Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Green Tiger

T has a ton of stuffed animals. Lots of cute ones. Small, medium, huge, dogs, fish, sharks, you name it, he's got it. And could care less. He doesn't seem to be a stuffed animal person.

Until a girl won a funny little green tiger from one of those cheapo stuffed animal claw machines at our local Fuddruckers. She didn't want it, so she gave it to him. This little action may just have made his life fully complete. He has slept with it - and not just with it -- but cuddling with it -- every single night since, for 3 months now. He talks about the green tiger, he loves the green tiger, he wants to take it to soccer practice with him.

That 5 cent stuffed animal is worth its weight in gold. Who'da thunk it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Winning Parenting Advice

I know, it's been forever since I sat down and wrote anything about life. Rest assured, we are still plugging along, my three year old is still fiesty (to put it mildly), and the newbie isn't so new anymore. In fact, as of today, she's 5 teeth into life. Crazy.

Despite the fact that this story is not from yesterday, its mommy-winning aspect is good enough that it's still worth sharing. So here I go.

I get a little worried, probably because I'm a mom, about my kiddo sometimes. When he's not tantruming, he happens to be pretty mild and quiet - so I worry that his shyness is going to work against him and he's going to end up being one of the kids that gets picked on. I was a quiet, passive kid and I turned out ok (right?) but somehow it seems harder to me to be a boy who doesn't stand-up for himself than a girl. So anyway - he came home a couple times from school recently saying he'd been getting picked on and I wasn't sure if it was something to take with a grain of salt (apparently all the kids like to throw sand at each other daily in the sandbox -- just lovely) or start to worry about. I asked the teacher's assistant and she didn't seem to think it was a big deal -- but I'm a mommy and mommies worry. 

So I ask around for advice and get some advice that I thought was really good from a friend. I start telling T to use his words if a kid isn't being nice to him. I tell him he can use his "outside" voice to tell the meanie to stop, and if the kid continues to be mean - he has to tell the kid that if the kid keeps up being a meanie, he won't want to be the kid's friend anymore. That seems to be pretty sound advice for a 3-year old traversing the crazy ins-and-outs of post-naptime playground politics right?

Flash forward to the very same week. Maybe 2 days later? Maybe the very next day? I arrive at school to pick T up and get greeted by the TA. They are letting all the parents know that there is basically a new EPIDEMIC on the playground of kids yelling at each other that they don't want to be friends with each other anymore. They don't know how this behavior got started, but they're coaching the parents - telling them to tell their kids not to tell others they don't want to be friends. Oops.

So, what does this momma do? I fess up. I tell them that the "I don't want to be friends with you if you do that" was my very own advice to my child. Apparently, he does stand up for himself since his entire class was spouting my advice to one another within 24 hours.  And I might be a bad parent for thinking it -- but I still think it was good advice. I mean, really. What better way to tell a fellow 3-year old you mean business than threatening to not play trucks with them? It actually seems like it has some meaning to a toddler, unlike teaching him to hit back or follow the TA's advice that they tell each other "they needed a break." 

Apparently though, I have some teachable moments to learn.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last week

Last week was an interesting “mom of a 3 year old” week while the hubs was out of town. Let me state for the record that my child has officially entered into his 3’s, which so far, seem far more terrible than the terrible 2’s. See below:

  1.  During an afternoon pickup at school, T decided to call something a “poopyhead.” Yes, I know all 3 year old boys probably love talking about poop with a passion, but I also know my hubby also seems to thoroughly enjoy making T laugh by using the word “poop” or ahem, “poopyhead” in a sentence. The teacher hears T use the “poopyhead” word and says, “We don’t say that word at school, T. Just like I am sure you don’t say at it home.” To which he promptly answers, “Yes we do.” The teacher then follows up with, “Well, I am sure your mommy doesn’t like when you use that word.” To which my lovely child again answers, “ Yes she does.” Thrown under the bus by my own kiddo at school to the teacher for something my hubby does. Life is so unfair.
  2. We’ve been having lots and lots of weather delays and so far, two school closings. That’s more in the past 2 weeks than we’ve had the past 5 years I’ve been working down here. On one 2 hour delay day, T woke up especially cranky, which amazed me because he was actually able to sleep in for a change and not be woken up when it’s still dark outside. Fast forward to the garage, 25 minutes later than we were supposed to be leaving, after he has thrown an epic tantrum because “he wants to put on his coat all by himself” but would rather scream for a solid thirty minutes about it than actually put it on. I made the decision that it would be nice to not get fired and show up to work sometime that day, and decided my child would have to be manhandled into his car seat (no easy feat to get 40 pounds of kicking and screaming toddler strapped into a 5 pound harness, thank you very much) without his coat on. And cringe as the neighbor I’ve only met once witnesses me deny my screaming child his coat “I want to wear my coat!!” as we get into the car on a lovely 20 degree weather delay day. I swear, I keep the thermostat blasting at a balmy 80 in the car….but still….that awkward “Hi Neighbor! I promise I’m a great mom!” moment – it happened. 
  3.  I’m assuming it’s the same day because the week all blended together – but yet another proud moment happened last week. It happened when I was trying to explain to T that even when he’s bad and mommy is disappointed at him, mommy still loves him. Even when he’s in a lot of trouble, mommy loves him. To which he looks at me and says, “I don’t love you, mommy.”
    Thank you, sweet 3 year old.

I did discover something else last week during one of our non-tantrum moments. My kiddo has a crazy memory. (Which is a little scary in itself, as I thought he wouldn’t be to remember any of these parenting fails I mentioned above.) While we were in the car, he started talking about the boat ride he was on “yesterday.” (“Yesterday” is any time in the past for him…”Tomorrow” is any time in the future…”Pizza Day” is Friday. Got it?) He’s giving me all sorts of detail about this boat ride – that he saw a balloon in the sky, that the boat had 2 levels and stairs, that a man was talking to us on it, that we looked for dolphins on it (and sharks, according to T). Mommy and daddy were on it, but P wasn’t. This boat ride – was on our summer vacation LAST JUNE. Seriously, amazed

Oh, and P during all these goings-on? Since I seem to never mention her? Just sitting there, happy as a clam smiling. I know I will have enough stories about her turning into a crazy child soon enough, but for now, she’s my happily content, happy-go-lucky, always smiling little thing. Good thing she’s so mellow!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spending less

The hubs and I have decided to make 2014 the year of spending less and saving more.  Like most people, we have a budget but don't always stick to it and every month we seem to have "emergencies" pop up that require extra money we hadn't planned on spending.  A friend motivated me to take a hard look at our finances after she and her husband went through the Dave Ramsey program and it's pretty eye-opening.  This will be an on-going process, obviously, but my goal is both to lower our monthly expenses while also "reclaiming" some money from items we have sitting around our house collecting dust.  For anyone else interested in doing something similar, here's what I did -

Sorted all receipts for the past 60 days

- The purpose of this was to see what I had purchased over the last 60 days that was a "want" rather than a "need."  Anything that was still returnable went back.  In my case this was some clothes for the kids, some expensive shower gel I have a weakness for, and a handbag I had found on clearance and had to buy because of course it was an awesome deal (I am a sucker for "deals.").  Savings = $225

Reviewed all monthly subscriptions/bills

- By doing this I discovered that we're paying for an extra cable box we don't use, a cable package that's higher than we need, and a gym membership my husband started when he was training for the Mud Run last year.  Monthly savings = $75

Cleaned out the garage

- Since we don't have a basement our garage tends to be the dumping ground for random items we aren't using.  Why not try to get some money back for these things?  I found an old stroller, a few kids' accessories, and a coffee table, put them all up for sale on Craigslist and there you go - $150.

Cleaned out the closets

- This has been the biggest job.  I cleaned out everyone's closet and sorted unused items into 3 piles - trash, donation and eBay.  Trash is obviously the broken, stained, unusable stuff.  Donation is the gently used but not-worth-selling stuff and then eBay is anything with the tags still on or brand name stuff in good condition.  Think clothes, shoes, handbags, unused health/beauty stuff.  This is an on-going process but so far my cash intake = $500.

Looked up value of old savings bonds

- I don't know about you guys but my grandparents always gave us savings bonds growing up.  My parents socked them away and then gave them to us when we went to college.  I cashed a few in as needed while I was single but then stuck them in a lock box and pretty much forgot about them.  Thing is, once they mature they stop accruing interest so it makes sense to cash them out at that point and put them in another interest-bearing account.  So, I checked my remaining bonds online and what do you know 2 of them had matured.  Savings = $425.

Obviously this process takes work and I've been doing it slowly over the past 6 weeks when my kids are actually both asleep for 20 minutes at the same time.  But it's motivating to "find" almost $1,500 just from doing the things I listed above.  My next experiment will be grocery shopping exclusively at WalMart for one month to see if I save anything compared to what I'm currently spending at Kroger.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of year chuckles

I haven’t been so hot at the blogging thing lately. Between being back at work full time, moving into our new house, and the hubs traveling so much – it seems like there hasn’t been a moment to take a breath, let alone sit down and write a blog post.

However, the last week was pretty magical and restored a lot of the good humor that seemed to get sapped from me during our move and in general, the entire month of November. Both the hubs and I were not only in the same city last week, but both off from work. So not only did we get a good amount of some much-needed family time, we also managed to get a box or two unpacked. Pretty necessary considering we’re closing out month #2 in the house and it pretty much looks like it did the first weekend we moved in.

Then, it was the first year that T really “got” Christmas. I heart Santa and the wonderful ways he watches EVERYTHING that kids do. We had a really well behaved December purely because of Santa and the elf. (And yes, much to my own dismay, we have an Elf – and I love his powers of persuasion!).
T didn’t sleep the entire month of December in the new house. It was worse than I’ve ever experienced with a newborn baby – let alone an almost 3 year old.  December 1st (and Santa) arrived (and the cats, ironically, who were staying with Mema and Papa during the move transition) – and Poof! T began sleeping again.

All this to be said, that I am taking a much-needed moment to share my most recent parenting convos.*
Not mine, per se, my hubby’s.

Scene: Our house. Mommy is back at work, daycare is closed until the 2nd. Daddy’s work is closed until the 2nd, so it’s daddy single-parenting time.

Convo Recap 1: Approximately 1:30pm
Me: How’s it going?
Hubs: No one will nap….T threw a fit because he wants to ride his bike outside and I can’t take him outside…
Me: Can you take him outside in a bit?
Hubs: I’m not dressed yet. I haven’t had time to shower. OR get dressed.
Me: Giggle giggle giggle.

Convo Recap 2: Approximately 4:30pm
Me: How’s it going?
Hubs: (disgruntled) I am dealing with POOP here!
Me: Ok…..everything ok?
Me: Yes, she does that….So do you want me to order any food and pick something up on the way home for dinner?
Hubs: I haven’t had any time to think about dinner yet. But will you pick up some tonic on the way home?
Me: Giggle giggle giggle.

Scene: Our house. Daddy single-parenting day #2
Grandma to the rescue!!

*And one day, in the future, I will get to writing about (a) our move and (b) my little guy turning THREE . Hopefully before he turns four.

Friday, October 25, 2013

61 Days and counting!

For some reason, I’m abnormally excited about Christmas this year.

Maybe it’s because we will actually have a fire place to hang stockings from this year once we move into our new house next week (ack!). Maybe it’s because I’ve actually had four stockings embroidered with our names – so I’m ahead of the game. Maybe it’s because Tyler has taken a huge liking to new DVDs, and I found this DVD of all the childhood Christmas classics that got me all sorts of nostalgic and I must buy it for him.

Regardless, I can’t wait.


That is all.
*I just hope I can fit into some cuter holiday outfits by then, or else I might turn all bah-humbug and scrooge like. These weight-loss plateaus are going to be the death of my cheerful moods.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sleep and that pesky developmental stage

I think I've jinxed myself. We've been pretty lucky with both kiddos being good sleepers so far. Some of it might be genetic (after all, I really love my sleep) and some of it may have something to do with us being fairly tough in the sleep training department - who knows. But T has consistently slept through the night since he was itty bitty -- and P started around 4 weeks old. Most recently, we've been putting her to bed around 8 and waking her up around 7 in the morning. I totally recognize this is pretty awesome for a 13 week old.

Until this week.

According to the stuff I've been reading online, I've self-diagnosed her to have the 4-month regression a month early. All of the sudden this week, she's been waking up at 4am every single night -- grunting, yelling and finally crying until I go up there and feed her. Granted it's only once a night but it's still a been a killer. First I thought it was a growth spurt because she goes right back to sleep after I feed her -- but as soon as I walk into her room, she gets all smiley and excited to see me -- even though she's just been crying - and to me that's not fussy growth spurt behavior. Last night I decided I was going to let her cry it out....until 5:20am rolled around, it had been going on an hour and a half of her being wide awake, and my alarm for work (did I mention maternity leave is over already? Seriously.) was looming. Fed her and got back into bed for 20 minutes of "sleep" before my alarm went off.

So, several days of this has me feeling like a walking zombie. To the point where a perfect storm of P stretching and her diaper being too loose this AM while feeding her before work led to her somehow peeing out the top of her diaper, staying dry herself but covering my work pants in pee -- and I actually contemplated NOT changing before walking out the door because it would take too much energy.

You'll be relieved to know that I did change out of baby pee-soaked pants before leaving for work. But all I can say is this phase better end soon - or else I can't promise not to get mighty funky looking showing up at the office...