Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Memory Book: One Month Down!

I read how Smarty Pants Mama made a Memory Box last year for her family and I knew immediately that I wanted to do something similar. Of course, I decided this on 12/31/2012 so I didn't have time to come up with some fancy, awesome box/book. Instead, I decided to just use a notebook that I had laying around for years and no use for.

So since January 1st, I've been writing a couple of sentences about what we've been doing each day. I don't embellish what we've done or try to make it sound like we are living the most awesome life each day, I just write what we did. If possible, I try to include little things like what the kids played with, who they played with, and things that they were excited about during the day (since I know these things will all change over the year).

So here we are today on January 31st and I'm excited to say that I've got each day of January documented. Now, I may have had to fill in a few days at a time after I forgot to do it a couple of times but hey, no one's perfect!

What about you? Do you document your year somehow? It's not too late to start a book like this yourself. After all, who says that it HAS to start in January?!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kids Own the Dance Floor

Over the weekend, we went to a birthday party for a friend of ours. It was a day filled with food, friends, family, and a great time. Although most of the grown ups were a bit shy at first to get out on the dance floor, the kids immediately flocked to it to boogie down. Watching them dance their hearts out was awesome. They didn't care that they clearly did not know the words. They didn't care when they fell. They didn't care about the silly faces that they were making. They didn't care about the ridiculous looking moves they were doing. They didn't care about anything except having fun.

There's something so amazing about the innocence of it all that makes you want to get right out there with them. Which of course, I did in between feeding kids, changing diapers, getting drinks, and all the other not so fun stuff!

"I throw my hands up in the air sometimes. Saying EGGO, I'm a LEGO!"

The key to a great dance move is in the facial expressions.
Two's company, three's necessary for this move.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How the Memory of my Mom Lives on in a Bear

My mother passed away the morning of March 1, 2009. Later that day, I had to choose the outfit that she would be buried in. I went back and forth between two of her nicer outfits. I ultimately chose the one that had a sweater with it because I didn’t want her to be cold. The practical side of me knew that the temperature was really no concern for her anymore. The irrational side of me never wanted to worry that she was cold. I looked for the pants that matched the sweater but I couldn’t find them. I remember looking over at her bed where just hours earlier I had listened to her take her last breath and wanting so desperately to ask her where the pants were. It was the first time that I had a question for her and I knew I would never know the answer.  I felt an emptiness inside of me that would never be filled.

As the days went on we cleaned out her house and divided up her belongings. I took with me a stuffed animal bear that I knew had a name. The problem was I couldn’t for the life of me remember what that name was. I looked at him over and over again questioning what she had called him. I came up with a name that I thought it might be. It sounded familiar. However, I knew that I could never call him a name that might not be his real name. Every time I said it I would question if my mother was shuddering in Heaven while her daughter called her beloved bear by the wrong name.

I decided the next best thing to do was to give him a new name. I knew if I was renaming him it had to be a name that immediately made me think of my mom. That name is Barnabas. My mother’s favorite show when she was in junior high was the soap opera Dark Shadows (you may know the 2012 movie remake).  Her favorite character was named Barnabas. In the late 90s/early 2000s, the series was rerun on the Sci-Fi channel. My mother would record the episodes during the day and once a month have her two girlfriends from junior high over. They would watch the episodes, eat popcorn, talk, and laugh. It became known as “Dark Shadows Night” at our house and my mother always looked forward to it. Barnabas - that would be his new name.

Henry (who was only two months old when my mother passed) inherited Barnabas the bear. He has slept with him every night since he was a baby. Last week, Henry had pajama day at school and could bring in one special stuffed animal with him. Of course, he chose Barnabas. When we got to school Henry’s teacher asked him if his bear had a name. He said, “His name is Barnabas. He’s extra special because Grammy gave him to me. She’s in Heaven now.”  It was at that moment that I knew for sure I had given the bear the right name. 

Henry and Barnabas ready for Pajama Day!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Menu Craft for Kids!

I've talked before about how Isabelle (5) loves to do crafts. The girl would sit at the table all day long and color, paint, glue, sparkle, ribbon, etc! The other day she spent her afternoon making a menu for her pretend restaurant. She cut out pictures of food from the local grocery store flyers, colored the pages, and then we put them together with some ribbon. It's super easy and kept her entertained for hours. We now use it whenver we play restaurant so it's actually a useful craft, too - a win/win!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Get Your Small Child to (Happily) Take a Shower

I was out the other night with some mom friends and we were talking about bath time routines. Admittedly, I do not give the kids baths every night. They usually get one every other night in the winter unless they are super gross. In the summer, they do usually get bathed every day simply because they’ve been covered in sunblock and out in the dirt all day. On those long days though you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m not leisurely drawing a bath overflowing with bubbles for each of the children to enjoy. Those kids are getting hosed off in the fastest way possible which generally means a shower.  Note: I would bathe a couple of them together but Daniel (2) is no one’s friend in the tub. He’s the kid who’s stealing your toys, dumping water on your head, and trying to drown you.

When I mentioned that I often just shower the kids to my friends several of them said that their kids won’t take showers. Luckily, I’ve never had this problem. After I shared with them how I shower them and saw the light bulbs going off in their heads it dawned on me that not everyone does it my way so I figured I’d share my expert* ways.

First, a couple of Mother’s Days ago, I asked my husband to put in one of those handheld shower hoses that you can take down to use. This alone was life changing. If you have children and do not have one of these, put down what you’re doing and run (don’t walk) to the nearest store to get one. It makes life so much easier with bathing kids.

Then when I shower the kids I put a step stool in the shower for them to sit on. It’s not a fancy schmancy made for the shower stool – it’s the stool they stand on when they wash their hands. So I just grab the little plastic stool and put it in the shower. They then sit on it and happily play with a toy while I hose them down, suds them up, and then rinse them off. I’ve perfected it to take approximately two minutes total per child. Sometimes if I’m feeling nice I let them hang out in there for a few minutes and hold the sprayer themselves. They love this and only mildly soak the entire bathroom.

So there it is folks, got a small child who doesn’t like to shower? Get a shower head with a hose, throw a stool in the tub, and (hopefully) kiss your problems goodbye!

*I am not actually an expert

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A New Room for the Boys!

Not to be overshadowed by Isabelle's super, awesome new room - the boys are loving their new room as well!

Boy fun!
Apparently, Tim can do stripes as well as rainbow murals!

Sleeping quarters!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Until Death Do Us Part

Tomorrow marks the 33rd anniversary of my father’s passing. It’s always easy for me to remember how many years it has been since it’s always how old I am at the time. He passed away just two months after I was born.

I always felt a little sorry for myself – growing up without a dad. Nowadays, a lot of children don’t have fathers in their lives but way back then most people had a mom and a dad. I felt like I was missing out on “dad” stuff. I imagined how awesome my dad was and how we would be living the most cool life ever if only he was alive. As a parent now, I realize it wasn’t me that anyone (including myself) should have ever felt bad for – it was my dad and mom.

I can’t imagine having a pregnant wife and learning that I had Melanoma Skin Cancer. I can’t imagine battling through chemo and surgery during a time when I should be happily painting a nursery. I can’t imagine missing the birth of my child because I was in the hospital fighting for life. I can’t imagine knowing that I would miss my child’s first words, first steps, and every step after that. I can’t imagine knowing that I would be leaving behind my beloved wife with a two year old and a two month old to take care of on her own. It is all simply unimaginable yet it’s what he had to deal with.

As for my mother, I can’t imagine caring for a toddler, carrying a baby inside of me, and watching my husband die. I can’t imagine the sorrow and the fright of not knowing what my future holds. I can’t imagine knowing my husband would never walk through the door again. I can’t imagine knowing that I had to do it all on my own. I can’t imagine not getting my happily ever after.

The whole situation was really just horrible. It’s only now as an adult (and parent) that I truly recognize how remarkable they both were. I only wish they were here for me to tell them.

A note my father wrote to my mother in college. She saved it and then passed it along to me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Great Expectations: Struggling Through the Terrible Twos

Today, I am honored (like legit honored) to be guest posting over at G*Funk*ified.

For those who aren't familiar with the blog, it's run by the super awesome Greta who is a mom to four young children and is sweet, sincere, and sassy. She has a guest post series called Great Expectations where people share an expectation they had and then what it really turned out to be. Today, I'm openly admitting the struggles that I'm having with my youngest. I'm questioning my choices, my parenting skills, and my sanity. Click HERE to read the whole story and while you're there leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by G*Funk*ified. Oh, and why not go give Greta some love on her Facebook page, too? Thanks!


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Reason to Love Mondays

Another mother from Isabelle's school asked me if I could help her out by driving her son home from school one day a week. The pick up time is 1pm and as most mothers know that is prime nap time for her youngest son. Since I'm already picking up Isabelle it's no problem at all to drop her son off, too. In return she agreed to pick Isabelle up Monday mornings and drive her to school. This is the second week and let me tell you - IT IS HEAVENLY. We now have one morning that I don't have to rush all three kids out the door to get to school (since Henry goes the opposite days).

It's not the getting up, dressed, fed part that drives me batty each morning. It's the actual getting out the door. It's the last minute potty trips. It's the putting on shoes and coats. It's the getting in car seats. It's the things that should take 1 minute but suddenly take 10 when you are on your way to school. Plus, when we get to school I have to drag all of them inside, up the elevator ("It's my turn to push the button." "No, It's MY turn."), down the hall and to the classroom.

Not having to deal with this one day a week? It's the kind of thing that dreams are made of. There are virtual fairies flying around my house sprinkling happy powder today. It is magical.

One kid ready to go!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Perfect Room for a Five Year Old Girl!

I've previously written about how Isabelle had no desire to move in to a room of her own. You can read the full details HERE. However, I'm happy to report that last weekend she finally decided it was time. It was like a switch was turned and suddenly she was all for her own room. She spent her first night alone in her new big, girl room on Sunday and it was a BIG success.

The boys are also excited to be sharing a room now. Well actually, it's really Daniel who is excited to have a roommate since he's always been alone. Each night we've been hearing him yell "HENRY!!!" until finally he passes out. Next on our "to do" list is to paint and decorate their room.

To be honest though, I'm not sure who is more excited about Isabelle's new room - her or me. It is totally pink, totally girly, and totally wonderful (in my humble opinion!). There are a few finishing touches to complete but without further ado, here it is...

Girly awesomeness!
Oh, and that rainbow on the wall. husband painted that. I honestly had no idea he could even do something like that. I've never even seen him paint anything before. He's full of surprises.

My husband's masterpiece (with a little help from the kids!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Got the Flu but Did We Get the Flu SHOT?

Just shy of two weeks ago, our house was hit with the flu. I was the first to come down with it and I was hit hard. However, like any mom who is busy shuffling kids around, baking, and doing last minute things just a few days before Christmas, I was living in denial. I’ve had a cough since Thanksgiving(?) and thought it had just festered in to something that would quickly be cured by some antibiotics. One trip to the doctor and one chest x-ray later, I was not prescribed an antibiotic but rather sentenced to (what felt like) my death bed for the next five days. The flu then slowly but surely took down every member of our household (in varying degrees).

Whenever anyone hears that we had the flu the first question that people ask is if we got the flu shot. The answer is yes, and no. In October, I dragged all three kids to the doctor’s office at 7:30pm (since that was the only open appointment that they had) to get the shots. It was past their bedtime and I had to physically restrain Isabelle who was kicking and screaming while the nurse gave her the shot. So yeah, it was basically a nightmare but it was worth it, right? My kids weren’t going to get the flu – yippee! They were surrounded by a magical anti-flu force field. My husband also got the flu shot since they give them out at his work. Me, on the other hand? I did not get the shot. My mom didn’t come drive me to the doctor (I think all the taxis in Heaven were booked) and my employer failed to set up an easily accessible time/location for me to receive the vaccination.

So go figure that I am the one who comes down with it. I can’t help but think that if I had got the shot that I could have prevented it from entering our house in the first place. We could have not been home confined for twelve (TWELVE!) days. We could have celebrated Christmas with our family. We could have had a happy and healthy school break. I had never really considered that me not getting the shot would get the others sick. Clearly, I knew that I risked getting sick but I thought that even if I was sick that the flu shot would protect everyone else. I mean, isn’t that the whole point? Now I’m sure that the shot worked successfully on tons of people this year but is it too much for it to have worked on my family? What did we do to piss off the flu shot scientists? Or maybe the nurses gave us a placebo shot...oh, the conspiracy theories are endless!

In all seriousness though, let me tell you that this flu that we had TOTALLY sucked. Isabelle and I (in particular) were so sick with it. If I had a magic wand, I would go back and get the flu shot in hopes that it would have prevented it from invading our house. Since I don’t have a magic wand, I’m telling YOU that you might want to consider getting vaccinated. You don’t want to be sick like we were and you don’t want to have to sit around after the fact wondering if you could have done something to prevent your entire house from being brought down by the plague. So that’s my advice – take it or leave it! Oh, and go stock up on medications either way.

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