Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas Is…

Christmas Is…

A time to reflect on all the blessings in my life,

A time to enjoy my family – from near and far,

A time to sing and hum without needing to know all the words,

A time to forgive myself for not posting on my blog for an entire week,

A time to entertain with friends,

A time to sit quietly in the dark with only the lights on the tree,

A time to anticipate the look of happy faces,

A time to rip open the beautifully wrapped presents,

A time to be nothing more than happy.

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

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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!

 

A Babysitter and Coffee is Cheaper Than Therapy

My husband and I were talking the other day about finances – always a not so joyful conversation topic. Like most of the rest of the country, we are constantly discussing the need to “tighten down.” For us, this is hard, as we already have minimized where we can (I know there are probably several areas where we could do better, but I’m trying to keep some sense of realism about what we’re I’m willing – key word – to sacrifice).

The conversation always ends up in the direction of daycare / babysitting expenses. Lucky me, this is “my” expense (as compared to the “shared” expenses of groceries, utilities, etc). We are a completely merged household. We don’t have separate accounts (um, not that I know of, do we Hon?). We both make decisions, especially financial ones (again, right Hon?). So don’t get me wrong, there really aren’t “my” expenses and “his” expenses, they are all just expenses; expenses we both have to deal with. The big issue is which expenses take priority?

Now that Zackery is in preschool, his daycare expense has disappeared, replaced of course with the cost of preschool, which is about half of what we were paying per month. Good deal! Less overall hours, but I’m happy (honestly) having him home earlier (thus avoiding the evening rush to get dinner on the table in time).

We had a credit at Zack’s daycare from pulling him out to start school before the month was over. I loved his daycare – awesome! I felt like part of their family and vice versa. Zack had been going there for 2-1/2 years and it was hard for me to pull him out, but he was ready for school, and I guess so was I. He kept asking when he was going to start “big school” and mentioned he didn’t want to be with the babies anymore. So yes, he was definitely ready!

Anyway, we had this credit and we had been discussing putting Brayden in one day a week. He was younger than when we started Zack, but I went for it anyway. I knew he’d be fine (I trusted the daycare completely, and Brayden was no stranger to coming with me to pick up Zack). So, for 6 weeks Brayden went to daycare on Fridays, while Zack was in school and I did… what did I do? I slept, I showered, I ran errands, I wrote, I relaxed, I caught my breath! It was wonderful. A real day “off.”

Then, our credit ran out, and the thought of shelling out that extra cash (which still combined with Zack’s preschool cost would be less than what we were paying just for Zack) was hard for even me to swallow. Will had been talking about stopping daycare once our credit was up (and he wasn’t 100% on board with starting in the first place, but Mama usually gets her way – really I’m not bad, just determined). I knew this was the right thing to do, so I made the call and canceled. I felt bad, and didn’t want to cause issues, but being like family his daycare was overly understanding and supportive. She’s still saving a spot for him for down the road when we are better off financially. I love her.

I also feel good about the decision NOT to have Brayden in daycare because it’s really what I am trying to be – a full time stay-at-home Mom. Wait, did I say “trying to be?” Yes. I think sometimes we have this image of our ideal selves doing these ideal things, like being the most perfect (a word we should just take out of the English language) Mom. The Mom who makes eggs and toast for breakfast every day; who happily folds load upon load of clean, spring-fresh-smelling laundry; who makes pot roast from scratch every Sunday for dinner, blah blah blah. Um, yeah, that’s not me.

I am a very loving, nurturing, passionate Mother, but I need my space and “me time” too.

We’ve had a babysitter who has been watching Brayden on Wednesday mornings for almost (or maybe over – wow!) a year now. She is awesome. I love her too. I love a lot of people! J It gives me time to run to the post office or go to an appointment (it’s kind of awkward taking your toddler to the gynecologist with you). I share her with one of my other Mommy friends and we have generated the “perfect” (I know, sorry I used that word I said we should ban) plan. Our babysitter (who shall remain nameless as I will protect her and keep her all mine, ha ha ha!), now watches both our toddlers all day on Wednesdays, switching houses every other week. So, while Zack is in school, and Brayden is with super-babysitter and his little toddler friend, I get my day “off” again.

Is this in the budget? Well, it’s in mine! This arrangement that we have still costs money every week, money that Will and I were both hoping we could save for date nights instead of just watching Brayden, but it’s even less than having Brayden in daycare once a week. Bottom line, still saving money, however the discussion still comes back around to, “do we need to have super-babysitter?”

My answer: YES! If I don’t get my day off, to do whatever I want need to do, I will go crazy – literally. I would be sitting on the couch in some therapist’s office once a week (for which we’d have to pay for a babysitter anyway), feet up, crying and begging for sanity and peace.

I have had both boys at home with me (and granted we may have actually gotten out of the house) for a solid week or more without a break, and it wears me down. I know myself. I’m being honest with myself, and my husband. If I don’t get a break every week (and I mean more than just 15 min while I take a quick shower, which usually results in a rush job because I can hear one or both of the boys crying out in the other room), I will go bonkers.

So, here I sit, on my Wednesday off, writing (my personal therapy), enjoying my second cup of coffee at Wild Cherries, knowing that Zack is happily learning something fabulous in school and Brayden is probably now happily on his way to dreamland for his nap with super-babysitter.

Moral of the story: A babysitter and a cup of coffee is cheaper than therapy!

Wordless Wednesday – Happy Holidays!

The holidays (and any time of year for that matter) always seem a little brighter and a lot happier when children are smiling and laughing. Lucky for me, these kids are MINE! 🙂

 

 

BIG smile!

HAPPY boy!

Christmas Memories With Mom

I came across a wonderful blog that I urge everyone to visit: Things I Want To Tell My Mother. The author is hosting a writing contest (how fun!) – Christmas With Mom. In 100 words or less, write about a special Christmas memory with your Mother or Grandmother. Here is mine…

Tradition. Laughter. Love.

The sound of ripping wrapping paper.

The smell of the oranges we always got in our stockings.

The delicate glow of the miniature white candles on her golden angels centerpiece.

The bright colored lights on the tree.

The harmony in her voice of the carols she sang.

The apron she wore.

The tablecloth under the china.

The scent of her perfume.

The joy in her smile.

The touch of her soft hands.

The goodnight kiss as she tucked tired eyes into bed.

 

Mom, I will forever hold these memories, as I can no longer hold your hand.

~~~~~ 

My Mother passed away from Leukemia on December 10, 2006.

Sleep Baby, Sleep

It was a long night. I don’t mean just a went to bed late and had to get up early kind of long night. I mean an up most of the night long night. Brayden has molars coming in. From what I can see there are at least two ready to erupt through his innocent, pink (well, actually more like swollen, bright red) little gums. I can’t get a good enough look inside his mouth to see what’s happening on the top, but those bottom molars, boy are they RIGHT there!

I showed Daddy Brayden’s (bottom) gums when we got home last night (went out in the ffffrrrreeeezzzziiiinnnnggg cold last night to see Santa – which we did, and we got a somewhat decent picture, although we were all bundled up so tight I shouldn’t have even bothered putting the cute little holiday sweaters on the boys because they’re little faces were pretty much all you could see poking through their puffy jackets and little beanie hats). “OMG!” was his exclamation. Yes, Oh My God! The poor little guy, his gums are so red and swollen it’s like Rudolph split his nose in half and placed each side inside my little baby’s mouth. I could almost see the throbbing.

I don’t blame him (if my mouth were pulsing in pain I wouldn’t want to either), but when Brayden’s teething all bets are off for if he’s going to want to eat or not. I tried everything – all his favorites, and even the not-so-favorites that he sometimes surprises me with. I finally got him to eat some frozen corn. Frozen peas are one of his favorites, and maybe he’s just tired of them and boycotting for a while since I give them to him ALL the time, but he barely ate a tiny handful. However, the corn, it was “more, more, more,” until he had probably consumed a whole cup of the frozen kernels and I was afraid he was going to poop out a giant corn-on-the cob (sorry for the visual…). This happens to be one of my tricks (ah ha you say, tricks? do share!). Frozen anything does wonders on tiny little not quite made their appearance into the world teeth. I’m telling you, all the Moms are doing it – ha ha ha!

So, after our adventure out in what felt like the North Pole (although not sure the North Pole is as windy as it was here last night) to visit Santa (which, by the way, Zackery got to talk to twice – what a lucky little boy! – and tell him what he really wants for Christmas is a ship; a cruise ship for Mommy and Daddy to sit in the sun on the pool deck listening to reggae music and sipping a yummy tropical concoction with rum and a little pineapple slice and paper umbrella? – um, no probably not what kind of ship he had in mind, oh well, maybe next year huh Santa?).

Where was I??? Oh yes, when we got home last night after that dreadfully cold wind (which made my eyes water like a broken sprinkler the whole drive home), we gathered on the floor and played quietly for a while before getting the boys into jammies and into bed. Brayden was happily snuggling on Daddy’s lap, but clearly starting to get overtired and uncomfortable (from the monstrous teeth knocking on his gums).

The boys’ room was all ready. That I did before we left the house – yes, sometimes I’m on it!  (“That” being the production of making sure the humidifier is full with fresh water, the curtains are drawn, blankets and lovies are in the respectful beds, diapers/pull-ups and jammies are laid out, etc.) It was quickly into jammies for them both. Daddy took Brayden with his warm milk and sat in the rocking chair in their room. It was less than 10 min before he came out and Brayden was (it seemed) passed out. I finished helping Zackery brush his teeth, we read a short book and then I tucked him into bed. All was good (evil, suspenseful music… flashing lights… something bad is going to happen soon…).

Jump ahead a few hours to around midnight. I’m just shutting down my computer, turning off the tv and ready to lay in bed tossing and turning for hours until I finally fall asleep, despite my constant exhaustion and fatigue. I guess it was “good” timing on Brayden’s part that I wasn’t asleep, or even into bed yet (Daddy had been off in dream land for a while now – he’s a lot better than me about going to bed “early”). I watched him (Brayden, not Daddy – that would be too weird) in the monitor as he sat up, grabbed his bunny and Clubby (the little monkey with two club feet which we I appropriately named, Clubby) and proceeded to call for Da-Da. When the little guy isn’t feeling well, or pretty much anytime he wakes in the middle of the night (I used to get jealous of this fact, but now, well, hey I’m over it) he calls for Da-Da. I can try to comfort him, and a small percentage of the time my Mommy powers work, but generally it’s Daddy who ends up having to put him back to sleep.

I do just that. I try. I fail. I get Daddy. Daddy tries. Daddy fails. Now we are all up (except Zackery who is a trooper and for someone who never slept as a baby, is definitely making up for it now by sleeping through the loud, screeching cries that alternate between cries of pain, cries of being tired, cries of probably being hungry from only having eaten frozen corn earlier, and cries of adrenaline and excitement about being awake in the middle of the night in the living room with Mommy and Daddy, surrounded by all these wonderful toys!).

The next few hours are relentless. There is no comforting or pleasing Brayden. Daddy and I are completely exhausted, longing to go to bed ourselves. We finally get Brayden to toddle down the hall back towards his room with Daddy and another bottle of milk. Again, Daddy tries. Again, Daddy fails.

During all of Daddy’s attempts, I peel myself off the chair and ottoman (hey, yeah, that same chair I drew in my “original artwork” last week!), into an upright position, and stumble into bed (remember, this is the 1st time I have been to bed so far – and it’s probably 1:10am – actually I know it’s 1:10am because I look at the clock as I always do when I go to bed after Brayden being up – the curse of a Mom, always knowing what time it is). I think I might’ve fallen asleep for a couple of 5 or 8 minute sessions (definitely not 10, that would have been way too long and something would’ve have been wrong with me to sleep for that long at a time, I mean, really?) before Will comes stumbling back into bed after his 3rd or 4th attempt (I’ve lost count by now) of getting Brayden back to sleep. I can hear Brayden still crying (our house is not that big, and at the volume that Brayden was protesting, I’m sure the aliens on Mars heard it too); I get up.

Mommy tries. Mommy fails. Mommy tries. Mommy fails. Mommy tries. Mommy almost succeeds… Mommy fails. Mommy tries AGAIN… Shhh… Mommy quietly tiptoes out of the boys’ room, down the hall, into Mommy’s bed – 3:46am – goodnight.

5:something am (okay, I know, I failed at knowing the exact time), guess who’s up and not happy (aside from Daddy and I)? I think I got up 1st (I knew Daddy had to work today and I didn’t have to go anywhere except to take Zackery to and from school, to which he was late this morning; I had decided hours prior that I was going to skip the next day’s Mom’s group outing to the Discovery Museum again). I went into the boys’ room, Zackery still sound asleep (good little boy, I hope Santa brings him that ship!), and was greeted with “Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da!” I admit, I gave up quite quickly and went to summon Daddy.

We changed Brayden’s diaper, changed his jammies, since he thought what fun it would be to pee all over himself during our early morning diaper change in the dark (honestly, he hasn’t peed during a diaper change in forever, but of course, he chooses to pick tonight to remind us that he still has those super powers, much like Zackery’s “magic pee.”). I think Daddy got him back to sleep sometime before the sun came up. At this point I didn’t care about what the darn clock said! I just wanted to sleeeeep.

Now it is 2:03pm (to be exact). Brayden is now still (YAY) napping after I dosed him up with camellia, vick’s baby rub and lavender oil. We have 57 more minutes (56 now and dropping fast!) before having to get in the car to go pick up Zackery from school. That’s time for another few cups of coffee, don’t you think?!

Magic Pee

Another (humorous) conversation with Zackery…

“Mommy, my pee went all the way onto the wall!”
“How did that happen?!”

“I don’t know. It just wanted to go really far.”
“Well, bud, you have to point your pee-pee down when you sit on the potty.”

“But it didn’t want to.”
“What?”
“It told me that.”
“What?”
“Yes, my pee said it likes to go on the wall.”

*Speechless for a moment*

“Do you have magic pee?”
“Yes! Magic pee that talks and likes to go on the wall!”
“Okay… Um.”

*Forever speechless*

Who knew my 4-yr old had magic pee with super powers?!
Too bad I couldn’t use my magic Mommy powers to clean it up…

Melts My Heart

A Conversation with Zackery…

“Are you a good little boy?”
“Yes.”

“Are you happy?”
“Yes.”

“Are you respectful?”
“Yes.”
“Polite?”
“Yes.”
“Loving?”
“Yes.”

“Do you know what I love more than anything? Hugs from you and Brayden and Daddy.”
“Oh.”
“It makes me the happiest Mommy in the world.”
“Oh.”

“Do you know who my favorite people are? You and Brayden and Daddy.”
“Oh.”
“Who’s your most favorite person?”
“I don’t know… Brayden.”

‘Nuff said… *insert heart here*

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