Ten Thoughts Tuesday (AKA: Yes, I’m Still Here)

tenThings have been CAH-RAZY around our house over the last few weeks so I haven’t had the time I usually do to blog.  Hopefully things will start calming down now that we are getting into the rhythm of school again, but until the calm arrives, here’s a few random items affecting my life right now.

  1. Big Trouble is still refusing to use the potty.  Story of my life.  I am convinced he was put here on Earth to test my ingenuity and patience.
  2. We just got a “Best Of” dvd of the Wiggles.  I have never seen Big Trouble sit still longer than while watching this (yes, I count his randomly standing up to dance as sitting still because he will eventually sit back down to watch some more and he’s not trying to escape or get into any shenanigans).  Best purchase EVER.
  3. My older kids are driving me nuts with their picky eating.  Pasta is quickly losing its appeal and there’s only so many times I can give the “Brinner” option.
  4. I am on my 2nd round of antibiotics since school started.  First for strep throat and now for what appears to be a sinus infection.  Good times.
  5. My house is taking a lot longer to clean than I originally anticipated.  This is partly because I have been sick, but also because I am actually going through everything and donating/trashing/organizing the way I said I would.  Who knew that after 8 years of accumulating things that this would take time? Will I ever finish?!
  6. I have to go for a meeting of just the 3rd grade parents tomorrow night at my kids’ school.  Apparently 3rd grade is a very big deal and I need to know about every aspect.  FUN!
  7. My husband agreed to co-chair the “walking school bus” this school year.  Basically the kids just meet up on the first Wednesday of each month, at the main square of the neighborhood that the school is located in, and walk safely to school with a group of parents and teachers.  They get a stamp on their card each time they participate and they can earn prizes for being active.  I get to participate with them on the first walk tomorrow.  I am not that excited seeing as though I have to drag along Big Trouble and I have to walk all the way back to where we started once they reach their classes.  Yes, I am a terrible example of laziness.  But, at least I’ll have help since hubby HAS to be there!
  8. Today Big Brother told me about the Sunshine State Books program.  I haven’t fully learned exactly what is involved, but there are 15 “longer” books that are recommended statewide for 3-5 grade levels and 6-8 grade levels and if you read a few, you get something special at school.  If you read all 15 by the time the school year is over, you are a super star.  So, this is how I am going to get him to stop rushing through the easy books and just take his time and enjoy a longer book.  At least that’s the plan.  Right now he is very excited about going with me to the public library tonight to get his first two books because there is a waiting list at the school library and his brilliant Mommy found a way around it.  Score.
  9. The anniversary of my 29th birthday is next week.  Since my husband and I share a birthday, my mom is coming on Saturday to celebrate just me and she worked out a special trip for my husband to celebrate just him on Sunday.  I think that will be a perfect balance so that we can enjoy sharing our birthday on the actual day, even if it means that I have to acknowledge that I am getting older.  I’m still 29 if anyone asks.
  10. Our tv is in the process of slowly dying.  We got a new one when they were on sale for Labor Day (Happy Birthday to us), but we are having issues getting the old one off of the wall mount.  What a pain.

Needless to say, we’ve got a lot going on right now.  So, please forgive me if my postings are just here and there.  I’m still trying to keep up with everyone at night after the kids go to bed and hopefully I will catch up with myself one day too!

Have a great week!

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We’ve Mastered Another Skill…Just Not The One I Was Hoping For

Today, Big Trouble started drinking from a straw.  I’ll hold for applause.

SUCCESS!

SUCCESS!

Now, this may not seem like that big of a deal, but seeing as though he gets soaked every time he tries to drink out of a regular cup, it really is!  The kid can literally take a dime-sized amount of water and make it look like he just survived a flash flood.

But now, thanks to this new development, we can start using the “big kid” cups with lids and straws instead of sippy cups or the “ok, guess we’ll go get a bath now” cups!  I’ll admit that it was torture so fun making weird faces and trying to give him samples of how to sip from a straw, only to have him just make noises and/or accidentally blow spit bubbles and laugh.

Mind you, this has gone on for nearly a year.  The kid has no interest in my time frame for ANYTHING.  I’m just now starting to get that (can’t imagine where he gets his stubbornness from).  But, I keep trying like the idiot that I am because I that’s my job.  And, nothing makes me feel like a bigger success than finally seeing one of my kids master something they have been trying to do; even if it is as insignificant a milestone as drinking from a straw.

The moment I saw my troublemaker give me a huge victory smile, thus drooling out most of the liquid he had just learned to sip up, I held my head high, looked to the sky and thought, “yeah, I taught him that” (not the drooling part, just to clarify; the actual sipping from a straw).  I am a success and so is my boy!

Then I turned back to look at my precious little one who was making me so proud…and I see this:

"Wook at my hat, mom"

“Wook at my hat, mom”

Yep.  That’s the inside of his consistently unused potty seat sitting there, upside down on his head.  I did not teach him that.  Guess we still have a little work left to do on some of our skills….sigh.

School’s Back In Session!!!

That’s right; the day has finally come: the 1st day of school FOR ALL 3 KIDS!!!!  Granted, the little one is only going 3 mornings a week, but since I have had him solely with me since birth, this is HUGE NEWS!  HUGE!!!bus

I’m pretty sure the kids were sick of seeing me basically all day, every day, and I can attest to the fact that I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown after this Summer.

We woke up super-early this morning with squeals of delight from the kids, which quickly turned into complaints because we didn’t have to leave for another hour after they were finished eating breakfast and getting dressed.  (I guess I should be happy that the complaints weren’t about having to go to school.)  We took the obligatory pictures, Big Trouble tripped and split his lip open (yep, that’s how we all like to start off the school year, right?), and then finally things quieted down, the minutes went by and we got in the car to head to school.

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Is it time for school yet?!

We walked in together as a family but had to split up because Big Brother’s class is in another building across the courtyard.  Daddy took the Princess to wait outside of her 1st grade classroom and I took B.B. (dragging Big Trouble along with us).  As usual, Mr. Independent, could have cared less whether I stayed to wait with him but he indulged me with some small talk about which classes he was looking forward to.

Big Brother - ready for 3rd grade

Big Brother – ready for 3rd grade

As the teachers opened the doors to the buildings, I gave him a quick kiss and he disappeared into the sea of children heading to 3rd grade.  Meanwhile, Big Trouble began to throw a magnificent fit while screaming, “I go in too!!!”  I’m pretty sure Big Brother pretended that he didn’t know us after that point.

When B.T. finally finished throwing himself on the ground, he hopped up as though nothing had happened and we headed off to give Princess a hug.

posing like a true princess

posing like a true princess

When we got inside, she was busy coloring and filling out a worksheet.  She glanced in my direction, smiled and said she was coloring, and then continued on as though she, too, could not be bothered by my presence.  So, I gave her a kiss and continued on my way.  2 down; 1 to go.

Daddy then headed to work while Big Trouble and I made a quick trip to Target for a large coffee for Mommy and a 1st day of school prize for him (in reality we just needed to kill about 30 minutes before we headed over to the preschool and I was trying to test his behavior a little – he rewarded me by lying on the ground as I ordered my coffee and refusing to budge.  I was ok with that as he wasn’t trying to escape and quickly started behaving as he saw the pile of big school buses for sale in the $1 section – I thought those were pretty appropriate for the first day of school).

When we finally arrived at the preschool, I handed B.T. his bag and we walked down the sidewalk.  As we reached the front door, he realized where he was, dropped his bag at this feet and attempted to take off into a classroom.  Luckily, I was prepared for that reaction, so I caught him, grabbed the bag and pointed him in the right direction.

Big Trouble ready for preschool!

Big Trouble ready for preschool!

The 2-year-old rooms are down a long hallway and he started to walk tentatively down the path (which is rare for him) but as soon as he saw the big train table and all of the other toys, he took off again, never to look back.

traveling down the hallway (you can tell he is going slow here because he is not a blur in the picture)

traveling down the hallway (you can tell he is going slow here because he is not a blur in the picture)

did someone say trains?

did someone say trains?

I talked to his teachers for a minute and watched as the other children came in.  He is definitely the biggest kid in the class, but hopefully that won’t be an issue for him.  It’s so funny to even type that as I had the opposite feelings about my older two (Big Brother is average size height, but on the shorter side in his particular class because he is the youngest and Princess is always the smallest, just like her mama).

one last picture from afar

one last picture from afar

As my luck would have it, Big Trouble didn’t need me either and didn’t even notice as I shouted goodbye and headed out the door.  Part of me wishes that at least one of my kids would miss me a little more, but most of me is VERY glad that none of mine are clingers because I did get a glimpse of a few this morning and it’s definitely harder to have that on the first day of school!

So, now, here I am at home, writing this blog without a sound in the house.  It’s a very odd feeling.  A teeny-tiny part of me feels like something is missing, but the majority of my whole being is THRILLED to have a moment of silence.  I only have 2 1/2 hours today and I am NOT going to use it to clean or run errands.  I am soaking it all in and reminiscing about my baby days, which are clearly gone.  On Wednesday, I intend to put on gloves and start scrubbing like I never could before while there were kids around; but for today, I am just a tired woman taking a chance to catch her breath after 8 years of running.  WHEW!! 🙂

Fun Friday – Crayon and Sandpaper Iron-On Transfers

I am notoriously bad at crafts.  I think Pinterest is the devil because my crafts NEVER turn out the way they should, regardless of how easy someone claims the project is.  As such, I have just about given up trying homemade things lately.pinterest 2

However, I discovered a website (The Crafty Collaborative) that features several daring women who try out various crafts and recipes and then let you know the honest scoop on how “easy” they really are!  You get pros and cons from multiple ladies who are testing out the same craft so you know if it really is something worth trying!  I appreciate this on so many levels!

Their most recent art project was making a homemade iron-on design using only sandpaper and crayons!  This looked like a legitimate project to me and the ladies all testified that it was, so my kids and I sat down to attempt it too.

*To try this yourself, you will need the following items:

  • Crayons (old crayons would work great because they will get worn down on the sandpaper)
  • Sandpaper
  • An Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • A plain t-shirt, tote bag, pillowcase, etc. that you can put a decal on

I love that the materials for this project are all things that you probably have just lying around the house!  Cheap and easy? YES, PLEASE!

The kids sat down and colored a design on their individual sheets of sandpaper (we used the thin grit so it was easier to color on).

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

When they were finished, I flipped the paper over, lined it up on an old white t-shirt, and ironed it on.  It only took about 5 seconds to get the picture on the t-shirt!  Then, I put a paper towel over the t-shirt picture and ironed a few times to get the excess wax off.

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

Voila; new art shirts for school (we purposely tested this out on daddy’s old t-shirts because they would be used for messy art projects anyway and I was still a little skeptical of the outcome, given my history of crafting).

showing off their shirts

showing off their shirts

You do have to push down on the crayons a little harder than usual to make sure that the picture is really bright on the sandpaper or the picture will be faint (notice that my son’s shirt is not nearly as bright in certain spots because he didn’t color as hard).

And, if you want to put any words or numbers in the picture, you have to remember to write them backwards on the paper or they will show up backwards on the shirt.  My son forgot that rule and had to adjust his picture accordingly (BUT MOM, HOW DO YOU DRAW A FOOTBALL PLAYER WITHOUT THEIR NAME AND JERSEY NUMBER?! – a question that should have been asked before he started drawing seeing as though I only had 2 pieces of sandpaper at that time), which is why his looks a little wonky – he tried to turn the numbers/letters he drew into helmets on a football field, but he gets his artistic ability from his mama so it is what it is.

The whole point of my rambling is that the project was SO simple and required very little preparation, no specialty tools, little to no money, and very little work on my part – HOORAY!  pinterest 1It is definitely something that I would recommend trying with your kids the next time they get “bored” or if you need a cute gift for a grandparent or family member.

Thanks The Crafty Collaborative for reviewing this fun idea so that I was brave enough to try it myself!

The Wiggles (Yes, I Can Point My Fingers And Do The Twist)

beauty mate

beauty mate

had to also include greg too, because even though he got sick before big trouble was born, my kids remember him.

had to also include Greg too, because even though he got sick before Big Trouble was born, my big kids remember him and we still watch old episodes.

Ok, the title of this post either made you smile or made you cringe.  I know the feeling.  Right now, The Wiggles are Big Trouble’s obsession.  Do they sometimes get annoying?  Yes.  Could it be worse?  ABSOLUTELY (see his previous use of torturous kids shows)!!!!  So I’m not going to complain.

I actually catch myself singing along and dancing like an idiot with them without even realizing it and Big Trouble laughs like the combination of his crazy mother and 4 Australian guys and their pals are the best thing ever.  That works for me.  (sidenote:  I haven’t seen much of the new Wiggles, which includes a girl but I’m pretty sure I will still prefer old school Wiggles – I think I like to see guys making fools of themselves for kids more, but I’ll reserve judgment)

Big brother dancing at a Wiggles concert in 2008

Big brother dancing at a Wiggles concert in 2008 (yes, we went to Wiggles Live!)

I am woman mom enough to suck it up and let him enjoy the Wiggles, even going so far as to continuously put the same On Demand episode on repeat and check out dvds from the library so he always has some available.  (another sidenote:  young Anthony was not nearly as handsome as old Anthony – he aged really well!  Now you know how pathetic my life has become because I am commenting on the attractiveness of a Wiggle….hanging head in shame.)

I think of all of the shows out these days, I can tolerate the Wiggles the best (at least on repeat) so I am kind of grateful that he hasn’t latched onto other, more annoying shows.  But, I know there are others who detest The Wiggles like I detest Caillou.

So, what are your favorite kids’ shows (any other Wiggles lovers out there)? And which ones make you want to stab yourself in the eyes with a fork (uh, hello there, Caillou)? 🙂

It’s Almost Back To School Time….Hooray!

I’m the first to admit that I have been a little slacking in the blogging department this Summer, but I feel like my brain is all over the place between camps and “vacations” and having 3 kids home 24-7, etc.  To say that I have been overwhelmed is an understatement.  However, in just one short week, all 3 kids will be starting school. YES, BIG TROUBLE IS GOING TOO!  They are so excited; I am more excited.drink

This will be the first time in 8 years that I will be home alone without at least one child with me.  I am not exaggerating.  I am never AT HOME without a kid.  Yes, I get to break away with the occasional doctor’s appointment or grocery store trip (sidenote: how sad is it that I look forward to the dentist and taking the car for an oil change because that is my “time off”?!), but if I am at home, there’s always a kid with me, making it virtually impossible to thoroughly clean.   Suffice it to say, our house always looks like a tornado hit it and I AM SICK OF IT.cleaning

So, as I try to survive the last week of Summer, I am reminding myself that I will actually have up to 9 hours of quiet a week.  I have no recollection of what that feels like but it sounds like heaven.  I plan on going on a cleaning spree a la a “Clean House” episode and getting rid of a lot of stuff that the kids will never miss (shhh don’t tell them and they will never know).  Goodwill and other various charities will be the recipients of our goodies and I will smile victorious.

I am hoping these few hours a week will allow me to catch up on all of the things that I have let go over time because I have been too tired or exasperated (maybe even sneak in a coherent blog here or there).  I have BIG plans.  We’ll see.  These plans are contingent upon Big Trouble not getting kicked out of preschool for being big trouble and me actually being able to function without a child around (I sometimes have trouble speaking without the kids around because I am not used to NOT being interrupted so I am fearful that this might carry over to everyday actions).

But, assuming all goes to plan, I will finally have a (semi) clean house and I will also be able to volunteer at the kids’ schools when the classes need parents and I won’t have to ask my husband to take an earlier lunch or drag Big Trouble with me.  These are the days I have been working for over the last 8 years.  And, who knows?  Maybe I will finally find the right part time job that will allow me to get back into the adult world, while still maintaing the balance at home?  One can dream, right?  (This dream goes right under the dream of Big Trouble actually using the toilet instead of just playing with it – Lord, bless his poor teachers.)

Well, I am rambling (which is why it has been hard to actual sit and write a blog these days) but that’s where I am right now.  My kids are starting to grow up.  Part of me misses the baby days (they seriously seem so easy looking back now) but a bigger part of me is excited to see where they are heading and where I am heading.

I am MOTHER; hear me roar….or sigh….ask me

Wordless Wednesday – Sights of San Francisco

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Eating at Lori’s Diner with Grandma and Auntie Rachel

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At the Golden Gate Bridge (it was quite chilly!)

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In front of Alcatraz

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The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

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The fountain in Ghiradelli Square

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Riding the cable car (this one was to pose with – we all rode inside except for Big Brother and Grandma and Auntie who were brave enough for the outside)

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Posing by the pretty Golden Gate Bridge flowers

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Riding the 100+ year old German carousel in Golden Gate Park

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Deciding whether or not to go down the big slide in Golden Gate Park

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Outside of the Exploratorium

Tag, You’re It

Melissa of the spectacular Motherhood Is An Art tagged me in one of her posts which shares more fun information about her.  I love a good game of tag so here are my answers to the same questions!

Five Things I Have a Passion for:

1. Fun music from all genres

2. Helping others, especially children

3. Being a mom

4. Finding good deals (on clothes, food, supplies, adventures, etc.)

5. M&Ms

Five Things I Would Like To Do Before I Kick the Bucket:

1. Pay off my student loans (or perhaps it would be better if I didn’t because then they would be forgiven and my husband could save some A LOT of money?)

2. Get an entire night’s worth of sleep in one night instead of over a period of one week.

3. Be the voice of a Disney cartoon character.

4. Renew my wedding vows at the wedding chapel at the Grand Floridian hotel (or a drive-thru in Vegas – either choice will do).

5. Work for a charitable organization and feel like I have made an impact.

Five Things I Say A Lot:

1. Are you kidding me?! (this is usually to the kids, but occasionally to others who make my head hurt)

2. Just zip it PLEASE so I can talk to your dad for 2 seconds! (I never get to have an actual, full conversation with my husband – for an idea of what it is like, check out this post by mamamillerparenting)

3. For the love of God and all that’s holy, please stop saying poop. (this is the new word of choice in our house and it is apparently hilarious until someone else says it back to you and then World War III breaks out)

4. Good thing you are cute.  (I say this to my children when they are driving me nuts)

5. Mommy’s fixin’ to lose it, y’all!  (when I am close to my breaking point, I get really Southern and it comes out of nowhere)

Five Things I Read Recently:

1. Divergent – I am guilty of reading the latest YA books simply because I like to compare them to the movies that always accompany them.

2. Dry Grass of August – My favorite genre is anything written about the Civil Rights era in the South and I found this while looking for books similar to The Help (it’s really not that much like the Help, but it fits the genre).

3. The Host – I read all of the Twilight books so I figured why not try the next book by Stephanie Meyer?  It was pretty good, although a little long; the movie was not.

4. The Casual Vacancy – I read all of the Harry Potter books so thought I would try J.K. Rowling’s first adult book out too.  It was just odd.  I miss Harry.

5. Entertainment Weekly – This is how I keep up with all of the “entertainment” pop culture that I wish I wasn’t so interested in.  It is cheaper than subscribing to People.

Five Favorite Movies:

1. The Goonies – I fell in love with Sean Astin in 1985 and call my oldest son Mikey after his character in this movie.  Classic.

2. Singing In The Rain – I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Gene Kelly and obviously this is his greatest masterpiece (even though the critics think An American In Paris is – they are wrong).

3. Friday – I can’t explain my love for this one at all but I find it hilarious.

4. Gone With The Wind – Hey, I’m Southern.  It’s sacrilegious if I don’t include this one.

5. Dodgeball/Anchorman – These two tie because they are more recent comedies that I can watch repeatedly and quote repeatedly and they never get old to me.  That doesn’t happen often these days!

Five Places I Would Love to Travel:

1. Ireland  – I am of Irish descent (also English, Scottish, German and a tiny part Creek Indian, just for reference) and I have always identified most with this part of my heritage.  It’s the one place outside of the US that I could actually see myself living.

2. Hong Kong – I need to visit Hong Kong Disneyland to complete my tour of all of the world’s disney theme parks….not to mention all of the cool historical things there too.

3. Africa – I would love to go on Safari to see all of the animals in their natural habitat.

4. The rainforests of South America (or Hawaii – I’m not picky)

5. Haiti – I focused an extensive paper in law school on the need for more US help in Haiti and with the refugees from Haiti (and this was pre-earthquake Haiti so they need it even more now) and it really made me want to visit the country, especially if I could do something to help.

Five Bloggers I’m Tagging For This Thing:

1. Atlanta Mom of Three

2. When The Kids Go To Bed

3. Magnolia Blossom

4. Mommy Training Wheels

5. Mama Miller Parenting

Can’t wait to read the other answers!

Courtney 🙂