Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Number of the Day is 5

I finally signed up for my first 5k last week. It's on Thanksgiving. I figured that if I know I'm going to eat a lot on Thanksgiving, and I always do, it would be great to have to do exercise first. I've already been training, running for a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times a week, so this is just an added incentive to stick to it.

This morning was one of my best runs yet. Normally I need a water break after 15-20 minutes, and this morning I ran without stopping for an entire 30 minutes, and then ran an additional 15 minutes after that. My pace was about 6.0 mph and my incline ranged from 1% to 4%. It was tough, but I also hit 4 miles, which is the first time I've done that in a very long time.

All this training has not moved the scale as much as I would have liked, even though I can tell that my pants are getting loser. I'm just one of those people that likes to see proof of her hard work. That's another reason I like running on the treadmill so much and will probably have to get some sort of gadget when/if I start running outside.

I also need to start mixing up my strength training more. I do Jillian's No More Trouble Zones, usually, but even though a lot of the moves are still challenging, it's starting to become too routine. Last night I was checking out the latest videos on demand on ExerciseTV and saw that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Hard Body Boot Camp was available. I watched the routine and it looks like a pretty good workout. Military style exercise is something I'm very familiar with. So I think I'll do that tomorrow morning, and maybe add the Ab workout too.


Tomorrow is also a special day. Oscar and I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage. We're both taking the day off work to spend together. We plan to go bowling, out to lunch at our favorite grill, to see a movie (probably Couple's Retreat), and then out to dinner at the Melting Pot, which is so good.

We originally planned to spend the night at a hotel, but with Halloween being the following day we decided that that would just be too difficult. Plus Nick has his gym class in the morning, and all the kids are supposed to dress up for it. Then we have the parade in the afternoon and trick or treating in the evening.

Even without the hotel, I still think it will be a great day, and I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Missing Brother

This past weekend Gabe was out of town with my MIL all weekend to celebrate his second cousin’s 8th birthday. So Nick got a lot of quality alone time with Oscar and me, which he enjoyed. He loved having our undivided attention, but he also missed Gabe a lot.

Both Saturday and Sunday he wanted to go wake Gabe up and got upset when he realized Gabe wasn’t there. He also kept looking for Gabe to play with him. He just looked lonely. Oscar and I tried to play with him a lot to make up for it, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted Gabe.

It was especially bad Sunday evening when Gabe got home. Nick followed him around and kept trying to hug him and play with him. Gabe was happy for the attention at first, but quickly grew bored with it. He wanted to be left alone.

After the boys were both in bed Sunday, Gabe needed to get up to use the potty, and Nick, who was only half asleep, heard him, and got very distressed wanting to be with him. He kept yelling Gabriel, and even tried to get out of his crib, which he never does, to go be with Gabe. Nothing could calm him down, short of a car ride.

I felt so bad. I didn’t like him being so upset. It was almost as though he feared that Gabe was going to go away again.

My boys are such very different types of people. Gabe is much more introverted and concerned with his chosen selection of special people. He prefers one-on-one attention and lots of alone time. Nick is more extroverted and loves to be around people. He is especially interested in Gabe and what Gabe is doing, which more often than not, irritates Gabe.

I know part of it is normal sibling issues, but I think the other part is their very different personality types. It’s another one of the reasons I’m torn on having another child. I think Nick would benefit from having more siblings to play with, but I think Gabe needs so much individual attention that it could be hard. I also worry that Nick could get lost in the middle.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I’ve written before about how much I appreciate my MIL, and I do. She’s way cheaper than daycare, adores the boys, and does all that SAHM stuff that I would never do even if I were a SAHM. Unfortunately, since she is family, she also feels that she can do things her way with little regard for the preferences of my husband or me (mostly me).

This coming weekend Oscar and I had made plans to go bowling with friends over a month ago. A week ago my MIL found out that her nephew’s daughter, R. will be with him for the weekend of her birthday and she wanted to plan R. a party (her nephew and his wife recently divorced). She’ll be turning eight. She also wanted to bring Gabe to the party she’s planning, although there is no set time, other than sometime Saturday.

The annoying thing is she just assumed that Gabe was able to go, and that any plans we made weren’t important. I should also mention that Gabe has soccer practice Saturday afternoons, and that he’ll have to miss practice to go to the party (not that he’s that into soccer). My in-law’s country house is close to where my MIL’s nephew lives so she was planning to go up Friday evening and not return until Sunday afternoon, and expected to take Gabe with her for the whole weekend.

Oscar ended up giving in, and we decided we’d go bowling with our friends even without Gabe. It’s just frustrating that she just assumes she can make plans with Gabe whenever she wants, as though she is his parent and not us. Admittedly it will be a more relaxing weekend without Gabe running around, but I will miss him, and we get such limited time together during the week that it’s hard to let him go on the weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So this past weekend was the weekend of canceled plans due to sick kids (not mine) and bad weather. While it was nice to relax and get stuff accomplished around the house that I'd been putting off (like cleaning off the top of our dressers), it was a little disappointing to have so many things canceled.

Saturday was really cold and rainy, so Gabe's soccer practice was canceled. Although we still went to Nick's gym class. We were also supposed to go to the local farm with some friends, but that was closed due to the weather. Saturday night was supposed to be my girl's night, and I was so excited, but that too was canceled. K's youngest woke up sick, and she didn't want to have a babysitter with a sick kid or expose me to the germs. Totally understandable, but disappointing nonetheless.

To make up for that Oscar asked his mom if she could watch the boys for a couple hours so we could go out to dinner alone. I thought that was super sweet. We went to Outback, his favorite restaurant (apart from Jack 'n the Box). It was delicious. I even had a drink, an excellent blueberry martini. I do like me some vodka.

On Sunday we were supposed to have a playdate with some friends up the street during the Redskins game. Oscar was going to watch football while Gabe and Nick played with their son. Unfortunately their oldest, who is 2, started throwing up that morning and so our friends had to cancel the playdate. Gabe was very disappointed. He's been wanting to play with their son for weeks now.

Oscar did, however, get most of the work done on their pumpkins, which please Gabe. Gabe's pumpkin still needs a face, which I think they're going to do tonight. Oscar got a Sesame Street carving kit, which seems to be this year's Halloween Theme. Nick's is, of course, Elmo. Gabe's is going to be the Count. Elmo came out really well, and looks awesome with the candle shining through.

I got a ton of cleaning done this weekend. We can now see the tops of all of our dressers. All the laundry is folded, including the shirts Oscar stuffs in the back of his closet. I even ironed four of his dress shirts and a pair of his pants, and I never iron! Unfortunately I think that is still a work in progress. No, I didn't burn anything, but I wasn't very good at getting all the wrinkles out.

We also picked up a few new games this weekend for my Wii. One for me, one for Oscar, and one for both of us. Toys 'R Us was having a buy two, get one free sale on all video games. The game we got for both of is the Star Wars Clone Wars game, with lightsaber battles. So awesome. Also, you can get a sweat on if you play for a while. We don't have the lightsaber accessories yet, and yes they do make them for the Wii, but I think that they're on our list of things to get. It's a ton of fun to play. I also got the Wii Fit Plus. Oscar got Grand Slam Tennis.

I'm so glad Oscar finally convinced me to buy (and not return) the Wii and Wii Fit. I'm really enjoying them both.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Tomorrow night I'm going to have my first girl's night in a very long time. We're going to dinner and a movie, and Oscar is watching the boys. I'm even missing bedtime! It feels almost like a first date, and in a way it is. My friend K. and I, have gotten together many times to do family things with our boys (and husbands), but have never hung out just the two of us before.

There's a great shopping center about 15 minutes from where we live, that has a movie theater and a few restaurants, so we're going to meet up there. The plan is to see Whip It, which looks like a great chick flick, without being a romantic comedy. There's a great grill right next door, so that's where we plan to eat dinner.

It feels silly to be so excited about this, but I am. I really don't have any female friends, and I miss it. I love my husband, but sometimes it would be really nice to have another women to talk to about things. I'm hoping that maybe K. could be that person.

Also what do I wear? Casual? Dressy? I have no idea. I was thinking of jeans, a nice sweater, and boots. But I'm not sure.

Okay, I'm done sound like a pathetic wall flower. Let's move on to more exciting topics. Like exercise!


I've been consistently working out for three weeks now, and have lost 5 lbs in that time. I run three days a week and on the other two days I do a video or I use ExerciseTV On Demand, depending on my mood. I'm also playing with my Wii Fit every evening, because that's fun, and addicting, and it tracks progress.

Although, I totally felt stupid last night, when trying to figure out why I couldn't get the step aerobic activity right, I finally determined that I had the fit backwards, so of course it wasn't registering me stepping with proper foot. Also, why I couldn't do any of the balance games, because it was backwards. Not that turning it around improved my score for the balance games by that much. The Wii Fit says I am very unbalanced. However, I have managed to not launch the Wii remote at the TV, so I have that going for me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Listening Ears

We always ask Gabe before we go someplace, or before he goes into a class, if he has his listening ears on. Quite often he does not. In fact he often tells us that his listening ears ran out of batteries, and that's why he wasn't listening. It's most apparent when he's in a class, such as the swimming class he was in today.

I realize that most 4-year-olds have moments where they don't listen or ignore what an adult is saying. I also realize that it is often more difficult for boys. However, if you were to get a group of boys together and instruct them to do something, most likely it will be Gabe that is not participating, or not doing what he's supposed to be doing.

I'm not sure how to correct this behavior, although it's been an issue since he started talking. At first I thought it might have been an issue with how he was parented, since I had a test case of one. Then I had Nick, who is an entirely different kind of difficult, but listens quite well, he just may choose to ignore you. It seems like Gabe isn't even hearing us, despite having perfect hearing.

The threat of consequences or the promise of rewards doesn't even seem to phase him. Although, he can be bribed pretty well with a cookie when we're out and about. Most times he just misbehaves and then gets upset when he loses something or doesn't get a reward, which usually results in a major meltdown. It's so frustrating.

Swim class today was a perfect example. There was one other boy and two little girls in the class. As is usual of children this age they all had a little trouble listening. Gabe, however, just wanted to do his own thing, sometimes even when he was out in the deep water with his instructor. He would wander off from the group because he wanted to put his head in the water, or continue to splash even after being asked not to, or chase after the buoy that they use to practice skills with.

It was the buoy that managed to scare Gabe straight today. In the shallow part of the pool, there's a ledge that the instructor has the kids stand on so the water is only waist high. Across from the ledge is a wall that a life guard walks on, so they're pretty safe. However, Gabe kept wandering down to where the ledge drops off. At one point the buoy had drifted that way and Gabe wanted to get it. It was about two feet from the wall the ledge was attached to, and he grabbed it. However, he was now in the middle of the water with nothing but the buoy and went under water a couple times in his struggle to get back to the ledge.

If he hadn't been able to get out of the water and back to the ledge, I know the life guard who was right there would have rescued him, but it was enough that he listened for the last 10 minutes of class. He was scared into listening and behaving. I tried to tell him that listening is often for his own safety, but he can't seem to comprehend that sometimes. I hate to think that he needs to get scared or hurt to learn why he needs to listen to grownups.

What about you? Do your children have difficulty listening? How do you handle it?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wiikend Update

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Oscar used to work nights and weekends, which would often make those weekends he wasn't working really stressful, since we would try to cram everything we could into them. Most weekends we limit what we do to only one big thing for the boys. This weekend it was C.'s 3rd birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, followed by a late evening of playing with S. and C. at their house on Sunday. Most of the weekend was spent chilling out at home, which is nice.

Friday was my flex day, and since Oscar wasn't feeling well, he stayed home with me. We went bowling and then out to lunch. It was fun and low-key. I really like that we've found an activity that we both enjoy doing, even if our skill levels are very different. My average is 70 and his is 150. It gives us a chance to relax, talk, and joke around, while having fun. So much of our dating has revolved around eating out and movies/TV, that having something semi-active to do together is a nice change of pace.


On Saturday, Nick had gym class, which he always enjoys. Gabe did not have soccer due to the holiday. After we got home, I finally set up my Wii, which has been sitting in a closet for the past month. Oscar, recently bought Rock Band, and Gabe has been anxious to try it out, even though he doesn't have the hand-eye coordination necessary to play. Poor Nick was so curious about everything, and wanted to participate, but if my 4-year-old was struggling, I wasn't about to let my 18-month-old try.

My Wii came with Wii Sports, which is so much fun. It should be no surprise that my favorite sport to play is the Wii Bowling, and I was actually doing okay. I was at least getting my average, and at one point even bowled over 100, which I could never do without bumpers at a real bowling alley. I also opened up my Wii Fit, which was the main reason I wanted the Wii. I haven't had a chance to do much beyond setting up my profile, but I did set up a profile for Gabe and he played a few games. For him I focused on games that just involved balance, rather than needing the remote, and he did pretty well, and was much less frustrated than he was with Rock Band or bowling.

I still plan to do my Treadmill or video workouts (ExerciseTV or NMTZ) in the mornings, but the Wii Fit seems like something fun to do in the evenings. It's a workout and a game. I'm also hoping that since it is a video game, that maybe I can get Oscar working out on it too. I was really proud of myself this morning, because for the first time I didn't have to stop once during my 30-minute run on the treadmill. I can feel myself getting stronger, and I really like that feeling.


On Sunday, we went to C.'s party at Chuck E. Cheese. Gabe has such a great time. He was so excited to see S., even though they're in two different classes together during the week. For him, it's never enough time. In addition to the normal entertainment offered by Chuck E. Cheese, our friends hired a face painter for the party. Gabe got a Spiderman mask and then a rainbow on his arm. S. had to get a matching rainbow on her arm, because she liked Gabe's. Nick got his face painted too, although he had to sit on my lap for it. We decided on a little pumpkin for his cheek. Later on he also had a little turtle painted on his hand.

Nick didn't have as good a time as Gabe did, but a lot of it is because there is not much that is age-appropriate for him. He's also still fighting a cold, which has him rather cranky. He did like the Chuck E. Cheese ride that takes pictures, and I was dragged to that at least 5 times. He was also curious about the animated Chuck E. Cheese, but didn't want to go near it. I tried once, and he burst into tears. The party was fantastic, and Gabe had a great time, which is the important part.

After the party we took the boys home and got them ready for bed, pajamas and all, and then went over to our friend's house so that Gabe could play more with S. and C. Nick had fun playing with their toys, since other people's toys are always better than your own. C. thought Nick made a good doll, and wanted to dress him up. He ended up with two necklaces at one point. Oscar turned on the football game, and I spent time talking to our friends. We also had some excellent Chinese takeout for dinner. The boys were up way past their bedtimes, but they had so much fun, that it was worth it. Especially since it's only an occasional thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fighting Fall

This morning I got up and worked out, although it was the hardest morning yet to force myself to get out of bed. Nick was up for about an hour last night coughing, so I was exhausted. Getting up to do an exercise video just didn't sound very appealing, but I did it anyway. For an hour. And I feel good about it. Tomorrow I'm supposed to run, and as long as I get up, I'll have completed two full weeks of working out.

My schedule is to run for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week and to weight train for 45 minutes 2 days a week plus 20 minutes of yoga in the evenings. My calorie goal is 1500 calories a day. So far I'm doing pretty good and have lost 4 lbs since last Monday.

I'm one of those people that has to watch what they eat and exercise or the weight creeps on, as has happened to me recently. I was eating a lot of junk and was sporadic with exercising and gained about 10 lbs. So frustrating. I also recently discovered that my cholesterol is high, which is really scary, since my dad's side of the family has a history of heart disease.

Unfortunately we're entering the time of year that causes me the most troubles with eating healthy, since I love all the seasonal food. Pumpkin-flavored things, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers, Christmas cookies, Egg Nog. I know when the Cheesecake Factory starts selling Pumpkin Cheesecake (mid-October, in case you were interested). So eating this time of year is a challenge for me. Especially on the weekends when I don't have my normal routine to keep me on track.

Also, on a slightly related note, I recently discovered Exercise TV on demand, and it is awesome. There are so many workouts available for free. I've been doing the yoga programs and really liking them. Also discovered that there is a huge variety of free programming available on demand. Some of it is interesting and some of it is really weird. There are even how-to videos for putting on makeup and doing fancy up-dos. How did I live before on demand?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Socializing our Children

I had a really nice weekend for the first one of October. The weather was great, and we were able to have the boys do some fun activities and get things done around the house.

On Friday, Gabe spent the night with my MIL because the high school near her house was having their homecoming parade through the neighborhood and on Saturday there was this Joe Gibbs carnival thing going on. Oscar and I just stayed in with Nick and caught up on the TV shows we had recorded from the week.

On Saturday morning, Oscar and I took Nick to gym class, which was our first opportunity to be in class together, which was nice. We went to every one of Gabe's parent-child classes together, but it's difficult to do the same thing when we also have an older child. Nick is still tentative around all of the older children, he's the youngest in the class, but he does all the skills.

After Nick's gym class we went to the mall to pick up my anniversary present (five years on October 30th), and to get Nick a cat from Build-a-Bear. Gabe has an orange tabby that meows and Nick really likes it, so we wanted to get him one of his own. He calls it a "mow". Unfortunately Build-a-Bear no longer sells the orange tabby, so we got him a sparkly snow leopard instead, which Nick approved of. We named it "Meow", since that's what Nick calls it. However, it still does not replace his beloved red giraffe ("raffe").

In the afternoon, Gabe had soccer practice. My MIL and SIL met us at the field with Gabe. Oscar has been roped into being the assistant coach, but I think that helps Gabe to some extent. We're having a hard time deciding if we should keep signing him up for soccer. He's good at all the drills, but when they break up into team to play games, he's too timid to go after the ball if another child has it.

Later in the afternoon we attended a block party organized by our block captain and his wife. Yes, I totally live in that type of neighborhood. Gabe had a great time. There was a treasure hunt and mini pumpkin painting as activities for the kids. They also invited our local (neighborhood) fire department, which was there for the first part of the party. There was also a ton of food. Nick ate an entire corn dog and loved it, even if it took him over an hour to eat it.

However, I only talked to the couple people I knew. One was a girl (and her family) that Oscar grew up with and the other were a couple we met in Gabe's gym class. I was too shy to go and introduce myself to anybody new, even though I wanted to. I don't know what I think is going to happen, but I can't seem to work up the courage to go up to somebody new and say "Hi, I'm Cookie. What's your name?" I feel ridiculous just typing that. And this is why I will never be the head of the P.T.A. Also, why all my friends are in the computer.

On Sunday, Oscar and I tried to take Gabe bowling, but that didn't work out too well. As usual Gabe was excited about the idea of bowling, but wasn't as interested in actually bowling. Also, he ended up spilling his soda everywhere (we let him get root beer as a special treat), which turned into a total meltdown. We left after one game. My score was as bad as usual (I never get above 100).

The rest of the day went better. I got a ton of stuff done around the house. All the laundry. I even organized all my sweaters, and discovered a bunch that I had forgotten about. Also got the boys playroom reorganized and lunches done for the week.

I feel so much more relaxed now that I'm taking an extended break from school. Getting up early to work out doesn't as feel as hard, because I'm able to go to bed earlier. I just feel better. I know I'm going to go back to school in January, because finishing my degree is important to me, but it's really nice to not have to work about homework for a while.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Starting a Routine

I recently switched doctors, because I didn't like my old one and never went for any reason. It had been almost two years since I had seen any doctor besides my OB/GYN and a dermatologist, so it really was time. I scheduled a physical to get an initial assessment of my health and learned that my cholesterol is high. Since heart disease runs in my family, this is a huge concern. My weight has also crept up to 158, which is technically not classified as overweight for my height, but it's close.

I've let myself slip the past few months. I've started numerous exercise routines only to quit after a week or two. I haven't been eating well, usually eating decently during the day and then eating way too much junk in the evenings and on the weekends. So my weight may be on the high side of normal, but I don't want to be borderline and I want to be in shape.

This week I started a new diet of 1500 calories, and logging everything I eat at the DailyPlate. I'm also getting up every morning at 4:30 a.m. to exercise, which also means I'm going to bed by 9:00 p.m. My routine is to run for 30 minutes 3 times per week and strength train for 40 minutes twice a week to start with, ultimately working up to running for 45 minutes and strength training for an hour. I also am planning to sign up for a 5K in November, so I have something to work towards.

It's just so challenging. Especially when Nick has a bad night, and doesn't sleep well or wakes up while I'm working out. Or if I've had a stressful day at work, and all I really want to do is bury myself in a pint of Ben and Jerry's, but instead I have a nice healthy bowl of cereal. The weekends are the worst, because I'm away from my routine and have access to my entire pantry and fridge, which do not contain the most healthy of foods. Also, the boys have activities and we get together with friends, which makes it difficult too. Not to mention my Pumpkin Spice Latte addiction.

There are so many times I want to screw it, and I have. That's how my weight has crept back up and that's how my cholesterol got too high. I don't want to be unhealthy. So even when working out is the last thing I want to do, I'm going to do it.

This morning was a perfect example. Oscar was flexing today, so he was still in bed when my alarm went off (normally he leaves for work before 4:00 a.m). He told me I could just stay in bed and work out tonight, but I know I won't. It's too easy to come up with an excuse at the end of the day, especially on a Friday. I've worked hard this week. I'm tired. I've had a long day, ect. So I got up and worked out. And I feel so much better because I did.

I always wonder how other people deal with these challenges. How do you motivate yourself to work out and eat healthy even when it's the last thing you want to do?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dealing with Discipline

Last week Oscar and I started a type of chore chart for Gabe, with rewards for getting a certain amount of stamps on the chart for the week. Although really it's more about working through certain behaviors at this point, rather than chores. We're using printouts that you can get from Chuck E. Cheese, although we do not plan to go at the end of two weeks. Instead the plan is to go at the end of four weeks. Unfortunately we still are working out the kinks.

I'm reasonably certain that Gabe will be diagnosed with ADHD, it runs in my family, and he displays many of the same behaviors I associate with my brother who was diagnosed with it. It makes concentrating on what he is supposed to do difficult because he is so easily distracted, which can be said of most four-year-old boys, I supposed, but it's even more so in his case.

Last night for example he was supposed to be getting ready for bed, which starts with him getting undressed, which he is perfectly capable of doing. I asked him multiple times and even set the timer and got no results. At one point he was under his bed, still completely dressed. When I let him know that we wouldn't have time for stories if he didn't hurry, he threw a brush at me. There might have been a raised voice on my part, but still...

So he got picked up, placed on his bed, and the door closed until he was ready to get undressed. Then I had to remind him when he went to the bathroom and wash his hands, to not soap up his hair, because he was taking a shower. When his hand washing involved more noise than it should have, I had to stand with him while he brushed and flossed because there was no way it would get done in a reasonable time if I did not.

The entire time he was difficult and whiny, and did not end up getting story time. I always feel a little bad about that, because I like story time. I've brought out all of our Halloween stories, which are fun, and it's always nice to have him cuddled in my lap while I read. I just wish he wasn't so difficult some nights.

What about you? How do you deal when your child is determined not to listen?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Year and a Half

Today Nick is officially 18-months and he can do so many amazing things. I wish I captured more of them in pictures or on video. He still looks like a very large baby in his footie pajamas, but when I dress him in jeans and a t-shirt with tennis shoe he looks like such a little boy, it breaks my heart.

He's always been very much an individual, but lately he has been realizing that he is an individual. His emotions have been maturing. He's not just getting mad and then getting over it. He's getting mad and staying mad. He's learning to understand that actions have consequences beyond if I throw something down the stairs it's gone. It's now if I keep hitting my brother with this toy hammer I'm going to lose the toy hammer.

His vocabulary, is rapidly expanding. He knows so many words, and usually says both syllables for two-syllable words (although cats are mows). He thinks it's funny to call me by my name. When asked to say I love you, he says "luv luv". He will say please (pwease) or thank you (thanou) when prompted, although sometimes he'll say it on his own. If he hears the word eat he goes running to his highchair.

He can also understand complex commands. Such as go pick up that toy and put it in the playroom and then come upstairs for bath time. He insists on trying to walk up stairs by himself, which means I'm hovering behind him ready to catch him in case he starts falling backwards.

He's friendly and sweet to most people, but saves his cuddles for his family. He's a little overwhelmed by the large number of older children in his gym class. At 18-months he's the youngest student in a class that includes 3-year-olds. He loves to bounce and walk across the balance beam. He also likes to hang onto to a bar while I gently swing him back and forth. He loves the balls, but most of all he loves the bubbles.

He's really starting to get excited by books and will often spend a good 10 or 15 minutes entertained by flipping through a book. Especially if it is one of his beloved touchy-feely books, which amuse him to no end. He also loves books about Elmo, Dogs, and Monsters. He gets jealous of Gabe sitting in my lap at story time and will often try to crawl over him or behind him or otherwise distract me and get my attention.

He still wakes up at least once on most nights and usually gets up right before my alarm goes off. Sometimes I'll bring him into bed with me and we'll cuddle for a few minutes. He'll lay his head on my arm and I'll breath in the sweet scent of baby as I feel his chest rise and fall as he breathes. He doesn't like it if a try to read while we rock at bedtime. He wants my attention, and will either start kicking or grabbing at my book to get me to put it down. When I ask him if that's what he wants he says da (for some reason yes is da).

His latest fascination is with eyebrows, which I guess catch his attention while he drinking his bedtime bottle. He'll point to one and wait for me to name it. And then the other one. Then he'll point to each of his eyebrows. Sometimes we move on to eyelashes and eyes and forehead. Other times he'll just snuggle in to me.

And yes, I know, he really shouldn't still be getting a bottle of milk before bed, but we brush his teeth afterwards and only give him water if he wants a drink at night. He uses sippy cups for everything but milk, and always at meals. We're still working on milk in a cup.

He wears 18-24 month clothing and size 4 diapers. He wears size 5 shoes. He looks best in oranges and browns and greens. He looks adorable when he dances, waving his arms and stomping his feet as he turns in a circle. His whole face scrunches up when he smiles. His hair is still strawberry blond, and looks redder when the sun hits it. His eyes are a beautiful shade of pale brown that almost look translucent. Like if you took a piece of brown glass and held it up to the sun. He has 10 teeth - four on top in the front, two on the bottom in the front, and four molars.

He still gets excited when I get home from work, and expects me to drop everything and scoop him up, which I gladly do. He's learning to talk on the phone and will say hi, momma, and bye when I call. He's getting to be such a big boy. Where did the time go? Where did my baby go? It seems like only yesterday he was growing in my belly. Or that I brought him home from the hospital. Or we celebrated his first birthday.

Am I the only one that is sad their baby is growing up even while enjoying every new achievement?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Just Wanna Be Mad for Awhile

Nicholas is my baby. Of that there is no doubt. We have the bond that I knew was missing with my first-born. He loves his daddy, and often wants to go play with him. He adores his grandparents, especially his grandpa, and I love that my in-laws (er, MIL) watch the boys during the week. But Nick and I have a very special bond.

Just like with Gabe, I adored him from the moment he was born, but this time it was equally reciprocated. When he woke up crying he wanted Mama, and he still does. For him I feel like I top his list of favorite people, whereas with Gabe I often feel as though I’m an after thought. Oh look, it’s Mommy. I like Mommy (although he was really happy when I surprised him by showing up to his swim lesson this morning).

So it should come as no surprise that I was a little hurt on Sunday when Nick was mad at me. It should also come as no surprise that my toddler knew exactly what to do to show he was mad at me. Oh Mommy loves my attention and hugs and kisses, well, I will give it all to Daddy.

You see, I had committed the unforgivable act of putting him in his crib when it wasn’t time to sleep because I didn’t want him pulling the books off the bookshelf that I had just picked up for the 11 millionth time while trying to get ready to get out the door. He persisted in pulling books off, not to read, just to get a reaction, so I put him in his crib until I was finished getting dressed and was ready to dress him.

He spent a good deal of the rest of the day ignoring me. Calling for only Daddy. Running up and cuddling Daddy and then giving me evil looks (okay, I might be imaging the evil looks), and basically just letting me know that he wasn’t happy with me. He had forgiven me by bedtime, but still I was hurt that he could hold a grudge like that for that long over something small like having to sit in his crib full of stuffed animals, and a glowworm that sings.

Glad he didn't stay mad for too long, because I was missing my cuddly baby.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tired Doesn't Even Begin to Cover It

I spent this past weekend constantly on the go. Not that it wasn't a fun weekend, or rather Saturday was fun, it just that it was so much. And Nick topped it off with not sleeping last night, so I'm incredibly exhausted.

Our schedule for Saturday when like this:

7:00 - Eat breakfast
7:45 - Leave house to get coffee and get to Ashburn by 8:30 for Nick's gym class
8:30-9:15 - Nick's gym class
9:45 - Leave gym class to get back home
10:30-11:00 - Gabe's soccer pictures
11:00 - Eat lunch
12:00-1:00 - Gabe's soccer practice
1:15 - Leave to get to bowling alley
2:00-3:45 - Go bowling with friends
3:45 - Leave to get to opening day of local farm fall festival
4:00-6:00 - Hang out at fall festival with friends
6:00 - Leave fall festival and get McDonald's for dinner
6:30 - Put boys to bed
7:00-9:00 - Work on homework
9:30 - Go to bed

Nick's gym class went really well. He's still a little clingy when we're doing group activities, because he's the youngest at 18-months in a class that goes up to 3-years-old. However, during the activities he's a champ. He's getting so much more confident at certain skills, like jumping off boxes to me, or holding on to bars while I swing him or do a basket hang. His strength is increasing.

Gabe's soccer practice continues to be a mixed bag. He does really well at the drills, so we're not concerned with his ability. It's the practice games that they play that throw him. Oscar thinks it's because he's so shy. If he's the only one near the ball he'll kick it, or if his friend S. has it he'll go after it, but if it's a bunch of other children he backs off. I'm not sure how to build up his confidence in these situations, since I'm so shy myself.

Bowling was fun. Gabe was good for the first game, but started to get really restless during the second game. We met up with Gabe's favorite teacher from gym class and her two daughters, one is 5 and one is 3. They're both as shy as Gabe, so it was an interesting social situation. Gabe was also making the girls jealous because he adores his teacher and was trying to hang all over her. Again I was reminded that I rank at the bottom of Gabe's list of favorite females.

The fall festival was probably the highlight of Gabe's day, heck probably his whole month, since he's been asking to go since he first saw the pumpkins advertising the festival a month ago. Our friends had discount coupons for the opening day and invited us to go with them at a time that worked for us. Gabe had a great time playing with S. and C.

The first thing the kids did was play on this "hay stack" jungle gym that basically was a ton of hay bales all stacked together over tunnels and ladders. There were also a ton of slides, including one of those giant slides you go down on a burlap sack, which the kids did over and over. The hay ride was great - really long, and with lots of different scenes and "actors" set up as you went through woods and corn fields.

We were all exhausted by the time we left, and Nick fell asleep drinking a bottle before we even got to McDonald's for dinner. Unfortunately, I still had to work on homework before I could go to bed. Luckily this is my last class for a while, it ends this evening.


On Sunday we stayed in for most of the day, leaving only to drop off my van to get the reverse sensor fixed. This was great for the boys, but I was too busy trying to tackle all the laundry to relax. Nick had three loads that needed to be folded. Plus his closet was a mess so I reorganized it. This was in addition to all the other laundry I did. I also made breakfast in the morning, nothing impressive, just Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and bacon, but we're trying to make it a family tradition to have a hot breakfast on Sundays.

I tried to take a nap mid day, going upstairs shortly after lunch and the start of Nick's nap, but Nick woke up shortly after I laid down so I missed out. He hasn't been feeling well the past few days, I think it's a combination of teething and a cold, but his stomach has been upset. He hasn't really been wanting solids.

I managed to do a couple of posts for school, but was too tired to work on a paper, so we went to bed early. However, sleep was not to be mine last night. Starting at 10, Nick was up every hour to hour and a half. At one point he spit up all the water he had been drinking and needed to be changed. It was not a good night for anyone involved. Luckily Gabe's a pretty sound sleeper and wasn't disturbed at all.


I'm really looking forward to my extended break in school. I'd like to have time to establish a good exercise routine by the time I start class again in January. Not that the holiday season is the best time to start, but there's not time like the present. I also have my 5-year anniversary and a winter vacation to look forward to. Also, I might be able to catch up on some sleep.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Changing Routines

Evenings are always hectic when I have to commute to work, which isn't often, but often enough to be inconvenient. My normal office is 10 minutes from my house, but occasionally I have to drive to a location that is about 30 minutes from my house without traffic, closer to an hour with traffic. After a long day and longish commute, I am always tense and exhausted when I walk in the door.

However, I am greeted by my two little boys who are always so happy to see me. Nick practically starts dance in his joy to get picked up by Mommy. Unfortunately I don't have much time to play with them, because there's dinner to be fixed, baths to be run, and two little boys that need to get ready for bed.

Last night was one of the good nights. Gabe ate pretty well and with little resistance. He even wanted more of his main meal (leftover Hamburger Helper beef stroganoff). He took a little too long to get ready to get in his bath. He decided he wanted to crab walk into his bedroom ("Mommy, I'm doing my exercises".) Nick was in a giggly cuddly mood. After his bath I put him on our bed and he was rolling around and giggling and begging to be tickled. A baby's laugh is one of the best sounds.

Story time was Halloween-themed. I pulled out all our Halloween books last weekend. So we read Little Einstein's: Halloween Surprise, which comes with lots of sparkly stickers. We followed that with a favorite - Go Away Big Green Monster, which is a fun story to read. Both the boys were giggling. It's educational too, as it identifies colors and parts of the face. You gradually add different features to the monster's face and then you take them all away. Finally, since Nick still loves both dogs and touch n' feel books, we read Biscuit's Pet and Play Halloween. I thought the retro Halloween costumes the children were wearing were cute.

After stories, Oscar tucks Gabe in and I go feed Nick a bottle before brushing his teeth. I know he's too old to be getting a bottle before bed, but I love the routine. So he gets his milk, and then his teeth brushed. When he wakes up at night looking for a drink, we just give him water. I try to read while he's drinking, which sometimes work. Other nights he gets irritated with the book and will bat at it or kick it until I put it down and pay attention to him.

He's really fascinated with facial features, especially eye brows. Every night he points to both my eye brows and waits for me to identify them. Then he'll point to his eyebrows. Sometimes he moves on to eye lashes and nose. Other nights he's just focused on the eyebrows. When he's done he wants me to wrap both my arms around him and cuddle, which I gladly do.

Gabe is usually still away when I'm done rocking Nick, so I'll usually go in there to kiss him good night again. I really do love being a mom. The amount of love I have for my boys is amazing.

After their in bed it's time for exercising or homework, often followed by TV. Last night we caught up on last Friday's Psych, which is one of my favorite shows. We go to bed between 9 and 9:30, so we rarely watch shows live. Tonight we'll probably watch last night's Glee (so cute), and tomorrow we'll watch the season premier of Bones (which I'm super excited about).


In other non-related news, I recently (over Labor Day) cut and colored my hair. I had really long light brown hair with highlights that were way grown out. I hadn't done anything with it in quite some time. So I cut it just below my shoulders and dyed it a dark reddish brown (I know, I know, where's the picture).

I've been getting a lot of compliments at work. And a lot of comments about it making me look older and more professional. Apparently I didn't look old enough to be out of high school, let alone a working professional with two children. I get that a lot. I've been in the workforce for almost 10 years, including 5 in the military, and get discredited a lot because I look so young.

It's nice that people think I look young in most situations, but at work where most of the people are much older (like my mother's age), it's a liability.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why I Blog

I discovered the world of blogging about two years ago when I came across a blog called Mom Moments on At the time it was written by two writers, one of which is the delightful Julia, who at the time, was pregnant with twins. It wasn't until after the birth of her twins that I discovered she had a personal blog. Shortly after I also discovered Bree's Parental Discretion Advised written on I only recently discovered her personal blog, and am glad I did, since she is no longer writing on

I have added many more personal blogs to my Google reader since then, and was also inspired to start my own blog last year. The reason that reading blogs by other women who are mothers is that it is nice to have people I relate to. Who have moments I can understand or ask for advice I can give. The reason I blog is because sometimes I have something I want to say or something I want to remember and want a place to put it. Does it matter that nobody but me reads it? No. It's a way to hold on to a feeling or a memory.

When I read a blog with an experience I can relate to, I go yes, exactly, I know how you feel. Or if somebody with a child my age is asking for advice on a situation I've experienced I'll offer a comment. I feel like I'm part of a larger community. The best post I've read lately on how conflicted we often feel as mothers is this one by Linda of All & Sundry. I have those feelings. I've had that moment.

At this time in my life I have limited interaction with women in a similar situation, and those I do interact with are usually much older.

I grew up in Washington State, and now live in Virginia, so all of my high school friends are still where I grew up.

I was in the military, which is how I met my husband, but not in Virginia. Any friends I had in the military have either gotten out and gone back home or traveled to another duty station.

I work full-time in a job where I am surrounded by people much older than me. The women I do work with either have no children or grown children. When I'm home I'm interacting with my boys or doing schoolwork online, where I don't meet people.

I'm not in a position where I have the opportunity to meet many like-minded people. This is why blogging is so important. I can air my feelings in a semi-anonymous forum. I can read blogs written by women whose situations I can often relate to and understand. I can write comments and participate in this community. I feel like it is a place where I belong.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

I finished reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult last weekend and have had trouble defining whether or not I liked the book. I've read a bunch of reviews on Amazon, which are mostly positive. There were some complaints about the switching viewpoints and the alternating between past and present tense within various characters viewpoints, mainly Brian and Sara. That didn't bother me. I liked seeing the various viewpoints and also like knowing some of the past events that led to this point.

Many people also had an issue with Sara, who didn't come across as the most sympathetic character. She was a little hard to like, but I understood. As a mother I understood the desire to do anything and everything I could if it meant it could help my child.

That part that bothered me was the ending. I think I liked the book until I got to the ending, which is why I can't decide if I liked the book. I felt that the author cheapened the story with her choice for an ending. It didn't feel realistic. It didn't feel like this was the way the story was supposed to end. For those of you that have not read it, I won't spoil it here, but I will say that it's not how you will expect or want the story to end.

I did like the writing, and was really invested in Anna's story. As much as I felt bad for Kate, and her parents, it was Anna who I was rooting for. She's a girl who wants the chance to live, even at the expense of her sister. She's a girl who wants her sister to live, but struggles with the idea that it might be at the expense of her.

I would recommend the story if only because I really liked it until I reached the ending.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wanting More

I want another baby.

Another little boy to chase after his brothers and wear their old clothes. Or a little girl to try and stuff into dresses when she’d rather chase after her brothers.

Even as I worry that I have too little patience and get stressed too easily I want more. More children to love. More children to call me mama. More children to watch grow. Even if it is just one more. I want more.

I don’t feel done. I don’t feel that my family is complete. I adore the two boys that I have. I love watching them learn new things. I love their delight in the simple. A pile of rocks. A small fountain. A caterpillar. I want to watch it again an again.

Even as I worry that they will resent not having the most playful mother. Or a mother that doesn’t stay home and bake. Or a mother that doesn’t like to be outdoors. I want more.

I want them to be close. I want large family gatherings at the holidays or summer barbecues. I want lots of grand babies. I want a full house.

Even as I worry that I’m not ready for more. That I might never be ready for more. Even as I miss not having space and no longer being just me. I want more.

The Plight of the Working Mother

This week my MIL is in Alaska to help my SIL who just had her first baby. My MIL’s other son, is currently deployed, and has been for most of his wife’s pregnancy. He is not supposed to be back until right before Christmas. My SIL’s mother decided to not come out for the birth or to help her daughter, who was induced nine days after her due date. An induction that turned into a c-section, which is the complete opposite of the natural birth my SIL wanted.

Unfortunately I am not able to be home all day with my boys. I have limited leave and a fairly inflexible schedule. I need to be at work during the core hours and in contact with my coworkers. I also took a half day last Friday, so that Oscar could work a 10 hour day, because my MIL needed to be at the airport by noon, and Gabe had his first fall session gym class at 12:30. So instead Oscar is going in at 2 a.m. and working until 6 a.m. to get home in time for me to work my normal hours since I don’t have enough leave to cover the week, and want to save a day or two for the holidays.

I know this is the arrangement that works best for ensuring that our boys are cared for during the day. Yet I still feel guilty. I feel like I should be the one at home with them. I’m uncomfortable being at work when they’re at home. I know there’s no reason I should feel this way. This was the arrangement that made the most sense, and Oscar is perfectly capable of caring for them. And yet I do. I want to be fixing their meals and taking them to the playground. I don’t want to be reading documents and sitting in meetings.

It’s harder to have them at home with Oscar than it is to leave them with my MIL. Perhaps it’s because Oscar is usually in the same boat, working like I am. Perhaps it’s because she’s a more hands on mother than I could ever be so I know that they are doing way more with her than they would ever do with me. I still feel guilty, which seems to be part of being a working mother, but not as guilty. If that makes any sense.

It doesn’t help that I feel like I get so little time with my boys and that the time I do get with them is either after a long day at work when I’m exhausted or on the weekends when there are errands to run and chores to do. Our time together isn’t quality playtime. I’m either too tired or too busy to sit in their playroom and build towers out of blocks.

I resent not being able to be a stay-at-home mom, even as I know that it is not practical or even the best role for me to have. I feel guilty for not being able to be at home with my boys this week, even though I know that they’re well cared for by Oscar. Being a working mother is not an easy role, even though I know that it is the best role for me to have.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Diaper Failure

Do you ever have those mornings, when you're trying to get out the door for work with the kids, and everything seems to be going okay, and then all of the sudden something happens and now you're late for work? Yeah, today was one of those mornings.

Both Gabe and Nick slept in until 6:20 this morning, which is great for them, especially Nick. Although, Nick was asleep on our bed, rather than in his crib, because I cuddled him back to sleep when he woke up at 5:13. So I decided that instead of getting them dressed before going to my MIL's, I would just leave them in their pajamas. I've done this on occasion, and normally still change Nick's diaper. This morning I decided not to, because gee, what could happen in the 15 minutes it will take to get into the car and drive to my MIL's?

A lot apparently. As we were walking down the stairs to the basement, I suddenly felt something warm and wet on my hand (Nick was sitting on my hip), and look down and see that his entire left leg is soaking wet. I was like okay, fine, I'll just change him, his clothes and a diaper are in the diaper bag. No big deal. So I change him and then get up to walk out the door and notice that my left leg is soaked, and then realize my nylon is too. So I pick Nick up and go to get my lunch bag off the floor. The outside of that is covered with warm dripping liquid too.

So I go upstairs to grab the only other pair of clean grey pants I have. Because my third pair is at the cleaners. I don't wear this pair often because they have pockets that bulge out on my hips, and are a little snug on my hips, but it's all I've got, because I don't want to change anything else I'm wearing. Then I put my lunch in a fresh bag, and finally get out the door about 10 minutes later than normal. It could have been worse. I should have changed Nick's diaper.

I use Huggies Overnights for Nick at night, and usually they serve me well, but we still on occasion have diaper failure. Usually it happens while I'm holding him, which means that not only does he have to be changed, but I need to change too. I had it happen in the middle of the night once while I was rocking him back to sleep and he was curled up chest level. Had to change his diaper and pjs, and then change my pjs.

Gabe's actually gotten a lot better at night. We used to regularly have pull-up failure and he would need clean sheets and pjs, but ever since we switched him to a twin bed, he hasn't had that issue. It usually happened in the very early mornings, and lately he's been waking up at that time if he needs to go. He also refuses to go poopy in his pull-ups so he usually wakes up if he needs to poop.

(I know, more than your really needed to know about my children's bathroom habits).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sleep-Deprived Parenting

Nick has started this wonderful new habit of waking up 10-15 minutes before my alarm is set to go off. This leaves me with the dilemma of rolling over and attempting to ignore him (resistance is futile) or getting up and getting him before he decides to climb over the rail and land on his head. I've been alternating picking him up and rocking him for a few minutes and bringing him back to bed with me, so I can lay down for a few more minutes. Not sure which option is best.

He then spends the rest of the time we're at home, while I'm trying to get ready, getting into anything and everything. To include trying to wake up Gabe, who usually sleeps until at least 6 a.m., sometimes later. Usually I'm fast enough to catch Nick before he bangs on the door, but some mornings, like today, he gets there before I get to him. I feel bad for Gabe, who actually wants to sleep, but can't due to the fact that Nick wants to attention him.

The boys are really displaying signs of a strong friendship. Although the sharing thing is becoming a big issue. The area that used to be Gabe's playroom is now a shared playroom, but it still has a gate on it that Gabe can open and close, but Nick can't. Often, Gabe likes to close the gate so Nick can't get in, because he doesn't want to share. That is always followed by Nick yelling at the gate. They also have issues with toys in general - they both inevitably want whatever toy the other one is playing with.

The one thing they're good about is sharing what they watch on TV. Nick is generally okay with watching whatever Gabe wants to watch. Lately though, he has been requesting Elmo on TV. We have some cute DVDs - Elmo Goes Green and Abby in Wonderland seem to be popular with both. The green Elmo makes Nick very giggly. It is nice to have something that they don't fight over.

I really enjoy watching the relationship develop between my boys. It was one of the main reasons Oscar and I wanted to have a second child, and a big factor in why we want to have a third child. We love that they are close, and we want them to continue to be close. Watching them together is so rewarding, and yet another reason why I feel so lucky to be their mom.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dancing in September

I love September. Then again I was always one of those crazy kids who looked forward to going back to school. It always meant new clothes and school supplies. New classes and reconnecting with friends. I also have always loved the fall holidays, the changing of the leaves and the crispness in the air.

I don’t have to worry about school for Gabe for another year, but fall has come to mean some new things for me. One is that it is pumpkin flavor season. Everybody seems to break out pumpkin flavored things. Some are not so good (pumpkin flavored smoothie, so gross). Others top my list of favorite foods, like pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, and pumpkin pancakes.

Fall also includes my anniversary. We got married on October 30th, which just happened to be the best Saturday for us in October of 2004. Oscar remains irritated that it is the day before Halloween, and I admit that the date could be better, but it’s still something to look forward to. This year we will be celebrating five years together. We’re trying to plan what to do.

Originally we were going to spend the night at a hotel, but I think we’re ditching that in favor of a nice dinner at the Melting Pot, followed by a relaxing night alone. The boys will be watched overnight by my MIL. It will be our first night away from Nick, which is a little scary, but she does have a crib where he takes naps during the day, and we’ll make sure she has a monitor, since his crib is on a different floor from her bedroom.

This fall, or rather starting this September, I’m making an effort to make my health a priority. I’ve started an exercise routine and diet, numerous times and failed this summer, and realize that perhaps I have too much on my plate right now to really make it stick. In light of that, I’m thinking of taking a break from my degree. I’m starting my third week of Business Law right now, and think that it might be a good idea not to take anymore classes until next year. Start fresh in January.

I officially started last night by dusting off my treadmill and running for 30 minutes. Tonight I plan to strength train. Ideally I’d like to run three days a week, strength train two, and maybe stretch or do yoga one day on the weekend.

As for my diet, Slimfast seems to be working really well for me. I really don’t feel that hungry having a Slimfast first thing in the morning and again for breakfast, along with small snacks and a Lean Cuisine for dinner. It’s the reason I lost so much weight after having Gabe, and I think I will be successful using it again. I’m also trying to cut out more of the extras on the weekends, like eating out for every meal, and snacking on chips and ice cream. The only thing I have a hard time giving up on the weekends are my lattes, see love of pumpkin spice lattes above.

Fall has always felt more like a time for fresh starts than the New Year. I have a lot of good intentions and Oscar’s support. So hopefully I can achieve the results I’m looking for, while still enjoying the fall treats I love.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School

Oscar and I’ve made the decision to not put Gabe in preschool. However, we still want him to get exposure to other children and other adults as teachers. So we’ve decided to sign him up for a few classes/activities.

I’ve mentioned before that he’s in a gym class, or rather a sports class. He took a break from it this summer, but will be starting again next week. They’ll be learning about football and basketball. He will also be starting soccer again in a couple weeks, and this time they’ll be playing actual games.

Our local rec center also offers classes for preschool-aged children. Our friends S. and A. have signed up their girls for a bunch of classes, so Oscar and I selected a couple from their schedule to sign Gabe up for too. He’ll being doing a science class and a swim class. I think he’s looking forward to these the most, since he knows he’ll get to see S. and C. on a regular basis.

I’ve questioned our decision not to put Gabe in preschool many times. I worry that he won’t be ready for kindergarten next year. I worry that he’ll be behind his peers. I worry that he’ll have behavior problems (in case you couldn’t tell, I worry a lot). I also know that even though he’ll be one of the youngest in his class, that it’s not fair not to start him next year since all of his friends will be starting.

I hope the classes we’re signing him up for this fall, and the ones we’ll sign him up for in the spring will be enough to prepare him to start school. I want him to feel comfortable at school and enjoy it. These will be some of the best years of his life and they will really shape who he is as he grows up. I know Oscar and I will still have a huge influence in it, but so will his peers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome to Toddlerville

So life with a toddler, especially when that toddler is teething and has a cold, is not exactly the most fun you’ll ever have. This morning was a prime example. Nick was mad at me about something; I think it was not letting him go downstairs, so he proceeded to throw books everywhere. The bottom shelf of my bookcase (which is devoted to his books), all pulled off. The little book shelf in Gabe’s room, random books were pulled off, spread throughout Gabe’s room, and the hallway.

Last night was just as bad. I wouldn’t let him pull clothes hangers down to play with so he ran over to my bathroom cabinet and opened it and started reaching in with the intent to throw things out of it. I caught him before he could grab anything and he started howling at me.

Gabe’s not much better when he’s in a mood (oh and sick). I was trying to discuss something with Oscar, and Gabe choose that moment to start making “music”, which involved banging on a small clanky toy piano with one hand, while banging various objects on the metal wall vent in his playroom.

At least they love each other, when they’re not fighting over toys. The highlight of Nick’s morning is when Gabe gets up, since inevitably Nick gets up before Gabe (he also gets rather miffed if I don’t let him go wake Gabe up when he wants to play with him). Nick will squeal with delight when he sees Gabe and then proceed to hug/tackle Gabe.

It doesn’t help that everyone seems to have come down with a cold. The type where your throat feels like it’s on fire and you’ve got this hacking cough that sounds like you smoke a pack a day, which I most certainly do not (and never did even when I did smoke). I can only imagine how the boys are feeling if Oscar and I feel this awful.

I feel awful, and the only way I’m getting through feeling awful and having to be at work and going to school is that on Friday I get to spend the morning at the Leesburg outlet mall, which always makes me enormously happy, even if I don’t but anything.


Tonight is Nick’s last gym class of the summer session. It is also his last evening gym class. Fall session starts next week and Nick moves up a level. Unfortunately his next class would be at 6:30 on Wednesdays, not get done until 7:15, and we would get home until almost 8:00, which is much too late for him to be up. So we will be switching to Saturdays at 8:30.

I’m not sure what I think about having to be out the door by 8:00 a.m. every Saturday, but at least there will be coffee. If I leave the house early enough I can at least spend all of October sipping a Wild Pumpkin coffee concoction from Caribou every Saturday. And if that’s not worth it, I’m not sure what is.

However, I was supposed to be talking about Nick’s last gym class, not Wild Pumpkin coffee as good as that is. I’m a little worried about class tonight, since Nick (and everybody else) isn’t feeling well. But I don’t want to miss it since it is the last class. Oscar has been going with him lately, so I’m anxious to see some of his new tricks. Also want to get his teacher’s e-mail, since she is a favorite of both the boys, so that we can get together outside of class.

So I think we’ll go. Nick isn’t too coughy and his nose isn’t runny. I think the rest of us will just suck it up so he gets this last experience before moving up a class and to Saturdays.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Think We'll Win Again

I know it’s early for a Halloween post, considering that we’re still in August, but we just bought our costumes, and I’m excited. I love fall!

Every year the community where we live does a costume parade a couple weeks before Halloween. Everybody dresses up and they hand out prizes for the best costumes. At the end local businesses have booths where the kids can go trick or treating. This year will be the third year that we’ve marched in the parade.

Last year our friend S. convinced us to do a Wizard of Oz theme with them, and we ended up winning first place in the contest. A. is an artist and decorated their wagon as the Emerald City. We had all the major characters covered. Gabe was the Scarecrow. Nick was the Cowardly lion. Oscar was the Tin Man. I was a munchkin. S. was the Wicked Witch of the West. A. was a flying monkey. Their older daughter, S., was Glinda and their younger daughter, C., was Dorothy.

This year we’ve decided to do a Sesame Street theme. A. is going to decorate their wagon to look like the backdrop from Sesame Street. S. and I are going to be Bert and Ernie (I’m Bert). Oscar is, of course, going as Oscar the Grouch. A. will be the Count. Gabe is going as Cookie Monster and Nick will be going as his beloved Elmo. The girls will be going as Abby Cadabby (S.) and Big Bird (C.) S. has also convinced her cousin, who’s staying with them, to march with us and he will be Super Grover.

I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a good time every year that we’ve gone, and even if we don’t win I’m sure we’ll have a good time this year.

The area where we live really loves Halloween. Besides the parade, the local farms also have huge fall celebrations. Gabe has been asking for months when he gets to go to the pumpkin patch, which is no ordinary pumpkin patch. They have animals, and pony rides, and giant slides, and hay rides, and a corn maze, and lots of food. It’s always crowded in the fall. Many of the schools do field trips there.

I wasn’t able to go to the pumpkin patch with Gabe last year due to Nick and work, so Oscar went alone. This year I’ll be going too. I love watching my boys get so excited about things. Their joy makes it that much more enjoyable for me. So many things are new again to me again now that I’m experiencing them with my children. Gabe’s excitement over pumpkins and costumes, and trick or treating feels tangible, as though I could capture it and bottle it and take it out and feel years from now when he’s grown.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Ready

I think it might be time to switch Nick to a toddler bed, or at least that's what Oscar and my MIL think, and it scares me and hurts my heart a little at the same time. I mean, he's not even 18-months! I'm not ready for this.

I love walking into his room after he wakes up to see him standing there clutching the crib rails. I love lifting him out and having him bury his head in my shoulder where I can sniff his sweet baby smell and cuddle his footsie-clad body. I'm not ready for a little boy who leaps from his bed and runs into my room whenever he feels the urge to be out of bed.

The problem is that his crib can't be dropped any lower (well, I guess it could drop another inch and a half, but we're missing a bolt for the corner on the lowest setting from moving it so much). Nick's can practically hang over the top of the crib now. He has recently started trying to climb out. He did, with some success last week, landing on a couple stuffed animals and his diapered bottom, which surprised him. This morning I walked in and he had one leg over the rail.

I'm worried that he could really hurt himself. I've been doing some research and the average age that most children switch is two, so I have about seven months before we get there. Recommendations for protecting little climbers include those mesh tents to put over the top and blankets or cushions on the floor. This is in addition to dropping the crib as low as it can go, which we can't do.

I'm not ready to let go of my baby. I still want the crib and the bottle and the rocking chair. I know his growing up is inevitable, he reminds every day how quickly he is leaving babyhood behind as he races towards childhood. I just wish it weren't happening so quickly. Even as I adore the child he is becoming, I miss the baby that he was.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


So I've reached a plateau in my weight-loss journey. I've reached that "comfort weight" where I struggle to lose anything beyond that, even if I'm not happy with the way I look. Especially my "mummy tummy". I work out about 5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I'm watching what I eat during the week, although I'm not as good on the weekends. Particularly when it comes to my coffee. I really heart Starbuck's White Mocha and am looking forward to fall coffee.

I just bought a Wii and a Wii fit, which I'm going to set up and try out this weekend. I'm also thinking about starting a Couch to 5K program, which will hopefully prepare me not to embarrass myself in my first 5K, which will be in November. I'm going to try something new, or rather something old, for my dieting. I've been on Nutrisystem, which hasn't been working for me. So I'm going to try Slimfast again.

I would really like to be down to my goal weight by my anniversary on October 30th, so that means I have 2 and a half months to lose 15 lbs. That could be really difficult. Especially with fall coffee starting. Perhaps if I make that my only treat, I could still be successful? I'd like to think so. It just means careful attention to my eating and lots of working out. I have 10 weeks, so that amounts to about 1.5 lbs per week.

Also, as a side-note, how cute is this top: I so want it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This past weekend was one of celebration. Some friends of ours, who were unable to make it to Gabe's birthday party, invited us out to Chuck E. Cheese on Saturday to celebrate with him. It was fun to catch up with them, we haven't had a chance to hang out in a while. Gabe had a great time playing with their girls. I know he misses them.

They all did a bunch of games and rides, as well as climb through the jungle gym (I don't know what else to call it). We had snack foods and pizza and soda, all delicious junk food. Nick also went on a few rides, and would have climbed through the jungle gym had we let him.

The pure joy a place like Chuck E. Cheese causes kids is so cute to watch. Although the one we went to was no where near as good as the one I went to as a kid. This one only has an animated Chuck E., the rest of the characters are on a TV screen. Also, no ginormous ball pit, and wasn't that one of the best parts? The best one I ever went to was in Olympia, WA. Trust me, it's huge!

I had a lot of birthday parties there, and as a December baby, truly enjoyed hearing Feliz Navidad sung to me by a large robotic mouse.


On Sunday we went out to the Golden Corral to celebrate my FIL's birthday, which was early last week. The Golden Corral is like the King of buffets. It's huge and noisy and crowded and has tons of food. Again, not exactly diet friendly. Although I don't think I did too badly. In addition to my FIL, my MIL, SIL, FIL's sister, and MIL's brother also came. Plus Oscar, myself, and the boys. We had quite a party going on, and of course, Oscar and I were relegated to last place as far as the boys attention was concerned.

One thing that bothered me was my SIL getting Gabe dessert while Oscar and I were in the bathroom. She didn't ask us, she just waited until we left, and then got Gabe a big thing of ice cream and candy. We limit Gabe's sweets, especially since he rarely eats a lot for dinner. He had already had a little ice cream and a couple gummy bears, and it was close to his bedtime. Plus, sugar and dyes really mess with his system. Not sure how we should have handled this. He was already eating it by the time we got back and there were a bunch of people there.


Other than going out to celebrate birthdays, we had a pretty low-key weekend playing with the boys around the house and doing house work.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Check Up, Mate

Gabe had his 4-year check up yesterday, which went really well. He remains in the 50th percentile for both height and weight, so I guess my fears about him not eating enough are pointless. Apparently his ribs are supposed to be visible and his stomach is supposed to be hollowed out at this age.

He just looks so skinny. And lives on carbs. Mac and Cheese, plain past noodles, cheerios, animal crackers, bread... peanut butter and chocolate milk are his main source of protein. Occasionally he eats hot dogs and hamburgers. He also eats strawberries, bananas, grapes, and apples. However, I was assured that his diet was just fine and the he is healthy.

We also discussed behaviour, Gabe often has tantrums that spiral out of control, and we discussed methods for dealing with this. Including a sticker chart for good behaviour, and putting him in a safe room until he was ready to calm down. However, we were told that it should get a lot better now that he's 4.

He also demonstrated his motor skills - walking, running, jumping, balancing, as well as writing. He was able to successfully draw a circle and a plus sign, but not a square, which is normal for his age and gender. Also, it is normal for him not to be able to color inside the lines in his coloring books.

One of the things I love about our pediatrician practice is that all the doctors listen to our worries and concerns and address them, as either that's normal or here's something you can do to work on that. It's a very comforting practice and Oscar and I are very happy that we found them.

On a side note, Nick was bothered by the fact that the appointment was not about him and had to be the loudest person in the room. Every time any one went to talk he had to yell over them. He also was running around the room, playing with the blinds, and climbing the chairs. If you tried to hold him he would squirm or scream until he got down. Welcome to the toddler years.

Note to self: Don't take Nick to the doctor if the appointment is not about him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend, Revisited

This past weekend was fairly relaxing, as far as weekends up the country go. That is if you count chasing after a toddler in a non-child-proofed house relaxing. Nick was a bloody terror the whole weekend, wanting to get into everything and climb on everything. And it's not like I could have him outside for too long. Oscar and my MIL were busy working on the shed, and the bugs and heat were awful.

Friday was my first flex day and it was wonderful. Oscar and I drove to IKEA and Potomac Mills. We got the slats for Gabe's bed, and then went outlet shopping. I was able to get a couple new outfits, we picked up a present for my SIL who is due any day now, some polos for Oscar, and some ubercheap winter shirts for the boys.

After shopping we picked up Nick, so my MIL could head up the country with Gabe. Oscar and I packed and then went out to a late lunch at Red Lobster - so good. Nick ate fairly well, although he is in a throwing food phase, so a lot of food ended up on the floor too. My favorite is when he swishes both arms back and forth over the table or tray to get as much food as far from his highchair as he can.

After lunch we drove up the country and Oscar and his mom started work on the shed right away. I focused on getting the boys some dinner and then getting Nick ready for bed. Oscar and I went on a car ride with Nick afterwards and I got some delicious ice cream - soft serve with blueberries in blueberry syrup and chunks of cheesecake. (I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that I worked out for an hour Friday morning.)

On Saturday I stayed inside most of the day with Nick, while Oscar and his mom worked on the shed. We bought a DVD player so that I could have some cartoons in the background as Gabe traipsed in and out of the house. He didn't like being cooped up for too long, but got too hot and was bothered by the bugs outside. Oscar took a break midday to put together the little gas grill we bought for the country house and grill some hot dogs and hamburgers.

As a reward for good behavior, while he and his mom were working on the shed, Oscar and I took the boys out to dinner at the local sit-down Pizza Hut. Nick was, again, a charming terror with his food. And I am shamed to admit that I ate almost half a large pizza by myself. My MIL chose to stay home and relax a little without the boys.

On Sunday I took Nick on a drive to Starbucks by myself. I had hoped he would nap during the trip, but no such luck. Oscar spent most of the day working on the shed, and they were able to get everything done, but the doors, which they'll finish when we go back up the end of the month.

As usual, the rest of Sunday was hectic, what with grocery shopping and getting ready for the work week. I'm filling in for a coworker this week, so I had to get a few more things together than normal, since it I'm not working in my normal office and having to commute.


This past weekend really enforced the fact that Nick is no longer a baby. He is now a toddler. At times I felt like he was really starting the terrible twos early. His vocabulary and comprehension are excellent, his coordination is much improved, as is his ability to scale most objects. Also, the tantrums and the food throwing. They're driving me up the wall! On many occasion I wished I had a cage playpen to contain him in temporarily.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bad Habits

I don't really miss alchohol. I mean sure I occassionally will have a glass of wine or a mixed drink with dinner, but I don't crave it. I don't think, gee, I wish I could have a drink right now. Although, if I did, it would come as no suprise. I come from a family of alchoholics. I also drank a lot during those early years in the military. I was young and single and so very lonely. Alchohol was a way to help the loneliness, it was social, and so was I.

However, unlike alchohol, I do miss cigarettes. Another bad habit I picked up while stationed in South Korea. I was addicted and it was hard for me to quit. That is, until I got pregnant. Do I turn up my nose when I smell cigarette smoke? Of course. Unless... I'm alone and it's menthol and then I might inhale a little deeper than I probably should. Do I want my children around it. Of course not. I think all public areas should be smoke-free (hint hint, local bowling alley).

Whereas alchohol helped make me more social, smoking was social. I remember many occasions spent in the smoke shacks at work with other fellow smokers trading stores and jokes and making weekend plans, while having one or two, or maybe even three cigarettes on break. I made a lot of friends while smoking.

It relaxed me. It calmed me. And I miss it. Would I ever go back to it? That's a hard question. Do I know how unhealthy it is? Yes. But I want to. I learned a lot of useful things during the five years I served, but I also picked up a few bad habits

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Making Progress

So this morning, Gabe called me into his room about 10 minutes before his "alarm" (this totally awesome night light) went off and told me that he needed to go to the bathroom. He still wears pull-ups at night, and sometimes even those aren't strong enough, but this morning he was completely dry. I was so proud of him for recognizing that he needed to go potty when it was still technically night time for him.


Nick finally had another tooth pop through a couple weeks ago, which briefly improved his sleeping habits. However, he is now working on a molar, and it is making him miserable. Not only is regularly waking up at night in pain, he is also not eating very much, which isn't like him. The not eating is also causing his stomach to hurt and causing painful bowel movements. I feel so bad for him. It's so frustrating that teething can cause so wreak so much havoc on his little body.


I have consistently worked out four days in a row. Not that it has made much difference on the scale. I wasn't very hungry last night so I just had soup (very high in sodium soup) and the scale was up 4 pounds over night. So frustrating. I'm working so hard, and it isn't making a difference. I know it's just one day, but I want to be able to see changes. I want to know that what I'm doing is going to get me to where I want to be.

Oscar doesn't help. Tomorrow will be my first flex day and I've mentioned that I'm really trying to eat better, and he suggests going out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants. And of course if I'm eating there should I get some boring healthy thing or should I get my favorite? Of course, I'll probably get my favorite and he'll encourage it. I know he's just trying to be sweet, but it makes it so hard to follow a diet if your partner isn't.


A couple weeks ago Oscar started helping his mom put together her shed at the country house, and they only succeeded in getting the foundation done. We're going up again tomorrow afternoon, with the hopes that they can get the rest of the shed finished. At the very least, Oscar wants to get the walls up. If they can't finish it this weekend, it will have to wait until September.

Going to the country house on the weekends is never the most pleasant prospect for me. I'm not outdoorsy, so going trekking through the woods, where I get eaten alive when I'm not breaking out in hives from all the plants I'm allergic to, isn't really an option. Also there is limited cable and no interned. Plus, the house is like a toddler death-trap, so I have to be on constant alert while we're there. It's just not a good time for me.

Gabe, loves it, even though I'm pretty sure he has allergies, not to mention my highly edible, very pale, sensitive skin. He would happily spend most of the day outside. So would Nick for that matter, but again, it's not exactly safe for him. So we go out for short periods before returning to the indoor death-trap, only slightly less dangerous, but more contained.

I'm never sure what I'm supposed to do while I'm up there. My MIL seems to think caring for Gabe is her responsibility, as is providing all food other than milk for Nick. She also seems to want to help on the shed, which is where Gabe wants to be. So that leaves me to watch Nick, whom I adore, but I just feel a little useless. It's hard to read because I have to be so vigilant of where Nick is and what he's getting into. And like I said limited cable and no internet.

We'll be going up again at the end of August for the county fair. My MIL will be in Alaska visiting my SIL and her new baby, so it will be just the four of us. I think we'll have a more relaxing weekend, but I'm still not sure how I'll spend the time we're not at the fair.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Flexing It

I've recently decided that I would benefit from an extra day off every couple of weeks. However, I really don't have the vacation days available to do so. Oscar suggested that find out if I could work a flex schedule. At first I considered working a 10-hour shift and having every Friday off, but finally decided that I just couldn't do 10 hour days, but 9 hours was doable, especially since I often worked longer hours any way.

I got approval from my boss and worked out a childcare arrangement with Oscar. I drop off the boys at my MIL's in the morning shortly before 7 a.m. and he picks up the van at a quarter to 3 p.m. and then gets the boys. This way I'm getting home about a half later than I would have been had I left around 3 p.m. and picked up the boys myself.

My extra days off are really for me. A chance to sleep in or schedule appointments or catch up on school work if I need to. They are also a time that I could pick up the boys early or go on a date with Oscar.

This Friday will be my first day off and I'm really looking forward to it. Oscar is also taking the day off, so he's going to drop off the boys for me and let me relax in bed a little longer. Then we're going to go IKEA (to get those wooden slats we need), grab lunch, and then head up to the country house early.

I used to flex in my first job out of the military, that is after I came back from maternity leave. My coworker took Fridays, so I chose to take Mondays. Usually I kept Gabe and enjoyed an extra day with him, which was usually pretty relaxing. Not sure it would be the same way with two children. Although it is something I might consider to enjoy extra time with them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Four Years and Sixteen Months

I have started my quest to lose weight yet again yesterday. I got up early and worked out for 30 minutes and then worked out again yesterday evening for 30 minutes. I was very good about sticking to my diet with the exception of four Swedish Fish.

I have posted before photos the Flickr: Accountability group. However I will also post them here for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure. I know, I know, I'm a little crazy. I was too self-conscious to wear anything but a tankini to the beach where I was surrounded by thousands of strangers I will never see again, but I'll post it in my blog for the entire Internet to enjoy if they so choose. Somehow it's less scary. I don't know why, but it is. I hope to post photos showing much improvement in 6 weeks.

I realize I'm not doing that badly for a mother of two. I have a 4-year-old and a 16-month-old, and I'm at my prepregnancy weight of 153. It's just not a weight that I'm proud of. It's not a weight that says hey, I look good.

I'm trying to be consistent with my exercising and eating better. It's much harder on the weekends when I don't have consistent schedule. I love to eat out. I love sweets. I love breakfast foods. Oscar, loves to indulge me. It's not a good combination. We go out and do things a lot on the weekends. Go up to the country house, like this coming weekend, or spend time with friends. It's hard to ensure that making healthy choices in these situations.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to reward myself for hard work without turning to food. I've thought about getting new clothing or going to the salon for a pedicure or massage. Or even just a long bath with a yummy smelling bath fizzy (this one is a favorite). Too often I turn to a high-calorie restaurant meal or a container of Phish Food. Unfortunately after a weekend of that and I've undone all my hard work from the week before.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Party On, Gabe

Yesterday was Gabe's 4th birthday, and I think it was a great day. He had a good time, and the party went well, and that's what's important. Although I have to admit, I think he's a little weird, because he really didn't have any interest in cake or ice cream, however, frosting was acceptable.

We started the day with a trip to Starbucks (for me, not him), while Oscar finished putting together his IKEA bed. I got a couple of calls complaining about IKEA furniture and the challenges of putting it together with a toddler running about. Unfortunately we forgot to buy those nice wooden slats I linked to on Friday, so the mattress didn't fit. Since it was coming from our guest bed, we did have a box spring, which did fit the frame, it just made the bed super high. So Gabe needs a step stool to get on his bed. He loves it, which is what counts. He was so excited to see the big bed with his Handy Manny sheets.

Shortly after that Oscar's parents and sister came over so we could all go out to breakfast at IHOP. When we got there the waiters were singing happy birthday to someone, which Gabe was really looking forward to for him. Unfortunately, they said they were too busy to sing to him, and just dropped off ice cream, which, as I mentioned, he was uninterested in. He wanted the spectacle of everybody singing to him.

We tried to get Nick to take a nap after breakfast, since Gabe's party was from 11:30 to 1:30, but he wasn't interested. He finally fell asleep about 10:50, and woke up as soon as we got to the bowling alley. I highly recommend a party at a bowling alley. It's very easy, lanes and shoes are included in the cost. Most of them, including the one we went to, have snack bars, so pizza and drinks were included in the price. Plus, they set up the party room with plates and cups and tablecloths all bowling-themed. It was so easy.

The party was a ton of fun. We got an extra lane so that the adults could bowl too, when they weren't helping their kids bowl. We only played one game, with so many people present, but everybody was really enjoying themselves. Oscar and I bought bowling shoes the day before, so we both tried those out. They really are much nicer to wear than the bowling alley shoes.

My MIL made the cakes for the party. She made two - one for the guests and a special one for Gabe. The cake for the guests was a bowling ball sitting on a bowling pin. She made the pin out of yellow cake with white frosting and the ball out of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Gabe's cake was just a bowling ball made of yellow cake with a chocolate frosting as a filling and then dyed white frosting. He requested that the ball be blue with a rainbow on it. However he ate mostly frosting and a little of the cake, but no chocolate frosting. He really doesn't like chocolate.

After the party we went home and Gabe opened his gifts. Every gift was more exciting than the last, although the toy he seemed most interested in playing with was a hot wheels set that had detailed instructions on how to put it together and lots of stickers to apply, plus pieces that would appeal to Nick's mouth.

Finally, we took Gabe out to dinner at Outback, where he feasted on bread and strawberries brought from home. He also got ice cream again, but this time he was sung to by the wait staff, which made him very happy. He really loves feeling special, which can be difficult sometimes with a baby brother.

I'm glad he had a great day. He's a wonderful boy and I can finally say he's just 4, instead of almost 4 as I have been doing.

Happy Birthday Gabe!