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Costco and the Swimming Pool

I’ve had swimming on my mind lately. Perhaps (as Zack would say – he has become quite fond of that word lately) it is because we just finished another 2 week session of swim lessons, or perhaps it is because my doctor and I both discussed swimming as a great exercise for me (the knees don’t like to do much else), perhaps it is all the swimming we’ve been watching in the Olympics lately, or perhaps it is the combination of all three.

Zack is doing A-MAY-ZING with his swimming lessons. He finally got it. Doing everything at once – legs kicking, head in the water and arms doing big strokes. Although, the one thing we must work on are his ice cream scoopers. He’s got the big arms, but his hands are clenched up in fists like he’s fighting the pool (pretty cute, but he doesn’t go very far). I’m waiting for the fall swim lesson schedule to come out. Grandpa is paying for another session for his upcoming birthday. (Thanks, Dad). :)

I’ve also had some crazy dreams the last couple of nights. The one I remember most vividly involved both Costco and a swimming pool. In fact, Costco was the swimming pool. Or, the swimming pool was Costco – either way, it was weird. Really, really weird.

We (you know, those friends you have in your dream who in your dream you know but then you wake up and think “who were those people in my dream?”) were strolling up and down the aisles, pushing those ginormous shopping carts that are big enough to hold a house (at least a small little toy playhouse), but the whole store was a giant swimming pool up to waist deep. Everything else was exactly Costco. Again, very weird, but honestly it was a pretty fun dream!

So now, the next time the boys and I venture into the vast world of Costco, I will undoubtedly crack a smile and start to giggle, and Zack will undoubtedly say “What’s so funny Mommy?” and Brayden will undoubtedly ask “Why?”

Sweet dreams…

What A Great Day!

Today truly was a wonderful, great day! I will admit I was rushed when I got up this morning, and I even opted to savor a few extra minutes in bed in lieu of taking a shower (even though I had planned on washing my hair… I just could not get my eyes to stay open!).

It was 8:20am (I know, might seem late to some people, and it probably is, but I like to sleep – especially when I don’t do it that well. I’m still in practice, you know.) when I finally coaxed my brain to release my body from under the cozy, cozy covers. Zack had to be at school by 9:15am, which meant leaving the house no later than 9:05 (luckily we are only 8 minutes away from school), but both boys were still in their jammies. In fact, so was I! Will had at least gotten Zack’s clothes laid out for him, but I had to switch the pants because if he plays outside at school (which I knew they would today because it was just gorgeous!) he needs to wear jeans or he’ll rip holes in the knees of his sweats. He definitely prefers the sweat pants (and hey, I don’t blame him), but we are slowly getting used to wearing jeans with real big boy snaps and zippers.

So, in a determined, stern, not quite going crazy whirlwind I sunscreened the top half of Zack; had him finish getting himself dressed; threw on some old yoga capris, a t-shirt, sweatshirt and flip-flops to get myself dressed; gulped down a half cup of juice; stuffed the mini, canvas bag-I-take-everywhere with Brayden’s snacks, milk, water, diaper, wipes & my cell phone; hauled everything downstairs to start the car; ran back upstairs to get Brayden dressed; led the boys in cleaning up their toys; got jackets, socks and shoes on; led the crew downstairs, hopped into the car, buckled everyone in, and we were off to drop Zack off at school. Amazingly enough, we were all happy and somewhat fed, hydrated, and dressed! Phew!

We made it to school on time, and then Brayden and I were even early to our Mommy group playdate. As the first ones there, Brayden got the pick of the “good” toys (they’re all good, but when you get to choose first, they all seem that much better), and we took a stroll up the street (our friend lives on a wonderful cul-de-sac) while the little kids scooted along on push toys (and my back and legs got a bit of a workout). Once more Mommies and kids started to show up, we headed into her backyard (a-MAY-zing!) to play and snack in the sun. It was indeed a gorgeous day!

After playdate, we headed home, I got a little bit of lunch into Brayden, put him down for a nap (he’s been resisting going down for naps & bed lately – another post, another day…), opened up the windows to get some fresh air into the house, and sat down with another cup of coffee to relax for a minute before getting some work done. Just before 3:00pm, the house got really dark and I could see the clouds rolling in, the wind blowing the pine trees, and the smell of coming rain. I love the smell of rain – it is one of the best smells in the whole world! Aaaahhhhh….  And, as the weather man predicted, it rained.

Back from picking up Zack from school, and my car having gotten a slight rinse from the rain, it’s now 3:30pm and we are waiting for our friends to come over for a quick afternoon playdate. They come, we play (yes, all of us – we are not at the point yet, or shall I say, the kids are not at the point yet where we can completely leave them alone – and they don’t leave us alone, which I am fine with because I love playing trains and trucks and tractors), we all eat a little dinner, they go home. Brayden, Zack and I then make a quick birthday card for some other friends, and head over to their house for a short visit and to wish them happy birthday. We get a tour of their new (rental) house, the boys play, I get them in their jammies, we drive the 2 min back home, and it’s milk, teeth and bed. Brayden fusses for a short bit, but he is now sound asleep in his little, yellow alphabet jammies. Heaven.

Yes, it was a great day! I would gladly repeat this Monday anyday.

The Top 10 Lists of a Stay-at-Home Mom

I decided that I needed some humor in my life today, so I’ve come up with a few of my top 10 lists.
I hope you enjoy… and don’t be afraid to laugh!

The Top 10 Songs in My Head Our House

10. Theme song for Sid the Science Kid (“Hey Sid, what’ya say? Whatcha wanna learn today?…”)
9.   Thomas and His Friends from Thomas the Tank Engine (“They’re two they’re four they’re six they’re eight…”)
8.   The Alphabet Song (um, you know how it goes…)
7.   Thomas and His Friends from Thomas the Tank Engine (“…Shunting trucks and hauling freight…”)
6.   Theme song for Bubble Guppies (“Bub-bub-bubble, gup-gup-guppies!…”)
5.   Thomas and His Friends from Thomas the Tank Engine (“…Red and green and brown and blue, they’re the really useful crew…”)
4.   Theme song for Little Einsteins (“We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship…”)
3.   Thomas and His Friends from Thomas the Tank Engine (“…All with different roles to play, round Tidmouth sheds or far away…”)
2.   My own little lullaby to the partial tune of Hush Little Baby (“Sleep little baby close your eyes, sleep little baby dream tonight. Sleep little baby rest your head, sleep little baby it’s time for bed.”)

and…

The #1 song… Thomas and His Friends from Thomas the Tank Engine – Gee, how did you guess?! (“…Down the hills and round the bends, Thomas and his friends…”)

The Top 10 Most Watched Shows in Our House*

*Instead of writing out a whole new list, just refer to the top 10 list above

and… (in case you “missed” it above)

The #1 most watched show… Thomas the Tank Engine

The Top 10 Most Common Phrases in Our House

10. Inside voice please. (Quiet time? What’s that?)
9.   Focus, focus, focus. (No such thing as the attention span of a 4-yr-old when there are more fun things to do than what he has been asked to do.)
8.   Do you understand? (Usually a question to Zackery to make sure he really does understand why – why to just about everything, good or bad.)
7.   Do you need to go potty? (Also accompanied with Did you go poop? – The difference between one that tends to have accidents because he’s having too much fun to take a break, and one that’s still in diapers.)
6.   One at a time. (This generally refers to Brayden stuffing his face with whatever delicious snack he has guarded inside his dimpled little fists.)
5.   Do you need a timeout? (Usually the threat is all that’s needed, but I must admit I am not as good with the follow through as my husband.)
4.   Listen the first time. (I get tired of repeating myself. I get tired of repeating myself. I get tired…)
3.   Zackery, get off your brother! (It could be a case of snuggling or it could be a case of something not as nice – either way, the smothering must stop!)
2.   Hey! (Not so much a phrase, as a word that I find myself using in a raised voice more often than I’d like to gain attention and temporarily halt the pending meltdown(s).)

and…

The #1 most common phrase… I LOVE YOU! (Self explanatory.)

Wordless Wednesday – Christmas Handprint Ornament

I’ve been feeling quite crafty lately, and have really been getting into the Christmas spirit.
I hosted our Monday Mommy’s Group this week, and led everyone in making handprint ornaments with our little ones.
It was super easy and inexpensive, not to mention pretty darn cute! Enjoy…

Clear, plastic ornament; decorative ribbons; washable paint; foam paint brush; fine-tipped Sharpie pen.

 Cut the decorative ribbon and put inside the ornament. Use the foam brush to paint your childs palm. Help your child put his/her handprint on the ornament. TIP: if the handprint smudges or isn’t clear, wipe off with a damp paper towel or washcloth, then dry off the ornament with a dry paper towel, and try again! Once the handprint looks good, or is as good as it will get (*insert smile*), set it down in a safe place to dry. TIP: leave the top hanger part of the ornament off so you have a nice flat surface to keep the ornament from rolling around as it dries. As the paint is drying, cut white decorative ribbon and use the permanent pen (I like Sharpies) to write your child’s name and the year. Tie it around the ornament hanger in a knot or bow. Re-assemble and hang your ornament on the tree!

Completed Handprint Ornament

Hanging on the Tree!

 

Wordless Wednesday – Having a little fun…

Wordless Wednesday, I mean Thursday, oh no wait… Friday

Okay, so I really had good intentions of posting pictures of our Let’s Get Out of the House adventure on Tuesday, but well, as usual, life got in the way… Any way, the boys had a lot of fun, learning, laughing and discovering. See for yourselves. :)

I Declare Tuesdays “Let’s Get Out of the House Day”

Let's Get Out Of The HouseWell, the boys are happily off to Neverland, and Will and I are watching DWTS. I have to admit, I never used to be a fan (too much jabbering and not enough dancing – ironic since it’s a dancing show!), but for some reason it’s become one of “our shows” to watch together. It’s a good ending to a great day.

I took the boys to the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno again today. It was Brayden’s first visit, but Zackery’s second. He was soooo excited he could barely keep himself in his seat (thank goodness for 5-point harness car seats!) on the way there. At every turn, lane change and stoplight, he asked “Is this it? Are we here?!” It was genuinely adorable, and luckily not too annoying either.

We spent a solid 2-1/2 hours there, and could have spent all day if I were bold enough to forgo a little mister’s (Brayden’s) nap – which I was not willing to attempt. Will was able to meet us for lunch in the “picnic” room, which was a wonderful extra bonus surprise for the boys. They rarely get to see Daddy during the day, and they are also usually in bed before he gets home from work, so to have some fun time with Daddy was great for all of us.

I had a message from another Mommy friend when we got home, wanting to know what my afternoon plans were. Since Brayden only napped 40 min in the car until Zackery woke him up (that’s a whole other story on some other day…), my original plans became null and void. We ended up having them over for a little playdate and dinner.

I’m not exactly sure how we did it, but amongst the 3 of them running around the house, dumping every single toy out on the floor, and screaming (mostly in joy), my friend and I actually managed to have a series of uninterrupted conversations. We talked about feeding our kids (and what they will or will not eat); we talked about our husbands (mostly good, but honestly, you have to expect that when two married women get together there will be some venting); and we talked about weekly schedules (as much as we can realistically try to stick to one).

When it comes to my weekly schedule, the one thing that’s constant is that I have both boys all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Zackery’s in preschool M/W/F). I know myself, and I know that if I’m going to do anything “crazy” for the week (and by “crazy” I mean taking them both to a place of pure kid imagination, pandemonium and adventure – a.k.a. The Discovery Museum – all by myself), I better do it on a Tuesday. By Thursday I’m so exhausted that even thinking about anything “crazy” would make me want to reconsider.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, and generally I love taking them places, but it’s a lot of work all by myself. The 2 hours of prep work (which without kids running underfoot would take any normal person 15 min) – making lunches, filling water and milk bottles, making sure there’s enough diapers, wipes, change of clothes (even for Zackery, just in case he has “too much fun” and forgets to “take a [potty] break”), and then having adequate (and not too messy) snacks for the car (long gone are the days when I was “one of those Moms” who never let their kids eat in the car), oh, and maybe even shoving some resemblance of breakfast in my mouth as I’m zipping up jackets, buckling shoes, remembering to put my shoes on, and the list goes on and on and on… – okay, where was I going with this one?

The Juggling Mother

I know that as the boys continue to get older, it will get easier and I’ll need less “stuff” to prepare and take with us on our adventures. For now, as they are still a little young (and I am enjoying both their ages very much) I will be prepared to prepare. I will also be realistic (is this allowed?), not expect too much of myself and stick to planning one “crazy” thing a week.

So, I hereby officially declare (at least in our little house) that Tuesdays are now “Let’s Get Out of the House Day.”  Where will we see you?

Baby Intuition

Do babies have intuition? I’ve heard of “women’s intuition,” and I have to believe that to some extent I occasionally get blessed (or cursed, depending on who you talk to) with it. Lately, Brayden (who is now 14-1/2 months old – wow!) seems to have developed some kind of “baby intuition.” Let me explain…

It’s breakfast and Brayden is comfortably strapped into his high chair, the tray just barely fitting in front of his oh so chubalicious tummy. His plump little fingers amply filling his mouth with cut up red grapes. He sees the yogurt – peach, one of his favorites – being opened and stirred. His eyes light up and he smiles a big 5-toothe grin. He opens his mouth wide, allowing me to feed him the first bite of the creamy deliciousness. He reaches out, asking for more, as if wanting to devour the yogurt before I can even get another bite on the tiny, green, rubber-tipped spoon.

We continue in a synergistic dance of open mouth, insert yogurt, open mouth, insert yogurt.

All of a sudden, with only one little bite of yogurt left, he gives me his signature left handed block, turns his head away, and his soft little lips won’t open to save the world. I know he’s not just full; he would inhale another dozen grapes if given the opportunity. How does he know it’s the last bite of yogurt?

This has happened before with his cereal, and almost everything else that I spoon feed him, whatever it is, whatever meal-time it is. How in the world does he always know it’s the last bite??? It’s as if he has some kind of baby intuition. Hmmm… is there really such a thing? Is my child truly clairvoyant or is it just consistent coincidence?

Either way, there is one thing for sure that is magical about this perplexing recurrence, and that is Brayden himself. Whatever the reason or cause, it puts a smile on my face. I have to admit, though, it didn’t always make me laugh.

At first it was frustrating to be on the opposing side of the last bite protest. I would repeatedly try to force the last bite in. More often than not, I would succeed in releasing the contents of the tiny, rubber-tipped spoon, but although my aim (and my intention) was in the direction of Brayden’s mouth, it frequently ended up all over his face, hands, hair, and the floor. What a mess!

I finally had to just let it go. So what? if he didn’t finish his last bite of food. It’s not like my 28 lb baby was starving! Brayden was teaching me a lesson. If he could talk he probably would be saying, “Mommy, just be present and be happy. This is supposed to be fun.”

Maybe my little angelic Brayden does have “special powers” that I’m choosing to call “baby intuition.” I believe everything happens for a reason. Perhaps it’s the vision of the universe helping me to be happy.

So Brayden, from now on, if you choose to shun your last bite, I will honor that and smile along with you. After all, what’s most important is that we live in a happy home. You, my son, make our home blessed with joy, and for that and everything else, I love you!

Not the Usual Laying and Playing

It’s not often that Daddy gets to share evening play time with me and the boys, especially during the week. Usually, by the time he gets home from work, Brayden is already in bed and Zackery and I are quietly snuggled up on the couch reading stories. But last night was a special treat, for all of us.

Brayden had taken a later than usual afternoon nap, waking up just before dinner at 5:30pm. I knew he wouldn’t go back down for bedtime at 7:30pm, so we had some time to kill. Daddy got home right about 8:00pm (his usual), and was immediately welcomed with giant smiles, screeches, hugs and open arms (the boys’ usual). This always makes me just as happy as I’m sure it makes Will.

It is just recently that the boys have been able to really play together without me intervening every 10 seconds. This is such an awesome experience and a huge milestone, again, for all of us. It makes me so proud to watch them interact together – laughing, hugging, truly playing. Of course it doesn’t always last long, and I am always right there, with my super Mommy eyes and ears, ready to jump in at the first sign of someone getting upset. But all in all, it is a wonderful occurrence.

With Daddy changed out of his work clothes, he joins us on the living room floor. Toys and “buddies” strewn across the floor, we were obviously having a fun time. The couch pillows also on the floor, Will grabbed one and I laid my head down on another. It felt good to just lay there, not having to move. It was, oddly, somewhat relaxing, even with the boys climbing all over us like a giant jungle gym!

It was beautiful to see Brayden and Zack playing, and particularly to see Will’s face as he watched them. It was gratifying to lay next to my husband, being part of the adventure. But what it was most of all, was a wondrous family evening; all 3 of my boys and I together, playing and enjoying each other, radiating joy and happiness, and just having pure, good-old-fashioned fun!

Enjoying Every Moment

Today is my younger son, Brayden’s, 9 month birthday. My older son, Zackery, is 3-1/2 years old. They love each other so much. It is awesome to see them interact, especially when Zackery makes Brayden laugh. It makes my heart all warm and tingly and I just can’t stop grinning.

Today we had a fun family day, playing outside in the mounds of snow that Mother Nature has dumped on us the last few weeks. I was able to let go of all my worries and stresses, if just for one moment of sledding with both my boys in my lap. I felt like a kid again – carefree and alive!

Today, I am reminded how wonderful it is to be present with my children. To just lay on the floor and watch Brayden play and learn. To sit on the couch and listen to Zackery sing the alphabet. To dance around the living with both of them, all of us laughing. It costs nothing to be present, but the experience is priceless.

Today was a good day.

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