Party Animals

Alrighty, I have no pictures for you. Let me just get that out of the way. I will tomorrow. Today was our first Sunday back, so it was great to see friends and family we haven’t caught up with. I will post pictures tomorrow, but I just want to sign off by giving you a mental picture. A skunk and a rodeo clown. My children.

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Bribe

Everyone has an opinion. Especially about parenting. Mine? Bribery is actually very effective and useful and I like it.

The other day we were walking through a store during a stop between plymouth and boston, and I really needed Violet to use the bathroom there instead of during an emergency exit from the freeway to find a bathroom.

“Violet, if you can go peepee in the potty, Mommy will give you some fishy crackers.”

“Otay Mom! Fishy crackers yummy Vi-wee tummy!”

Then, after five minutes of singsonging in the echo’y bathroom, the magic happened.

Violet: “Ahhhh….fishy crackers…”

Also, i know–i just blogged about peepee in the potty. If you don’t like it, i’m sure there’s plenty of blogs out there that don’t use bathroom humor.

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God is good all the time

Okay, I’m back. I know we got back on monday but it’s been a long week already for many reasons. We’ve been enjoying AJ’s time off between jobs and trying to restock our pantries while grocery shopping with two small children, which for some reason has an uncanny ability to make me forget why on earth I stepped foot in a grocery store for something other than jojo’s from the deli. We’ve also been trying to reconnect with friends and family and get our kids into clothes that fit. They’ve both grown so much since we’ve been gone that by the end they were both looking ridiculous.

We’ve also been trying to make sense of tragedies and the frailty of life that seems so much more apparent now that I have children of my own. Some dear friends of ours lost their sweet little girl just a little younger than Henry this past weekend. Every time I start to try and wrap my head around what just happened, something shorts out and I’m left with an ache in my throat that doesn’t swallow away. I can’t understand it. So I don’t try. I can do nothing but surrender into the knowledge that God is good. No one can deny that there is pain and cruelty in our world, but in the same breath it is also impossible to deny the goodness of God. While a loss like this makes me want to watch my children while they sleep and allow myself to be tormented by worry, I know in spite of all the future holds, Jesus loves my loved ones even more than I do. This is a great comfort to me.

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I would, but I fell asleep.

No, literally. I fell asleep last night while trying to think of a blog. I then decided not to blog. I’m wishing daylight savings was here sooner because this whole time change is seriously messing with us. We’re all up by 4am for the second day in a row. It doesn’t help that my children are early risers anyway. Anyway, we’re back.

For some reason our return flight was split in two resulting in nearly three hours of more flying time. Violet did really well with no accidents except for the one time when we were running from one plane to the next and she was yelling “POO POO! MOMMMMMYYYY! POOO POOOO! HURRY!” and I had to tell her that I would rather her poop in her diaper than us miss our flight. Poor kid. She is potty trained but there was no way on earth I was going to have an accident on an airplane.

The two flights went remarkably well though I found myself making all sorts of rash promises to myself about never stepping foot on an airplane again.

Now to fill up my fridge again, and weed my patio which has turned into a wild jungle. I have a tomato plant out there. I didn’t plant any tomatoes.

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home stretch

Stretch. That’s a funny word. Say it out loud. Say it fast, say it slow. Say it in a boat with a goat, say it in a house with a mouse. I love when words sounds like the thing they are. If you say “Streeeetch” it actually makes you want to stretch. Like Boing. Boing sounds exactly the way it should. Not like hors d’oeuvres.

On a completely different topic. Tomorrow is our last day here in Cape Cod. Maybe ever. Tomorrow will be a flurry of packing, and organizing and last-minute cleaning, and beaching. Sunday we’ll head to Boston for the day and Monday night will be spent on our blissfully comfortable mattress. At home.

Speaking of home, Heaven is a place of celebration today. A hero of mine and AJ’s passed away after a long fight with cancer. When AJ and I were engaged we spent an evening with him and his wife as part of an “assignment” in our premarital counseling where we asked an older couple we respected to share their love story and how they made it work. History tells us of epic love stories. Stories of passion, mystique and drama. Maybe those ones stand out because they make the headlines, but it’s the stories of self-sacrifice that last. Maggie told us how shortly before they were married, Rod told her that he would stand in front of a train for her. Just stated it like that–simply. So, that’s what they told us. Stand in front of a train for your spouse. Do what it takes. When you sacrifice everything, the only thing left is true love.

 

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Bedbugs

Have I mentioned on this blog that I’m a complete germaphobe? And, I don’t like bugs. Enter Stage Left–Bedbugs! No, we don’t have them. However, in the next few days we will be sleeping in a hotel and riding in one taxi, a shuttle, and two airplanes. You can bet I’m going to do everything possible to make sure we don’t bring bedbugs home to our newish memory foam mattress that we miss dearly. Apparently the little buggers can live up to 18 months! When we get home we’re all stripping down in the driveway and burning our belongings. Sorry neighbors. I kid…I kid…we’ll just get nekkid in the garage, place everything in the freezer and go upstairs to shower in bleach. No, true story–if you freeze your luggage it kills the bugs and eggs. This reminds me–I’m going to pack garbage bags and after we get off our last flight we’re going to head to a family restroom and check everyone for bedbugs, and put all our bags into the garbage bags just to make sure.

Anyway, today is AJ’s last day of work. The peeps and I are chillin’ at home till he gets off. And by “chillin” I mean that I will be attempting to avoid total anarchy and chaos while they find new things to get into.

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Today

1. Foil is a great toy for a toddler. First you make clothes and hats, then you make balls.

2. Henry helped AJ with something on the car by assisting from the front-pack.

3. Little Miss Violet is well on her way to becoming a bakerella. She loves helping me bake. I let her dump ingredients from the measuring cups and stir (gently!). We’re still working on the egg cracking…

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Facebook Smartiquette

Today I’d like to ascend the Nerd soapbox and give you my two cents on Facebook smarts, etiquette, and privacy. I have a facebook profile. I like it. You probably do too. It’s pretty easy to get comfortable with Facebook because of the familiarity it breeds between you and your friends. After all, you’re probably aware of many details of your friend’s lives and that feeling of community can help us forget the immortality of our every online action. Here’s what I think everyone should remember and know about Facebook.

  • Security settings

Tightening up the security on your facebook profile is not a one-step process. It’s also not a one-time process. As Facebook adds new features all the time, it is also always changing the way it’s security works. I think this is annoying, but I would rather just update my settings than delete my account. If you are a parent worried about the privacy/security of your child’s account, keep in mind that you can set their account so that certain online actions get emailed to you in case you want to monitor their new friend. Since the security settings are very customizable, you can make your account super private or completely public. To start, click on the Account” button on the upper right-hand corner. Since telling you all the in’s and out’s of updating your security is a little outside the scope of this blog, please do a little online research and go through all the privacy/security/setting tabs on your account. Facebook is a little like a scorned ex with the unnerving potential to air your dirty laundry with the slightest provocation. Solution? No dirty laundry. No matter how secure your profile is you should avoid the following:

  1. Making negative comments about ANYONE that you don’t want EVERYONE to see. This includes you boss, your place of employment, your old friends, your dog, etc.
  2. Posting pictures of your children showing private parts. I don’t have a problem with baby butts to a certain extent but anything other than that is a MAJOR no no. Of course the same should go for you and other adult friends.
  • Friends

I know this sounds simple. DON”T BE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE YOU DON”T KNOW. Personally, I have a pretty strict policy of not being friends with people unless we are legitimately friends in real life. No acquaintances. That’s just me. I am not into having a online relationship with someone that is different than our real life relationship. That being said, I still have friends that I only added because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. What do you do? While I do legitimately know them, I don’t care to hear about their morning coffee, or how they slept last night. I avoid this by removing them from my news feed by clicking the small “x” next to their post. Also if have a bunch of friends who play games or take quizzes all the time you have the option of only hiding those actions. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty for being picky about their friends. You are in real life, you may as well online.

  • Online immortality

Here’s the crazy part about this. It’s just like Vegas–whatever happens online, stays online. This is an important thing to get your head wrapped around, because none of us have yet to really live out the implications of this fact. I can’t type in my parent’s names and find out everything they said and did online and all the pictures they were in back in their early twenties, because there was no internet. However, when my children are adults, and with a small amount of internet savvy they will have access to any pictures posted of me, all my status updates on Facebook, and every single one of these blog posts (Hi Kids!). You really need to think before you post.

  • Spam/hacker awareness

I know it’s easy to get scared by all those news stories about hackers posing as someone on their profile and asking friends to wire money. It can also be annoying to log in one day and find out that you sent 95 of your friends a video titled, “LOL!!WUT YOU DID LAST NITE WAS CRAAAAZZZYYYY!!!!” Here’s three simple ways to avoid this.

  1. Do not click on anything posted by your friends that has any chance of not being posted by them. Even if this means you have to ask them first. No videos, no links, no “likes”.
  2. Do not respond to any friends asking for money or private information. Even if they have been kidnapped and are being slowly tortured. This is not your friend. This is a hacker.
  3. Change your password if you do any of these two things. You can also set one of your security settings so that you get an email if another computer logs in to your account.

I know this was long. You probably think I’m paranoid. I’m okay with that.

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To Speak for the Weak

Today I’d like to direct your attention to an excellent website. Abort73 is dedicated to educating people about the realities of abortion and providing resources to help people struggling with the decision for Life. While I am a staunch supporter of Life, I often find myself frustrated by some prolife groups because often I feel that their message is so filled with hate for the people that have the abortions that it has a negative effect on their message. With that said, Abort73 is a great resource to find out all the facts about abortion, the scope of its affect, and how we all can change this reality.

Changing the laws about abortion in our country is not about legislating morality. If we have laws protecting house cats from cruelty, we should have laws protecting tiny humans as well. Furthermore, there is no scenario where anyone should be allowed to determine the value of a baby’s life depending on his or her mother’s economical/social status.

Please visit the site and see what you think. You might even find something to buy and support them. As the contest winner, I am sending Angela S. this T-shirt!\

After all, if you can–you should.

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And the Winner is….

Angela S.! Yaaaaayyyyyy!!!

Angela, go ahead and leave me a comment with your mailing address. I won’t publish it but I think that’s the easiest way to contact me without me leaving my email address out here for spammers to drool over. I have no idea what to send you yet but rest assured, it will be awesome and interesting.

this was fun. I might have another contest sometime. I actually found a website application that would generate a random number to choose the winner.

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Worth it

Fall is here. Outside the blustery side of Cape Cod is beginning to show itself. Leaves are changing each day with gilded sprinkles of color like a child who can’t paint inside the lines, and the wind is doing it’s best to shake those trees nekkid. I’m reluctant to turn on the heat because that would mean having to unscrew all the ancient spider-ridden grates and pick out all of Violet’s cling-on stickers, so we make do with extra blankets at night and extra baking during the day. After all, we’ve only nine days to go.

And I’m ready, but not ready. Turns out, there’s not much to do on Cape Cod if you don’t care for golfing or antiquing. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure I could acquire a taste for both but I’m also under fifty and my income reflects that. On the plus side, small children aren’t much in to anything but playing, so I guess this location was ideally suited for us. Plus, it’s gorgeous here. Gor-geous. For those of you who would like to come here sometime, you should know that tourist season ends around the middle of September, meaning the prices drop, the people all leave, and the weather hits the peak of perfection.

I am ready to go home and have some interaction with other adults during the day while AJ is at work. Spending all day with The Littles/Thing One and Thing Two/The King and Queen/ breaks me at my weakest points and severely chafes at my stronger points. At the end of most days I feel as if I’ve re-met myself and discovered again the bottoms of my lowest lows in a never ending journey where Grace is more than just a staple for life. The good news is that His mercies are new every morning, and there is no better illustration of that than the way Violet greets me when she wakes up…all fuzzy-haired and squinty and smiling and cuddly.

 

Quote of the Day: “Henry, we’re men, but we’re not men who watch NASCAR.”

-AJ

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Now, to think of something interesting…

Well, it looks like I need to find something “interesting” for my comment winner. great. Remember, any comments between now and sunday morning will be entered.

Right now, my prize options include but are not limited to:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree,

A library book,

a gift card to somewhere obscure,

A free subscription to American Bowhunter (yes, people actually read that)

A postcard from Cape Cod,

1 pass to the Lights of Christmas,

A puppy,

An earring…yes, just one

A James Bond 2009 Calendar.

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Dear Blog,

It’s not me, its you. I hope someday you can understand.

I do honestly like blogging. When I started blogging on this site nearly two years ago I was using it as a creative exercise in writing, where forcing myself to come up with something interesting each day served the dual purpose of honing my writing skills and providing me with a outlet for my thoughts, observations, and incredibly fantastic sense of humor. Here’s my problem; I lack willpower. I never intended for this blog to become a daily journal of who did what and how much sleep I haven’t gotten. I just read the last couple of posts, and I officially think my blog is blah now. It’s way harder to be creative with two children rather than one. Plus, I would rather make googly faces at Henry than blog anyway, so it’s kind of a tough decision some nights.

**WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT**THE FOLLOWING IS A TEST OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM**

So, you know that lotion Aquaphor? It’s great for dry skin. Super greasy but it works really well. Violet just got a hold of it. First she was putting it on her face. Then she was putting it on her lips. Obviously the natural progression here is to put it on her tongue next. She did. Have I mentioned yet how easily she can make herself vomit? I don’t think the aquaphor vomit stain is going to come out of her pants too easily.

See? I can’t blog without interruptions now. In the beginning I used to be able to sit at the computer, listen to some music to get my creativity moving and just go. Now, I write with the symphony of shrieks, yells, and grunts in the background. It’s not like I don’t have reasons to keep blogging. Today I passed the 17k mark for blog hits, and I always have incredibly fascinating and humorous anecdotes to share, but the hard part is to find the time and mental space to put them down here.

I’m not going to stop blogging; I just needs to get my game back, ya’ll…and would it kill you to comment every once in a while? Yeah, you know who you are. Don’t think for a minute that I am going to start having contest giveaways to get people to comment on my blog. Fine. Okay…I’ll pick a random winner on Sunday morning from people who leave legitimate comments. You will win something interesting. That’s all I know at this point.

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Fun with pantyhose

i really shouldn’t post this until i have a picture, but i can’t help it. Violet discovered the entertainment that comes with pulling nylons over your face. we even tried it on Henry. To be entirely honest, it wasn’t a nylon, just a nylon foot sock from the foot sock box next to the shoe rack at Marshalls.

This game is especially effective when your eyebrows are as fierce as Violet and Henry’s are.

step one: pull a nylon over your head.

step two: tug downward till your eyes are nearly shut and your nose is flattened.

step three: pull upward until you have a piggy-nose and your cheeks are squishing into your eyes.

step four: repeat.

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A day late and a dollar short…

I didn’t blog yesterday. I meant to. Yesterday was 10/10/10. I felt like such an auspicious day deserved a special blog post, but after traipsing around Plymouth all day with one child who has the eating habits of a newborn, and the other whose diaperless ways create extra stress in the form of countless bathroom trips spent silently pleading for pee on my part and singing to hear the echoes on her part.

We did have a great day though, we went to Plimoth Plantation complete with an indian village, the dressed up actors, period houses, chickens, etc. Afterward, we went through a tour of a ship modeled exactly after the original mayflower as it was docked on the Plymouth waterfront. The bonus was that an ice cream shop next to our car was giving away free ice cream to clear out their summer stock before they closed for the year.

Today is two weeks before we come home. yay.

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Lighthouse Lady

Today we went to go see a lighthouse because we figured if we’re living on Cape Cod we might as well. The weather this weekend is supremely beautiful, and the bluff and the lighthouse were straight from a postcard.

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Lack of Sleep Makes Me cixelsyD…

Oh Henry…he’s a conundrum. This afternoon I fed him some applesauce with rice cereal mixed in, and he looked at me like I was holding out on him.

“Hey Ma, where’s the steak and potatoes? Men don’t eat no mushy stuff!”

In other news, he is five months old and still not sleeping through the night. When can I start him on red meat?

Today we went to a children’s museum here. Whoever invented the idea of children’s interactive museums was a genius.

Here’s a few pictures…

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“And on that farm he had a…?”

Violet likes to supply the characters when singing “Old McDonald.” She hasn’t seemed to figure out what sort of characters we should use, but her ideas always keep it interesting. Trust me, “Old McDonald” ain’t boring when he has Sesame Street characters on his farm.

Some of her suggestions have included,

Cookie Monster

Isla

Isla’s Momma

Mommy

Daddy

(“No Violet, just animals.”  “mkay, jus Daddy”)

Cookie Monster’s Daddy (which gets a little tricky when you’re singing, “…with Cookie Monster’s Daddy here, and Cookie Monster’s Daddy there, here a Cookie Monster’s Daddy, there a Cookie Monster’s Daddy, everywhere  Cookie Monster’s Daddy…”

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Playing for keeps

Today I was reminded of how precious my family is. How do I love them? Let me count the ways…

1. Henry kicking Violet in the face while suspended in the front pack during one of many potty trips while out shopping today as poor Violet tried to pee and avoid his churning feet at the same time.

2. Watching Violet pick out a piece of candy after a successful potty venture.

3. Hearing Henry slurp on a piece of dried mango that I was holding for him.

4. Seeing the elation on Violet’s face when we stopped by AJ’s work today.

5. Henry’s impossibly long eyelashes.

6. The way he smiles in his sleep when I say his name.

7. Violet’s bedtime routine complete with a ton of goodnight kisses.

8. The countless nicknames I have for my children.

9. AJ.

10. Watching the three of them together.

AJ just told me that one of his favorite questions in the world is, “Are you asleep?”

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Too many to count

I wish I had my own paparazzi. I think this on a fairly regular basis. No, it’s not because I have some celebrity complex that needs validation though constant attention.  It’s because I have children. Small children. Very hard to catch-in-the-act, small children. Flamboyantly, persnickety, adorable, very hard to catch-in-the-act, small children. I would literally have to follow them around all the time and issue annoying “WAIT!STOP!DON’TMOVE!” commands.

Having my own entourage of paparazzi would have come in handy yesterday. We bought Violet a riding ticket for a carousel yesterday. It was at the local mall where we had decided to escape to for the day to avoid the rain. In the center of the mall was this adorable imported-from-italy, made-a-decently-long-time-ago, hand-painted carousel. As soon as we entered the mall and Violet saw it she was squealing with delight. Eventually, towards the end of our outing we decided to let her ride it. She was ecstatic. Thrilled. Overcome. Until…she sat on the horse. Everyone was watching. Too many people watching. MUST. GET. OFF. NOW! AJ brought her over to sit in the carriage on the carousel instead of a horse, and I got to watch from the side as her face got progressively tear-filled in each successive circle. If it wasn’t so cute it would have been funnier. She was just getting over a horrifyingly embarrassing moment in Macys where she had nearly pulled a mannequin on top of her self and was stopped by a store employee just in time. For whatever reason, that incident scalded her little psyche with the white-heat that can only be brought about through a social blunder. Next thing she knows, she’s sitting on a brightly painted horse, surrounded in color, lights, and music with a bunch of people watching. No wonder.

Anyway, we’re coming home three weeks from today. I’d tell you to get the bubbly ready for me but i’m pretty sure someone would bring me pop.

Last but not least. Violet has been collecting sticks and bringing them home on our walks lately. She loves all the potential they have for entertainment. She just woke up, came down stairs, and wandered around mumbling “Steek…steek” until she found her favorite stick under the coffee table. “Steek! Mama! Violet’s Steek!” And then, she hugged it.

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Life.

I don’t have much to say today, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much worth saying. With that in mind, today I am just going to post a video that has been making the rounds on facebook this week. It’s the story of an abortion survivor who was accidentally born during her saline abortion. I remember the first time my parents really talked to me about abortion. I was probably eight years old. I remember feeling confused, incredulous, and sickened, but mostly just really sad. That wasn’t a childlike reaction, that was a human reaction. This isn’t the kind of issue that we need to embrace as a harsh reality of life, or accept as part of our fallen human condition like war. Killing people is wrong, not matter how old they are.

You never know where the next world-changer will come from, and every child has a chance to change the world.

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The End of an Era and Married People Bets

HD 189733 has a Jupiter-class planet in a tigh...

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I was watching the news while I was at the gym. I think it was NBC. Anyway, they said something pretty awesome. Apparently something like a gadzillion miles away they have discovered another planet with similar conditions to earth, meaning it could possibly support life. They are calling it Earth Jr. or the Goldilocks Planet (you know…not to hot, not too cold, just right…and by they I do not mean any of those space scientists or whatever you call them, but probably just a witty news writer with an ear for cheesy segues.)

Which brings me to my point. I think this makes Aliens officially real, AAAAND–we might be aliens. If we discover this planet and go visit it and the natives see us, you can bet your brown dress shoes they’ll be calling us aliens. Besides, who needs brown dress shoes anyway?

So, last night just before falling asleep I was telling AJ about this planet. He was kind of being a pessimist about it.

“It’s not like we’ll ever know–it’s too far away for anything other than mathematical guesses about it.”

“Seriously? I bet people will visit it in our lifetime.”

“No way. I will bet you a million dollars that doesn’t happen.”

“What? You can’t bet money–we’re married, Dumbass! You need to bet something that affects only one of us.”

“What should we bet then…?”

“Ha! Here’s what we’ll bet. If, sorry–when, when astronauts visit this planet, you need  to strip down in a public place and get arrested.”

“You know we’ll probably be pretty old, right?”

“That’s the point….Oh, and you need to grease up all over with body oil like a body builder before.”

“Why please?”

“Because the only thing funnier than a naked old man getting arrested would be a naked greasy old man escaping from a bunch of police officers.”

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