited trip to the circus in the evening.

Unfortunately, I'm going to miss all of it.

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling lousy and started having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions. All the usual remedies that I've used in previous pregnancies, drinking lots of water, a warm bath, and lying down, didn't stop them. So around 6pm I finally called my doctor and ended up heading into the hospital. I was quite sure they would think I was crazy when I got there, but when they hooked me up to the monitors, there I was contracting away.  Luckily, these contractions seem to be of the annoying irritable uterus variety, as opposed to the true preterm labor variety since there were no cervical changes, and my fetal fibronectin test was negative. The contractions stopped quite nicely with a couple shots of terbutaline, which was amazing, except for the fact that they left me feeling very jittery and like I was going to pass out. After a couple hours, I was able to go home, with strict instructions to take it easy and stay off my feet for the next few days. I've had a few more contractions since then, but not nearly as many as yesterday. Hopefully things will remain calm because this baby needs to stay in a lot longer!

Now I just need to find someone to work my shift tomorrow.

And does anyone want to go to the circus???

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Mystery

Over the weekend the boys and I went apple picking, and after getting their fill of the orchard, the boys were determined to find the perfect pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. I agreed that they could choose a pumpkin, but just one. After searching around for a few minutes, O settled on this one.


I was surprised when C immediately agreed that this was just the right pumpkin, as I had been expecting some bickering over this decision. But it was indeed a great choice, with a good shape, intact stem, and no major dents or soft spots. When we got home the boys proudly displayed their find on the front steps. The plan was to keep it intact until the week before Halloween, when we would finally carve it into a Jack-o-lantern.

So it was very disappointing when we went outside yesterday and discovered this...


We immediately began hypothesizing about what might have happened to our pumpkin. Had it somehow rolled off the step and been damaged? Or, more likely, was this the work of the annoying groundhog that roams brazenly through our yard, and has previously been the prime suspect in the disappearance of our tomatoes?

While I think the groundhog was indeed the culprit, I truly fell in love with O's suggestion.

"Maybe while we were sleeping, a star came down and poked our pumpkin. And then said 'Oopsie!'" 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stud

When you've been a SAHM for 5 years, it's hard when your children go to school. You go from knowing absolutely everything about them to having huge gaps in your knowledge. Being dependent on 3 & 5 year old boys for information is difficult. After 2 years in preschool, I have C pretty well trained and he often will give me a fairly thorough report on his day. But O's response to "How was your day? What did you do today?" is always "Great! But I don't want to tell you about it." Who knew 3 year olds could already be so annoying!

So it's especially funny when I get little insights into their experience from someone else. A couple of weeks ago while dropping O off at school, one of his classmate's moms rushed over to introduce herself.

"Are you O's mom?!?" she asked eagerly.

"Yes," I said, a bit warily.

"Oh, it's so good to meet you! My daughter just loves O! She talks about him all the time, all we hear about school is "O this and O that". It's a running joke in our house that O is her boyfriend already!"

Huh??? I didn't even know who this girl was, since O never tells me anything. But sure enough, as we walked into the school, a little girl came running up "O! There you are!" and then they ran off to the classroom holding hands. I then watched as she directed O through the morning routine. "Here's your hook O! Here's your picture! Let's sign in! Now let's go play!" O followed her willingly enough.  When I asked him about this girl later, he said "Yeah, S is my friend. But I don't want to tell you about it." What is he 13 already?!?!

That evening I told Hubby all about how O has a little girlfriend at school. "Did you know that apparently O is a stud?" I asked him.

"Of course he is! That's my boy!" he said proudly. I just rolled my eyes.

*          *          *

When I was unpacking C's backpack last week, I found a painting that clearly had not been done by C.


"What's this?" I asked.

"Oh, that's a painting that a girl in my class made for me." he said.

"Oh really? That's nice. Is she your friend?" I asked.

"I guess. Everyone's my friend." C replied nonchalantly.

"Well, why did she make it for you?" I asked.

"I don't know Mom. Why not?"  He's playing it cool already.

 *          *          *

As a mom to all boys, I feel a great responsibility to make sure I raise them to be fine young men who are respectful and kind to women. I just didn't realize the girls would be after them already!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bonding

In the last few weeks, O has gotten back into the habit of waking up around 5:45AM and often ends up crawling into bed with me and talking my ear off. While I really want to nip this in the bud before the baby comes, I've just been too tired to fight it, especially since he's generally quite adorable and always wants to talk about his little brother at this time of day. While C is also very interested in the baby, O has taken it to another level. He is so excited to finally get to be a big brother, and is always talking about all the things he is going to do with the baby. He always wants to give my tummy "gentle pats" because he is sure that these are the baby's favorite thing.  O also is always trying to see his baby through my belly button, and doesn't quite understand why this doesn't work. He was so excited when he finally got to see the baby on the ultrasound screen last week. Whenever the doppler sounds came on, he kept saying "the baby is sneezing! I hear him sneezing!"


During this morning's snuggle, I think O actually felt the baby kick for the first time. We've tried this before but he would always say "I feel it! I feel it!" when nothing was happening. This morning though, his exclamations actually seemed to match up with the baby's movements. Since this week's Babycenter pregnancy update said "The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other", this morning when I got tired of all of O's "gentle pats" (which eventually trend towards not-so-gentle after all), I suggested that he try to talk to his baby brother.

I wasn't expecting them to have a whole conversation...

O speaks into my belly button: "I love you, baby!"

O presses his ear to my belly and listens intently. "I hear him! I hear him Mommy!"

Me: "Really?"

O: "Yes! He is saying "Wah wah." That means "I love you O!"

Me: "Oh, that's so nice. I am sure your little brother does love you already."

O: "Shhh! He is still saying baby talk!"

Me: "Oh, sorry."

O: "He says his favorite song is 'Real Gone!' (O's favorite song from the CARS soundtrack).

Me: "Well, he hears that everyday in the car, so I guess he might like that song."

O: "I like that song best too baby! What else do you like?"

O presses his ear against my belly again.... "He says I love O and Mommy!!"

Me: "Awww, well we love him too! O, I'm so glad you understand his baby talk! Because after he is born, you can help me understand what he wants."

O replies very seriously: "Mommy, when he is crying and he is wet, that means he needs a diaper. And when he is not wet, that means he needs a baby bottle. And then I am going to carry him to the table and feed him!"

O listens to my belly intently again. "He said "That's right!"

I'm glad he's already got it all figured out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday Deep Thoughts

The night before...

Hubby: "Where should we go for Mommy's birthday?"
C: "Well, we have to go to my soccer, and then how about we just come home."
Hubby: "Don't you think we should go out and do something else for Mommy's birthday?"
C: "OK, fine...(sigh)...How about Disney World?"

Now that's what I'm talking about!!!!!! Too bad we don't live anywhere near there!


*         *         *

6:22 AM on the big day...

O: "Happy Birthday Mommy!"
Me: "Thanks..."
O: "What?"
Me: "(Yawn) Uh, Mommy kind of wanted to sleep later on her birthday."
O: "But.......No."

*          *          *

Well Hubby came through (as he does every year) and helped the boys make me a delicious cake. C gave him specific instructions and an illustration to make sure the heart cake came out exactly right.


 
I  think Hubby captured C's vision quite well.

*         *          *
The boys were very excited to give me my present...something that may just help me achieve this 50 books a year challenge! We'll see...


I chose Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue as my first e-read. So far so good! Now if only the boys would stop climbing all over me to push the buttons, I might make some progress.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

50 Books in 2010--update #4 (38 weeks, 30 books)

Oy! I am really falling behind in this book challenge!

It was harder to get a chance to sit down and read during the summer than I thought it would be. I envisioned lots of lazy afternoons where I could read in the backyard while the boys frolicked around. And the boys did indeed do a good amount of frolicking. The problem? They wanted to me to watch closely while they did it! So after a whole afternoon, I'd usually be only 4-5 pages further along in my book. Hopefully I can play catch up now that I'm getting back into the routine of school, waiting in pickup lines, going to the gym, etc. There are lots of brief, hidden moments for reading, and I just need to capture them. Because finishing another 20 books this year is going to be a tall order!

C already said "It's OK, Mom! You can just do the challenge again next year!" Somehow, I think Baby #3 might be a little disruptive to that plan. While I definitely want to keep reading more frequently, next year may not be the best year for a challenge like this one. We'll see...

At any rate, here are my thoughts on books 21-30.

21. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
I had never heard of this book before, but I picked it up for 50c at the local library's book sale. Can't beat that price! It was an easy but slightly strange read about a band of children who discover a mystical secret.

22. The Summons by John Grisham
I think I've read all of John Grisham's books over the years, and I've found that I don't enjoy them as much as I used to. I'm not sure if that's because I've personally moved on from this genre, or if they aren't as original as they used to be. Another easy read, but not one that was particularly satisfying. Honestly, I can barely remember the plot at this point.

23. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This book was wonderful! An interesting look at the scientific and social history behind the development of HeLa cells, one of the most commonly used cell lines in research today. I think this book would be an interesting read for anyone, not just people with a scientific background like mine. 

24. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The final book in the Swedish trilogy that I discovered through this year's challenge.  A satisfying wrap up to the series, but I still think I enjoyed the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the best.

25. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
A fictional account of one English village's experience with the plague. An easy read, but I didn't enjoy it as much as People of the Book, a book by the same author that I read earlier this year.

One of the hardest things about this challenge has been figuring out what to read! There are tons of books that are interesting, but which to choose? When I saw a book list on The Underwear Drawer, a medical blog that I've been following for several years, the problem was solved, for a few weeks anyway! I picked up the next three books on this list based on her recommendation, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I've always loved medical nonfiction and these are three good ones.

26. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A fascinating exploration of the clash between Hmong and medical cultures and a good reminder to always be mindful of the many influences that exist in each doctor-patient encounter.

27. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Very easy to read, thought provoking, and well written. I will have to look into more of his books.

28. Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children's Lives by Michael Ruhlman
Another great read, delving into the world of congenital heart disease, as experienced by both physicians and families. This book was a particularly interesting read for me as I had a congenital heart defect, and I've actually personally met or heard a great deal about several of the physicians referenced in this book. 

29. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I was so excited for this book that I preordered it, and raced through it as soon as it arrived. I think I need to actually sit down with it again and read it through more slowly to really process it. This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, another set of books I would never have discovered if it weren't for suggestions I got through this book challenge.  The Hunger Games remains my favorite of the three, if only for how mind blowing the whole concept was.

30. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Another find for 50c at the library book sale! I don't know much about art, but I have heard of Vermeer and this painting, so it was fun to read this fictional account of how it was produced. I generally enjoy historical fiction, and this was a satisfying read.

*       *        *

If only I could count all the books I've read with the boys over the last month! I'd be well over 50 by now. We've discovered a new "easy reader" section at the library, filled with all sorts of great books. The boys especially like Cynthia Rylant's series "Mr. Putter and Tabby", "High Rise Private Eyes", and "Henry & Mudge". I'm also having fun introducing them to books that I remember fondly from when I was young like "Miss Nelson is Missing" and "Rotten Ralph." I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when we come home with a pile of new books because I always felt that same thrill on library day when I was a kid!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Birthday Cake

Conversation in the car...

C: "Mom! Mom! What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?"

Me: "Oh, I don't know. What do you think?"

C: "How about a heart cake?"

Me: "A heart shaped cake?"

C: "Yeah! Because you love us!"

Me: "That's nice...but how about it's a heart shaped cake because YOU love me?"

C: "Ok...that too. Good! So you can make a heart cake for your birthday!"

Me: "Wait a minute! I have to make my own birthday cake? I'm not going to make my own cake."

C: "But who else is going to make it? We don't know how to cook."

O: "Yeah, mom. We don't know how to make a cake."

Me: "What about Dad? Dad could help you make a cake."

C: "I think Dad's too busy for that. You can just make your own cake."

O: "Yeah! A heart cake...because you love us!"

Indeed I do...but why is that again???

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Future...

A conversation during bath time this evening...

C: "Hey Mom! I'm more than half way to 10!"

Me: "That's true. But don't rush to being 10. Let's just enjoy being 5."

C: "Why?"

Me: "Well, I don't want you to rush to grow up! Because now is so much fun! And eventually you'll get really big and grow up and move away, and then I'll miss you."

O: "But then you can still take care of me and the baby! And that will make you happy, right Mom?"

Me: "Right! But I hope C will still come and visit even when he's grown up. That would be nice too."

C: "Maybe..."
"...but I might forget where you live."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to make an Apple Pie...

Step 1: Go apple picking! Insist on using the ladders even though there are tons of apples easily within reach while on the ground.



Step 2: Fight with your brother about whether to make apple pie or banana bread, even though your mom already went out and bought all the fixings for homemade pie crust, but has no ripe bananas.

Step 3: Agree to make an apple pie when your mom threatens to cancel baking altogether.

Step 4: Eagerly help mix flour, salt and shortening for the dough.

Step 5: Lose interest all together and go watch TV while your mom peels, cores, and slices lots of apples.

Step 6: Return when it is time to mix the apple slices with cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. This part smells good!

Step 7: Inform your mom of the many ways she is rolling out the crust wrong. Remind her that the recipe calls for making a "lattice crust" with one inch strips of dough, and ask "But Why?!!" a thousand times when she says that's too hard.

Step 8: Load the filling into the imperfect pie crust.

Step 9: Humor your mom and tell her that perhaps the regular pie crust will turn out OK, even though you really wanted the lattice crust.

Step 10: Whine about how hungry you are and ask "Is the pie ready yet??" every 30 seconds for the next hour, until your mom finally takes it out of the oven.

Step 11: Whine for the next 20 minutes about how you don't want to wait for the pie to cool!

Step 12: Dig into a big slice of pie at 4 in the afternoon and completely spoil your dinner.

Step 13: Talk with your mouth full. Your mom won't mind since you're yelling, "Do I like it? Yes I do!" and "Thanks Mom!"

Five minutes later, ruin the post-pie bliss by pushing your brother into the edge of the table, so that he gets a big goose egg.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Winding Down

Since the boys have now started school, summer is officially winding down. I know there are still technically a couple weeks left, but I always feel that once school starts, fall is here! We've done most of the things on our "Summer Adventures" list, and since we'll be busy with school and our fall extracurricular activities, I don't think we'll cross off anything else.

  1. Move (yikes!)
  2. Explore all of the playgrounds in our new neighborhood (not sure if we've hit them all, but we've been to at least 4!)
  3. Take a family vacation
  4. Swimming lessons
  5. Join the library's summer reading program and read, read, read
  6. Go Strawberry Picking
  7. Go Blueberry Picking
  8. Go on a Treasure Hunt in the Woods
  9. Have a beach day
  10. Go to a minor league baseball game
  11. Go to a local racetrack and see a real car race
  12. Play Minigolf
  13. Bowling
  14. Go for a hike
  15. Visit local Children's Museum
  16. Visit local Science Museum
  17. Visit local Aquarium
  18. Go to preseason football game
  19. Visit Gramma and Grampa
  20. Visit the local farm
  21. Visit Zoo
  22. Host BBQ  
The weather was really beautiful this summer, unlike last year when weeks on end were rainy and cold. So I didn't really feel like taking the boys for indoor adventures. I think we'll save those for the fall. Bowling & Museums here we come!

And don't forget apple and pumpkin picking. I think fall will be pretty fun too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Day!

Today was the first day of school for both boys. They both woke up early and were dressed and ready to go about 20 minutes before we needed to leave. I need to figure out how to make this last through the dregs of winter, when getting out the door always becomes a nightmare.

C is clearly comfortable after two years in school, and was happy to be left on his own to check out his new classroom. O was thrilled to go to school for the first time, and I thought that he would have an easy transition since he went to camp over the summer.  I was very surprised when he dissolved into tears when it was actually time for me to say goodbye. I guess the difference is that his brother was at camp with him, and this time he was really on his own. I left feeling like a terrible mom, but was reassured by the huge grin I saw at pickup, and the eager chatter about books, snacks, and art.

I can't believe that I have a kindergartener and a preschooler! 

I'm excited for them, but do wish they weren't quite so eager to head off away from me...


Can't time slow down just a little?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Body Parts

O studies my belly intently.

Me: "Are you looking at the baby?"
O: "Yes. Where's his foot?"
Me: "I'm not sure. Where do you think it is?"
O: "I think it's here!" (poking me in the side)
Me: "Maybe! Where do you think his head is?"
O: "Hmmm....maybe over here." (poking my other side).
"But I know his bum is here!" (poking the lowest part of my belly).
Me: "Really?"
O: "Yes. So he can poop on the floor!!!"

Sigh. Why does it always come back to poop?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Insomnia

I have suffered from insomnia with all of my pregnancies. I am always tired and can fall asleep quickly, but if I wake up in the middle of the night, it takes hours for me to fall back to sleep. Between Hubby coming to bed late because he fell asleep watching TV on the couch, having to pee, or one of the boys waking up, it seems that almost every night I am wide awake around 3-4AM. It's very quiet at that time of night...except for my brain, which, once awakened, seems unable to shut up.

Tonight I was sound asleep until I heard O crying in panic at 4AM. I had forgotten to turn on the hallway night light, which caused him a great deal of distress. "WAAAAH, Mommy!! It was too dark and I didn't know where the door was!!" He's now sound asleep with Hubby in our bed, and after 30 minutes of lying awake staring at the ceiling, I gave up trying to fall asleep again and came downstairs. Might as well do something productive with my time, like making lists of the phone calls I need to make when it's a more reasonable hour, what C & O each need for the first day of school, etc.

I've been feeling very stressed these last couple of weeks because both boys are starting new schools this year. C is heading off to kindergarten, and O will be going to preschool for the first time. Because C has a significant dairy allergy, any transition like this is very scary for me and most of my recent insomnia has involved worrying "what-ifs". I had grown confident and comfortable with his care at preschool, and it is hard to start again with new teachers and staff.  The lateness of class assignments hasn't helped my worries. It was only yesterday that I was finally able to meet his new teacher and speak with the school nurse! They both seem very nice and receptive to working with me to keep him safe in the classroom, so that is reassuring, but we will see how it all irons out once school starts. I haven't been worrying too much about O starting school since he seems ready for a new experience, he is going to C's old school, where I already feel comfortable, and so far he has no known food allergies. All of which are good things. But then I feel midnight "mommy guilt" that I am spending so much time trying to get things in order for C and I haven't really given O's transition much thought at all. With myself, I just can't win.

I keep hoping that once the boys settle into school, I'll be able to settle back into sleeping well. But if history is any indicator, I'll be suffering from this early morning waking for the rest of this pregnancy. Perhaps my body is just getting me ready for all those midnight wakings with a new baby. I guess that's not a bad thing.

But really, I'd rather get some sleep.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

20 weeks

Halfway through! I don't feel that big, but after taking some belly shots this weekend, I realized that I am getting kind of huge already. I guess that's what happens when it's your third.


How cute is little C in that second picture?!?!?

Did you know that at 20 weeks: "Your baby has grown as big as a banana. (Length: about 6 1/2 inches from head to bottom, and 10 inches from head to heel.)" My boys are obsessed with the site "Poppy seed to Pumpkin" and eagerly look forward to checking how big their baby is each week. Having already passed through a variety of beans, lemons, limes, tomatoes, and peppers, they can't wait for the mini-watermelon and pumpkin. Yikes, I don't even want to think about how big I'll be in January!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Great Expectations

I picked up a new journal last week.

I've written in the same journal two times before.

The first was quite full, the second had some more blank pages.

I'm not sure how the third will turn out, but I hope it will end up with more pages filled out than not.



If feeling lucky and grateful were all that were needed, the book would be written already.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gone too Soon...

This has been a sad week for me. On Monday I learned that one of my oldest friends passed away unexpectedly. He was the youngest son of my mother's best friend and was the closest thing I have to a brother. Born in the same year, we truly grew up together. I went to his house after school every day. I have many fond memories of being forced to watch He-Man and G.I. Joe, which wouldn't have been my cartoons of choice, but were still a treat, since I wasn't allowed to watch TV at home. Then there were the Skipbo tournaments, swimming at the lake, and the ski trips where he was always much more of a daredevil than I.  Even though I hadn't seen him often in the past 10 years, as life had taken us in different directions, he was still always a part of my consciousness because he was "family." I frequently heard updates about him and his family through my mother, and on the occasions where we were able to get together, my boys just loved playing with him and his young son.

Yesterday was his funeral service, and though I am not a public crier, even I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I was so touched by how many people he was loved by and had freely loved. One of the most beautiful parts of the service was when his wife read some excerpts from his journals. Apparently in recent years, he had always carried a notebook around to jot down thoughts, and much of what was in there was descriptions of days with his son. In fact, my two boys remember him as "the guy with the notebook!" because when we last saw him earlier this summer, he let them play with it. Unbeknownst to me, he had also let them write in it. I learned this at his wake, when his wife told me that when she was flipping through his journal this week, she saw the names of C & O where C had printed them.  In the excerpt she read aloud, he described seeing a firetruck with his son and dipping their toes in a pond. Transmitted clearly through every word was his pure enjoyment of fatherhood and pride in his son. What a gift it will be for his family, to be able to turn to his actual words for comfort and memories.

All of this got me to thinking about how important journaling can be, not just for your own soul, but for those around you. As I said when I started this blog months ago, I used to love to journal, but never find the time anymore. I had hoped that the online format would make it easier for me to keep up, but it was still hard to find the time. But I am going to try to recommit to it now. Even if my boys never read what I write here, I want to be able to come back and relive all those little memories that I would otherwise forget. Because simple things like firetrucks and wet toes are what life is all about. And I want to make sure I remember that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Keeping busy! (Just not with this blog...)

This summer is just flying by. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but my calendar keeps insisting that next week is AUGUST! Already?!?! Big changes are coming in September with C going to kindergarten and O starting preschool, and I don't want to get there yet.

Our summer has been fun, if a bit lazy. The boys started a month's worth of daily swimming lessons, so most of our days consist of a leisurely morning at home, swim lessons, home for lunch, and then a leisurely afternoon at home, or the occasional return to the pool for more swimming fun. After a tearful first 3 days, O discovered that "I love swimming, Mommy!" Thank goodness!

We have fit in a few other things, and are having fun checking off our Summer Adventures List.
  1. Move (yikes!)
  2. Explore all of the playgrounds in our new neighborhood
  3. Take a family vacation
  4. Swimming lessons
  5. Join the library's summer reading program and read, read, read
  6. Go Strawberry Picking
  7. Go Blueberry Picking
  8. Go on a Treasure Hunt in the Woods
  9. Have a beach day
  10. Go to a minor league baseball game
  11. Go to a local racetrack and see a real car race
  12. Play Minigolf
  13. Bowling
  14. Go for a hike
  15. Visit local Children's Museum
  16. Visit local Science Museum
  17. Visit local Aquarium
  18. Go to preseason football game
  19. Visit Gramma and Grampa
  20. Visit the local farm
  21. Visit Zoo
  22. Host BBQ 
 We still have quite a few things we want to accomplish, so we'd better get moving!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

50 Books in 2010--update #3 (25 weeks, but only 20 books)

I'm still committed my 50 books in a year challenge, but I am falling behind! With all the craziness of moving, C finishing up with school, and trying to settle into a new summer routine, I haven't been doing as much reading lately. Slowly but surely, I did work through 10 more books, several of which I enjoyed a lot. Here they are...

*             *               *

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I thought this book was great. I wasn't sure I'd get into it initially since the book is written entirely in letter format, but I was quickly drawn in by the characters, and ended up really loving it. Quite a sweet book that I recommended without hesitation to my MIL who also loved it. My own mom is next on the list to borrow it.

12. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
I enjoyed this book as well. Based on a very sad premise, this was a depressing but interesting look at the Holocaust from a child's point of view.

13. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
This is second book in the Millennium Trilogy. It was fun to revisit the characters from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I look forward to reading the final book in the series to see where things go from here.  I just picked up the 3rd book last week, so I am sure it will show up in my next book update.

14. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
I loved the Twilight series, so I thought I should check out the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. It was an easy read, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoyed the Twilight series. I never thought of myself as being really into "vampire" fiction, I was just drawn in by the characters in Twilight. The same didn't happen for me with this book. Perhaps it was too vampirey. I still may try out another book in this series though, since I know a lot of my friends did enjoy these books.

15. Real Boys: Rescuing our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack
I read this book in snippets over a few months while waiting in the school pickup line, in an attempt to figure out how to raise my two boys to be fine young men. It was filled with interesting anecdotes and gave me some ideas. Here's hoping I can figure it all out without screwing them up too much!

16. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
This was a cute book, focused on the detective exploits of an 11 year old girl. As a Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes lover, and a girl who used to pretend to be a spy and solve crimes in the yard, this was a fun new character for me to discover. I look forward to reading Bradley's next book.

17. Raising Cain by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
Another "raising boys" parenting book. Can you tell what I've been focused on?!  While interesting, this book kind of stressed me out, talking a lot about sex, violence, drugs, and the struggles boys have in adolescence. Yikes! Can they just stay 5 and 3 forever?

18. Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
I had heard of Jennifer Weiner's books (In Her Shoes, etc), but had never read any of them. So when I saw this one for $2 at a book sale, I figured I would check it out, even though I had no idea what it was about. It ended up being a fun, easy read about becoming a mother and the life changes that go with it. Not profound, but a good summer read.

19. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
I really enjoyed this book.  I tend to like historical fiction, and this story about a book conservator and an intriguing journey through the history of a unique book, was right up my alley. It was historical fiction for book lovers!

20. The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
I always pick up Indian fiction (a small tribute to my heritage, I guess), and I love mysteries, so even though I had never heard of this book before, when I saw it at Costco I had to check it out. And I'm so glad I did, because it was a funny and interesting tale of a private investigator in India. The flow of the speech of the characters and their expressions brought back the voices of my relatives, and I couldn't help but smile as I read along. I am not sure if the author intends to write more books in this vein, but I sure hope he does, because I would love to follow "Vish Puri, India's Most Private Investigator" on a few more adventures.

*               *               *

I really do want to succeed in reading 50 books this year, so here's hoping I can catch up some this summer. Two books a week will be tough, but I did pick up a few promising new books at the local library's 50c book sale! I've already started book 21, so we'll see how it goes...

Monday, June 21, 2010

NH Numbers

Last week we took a short family vacation to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We all had a great time, and it worked out well for a relaxing post move vacation. I think fun was had by all. Here's a brief look at our vacation in numbers (and a few pictures)...

# of different license plates seen: 30 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 1 US government plate

# of holes of mini golf played: 36, and the boys begged for more.

# of motorcycles seen:  We stopped counting after reaching 111, but we surely saw several hundred as, unbeknownst to us, it was also "Bike Week" in the White Mountains. Largest group of motorcycles seen riding together: 22

 

# of gorges hiked: 2

 

# of glacial boulders seen: LOTS

# of ants, spiders, and beetles spotted and studied in depth by the boys: I have no idea, but it seemed that every other minute they were looking at some insect.

# of caves explored: 10

# of trains ridden: 3

# of hours at Story Land amusement park: 7.5

# of times the boys rode the roller coaster: 3 (this was the only ride they wanted to repeat)
 

# of times the boys needed to be carried during all of our long days: 0 (!!!!!!!)

They really are growing up! This vacation would not have been nearly as much fun last year.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Almost a month...

It's been almost a month since I last posted.

I had such high hopes when I started this blog. I was going to post 5 days a week, so I would never forget any of the funny things the boys did. But just like with losing weight and getting regular exercise, it's proven harder to stick with this goal than I thought. Life just gets too busy sometimes.

Soon after my last post, we moved. Which means that several weeks of our lives were focused on these.
We're mostly unpacked now. Just a few straggling boxes are left (which are the hardest to unpack because they're filled with things that we don't quite know what to do with). We would have been further along, but I just couldn't resist taking the boys to do things like this instead.
After all, we've never been strawberry picking before, so when the right weather and the right timing lined up, how could I waste that opportunity? And it was on our list of summer adventures!

Now that life is settling back into our regular routine, I hope to be back posting more. At least until things get busy again... I'll just keep doing my best. Even a little something has to be better than nothing, right?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Keeping them busy all summer long...

As pre-K is rapidly winding down for the year, the long stretch of summer is looming. This is not as much of a shock for me as it is for many other moms with school age kids, since I am used to having O home with me everyday. Still, the idea of being home with 2 active boys for months on end (without the break of school, music class, and our other regularly scheduled activities) is both exciting and daunting. While most of the other children in C's class are heading off to full day, multi-week camps, C and O will be staying home with me. Right now I have the luxury of being home with them, so I want to enjoy it!  But that means that the boys' entertainment will be completely up to me.

To that end, we are continuing our tradition of making a "Summer Adventures" list. In late spring, the boys and I sit down and come up with a list of all the fun things we want to do during summer vacation.  Making the list is a big part of getting excited for summer. C checks on the list every few days and can't wait until we start crossing things off it. Some will happen, and some probably won't. But, here is what we'd love to accomplish this summer:
  1. Move (yikes!)
  2. Explore all of the playgrounds in our new neighborhood
  3. Take a family vacation
  4. Swimming lessons
  5. Join the library's summer reading program and read, read, read
  6. Go Strawberry Picking
  7. Go Blueberry Picking
  8. Go on a Treasure Hunt in the Woods
  9. Have a beach day
  10. Go to a minor league baseball game
  11. Go to a local racetrack and see a real car race
  12. Play Minigolf
  13. Bowling
  14. Go for a hike
  15. Visit local Children's Museum
  16. Visit local Science Museum
  17. Visit local Aquarium
  18. Go to preseason football game
  19. Visit Gramma and Grampa
  20. Visit the local farm
  21. Visit Zoo
  22. Host BBQ 
Last year, our summer adventures list helped us keep a good balance between active outings and lazy days at home. I firmly believe that the boys need both, but I do better with at least a loose weekly schedule. 

What do you and your family have planned for the summer? I'd love some more fun ideas!

Friday, May 21, 2010

We are all artists.

C's pre-K class just finished a 3 week unit on art, culminating in a trip to a local art museum. I've been hearing about this unit in little snippets after school.. It's been interesting to try to figure out what on earth they've been doing from the one line facts that C chose to provide. 

"Art is shoes."

"Picasso didn't just do paintings, he also did sculptures."

"And then there were marbles, but my marbles kept falling out, so it didn't really work."

"We made stabiles. It's like a mobile but it's a stabile." 

"Kline painted with lines."

"We got to splat! The paintbrush wasn't allowed to touch the paper. Only to splat or drip. Like my friend Jack makes art." (I later found out that they had been studying Jackson Pollack.)

"We're all artists, Mom. Even you."

I was really quite bewildered. But I could tell that he was having fun with the unit, and maybe learning a little something too.

When I asked him how the trip to the museum was, he eagerly told me how on the way there in his classmate's car they watched "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and on the way home they watched "Mickey saves Santa."

But what about the museum? "Well, we looked at some art, and then we went to the bathroom, and then we had snack, and then we looked at a little more art and then came home." With a little more prodding, he did eventually say that they looked at a Mondrian painting and then tried to copy it.

So I was really surprised by the impressive display of their creations when the class opened their own art gallery this week. Even though the information didn't always come home, it was clear that they touched on all different types of art, from pop art, to line art, to sculptures, to still lifes, and quilting. Seeing all the kids showing off their work with such pride was wonderful. They knew that they really were artists. And that's the best lesson of them all.







Tuesday, May 11, 2010

O's tale

The boys were taking turns telling me stories this afternoon. This was O's tale.

"Once upon a time there was a Baby Mario. And a Baby Luigi hugged him. And then they got flushed down the toilet! HA HA HA HA HA! And then there was a little, little, little...no, a giant, giant, giant bear that scared them. The End!"

I'm not sure why I found this so funny, but I truly laughed until I had tears in my eyes!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

to all the mommies out there...



...who wouldn't trade this job for anything!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Feeling like "that mom"

I like to think that I am raising my boys to be well mannered.  On their own, they behave quite nicely, and C's teacher has no complaints about his behavior in school. But lately, when the two of them are together, it's as if their energies collide and combust, creating a whirlwind of noise and running. It's not that they are having tantrums (although they have plenty of those too), it's more of a jubilant tornado. All that happy energy and noise proves very disruptive when we are in public, and makes me feel like "that mom".

You know the one.

The one that people roll their eyes at and wonder, "How can she let them behave that way?" or "Why doesn't she control her children?" When they are chattering and singing so loudly at a restaurant during lunch that two separate parties ask to be seated elsewhere as the server leads them in our direction. Or racing around the aisles in the shoe store (reminding me why I prefer to do most of my shopping online). Or playing "bonk heads" in the double cart at Costco. (They never believe me when I tell them that this is not a good game, even though it ends in tears every time.)

To all the tired and exasperated moms that I rolled my eyes at before I had children, I apologize. I didn't know. I had no idea that sometimes the energies of a 5 and 3 year old really can not be tamed. That boys truly will be boys. That sometimes asking nicely, bribing with snacks, and doling out time outs just doesn't work. 

I know now. Because I'm "that mom" too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Water water everywhere...

Due to a major water main break, we spent the last few days without drinkable tap water. Until the "boil water" order went into effect, I had never really thought about how often I use tap water. A quick drink, wetting a paper towel to wipe a messy face after a meal, washing my hands, rinsing a toothbrush, running the dishwasher, all these things and more were off limits for 3 days. In fact, it was so automatic for the boys and I to just reach for the tap that I had to wrap a towel around the faucet handles to remind us to stop!

The novelty made it somewhat fun. As I washed and rinsed pots and pans in a basin full of previously boiled water, I felt like a pioneer woman. Yes, the paper plates, plastic utensils, and bottled water for drinking (and coffee making!) ruined the illusion a bit.

I got a glimpse of human nature in a local CVS when bottled water sold out right in front of me. Some people walked out with 16 cases just for themselves, smirking at others who got turned away. I had only wanted to pick up a couple of gallon jugs that I could use and then refill because I didn't have any pitchers to store boiled water in, but I got concerned when I saw the shortage and surrounding hysteria. Everyone was saying that this would last for a week or more. So I grabbed up a couple of cases too. I couldn't even have bought a gallon jug if I wanted to, since the shelves were completely bare.  I felt guilty buying into the "every man for himself" philosophy, but still took what I thought would be enough for us if the shortage went on for more than a week. And remained grateful that at least we could boil water. After all, the bottled water was just more convenient. It wasn't necessary. I can't even imagine what the scene would have been like if we had no water at all.

This situation certainly opened my eyes to what I have always taken for granted--having potable water whenever I want it. I also never realized just how much I use water every day! We did drink a lot of tap water before we heard about the order. Here's hoping we stay healthy! I'll raise a glass of water to that!

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Marriage

C: "Mom, when I grow up, I'm going to marry you!'"

Me: "Oh, you can't marry me. I'm your Mom."

C: "Why not? I love you the best!"

Me: "Because people don't marry their moms. And, I'm already married to Daddy, remember?"

C: "That's ok...I'll marry you again!"

Me: "You're very sweet. But, I am sure that by the time you are old enough to get married, you won't want to marry me anymore."

O pipes in: "Then I'll marry you, Mommy!"

I am soooo coming back to read this when the boys are older and don't want to be seen with their super lame Mom anymore.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting older

I am only in my mid 30s, but the last few weeks I've been feeling much older. I pulled a muscle in my back twice in two weeks, which left me hobbling around unable to stand up straight for several days each time. "Is this what it feels like to be an old lady?!" I asked Hubby repeatedly. I also noticed my first gray bang hair (I've had a few other grays before, but never in the bangs), and have overall just been exhausted. I guess the boys are picking up on these developments, because yesterday O announced:

"Mom, you're not three. You're twenty-hundred!"

Sigh...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How nice it is...

...to go for a hike without needing a stroller!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stereotypes

Yesterday, while coloring, C mentioned that he was going to draw something pink. Pink is one of his three favorite colors (along with blue and green) and often shows up in his arts & crafts projects. Then he sighed, and said, "Mom. The other day in school, Millie laughed at me when I was riding the pink bike."
"She did?" I asked. "Why?"
"Because the pink bike is for girls, I guess." C said.
"How did that make you feel?" I asked.
"Sad," he said, with another deep sigh. "But I can ride the pink bike, right? Pink's not ALL for girls! Boys can like pink too, right Mom?"
"Of course you can!" I said. "It's fine that you like pink, and you can ride the pink bike if you want to."
"But, I forgot to laugh at her when she rode the blue boy bike today." C said. I pointed out that if he felt bad when Millie laughed at him, Millie would probably feel bad if he laughed at her, and he agreed.

It makes me sad that C is being pressured to conform to these gender stereotypes already. I've worked very hard to encourage all his interests, and even though he's always gravitated toward the more typical boyish toys (trains, cars, etc), he also has a play kitchen, and enjoys the book Pinkalicious. He loves to dance and be silly.

He just turned 5. Can't he still like pink if he wants to?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hospitality

C: "Why did Daddy decide to be a hospitality doctor?"

Me: "A what?"

C: "You know, a hospitality doctor...A Paternarian!"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cake Two

This past weekend we celebrated O's 3rd birthday, and with that came another adventure in baking.  This was a very hectic week for us, filled with illnesses and house hunting, and I just didn't have the energy to make another fancy cake. Cue the mommy guilt...now! However, O said that he wanted a Lightning race cake, and I think I managed to make that happen. Even though this cake was quite simple, just stacked rectangular cakes with an oreo cookie crumb raceway, O was thrilled that it displayed the final scene of his all time favorite movie CARS (Chick Hicks winning the race because Lightning is pushing the damaged King).



We also had a small party with a few of his friends, and Hubby noted that O was quite a stud, since all the guests were girls! We managed to get the group to play a party game (Pin the Sticker on the Lightning) and O seemed to have a great time.

Now he keeps announcing "I am bigger! I am Three!"


And I just can't believe it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Imaginative Play

The Easter Bunny brought each of the boys a mini Lego set. C's was a pirate ship, and O's was a little house scene. We had fun coming up with some imaginative play that melded them both together.


The pirate came searching for the magic treasure chest that was hidden in the king's house. I'm not sure what Mater was doing there, but he was clearly important.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who IS the Easter Bunny?

A conversation in the car, on the way to get egg dyeing materials...

O: "I love Easter Eggs! I want to have an Egg Hunt!"
Me: "Well, maybe the Easter Bunny will leave you some eggs to find."
O: "The Easter Bunny? Who is the Easter Bunny?"
Me: (hmmm...I guess he doesn't remember last year...he was only 2...) "You know...the Easter Bunny! The one who brings Easter baskets with candy to all the good little boys."
O: "But...who IS the Easter Bunny?"
Me: "Ummm....I don't know. But he's magic! Like Santa."
O: "Oh. But is he a guy? Or a bunny?"
Me: "He's a bunny. But a magic bunny."
O: "Maybe he turns into a magic guy...or...maybe he turns into A MAGIC RACE CAR!!!!"
Me: "Um...maybe? I don't know. I think he is just a bunny."
O: "Oh...(long sad sigh)...Or a magic tow truck??"
Me: "Sure!  I don't know how the magic works."
O: "Well, I love that Easter Bunny!"
Me: "You do?"
O: "Yeah, I'm going to give him a big hug!"
 

Lucky bunny.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools

Driving home from school yesterday...

C: "Tomorrow is April First! That means it's April Fools Day, Mom!"
Me: "MmmHmm. Did you talk about that at school?"
C: "Yeah, on April Fools, you play tricks on people. So I'm going to play a trick on you! And on Daddy!"
Me: "Oh really? What kind of trick?"
C: "I haven't decided yet."
Me: "Did your teachers talk about what kind of tricks you could play?"
C: "A little bit. In Circle time. I know!! I could tell you that you have a snake in your hair!"
Me: "Oh."
C: "Or I could tell you that you're not driving! HA HA HA HA!!"
Me: "But...I AM driving."
C: "But, I could say that you're NOT! HA HA HA! April Fools!"

I just know I am going to be in big trouble when he actually figures out how this works...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Letter Maker

Last week in PreK, C's class focused on Anansi the Spider stories.  I wasn't very familiar with Anansi, but C tells me he is a "trickster" and there are lots of stories about him. One of the stories they read was about Anansi's children, all of whom have interesting names that describe their special skills ("see trouble", "river drinker", etc). For an activity that day, each of the kids drew a picture of what their spider name would be.

When I dropped him off the next morning, hanging on the wall amidst the ballet dancers, train builders, and taxi drivers was...
When I saw his creation, I couldn't help but smile at what he came up with. Anyone who knows C at all will realize exactly how perfect his choice was. Because how could my alphabet loving, early reading son be anything else?!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rainy days are here again

Ugh. Another day of constant downpours. This is already the wettest March on record, and we're expecting a few more inches of rain today. I can see water starting to seep into the basement again, just like it did two weeks ago.  I spent several days learning to love a shop vac back then, and was hoping to never put those skills to use again! As of five minutes ago, there is only a small trickle of water slowly coming in through a crack in back stairs. Not enough to start cleaning up...yet.

So, for now, I think curling up on the couch with the boys, scarfing down some homemade chocolate chip cookies, and watching The Princess and the Frog is definitely in order.

I guess there are still a few good things about rainy days!
 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Budding Ansel Adams?

One of C's favorite birthday gifts was a kiddy camera.  He's had a great time taking pictures of his favorite things. Here's some of his work.

The TV (a study in perspective). 
No photoshopping here--he rotated the actual camera to get his angles.


Lightning and a leg                                                     


Wedgits


Of course, O wanted a turn with the camera too. Here is some of his work.

Ankles                                                                         

His Own Ear