...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sleep Deprivation

I love sleep. I fantasize about it constantly. It's one of those things you don't realize how good it is until you lose it. It makes you feel good. It makes you happy. It gives you the ability to focus better, keep your temper in check, respond faster, type out a blog with less typos.

When you have a newborn you expect sleep deprivation. It's part and parcel of the whole package. I don't know if it's everyone or just my way of handling it but before I have a baby I sleep as much as I can. I call it stocking up. And when the baby is born, for the first 2 months I can get by really well without sleep. It's almost like I've mentally geared myself up for it. It sucks but it's not that bad. I tend to find the worst kind of sleep deprivation is when you finally get back TO sleeping a decent amount a normal human mom can handle then have it yanked out from underneath you without any mental preparations.

Soren has hit his 3 month mark and with 3 months comes new developments and milestones. This week he has decided it would be pretty cool if he could roll over. I have other ideas on the subject matter but what I want doesn't count. He wants to roll so he's going to practice until he gets it and no one is going to get in his way! So anytime I put him down he starts to arch his back and push off with his heels. If he's on his tummy he will kick and flail his limbs trying to find a place on the mattress to support him enough to get his giant baby head and torso to face the opposite direction. I'm his cheerleader during the day but I put my foot down in encouraging his antics in the middle of the night. Yet he's decided day time practice just isn't enough.

On a "normal" night (I say "normal" because he is a baby and things change so fast it's not really the right word...but remember I'm sleep deprived at the moment) Soren will pass out after a good meal around 7:30pm and sleep until 11:30-12 am. He'll snack again then go back to sleep for 2-3 hours and repeat the process until 8. So I'm getting 3-4 hours of me/couple time and 3-4 hours of sleep before we start the roller coaster ride of snack and sleep. I've gotten used to it and can deal with 3 kids and a husband with no problem. But the past few nights Sorens decided to switch it up a bit. Now he wants to sleep for 2 hours max, snack, then roll around grunting in frustration and trying to grab my hair to help him roll over. I'm paranoid now I'm going to end up with a bald spot the way he keeps yanking chunks of my hair out at night.

Last night was the worst (so far). He woke up every 90 minutes to snack or be cuddled until 3 am and then decided he wanted to really try rolling until he mastered it. No matter what I tried, be it cuddling, offering food, changing his diaper, rocking, changing positions for him, he was not satisfied. Every time he was put down he decided to try rocking back and forth, arching his back and whining. And whining. And whining, while simultaneously trying to push me out of bed. Add on top of that Ashe waking up 4 times last night and wandering around the house, sobbing and thrashing when I'd bring him back to bed and I was seriously questioning why J and I wanted kids in the first place.

By the time 4:30 rolled around I had had enough. Growling under my breath I threw on some sweat pants and flip flops, tucked Soren into my arms and grabbed the car keys. We were going for a drive. Usually a drive will knock him out cold and it was the final trick in my bag. I HAD to get him to sleep to save my sanity! We jumped into the cold car, kicking myself for not grabbing a sweatshirt but adamant to get out of there, and drove out of the neighborhood, heat blaring. Noticing that my driving skills seemed a bit under par due to my constant yawning I decided to look for a place to grab a cup of coffee. We wandered around Apex until I found a Dunkin Donuts. I noticed the lights inside were off but the drive through sign lit up. I decided to take a chance. If it was closed, at least no one would see me look like an idiot. Everyone else was still asleep as people should be. Fortunately one sleepy voice answered on the other side of the drive through window and I bought myself a cup of steaming hot coffee to keep me sane amidst the wailing from the back seat.

I will admit one of the cool things I like to do driving in the dark when every sane person is comatose is to go exploring. Driving around trying to get my kids to pass out for naps or like nights these is how I learn my way around via back roads. My fog brain pulled out a memory of a playground I had been to when I first moved down and the vague whereabouts of where it was located. We hadn't been back because I had forgotten about it. But with this picture in my mind I started driving. Soren had finally calmed down but was still alert in the back seat and he and I drove up and down dark neighborhood streets looking for the elusive playground. Once I found it I half heartedly cheered at myself and then decided to find other ways to get home. It kept us busy until 6 am when my coffee was gone and Soren was quiet.

I parked the van in front of our house and carefully carried him inside. The moment I set him down he was up and bawling again, this time for food. In resignation of defeat I unbuckled him and brought him in to bed where he ate and then started rolling around again. In exasperation I looked down at his beautiful face and exclaimed "Would you just go to sleep already?!?!?!"

He looked up at me with his beautiful baby blue eyes for a moment, sighed, nestled into me, and passed out cold.

You know, it's a good thing babies are cute.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Toddlers, Play Doh, and Counting, Oh My!

Today when Soren went down for his afternoon nap, Ashe decided he wanted to play with Play Doh. Normally I just hang out with him and chit chat while he plays but today, while facing the play doh, an idea came to me. I decided to try and work on Ashes numbers while using the gooey substance on my kitchen table. Grabbing the blue doh I started to pull off chunks and make small play doh balls. he can count to 10 and is starting to learn more, so I decided to work up to the number 15. Carefully I made 15 balls, lined them up and turned to Ashe.
"Hey Ashe, want to count with me?"
"YEAH! 123456789 READYSETGO!!!!"
"OK Ashe, come count with Mommy. See these balls here?"
"....No, they're not poop. They're balls."
"Well it's not poop. It's balls made out of Play Doh. We don't play with poop, do we?"
Sigh. Gritting my teeth I mutter "It's not poop." I try again. "Ashe, come count with Mommy."
"Can you count how many I have here?"
"OK MOMMY." He focuses on the line of balls I have and starts counting. "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,0.."
"Very good! Close. We just missed a few numbers though. Let's do it together ok?"
So we begin to count together. "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15"
"15! 15 POOPS!" Ashe grins proudly and claps his hands. I just put my face in my hands trying to decide if I want to laugh or cry. At least we got to 15 though.

Lessons in House Cleaning

With Xavier heading back to school after a 3 week vacation (hang on let me do my happy dance again...... OK I'm done) I decided yesterday to get back into my official routine. Since we moved here I have made Mondays my day to clean. I figure if I can get everything done in one day I've got the rest of the week to goof off guilt free. So Mondays I gather up all the laundry and while it's washing clean bathrooms, organize toys, sweep or vacuum, and of course at the end, mop my hardwood floors.

After working my butt off and coming to my final chore I realized I was running out of floor cleaner. I use the Swiffer Wet Jet mop, which is fantastic for my first floor hardwood. I was only halfway through the living room floor when the Swiffer started to whine and I noticed no more cleaner was coming out. Frustrated that I only had half the chocolate milk stains mopped up I ran into the laundry room, where I keep all the cleaner stuff, and pondered what I could use. Resolve? Nope. Laundry detergent? Uh uh. Let's see, lets see, what can I use? I noticed, way in the back, behind everything, a can of Pledge. I don't know why I bought it as I never use it. We don't have anything to use it on really. Sometimes though I see cleaners that I think may come in handy while at the store and just grab them. This can of pledge was one of those purchases. I think I used it twice on our TV stand then forgot about it. But Pledge is specifically for wood and gives a nice shine so I thought Why not?

Applauding myself for being so smart I started spraying down the floor and cleaning away. I managed to do the other half of the living room plus the hallway and kitchen before I deemed myself done. The floors looked, well they looked great! I never realized how shiny they could look. I decided then and there to use Pledge more often. See, it was a good thing I bought the can months ago!

About 30 minutes later I realized why Pledge is not used for cleaning floors. Ashe had to go to the bathroom. He is in the middle of potty training, and sometimes when he is so involved in whatever activity has his fancy he doesn't realize he has to go until it's an emergency. At some point in time it dawned on him that he had to go potty. Racing to the bathroom door, yelling "I HAVE TO GO POTTY I HAVE TO GO POTTY NOW!!!" I watched in slow motion as he tried to stop at the bathroom door but because of the nice shiny (and now I realized slippery) floor he went sliding past and continued until his little body hit the front door, 5 feet away.

OK I'm not always a good mom. Good moms would have raced over in terror making sure their baby wasn't hurt. They would have sat down grabbed their precious child and checked every inch of their body to ensure no dents or scratches were to be found. Me, on the other hand, after staring in shock with my jaw reaching the floor at such antics whispered "Are you OK honey?" to which he responded "YEAH MOMMY" and then I doubled up over in a fit of laughter. Man, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I can not describe well enough for you, my readers, to understand just how funny this little scene was, a 2 yr old boy in pure panic over having an accident in his pants, reaching for the door knob, only to go sailing past, little feet scrambling for purchase. The look of confusion on his face as he kept sliding sideways, trying to grab purchase of anything to stop, only to thunk into the front door.

It happened 2 more times before it really dawned on me that it was the Pledge I used on the floors to make this situation happen. On the third time I finally decided I had had enough entertainment at my toddlers expense and looked around for something to take away the slippery component. I settled on Windex and a towel. I sprayed the floor and skated around until my floors no longer resembled an ice rink and decided no matter how funny watching my boys slip and slide around the house was, it could be potentially dangerous.

So I have learned a new lesson. When you run out of your mop cleaner, while Pledge may seem like the way to go, it's not. But it does make for some funny moments.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around

Dear Children of mine,

I am about to impart words of wisdom I just now realized and hope that you take it to heart. Please please please, for everything you hold dear, do not annoy your siblings any more than you have to. For it is true that what you do today to your brothers, will come back to haunt you years later as an adult. Your brothers will get back at you and in the worst way possible. They will annoy you through your own children.

Zavi, I'm so sorry that you had to deal with Uncle Brad this weekend. If you need therapy as an adult due to this weekends incidents, please don't hesitate to let me know. We'll find the best lawyer in town and sue Uncle Brad to pay for your therapy bills. And remember this when you start to think about locking Ashe out of your room.

I love you all very much. I'm sorry for taunting my brother when I was a kid and you took the brunt of it in the end.

Your Mom

Let it be said that I learned a very important lesson this weekend in regards to familial obligations. Clearly there is an unspoken rule that when you bug the crap out of your siblings as children, they WILL find a way to get back at you, no matter how long it takes. I admit as a child and the older sibling I was horrible to my brother at times. I never wanted to play with him unless it was dressing him up like a girl because I wanted a sister, or he had just gotten a really cool toy I wanted to play with. As the years went by my brother and I formed a very strong close bond and I had thought he had forgotten all those horrible things I did to him when we were little. But I guess he had repressed it until such a time came about where he could exact vengeance on me. He picked the perfect time. He waited until I had kids of my own, and old enough for them to always remember.

My younger and only brother, Brad, is a career Marine, and found out recently he is being transferred to Hawaii in a few weeks and then deployed to Afghanistan in January. My mom and her husband are moving down to take over his house and keep it cared for while he is gone for at least the next 4 years. This weekend we decided to go down and both welcome my moms husband, who pioneered his way down first before my mom could officially retire, and to say goodbye to my brother before he leaves.

I popped in the car early Saturday morning while J stayed home. He couldn't face another long drive so soon with the kids after our vacation (chicken) and also hurt his back putting bunk beds together for the boys while I was out the night before with some girlfriends (idiot). The boys and I passed 2 hours driving by Xavier playing DS, Soren passed out for the most of it with an occasional bout of cryinghere and there, and Ashe and I listening to good music. On the way we saw a dead Beagle in the middle of the road. Only Zavi and I understood how sad that was.

Of course we get to my brothers house and the first thing out of Zavis mouth was "We saw a dead beagle. It was really sad." Brad has a rottie puppy, Lokie, and Ron ( my moms husband) has 2 goldens and has taken over the care of our Pug Grunther after he bit Ashe once. (He is an awesome dog and had NEVER done anything like it before but I refuse to take chances with my kids no matter what!) So all 4 dogs were in the house or yard happily playing with each other and the boys.

About an hour into our visit Brad pulls me aside and says "I'm going to teach Zavi how to make a fire." Thinking he means in the fireplace I give my consent. He asks me to help him gather wood so we head outside to his shed and grab wood from the pile. Instead of heading back to the house he veers off to the backyard where I notice for the first time, a fire pit. Stacking them like Jenga, Brad asks me to bring the boys. Idiotically I agree.

"OK. WHY?"
Brad interjects "Not just any fire. Fire with gasoline soaked wood."
I glare at my brothers impish grin.
"It's cool. I know what I'm doing."
"Yeah YOU may know what you're doing but my kids don't!!!"
"And that's why I'm going to teach them" he says with a laugh.

By this time the kids have come running out and excitedly await the lesson at hand. Glaring daggers at Brad I grab the hand of Ashe and pace backwards 40 steps. I do know my brother after all. He hands Zavi a wadded paper towel, grabs a huge container of gasoline, douses the wood, then comes back towards Zavi with a lighter.
"Ok Zavi I am going to light that paper towel you have in your hand" (look of fear crossed over Zavis face) "and you are going to toss it onto the wood. Then you're going to run like heck away. Ready?"
"Trust me. You wont get hurt."......

Trust me... I remember saying those words to Brad when he was little a few times and the subsequent bawls of terror after. Whoops.

Zavi bravely held out his wad of paper as far as he could from his fragile little body while Brad lit it on fire then ran to the fire pit, threw it in and booked it 50 paces away as a giant WHOOSH of flame erupted from the spot.
"Coooool" is all I heard.

Brad continues my oldest sons education in the art of fires by teaching him to throw gas on the fire. Zavi missed the pit a little and a line of fire trailed after him. Fortunately it was raining a little and the ground was wet, and Zavi ran out of gas before it reached him. Brad had the courtesy to stomp on the line of fire, causing the hem of his jeans to catch flame. I snickered as he stomped and danced around trying to smother it before it could spread upward.

Later that afternoon we went out for Chinese food and as Zavi is snacking on a chicken terryaki stick Brad tries to convince him that its dog meat. Of course Xavier looks to me for verification and I shake my head. Brads mumbling something under his breath about how it could be. Now Zavi will never look at food the same again.

Lastly, after hardcore playing, the dogs all passed out by the kitchen. Brad made some comment about how Grunther (Zavis beloved dog) must have had a heart attack as he looked dead. Zavi of course countered that he wasn't dead just sleeping.
"Nope, I think he's dead."
"He is not!!!"
"Yup, I think he is." This of course went on for the rest of the day, even when Grunther woke up and started jumping around. Poor Zavi keeps pointing to the dog, indignant that Uncle Brad could continue to believe his dog was of the dearly departed despite all evidence pointing to the contrary. I'm hoping Zavi realized that with this display of idiocy he understood never to take anything my side of the family says seriously ever. Except for me, of course.

After hours of entertainment in this fashion, I packed the boys up, kissed my brother goodbye and wished him luck. I hop into the van, all kids strapped in securely and turn to Brad.
"So today... was this all payback for all the times I pissed you off as a kid?" He just laughed his butt off and waved us goodbye.

I'm going to miss him dearly. So are the kids.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Quest To Regain My Bed

When J and I chose the Town Home we live in we never excepted to have more than 2 children. We were done. 2 was enough. So we chose our residence that has 3 bedrooms and one bonus room. Each child would have their own bedroom, we'd have the master, and J could use the extra as our (um, I mean his) office.

So when little Soren was found to be cooking in the oven we realized it was going to throw us for a loop in regards to sleeping arrangements. We knew that we would have 3 months after he was born to puzzle out just what to do, as each of our children always slept in our room in either the bassinet or car seat, and then would go to a crib in their own room.

Well folks, the three months is up. And instead of a bassinet or car seat, Soren has been pretty adamant about sleeping in our bed. I really cant blame him. Bassinets are small, car seats (awesome to use when your child has reflux) don't allow you to move much. And our bed is fantastic! Of course, he loves it so much that he tried nightly to sleep in the middle of our Queen size bed, making it hard for J and I to maneuver around his little body to fall asleep ourselves.

I know a lot of folks love to co sleep. I am just not one of them. There are definite perks, don't get me wrong! I love rolling over when I hear him snuffling around for food and falling back asleep in 5 minutes. I love how he snuggles right into me when I come to bed, twines one hand into my shirt or rests it on my cheek. I love waking up to him, grinning ear to ear and babbling happily at me. I love actually sleeping. Those are things that make co sleeping so worthwhile! But I also panic that I'll smother him in my sleep. I know its not going to happen, especially as I prop myself on 1/16th of the bed to ensure he has plenty of space! I panic he may learn to roll over at 2 am while I'm comatose and smother himself. I worry he will grab my quilt (which I'm very careful to keep away from his face) and suffocate himself. I hate not being able to kick J as easily when he starts to snore.

So the time has come for me to regain my bed back. And that meant figuring out how the hell to go about doing that. After a lot of back and forth with J, figuring out finances we decided to look for a bunk bed. Our budget is tight so I couldn't go crazy but I had a type of bunk bed in mind. It had to be wooden and sturdy. Knowing my kids anything but sturdy would be demolished within 3 months. It had to have a ladder so Ashe wouldn't climb it as easily (although this is now a moot point since Ashe can climb almost anything Xavier can. Yay for big brothers teaching their younger siblings)

I've been perusing furniture stores and was dismayed by the prices of new bunk beds. Definitely out of our budget limit. So I looked on craigslist. Every once in awhile I'd find a decent deal, but it was never the right kind of bunk bed, or we didn't have the money at the time, or something else would occur. However my patience paid off yesterday. I found the perfect bunk bed and mattress thrown in along with it for dirt cheap.

It was such a good deal that despite knowing J was on a conference call I emailed him 3 times from the downstairs laptop whining as to when he would be free so I could talk finances with him. He, of course, ignored me for 3 hours until he was done. I pounced on him the moment he opened our (I mean his) office door and made my case as to why this was such a good thing: we could teach our kids how to share better. We could stop Zavi from slamming his door on Ashe, which he frequently does to annoy his little brother. We could have the kids go to one bedtime. They could make great memories. We would be saving oodles of cash going this route if we got this bunk bed and mattress. We could have our bed back. We could have OUR BED BACK!

Seeing I was not going to give this up, J relented and allowed me to email the person to get the deal going, so long as I organized and converted the boys bedroom and picked it up. He agreed to put it together. I made an appointment to pick it up tonight and did a happy dance.

After dropping Ashe off at preschool today, Zavi and I spent time cleaning his room and organizing his toys. Which was a feat in itself since I couldn't see any carpet peeking through his mountains of Lego's and Hot Wheels cars. I'd send him to drop off things downstairs and while he was gone would hurriedly rush through and toss any broken toys in my line of sight. I cant do that when hes there because he refuses to let anything go. Ever. Halfway through we stopped to grab Ashe from preschool, had lunch, and then all of us, Soren in tow, went upstairs to finish up. Xavier vacuumed while Ashe brought in books from his room and I moved toy boxes and bookcases in. Soren unhappily watched from the bean bag. We got Xaviers car bed frame out into the hallway to be put away for Soren when he's ready to transition to a big boy bed. And I talked up how cool sharing a room would be while also letting them know the new rules of sharing a room. Xavier wants time to read in bed after so I promised him a flashlight of his own so long as he promised to not annoy his little brother with it after lights out. I know already that thing will be taken away the first night.

After dinner Xavier and I popped in the van and drove to get the bed. I didn't realize it was an A line bed with a twin on top and full mattress on bottom. Actually I think that will work out better. One boy gets the coolness of being on the top bunk while the other gets a bigger bed. It's now sitting in pieces in our downstairs hallway ready to be put together. Our quest tomorrow takes us to Target to get Ashe new bedding and drawers for his clothes.

The plan is to set up the beds and give the boys a week or two to adjust to a new bedtime routine before building the crib in Sorens room (formerly Ashes) and start getting him to sleep there. transitioning 3 kids to new things at once is just so not going to happen. We'll take it nice and easy. The next few weeks will be a pain in the butt for us all, but in the end I'm hoping its well worth it.

I just keep thinking about peaceful, sleeping kids in their own beds, and the fact I can easily kick J at night when he starts to snore. Having access to do that will be well worth the stress of the upcoming weeks. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Days You Just Can't Win

I've been contemplating all day whether or not I should lock myself in my room with my laptop and google search whether or not it is really illegal to duct tape your kids to the wall in my state, especially if I can get them to consent to it. Im sure my kids would actually think that idea would be hella fun. Unfortunately, even if I decided to, I wouldn't have the time. Already I've locked myself and Soren in the bedroom trying to get him to nap only to have either Xavier or Ashe come pounding on the door in dire need of one emergency or another, usually something like wanting more chocolate milk, the questioning the whereabouts to the tv remote or something else minor to us adults.

Today I am dealing with a sick 3 month old, sick 2 yr old, sick husband, and a 7 year old with severe ADHD and no medication (stupid STUPID Target back ordering on Concerta!) One sick person is a breeze to handle. I can even handle 2 sick people without breaking into a sweat. But today is marathon stress day and no matter how much coffee I drink I just feel like I can not keep up. Worst of it was that today was Ashes day to go to preschool and I had to keep him home. I think everyone looks forward to preschool day. Oh and Xavier is still on vacation (which in reality is a good thing because I cant even picture what his behavior chart would look like if he went to school without his medication, even with the teacher being aware of his situation.)

When Ashe gets sick he throws tantrums and cries at the drop of the hat. When Soren gets sick it looks like he clings to me even more than usual. When J gets sick he keeps quiet and out of every ones hair, but cant help much but to give me sympathetic glances. Its ok I do the same to him when I get sick if the kids let me. And when Zavi is off his meds... well, try and picture Pee Wee Herman on Speed and 4 triple espressos all at once, stuck inside on a rainy day.

Ashe was feeling ok enough to make things hard. Usually when he is sick I can coax him onto the couch with a cup of milk and watch his favorite shows. Today he had enough energy to cling to my legs and cry that he was sad. So I tried redirecting him and Zavi by setting up some paint and paper for them to go crazy with. It kept them happy and quiet for about 30 minutes, more time than I could have asked for. I was able to nurse Soren in peace while they happily painted squiggly Darth Vaders or what I am told is supposed to be Transformers. When they decided to clean up though they left purple handprints on the walls and doors, and flooded the bathroom.

I decided to take them out of the home to prevent further destruction after we all cleaned up as best we could. Despite the wet day (which means playgrounds are out) I decided everyone needed a good place to stretch their legs. I sent Zavi on a quest to find a ball and we headed out to a local baseball field. First we started with the game Red Light Green Light. Note to parents: playing this game in a ball field is awesome! You can make your kids run around the bases, tell them they get extra points if they stop on a base, say green light and let them run themselves ragged for 5 minutes before they catch on that you haven't said Red Light yet.

Once they got bored I pulled out the ball and had them play catch, fetch, and soccer. In the middle of seeing how far they could run where they could hear each other (in case you're curious it's far) I got a phone call from the pharmacy that Xaviers meds were ready. Unfortunately it was too late in the day for him to have any but it is a beacon of light for tomorrow.

We popped in the car when a park official came to ready the field for a game tonight and headed to target. While there, the manager I had talked to about not being happy with how I didn't receive a phone call in time for me to find a pharmacy that DID have Concerta in stock took a look at me with Soren in his Moby, Ashe whining (but behaving and holding my hand!!!) and Zavi repeatedly going under the rope even though I told him 4 times to knock it off, and apologized. Profusely. Said it wouldnt happen again. Ever.

After I was too tired to contemplate making lunch so I cheated and got Wendys for us all. Of course Ashe only ate the top of his burger bun like usual and Zavi whined when I refused to let him open his toy until lunch was done (family rule).

Get home, eat, nurse Soren and chaos continues. My friend Greg, who decided to try out the MMORPG J and I play, called to get more info on the game. Of course while I was trying to explain the differences between spell upgrades, brokers, and tradeskilling, the kids decided to try and kill each other 34 times. Yes, I counted. Greg just laughed at me when I tried to pawn the kids off on him. I should have said I would throw in free shipping too. Hmmm, maybe I should call him back? I finally separated the older boys by sending Zavi to his room to build me a Darth Vader Lego set. I dont get why this was considered punishment to him when normally I cant get him to leave the damn Lego's alone when I need him!

It's now 3:30. Ashe is passed out on the couch after a long tug of war with Zavi over a transformer toy (only 1 of 65 we own), Zavi is just twitching and talking to himself under his breath, and Soren, recently fed, is whining about being put down on his play mat so I could escape to type as fast as I could and down a cup of coffee to continue. Good thing I type fast and drink coffee faster than a Pirate can put away grog because it sounds like Soren just spit up half his second lunch and Zavi is poking Ashe in the face trying to wake him up. Just because he can.

if I'm still sane by tonight I am going to allow myself to cry a little bit. And maybe steal Ashes blankie for the night to cuddle with once he's in dead sleep mode.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lovey Shaft

Ugh! I'm big on loveys for my kids and always try to choose potential blankets that my kids will take a shine to that are both durable and cool (in my very humble opinion). Of course you would think by now I would realize that the kids have their own ideas and I should really just stop trying. But nope, it's a lesson I refuse to learn!

With Soren being my last baby I went all out. I got the coolest three blankies and keep giving them to him when he is sad or tired, something to cuddle with. But he has adamantly refused to accept them beyond keeping him warm. I know I know, he's only three months old. There's still time!!! But lately I've been noticing a disturbing trend, one I fear may continue despite my desperate attempts to have him bond with something I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in public with.

The past few weeks I have noticed that the only thing he will clutch to and soothe himself with is his burp cloths. Granted, his burp cloths are actually his receiving blankets I cut up into thirds so they are soft and cuddly. But they're also just strips of cloth!!!! That he has burped on!!!!!!!! (ok ok he doesn't burp on the ones he cuddles. I *do* take those away and give him a clean one). But STILL!!! My point remains! Instead of awesome, soft, cuddly, rocking blankies he is grabbing these shreds of thin blankets and cuddling up to them, rubbing them on his nose and falling asleep with them in a death grip in his tiny, chubby hands.

At first it was cute. To see my infant curled up with a little grin on his face, passed out with his burp cloth. Or when he cried, he would clutch it tight or suck on the ends while I tried to sooth him. But now it's getting to be so much of a pattern that I fear we are doomed to buy receiving blankets until he is 5 years old. And I better make sure they all look the same once he bonds with a certain print or color or I know from experience all hell will break loose if I try to pawn a different one on him in his time of need.

So Im sitting here thinking, do I just let it go or keep trying to sway him to my line of thinking? On the one hand he is only an infant and I feel he should get his comfort from wherever he can. it's not like he really understands the importance of choosing a special lovey right now. Or should I continue shoving what I think is best (for us all) on him, even knowing from past experiences that what I want counts for naught?

*Sigh. I need a glass of wine and my blankie while I consider which path to take....oh wait.... Ashe stole, err is using, my blankie.

Crud. I guess I'll just have 2 glasses of wine instead.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What I Learned While Vacationing with my Kids

I just got home from a week plus driving trip with 3 kids and I thought I would share the wisdom I learned while away.

1. Anytime you drive near a rest stop, stop. You know that the moment you pass by one and the next stop is 50 miles away, SOMEONE will have to go to the bathroom.

2. No matter how many times your school age child says he has cleaned up his trash in the back seat, know that you will find a week old sopping wet juice box back there at the end of your trip.

3. You can bribe, cajole, blackmail and threaten your kids to clean up their trash until your blue in the face. They still will forget to do it.

4. Hot Wheels should always be banned from a car trip.

5. DVD players are amazing! (and the kids are insanely excited since our rule is no DVD player unless the trip is an hour long or more)

6. Bring liquid Melatonin and tell your toddler it's candy. Makes for happy kids who will sleep (at some point in the night)

7. 1 TV in a hotel room to be split between more than one child is cause for tantrums

8. Get 2 TVs in your hotel room

9. Hotel beds can withstand an insane amount of bed jumping from multiple kids

10. Hotel managers cant

11. iPods can only drown out most of the screaming "ARE WE THERE YET!!!!" but not all.

12. Babies can only stand 40 minutes of sitting in a car seat during long trips.

13. Stop every 40 minutes if you value your sanity.

14. Before leaving, get your kids to like YOUR music. If you don't I have extreme pity for you.

15. After listening to Raffi for 4 hours solid, I give you permission to toss the CD in the trash and tell your kids you "lost it". It's ok, they'll get over it after an hour.

16. Only go out to dinner when there is no other adults around. You know, like 4:30pm.

17. Make sure you doggy bag everything so you can your spouse can eat dinner when the kids pass out

18. at 11pm

19. Crayons and coloring books are great in theory for long car rides not not executed very well. YOU try scrambling for the black crayon while your spouse is driving 65 mph and your toddler is screaming because he dropped it and purple just isn't good enough.

20. Instead of crayons and coloring books, invest in several aqua doodles.

21. And bottled water.

22. Let your kids fall asleep while watching a movie in the hotel room. It's ok. Its vacation. Besides they pass out within 20 minutes of the movie starting anyways.

23. Only bring movies you can stand to have on the background nonstop. Your kids will try to watch the same movie every night since they keep falling asleep 20 minutes into it.

24. Teach your children to call your spouse a goober head. Watch hilarity ensue for the rest of the trip.

25. Beware though they will continue to do this when the trip ends. (it's still pretty funny to hear your 2 yr old call you a goober head)

26. Books on tape are not worth bringing along unless you can guarantee all kids passing out that the same time. Which, essentially, is impossible.

27. keep your purse/bag/ pockets filled with special candy treats. If visiting relatives or family friends, show your kids said treats, and tell them they can have them if they behave the whole time. If they don't let them know YOU will eat the treats instead. Instant perfect behavior!

28. Unless your relatives or friends have something better to offer them.

29. The trip back home will always feel 3 times longer than the ride up. The ride up to kids is an adventure. The ride home is not so much fun. Besides everything has been played with already and pieces of toys are missing under the mountain of luggage.

30. Last and most important of all take a lot of pictures. You and your family can look back at them and remember all of those wonderful memories you created together. And you may also have one or two photos to use as blackmail when they become teenagers. Cherish those moments, the good and the bad. It always goes by too quickly!

The Trip: Last Few Days

The last day of our stay in MA consisted of a lot of driving on my part, dropping J off at work, meeting up with old friends, a painful jaw, and fantastic food.

I dropped J off at his coworkers office in Westboro and took the kids to my old coworker and good friend Laurens salon in Fitchburg. I was smart and stopped at Target prior to stock up on sugary treats to make them behave while I caught up with her and got a trim. I must say I was incredibly proud of the boys. They were very well behaved and I couldn't stop praising them after we left. I miss Lauren and her daughter Stephanie dearly. It seems like both yesterday and a very long time that I was myself a stylist.

Picking up J from work we hung out with his coworkers for awhile, joked around, and watched as both Zavi and Ashe consumed chocolate protein bars nobody in their right mind would taste. All of us adults were impressed at their lack of taste buds.

My mom was gracious enough to babysit the boys and take them out for a night of fun while J and I hit up our favorite restaurant ever, Dali, in Somerville. We got to pretend for a few hours we had no kids, priceless in our books as it's very rare we get to shed our parent personae and don our adult personae. Unfortunately between leaving Lauren and then my lower jaw started to hurt like hell. I had no idea why, and it came on quickly. But by the time we got back to our hotel before leaving for dinner I was literally in tears. J wanted to cancel dinner but I refused, swallowed two Aleves, and hoped for the best. I refused to let pain stop me from enjoying the best Tapas in the country.

Once we fought traffic and found ourselves seated my pain was just a dull throb and we went to town picking out which Tapas to share. I downed 3/4 of a pitcher of freshly made Sangria, and we both went to heaven as we dined. Dalis is the only place I know of where each person silently knows that when one takes a bite of food, all conversation ends, the eyes close in delirium, and you savor that taste in your mouth for as long as possible. It took us 2 hours to finish 7 courses of Tapas.
Of course heading out to our car we saw we had a parking ticket, but J brushed it off and said it was well worth it. Stupid Boston parking.

Thursday night we loaded up the car, bi adieu to MA and drove as far as we could. We stopped between Baltimore and DC, much further than we anticipated, and started looking for an inexpensive hotel for my kids to destroy for the night. We found 2 options: La Quinta and Holiday Inn. J wanted to check out La Quinta first, but I adamantly refused when I saw a bunch of guys in the parking lot with a hibachi grill cooking up god knows what. Not that I have anything against hibachi grills, but I just didn't feel right staying at a place where grilling in the parking lot in front of the lobby was deemed acceptable. Fortunately Holiday Inn had great prices, no hibachi grilling in front of the lobby doors, and were friendly to loud, overtired, kids.

Yesterday morning we woke up at 7, enjoyed a buffet breakfast and hit the road to DC. We promised the kids a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Actually I was looking forward to it myself, the only reason we didn't purchase a one way plane ticket for Soren and I home. I had never been to the Smithsonian and I was not going to miss out!
We found a parking spot in front of (well really the back entrance of) the museum. There was a parking feed o meter that you could either use a credit card or coins. $2 an hour, 2 hours max. Of course the one we parked by wouldn't take credit cards of any kind. So we scrounged around the van looking for quarters and ended up with exactly 8. I figured in an hour we could exchange bills fr coins and repay but at that point in time we had to hurry inside and find the insect zoo where there was a demonstration of a tarantula feeding the boys refused to miss.

The feeding was actually pretty cool, despite my inherent hatred of spiders. After we perused all the different insects then headed to the bone exhibit. I could have spent a lot longer there, as for some warped reason I love looking at old skeletons and wondering about who the person was and what they did during their lifetime. But Soren was hungry, the boys were weirded out, and J needed to feed the meter. So we made our way to Ancient Greece and Egyptian area where I watched the boys fight over a computer while I nursed Soren. J came back 15 minutes later, saying something quickly about only finding $1.40 in change. I didn't realize it at the time but that explanation meant "Honey I didn't have enough for a full hour so I decided not to pay the meter at all". I found that out when we sat down for lunch and I asked how much time we had left on our meter. It was very hard for me not to flip out after our Boston parking ticket adventure. Smiling through clenched teeth I asked for some money, went up to the cashier and got some quarters. I left the boys perusing the Dinosaurs while I ran outside hoping for a relief in parking tickets. Unfortunately when I spied our van there was a pretty pink slip blowing gently in the breeze affixed to our windshield wipers. All I could think of was thank goodness we parked next to the IRS building and not the DEPT of Justice building as I let loose a string of obscenities. Fortunately no one was around (Lunch break in DC makes for quiet sidewalks).

Since the kids surrounded J when I got back I was unable to bitch him out for which he was thankfully appreciative. I noticed the rest of our trip he always kept one kid beside him so I couldn't lose my cool. Smart bastard.

Leaving the Museum we tried to see a few of the government buildings. We could not find the White House despite repeated attempts. We gave up when our nerves were getting frayed and kept finding ourselves on the same damn block. So we left DC and continued our drive.

Arriving home late at night after hours of screaming from Soren despite repeated pit stops to calm him down, we wearily entered our house quietly thanking our lucky stars to be home. The boys of course flipped out when they realized it was bedtime, but we calmly tucked them in, shut their doors, grabbed some coffee and put our headsets on so we couldn't hear them screaming for one more tv show. I kept worrying around my teeth, as my jaw had been throbbing since Friday and let out an expletive. Wouldn't you know it, although I thought I had gotten them in long ago, my wisdom teeth were erupting through my gums. Yes, I was teething. I guess better that than my theory of having clenched my jaw so tight during tantrums all week that I was in pain. Still, with no dental, this is just one more thing not needed on the list of things throughout the week.

And that, my friends, was our trip . We survived. barely, but we survived. In the end that's really all a mom can ask for. (Oh and we made it home without ANY trips to ER so we count ourselves beyond lucky!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Trip: Part 4 Family, Friends, and Duck Sauce

I am exhausted! Trying to cram in all the fun things the boys wanted to see before we left is starting to slowly kill me. I swear if I haven't lost 5 pounds by the time we're home from all the damn walking I'm going to be pissed and go on a tour, screaming to anyone who will listen that exercise is nothing but pure torture for others entertainment to see you in agony and nothing else.
I'm also losing track of the days and have to continuously sit down and count on my fingers to figure out if it's Monday or Thursday. Vacations do that to you. I *think* today is Wed. Wait.... ok yes it is.

Monday we drove up to J's moms house in order for us all to go to the Aquarium. J's mom has 2 Rottweilers, one of which was deemed by the vet to be destroyed because she was so unstable. I asked repeatedly if J ensured that the dogs would be put away when we arrived and he promised me his mom said of course they would! Well we arrive and the dogs are jumping all over the door. She (tiny little woman mind you) tries to drag them away. After 5 minutes of the dogs dragging her around the house she gets them into a side room....with no freaking door! So the whole time we're in her house (fortunately for only 10 minutes) shes standing in front of the dogs to "ensure" they don't get by to the kids. I was on pins and needles the whole time and as far away from them with the baby as I could get. Now, I like Rotties. I have even owned one myself. But I have a hard time feeling comfortable with them when a teeny tiny woman believes she has full authority over them and one is known to be aggressive, along with the fact she says they are jealous of any little child getting affection from her. So the sooner we left there the better. I'm sure J felt the same since the entire time I was glaring daggers at him for not saying something to his mom.

We took the train into Boston and walked...and walked....and WALKED to the Aquarium. By the time we got there Ashe was tired and cranky and wanted to be picked up the whole time. If you even contemplated putting him down he went into full blown tantrum. It made for a very long time. But the place itself is cool and Zavi had a ball. We spent a good 30 minutes at the tide pool exhibit where you can pick up crabs and scallops. We watched hermit crabs attack one another. I found 2 flounder which I believe attests to the fact that I CAN see fine thankyouverymuch despite the flippant comments J likes to throw at me about being blind as a bat.

After a train ride back, we went to Bugaboos Steakhouse where all the taxidermied animals from the Northern Section of North America come to life, including a mechanical Moose head that talks to you while you dine. I wonder if Moose meat is on the menu? That would be kind of weird in a "Restaurant At The End of the Universe" kind of way.

Yesterday we hit the Museum of Science in Boston. The boys had a ball running from exhibit to exhibit and spending an insane amount of time in front of this odd sculpture with balls. I sat there for 20 minutes trying to figure out why they thought it was so cool but the understanding alludes me still.

After 3 hours of more walking we popped in the car to meet my best friends the Carbones and their precious baby at the best place on earth... Kimballs Ice cream!!!! For those of you poor souls who are unfamiliar with Kimballs I can only have deep sympathy for you. Kimballs is the ice cream I grew up on, all local, insanely huge cones, and just oh so yummy!!!!

Soren and Giovanni met each other. Soren showed him his trick of sticking out his tongue. Vanni wasn't impressed. He is too damn cute! I'm in love with the little guy and I'm sad he wont know us as well as id like as he grows up. Roni looked fantastic and Greg was still the lovable Greg I've known for over half my life. We talked about baby things, traded poop stories when Soren decided to let one go. I walked to the car to change him only to have the GROSSEST, BIGGEST explosion in his entire 12 week life. I unwrapped the Moby only to see gobs of yellow poop dripping off his legs. 54 baby wipes later and a new outfit and we walked back to our friends Mobyless. Roni asked if it was bad. I just said I didn't want to talk about it, which erupted gales of laughter. I'm glad they thought it was funny. I guess I would have seen the humor too if it wasn't me who had clean up duty. We enjoyed our ice cream and then as he lost a bet with me, Greg watched over Soren (along with J's help) while Roni and I took Zavi on the bumper boats. Zavi was thrilled he was finally big enough to operate one on his own. Roni and I tag teamed to try and soak him but instead we got soaked while Zavi laughed maniacally. We think weight has to do with who gets the most soaked. Roni and I didn't have a chance with him, but we tried. he's been promised a rematch when he's bigger and he walked away grinning with that promise.

Nursing our wet wounded pride we headed to the Yangtzee River to grab real, honest to goodness, Chinese food and bring it back to the hotel. We all gorged ourselves while talking MMORPG shop (Greg is the reason J and I game) Roni and I tried to get our babies to sleep, and the boys beat the crap out of each other for an hour or two before passing out. The night came to an end way too early, even though it was 10pm. There is never enough time in the day to spend with the Carbones. I already miss them dearly.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Trip: Part 3 Family Reunion

God I feel old. It's one thing to see your relatives age before your eyes on a day to day or even month to month basis, and quite another to be gone for 2 years and have your entire family tree on one side thrust in front of you all at once.

Today was spent catching up on 2 years of family greetings on J's side of the family. One of his sisters graciously hosted a cookout (wrongly termed as a BBQ) so we could see everyone at once. Arriving there I was astounded that so many people looked vaguely familiar but I couldn't place them. It took me about 5 minutes to figure out all the teenagers hanging around were in fact all my nieces and nephews (not to mention a couple of great nieces thrown into the mix). When we moved, they were seemingly so young. Now some have boyfriends, wives, babies... it was like a Twilight Zone episode where you've been sleeping in a coma for years only to awaken and see the world has flown by yet you have been standing still.

After the initial shock wore off that these young adults were indeed the little kids I grew up with it was like coming home again, only better. Because I refuse to grow up I actually fit in with both the "Grown Up " group and the teen group =) My now teenage nieces grouped around and we discussed boyfriends, the awkwardness of parents getting in their business (great lessons for me for when my boys are that age haha) and other assorted topics. My nephews, now grown into men in their own right chatted with me about school, or babies (as my oldest nephew is now a proud daddy).

The adults were harder to talk to. I don't know why, but Ive just never had much to converse with them. One or two I could easily chat with for a little bit, but once the awkwardness set in with nothing to say, as usual I would excuse myself to find one of my three kids. It's always been this way with J's family. most of the time when we were around for parties j and I both found ourselves always on the outside sitting in a corner entertaining ourselves. We started out the same this afternoon, at a table by ourselves and the kids, the kids also feeling out of place. But after awhile the walls broke down and we mingled.

I was a little anxious about how today would go, knowing that that there are dramatics played out by certain key characters in the family tree and that a few who should not be put together in the same room would be today. However everyone played nice, which I appreciated. Everyone fell in love with the boys. Soren was passed around from person to person as he flirted outrageously with the girls. Ashe flirted even more so with his teenage cousins, who adopted him as their mascot and played catch with a pink soccer ball all day. Xavier had a harder time adjusting. The cousins close to his age were always aloof, and continued to be so. He stayed on the fringe of things not quite sure where he fit in, until another child his age showed up (not of our family) and they became fast friends. One of my sister in laws was very kind and played lots of games with Zavi until then. As he and his new found friend played Frisbee she and I sat and talked about how much has changed.

After bidding goodbye in the early evening, we took the boys to the Old Mill, a favorite haunt of J and I, where you can feed ducks by a waterfall. The Old Mill was a working mill that was turned into a restaurant that makes the most divine pecan rolls. I took about 300 pictures because the setting is just so gorgeous, and the boys were too cute, throwing in whole slices of bread to already stuffed ducks.

We ended our day by heading to our very good friends, Dave and Kerry's house. I was shocked SHOCKED when we came to their front door to see a beautiful harvest wreath adorning their door instead of the normal skeleton or Halloween item. Dave and Kerry are known widely for their love of Halloween, and fun stuff. Their front room used to look like a setting for a B rated horror movie and we loved it. he even drove a hearse for years.... as a regular car, mind you. However upon walking into their house I was not disappointed. They still had their Jesus bathroom (a bathroom filled with pictures and sculptures of Jesus) and the dining room still flowed with Haunted House things. The boys loved it.

Theres not much for the boys to do there but they entertained themselves quite well, trying as hard as they could too destroy the normally kid free house. Kerry and I chit chatted and caught up while Dave and J did the same. At one point in time I heard J calling me in a strained voice. I looked over curious. J had been holding Soren on his lap when Ashe came up and asked to feed him. J thought he meant give Soren a Skittle and said sure. Instead, Ashe lifted his shirt and tried to feed him milk from his chest a la Mommy's style. The men were just awkwardly trying not to stare at each other while Kerry and I nearly pissed our pants laughing our asses off. I couldnt stop giggling and still have a big smile on my face now thinking of it. I told them I heard that was common for toddlers to do with a nursed baby. That seemed to appease them a little, to know that Ashe was not scarred for life.

Lots of pictures accrued, which I will be posting next week. Ive got a few great ones of Kerry, and a fantastic one of Dave (who always poses for pictures trying to look tough) sandwiched between the two goofy grinning boys, and J making silly faces at Soren. it's a classic.

So now the boys are passed out watching Harry Potter, Soren finally asleep beside me, J passed out in our room and I must call it a night as well. We have a busy day tomorrow at the Aquarium with J's mom, and if the boys are good, we may even hit Bugaboos Steak house for dinner. Yum!

The Trip: Part 2

can I just say this hotel is pretty cool. J picked a place called candlewood Suites which had a suite available for dirt cheap. I expected a Howard Johnson's ordeal like we had in Delaware, where there were no plastic utensils and we ended up using Js credit card to spread the PB&J on our bread (I'm serious, we did... it was an expired one he never used but still. credit cards are great for slicing sandwiches too, we found out.) But this place is not only nice, but ingenious!

Our suite consists of a kitchenette stocked with bowls, glasses, eating utensils and Internet access. We have a decent sized living room with a couch bed, a bedroom, bathroom, and 2 tvs so the kids don't fight over channels.

Outside there are 2 grills, and you can ask the front desk for utensils so you can grill up burgers or steak if you're so inclined. They have a store called the Cupboard and it's done on an honor system. You just walk in, grab what you need, and write your room # down and they tack it on to your bill. And fresh free, GOOD coffee, as much as you can drink. Im telling you this is my kind of hotel!

Yesterday after chilling for a bit we took the boys to the Rainforest cafe, across the street at the mall. I'm documenting this trip as much as possible so got some fantastic pics, which I'll post when I get home. If you've never been to the Rainforest cafe its a kids dream. Ashe at first flipped out when they had a "storm" but I took him around to meet all the animals so he knew it was ok.

After we headed to my moms house, our last visit there as she and her hubby Ron, will be moving soon. We hung out, let the grandparents cuddle all the kids as much as they wanted, then headed out to a steak house for dinner. Again, I got a ton of looks, smiles, complements on Soren in his Moby. I guess Mobys are not well known here. There is definitely a market to be had folks!

The food was divine, and when I ordered a Killians I expected a normal beer bottle. Instead this huge 2 foot glass came out filled to the brim with frothy goodness. unfortunately I promised J it was his night to have a stiff drink so I only consumed about a foot and gave the other foot to him.

Zavi spent the night at the grandparents and J and I took the other two home. It's now Sunday morning and we're getting ready to go pick up Zavi, feed some ducks at the Old Mill then heading out for a cookout with J's entire large family, who hasnt seen Ashe since he was 10 months old if that, and never met Soren. Wish us luck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Trip: Part 1

Well we survived the car ride...barely. Soren had it the worst with being stuck in a car seat for 14 (16) hours bored out of his everliving mind and sobbing for a lot of it, despite numerous stops to feed, change, and cuddle him. J and I are seriously contemplating getting me a one way plane ticket so Soren and I can fly back. Everyone else did fine, myself only holding on to sanity by drowning out the sobs of my baby with my iPod up to max volume, most likely permanently damaging my ear drums. J and I created a code, with him tapping me on the shoulder if the kids needed anything so I could listen to Black Eyed Peas repeatedly in order to ensure my stress level wouldn't go further than white knuckles and mouthing OMG OMG OMG through 3 state lines.

Leaving yesterday, everyone excited, minus Soren who was clueless as to what lay ahead, I asked J if he had directions to our hotel for the night in Delaware. Nope, he said, I don't need them. I rolled my eyes knowing that we were screwed and nagged him a bit about being unprepared. I was scoffed at, said we were fine, and he knew where we were going.

8 hours later, driving around lost in Delaware with a screaming infant and 2 whiny kids I was seriously ready to smack J upside the head. Now, I don't condone spousal abuse whatsoever. But there ARE certain situations where I think it is not abuses but more of a physical reminder to learn a very important lesson. Last night was one of those nights. I refrained from doing so and instead clenched my teeth, reciting "Thou shall not kill" 100 times or so until we found our hotel and got the kids inside.

After a few threats of tossing Zavis new DS into the trash and Ashe's Dinosaur books along side it, I got the kids settled (after J passed out in literally 2 minutes) and we spent the night in a comatose state.

This morning started off nicely. We all woke up at 6:30 am, hung out a bit then meandered down to the free breakfast offered. You know the kind, stale breakfast cereal, way too concentrated OJ, and week old bagels. I had Soren snuggled tightly in my Moby wrap. As we entered the breakfast room I surveyed the people in and noticed that we were the only family. In fact I think I was the only female. It seemed that there was a good amount of truckers who used the hotel. Gruff looking men, quietly nursing their coffee. I can empathize. I wanted to be stuck in a corner myself with a cup of coffee, uninterrupted until I was ready to interact with the outside world. Alas, I had 3 munchkins. Funny thing I noticed though, as one does when surveying a room wondering who she will be apologizing to for one of her kids antics. I noticed a lot of the older folk looking our way, specifically at Soren, whose little fuzz head was poking out of the Moby, watching everything. As I got everyone settled I glanced around and noticed a few smiles our way. That's not something I'm used to when surrounded by my rambunctious boys. A few minutes after settling in I looked over to a table surrounded by 5 men in tank tops and ripped jeans. One man caught my eye nodded to Soren and said how cute he was, looking at everything and he seemed very happy. I smiled back and said thank you. The man then turned around to his companions and started talking about his niece which then cause all the other men to talk about their own kids or relatives. I smiled and turned back to my kids who had already spilled apple juice all over the table.

5 minutes later a man who reminded me of a retired Marine, having been sitting behind us, came up to our table, threw a cell phone right under my nose and declared "THAT'S MY GRANDDAUGHTER. SHE LOOKS TO BE ABOUT THE SAME AGE AS YER YOUNGEST" nodding his chin at Soren. I smiled, looked at the photo of his cute baby, and made the proper responses. he went on for a couple of minutes about how awesome she is, as all proud grandads do, while Ashe hopped up and down on his chair trying to take the guys cell phone.

Back in the car, we traveled as fast as we could stopping every 90 minutes to reset Soren. We made it to the hotel we'll be staying at for the next week by 5:30 right across from the Mall I used to hang out at when I was younger. We headed to the food court and after grabbing some grub, we walked around the mall to stretch our legs. Again, I noticed a lot of stares and smiles from strangers with Soren in the Moby. I even had about 3 people stop me and ask about the wrap and how dang cute Soren was watching everything. Maybe Mobys aren't that well known here in Massachusetts. Either that or Soren is even cuter than I realized. Either way, as a native New Englander I was ready for the normal ignore your fellow neighbor in the mall thing only to be taken aback and feel like we hadn't left NC as I thought. maybe this is all a dream (or a really bad nightmare with Sorens screaming still echoing in my cranium, with some good parts thrown in).

So now everyone is prepping for the night. J and the baby are passed out on the bed. Ashe and Xavier are on the couch bed watching Shrek while I blog and catch up on the net world. Tomorrow we hit the rainforest cafe (closest one to us in NC is in TN so we promised Zavi we would definitely make it there) then head over to my moms. We've got a packed week so I'm sure more moments will pop up I'll need to write about. In the meantime, goodnight, from a very tired Mom.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Murphys Law #467: Ashe and Trips

Every time we go on a trip Ashe ends up in ER. Every. Damn. Time. It's become a running joke in our family. We haven't been on many trips so our total is still small, but it's been enough that we fear taking trips. J and I even started making bets months ago when we started planning this trip up to Massachusetts as to what would put him there this time.

Last August we took a trip up to New York for a friends wedding. Leaving the wedding at dusk, on our way to crash for the night so we could hit an amusement park the next day, Ashe started wheezing. He has juvenile asthma and had been in ER a few times for that but as of that time he had not yet been officially diagnosed. He got so bad that we had to call 911 in the middle of booneyville to find the nearest hospital. We ended up staying there for 2 days.

The next trip we took was to Asheville. Nebulizer packed we thought we were prepared. On our way we stopped at a museum for the kids, where Ashe promptly fell off a stool and smacked his head on a carpeted cement floor, creating a goose egg on his head the size of, well, a real goose egg. We went to ER to make sure he didn't have a concussion.

So this trip, along with the stress of finances (hahaha we'll be living off PB&J the whole trip) and seeing family dramatics played out, J and I have been trying to not panic about how we will end up in ER this time. It's either laugh or cry about it. Right now we laugh but it will only take one push to get us to be bawling like babies.

Well the past couple of days every time we went outside for a length of time I noticed Ashe rubbing his nose and complaining that it was itchy. I started wondering if he was developing allergies. He woke up late last night from a nightmare and seemed fine at 4:30 am when I went in to comfort him. I woke up this morning at 8, get my cup of coffee, start wandering up to the office when I notice Ashe passed out on the couch, sleeping like the dead. That is not my boy, who normally is destroying the house by 6 am.

I walk into the office, say good morning to J and he's got this weird look on his face, kind of like a cross between a smirk and a grimace. I ask whats up.

Ashe is sick.
Oh crap. Are you serious???
Yup. He woke up at 5:30 stuffy.
Not yet.

I always pack what I call the First Aid or Medical bag. So I went downstairs and put every type of children's medicine I could think of in the bag along with his emergency inhaler, lovingly placed by his regular nebulizer. It's now resembling a mini pharmacy.

We're leaving in a couple of hours. Ashe is still passed out on kids Benydryl. There's a slight tension in the air as J and I try to ignore the impending doom of ER. We hope we have it covered and wont make it there, but as our luck has been with trips, I wouldn't bet on it.

I hate trips.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking Back and Ahead...10 years

10 years ago today I was young, too young to legally drink, and yet I took the biggest adult decision of my life. It precedes any other huge decision, even having children, as this decision precluded who I would spend the rest of my life with and have children with. 10 years ago I married my sweet, wonderful, quiet, intelligent, sarcastic, peaceful, gorgeous, kind, thoughtful husband.

I'm still in awe, even this late at night, and probably will be so for awhile, that we have come to such a huge milestone in our lives. 10 years seems both forever and so fast. Together, we have watched friends fall in love, marry, and divorce. We have watched family members have children, then leave their spouses. Sometimes there is no choice for our friends and families. Sometimes we have wondered how they could leave so easily. We've reflected often, over the years, how our own parents could make such a weighty decision only to dash the promises and their entire families lives (our own included) to pieces for something else.

Both of our parents divorced and both divorces were nasty. Finding each other as young as we did, I know that our previous life dramas forth coming from our own parents decisions played a huge role in how we wanted our lives to be. Marriage was a huge issue for us both. Marriage, we decided, would never be taken lightly, and would end only when one of us passed away. And before we even got to that point, as young as we were, it was discussed, and hashed over, and talked about over and over until we were both so sure.... and here we are today.

5 years ago I remember us not having enough money for a huge celebration on our anniversary and so we decided our 10 year we would do something extravagant, out of the ordinary, magical. We decided we would take a weekend and fly to Europe, just the two of us. It was something we talked about, fantasized over for years, always brought up again and promised each passing anniversary.

Then we found out we were expecting our third child and he would only be 2 months old when our anniversary came. There was just no way we could have afforded the time or ability to go. I remember feeling crushed that our fantasy would not come to fruition. j kept promising me it would happen one year. I believe him and know it will, just not when we planned, But then again, isnt that what life is about?

So today we celebrated by going to our oldest childs parent teacher conference. (Xavier is doing fantastically btw). And then I spent the rest of the day playing taxi, dropping J off back home so he could work, picking up Xavier from a drop in day care, going to get our car ready for our trip back home, getting Ashe from preschool, then heading to the library to pick up books for the trip...

J and I had been joking for months on what the 10 year gift was supposed to be made of. Neither of us had bothered to look it up (all of our extra finances are being put toward our trip home to see friends and family) but we settled on tinfoil. Tinfoil was the 10 year gift. So tonight, after dinner, I presented to him a tinfoil rose I had made, both as a joke and promise.

And I realized this evening I never once thought of our fantastical trip to Europe. Instead I cherished the day as a Mom, and wife, holding my youngest as he slept in my arms before J took him so I could have a break, and realized if we had done as planned, I wouldnt have this third child to love and adore. I wouldn't have these moments of looking into the most beautiful eyes of a tiny person my husband and I created our of an act of love. That was a better gift than eating in a cafe in the streets of Paris or in a Pub in London.

J and I finished off the evening by watching a movie, popping on to our computers (as we always do before bed) and now we shall go to sleep, exhausted, quiet so as not to wake up Soren, and fall asleep cuddled into one anothers arms, as we have done every night for over 10 years.

And I love it. I love him more and more each day. 10 years went by oh so fast. I hope the next 10 slow down so we can cherish them even more.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Conflagration = Family Time

Ahhh, nothing brings a family closer together than the almost destruction of ones household =)

After a lazy quiet day at home, J decided to make some dinner for the fam. The boys and I were hanging out in the living room, Soren in my arms, Ashe and Zavi watching a tv show. We're quietly chilling and listening to J putter in the kitchen all hell broke loose. I heard a yelp from J and noticed an orange glow quickly flash against our hallway wall. Immediately I smell smoke.

I jumped up and rushed into the kitchen, having no idea what was going on. There's J, standing 15 feet away from the stove which is billowing black smoke from the oven, an anxious look on his face. Quickly, he tells me to open up the windows and door and help him clear the smoke (our smoke detector is fantastic for saving lives, but will go off at the smallest whiff of smoke.) Zavi comes running in and I send him right back, asking him to find me a towel. Hastily I open the door, whip open windows and ask J kindly "What the hell did you do???"

It seems J turned on the oven to heat before putting in the burgers, but had forgotten to take out the cookie sheet covered in bacon grease from the bacon he made earlier this morning. So coming back to put the burgers in he noticed a fire in the oven. he decided to open up the oven and put the fire out with water, which cause an enormous billow of flame to jet up and out.

Zavi comes rushing back with a hand towel (no dear we need a BIG towel, can you try again please?) and I scoot him out again. By now the smoke detectors starting to go off. J grabs a baby blanket, while I whisk Soren to the safety of our bedroom. Zavi comes running back with a beige hand towel (never mind hon I'll get one) and starts begging J for details:

How big was the flame Dad? (It was the width of our oven and shot up about 8 feet)
Did you get hurt? (no he jumped back just in time)
Why did you put water on a grease fire? (Damn good question, son)
Did our kitchen get hurt? (Thank goodness no)

So here we all are, J with a baby blanket, me with a towel, and Zavi with a hand towel, trying to clear our home of smoke. Ashe had headsets on and was puttering at the computer. He never noticed the commotion haha.

It was a close family moment =)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Those Crazy Baby Items!

I am now relearning how to deal with a baby for the third time in my life. With each new baby comes new baby items. Always. With your first baby you become totally overwhelmed, not knowing which items are essential and which are fluff, and what few things are in between the two other categories. I've learned quickly that 99.999999% of new items are fluff. By baby 3 I paired down my essentials to just a few things: diapers, wipes,blankets, (receiving blankets cut up into thirds make the BEST burp clothes!!!)onesies, car seat and stroller (still rarely used so its an in between item in my opinion) sling/wrap, bouncy seat, and play mat. Everything else is optional. I'll add in pacifiers but that is dependant completely on each individual child.

So even though I had gotten rid of ALL my stuff because I wasn't expecting baby #3 I didn't really need too much. A lot of friends were amazingly kind and thoughtful, and offered me their hand me downs for the essentials. One friend however gave me something that took until this week to figure out how dang cool it is.

A few weeks before Soren was born my friend Kelly gave me a Bumbo. WTH is a bumbo? I had no idea either, but it seems to be a specialized seat for infants to sit in. I thanked her and put it in my dining room until i figured Soren would be old enough to use. I assumed it would be for when he was sitting up on his own (usually 4-5 months) but boy was I wrong. After viewing a thread on how cool other moms find the Bumbo, and knowing a lot of these moms have babies Sorens age I finally asked when do you start using it??? Come to find out the answer was...now.

As soon as the baby can support his head up you can sit them in. The seat supports them in all the right places so that they can sit up and be a part of the action. This is seriously important for Soren as he can never be left out of anything! So dubiously I hauled out the Bumbo, eyed it with confusion, and gently propped Soren in. Keeping my hand behind his head in case he forgot how to hold it up steadily and hunkered down to look in his eyes. And within a moment of figuring out his situation I got the biggest ear to ear grin and coo from him.

Now the older boys fight with each other to see who can stand in front of Soren when he's in his Bumbo and who can make him laugh the longest. It's become a game to all three. And my face cant take any more grinning. Its starting to hurt.

So while there are things out there not necessary, sometimes on of those crazy new items are just worth grabbing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I forgot how much I hate this phase

UGH! Ugh ugh UGH!!!!! I really really hate shopping with 2 yr olds. There should be a law that every mom has a free babysitter so they can go out and do their chores faster, smoother, stress free, and EVERYONE is happy in the end. Maybe I'll call up the Govt and ask them to put that in the new health care reform. It would be very beneficial from a mental health perspective!!! I bet it would pass unanimously, parent and non parent govt officials alike.

So Ashe and I went to visit his new "preschool" yesterday ( I quotation it because while it's just like a preschool technically it isn't) and he is starting tomorrow. He needed a backpack and a special cup. To celebrate I decided we would go out to Target and let Ashe pick them out (stupid stupid STUPID!!!)

I even thought I was being super sneaky by parking near the grocery entrance instead of the toy entrance. I got Soren all snug in his Moby wrap facing forward, held on to Ashes hand through the parking lot, and felt good... until we hit the sidewalk and Ashe dashed off going a zillion MPH into the store. I mean he booked it!

LOOK LOOK MOMMY CANDY! I WANT SOME CANDY. OOOOH LOOOOK........ dashing off to aisle after aisle. If you were in Target and saw him running, didn't he look like a wind up toy who was wound up way to far? And no, he had NO sugar in his system at all! I know better than that.

I tried herding him as best as possible, zig zagging our way through the store me just trying to get to two specific locations: back packs, and sippy cups. He had other plans. He ran to the shoe dept and tried taking off his shoes so he could try out some new Transformer ones, then raced away to the TV dept on the other side of the store. When I caught up to him trying to catch my breath he whisked away to the girls section and started hiding behind clothes racks. I tried everything to keep him with me: cajoling, demanding, threatening, walking away singing "Bye Ashe".... NOTHING. I even got down on the floor when he decided he was a dog and put him in time out. He just barked at me the whole time.

FINALLY getting his sippy cup and back pack (farm animals and Diego respectively) we headed to the cashier. It took us 15 minutes just to get there. And after, carrying the bag, my diaper bag, and Soren we started for the exit, where he unceremoniously ripped his hand out of mine and dashed for the doors. Panic overrode everything in me and I ran after screaming his name. I caught up to him just as he reached the parking lot. And I lost it.

I grabbed his hand and he instantly went limp, refusing to take commands. I hauled him up in one arm, trying so hard to keep Soren safe and to also carry the bags, struggled to the van, whipped him in and lost my temper. I rarely yell. It's not often I find myself in a spot where I cant escape to calm down to get a hold of my temper. I do lack patience in general but I am actually impressively good with my kids for the most part. But I think any sane person in my circumstances would have snapped from the stress and fear as well. At least that's what I kept telling myself after and I felt so bad.

I yelled loud and angrily. I told him he was to never EVER take off from Mommy again and that he was acting like a bad boy. I told him he couldnt walk on his own in a store until he showed me he could be a big boy or when he was 18 which ever came first. Until then he would sit in a cart.Better yet, I yelled, he could not come with me to stores anymore.

His faces crumpled and he began to sob. I didn't care though. I was that beyond angry. I threw his seatbelt on, slammed the car door and just stood there heaving, trying to get a hold of my temper. I know its because he's 2. I know its a phase. But even now as I write this, I kept getting images of me not making it to him in time, him running out into the parking lot and being a red smear on the pavement. Zavi NEVER took off on me ever. Ashe could care less.

Fortunately preschool starts tomorrow and he will go one day a week. I'll do my shopping then, until he's in school full time and can go in peace. In the meantime, if you were at Target yesterday, have understanding that he was only 2. And if you heard me yelling in the parking lot of Target, have understanding. I'm only a mom of a 2 yr old.