Sunday, May 29, 2011

Prepare to cry.

First, watch this video, then continue.

That was just one of many tributes on Youtube to DC3 Nathan Bruckental, and as you know now, he was killed in action in 2004, leaving behind a wife and daughter and countless other loving family members and friends.  It happened just a few months after I met my (now) husband, and was a bit of a wake-up call to me that the Coast Guard isn't just the guys in Cleveland who make the PSA each spring about wearing your life jacket during boating season.  Though I am thankful Ryan isn't overseas today, there are plenty of people who are, and some of them won't be coming back alive. 

To our veterans from the current and past wars and during peacetime, thank you for you service.

To the families who stay behind, hoping, worrying, and praying, our thoughts are with you.  I'm pretty sure we (the families) all feel a little like that could be us next, that could be the knock at our door.

To the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children who've lost a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coastie, we can never thank you enough for your sacrifice. 

I know I'm hormonal, but I'll be crying tomorrow at the parade, and if it's anything like the parade in my hometown, it likely ends at the cemetery where a bugle will play taps and I'll cry again.  We'll be thinking of you Bruckental family, Nate is gone but not forgotten.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Have you kissed a boo-boo today?

My boys are rough and tumble.  That's no surprise.  But no matter the injury, they come running for a kiss to make it all better.

That's so sweet, you say!  They love me, they trust me, they know Mommy will fix anything.  It goes for Daddy, too despite his best efforts to bribe crying injured babies wth candy, he is also often entreated to kiss it and make it all better.  It is so sweet, until you realize that my magical kiss is often requested on dirty feet, sticky hands, and even... a butt.  Pete is just barely three, so he had no concept of why I burst into giggles today when he fell on a toy, injuring his bottom, and ran to me pulling down his pants and crying "Mommy, kiss my butt!"

And of course, Chester, my mokey, ends up with boo-boos daily as a result of his adventurous climbing.  He is a walking disaster.  Yesterday he managed a puncture wound under his toe while playing outside, a scrape on his knee falling off the tricycle, and a busted lip climbing on an overturned chair.  That one bled for a while, and required an icy-pop too.  He was up four times last night, which I can only assume was due to his sore fat lip, and the fact that I ran out of motrin at 11pm too. 

So this morning I hit up CVS to stock up for the summer (or maybe just next week!)  We now have a stockpile of Motrin and Tylenol, Band-Aids and Neosporin, anti-septic spray and saline spray to wash wounds, and gauze pads to soak up the blood.  $60 was a small price to pay for being prepared for the inevitable injuries.  I'll go ahead and add that to my "outside" bag filled with hats, sunscreen, bug spray and water.

 I feel prepared for the big bad wild that is my backyard!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The dangers of free E-books.

This morning, having finished two free nook books yesterday, I searched the Barnes & Noble website for some fresh new reading material.  There are over 1,813,000 free nook books on the site, and so far I've browsed through the first 320. 

I've never heard of any of the books, or any of the authors, so it's really choosing a book by its cover.  There are collections of short stories, novels, trendy teen werewolf knockoffs, diet books, an what passes for non-fiction.  I do miss the satisfaction of picking a book off the shelf, flipping it over for the summary.  I can do the same on the website, but I miss the tactile satisfaction of actually picking it off the shelf. 

I wish there was a rating system for books, so I could automatically exclude the "erotica" genre from my search.  If you've searched free nook books, no doubt you've seen the same list.  It makes sense, there's very little cost to publish a nook book, so even if you're writing smut, it can be published and marketed.  Let's just filter all the titles in the series "Naughty Nooners", and the book covers that have half-naked men or women, and anything titled "Stroke It".  The last thing I need right now is a reminder of how I got here. 

I'm also signed up with our local library to borrow e-books, and there I can search as in a normal library.  And like the normal library, many of the best sellers have a wait list a mile long.  At least I have a few free ones to keep me occupied until my best-sellers come in.  Should all else fail, I could always break down and actually pay for a book.   

On a final note, since the nook is under Ryan's account, all morning he got emails on his blackberry every time I ordered a new nook book.  They were running some pretty important drills, and his blackberry was blowing up all morning!  Oops!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I've got it all figured out and

Ryan is not going to like this one bit! 

I've figured out how to keep my morning  all day sickness at bay:  Do nothing. 

I started today with crackers in bed while the boys bounced all over the room. 
I did feed them breakfast, and washed dishes, but then laid back down while the boys played together.
They played until noon while I read the nook and together we ate lunch.
Finally they both took a nap (thank God for 2 hour naps) and I read more on the nook.
One part of Ryan's schedule I can't complain about is arriving home at 2pm when they're in port.  He spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the boys in the basement while I snuggled with the nook.

When I stand up, I get nauseous.  When I smell food, I get nauseous.  When I get warm, I get nauseous.

I'm going to be very well read if this continues.  I'm just praying it ends quickly like it did with Chester, and not linger through the second trimester like it did with Pete.  I'll try not to whine, but honestly, there's not much to blog about since I'm spending all my time in bed.  Unless you want to hear some book reviews! 

And again, a wicked appreciative shout out to Ryan, for cooking dinner, doing the laundry and taking care of the kids after naptime too.  I think he's making up for being gone 90% of the first pregnancy!

In an effort not to whine...

I will not be blogging today.  I know I shouldn't wish my life away, but I could do without the next 5-6 weeks of nausea and vomiting.  Let me know when it's July!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pete's first successful trip to the dentist!

Before you wonder how Pete got to be three without a trip to the dentist, I should note that it says successful trip to the dentist. 

I signed him up for United Concordia (the CG dental insurance) on his first birthday.  When I called for an appointment, the dentist laughed, but said he could come with me to my appointment, and they'd let him sit in the chair and get a sticker.  She called it a "happy visit" with no charge but I secretly hoped they would actually get to examine and clean his teeth.  After all, this is Pete, the child oral hygiene prodigy who brushes his teeth 14 times a day, clearly he'll want the dentist to clean too.  Go ahead, experienced parents, laugh, I can see now how funny that was.  Pete had zero interest in the dentist chair, and certainly wasn't going to let the dentist touch him.  The highlight of our trip to the dentist's office was the train store across the street where we parked. 

Fast forward to Pete's second birthday.  I made his appointment and the receptionist said they typically schedule a child's exam, billing only a small amount while the dentist counts and examines his teeth, but do not perform a full cleaning.  We spent weeks preparing, talking about the dentist, the chair and the stickers.  I thought for sure he would sit while they counted his teeth, and might even be talked into a cleaning too.  I scheduled my own cleaning right before his, so Pete could watch and be more comfortable.  Again, laugh, because it was certainly funny.  Even with all that prep work, Pete wouldn't open his mouth.  At least he sat in the chair, and earned another bag full of stickers.

 Finally, for Pete's third birthday, I'd given up.  I figured they would count his teeth, and we'd take home the coveted stickers.  I scheduled the appointments 6 months in advance, never
knowing if Ryan would be home to help or not.  Day of the appointment, the boat's schedule kept Ryan away, leaving me with two children and my own appointment  for the day.  Not willing to cancel and re-schedule, I popped Chester in his stroller, gave him some animal games to play on my phone and handed him some extra special treats.  There's a special kind of shame for feeding your baby fruit loops and chocolate milk in the dentist's office, but that's what it took to keep him quiet and still for 45 minutes. 

Pete happily climbed into the dentist's chair and allowed her to first count and touch, and then CLEAN his teeth.  He needed some gentle reminders to open his mouth, and say ahh, but overall, he was brilliant.  Pete climbed out of the chair, one bag of stickers richer for his big boy behavior.  The hygenist even said his teeth were cleaner than any other thee year old she's seen.  I gave Chester more treats and toys, started Pete's ipad with fish games, put him in the corner and climbed into the chair myself. 

Shenanigans ensued.
Pete and Chester, already over an hour past normal naptime, could not be tamed.  The hygenist suggested I hold Chester to keep him happy, clearing up the stroller to contain Pete.  Chester was fussing, and bouncing all over the place, but the hygenist kept her cool and worked around him.  At my wit's end, I used the last line of defense.  I unbuttoned my sweater and slipped up my shirt, letting Chester stick his head in for a little nursing.  He was finally happy (and still) and we finished the cleaning with no further problems.  I told her I really appreciated her accomodating us, it wasn't the plan to bring two children to this appointment.  She was very sweet and said that she was actually admiring how I handled the situation because her husband has been pushing for children but she had no idea how to handle them.  Here I was, mortified at having to bring two kids to the dentist, and at how they behaved, and she was admiring my patience and skill at wrangling two little boys. 


All in all, a successful trip to the dentist, for Pete and me.  No cavaties!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Delayed Blog 5/18: What do you DO all day?

What do you DO all day as a stay-at-home-mom?  I asked that question before becoming a Mom.  I asked that question during the 6 weeks I stayed home with Pete before returning to work.  I even asked it when I became a full-time-if-temporary-for-the-next-decade SAHM in January 2009. 

I had a wonderfully clean home, with fresh-baked bread, homemade meals, lots of playdates and time at the gym for me.  Then the second one arrived and I dropped a few of those, bought the bread, still cook from scratch, the house isn't always spotless, (in fact it can be downright dirty!) and I don't have nearly as many playdates and story hours.  Now that I'm pregnant with the third one, and I'm feeling exhausted and nauseous, I'm not doing the things I normally do.  I've only been sick for a few days and my house looks like a bomb went off.

I must not have wiped down the table after dinner last night, it's sticky and there are smudges of the playdough that entertained the kids while we cooked dinner.  I managed to do the dishes, but the extra bowl from last night's late night brownie baking is still in the sink.  There are pile of laundry on the bed to be folded.  They were on the bed last night, I tossed them back in the basket, and then poured them back on the bed after I made it this morning.  If you see my children this week, they'll be in wrinkled clothes. 

Today I've snuggled in my bed, changed a few diapers (and yes, at this point, I'm using disposable because the diaper bin is full, but I can't keep up with our clothes, let alone the diapers) served CEREAL for breakfast instead of eggs and toast (that's such a sin!), bribed children to be still with brownies, blown bubbles from the couch, watched Spiderman on the ipad with Pete. 

I see what a mess surrounds me, and I can't bring myself to get off the couch (laying, not even sitting up) to do a thing about it.  While the kids are napping, I will be napping too.  At least I showered, which is more than I can say about yesterday.  Someone please tell me I'm not the only one that hates showering during the first trimester.  If the water is hot, I'm nauseous and light headed.  If the water is cold, I'm shaking and it's like little pins beating my body.  There is no in-between.  I have horrible memories of vomiting while showering in my first pregnancy.

While I will tell you I'm feeling 1000% better than I did while pregnant with Pete, this time I'm taking care of two very rowdy boys, so every ounce of energy is taken to entertain them (or at least keep them from doing something crazy enough to accidentally kill themselves) and I have nothing left to give my house (or my poor husband for that matter!).  I alternate between being cranky because I feel crappy, and being overjoyed that it's not as bad as the first time.  I almost think, if this is it, this is the worst, then I understand all the women who say "I love being pregnant". 

I just figure I have to muddle through these next few weeks, while being thankful that I'm not as sick as I was with Pete.  I give myself permission to relax and be a slob because I know when the nesting hits later, I'll probably be cleaning the baseboards with a Q-tip and touching up the paint.  I'm having a rough time, but I'm enjoying what will be the last few months as a family of four, before the chaos of two boys becomes the chaos of three boys.  I have something to get me through these tough weeks that I didn't have when I was sick the first time: the scent of my newborn babies snuggled up on my chest.  That warm fuzzy feeling, and the warm fuzzy feelings I get when I think of  rest of the special moments in Pete and Chester's lives, and adding Baby Threepeat to the mix.  There's a special joy watching your children grow that only a parent can really understand, and it's so much easier to deal with the nausea when you have that to watch and anticipate.

So while I'm being a human incubator on the couch, it's becoming very obvious around my house just what I DO all day or more accurately, what I'm NOT doing all day right now.  I think I'll give my friend a call, the one with the pre-teen daughter who wants to be a mother's helper.  She can play bubbles and trucks and I'll do a load of laundry!

Delayed blog 5/13 The name game

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a quotation by William Shakespeare from his play Romeo and Juliet meant to say that the names of things do not matter, only what things are.

It would be nice if a name didn't matter, and everyone were judged on their actions alone.  However we all know a name does matter.  Right or wrong, a name preceeds you and gives your future employer/potential friend/date/school teacher an image of you before you've ever met. 

As a parent-to-be, the name game is one of the biggest dilemnas you'll face during your 9 months of preparation for the little one.  We all want to give our children the best chance at success in life, though with some of the baby names I've heard recently, some parents want to give their children the best chance of success at being a stripper or pole dancer!

I have a few rules when it comes to naming my children:
#1)  I like the Dr. test and the Judge test where you place your child's name in context to judge it's appropriateness.  Can you imagine going to Dr. Fifi for your surgery or addressing The Honorable Audio Science in your civil suit? 

#2)  I also like to avoid popular names, so that he's not one of seven Jessicas in his kindergarten class.  Though, a boy named Jessica would clearly be unique. 

#3)  I also like family names,but not close family names because it can be confusing to have multiple Kathryns at Thanksgiving. 

#4) Finally, I like the names from the era of our Grandparents.  This can be hard because so many of them are returning as popular, which violates rule #2. 

I named Peterson, and (Ryan claims) I named Chester so Ryan thinks it's his turn to name Baby Threepeat.  I cringe at all of his suggestions, clearly our naming styles are completely different.  If we end up with a baby named Daggar or Stanislaus, instead of a baby Bennett or Donald you'll know why.

Delayed blog 5/12 Has it really only been 13 days?

I feel like I've been pregnant forever.  It's been 13 days since the positive test, but already it feels like months.  According to our best guess at dates, I'm 6 weeks (only 34 to go!) though that will be confirmed at next week's ultrasound. 

It's been impossible to keep this exciting news quiet (especially when it's clearly the reason I'm not drinking with all my friends!) so all our local friends know, and most of our close friends from back home too.  It's stayed off of FB and CC so far, but I'm sure after we get our confirmation of a heartbeat I'll let the news slip there too.

A special shout out to KLM, whom I've been alternating pregnancies with for the last 4 years.  Every visit home to visit my old drinking buddy has been marred by one or both of us being pregnant.  I've hoisted many a Bud Light in your honor my old friend, so please drink one for me for the next 8 months. 

There's a feeling of impending doom, waiting for the morning sickness to kick in.  I'm also praying it does kick in soon, worried what it may mean that I'm not sick yet.  Maybe my dates are off and I'll start vomiting next week?  Maybe I'll be blessed and not be sick this time?  Maybe the lack of raging unbearable all-day sickness means the unthinkable. 

The last three days I've been a little queasy in the morning, easily solved with a few saltines.  I feel a little light-headed when I shower and the smell of eggs makes my stomach turn.  I wonder, is this what other women have when they say they had a little morning sickness?  Is this the "normal" morning sickness that pregnancy books discuss as a mild unpleasant symptom of pregnancy?  It's certainly not the vomiting in your car at the stoplight, keeping a trash-bin next to you during the CPA exam, losing 17 pounds, throwing up in your sports-bra during a charity 5K, unable to keep down even water misery from my first pregnancy.  If this is it, I can handle this!

With big plans for this May, June, July and August, I felt like this first trimester (and all its ails) would fly by.  Then I looked at the date on the calendar this morning and realized it's only been 2 weeks.  Sigh.  This is going to be a long 9 months!  I can't wait to meet Baby Threepeat and smell his soft baby scent (because let's be honest it will be another boy!)  There's nothing like napping and cuddling with a freshly born baby!

Delayed Blog 5/5: Who's a lush?

You might drink too much when you're busted for being pregnant because you're not drinking. 

It's only been a few weeks and already I've been outed at a bridal shower and a baby shower.  I avoided a pint-night fundraiser knowing my lack of a cocktail would be blatant.

I love a cold frothy Bud Light Lime on a hot summer day.  This spring, once again, I find myself at the beginning of Summer Drinking Season facing a drought.  Of course, my baby's health and well-being is paramount, so I can swear off the tasty beverages until January, but that doesn't mean I won't miss them.  Every time we head out for a weekend of boating, or sit on the back porch after grilling dinner, I'll be thinking about how lovely a BLL would taste. 

And for my crunchy friends who swear an occasional glass of red wine is fine, I agree and I was actually enjoying my allotted glass of red wine the night Chester was born, but red wine is not a six-pack of my favorite frothy beer.

So the countdown begins: 247 days left to my next BLL.

Delayed Blog 5/3: Pregnancy exhaustion

No, the laundry is not getting done.  I managed to clean the shower, take a shower, feed the children breakfast, do the dishes, drop Ryan off at work, pick up toys, vaccuum the living room and feed the children lunch all by noon.  While this doesn't seem like an awful lot, considering I'm battling the first-trimester exhaustion and the random migraine (perhaps brought on by gleeful screaming from the children at breakfast?) it is all I plan to accomplish for the day. 

I should be addressing the H&F invites.  Or finishing the thank-you notes from Pete's birthday party last week. Perhaps even mopping my disgusting kitchen floor.  The laundry definitely needs some attention, but I can't bring myself to move it into the dryer, let alone hang a load on the line out back. 

No, instead I shall nap while the children nap.  God only knows how long they'll nap, so I better get to it!  Good night.

Delayed Blog 4/30: Guess who's having a baby???

This morning it was confirmed.  I'm pregnant!  We're having another baby!  This blog will be delayed for a few weeks while we try to make it to 12 weeks, and then I'll publish them all at once for you to catch up. 

With the positive test this morning there is, of course, immeasurable joy but there is also fear.  Not the fear of handling a third baby, or the fear of morning sickness or labor and delivery but the fear that every parent holds in their heart that something might happen to your child and family.

During my first pregnancy, I was blissfully unaware of the complications that could occur.  I was sick as a dog, throwing up for 28 weeks, losing 17 pounds in the first trimester, vomiting at work, vomiting in the car sick.  I was miserable, and hated life, angry at this thing inside me causing so much pain.  I still think that was horrific, but I no longer fear the all-day sickness.

During my second pregnancy, a friend lost her baby at 8 months, just a few days before Chester was born.  Another friend's baby arrived months early with serious long term health complications.  The speaker at MOPS shared her story of losing one twin during delivery. My friend's cousin's newborn recently passed away.  This all rocked my safe little world.  People I knew and loved had been in my shoes, happily expecting and loving their new babies, only to have unimaginable heartache ruin the happiest times of their lives. 

Last week a toddler was found in a running car, her mother found dead in a pond nearby.  I imagine her last moments, begging her killer to spare her baby.  Tonight I heard an interview on the evening news from a man in one of those deadly tornadoes this week.  As he was grabbing his baby out of bed during the storm, the wall collapsed and the bed and baby were sucked out of his reach.  My stomach turns, and my heart cries out for someone I don't even know because as a parent, that could be my baby.  Every baby could be my baby.  Every baby is my baby. 

I look at Chester, and know he was supposed to share the name of the baby who passed.  I think of BCS and how we should be having playdates together.  I cannot understand my friend's sorrow, but I do grieve with her.  I wonder if we're tempting fate by adding to our family of perfect (rowdy, but still perfect) little boys.  Are we due for some heartache ourselves?   

In order to function in everyday normal life, I push those fears down and keep them reasonable, though they never entirely go away.  I pray to God to protect my family, and thank Him for his love and grace in our lives.  I live in the happy moments we're creating rather than the terrible moments that probably won't even happen.  Someone summed it up "As a parent your heart walks around outside your body"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oh YMCA, the amusement never ends!

I am so glad KJ invited me to Muscle Class last night at the YMCA!  I needed a reason to leave the house again after our 2 hour excursion to get the oil changed in the morning.  (The boys actually behaved unbelievably well for 1 hour and 52 minutes.  The last 8 minutes were excruciating and embarrassing, but I can't blame the boys!)

Months ago, before I started blogging, I compiled a list of some of my favorite fun ladies at the YMCA.  The over-40 gem dancing up on the gay male Zumba instructor, the Eastern European mail-order bride with huge breasts that never moved, the woman wearing a strapless bra and lace tank top more suitable for a walk of shame than a step class.  But it's been a few months and we must not be going to the same classes anymore since I changed my schedule to night instead of morning classes.

The class at the YMCA was taught by a substitute last night, and offered all sorts of amusement.

First note to the instructor: your music is horribly out of date.  As the instructor, you are allowed to bring any music you wish for the class, but may I gently suggest that bringing a mix-tape might mean your musical selections are well behind the times.  It is your right to bring music from the early 90's if you want, but please at least follow the beat of the music you have selected!  I could barely keep a straight face as she randomly bounced all over, and the class was split between following her rhythm or following the music.  We stretched to Night at the Roxbury (1993) and did push-ups to I'm a Barbie Girl (1997).

Second note to the instructor: your attire is slightly inappropriate.  We've all made some poor choices in gym attire at one point or another (i.e. the entire leotard/tights era of the 1980's) but there are a few wardrobe malfunctions you probably want to avoid while leading a class.  If you sweat enough to show panty lines, may I suggest more modest briefs or boyshorts instead of a thong?  When planning the workout, if you're including the fire-hydrant lift for outer thighs and glutes, I suggest shorts long enough to cover your fake-tanning lines.  I understand jewelry is a matter of personal taste, so I'll leave the decision on huge gold hoop earrings up to you, though clearly you've made that decision already.

Last note to the instructor.  We can't understand you while you're chomping on your gum.  Gum is not allowed in the YMCA, and I'm assuming this applies to instructors as well as participants. 

A note to the lovely woman next to me in class: Don't do plow in shorts either.  Not only were we not doing plow in class, we were all treated to a lovely view up your shorts as well.

Thank you for the hour of entertainment, I'm not sure I could have made it through class without your shenanigans to keep my mind off my burning thighs.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pete's first love reunited!

Pete's first date was pretty sweet, for a three month old.  He even scored an older chick!  TPK was about eight months old when Pete took her to the 7/11 and a Kenny Chesney concert, and of course, as responsible mothers, we chaperoned.  Sadly, he lost any chance he had of getting lucky when he fell asleep for most of the concert.  And the breasts he spent the most time with that night were mine. 

She must have forgiven him for falling asleep during the concert, because TPK invited Pete over for some tummy-time a few weeks later.  She even used the flirty "gently brush his hair back from his eyes" technique.  He responded with raspberry lips.  He was totally into her. 
In true Coast Guard fashion, TPK sadly moved away after their summer fling, and we only ever saw her status updates on facebook.  Pete moved to Boston later that year too, and made plenty of male friends, but never found another girlfriend like TPK.  Three years later, we got a message that Pete's girlfriend was being transferred to Massachusetts!  The Coast Guard is famous (our infamous) for being so small that you continually run into the same people over and over during the course of a 20+ year career.  In this case, Pete's first love returns and is living just over an hour South of us.

I picked up the K family from the airport and we enjoyed dinner grilled in the backyard by my fabulous husband.  TPK and TPK2 (her little brother) made fast friends with OMC, Pete and Chester too.  All the kids got along famously, playing on the slides.  Pete even scored a kiss from his old flame!  JBC and I are already planning lots of trips to Cape Cod for summer playdates.  Forgive the pictures, I couldn't get them to stand still long enough to take a good picture.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ridiculous amounts of laundry!

Where does all this laundry come from?  From where does all this laundry come?  How do we make all this laundry?  (Finally found a way to phrase this question without ending in a preposition or sounding pretentious)

Before you say it, yes, the cloth diapers add to my laundry.  But I only do a load of cloth diapers twice a week, which is approximately 1/10 of my laundry.  This week I decided to keep track of how a family of four can create so much laundry.

Let's start with a clean slate in the morning. I have all the laundry in the house clean as of 5am (folded and put away is another story, but it was all clean).  Pete wakes up, having wet through his diaper.  That's one load of baby blankets and pajamas.  I'll also add one towel, since he "helped" clean it up before coming to get me out of bed.  Chester's pajamas are still clean, and are laid back on his bed to be used again tonight.

My pajamas go in the wash every morning too, because we're still nursing overnight.   I keep my nursing nightgowns and tank tops meticulously clean in hopes of avoiding more nipple infections.  That's probably overkill, but having suffered through countless bouts of mastitis over the last 3 years, I'm going to err on the side of caution. 

By 7am, both boys were clean and dressed and at the breakfast table.  By 7:30am, there were blackberry stains on Chester's pants, and Pete had spilled his milk on himself and the table.  Add two pairs of little boys' pants, one little boy's shirt and one pair of tiny underpants to the laundry, plus three kitchen towels from wiping up the milk. 

10am snack, and this time I'm on top of the fruit situation.  I've draped both boys in kitchen towels, not just bibs.  They are completely covered.  Pete even uses a napkin to clean his hands before asking to be excused.  Sadly, Chester somehow managed to hide a strawberry under his leg and grind it into his jeans.  Add two bibs, two kitchen towels, one napkin, one pair of baby jeans (pre-treated for the berry stains) and another kitchen rag used for wiping the table with pine-sol.

By lunch I've learned my lesson.  No fruit for you!  Macaroni and cheese, though creamy, doesn't stain.  I merely wipe the boys down with a kitchen rag after they cover themselves and their bibs in cheesey goodness.  Add two bibs, one napkin and a kitchen rag to the pile.

Naptime arrives after lunch, so off to the changing table for Chester and the bathroom for a potty trip  for Pete to prepare for nap.  Pete has leaked a little, so his pants and underpants go in the laundry pile and he pulls on a pull-up for naptime.  (Note to self: remind pre-schooler about a potty break earlier tomorrow)  I live with three men, two of whom use the toilet, so though I should probably scrub every day, I usually just do a quick spray and wipe with disinfectant and a bathroom cleaning rag.  I can't count the bathroom rags though, because I toss them in the diaper pail to wash and that's a separate count.  Add one pair of little boy pants and underpants.

My jeans, which used to be worn several times and broken in for maximum comfort, are now washed after nearly every wearing.  If I haven't been peed on, I've at least been snotted on, or used as a hand towel by tiny little hands.  Add my entire outfit to the pile at the end of the day. 

The gym- we try to go every day, which means today like most days there's an extra set of gym clothes to toss in the laundry.  I wear two shirts (yes, I'm self conscious about my tank top riding up and exposing my belly at the gym, so I wear two), two sports bras (I am still a nursing Mom blessed with plenty of extra voluptuousness up top), a pair of socks, undies and capri workout pants.

Dinner adds two napkins and a few kitchen towels (both from cooking and wiping the children and table after dinner. 

After dinner and a quick sweep and mop of the floor, I decide the kitchen rug has reached its limit and needs to go through the wash too.  Not one to waste an entire load on just one rug, and not willing to wash a rug with our clothes, I pick up the doggie-bed blankets too.  It's been raining all week and they stink, so they might as well go through the wash too.  That's an entire load right there. 

Put the boys in pajamas for bed, and Ryan in bed too, toss all their clothes in the pile.

Here it is, 8pm and we have three loads of laundry today.  Over the course of the last week we've also washed the toddler bed a few more times, our bed (it's great to have a baby or toddler snuggle you but not so nice to have them throw up on you or pee in your bed) an entire sea bag full of Ryan's laundry, a load of towels, and extra work pants from mowing the lawn and cleaning the garage.

No wonder our water bill is through the roof! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The first of many tough lessons learned in life.

This morning Pete learned that once you've mixed the colors of the playdough, they can't be un-mixed to put back in the playdough containers.  I'm pretty sure it broke his heart.  At least for two minutes. 

Pete received an awesome playdough set for his birthday.  It's a movie theater theme set that makes popcorn, twizzlers, cotton candy and sodas from playdough.  As an aside, why do the manufacturers of playdough make food-related playsets while I'm trying to teach Pete not to eat playdough?  Pete asks to play playdough several times a day, and it's the perfect distraction for him at the table while I'm doing dishes. 

Despite my best efforts to play with one color at a time like the controlling anal-retentive mother that I can be sometimes, it's only been three weeks and already the beige for the popcorn has streaks of red from the twizzlers and the blue of the cotton candy is smooshed together with the brown for the colas.  I watched Pete intently design something this morning while I put away the breakfast dishes and pushed down my feelings of anxiety as he rolled them all into one big ugly clump of colors.  It sincerely looked like a pile of dog crap.  Finally finished straightening the kitchen, I asked Pete what he was making and he proudly told me he made me a birthday cake.  I was so happy I had kept my comments to myself.

Ready to play with trucks, Pete picked up the red container and I broke off a piece to put away.  I guess he really is my son because he told me "no, no, Mommy, only the red goes in there"  His expression fell when I told him that all the colors were mixed in and I couldn't take them back apart.  It took a few minutes to convince him it would be okay to put away all the colors mixed in together.  Pete will learn that some things, once done, can't be undone, not matter how hard you try.  I can only pray that other lessons in the future can be as easily fixed as this one was, with the promise of a "cold yogurt" after lunch.  Thank You Simply Gogurt for easing the pain of disappointment in a three year old and Thank You God for giving a three year old the attention span of, well, a three year old. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Crawfish: bait or dinner?

Yesterday we spent the day on the Cape at a crawfish boil.  I'd like to offer a special thanks to AGB for inviting us and sharing a little special taste of the South with us!  What's even better, the timing of the party worked out perfectly for the boys to nap in the car on the way there, and change into pajamas for the ride home.  (You all know how important it is for my boys to nap properly)  In Ohio, a crawfish is more likly to be bait, not a meal, so I was a little weary of eating "mudbugs" but all my Texan friends assured me they're tasty and I was game to try. 

All morning Pete wanted to know when it was time to go to his friend's house.  This kid might be the most social little boy in the world.  All I had to do was tell him we were going to his friend's house for a party and he was putting on his shoes and heading for the car.  When we arrived, he instantly made friends and we all walked to the playground.  Despite being the youngest, he was right in there with all the kids on the slides and in the sandbox.  Later they were all playing with the crawfish before we boiled them.  I'm not sure he really understood betting on crawfish races, and I know he's actually quite scared of them, but in the moment with all the other kids playing with dinner, he was right there in the middle.  I even watched him climb into the driver's seat while the other kids pushed the power wheels up the hill to ride it back down.  It's a unique moment, watching your child play with other kids without being prompted on how to play together.  No "share with your brother" or "throw the ball to Tyler."  Pete's growing up, and it was touching to see him as the person he's becoming, not just my child.

Chester is still toddling around, not ready yet to interact with other children.  Mostly children will play independently until around age two when they move to parallel play before finally interacting with peers.  Chester played with some of the balls, and rode a hot wheels, but he still doesn't venture very far from me or Ryan.  When the crawfish were ready, Ryan shelled one for Chester, and to my surprise, Chester loved it!  He came running back over and over squealing for more.  I'm pretty sure Chester ate more of them than I did.  We ordered 8 pounds as a family, and while Pete probably played with his share, Chester definitely ate his. 

It was very nice to meet some of the new wives from the Cape, and of course dinner and dessert was fantastic.  I ate so many cookies and oreo cheesecake cupcakes and dirt pudding cups that I had to stop counting calories for the day.  Ryan said my phone's calorie counter probably stopped working because it's like the "tilt" mechanism on a pinball machine.  Maybe I'll skip weigh in this week, or maybe I'll schedule in an extra zumba or yoga. 

We got some great, and much anticipated news this weekend too, but I'll let her share with the world when she's ready.  Congratulations to my secretly pregnant chick friend!  We've waited for this with you, and your heartbreak and struggle to get pregnant has been our heartbreak too because we know you'll be an amazing Mom.  Happy Mother's Day to all my Mom friends, and especially Mom-to-be Secretly Pregnant Chick!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sometimes you win, sometimes...

I spent most of my day celebrating excellence in government today and in a true government project fashion, it cost way too much and lasted much longer than we expected.  I promise that's the last joke I'll make about federal employees.  (At least for today)

Ryan was recently named a finalist in the Greater Boston Federal Executive Board's Excellence in Government Award for Creativity and Innovation.  He's been working on a project for years to help the CG more efficiently and effectively target safety and fishery law violations.  It's taken countless hours of his time to define the problem, learn the computer language coding, develop, test, run, document and maintain the program.  None of it is a duty in his job description, and in fact, he's done all of this innovation while still running the day to day executive operations of the CGC Grand Isle as XO.  You could say I'm more than just a little proud of his accomplishments.  I'd brag about him all day, but I'm not sure how much of what he does is secret.

Unfortunately, Ryan's program was edged out by a worker at the Volpe Transportation Center's initiative to reduce reuse and recycle.  It apparently saved them $98,000 last year.  I'm not as impressed as I should be, but I'm probably biased. 

There were awards for public servants and community service.  Two of the most notable:

The Senator Paul E. Tsongas Award for Exemplary Community Service went to Father Paul O'Brien who runs Cor Unum in Lawrence, MA.  It warms my heart to see what his hard work and dedication to service through Christ has done for his community.  Thinking back to my days volunteering at Open-M in Akron, OH, I know serving food to hungry people is so much more than filling a stomach.  I'm inspired to get involved again, since I shamefully haven't served our brothers and sisters in years.  It could just be hormones, but I cried when Father O'Brien spoke about the children who come to Cor Unum by themselves.   

Another award, the Outstanding Federal Volunteer award went to Anne Sullivan, a volunteer at the VA Boston Healthcare System.  Anne is 86 and has completed 10,000 hours of service over the last 20 years, serving our vetrans when they are most vulnerable.  Again, the tears sprung to my eyes.  The bureaucracy surrounding the VA system is frustrating to anyone, and to have a kind volunteer to help guide you through the process is such a blessing.  I can only hope to be that dedicated to serving our community when I'm 86.

In the end, I find it amusing that neither of the most moving awards of the day went to actual federal employees, but that goes back to my belief that anytime you get the government involved in something useful the government only messes it up.  Oh, wait, sorry, I promised I would keep this clean and free of political jokes. 

Please join me in thanking all of the nominees, finalists and recipients of the 2011 Excellence in Government Awards (especially my awesome husband who should have won!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I laughed, but I kind of felt bad too.

I went to Zumba alone tonight.  It was probably the best decision I've made all week. 

Pete woke up from his nap with a fever over 102, so he was excluded from YMCA Playcare, and stayed home with Ryan.  Chester goes to sleep at 7:30pm and though possible for me to take him to a 6-7pm class, it's better for all involved (especially the playcare workers!) if he stays home with Ryan too.

I enjoyed the class, though I'm sure the look on my face said otherwise.  I'm not a natural dancer, so it takes a lot of concentration for me to even come close to the proper steps in Zumba.  The grace and flair of the Latin rhythm is totally lost on me but I still get a good workout doing my best.  KJ smiles all through class, bouncing around with all the steps memorized and encouraged me to try smiling too (as if smiling would make the class easier perhaps?).  Unfortunately, the end result was a look of concentration, pain and confusion mixed with a smirk.  Let's just say I'm not headed for instructor status anytime soon. 

Back to the kids: They stayed with Ryan, had dinner and I imagine they played some trucks and watched some hockey. 

The following is just heresay and I'm glad I missed it:  At some point Pete told Ryan he needed to poop on the potty.  Ryan asked if Pete needed any help, and Pete said he didn't need any help.  In all fairness, it's the same reaction I would have had because Pete is pretty self-sufficient when it comes to the potty, unless he's wearing a pair of pants that he can't get unbuttoned by himself.  When enough time had passed, Ryan went in to check on Pete to find him, pants around ankles, wiping up the floor with one of my bath towels.  He said "I'm sorry I peed on the floor Daddy".  No problem, Ryan thinks, it happens, and helps him wipe it up.  Then Pete uttered the words that no one ever wants to hear from their three year old:  "Daddy, I'm sorry I pooped on the floor, it was an accident."  Thinking Pete had just misspoken, Ryan continued to clean up the pee, and asked Pete what he meant, he didn't see any poop?  Then Pete turned over the bath towel, and showed Daddy the poop.

I am so glad I went to Zumba alone tonight! 


Ridiculously loud. Together.

I thought I'd toss out a few ridiculous things Pete has said today:
Pete watch Jackass three?  (A special thank you to Ryan for that one)
NOOOOOOOOO!  Chester's playing with Pete's balls!  (JBC and PGK got Pete balls for his birthday)
Pete take turns with Daddy's beer?  (Um, good try Pete)
Don't be loud, it hurts Chester's ears (Ryan was building new stairs to the slide)

Clearly we haven't mastered pronouns around here, but I'm sure I'll miss it when he learns them.  I'm learning to enjoy the stages right now, and not just wish my way through the rough phases hoping for the next development.  Though, I am excited for Chester to start talking soon because I'm not sure I can take the patented "Toddler Shriek" anymore.  Not only does Chester cry when tired or sad and wail when angry or frustrated, he also squeals in pleasure.  Don't let anyone fool you, just because it's a happy squeal does not make it any less of a squeal.  To add to the fun, Pete has taken to speaking Chester's "language". 

Today at breakfast, they just sat there, screaming at each other.  I was just about to start scolding because it really hurts my ears, and screaming at the breakfast table is not a habit they should be forming.  But then I stopped.  They were having fun.  Together.  Exactly what we had hoped for when we started trying for a second baby as soon after Pete as God would give us one.  So I let them squeal a little while longer as I finished getting ready for the day.  And then I popped some Tylenol.