Thursday, March 31, 2011

mom confession: i starve my child

in true first-time parent fashion, we made a few mistakes with carter.  one of the biggest was allowing him to choose what he eats at meals.  i feel like it started innocently enough when he was a baby and not able to eat the things that we were having.  but then it just kept going.  not really out of conscious choice even, it was just easy and sort of happened.

fast forward and the kid is now a few months away from being 4 and it's high time he learns to expand his menu.  honestly, as a family, we are on the picky side anyways so it's not like the kid is going to be forced to eat outlandish things.  we are talking simple things here--tacos, hamburgers, grilled chicken.  one of the biggest obstacles we have faced since he started eating food is that he does not like pasta.  at all.  like none.  no macaroni and cheese, no spaghetti, no lasagna, nothing.  which does limit us somewhat, but oh well.

so we have started either making him eat what we are having if it is something reasonable that we know he has eaten in the past.   i refuse to force him to eat thing that i KNOW he just doesn't like because i had to as a child and well, it's just mean.  if it's something we know he doesn't like, like pasta, we will give him 2 choices of alternatives that are also off of his normal menu, but he usually does have to at least try and take one bite of the pasta anyways.   if he doesn't eat, then he doesn't eat.  and let me tell you, he has not eaten a meal many times in the recent weeks.  it's no sweat off my back if i don't have to cook something extra for him anymore.  if he wants to go to bed hungry, then so be it.  if he chooses not to eat what is offered, he can have water only until he either eats it or it's morning.  so there.  we are meanies and my child is starving.

side note:  one would think that skipping so many meals might reduce one's weight a bit, but that hasn't seemed to be the case for my 51-pound 3 year old :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

monday funday: cardboard car tutorial

O.M.G. will this cold weather EVER end???  i simply cannot take much more of my 3 year old cooped up in this house.  he NEEDS to be outside to play to get this energy out and there doesn't seem to be an indoor activity that quite meets the same need.  today i noticed our lazy inside slump and decided to mix it up.  the first thing i did was retrieve the giant box of toys that holden got for christmas that we just put out there until he was actually playing with toys.  a few new items and we had a happy baby! (as well as a happy 3 year old who seems to enjoy the baby toys as much as anyone).  the giant box i was left with reminded me of a project i had just read about in a parenting magazine, so off we went on our journey of making the box into...a CAR!

first i taped up the box completely

then i used a box cutter to make the windshield (by cutting off half the top and folding) and then cutting out the opening to see through.  i also cut out a "door" to make it easier to get in.

next i used the box cutter to make "wheels" out of styrofoam plates

and added them to the car

then came the steering wheel, also made from a styrofoam plate.  i even re-purposed a plastic piece that i just got from taking one of holden's toys out of it's box to attach it so it actually turns!

here's carter taking it for a test drive (whoops--the steering wheel needed attached a little better i guess)

there was even room for a little passenger (my niece claire) :-)

we almost forgot to put on the headlights!  the article recommended using red plastic cups, but since we didn't have any of those, styrofoam bowls it was.

the last thing to do was decorate and make it more fun.  carter thought it was pretty fun to have his hand painted and then put it on the back.  then after painting for about 20 seconds, carter left the job to me to finish and so i just brushed some color all over

not the most attractive thing i've ever seen (or made for that matter) but it added some variation to our day.  if only we could get some better weather, because carter would very much like to "drive his car to the park." :-D

Friday, March 25, 2011

crazytown confirmed

you ever have one of those days where pretty much everything goes wrong?  of course you have, haven't we all?  sometimes when it happens, it just makes me laugh because there's not much else you can do.  the day is kind of like a joke on you anyways, so why not giggle?  wednesday was one of those days for me, but there was no laughing.

i was already having a hard time because it was the day that we lost preston, and was hopeful for some distractions throughout the day.  i should have been careful what i asked for.  first, i opened the mail from the day before to find out we are getting audited by the city of columbus.  really?  it's not like we claimed a bunch of things and we even had to pay them an extra $60 that had already been done.

as i was trying to scan the letter from the city of columbus to send to our tax guy, (yes, we did pay $250 to have our taxes done only to have them messed up enough to warrant an audit apparently) the scanner/printer wouldn't work.  it recommended i uninstall and then reinstall the software.  after i uninstalled it, of course the disk is nowhere to be found.  really?

in addition, our internet hadn't been working properly for a day or so, so i was on the verge of throwing something (read:computer--which would have been very bad since it's a relatively new mac) across the room in frustration.

next i loaded up both kiddos and headed out on a mission to find a replacement microwave, since ours bit the dust the day before.  come to find out that best buy didn't have a single black (or black/stainless) microwave in stock (at any of their columbus area stores).  really?  how can you have NONE?  so now i have to wait a week to have a microwave--UGH!

then as we were shopping for said microwave, i noticed holden literally trying to shove his fingers into his ear and then remembered that i saw him playing with his ear the day before and he hadn't finished his nighttime bottle (which is rare).  called the pedi for a sick visit and turns out he has infections in both ears again (since he had the double ear infection last month also).  really?!

we live in ohio, so of course they were calling for storms.  friends around the region reported hail and other storm-like behavior, but we really just got some wind and it sprinkled for about 10 minutes or so.  apparently we had just enough wind, however, to rip open our new storm door and bend the rod that has the closing mechanism.  REALLY?!?

then i got the mail for that day and found a letter from my family doctor, telling me that her cancer had returned (she's been battling breast cancer) and she would be on permanent medical leave so she could focus on her health and her family. REALLY?!?!?!

at this point, i was pretty much in tears.  there was no laughing to be had that day and i was at the end of my rope.  i found myself staring at the clock, counting down minutes until hubby got off work and could come rescue me.  the hope that the next day would be better allowed me to pull it together and last until he made it home.  OY!  why does everything fall apart at the same time?  thankfully, yesterday was much better and all of these issues are slowing working themselves out.  this, too, shall pass....this, too, shall pass...this, too, shall pass...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

missing my baby

i cannot believe that it has been 4 years since i lost my preston.  for those who don't know the story, the short version is that carter was an identical twin and we lost his brother, preston, after surgery to separate their blood vessels in the placenta at about 19 1/2 weeks.  i miss him every day and i never even got to hold him.  i still remember the moment when all of the sudden i couldn't breathe and had what the hospital said was a panic attack.  but after hearing the news the next morning that his heartbeat was gone, i am confident that it was actually my body's reaction to losing him.  i still feel like i can't breathe every time i think of it.  although it would have been difficult having twins, i would have done anything in my power to keep him.  in the end we did the only thing we could have done in order to keep either one of them.  preston made the ultimate sacrifice, allowing carter to live.  i look forward to the day when i will see him and finally be able to hold my baby.  mommy loves you and misses you always, my sweet boy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

tool of the day: potato masher

when we were registering for our wedding, we pretty much took the scanner and registered for about anything we could think of needing.  we were living in an apartment at the time and didn't know how we would decorate our eventual house, so that left a lot of kitchen things for the registry.  one of those items was a potato masher.  for years, it hung out in my utensil crock, pretty much (and by that i mean literally) gathering dust.  in the past few years i have found uses for it, but it got kinda crazy today.

first i made homemade strawberry jam, which required me to use the masher to crush up the berries.  then i made banana bread, using the masher to smash the bananas.  next up was 2 batches of loaded baked potato chowder (YUM--one of our fave meals!), using the potato masher for it's intended purpose--mashing potatoes!

pretty crazy when i think of all those years of never once being used and today i had to wash it twice to reuse it!  anyone else have and/or use a potato masher?

(side note: in addition to these projects requiring the potato masher, i also made a giant bowl of mashed potatoes, did 4 loads of laundry, and ran and unloaded the dishwasher twice.  all that after going to a killer aerobics class this morning and having my 16-month old niece in addition to my own children.  i am so exhausted i can barely move, but what a productive day!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

baking buddy

lately i have felt "called" to do more in the kitchen.  bake more, cook more, explore more, etc.  i have been recipe hunting a bit and soon will begin my plan of cooking at least one new thing every week.  tonight, i was in the mood to bake and carter decided he wanted to help.  for those who don't know, anytime a 3 year old offers to "help" you can pretty much count on it actually being more work for you.  however, the sooner he learns these skills, the sooner he can bake things for me and save me the time in the future.  (plus, his future wife i'm sure will love me for it :-P)

carter chose funfetti cupcakes and i submit to you all, that you are NEVER too old for funfetti cupcakes.  if you think you are, you are lying to yourself.  we shared the duties of adding ingredients and then got the mixer out.  tonight was the first time i've let carter help with that part and he thought it was pretty cool.
(note: despite the horrible angle in which my husband took this picture, i assure you that i am NOT pregnant)

i even got brave and let him help me put them in oven, letting him put the tray on the front of the rack and then i slid it back.  no one got burned, so i'd say it was a success.  out they came and carter chose chocolate frosting, which i think is kinda weird for funfetti but who am i to judge?  i really don't even like frosting that much and would much rather just eat the cake.
(see those un-paper towels in use?!)

holden didn't get to help today, but he stayed happy and was too cute to not snap a picture of him too :-)


today is the first day of spring and the one and only word to describe that is YAY!!!!  as usual for ohio, this has been a long, cold winter and i think everyone in the area is ready for some nice weather, us included.  we have spent way too much time trapped in this house.  this winter wasn't even a good winter, as every time we had snow, it was hovering around 0 degrees, which is much too cold for little ones to be outside playing.  to make our house even worse in the winter, we keep our blinds down and curtains drawn almost all the time because our windows aren't the best and let in so much cold air that we'd be broke paying our heat bill otherwise.  off and on for the past week, it's been nice enough to have the windows open and it has been fantastic!  so much natural light and air getting in does wonders for the soul.

this time of year is also great because we get our tax refund money and get to decide what to do with it.  let's face it, most of it goes towards debt, but we do spend some of it.  our first springification (my very own word--nice, huh?) project was today, which is fitting for the first day of spring.  we decided to add more to the natural light and air available to our house by adding a storm door.  after a little research, we found the one we wanted at lowe's and picked it up on our way home from church today.  silly me forgot to take a "before" picture, but here is our new improved front door, complete with storm door.

To top it off, today was a great day to utilize it!  we had debated having it installed, but being the bargain-savvy (read: cheap) person that i am, i was confident we could do it, and alas, we did a fantastic job and installed it with no problems.  i love that it has a retractable screen so the glass when you look out is a clear view and then you can pull the screen down for some fresh air.  i think it's a great addition to our house and a great way to ring in spring!

what projects are you planning for spring?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

luck o' the irish

as a general rule, i have pretty bad luck.  murphy and i do not get along so well, as in--whatever i expect the opposite happens.  today, i am feeling pretty lucky.  carter started in early january with a random eye tic of his left eye.  a trip to the pediatrician told us it was most likely a transient tic, which is a normal one that appears in childhood and then goes away on its own.  he did have a sinus infection at the time, so we wanted to clear that up first to make sure it wasn't somehow causing it.  a few weeks later, the right eye started to tic also.  determined that this wasn't normal, back to the pediatrician we went.  again, the same answer though of a harmless transient tic.  they did do a quick eye exam and declared his eyesight fine.

fast forward a few more weeks up to about a week and a half ago and he started complaining of headaches and pointing to the back of his head.  not sure what the cause was, we treated with tylenol when he complained, but soon noticed it really wasn't going away.  then as he was riding with my mother-in-law in the car, he told her he could see "that bouncy ball in my eye again."  she asked him what color it was and he said brown.  this alarmed her because she has had ocular bleeds and said that is just what they look like. time for a call to an eye doctor.

so yesterday i made the call to a pediatric opthamologist that a family member had seen.  they said they were scheduling out to the end of may and i said okay.  however, after they asked the reason we wanted the appointment, i was put on hold briefly and then told they needed to see him "tomorrow at 8:30 am," (which is today) and expect to be there about 2 hours.  okay, FREAK OUT TIME!  my mind raced and i spent the night pretty worried.

this morning, we headed off to children's hospital for his appointment.  after only an hour, the doctor determined that carter needed glasses.  he is nearsighted in both eyes, but the biggest problem was that he has a pretty significant astigmatism in his left eye, but none in his right.  the doctor thought this could surely be causing his headaches and the glasses should help correct that.  he didn't see any neurological problems, everything else looked fine and the tics, he agreed were most likely just transient ones.  he will see us back in 3 months to make sure his left eye is seeing well enough so it doesn't shut down and to make sure he didn't miss anything else.  whoosh.  let out breath.  thank the Lord!

so next door we went to pick out carter's first glasses.  i must admit, he looked pretty dang cute in them.  we didn't think to take a picture of him in what will be his new glasses, but couldn't resist snapping this one during his exam.

so many people would look at this situation and be bummed that their child now has to wear glasses.  but today, for me, i am feeling pretty lucky.  i am super happy that there wasn't anything major wrong with my baby and am glad that he will be able to see better!  happy st. patrick's day to this partially irish girl :-)

back in the saddle

holy smokes, have i been MIA.  the first thing that took me out was getting sick.  very, very sick :-/  i became BFFs with my toilet for about a day and then started to feel better, although tired and sore.  virus tried to come back a day later, but i sent it packing, with strict instructions for it to never return.  thank goodness no one else in my family got it!  if i didn't have a low-grade fever, i would have almost thought it was food poisoning, but i guess it was just my good quarantine skills that kept the rest of the family healthy.

after being sick, i was behind the 8 ball for a few days and then we went to lima since ryan is on vacation ALL WEEK!  a nice little visit up there and then the days have just flown by.  probably *because* ryan is on vacation ALL WEEK :-)

alas, i am back in the saddle and hope to be better about blogging!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

mommy's weekend off

my mom came up with an idea to buy tickets to see Shrek the Musical for my sister, sister-in-law and me for our birthdays this year (not that they are all together at all--november, september, march and july-- but celebrating them at the same time anyways).  since it was this past saturday, ryan took the boys and went to stay with his mom for reinforcements :-)  they left friday afternoon, which meant that i had the rest of friday  holy smokes!  i have to say that as much as i love my husband and children, it was glorious to have some time to myself in my house.  i couldn't quite justify being *totally* lazy, so i cleaned for a couple hours and then promptly parked on the couch for the rest of the night.

...earlier in the day, however, i was heading out to meet a girl from craigslist to sell some diapers.  as i was getting ready to walk out the door, i couldn't find my wallet.  after a moment's thought, OH NO! it's in the diaper bag--which is on it's way out of town with ryan :-/  luckily, he was able to drop it off at my mom's for her to bring to cleveland with her the next day, but in the meantime i had nothing--no money, no credit cards, no ID, no ATM card--nothing.  i scrounged through our files and found an old credit card that hadn't even been activated yet just so i would have something in case i needed gas or whatever, plus i was headed to meet her at bye bye baby and wasn't sure i could escape without buying anything ::shuffles::

when i called ryan to tell him about the wallet fiasco, we also discovered another oversight--carter had no shoes.  they left at nap time so the boys could sleep in the car and ryan just carried him out.  i will say that i reminded him to pack shoes and he said he would just put them in the car, and then forgot.  so now we have my wallet traveling an hour and half away from me, while my 3 year old son is expected to make it through a weekend with no shoes. (he was able to borrow some from our nephew) i guess that's what happens when mommies decide to have some time off :-)

side note: shrek the musical was SO good!  even though we were seated amongst a large group of middle schoolers...and there was approximately 3 inches of leg room for my 12 inches of leg...and pretty sure the kid sitting in front of us had ADD because he was unable to stop moving and pushing his chair back (into our kneecaps)...which left my sister and i alternating between who was gonna shove his chair back with our knees the whole time...

side side note: the theater we went to was a combination of multiple theaters and i REALLY would like to know what was going on in the other theater because based on the people in the lobby, it was some sort of pimps and hoes party...

here is carter wearing his shrek ogre ears that i brought him back

Thursday, March 3, 2011

journey into the great "green" beyond

i do not consider our family "green" by any means, but i have always been a little conscious of the earth and the things we are doing to it.  when we moved back to columbus, i joined a great moms group who introduced me to a few easy changes to make our lives a little greener.  the bonus to almost all of these things, is that in addition to helping save the planet, they also save you money!  woot!

the biggest change was cloth diapers.  with carter, using cloth diapers did not even enter my mind.  cloth diapers to me were pins and plastic pants and dealing with the stuff that goes into diapers (eeeeewww!).  but as i quickly learned, a good number of my new mommy friends were using cloth diapers, and (gasp!) they were WAY cooler than the cloth diapers of ole.  without going too much into the whole cloth diaper tangent, let me summarize by saying they are super easy to use, super convenient, and let's face it, super cute!  here is a picture of holden wearing his first cloth diaper (look how skinny he was!)

i had to do some talking in order to convince my husband to give cloth diapers a try (and the convincing is ongoing because, well, my husband is weird and thinks kids can't roll over or crawl with a cloth diaper because they are bulkier than disposables, but i digress...).  anyways, so it shocked me when he suggested that we switch to cloth instead of paper towels.  suddenly, our roles were reversed.  i pretty much wanted nothing to do with cloth paper towels, or un-paper towels if you will.  however, we was willing to give cloth diapers a shot, so i thought i should give his idea of the un-paper towels a shot.  i searched our linen closet and found these, which we have been using for a few months now.
 if you're wondering what they are...well, they are washcloths with some sort of odd embroidering on the border that someone thought would be a great baby gift when carter was born.
i figured instead of taking up space in the closet, we finally had a potential use for these and not much to lose.  turns out, they are great!  it's just as easy to grab one of these instead of a paper towel and then i just throw them in with the regular wash, so it's not even any extra loads!  (i will say we still use *some* paper towels, because some things just need thrown away instead of thrown into the laundry with our clothes, but a HUGE amount less than before).  and again, saving money!

like i said, these have been working great, but let's face it, they are hideous.  so i ventured out on black friday to joann's because they had flannel for $1.29/yd and it seemed the perfect opportunity to make some cuter ones.  fast forward to today, and i have finally finished them (ok, so it's 3 1/2 months later, but better late than never right?).  so here are our new and improved un-paper towels
 i just LOVE them!  they are so much nicer and add a little "cute" to the kitchen instead of a little "hillbilly." :-P
the last way i'll touch on that we "greened" up our lives is by using vinegar to clean.  who knew that a little bit of vinegar could be so useful?  i now use my un-paper towels to wipe down my counters daily with a spray of 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water and i don't have to worry about all the chemicals getting on to surfaces where we prep food!  enter my husband again, who upon hearing this cynically asked "is it antibacterial?"  turns out, it is!  the pH of vinegar doesn't allow anything to live so bye bye bacteria and hello extra cash...AGAIN.

this is a journey that we've just started on and i am anxious to explore more ways to not only help the environment, but also help our wallet.  turns out, kermit was wrong, because (at least for some things) it IS easy being green!

what are some of your favorite "green" things you incorporate into your lives?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

raspberries, grapes, and elephants

my littlest man has learned the fine art of blowing raspberries.  he doesn't do it all the time, and of course never on command.  he does, however, have a superior ability to do it while he's eating.  "what's that you say mom?  you'd like some of these green beans sprayed all over you?  no problem!  consider it done!"  i should be happy that i can often get out of the way of the food spray, whereas with carter, he sneezed oatmeal on me every.single.morning...until he stopped eating oatmeal.

also in our food exploration, i got holden one of those mesh food teether things.  i loaded it up with grapes last night and gave it to him.  he stared at, flopped it around a few times and dropped it, clearly not impressed.

so i took my fingers and sqeezed a grape open and then stuck it in his mouth.  hmmm...this has potential.  after a couple minutes he was going to town and loving them.  can't wait to try some other things in there!  definitely glad i stripped him naked first though, as he ended up covered in grape juice.

big topic shift:  boys are loud.  they are so, so, so loud. i have no idea why everything they do has to be done at a decibel level that rivals attending a concert.  12 inches away from someone? better yell so they hear me!  getting out of bed?  better jump, thud, stomp stomp stomp!  opening a door?  better throw it open so as to scare the bejeezus out of whoever is on the other side (me)!  i think to myself, why are boys so loud?  and then i look at the biggest boy in the house (my husband) and the answer is clear.  he is just as loud.  i often hear tales of people complaining about their upstairs neighbors while living in an apartment, yet i get to experience the loud elephant stomps of my husband even when he is DOWNSTAIRS.  i see my cute little niece just cruising around, living life, making hardly a peep.  she pretty much gets swallowed whole in this house.  well, i'm off to practice banging cabinets open and closed so i can fit in...