Friday, January 27, 2012


On this week's installment of "just how ridiculous is my life?"...

There are five, FIVE, opened boxes of cereal on my counter.

Oh wait, toddler just dragged a box of the "healthy" marshmallow type I stopped buying because he only eats the marshmallows and leaves all the cereal on his tray out of the back of the cereal cupboard.  And is ripping the box open himself and feeding it to the dog.  So make that SIX.

Close gate so baby doesn't fall down stairs trying to go down.  Open gate so dog doesn't fall down stairs trying to go up.

I mopped the floor yesterday.  Actual, move the chair out of the room and mop underneath the table and everything mopping.  While I was upstairs changing the baby out of his milk soaked clothes, someone knocked a bowl of cereal milk onto the floor.  (I think it was the dog.  She can't hear, see, or walk quite right, but apparently she can climb up on the table.)  I pick up the dog off the floor where she has gotten stuck in a sprawled out position, and move the chairs again to mop up.

In the meantime, my own toast breakfast has burned.  I made extra because I knew as soon as it was ready, someone else would want some.  Now there is only one piece left in the loaf.

I just made a new cup of coffee because mine was still sitting on the table, cold, again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thankful Tuesday

I'm bringing back the gratitude.

Tuesdays, I'm going to try to show up and share the thankfulness.  (I know, Thankful Thursday sounds better, but I'm already trying to do the RWOP thing on Thursdays, and that's enough, right?)

It makes everything look a little better at 5:30 on a Tuesday (most often, a solo-parenting gig night) if I'm staring at the frozen box of pizza still not in the oven and the pools of melting children circling the kitchen island through the lens of "what am I going to say I was thankful for today?"

I'd rather write some thoughtful composed essay, but for today, I'm settling for some bullet points.

Thanks be for:

  • Total uninhibited, unbridled peals of laughter bouncing from one of three kids to the others.
  • A sixteen month old's thrill for attention that makes him throw the stuffed animal, then hit someone with a pastry brush, over and over and over again to make them laugh even harder.

  • Watching American Idol at naptime with my girl.  Who sighs and says  "Enchanting..." when a girl with an angel voice sings a song.

  • The sight of toddler legs pumping in a waddly run as fast as they can to run away with someone's something he is not supposed to have.  Then seeing his grin over his shoulder right before he throws his entire body into a couch cushion to "hide."

  • Taking turns reading with sweet O., who is really truly, finally doing it.  Slowly, and methodically, but with pride and accomplishment and NOT frustration.  It is one of the best things yet about being his mom.  He reads me a O. speed book, and I read him a chapter, or two, or three.  We're back into The Magic Tree House series, after a year or so's break.  We also got the chance to see Hugo together, after reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret before Christmas.  O. is calling this his favorite story now, and feel so honored to have shared it with him.  Have you read this book yet?  If not, you really should.  I'm hoping against all hope this boy will still want to read with me on his way to high school.

  • Having my family to dinner after watching the twins again for the first time in a while.  Conversation, food, drink and N. keeping my cousin (who she has only met twice before) completely in her thrall the whole time.  (And many thanks to him for being so indulgent of her).  Snuggles and smiles with babies all day beforehand.

  • Swimming session in our indoor pool (aka Mommy and Daddy's bathtub) on a January afternoon. For N., just because she saw her Fourth of July swimsuit, it made her think of her cousin S., and she needed to put it on.  Saved me from having to bathe all three children at bedtime tonight.

  • Plans for exercise tomorrow -- mall walking with my friend and her baby while N. is at school.  I need the movement and the company.

And that's all I can think of right this very minute, though I know there are plenty plenty more.  What about you?  Feel free to share your own Thankful Tuesday thoughts in a comment.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Real Men Do Pinterest Too.

If you've ever been to my house for longer than an hour or so, you've most likely witnessed a costume change or two by N.  Sometimes it's to switch into pajamas, sometimes to put on one of her own sundresses in December, and often it's into a princess dress-up outfit.

Whatever the case, there are almost always piles of clothes in the corners of rooms, or behind chairs, or underneath tables.  I have to be vigilant about seeking out laundry not just in hampers.  I've purchased bins to keep the dress up clothes and accessories contained, but nothing has really done the trick.  A year or so ago, we had a playdate with a friend from school.  There are three girls in that family, and they have an unfinished basement that serves as their playroom.  Along one wall, the mom had hung a closet rod between some storage crates, and all the dress up clothes were hung from hangers.  This was pretty much N.'s idea of heaven.  She kept asking when we could go back so she could play dress up, or when she could have her very own set up like this.

Since N. has to share the toy space in this house with Playmobil animals, legos, nerf guns and assorted baby toys that L. does not play with, I could not see devoting quite the same amount of floor space to what amounts to a second closet.

However, I did come across an inspiration project on Pinterest that looked like it might work.  It was a super cute dress up space made by removing the drawers from an old dresser and installing a rod to hang the clothes from.  You can take a look at the tutorial here.

A friend also saw this project and took it on, posting her own very cute version on Facebook.  We have no extra dressers lying around our house, but I found myself looking for them at Goodwill and the like.  Then I realized what we DO have are extra bookshelves.  The kind I bought at KMart back in the day and used in my classroom to hold all the novels that high schoolers pretended to read during Sustained Silent Reading.  J. had recently moved one into the storage area of our basement when he got real furniture for his home office.

I mentioned the project to J., sure that he would think me crazy, or tell me that we didn't need another item to feed N.'s quick change habit.  But, turns out, the costumes all over the floor bother him even more than me.  And he agreed to at least look into it.  I showed him the inspiration photos and he remembered the one the friend had posted to Facebook.

A little measuring and collecting of materials from his workbench, and the project started to take shape. And then he got a little obsessed with it.  He made multiple trips to Lowe's for the proper colors of spray paint and sandpaper, searched out drawer pulls to mount accessories on the sides.

He worked on it over his lunch breaks during the day, sanding and painting and mounting the dowel rod.  He contemplated how to personalize it with stencils to read "Princess N."  He drilled holes to install the accessory hangers, and finally inscribed it with a message on the back "To my Favorite Princess,  Love Daddy."

Needless to say, she was thrilled when she saw it on Christmas morning.

Had to try on the new Cinderella bride dress right away.

It's now installed on the one remaining open space of wall left in her bedroom.  Can't say that she's particularly good at hanging everything up again when she's done, but at least everything has a home now.  And she thinks she's pretty special to have her own dress up area in her room.

J. may not be browsing the boards of Pinterest, but he's proof that Real Men can get on board with a crafting project, as long as it means making his little girl happy.

Are you Pinteresting too?  Seems I've gotten a lot of new followers lately!  If you're interested in taking part in the Real Women of Pinterest, link up over at mep's place.  Or send me your photos and I'll post them here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

O. & N. Speak, Old and New

I've been saving up some O. and N. speak for a while now, since well before Christmas, and haven't gotten around to sharing it yet.

I've wanted to write a year end/year beginning post, to reflect on all the wonders of 2011, and all that I'm working on for 2012.

But, after a pretty magical Christmas season this year, we had a tough border between the old and new year.  My sister in law's mother passed away very suddenly, Jim's dad spent some time in the hospital (he's doing okay now), and it looked for a while like we were going to have to make final decisions about my dear Scout dog (she's doing better for the time being).  All emotional events, each life altering to varying degrees, enough to make me pretty darn sober about the dawning new year for a while.

For right now, 2012 seems to be about helping and supporting those I love that are aging, the ones that are sometimes suffering, and those that are grieving.  It's about continuing to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with, and for finding the ways that this year can be built on creating good things and good memories, even as we struggle to deal with difficult ones.

I have some small, concrete ways I'm working on staying more organized and healthful and overall just mindful this year, that hopefully I'll be able to share in more detail as the year unfolds.  I'm hoping I start to feel more like writing, and writing with more purpose and intention. November's gratitude project really got me excited about having a reason to write everyday, so I'm hopeful there's something like that awaiting me this year.

In the spirit of making sure I capture and celebrate as many of the things that are good and right with my world, I thought this was as good a time as any to share some of the highlights of conversing with O. and N. over the last month or so.
(I should say, that another reason I had not shared some of these in a while is that there seemed to be many more from N. right now than O.  I'm going to just chalk it up to the fact that she is at a particularly adorable point in her thinking and sharing.  Also, O. is in first grade. Which means he is not only not at home all day, he is also nearly physically incapable of uttering a sentence without the word 'fart' in it.)

N., snuggling before bed:  "You'll always be my little mommy.  I love you by my heart."

N., indignant about being asked to help clear off the table before dinner:  "What am I, Cinderella, and you're my evil stepmother?"

O., home from tae kwon do:  "I'm working on my macaroni punch!"

O., commenting on a neighbor's Christmas lights the week of Thanksgiving (I told you these were old!): "Geez, dude.  I think someone's getting ahead of himself!"

O., running from the family room near L., to the kitchen: "I'm getting out of the poopy section!"

N., every day after we purchased her Christmas dress until I finally let her wear it to school:  "Is it a special occasion today?"

N., losing at Old Maid: "Hicklesticks!"

N., refusing to help me empty the dishwasher:  "Princesses don't do chores!"

N., discovering a snapshot of O. from two years ago:  "Awww.  Look at this picture.  O. was so cute then.  That's when he was nice to me.  He was really helpful then."

N., as I try to discuss with her a new trend of tears at preschool:  "Can we get over this already?"

O., to N.:  "You're a shenanigan."

N., reporting about our trip to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis:  "Of course  I had a favorite.  There was Barbies there!  Can you guess what was my NOT favorite?  The dinosaurs."

N., parenting judge:  "That was two things you were right about today.  You're a great mom."

N., to her dad: "Can you just give me a rest, please?  Mommy already told me all that."

N., cheerleader of failed Pinterest projects:  "But Mommy, you I thought you don't ever give up."

N. to L., who keeps knocking down her wall of pillows on the couch:  "L., can you just let me wewax!"

O. to N., when she complains that the living room is too messy for them to present their planned stage production:  "N., it's okay.  It's not the end of the world. Geez."

And okay, Mr. L. has a few words of his own to share:

Dya!  (yes)
Doe.  (no)
Da!  (Daddy)
Hi!  (Hi!)
Du.  (juice)
Baa.  (ball)
Woof.  Dow.  (dog/Scout)
Hot!  (for candles, coffee or ovens)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Faux Snow

With temperatures hovering mostly in the 40 to 50 degree range, January hasn't felt much like winter around here so far.  
But that's not stopping us from doing a few wintry Pinterest inspired crafts!  We haven't quite resorted to cutting out snowflakes for the windows yet, but I did find this very cute idea for a ice skating scene.

N., always up for a "project"!

The idea was to use salt for the ice, cotton balls for the snow banks, and then cut out some figures to do the skating.  
We "painted" a piece of construction paper with glue, then applied some kosher salt and stretched out cotton balls.  N. wanted to just stick the balls on, but I didn't want to waste so many.  (Really?  Why do I get like this about our supplies?)

We may have gone a little overboard with the salt.  Looks a little more like a street in our neighborhood in anticipation for one inch of snow than a sparkling rink awaiting skates.

 We went through a few of N.'s coloring books and found some pictures that were winter sport related. Or just dancing, in Minnie's case, though she does look like she's doing some sort of figure skating move.  N. colored them, I helped her cut them out, and then we glued each picture to card stock.  I gave each one a little paper stand like a paper doll.

And then N. got to playing with it.  

Figures obviously not to scale, but N. played with it on at least three occasions.

This post is a part of the Real Women of Pinterest series.  Go check out what mep and others are crafting as well!

Oh, okay, we did have ONE day of a smattering of snow.  Barely enough to call snow, but the kids were excited, and it gave J. and I  a reason to give the kids the sleds we bought them for Christmas but forgot were in the back of his car until the end of Christmas day.  So, here are a few photos of the kids doing their darnedest to play in snow that was melting all around them.

Moooom!  These don't work at all!

Ha Ha Haaaa!  Mine does!!

Cute boys.

Love this one.

"I am cooold!  Can I go inside and have hot cocoa now?"