Saturday, January 30, 2010


A few funnies from my 2 year old...

During a family Rockband Wii session, he didn't want to sing or play along, and announced...
"I want to watch. Watching is my favorite instrument."

* * *

In the midst of an endless breakfast tantrum that had already screamed its way through the topics of wanting a different spoon, his bib being crooked, and a chunk of peach falling back into the yogurt container...
O: "WAAAAAHHHHHH! Mommy!!! WAAAAAAH!!! I have a problem!!"
Me: "What is it now?"
O: "There are drips on my cheeks! You have to wipe the drips off my cheeks!"
Me: "Oh, do you have yogurt on your face?"
O: "NO! There are different drips! Wipe them! Wipe them! WAAAAAAH!"
(At which point I realized that the drips on O's cheeks were TEARS!)
Me: "O, if you would just stop screaming and crying about everything, you won't have anymore tear drips on your cheeks!"
O: "Oh..."
Tantrum ends while I do my best to contain my giggles!

* * *

Attempting to tell a joke he heard on TV, but clearly not getting it quite right...
O: "What do you call a chicken mowing the lawn on a windy day?"
Me: "What?"
O: "A windy car!! A HA HA HA HA HA HA!"
O falls to the floor laughing while I remain confused.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm thinking of an animal...

While we were in the car today, C suggested that we play a guessing game. Since we were on our way to an unfamiliar destination and I was concentrating on the road, I suggested that the two boys play on their own.

C: "I'm thinking of an animal that is a pet!"

O: "A COW!!!!"

C: (sigh...) "No, O, a cow is not a pet. I said, I am thinking of an animal that is a pet."

O: "ummm....A TIGER!!"

C: "O, a tiger is NOT a pet. Try again."

O: "A LION!!!"

C: (even longer sigh...) "No."


C: (whining) "MOOOOOOM, I said I am thinking of a pet. How come he's not guessing a pet?!"

Me: "Well, some people keep parrots as pets, so that was a good guess."

C: (getting more and more agitated) "No it wasn't!!!! O doesn't know how to play!! Now you have to guess, Mom!!!"

Me: "Is it a cat?"

C: "YES!!!"

Phew! Crisis averted!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hints of Spring?

Today was on the warmer side and most of the ice leftover from the last snowstorm has finally melted, so after lunch we ventured out into the yard for the first time in days. C plays outside everyday at school, but since I don't particularly enjoy the cold, O has been significantly deprived of fresh air lately. I really need to work on that!

Oh, to be a kid again, when all you need to have fun is...

...a few good rocks to add to your collection.

...a mess of sticks blown down during the last storm. These can be collected to make "a bird's nest" in the driveway. Or thrown in the garbage can if you are willing to comply with Mommy's "clean up the yard" game.

...something to run circles around while pretending you are in a grand prix auto race (a car, slide, or a leftover snowbank will do the job nicely). Of note, Mommy must properly wave a stick or mitten at the starting gate to begin the race, otherwise it doesn't count.

I brought a book outside, in an attempt to get started on achieving my 50 books in a year goal, but I didn't read a single page. I was having too much fun watching the boys running around. Besides, it really is a lot of work to organize a grand prix race, what with the starting gate duties, announcing the lap numbers, calling for pit stops to change tires, and declaring the winners (there are always two--one in the 2 year old category and one in the 4 year old category). Frankly, by the end, I was worn out. And I didn't even run at all. Maybe next time I should put C in charge of the race, and I'll run the laps.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

50 books in a year?

Today I saw a blog post about challenging oneself to read 50 books in a year. My first thought was "50 books? That's nothing!" After all, 50 books is just one book a week. In years past, that would have been nothing for me. I was always a big reader growing up. It was such a treat to go to the library every two weeks and check out the maximum 20 books each time. My mom realized early on that the best way to get me to do my chores quickly was to tell me "You can't read until after you've done XY&Z." Because depriving me of books was like torture!

But then life moved along. In college I still did quite a bit of pleasure reading, and read plenty of other interesting books for my courses along the way. I'm sure I met the 50 book a year goal easily. Then grad school came, and pleasure reading went out the window for the most part. There was just too much required reading, and what little time I had left over was devoted to sleep! But I still had vacations, and I read and read when I had snippets of free time. Browsing at the bookstore was still one of my favorite pasttimes, and lazy afternoons reading on the beach were the perfect escape.

And then the kids came along. And pleasure reading really went out the window. I did read a lot on the internet about parenting, and have read plenty of alphabet, rhyming, and Thomas books over the last 4 years. But I did very little reading purely for myself. I was always just so tired at night, and it was easier to plop down in front of the TV than pick up a book. I missed reading, but I wasn't quite sure what to do about it. I'd bring books along on vacation, but all my time was spent running after the kids. Lazy afternoons on the beach had now been taken over with sand toys and reapplying sunscreen. I don't even throw a book in my beach bag anymore because I know I'll never get to it. And browsing in a bookstore? Forget it. With two kids in tow, a visit to the bookstore is limited to picking up essentials only, and the faster we get in and out, the better. Hubby still buys me books every Christmas since they have always been among my favorite gifts, but it takes me months to read them (and sadly some great finds still sit on the bedside table untouched).

Now 50 books in a year seems nearly impossible to achieve. And that makes me sad. But I've been inspired! I want to try to regain some of that personal time and get back to what was always my favorite hobby. There's nothing like curling up with a good book! I don't know if I'll make it to 50 books this year, and I'm sure whatever I do read will be mostly fluff fiction because, hey I have to start somewhere, right? I think I'll start leaving a book in the car to read while I'm waiting in the school pick up line. And maybe stash another in my gym bag. First, I'm going to work on finishing the newest Elizabeth George book that I gave myself for Christmas.

Anyone else up for the 50 book a year challenge? Or have any suggestions for good reads? I'll need them!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

C's tale.

Winter seems extra long now that I have two boys cooped up inside all day. They have energy to burn, and it feels like all I do is try to balance active fun with preventing injuries and breaking up fights. Tonight the boys were butting heads and couldn't find a way to play nicely together. So I suggested that C sit down at the table and color or write me a story. C loved this idea and immediately sat down to write me a book. He was so excited that he insisted that I give him at least 11 pages to write on. O didn't want to color, but at least he was able to play with his cars quietly while C was otherwise occupied.

Here is C's tale...

"One day I was walking in the woods"

"In the woods I saw the car Lightning"

"I also saw a train"

"The train took me to Gramma's house"

"I played the game of Labyrinth with Gramma"

"Then I went home. The end"

Friday, January 22, 2010

I can tell time...

I woke up this morning to find C snuggled in and sound asleep next to me. He never climbs in our bed anymore, so when he finally woke up, I asked him when he had come into our room. He looked at me, sighed, and announced with a very matter-of-fact tone,

"I don't know Mom! I know how to TELL time, but I don't know how to REMEMBER time."

(Of course. My mistake.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I love it

When C reads to his little brother!

Too bad they started pushing and shoving each other about 30 seconds after this photo. :-(

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hide & Seek with a 2 year old...

From the mixed up counting ( I come!)...

to the peeking through his fingers so he knows exactly where you hid and can find you instantly...

to his hopeless hiding (sitting right in the middle of the floor, hiding in the same place 3 times in a row)...

to the exuberant giggles that begin when you are within one mile of his location and eliminate any sense of mystery...'s the recipe for a good time...and a lot of silly fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Get out the vote!

Today O and I braved the rapidly falling snow and headed to the polls after dropping C off at school. Despite the eyerolls I draw from poll workers and other voters when they see me arrive with two rambunctious boys, I have always taken C & O with me to vote. I think it's important for them to learn at a young age that they can and should be a part of our country's political process. When I was a child, I was always so excited to go to the polls with my mom on election day and I want my boys to have the same enthusiasm! As immigrants, gaining citizenship and the right to vote in this country was so important to my parents, and they never wanted me to take that birthright for granted.

Now I'm feeling a bit guilty that I went to vote while C was in school, because it was just easier to go with only one child! Hopefully Hubby can take C with him when he goes to vote after work!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The hunt is on!

Every evening the boys are responsible for helping to clean up the mess they've created during the day. And they do, but with a LOT of whining. "I can't do it! O's not helping!" etc, etc. It's fairly torturous for all of us and yet I do force the cleanup issue everyday because I think it's important for the boys to help out at least a little. It always goes more smoothly when we make a game out of it. In the past, I had great success with cleaning races. "Who can be the first to clean up 20 things?!" C, always very goal directed, would win handily, while I purposely lost count and kept dropping my items, and O ran around in circles, picking up only one or two things. There was no whining and the toys would usually get cleaned up fairly quickly. But lately, the charm of this game seems to have worn off. Suggesting a cleaning race is now met with "I don't want to. You just clean it up Mom."

Since the boys stopped napping this week, I've been much more exhausted than usual. I guess I really did need that downtime every afternoon! Last night I looked around at all the blocks and Legos everywhere and sighed. I just didn't have the energy to fight with the boys about cleaning, nor did I have the energy to clean it all up myself. And then, an idea flashed into my head!

I told C & O that if they cleaned up all the blocks and Legos, they would earn a clue to a treasure hunt. They cleaned up very quickly and then I sent them to the kitchen so I could lay a trail of 3 clues in the living room. I wasn't sure they would really understand the game, but they loved it. C read the clues aloud to O and then they both searched for the next clue. They had a great time following one clue to the next, and were thrilled once they eventually found the cookies I had hidden under their cowboy hats. After gobbling them down, they begged to play again. I told them they would have to choose another treasure to find since they couldn't have any more cookies, and they chose to search for their Lightning McQueen car. I sent them to the kitchen and sent up a new treasure hunt. When they returned, I handed C the first clue to start the hunt. He said "No Mom! What do I have to clean up to earn the clue?" (!!!!!!!!!) Apparently treasure hunt is only a cleaning game! So I found a few more things for them to clean up and then they completed the new hunt.

After that, C wanted to write the clues so O and I could hunt. I wasn't sure how that would go since, after all, C is only 4! Would he really know how to write out clues, or figure out that one clue had to lead to the next? He busied himself at his table and O and I waited eagerly. I was amused when he ruined one of the clues by asking "Mom, how do you spell computer?" When he announced he was done, I said "OK, give me the first clue." To which he replied, "NO MOM! You have to clean up something to earn the clue!! (This is the best game EVER!!!!!) So I put away a few loose toys that the boys had missed and O and I started on our hunt.

C's clues (painstakingly handwritten in all caps):

1) "I LOVE TO W"
C explained that this was supposed to be, "I love to watch" but he got distracted and forgot to write the rest of the word. I searched for a clue near the TV, but there was none. I was confused until he explained that he meant the show "Frances" and I realized the clue was in the book bin with his Frances book.

2) "IN THE IN"
(????) I asked C what this meant and he said "I don't know." Then he couldn't remember where he had hidden clue number 3 so the game paused for a bit while he searched and eventually found it on the desk. Still don't know what "IN THE IN" has to do with that!

I figured out that this meant his globe, where clue # 4 was hidden.

Ah, at last the clue that I had helped him spell. Leading me directly to where a toy dolphin was hidden on the keyboard.

Not bad at all for a first attempt, in my opinion!

C and I played several more times after O went to bed, taking turns writing the clues and being the treasure hunter. And since cleaning up is the required first step of this game, by the end the floor was spotless. This morning they are already talking about hunting for treasure later. I hope this game holds their interest and makes cleaning up easier for a long time. Or at least until I can think of a new cleanup game!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can't wait to see...

...what games they come up with now that they have TWO boxes. I see a lot of head bonks in our future...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Name of the Game

In spite of all the lovely gifts the boys received over the holidays, they have spent most of this week playing with an empty jumbo sized Mini Wheats box. This will come as no surprise to all the mothers who have that post-holiday "Why do I even bother shopping?" feeling when they see their perfect, hard sought purchases tossed aside in favor of something ordinary. But I must say I have been quite amused by the ideas the boys have come up with.

One game involving the box was a game called "Recipe" where they dumped all their cars in the box. The goal was to "try to make a cake before Bowser comes to steal the recipe." Apparently sometimes "DK comes, and that's good because he'll give you new things for the recipe." Yes, I wish their games didn't always involve TV or videogame characters, but it's better than just watching them, right? They also invented a few games where they try to roll a ball or drive a car into the box. This proved to be much more difficult than it sounds.

Last night, C & O started yet another game with the Mini Wheats Box while I was making dinner. From the raucous laughter, it seemed like it was a big hit, so I wasn't surprised that they started playing it again today. But I couldn't figure out what they were doing, so I asked C to explain it to me. The games he invents often have very long titles, and this one was no different.

C: "Mom, look at our new game! It's called 'Bounce the ball on the box without tipping it over, and be the first one to get 10 points'."

O pipes up: "And look out for rats!!"

C: "Oh yeah Mom, that's the most important part! Bounce the ball on the box without tipping it over and look out for rats!"

Me: "Rats? What do you mean rats?"

C: "You know...rats! Like a mouse. But stinky."

Me: "But why are there rats?"

C: "Mom...(big sigh)...they're not REAL rats. We are using our brains and our imaginations!"

Oh. Well now it all makes sense...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deep Thoughts

O crawled into our bed at some point early this morning. I usually wake up when I hear him coming down the hall, but this morning I was surprised when I awoke at 6AM to him chattering very loudly next to me. I tried to feign sleep, but O just kept rambling on and on.

"And then there was a Lego Mack, and a Lego Lightning, and then we couldn't find the wheels and then C said we should try something else, and then I looked for the other one, and then...."

I didn't know what he was talking about since I had clearly missed the beginning of this conversation. Was he telling me what he did yesterday? Was he recounting a dream? I mumbled "O, it's too early. Go back to sleep." but he just kept talking and talking and talking.

"...And then there was a book, but the page came out but then C found it and put it back in, and then I looked at it, and there was a mermaid, and she was fishing and then..."

Five minutes later he was still talking and I had a brewing headache! I finally said "O, why are you still talking? Mommy is sleeping!" And he said...

"But Mommy, I haven't finished telling you about ALL of the toys in the house yet!"

Time to get up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

As I mourn the passing of the nap...

Until today, I have been struggling to maintain my hold on something I consider to be essential to my sanity--the boys' afternoon nap. Yes, I am aware that C is only a few months shy of 5, and O is 2 and a half, and I should just count my blessings that they have napped this long, so & so's child stopped napping at 15 months, etc, etc, etc... Still, I was very much convinced that my boys needed naps, and frankly I needed the downtime too. When else could I check my e-mail, make phone calls without being interrupted by screaming every 2 seconds, and catch up on all the pending viewing on my DVR? I'm not ashamed to admit that I adore nap time!!

But lately, naps seem to have become more trouble than they're worth. O wants me to sit with him or carry him on my shoulder until he falls asleep (not at all practical when I spend the entire time wondering "What on earth is C doing downstairs that's making all that racket?"). The amount of effort I had to put into getting O to fall asleep just seemed to be growing and growing, and yet I persevered. After all, on the days O doesn't nap, he becomes more and more hyper and more and more clumsy, a combination that often ends up with him running around wildly until he falls and gets hurt (giving himself a bloody lip just as we were setting up our annual Christmas Eve family photo, among other things). C hasn't wanted to nap in months, but I talked him into an afternoon rest time "because your body needs rest to grow!" As soon as I told C he didn't have to actually fall asleep, he has been content to read books in his bed for an hour a day. I took the fact that he still fell asleep about 50% of the time as a sign that he still needed naps.

Yet, today I bid farewell to the regular afternoon nap. I am tired of the struggle, tired of the whining, tired of C being awake until 10pm on the days he does nap, and most of all, tired of the down-in-the-dumps feeling I get on those increasingly frequent days that the nap doesn't happen at all. It's time to reset my expectations. From now on I will look on an afternoon nap as a rare treat, rather than a goal. We'll no longer have an automatic afternoon nap. I am trying to set behavior standards. If the boys are too tired to play nicely and are falling apart, we'll still have an afternoon rest time. And we will not fill nap time with more screen time, as the boys get too much of that already.

I think we'll all be happier.

Or I'll lose my mind.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boys and their toys!

Being a Mommy to 2 boys has opened up a whole new section of the toy store for me. I wouldn't say that I was a very "girly" girl growing up, but I did love my Barbies and dollhouse. I also enjoyed construction toys like Legos and Tinkertoys, but otherwise I generally avoided the "boy" section of toy store. All the cars, trains, and action figures really didn't interest me at all.

My how times have changed! I couldn't tell you what Barbie or Princess stuff is all the rage since I haven't set foot in the pink section of the toy store in ages. I hear about things like Littlest Pet Shop and Polly Pockets from my friends who have girls, but I don't really know what they are. My area of expertise now lies squarely in the Thomas the Tank Engine section. I know the names of all the Thomas trains and keep a running mental catalog of exactly which trains we own, and those we do not, to avoid the dreaded repeat purchase. I've become quite skilled at constructing elaborate tracks and know many adventures from the Island of Sodor by heart. I never quite understood why the boys were so fascinated since the stories seemed boring to me, but I loved their wide-eyed wonder. Now the boys seem to be growing out of their Thomas devotion. They still play trains several times a week, but for shorter and shorter periods. And I really miss it! I guess investing all that time and energy made me a Thomas fan too, even though I didn't realize it.

Over the last 9 months, the boys' growing new obsession has been the characters from the Disney CARS movie. O is devoted to all things Lightning McQueen (the hero) but C favors Chick Hicks (the bad guy) because he loves "smashing and bashing". As an only child, these were two words that never entered my play vocabulary. But the boys have a constant playmate to wrestle, smash, and bash with, so I guess it makes sense. However, even beyond smashing and bashing, their absolute favorite activity is to race cars. They will run endless laps around the couch and never seem to tire. I too have now become a fan of CARS. Knowing all the characters, as well as the incorrect names that O calls them (Fred instead of Frank, Zippity instead of Sheriff, etc) is a must. After all, who else can translate their letters to Santa to make sure he brings the right toys?

Of course, now that I've finally got all the CARS characters down pat, the boys are branching out to all kinds of cars. One of their favorite Santa gifts was some Hot Wheels Trick Tracks. Luckily C & O don't seem that interested in the actual cars themselves; they just enjoy launching them. Which is a good thing, because the hot wheels come 5-10 to a box! In this endless game of catch up, there's just no way this mommy's brain can handle keeping track of those!

1 year ago...

And now...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snowball box?

In the past, C showed little interest in drawing, saying "I can't do it!" or producing the same scribble for any object. But recently he seems newly inspired and is more confident in his drawing skills. I credit his school for this, as they do quite a few artsy projects. This week they all cut out and decorated snowmen, and then were also encouraged to draw their own snowman. When he told me about this, I asked him if he could also draw me one to hang on the fridge. He said "Mommy, I will draw you a snowman, and LOTS of other things too!" Here are a few of the drawings he produced. Clearly, C especially loves to draw things that he also knows how to spell, because he loves to put captions on his work! I love seeing how his mind works...I guess he needs a box to store his snowballs!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What happens to bees in winter?

C rushed into our room at 3:30 this morning, crying "I'm scared!" He told us that he had dreamt that he was being chased by a bee and he was running and running, but eventually he got too tired to run and then the bee stung him. Hubby said very calmly, "there are no bees in winter, so no bee can sting you now. Go back to sleep." As I was rolling my eyes, thinking "that will never work!", C said "Oh. OK." and went back to bed! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised...both C and Hubby are always very logical.

This morning I asked C what happens to bees in the winter, and he said "Oh they probably go and stay in their hive when it's cold." I wasn't sure if that was true, so we looked it up, and it seems like he was right, for honeybees at least.

* * *

Every morning in preK, after signing in, each child uses flash cards to write a sentence on the board in the classroom. So far the flash cards have consisted of a few words ("I", "like", "and") and a variety of pictures to choose from. C's favorite sentence has always been "I like TV" (insert embarrassed Mommy sigh here). He alternates this with some combination of "I like vegetables/maps/vans/books/zoos..." since they aren't allowed to write the same sentence 2 days in a row, but always comes back to the TV picture at least once or twice a week.

Yesterday they introduced a new "do not" card and I was excited to see what C would write. But he wrote his typical "I like TV." I asked him why he didn't use the new "do not" card and he glowered at me and said, "Because I didn't want to! I will try it tomorrow!" So this morning O and I waited patiently while C rummaged through the bin of flashcards. He seemed to be searching intently, so I was very curious to see if he would branch out from his usual sentence and actually use the new card today. When he was finished, he came running over to me very proudly and asked me to look at his sentence. When I saw it, I couldn't help but burst out laughing. He had written "I DO NOT like BEES!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apparently I really do need that gym membership!

My morning started off nice enough, with O & C climbing into my bed a little before 7 this morning. I enjoy those wakeup cuddles when they happen after 6:30AM! O snuggled up me, patted my stomach, and said "I love you Mommy! You're my best friend!" O's never called me his best friend before, so that really made me smile. But before I could even finish thinking "Awww..." he followed with "Why do you have a big bum?" C then corrected O, saying "That's her tummy not her bum! She has a big tummy not a big bum."

Aside from realizing that I clearly need to review basic anatomy with my 2 year old, I also had to acknowledge the sad truth that both tummy & bum are pudgier than I would like. I guess it's a good thing that I joined a gym back in October!

The funny thing about joining a gym is that it was always the kids holding me back. What to do with them? Who would watch them? Having been home with the boys fulltime since they were born, I've rarely used anyone but family to watch them. I contemplated joining a gym after C was born, but the idea of leaving my baby in a gym childcare with the germs and the strangers and the risk of exposure to food allergens stopped me right in my tracks. And so I didn't join a gym. Luckily, I was able to get back into reasonable shape just by walking an hour a day around the city. But then we had another baby, moved to the suburbs, and walking became more of a chore. It was rare that both boys were in the mood to sit in the stroller for a long walk, and walking wasn't as interesting anyway because I really couldn't walk "to" anywhere. So I tried doing exercise tapes at home, which worked for a while. But as the boys got older, exercising with two kids underfoot became more hazardous than helpful!

So this fall, I revisited the idea of the gym, and found that strangely, the childcare worries seemed to be far less of an issue for me now. Granted O is a much more outgoing child than C was when he was 2. He transitions easier and doesn't have food allergies, but still I really had only minor qualms about leaving O in the gym nursery. The fact that the gym has a nursery channel so you can watch your child while you exercise certainly helped ease my mind. But my favorite machines never seem to have that channel and I've started using them anyway.

I think sending C to preschool last year really helped me loosen up a bit. In some ways, I think starting school was a bigger challenge for me than it was for C. Being forced to trust his teachers to keep him safe and away from "itchy" foods was a real struggle for me. The first few weeks of school I didn't leave the house for the 3 hours he was away. We live right around the corner from the school, and knowing that I could run there in 2 minutes if there was a problem eased my mind. Slowly I started branching out, and grew to enjoy the time to take a music class or run errands with only one child. And now O and I head to the gym together a couple mornings a week. He enjoys exploring all the new toys, and I enjoy the brief moment to focus on myself.

I've come a long way in my fight against maternal anxiety. Now if only I could finally lose that baby weight...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My little angels

The snow is so much more fun now that both C and O like to stay outside for more than 2 minutes! Last winter was much whinier!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Unforeseen Consequences of receiving Rockband 2 Wii as a Christmas Gift...

...two year old now demands his snack by announcing that he's "hungry like the wolf." Or "thirsty like the wolf" if a drink is what he's after.

..."Eye of the Tiger" has been stuck in my head for 3 days. But at least now I actually know the words!

Starting a blog...

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.