Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Where is Heaven?"

Yesterday, while in the car, Isabelle asked, “Where is Heaven?” It came out of nowhere since we hadn’t been talking about anything around the subject any time recently. Whenever one of these big life questions comes up, I feel like I always have no idea what to say. So I answered by saying that it’s up in the sky above the clouds. She then followed it by asking “How do you get to Heaven?” I really had a tough time coming up with an answer to this one on the spot. So I said when you are sick or there’s an accident, God decides it’s time for you to join him and you go up to Heaven. Apparently, I shouldn’t have stressed about this answer because her follow up question of “Do you climb a ladder to get there?” made it clear that she literally meant how do you get there. I should have remembered that I was dealing with a four year old who was thinking of how to physically get above the clouds and not someone looking for a big meaningful talk about God! She went for totally gut wrenching with the next question of, “What do you think your Mom is doing in Heaven?” Isabelle was only one when my mother died so she doesn’t remember her, but we talk about her often and we bring flowers to the cemetery. So I told her that Grammy is doing all the things she loves, eating her favorite foods, watching over us, and loving us from Heaven. She seemed pleased with this answer and all in all I think the talk went well (I also struggled when she asked if there were kids in Heaven). I love that she is curious and that she wants to know more about life, death, and all that comes in between. Sometimes I just wish that I had more time to think up the answers! 

How do you handle the rough questions?

Turn left at the second cloud and Heaven will be on your right.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our New (Unwanted) Alarm Clock

For most, the first signs of spring are warmer weather and budding flowers. However, for us the true sign that spring has arrived is a special, little, noisy visitor that comes around each year – a woodpecker. Now before moving to this house, I had no idea how noisy a woodpecker could be or how stubborn. Each morning around 6am we have this one woodpecker who comes and LOUDLY drills on our metal gutters. It sounds like a jackhammer outside our window. It is seriously SO loud. One of us then goes outside to scare him away and he looks down at us with a look of annoyance that we would dare yell at him while he is happily doing his morning ritual. Our loud yelling and shooing at him does nothing and we then have to throw something up at him to get him to go away. When this first started happening, I thought that we just had a really dumb bird land on our house and didn’t realize he should be drilling on wood. Nope, turns out he knows exactly what he is doing and the loud noise is what he uses to attract a mate and claim his territory. Doesn’t this horny, territorial bird know that if I am lucky enough to still have my kids in bed at 6am that I don’t want to be in my jammies throwing random objects at him? If it’s not one thing, it’s another, right?!

 *Photo courtesy of

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It Took Almost 20 Months but We Have Words!

As many of you know, Daniel is large and in charge but has been pretty quiet up until now. He has only said “uh oh,” “ho ho ho (as in Santa),” and “ball.”  For being (almost) twenty months old and only having these few words, the doctor has been encouraging me to have him evaluated for speech therapy I haven’t done it though because I’m not a worry wart and feel that he will talk when he’s ready. Well I’m happy to report that it appears that he is ready! Just within the last week, he has been popping out all kinds of new words.  He’s now added Dadda, bus, peekaboo, backpack, more, car, hi, and bye. Pretty much each day a new word is coming out and he is using them often and frequently.  I also have to say that he looks so ridiculously cute frantically waiving out the window and yelling “hi” at anyone that walks by that it was totally worth the wait! 

Mr. Big Mouth

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Missing Jewels Have Been Found!

As some of you may recall, our house was broken in to which was quite the ordeal but I ended up getting most of my jewelry back and then lost it (read the full story here).  Well I am happy to report that totally randomly today, I found the jewelry. Yes, I FOUND THE JEWELRY. I am beyond excited mainly because it has been driving me crazy for almost two years now!

Since the weather has been ridiculously nice the last few days, I decided to bust out a tank top today. While getting one out of my drawer, I realized that I have a bunch of old tank tops that are stained, gross, and/or maternity that I just need to get rid of. So I grabbed the trash can and started chucking them. I then found a black maternity tank top in the back of the drawer and when I lifted it up, out fell the little baggie that the detective had given me with my jewelry. I (literally) did a little gig around the house! Now the best part is that I have NO recollection of putting them in this drawer. This spot was never even one that I had considered so I never really gave it a huge cleanout like the other spots. The only thing that I can think of is that I put them in there as a temporary holding spot thinking that I would then move them once I thought of the perfect spot to hide them. Of course, I never got a chance to do that since I forgot where they were! Thinking back, I was nine months pregnant when I received them back so folding them in with a maternity tank top would have seemed perfectly normal at the time. Of course once I had the baby a couple of weeks later, I never took the shirt out again. So there you have it folks, mystery solved. Detective Dollops signing off!

Nice to see you again favorite earrings!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey: Ticket Giveaway! (DCU Center, Worcester, MA)

**CONTEST CLOSED: Winner picked using on 4/1/2012. Congratulations to "Gardener14" for winning the tickets!*****

Is your world like mine and it revolves around characters like Minnie, Ariel, Simba, and Tinkerbell?  Are you looking for something to do during April vacation? Well, boy do I have something for you! Disney on Ice: Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey is heading to the DCU Center in Worcester, MA April 19th to the 22nd.  

 “Make imagination your destination!  Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on a journey into the magical worlds of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Peter Pan and Lilo & Stitch.  Discover Ariel and Sebastian’s enchanting undersea kingdom; visit the Pride Lands with Simba and Nala; soar through starry skies with Peter Pan and his sassy fairy friend Tinker Bell; and say “aloha” to fun with Lilo and Stitch. You'll be captivated by the music, beauty and laughter in a journey so magical, you’ll never want to go home.”

Sounds pretty awesome, huh? I know I can’t wait to attend with my family. What’s that? You want to attend, too? Well you might just be in luck because one Dollops reader is going to win a Family Four Pack to the show on Thursday, April 19th at 7pm. How could it get any better you ask? How about we throw in a meet and greet before the show (5:30pm) with two special characters?! I know lots of little girls and boys who would LOVE this opportunity so be sure to enter!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment below letting me know who you would bring to the show with you if you won.

Extra Entries:
  • Follow me on Twitter (one entry)
  • Follow Dollops of Diane on Facebook (one entry)
  • Tweet this Giveaway (please include @dollopsofdiane in your tweet). Can be tweeted once per day and count as one entry per tweet (one entry per day)
  • Share this post on your own Facebook page (one entry).
Please leave a separate comment for each entry that you do so that you get the proper credit. Already do some of the above? Thank you! Please leave a separate entry for each and tell me. Make sure that a valid email address is provided so that I can contact you if you win.

Winner will be randomly selected on 4/1/12 at 8pm EST. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Contest is open to US Residents only.

*Please note that I received no monetary compensation for this post but have received a family four pack of tickets to the show and will be attending the meet and greet.

Biggest Loser: Final Results!

For those of you following along, today marked the end of my ten week Biggest Loser competition. I had an ultimate life goal to lose fifteen pounds (five leftover from each pregnancy) but honestly I would have been happy to lose five pounds total. Fifteen seems like such a lot of weight to lose and I honestly wasn’t sure that I had it in me. Well I’m happy to report that I did indeed have it in me. Actually, I had more in me for a grand total of sixteen pounds. So I’m down to my pre-Isabelle weight which I didn’t think I would ever see again. What I find most amazingly awesome is that I actually lost 10.74% of my body weight. Yup, huge, huh? I’m kind of a big deal but believe it or not, I wasn’t the winner because a friend of mine lost even more than me. I guess it goes to show if you put your mind to it (and stop buying ice cream) there isn’t anything we can’t do. So today, I’m going to rock my baggy clothes and feel pretty proud of myself (feel free to secretly or openly hate me).   

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade Ant Killer

Since we moved to our house, each Spring we have had a problem with ants. It’s one of those things where one day we will see one in our kitchen and then within a couple of days, there are tons chillin’ in our house like we are a resort destination. We were having a professional exterminator come out to spray inside the house and the outside perimeter. Clearly, this was costing us a pretty penny but if it meant the ants were gone then I was okay with it. I do not like bugs and I particularly do not like bugs in my house. Last year, I saw the first scout the Friday of Easter weekend and thought for sure that the Easter Bunny would be scared away by the army of ants that was sure to invade before we would be able to have the exterminator out. So I decided to try out a homemade ant trap to hold off our tiny little “friends” until we would be able to get someone out. It turns out that my homemade concoction did the trick and killed off ALL the ants and we never even had to have the professionals out at all to spray! I put it out that Friday night and within a few days all the ants were gone – GONE! I’ve shared this info with a few friends who have also had success with it so I figured I’d share here.

Homemade Ant Killer Recipe

2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
2 TBS Borax (found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store or on Amazon HERE)

Combine all ingredients until it’s a soupy consistency. Leave mixture out in small, shallow containers where you have seen the ants. Keep in mind that the ants need to be able to easily get to it. I used the lids to baby food since that was what I had available. It's best to leave the bait as undisturbed as possible - don't touch it, move it, or even refill it (unless the ants no longer have enough to eat).

The ants then enjoy the “food” and also carry it back to the nests to kill off the whole colony. Sha-bam! When you first put out the bait you will notice an increase in ants. This is okay. The scout ant has simply let his friends know about the food and you want as many of them to eat it as possible. Resist the urge to kill them when you see them because you want them to bring it back to the colony.

Each ant that eats the bait will die withing 12-48 hours. Some people will notice a decrease in ants within a day and for some it will take a week or more. It all just depends on the size of the ant colony that you are working on killing.

If you notice that the ants are ignoring the bait then there is probably too much Borax in it and you should add more sugar. You want to make sure that you have enough Borax in it to kill them but not too much that they can smell/taste it and don’t consume it. The recipe above worked for me but you can tweak it if your ants have a finer taste palate than mine! You can also adjust the quantity that you make by cutting the recipe in half, doubling it, etc. 

For all of you out there fighting the ant battle, best of luck!

This was our ant trap a few hours after I put it out. Gross, yet oh so effective!

Out of the Mouths of Toddlers...

Today, I was helping out and doing some babysitting for a small group of kids with another woman. Of course, I also had my three kids with me. Yes, I recognize that it is kind of odd for the babysitter to show up with three kids of her own in tow! Anyway, the other woman I was babysitting was an older woman who we had never met before. Henry was standing by her and then said (loudly), “"Her teeth are scary!! Why are her teeth so scary?! Mamma, did you see her scary teeth??" Gotta love the filter-less system of a toddler!

What’s the most embarrassing thing your kid has said to someone in public?  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Parenting Fail

This morning, the kids and I were heading to the Y for a gymnastics class. We had the usual organized chaos of getting everyone dressed, diaper changes, potty runs, and shoes/coats. Now please note that Henry is NOT potty trained. I always put him on the potty before we go anywhere because he generally will go if you put him on but he will never, ever, ever tell you that he has to go. When you put him in underwear he inevitably pees through them regardless of how on top of it you are. So we get all set and head to class. It was a “big kid” class so Isabelle and Henry went in the gym on their own while I stayed outside with Daniel and the other moms/siblings. About half way through the class, Isabelle comes running to the door yelling, “Henry just did tinks everywhere!!” I look in to see Henry slowly but surely waddling his way over to the door. It is then that it dawns on me that I never put a diaper on him before we left the house. He went potty, I pulled his pants up, and sent him on his merry way to urinate publicly. Of course, I then have to apologize profusely to the instructor (who most likely hates me) and figure out what to do with him. I bring him and Daniel in to the women’s locker room and throw a diaper on him. Naturally, I don’t have any spare clothes at all for him so I spy a hand dryer that I use to dry his urine soaked pants. I then throw the pants back on him, gather Daniel (who was playing with a dirty mop bucket), and send Henry back in to class. So I get points for two fails this morning (1) Taking my non-potty trained son out of the house without a diaper on and (2) Letting him play for another hour in pants with dried urine all over them. Go me!

You're not cool unless you pee your pants!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Not a Party Until Someone Vomits


 We were at a family party on Sunday and there was the regular organized chaos that comes with a large family. There were laughs, screams, squeals, and tears but something happened that struck me as pretty funny now that I look back on it. After the play place party, we headed back to my sister in law’s house for the after party (that’s how we roll). Daniel was at the table eating dinner with some cousins and like he often does he decided to shovel all the food in his mouth and not chew. This then results in him choking, recovering himself, but then vomiting everywhere. So there we are with a room full of adults and kids and he vomits everywhere. You know what happened? Pretty much nothing. I explained he “just” choked and puked and was fine and we all continued on. I cleaned the vomit while continuing to gossip with my sister in laws, Daniel ran around in just a diaper, the kids continued eating dinner, and my nephew even tried to climb in the vomit chair during mid-clean up. It cracks me up when I think back on it. Only in a large family where all the parents have a litter of children of their own and the kids always have siblings around doing gross things does vomiting AT the dinner table not affect anyone. Hey, it’s not a real party until someone vomits!

Monday, March 5, 2012

What You Don’t Want to Happen the Day You Move in Your New Home

Last week marked the five year anniversary of Tim and I purchasing our house (our first house at that). We closed on Friday March 1, 2007 and did not have the picture perfect move in experience that one hopes for. The closing went off without a hitch and we excitedly headed to our new house. The big move would be the next day with our friends and family but we were taking over a few things on our own and also had the cable guy coming to install everything. It was a cold, rainy, icy, miserable day which would only end up getting worse. We decided to run the dishwasher mainly to make sure it worked and figured it hadn’t been run in a while so we might as well, right? After it had been going for a while, the cable man shouted up from the basement that we should turn off the water because water was coming in the basement. In actuality, water was GUSHING into the basement from a pipe. We spent the rest of the day using buckets, mops, and a wet vac to get the water out. The house had been empty for a while before we bought it so we figured that there must have been some part of the pipe that was frozen. We were able to open up and empty out the pipes in the basement (which only added more water to the basement/bucket project). Oh, and of course while all this was going on, we couldn’t use any water in the house which normally wouldn’t have been a problem. However, I had just found out a few days before that I was pregnant with baby number one (Isabelle) and would have given anything to be able to use the bathroom! We ended up doing all we could, we found some ice in the pipe as it left the house to head to the septic and got rid of it but it didn't solve the problem. Water still couldn’t flow out of the house to the septic and just kept coming back in the basement. So we had to call it a night and bright and early our friends and family arrived at our apartment to help us move. After slipping on some black ice (which is a pretty awesome thing to do when you just find out your pregnant) I headed to the house to wait for the septic guy to come since we had run out of “do it yourself” fixes. He arrived and said that the septic itself must be full and perhaps frozen and he would need to pump it. Great, however, the ground is covered in snow/ice so he needs to jackhammer the front yard to get to it. “Oh hey, new neighbors don’t mind us with our jackhammer and moving truck!” After all the hammering it turned out the septic was completely empty and not the problem at all. He put our lawn back together as much as possible and told us to just run hot water on low indefinitely until any “hidden” ice in the pipes melted. Sure enough, this simple fix was exactly what we needed and we were finally able to use the water again. 

Our front yard on move in day!

I wish that was the end of our plumbing woes, but for the first few weeks we lived in the house we came to find out that the downstairs toilet would constantly get clogged. We had a plumber come out and they did some things which made no difference. Tim eventually took matters in to his own hand and took apart some of the pipes in the basement and within the pipe he found…


Apparently, when the contractor installed the new toilet before we moved in, he must have accidentally knocked his tape measure down the pipe and it had been living there ever since. So alas alas, it turned out the tape measure was indeed what was making it difficult for things to get down the pipe. Never a dull moment when you are a new home owner, right?!

Friday, March 2, 2012

National Reading Month: Give the Gift of Literacy!

Did you know that experts believe that almost 40% of 4th graders don’t have basic reading proficiency? Did you know that 2/3 of American children living in poverty do not have ANY books at home? These statistics are alarming to me. My 3 and 4 year old (who can’t even read yet) go to bed with about twenty books each in their beds to look through at night.  I often go in to my 19 month old’s room in the morning to find him happily sitting and thumbing through a board book. Imagine living in a house with no books?  I can’t (and I’m not even personally an avid reader!).

Instead of just pushing these facts aside, Stowed Stuff and I have decided to try to do something about it. In honor of March being National Reading Month, we have decided to support Reading is Fundamental (RIF) in their vision of “a literate America in which all children have access to books and discover the joys and value of reading.”  RIF delivers free books and literacy tools to the people who need them most. Volunteers spend their time in schools, homeless shelters, and wherever they are needed most to plant the seeds of learning in the next generation. How could we not want to help?  How could YOU not want to help? We are asking that each of you make a small donation and help us with this journey.
All you need to do is click on DONATE in the box below and follow the instructions. We are also not going to be doing this for just today but also for the entire month of March. Yup, that’s right, get ready for lots of reminders about it! Through the end of March, you will see the donate box on my right side bar so you can donate at any time. I would also love, love, love if you would share this post with others.  Shares = More Views = More Donations = Happy Dollops.
If your children are anything like mine, they have access to endless books around the house (I trip over them constantly!), they have easy access to local libraries where any book they need can be at their fingertips, and they have access to the internet which can help them learn to read. Please take a moment to think of the children who do not have these luxuries. Please think about them and then click donate. Every little bit helps. We can make a difference – one book at a time!

Toddler Isabelle reminds us it's never too early to start reading to our family!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3 Years Ago Today...

Three years ago today, my mom passed away. I’ve been spending the last hour writing and then rewriting this post. I would start down one path and then end up somewhere totally different. I would start with talking about how funny and strong she was and then end up talking about how I remember Beverly Hills 90210 was playing on the tv when she took her last breath. (For the record, we both loved that show!). I would start talking about how she drove me crazy all the time and then end up talking about how completely horrible it was to see her deteriorate right in front of my eyes. I would start by saying how I have so many unanswered questions for her and end with the amount of pizza and donuts that I consumed while sitting vigil during her last few days. I would start talking about how I never wanted her to leave and end with how I eventually begged God to take her. I guess I’m just not ready to write an eloquent post about it yet. What I do know is that in my last words to her, I told her to let go because we were all going to be okay. We were going to take care of each other. And you know what? It was the truth. We are okay and we will continue to be okay because she has given us the strength to do it.

My mom and new baby Henry just a couple of weeks before she passed away. I’m so glad she was able to meet him.
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