Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Welcome to Mayberry

Ok well I don't really live in Mayberry, but there's something to be said for where we live...street lights line most of our roads; old trees create a tunnel to drive through just a couple streets over; neighbors welcome each other into their homes for Sunday afternoon football watching; and the moms gather on the block around 5:00pm, wine in hand trying to hold it together just a little longer, waiting for everyone to get home from work while the kids roam in the yard.  

If it really were Mayberry those moms would be inside getting dinner on the table in their perfect house dress, pearls on and lipstick freshened.  Hello, June Cleaver.

In all seriousness, I LOVE where we live.  Today's naps were near non-existent so plan B resulted in yet another wagon ride to get some errands done.  Sans car...love it!  The boys get fresh air and I burn some calories - it's a win, win.  We can walk almost anywhere from our house and in less than a mile pretty much get to whatever we need...4 playgrounds, the grocery store, Ben Franklin, the bank, Chick-Fil-A, Dollar Tree, Panera, Dairy Queen, Starbucks, Moe's, and Old Navy, just to name a few.  Can you tell where my priorities are?  My husband's logic is that if a little retail therapy from Old Navy or Ross (gotta love a cheap find:)) keeps me happy and sane, then he supports my spending because it's cheaper than a sitter.  I'll admit that I might not be the trendiest mom out there, but I'm practical and comfortable (I guess that might equate to boring too - yikes!).  

The UPS man knows not to ring my doorbell if he stops by between 1:00 and 3:00 (duh, nap time!).  The mail lady used to pop in everyday just to see how the boys were growing and after I gave her some homemade muffins at Christmas last year she hand wrote a personal thank you note.  Her name is Pearly - does it get any sweeter than that?  We know the regular walkers in the neighborhood and most of their dogs by name.  When the boys start elementary school we're close enough that they can walk to class.  I can be on the interstate heading in any direction in less than 2 minutes.  On Thursday I'm meeting some girlfriends for dinner and I get to walk just down the street (hello, vino!).  And because our town is such a bubble, you're bound to have gone to high school or elementary school with someone within a block of your house.  This could be good or bad, depending on who you are:)  Having the flexibility to get out and do whatever whenever has truly been my saving grace since staying at home full time.  And the walking, walking, walking certainly help shed the babies weight!  Next up is exploring our neighborhood by bike after I find a trailer to load the kids into...our shopping possibilities just expanded...

Ah, home sweet home:) 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm the Mom and I'll Cry If I Want To

Today started with chocolate chip pancakes.  

That got thrown across the dining room and ended up on the floor next to some hardened cheese from yesterday.

The day ended with two boys dancing and splashing in the bath.

With a puddle of pee outside the tub.

In between we played at the botanical gardens, visited our oldest relatives, and Skyped with grandparents.

Good day, right?  But I'm going to admit that sometimes I just want to throw in the towel.  At 31 years old sometimes I don't want to play at one more park or visit one more mall kid area or scoop one more shovel of fake sand at the Children's Museum.  I want to browse the card section on un-borrowed time; I want to watch Lifetime movies all day and not feel guilty about the pile of laundry staring at me in the face; I want to complete my to-do list in one day; I want to have engaging adult conversation or gossip over mindless celebrity news; and I want to use my brain beyond the 'oh-crap-naps-were-short-what-can-we-do-next' mode.  I want, I want, I want.  But having kids changes everything and there's no looking back.

Don't worry, I DO cherish these days because they go by quickly and I DO appreciate the time we have together; but sometimes I want to throw the peas right back and I want to leave the wagon outside with the kids still in it and I know that sometimes it's me that needs the time out. Only human or totally mad?

MAMA SAID THERE'D BE DAYS LIKE THIS and tomorrow is a BRAND NEW DAY, but every now and again I want to kick and scream just like they do because I'm the mom and I'LL CRY IF I WANT TO.
I know how you feel sometimes, guys.
Did I mention that I wouldn't trade them for the world?


Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Time!

Dad got out the 1992 Bon Appetit for all of our 'usual' recipes; Mom set up and decorated.

Family gathered.

 Old stories were shared.
 

New ones were made.

 And we all rested in ways we thought best fit for the occasion.
I'm attributing my current writer's block to a Turkey Day food coma and its leftovers, a cold that's left me brain dead, and the impending stress of the mile long to-do list with which Christmas introduces itself.  BUT it's still November, which is why I did not brave the Black Friday sales today or pull out the Christmas decorations.  I will leave my harvest wreath hanging a few more days and will not listen to Lite 98's holiday tunes until December 1.  

image from cartoonsy.com




as seen on Facebook.com


***
We should all be thankful for
those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

--Albert Schweitzer

 And that I am...for family near and far; friends old and new; 
and most importantly my boys. 

I was recently talking to an old friend and we both agreed that life is so good we sometimes pinch ourselves...how fortunate we are to realize our greatest blessings.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 21, 2011

No plans? No problem!

We woke up without any plans today.  A holiday week ahead of us and no special, festive way to kick it off.  Until I got to thinking and ended up with a jam packed day...

After the boys' ritual breakfast (scrambled eggs with cheese and waffle/french toast and fruit/Nutrigrain bar) we loaded up in the wagon to go watch the trucks (TRUUUUUUUCKS!).  Road work has been going on near our house for the past few months and the countless construction vehicles have provided hours of entertainment for the boys.  So much that I had to make a few purchases at Barnes and Noble so I could learn to call the trucks by their right names...digger, loader, back hoe, excavator, roller, sweeper, etc).  We can hear the trucks roll in each morning and it's all the boys can do not to let themselves out of their cribs, run down the stairs, and make their way out of the house themselves!  TRUUUUUCKS, TRUUUUUCKS, TRUUUUUCKS!  'Digger' is also part of the boys' regular vocabulary:)  To say they are obsessed is to put it lightly.


Then it was off to music class to sing some songs; play with Miss Nancy's scarves, turkey stick puppets, shakers, and bounce balls; and even partake in the "Skinna Marinky Dinky Dink" song (did I really just admit that?).  This is a drop-in program that's relatively inexpensive and is also down the road from the Chick-Fil-A, to which I have coupons for free chicken sandwiches - perfect drive-thru lunch stop!

We added our chicken sandwiches to the picnic lunch I'd packed and headed to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  Ever been?  You MUST!  When the boys were just a few months old a friend mentioned that "the boys and I would just love it!" and I have to be honest, I thought, "What's so great about some gardens?"  HA!!!  What's not amazing about this place?!?!  We started going regularly this past spring (a membership has been 100% wortwhile) and it's like a little piece of heaven.  There are new places to discover on every visit!  Our particular favorite spots include the sandbox, water play (when temps are above 70), the stick house, and the numerous open areas to run, race, hide, and explore.  I'm particularly excited to experience their Garden Fest of Lights Show during the holidays and taking the boys to Santa brunch again this year.  Did I mention I LOVE this place?


Finally it was time for naps, but only after singing the whole ride home.  Do these boys ever slow down?  In the afternoon we visited some identical twin girlfriends and checked out their new playroom and laughed over slobbery kisses from their dog:)  Before returning home we dropped off a meal for a family in need and finally made it back to our house in time to play in the dirt outside before having dinner.  

No plans for the day...HA!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Cookie Monsters

I love to bake.  Always have.  It's therapeutic, creative, fun, and tasty.  I get satisfaction in offering others a sweet piece of love.  It's also something I share with my dad...we swap recipes, plan menus, work in the kitchen together, and give feedback on our final products.  It's not out of the ordinary for me to whip up a batch of homemade cookies at 10:00pm on a weeknight.  I admit that sampling the dough is 99% of my motivation, but who can complain about the end result, right?!

While I still love to bake as much as ever before, it's a little more challenging to do with two kiddos crawling in between my legs.  A few months back I sent the following email to a few friends who also enjoy a good 'get-out-the-flour-butter-and-Kitchen Aid mixer-session' as much as I do...
 ***
Ever tried to make cookies while trying to entertain two 15 month olds?  It goes like this....

-have head beaten with cabinet door as you reach in for the flour, baking soda, sugar, etc. because babies want to see what's inside the cabinet
-set out all ingredients on counter
-pull out jello boxes, spice jars, and boxes of macaroni for boys to play with; add mixing spoons and sifters to play with too
-provide blocks to play with as well
-adjust oven racks while babies aren't looking so they don't crawl onto oven door
-measure and sift dry ingredients while saying "oooooooh" to keep babies entertained
-hold one baby to prevent a meltdown and beat wet ingredients; let baby help hold mixer
-try to keep pants on while other baby crawls up legs
-let babies sample pure vanilla paste....mmmmm
-let babies sample batter before adding eggs....mmmmm
-quickly set baby down, scrape sides of bowl, dump in chocolate chips and pecans, mix
-now that the mixing is done take babies to bed for a nap
-bake cookies while babies sleep (and sample batter:))
 ***
Fast forward 6 months and I had a change of heart.  Why not let the boys HELP make cookies.  During all of my babysitting years I always baked with the kids I watched, so why not start now with my own...
 


Final verdict?  SUCCESS!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Everything There is a Season...

I've heard some people equate change to loss, but I think change usually means opportunity/hope/new beginnings/time for redefining.  There is no doubt that there has been a lot of change around here in the last two years and it seems to have seeped into every facet of our lives...

Here it is almost December and I'm just now talking about the beautiful time of year when the leaves turn and the temps CHANGE.  But its beautiful fiery reds, burnt oranges, and bright yellows are everywhere and I can't help but take note.

 
 
*** 
Our house is over 60 years old and the window glazing was crumbling, wooden trim work was rotting, paint was chipping, and the new addition still sat unpainted.  It was time to address a few things we wished to CHANGE. 
before
after
***
The boys CHANGE daily.  They are like sponges soaking everything in.  In just 21 months I don't recognize the babies my boys used to be! 

 ***
I was tired of my drab, looks-like-I-didn't-shower ponytails, so it was time for a CHANGE...from long to chopped.
***
Perhaps my favorite CHANGE to talk and laugh about is that from 'loves-to-party-20 something' to 'would-rather-put-on-sweats-and-stay-at-home-with-my-kids-30 something.'  
Dancing on booths at Metro - Missy's Birthday, 2007
(1 marriage, 0 kids)
Chatting around a table at Metro - Girls' Night, 2011
(4 marriages, 6 kids)

I'd say change is good.  It's growth.  And nothing is permanent...just a time for every purpose under the sun.




Friday, November 18, 2011

'Mom/Wife of the Year' Goes To...

I'm usually very on the ball.  I'm a planner and try to stay a step ahead.  I'm thorough, careful, and organized.  

I used to be anyway.  And then my kids came along.  And somewhere along the way I lost a good chunk of my brain.  If I remember to eat breakfast and put the laundry into the dryer that I've already had to re-wash twice because I forgot it was in the washer in the first place it's a good day.  

So when today happened I just had to admit defeat.  And laugh a little.

Image from smile-emun.blogspot.com
 ON THE DOWN SIDE...

1) I locked my keys in the car.
2) I locked my phone in the car too.


3) All of this took place right around nap time.
4) I called my husband from unknown number 15 times.
5) I spent 25 minutes outside with two toddlers without coats (it was supposed to be a run-in-real-quick kind of trip) and no toys or snacks for distraction while waiting for husband to arrive and save the day.  And he did so without grumbling (to me anyway).  Did I mention I pulled him out of an important meeting?
6) After falling asleep in the car the boys only napped for an hour.  Is it wine o'clock yet?

ON THE UPSIDE...

1) I got in a good workout at the gym this morning.
2) The boys and I had a great time at the Children's Museum this morning with Cherie and Elijah.
3) Lunch was also fun with our friends.
4) The boys were oddly chipper at Hobby Lobby while I browsed the clearance section AND waited patiently while I spent 7 minutes making those 15 phone calls.
5) Before Mommy's big blunder I had just changed the boys' diapers and knew they were content with a full belly since we'd just eaten lunch.
6) I happen to have an amazingly patient, willing, and understanding husband WHO PICKED US UP AND SAVED THE DAY.
7) It's a gorgeous day out and it's Friday.
8) As I write the boys are peacefully napping upstairs...see #5 above.
9) Tonight is girls' night!
10) At least I got this at 80% off at Hobby Lobby...anything for a deal, right?
 

Clearly the 'ups' outweigh the 'downs,' so really, who can complain?  And if this is the worst imbalance in my life, then I'm a lucky girl.







Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away...Or Not

If it looks like this outside your window...

 

 and you have some of these...


then a dreary Wednesday turns into a wet adventure of it's own, complete with mud, rocks, and puddles!  Craptastic just got elevated to fantastic!


And in case you were feeling a little chilly (even though it was a balmy 65 degrees out), then one of these should help... 



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