The Three 'B' Words

Living in a houseful of males, at least two of which are on the geeky side makes for some entertaining events. Teenager loves to try to get his little brother to say new words and comes up with some pretty interesting options.The little guy has been learning more words lately and has really been to try to say new things. Although progress has been slow we feel encouraged and his Speech Therapist does as well. One of the new words he's started saying lately is "Bo" for "No" as he hasn't quite got the "N" sound down yet.

Now, a little background: The whole family are huge fans of the show "The Office". For Christmas this year Teenager bought me a DVD set of season three and we recently watched an episode which contained the following clip.

I must apologize for the poor quality, this is the best copy of this clip I could find on the Internet.


So since we watched this clip Teenager has been going around the house doing his own rendition of this. It occurred to him that his brother knows quite a few "B" words these days. The following conversation took place between the two of them:

Teenager: "Say: Bears."

Little Guy: "Beawr."

Teenager: "Now say: Beets."

Little Guy: "Beet."

Teenager: "Can you say Battlestar Galactica?"

Little Guy: "Bo."

Some things are worth it

Last night was a rough night for sleep around here. In fact, we haven't had a night like that since the first months after the baby was born when we were up all night long! We still haven't figured out what was going on with the little guy but it was an entire night long of him waking and crying for no apparent reason and each of us going in to try to comfort him in some way. At one point in the wee hours of morning I woke to no hubby beside me and no baby visible on the baby monitor. I ventured out to the living room where I found this:

DSC01025

A good night's sleep is worth a lot, but this is priceless.

Thank you, Mary Poppins

So we broke out the Mary Poppins DVD for the little guy. It's often enlightening and amusing to see what smart-alec comments the hubby comes up with during things like this. Tonight, he starts out by reminding me how lucky I am that he gets home from work so early because "Mr. Banks doesn't get home until 6:01 pm". He then goes on a good-natured tangent ribbing me about how his wife is there to greet him as he comes home to his hearth and home [or something like that.] I believe it's as this point Mr. Banks pours himself a Scotch, dons his satin smoking jacket and whips out his pipe. The hubby then states he wants a smoking jacket. I ask what on earth he'd do with a smoking jacket. His response: "Speak with a British accent and sing show tunes around the house." I now know what to get him for his birthday.

The Chair

Back when I was pregnant we shopped for all the nursery furniture well ahead of time. We’d picked out the furniture we thought we really wanted when we were fairly certain we’d end up with a girl, though we did not order it waiting until we found out for sure what we were getting. Ironically, when we found out we were having a boy this threw us into a quandary about furniture as well as names because we had a hard time figuring out what we wanted and our girl choices seemed so easy. We eventually ordered the crib and other pieces we decided on along with bedding and décor and had the majority of the nursery done at least few months ahead of time. There was one piece of furniture we couldn’t decide on and took us entirely too long. As you might have guessed already this was a chair; a rocking chair to be used primarily for nursing the baby in his room. I did not want one of the typical wooden rockers with a chair pad because I didn’t think it was comfortable enough and it didn’t seem like something we would use later on. We looked at the stuffed chairs that were also glider rockers that came with ottomans which also glided and decided that would be the best choice. We ordered a nice neutral beige-ish/brownish one and it took forever to come in. In fact, it was mere weeks before my due date and we were still waiting. The store promised us they would bring it out to us as soon as it arrived and it ended up coming in within just days of my due date. I wanted to be sure I kept the chair as clean as possible and decided to buy a slipcover for it which I recall shopping for just a couple of days before the baby was born. This was a definitely one of my better ideas considering the amount of spilled milk, baby spit up and other things which would be introduced around the chair. I loved this comfy chair and it was a wonderful place to sit and nurse the baby. In fact I’d discovered that a little fold up table placed next to it provided a place to set the lap stop so I could catch up on e-mail and read news, etc, while nursing as this was the only computer time I got back in those days. I became quite adept at nursing at the keyboard [apparently referred to as NAK: nursing at keyboard]. Well, the baby weaned himself at around a year and the chair sat unused for quite some time. To be honest it pretty much became the place where we dumped all the baby’s clean laundry to be folded and put away. So onto the main point of this story since I know you’re probably wondering if I’m simply going to regale you with tales of nursery furniture shopping. One of the challenges with having a little one with Sensory Processing Disorder is the lack of snuggling opportunities. Little Guy is actually quite affectionate, but due to the effects of his sensory issues will only hug and snuggle when he wants to and it is very brief. Generally this means while running about playing he will occasionally zoom over to me for a nanosecond long squeeze and be on his way. This has become known as the Drive-By Snuggle. It’s hard for a mommy who loves snuggling and is part of a snuggly/huggie family to come to terms with this. So, recently I came up with an idea; since he’s the snuggliest upon just waking I decided to start taking him out of his crib and sitting down with him in the chair in the nursery. Now I make certain I stay on top of folding and putting away clothes (added bonus!) so I can sit down for “snuggle time” with the little guy. The chair is right next to his little shelf with books so he will often suggest a story he’d like to read by both singing and saying “book” and “read” and often “please” followed by something which loosely gives me the idea which book he’s referring to. This has been great because I can get him involved in a story (something that previously he had zero attention span for) and snuggle him on my lap while in the comfy, cozy chair. He generally wants to come out of his crib complete with a soft blankie and a bear or other stuffed animal—so basically his "snuggling accessories". This is such a special time with him and I cherish it every day. If I’m lucky I might get as much as 10 minutes or so and other times it’s more like 3-5 minutes but still more than a Drive-By! I admit I do still lament over his coming out of baby-hood way faster than I’d like, but I know I need to accept the fact that he is growing, learning, changing and is going through different stages and will continue to do so—a simple fact of life that sometimes is hard to face as a mommy! But as a very wise man often says: “Remember to enjoy every stage he is in”. Great advice from not only a wise man, but also a hot-geek husband.

Discontinued Favorites

Ok, ok, I know “living in the past” isn’t good. But I must rant for a moment. There are so many things I wish hadn’t “gone away” and I’m not just talking about my youth here. It seems like whenever I find a great new product it ends up discontinued. I always find myself wishing I had stocked up on certain things while they were still around but of course you never know when the manufacturer is going to yank it with no notice. Take for example one variety of Litehouse salad dressing: Tangy Citrus Ginger. I loved this dressing not only because it was tangy and citrus-y but because it was a flavorful, healthy salad dressing with a mere 35 calories! I used to make an awesome spinach salad with this and now there is nothing on the market to use instead that comes even remotely close. Then I find that Litehouse came out with a replacement for their discontinued dressing called Tangy Orange Citrus which sounds nearly identical. Well, my local stores don’t carry it for some odd reason. I even contacted the headquarters of my favorite store and have been told it’s not one the products they carry or intend to carry, even though it available and they carry other varieties of Litehouse Dressing. Since we’re talking about food items I must confess that I still long for the Chicken Taco from Jack in the Box. I wrote to Jack a few times mentioning that not only was it delicious, but surprisingly low in calories. It was so yummy in its crunchy shell with marinated chicken that I could even overlook the creepiness of using a cheese “slice” instead of grated cheese. Even the commercial introducing it was entertaining though sadly I cannot find it online or I’d have it here for you. The hubby even wrote Jack when I was pregnant and craving my Chicken Taco. Apparently I frequently griped about it mentioned it a few times. No luck though. My “products lost” list continues with my favorite tinted moisturizer by Lancôme now replaced with something more expensive and not as good. The thing I miss most though was from my childhood; it hasn’t been made in…well…let’s just say many years; a candy by Willy Wonka called Oompas.

original oompas

The delicious little flattened round disks about the size of a quarter were filled with peanut butter and chocolate and encased in a candy shell. Yeah, I know what you are all thinking; “Um, you mean just like Reese’s Pieces?” No, they were much yummier—I don’t know what it was, but it was more than just the size—I think it had more of a equal chocolate to peanut butter ratio and the peanut butter was creamier. *sigh* Yeah, it’s sad but as my husband tells me every time we drive by a Jack in the Box and I moan about my chicken taco I’m just going to have to get over it.

Conversation Outside our Bathroom Part 2

Me:           "Honey, how much was your little beard trimmer/shaver thing?"

Hubby:   "I don't know, why?"

Me:           "Because I think we're going to need to buy a new one."

Hubby:    "Don’t worry, the whole head pops off, so if you dropped it and the head came off it will just snap right back on."

Me:           "Well, what does it mean when the head pops off, a spring flies out and lots of little plastic pieces go everywhere?"

Hubby:     "It probably means you were right in the first place. And how did you manage that?"

Me:             "I don’t want to talk about it."

Off to a Great Start

With the start of the New Year comes new resolve to try to be "better" at things like diet, exercise, organization, etc. This week the hubby and I resumed walking in the mornings now that our holiday/company and other excuses have run out. We know we need to kick it up a notch with exercise, because let's face it, while walking is certainly better than no exercise at all, it's hardly going to melt the pounds away and firm anything. I know this has to be the case because I wear a heart rate monitor and I have a really hard time getting my heart rate up there even power walking as fast as I can and if I'm not in the appropriate zone then I'm not getting the cardio I need. So this morning was the start of our plan to incorporate running for several short bursts into our walking until we gradually get to the point where it's more running than walking. Some of you may recall a previous post dealing with the topic of starting to run in which I feared looking much like Phoebe on Friends. This morning's stunt was equally as hilarious. The hubby turns to me and says; "Ok, there's a nice long stretch of flat sidewalk ahead of us, do you want to run to the corner?" I agree and we start running. We arrive at the corner where I assume we're going straight and he assumes we're turning left...I think you can see where I'm going with this. We had a crash in what looked like some kind of Tweedledee -Tweedledum incident. But hey, we're running! Well, sort of. Baby steps.

Return to the Routine

Happy New Year. I know it’s the 5th, but this is the “official start” of the New Year for our family. It’s the day we get back to our routines after a long holiday break. Both Teenager and the Hubby have been home on vacation time and we’ve all been used to sleeping in. So this morning was brutal. We’ve slacked off on walking for the last...well, let’s just say it’s been a while. We had holiday company, extra cold weather and pretty much any other excuse we could come up with. Last night when we went to bed I told the hubby I felt like the lack of exercise and not sticking to our diet during the holidays had really caught up with me. I turned sideways and showed him my tummy, which felt extra bloated at the time. He laughed and told me I was pushing it out. I wasn’t. So this morning we dragged ourselves out of bed an off we went walking.

Speaking of getting back to our routines, the hubby got dressed for work wearing what I refer to as his “Monday pants”. Hence the name, these are the pants he wears every Monday and he knows I hate them. They are olive drab Dockers and I guess that’s appropriate because the feeling of a Monday morning could easily be associated with anything drab. Hubby cracks me up with his predictable work attire habits. Every week on Casual Friday his “uniform” is jeans and a black shirt. So a couple months ago he started noticing others in his office wearing jeans and black shirts on Friday. Yeah, he’s quite a trendsetter. Now just for fun he’ll shake things up a bit and wear a colored shirt with his jeans on a Friday and really get the office in an uproar.

It was a little sad this morning seeing everyone leave to return to the old grind. Hubby leaves out the front door for work and teenager out the back for school and they both leave at the same time. So, it’s just me and the little guy, who I like to call Baby Cranky Pants. Thankfully his Playgroups also resume today after the holiday hiatus so hopefully that will keep him happy. Yeah, it’s feeling like an olive drab Monday alright, but, “Everything’s Fine in 2009”. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Looking Back before Looking Forward

As another year comes to an end I look back on all that's occurred and look toward what might be in the year ahead.

The holiday season has come to a close and the last of our company has gone-- we'll miss them but look forward to getting back to a normal routine and watching TV in our underwear. We're pretty sure our family appreciates the fact that we wait until they leave. As much as I enjoy Christmas, and really, all the holidays leading up to it, I am happy when we can un-deck the halls and put our home back together. For one thing, the Christmas tree occupies the spot where the little guy's play tent used to reside, so I'm sure he'll be happy to see it again. I am looking forward to all the extra dishes, serving ware, etc. going back into storage after over a month of being out. It took me awhile to figure out his diabolical plan, but the hubby cleverly avoided putting away said dishes after Thanksgiving and managed to leave them out all month long figuring that it would eventually come around to Christmas and why take them out just to bring them back in again. Yeah. Typical male thought process on that one. So now we can put things back in order around here.

It's this time of year that many of us start thinking about "New Year's Resolutions" and we seem to run the gamut from sternly declaring we are going to do certain things [that we never do] to forgetting the whole thing and resolving not to resolve to do anything. I'm thinking there has to be some middle ground in there somewhere. I mean, yes, I would love to lose 20 pounds, totally stick to my eating plan and get buns and thighs of steel in 2009 but at this point I'd probably be happy to not gain any more weight and get my buns and thighs to a little less resemble a hippopotamus. Does that sound realistic? I hope so. I can think of other examples but I'll leave it at that for now. What I'm really getting at here is that some of us (myself included) tend to get carried away with wanting things to be perfect and "great" [readers may recall this year's "motto"; "Life is Great in 2008"] that we lose sight of when things are, well, just "good" overall. So I think that instead of grandiose plans perhaps I need to scale it back a bit. This is something that seems fitting for my pre-selected motto for this coming year--"Everything's Fine in 2009". In other words, try not to worry so much, try not to get down because things aren't spectacular--sometimes "fine" is pretty darn good.

Christmas Un-Wrapped

Our family has been having a great holiday season. Christmas was spent with extended family and we enjoyed getting together with everyone for a traditional holiday dinner.  The boys were very happy with their gifts and I have to say that I think this is first time we don't have a single thing to exchange or return!  The little guy's big gift this year was a kitchen.

Frankly, I think it's nicer than my kitchen. This thing kept him busy for quite some time.
 
Despite the pre-Christmas accidental showing and our stated intention to return it, Teenager still received the guitar we bought him and was thrilled. Apparently, his best friend also got a guitar for Christmas and now they are talking about "starting a band". We got a chuckle when he told us about this. I think every teenage boy goes through this at some point in their life.  I also couldn't help but think of the band they started recently on Desperate Housewives with the adult males--it truly is a "guy thing". One of the cutest parts of Christmas was when the little guy also received a guitar.
 
boys & guitars

He wants to join his brother's garage band.

The Classic Kids Christmas Shows

I fondly recall the holidays as a child watching all the great kid's Christmas specials. Those classics are so timeless thankfully they're now on DVD to show our own kids whenever we want to instead of having to wait for them to come on TV like back in the day. Our family has really been enjoying watching all these this season. We recently watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and I couldn’t help but think about so many of the things said and done that would never occur in today’s shows. The hubby and I got a kick out of discussing this. Take Pig Pen for example; besides the obvious issue of his nickname you won’t find kids shows condoning the good natured ribbing of a dirty little boy who walks around with the cloud of dirt following him. (But hey--that was funny stuff!) No longer are kids allowed to dole out psychiatric advice for .5 (but that Lucy was smart!) And we certainly can’t call anyone dumb, stupid, or a "Blockhead" like poor Charlie was often called--let alone make fun of his bald head. Poor Linus and his blanket and thumb sucking—you don't see that anymore. And Lucy socking it to Linus—can’t happen either. Of course there was also Peppermint Patty, TV’s first lesbian character in cartoon form (come on, you know it’s true!)
Another Christmas favorite is The Year Without a Santa Clause in which we see the adorable and unforgettable dance numbers by the Miser Brothers. Heat Miser is my personal favorite and his hair totally reminds me of the hubby when he wakes up in the morning.
heat miser
It just doesn't get any cuter than little baby heat misers with their little straw hats doing the back-up dancing! For those of you who don’t own the video, I’ll leave you with the infamous dance number here.

Weight Loss and other Antics

Some of you may recall my post about those the little guy’s performance at my Weight Watcher’s meeting last week. This week, despite my best efforts he attempted to give an encore presentation. It has now been suggested that perhaps I might want to not come back next week . And when I say “suggested” I mean I’ve officially been thrown out of Weight Watcher’s—at least with my little darling anyway. I guess I knew it was only a matter of time before this weekly event with the little guy had to end. The really sad thing is how long I’ve been going and struggling to lose all the weight. I started attending when the little guy was only eight weeks old! During the time I’ve tried to lose all my baby weight I’ve seen other mom’s actually begin a new pregnancy and leave [you can’t attend WW meetings when pregnant], have the baby and come back all during the time I’ve been there. Things went well at first—back when I was nursing and got those extra points that made it so much easier. Now I look at my points allotment and really struggle with how to make it through the day and still feel like I’ve actually eaten. I know it is possible, I have certainly done it before, but staying with it takes a lot of focus and discipline. Since I know I need to find a way to attend I’m currently looking into some less than ideal but still potential options for going to my weekly meetings without the little guy. I also need to be better about staying on track with the program in general. Unfortunately, one of my own stumbling blocks is my “all or not at all” personality style. When I do something I do it all the way and am very exact about it, but if I’m not doing it, I tend to go to the opposite extreme. Basically, if something derails me I go off the program and go off BIG. So, what did I do this last week? Okay, I’ll tell you. Of course I made some not-so-great food choices, ate too large of portions, etc. but I also decided to make a ridiculously delicious Christmas treat. It’s that odd dessert with the saltines that you put a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar over and then chocolate chips melt on top and you have a toffee like thing with a layer of chocolate. It is often referred to as “Christmas Crack” due to its addictive quality. I can see why. Let’s just say that a generous portion was had by all (except the little guy) for the first and second night until I told the hubby to take the remainder to work. Apparently within seconds of hitting the break room it was gone and he got comments like “Hey, why didn’t you bring more?” It was at this point of course that the hubby shared his amusing tale about his wife on Weight Watcher’s who’d being going hog-wild with the stuff. (Side note: I think it’s a tie between which one of us looks forward to the daily life escapades in our household more; me so I can blog about it or hubby so he’s got great material for around the water cooler.) So I’m sure you can all see why the whole weight loss thing didn’t happen this week. In addition to the unfortunate Christmas Crack saga the hubby was hooked on making Egg Nog complete with rum and whipped cream. I don’t know what he was thinking but I had to tell him the one he made me was way too rum-y. “Honey, could you tone it down with the booze—it’s only Wednesday!” The end result is that not only did I not lose but of course I gained and gained pretty significantly. This always irritates me because now I have to “re-lose” what I gained before I can get back to loosing. It’s that old syndrome of losing the same five or ten pounds over and over again. Frankly, it amazes how easy it is to gain weight in just a week if you are not watching it! I can see how easy it is for folks who don’t follow any kind of “plan” to just keep gaining and gaining. The food choices we have today make it that much harder. Finding the healthier, lower calorie options is difficult. Eating out is especially difficult due to not knowing how food is prepared, exactly what’s in it and the portion size. Splitting things is a great way to go but near impossible for me since the food preferences of the hubs and I couldn’t be more opposite. So our meals out have to be our “splurge meals” on the weekend that we’ve saved up for calorie-wise by eating smart during the rest of the week. Which is why I can’t afford to have any more rummed-up Egg Nog or Christmas Crack around the house. Here’s hoping for better results next week.

Holiday Happenings & Family Traditions

This year we finally purchased a wooden Advent calendar to use each year and fill with our own little treats for the boys to count down the days to Christmas.

DSC00906This is where I must give proper credit to my creative and handy hubby who spruced this up. Since we didn’t find one we liked that was “cute enough” we decided to embellish it ourselves. This meant hubby had to find a way to attach tiny little pieces of décor that were not flat on the back, requiring snipping, sanding, gluing and the removal of some skin off his fingertips.

Chocolate baby

Since the little guy has not had much in the way of sweets before, this is a whole new experience for him. Behold the "first time with chocolate" photo. This was a huge hit.

Each year we look forward to our town’s tradition of Santa riding down our street on his sleigh pulled by the Fire truck. It’s a fun event that’s been going on since Teenager was a little guy himself. We all bundled up and headed out when we heard the sirens signaling Santa’s arrival.

kids waiting 4 santa santa's sleigh

santa's sleigh ii

Having kids at totally different stages in life always proves to be entertaining. This year was significant in that Little Guy is just old enough to get excited to see Santa and Teenager was excited to see all the neighborhood girls. It doesn't hurt either that an adorable baby brother is a "chick magnet".

Two Year old Tantrums + Sensory Processing Disorder = Looney Tunes Character

My recent Weight Watchers meeting didn’t go so well. I seem to be stuck in one of those awful holding patterns where weight is concerned (note the ticker has not moved in quite some time—I know, you are all glued to following my weight loss just as closely as the milestones of your own children.) However my biggest struggle this week was not as much weight as dealing with my darling little one. Let me see how to describe his behavior accurately… I’d say it closely resembled the Tasmanian Devil being let loose in the room.

TazWhen we arrived, it was clear keeping him in his stroller was not going to work. For one thing, he spotted the other kids playing with some really cute little house sets and thankfully he was invited to join in and play with them. And by “invited” I mean I begged the other mommy to let my child join hers to play. This actually lasted for about 15 minutes which was remarkable for the little guy because his sensory issues usually keep him from focusing and playing with a toy as other kids his age do. I was really hoping that allowing him the freedom to get out of the stroller and play would keep him happy and occupied because Weight Watchers was going over the new changes to the program in this meeting and I really needed to pay attention. I should have known better. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the little guy approach the door and then open it and walk outside. I ran across the room and grabbed him as he was [thankfully] just standing there and not attempting to go anywhere. After bringing him in and telling him that he cannot go outside and needs to stay inside he proceeded to run amok wreaking sheer havoc. In the course of a very few minutes he attempted to level a display of cook books, weigh himself, try to get into any number of purses placed enticingly at his level, grab part of a snack out of a other child’s hand, weigh himself again this time taking the desktop display portion of the scale down by yanking on the cord and grab a handful of paper towels making a trail with them. I might add I was following him around trying to circumvent these activities, keep him quiet and out of trouble as best I could. It became increasingly clear that things were going downhill fast. I wish I had photos for you but I felt it might be considered bad form to whip out my camera and photograph my shrieking, squalling child while a roomful of people were trying to learn how to calculate their food choices. I tried to get his weighted vest on him thinking he might need more sensory input, but that proved impossible –I would have more luck putting doll clothes on a pig covered in baby oil. He started getting really upset and quite vocal about it the more I tried to contain him so I knew I had to make a break for it which would unfortunately involve getting back to the stroller and trying to wrestle him in. This is the part where every mom out there who’s ever experienced this can attest to the fact that it is the most frustrating, aggravating moment where you just want to scream. This part was so bad in fact, that they stopped the meeting—for me—so I could pack up my darling little angel and get the heck out because at this point no one could hear anything the leader was saying. I don’t even know how I got that kid in his stroller, he is very strong and when he has a tantrum it takes all the strength I’ve got, both physical and emotional to somehow deal with it. Amid much screaming we managed to get out of there and into the car. When we got home he went straight to bed. And then Daddy got a call at work. Yeah, one of those calls. Any husband and daddy out there knows the one I’m talking about—the one where your wife calls you and you can barely understand her while the words “your kid” are intermingled with some unfortunate language and shrieking. It’s the call where you wish you just been in the bathroom when it came in-- but no, you just had to be at your desk and answer it. And now you’re screwed.

When things calmed down the hubby reminded me that although times like this are tough, and this age makes it even tougher things could be very different. There could have been no Baby and would I really want things that way? No. The answer is no. Yes, I sometimes wonder how I deal with all of this—the baby later in life, the little guy who has special challenges and everything else that goes along with it. But yes, it is all worth it and I know I need to remind myself of that during times like these.

So, while I still need to learn what I missed in the meeting and get back on board with the rest of my weight loss I know that the missed meeting is only a temporary setback. Along with the pizza I ate last night.

The kid’s really are paying attention

The other night after dinner when baby was down for the night the hubby and teenager and I were all sitting on the sofa watching TV. Then during the middle of some show I made a request that is apparently fairly routine. I asked if the hubby would go to the kitchen to get us a little treat for dessert while I paused the TV. Teenager all of a sudden pipes up and says; “Oh no, do we have to do this again?” We ask him what the heck he’s talking about and he launches into this little monologue:

“Well, whenever you guys do this it always means a huge break right in the middle of the show. You ask Dad to get something, he doesn’t know what it is, you try to explain it, and you guys have a little argument about who should go get it. Then Dad finally lumbers out to the kitchen, looks for it, can’t find it, and you explain it again while you guys argue again about where it is and why he should be able to find it. He finally finds it and then lumbers back to living room and sits down when we finally get to start the show again.”

By this time, the hubby and I were laughing so hard we were in tears. There’s nothing like your kid doing a full-on skit of your behavior! Not since Tina Fey’s “Sarah Palin” has there been a more hilariously accurate spoof. We had no idea we had this little “routine” going, not to mention how much of a comedy routine it had become for the whole family.

A Sense of Humor: A Mommy's Most Important Asset

The following pictorial and narrative is provided to you courtesy of SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem, and effectively illustrates the first rule of surviving the mayhem: Don't get mad - get your camera. These photos were also included in an e-mail to Daddy at work as part of a little feature I like to call "What Your Kid Did". Notice possession of said child reverts to the male parental unit in cases such as this.





Not only is this yogurt covered toddler proudly displaying his work, as soon as I grabbed the camera, and I kid you not, he said; "Cheese".

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree



This weekend was our annual trip up to the mountains to the Christmas tree farms. We enjoyed a nice drive there, complete with our festive holiday Starbuck’s beverages and Christmas music on the car stereo. Although we’d intended to bring the baby jogger stroller we did manage to make do with the regular stroller in the car. Baby enjoyed walking part of the time and we all trekked through the woods looking at various Christmas trees. Hubby took full advantage of the beauty around us by getting some great photos. Like we do every year, we talked about how most of the trees seem to get cut when they reach around 8 feet not leaving any taller ones for families like us who need a taller tree. Like we do every year we also discussed that the trees that grow here are just not as nice as those in other areas such as Noble Fir which seems to be our favorite. Then, like we do every year, we ended the day by stopping by our local home improvement warehouse to purchase our Christmas tree. It’s tradition.

Musings and Misadventures: Thanksgiving '08 Edition

What would a blog be without an After Holiday Wrap-Up post?

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Well, I don't have the traditional events to report: you know, like forgetting to take the rolls out of the oven (or put them in), there was no burned/uncooked turkey and no drunk Uncle so-and-so tipping over the gravy boat. I did however have an event take place involving the UPS guy, Teenager sent to answer the door and the very unfortunate occurrence of the unboxed delivery of his Christmas present! Teenager stood there awkwardly wondering what on earth to do as he looked at the guitar sitting on our front porch knowing it was meant for him. As you can imagine, I am one unhappy customer having ordered this on-line and not knowing it would arrive with no outer box to hide its contents. So, my Christmas shopping is not as complete as I'd thought--back to the drawing board on that one. Poor kid.

Barney's visit proved to be as entertaining as always. There was much yapping, growling and snarling all while he was being excessively coddled by his owners. We heard about how he was "the cleanest dog in the world" and therefore it was no problem to dangle him over the dinner table. We also heard about how he "wouldn't hurt a fly" right before he took a chomp out of the leg of hubby's pajama bottoms. Yeah, he's a charmer. And yes, to look at him one can't help but exclaim: "Awww, he's so cute!" But we know better. He's Satan in a teeny tiny poodle suit. Trust me.

All in all we had a great time with family and enjoyed a nice holiday. Which was vastly different than last year when we had no guests and decided to go out to dinner--until Baby got sick and threw up--on the table. Good times.

Let the Dysfunction Begin

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with it arrives the family visitors. Among those visiting will be Barney. Yes, that yappy little rodent delightful little poodle we all know and love. I swear if I were just a little more technically inclined I would set up a live web cam for you...a “Barney cam” just so you could see what I’m talking about. Then you could all send me “sympathy twitters”. But hey, a little lively and ridiculous dysfunction is what the holidays are all about, especially Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, I am now second guessing my decision to have bought the hubby a pair of turkey boxers from The Gap. I may have actually underestimated his mischievously inclined nature as he’s now threatened to wear them on Thanksgiving—all day—without pants.

It's a Simple Thing!™ Kid's DVD Clutter

Awhile back we started allowing some TV watching for the little one. Since it primarily consisted of videos we started amassing quite a DVD collection. The TV viewing system we set up allowed him to watch a video while in his highchair during a meal or snack. This system meant having a small TV & DVD that we set on a built in shelf between the dining room and living room. This also allowed very little storage for the videos so this quickly became a clutter and organization challenge.

This is the collection of videos we generally use.

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This is what we managed to get it down to.

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We used a simple, inexpensive CD organizer from an office supply store which allowed us to store the covers elsewhere and safely house the DVD’s in a little slot compete with their own number and ability to label each if desired. I have used less than half the available space of this box! All the DVDs are separated according to "type" (Veggie Tales, Disney, Sesame Street, etc.) I have however discovered one flaw in my system: the daddy learning curve which basically means until he gets the hang of it he’ll stick the DVD back in any old slot and call it good. Nonetheless, it still saves a ton of space and is a pretty handy little system.

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Politically Correct

You know, I’ve always thought I was relatively “PC” in my use of terms. Recently during Baby’s Speech therapy appointment his therapist was trying to get him to sit cross legged on the floor and used the term “criss-cross”. I piped up and said; “Oh, you mean Indian style!” She laughed, being around the same age I am and familiar with the old term. I guess we don’t say that anymore. And if we did refer to it in such a manner it would have to be “Native American style”. So I got to thinking about the various terms that we no longer use. When I was a kid, the term "Oriental food" was perfectly acceptable to use when going out to a Chinese or Japanese restaurant…now it’s “Asian”. Speaking of which, many years ago I recall a time when we were selling our house. Mom was giving a tour to a young couple and voiced her embarrassment over the current state of the bathroom due to the pantyhose and other delicates hung to dry over the shower rod. Without thinking she said: “Oh, please excuse my Chinese laundry!” The couple, naturally, were Asian. I’ve never let her live that one down.

Organizing & Simplifying

Around here the latest thing has been to re-examine our belongings along with our strategies and systems for daily living. As you saw in my prior post, we recently made the big decision to go office-less. This is one of many things we are doing in the process of making our home and life as simple as possible. I've spent years of coming up with these types of strategies for clients and recently I realized my own home and life needed some new strategies.

For those of you familiar with my current Operation Fit [back into my pants] you know that the hubby and I get up each morning at o’dark:30 to power walk the neighborhood complete with Baby in the Baby Jogger stroller. My organizational challenge with this is in easily locating my equipment without requiring a full scale search and rescue mission each morning to find the stuff; mainly my shoes, both parts of my heart rate monitor, pedometer, and yes, my pink fuzzy earmuffs. I have now solved that problem with this:

Hall closet

Now, I stick everything inside this handy see-through over-the-door shoe organizer inside the hall closet where I also put my sweatshirt & Baby’s stroller blanket. The hubby says this significantly cuts down on the early morning swearing.

It's a Simple Thing!™ "Office on Wheels"

I’m finally getting around to offering another It’s a Simple Thing!™ With any luck, I will be able to keep these coming for you.

For those who aren’t already aware, my past career was that of a residential organizer and this was born out of my own personal need for organization and not my innate ability to actually be organized. Over the years I learned how to develop natural systems and strategies for everyday actions and work within those systems. But you can’t just start using a system and be done, the system won’t necessarily always work. More often than not, systems need to change and evolve as your life changes as evolves. Take our office for example. We have an actual office right off our living room complete with a large desk that houses a computer, printer, supplies, etc. Back in the day, I needed this space to work as well as use it for personal family business. But along came baby #2 and holing up in a separate room to use the computer, pay a bill, make a phone call, etc. was no longer reasonable and ridiculously inconvenient. We found ourselves using the office less and less and eventually the only computer we used was a laptop. The only way I ever got to check e-mail or do anything on the computer in the year following Baby’s birth was by placing the laptop on a little folding table and going online while I was nursing! I became quite adept at e-mailing and web surfing one handed with a baby attached. Then eventually the laptop was used on the dining room table where I can fairly easily do computer work while the little guy happily plays nearby. But a computer is not the only office item I need to use on a regular basis as various supplies are necessary along with all the other fun “paperwork”. So, in case you’re not sure where I’m going with this the bottom line is that what used to have a place in the office was starting to pile up on the dining room table and suddenly our previous system became a non-system. Not to mention when papers would come in that required filing no one actually wanted to file them, let alone take the trip to the office to get to the filing cabinet. Receipts would pile up and other things that were being worked on simply sat in “piles”. Oh how I hate piles! So it became clear we needed a new system.

Enter this handy little item:

cabinet

This is a rolling cabinet with a file drawer, two other drawers, racks on both sides, a removable caddy for the top with three small spaces and one large space, an open shelf and a pull out writing shelf. Basically it allows me to store my laptop when not in use, have a place for action items, pending, reference, files, receipts, and other items to be read. I’m currently keeping this in the kitchen/dining room area, but it’s easily tucked out of sight by simply rolling it into another room or even a closet. {Now, because I know I'll be asked I'll provide the info on this thing even though I'm not doing an official review or being compensated by the company. I hope they appreciate the free plug! If you're interested you can find this item here.}

This "office on wheels" cannot completely replace an entire office of course, but it comes close enough that the other items that are still needed (paper, supplies, etc.) can be stored elsewhere in a fairly small amount of space. We still have to go to the office to go pick up a print job, but we can at least print wirelessly through the laptop. I am loving this new system and I’m actually happy to not have an office because frankly, that just screams “work” and I’ve got plenty of that in various forms without an entire room taunting me with more!

You win some, you lose some

What an Election this has been. History has been made. I am quite hopeful that many of the much needed changes for this country will come about. It’s impressive to see this many Americans come together to elect someone who just might have what it takes to run this country and see beyond differences by not letting something like color get in the way. (Because apparently, Barack Obama is black, aka African American-- who knew?) Of course on the other side, as a Californian I am saddened that just enough other Californians were not able to see past “differences” and instead have most unfortunately passed Proposition 8, aka, Proposition Hate. I was afraid that all the outside money and strong armed influence thrown at this thing would bring this result and sure enough it did. It’s shameful and regrettable. Though I have no personal stake in this and my own rights are not affected, I cannot help but think of those Californian’s whose lives are very much affected and by the hands of those who had nothing to lose by simply allowing them to keep their rights and voting against this hateful measure. To those who had a hand in passing this, especially those who allowed themselves to be coerced and “told” how to vote, those who unwisely used their finances to further this measure and especially those who purposely misled the voters with all the lies I have but one thing to say to you: Karma.

No on Proposition 8 - Los Angeles Times

No on Proposition 8 - Los Angeles Times

I wanted to share this article from the LA Times. I found it particularly astute that the writer likened the tactics of the Yes on 8 proponents to that of a magic act and distraction technique. It also contains good (and accurate) information on all the lies and scare tactics that have been used and sets the record straight on what is really true. I hope California voters are not fooled by the magic act. Because frankly, when it all comes down to it, directing our attention to some other perceived "problem" instead of focusing on actual problems that truly require action is a very sneaky thing to do and a waste of time. It's been said before but certainly bears repeating; all the money (and time) that's been thrown at this ridiculous campaign to deny rights to people could have gone so far in helping the real problems we are currently facing. In all honesty folks, when families are losing their homes, their jobs, and struggling with health insurance and grocery costs is the fact that two people of the same gender can get married really something we need to worry about? I don't think it should even be on the list.

Here's a good video clip that just came out.