Halloween Riddle... and other random thoughts

Q: What's better than an Oreo fresh from the package?

A: An Oreo smothered in rich, chocolate frosting.

Ok, so it's not really a riddle. It's my breakfast disguised as a Halloween craft. After all, nothing says "breakfast" like chocolate on chocolate.

I found this adorable Oreo spider project on Little Window Shoppe via MomDot. Still with me? I knew I wanted to try it with Big One because, well, it involves Oreos and M&Ms. The sacrifices a Mama makes! Despite good intentions, I've been slacking lately in the "crap" (craft) department.

Big One always loves a fun project, especially if it involves food. Here is his cute little Oreo spider. (We modified the original activity by using tootsie rolls instead of Twizzlers as the legs.) Keep in mind this is the creation of a 3 year old!

It has a few misplaced legs, but it was still very cute. And yummy. Except Big One wouldn't eat it because of all of the gooey frosting on top (Hello! That's the best part!). He doesn't like messy hands. He freaks out. He's all boy except when it comes to messy hands. You know the smash cake on the first birthday that most kids attack? He gingerly picked at the frosting for 15 minutes. He was less than thrilled when I stuck his little hand right into the cake. Yet he'll find any muddle puddle in a 50 foot radius and jump right in the middle without hesitation.

Upon returning to the living room after cleaning up the mess, I was horrified to find my son engrossed in an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. That will teach me to leave the TV running. You may leave it with an innocent enough show playing but who knows what will be on the screen when you return?

In other news/randomness...

We are still having bathroom issues at our house. Big One has gone from a once-a-day pooper to a once-every-2-or-3 days pooper. I've resorted to Pedialax. It works because Big One has no choice but to go. That doesn't stop him from kicking and screaming in an attempt to hold it in. And sometimes pooping in his undies. If anyone has any suggestions on how to break this vicious cycle, I'm open! It feels like we've tried everything. He's just plain scared to poop.

Tonight we trick or treat. Do you have Beggar's Night where you live? I don't get it. What's the point of having Halloween if you're going to trick or treat the night before? What are we supposed to do tomorrow? You know, on the actual day of Halloween? I'm sure we'll think of something (sit on the couch and zone out in front of a movie) stimulating to do as a family.

October is almost over. What? That's right. October is almost over. Leaves are falling. A chill is in the air. Hubs has a new fall toy. His latest purchase at the home improvement store? A leaf vacuum. I don't know the technical name for it. Apparently, it's a leaf blower/vacuum. He walked around the yard last night sucking up leaves. It strikes me as funny. What happened to a good old-fashioned rake? I love you, Hubs! And I suppose if I were the one responsible for the removal of leaves, a leaf vacuum would be on my wish list.

My friend, Tara, is on my mind a lot today. She's dealing with a tough family situation. Without going into too much detail, there's a precious little baby boy who was born yesterday who is paying for some mistakes his mama made while pregnant. Tara is NOT the mama of this beautiful baby just for the record! But she is feeling the effects of the situation. Tara, I love you and you have the kindest heart of anyone I know. I wish I could be there in person to give you a big hug. (Move to Iowa!)

We have an update! The poop has landed! That makes it 2 days in a row (thanks, Pedialax!). There was major screaming and fighting but the poop always wins!

On that note, I leave you all with wishes for a happy and safe Halloween/Beggar's Night!

Wordless Wednesday

Ok, so it's not completely wordless. This is my first time participating. I love this picture of Big One and Hubs walking hand in hand! Check out MomDot for more Wordless Wednesday participants!

New Career Path?

I'm considering a new career option. Creating shows for kids. Considering the "competition", it can't be that difficult. Yo Gabba Gabba? Really? That's all you've got? I can imagine that creative meeting.

"How about we have some... monsters? blobs? unidentifiable life forms?... dance around singing ridiculous songs? We could give one of them abnormally long arms that flail about in a creepy manner. To teach acceptance. Of people with unusually long arms."

And what's up with DJ Lance? There's something not right about that guy. If we came across DJ Lance, I would grab the kids and run the other direction.

I read that the over-the-top humor is intended to appeal to parents, thereby providing a show entertaining for the entire family. That brand of humor is lost on me. Am I the only adult who doesn't find Yo Gabba Gabba appealing? To be fair, I've never been able to look past the costumes and poor choreography to find the value of the show. We rarely watch Yo Gabba Gabba, but apparently it appeals to Big One. Today at the lunch table, he entertained us with a rendition of "There's a Party In My Tummy".

So tell me, Mamas. Am I missing something in Yo Gabba Gabba? Don't worry, I won't hold it against you if you find arm-flailing blobs appealing. I just miss the Smurfs and Tom and Jerry type shows of my youth. The kids shows of today just aren't doing it for me.


Too often I let the little things drag me down. The never ending pile of laundry. The way Big One laughs when I'm lecturing him for being naughty. (Oh how this makes me angry. I try. I really do. But don't laugh when you're in trouble! Mommy DOES NOT like that!) The dog barking during nap time. (Don't mess with nap time.)

It's time to count my blessings. There are many of them. I can't possibly list them all. Here are a few to ease myself into a happy slumber so that I can enjoy them again tomorrow...

Little One's beautiful pink cheeks. Perfect complexion. Silky smooth and oh-so-yummy. The enormous, gummy grin that spreads across her face so easily. So freely. Her perfectly formed fingers gently resting atop my breast as she nurses.

Big One's gorgeous brown eyes. The long eyelashes that kiss them. His laugh. Oh, his laugh. Quick with a smile. A wild imagination. A thirst for knowledge. The love and adoration he pours on his Sister. A kind heart. A warm hug. Enough kisses to go around.

Hubs' strong arms. The yang to my yin. A team. My love. Eight years.

A warm home. Full of love. Full of family. A healthy family. Laughter. Fun.

Chocolate, rich and smooth. Dinner as a family.

Able hands, feet, mind.


Daydreaming with Sand Between My Toes

I want to be here...

Or here...

But instead, I'm here...

I love the ocean. Love it. I would live by the ocean if it didn't mean being thousands of miles from my parents. Living in Iowa, I don't get many chances to stand at the ocean's shore. I'm not complaining about my life. I love my kids and my family. But I could use some crashing waves and seagulls flying overhead. Leave the skinny girls clad in bikinis at home. I prefer the relaxing, cleansing version of the beach. A place to contemplate life's complexities.

Since I don't have an ocean in my backyard (or anywhere within driving distance), I had to settle for this...

What in the world does this sweet little sheep have to do with the ocean? This is Little One's little Lamby (I would have taken my own picture of her actual lamb but she's currently nursing... again), complete with 4 different nature sounds. One of them is the ocean. That's our favorite. Or at least my favorite, therefore, it's Little One's favorite since she has no choice in the matter!

Lately, nap time has been non-existent for her. However, I've found if I turn on the ocean sound, hold little one in my arms, pat her butt to a constant beat, sway from side to side, and bounce up and down rhythmically, she'll fall asleep. At this point, I can put her in her crib where she will open her eyes and assess the situation. Lamby gets snuggled up close to her, ocean sounds still lulling her to sleep. I leave the room. She attempts to fend of the impending nap with a few half-hearted cries. Sleep usually wins. At least for 45 minutes. Which is better than the 0 minutes she has been napping.

Today during my butt patting-side swaying-rhymically bouncing rock fest (which incidentally is a great arm workout), I closed my eyes and listened to Lamby. I don't often visualize myself in another place. I daydream but never of things like this. Today I visualized myself on the beach. I could see the endless waves disappearing at the horizon. I could see the sand, riddled with tiny pebbles and shells, squishing between my toes. I imagined the waves crashing at my feet as I walked along the shore. It was a calming exercise that I've never really tried before. It could be advantageous on those days when I'm ready to drive straight to the airport and hop the next fight to anywhere!

I think I may have to claim Lamby for myself.

Eight Years Ago Today...

Hubs and I said, "I do". Or some variation thereof. I don't remember our exact vows. (I know you don't either, Hubs, so don't try to act hurt!) But, of course I remember the spirit of our vows.

Hubs and I met over 11 years ago when we were in college (did I really just admit I was in college 11 years ago?). We met our freshman year of college. We both worked at one of the college dining centers. I didn't think much of him when I first met him. It's not that I disliked him, I just didn't know him well. He flirted with a lot of girls and that wasn't my thing.

I distinctly remember my last day on campus. I went to the dining center to say good bye to the janitor, Henderson, who was the coolest janitor on the planet. Everyone loved him. I ran into Hubs and asked him if he had seen Henderson. He hadn't. I moved on. I'm sure we exchanged "have a nice summer"s. But that was it. I had a mission before leaving campus and Hubs was not part of it. (Incidentally, I don't remember if I ever found Henderson, yet I still remember this interaction with Hubs.)

That changed when we came back to school that fall. Our first date was in the beginning of October (maybe Oct 10? Can't remember for sure). He took me to Perkins. Such a romantic! :-) It must have worked since we're still married!

We grew close very quickly, rarely leaving each other's side when we had free time. We experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in our relationship. Both being stubborn people, we went head-to-head frequently. We had some big and bad arguments in the first several years (even after we were married). I'll be the first to admit my communication skills were poor. I expected him to read my mind and give me the emotional fulfillment I needed. I gave subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints all the time. Why can men pick up on that?

Despite the fact that we were married a week after my mother in law's funeral, the day was beautiful. We had been together for 3 years at that point. There were still more arguments to come, hurdles for us to cross as a couple. I could dwell on the things that we did that hurt each other. Instead, I choose to focus on how far we've come.

Hubs is the only man for me. There are no greener pastures. He is it. We have created a beautiful family together. Even during stressful times, I want us to be together. I want us to tackle it as a team. He may drive me insane sometimes but I love him so! Of course, I never drive him insane since I'm the model wife and mother. No comments from you, Hubs!

My thoughts aren't very well organized here. I really just want to say happy anniversary to Hubs. Thank you for sticking by me through all of my craziness even when you didn't really know how to handle me. Thank you for our two beautiful children (they get their listening skills, or lack thereof from you, just for the record). Thank you for all of the fun, silly moments we've shared. We need more of those.

I love you, Hubs!

Oh My, Apple Pie!

Fall is my FAVORITE time of year! I love the falling temperatures, the pumpkins, the leaves, everything. I also love the apples. My parents have apple trees so we always have plenty at this time of year. And they are very yummy apples!

Generally, I stick with my usual apple crisp. It's simple and the topping is so delicious. My philosophy is the more topping the better. This year I decided to challenge myself and try an apple pie. I've never been much of a pie baker, with the exception of pecan pies at the holidays. I decided since I was trying something new, I might as well go all out. So I made a homemade pie crust as well. I don't have a dough blender so I made do with a whisk. Tip: the dough gets really stuck in the middle of the wisk!

Eventually, all of the dough came out of my makeshift dough blender. I'll have to add a dough blender to my wish list! The pie came together very well. It didn't look half bad before it went into the oven.

I just didn't know how it would look (and more importantly taste) when it came out of the oven. I'm happy to report it both looked and tasted great!

Hubs won't try the pie. He's picky. He doesn't like the texture of baked apples. So weird! I'm taking some to our neighbor tomorrow so I don't polish off this baby by myself!

Book List

After the rough day we had yesterday, we needed to get out of the house. I loaded up the kiddos and headed to the library. Big One received his usual warning about what would happen if he went nuts in the library and off we went. It was a decent trip considering the attitude issues we've had with him lately. Big One picked out a few movies and I actually took some time to pick out books for myself. See if you can figure out the theme. It's a tough one.

I'm generally not a self help sort of girl but I'm desperate to find something that speaks to me. Something that will help me keep my cool. Keep the inmates under control. Find the something that's missing right now. I'll let you know how I make out with my assortment of parenting books. And if anyone has any other suggestions, please share! I'm open to anything right now.

There was one more book I borrowed called Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. I first heard of this book from Amy Lou at Spontaneous Blah. I finally decided to check it out. I've already started the book and I'm hooked. I would love to read it for longer than five minutes at a time. What a laughable notion.

On a side note, I don't know why I didn't think to bring one of my cloth bags to the library to hold the loot. Even with Little One in her new carrier it was tough to balance my stack of books and make sure Big One didn't run off. Plus he wanted me to carry his movies. Fortunately, we made it to the van with all of our goodies safe and sound. Now if I can just wait until nap time, I can dive into my new reading pile!


They say girls are easier. Easier to potty train. Calmer. Just easier. I don't know the true identity of the mysterious "they" but I sure hope they know what they're talking about. I don't know that I can handle going through this again with Little One.

Today was quite a day. Not in a good way. We had the Great Bathroom Standoff of 2008 at our house today. Why is pooping in the potty so damn difficult when you're 3? Is it really better to do it in a diaper and have it squish all over your rear? I don't get it. I know it's common. I know a lot of mamas deal with it. It doesn't comfort me during the battle.

The Standoff began at 9 this morning. The usual "I have to poop" squeals began. Big One ran to the bathroom screaming his head off, insisting that I help him in the bathroom. It's the same every day. I went to the bathroom. He continued to scream. Sat on the toilet. Screamed. Held in the poop. This is not unusual for him. However, he usually succumbs to the impending bowel movement by noonish. Not today. Today Big One was a special kind of stubborn.

The running to the bathroom screaming thing continued all morning. I did everything I could think of to get him to poop. I begged. I pleaded. I bribed. I threatened. I yelled. I played the good cop and the bad cop. Tough love. Sugary sweet. Nothing.

Nap time rolled around and still no poop. Big One normally wears a diaper at nap time. I told him no diaper until he pooped. I sent him to his room for nap time, expecting him to run screaming out of the room after a few minutes. Surely he would then give in and poop. He fell asleep.

Daddy came home and tried all of the same tricks. We tried his little potty. We tried the big potty. He just wasn't going to poop. Neither side was willing to relent. I didn't want to let him poop in a diaper. He didn't want to poop in the toilet. It was a rough day. I cried a lot. I turned ugly a few times. It was an "I'm a bad mommy" day. I know I'm not. But I told myself it was true. And I believed myself for a while.

I laid in my bed and cried. I heard Big One enter the room. He came with a peace offering. Rainbow Goldfish crackers. A true treasure to a 3 year old. He had a few in his hand and a few in the carton for me. He softly told me they were mine. We ate our Goldfish. I offered him my last one. He looked at it, hesitated, and insisted that I eat it. That is a big sacrifice for a 3 year old. Again, I rested my head on the bed. He put one hand on each cheek and lifted my head. He didn't say a word. He pressed his soft little cheek against mine a few times. He is a sweet, empathic child. I hate myself for losing my temper at him when he's less than charming. I wish I had an endless source of patience.

We finally gave in and put a diaper on Big One. He pooped. He refused to pee in his diaper. Once again, the panicked screaming started. After pooping, he immediately wanted the diaper off so he could pee in the potty. What? I'll never understand. I need to stop trying to understand and just deal with it.

I know it's common. I know others go through it. I'm just tired. I've got a headache. I know being home with the kids is best. But sometimes I wonder if all of us would be happier if I went back to work. Yet I can't even think about sending them to daycare, especially Little One.

Be strong, Mama. Be strong.


I'm not a morning person. I'm just not. I'd really like to be. I'd love to wake up with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I'd love to bounce out of bed and throw myself into the day's work. But I don't. Hubs isn't so big on the early mornings either.

It appears that Little One subscribes to our late morning wake up time. She rarely wakes up before 8 or 9 and on some occasions has slept until 10. Big One? Not so much. He's usually up by 7:30 at the latest. I know, I know. That really isn't all that early. But it is for me!

This morning the wake up call came at 6. What's that yelling? Why? Why are we yelling? It's still sleeping time. There is no yelling before 7. Yet there was.

After carefully navigating the minefields of toys in Big One's room, I was close enough to interpret his screams.

"I'm wet! My bed is soaked! Wahhhhhhh!"

We've finally mastered potty training during the day, even in public. Night time is another subject. Being frugal, I bought cheap diapers last time for bed. Bad idea. Big One's bed was like the kiddie pool except it was 100% urine instead of a 50/50 split. We changed his clothes and tried to settle him into our bed for at least another hour.

Not happening. The shadows. Oh the shadows. He cried hysterically and mumbled about being scared. We ditched all efforts of more sleep in favor of cartoons. We may have held our ground longer but for the threat of Little One also waking up from her brother's screams. Two screaming children at 6am? No thanks.

Finally, silence. Coffee. Acceptance that the day has begun, with or without my approval. No point in fighting it.

But wait, there's more drama to be had this morning. Big One is obsessed with his blankets. Duck Blankie by far leads the group in importance. But the others are also held in high regard. Suddenly it dawned on him that they were soaked.

"What about Batman and Elmo and McQueen?"

"They'll have to get a bath."

"NOOOOOOOOO!" More tears ensued. "Can I have M&Ms?"

"No! You haven't even had breakfast yet."

"But I really want them."

"No, Big One."


Is it nap time yet?


Motherhood can be a lonely profession. I can't count how many times I've called myself a bad mom, wishing I could be a good mom like everyone else. Told myself I'm ruining my children with my parenting mistakes. Thought no one else could possibly have ever felt the same way as me.

Blogging couldn't have come at a better time for me. In the last 5 months, I've gone from one child to two and started staying at home with the kids. Don't get me wrong, I love my life. But it was a big adjustment. There have been bumps in the road. But I've found a sense of solidarity in the blogosphere of all places.

It's comforting to hear other moms share the same feelings I am sometimes ashamed to admit to myself, let alone anyone else. I can visit some of my favorite blogs and suddenly I'm smiling. Some days laughing. I want to take the time to acknowledge these talented ladies and their blogs.

amy lou @ spontaneus blah: Amy's blog was the first I read on a regular basis. I actually know Amy in real life which is why I originally checked out Spontaneous Blah. She has a beautiful daughter born about a month before Little One. Amy is a very talented writer. After reading her blog for some time, I finally decided to give it a try myself.

The Mommy Diaries
: I happened upon The Mommy Diaries one day and couldn't stop reading. I could relate to so many of the posts. Getting a toddler to poop on the potty comes to mind! From this blog, I checked out many other "mommy blogs". I'm so glad I did because I've found lots of other great blogs since!

Baby Tea Leaves: If you've read much of my blog, you've probably noticed my "Hot for the Holiday" posts on Fridays. (We won't talk about how this week is going. Birthday cake. Soda. Chips. The weekend birthday party really messed with me.) Christie is the organizer of this weight loss challenge. She is very motivational!

The Gift: A Year of Writing Dangerously: Written by another mom who recently made the transition to the SAHM/WAHM gig, I find a lot of things to relate to at The Gift. I admire her dedication to blog every single day. Try as I may, I can't seem to get a post in every day. I love the variety of topics too.

Table For 4: I found this blog recently thanks to the Hot for the Holidays challenge. Jessi is so down to earth and I feel like we have a lot in common. I always enjoy chatting with her!

So there's my short list. Please don't take it personally if I didn't highlight your blog! There are many, many blogs that I read regularly and I find inspiration in all of them. These five just stand out for various reasons.

And now I am forcing myself to put down the keyboard and go to bed!


This morning Big One and Little One both had check ups. Big One started off the morning a little rough before we left the house. All of his cool underwear were dirty. How could I expect him to go out into public in Elmo underwear? That was so last year. Since his Cars underwear were all in the laundry, we compromised with Diego. When Little One reaches potty training, she's getting only 1 kind of underwear. I never knew it could take so long to pick out a pair of underwear in the morning.

After the rocky start, I prepared myself for mass chaos at the doctor's office. I pictured tantrums and defiance all around. Fortunately, Big One went easy on me. He tried to stall when we arrived, but with a little encouragement, he got out of the van. Good thing too since we were running late and I didn't have time to negotiate. Story of my life!

Our new doctor is awesome. Big One used to go to a busy pediatrician's office that constantly overbooked appointments. Long waits were the name of the game, although we were herded through like cattle. How can the doctor spend such little time with each patient yet be so far behind schedule? I'll never understand.

Here's just one example of the old doctor's stellar customer service. Big One was sick and we were "lucky" to get an appointment with his regular doctor. We had to wait almost 2 hours in the exam room to see the doctor. Two hours after the scheduled time! I get him in faster at the walk in clinic. After an hour of waiting in the exam room, I stuck my head out the door and asked a passing nurse if we were going to see a doctor soon. She acted like I had no right to ask after an hour what was going on. At least they gave me a couple free meal passes to the hospital cafeteria for my trouble. That totally makes up for the stress of entertaining a sick child for two hours in the doctor's office during his normal nap time while pregnant. For some reason, Hubs passed on my offer of a hot date at the hospital cafeteria. He's so picky.

I was hesitant to switch at first because I thought all doctor's offices might be similar. Dr. C proved me wrong. He's young (and attractive... always a bonus!) and has young kids of his own so he's great with Big One and Little One. Today, Little One had to get shots. In an attempt to calm her, I decided to nurse right after the shots. Dr. C came back in to answer a question I forgot to ask earlier. Since I was occupied with Little One, he sat up on the exam table with Big One while he got his finger poked by the nurse. He's so nice. And he actually remembers us from one appointment to the next, unlike our previous doctor's office. Can you tell how much I love our new doctor? Did I mention he's hot? (Of course, Hubs is much hotter.) We will definitely stick with our new doctor.

Moral of the story: don't be afraid to switch doctors if they're falling short of your expectations! I'm so glad we did. There are some doctors out there who actually care and will take time to know their patients.

Grandma Deb

Grandma Deb was never able to hold Big One or Little One. She didn't get to sing lullabies to them. She wasn't present at birthday parties. She has never told me how to raise my children. Grandma Deb passed away 8 years ago today.

I never knew my mother in law in her heyday. By the time I met her in 1997, MS had already consumed her body. Still maintaining a sharp awareness of the world, it pained her to be trapped in a body that didn't function. I saw the pain, the frustration in her eyes. I watched her freedom progressively slip away from her.

Deb didn't like me in the beginning. I suppose one day I'll understand the feeling that no woman will be good enough for my little boy. She eventually accepted me (how could she resist my charming personality?!?!). I visited her in the nursing home, knowing she was too young to be there. I sat with her in the hospital. I watched the physical and emotional pain that grasped her tightly and wouldn't loosen its hold.

I heard the phone ring in the middle of the night 8 years ago. I knew. I didn't answer the phone. It rang again. Mike's sister. Get to the hospital.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, she was gone. We stayed for a while. We went home. We didn't go back to sleep. I baked. That day was to be my last of my first rotation of student teaching. I dropped off the cookies to the kids. I honestly don't remember if I stayed. I don't think I did. I think I went home to Hubs.

Technically, he wasn't Hubs yet. Deb's funeral was Saturday, Oct. 14, 2000. Hubs and I were married one week later on October 21. October in Iowa can be hit or miss. I've seen an ice storm on Halloween as a kid. Our wedding day was beautiful. The sun beamed down on us. The temperature was perfect. Deb was with us that day.

While setting up Big One's nursery, we hung a picture of Deb. It was her senior picture. It still hangs in the nursery which is now occupied by Little One. When Big One was a few months old, I held him up and showed him his Grandma Deb. He grinned like crazy and stared at his grandma. I couldn't help but feel she was there with us.

Recently, I held Little One up to that same picture. She looked. She didn't smile the way Big One did. I kept holding her there, willing her to smile. She never did although she stared at the picture for some time.

Last night as I rocked Little One to sleep, I looked at that picture and I cried. I know Grandma Deb is still watching over our family. I wish she could have held her grandchildren in her arms. I wish Big One and Little One could know her beyond the stories and memories we share. I wish I could talk to her one more time. I wish we could have had the chance to really get to know each other. I wish my mother in law was here to offer unsolicited advice and to spoil the grandkids.

I miss you, Grandma Deb.

Hot for the Holidays Week 5

Self-fulfilling prophecy anyone? I went into this week knowing it was going to be bad. And it was. Or rather, I was bad. I drank very little water. I ate whatever I wanted. The only exercise I got was chasing Big One at the Science Center last night. So I gained. But once we make it through all of the birthday craziness tomorrow, I can focus on HFH again. It's a bad excuse and I need to learn that regardless of what is going on in our lives I have to stick with it! I will be better next week. I will. I will.

It has been a busy week. I was up until 2:30 last night working on Big One's birthday cakes. I just kept thinking it was such an insane hour. Yet in my pre-baby days 2:30 am was no big deal. Isn't it funny how times change? I feel like I have a hang over this morning and the only thing I drank last night was Pepsi.

Gain this week: 1.5 pounds
Total Overall Loss: 6 pounds

I'm still down 6 pounds since I started HFH 5 weeks ago so I feel good about that. And I know why I gained this week which makes it easier to swallow. As soon as I'm finished I'm off to get a glass of ice water to start the day off right.

This week's question was where did we find inspiration. I have to admit I've spent most of the week only thinking of the mile long list of things that need to be done for Big One's birthday party tomorrow. Last night we took the kids to the Science Center as part of Big One's birthday celebration. I forced myself to push the party thoughts out of my head and enjoy the moment. I thought back to 3 years ago as we spent the very first day with Big One. The big leap into parenthood. I got a little emotional. In the Science Center. Amongst robots. And falling dominos. I watched Hubs playing with Big One as I sat back and nursed Little One. Hubs went from never holding a baby to being such a loving daddy to both of our kids. He is an inspiration.

Christie, our HFH hostess, is also an inspiration to me. Last week she had a gain. She stuck with it and this week she's down 4.8 pounds! Rather than giving up because she gained, she stayed the course and it paid off.

There are cakes to decorate and plenty of cleaning to be done so I'm going to tear myself away from the computer now. Hopefully I will have a very cool McQueen and Mater cake to show off very soon. Happy weekend to everyone!

Happy Almost-Birthday, Big One!

I've been a bit absent this week but for good reason. Tomorrow is Big One's third birthday. Three! How did that happen? I keep asking myself that question. I still haven't found the answer. In about 7 1/2 hours he will officially be three.

Tomorrow we will celebrate with a special breakfast (M&M pancakes... yum!). He is going to decorate his own birthday cake. We baked it today. He loves to help in the kitchen! Then tomorrow after Hubs gets off work we'll all go to the Science Center. I'm so excited! This is the first year that he really seems excited for his birthday and actually understands that it's coming.

His big birthday party is Saturday and that's where most of my time is going this week. He insisted on a Cars party despite my best efforts to sway him towards something less commercial! I'm trying to pull of a 3D/carved cake. Actually 2. Lightening McQueen and Mater. Am I crazy? If not, I will be by Saturday. Hopefully they will turn out as great as I see them in my head. Sometimes ideas get lost in translation.

I also want to wish Amy Lou at spontaneous blah a happy birthday. Her big day is also tomorrow. She is a very talented writer so check her out! Happy birthday, Amy.

Hot for the Holidays Week 4

What a great week! Things are really falling into place for me in this fourth week of the challenge (check out Christie at Baby Tea Leaves for more info). I must admit, last Friday after weigh in I indulged more than necessary. We had pizza for dinner and I followed it with sweets. Saturday we went to the zoo. We grabbed breakfast on the road (so not healthy!) and ate lunch at the zoo (again, not a lot of healthy choices). However, the hills kicked my butt and I think it really got my metabolism going.

The rest of the week went very well. Water has been my best friend and I can tell how much it has helped. I have made very good choices in my food for the most part. We did bake brownies as part of our letter B week activities but I only had a few little bites.

My weight loss this week: 4.5 lbs!!!
Total weight loss so far: 7.5lbs

Christie asked us to write about our "push it" moment this week. A moment when we pushed just a little outside our comfort zone. The hills at the end of a long day at the zoo while carrying a very fussy Little One definitely pushed my limits (I forgot the sling. Not fun carrying Little One without it and she was not happy riding in the stroller). When we made it to the top of the hill I was ready to call it a day. Instead, we stuck around to check out a few more displays. I wish I had done it with a smile on my face but at least I stuck it out!

Another "push it" moment was on our family walk the other night. We did the big Hill near our house. Big One usually gets tired about halfway up the hill (as do I, especially with Little One in the sling). When we all get tired we channel Dory from Finding Nemo and sing "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, Just keep swimming swimming swimming." I've been exhausted lately so the Hill was more difficult than ever. But we sang our song and made it to the top (although Big One collapsed dramatically in the grass a few times for a break).

I'm cautiously optimistic going into next week. Since I lost a significant amount this week, my fear is I'll gain some back or plateau. Fortunately, it's getting much easier to resist the temptations in which I usually indulge. I hope everyone else had a great week!

I'm Not a Muffin!

Big One and I ventured to the balloon store [he names places by what they sell... Factory Card Outlet = The Balloon Store, McDonalds = The French Fry Store, Papa Murphy's = The Pizza Store, etc]. Next weekend is Big One's third birthday party! How did that happen? We went out for a few supplies and to order the most important part of his celebration... the balloons. The child LOVES balloons. I'm rambling.

As he climbed into his car seat, I noticed remnants of various food items he had consumed throughout the day.

Me: You look like a ragamuffin.
Big One: No, Mommy! You can't eat me!

I love it when my little man misinterprets things we say. It always provides a good laugh. It was fun to spend some one on one time with Big One. It's been a while!

Having it All

"But, Mommy! I told you I want ice cream!"

Sound familiar? Replace "ice cream" with whatever your child wants at the moment and it probably rings true for most of us.

We ventured outside the house today. *gasp* It's been a while. The kids blinked their eyes tightly against the sun like a couple of shut ins that hadn't seen daylight in months. It was time to take off the sweats and interact with people outside the family!

SuperTarget was our destination. Oh how I love you, SuperTarget. You have everything I could possibly want all under one roof. And your $1 section? Lets just say it has come to the rescue on many occasions to fend off the beginnings of temper tantrums. Sure, all of those trinkets are covering Big One's bedroom, lurking, waiting to gash open my toe as I try to navigate the minefield. But some things are worth a tantrum-free shopping trip. Some may call it bribery. I call it effective. I digress.

Big One and Little One both behaved very well. I'm not sure what's wrong. That never happens. One of them always likes to challenge me, especially in public. Today we held it together fairly well. No tears, no screaming, no threats. And the kids were happy too. Until Big One saw another little boy with a slushie. I'd just like to say thank you to the mother who went ahead and bought her child one of these slushies. Thanks to you, I had to hear all the way home about how Big One wanted ice cream.

His sugary sweet pleading for an ice cream treat made me start thinking. He wasn't whining about it. He just kept asking. I could tell he really, really wanted it. I want my kids to have what they want. But where do we draw the line? How do we draw the line between creating fun childhood memories and teaching them to be materialistic brats? I want my kids to have fun. I want them to be happy. But I also don't want to teach them that "stuff" = happiness. What's a mama to do?

Today this mama did not give in. Big One didn't get his ice cream treat/slushie. I think he has already forgotten it. He did get lots of praise for being such a good boy at the store. Wishing tantrum-free days to everyone!