Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 17

Eli was a bit of a candy thief for this one.  I put him in one of the candy dishes my mom made and had him clutching some candy.  T said, "Look Mommy!  What is that little Eli up to?"  Cute. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 16

This location did not turn out as I had envisioned.  I really wanted to rig Eli from the living room fan "flying" toward the tree, but I couldn't pull it off.  So, I opted to have him parachuting from the chandelier; still cute but not quite the same impact!  Tying him up was not easy.  I had to keep adjusting the string, because for the first few attempts he looked like he had hung himself with the parachute - not the image I was aiming for!  After much tinkering with him I was comfortable with the spot.  There was,however, one issue that occurred later in the day when I accidentally hit him with my head.  T, of course, noticed right away and panicked.  I had to lie and tell her it must have been a breeze from my body moving because I didn't feel myself make contact with him.  Not sure she bought it.  I'm going to blow this whole Christmas thing way too soon!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 15

I had been thinking about this spot for a while!  T loves her Sofia the First toys, so I set Eli up with them and created a tea party for them!  I included Sofia's brother James because Mad Man likes him too!  Both kiddos got a kick out of seeing them having tea together!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 14

Some days I just need to find a simple place for our friend Eli.  Today was one of those days.  I have a Disney room in my house which showcases all things Disney that I have collected through the years.  It  has transformed from my museum to a guest room and now to a playroom.  So, once we were able to pick up the room (I assure you this is no small feat) I was able to get out my little Disney princess Christmas tree.  The kiddos and I decorated it and it provided me with the perfect location for Eli. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 13

I had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to do this one. Mad Man was actually asleep so I was able to sneak in his room and place Eli in one of the princess beds in Ts castle (which is being temporarily housed in Mad Man's room).  It took them quite a while to find the little elf, but they loved it when they did!  I had him snuggled with a little toy snowman from their Doc McStuffins toys!  Cute. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 12

This was an easy one!  We have a stocking holder made to look like Santa Claus and we have many stockings hanging on it.  So, Eli snuggled in to a little stocking and had the perfect spot to view the little ones as they played in the living room!  T loved it!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 11

Here is my confession: I totally stole this idea from a post on Facebook by an acquaintance of mine.  Eli riding part of the toy train around a decoration on the dining room table.  So cute!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 10

T knew this one was coming: the tree!  She remembered Eli being on the tree last year and kept wondering aloud when he would be on the tree again.  I had not planned on doing it so soon, but little Mad Man woke up quite early (shocker, I know) so I was stuck.  You see, I hadn't moved Eli the night before so I had to distract Mad while I swiftly and secretly moved Eli.  The tree was the closest and easiest target.  Needless to say, T was quite excited to see him when she woke up. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 9

Finding a location for Eli to "play" with another toy - in this case the Cowardly Lion, was not an easy task.  Luckily, we had not been using our pellet stove for a day or so, which made it the ideal spot. Both kiddos are afraid of the pellet stove so I knew they would have no interest in going near it!  Mad Man woke up first and saw him.  He loves Simba and now calls every lion Simba, so he just kept pointing and repeating "Simba!"  He was so excited to show T when she woke up. T couldn't believe that Eli was playing with one of her toys. She also couldn't believe that he found my playing cards. I love this whole elf thing!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 8

This time I took a chance with the placement of Eli.  Either child could have easily reached him, but I decided to take a risk anyway (so uncharacteristic of me).  I really wanted to make it look like he was reading so it had to be eye level. I love this one!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 7

Luckily for Facebook I can check out lots of other people's creative ideas for their elf!  I hadn't really tapped into the idea that the elf could be getting into mischief until perusing some of the crazy things my friends do with their elves!  This time I had Eli holding a piece of candy while clinging to a small decorative tree. T kept asking where he got that candy from!  Too cute. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 6

I find myself thinking about Eli a little too much!  I'm constantly wondering where to hide him next!  I try to avoid any location which might tempt Mad Man or even curious little T to touch him. So, this location was perfect!  Mad Man especially loved it because Eli was on a ball!  The little guy seriously loves balls!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 5

In an effort to ameliorate for our failure from the previous day, this time I wrote a note from Eli to the kiddos.  The note read:  Dear T and M, I really like your house.  (Make sure your Daddy goes to sleep so I can fly back to the North Pole!).  Love, Eli.  With the note Eli was sitting in a bowl filled with marshmallows. T got a kick out of it.  Bonus:  she seemed to believe the letter too!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 4

Let's just say that returning to work after a five day hiatus got the best of us.  I forgot to move Eli while I was downstairs, so I figured that I would do it in the morning.  Problem: both kiddos woke up way too early and T saw Eli in the same place as the day before.  Ugh.  So, I came up with the only excuse I could think of: Daddy couldn't sleep and spent the night pretty much awake on the couch.  This meant in my convoluted explanation that Eli couldn't fly back to the North Pole for fear that Daddy would see him.  Lame I know.  T thought he could fly back while we were all out of the house, no dice.  Huge failure. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 3

I decided to reuse a spot from last year - on top of Hubby's deer that hangs (quite unfortunately and against all of my senses) in the living room.  So, Eli clung to the antlers of this poor unassuming buck.  T noticed him right away and was pretty excited that he had returned.  Mad Man just kept pointing and saying "deer!".

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 2

Day two came and I reminded Hubby that he would have to locate Eli and find a place for him since we were already late - which was complete news to him.  When I woke up I was shocked that he had followed through.  There Eli sat on the shelf of our dining room hutch.  T didn't notice him right away, but once I pointed him out she was so excited.  We had watched the movie on tv the night before so the rule that you can't touch him was fresh in her mind.  She freaked out if Mad Man even tried to enter the dining room for fear that he would touch him.  I would say we were successful...today. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 1

The best laid plans...this year I was determined to be on the ball in terms of Eli (our Elf in the Shelf).  The precept, I believe, is that the elf is to arrive the day after Thanksgiving ( don't quote me on that as clearly I am a novice with this whole thing).  The day after Thanksgiving came and went.  No Eli.  I forgot.  So when T asked where I thought he was, I told her that he probably had a long trip from the North Pole.  Then I added that he might be a lazy bones.  Really?  Why even say that?  I am a self-professed lousy liar - case in point.  So Day 1 = Elf on the Shelf fail. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Disney Vacay: Day 6

(photo courtesy of: disney.wikia.com)

Thankfully, the week was almost over at this point because I was just about done with everyone!  Hubby had games and was planning on meeting us after the games.  Auntie, her boyfriend and I, were taking the kiddos to Hollywood Studios for a character breakfast at Hollywood & Vine...early.  We managed to make it on time, although we pretty much ran to ensure we made it on time!  The breakfast was awesome.  The characters were great and the food was yummy.  T had a blast.  She got to dance with the characters and they came around to our table a few times.  It was so worth it.  She got to meet June from the Little Einsteins, Handy Manny, Jake, and Special Agent Oso.  Mad Man enjoyed it too (mostly the food!).  It was so much fun.

Then the fun quickly ended!  We saw a few attractions (we especially enjoyed Disney Junior - Live on Stage), but T was melting quickly.  She didn't even enjoy Voyage of The Little Mermaid, which is when I realized the day was probably not salvageable.  I tried snacks, to no avail.  I couldn't even convince her to keep it together to see Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage (which I should add is one of my favorite shows ever!!).  Auntie and her boyfriend were also feeling the stress of the two kiddos losing it, so I decided we should go back to the hotel.  I was really wishing Hubby was there to aide in cooling the meltdowns, but he wasn't.  I tried to convince Auntie and her boyfriend to stay at the park, but they insisted on helping me get back to the hotel.

We met up with Hubby and his team at the hotel.  There was much discussion between the group whether to go to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.  We didn't have a pass for T for Epcot, so to me that wasn't an option for us, seeing as how the morning and early afternoon went so poorly.  After a bunch of annoying chats and stress between Hubby and I, and Auntie and Hubby, and Hubby and the team (although he doesn't seem to really get stressed with them), we decided to stay at the hotel and let Hubby go off with the team.  That is after all what he wanted to do.  I will say that he continuously texted me how much T would have enjoyed Epcot.  Easy for him to say since he had missed the colossal meltdown.  

We went swimming.  The kiddos played in the sand, and we had a nice calm dinner.  Even though Mad Man fell and bonked his head on the concrete.  Poor little guy.  He was fine.  I think Auntie's boyfriend was more worked up, because he had been watching him at the time.  I was in the bathroom with T Bear, who has the hardest time pooping when we are not at home.  Poor little girl!  After dinner we headed back to Hollywood Studios to watch Fantasmic!.  I was dying to see it - it was one of the few things I had not seen before.  We met up with Hubby and some of his team, which was fine.  Although a few of the girls seemed to feel that we were infringing on their time with Hubby.  Gotta love teenage girls.  We tried to keep the kiddos awake for the show, but T was out like a light!  Mad Man made it through some of it.  The show is awesome!  Although the day was long and tiring, and we endured meltdowns and drama - it was a good day.  In hindsight, I would never have back to back days at the park with little ones - had we not been traveling with the softball team we probably would not have had to plan the week that way anyway.
High:  Watching the kiddos become entranced with the characters at breakfast and at Disney Junior - Live on Stage.
Low:  All the drama.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Night in the ER

Note:  I started this post a year ago and just finished it - so my Mad Man is now two and a half. 

Is there anything worse than a little one being sick?  A couple of weeks ago my one and a half year old Mad Man came down with a fever around lunch time. The day before he had been a bit cranky, but I didn't think much of it. Thankfully my MIL had just gotten me a new thermometer - one that goes on the forehead and reads the temp digitally.  102.4. Oh my poor little guy. As the day progressed he was okay. He slept, he ate, he even played a little. I thought for sure that the Advil I had given him was working. I gave him a cool bath and his temp seemed to be under control. 99.1. Then I rocked him to sleep and sang to my T Bear. I was about to put him in his crib when I thought he felt warm. So, I took him downstairs and took his temp 104.3. Oh my God. In my panicked state I called Mima and she concurred that I should take him to the ER. Of course, Hubby was not home - he was coaching a softball game about an hour away. So, Poppi and Mima came right over so Poppi could stay with T while Mima and I took Mad Man to the ER. 

This was my first experience with a little one going to the ER. When we arrived the front desk asked immediately what happened. I had one of those cool packs adhered to his forehead and I think they thought it was a bandage. Seriously, had they never seen one of these little kids fever relief packs?  It had Disney characters printed on it for crying out loud. They took us right in. The male nurse was very comforting - you could tell he has little ones of his own.  He explained that he would have to take a rectal temperature. I am clenching my butt cheeks as I write this. Mad was a trooper. He didn't even flinch which just emphasizes how sick he felt. 104.9. Holy crap.  Then he put ice packs along his body and in his arm pits, and gave him a Tylenol suppository. The nurse also set up the IV port in his little arm, just in case they needed it. Ugh. It was awful to see and Mad was not feeling it. He was getting pretty miserable; I felt so bad for him. 

Then the waiting began. The nurse brought us a few toys, but M was not at all interested. Who could blame him really?  During this time we did get to witness some interesting ER action. We overheard a woman who seemed to be completely insane. She was arguing with the nurses and I believe they were trying to admit her. Lots of profanity. I think I was so overcome with stress that this scenario lightened the air in the room and caused me to fight back laughter. So, thank you crazy lady for fighting the staff. She seemed to be a regular in the ER. The doctor came in and let me say that bedside manner was not his strong suit. He could barely make eye contact or even speak loud enough to carry on a conversation. He managed to elicit enough information from me in spite of his less than stellar communication skill set. He left us to wait again. Finally, he returned and said that Mad Man had a virus and that within a day or so he should be feeling better. Blah blah blah. Treat the symptoms. The nurse removed the unnecessary apparatus from M's arm and we were free to go. I would like to say that I felt good or relieved, but I didn't. I was drained and frankly I was fearful that I wouldn't be able to control his fever. The poor little guy had been through such a harrowing night. 

Thankfully it was not anything serious, but when you get a virus diagnosis you don't feel like you actually have an answer. Let's face it a virus could be just about anything as far as I'm concerned. 

I have to say that I couldn't have hottest through the experience without my mom. She is super strong and was so helpful in keeping me as calm as possible through the whole ordeal. Thank God for mothers. 

The next day Mad Man still had a fever but was getting better. The day after I headed with my kiddos and my parents to the Jersey shore. Let's just say we survived the drive there - M was  not so interested in being strapped in a car seat. He just wanted to be held. The day after his face finally began to light up again and the fever was gone. Yikes. I am so thankful that he only had a virus, but geez was that a scary couple of days. 

High:  The night ended and Mad didn't have to endure anything too invasive; plus it was only a virus. 
Low:  The knowledge that M was so sick and I really couldn't do anything to help him. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Disney Vacay: Day 5

           (Photo courtesy of visitingdc.com)

Aah, the day had finally arrived:  Magic Kingdom!!  I seriously love this place...seriously.  We woke up bright and early, got the kiddos dressed, and off we went.  Yes, it was another Pop-Tart kind of morning (I know, I know).  I snapped pics on the bus and really tried to build the excitement, so that everyone would be just as excited as I was!  We got to the park and I was ready to go, go, go!  I have a ritual and those with me need to follow it or get left behind.  First stop: pic in front of the castle. Well, lo and behold T didn't feel like taking a picture at that moment; I'm pretty sure she would have preferred to be sleeping.  Arrr.  I managed to get a few in (although not the way I had envisioned them to be).  Then we headed straight back to Fantasyland.  Auntie dashed into Sir Mickey's and purchased the oh so high in demand Sofia the First doll (although it wasn't the exact one T wanted - but it would have to do!!).  We went right to "its a small world" - virtually no line.  Auntie made it back to us just in time.  Other than that, in Fantasyland we were only able to do a few rides because the lines were already crazy. 

Then we ventured into the new Fantasyland.  We waited in line to meet Ariel.  Somehow Hubby, his right hand man, and Mad Man got a few people behind us so they weren't with T when she met Ariel, but then had heir own pics taken with Ariel.  Slightly suspicious.  We loved the Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid ride and then we went to Enchanted Tales with Belle.  It was awesome.  We didn't think T Bear would join in with the other kiddos (it is an interactive show), but she did.  She got to be one of the dancing plates!  It was so cute; she loved it!  Luckily, Hubby was on top of things and captured the whole thing on video!

We did a few more rides and then it was lunch time.  Now, I always (and I mean always) eat lunch at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, but since we were on the other side of the park we ate at Pinocchio Village Haus - it was yummy!  I suppose it is okay to venture off of my itinerary sometimes.  (For those of you who know me to be too rigid here is your proof that I am not always so!).  Thankfully, Auntie and her boyfriend had "fast passed" the princess meet and greet for us so  Twas able to get right in to meet Rapunzel and Cinderella.  She absolutely adored every second of it.  She was, of course, dressed in her Rapunzel costume (I'm not sure she really took it off most of the week!).  We then made it on to Pirates of the Caribbean and Aladdin's magic carpets and then we needed a little break.  Well, really Mad Man needed to nurse.  So, we found a spot and sat down and nursed (yes right out in the open).  Auntie and her boyfriend went to Swiss Family Treehouse and Tom Sawyer Island.  Then we all gathered and continued on our adventure.  Things went pretty well until T wanted to meet Merida and the line was ginormous.  We were concerned we would wait in line and then not get to meet her (which had happened at Animal Kingdom for Pluto and Goofy), because the attraction was about half an hour from closing.  Of course, Hubby and I need some serious communication skills training, so I figured he didn't want to wait so I was trying to talk T out of waiting and he piped in trying to convince her to do it.  Ugh.  We ended up waiting - it was a LONG wait.  Mad Man was cranky.  T Bear was cranky.  It was, however, worth it.  T loved it.

 We then grabbed dinner in Tomorrowland at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (another part of my ritual).  T was not very pleasant, but she likes attention and Hubby was paying more attention to his right hand man discussing possible line-ups for the next games.  Geez.  We struggled through dinner, but survived.  Then things got annoying.  We had a "fast pass" for the Jungle Cruise (located on the over side of the park). Apparently, the softball girls had expressed to Hubby that they wanted to take T on a ride themselves.  Well, T is not that kind of kiddo.  She wanted me to go with her, but there weren't enough "fast passes".  Hubby was having a grand old time chatting with all of the softball girls, while this discussion was going on with T. Auntie got impatient, because she knew I was getting impatient.  I just wanted T Bear to see as many things as she could, and we were wasting time standing around.  I even snapped at Auntie because I was so frustrated with the whole situation.  (Sorry again Auntie!).  We did finally get to see a few more things and then we tried to get of a spot to see the night time show, but it didn't really work.  We were all ready for the day to end.  Happiest place on earth?  Yes, it still is in spite of the little bumps along the way!

High:  Seeing T's excitement as she met the Disney Princesses!  Even Mad Man enjoyed it!
Low:  The lines.  Spring break is not the best time to visit Magic Kingdom - way too crowded.  We didn't get to go on nearly as many rides as usual.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Disney Vacay: Day 4

This day was definitely more of a relaxing day.  Hubby's team had two games to play, while the kiddos, Auntie, her boyfriend, and I planned our own stuff.  We took our time getting ready, having breakfast, and playing.  Then we headed to ESPN's Wide World of Sports to watch Hubby's team.  It was a chilly day, so we were not looking to stay long.  T had a blast playing in the dirt while we watched the game.  After game one we were ready to venture elsewhere.  However, T lost one of her little toys, so we spent a great deal of time circling the grounds searching for it (a few days later one of Hubby's players gave it to us as she had found it near one of the dugouts.  Amazing!).  We then decided to head to Downtown Disney for some fun and shopping.  Poor Mad Man had to just roll with everything, napping when he could.  I certainly don't keep his naps as sacred as I did T Bear's.  Child number two really gets the shaft!  Of course, he is not as routine a kiddo as she is. 

At Downtown Disney we did some shopping, especially since we had been searching for a Sofia the First doll.  T had been dying for one and they were sold out everywhere.  She actually started to cry in the World of Disney Store because we couldn't find one, in spite of the fact that we were buying a ton of other stuff!  Looking back I'm pretty sure she was just melting down from exhaustion at this point.  I was able to find out that they had one Sofia doll at Sir Mickey's in the Magic Kingdom, since we planned on going there the next day we were in luck.  That calmed her down for a while. 
The elusive Sofia the First doll!

The highlight of the evening was definitely dinner.  We were able to get reservations at T-REX.  What a cool restaurant!  The decor is so cool.  Each room is full of things to look at.  The color changing ice cavern was awesome!  We had a really great time.  After dinner we did a little bit more shopping (which included one colossal meltdown by both kiddos in one of the stores - honestly what did I expect keeping them out so late, so many nights??!) and then headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.  Overall, a pretty busy, fun-filled day!

High:  Dinner with the dinosaurs!
Low:  Meltdown, meltdown, meltdown.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Weekend Away: Dutch Wonderland

(photo courtesy of dutchwonderland.com)
I am always looking for ways to generate more family time so this Father's Day was no exception.  I had heard of Dutch Wonderland (located in Lancaster, PA) last summer, but with an infant it was too crazy to consider!  I decided that now would be the perfect time for a getaway.  I organized it (albeit at the last minute) and it was a go!

Preparing for this trip seemed a bit easier than other trips, I am assuming because we were only going for a weekend!  I had things relatively organized and just had to wait for Hubby to drop our Copper dog off to a friend and then we would be on our way.  Of course, there was one item I could not locate for our journey: the activity tray for T's car seat.  I looked where I thought it would be, to no avail.  When Hubby returned he looked.  We spent a good twenty minutes looking for this stupid thing and never found it.  Grr.  I HATE losing things!  

Our trip was going pretty smoothly until Mad Man lost it!  Seriously lost it.  Screaming, kicking his feet, inconsolable.  He only napped for about the first hour of the trip, so initially I thought we were golden.  Boy was I wrong. I attempted to deactivate his meltdown by climbing back to sit next to him.  That was clearly not enough.  So, we got off the nearest exit and I nursed him, which calmed him down until I had to put him back in his seat.  Ugh.  More screaming.  He earned a new nickname this trip:  Monster Baby.  He did finally calm down when he realized he was stuck in there. Poor little guy.  Then our directions became a bit confusing and with the fussiness it looked like our ship was going down!  Thankfully, Hubby has a fantastic internal GPS and was able to find the hotel in spite of my less than stellar navigational skills.  At one point he asked if I was even paying attention at all to the directions. The sad part was that I was trying! 

We made it to Lancaster, and met up with Mima, Poppi, and Auntie.  Dutch Wonderland has a cool policy that you can "preview" the park from 5:30 until 8:30 if you buy a full priced ticket for the following day. Awesome!  So, even though it was almost 7:00, and we had not had dinner, we figured we would get as much as we could out of it.  I'm so glad we did.  T had a blast.  We put off dinner and went ride to ride to ride.  There were virtually no lines, which was fantastic.  The kiddos were able to meet the Dutch Wonderland Princess, Prince, and Duke the dragon as well.  The thing that is so cool about this park is that it truly is designed for young children.  There are numerous rides for all heights.  Mad Man could even go on many of the rides (of course helicopter mommy would have to step aside for a few moments to allow this to happen!).  

When the park closed we headed to Red Lobster for dinner.  Both kiddos were beyond tired and hungry, but we decided to try anyway.  T did a great job, where as Mad Man had serious difficulty.  Luckily I only ordered a salad, since I am still unsure as to whether or not I am allergic to seafood (something that seemed to pop up a few years ago) so I was able to wrestle him.  Actually, I think everyone took a turn trying to entertain him.  Poor guy just wants to be on the go!  Then it was time to settle in.  It was probably around 11:00 before the kiddos passed out, but Hubby was out when his head hit the pillow.  Figures. 

We were staying at the Wingate by Wyndham right in Lancaster, and they had a yummy complimentary continental breakfast.  T had a minor meltdown because there were "too many people" eating there, but we were able to diffuse it and had her go back to the room with Poppi.  After breakfast it was off to Dutch Wonderland.  The weather was beautful and we were ready for some fun!  The park did not disappoint.  We spent the morning going on ride after ride.  T absolutely loved the giant slide - she and Hubby went on it countless times.  I even let Mad Man go on these two little rides; one of which T had to help him with because he was so scared.  At one point he was holding on to her shirt with one hand and the side of the ride with the other.  Poor little dude.  We all went on the Double Splash Flume.  Mima and I were not fans (any log flume scares the life out of me!).  Mad Man was scared, but didn't freak out; he actually fared better than Mima and I!  We also watched the Adventures of the Frog Prince water show, which was really cool; although T was scared of the "bad guy".  After lunch we went on a few rides, Mad Man fell asleep, and we headed for Duke's Lagoon.  T and Poppi were the only two that brought bathing suits, so they were ready to go!  Mad Man woke up and was also ready to go as he is truly an Aquarius baby!  He and T loved the water geysers and little slides.  Then T discovered the humongous water slide - Pipeline Plunge - that she and Poppi could go on.  This child has no fear!  They rode that enclosed slide probably five times.  Her little lips were chattering, but she wanted to continue!  We managed to get both little ones away from the water and headed back toward the rides.  We only made it on a few and decided that everyone needed a little break. 

Pipeline Plunge, Turtle Whirl, Frog Hopper (photos courtesy of dutchwonderland.com)

We left the park and went to dinner at Miller's.  This place is huge!  It is a smorgasbord restaurant (although they have other options) which serves fresh food.  It was delicious!  I particularly enjoyed the desserts (shocking, I know!).  Now, Mad Man is in that stage of not wanting to sit for a meal, much less a long drawn out smorgasbord meal.  So, after he was full he was ready to go.  Mima attempted to take him to look out the window and somehow lost her balance and fell to the floor.  She landed on her rear, somehow threw Mad Man, and sat there.  As I am writing this I am fighting back the laughter (although at the time it wasn't funny).  These are the moments I love about family vacays - you cannot predict the memories you will make!

After we gorged ourselves we returned to the park to soak up as much fun as we could before closing!  T got to go on all of her favorite rides one more time.  She dragged me on the roller-coaster - The Joust - countless times!  Auntie even convinced me to go with her, Hubby, and Poppi on the large roller-coaster:  the Kingdom Coaster.  Big mistake!  I am not a roller coaster enthusiast at all.  This coaster was super fast!  The little sneak said it would be fun! The tears streaming down my face from the fierce adrenaline coursing through my veins did not scream fun!

The next day we decided to go on a horse and buggy ride - Amish style (thank you Aaron & Jessica's).  Unfortunately, it was Sunday so we were unable to witness the full Amish experience, but we enjoyed our little jaunt with the horses.  Next time we will definitely plan it better so we can go through an Amish community, and stop at an Amish house.

We, of course, hit the outlets (which are right there!) on our way out.  T loved both the Disney outlet and the Toys R Us Express.  Other than getting lost a few more times (okay, my navigation skills need work...I know), we had an uneventful trip home...thankfully.

Overall, the weekend was a success.  I love discovering things about my kiddos, and allowing them to try new things too!  I learned that T is truly a dare devil.  She is not afraid of any ride!  Mad Man on the other hand is more like me, he didn't even like the merry go round.  T Bear and I loved the Turtle Whirl; I finally found someone besides Poppi to endure the tilt-a-whirl type rides with me!  The screams we let out are truly priceless, especially since I think she was screaming to go along with my reaction...too adorable!  T did not like the bumper cars - I can't blame her there; I never understood the enjoyment of ramming into another car.  Watching them discover new things is amazing.

High:  The pure sounds of joy coming from T.  Witnessing T taking care of Mad Man on the kiddie rides.
Low:  The drive.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Disney Vacay: Day 3

Our third day of vacation was certainly a full one.  We started waking the kiddos up early, getting them dressed and ready, and heading to the bus to go to the Animal Kingdom.  Hubby grabbed breakfast for me, which I was able to somewhat scarf down as we raced out the door.  It is no easy task getting two little ones ready, plus worrying about a group of teenage girls and coordinating all of that!  Thank God for Pop Tarts, which is what I fed the kiddos on the bus (hey, no judging allowed!).  It was a very cold morning - not something I was really prepared for in Orlando!

(photo courtesy of www.forbes.com)
We arrived at the Animal Kingdom with so much excitement.  Hubby wanted to go right to Kilimanjaro Safaris, but I wanted to wait for Auntie and her boyfriend.  So, we headed to DinoLand U.S.A..  We discovered that there were not too many rides for T, due to the height requirements, so we had to deal with that!  T certainly did not understand!  We found a few rides (T really enjoyed TriceraTop Spin) and then went to an attraction called The Boneyard, which has things to climb and slides.  Hubby, his right hand man, and Mad Man stayed in one area while I took T over to a bunch of slides.  Now, I am admittedly a helicopter mommy.  I don't let her run free at the playground; I am always right with her.  So, this was no different.  I walked her up to the slide and then ran down to catch her at the bottom.  This worked a few times and then we headed to a different slide. Well, with this one there was no way for me to make it up the stairs and then back down to catch her.  So, I told her to climb up the stairs and I would meet her at the bottom.  There were kids everywhere running around with no real visible parent involvement.  I waited at the bottom, a few kids came down, but no T.  I looked up to the top, but couldn't see anyone.  Then a few more kids came down and still no T.  My stomach started to knot.  I looked around and didn't see her.  So, I ran up the stairs and realized there were several slides for her to choose from up there and she was not near any of them.  I ran to the other side screaming her name.  I was beyond freaking out.  I happened to see her dart around near the stairs looking panicked.  Thank God for the Rapunzel dress she was wearing - she was easy to spot.  I ran down the stairs a few at a time and screamed for her.  She was just about to exit the attraction when I grabbed her up.  The poor girl was so scared.  She was crying and didn't understand what had happened.  I held her so tightly, my heart still racing.  That has to be one of the worst feelings I have ever felt.  We are very fortunate because that could have gone seriously worse.  I shudder to even think of the things that could have happened.  My advice to single parents: do not attempt this attraction on your own!  We found Hubby, who obviously had no idea what had happened, but I have to say I was irritated with him that I had been doing this on my own while he sat chatting - I'm sure about softball.  Needless to say we left that attraction and T was safely in my arms.  She was definitely shaken by the event and kept asking me questions about why it happened. 

We did another ride and then went to the Finding Nemo musical show.  We all loved it, and then headed to lunch.  The softball team met us there.  Pizzafari - it was a super busy restaurant!  Loved the flatbread pizza. Yummy.  Then Auntie and her boyfriend arrived!  We spent the rest of the day exploring the Animal Kingdom.  We did a lot of walking!  It was fun!  Seeing the Tree of Life is always impressive.  Mad Man really enjoyed our stop at Harambe Fruit Market - very yummy fresh fruit!  The safari was awesome - the best I had ever seen.  We were able to see so many animals. Truly incredible.  We also saw Festival of the the Lion King.  Amazing!  Even if I had to nurse Mad Man during the performance!
 Auntie, boyfriend, and I went on DINOSAUR!  I love that ride...truly exhilarating!  T met Minnie Mouse at Camp Minnie-Mickey, and even though she was disappointed by Minnie's safari outfit (she wished she had her pink dress on), she was excited to meet her.  She actually picked up flowers on the ground as we waited.  I wouldn't let her give them to Minnie fearing that they would reprimand her for picking their flowers!  T did not care for It's Tough to be a Bug!  Actually, neither did Mad Man.  I had to nurse him in that show too!  We had a quick dinner and headed back to the hotel.  We were exhausted, but overall it was a very fun day!

High:  Auntie's arrival!  Seeing how excited T is to see her Auntie. 
Low:  Losing my baby for those terrifying few minutes. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Naughty Ballerina: Did It!

Leading up to T Bear's first dance recital I really did not know what was going to ensue.  There were so many questions.  Would she perform?  Would she freak out?  Would she refuse to go on stage or get off stage?  So many possibilities!

The run down of her recital weekend was Friday night dress rehearsal, followed by catching the last bit of Daddy's softball game.  Saturday, Auntie was coming, then a trip to Dairy Queen, followed by a 6:00 performance.  Sunday had a 2:00 performance and dinner with the family.  Quite a lot for a four year old!

On Friday we didn't have the best day.  I tried to maintain my composure, but I'm sure my anxiety was rubbing off on her.  She definitely was not the best listener, but looking back I'm sure she was super nervous too.  We picked up Mima and had her take Mad Man while we went to the dress rehearsal.  I volunteered to be a back stage mom for all three days since I figured T wouldn't even attempt it if I was not there.  Plus, I am definitely a bit of a helicopter parent!  There was a lot of time to sit around.  So, I took my time getting her ready.  How sweet she looked in her pink tutu and bun.  We even put a little sparkly eye shadow on!  The final piece of her attire was the sticker I put on her hand, and kiss that accompanied it, so that she would know my love was with her while she was on the stage (once again thank you to The Kissing Hand).  She clung to me pretty much the whole time we were backstage.  If I had to take one little one to the bathroom T for sure was accompanying us.  She started to get more comfortable and played with the other little ones as the evening progressed.  Then we lined them up and one of the backstage helpers did little sing-alongs (so cute) and quiet games with them.  T loved it.  I promised her that I would be in the wings when she went on stage, so that she could see me.  As the little ones made their way to the stage, the door closed and I wasn't able to sneak in.  My stomach was literally churning!  I was convinced that she would come barreling through the stage door at any moment.  It felt like an eternity, but the door opened and I was able to sneak in.  T looked over at me and waved!  Oh, so sweet.  She was doing it - she was dancing on the stage!  Well, my tears were certainly flowing now.  I was absolutely overcome with pride, relief, excitement, and awe.  Aah, I love that little girl!

When she got off the stage I picked her up and told her just how proud of her I was!  I could tell that she was very proud of herself too!  She told me that the sticker worked and she looked at it and felt better.  Oh, she is too sweet sometimes!  The rest of the evening went well.  She played with the other girls; she had brought a bag of her favorite squeaky Disney princess dolls.  She did an awesome job sharing too (I was super proud of her!).  She went out and bowed (of course I went backstage to witness that too!).  Success!

Saturday was a very full day.  T was super excited to see her Auntie, but she was a bit whiny!  It was a long day leading up to the show, and I am sure, once again, that I contributed to it.  We made it through the day, with a little help from Dairy Queen.  T was a bit difficult once we got to the high school, but I was able to get her dressed and ready.  I could tell that she was nervous, and a bit tired!  She got to see her Daddy, because his softball team was selling refreshments at the show!  She was much more interested in playing with the other girls, rather than getting ready to dance.  She did it though!  I was in the wings watching and once again the tears were flowing!  She did a great job, and once again she looked over at me and waved!  For not having been in class many times, she seemed to know the routine pretty well for a four year old!  She came off and said she had so much fun!  Another success!

By Sunday I think we were both done.  My patience was thin, and her whines were in full throttle.  We survived.  She did an awesome job dancing on stage - actually the best of the three!  The sheer look of joy on her face was priceless - she especially loved the parts where she skipped around in circles!  Daddy, Mad Man, Mima, Poppi, Auntie, and Gramma were all in the audience too!  She was so excited when she was showered with flowers and gifts!  We got to watch the rest of the recital this time, and she was dying to get back on the stage.  Success!

For the first few days after the recital T did not want to wear anything but her costume!  She continuously asks me when her next recital is!  Perhaps I have created a performance monster!  It is still to be determined whether or not she will take classes next year (she claims that she wants to, but we all know that has gone!).  I am proud of her for making it through and performing without a major fit!  I am also proud of myself (not something I generally advertise or necessarily buy into!) for not giving up on her, finding a reserve of patience, and pushing forward.

High:  Watching T dance on stage fully engrossed in the performance and having a blast!
Low:  The anxiety leading up to each performance (I need to chill!).

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mommy Wonder: Protective Big Sister

As I have previously mentioned, T Bear did not take right away to becoming a big sister, but let me say she has become an incredible big sister.  Mad Man is truly lucky to have her in his corner.  This past week Mad Man had his fifteen month check-up.  T doesn't usually come with us to the doctor appointments, but this time we had some other stuff to do so I dragged her along.  I told her ahead of time that he was going to have to get at least one shot, because she has become super sensitive to anyone getting shots.  She was so sweet to him when we were getting ready to leave the house, explaining to him that she would be right there for him. 

Once the pediatrician came in Mad Man was very nervous.  He wouldn't sit on the table (even after Dr. B put T on the table to help him!).  So, he sat on my lap on the bench in the room and T sat next to us.  Dr. B asked T if she could examine her to help ease Mad Man into the exam.  T was quite compliant!  She let the doctor check her out, which I think did help Mad Man.  Then it was time for his shots.  Poor little guy had to endure four shots.  I put him on the table and got him dressed.  T came over to me and I moved her closer to his head and I explained that she had to stay out of the nurses way.  The nurses came over, I grabbed Mad Man's arms and tried to chat with him while they stuck his poor little legs with four needles!  He screamed, of course, and I scooped him up.  What I didn't realize was that T was clinging to my shorts and crying, because she felt so bad for him.  She was almost more inconsolable than he was.  I was able to calm them both down, thankfully, but T was obviously still upset by this episode.  She continued to ask me questions like: "Did that really hurt Mad?"  "Is he okay?"  "Why was he crying?"  "Did that nurse do a good job?  Was she good at giving shots?"  She was being so sweet.  Honestly, it warmed my heart to see her genuine concern for her little brother.  I think she is developing empathy, which I am privileged to witness.  As Poppi recently said, "I hope she can keep her sweetness in this world we live in."  God, I hope so too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mommy Wonder: Little Squirt

Everyone warned me (or at least I think they did) that baby boys will pee on you when you change them. Clearly I did not listen to them.  I cannot even count how many times Mad Man got me while I was changing him or while he was in the bath.  The funny part was my amazement each time.  I was completely astounded every time I got a shot of pee in the face.  I would scream "Oh!  Oh!" while trying to cover it up.  The funniest time was when T Bear was in the bathroom with me wanting to see me change his diaper.  He really unleashed this time.  He got her, me, our dog, the walls, the changer, the floor...everywhere.  T's reaction was hilarious.  She too was completely baffled by this!  Looking back on it, it really was funny, although at the time it was quite gross.  You would think that after the first time I would have learned, but I didn't.  It took several rounds of changing my clothes and the changing table cover, and wiping down the walls, the changing table, and the floor that I started to devise a plan.  In the tub I covered his little wee willy wonka, as I have named it, with a wash cloth.  As for diaper changes I used a wipe to cover him.  Certainly not brain science, but it still took some thought!

Another time Mad Man was having an ultrasound on his wee willy wonka and I warned the technician about his spraying power, to which he casually replied, "I deal with this all the time."  To his surprise, Mad Man responded by spraying full power all over the table.  I have to say I loved my little man a little bit more at that moment!

I remember sharing my wonder with one of my good friends.  She has a grown-up son and was so thankful for me reminding of her of that.  It was something that was so present for me, and a fond memory for her.  Kind of special.

I miss those diaper changes.  It was always a surprise and I was never quite sure what was going to happen. It is quite wondrous how powerful that little thing was.  I mean nothing in the bathroom was safe!  Oh, my little squirt...literally. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Disney Vacay 2013: Day 2

Day two at Disney started off in a whirlwind.  We had scheduled a character breakfast at 'Ohana at the Polynesian Resort with the whole softball team and chaperones - twenty two people in all.  So, in order to get there on time we had to leave an hour and a half early.  We managed to get everyone out the door, on the bus to the Magic Kingdom (there is no direct line of transportation) for our 9:30 reservation.  The bus was there quickly, but was super crowded.  I had Mad Man in the Bjorn and had to stand.  Let me say my biceps had quite the workout holding on to the two straps above me!  Balancing was quite interesting.  From the bus we walked past the entrance to the Magic Kingdom (not an easy task for this Disney fanatic) and got on the monorail.  T definitely enjoyed all of the sights, but was getting very hungry.  Once at the Polynesian we had to wait a while for our reservation.  T was beyond at this point, but held it together pretty well.  Let me say that the Polynesian is awesome; I would love to stay there some day. 

We had a section in 'Ohana with three big tables.  The servers brought out huge portions of scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, hash browns, bacon, and sausage.  There was also fresh fruit with a yummy dip on the table, along with sticky buns.  Everything was delicious!   I particularly loved the juice.  The food, however, was only half of the experience!  The characters were fantastic!  We got to see Mickey, Lilo, Stitch, and Pluto. Each character comes around to the table and interacts with the kiddos - it was incredible.  T has never been excited about big characters - she won't sit on Santa's lap or the Easter Bunny and some Halloween costumes on adults even scare her.  However, at this breakfast she was all about the characters.  She hugged them, posed with them, and talked to them.  Mad Man on the other hand was not feeling it!  He has sat on Santa's lap with no problem, but once Stitch came up behind him and breathed on his head he was done with the characters!  They also invite the kids to do a conga line around the restaurant - T and I loved it!  The character breakfast is so worth it!  Loved it!!!!

After breakfast we headed back to the hotel.  We hung out and did a little swimming.  The team headed off to the fields for their night games.  The kiddos and I were on our own!  Da da dah...  We continued swimming, lo and behold T had to go potty again!  So, in another mad dash back to the room we made it - however, we lost one of her brand new sandals along the way.  Ugh.  So, after my little lecture about taking care of stuff and not rushing Mommy and any other grievance I had at the moment, we retraced our steps and miraculously found the lost sandal.  At this point I felt guilty for being so hard on her, after all she is only four.  So, we decided to play in the sand for a while.  It was a lot of fun watching Mad Man try to navigate the unfamiliar terrain and T Bear had a blast rolling in the sand and digging in it.  We ended up having a great time on our own!

As dinner approached, I reminded T Bear that I would need a big four year old since I was alone.  We made our way to the restaurant.  Luckily, a few nice young men held the doors for me since the double stroller is beyond difficult to maneuver through doorways!  I didn't really have a game plan on how to carry all of the food, but I figured it would work out and it did.  One of the servers offered to carry my tray to each station, which was so nice.  Then I realized they had lids, so I was able to load everything in the stroller and head off!  Success.  Now T Bear generally does not eat well and meals are laborious to say the least.  She must have sensed that she needed to do a good job, so she ate her whole dinner, Mad Man ate his and I was even able to finish my meal (unheard of!).  Although, I will note that the broccoli rabe was nasty!  As a reward for such a great dinner we went to the hotel store (which T had been begging to do...I mean the poor girl barely has any toys - note my sarcasm!).  T picked out a fancy Minnie Mouse doll and we found a Mickey Mouse for Mad Man.  I was feeling pretty good about my single parent adventures.  So, we decided to head to the ESPN Wide World of Sports to see Hubby's game. 

I didn't dare bring the stroller on the bus, so I Bjorned Mad Man and T had to walk.  I had clearly forgotten just how long the walk was!  Poor little thing; it felt like we walked forever and the temperature was quickly dropping.  We made it and stayed for the end of the first game.  After the game, T chatted with the girls and played for a few minutes on the field.  Well, she must have used up her quota for good behavior because when I told her it was time to leave she threw a fit and told me that she wanted me to go to heaven.  Nice. No more Mrs. calm nice mommy.  I pulled her close and in my stern, quiet voice told her to say good bye and start walking.  She did.  I do not think she has any idea of what she meant by what she said, but still.  She has an obsession with  heaven and what happens when you die, she is constantly questioning me on it.  Clearly I haven't done an adequate job explaining the whole concept!  We continued on our long trek home.  We were just about freezing and made the long journey back toward the bus.  Of course, with my oh so on point sense of direction we went down the wrong path and ended up in what seemed to be a restricted area with Atlanta Braves trucks pulling out.  This was the only time during the whole trip that I felt unsafe.  It was dark, there was virtually no one around, and I was by myself with two little ones.  My senses were definitely on high alert.  We arrived back to the hotel and ended the day on a good note snuggling in bed.  Phew.

High:  The triumph I felt after managing all afternoon and evening on my own (even though I do it all the time at home - being on vacation somehow makes it different)!
Low:  That heaven comment. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Naughty Ballerina: The Saga Continues

Well, the last five weeks have been a roller-coaster in terms of T Bear's dance class.  We are down to the wire.  The most heartbreaking aspect of this whole situation is that I can tell she wants to go in to class and she desperately wants to be on stage, but her emotions are holding her back.

Five weeks ago she had me take her to the bathroom just before class was about to start.  I was hopeful seeing as how the bathroom is located inside the studio.  Then when she finished I couldn't get out the door. She was crying and holding onto me.  I ended up having her sit on my lap in the waiting room for the entire class.  She could hear class going on and a few times I really thought she was going to go in, but she didn't. Then she heard the song for the recital come on and she was desperate to go in.  I wouldn't let her because it was the end of class.  There was only like five minutes left.  So, she cried a little about that too.

So, we tried again the following week.  She insisted on having Mima come and said she would go right in. She didn't.  She started her fit.  The waiting room was super crowded.  We tried to coax her in, I gave her a few warnings, but she wouldn't budge.  We left and I told Miss S that I thought we were done.  Mima was not pleased with little Miss T.  We decided to go home and not do anything "fun".  When we got home I explained to T that I was going to pack up her leotards and tutus, which she desperately didn't want.  I was certainly at a loss.  We talked a little bit more about it and then I decided to put the ball in her court.  I told her that she could have one more chance and that if she wanted to go she would have to tell me, but if she didn't go in then it was over: no costume, no leotards, no tutus, and no recital.  After that conversation we didn't talk much about it.  During the week she did mention going to class a few times.  My sister mentioned trying to go to the studio when Miss S had down time and just hanging out for a little bit.  Miss S was game, so on Thursday we went in and T and Miss S had a little mock class.  Then Miss S played the recital song (How to Believe sung by Bridgit Mendler) and T danced around.  She had a blast.  She did get very anxious when the little girls started to enter the studio for their class so really I didn't have high hopes for her upcoming class.

The next day she had an offer to go to Hubby's softball game an hour away with her good friend and her father.  She was so excited, but when it cam time to leave she couldn't do it.  She was screaming and pulling on my shirt; so, she ended up staying home and was very disappointed and wished she had gone.  Then something dawned on me.  I recalled a book we had that we had not read in some time: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  The premise is that a little raccoon is nervous about starting school, so his mom kisses his hand and tells him her love will stay with him even when he is at school.  So, I read it with T on Friday night and she loved it.  She was completely captivated by the story and I even ended it with kissing her hand and putting a sticker on her hand so she would remember my kiss.  She loved it.  She woke up the next morning (as she usually does on Saturdays) saying she would go right in to dance.  We picked up Mima and were running late.  By the time we got to the studio all of the girls were already in and the door was closed.  We got her ready.  She was reticent, but we managed to get her through the door.  She wouldn't join the circle of girls, but did sit on the floor by the door.  She tried to chat with me, but I told her that she had to do what the class was doing and that I would watch for a minute.  She showed me her kissing hand sticker and I was able to leave with no tears!  She joined the class as soon as they stood up and she made it through the class without crying!  Holy Mother...hallelujah!  I was beyond proud of her.  I rewarded her with the Sofia the First doll she had been coveting and we had a great day!  (As a side note she has slept with this doll every night since and pretty much brings her everywhere - she is quite proud of herself!)  She tells everyone she got her for going in to dance like a big girl.  Since then she has done the exact same thing (sitting by the door then joining class) for the past two weeks!  Triumph!  Now we have made it through the year.  One last obstacle: the recital.  It is this coming weekend and we will see how it goes!  Wish us luck!  

High:  Seeing T overcome her fear and make it through several classes without crying or having a fit!
Low:  The Saturday that I was ready to throw the towel in. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Walt Disney World Vacay 2013: Day 1

It is no secret that Walt Disney World is my favorite place in the world.  I have loved it since I first visited in my teens and have returned about fifteen times.  A few weeks ago we went as a family plus Hubby's high school varsity softball team.  That's right the four of us, plus thirteen teenage girls, three parents, and Hubby's right hand man in all things softball.  You may be asking yourself if I am crazy and the answer is a resounding yes!!  My sister and her boyfriend met us there to partake in the excitement and obviously to help me out with my two little ones since Hubby was quite preoccupied.  My final take on the trip: we survived!  I am going to create a series of posts detailing our experiences, as we all know I can be a bit verbose!!

Day 1: We met at the school bus garage at 1:00 am, that's right AM.  Waking two little ones to get on a bus is insane in itself, but it gets better.  We had to travel by school bus, four and a half hours to the airport. Apparently the travel agent got us a "great" deal on tickets from this airport (I am not convinced).  The kiddos were pretty good.  They fell back asleep pretty easily.  The problem was that the bus driver had to keep stopping - to stretch his legs or smoke or whatever - so the kiddos kept waking up.  Mad Man was screaming at one point, so I removed him from his car seat and nursed him back to sleep.  At another point T was melting down, so I took her out and cuddled her for a while.  We finally made it to the airport with not as much time to spare as we had imagined, got the kiddos dressed, got breakfast and got on the plane.  Then we were delayed for an hour on the runway.  Good times with a toddler who wants to run around!  T played with her Leap Pad the whole time and ate breakfast!  The flight was turbulent, but went well.  Mad Man slept almost the whole flight (unheard of for this little guy!).  T was great and really loved the flight!  Once we landed it was a mad dash to get the whole group to the Magical Express.  For some reason we go the wrong way every time we go!  We did manage to locate it...after a short jaunt around the terminal.  Once on the bus Mad Man was antsy until the video came on.  He was beyond excited each time he saw a character on the screen.  He would scream with exuberance and point at the screen.  It was hilarious!  T fed off of his excitement and created her own.  Then we had the ridiculously long wait outside the lobby while Hubby checked in the entire group.  Now, God bless him, he has many talents, but traveling is not one of them.  He is not a comfortable traveler, add the responsibility of thirteen teenagers to the mix and you have one very anxious, on edge man.  While he checked in I chased the kiddos around the benches in front of the building. Mad Man was trying to eat the wood chips and run into the road. T Bear was playing in the bushes. By the time check-in was complete the kiddos were done and frankly so was I.  Luckily our room was ready so we made our way there and dropped off the numerous carry-ons I was lugging around.  I wanted to take the kiddos to get some lunch, but Hubby wanted to wait for all of the girls.  So, I grabbed the hotel key and took off toward the restaurant with the kiddos in the double stroller.  I miraculously found some things for the kiddos to eat and made my way to the check out.  This is when the steam literally came out of my ears as I tried to use my room key to charge the meal to, only to find out the key was not set up to make charges.  Seriously?!  I have no idea why, since we have done that every other time, I guess Hubby decided to change the rules.  So, I put back the food and stormed off to find Hubby.  Luckily (for him) he was just entering the restaurant and we were able to remedy the situation, since he actually had his wallet with him.  We sure make some team!

After lunch, which was not enjoyable as T Bear was melting down, we headed back to the room to relax. Mad Man was not interested in napping and T only wanted to go swimming.  So, Hubby went off with the softball girls and I managed to get the kiddos in their bathing suits.  At this point my dad showed up for a few minutes (he had been in Orlando on business and was flying home that evening).  We all headed to the pool and then he had to leave.  Too short for my liking.  The kiddos and I swam for a while, when all of a sudden T said, "I have to go poop".  Ugh.  Of course.  I hurried her out of the pool and told her to hold it.  I had flashbacks of our previous times in the pool when she didn't quite hold it.  Gross.  I plopped them in the stroller and raced toward the room.  Now, you may be thinking isn't here a bathroom a the pool?  Why yes there is, however in my haste I didn't even think about it and took off for our room.  We made it in time. Then we relaxed the rest of the day.  Certainly a full day.

High:  Experiencing the building excitement with the kiddos as we approached the hotel.
Low:  All the waiting - on the bus, on the plane, during check-in.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Blues

It has been over a year since I experienced the baby blues after the birth of my Mad Man.  Of course, I had heard about postpartum depression, but I was of the impression that it would never affect me because I love having babies and being a mommy.  I was wrong.

Right after I had Mad Man I felt pretty great.  I did get stressed when my T Bear came to visit at the hospital, but part of that had to do with the fact that I could tell she was not adjusting very well.  Also, there was drama over who was going to stay with me: Hubby or my sister?  Where should T sleep: our house or the grandparents?   It was a lot to be trying to deal with from a hospital bed with morphine still coursing through my veins, plus I thought I had arranged all of this before the c-section.  There was also an instance when T started to have a little fit and accidentally elbowed me in the stomach.  Ouch, does not even begin to cover it.  When it was peaceful at the hospital I felt great.  I was recovering so much faster than my first c-section and nursing was going very well.  My milk came in fairly quickly and Mad Man was a sweet, content, little man.

On the day we were set to go home the pediatrician was concerned because Mad Man hadn't gained back his birth weight.  So, they scheduled us for a follow-up appointment the next day.  I had flashbacks to dealing with T Bear's size, but I was confident because he was nursing so well and so often.  The next day he still hadn't gained it back.  So, another follow-up was scheduled, this time with our actual pediatrician.  When we saw her, she was concerned about his weight and instructed me to feed him every one and a half to two hours and basically nurse on demand (which is what I was already doing).  She also made a comment that some women just don't produce good milk and referred to it as "skim" milk.  Really?  Well, this comment stayed with me and not in a good way.  It made my heart sink because it made me feel like it was solely my fault that he was not gaining enough weight.  After all, I was solely responsible for his nutrition.  I was adamant that I didn't want to go the formula route.  And so the baby blues began.

It really just hit me and I couldn't control my emotions.  I would cry over nothing and literally could not control it.  I just felt sad or emotional and felt almost overwhelming emotion.  I am lucky in that I did not want to harm myself or my baby (which I have heard can go along with postpartum).  I remember just bursting into tears at random times.  Normally I am not someone who cries easily, but it didn't take much to bring on the water works.  We had a newborn photo shoot at my mother-in-law's house about two weeks after I had my Mad Man.  I woke up feeling not quite right, but I pulled it together for the shoot.  When it was over, my MIL complemented me and I burst into tears.  Another day, Hubby dropped the kiddos and I off at my parents house, while he went off to do something, and I lost it as soon as I walked through the door.  I don't think T had ever seen me cry prior to this and I recall her asking me why I was crying.  Poor thing; it had to be overwhelming for her too.

Some of the crazy thoughts I had revolved around having another baby.  I mean what rational person is worried about another pregnancy after just giving birth??  I still don't know if we are going to have more children (I want to have at least one more and Hubby feels set with two), but my thoughts were consumed with the fact that I may never be pregnant again.  I was also sad that I wouldn't see my OB/GYN anymore.  I missed the nurses and I didn't feel like I had done enough to thank them.  These thoughts weighed heavy on my mind and definitely felt like too much.

I was also angry that I was feeling this way when I just wanted to be enjoying my new motherhood once again.  I felt like these precious moments were being robbed from me.  I certainly didn't feel comfortable talking about my emotions.  Those who knew what was going on were very supportive, but I definitely didn't open up much.  Hubby tried to understand and be supportive.  He also talked to as many people as he could that he thought would have some insight.  Most said it had to run its course.

Within a few weeks it subsided, thank God.

High:  The blues only lasted a few weeks.
Low:  Having to endure emotions that I could not control or even understand when I just wanted to enjoy my new baby.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mommy Wonder: Sibling Love

Children are truly amazing.  There are so many things that they do on a daily basis that are truly remarkable and if you aren't paying attention you might miss the beauty and wonder that raising children brings.  In fact, I get so caught up in all of the things that I "have" to do that sometimes it is easy to overlook the small wonders before me.  In an attempt to cherish these moments I am going to write mini-posts highlighting the amazement I feel at witnessing my kiddos grow.  This reminds me of my senior quote in the yearbook, "Don't miss the beautiful colors of the rainbow searching for the pot of gold."  I'm not sure where I found this quote or who said it, but it still holds true for me today!

I didn't realize that National Siblings Day occurs this week, but it is pretty cool since I started writing this post before I knew about it!!  I will say that it was not the smoothest transition for T Bear when we introduced little Mad Man to her world, but she is developing into an awesome big sister.  Of course, he gets on her nerves sometimes, especially when he is going after her toys, but overall she is wonderful with him. She helps keep an eye on him if I am cooking or showering.  She also plays with him, on her terms of course.  She gives him hugs and kisses too.  Now I should say that she has her moments of screaming at him and the normal sibling stuff (or so I hope) of pushing and hitting too.  Still, I can tell that she does really like having him around.  What I really love is when she is protective of him when other people are around.  She really looks out for him and even grabs him if she thinks he is getting into something that he shouldn't or if he is getting too close to someone that she deems as dangerous.  Very sweet.

Mad Man is obsessed with T.  She is definitely his favorite person in the world.  He gets so excited whenever he sees her.  I can't wait to hear him say her name (or his version of it!).  He loves to make her laugh and he is so proud of himself whenever she gives him positive feedback.  If he wakes up in the morning before she does he will stand at the gate at the bottom of the stairs and point up yelling for her.  It is so sweet.

The sweetest thing happened in the middle of the night last night.  Mad Man was sleeping with me (of course!), and was very fitful.  He woke up screaming and just could not fall back asleep.  This woke up T Bear so she came to my bed as well.  She tried rubbing his back to help him calm down.  He finally quieted, and I noticed that he had snuggled up to her and they were staring at each other, with their little noses touching.  Those are the moments I live for.

At the moment T has created a "picnic" on the living room floor for them with her play food.  She set up a blanket and quite a spread for them.  He is loving it!

I feel so honored to witness the loving interactions between these two precious babies.  I have an amazing relationship with my sister and couldn't imagine my life without her, so I am extra thankful that I get to see T and Mad Man develop this sibling bond.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank my followers!  I am super excited to now have ten followers!  It is heartwarming to have any followers, so I am beyond happy to now have ten!  Thank you for the support.  I love the comments from everyone!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To those of you who aren't following me...what are you waiting for??!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mommy Guilt: Losing Patience

I know I am human, but lately it seems that my patience is ridiculously thin.  Maybe it is from lack of sleep (Mad Man still doesn't sleep the night...he barely sleeps at all!!), maybe from the fact that I never have a break (no nap time for T and again Mad Man doesn't sleep...and if he does it is usually with me!), maybe this is all normal...who knows and really it doesn't matter what the excuse is my patience is thin.  Super thin.  I have been raising my voice more than I ever imagined I would.  Mad Man is in to everything.  I mean everything (I know this is normal toddler behavior, but I never had this with T because she was just learning to crawl at his age, since she had been in a cast...so cut me some slack!!).  He puts things in the toilet.  He constantly pushes the water cooler levers and creates puddles on he floor.  He tries climbing everything.  He pours milk out everywhere!  He is a handful.  A wonderful little handful, but a handful none the less!  Add to that little miss T and her dramatic antics and it is a recipe for my insanity.  T seems to have a VERY difficult time listening, mostly because her mouth is always going and she is trying to argue with me before she even hears what I have to say.  I'm sure that someday I will admire her independent spirit, but at the moment I need compliance!

My latest breaking point came when we were trying to make it to a new play group.  (Another mommy guilt I have is that my children are "missing out" on socialization because they are not in day care, since the majority of kiddos we know are).  So, the play group start time was 9:30, my kiddos don't wake up until 8:00 or 8:30.  On this particular day Mad Man woke up around 8:00, so I was able to feed him breakfast and take a shower before T woke up.  When she woke up, she was excited about play group, so she ate breakfast fairly easily and cooperated getting dressed.  Then she must have met her limit for cooperation because everything else became a battle.  She didn't want to go potty, but she finally did, but then refused to wipe herself.  So, as I finished wiping her and flushed the toilet Mad Man put two little toys in the toilet.  Ugh.  I admittedly was losing it at this point. T Bear's reaction was way over the top.  She started screaming and carrying on that the toys were gone forever (mind you she had not played with these little key ring toys in like a year!).  I still held it together and finished getting Mad Man ready to go while T Bear was supposed to gather her toys.  Once Mad Man was ready I told T it was time to go.  She carried on that she didn't have all of her toys ready.  Now, she consistently has to bring an entourage of toys wherever we go and they are never the same ones so there is no real predictability!  I told her she had one minute to gather her toys.  She argued with me and questioned me and then carried on about not being able to find exactly what she wanted to bring.  By this point I knew that the play group had already started (which I attempted to explain to T - not that she has any sense of time!).  When she argued again, I had had enough.  I put Mad Man down and went outside on the deck.  I truly needed to cool down.  I stood on the deck for a few minutes just breathing in the crisp cold air.  Who knows what the kiddos were doing inside!  When I came back inside all zen like (well almost!) I took off my jacket, then Mad Man's and sat down on the couch.  T questioned me and apologized and I explained that we were too late for play group and we could try again the following week. She was heart broken and clearly could not link the things that had just occurred with why we couldn't go. After several attempts to explain the situation I couldn't take the genuinely devastated look on her face and said we could try.  Lo and behold she was super helpful and pleasant the whole way there and we made it to play group (even if we were about forty minutes late).

As an FYI when we returned home later I fished out the two little toys from the toilet - DISGUSTING!! Freakishly the kitty's eyes were glowing red in the bottom of the toilet (they are only supposed to do that when the button is being pushed)!!  Creepy.

After this little episode I made a vow to myself to not be one of those mom's who yells.  So far so good, my yelling is way down - not completely diminished, but I don't find myself yelling nearly as often.  I make myself breath and count most of the time.  There are, of course, those moments when yelling is necessary - like when T is about to do harm to Mad Man.  No one is perfect...

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Naughty Ballerina: The Saga

Saturdays suck.  I dread them now.  Why?  Because it is dance day for my T Bear.  You would think this would be a run of the mill fun thing for a four year old, but oh no, my T has been making it into a horrific spectacle of tantrums, fear, and tears.  I don't think I have made it through a Saturday in the past few months without crying (except the week there was no class.  Thank God for spring break!).

Since my last post regarding my naughty ballerina I have ensued three more heart wrenching, patience testing, Saturdays.  Here is the rundown.

T was excited to go to class.  She had a play date with one of the other girls in class and we had Miss S over for dinner (no we are not THOSE parents - we have been friends with Miss S and her husband for years!). T was fine getting ready to go to class, but threw a fit when we arrived.  Miss S took her in and the hysterical screams continued.  She worked herself up so much that she was borderline hyperventilating.  I was listening with Mad Man and some other mommies in the waiting room.  Thankfully one of the other mothers was very supportive and understanding, otherwise I probably would have broken down right then.  Then the door opened and I was anticipating Miss S saying that T had calmed down and everything was okay.  Boy was I wrong.  She said that she had told T that I could come in and watch just this once.  So, I gathered Mad Man and sheepishly walked in.  T needed some comfort and told me she felt like she was going to get sick - she had cried and carried on so much that she was almost to the point of vomiting.  Why am I doing this to my little girl?  I have to wonder.  She sat near me and participated in class.  I had to chase Mad Man in and out of the dressing room.  I was able to witness the joy on T's face during the various exercises.  She really enjoys going across the floor.  I know I am biased, but she seems to have some natural talent as well.  I was also able to witness first hand the positive energy in the studio.  Miss S is wonderful with the little ones.  She has so much patience and understanding with them - I mean dealing with the various shades of preschool behavior is quite an undertaking!  T was so proud of herself for making it through class.  She was almost too excited at the end if class.  It was evident that she felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  Again, naively, I thought we had turned a corner.

Throughout the next week she mentioned again not liking class and not wanting to go.  So, I brought reinforcement in the form of my mother, aka Mima.  There are times that Mima can get T to cooperate when she won't for me.  They also have a very special bond.  T was excited that Mima was going with us.  Mima even told her that she would peak on her under the door.  Once it was time for T to go in things fell apart quickly.  T freaked out screaming, crying, and throwing a big fit.  Mima tried to encourage her and guide her to the door, to no avail.  I tried.  We both tried.  Miss S tried.  I gave up.  I tried again.  I had Miss S shut the door and she told T Bear that if she wanted to come in she could.  I tried just having her sit there and listen to class; she continued on and off having fits.  Mima tried, the fit continued and escalated.  Did I mention there were several other mothers as witnesses?  Oh yeah.  Good times.  I lost my patience and told her we were leaving to which she threw an even bigger fit.  By fit I mean screaming as loud as she can, pulling on her little lip, tears flowing, and her begging to stay.  A grandmother of another little ballerina tried to intervene in such a nice calm way, which helped to calm the fit, but she still refused to go in.  We must have opened the door three or four times when T said she would go in, only to have the fit start again.  Finally (I'm not sure how) she decided to go in and sit by the door.  Aah.  She then joined in class and did a great job.  I was mortified.  Not only by T's behavior, but also by the insane display of parenting that went on.  None of this feels like my finest moments as a parent.

Then we had a week off.  Thank God!!  T was excited all week about not only missing class, but returning to class.  She assured me that she was going to go right in and say "Mommy I'll miss you, but I'm going to have fun".  To my utter dismay that did not happen.  She wanted to wait until all of the girls went in then she would go.  We made it to the door, Miss S greeted her and tried to talk to her and the tears began.  She said she was scared.  Miss S let her put her new Minnie Mouse doll on the shelf so she could "watch".  That still wasn't enough.  The discussion went on for a few minutes.  Then Miss S scooped her up and I shut the door. I could hear her screaming; it was heart wrenching.  Of course, there was a waiting rooms of moms there so I could not break down into hysterics.  I'm sure some of them are wondering what is the point of bringing this child to class week after week.  They do not know the back story.  They do not realize that I am starting to fear preschool in the fall.  They don't know how sad T was last year at the dance show wondering when she would be on stage.  Maybe they are just thankful that their daughters are not doing what T is doing.  Either way it is an uncomfortable feeling, probably for all involved (even as witnesses!).  After the door closed I could hear her screaming and shouting "I just need to tell Mommy something!"  It was heart breaking.  At one point I heard her try to open the door.  Then after a few minutes I couldn't hear anymore screaming, so I peaked under the door to see my poor little T sitting on the floor by the door participating in class - just not as a part of the circle of ballerinas.  She made it through class.  When the door opened she was the first out.  I spoke to Miss S and she said that T had a huge tantrum, which involved screaming, crying, throwing her Minnie Mouse doll TWICE, and finally with a warning of a time out if she didn't start behaving.  Then class was fine the rest of the time.  Ugh.  All I know is that I was saturated with sweat from all of the torture that dance class has become!

There are only five classes left until the recital.  God willing this will get better and she will make it through.  She keeps talking about being on stage and she is extremely excited.  We shall see...

I have to add that Mad Man's reaction to all of this is priceless.  He usually just stares at T when she is screaming.  This last time he was trying to help push her through the door.  Mostly he is quite unaffected...lucky little guy.

High:  Saturday only comes once a week!
Low:  Listening to the screaming and really not being able to comfort T or fix the problem!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Return of My Naughty Little Ballerina

Just when I thought Saturday mornings could not get any worse I was proven wrong by my T Bear.  The past few weeks getting her to dance class has been beyond difficult.  Let me preface what I am about to write by saying that she always enjoys class.  She comes out happy and smiling and says she had fun.  However, I have learned not to mention that dance is even on the horizon, because she starts in with "I don't like it.  I don't want to go.  I want to skip it this week.  At first I figured she was just trying to exert some control over her life, as is par for the course of a preschooler.  I am beginning to wonder if there is more to the story.  Most of the time I can get her to the studio (with some amount of coaxing), getting her through the door is another story.  She has insisted on me holding her hand (no problem) and walking her to the door (again no problem).  Then she hangs on my legs and says she doesn't want to go.  The past two weeks have brought her to tears, but then Miss S talks to her and she goes in.  Last week was exceptionally bad in terms of the fit she threw before leaving the house.  Just as I was about to give up, I promised a visit to Mima and Poppi's after class and then she was fine.  After class I warned her that that kind of fit was unacceptable and if she did it again I would be taking a toy away.  I mean she loves pretty much every toy she has, so I figured this would work. 

One week later and I was stupidly optimistic.  She started to throw a fit when I brought her leotard out, but after we talked she was okay.  I asked her why she didn't like to go to class anymore.  Her response was that she just didn't like it, she would miss me too much, and she didn't want to dance anymore.  I reminded her of the costume (which she has desperately wanted to wear), and of the upcoming recital (especially pointing out the applause and flowers she will receive!).  I reminded her that we would be picking up Mima and Poppi after class and were having a special day shopping in Syracuse.  She seemed totally on board.  Phew.  We got to the studio and I suggested that she could walk in with one of her friends.  She was more interested now!  I got her all ready - leg warmers and ballet slippers=set!  She likes to wait until almost every other girl has entered the studio, so we did and then we were at the door.  She was very hesitant, but I encouraged her that she would have fun and thankfully her little friend was right behind her, so they walked in together.  Aah.  That was pretty easy.  So, then Miss S and I were chatting for a few minutes when all of a sudden T made a bee line toward me.  She broke into hysterics saying she didn't want to stay, she didn't like dance, she just wanted me.  She was working herself into quite a state.  I tried to reason with her and comfort her.  This went on for about ten minutes.  I explained what would happen if she didn't stay.  Miss S tried to talk to her.  She even tried to pick her up, but T had a death grip on me and continued to go into hysterics.  She was pulling on her lip (which is something she does when she is nervous).  At some point, I realized that she was not going to calm down until we left (or until I agreed to leave).  I felt horrible.  I felt bad for her that she was so upset.  I felt embarrassed for her because all of the other little ballerinas were witnessing this display.  I felt bad for Miss S because she was not able to start class, while trying to help me out.  It was awful.  Mad Man was pretty much not phased at all - he was on my lap just watching the whole thing.  I told her to get her things and we would go.  I apologized to Miss S and we were on our way.  Miraculously as soon as I said we were leaving she was fine.  At this point Mad Man had made his way into the studio and looked like he was ready for class!  Figures! 

This next part I am not very proud of, but there are only so many fits I can take.  So, I took her hand - forcefully, and we walked down the stairs.  She asked for her doll (which was in my pocket) and I told her that she couldn't have it because she had a fit.  Then my blood started to boil.  I told her I was disappointed in her behavior and she tried chatting and asking for her doll again.  In my strongest Mommy voice I told her to be quiet and that we were not talking about it anymore, and we were probably not going to Syracuse.  Ugh.  Once we got to the van, she wanted her bag of toys and a snack.  Seriously??!!  My answer was no and that I didn't want to hear her for the whole drive home.  I wanted her to think about her behavior.  I decided to call Hubby to ask his opinion about whether or not to go to Syracuse.  Once I explained the situation to him I burst into tears.  It was just all too much.  Not only is it difficult just to get the two kiddos dressed and out the door to be on time for something, but then to get her all ready while at the studio, only to have it blow up was too much for me.  I regained some composure and we drove home - in complete silence.  I think she did feel bad, and realized that maybe she can't throw a fit (or at least I hope that is what she was thinking about!).

Once we got home she talked to Daddy and we decided not to "punish" her.  She told him that she just wanted to be with me and that she would miss me too much if she went to class - boy she pulled on his heart strings.  So, against my better judgment we "rewarded" her and went to Syracuse. 

I really don't know what the deal is.  She has mentioned that a girl is mean at class.  She says she misses me too much.  She says she doesn't like it (although she is always happy and excited when she comes out of class).  I am dumbfounded.  Does she really not like it?  Is this all about getting more attention from me?  Is there a little girl being mean to my T?  Is she bucking against the structure class provides?  I don't know.  I believe that she should finish what she started.  After all, she was so excited to sign up for class and to be in class (it even helped with the potty training process!).  I hope and pray I can get her through the next few months and that I am not permanently damaging her by making her go to class.  This parenting stuff is insane!

High:  Hmm...not sure I can see one...the fact that T wants to spend time with me??
Low:  My reaction once we left the studio.