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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Day at the Beach

How about this weather? I feel some sort of obligation to write a post about the weather since it has been snowy for the past few days. You just got to love the fact that Western PA always has this kind of weather every single year and yet every single year everyone is going on about how it is cold and snowy like it is some big surprise. My only complaint about this weather currently is that experiencing it with two two year olds is a new thing, and it sucks. It sucked last year with two one year olds but not nearly as much as it does now. They were far more content to stay indoors last year and didn't need nearly as much room to run and weren't nearly as creative in their ways to drive me crazy.

Greg usually works from home on Wednesday but he decided to go into the office since he worked from home on Tuesday due to weather. We had an ice storm roll through though. He couldn't get out of the driveway and when he tried to back down the driveway, he got stuck. So, Greg worked from home and we were all temporarily stuck because I couldn't get my car out around his. All morning long Marcus kept asking to look out the window and going on and on about "Dada car stuck driveway," just in case I had forgotten. We were able to get Greg unstuck later in the day. That day we had the most disastrous nap time in Will's history. Thankfully I have the most awesome husband in the world and when I mentioned that I needed to get out and take a walk alone after dinner, he said that he would do all the dishes and cleanup and I should just go as soon as I was done eating. I bundled up in all my snow gear and took the most marvelously glorious walk in the snow through our woods. Then I had to come back. Marcus spent more of the evening in time out than he did out of time out.

Yesterday I was determined to not be in the house as much as possible. Greg made it into the office and we headed to the library. After another disastrous nap, I took the kids outside to play. I was hoping to do some sled riding. I took a quick run down the hill to check out the conditions first. And it was a really quick run. We had a couple inches of snow and then a good layer of ice, all topped off with another inch or two of snow. Basically it was like sledding on a sheet of ice. Some neighborhood kids stopped over to see if they could sled on our hill (because we have the most awesome sledding hill ever) and they were going so fast they had to bale so they didn't wreck into our wood shed. So instead of sledding, we got out our beach shovels and buckets and built snow castles. It was almost like being at the beach! Only a little colder and not so much ocean.

We went out to do some errands this morning and came out to find ourselves stuck in a blizzard. We did a little slipping and sliding on the way home and I stopped to check on a woman who was stopped in the middle of a normally busy road. (She said she couldn't make it up the hill and was going to try to turn around.) My "street" is just a driveway shared by us and the only other house on our "street". Someone was parked at the top who was visiting our neighbors. I had to kick it into four wheel drive and drive partly in my neighbor's yard to get around them. When I looked out later they were trying to shovel their car out. The next time I looked out, it was snowing so hard I couldn't even see a few feet out the window and certainly couldn't see the car. The snow let up and I took and look to find their car was sideways blocking the entire street/driveway. I didn't have anywhere to go but still didn't like the idea that I couldn't go anywhere if I needed to. A couple hours later I looked again and they had gotten the car out.

My kids are insane, tired of being stuck inside. They are driving me insane. Nap time has been insane and most certainly not restful for them nor relaxing for me. And I have a feeling that things are going to get far more insane around here before they get better. Someone remind me that winter will end! You know it is bad when I have started to feel sympathy for Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nap Time and Laughter

Our new nap time routine is working wonders with Will. It is mostly just nice to have this well laid out plan. I don't have to get frustrated or mad because I have it all planned out how I am going to react to his nap time behavior. I put him down. The movie comes on. If I hear him in there I go in and tell him that he needs to be quiet or the movie will be turned off. If I hear him again I go in and turn the TV off. And so far, after that he has just fallen asleep until it was time to get up from nap. Today I had to give him a warning but never heard him after that so the TV stayed on. He was still sleeping when I went in to get him up but opening the curtains was enough to wake him up and be ready for some play time.

Unfortunately, the new nap routine has disrupted Marcus who normally has absolutely no issues with nap. Figures. The past two days he hasn't napped at all. It resulted in a little bit of pre-dinnertime crankiness but really wasn't so bad. It all caught up to him today. We were out picking up a couple items at the grocery store today and he decided to not listen to me and follow that up with a temper tantrum in the middle of the store. Greg was working at home today and when we got home Marcus told him, "Marcus bad day." I went in to get Marcus up from his nap this afternoon at 3:00 and he was still zonked out. I opened the curtains and nothing. Will and I played loudly for a good 45 minutes before Marcus finally stopped snoring. He was really slow to wake up and get moving when he finally did get out of bed. Still planning on sticking with this new nap time/movie time thing though.

Marcus is quite the goofball. He does these really funny things, most of the time they are looks or using funny tones of voice that I can't exactly explain on my blog. Now that he is getting even more verbal, he is starting to say even more funny stuff. This evening after bath I was getting Marcus dressed and he informed me that tomorrow he is going to work. I asked him what he does at work. He said, "Marcus put batteries in couch downstairs at work." It's an important job and someone has to do it.


Monday, January 26, 2009

non-Mommy Brain

If you are a mom, you have probably heard of and suffered from Mommy Brain. It is when you just have so much on your mind thinking about and taking care of your kids, you end up doing really dumb stuff. I've had my fair share of Mommy Brain but it seems lately I have been suffering more from non-Mommy Brain. I'm organized. Sometimes obsessively so. I know what I am doing at this point when I leave the house with my two kids. Rarely anymore do I forget something because I finally have realized to just take everything because you can never be over prepared when you are leaving the house with kids. My problem now seems to be leaving the house without the kids. Maybe my head is just so excited for the freedom of not needing to lug the kitchen sink with me or maybe I am pumped full of adrenaline because I have two less people to be completely and totally responsible for. Whatever it is, I turn into a complete idiot. Yesterday I headed out alone to meet up with my knitting friends for an afternoon of knitting and eating and socializing and me suffering from non-Mommy Brain the entire time. Let's review.

9:00 am - Make cookies to share with knitting friends.
11:30 am - Place cookies in a container and place the container on the edge of the counter to take with me to knitting.
11:45 am - Print out directions to the hostess's house and make a mental note to get directions on my way out the door.
12:00 pm - Get out of pj's and ready to go knit.
12:15 pm - Say goodbye to everyone and start heading out the door. Knowing how problematic this can be I run through a mental checklist. Purse. Check. Knitting bag. Check. iPod. Check. Keys. Check. Cell phone. Check.
12:16 pm - Realize I forgot to put a coat on and it is 16 degrees outside. Put on coat and head down to the garage.
12:17 pm - Realize the girl hosting knitting has cats and I didn't take allergy medicine. Back upstairs to find allergy medicine.
12:20 pm - Get into the car with everything I need and head down the street.
12:22 pm - Realize about 200 feet down the street that I forgot to grab the directions on my way out the door. Turn around.
12:26 pm - Got the directions and head up the driveway.
12:27 pm - Reach the top of the driveway and realize my cookies I baked are still on the counter. Call Greg from my cell phone and ask him to run them out to me.
12:29 pm - Leave for the final time and decide if there is anything else I forgot that is just too bad.
1:15 pm - Decide not to follow the directions that I printed out and turn left early which, thankfully, only means I have to drive around the big circular street and not that I was totally lost.
1:17 pm - Arrive at knitting.
1:17 pm - 4:00 pm - Knit too little and eat too much. Mostly though I just tell lots of jokes and make lots of comments that I think are hilarious but all the people within ear shot of me don't get my constant sarcasm and think that I am completely rude and insensitive and I manage to insult everyone in the room. (Amanda thinks I am funny though because she is just as much of a jerk as I am and gets me.)
4:00 pm - Begin leaving knitting, 30 minutes after I had originally planned on doing so.
4:02 pm - While in mid sentence, talking to Cara, I manage to forget that the entire driveway is a sheet of ice. I slip and fall right on my bum. Not hurt in the least, but just laughing hysterically, I lose all control of my limbs and almost fall again trying to get up.
4:03 pm - Still brushing the snow off of me.
4:05 pm - Head down the road.
4:10 pm - Stop for gas and realize I left the rest of the cookies and the container they were in on the table at knitting. Call Amanda and ask her to grab them and make a plan to get them to Greg at work the following day since Amanda and Greg work for the same company.
5:10 pm - After driving through a snow storm and witnessing several cars that slipped on the icy roads, return home and my non-Mommy Brain episode is over.


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Unless you have been living in a cave, this week the country changed who now holds the office of President. The current present ran his campaign with much talk of change. We have had lots of changes in this house this week.

- Our washing machine broke. We are all up and washing again. Just one thing we didn't really feel like dealing with... ever.

- Marcus is plugging away at his pre-preschool skills. Although this didn't suddenly happen this week, it seems that over the past couple weeks he has grown up a lot. He has been able to recognize all his letters for a year now but hasn't really had much interest in any other preschool skills. He had a couple colors under his belt but now he knows yellow, red, blue, purple, orange, black, white, green, brown, and pink. Today he told me that he has brown skin and brown eyes and I have white skin and green eyes. He is coming up with all kinds of original (and seriously funny) sentences and observations now. (We saw some cows while out the other day and he pointed and said, "Mommy, those cows eat pizza for snack.") He still has no interest in counting but can count to two when he feels like it.

- Will is changing from being really social to being really really social. He is closing the gap between him and his brother in language skills as well as height and weight. He strings together 4-5 words frequently. He jumps and runs and spins and sings several songs and has decided that crayons can be fun to actually color with. He listens an average of 75% of the time which is dramatically increased from the past when he mostly just tuned Greg and me out. And of course he laughs and laughs and laughs and when he gets going, there is just no way that you can avoid joining in. Will repeats everything you say which I have learned already is a dangerous thing.

- We changed up our nap routine a bit. I was so frustrated earlier this week that as soon as Greg walked in the door after work one day, I told him he needed to help me move things. The problem really is me. The kids don't need to nap as long anymore but I still need a good solid chunk of Me Time. Marcus is content with hanging out in his bed and reading books and playing with his bears quietly during the designated nap time. On average he will nap about 45-60 minutes over the two hour period. Will has gotten to the point that that is about all he needs to nap too. But instead of playing quietly he babbles really loud, screams as if he is being tortured, yells at the top of his lungs for me, or bangs on the walls/crib/who knows what. So instead of me getting some Me Time to unwind from the chaos of two two year olds, I was getting so angry and frustrated and ended up behaving in ways that I really did not want to be behaving. So change has come. Will is now napping in his crib in the kids' actual room instead of the Pack 'n Play in the spare room. Will has a couple of cars to play with in there. Marcus is in the spare room in an inflatable travel bed, surrounded by books and stuffed animals. There are TVs in both rooms connected to the same DVD player. I just have to press a button in the spare room and a movie comes on in both rooms. The first day we tried it Will screamed so hysterically that I thought for sure he would lose his voice. I left the room, turned on the DVD player in the other room, and it was instant silence. Yesterday there was not a single scream. I did have to go in once both days to tell Will that if he didn't watch the movie quietly I was turning it off. Both my behavior and Will's behavior during nap time seems to be changing for the better.

- Sadly Greg's aunt passed away suddenly this week. Please send along some prayers of strength for this sad change of events in our family.

- And some things never change. Here is Marcus at 7 months old, on a Steelers Sunday, suffering from the unfortunate consequence of only knowing how to move in reverse.

And here is Marcus at 2 3/4 years old, on a Steelers Sunday (although he had changed out of his Steelers gear and into his PJs), watching the game from a position he voluntarily got into.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On This Day

On this day, President Barack Obama was sworn into office. We celebrated history watching CNN with Cara, Max, and Andy.

How did you celebrate?


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Personal Endeavors

Here is a list of some of the stuff going on in my life in my spare time - defined by times when the kids are asleep or supposed to be asleep and I am not running around trying to get stuff done that I can't do when they are out of bed.

- Started watching Season 7 of 24 this past week. I do a lot more making fun of it these days than I did the first few seasons but I still think it is one of the best shows on TV. Spent a good part of my spare time this week emailing my concertBFF (his official title is BFF of Live Music and Televised Entertainment) about the 24 as well as talking to Greg about it too. The totally awesome telephone ring at CTU is missing this season so concertBFF and I both set our "you got mail" sound on our email to play the telephone ring. We have been emailing each other lots of pointless stuff this week just because it is so awesome to hear that phone ring sound.

- House starts again Monday. Greg and I started watching it sometime mid-last season I believe. I went back and watched all the episodes beginning in season 1 and Greg joined me in the watching of old episodes around season 2. We had planned on re-watching all the episodes from the first part of this season again before Monday but those plans got cast aside because we started watching the last season of...

- Lost. Can't wait for this to start up again this week! Greg and I watched all of last season in the past week or so. It was a short season because of the writers strike anyway. As much as I love love love this show, I also look forward to when it is all over and all of the great mystery is resolved. Until then I am looking forward to be overwhelmed with anticipation each week for the next episode.

- Grey's Anatomy started up again too. Not as crazy about this show as I was in the past but I am in it for life now I think. Same goes with Desperate Housewives.

- And yes, I have been doing other things besides watching TV. Not really sure what though... I've been playing lots of Guitar Hero! I totally rock. I have gotten to a point in the game where it has become really challenging - to the point of getting frustrating - so I am attempting to take a little break from rockin'.

- Been playing some actual guitar as well (as in, not a fake plastic one hooked up to a TV). I always end up doing guitar playing and practicing in spurts. I'll play a lot for a month and then hang it up on the wall and forget about it for a month.

- Knitting. Yeah, haven't really done any of that. I just haven't really been too inspired lately with anything I want to knit. Greg and I are working at saving every possible penny right now to replenish what we spent when we moved so I really have a hard time justifying spending money on new yarn that I am not inspired to use. Haven't sewn much of anything either unless hemming some pants counts.

- Cooking lots of good meals. I added some new recipes to our extensive list of common meals. Nothing good enough for me to want to blog about, but tasty indeed. Also started trying to work in some baking, something I have never done. Greg is excited about that. I'd mention something about one of my kids totally loving baking with his mommy but this post isn't about my kids so I won't do that. On the menu for this evening is homemade chicken pot pie. The chicken is just about cooked for that. Cooling on the stove is some coffee cake I had a lot of help mixing up this morning.

- Been getting anxious about going to see some concerts but there just aren't any that I really want to see right now in the area. I guess no one wants to tour in the dead of winter.

So I guess that sums up my personal endeavors right now. Apart from my kids, I watch TV and play guitar. I'm so exciting.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Celebrating Life

For the past month Greg and I have been working on this little video below, celebrating the life of our pooch. It took way longer than expected since I had such a hard time picking about 100 pictures to use out of the 1600+ that I have of my girl. Greg even worked at editing the song to make it longer because I just couldn't exclude anymore pictures. I want to thank my friend Abbie for letting me use her scanner so I could include the few puppy pictures that I have. (It is amazing how few pictures I took 10 years ago, prior to ease of digital photography. I really wish that I had taken more pictures of the pooch when she was a pup.)

So here it is! I hope you enjoy our tribute slide show featuring the life, adventures, and friends of Peyote. Keep your eyes open! You might even see yourself or your furbaby in there.


Saturday, January 10, 2009


I shouldn't even be posting this. I know it is just going to ruin everything. In my last post I was talking about Marcus's crazy behavior. I wasn't even going to post that but I knew if I did post about it, I would do a sort of jinx (or would it be a reverse jinx?) that would somehow miraculously correct his behavior. It worked! He is back to his parent-pleasing self, throwing only a few minor temper tantrums here and there, and not making alcoholics out of his coping parents. He hasn't even had a single potty accident since I mentioned it.

Mentioning all of this now, of course, means that I un-jinxed my jinx of the last post and we are all in store for some raging toddler behavior tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I don't know what to name this entry

Been rather frustrating around here lately. It never occurred to me that I would have two terrible two year olds at the same time. I guess mostly because Marcus has been a rather pleasant two year old for the past 9 months and Will spent a lot of time as a 18-24 month old not listening and really pushing our buttons. My how things have changed.

Not sure if Will has really changed that much but suddenly he is just way more fun to be around. Not to say that he was never fun to be around before, but the fun was in between him being super stubborn and not listening most of the time. I will take that over this attitude that Marcus has decided to have lately.

Marcus has pretty much been an easy kid. He is eager to please, loves to try to follow the rules for the most part, loves helping, always asks for help when he needs it, has never been one to throw a temper tantrum that lasts longer than 10 seconds, and you can reason with him on a rudimentary level. Something happened.

Yesterday I had to take Will to his 2 year well check up (was running a little late with getting that appointment scheduled) and I got to experience my first ever child throwing a temper tantrum in public. He was not listening at all so I sat him down in a chair in the waiting room at the doctor's office and told him to sit there. Complete and total scream-fest followed. So, I did what every authority on children tell you to do. I ignored him. I did my best to ignore all the other mothers in the waiting room who stared at me and my kid, acting as if their kid would never ever behave like that. Several staff members of the pediatricians office walked through the waiting room while Marcus was being so dramatic and every single one of them stopped and said something like, "Oh you poor thing!! What is wrong?? You look so sad!" Seriously, what is up with that?? I was sitting next to him, OBVIOUSLY I was his care taker since no other adult was close to him. If something was actually wrong with him don't they think I would have been doing something other than sitting there looking at a magazine??? I figured if I started telling these strangers to mind their own business it wasn't going to help matters so I did my best to ignore them too.

Before we got out of the doctor's office, Marcus threw yet another temper tantrum. The kid was screaming louder than any other kid at the doctor and he wasn't even there to see a doctor. All day today it has just been this attitude. Like this afternoon I asked him to come over to me so I could tell him something, something nice, it wasn't like he was in trouble or I was being mean about it or anything. He started screaming at me and throwing a complete fit. It has been like that All. Day. Long. Just being so difficult for no reason other than to get attention and then completely freaking out when I don't respond to his bad behavior like he would like me to.

Oh, and he has decided that he isn't potty trained anymore. He's been potty trained since August and apart from a couple little dribbles that are the result of me not remembering to take him to the potty in a long period of time, he has had no accidents. As of January 1, he has had 1-2 accidents - like soaking through his clothes accidents - a day. I tried to bribe him with M&Ms yesterday and that worked but apparently he was not to be persuaded today.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that this behavior is just a little two day fluke and not something that I will be facing for much of the future. I know the 3's are supposed to be hard, but we aren't even there yet and he is being difficult.

I called a pre-school today to see about getting Marcus enrolled for the fall. I am excited about him getting older and getting to do these cool things and learning new things.

Will is healthy and right on developmentally according to his doctor. He does have to see a specialist in two weeks over a possible issue, just to make sure it isn't an issue. I am not looking forward to it. Will screamed like crazy during the entire exam. I never knew getting your head circumference measured could be so traumatic. I felt so awful that he was so upset it was all I could do not to burst into tears myself and start telling them to quit weighing him because it was such a cruel thing to be doing to my poor child. I am thinking I might have to locate a few valium for myself before taking Will to the specialist.

This parenting thing is definitely not for the faint of heart. I need a beer.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Here's your chance to wish me a happy birthday and tell me how much you love me and how totally awesome I am! I could really use the pat on the back because two little two year olds that I happen to be pretty close with aren't being particularly kind to me today.

P.S. It is Greg's birthday today too so I guess you could tell him happy birthday too.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Back Home

A couple days ago I finally picked up the pooch's remains from the vet. They had been ready for awhile but with the holidays and house guests and the fact that the vet was 45 minutes away, going to get her kept getting delayed. And as much as I needed to do that to heal, it was still something I didn't want to do.

I have been feeling pretty good about the situation, way better than I thought I would be doing at this point. I hadn't cried for at least a week and my thoughts of her make me smile about all the good times I got to share in her life. Even when I went into that vet I was feeling strong. The last time I was there was when we put her down so I was really surprised.

Then the lady at the desk asked me why I was there and I started crying. While she went to get the pooch's remains I got myself back together. Then she called us over. She handed me a bag with a handle. I couldn't really see what was inside but it looked like something wooden. She said she was so sorry for our loss and I started crying again.

But, with two unpredictable toddlers, sadness and tears don't always last very long. About two seconds into me holding the bag of the pooch's remains, Marcus pointed and said, "That's Mommy's snack."

Yes, he really said that. Seriously, how can you not laugh?? All the way across the parking lot he kept yelling, "Mommy! Eat snack!"

At home Greg and I examined what was in the bag. I was just expecting a bag with ashes in it. Inside the bag was a beautiful detailed wooden box. The ashes are inside of that. Greg and I are going to order a little plate to put on it with the pooch's name and birthday and the date she died on it. Not sure if this is totally appropriate to post but the box is so pretty that I took a picture. I am so happy to have the pooch back in my living room again.