Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Embarrassing!

My father and I were just talking today about how parents embarrass their children -- Dad said, "Of course, I never embarrassed you!" He said that with a laugh, because we both know that's not true... Let's see, there was the time that he was in Spandex in an aerobics video that was released for sale to the public... There was the time that he and my stepmother just happened to go to a hillbilly themed wedding (I believe it was actually a "shotgun" wedding and apparently the bride and groom enjoy a theme almost as much as I do!) on the same day that I was having my friends over to our house for a party. They walked in -- dressed as HILLBILLIES -- and I went up and linked arms with him saying, "Hi Daddy!" and whisked him around the corner into the kitchen and away from my friends. I ripped off the big, red suspenders he was wearing (with his cut-off jean shorts...) and threw them up in a kitchen cupboard saying, "Are you trying to KILL me?" Gotta love my dad though -- he just laughed (once his head stopped spinning) and he still tells that story and laughs about it!

Not to single Dad out -- I'm sure that my mom has also done embarrassing things -- heck, to a teenager, EVERYTHING their parents do and say is embarrassing! Anyway, in keeping with the parents embarrassing their children tradition, I just had to share this picture of my sweet baby! I put her in these jeans before I left for work this morning, and they are adorable from the front, with some pretty pink embroidered flowers -- but tonight I noticed that from the back -- not flattering!! Talk about not knowing your market -- how did the designer think these were going to be flattering when their target market wears diapers? Judge for yourself -- poor sweetie, my husband and I were just cracking up thinking these look just like those stereotypical "Mom" jeans! ;)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Road Trip!

We’re back! We had a wonderful, whirlwind trip to Long Island for my sister-in-law’s surprise 40th birthday party. It was a super quick trip – Friday to Sunday – but it was great to see the family and my girls had a fantastic time with their cousins!

This was a big trip for us, because our 18-month old daughter has not been on a long trip like this since she was 6 months, and she is MUCH more wiggly now!

Years ago, I started a little tradition of putting together a special bag for my girl for the trip. I pick up a few inexpensive things that I know she will enjoy and that will keep her entertained in the car. Sometimes it’s a Polly Pocket, stickers, maybe a new book. One year I bought an inexpensive “lap pad” for her to put on her lap and have a flat surface to color or play on – she loved that and still uses it. I also put in a few snacks for the car – those little grab-bags of Goldfish crackers, cookies, etc. And I put in a few things that she already has from home that might entertain her in the car – more books, markers, her Gameboy, things like that. Just looking through the bag to see what surprises are in there is entertaining to her!

In addition to her Gameboy, she has a Leap pad and a Story Reader with a number of books that “snap” in and as you flip the page, the Story Reader reads the story to your child. This was particularly fantastic before our girl learned to read! I think the biggest hit in her bag this trip, were “Window Markers” that I found at Target. She was able to draw pictures and write messages on her car window and then just wipe them off and start all over.

For our youngest girl, I haven’t put together a bag yet, but I did bring her a new board book that I picked up for $1 at Target (GREAT deal!) – it was about bath time, and it had a picture of baby Elmo (or “Melmo”, as my little sweetie calls him!) and every time she sees that picture she squeals with delight! I had a few other board books and some toys for her that I kept up in a bag in the front seat with me, so that I could pass things out periodically when she seemed to be getting bored and antsy.

We try not to stop too often – it just makes the trip that much longer – but we do stop at a couple of rest stops along the way and at least once we all get out and run around a little to “get the wiggles out” as my older daughter says!

Another thing that we worked out years ago with our older daughter was music! My husband and I love lots of different music, and enjoy listening to cds in the car. But we don’t enjoy listening to 8 straight hours of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or various other nursery rhymes… We have some nursery rhymes and some Disney classics on tape, and a friend of ours gave us the “For the Kids” cd from the VH-1 Save the Music project – that one has more popular artists (Barenaked Ladies, Sarah Mac Lachlan, etc.) doing their versions of kids songs. That is such a great cd because our daughter loves it and it’s enjoyable for us too! I have also made a couple of mix cds with current Disney songs that my girl likes – High School Musical, Hannah Montana, etc. And those are all upbeat and not as “sing-songy” as nursery rhymes so we parents can tolerate them too! Anyway, we all get to take turns and choose a cd or tape to listen to, and we rotate so that everyone gets a chance to hear the kind of music that they enjoy.

Now, I will admit, that we had the ultimate luxury for our road trip this time (ok, “ultimate” would be a LIMO with someone else driving, but still this was great!!) – my mother gave us a portable dvd player with 2 screens for Christmas this year – thanks, Mom! And this was really great for the girls! They were each allowed to bring a few dvds and they took turns watching their “shows.” They didn’t watch the dvds for 8 hours straight, and they each still took a nap at one point or another, but it was really nice to have the option of the dvd player this time! Especially when we were getting close to our destination and our youngest daughter felt she was done riding – a Sesame Street dvd or Curious Buddies dvd was the perfect thing to entertain her so that we could just push on with the drive!

As a side note, my girl and I are big Laura Ingalls Wilder fans, and on our trip this past weekend I couldn't help but think about traveling back in the times that her books were written. I can't imagine how people managed back in the days of covered wagons! My daughter LOVES to play “I Spy” in the car -- what could you spy on the prairie? “I spy with my little eye, a blade of grass!” Those were simpler times, but I after an 8-hour car ride I thank heaven for portable dvd players and window markers! ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On the Road Again!

Ok, I can't believe that I just used the title from one of Willie Nelson's songs -- my dad always loved him and ugh -- the feeling was not mutual for me! ;)

Anyway, we are heading out for a whirlwind trip to Long Island to visit my husband's family. We are very excited, but it has been a busy week, crazy day, and I am still packing. But I will be back soon and I will fill you in on how it was to drive with 2 adults and 2 children for (hopefully no longer than) 16 hours roundtrip in a mid-sized sedan!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Great Idea -- Chrissy's Reading Nook!

Chris had a great idea for her daughter, which she posted on her blog today (http://livingbeautifullyfrugally.blogspot.com/2008/02/reading-nook.html). She made her girl a quiet little reading nook in the living room, which will be a great place for her to unwind during the day.

Reading this reminded me that when we first moved into our house I envisioned large, comfy pillows on the floor of the living room for my child(ren) to lounge around on and be comfortable. It's funny that I haven't thought about that until reading Chris' post about the reading nook and seeing her picture with the big pillows in the corner. I think that I will make this my winter project, and I can get my girl to help with picking out the fabric and stuffing her own pillow.

And this will be something that I am sure she will love -- she LOVES to pull the couch cushions off the couch and throw them on the floor to lounge on (exactly what my original thought about the big pillows had been 5 years ago!) -- of course, with my (self-diagnosed) mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder I start twitching a little when she yanks the cushions off the couch! This should satisfy both of us -- she gets to lounge on the floor in comfort (she's welcome to sit or lay on the couch, but for some reason she prefers the floor!) and I get to keep the cushions on the couch! And it will be a fun little project for us. Thanks for the inspiration, Chris!

Friday, February 8, 2008

What a Week!

Whew! This past week in our house has felt at least 2 weeks long! The week started Sunday with my friend Catherine and I taking our 7 year old daughters (8 days apart!) to see the Hannah Montana 3-D Concert Movie. The movie was very cute, the girls had a great time, and Cath and I actually enjoyed ourselves too! That was also Superbowl Sunday, and although we are a hockey family, my girl enjoys having a party for any reason and she requested that I make chili for our own little Superbowl party. She was very excited (at first) to watch the game because her bus driver had taken "predictions" from all of the kids on the bus and if any of them were right, he'd have a prize for them on Monday. Her grandpa helped her with "Patriots 28 - 17." Well, obviously she did not win... Anyway, she was into it until just before half-time when she finally took over the remote and switched over to the Disney Channel!

Monday was back to work and it was my grandfather's birthday and we've started a little tradition to get together at Dunkin Donuts (one of Grandpa's favorite places!) for a donut and coffee in his honor. It was a little late for our crew, so again we celebrated at home, with a donut for dessert. And again, my older daughter is always up for a celebration of any kind, and so naturally she put on a festive outfit -- her Tinkerbell costume, cowboy boots, and her bonnet!

Monday also brought a big surprise, which was my husband finding out that his boss revoked the vacation request that he had signed off on over a month ago, citing coverage issues, and so our vacation to Long Island to see my husband's family looked like it was out of the question! My husband apparently said to the HR director, "Well, he can call my wife and explain this to her!" But more than me, he has our 7 year old to answer to -- she was not too happy to hear we might not go! The week has been a back and forth saga of "what about if we go this day to this day" or "what if this friend drives one way with me and the girls and you fly out?" and so on and so forth. Today we found out for certain that we have Fri - Sun (original plan was Fri - Tues) and barring anymore unforeseen complications, we are planning to be up and out of the house by 4am (yikes!) so that with the 8 hour drive we will get there around lunch time. It has been a very trying week for a control freak like myself! ;) But we will just make the most of our time there -- my girl is going to spend Friday night with her cousin -- one of her very best friends -- they are 2 months apart in age and just 2 peas in a pod! Her cousin has "Sports Night" at her school Friday night and my girl is invited to join in the fun, AND have a sleepover at her aunt & uncle's house! She's very excited!

We also had my husband's birthday in there on Wednesday - just a little celebration at home with dinner, presents, and a peanut butter pie (one of his favorites). This week was also report card week for our oldest daughter and -- Proud Mother Moment -- she did fantastic! We were so proud of her -- she improved in a couple of areas that the teacher had marked as a "goal to develop" and she even got a handwritten note from the principal congratulating her on having such a great report! And again -- celebration, of course -- she wanted to celebrate with McDonald's for dinner so we did that last night after her dance class.

Today my littlest girlie had her first "play date!" Two of my good friends from high school -- Chrissy and Kristin -- came over with their girls who are 3 years and 21 months. My girl was quite clingy with me, and I'm sure was wondering who these small people were who were playing with her toys! But, she warmed up by the end and I think everyone enjoyed themselves -- I know I did! It was great to get together with girlfriends and get to catch up, while the kids were all playing together. We're already talking about going to an indoor playground sometime next month.

To round out the busy, busy week, tomorrow we have Catherine's daughter's pizza party / birthday party and then on Sunday we have Sunday School and another birthday party in the afternoon! WHEW! Then Mommy is going to fall in heap in the corner! Or start gearing up for our next busy week with the packing and the driving and the whirlwind of family fun in Long Island! I'm sure I'll be able to get a nap when my kids are in college... ;)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fight "Bac!"

I wanted to share this story about my little 2 year old niece, so that hopefully no one else will go through what my sister-in-law and her family went through this past week! Last week my poor little niece got very sick -- throwing up continuously (I believe my SIL said 15 times in 12 hours) and she became very dehydrated. After calling their doctor, my sister-in-law and her husband took their daughter to the ER where she was eventually admitted. At first they thought that she had pneumonia, but they ruled that out. In speaking with the doctors, my SIL mentioned that she had caught her daughter sucking on a kitchen sponge and mentioned this to the doctor. The doctors believe that she developed a bacterial infection from the sponge! My poor niece ended up being in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights! Fortunately, she is home now and doing much better -- but what a scare!

I tend to throw my sponges in the dishwasher, almost every night to clean them, but I got an even better tip from my friend Catherine today -- throw your sponge in the microwave for 1 minute and it kills all of the germs on your sponge!

It's just another thing to be aware of when we are constantly trying to keep our little ones out of harm's way!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Little Privacy, Please!

Earlier today, my 7 year old daughter was telling me how much she likes the way we rearranged the furniture in the family room, to give her her own space to play. My real intent was to baby-proof the family room for my littlest girl, with the hope of keeping her away from all of the little Barbie shoes, Polly Pocket accessories, etc. -- all sorts of delightful things that she would love to put in her mouth! I rearranged the room so that my girl has about 1/4 of the room "hidden" behind the couch, and her Loving Family Dollhouse and her Polly Pockets are all back there on a small table for her to play with. It worked great for a number of months -- we have a toybox that has blocked our baby from getting back there, BUT, last week she figured out how to climb INTO the toybox, so it is just a matter of time until she can enter into "Polly Pocket Land." On to Plan B! We have this great baby gate that my friend Chris gave us (thanks, Chrissy!!) that has 6 lengths of gate all connected. This morning, I pulled it open to block the bottom of the stairs (our family room is the downstairs of our split-level home), the toybox, and the couch because my little one is also climbing up on that to try to get into Polly Pocket Land.

We talked about rearranging the room again and just using the gate to block the toys that are potentially dangerous for our littlest girl to get into, or I had suggested moving the dollhouse and the Polly Pockets up into our older daughter's room, where her Barbie house is now located. She was not a huge fan of either of those ideas -- she likes her little "nook" hidden away behind the couch. As she said this morning, she likes to have her privacy. Then she went on to say, "You like privacy too, Mommy -- when you are on the potty!" Yes, yes I do. Thank you. I had to stifle a laugh, because I wasn't expecting her to say that! Actually, she's heard me say something similar -- every time I'm in the bathroom and she bursts in to hang out and visit! I guess the benefit of being a working mom is that I get to go to the bathroom without an audience!