Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lunchtime fun

Well, I shouldn't say lunchtime, but rather mid-day... all of this happened in the span of about 30 minutes.

1.) While I was making lunch, B and E went into the guest room/office and decided the return address labels are fun stickers and used them on their bellies.

2.) Apparently going on the tangent of the address labels, the boys were orally writing letters to all sorts of people as they ate lunch. Here are a few I can remember...
Dear Aunt Andi, you have a lot of fun toys in your room. Please keep them so I can play with them the next time I come over.

Dear Gramma Rose, have a fun time at your birthday party at Papa John and your house.

Dear Santa, have fun on Christmas. Don't forget your sleigh.
3.) For a special treat after lunch, I gave the boys some of the monkey bread I had left from a brunch this morning. B didn't eat all of his, and upon seeing this, E said, "I better eat this."

4.) As I was finishing up cleaning up lunch, Grandma Jane called. The boys went to play downstairs as I talked to her. Pretty soon, E came upstairs with his scissors. Seeing the scissors, I got a bit worried, and with good reason. I asked him what he was doing. He said something like, "B and I are cutting some of our hair because it is pretty long." After having a heart attack, I ran downstairs to find both of them had cut random chunks of hair off of the top of their heads.

5.) I regain composure after the hair-cutting incident. E is now in the bathroom with the door closed. I figure he is going potty (he is on this kick now about needing privacy), so I knocked to check on him. When he didn't answer, I opened the door to find him putting on my make-up, his face full of blush and lipstick. Unfortunately, I cleaned him up too fast to get a picture of that one!

Ahhh... what a morning! :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo Friday: Map Readers

During our travels this spring, my twins discovered a love of map reading. Here was the first time they fell in love - at a map at Sea World, San Antonio.

Find more Photo Friday travel photos here.

Guest Post on Raising Peanuts

Donielle over at Raising Peanuts is having a series of guest posts titled, "Welcome to My Nursery." I have a guest post there today highlighting Z's nursery. Check it out at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Work

"I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly realized that my interruptions were my work." ~ Henri Nouwen

Just saw this great quote on a post over at 5 Minutes for Parenting. Love it. I feel like I found it exactly when I needed it. The boys have all been giving me a run for my money this week, especially E, who is looking for attention by hitting his brother. We are working on sticker charts, but E has yet to earn a sticker in spite of the fact that he is incredibly upset each time B gets one and he doesn't. But I digress... great quote, one I am going to have to post in giant letters all over my bathroom mirror to keep me grounded each morning.

Wordless Wednesday - Post-Thanksgiving Fun

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

New clothes for baby

In honor of this afternoon's Bears/Packers game...

NOOOO! I can't believe you would do this to me!

Now, I feel much, much better.

Thanks to the J family for sending along the Packers outfit to add to our cloth diaper stash. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Photo Friday: Big Sur, Giant Tree

This is my first foray into the Delicious Baby Photo Friday. Here goes...

This picture was taken this past March in Big Sur, California. Our stop here was part of our family trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. B & E were really excited to actually be able to go inside a tree! To me, this picture really represents one part of the wide spectrum of environments we saw in California, which was everything from the hills and cable cars of San Francisco to the heat and desert atmosphere of Desert Springs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Celebrating Fall

Find more Wordless Wednesday posts at

Free photo book

Just saw on Twitter that Snapfish is offering a free 8x11" photo book as a deal stemming from an Oprah show on organization. The book is normally $29.95, so this is quite a deal in spite of the fact that you have to pay postage ($6.99).

The catch is that you have to follow the link to request the credit to your new or existing Snapfish account by Friday, November 14th, and place the order by 11:59pm PT on Sunday, November 16th. You can find the deal at


Monday, November 10, 2008


I have been feeling pretty conflicted lately, out of my groove... aimless.

I have so many thoughts swirling in my head questioning what I really want to do with my time and my life. Where do I want to head? What is the plan supposed to be?

I hate being aimless.

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am a planner. My friends make fun of me for keeping track of the calendar in my head. I have this crazy need to know what direction I am headed. A lot of that was broken when I had twins and then seven months later moved to a new state so my husband could go to business school full time. We didn't know until January what school he would be at in August, then we didn't know until the next February where we would be for his summer internship in June. Luckily, he got a full time job offer from that internship, so we knew where we would be moving this past April six months early.

Anyway, I digress...

Right now I feel like I don't know what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I am a teacher by training, with a bachelor degree in elementary education and a masters in administration and supervision. Right now, my plan is definitely to go back to teaching, but not for another five years or so, when my baby is in kindergarten.

So what do I do until then?

I hope no one takes this the wrong way when I say that I am not good at being a stay-at-home mom. Cooking, cleaning... none of it gives me any kind of feeling of pride or accomplishment. I know that I need to find something to do that is just for me. When the opportunity to blog at Polliwogged arrived, I jumped at it, and I have definitely been enjoying it. I am slowly but surely learning about the social media world and the circles of mom bloggers - it is way bigger than I ever anticipated. But is this what I want to do?

I have so many ideas in my head about things I could do. I could concentrate on blogging and writing. But what should the aim of my blog be? I am fairly clueless right now, although I have tons of ideas. I also have thought of starting my own business, but that seems so overwhelming right now. I love being able to be at home with my kids, so something I could do from home would be nice, but where do I begin?

Sorry for rambling, but I just have all of these scattered thoughts in my head and I really don't know where to turn with them. I am all discombobulated, distracted from my life.

I am conflicted.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Congratulations to the United States of America

I know this has been written about a million times this week, but my uncle wrote some sentiments after the election that I thought were spot-on. I am posting them here.


I am proud to be an American today. I am proud that this nation could rise above its past and elect a person of color to the presidency of the United States; I am proud this nation has soundly rejected the mean-spiritness of the last eight years; I am proud that my countrymen still believe in the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln's second inaugural address, and Martin Luther King, Jr's 'I have a dream' speech. I am proud we have rejected the fortress mentality and brutalism of the out-going Administration. I am proud we will inaugurate on January 20th of the coming year a man who, like John Kennedy, calls us to stretch ourselves, calls us to believe that 'yes, we can.' Yes, we can embrace all our citizens and give them health care protection; yes,we can find ways to address the increase in poverty of the last eight years; yes, we are ready to face the grave crisis of our environment and difficult changes in our way of life we must make in order to guarantee life for future generations. Yes, we can find a way out of the quagmire of Iraq; yes, we can respect the lives of innocent people in other countries in the pursuit of those who would harm us; yes, we can reject the immoral justifications of torture and other indignities.

President-elect Obama faces a formidable task. Let us pray he will speak truth to the American people as promised in Grant Park. Let him have the courage to speak the truth, no matter how challenging the message may be. Let us have the strength and courage to engage with him in the great and exciting dialog we are entering upon. And Lord, please protect our soon-to-be president, his family, and all those around him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

SitterCity Giveaway on "Just a Mom's Take On Things"

Deb over at "Just a Mom's Take On Things" has a great giveaway going on right now - a membership to Sittercity for full year! You can check it out at

For those of you who don't know about Sittercity, it is an online resource of childcare providers in your area (babysitters, au pairs, nannies, etc.) Each sitter has to be 17 or older and they are given background checks. The number of care providers in my area is astounding; there are 506 non-smoking babysitters with their own transportation within 5 miles of my zip code!

With a site like Sittercity, my husband and I might actually get out of the house. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this giveaway!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 27, 2008

Polliwogged Posts

I have been able to get some great posts on Polliwogged recently, so I wanted to link them up here. I am also working on a review of the new Medela FreeStyle Pump. Keep an eye out for that - it's awesome!

The Key to Infant Communication? I'll Keep Looking. - A review of Dunstan Baby Language DVDs

Baby Gifts Moms Will Thank You For

Choosing a Baby Carrier - How to Decide Which is Right for You

American Academy of Pediatrics Releases New Vitamin D Guidelines

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Sure Have Your Hands Full!

This is the single most irritating comment that I get as a mom when I am out with my kids. Oye.

"You sure have your hands full!"

Veronica over at 5 Minutes for Parenting wrote about her experiences with this comment at the grocery store yesterday, and it got me thinking about just how irritating it is on so many levels.

"You sure have your hands full!"

I have three boys now. Yes, I realize that this family is a bit bigger than average, but we are not the Brady Bunch. The size of my family is my family's decision, so you don't get to judge me.

"You sure have your hands full!"

Yes, my older two are twins, and yes, they are boys, but that doesn't automatically make them hooligans. Even if they are sitting nicely in the cart at Costco, it never fails that we get comments on how full our hands must be. This was even before the newborn arrived!

"You sure have your hands full!"

My older kids are now almost three, and they pick up on the comments of strangers in grocery stores. Why must people make comments insinuating things about them right in front of them? It is rude and unnecessary, and this honestly is what makes me most irate about the hands full comments. When I hear "You sure have your hands full!" come out of someone's mouth, I tend to go into the protective mama bear mentality, give people the evil eye and respond, "You know what?! They are actually really great kids."

"You sure have your hands full!"

You're right. I do. And thank God for that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lovin' this baby

Important new mama skill - accepting help

I am not a person who very easily accepts help. I realize that this is a weakness for me. I always want people to think I am all put together and "with it." What would they think if I accept help? Would they snicker behind my back? Pity me? AHHH!!!

Of course, no one will think any less of me if I accept help, especially with a new baby. I was broken in the hard way when my first pregnancy blessed my husband and me with twin boys. Life with newborn twins, neither of whom was a very good sleeper, was rough. I remember that for the first six weeks or so, I thought getting more than four hours of sleep at night (TOTAL!) was a win. Oye. I had to accept help or I would have wound up in a mental institution.

I have come to see, however, that accepting help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. How much more put together can I be if I allow other people to worry about things like dinner and cleaning so that I don't have to? I have learned the joy of letting other people play with my older boys so I can rest at home with my newborn, and I have stopped feeling guilty about it (well, most of the time).

I think the ability to accept help is something all new moms should be trained in before their baby arrives. Just think of how together you will be!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Post-Partum Clothing Options?

Let's face it. For the no-longer-pregnant-but-just-barely types, clothing options are few and far between. Right now, I just feel fat and icky. My maternity clothes actually try to accentuate the belly area, the very same area I am trying to minimize. Of course, none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit either (it appears that the chest area may be an issue this time, too, but that is a whole other ball of wax...). What to do, what to do?! I can't live in yoga pants and hubby's t-shirts forever!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Baby Z Finally Arrived!

I am so excited to announce that our new little boy Z has arrived! He was born on Thursday, October 2nd, at 4:10pm. He was 7 lbs., 12 oz., at birth and 21" long. Everyone is doing great!

Z did in fact hold out for his scheduled c-section. Hubby and I headed off to the hospital around 11 in the morning for our 2:15pm surgery. It was a bit surreal to walk into the hospital and tell them I was there for my surgery appointment - too much like a dinner reservation for my taste, but I guess that is the way it goes. Here is a last belly picture that we took on our way out the door to the hospital.

After a few delays because of a really busy day in the ORs, I walked down for surgery at around 3:5opm. (Yes, another totally weird thing to me is that I had to take myself to the operating room. What kind of service is that?! Aren't they afraid I could slip and fall while wearing those booty/sock things they make you wear?! "Here hop up on the operating table so we can stick this giant needle in your back..." Too odd. But I digress...) Z was born 20 minutes later. For this birth, the surgery went much smoother than it did with the twins. I stayed awake the whole time, and it was great to be able to see Z in his dad's arms while the doctors finished everything up. Z had a few tricks up his sleeve for the doctors, too. Apparently he was biting the doctor's fingers while she tried to deliver him, and once he was out, he peed on her!

In spite of his reluctance to leave my body, baby Z did great with the delivery. As soon as we got to the recovery room, he was ready to eat (and, I might add, he has been a great eater ever since). Once he was done eating, Z got his first bath, too. Here are some of his first pictures from the recovery room.

During our time in the recovery room, Z got to hang out with hubby and I and meet three of his grandparents.

His first picture with Mom and Dad

We made it up to our room around 7:00pm, where we visited some more with the grandparents before settling in for the night. On his first night, Z did a great job sleeping, although I wish I could say the same for his constantly worrying mom! :)

Friday morning, we were thrilled to have B and E come up to the hospital to meet their new little brother for the first time. (They spent the weekend with their grandparents.) It was so great to see how excited the boys were to meet their little brother for the first time. Here is the first pic of all four of my fellas together.

Both of the twins got their coats of right away so they could get a chance to hold their brother, too. However, as excited as B and E were to meet Z, all of the above happened in a span of about ten minutes. The boys were also excited about something else - the cupcakes Grandma Jane baked and brought up to the hospital! They ripped into those like nobody's business. :)

Overall, Z's birth went really well, and I can't really think of anything that we wish could have gone differently. His first week at home went well, too, especially since hubby was able to stay home from work for the week. We are so thrilled he is finally here!

I'm Back!

Okay, I really, really apologize for disappearing for the last four weeks! Life was crazy with the new baby coming and now that he is here, I am sure it won't let up. However, I am working on getting back to "normal" life, so I am hoping to be posting here much more often!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

Lack of sleep for new parents is no revelation - babies’ sleep cycles during the first weeks of life have them sleeping a few hours at a time around the clock. This doesn’t sync with the sleep patterns of adults. Doctors say that we need eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to be at our best. However, parents of infants usually get much less than that (some studies say that new parents lose 450-700 hours of sleep in the first year)! It isn’t just that parents are getting less sleep; their sleep is interrupted, too, causing them to lose out most on the deep sleep that is so restorative. The effects of a lack of sleep are immediate and unforgiving. After just one night of sleep deprivation, memory capabilities and processing time suffer, which of course has implications in all areas of life.

So, what can new parents do about this? I think that the severity of sleep deprivation calls for a battle on two fronts: a fight to find ways to cope with the effects of sleep deprivation as well as a struggle to get more precious sleep.

Managing with sleep deprivation can be tough. Lists can be a parents’ best friend. Going out for some errands? Write down where you are going and what you are doing at each place. Have a few important things to do today? Write them down as you think of them so you can refer to them later. Last time I was a new parent, I was most forgetful about anything having to do with when the new baby (or in my case, babies) did something. For the first two months or so, we kept a notebook where each day had a page that listed when and how much or how long the babies ate, when they had a wet or dirty diaper, and when and how long they slept. This saved us many times during those months! Not into making lists? Coast Innovations came up with a great parent lifesaver called the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer. It has three different timers to mark the last time baby got a new diaper, ate, and slept, as well as a fourth timer you can set for your own uses. Each timer can have its own alarm when it reaches a certain time limit, too!

There are many suggestions out there on ways to get more sleep. Almost all new parents have heard the old adage “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Parents need to remember that their own sleep is more important than the dishes in the sink or the laundry in the washer. Even so, I have never been one that has done well with long naps (sleep fog is almost worse than sleep deprivation), but a 20-30 minute cat nap can be enough to recharge new parents to face the rest of the day. If it works with the baby’s feeding plan, trading off nighttime duties can help, too! When using bottles at night, new parents can trade off nights of getting up to allow at least one to get a good night’s sleep. Breastfeeding parents can separate duties when the baby gets up - while the mom is in charge of feeding, dads can get the baby up, change diapers, and put the baby back to bed.

I, of course, am tackling this topic because it has been on my mind a lot lately. Our newest little one is all set to arrive, and I am bracing myself for the sleep deprivation. I am hoping I won't be as crazed this time because I have been through it before and because I will have only ONE infant, but this time I will have two other kiddos to play with during the day, too. Should be exciting!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I am sorry I have been rather absent with the updates this week. I have been busy trying to write for Polliwogged while also dealing with the extreme exhaustion that comes from being less than three weeks from delivering a baby - lots and lots of naps are necessary. I promise to work hard to get everything updated soon!

Friday, September 5, 2008

New Adventures in Blogging!

I am so excited to write that I have been given an opportunity to branch out with my blogging! I am now a contributor at Polliwogged, a brand new blog that is part of the ZRecs network. The blog is about all things baby, and my beat specifically is bonding with baby, celebrating milestones, and building rituals and traditions. Do you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas about my beat or anything baby related? Please send me an email at lovingmyfellas [at] gmail [dot] com.

Also, please check out Polliwogged along with all of the new ZRecs blogs, which can be found by going to the ZRecs homepage.

I can't wait to get started with this new adventure!

Getting Big Siblings Ready for Baby

When you find out you are expecting a second (or third, or fourth...) child, one of the first thoughts in your mind is trying to figure out how to prepare your current family for its new addition. In my mind, there is no time like the present to start getting your little one’s siblings ready for all of the big changes ahead.

This is a big topic I have been thinking about lately as we are one month away from making our twin boys big brothers. I have done a lot of reading, soul searching, and talking to other moms to figure out ideas on how to prepare our 2.5-year-olds for the addition to our family. Here are some common threads I have found in all of my searching for the perfect sibling preparation course.
  • Decide when to tell your children about the impending arrival - This is one area where I truly feel you need to decide what would work best for your family, depending on the age and temperament of your children. I know of parents of young children who held off telling them about the new baby for as long as possible because nine months is many lifetimes for a young child and because they were too young to understand much of what was going on. We decided to tell B & E right away. They were just past their second birthdays, so they could understand what we were telling them. Plus, we knew that they would be faced with many people asking them about becoming big brothers, and we wanted to be sure we talked to them about it first. Our new baby is due in October, so we explained to the boys that there was a baby growing in mommy’s tummy, that he needed lots of time to grow big and strong, and that he would come to live with us around Halloween.
  • Read books to help explain what is happening during the pregnancy and what will happen when the baby arrives - Everyone I spoke with had positive experiences reading books with their children to help them get ready for the baby’s arrival. There are lots of books that explain different aspects of adding a new baby to the family, from mommy and baby being at the hospital to the fun of being a big brother or sister. Some of the books most commonly recommended by other parents are I’m a Big Brother and I’m a Big Sister, both by Joanna Cole.
  • Talk to the big siblings about how they will be able to interact with the baby - Talking to your older children about things they will be able to do with the new baby helps to get them excited for their job as big brother/big sister. B & E are looking forward to playing peek-a-boo with the baby, reading him stories, helping mommy change diapers, and singing to the baby. We also talked about all of the great things that B & E will be able to teach the baby when he gets bigger, everything from showing him how to play baseball to swinging with him at the park.
  • Be realistic about what life will be like when the baby comes home - Because our new baby is just a month away, we recently began talking with B & E about how life will change when the baby comes home. We have explained that mommy will be really tired and need to rest and that the baby will need lots of attention from mommy and daddy. We also talked about how the baby will be pretty boring for a long time, not even learning to smile for a month or so. I would hate to get them excited about being big brothers and expect to be able to teach the baby all about baseball on the day he comes home from the hospital, only to be let down. Explaining all of the time that the baby will need from mommy and daddy, we also talked about all of the things that big boys can do that babies can’t - eat cookies, play at the park, go to school, etc.
  • Talk about when they were born - Looking at pictures, watching movies, and talking about what happened when older siblings were born can be a great way to introduce early life to siblings. They see how little babies are and hear about how they were welcomed into the world by friends and family.
We have tried a little bit of all of these ideas in hopes that it will help B & E prepare for the arrival of their new baby brother. I will have to report back next month to let you know if it actually worked! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nesting Instict Is DEFINITELY Kicking In - I Am Selling Old Books!

Over the weekend, Hubby and I decided that we should probably unpack our guestroom. It has only been four months since we moved into our new house - no big deal. With the prospect of houseguests in the next month when baby Z arrives, I felt compelled to actually do a good job.

As part of this unpacking, my pregnant brain decided that I needed to go through all of my books. My parents brought four boxes of old books (that I had never moved from their house) a few months ago, and I felt compelled to go through each box that they brought, as well as all of the boxes from our old place, and decide on a case by case basis how I was going to categorize each book -
  • Keep Out - These books make the cut to be left out on our scarce shelving in the guest room/office.
  • Keep In Storage - These are books I want to keep but don't have room to keep on shelves. My series of Harry Potter books falls into this category.
  • Try to Sell
  • Donate
I actually was really excited about the options I found for what to do with my "Try to Sell" books. I looked into listing books on Ebay and Amazon, but fees and the hassle of packing and shipping each individual book was more than I could deal with. Then, I found two online book sellers on whose sites you can provide the ISBN numbers of your old books, and they will tell you whether or not they are buying and for what price. Abe Books was the best for me, but Cash4Books also looked promising. The best part of these services is that they pay for the shipping to send books out to their stores. All I have to do is pack them up and drop them off for Fed/Ex. Sweet.

For the books I wanted to sell but Abe Books was not buying, I turned to PaperBackSwap. This online club, which has been featured in all sorts of news stories across the country, allows users to swap books. You list what books you would like to offer up, and when another user requests it, you mail it off to him. For each book you mail, you get credit to request a book from another user. I listed my books last night, and it was super easy. Someone already requested one of my books this morning, and the process of mailing it off couldn't be simpler. You can print off a label and wrapper for the book all in one, and you can even have the service add postage to the label for you. Because most books are under 13 oz., you don't have to do anything special with them other than drop them in your own mailbox for your carrier to pick up. Quick and easy! Love it!

Here's to developing OCD tendencies during the last month of pregnancy!

Big Boy Bed Update

B and E in B's big boy bed

I am sure you have all been waiting with bated breath to hear the outcome of our transition to big boy beds. I am so happy (and incredibly relieved!) to say that everything is going really well. Woo hoo!

Hubby (with the help of B and E) took the front sides off of their cribs on Friday morning. Both of the fellas immediately took advantage of being able to get in and out of the bed on their own, and they quickly ended up with about half of their books in bed with them so they could read. They have since continued to love playing in their beds and really enjoy being big boys.

We did have a few snags in the process, but nothing too major. During the first nap on Friday, B and E were not at all interested in going to sleep. I think the fact that they had a full, unobstructed view of each other helped... you know, plus the freedom of getting out of bed. After going upstairs to find E trying to get out of his room and B's bed full of books, we strongly reiterated that we do NOT get out of bed during "sleepy times." After some more giggling and playing, they did fall asleep. Naps since Friday have gone pretty well, and we haven't had anyone else getting out of bed. They have done a lot of chatting and laughing while laying down in their beds, but I guess that is to be expected. Until today, it was taking the boys anywhere from 20-30 minutes to go to sleep before nap, but today they were out like a light - woo hoo!

As far as nighttime is concerned, things have gone even better there. The fellas are really awesome at bedtime, and they go to their beds and go right to sleep after their stories. Nothing really changed with the transition to big boy beds in that respect. The only troubles we have had are when a blankie or water sippy happen to fall out of bed and they don't know where they are. B did fall out of bed once, but he was more dazed than anything. Hubby heard the thump and went in, helped him back into bed, and that was it.

Even mornings have gone well. So far, the boys have kept in mind that they are not to get out of bed during sleepytime, and they continue to call us to get them up just like they did with their cribs. This is fine by me, as I would much rather them wake me up than get into who knows what trouble in their room.

So, while knocking on every wooden surface within reach, I think we can say the transition to big boy beds has been a success. At least until they remember that they can now get out of bed on their own...

More Adventures in Imagination

A scene from our home this morning...

Mom: Wow, fellas, what is going on here?!
E: We are going on an animal carousel.
Mom: An animal carousel? Why are all of the books out?
B: The books are the seats.
Mom: Oh, I see. (Silly me - I should have known they were making an animal carousel!)

E and B "riding" the animal carousel after E pushed the buttons to make it go... B made sure to put his seat belt on, too! :)

Cutie pie picture of E laughing with his brother

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lovin' Cake Wrecks!

I was getting ready to post a blog update tonight when I caught sight of Blogger's Blogs of Note, where they highlight one blog each day for people to check out. Last week, a blog called Cake Wrecks was chosen for the blog roll. I had to check it out... what was the name all about?

Oh. My. Gosh. This blog is hysterical. It basically involves all kinds of awful cakes, either with really bad designs, bad messages, horrible mix-ups, or any combination of the three.

Below is a cake that was featured at the end of July as The First Censored Cake Wreck. Oh, how I wish someone would buy this cake for me as the arrival of my third gets closer...

Friday, August 29, 2008

A night of lasts...

As I mentioned earlier this week, we are making the leap into big boy beds today. I have been concentrating so much on that big first that the lasts of last night hit me like a ton of bricks.

Last night was the last night that my two babies slept in a crib. When in the world did they get so big that they are old enough for big boy beds? "Shock and awe" took on a whole new meaning for me last night as I struggled with this milestone. I am not normally one to become nostalgic about big changes - I tend to be the person more excited about the things ahead than what is left behind - but it was different last night. I felt the need to stop and commemorate the passing of time with at least a few pictures. Below you will see E and B getting ready to enjoy their last time sleeping in cribs.

We had a second "last" last night, too. Hubby came up with the idea (and admittedly, it is a good one) to link moving the glider and ottoman into Z's room with the switch into big boy beds. At a few points, B & E have been resistant to moving the chair that they have had stories in for every nap and bedtime since they were born. Understandably so. We are getting a new chair for the room, but they really weren't interested. However, I guess it makes more sense to them when we tell them that the chair is built for baby rooms and now that they are big boys, it needs to be passed down. Again, I wasn't expecting it, but seeing the boys and their dad read bedtime stories for the last time in the chair was a tearjerker.

So, on to bigger and better things! Big boy beds, here we come!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oooh... television

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Lest anyone think that things are going too smoothly around here...

This morning, I was folding some laundry, and B and E were playing in their room. I wasn't hearing too much noise coming out of there, and although I knew there could be trouble, I figured that a few stuffed animals tossed around the room was a small price to pay for a block of time to finish a load of laundry.

After about ten minutes, I braced myself and then peeked into B and E's room. I looked around, and thought, "Hey, this really isn't that bad!" A few animals around, a few books, no big deal. E and B had closed themselves into their closet, and they were playing so nicely in there. It was so sweet!

Until I opened the closet door.

When I did, out poured the blankets from their beds as well as all kinds of diapers and clothes. As I stared in astonishment, I realized that EVERY piece of clothing that was hanging in their closet (on both the low and high racks) was on the floor (with many of the hangers broken), every piece of clothing that was in a box because it was too small had been dumped out, and every Pull-Up that we had in the diaper hanger was thrown haphazardly throughout the closet. Yes, it was a full-blown mess.

I should have taken a picture so you could all appreciate the craziness, but honestly, every single one of my brain cells at that point was working on mustering up the patience not to freak out. B told me how he used a box (the one that was full of small clothes) to climb up and reach the top rack. He and his brother had some sort of imagination-filled explanation as to why it was necessary to take down all of the clothes. I wish I remembered (was it dinosaur food? part of a roller coaster?), but again, my brain was busy at the time.

As my journey with two two-year-old boys continues, I am constantly presented (or hit over the head with, whatever you prefer) with a lesson about patience and realizing the things that really are a big deal. Hitting? Big deal. Biting? Big deal. Clothes innocently strewn all over the floor in the interest of some good imaginative play? Not a big deal.

Gotta love that the biggest lessons in my life right now are coming from my two-year-old kids!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big Changes... To Everything There Is a Season

My boys are getting big.

I realize this is probably an obvious point (in a literal sense, they have grown two inches in the last two months!), but I see their growth and development in tiny bits and pieces each and every day.

Some changes are pretty little, and it often takes others to point them out to me for me to notice. Last night, an awesome friend of ours watched B and E so hubby and I could head into Chicago for dinner with another friend. When we came home, she mentioned that she was impressed with how many books that B and E were "reading" to her. Memorized, of course.

E and B LOVE books, and they definitely have their favorites. In these books that they hear over and over, they like to know what it says on every page. So that they can read them. By themselves. It really is funny. Almost every day, they will find a new book and ask me to tell them what it says on a certain page, and then they will go practice it over and over.

Yes, my boys are getting big.

Some changes, however, are momentous. As you may have guessed from my "ta-da list" post last week, we have been working on potty training with B and E. This has been a very gradual process, starting with just sitting on the potty to try it out, to just going around nap and bedtime, to full-out training. This major potty training has been going on for a few weeks, and I am finally feeling like we have turned a corner - we are not out of the woods yet, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Both of the boys are coming to tell us when they need to potty for both #1 and #2, and we have actually had quite a few #2s actually make it into the potty this week - hooray!!! More successes than failures now - thank goodness! We are only using diapers when the boys are sleeping.

Wow, my boys are getting big.

Another big change on the horizon - the switch to big boy beds. We are going to try to make the move this weekend for multiple reasons, including the fact that I am having a hard time getting them in and out anymore and that I won't be able to pick them up at all for at least a few weeks after our new arrival. Plus, B and E have both started talking about wanting a big kid bed, and we really would rather get that transition done before we are up half of the night with a newborn. Hubby has both Friday and Monday off, so a four day string with both parents home is also very appealing. I am definitely keeping my fingers (and toes, and arms, and legs...) crossed that this transition goes smoothly.

There are all kinds of big changes for my big boys!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Ta-Da List

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a list of all of the things I accomplished during the day (rather than making a list of things to do). This morning, I was having a tough morning with the boys, and while skimming blogs while finally scarfing breakfast at 9:15am, one of the blogs I like to read talked of doing this same thing as a way to give yourself a pat on the back and put your day in a more positive light. (You can check out their post here.)

So, in hopes of making myself feel better, I made a list of all of the things that I did today and I thought I would share it all so you can get some insight into my life, a good chuckle, etc. This list is in no particular order - just how my brain remembered everything. Now, to some of you out there, some of these things don't seem like they should make it on the ta-da list (i.e. shower), but as all stay-at-home moms know, you can't take anything for granted. Enjoy! :)

  • Showered
  • Got dressed
  • Brushed teeth
  • Ate breakfast
  • Unloaded dishwasher
  • Loaded dishwasher
  • Checked and replied to email
  • Called my grandma
  • Called pediatricians office about B's missing medical records
  • Called record forwarding service about sending records again (yes, this is a whole other frustrating blog entry)
  • Called church
  • Cut coupons
  • Went through grocery ads
  • Made grocery list
  • Went through old coupons
  • Went through freezer and fridge and made an inventory
  • Created two weeks worth of dinner menus
  • Found recipe for zucchini bread (hopefully to be used tomorrow!)
  • Put away towels that were washed yesterday
  • Dried and put away boys' clothes, part one
  • Washed, dried, and put away boys' clothes, part two
  • Put away load of darks for hubby and me
  • Sat in bathroom with E and B for approximately 38 hours
  • Cleaned up four pairs of poopy underpants
  • Celebrated when E had a "giant poop" in the potty
  • Cleaned out potty chairs innumerable times
  • Cut up cantaloupe
  • Made morning and afternoon snack for us
  • Made lunch for all of us
  • Cleaned up dishes throughout the day
  • Cleaned up toys that were scattered around the house with the help of the fellas - twice
  • Got mail and sorted it
  • Thawed and prepped chicken for dinner
  • Cooked chicken, corn, and rice for dinner
  • Cleaned off table after dinner
  • Loaded dishwasher and washed dishes
  • Cleaned the table and counters
  • Picked tiny pieces of rice and corn off of the floor
  • Put in load of random laundry
  • Gave boys a bath & helped with bedtime routine
  • Continued my immeasurable amount of cloth diaper research - I think I finally have a hint about what I am doing!
  • Wrote this blog entry :)
  • Downloaded pictures from both boys' cameras
  • Replaced batteries in E's camera
  • Watched my belly jump while Z had his nightly party (not really a ta-da, but fun nonetheless)
  • Broke up a few fights
  • Stopped kids from swinging on curtains in living room
  • Played with puzzles
  • Read stories
  • Put together train tracks
  • Loved and cuddled two cutie-pies!
It is now 9:00pm, and although I hope to get a few more things done, I think this is going to be it for my list today. Ahh... the life of a stay-at-home mom...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me...

... or so I wish. (Don't you just love 90's music?!)

When I was pregnant with E and B and we were still living downtown, I LOVED getting peaches at the Green City Market, which is located in the southernmost part of Lincoln Park, just north of where we lived. Almost every Wednesday and Saturday, I headed to the market to pick up another 10 or so peaches, which would be lucky to last me two days.

I thought I was doing well with Z. I have had a few peaches, but never anything that really triggered any major cravings for me. Until Wednesday. B, E, and I made the trek into Chicago for my now biweekly doctor appointment, and we had some time to swing by the Green City Market. We picked up some peaches and cut into them when we got home. Oh. My. Goodness. They were so juicy and SO DELICIOUS! The boys and I ate through all ten peaches in about 36 hours. I even meant to snap a pic of the peaches in all of their glory in the bowl on my counter, but we were too busy eating them, and then they were gone! Now, I am craving some more farm-fresh peaches, and I am desperate to find some. I missed both of the markets near us this weekend, so now I am just going to have to go without for a while. What is a girl to do?!

Mmmm... peaches.

I shouldn't say that peaches are the only good things about the Green City Market. One of the things that I love about it is the atmosphere. The park setting is so calming and unexpected in the middle of Chicago. There is always a musician playing, usually kid friendly music - this week there was a man strumming away on his banjo. There are snacks to be had, too - our favorites are the fresh crepes and smoothies made with just-picked fruit. YUM! And I shouldn't leave out all of the produce, which is fresh and raised with local, sustainable farming, which is why I am sure it is so delicious!

Whenever I can make the trek to the market, I feel like it is a special treat. When we lived in Chicago last summer, we made it there every two weeks or so, and it was fun to make it back with B and E this year, too! After soaking up the sun in the park, eating crepes and drinking smoothies, and picking up some fantastic cantaloupe and peaches, we all went home happy and content.

Mmmm... peaches.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Trip to Brookfield Zoo

On Friday, B, E, and I met up with Papa and Grandma I. for a trip to the Brookfield Zoo. We had beautiful weather - 77 and sunny! And we had fantastic company, which made the day perfect. :)

Our first stop of the day was at the carousel, an E and B favorite. The boys were so excited to ride their ladybug and baboon with Papa and Grandma!

From the carousel, we went to the pachyderm house, which had elephants, rhinos, hippos, and even tapirs (which the boys were excited to see in real life after checking out on Diego). From there, we headed to the dolphin show. I was SO excited to check out the show, which I haven't seen since I was a kid. It was so fun to be there with the boys, watching all of the dolphin acrobatics!

After a quick lunch, we headed over to the children's zoo, where the boys got some hands-on time with some goats. We also got to check out a bald eagle, raccoons, groundhogs, cows, and pigs! There is actually a small bee exhibit in this area of the zoo, and, interestingly enough, it was one of the boys' favorite parts of the day.

B and E brushed up on their grooming skills. :)

A pic for all of you pig-lovers (you know who you are!) - this 3.5 month old piglet decided to take a dip in the water trough.

We all had so much fun that we stayed at the zoo until B and E couldn't stay awake anymore. All the way home, I had two boys making music with their sawing logs in the back seat. :) The volume of the snoring is directly proportional to the fun had that day, right?!

Thanks to Papa and Grandma I. for such a fantastic day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Okay, so, this baby is getting big...

Yesterday, E, B, and I were out running errands and had to make a bathroom pitstop. When I walked into the bathroom, I happened to catch a sideways glance at myself in the mirror above the sink. I about fell over. I backed up, looked again, and thought, "Oh. My. Gosh. When did I get so big?!" I brought this up to hubby last night, and he was kind enough to say that I don't look huge from the front. :)

I am trying to keep in mind that my belly getting so big is a GOOD sign. Z is growing the way he should, and when the time comes, he should be ready to make his way into the world. Still, it is a bit disconcerting to realize that you could actually be walking around with a basketball under your shirt and still look the same.

I decided that I should probably take a few belly pictures to document the fact that I did actually carry this child. :) With B and E, we were really good about taking belly pictures - one every three or four weeks. For poor Z, these are the first belly pictures that we have taken, and I am officially at 31.5 weeks.

Anyway, here goes... you are getting my artsy version of the belly picture. It has my daily view, complete with missing feet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


This is for all of you Illinois alumni out there...

When we were in Champaign a few weeks ago, hubby and I made sure to pick up some Illinois apparel so that B and E could not forget who our favorite college team is. :) Yes, we even picked up one for Z, too! We pulled out the t-shirts today, and both boys insisted on wearing their Illini "football pants" (as they call them), in spite of the 80 degree weather.

We even practiced our cheers... at the sound of "ILL," the boys know to yell "INI!" :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nickel Update

Still no nickel from B. When I followed up with the pediatrician, she reassured me not to worry about it, that if the nickel had made it to his stomach, then it will eventually pass. As long as he doesn't start showing signs of getting sick or bleeding, then we are good to go. Will we ever solve the nickel mystery?! I guess that remains to be seen...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm Making Mommy Crazy!

B and E watched an episode of "Super Why!" the other day, a PBS show in which the heroes dive into books to solve problems. The episode they watched involved the book "The Little Red Hen." This conversation happened later in the day...

Okay, boys, who will help me with the laundry? Then we can go play outside and water the plants.

Boys: Not me! (Giggle)

Mom: Oh, fellas. I really need the help. I am really tired from taking you to the pool and my belly is getting so big. I really need some big boy helpers. (The "big boy helpers" line would normally get me help in an instant, so I thought it was a winner.)

Boys: Not me! (More giggling)

Mom: (Time to pull out the big guns) Well, I guess if I have to do all of this work all by myself, I am going to be MUCH too tired to make you ice cream for dessert later tonight.

Boys: Okay! (Hilarious laughing ensues)

I pick up the clothes basket and go downstairs to do the laundry myself, at which point (I KID YOU NOT) I hear the boys yelling this as they jump on my bed...

Boys: I'm making Mommy crazy! I'm making Mommy crazy! I'm making Mommy crazy!

Okay, so, lots of learning was done here. The fellas learned the WRONG lesson from the story on the show, learning how to refuse to help, and Mommy was reminded yet again of the necessity to tell instead of ask when something needs to get done.

Oh, the joy of being a mom to two boys!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fancy Dresses

On Monday morning, E and B were upstairs playing when I heard the conversation turn to dresses. Of course, my ears perked up, and here is an idea of what went on...
Let's wear our fancy dresses!

Yes, let's go dancing!

Okay, let's go dancing right NOW!

Wait, let me get on my fancy dress!

Okay, get on your fancy dress so we can go dancing.

(They come down the stairs and head for the stage/bay window.)

Hooray for dancing! I like your fancy dress!

I like yours, too!
Here is a picture of the boys in their "fancy dresses" on the way to go dancing. B is wrapped up in my bath rope and E has his Cubs blanket wrapped around his waist.

I honestly have no idea where this whole idea came up! It isn't like hubby and I are putting on fancy clothes and going out dancing all of the time. I do have to say, he was thrilled to hear about the boys dressing up in fancy dresses. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another Trip to the ER...

Well, for our excitement this morning, we got to visit the local ER. B and E were playing downstairs together while I tried to eat some breakfast. I heard some coughing and choking, ran downstairs, and soon came to find that B swallowed a nickel. Why he had the nickel in his mouth, I have no idea. Anyway, off to the emergency room we went to make sure that it wasn't lodged in his trachea or his esophagus. We did try to find an immediate care center nearby, but the one in town only takes kids 14 and up and could not direct me anywhere else. That was not very helpful.

So, we were off to the local hospital. It was nice to find that the ER was only 5 minutes away. We didn't have to wait too long before going through triage (the pic above is the boys watching "The Wiggles" in the waiting room). After two hours, an x-ray, two suckers, and a month's worth of stickers, we determined that the nickel had made its way to B's stomach. Now, we just have to watch for it to come out the other side in the next few days. Oh the fun never ends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A First Visit to the Dentist

E and B went for their first dentist appointment today. Everything went pretty well. B was a little hesitant, but E jumped right in the chair on his turn. The fellas got to pick a flavor of toothpaste: mint, strawberry, cherry, or cookie dough! They also got to pick whether they wanted mint or cherry flouride. The flouride treatment today is so much easier than when I was a kid! Rather than having to bite into styrofoam trays, the flouride treatment is spread on teeth with a paint brush and then left to soak in. They just had to avoid hard foods for 4-6 hours. It was painless!

The visit was great, and both of the boys got excellent reports on their teeth. Hopefully this visit set a good precedent and our future visits will all go as smoothly!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Time Keeps on Tickin', Tickin', Tickin'...

Yesterday seemed to be one of those really great summer days. In the morning, B, E, and I met some friends at a pool and water park in a neighboring town. The boys played in the water while I (at least at some points) got to have some adult conversation. After finishing with our swimming adventures, we all ate lunch outside near the pool, and then enjoyed a long nap at home. After dinner last night, hubby and I took the boys to the park around the corner, where we played together for over an hour and then came home to play even more, washing hubby's car and watering the plants. To end the day, we all came in and had some ice cream. It was a perfect day, the kind that seem to permeate my memories of summer as a kid.

However, as the day winded down, I realized that summer's days are numbered. Days are getting shorter, and school will start before we know it. I mean, the days are already getting shorter! It just makes me really savor the fun we are having now.

Time isn't just flying with summer either - all of life seems to be speeding by! Yesterday, I officially reached the end of my 28th week of pregnancy. I am subscribed to an email update that tells us what is going on with the baby each week, and this week it told me there are 84 days until my due date - ONLY 84 DAYS!!! That is just crazy to me, especially because I will probably have my c-section scheduled at least a few days before that. 84 days. 12 weeks. 12 weekends in which to get stuff done (including this one)! I started to think of all of the things that I want to get done before Z arrives, not just to be ready for him, but to be caught up in all areas of our life. I started making a list of things to do before the delivery. In the first ten minutes, I generated 32 items for the list, everything from buying and installing window treatments in Z's room to developing all of our pictures and getting them into albums. I think we are in trouble.

I shouldn't just say that I want time to slow down because of all of the things that we have to do. I also want it to slow down so I can really savor all of the pre-baby things I have to enjoy: sleep, the chance to leave the house (fairly) easily, but most importantly, spending time just snuggling and loving the two boys I already have. I know life will be exponentially more hectic with the addition of a new infant to our home, throwing everything into chaos for a while, and I am trying to enjoy life the way it is - the calm before the storm. :)

Am I really excited for fall to come and Z to arrive? YES! Do I seem to miss him even though I haven't even met him yet? You bet. But am I happy to have some time before he arrives? Yes. I am totally conflicted about the passage of time, which I guess means I am no different from everyone else in the world. Everything is as it should be.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Botanic Garden

Last week on Wednesday we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden with a college friend and her young son. I had never been there - the grounds (at least the ones we saw) were gorgeous!

We made sure to hit the highlights for the fellas, which included the railroad garden and the fountains. The railroad garden was really cool, with large-scale model trains running through replicas of different parts of the US, built completely with natural materials! E and B loved all of the trains, and a highlight was the Thomas train pulling Annie and Clarabelle!

E and B checking out some trains going by San Francisco

Thomas, pulling Annie and Clarabelle, drove by James - it was like seeing celebrities!

B showing how excited he was to play in the fountains after coming out of the railroad garden. The only thing that could pull the boys away was the promise of fruit snacks. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Local Swimming Hole

Over this past week, things have been pretty laid back here. We have been blessed with some gorgeous weather, so we have taken advantage with trips to the local pool as well as some time in the pool in our own backyard.

B and E enjoy watering the plants just as much as playing in the pool - if not more.

Ahhh... brotherly love

E turning his slide into a "water slide"

B landing in the pool - I think the hose water was still a little cold. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Quick Swing by the Lincoln Park Zoo

Z and I had a doctor appointment in Chicago bright and early Tuesday morning, so after that quick visit, B, E, and I took the bus 3/4 of a mile south to the Lincoln Park Zoo. We had a great time, although the hot sun definitely took its toll on two 2.5-year-olds and their pregnant mommy.

We hit the children's zoo first, and of course one of the highlights of the area was the continuously running water fountain...

The boys distinctly remembered that they had gotten to ride a carousel the last time we were at the zoo, so we had to find that really quickly. All of the animals on the carousel are endangered species.

E on a spectacled bear

B on a cheetah

Of course, we did see some animals, one of which was this creepy looking crocodile. He was just laying there with his mouth wide open, as if waiting for a little child to fall right in. We didn't hang around that exhibit too long...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Half Birthday, B and E!

We reached a momentous milestone on Monday when B and E reached the ripe old age of two-and-a-half. Although it wasn't a day of gifts and giant parties, we did find some time to celebrate how far both of the fellas have come in the last six months. In honor of the occasion, E, B, and I baked a giant chocolate chip cookie during the afternoon, which they got to decorate with their dad after dinner.

Everything started innocently enough, with hubby helping the boys squeeze out frosting onto the cookie and spread it with their knives.

Quickly, things went downhill as hubby and I realized that the boys were no longer decorating the cookie. Instead, as he squeezed out frosting for them to spread, they were reaching down to the cookie, PICKING UP THE FROSTING, and putting it in their mouths. Here, B is demonstrating his technique.

Once we realized how bad the frosting situation was, we cut off access. :) We cut up the cookie, and everyone did enjoy a big piece. E loved his piece with the blue frosting (which, of course, he ate before the rest of the cookie).

In all seriousness, when I look back, I can't believe how many big strides both E and B have made in the last six months. Here are a few of the things I really see that are different from December 30th...

1. Language - As I have written before, I can't believe how much B and E talk. A month or so after their birthday, their language expression really exploded, and they haven't looked back since. Each day, I hear new words, phrases, and expressions that surprise me.

2. Imagination - I have been really pleasantly surprised with how much the boys' imaginations has grown in the last six months. When I think back to their birthday, I remember how much modeling of pretend situations I was doing, like cooking food. Now, the fellas come up with their own games and stories to play out every day, everything from having a picnic in the basement to flying airplanes in their room (of course, for that one, you have to keep your toes under the blanket or you fall out!).

3. Memory - Every day, I am constantly surprised at how much B and E remember. It is still hard for me to keep in mind that they DO remember things - it seems like not that long ago that they forgot what happened in the morning by the time they got up from naps. I have seen this memory surface in everyday conversations, like when they remembered the teacher's name from our 1 hour class at the Arboretum a month after it happened (I probably forgot before the end of the class!), and when they ask me "Mom, do you remember when...?" E especially loves to "read" books, too, and he can recite back the words in books that are repetitious or that he has heard a lot. A current favorite is "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Eric Carle.

4. Size - Although they have grown in size, we are definitely bracing for a growth spurt here. E and B have only grown about an inch since their birthday, and their weight has remained basically the same. The one place we have seen growth is that the boys outgrew their size seven shoes after nine months in March, and then at the end of June they had already outgrown their size eights.

5. Singing - I guess this could qualify under some of the other categories, too. B and E both have really picked up on the words to songs, and they LOVE to sing for us! Some of our favorites are "ABC...," "Twinkle, Twinkle," and my all-time favorite, "Happy Birthday." We currently hear "Happy Birthday" at least five times a day, and the current favorite to sing to is Grandma C. - nevermind that her birthday isn't until December!

These are just a few of the ways that we have seen growth in our boys. I can't wait to see what comes between now and December!