Time for Mass!

February 21, 2016 at 5:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ok, this is about the cutest thing Liam has ever done. We live near a Greek Orthodox church, and every weekend the bells toll at different hours of the day. When I first heard them, I exclaimed, “Time for Mass!” Liam asked what that meant, and I explained it was time for people to go to church and listen to the sermon.

The next weekend Liam heard the bells ringing and he exclaimed, “Time for math! Mom, what’s eight plus eight!” I answered him, a little puzzled with the quiz, until I realized he confused Mass with Math. Ha ha ha!

I pointed out his mistake, but now it’s become a little joke. Every time the bells ring we do math. We’d rather do that than go to church anyway, lol.

Wait. Is that an elevator?!

January 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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James was taking a closer look at the photos of our new townhouse in Athens when he noticed something peculiar. He called me over to ask if he was crazy. So here’s the entry from the front door…

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And here it is from the opposite angle.

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And if I’m not mistaken…THAT is an elevator.

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I would assume it goes to the garage, which appears to be in the basement. But you should have seen the gleam in Liam’s eye when he overheard us talking about it. “So the elevator might go to my ROOM?!” I’m doubtful it goes all the way to the top floor, but I laughed and told him maybe it’s like the elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it’ll fly right out from the roof! Needless to say Liam now can’t wait to get to Athens.

A family movie outing

December 23, 2015 at 12:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I could hardly wait all year for the new Star Wars installment to hit the theaters. It’s the first new movie since the disappointing prequels, and the reviews claimed this one was a huge hit. Liam is only a luke-warm Star Wars fan (pun intended, ha!), and Violet is past her sleeping-all-day phase, so I knew it was going to be a challenge. But it’s Star Wars (!!!). I had to give it a shot.

10489966_1127490407261072_4066073151441130583_nSo James, Liam, Violet and I headed to the Warren Theater on a Tuesday to see the noon show. We allowed ourselves plenty of time in case the theater was crowded, and thankfully it wasn’t. We had the cry room to ourselves, in fact, which was a bonus because Violet had two explosively poopy diapers. The first one happened right when we got there, so while James handled the food I was able to clean her up in the bathroom. She peed all over the changing pad while I was changing her, so it was a bit of a fiasco. But I managed to get her dry and into fresh clothes long before the movie started. Liam and James were so impressed with the cry room that they decided to stay in there with me despite the risk of noisy interruptions. And there were plenty of those. I felt like I was in constant flux, putting Vi down on the floor to play, picking her up to nurse, bouncing her up and down to nap, cradling her with my arm asleep while I munched on kit kats, and repeating the whole process again and again as the movie progressed. I missed a few bits with the second diaper change (I was able to stay in the room, at least, instead of heading back to the bathroom), and then Liam started getting bored about halfway through and kept trying to talk to me. At one point he sat on the floor and entertained his sister – this sibling thing is finally starting to pay off! It turns out 2.5 hours is just a smidge too long for my almost seven year old’s attention span. But he seemed to enjoy most of it, even if the plot points went over his head.

Despite the constant interruptions, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I’m hoping to see it again – my mom offered to watch Violet so my dad and I can go see it while I’m in KC over the holiday. But we’ll see…Violet has been especially fussy today, and I think she’s teething again. She still won’t take bottles, and she’s not entirely thrilled with solid food. I usually only leave her with a babysitter for an hour at a time, or two hours, tops. Perhaps if I time it with her naps, or if I put her to bed before we go, we can manage it. How did I end up with such high-maintenance children?!

First Movie Night

October 16, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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James is out of town for four, and now possibly six weeks, while I hold down the fort with two kids. Yeah. Fun. We finished week one without too much drama, except that Liam keeps guilting me about paying more attention to Violet than to him. And it’s true – she needs A LOT of attention right now. And Liam is mostly okay with that. He gets up early and plays with her in the bed so I can take my time waking up. He pushes the buttons for her on the exesaucer. He hands her toys when she drops them and he’s the only one who can get a real giggle out of her. But if she starts crying, forget it. He never wanted a baby sister. Babies are so annoying!

In order to make it up to him, I decided to start a movie night on Fridays. I told him all about one of my favorite movies that I saw in the theater when I was about his age, The Dark Crystal, by the same guy who did the Muppets and Sesame Street. A brief outline of the plot and he was sold. (Although, hearing my description, I realized what a truly bizarre movie this is. Probably why I love it so much.) He got so excited, in fact, that he set up a “snack café” on Wednesday night. Behold.

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Popcorn is $1. Chips are $3. Candy is $11. And Kix are $100. And he emphasized that I had to pay him REAL MONEY. For two days he drilled me on proper snack café procedure. Enter the line HERE. Stand BEHIND the jump rope. Pay the cashier (Liam) in this spot. Give your movie ticket (which he cut out of green construction paper) to the ticket taker downstairs. It was at once adorable and annoying. Pretty typical for our little Liam.

Finally, it was Friday night. All through dinner he was jibber jabbering about how excited he was about movie night. We ate dinner early and got Violet’s bedtime routine started an hour early. She’d missed her afternoon nap, so surely she’d go right to sleep? Except I forgot that babies operate under Murphy’s Law. It was like SHE KNEW that I wanted her to give us two hours of peace and quiet, and she just wasn’t going for it. I tried three times to get her down, and finally at 7:30 she seemed to sleep soundly.

Liam excited stood at his post. I told him I’d like popcorn, and he said, “One dollar, please.” I pantomimed giving him money. He stared for a beat. “Mom, remember? I wanted real money?” Sheesh, this kid. So I dug a dollar out of my wallet, and he placed it in the “cash folder.” Quite the entrepreneur. I told him there was no way I was shelling out $11 for candy, and he didn’t make a federal case about it. Carrying the food downstairs, I gave my ticket to one of his stuffed animals. Then I took a seat next to Lucy, who incidentally had her own ticket as well. This kid!

I’d forgotten how complicated the plot for The Dark Crystal might seem to a six-year-old, so I had to do a lot of explaining. What is a prophesy? What is a conjunction? What is a shard? But I think he got the gist. He certainly got the visual elements. And he was just as delighted as I was when Kira revealed that she had wings. I told him when I was a girl I wanted to have wings, and he replied, “I wish boys could have wings, too.” Violet interrupted our viewing twice, but Liam didn’t seem to mind pausing it while I got her settled down again. She’s not usually this fussy at bedtime, so I’m hoping our subsequent movie nights work better.

It was great to spend some quality time with my boy. I love that he’s finally at an age to share in some of my favorite movies, and he doesn’t get scared by them or not understand them. I’ve already got plans to show him Hocus Pocus, The Monster Squad, Willow and Labyrinth. But he did ask if he could pick the movie sometimes, so we may have to alternate. I’ll be interested to see what he chooses…though I may have to insert a rule that it can’t be a movie we’ve already seen a hundred times.

Incidentally, I stumbled on this page on IMDB and realized I saw quite a few of these in the theater that year. I think my parents would trade off taking me to the movies while the other one watched Jill, who would have been between 6 months and 18 months that year.   

I’ve been duped!

September 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I suspected that Liam was coming down with something Sunday night, so when he woke up this morning complaining that his “whole body hurt” and he wanted to stay home from school, I thought, “Great, here we go again.” He just had a stomach bug a week ago, and now this? I dutifully took his temperature, but no fever. His nose was a little stuffy, but otherwise he seemed ok. I gave him a little Tylenol and Allegra, fed him some breakfast, got as far as getting dressed and brushing teeth, but he still complained that he didn’t feel up to going to school. Ever a suspicious mommy, I said we were not going to be watching TV today, and if he was really sick he’d have to stay in bed. He heartily agreed, letting me tuck him in with a book. I was still loathe to keep him home. If he’s coming down with what James had this weekend, he’s going to feel much worse tomorrow, and probably the day after that. But if he was willing to lay in bed all day, he must really feel bad.

That lasted about 30 minutes.

Then he was upstairs angling for a snack. I told him he’d have to eat something healthy – no goldfish, no hotdogs, no chips, no fruit snacks. Then he pipes up, “How about a popsicle? Those are good for when you’re sick, right?” Last week, after he’d been throwing up and we were just starting to get some liquids in him, I gave him a popsicle to encourage him to get hydrated. It was something one of his pediatricians had recommended years ago. Sheesh. So I explained to him that popsicles were only for when he couldn’t keep down regular food, and how about a banana instead? He ate half a banana and went back downstairs to lie down.

At around 10:30 he was back upstairs, apparently ready for lunch. “Think I could have a popsicle now?” Hmmm…starting to understand why this boy wanted to stay home so badly despite the no TV edict. We went back and forth for awhile with my healthy snack suggestions, and he finally settled on crunchy peanut butter on toast. By the time he was finished with that, Violet was up and Liam was getting on my last nerve. Clearly he wasn’t sick enough to stay home anymore, so I called the office to make sure it was ok for me to bring him up to school. As long as he hadn’t had a fever, I could bring him up after lunch. Thank God!

Of course, after I informed him we’d be going up to school in a bit, he conveniently wasn’t feeling well again. I’m not falling for that again, kiddo! I have no doubts that he’s just a little sick, but he’s clearly hamming it up to stay home all day…and drive me insane enough to let him watch TV all afternoon. 

I have a feeling we’ll be going through this rigmarole again tomorrow, but unless he’s running a fever or noticeably weak, I’m sending his butt to school. Constant vigilance, mama! Constant vigilance!

Our First Garage Sale

September 21, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Thanks to my mom and dad, our first garage sale went off splendidly! It started out a little rocky: Liam had a stomach bug Thursday night and Friday, and dad and I had a MacGyver moment with the posting of the signs. But bright and early Saturday morning we had everything organized and out for purchase. Our first customers arrived about an hour later, and we had a steady stream for most of the day. Liam just talked and talked and talked and talked. He greeted each customer, then hovered around and explained all the pricing. He chased one guy down the driveway, “Well, aren’t you going to buy anything?” LOL. We had to have a little chat about being polite. Then he sat his little chair outside of the garage and proclaimed to anyone within listening distance (for him, that means down the block) that items in the driveway were his to take the money for, especially the kitchen table, which was “our most expensivest thing.” Our little racketeer wanted $80 for his piggy bank! So then we had to chat with him about how it isn’t nice to talk to people about money, and perhaps he could just ask them if they needed help or if they’d like a bag. Ohhhhh.

After that he was a perfect little helper. “Hello. Can I help you? Would you like a bag for that stuff?” So adorable. Even Violet was good on Saturday, sleeping most of the day and allowing me to help more than I thought I’d be able to.

Sunday was a little slower, so we set a bunch of things out on our old coffee table and labeled them “free stuff – including the coffee table.” Then I posted some ads on craigslist and freecycle to help drum up business. I guess Sunday is not a big garage sale day around here. But we still managed to offload all the big items except for one stroller, and I bet I can sell it online. A handful of other nicer things I’m going to try to sell online, as well. A single mom texted me asking if she might be able to take some clothes for her special-needs 6-month-old daughter, so we set aside a little care package of gender-neutral sleepers and overalls for her to pick up that evening. We still had a ton of clothing, so we dropped them off at The Treehouse thrift store. I’m glad all these clothes are going to kids who need them.

And now…less clutter, yay! We only cleared a couple hundred bucks, but it was worth it to clean out the garage, especially with our impending move. We have a little more time – it’s been unofficially pushed back to January, and we’re still waiting to hear about an official start date. We still have books to sell (6 boxes are going to Half Price Books in couple of weeks, yay!), Travis is taking our grill this weekend, and we plan to sell the Subaru Forrester and all of our appliances in the coming months. Sheesh…this garage sale was only the tip of the iceberg!   

Cheezeburger Cheezeburger

August 12, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Liam is finally willing to try some new foods – I’m ecstatic he likes tilapia and broccoli – so today I decided it was high time he try a hamburger. In the car at the drive thru I had to sell it as a meatball squashed flat. It was an easy sell; he loves meatballs. He emphasized that it had to be PLAIN – no ketchup or mustard or (God Forbid) cheese, or he wouldn’t even try it. I waited with bated breath as he took his first bite…and he loved it! After three or so bites he hilariously took the thing apart just so he could eat the meat, the “best part”, he said. Then he ate the bun. I think I may have him convinced to eat it like a normal person next time. And there will definitely be a next time – he says it’s his new favorite, and he wants to order it everywhere we go. Oh, and can we go back tomorrow, mom? What have I started? I told him next time we’d try Five Guys and have them throw on a little bacon. He loved that idea…as long as there was no cheese. LOL. One of these days he’s going to try cheese and discover it makes everything taste so much better!

The Honeymoon is Over

July 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A conversation in the car with Liam as Violet wails next to him in the backseat:

Liam: This is why I didn’t want a baby sister. She cries too much. It hurts my ears!

Me: Listen. See? She’s quieting down now.

Liam: The next time she cries, we’re going to have to give her away.

Me: Oh really? Who are we going to give her to?

Liam: I don’t know. Oh, there she goes again. Mom, we have to give her away. Next time we have a garage sale, let’s put her in it.

Violet: Waaaahhhh!

The Good, the Bad, and the Messy

July 3, 2015 at 9:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’m coming to understand why parents of two young children seldom leave the house. But I’m the kind of person who can’t stay cooped up for long, plus, apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment. Thursday I planned a relatively simple outing: lunch out with James and a short trip to Exploration Place. As I sat down to nurse Violet at 11:30, I sent Liam to watch a show, and I figured we could leave after that. Ten minutes later a stomping, huffing, whining six-year-old came blustering into the nursery. Netflix wasn’t working, he couldn’t watch his show, and I must FIIIIX IIIIT. Instead, because Vi had just finished eating, I convinced him to (reluctantly and with much complaining) put on his shoes and get in the car. Then, just as I’d started to pull out of the garage, I heard the tell-tale sound of Violet violently filling her diaper.

Dear God.

It was everywhere. So I had to carry her back in the house like a dripping explosive, clean her up, change her clothes, clean up the car seat, get both kids BACK in the car (cuz you better believe Liam wasn’t going to stay in the car with the bad smell), and set off again.

Thankfully, Chinese buffet was uneventful. In fact, I’m tickled that Liam likes it so much. Mind you, he doesn’t eat a single bit of Chinese food – this huge buffet has french fries, muffins, and cakes, too. But it does encourage him to try new foods. That day he wanted to try a fried banana and every color of Jello they had. It was amusing. 

Things didn’t get bad again until we sat down to watch a short movie at Exploration Place. Violet had slept in her stroller during our whole visit to the museum, but decided to wake up just as we’d entered the theater. I quickly settled her down in my arms and we watched the program in relative peace. And then…more explosive filling of the diaper. While I was holding her.

Dear God.

Quickly I hopped up and grabbed a receiving blanket to keep as much from seeping onto me as possible. Then I took a very unhappy six-year-old out of the movie early so we could clean her up, change her clothes, and get the heck out of there. Earlier I’d promised him a trip to the gift shop, and it was right on our way out, so that placated him a bit. And I found the cutest Bazinga onsie for Violet, which cheered me up a bit, as well.

Today we’re off to Kansas City, our first long distance outing with two kids. We’re just staying one day – long enough for James and I to have our first date night since Violet came along. It’s a three hour drive, and I’m hoping we can make it with no stops… and no explosive diapers.

There’s an App for That

June 6, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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When we first brought Liam home with that overwhelming amount of literature and instructions, one thing I recall clearly was tracking his every feeding and bowel movement. I had a little worksheet and I had to tabulate all of his comings and goings in pencil. My sleep-addled brain could hardly keep up, and I pretty much gave it up after a couple of weeks.

This time around I discovered there’s an app for that. In fact, there are many, and after a couple of tries, I found one I liked called Baby Tracker. It’s free with annoying ads, or $4.99 without. Now with the click of a button I can record what precisely was in that diaper, set a timer when I nurse, keep track of which side I nursed from last, set an alarm to wake her up to eat, and track all the stats on a weekly or monthly basis. I can also keep track of pumped and stored milk, and add milestones like weight and height. Very high tech!

Another difference this time around: social media. Fellow moms are simply a query away on Facebook. Violet has just recently gotten very fussy during her feedings – she might have gas, or she might object to the way the milk tastes, who knows? I thought it might have been the spicy meals I ate the last two nights, so I posted something on FB about it and got almost a dozen replies. We’re trying a colic remedy my friend Jessaca recommended, and I’m also going to track what I’m eating and how she seems to respond. I’m also pulling out all the Happiest Baby on the Block material that worked on Liam: swaddling, shooshing, and bouncing her on the yoga ball calms her right down (for the moment, anyway.) I think I spoke too soon when I described her as “chill.” 

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Liam has been a rock star big brother. (As much as can be expected from a six-year-old, at least.) I’m pleased that we spaced them as far apart as we did. He’s eager to turn the diaper champ (though he adamantly refuses to actually TOUCH the diapers). He’s totally fascinated by the breast pump and insists on “helping” by putting all the parts together and turning the machine on and off for me. For the most part he’s willing to turn over the yoga ball when we need it to bounce Violet to sleep (it’s one of his favorite toys, especially when he’s upstairs). Next week will be the real test, though. James has been doting on me the last four weeks, and he has to return to work on Monday. So we’ll see how Liam does when I’m busy with Violet and daddy can’t jump in to help.

How lucky am I to have my hubby home for a whole month to help with the baby? Actually, I think we’re both ready for him to go back to work, lol. As much as I love having him here to help out, what I really need is a mind-reading full-time live-in maid. And James, bless his heart, has gotten the lion’s share of Violet’s various excretions. I think he’s ready to get out of this madhouse, at least from 8-5 on weekdays. 

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