Saturday, April 30, 2011

Counting calories is dangerous to your enjoyment of that slice of cake!

I can't blame the baby for the baby weight anymore.  In fact, let's call it what it is: 15 pounds of beer and pizza weight. 

All last summer, after Chester went to sleep, I would indulge in a few (or six) beers.  I helped myself to the extra slice of cake, didn't blink at having a two donuts with my coffee (cream and sugar of course) and enjoyed the potty-training candy stash even if I didn't need to pee on the potty.  Yes I knew better, but all the baby weight was gone by six weeks the first time plus some.  I was the thinnest I've been since high school in between babies but the second time it didn't just peel off like the first time. 

So now it's time to work on the situation.  Two weeks ago, I installed a calorie counter app on my new phone and quickly discovered that I've been downing over 3,000 calories a day.

My breakfast, two slices of whole grain toast with butter, an egg and a slice of cheese was running me almost 500 calories.  Add a coffee, milk or juice and I was over 600 calories by 7:30am.  There would be a mid-morning snack with the boys, maybe a muffin or some other baked treat, and it didn't get any better from there.  A peanut butter and jelly sandwich runs about 450, add some fruit, maybe chips or mac and cheese.  You can see where I'm going!  By the time I made dinner and had a few beers every night, I was well beyond a reasonable diet.
Five Guys regular fries: 620 calories- this isn't even the meal, it's a side dish!

One package of Reese's Pieces packaged up as a carrot for Easter: 510 calories- again not even a meal!

The fabulous chicken parm, green beans, potatoes, salad, bread, cake and ice cream at this afternoon's bridal shower was nearly 1,600 calories!

If you want to try too, I'm using and its calorie counter available on the android market.  Both are totally free, and I've been very impressed with the ease of finding the foods.  They have info from restaurants, homemade food, prepackaged foods.  I just scan the bar code on my bread and all the nutrition information fills in!  The only downside to keeping track is the total dismay when you discover what the treat you're considering will cost you.  But some days, the Reese's Pieces are absolutely worth the 510 calories. 

So now that I'm keeping track, I've cut back to the standard 2,000 calories and dropped 5 pounds in 2 weeks (still keeping my normal gym schedule of zumba or yoga classes a few days a week)  I still ate those fries, and the candy, but I've been able to keep my indulgences to a few a week, not a few a day. 

I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ridiculously tired.

I know, over a year into this two-kid life, that I'm no longer the most exhausted mother on the planet (there were a few months there where I would have challenged anyone for that title!).  Shockingly, the first few weeks were not the worst for me as Chet slept a few hours stretch right from the beginning.  In fact, his serious sleep regressions didn't start until he was about five months old.  Suddenly he was up ever two hours, and it was taking a toll on me.  I know it's a growth spurt and at that age he's discovering new things (like crawling!) that keep them up all night.  I was willing to go with it and nurse through the growth spurt, but a growth spurt doesn't last six months- bad habits do!  At one point, I drank so much coffee that my nursling smelled like coffee, and my toddler thought the smell of coffee meant he got donuts.  He could point out the Dunkin Donuts logo and tell me Mama's cup! 

After being assured by my pediatrician that he was finally gaining the proper amount of weight and didn't need to eat all night every night, I started by telling myself I would only rock him back to sleep before 4am and after 4am, he would be allowed to eat.  That's about eight hours from his last meal to his early morning snack.  Finally at eleven months, I tried a little CIO, and my stubborn one took over a week to get good at sleeping, just in time for Ryan and I to take a much needed vacation and leave the kids with the Grandmas. 

At this point, the boys are sleeping relatively well, so I'm feeling quite in control these days.  With Chester in a toddler bed, if he needs me in the middle of the night, he just gets up and comes to me.  There's no crying involved, and everyone gets their needs met.  They go to sleep around 8-8:30am and wake between 6-7am and I feel like a champ most days, decently well rested.  They even nap together, giving me a chance to nap myself if we've had a rough night. 

But you're not here to learn how well-rested I am these days.  You want the funny stories of sleep deprivation.  We've all read how lack of sleep can cause symptoms like hallucinations, slow speech, movement, reactions and poor concentration.  I'm pretty sure those case studies were done on Moms!  When I don't get enough sleep, like many Moms, I am crabby, grouchy and short-tempered with my children and my husband.  I also start fumbling, missing the easy tasks, forgetting important appointments, etc.  

I'm not the only one who fumbles while tired and I won't identify who has done each of the following but instead leave you to guess:

On Chester's very first trip to the pediatrician, we made it all the way there, only to discover Chester was still swaddled in his car seat... not buckled in.  Oh, that was bad.  Very. Bad. 

On another trip, singing along in the car, suddenly not remembering the alphabet.  What comes after Q?  Good thing the toddler, then only 22 months had it handled.

While in traffic at 5am on a Saturday morning, someone driving the moving van fell asleep driving over the GW Bridge.  Not the finest moment, but thankfully no harm done. 

Got out of the car with it still in drive.  Whoops!  There goes the car!

Getting lost on the way to work?  Done that too.

On a more serious note- we are approaching the summer heat and I'll put this article out there for you to read.  It is VERY sad and you'll probably want to read it alone, not at work or in public, and you'll definitely want to hug your kids after you read it.  In a sleep-deprived fog, just about anything can happen, and I hope the article just keeps this at the front of your mind enough to prevent a tragedy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oh my gosh! What's that in your mouth???

You'd think by now, with two rowdy boys, that I've seen everything you can imagine in their mouth.

They have eaten dog food (yuck!).
They have eaten (and swallowed) washers.  I'll leave it to your imagination on how I know that.
They have eaten crayons.
They have chewed on toothbrushes.
They have chewed on my marathon medals as teething rings.
They have chewed the tires off matchbox cars.
They have eaten paper, grocery lists, checks, homework and tissues.

But I have to say what I saw in Chester's mouth this morning scared the living daylights out of me.   He opened his mouth to laugh and I saw a big bubble on his gums where we've been waiting for his fourth molar to come in.  Like a big infected looking chunk of gums.  I realize no two kids are the same, but I didn't see this when Pete was teething, and he's kind of my benchmark.  I reached in and poked at it with my finger, it was soft and squishy, and when I poked it it bled!  But there was a tooth under there too, I felt it.  Had my child's impending tooth somehow caused his gums to infected?  When did this happen?  Should I have noticed before today?  Has it been causing him pain?  How could I have been such an unobservant and terrible mother?

Once we were home and both boys were napping, I googled.  Googling can cause even more worry as you find that whatever minuscule symptom your child has is indicative of a rare fatal disease (or a common and mild disease, but those are never the answers you trust).  Thankfully, I found this:

Sometimes, as a tooth is breaking through the gums, small cysts can form which, when the pressure increases, break open. Normally, once the first blood is let, the bleeding stops and soon you see a little white tooth where the cyst once was.  From

Phew, I can breathe again, and now I just have to get back to the laundry and dirty dishes with what's left of nap time so the house isn't a wreck when Ryan gets home. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why I don't eat in restaurants (or: My children are ridiculously wiggly)

Chatting with friends this week, I was reminded that some children sit still.  Sit still, you ask?  You have to be reminded that children sit still?  Yes, because my children never.stop.moving.  They are continuously moving, wiggling, and making noise.  Lots of noise. 

I've seen children sit still in restaurants, so I know it's possible.  Just not mine. 
I've seen children sit still in church, again, it happens but mine don't do it.
I've seen children sit and watch a movie.  Mine don't, unless they're strapped into car seats.

If you have one of those children, you're probably smirking and blaming my parenting skills right now.  And while I won't claim to be perfect, we do make a concerted effort to have our children act appropriately in public. 

We practice sitting at the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Strapped into his high chair, Chester wiggles around left and right, forward and back, hanging off the side.  The only way he can't go is up and down, since he's strapped in, but he makes use of every available centimeter of wiggle room in his chair.  In fact, just last week, he wiggled so violently that he tipped over his high chair.  Pete may technically be on his chair, but he's wiggling all over too.  Sitting, up on his knees, sitting again, leaning on the table, leaning over the side of the chair.  Pete has tipped over a high chair and his booster chair too. 

We go to church as a family, sitting right up front so that Pete can see all the action (great tip by the way!).  Sitting on my lap, I narrate every move "Now Father Joe is going to read you a story from the Bible" and "Now it's time for everyone to sing a song together" and "Watch everyone, we're going to fold our hands and pray together".  We tried toys, snacks, binkies, etc. and we just ended with toys thrown during the Homily, and cheerios ground into the pew.  I get little old ladies (yes, it's the CHILDREN'S MASS) telling me I have my hands full.  But, Pete can recognize a Cross and tell you that's like Church, so we keep trying. 

At three, Pete is sometimes able to sit and watch a 30 minute show.  An entire movie is out of the question.  He's off the couch and into the toys.  Chester can't even make a 30 minute show before he's grabbing the remote, eating the tissues and my grocery list.  It would be nice to pop them in front of Sesame Street so I could shower, but instead they come in the bathroom with me and brush their teeth while I get a super-fast shower.  The only time they've watched an entire movie is when we road trip 12 hours to Ohio and Michigan, and the boys are strapped into their car seats. 

To top it off, they don't even stop wiggling when they sleep.  Many people extol the virtues of co-sleeping as a way for Mom and Baby to get more sleep.  Part of the theory is that Baby doesn't fight sleep because he's happy and comfortable drifting off to sleep right next to Mom.  My kids aren't happy and comfortable next to Mom.  They roll and kick and grope all night.  Pete prefers to sleep with his feet ON Ryan.  Chester likes to sleep between me and Ryan, his head on Ryan and his feet on me. 

<insert 10 minute break here>   I just had to snuggle Chester back to sleep because he managed to fall out of his bed.  He never.stops.moving.

I'm so thankful I have friends with children just as "spirited" as mine, because when I spend time with the well-behaved calm chilren, I just want to crawl under a rock.  But they would probably crawl under there with me and have a tickling and screaming match.  My kids are nutcases, but they're my nutcases and I love them, even if it means we won't go out to dinner as a family for the next 5 years or so. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hockey is ruining my children!

In our house, there is no fighting.  We don't play fight, not even a fake suplex or a top rope.  We tickle.  We snuggle.  We tussle.  We getcha getcha getcha!  But there is no fighting.

We keep violence off TV and Pete plays Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, but not any violent video games.  I have no idea how long this will last, but I try my very best to keep the boys engaged in sports, reading, music, anything but violence. 

So what have I learned during the last week?  Ryan and the boys have been watching the hockey playoffs, and as anyone can tell you, if you're watching hockey, they fight quite often.  Pete tells me with total glee "look, Mommy, they're fighting!  He's hitting him in the face!"    Ryan tried to salvage the situation, pointing out to Pete that the guys fighting got sent to time-out for being bad and that they all shake hands at the end, they're all friends.  I know I can't shelter them forever, but I didn't expect Hockey to be the downfall to my children's innocence.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fireman birthday party!

I feel like I'm finally getting good at this Mommy-thing.  It's only taken me three years.

This weekend was Pete's birthday and I planned a backyard party on Saturday afternoon with a fire-truck theme.  Firetrucks, by the way, are slowly replacing trains as the toy of choice around here.  In fact, a lot of things are closing the gap, catching up to the once exclusively adored trains.  At his second Christmas, every toy Pete received was a train or related to a train.  For months, every time a package arrived in the mail, Pete jumped up and down yelling "Choo-choo!" even if the package was Ryan's school books.

Where there was once just trains, now there are  trucks, cranes, racecars, motorcycles, helicopters and four-wheelers.  Clearly my child is his father's son.  He even goes so far as to take his screwdriver set and "fix" his vehicles.   

But back to the party.  I managed to plan in advance this year and send out the facebook evites and some adorable handmade invitations.  I investigated a firetruck to visit the party, but WOW those are crazy expensive.  If you need something to do with yourself in retirement, buy a firetruck and rent yourself out for parades and birthday parties.  Instead of the firetruck, it seemed a better idea to rent a bounce house from Hanscom AFB to get all the kids moving and bouncing and most importantly tired!  Additionally, there is a racetrack painted on the floor in my basement (thank you Ryan!) and if everyone brings a bike or tricycle, we'd have all the kids occupied and ready to pass out by naptime.  Convinced I'd planned a wonderful party, I sat back to relax until the week of the birthday to begin making the cake and food. 

The week of the party, I checked the weather forecast and it got worse and worse as the week progressed.  Partly cloudy.  Mostly cloudy.  Chance of showers.  Scattered showers.  Rain.  Total washout, downpours, build an ark.  Damn.  Our house is not big enough for 12 kids, let alone their parents.  How would I serve food?  Where could they all play?  The panic started to set in. 

At the mall to pick up a firetruck cake pan, I found the answer.  Across from AC Moore was the newly expanded Mall Tots.  Their birthday package was downright reasonable and they could fit us in at 10am on Saturday, the time we had already scheduled the party at home.  Many places require you to purchase their food and drinks, but Mall Tots was more than accommodating to my healthy turkey roll ups and fruit and vegetable trays.  I booked the venue, alerted the guests and breathed a sigh of relief.  Crisis averted.  I could still use my healthy birthday treats and I didn't need to clean my house! 

Jennie and I spent all of Friday baking and decorating the firetruck cake, I couldn't have done it without her!  I imagine someday my children will want a store-bought cake, and they won't understand until years later that it's not about the cost of ordering a cake, it's how much love I squeezed into every inch of that homemade firetruck cake.  I don't look down on anyone who orders the pizza, serves the ice cream and orders a cake, because I'm sure they love their children just as much as I love mine.  But for me, the love is in the hours we spent getting the buttercream icing just right and salvaging the yellow icing after the goldenrod debacle. 

The party went off without a hitch.  Pete found a firetruck cozy coupe and rode in it the entire two hours.  There were age appropriate toys for all the guests, from 11 months to 5 years old.  I cannot speak highly enough of the Mall Tots, and I'm pretty sure that many of our guests will be booking their upcoming birthday parties there as well.

If you've heard my rants about children who run up and get in the face of the birthday child, opening presents and blocking the view for all the other guests, I should tell you that all the children  (and the parents) at our party did exceptionally well watching Pete open his presents.  They all took turns hitting the pinata, and there weren't any fights over the treats they collected to put in their firetruck loot bags.  In fact, when Chase's firetruck toy was broken, Pete handed him a new one without anyone telling him too.  The sappy Mom in me just about cried to see him acting so kindly.  A big shout out to our friends who parent their children, it's rare these days to find a group of children so well-behaved and polite. 

And my husband deserves a shout-out too, for dealing with me during my panic over the weather, for entertaining all the children while Jennie and I baked on Friday, and for coming through with all the last minute fixes like twine for the pinata.  I <3 him.

By the way, when we got home, the dogs had pissed all over the kitchen floor.  No day goes perfectly around here!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby Pete!

Three years ago, I won the naming rights to our first born.  Well, actually, I purchased them with the promise of a motorcycle and/or rebuilding an old hunk of junk car (a.k.a. his beloved '69 Nova).  He would like to point out that he never got to rebuild the Nova and that his lovely new Harley is not in anyway related to the original promise, but I digress.  I stole the idea from EAA, a sorority sister of mine, using my maiden name as his first name, so Peterson Gregory Kowalske was born.

Having completed tax season, and a week of the billing that goes with it, I settled in to enjoy my maternity leave.  A wax, a pedicure, a barbeque with friends and online tetris filled my weekend.  Monday, feeling just a few contractions, I picked up Ryan from his boat returning for a mid-patrol port call in the pouring rain.  We did his laundry and went grocery shopping but I don't even think we ate dinner because we were both so exhausted (he from a month of patrol, and me for obvious reasons).  About 3am, I woke feeling a little crampy and it wouldn't go away so I shook Ryan awake to tell him it was time for some drugs.  He brushed me off, half asleep, thinking I was telling him to take some drugs for his stuffy nose and snoring.  Finally I convinced him to take me to PNMC to at least get checked.  He was so convinced it wasn't time that he left all the bags and pillows by the front door.  (And don't even try to tell me it was my job to remember the bags, I was in labor thank you very much.)

On the way there, I swear to God, he hit every pot hole in Virginia.  I started writing down the time of the contractions, and was pretty surprised to find them 4 minutes apart.  When we arrived, I got changed and the nurse checked me, declared me at 5cm and sent me to a L&D room.  I think everyone was shocked, because I still wouldn't have described the pain as unbearable, just mildly uncomfortable!  My birth plan was pretty flexible.  It involved an epidural and a healthy baby and that's exactly what I got.   The epidural man arrived, popped it right in and I just relaxed watching the contraction on the monitor, happily not feeling a thing.  Ryan, poor guy, tried to get a little sleep, since I'd ruined his chance to recover from the patrol.  Later in the morning, maybe 6am, our friend DS stopped by on his way to work and we were having our own little party on the L&D floor.  Things were going fabulously, and then I vomited. 

According to my L&D nurse, women often vomit during transition.  Funny that no one had mentioned it during our baby classes, but now I know!  The nurse handed me this tiny little suction tube and suggested if I closed my mouth around it, it would just suction the vomit neatly.  I closed my mouth, vomited, and promptly sprayed the nurse.  I'm sure the suction tube was a nice theory, but it was kind of like throwing up through a straw.  Once we had that all cleaned up, the nurse checked and delcared me 10cm and ready to push.  Pete was not going to make thing quite that easy, he was posterior, or sunny-side up.  The wonderful L&D nurse (who probably wished he was assigned to someone else by this point) suggested I flip over a few times to get him to turn.  It worked, and just a few pushes later, Pete arrived.  Ryan cut the cord, the staff cleaned up the baby and handed him over to me.  He was perfect.  He is still perfect.

After delivery, all I wanted was a ham sandwich.  Remember how we went shopping but never got around to dinner?  PNMC policy is that women in labor cannot eat, so by the time Pete was born at noon on Tuesday I was raging hungry.  KP and SL came over to meet the new baby, and of course, bring a ham and cheese croissant from the deli in our office building.  Best damn sandwich I've ever had. 

I'm still amazed how easy labor was, compared to being pregnant.  I'm not joking when I say I would give birth every month for 9 months if I didn't have to be pregnant.  In fact, the first time was so easy with the epidural and pitocin that I decided to give it a shot drug-free the next time.  That time was just as easy, but it's a story for another time.

Happy 3rd Birthday Pete! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Late talkers = more smart-ass remarks

I think it was right about the 15 month pediatrician visit with Pete that I started to panic.  He didn't say anything at all and everyone else's baby was babbling away.  Okay, so really, I only knew about 3 babies, but they were all saying much more than Pete. 

I worried, and googled, and discussed with the pediatrician.  We already read books together before bed each night, but now I spent hours with the book saying "doggie" and "kitty cat" and praying for him to respond.  Ryan was slightly more successful getting Pete to repeat sounds, though Pete was more likely to say "foo foo" instead of "woof woof" for the dogs.  I considered early intervention, but we decided to wait until he turned two. 

At 20 months, he had a few single words and one phrase "Hi, you!"  We had worked for months saying "baby" and "mommy" in preparation for Chester's arrival.  It took hours of practice with chocolate candy as a bribe to say "more please!"  Then Pete bloomed between 20-24 months.  He quickly caught up and surpassed his peers and the "expert" guidelines for speech development.   Looking out the window, he started stringing together sentences like "See big truck, woo woo!" when weeks before it was more likely for him to say "oooooooooooooahhhhhhhhh!" while hysterically pointing to the firetruck.  After all those months saying "baby" and pointing to pictures of babies, when Chester cried, Pete directed him to "say UP baby!" because we always told Pete so say "up" and not just cry if he wanted to be picked up.  

No longer on the slow side of the language learning curve, Pete started absorbing things I didn't need him to learn.  We'll start with all those words I yell while driving in the car.  Now when I start getting upset on the road, he asks me if the "cars are being bad, Mommy?" and I quickly zip my mouth!  Before I learned to mute my GPS, Pete listened carefully and put his new knowledge to good use telling Chester "no no baby, make a U-turn" as Chester headed for Pete's toys in the playroom. 

There are a few phrases that I know he'll grow out of, but I'm holding on to them as long as I can before he grows up any faster.  While learning to be gentle with the dogs, I said "Pet Hudson gently" over and over.  Now when he's going to sleep, Pete often requests that I "Pet Pete" and I'll sit by his bed a while to rub his back or his head.  If petting is not enough, he may request "Pete snuggle you?" for some additional cuddling.  I know the time will come when he no longer asks to be snuggled. 

Pete has even used his new verbal prowess to outsmart Mommy.  As all men (and especially two year old boys) do, Pete was sitting on the couch with his hands in his pants.  I told him he couldn't have his hands in his pants in the living room, that was private and he could do it in his room if he wanted.  Minutes later, he returned, naked from the waist down and declared "I no have pants on" and went back to playing with himself.  Sigh.  You got me there, kid, I'll phrase it more carefully next time. 

So as Chester approaches 15 months and is more likely to squeal, point and cry than tell me "more" or "all done" I'm slightly less inclined to push the issue with the pediatrician this time.  I figure he'll talk eventually and then I wont be able to get him to hush.  I don't think of my kids as late talkers, I prefer to think they're saving up their words to make smart-ass remarks later in life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A well-balanced dinner

Last night I served a wonderfully well-balanced dinner to my children.  Beef tacos with a side of beans, topped with avocado, cheese, tomato, lettuce, olives and green onions.  Dessert was grapes and oranges and a glass of milk rounded out the fabulous meal. 

Pete finished his beef and cheese taco and initially rejected anything green, but was later successfully tricked into eating them when Ryan wrapped up the veggies inside a soft taco with extra cheese.  He happily ate all the grapes but turned up his nose at the oranges because apparently only clementines are acceptable and navels are yucky oranges. 

Chester, still recovering from the mongolian death flu, was slightly more picky.  Beef?  No thank you.  Cheese?  Maybe a little.  Veggies?  Hell no.  Olives?  He ate the entire can!  Knowing his sensitive tummy, I would be in for a mess later, but at least he ate something.  Sigh.  As I was cleaning, he was throwing the remaining food on the floor for the doggies.  I turned to load the dishwasher and when I turned back, I saw he had leaned forward and grabbed the brick of colby-jack off the table and was gnawing on it like a popsicle!  For those of you unfamiliar with the effect of massive amounts of cheese on a small child's digestive tract, let's just say it slows things down.  I served him the rest of Pete's snubbed navel orange (which causes explosive blowouts) to counteract the cheese and called it a night.  I guess in one sense, Chester did have a well-balanced dinner.    

Meeting the family (or The Jello Egg Incident)

Seven years ago today I was on the Lakeshore Limited coming back to Boston from Ohio, having just tortured my boyfriend by introducing him to my family for the first time.  We'd had a whirlwind romance, meeting on the coldest day of the year (who goes to the bar when it's six below?) and only dating a few weeks before he left again.  When I invited him to join me and my family for the weekend, he arranged flights from the middle of nowhere, NC to middle of nowhere, OH and I looked for flights from Boston to Akron/Canton, Ohio.

Since it was last minute, there were no reasonable seats left to Akron/Canton and instead I booked a ride on the Amtrak Lakeshore Limited.  It's actually a lovely ride, and if you've never taken a train, I highly recommend it!  It's relaxing and comfortable, with a dining car and cafe car, so you can enjoy meals and cocktails while you roll across the country. 

The only downside to my arrival by train was that my new boyfriend would arrive five hours before me.  I look back and giggle at the ridiculousness of it all.  Ryan left NC on a puddle jumper and connected through DC and Cincinnati before arriving at the Akron/Canton regional airport.  Can you imagine flying into a po-dunk airport to meet your new girlfriend's family without her?  My parents picked him up at the airport, took him home for dinner and then Ryan and my father drove later that night to pick me up at the train station.  What a trooper! 

As if meeting my parents by himself wasn't hard enough, he was about to endure trial by fire (i.e. meeting my entire extended family).  My mother's parents long ago gave up every holiday to the in-laws.  With six children, it was easier for Grandma to declare the Sunday following a 'family holiday'.  If you check your calendar, you'll find that Easter Sunday was the 11th, making our family Easter dinner on Sunday the 18th.  Though I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, the rest of my family all lives in a small farming community in rural Ohio.  We are full of character, loud and boisterous and there's usually at least 25 of us for dinner! 

Grandma makes a turkey, a ham, or both.  Sometimes the main course was a cousin's 4H project and had a name, but thankfully this time was just a ham with no name.  Every family brings their favorite side dishes and we serve them all on the long table, passing to the left family style.  As you can imagine, side dishes will not make it around the entire 25 person table, so it's imperative that you sit near your favorites.  We took our seats near the parmesan rolls and the jello eggs, Grandpa said the blessing and we started passing.  That's when The Jello Egg Incident occurred.  My cousin, just about 4 years old, seated across the table from us asked for a jello egg and Ryan.... gave him one.  The entire table erupted "hey, don't pass across" and "no way, you gotta pass to the left" and "who brought that guy?"

Ryan held his own throughout the rest of dinner, though I'm sure he was counting the minutes until we could leave.  He certainly gained points when he mentioned he drove a Dodge Ram 1500, liked off-roading when he lived in Virginia and that he actually let me drive the truck.  Aunt R said I should marry him immediately if he let me drive his truck. 

At the end of the weeknd, I dropped Ryan back at the airport, not entirely sure he would answer my next phone call, and I took the train back to Boston.

I think I'll make some Jello Eggs for Easter this weekend, since we won't be making it home to Grandma's this year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sick of being ridiculously sick.

It's been ten days since I saw the first signs of a the mongolian death flu.  Pete's eyes looked a little off during the circus Friday night and I saw a few nose drips, but I just chalked it up to being up past his bedtime and the first dose of wonderful spring weather.  By the next morning, it was clear Pete had something.  I figured it was no big deal, and made a mental note to pick up extra tissues at the store.  Then Ryan started feeling ill.  And next I had a sore throat.  Just to round us all out, Chester started with the snot.  By Sunday night it was undeniable that we were all victims of the mongolian death flu. 

In true Kowalske fashion, these boys don't do anything halfway.  For two days, Pete couldn't breathe and therefore couldn't sleep unless he was laying on top of me.  His fever was through the roof, but I don't even bother taking his temp anymore.  He's in that awkward in-between age where I can't fathom lifting up his legs to take a rectal temp, but he doesn't quite understand how to keep the thermometer in his mouth long enough for an oral reading.  Yes, I could go get one of those temporal readers, but let's be honest, he either has a fever or he doesn't and the exact number doesn't really matter.  Treatment with ibuprofen and acetaminophen, warm baths and lots of water.  Add in some extra snuggles and sleeping upright on my chest and we've completed the standard treatment.    

Next came Chester's fever, and since he's barely more than a baby, I still take his temperature.  Poor guy hovered between 103-104.5 for four days.  When the standard treatments didn't bring him relief, I ended up taking him into the ER at 6am on Saturday morning because we couldn't wait for the doctor's office to open if Ryan was going to make it to the Hockey Tournament on time.  As I suspected, he had another ear infection brought on by the mongolian death flu.  A new antibiotic and he's on his way to recovery.

I've had snot wiped on my shoulder.  I've had snot wiped on my pantleg.  I've found snot in my hair.  I've been covered in vomit.  I've been a pillow.  I've been an all-night buffet and the sole source of food for Chester since he decided that eating hurt too much.

By now we've been in quarrantine for 10 days, and I'm starting to go stir crazy.  A good portion of the month of April is already shot, now I'm just hoping we all recover before Pete's birthday party! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ridiculously hot.

"Wow, he's ridiculously HOT!"  While that could apply to my poor baby Chester and his 104 degree fever this weekend (ear infection, now happily doing much better with antibiotics) it also applied to my husband in his hockey gear. 

It's nice to know that after being together for seven years, I still find my husband unbelievably attractive.  I wonder how I landed such a catch and I'm still madly in love with him.  Of course, like all married couples, we have our days, even weeks and months where the only thing that keeps me from killing him is that pesky clause in the life insurance policy invalidating the policy if I murder him.  And in all fairness, he has those days with me too, and his patience and tolerance of my faults makes me love him even more. 

There are days I can't believe we've already been married over five years, and I am still amazed at how I sometimes get giddy over him like it's our first real date all over again.  I recall the cocktails at Sissy K's after work followed by a tour of his cutter and the awkward moment when he dropped me off wondering if he was going to kiss me goodnight (he didn't!).  I spent hours the night before planning my outfit for the perfect balance of cute and warmth in the middle of January.  I decided on a black sweater with a red skirt, camel knee high boots, wool camel coat and hat but debated all day about the warmer pink scarf or the less warm, but more adorable Burberry knockoff.  That afternoon we talked at the bar for hours and I used the patented "lean in, touch his arm, lean back and giggle".  It was the start of a whirlwind romance that has never stopped whirling.   

Several of my oldest friends can tell you I have a history of getting bored very quickly.  LVDMF made a habit of telling me in advance exactly how long she thought each relatioship would last (2 weeks ring a bell?)  And I'll take a moment to thank EAAL, BCS, CLPS and LVDMF for picking me back up each time with timely words of wisdom.  Here's a poem BCS found for me after one particularly rough breakup:

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain. 
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure,
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth. 
-I'm sure that should be attributed to someone, but I have no idea who wrote it!

Ryan and I spent the first few years together dancing a fine line between my refusal to depend on anyone and the reality that a being in a relationship requires you to trust that you can depend on your partner.  He waited patiently while my fierce desire to maintan independence slowly evolved into a respect and trust that I can depend on him for our family's financial security while he depends on me to raise our children and run our household.  We've found the right balance for us between being dependent and being a dependant.

So as he stood there today between games, all sweaty and sexy in his hockey pads and skates, snuggling our little boys, I thought about how lucky I am to have such a ridiculously hot and dependable husband.

Oh, and talented too.  His team, the Revenue Cutter Service, won the Commandant's Cup!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Not everyday is ridiculous.

Some are just normal.  Every day is full, though, which still surprises me. 

After Pete was born, I stayed home for six weeks and I was bored out of my mind most days.  Almost all of my friends in Virginia worked full time, Ryan was out to sea and my family was eight hours away.  If I couldn't arrange a playdate, the highlight of my day was a trip to the library or grocery store.  You can only stare at a sleeping baby so many hours in the day! 

After I quit my job and moved back to Massachusetts, it was up to me to find entertainment.  Pete was nine months old and still relatively portable.  I went to the YMCA daily, either to take Pete swimming or to workout while he played at the playcare. I taught two classes at the local university while a friend watched Pete for me.  I hosted friends for elaborate themed dinner parties.  I joined the local spouses association as the treasurer.  I wondered why some of my stay-at-home-mom friends said they were so busy?  I had to work hard to find activities to keep us busy!

When we added Chester to the family, I suddenly understood.  Every day was suddenly packed and it was increasingly hard to make playdates because we were so booked!  I really cannot express how two children, their naps, their group activities, their playdates are much more than twice the time committment of one child.  I'm sure when we add a Baby Threepete I'll look back fondly at all the excess time I had (to sit down and blog during naptime) when we had just two.   

We started the day sending Ryan down to Cape Cod at 5:45am to play hockey in the Commandant's Cup.  I got the boys changed and dressed, showered and fed all by 7am.  I taught the 8am Intro to Financial accounting while Miss Meghan kept the boys.  Thankfully they were entertained by Little Einsteins while I completed our taxes (nothing like waiting until the 15th!)  A quick once-over to clean the house before our friends arrived for our playdate.  I made chicken piccata for our lunch and we enjoyed a nice afternoon outside as I hung out laundry and the munchkins ran in circles playing on the swings, the slide and the trucks.  Now they're napping and I'm blogging.  After nap a quick trip in the wagon to the post office is in order to mail those pesky taxes and our day is still far from over.  I need to pull the laundry in off the line in the backyard, study up on the book for tonight's book club, print the invitations for the Hail and Farewell and get over to Hanscom AFB by 7pm.  Maybe it's time to get off the blog.

I guess today is ridiculous(ly busy!) just like every day around here. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I've given in, let's blog!

A few people have mentioned that I should blog. I swear I don't have time, but I'm going to try. Because today made me laugh so hard I cried, and I want to keep these ridiculous(ly happy) moments so I can use them to embarass my children when they grow up. If you're here, you already know me or Ryan, and probably our two little boys Pete and Chester. Maybe you even know our dogs Hudson and Killer. This blog will be the story of their antics. Please forgive my grammar, spelling and typos. I do my best, but I was an accounting major, not an English major.

This morning, we left the house with all good intentions. First a trip over the "big green Toby bridge" for a stop at BSU Boston to pick up our tickets for the circus next week. Both the trip over the bridge and the trip to USO New England were a complete success, both boys behaving beautifully. Pete holds Chester's hand and dutifully guides him through the parking lot, up the stairs and into the building. I was so impressed when Pete pushed all the correct numbers in the elevator, and proud of how well they both behaved while we waited in line for the circus tickets.

As a reward, we stopped into the Exchange to pick up some Skittles for Pete. Of course when I saw the beer was on sale, we also picked up a case of Daddy cups (Bud Light) and Mommy cups (Bud Light Lime) and a treat for Daddy. Pete even picked a treat for Chester.

That's where my good day ends. Both boys fell asleep on the way home. This is only a problem because Pete is potty trained during the day, but naps are still a challenge. As I lifted him out of the car seat, he peed. On me, on the car seat and all over himself. Awesome. I quickly whisked him inside to his bed, pulled the wet clothes off and slipped on a pull-up. Tucked him into bed, and congratulated myself on making it through what I assumed would be my "challenging moment" for the day.

I put all the bags on the back porch and noticed that Daddy's treats were gone. Pete held the bag with the treats and held Chester's hand while I carried the beer to the minivan. He must have dropped Daddy's treat somewhere because it wasn't in the bag, or in the van. Sigh. There goes $20 worth of treats, and some lucky Coastie is wondering who left a whole log of Daddy treats in the parking lot.

Transferring Chester to nap was less eventful, just a few minutes of nursing and he happily snuggled into his toddler bed. I took a deep breath and congratulated myself again.

If only my day had ended right there. But instead, I headed for the kitchen to let the dogs out and found dog poosplosion all over the kitchen floor. Hudson is usually the guilty party, but it was irrefutably confirmed when I let the dogs out and saw a huge wad of dog poo stuck to Hudson's butt. After mopping the floor with Lysol, I headed outside with a pair of scissors and cut all the poop and hair off Hudson's butt.

I really find all of this amusing. So amusing and ridiculous, in fact, that I decided to start blogging so you can all laugh with me. Because after I changed out of my urine soaked clothes and showered to remove any lingering dog feces, I sat down to think how thrilled I am to take these boys to pick up Daddy from the boat tonight and how much fun we'll have at the circus next week. Today might have been ridiculous, but that's the price we pay to have such a ridiculously happy life.