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Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Sam - 1 year old!!!

I came home from work to find this glorious collection of balloons connected to a giant teddy bear! Present from Texas grandparents. The kids were giddy with excitement over the balloons.

Hey Ya'll! It's my birthday, it's my birthday!

Okay what's next, I heard a rumor there would be cake!

Oooooh pretty light....


What better way to end the day then a visit to the beach! No fear mamma, I'll crawl directly into the waves!

Cool birthday mom and dad!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I just wanted to have dinner with my brother!!!!

Plan trip to Pittsburgh to see brother and his new girlfriend. Pittsburgh is a 3 hour drive from my mom’s house in Hagerstown.
It took until 3pm to pull out of her drive way narrowly giving us enough time to arrive for dinner between 6-7pm with stops.
Arrive at brother’s house and let kids play on his giant beanbag for 30+ minutes while we discuss where to eat. Select Italian. Note it’s Wednesday night, reservations should not be necessary.
WRONG! Italian in hot up and coming neighborhood so after parking and walking we find 1 hour wait in tiny cramped restaurant with no room for children to flail about. In other words, young hip yuppies out for a good evening, we with children do not fit in even with hour wait.
Leave, head for bigger restaurant with renown bad service and hit or miss food – the Spaghetti Warehouse. It’s now 7:40pm, only 20 minutes till Sam’s bedtime.
We arrive to SW and kids are frantic with hunger, potty breaks and needing to dominate the conversation – Sam demonstrates this by throwing himself about with all the strength his 20+ lb body can muster. I only want to talk with new girlfriend, ask her about her home country of Rwanda, etc. but my children need full attention.
Waitress takes an extraordinary amount of time to deliver drinks and bread, kids nearing massive meltdown, parents desperately trying to hold it all together by scraping diaper bag for food supplies.
Husband disappears to car for formula, bib for and potty break for Charlotte. I feed Sam bread bites and applesauce while he alternates lunging for everything on the table as I shovel food in his mouth.
Upon husband’s return, I take Sam for diaper break. Come back and husband takes Sam for bottle and actually takes him to the car as food arrives because Sam’s too distracted and hyper to actually drink in public. So we finally eat in peace, at least 3 out of 4 adults. It’s well past 8pm and Charlotte agrees to stare into the blissful abyss of my phone. I hate resorting to this but it’s so late, it keeps her attention focused rather than on what mischief she can get into. I eat as fast as possible until husband returns with Sam. Everyone’s almost done. He eats 2 bites and asks for to-go boxes so he doesn’t hold everyone up.
During the entire meal my brother and his girlfriend chat with us, tell us about their camping adventures and watch our family show with bemusement. I manage to not blurt out anything inappropriate like – wait until you have a litter, you’ll see how challenging it is!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Daughter's Top 5 Foods

My Daughter's Top 5 Foods (in other words, a written manual for grandparents of the only foods she will eat)

1. Cheesy Toast - a version of Grilled Cheese, without the top layer of bread, so that child can SEE the cheese and immediately enjoy said cheese without bottom bread - if she chooses.

2. Chocolate Toast - Nutella spread on toasted bread.

3. Cheesy Toast - repeat in single day.

4. Scrambled Eggs with cheese

5. Ta Ta's with cheese - cheese melted in a rolled up in a tortilla

Top 5 drinks

1. Chocky Shake - chocolate milk, Pediasure with Chocolate
2. Juice - Orange first option, apple runner up
3. Dr. Pepper
4. Water - if she's been playing hard outside
5. Repeat option 1

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hotel Rouge - A Kimpton Hotel Experience

We were really looking forward to Hotel Rouge, a red inspired hotel experience for a romantic weekend in DC. We were only slightly disappointed to find the room decorated with a pink lamp and orange dresser in hallway between room and bathroom. The room is decorated in red and black details so having a pink lamp is really distracting. The orange does not match anything in the room so it was a major eye sore. The bathroom has virtually no red details, perhaps an added piece of art would have been nice. Other than these random details, the room was quite lovely.

The 2nd disappointment was in house keeping. They did not replace the glasses in mid-hallway (we had allocated the 1st nights for flowers) or the extra glasses we had requested the 1st night. The bathroom went from 3 towels to 2 towels, tissue dispenser has a broken lid and by 2nd day house keeping didn't fold over the tissue where if they had, would have noticed the broken lid. These are small details but after traveling to Asia and experiencing 5 star service at hotels, I'm accustomed to details being perfect and consistent.

We found the Bellhop to be the friendliest guy we've ever met. He was extremely helpful in giving us options for touring DC and the front desk crew were very nice. We also liked the consistency of seeing the same faces each day.

Finally, we loved finding Whole Foods nearby along with many wonderful restaurant options. This hotel is in a cute neighborhood which lets you experience local DC life in the evenings but is close enough to the Metro to head into the city for a day of museums.

Overall experience 4 stars.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

International Spy Museum

Name: Greta Straus
Origin: Bornstedt, Germany
Age: 33
Occupation: Astronomer
Purpose of Travel: Business
Destination: London, England
Time of Stay: 4 days

This was the alias selected during visit to the International Spy Museum. We learned about lipstick pistols, Violette Szabo, people would hide behind the motor and radiator to be smuggled out of Eastern Germany and if you don't want people spying on you - use acrylic furniture! The future of spy activity is scary with cyber attacks resulting in loss of power for up to a year - planning exit from modern society to one of three places:
* Cabin in Rocky Mountains
* Deserted Caribbean Island
* Moving in with Amish community

Fun day in DC. Enjoying selves immensely while family watches children for weekend.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Road Trip - 2 - day 2

Day 2 went surprisingly well! Proud to say no meltdowns from any member of the family, although the last hour seemed to drag by far longer than necessary and noises from Sam and Charlotte became increasingly higher pitched. We made it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Road Trip - 2

Ah yes, it's our 2nd road trip as a family and I'm shocked to say how smoothly it went. I don't mean to boast, well yes I do actually but it was kinda easy! Kids were well behaved and that's the key isn't it!

Yes we stopped many times, but from the last experience we learned to keep each one as short as possible and stayed on the road 13 hours! Here's some pointers (for future reference, in case I forget and can't figure out why the next one is so bad):

1. Consolidate stops, for example, baby needs to eat at 11am, so we all have lunch early.

2. Potty breaks for 3 year old - pull over to side of road, let her use her own personal portable potty and dispose a few yards away from road. We have van, so she can even utilize discreetly inside the van. Although had too laugh when husband opened back hatch and perched her up onto the stool in broad view of rest stop, but it was raining so who's paying any attention right? Only a women thinks, hmmm, let's move this side show to a discreet angle.

3. Stop for every potty break, but make it 15 min max!

4. Make super amazing pasta salad the day before and eat it for lunch and dinner! Less time & money spent at restaurants.

5. Keep solid food to a minimum for 11mo old, although by 6pm he requested in his own very special way to have some solid food - I think his exact words were - WAH WAH WAH, MMMM GOO GAH BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Translation, feed me woman! So we passed him crackers and some Gerber freeze dried fruit/veggie bites. Actually Charlotte held the bag of Gerber bites and gave him a piece by piece. Adorable!

6. Pack variety of entertainment for 3yr old - including stack of animal books (go through all animal sounds while reading), iPod loaded with favorite games and SpongeBob episodes and more books. And finally favorite bears, along with a place for mama bear to sit while Charlotte holds her hand - the cooler. How cute is that???

So a day filled with adorable memories, good kids and safe arrival to Charlotte, NC. Plus less than $10.00 spent on stuff. Awesome 1st day of vacation!!

And you know the best part? Everyone's asleep while I type this post!!! How much fun is that! Total quite alone time. Sweet.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

11mo and 3yr old play together

"Mom, I want to play with Sam", says Charlotte. Okay dear, he's all yours!


"NO Sam, my pink truck".

"MOM, Sam is throwing toys"!

Repeat mixed with taking toys from Sam.

Result, Sam crying.

Yeah fun!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Working Mommy Wednesday

How important to you, as a working mom, is a schedule/routine for your kids?

My husband's a stay at home dad and he's super strict with the kids schedule. I often mock him by taking the kids completely off schedule on the weekends so he is left to nudge them back in line on Monday's. With our first, I thought he might be a little overzealous, I mean is it really necessary to require naps so diligently??? I thought maybe he just wanted an excuse to watch movies - right? I would drop helpful suggestions like hey - why don't you take Charlotte here or there for social time. He'd recoil and revolt by completely ignoring every suggestion. It turns out, Charlotte is just fine and has settled into a happy routine of loving her baby bear, enjoying favorite cartoons and commenting loudly on everything her baby brother does or doesn't do.

I've realized the kids crave routine with their father just as much as they like having a wild card parent to break things up on the weekend. They get their kicks with me on Friday and Saturday, we spend Sunday as a family and by Monday they are back in their routine of standard sleeping and eating hours: Sam naps by 10, both kids nap by 2, youngest in bed by 8, oldest by 9pm, meals at 8am, 10am snack, noon lunch, 4pm snack and 6:30pm dinner. He claims he can't take them out much because he's too busy preparing food all day and rocking kids to sleep. I guess with 2 there is less movie time anyway.

As the dominate working parent, I know when to call and when to not call during the day to chat. Anything between 2 and 4 is forbidden unless it's an emergency!

So WMW post became husbands post but he's the one controlling the routines around here so 3 cheers for the dude in the house!! Woot woot!!

Wordless Wednesday

Sam - at Whole Foods

Random Tuesday

Random Kid Statement of the week:

"God fell down", Charlotte after being asked "do you know God?"

Random Facebook Post of the week: (or spell check is permanently broken on posters computer)
u no wat i find f*ed up i wrk i hve 2 yrs college and a high skool diploma hw is it sumone tht cnt read or write and doesnt wrk but perfectly can makes more money than me??? God bless america!!!

Random Self Portrait:
Best 4th of July Weekend Ever:
  • Beach
  • Bonefish Grill for dinner
  • Drive In Movie WITH kids who fell asleep half way through and actually let us watch the movie
  • Watching fireworks on friends roof
Random Message for Husband:
  • Next steak should be medium well done, not cooked at 500 degrees and burnt to a crisp.

Happy Tuesday!

ps. I'm so random I wrote this on Wednesday morning, forgot to link it and only realized it Wednesday night when I tried to link it! LOL!!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Christian Zombie Zealot Kids - stay away from my daughter!!!

We took Charlotte to Chick Fil-A this evening to play, it was going fine and she was having a blast enjoying the other kids. I sat outside for a short break to sit with husband who was feeding Sam. He finished eating so I went back inside to check on her. There was another parent I'd already befriended talking to a group gathered at the top. She tells me they are all upset with one girl and she can't figure out what's going on. I immediately knew it was Charlotte and her scream of STOP IT confirmed she was aggravated. Someone asked her name and she's not accustomed to telling people her name so she ignored them and tried to get past the kids who blocked her in. Then an older child, probably around 5 I'm guessing from the language skills asks Charlotte if she knows God. C screams back NO! I want to laugh but it gets caught in my throat as I realize she's feeling backed into a corner. I'm losing my voice from a cold so I go out and get husband to talk her down the slide. He's better at this then I am, I want to scream at all the kids to come down right now and glare at all the parents in the room doing nothing but I'm afraid it will upset her more and I don't want her to freak out any more than she already is. They keep going at it, blocking her into a single car where she's boxed in, gathering in front like mean vampires. I'm so upset, holding Sam, looking around for any other parent of the kids blocking her in to intervene but they are all zombies, ignoring everything. Mike comes in and calmly asks her to come down and after a few tries she comes down the slide. I hope the bossy zealot will come down so I can find her parents and tell them she was bullying my kid in the name of God but she stays up there and frankly I just want to get my kid out of there.

I didn't grow up like this. I grew up in an extremely reverent church where Christianity was a way of life, you showed people your faith by living a good honorable life. No one I grew up with has ever (that I know of) gone up to a total stranger and asked "do you know God"? I know what that girl was trying to do. She was assuming Charlotte didn't know God because Charlotte was upset and screaming back.

I'm upset, I really wish I would have screamed "EVERYONE DOWN NOW!"but I was worried about upsetting Charlotte more than what was really necessary. After leaving I told her she was a good girl and that I was really proud of her for coming down when her dad asked.

Once again I must apologize to the world for repulsive Christians, we are not all like this.

Friday, July 01, 2011

5 Question Friday

1. If you had the opportunity to bungee jump, would you?
Not now that I know it jerks your neck really hard, maybe in college. I was more of a dare devil back then.
2. Would you rather go to the movie theater or to the drive-in?
Movie theater, our drive in's do not have as good a picture quality as movie th
3. Do you have your groceries delivered?
4. Eyebrows: Do you wax, thread, pluck, or stay au naturel?Pluck strays.

5. Would the people you went to high school with be surprised by your life today?Probably, I'm likely the only one traveling to Asia regularly for work.

Parental Abuse

Today there was extreme parental abuse. Anytime a parent is sick and a child proceeds to pull every shady move in the book - it's parental abuse.

I have a cold that brought me home by 3:30pm yesterday whereupon I went straight to bed. Thursday was lovely because husband took care of me along with shuttling the most difficult little ones to bed and I got to finish the evening with a nice hot bath and meds.

Today was different - cold set in more extreme and husband had to leave for work by 2pm. It all started with Charlotte refusing to take a nap. See - I NEED her to nap so I can nap. I got Sam to nap by 2:10pm and for the next hour sat dutifully next to Charlotte while she kicked the couch, scratched the couch, flailed, etc. Lest you remind me that she might be done with naps, she still does them for her father every day! I even tried his tactic of holding her in my lap and she still flailed like a maniac. Finally I just sat at the end of the couch and read a book so she popped up to read with me. But before one chapter was over she was poking at my book and forcing me to lose my place so I packed up and took her into the master bedroom, locking the door behind me. So tired, I actually fell asleep on the bed while she played around me. Sam woke and whimpered, I prayed he'd go back to sleep, he must have because I dozed off until Charlotte demanded release from the room. It was almost 4, she had to use the potty - lies! She went straight into Sam's room and woke him up. Sigh. It was almost time to get him up anyway.

We all sat down for snacks, she asked for chocolate bread and then didn't want it. She got down from her chair and stole a cookie from Sam's tray. I gave it back and she removed all her clothes in protest while I was on the phone with my mother so I had to watch naked child crawl into the cupboards - in and out. Very strange sight indeed. After phone call I redressed her but a short while later it all came off again with panties being dipped into the cats water bowl - honestly?!?

I do still have onsies that fit, slapped one on her. Little while later a shrill scream was heard from the restroom when she realized the top was impossible to remove and she had to use the potty. Much laughter from parental unit.

By 6pm I was counting down the minutes until bedtime and decided to take both to the store to just get coffee. Sure, why not go out and get one item if it keeps both kids occupied (tied down into car seats) for a short period of time! Never mind that it's drizzling outside and Charlotte will demand an umbrella and then walk painfully slowly through the parking lot while I hold the tip of her umbrella and beg cars to look first before backing up. Sam settles happily into the sling - surprisingly I can still get his 20+ pound butt in there for short trips where both hands are needed.

Whole Foods provides mini carts for children and Charlotte is well versed in shopping there so we head straight for the little carts for our single purchase of coffee. Might as well! We careen through the store hitting no one and check out with 2 bananas added to the mix.

Back at the van, Charlotte stands and stares into the van while Sam and I get rained on. Stuck on options, I lift her by her pants and drop her inside, closing the door behind. You'd have thought I got a leg stuck in the door with the ensuing howls that followed. Heavy sigh, I buckle Sam in, get wetter, come back and buckle Charlotte in. On the way home she screams NO DANCE to the radio so we drive home in silence.

At home I decide to give both children a bath to ease them into the bedtime routine. Charlotte BITES Sam on the butt making him scream thus ending his bath.

Baths finished, I move onto bottle for Sam and rocking him to sleep. During this Charlotte comes in and sweetly lays her head on my arm. Suspicious I look around waiting for something to break. She leaves. I finish with Sam. Ask what she wants for dinner, eggs. Work up some scrambled eggs with cheese and we eat together. She's sad, misses daddy - me too!!! She finishes, brushes her teeth, goes potty and I rock her for a bit. She then goes to bed without a single crying fit. I'm so shocked - almost every night involves a knock down battle. Sigh. I'm going to bed.

1am Quiet Time

I'm sick with a cold, slept 3 hours and can't breath so sitting up while cold medication kicks in before going back to bed. Might I say it's nice to have some quiet time without noisy kids/demands going on around me? Yes it's quite nice indeed.

Taking a sick day from work tomorrow to nurse cold.