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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Christmas Present


For Christmas this year I was really lucky to get so many gifts I absolutely love...clothes that fit, a AWESOME Caps jacket, some girly stuff and then two wonderful blankets. The first blanket was an early gift given to me by my husband. The damn thing is electric and it has different heat settings. Man does he know me! I am always in a constant state of being cold and for once...I am not cold when comfortably snuggled in with the setting all the way up. I also received another blanket...but this falls under not only comfort but sentimental mush which is something I am a sap for.

On Christmas day after my little family was done with all our Christmas activities at our house, we drove the LONG mile to my parents home. I had opened a few gifts when my Mom placed in front of me a rather large bag and smiled her little Mom smile at me. I was curious as I sort of already knew most of my presents per an annual Christmas shopping trip my sister and I made with her earlier in the month, so she certainly had my curiosity. I opened it up to reveal...the blanket. Its not just a blanket but a hand made crocheted blanket my Mom has literally been working on since I was a child. I remember her hand stitching the different squares and carefully storing them in old bread bags to preserve them from the rampaging children (aka my sister and I) in our old North Carolina home. From time to time when I would pass these bags of crocheted squares while going up to the attic in our North Carolina home or passing them in the basement once we moved to Virgina and wonder what my Mom was going to do with them. I now knew. She was saving them up, diligently working on a project that took essentially twenty years plus in the making to give my sister and I a priceless present made from her hands.

I stretched out the blanket marveled that the squares that used to be in pieces were now elegantly stitched into place into a beautiful blanket. My Mom pointed out different squares commenting how she used this yarn to make us doll clothes for my sister and I or used this yarn to make us all beautiful little dress capes to wear on special occasions. The sentimentalism (if you will) of all the different pieces and the fact my Mom made them was almost overwhelming but beautiful.

So I wrote a post on a blanket, but something more then a blanket. I marvel at my Mom's craftiness as I certainly don't have her talent (nor patience...geez it was a twenty year project) in making not one but two blankets for both my sister and I. It has already become a family treasure and something I will always cherish and think back on. Thank you Mom.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stressed Much? I am

So December hasn't shaped up to be a stellar month. There are so many stresses going on and really I don't know how much more can possibly go on, but I am DONE. I honestly just want to sit here and cry writing this post and am almost thankful I have my little blog to let it all on the table.

So here the last month or so in summary:

~My Mom has heart surgery...a scary heart surgery. Thankfully she is doing great. However...obviously thats stressful.

~My son gets kicked out of day care for thirty days. My husband and I both work full time and can't stay home for thirty days. We scramble to get care and my husband's Grandmother comes up to stay with us from Miami while looking and researching day care places.

~We get approved (THANKFULLY) for speech assessment. However with all the appointments and my boss being out and I can't take off work, my husband holds the bag on that one. He was awesome, but talk about my own personal guilt trip in not really being able to help.

~Grandma comes and although is nice...its hard having anyone come live with you when you're not used to it.

~My job...questionable at best on how long it will last and there are really no jobs (this includes constant searching and looking) that are reasonable to commute to or people just aren't hiring.

~Christmas drama...not the fun kind either, but that blows over THANKFULLY.

~Grandma walks out on us after a VERY (and I mean ridiculous) argument over saying goodbye to my son. We had to see if my sons NEW day care would let us start early...thankfully they are. I can't tell you how disappointed and hurt I am over her selfish actions when she knew we needed help.

~My son after an ENT appointment needs tubes put in both ears and probably his adenoids removed as well. There is a silver lining to him being able to hear and breathe properly, but it means surgery and this is my baby we're talking about!

~Did I mention I am forced to take some holidays (I'd take off for the major day like Christmas and New Years) and I am not paid for four days in December, which equals out to almost a weeks salary.

Today I am just done. I want to go home, shut my door, turn off my ringer and just vegetate with the people I love and that love me. I am hoping for a wonderful New Year because really it has to get better because this month really really really really really sucked (minus Christmas, my nephew, my husband and my beautiful son).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Foreign Movies


I have to say I am new in watching foreign films and am biased when I really only watch Russian films as my husband is Russian. I just like seeing the culture, the different ways another studio other than Hollywood does their films...its all just VERY interesting to me. This week I watched two foreign films that I would have to say I HIGHLY recommend for any audience.

'Kniga Masterov' or 'Book of Masters' is a Disney made movie based on a Russian fairy tale. If you like movies like Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings, this a great movie for you to watch. I know it is odd putting a Disney movie under the foreign films category, but this movie was filmed for Russians as it was written, directed and acted by only Russians. You will not see any actors or voice overs by any Hollywood name you know of.

Another great movie (I believe its almost a classic in Russian films) is Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (I inserted a link off youtube with english subtitles). I would categorize this as a chick flick as the story is told about three different woman's lives from young adulthood and them finding themselves into adulthood. I have watched this movie before but its one movie I have to say is on my list of favorites. Its interesting to see a piece of my husband's culture played out on film as I see certain things played out in my own life. For example, a Russian superstition would be before you leave to go on a journey (vacation) everyone must sit down for a moment for good luck...we have done that in my house. I also laugh at the beautiful decorated tables filled with good food and happy company as this is something I have witnessed frequently when going to my mother in law's house.

I also really enjoy watching 'The Irony of Fate' a while back, which is absolutely hilarious. The movie portrays a man who gets totally drunk during a party before his wedding (sort of like a Bachelor's Party). The guys in his group plays a prank on him and put him on a plane to a different city. Zhenya (the groom to be) wakes up and gets a taxi to what he thinks is his home and not aware that he is in fact in a entire different city. Its sort of a fun pull at the Soviet government as all housing looked the same, street names were the same in each city, even locks (yikes) and furnishings were government issued. I will not spoil the rest of the story, but it is a classic. My husband's Mom describe this movie as something you HAVE to watch every year. Sort of like how us Americans watch 'It's A Wonderful Life' or 'A Christmas Story' each year.

I am also looking into other great films the Russians have done. They love doing period piece films, which THANK YOU LORD is my favorite genre of films!

What foreign films do you recommend?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I had to write another post (off my previous post about Christmas) to just talk about different Christmas traditions. I am just curious on what are your traditions this time of year?

One Christmas tradition that I hold VERY dear to my heart and just find it overall beautifully symbolic is during the Christmas Eve feast we set out an extra place during the dinner hour at the table and leave it empty. Its symbolic to show that if someone is to come to our door in search of food and a warm place that we would open our doors up to them. Remember Mary and Joseph were turned away from the Inn thus Christ was born in a manger. I don't think anyone will be giving birth at my house, but they will not be turned away from a warm dinner and a place to stay for a while.

What are your traditions?

The Christmas Spirit

Its that wonderful and most beautiful time of year again...the time of year to celebrate Christ's birth and spend some quality time with family and friends. I know most of us are swamped with running from store to store, wrapping last minute gifts and going through mini holiday dramas, but really it is that time to take a moment to really know what Christmas is all about.

It is a Christian holiday...obviously. Celebrating Christ's birth's and Mary's self surrender to God's plan is just nothing short but miraculous. Remember at this time Mary and Joseph were turned away from the Inn and the SON OF GOD was born in a manger...not a warm hospital or home that so many of us are so lucky to have. It is that time of year again to reflect on what we should be doing as Christians...to humble ourselves in not thinking so much about ourselves but for what we could do individually or even as a community. It does not have to be huge sacrifices (although it would be nice but not always plausible), but think what you could do for someone else. Simple things like helping a lady load groceries in her trunk, bringing a warm drink to those working in the cold or opening your home up to someone who is a bit less fortunate. Its little things that could mean so much to a person...even something as simple as a smile. We are usually so busy with ourselves...our own lives that we forget to do simple things like help one another or just show the spirit of kindness. I know I am not exempt for forgetting these things, but I try to catch myself when I do remember.

What will you do for someone today?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Speech...worries galore

In previous post I have spoken about my son's lack of speech. He says perhaps a little over twenty words and although some are understandable to other people then his parents, it still isn't what I'd exactly call in the vocabulary range when you compare it to other children my son's age.

A little over a month ago I called Child Find, as they are a county organization that helps children in the preschool age range assess and help any children with developmental delays. I am so thankful and feel so blessed I live in a county that actually offers these services. Thankfully we were able to meet a few weeks after my initial call and during the meeting I had a few discussions with a social worker, an assessment from a psychologist and went in front of a small board to get the approval to move to the next step. I can not praise their professionalism or love of trying to help children enough. They really have an awesome system in place. Thankfully we were approved to go to the next step, which was to get a hearing test (for precautions) and meet with a speech therapist so she/he can determine the therapy needs.

I would say a week or two after we were approved by the board, I got two phone calls in one week to schedule the hearing test and the speech therapist appointment. I was able to get the hearing test scheduled THAT week and the speech therapist appointment would be after the new year (we were approaching the Christmas holiday which was obviously understandable). I honestly was so appreciative to see us moving towards that next step because I was told during the board approval meeting that I may not hear from them until maybe February.

I had to work (grrr) the day my son had his hearing test done, so my husband took him in. The kiddo is two and with two year olds (as most of us know) they are unpredictable especially in new environments. Unfortunately it was one of those days my little guy decided to pitch the BIGGEST fit of his little life. He was just not having it. Although the tests weren't 100% conclusive (because of the temper tantrum), basically it summed up that my son could hear louder tones but not lower tones. Now this could be because of the temper tantrum but having doing some of our own initial tests at home...he really can't hear when I speak quietly to him. That makes me sad....really sad. However, at the hearing test the lady told us there may be an issue with the middle section of his ear...perhaps fluid or ear wax and to go see an ENT. I should of saw one a while ago...why didn't I? Something I should have done...should have pushed for. Its one of those things you kind of kick yourself for not doing something earlier...but then again I was just waiting for my little guy's vocabulary to just explode almost overnight like I have read on so many forums, blogs, etc in that past when researching speech development for his age range.

So we're now on the hunt for a new ENT. Know any good ones? My husband tried calling one that day but kept being put on hold and then hung up on...not a good sign. I am praying and hoping like anything there is something that can easily be done about my son's ear...perhaps it just needs to have some earwax removed or something simplistic like that. I hope...and I pray.

I guess I sort of have a new connection with my Mom in this sense. Twenty six years ago she went through the same thing with me. I didn't hear and my speech was seriously lacking (though not as much as my son's) and very much garbled. I ended up having tubes three times as a small child. My son hasn't had them as his ear infection I guess were either too far apart and his pediatricians maybe just aren't the type to jump to surgery. I am okay with that...but if a kid needs it...I look for their professional opinion to guide me.

A story that pains me and makes me wonder about my own son is when I was very little and had just gotten tubes put in my ears. I had came home and was playing on the porch. My Mom noticed I was looking around as I heard birds chirping and had one of those "what is that" looks. My Mom summarized that I had never heard birds chirping and I was wondering what that noise was. Now it pains me to think...does my son not hear the birds chirping? Does he not hear the beautiful different quiet sounds of the little world he lives in? that hurts...and hurts deep. I wish like anything I could take that problem away from him and give him my "good ears" so he can hear properly. What a Mom wouldn't do for her children...I'd walk through fire for him.

So we're on the road to finding an ENT and figuring out what is the problem with my son's ear. I pray to God that this is easily helped. I feel as a Mum (I spelled it wrong on purpose)that you can never do quite enough to help your kids...especially in this situation. Obviously I am going through all the processes and procedures to do everything and anything I can for him, but its taking a while to finalize it. I wish I could do everything in less then a week. Obviously thats asking for quite a bit. I just want to fight like mad for him. Make sure he's okay. Do what I can for him and remember to have a little more patience.

So my advice to any parents reading this board...if your child has a speech delay and hasn't seen an ENT...go see one NOW. Also, contact Child Find because as much as it hurts your parental pride in admitting anything is not 100% perfect with your child...they really are wonderful.

I'll keep you posted on whats to come.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Changes

So this week was less then stellar. I had so many positive things to write...before Monday happened. I'll just keep that in the vault for another blog post another day when I am feeling more cheery, less stressed out and have reached a good level of sanity.

On Monday, I got the dreaded call from day care. Seeing them on my work caller ID was not very welcomed as usually getting a call from them means nothing but bad things. I was right as I picked up the phone and was informed that my son had bit another child while they were napping and I was to pick him up. I was further informed that he would be suspended for THIRTY DAYS! I knew this was possible per the last warning, but that was over a month ago and I figured the grace time was enough between the biting. I was wrong. I was further dismayed that the President who made this decision was not even available to sit down with me for a meeting or talk over the phone. That did it for me, my son was never going back. I called my husband to pick up our son because it was one of those weeks I had to work and to be honest I was quite emotional about stepping foot in that place.

Soon after my husband got home with my son, he gave me a ring. The front desk just told us he had bit a boy. However, we were further informed that my son and his cot was kicked REPEATEDLY by another little boy in the room. My son had enough and because his verbal skills aren't like the rest of his peers, he told him to stop the only way he knew how. I don't condone the biting, but it wasn't out of the blue either. WHY the heck the teacher who witnessed the multiple kickings didn't one protect my son bothered me a HUGE deal. It further nailed down that we would not be going back. They obviously can't handle two year olds.

So while I sat at work (feeling quite helpless mind you), my husband started seeing what he could do to solve our little 30 day suspension problem. I had a few VERY tearful phone calls to my parents about the days events (thank God there was an empty conference room) and was told that my Mom could watch my son three days this week. Thank GOD! Then God gave us an angel, because my son's GREAT Grandmother (who has more sturdy and energetic then I am) volunteered to fly up from Miami and spend the thirty days with us while we looked for another day care. She really is heaven sent because not only is she doing this and disrupting her life, but she's missing out on two very major holidays with her husband...Christmas and New Years. We had another blessing in the fact the plane ticket was NOT priced at an insane rate.

Tonight Great Grandma flies in, which is a nice relief. I am sure we'll be spoiled in our house with some yummy Russian cuisine (she likes to cook for her "kids") and mys on will see his beloved "Gaga" again. In the mean time we're touring day cares left and right to see what will be the best fit for my little guy.

There is a silver lining to all this stress, in that my son will have a fresh new start where ever he goes, "Gaga" will spend some quality time with the family and we'll be saving a few bucks on day care.

Life is so complicated some times, but in summary..."the will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Songs You Sing



Last night while watching a new beloved show (Glee), I was surprised to hear them sing an old song titled 'Smile'. It is a song known to me by watching My Girl years ago and was also sung by Judy Garland at one time. It is an old song, a classic to me, but I didn't think it would be "popular" enough of a song for the show as they typically sing a lot of pop songs. Needless to say, I was happy to hear a new generation singing it.

'Smile' has a special meaning to me. As a kid, when I watched the movie My Girl, it ingrained in me that I would someday sing that song to my children if I they were crying and feeling blue. I guess I live my life in some ways like musical (which I happily blame it on my parents need to show me culture and the arts) despite my inability to sing well, but that is what I imagined as a kid. So when I found out I was pregnant, I would softly sing my little boy the song "Smile" even before I knew it was a him. I would sit on a rocking chair in his nearly empty nursery, rub my growing belly and sing. Once my son was born and would wake up during odd hours of the night for feedings, I would always softly sing 'Smile' to his sweet, little, infant face as he filled his little belly and fell asleep to the melody. As he got older and if something scared him or he just needed that extra bit of TLC, I would sing softly again his little song. He always quieted down.

Now days my little boy typically wants to be held only for split seconds or at some rare moments will be held longer if something is making him afraid. He's usually too busy to be held unless it suites him. However, this morning was a little different. It has been a while since I last sang him our little song, so I scooped him up and sang. At first when I picked him up, he scrambled in my arms wanting to be free to do "his thing", but quickly settled down in a little quiet trance listening to me sing. We were at peace and he stayed with me tucked in my arms until the song was over.

I'll be honest when I say that I probably haven't sang him that song in months. There was no real reason to sing it to him as he is my little "go getter". Things hardly phase him now days. I just find it remarkable he remembers, that it still soothes him and that for a little while longer it can still be our little song together.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Christmas Season Has Begun!


It is that time of year again...its Christmas! It is truly one of my favorite holidays and something I look forward to each year. This year is a little bit more amazing as my little guy is figuring out what Christmas is all about. Seeing the joy and magic of Christmas through a child's eyes is nothing short but amazing.

This year I triumphed by decorating the house early and mostly by myself. Last year (after some lazy complaints by me), my husband took pity and decorated the house while I was away one day. It was a nice surprise, but it was also a week or so before Christmas, so I did not have the usual month long enjoyment of relishing in my decorations. I find that nothing is more joyous then turning on the much loved classic Christmas music and taking out sentimental Christmas decorations.

I don't decorate my house like Martha Stewart and I'm okay with that. I have different loves of snowman, Nutcrackers and St. Nick and have little figurines for each one. Snowman always remind me of the Frosty the Snowman cartoon and how happy and jolly he always was. Snowmen (and snowwomen) just make me smile. St. Nick reminds me of well St. Nick or Santa Claus, but I love having different representations of them from matroshka dolls, to painted "HoHo" signs made by my mother, to a real life representation of THE St. Nicholas would of looked like (staff and all). My lovely nutcrackers are a real representation of my childhood as I used to see The Nutcracker production every year at the Steven's Center in North Carolina. Radio City hall or any other production I've seen has never came quite as close to magnificient that one was. Every year as a child, The Nutcracker ballet would renew my love of my Mom's store bought Nutcracker as I would cradle it like Clara used to and would wish at night that I would be brought to the world of Sugar Plum Fairies and the Land of Sweets. Then there are my Moravian tin angels. I should say that too is another huge fragment of my childhood. I remember going to Old Salem (not the one you probably are thinking of) and walking through the cold streets of the old moravian village during the Christmas season. Often my family would take horse drawn wagon rides through the old town. I would also love smelling the aroma of bee wax candles as we entered the different shops. So each year as I take out my carefully wrapped tin angels from the box, a huge aroma of bee wax candles hits my nose and it always brings me back to those simpler times.

At last there is the Christmas tree. One of these years we will have a real one, per my husband's request, as he had real trees off and on as a child. I just really don't want to mess with them. I laugh every time thinking of my already pre lit Christmas tree when pulling it out of the box, because I was damned determined to get something already pre lit due to Dad's hostility each year with the Christmas lights. I did not want a repeat of that one. My Christmas tree, much like my decor around the house, isn't thoughtfully planned out in matching colors, organization or theme. It simply is yearly decorations I have received as a child into adult hood that have sentimental meaning. I have my American Girl Collection Samantha doll ornament that always reminds me of that one lucky Christmas I got my Samantha doll as a present from Santa Claus. I think that year was also the last year I truly believed that there was a Santa Claus. I have different assortments of White House ornaments that I have received over the years with one being dedicated to the Garfield administration. Enscripted on the ornament box with my Mom's beautiful (it really is beautiful) handwriting, she talks about the memory I had as a child visiting Garfield's home in Cleveland. In short, the memory was me being all excited about going, which surprised my parents. They finally figured out (after watching me look around for something in particular and then the disappointed face of their child) that I thought we were visitng the home of Garfield the cat, not Garfield the former President. I also have a ornmanet that is a little chipmunk selling hot nuts on an old vendors cart. That one always reminds me of our yearly visit the day after Thanksgiving to downtown Cleveland. Between Tower City and The Arcade, there used to be a deliciously smelling store that sold hot nuts and my Mom ALWAYS bought some yummy cashews. I have so many more memories all wrapped up in the different ornments that are hung around my tree...the trip to NYC with my sister and Mom, the angel my Aunt made, etc., Each have a story that belongs solely to them.

I am sentimental in my decorating and hope that someday the same decorations will have some sentimental meaning to my son and whatever children I have. What they will be, I am not sure quite yet. However, as the years goes on and the magic of Christmas returns each year, there will be surely more beautiful and wonderful memories that will be made and I can't wait to experience them all.



Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm The Type of Mom


I'm the type of Mom...

~that when I find a car toy in my pocket, it makes me smile.

~that can somehow manage to sit at a kid picnic bench and color with oversize crayons.

~that lets her kid lick the bowl because that is just fun...and yummy.

~that can dance ridiculous moves along side my toddler with the windows open and neighbors watching.

~that makes up silly songs just to make my little guy smile.

~that procrastinates on things for me but is proactive with things for my little man.

~that lets my kid play with Christmas decorations even after spending forever putting them up.

~that always remembers the special things that my son loves...pacifiers and his monkey.

~that works hard just to provide for my family.

~that will order something different on the menu for my guy because I know he'll like it more.

~that looks forward to every pick up because it brings such beautiful smiles.

~that researches fun activities and takes my son to them even when I'm tired.

~that is proud for my son's accomplishments more so then anything I have ever accomplished.

~that will protect my son above anything and all things even if it means sacrifice.

~that will watch countless episodes of Sesame Street throughout the week instead of tuning into shows I like. Sesame Street + 3. Oprah -3.

~that will spend whatever money I have on my son, then husband and lastly me and I love doing it.

~that will build countless lego towers only to have them knocked down by Godzilla baby.

~that contemplated kicking a goats ass (a literal goat) because he threatened to hurt my son.

~that blows so many bubbles on bubble days that it gives me headaches...thinking about investing in a bubble machine.

~that finds new ideas and writes them down...so buying that crayola crayon maker.

~that will admit that I am not super Mom, even though other Moms pretend to be.

~that shrugs my shoulders at a mustard stain on one arm and ketchup on the other. I haven't worn a shirt that didn't get stained by food for over two years...I'm over having a clean one.

~that doesn't mind when my son wants to copy every morning routine I do. I can't tell you how many times I have put on fake deodorant, fake foundation, fake eyeliner and fake lip stick on him. At least he is willing to brush his teeth and that is fine with me. Plus one for Mom!

~that can look at my son and look at my husband and see the man my son will grow to be...confident. I am still wondering if he'll have my husband's patience.

~that is determined to show my son culture, respect people and not be intolerant of people just because they are different.

~that doesn't care what my son's chosen profession will be, as long as he is happy and its legal.

~that remembers to smile even when having a bad day. Kids shouldn't know adult stresses.

~that has never taken a mental health day for me but has taken LOTS with my son. He's a spectacular date.

~that loves nothing but a good nap with my little sleeping boy snuggled by my side.

~that reminds my son his manners even if he doesn't vocalize them, he can sign them.

~that prays with my son daily.

~that will share (however sadly) my last bit of favorite dessert.

~that remembers that kids should get messy and should get messy with food, mud, paint, and everything else. A peck of dirt never hurt.

~that knows even if I clean up every thing, tomorrow it will look like I never did a thing. Welcome to the eternal house of mess, but it is a fun mess.

~that sees what works for one family won't necessarily work for mine.

~that can now say that some of the things on television is annoyingly inappropriate for kids, even those on demand commercials.

~that will sit outside on a cold Fall day after collecting several acorns only to throw them back in the same direction I got them from.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What type of Mom are you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Okay the title of the post is a day premature, but I doubt with all the busy things going on tomorrow that I will be blogging and wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving ahead of time.

This year I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my Mom's house. This is a first for me and a first for my Mom. Although I have always celebrated Thanksgiving with my Mom, in all of her 39 years of being married she never had Thanksgiving at her house. We have always been to either my Nagypapa/Nagymama's, my sister's or my sister's in laws house. I believe this will also be the first Thanksgiving that I am not celebrating with my sister as well.

Last year I wrote a post on how I used to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family throughout my growing up years. We would make the long drive to Cleveland, Ohio to my Nagypapa and Nagymama's house and spend a little less then a week there. I loved spending time there with loving Grandparents and running around with my cousins. The day after Thanksgiving we would ride downtown on the rappies (the metro in Cleveland) to see the store windows and do some shopping. After my Grandparents passing we no longer go up there and made different traditions locally. However, it still feels foreign to me in some ways not making the big drive, not seeing my Grandparents happy faces as they greeted us at the door and not going to downtown Cleveland the day after Thanksgiving. Its just life...things change, but I'm happy to have those fond memories.

This year I wanted to write again on all the things I am thankful for. I think its a must during this time of year, to reflect on the good and not so much the day to day stress, so here it goes...

I am thankful for:

1. Having the most beautiful, energetic little boy that fills my days with laughter, love and affection.

2. My husband who has the patience of a saint, that loves me unconditionally, fights for his family and puts up with my silliness.

3. My parents who are my rock other then my husband. They are the most dependable, supportive and loving parents.

4. My Mom's health, which is improving since her last heart surgery and seems to be regaining more and more strength as the days progress.

5. My nephew who has the sweetest little smile and certainly voices his little opinion with conviction.

6. The spacious and most comfortable house that fits my family perfectly.

7. My faith, which has lead me through some pretty rough times and thankful that when everything seems lost, prayer and God is a constant.

8. That I still have a job, even though its rocky at best...I still have one.

9. For the first time in my life, I have girl friends that truly believe in me, love me and support me.

10. For the food on the table and my husband's amazing ability to take whatever is in the fridge and make a DELICIOUS meal.

11. For my husband's Mom (whom I call Mom) and her boyfriend and the fact they really do love their Grandson.

12. For my son's Great Grandparents that even though there is a language barrier between me and them, I know they love me as a Granddaughter and think the world of their Great Grandson. I am also very thankful for their health and their AMAZING courage to immigrate to a new country late in life. It is so nice to have them here!

13. That I have so many beautiful memories of most my Grandparents growing up. Knowing that they loved me and supported me in so many different endeavors...really means a lot. Nagymama, I think of you every time I work on my book.

14. That my husband cleans and doesn't stereotype certain household duties as "woman's work"...even though men don't say it I see plenty that act on it. Remember actions speak louder then words.

15. For my ability this year to pay off so much debt and thankfully will have one car paid off very, very soon.

16. For my very expensive blanket my husband bought me for Christmas last year. It sounds silly, but I REALLY love it.

17. Sesame Street. Yes, I said it. When I need to cook, clean or just take a moment of sanity my son will watch an episode to let me do what I need to do.

18. That my little boy has gusto and will about him. This could be thought sometimes as a negative thing, but I know in his life it will play out well. He'll never be bullied and he'll someday grow up to be a man that will fight and go for what he wants.

19. My husband and I both love hockey. Its bonded us and really...I love watching it even when multitasking.

20. That myself and all my friends have beautiful healthy babies.

21. My Great Uncle George, who without a doubt brings me to laughter every time I think of him. Being 85 years old and fixing roofs, chasing women and having a zest for life like he is twenty is hilarious to me. He reminds me so much of my own Grandfather...feisty.

22. Being in an area with so many opportunities with great schools and great job.

23. My husband's beautiful green eyes and sexy scar. Is that weird? His scar that goes along his eyebrow line makes him look like a bad ass. LOL...he's so going to think that's weird.

24. That my husband will think of me and gets me girly movies, cool Jane Austen sequel books and yummy treats just because.

25. For nap time. God in his understanding knew that parents desperately needed nap time.

26. That Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday so we can all spend some special times with our families and remind us what we should be thankful for.

27. Lubeh. God I love that band.

28. My son's ability to make me smile even during the most stressful times. He's a rock star!

29. Another thing that is silly but thankful for, I finally found pants that I can fit into because for the longest time (okay over a year) any pants that I found were either too big or too little as I was between a size. It really sucked!

30. My education and that my Mom saw to pay for it. She wanted her girls to be able to be independent and have the gift of an education.

I have so many more to list, but I figure I'll keep my thanks at a nice round number and something that most people could read (if you wanted to).

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

We're Off To See The Wizard!


Yesterday my husband surprisingly turned on a movie classic, The Wizard of Oz. I figured he did as more or less there was nothing on and nothing child friendly recorded on our DVR. I half thought my son would ignore the movie and continue playing with his cars as he does on occasion when we turn on other kid friendly movies, but I was certainly wrong!

I think what got his attention was the tornado in the beginning of the movie. I was half hoping it wouldn't scare him as I tornadoes certainly scare the heck out of his Mom! He stared and while I half held my breath watching him watch the movie, he stood at the steps of the living room engrossed on what was on the screen. As Dorothy's house landed in Munchkin Land and she opened the door to a world in color, my son ran to the couch, covered his lap with a blanket and sat down to watch what would happen next. For the next 45 minutes the little man watched Dorothy meet the classic characters; the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and that horrible Wicked Witch of the West. In all he loved it. I am not sure if it was the singing, the beautiful colored (now in HD) scenes or the characters themselves...there was Toto you know and my son LOVES dogs.

I couldn't help but smile. Usually I am more or less concerned the material my son watches in making sure it doesn't have inappropriate things my child doesn't need or shouldn't see. I don't agree with some kid shows...eww for Grossology. However this was different. I remember my Dad commenting how he was afriad of those flying monkeys when he was a kid. I remembered when I was girl thinking it so peculiar that "nice witches" existed, that my favorite character was the Scarecrow and really wished I could go see Oz (even with the fake Wizard). Now for the third generation, my son was watching this classic tale that has yet to rid of its magic. Its kind of amazing to see that even after all these years that this story, this movie still has an impact on the children that watch it. Thats just amazing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Son's Generation


It occurred to me the other day how my son's generation will not experience some of the things my husband and my generation has. Its strange thinking the things that I see as normal or what once was will not be something my guy will know.

Here's my little list...

~ Costco (or equivalent) has always existed and used as a secondary grocery store.

~ Michael Jackson's alleged child molestation (thank God) will never be on the news. MJ will be a distant memory and known as a pop icon.

~Oprah won't be on at 4 o'clock.

~Dial up is something no one uses.

~VCR tapes will be looked at as strangely and foreign as we looked at our parents 8 track tapes.

~ Sesame Street has always had Elmo.

~Pay phones is probably something my son's generation will never use.

~Having a DVD player or a friend having a DVD player in the car is pretty normal.

~Teachers won't ask if you have a PC at home, it will be a given.

~They won't know what floppys or 3 1/2 is

~Computers have always come equipped needing a mouse.

~Stores like Hechingers, Linens and Things, Tower Records, Circuit City, Sam Goody, Bombay Company, KB Toys and Hechts will be places they never remembered going to.

~Places like Apple, Starbucks, Best Buy, Target, and Chipotle have always existed.

~They don't have the unique appreciation of commercial free shows (hello DVR, On-Demand and TIVO) like the older generations do. For them its a given.

~Answering machines never came separate with the phone.

~Cordless phones is a norm in every household.

~Unless they watch 80's flicks they will have no idea what a "boom box" is.

~Ipods would have always existed.

~Having cell phones is the norm.

~Cars having GPS isn't unheard of.

~The internet would of always existed.

~They will never use an actual paper card catalog in the library.

~DVDs are the size of cds and not the size of records.

~They won't have a memory of where they were on Sept. 11th.

~Unless it somehow is aired on Cartoon Network or we find them online they won't know kid shows like The Wuzzles, Rainbow Brite, The Gummi Bears, Jem, The Snorks, Heman, Fraggle Rock or Double Dare.

~Thankfully not know who the Garbage Pail kids are

~Will know kids allergic to peanut products unlike their parents (really I knew none nor did my husband).

~ Guys like Bon Jovi, Axel Rose, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirk Cameron, Michael J. Fox are thought of more as "old" then old celebrity heart throbs.

~Chevy Chase is an old guy, not some funny young guy that could possibly do another Lampoon movie.

That is all of the things I can think of for now and for me it is weird to think all that will be lost/forgotten or thought differently in this new generation.

Do you have any to add?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Adios Bibs!


Much to my dismay, bibs are now a distant memory in my house. It is not the fact that I decided to part with them, but more so my son refuses to wear them now...even when eating the messiest of foods. For me, I was not ready to give up that baby item quite yet.

It surprised me at first to be honest with my son's refusal to wear them. I thought he just did not like the disposable bibs while we were out one day at a restaurant. Come to find the next day, he did not want to wear the bibs we used at home either. It looks like I'll be learning new ways of fighting stains and needing to remember more so then usual to always pack an extra shirt while we are out of the house.

Has your kid weened YOU off a baby item that you weren't ready to give up yet?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boyd's Bear Here We Come!


Much to my surprise my amazing husband has agreed that this weekend we will take the family up to Boyds Bear in Gettysburg, PA and I am so excited! Not only is a fun day trip which is something I REALLY need at the moment, but it is something new to do and have fun with. Plus, I can't wait until I see my little guy's expression when we walk through the doors of this place. It is HUGE!

For anyone that has not been to Boyds Bear it is a pretty cool place to see and I have seen nothing like it. I believe there are at least three levels of bear stuff with bottom basement level being a cafeteria. There are build a bear (or dog) work shops, lots to see and if the men you bring get bored...there is a room to park them in (literally).

Another reason I really love going there is the scenic view. The store is a large barn located on a large plot of beautiful land. We aren't planning on doing much else while we are there, but if you really want a busy day out of it then you can always go to the historic areas of Gettysburg to just see what there is to see.

I think getting out, doing new things for me just really lifts up my spirits and creates a fun family bonding activity. The nice thing is, once we are all tire...the baby will have a nice nap on the scenic ride home.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sweet Nothings Means Something


Last night after an emotionally draining day, I sat down with my family and watched some sort of sequel to Beauty and the Beast. I remember as a kid loving Belle and really related to her as I had a love of books like she did and I too had that awesome brown hair unlike so many of the princesses before her. My son and I were happy. I think my husband could of easily taken a leisurely nap, but was patient as usual.

After the movie was over (much to the applause of my husband), my son wanted to play with his lego blocks. Typically it is a cry of a demand, but this time he used his words, which was awesome (we are having speech issues). He looked up at me with his puppy dog eyes and said, "Mama, down" and pointed to the floor. I asked for a "please" since we don't want a demanding toddler (haha...easier said then done) and he did his little sign language for "more" which apparently equals to "please" as well. He used his words to the best of his little ability and so I graciously told him I would be happy to. After all, how much longer is it going to be cool to play with Mom? My son was so delighted, he just ran up to me and gave me a big ole hug and was so excited. Its not like I don't play with him as I obviously do, but for some reason he was thrilled more so then usual. I smiled back as I hugged him, with tears forming around my eyes and was so grateful for that short but sweet moment in time.

It was a little moment, a little piece of "sweet nothing" that meant so much to me after a crappy day of poop the world decided to serve that day. Its amazing to me as a Mom how a such a little person full of energy, amazement and wonder can just make your heart flutter. These are the days that I enjoy. The little things. The moments when the simplest things from a child can fill your heart right back up again. Children truly are magical creatures.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday in D.C.


This Saturday, my family did an unprecedented thing and went to D.C. for a little family day to unwind and just do something together. We never go to D.C. even living thirty minutes away from the district. It sounds silly with so many things to see and events to see, but after the Spy Museum melt down last year we have not been back. However, I think my attitude of going down there has changed per our most recent trip.

My husband had an idea of going to the American History Museum. He had never been there and I have not been there in ages but remembered it to be pretty cool and fun. Plus it was stroller friendly unlike the spy museum. All Smithsonian museums (at least that I know of) are stroller friendly. THANK GOD! We were even more surprised to see how relatively empty D.C. was, which made it a whole lot more enjoyable. The museum was great and we got to see all sort of things that my son really loved even at the young age of two. There were trains, boats, cars, rail cars, Kermit the frog, the ruby slippers and it even had a fun kid center. We did not get to see everything as my son was wearing down and so were we, but we are certainly planning on going back in the near future. It was totally worth it and it was FREE (except parking/lunch).

My husband and I are also thinking of where we will go on our next visit to D.C. Perhaps the Natural History Museum? I know there is a aquarium somewhere there. Who knows?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nursery Rhymes...Oh Nursery Rhymes


I had to post about this because its a nightly ritual now in my house. My sister, a few months ago, got a book for my son with beautiful illustrations of nursery rhymes called My Nursery Rhyme Collection (A Hinkler Book). It has been a favorite book of my son's for months now and he likes to read it as much as humanly possible...so much so I read 145 pages of nursery rhymes a night...and no I am not kidding.

I don't mind reading (unless my voice caves). I absolutely love that my son will not only sit down for that long but is also enjoying being read to. I remember as a child my Mom reading to me and she did that just about everyday. I think it started my love of reading and I probably read early because she did that.

There are the fun nursery rhymes like 'Wee Willie Winkie" and when he goes "upstairs and downstairs in his night gown", I'll tickle my son going up and going down on his little tummy, which he LOVES. There are also some of the nursery rhymes that aren't so nice...face it all nursery rhymes are not so nice just like the Grimm's Brother Fairy Tales. So instead during 'Sing A Song of Six Pence', I'll "G" rate it a little and say, "kissed on her nose" instead of "pecked off her nose". Yeah I am fibbing a bit on that one and typically I am not too high strung on "G" rating everything, but it does sound a bit better doesn't it?

I also love it when my son asks my husband to read this book. These are nursery rhymes he did not grow up with. He lived in Russia and never heard of Humpty Dumpty or Jack Sprat, which baffles me. He'll be reading the rhymes to my son, look up and say "uh..what? This doesn't make sense." Its amusing. I especially love hearing him read Peter Piper or Betty Botter, because he's a smidge worse then I am reading those. Can you read Better Botter?

Betty Botter bought some butter
But she said the butter's bitter,
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter,
But a bit of better butter
Will make my batter better,
So she bought some better butter
Better than the bitter butter,
And she put it in her batter
And her batter was not bitter,
So 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

I am not sure how long this nursery rhyme phase will last, but I love it. It gives me that special time to sit down with my son and read, read, read (sounds like Wheels on The Bus...I am going nuts). I think its just those types of moments that eventually your kid will remember just like I remember with my Mom and cherish later on down the road. For now...I am eating up those little moments in time like candy...even if its 145 pages of silliness.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts


Have you ever thought if someone could hear your thoughts that they would probably think you're insane? Let me take a step back (or two) and say as a Mom, how many random thoughts...random things go through your head all day, every day because...well...you're a Mom. I gave myself somewhat of an assignment today in "getting into my head". The assignment was, when I not thinking about my assignment (because it wouldn't count), that when I would come up with random thoughts I would remind myself after I catch it to write it down. Make sense? Here it goes readers, the thoughts of a Mom today:

...this rain sucks. Reminds me of Twilight. Man thats dorky.

...La la lala La La la lala Elmo's World. AHHHHH!

...Forgot to bring food again, damn no money...

...Man that guy is an asshole. Who does not say hello back?

...Should I go to the grocery store? Man I really don't want to.

...Please God...don't let me get a phone call today from day care.

...Diapers...remember diapers...

...That was inappropriate.

...Haha...she farted.

...This guy talks way too much about chili.

...Could really go for some PF Changs...too expensive.

...This pen tapper needs to stop tapping his pen before I throw my whole container of pens at him.

...I need to fold the laundry...or should I clean the living room. I'm not going to do it tonight.

...I miss my Mom.

...La la lala La La la lala Elmo's World. Think of another song...C is for cookie...

...I hate rain.

...Is that my husband? It is!

...Should I make wreath cookies? Its on.

...My husband's hot. He's got some Fred Flinstone feet. How does that go together?...

...Boyd's Bear this weekend? Would that help me unwind or stress me out.

That is the end of my assignment. Sounded more fun then when it actually wrote itself out, so maybe it may be the most boring post but its my random thoughts

Boys...


When I was pregnant and found out I was having a little boy, I couldn't be more excited. I remember like it was yesterday my husband pointing to the screen, before the ultrasound tech ever said anything about the sex, saying "Boy, boy, boy!!!!" I have never seen my husband so excited. He really wanted a son, as for me I didn't care either way as having either would start a great adventure in parenting...little that I knew.

Boys are so different then girls even at an early age. There's that obvious thing of needing to change diapers quickly before you get peed on, but there is just a difference in the way they play, act, etc., It isn't like I am pushing my son to do "all boy things" and "girl things" are not allowed. He has a kitchen set, uses his grocery cart as a stroller, etc., There has also been a time or two where I forgot to bring extra clothes when visiting my Mom and he has gone home in some awesome 80's outfit that I wore during my child hood...lets not forget those adorable pink/purple sweat pants. Did I care? No. Maybe some Moms...more so Dads would care, but really my husband and I don't. Boys and girls are just different.

Yesterday my son came over to me in his cute little Janie and Jack, long sleeved train shirt. He had a grin on his face as I watched him pull his arm into his sleeve. I wondered what he was up to and asked him what he was doing and where his arm was. He looked at me bright eyed, gave a huge grin and popped his arm so quickly out of his sleeve it surprised me so I shrieked. Its like he knew what he was doing all along...lets see if I can "get Mom" and make her scream. Why do boys like to gross out girls or surprise them just to see what their reaction would be? Of course I think toddlers all like to see what their parents reaction would be, but for me its nothing less then what his Nagypapa (my son's Grandfather) would do. He would pester, tease and love seeing if he can get a reaction out me or my Mom. That is an innate boy thing. It just is.

What have you found that just makes little girls and boys different?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being Brave

Today was a hard day for me...forget the stress of my son having his behavioral issues. We are working on it and it will be too soon a passing phase. We just have to remain being consistent. What was hard for me today was my Mom undergoing another heart procedure and more accurately called, a node ablation.

I won't tell her but I stayed up some sleepless nights praying for her, worrying for her and being angry that this has to happen to her because she is in fact my rock. I have always been a Mama's girl and proud to say that. We have a terrific bond. She and I are a lot alike in personality with being over sensitive, feisty, and drive to prove people wrong when they're being stupid. I am very much like her and with that we have an unique understanding on each others personalities.

Today for the fourth time she had another heart procedure. Its hard seeing your Mom, the woman that fought for you growing up, cradled you even when you were too big to be cradled and my rock being so....helpless. I don't want to say that candidly because my Mom is very capable even her sickest days cause that woman is a feisty thing, but if you ever seen anyone come out of anesthesia you know they aren't really "there". They need you to be their advocate. To speak up to the nurses. To tell the docs and medical staff that she needs this or that. In a way you switch places to becoming her caregiver and thats strange for me.

When I visited my Mom in the hospital today, she was in some considerable pain aside from the expected after surgery pain. I always had a way with her in making her feel better...again we read each other very well. We know how each other ticks. So while she was concentrated on the pain, I did my best to take her mind off of it and tried talking to her about this or that. Then I had an idea. Growing up we had so many "us" songs. I am sure she sang many of them to my sister as well, but one was ours. It was a song by Petula Clark's called Downtown. So I started whispering as well as I could our song..."when you're alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go...downtown." I finally got a smile out of her and she grinned for several minutes. The nurse came in behind me while I was whispering out that song and waited until I turned around. I was a bit embarrassed to have an audience, but for my Mom...I'll do anything for her. I got an approving smile as she nurse checked her vitals and then it was time for me to go back to work.

It was a hard day being brave...being the adult...switching roles, but hopefully this day will be the day that my mom has a new turn around. A day where she starts feeling better. Then when she's ready maybe we can go on an outing like so many times before, I'll pop in the CD and we can sing Downtown as loud and as obnoxious like silly teenage girls like we used to.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Biting Part II

My son had a problem with biting months ago. He was transitioned early into another classroom and the biting ceased to stop. I was elated, proud and encouraged that my parenting along with working with the day care was actually helping my child improve to be the little loveable guy that I know him as and not acting out on these little behavioral problems.

Then came this past Fall when the rest of his classmates from his previous room moved into this classroom. He got bit several times. So much that he had a big welt on his face for at least a week. Obviously no parent wants to see their child get hurt, but did not go crazy overboard with what had happened because I understand it is just part of that age group. I had been there and know those parents frustrations. I sympathized.

Then this week my son had a set back. Bit a few times and had a couple of attempts to bite but either stopped or did not succeed due to teacher's intervention. It is a learned behavior and I felt very sure it was because of the bites he had endured over the past few months. I have watched while picking up my son other kids biting or trying to bite others. It wasn't my son being the only vampire in his classroom. It gave a bit of reassurance but also was a bit weary because as I said, this is a learned behavior. I got a call on an early Friday morning after a Thursday bite from the Director. She stated that the behavioral coach at our school and her had talked to the President of the company and instead of the "if he bites he goes home" rule, they initiated that if he does bite then my son gets suspended for thirty days. I got this information via a phone call while I am at work. I am sure anyone within a twenty yard radius heard "30 DAYS!!!!".

I decided then and there to leave and pick my son up. He had a few attempts this morning and before a initiated 30 day rule would take place, I was going to meet with the Director and the Behavioral Coach to let them know my frustrations, worries, etc., I am an emotional person, so walking into the day care I first started talking to the Director in a higher pitched toned. Promised her I was not mad at her, but frustrated with the situation and the 30 day rule and then proceeded to start crying. I hate that my son is in day care, but I have to work. I have to work so I can make ends meet. I am not one of those parents that drops their children off at day care so I can have a lazy day to myself filled with "me" appointments in getting pedicures and massages. I work and work to pay my mortgage.

In my meeting with the Director and Behavioral Coach they commended me for my excellent "take action" mode. They said they knew how hard I have been working on my son's behavioral issue by talking with them, meeting with behavioral coaches, talking to my pediatrician, trying to enroll my son into speech classes (we feel this is half of his frustration), etc., etc., etc., That they would work with me and my son by shadowing him, calling me on any updates and if a 30 day rule was to happen that they could see if they could put him in a sister school. How putting him in another one of their sister schools would help, I have no idea. I don't see that helping. I see a one to two day suspension, but thirty days is a little much for me and really who can afford to stay home for a month? I would love to, but I can't. I left there still feeling weary and like this present doom is upon us with my son in tow.

Thankfully my husband had talked to his Mom who had a few options for us. We could call the very energetic (they are in their 60's) Great Grandparents to help us or perhaps one of her Russian girlfriends that stay home and that I also know could help us as well. I was thankful for the plan B and plan C. I find that Russian women as a whole are much better at banding together and helping out each other then American women. Yes, I said it. Perhaps its because they lived in a time where it was imperative that they help each other vs. the past few generations of Americans just haven't been put into that situation. They help...no questions asked. I am thankful for that.

My drather obviously would be that my son stay in the present school that he is in. That maybe this biting thing was a frustration that will die out quickly....like over the weekend quickly. I'd rather not uproot him from familiar surroundings to surrounding less comfortable for him and could possibly pose a greater risk of him acting out badly due to too much newness.

I feel often like I am a bad parent. I let my son try things and do things. I don't helicopter because I want my son to be able to choose appropriate actions, but also stay close enough to pick him up or take him out of a situation if necessary. I just wonder where I went wrong. What could I have done that I haven't done and no biting him back is not the answer. Too many specialist in the field have told me that is the thing NOT to ever do. I just want to help him, support him and have this phase done with. Is it stressful? Hell yes. Just please God, spare me "that call" from day care that I don't want come this Monday, for the rest of the week...for the rest of his life.

Bits and Pieces

Everyone on a daily basis has stresses in their lives. There are stresses that are small, some that are big and other that are just monstrous. Recently a friend compared some stresses from one person to another as apple and oranges. One could perceive some people having little stress or less stress then they, but until you are actually in that person's shoes then how do you know?

I think the most important thing to do if a person is venting regardless if it is a co-worker, a friend or a family member is to be a listening ear. Don't judge them, point out what is wrong, etc., Advice should be given if it is asked. Not just dolled out like you're some know it all. It adds to the stress. More negativity isn't helpful. It obviously is not appreciated.

Just listen.

Cleaning


I have to say with all the things that I have to do everyday, all day through the week typically cleaning gets pushed to the back burner. When I first got married I cleaned bathrooms once a week...how I wished that person was still around. Then again sometimes there is the choice of either playing blocks with my son or cleaning bathrooms. What would you choose? I choose blocks.

I was inspired on a recent Oprah show when I watched Oprah along with a few other well known names going back to their "roots" before they got big. I was inspired by Kirstie Alley's portion of the show talking about how she was a cleaning person. She gave tips on cleaning floors, such as using REALLY hot water, which I did not know. She also said that a great disinfectant cleaner is using really cheap vodka. Not the Grey Goose or Smirnoff kind, but the really cheap stuff you buy in a gallon at the local ABC store. It is cheaper then most other cleaners, non-toxic (unless you drink it..hehe), and has no smell to it. I am curious to try this one and certainly will one of these days when I get around to going to the ABC store. I just never thought of it.

Another cleaning product I used this weekend and LOVE is the clorox toilet bowl cleaners. My toilets (maybe TMI) were pretty bad in my house. The cleaning brush we used really had bit the dust so I was open to try something new. Seeing the clorox toilet bowl cleaner (came with stick, caddy and 6 disposable sponges)in Walmart for a reasonable price plus a three dollar coupon on the box you could use right at the check on line won me over. I went home and immediately cleaned three toilets and was done in less then 15 minutes. I think overall the toilets were much cleaner compared to the usual goo you spray around the toilet and scrub with a brush. The sponges that you use are not flushable, but that was okay by me since I had a plastic bag ready to throw them out.

Sometimes you just need a new little toy/cleaner to give a Mom some motivation. My house is clean but as clean as a toddler will allow. There will be toys strung about until I get around to picking them up and some areas will just be left a little longer then they should, but I think that is all about being a Mom. If you walked into a home that had children, especially young children, to me I almost expect some disarray. If I walked into a "perfect" home I'd almost wonder.

Do you have any great cleaning tips or things you use in your house that you found were really helpful and/or cut the time of cleaning down?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Childhood Perceptions

Late last night while talking to my mother in law I got an idea for my next post, childhood perceptions. It is interesting to hear a child's take on a certain situation, then talk to an adult that was also there and hear two absolutely different stories. Even as grown ups we base our childhood experiences on our childhood memories. Sometimes we rationalize and can see "wow that was a once in a lifetime experience" or "wow that was really dangerous." However, that is not always the case.

I love history. I love reading about it, talking about it, etc., I love English history, but I also love studying up on my husband's culture. I watched the "History of Czars" and after its two or three hour sequence I immediately wanted to watch it again. I am the dork that now has it on video. Having said that, a few days ago I youtubed the Soviet Union. I got a lot of cool different videos on Reagan jokes, Russians songs, etc.,

One that struck me was a news reel on the fall of the Soviet Union. I was nine when this happened and was also in Europe. I remember us not going to Russia because of it, but I don't remember much about it except the fact it happened. Interested, I opened it up. Only to be completely amazed by the things I saw. In Moscow, there were tanks in the streets, civilians carrying weapons in plain view, etc., Obviously it looked a bit chaotic. My husband also happened to live in Moscow during that same time period and really never mentioned anything except the fact he wanted to play on the tanks and his mother wouldn't let him. Curiously I asked him, "Did you witness some of the things going on in Moscow during this time? It looks very chaotic. It must of been dangerous." My husband's only reply to that was, "It was fine. I still played outside. It was perfectly safe. It was just more dangerous around the Red Square." I took his word for it thinking he must of lived somewhere on the outskirts where the danger wasn't as real and said nothing more as I dived more into my dorky, history, youtube research.

Yesterday while having a one on one chat with my Mom (mother in law), I brought up how I saw the video (the one below) and told her my husband's and my conversation. I implied that they must of been in a safer part of Moscow because he said that it was not in dangerous in the least bit. My Mom looked at me with wide eyes saying, "It was not safe at all. I don't know where Jenya is getting that. It was quite scary. Not as scary as it was in 1993 and thank God we weren't there then, but it was not safe. It was complete chaos and Jenya was not allowed to go outside very much during those times. People were shooting each other in the streets for really no reason. A lot of death happened in those times. "

I sat back in awe of this on how even during the most chaotic times a child can see things totally different then the way the world is actually is. I find that fascinating. I know as parents we try very much to protect our children from things as I am sure my Mom did to my husband. However there is only so much we can protect them from them actually knowing the truth and needing to know the truth about things, and still children perceive things as being totally different.

Do you have a story that you know on childhood perceptions vs. reality?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary



Press Play Freaks.

Just wanted to tell my sister and brother (in law) Happy Anniversary! I had the damnest time finding a card that didn't consist of yodeling, too mushy or complete weirdness (even for us). Happy Anniversary you too! I haven't forgotten your song.

Portraits...not for the weak or tired


Yesterday per my request, my husband made an appointment to get a family portrait done and a few of our son. Not only have I been wanting to get them, but both sets of Grandparents are asking for them as well. I owed them and myself since I haven't gotten real pictures done with the entire family since my son was six months old. Am I a slacker? Maybe, but it just was not at the top of my list.

So after a rather delicious meal at Pei Wei (which is so much better then having to wait/pay extra at P.F Changs for the SAME exact food), we headed over to the portrait place. I was glad to see there were not a whole lot of families in there as I was worried what type of circus I may be encountering when I got there. When it comes to portrait studios...you just never know.

As expected my son was not as easy this go-around when taking portraits. Last time we were in there he wasn't mobile so plopping him in an area was quite easy. Thankfully the camera girl had a helper which flirted and played with my son (she was blond so he liked that) and we were able to get a few decent shots. I was praying beforehand to just get one decent family photo and one decent photo of my son. I was praying like crazy as I smiled away at the girl that this would happen while trying to hold down the squirmiest little toddler that ever walked into the place.

Once we were done with the photo session (took about 80 photos) my husband and I were hoping that a nearby lego table would entertain my little boy for a while. It last five minutes. So in between me running after him and okaying pictures, then switching off with my husband so I could take a gander we finally nailed down some decent pictures and my prayers for having some decent photos were answered. We walked out without waiting for our pictures to be processed, but at least we had six good portraits done.

So my advice to you parents when taking your family if you have toddlers is get them done WAY before Thanksgiving and if you're lucky enough to have a helper volunteer to join you then bring them too.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cultural Stereotyping


Maybe a week or two ago while I was flipping the channels I saw Dr. Phil had some show about cultural stereotypes. I didn't watch much as Dr. Phil is getting closer and closer (in my opinion) to be just ridiculous with his show choices like a Jerry Springer with a little more educated host and no beat downs (that I know of). It prompted a question I had in my head, an honest question on how much we all stereotype cultures. We could say we all don't think this or that, but seriously people...we all stereotype in some way or another. Don't think you're above it, because you aren't.

Do I think that all Asians are bad drivers? No. People that drive old school Corollas do (sorry to those who drive Corollas...I hope you prove me wrong). I guess that would be a vehicle stereotype). What comes to mind when you think of the Irish? I think of red hair, the grassy fields of Ireland, drunkenness (there is my stereotype) and a accent I just can't help but enjoy hearing. Are all Jews good with money? A lot of them I know are, but not all are rich. Lord knows my husband's Grandparents aren't.

When it comes to my husband I see a lot of stereotyping or just categorizing him just because of his culture since he was born and lived half his childhood in Russia. Hell, I'll admit that I do it to him too. When I grew up it seemed that every family that moved in and out of the house next door to my Nagypapa's house were Russians. My family is Hungarian. Heck we knew Hungarian Freedom Fighters and I remember my Nagypapa (Hungarian for Grandfather) talking about those "damn Russians" next door. They were fine people and even my Nagypapa ended up getting along with them in the end. When I brought home my husband for the first time. My Mom commented how nice he was, but also made a point "he's Russian". Um so? I didn't grow up in the Cold War era maybe that is why I have no fear or disdain for ALL Russians.

When I thought of Russians (before actually knowing one), I thought of them as a very strong (almost beyond masculine to super power), sneaky, vodka drinking, everyone plays hockey and can dance to traditional folk music. Now that I know one, I still think Russians are strong (emotionally, mentally and physically) culture that really loves to have a good time (drinking or not) and knows how to unwind and not take life so seriously. They know how to detach themselves from work/life stresses and just have a good time without wondering who is looking or feeling over conscious. They are a VERY hospitable group and Russians will never let you leave their homes hungry. All Russians are not Alexander Ovechkin. My husband did not even ice skate (even though he lived in Siberia) until he came to the states. As for dancing? Plenty of them can, but I have yet to see any of them do the Drobushki, Peresek, or Chechetka (Russian step dance)even though that would thrill me to death and I have challenged a few of them to do it. Some have tried but were very unsuccessful. I find it sexy that my husband is Russian and has lots of these traits (stereotype and all minus the drinking since he really doesn't). If I describe him or talk to him I often do bring up where he is from because I find it fascinating. I know some other people look at him bugged eyed with questions because of his culture. Are they stereotyping him or just curious? I am not sure.

I think as Americans we are very much stereotyped as being a loud noisy bunch, but no more noisier then Russians can be. Haha. However, as a whole (and yes I am stereotyping so gasp if you will) being a culture that is obsessed with being overly PC. I agree on some of the PC-ness (if you will). However, there are those extreme groups of people who are offended by silly things. For example, the term Halloween and wanting to change it to Fall Festival is just plain ridiculous. It is what it is people, its Halloween. If you don't want to celebrate it then don't. I don't celebrate everything on the calendar like Day of the Dead, Woman's Day (celebrated in Russia), Kwanza and I don't expect it to be renamed to something else to hide the fact of what it actually is. I also think Americans as whole (again stereotyping) need to be less stressed out and less worried about material goods. Take time to unwind. Let yourself be a bit more free and stop worrying about what new Gucci purse is coming out. I get my purses from TJ Maxx thank you very much. Then again becoming a Mom (for me at least) has knocked me into the "real world".

I went off on a tangent, but you get what I am saying (well maybe). Cultural stereotypes is just something we all live with day to day. What are yours? Be honest now because I know you were thinking of some.

What Didn’t I Do Today?


Inspired by another blogger, I decided (yet again) to do a list. Instead of thinking of all the things you didn’t get done in one day. How about all the things you did manage to do?

Here was my yesterday:

Woke up snuggling with my little boy

Got two sets of teeth brushed in the morning (mine and my sons)

Actually put on makeup for the first time in months to work

Remembered the night before to set out a sheet, blanket and an extra outfit and SUCCESSFULLY (this doesn’t always happened) take it to my son’s day care with me.

Bravely let my son for the first time in the morning drink from the big boy cup

Take two poodles outside that took like 15 minute craps. Come on I can go faster then they can. Then again I don’t sniff for a spot.

Get my drinks packed in my bag so I don’t waste money buying them at the vending machine.

Make the thirty commute into work and remember how glad I don’t have my old commute.

Arrive a little late to work…okay a lot late but I’ll finish what I need to during my “free time” tonight.

Research the place to call for my child’s speech evaluation….and actually called them to set something up.

Reminded my husband that his Dad’s birthday was next week

Make a note in the calendar about my sister’s anniversary

Attend two meetings

Write a report on last months team productivity

Send another report out due on Thursday

Asked my husband to set up an appointment for portraits to be taken (I am such a great delegator).

Teach an elderly person to use the copier machine (really they had them in the 60’s but she’s nice so obviously I’ll help AND does this count as doing a good deed for the day?).

Eat a horrible lunch while playing mafia wars and achieving some insanely stupid level.

Write a “to do list” for today up till Wednesday.

Unsuccessfully hide a co-worker from her boss (don’t ask).

Drink an excessive amount of soda.

Talk to the most handsome man over the phone finally (he’s legit I have his last name).

Drive the thirty commute home and multi task by talking to my sister about the speech therapy I may get for my son.

Get more information about the possible speech therapy from talking to the Director of my son’s day care and find some AWESOME information.

Successfully pick my son up from him playing outside without having to go into the little house he was persuading me into. I can’t fit.

Take him into the house, feed him snack…okay some Halloween candy (call me a softie).

Take out the two 15 minute pooping dogs so they can relieve themselves.

Talk to my Mom a bit about speech therapy since she has experience in taking me when I was a kid.

Put on the one episode of Sesame Street for my son’s and my MUCH needed winding down time.

Build some fantastic lego castle with my son so he can knock it down.

Heat up some YUMMY leftovers from my husband’s birthday dinner on Sunday for the family.

Replenish the dog’s food and water.

Read my son (no joke) fifty pages of nursery rhymes from a book he got from his Aunt. HE LOVES that book. He already established favorites in which I have to sing certain songs like “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. I read until my voice got hoarse.

Cuddled up with my son, which was awesome right before he went to sleep.

Dived into two cupcakes that didn’t stand a chance.

Let the dogs out…again.

Took some time to myself to play ridiculous online applications.

Picked up some trash.

Found my son’s dress pants in the laundry only to find they needed ironing…badly.

Ironed the littlest pair of dress pants AND because they are slightly too big also ironed the cuffs of the pants so they would stay up for the picture tomorrow.

Located my son’s shirts the he will wear for portraits the following day and matching socks.

Found a work outfit for myself for the next day as well as an outfit I would wear for the family portraits.

Gave my son some water.

Dove into bed and watched a girly program before passing out.

So on my Monday I was a snuggler, a helper, a chef, a working Mom, a chauffer, dog walker, a researcher, a story time reader, a trash girl, a stylist, an organizer, a singer, an architect, a delegator, a great wife, a pretty darn good Mommy and myself all in one day. What didn’t I do?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Five Years Ago


Inspired tonight by an article I read earlier in the month about how much things change over the years. One year is all the time in the world to make a difference. Its just amazing how much can change. So in dedication to this post, I wanted to write about what life was like during different stages of my life and I invite you to do the same and perhaps project where you see yourself as well in 1, 5 and 10 year increments.

One year ago...

...I was new to my job and found out it was ending in a few months.

...My little guy was one and a half and just started walking.

...I was still wearing maternity pants.

...Still slept in a queen sized bed (king is so nice...man is it nice)

Five years ago...

...I just graduated college and started on my first full time job.

...I BOUGHT my first car (a Chrysler Crossfire).

...I still lived with my parents.

...My husband still lived with his parents and they were still together.

Ten years ago...

...I was a senior in high school.

...I barely knew who my husband was nor did I like him.

...Was a size four or even smaller and thought I looked fat (haha)

...I was one of those teenagers that hung out at a less populated Reston Town Center.

Now for my predictions of the future...haha.

One year from now...

...Of had my son in some sort of speech therapy to better his speech.

...Have most of the debt that needs to be paid off, paid off.

...Get at least one of the major house projects completed even if its just painting.

...Start transitioning my son to a big boy bed.

Five years from now...

...(God willing)would of had a few more kids.

...Ben would be in elementary school...YIKES.

...Hopefully have the Great Grandparents (Hubby's side) live in Virginia.

Ten years from now...

...Can I say I'll be old? LOL. Just joking

...Have an almost teenager.

...Hopefully planning a fun vacation with my hoard of children.

...Being as wonderfully in love with my husband as I am now.

...Maybe a new house, but honestly still happy where I am now.

Names


Have you ever asked a parent when they were expecting or just had a child what their child's name was and cringed a bit? I had that experience over the weekend. I cringed and I feel bad for it. Of course I bit my lip (after the cringe) and wished the parents well on their new little bundle of joy.

Obviously I am happy for any parent to welcome a new child but I need to stop asking about names and find some other question to make small talk with acquaintances. I could hate the name because it happens to be the same name of the slut who stole my eighth grade boyfriend or the guy who wore a cape everyday at school. Perhaps the reason these people named their child "X" is because it is a family name or a name they've always loved. Who knows?

There are just perfectly good names in my book that I could just never use. I love the name Zach. If I had another son could I name my son that? No. That would be weird since my husband stole me away from a guy that has that name. I also love the name Jon...at least I did. Jon and Zach were my two favorite names growing up. I named my male barbie dolls with those names! Nothing against my friend's husband (who is also my friend), but my son currently has the same name of another friend's husband who happens to be in the same group of friends. I can't very well go down the line and name my sons (if I have more sons) with the same names as my best girlfriends husbands. It is a bit weird. I would almost feel obligated to name any other sons after my single friends find their husbands. What if their names were Jedidiah or Jamal? I would have to use nicknames like Jedi (it would be a must...come on) and Jam. Just joking, but you get the point.

Again, not their fault I hate their daughter's name. They are very good people. Lovely people. I just cringe at her name, but I'll get used to it. Maybe she'll make the name lovely again as other names have been "reborn" to me in a different light after meeting good people.

Speech


For months now I pondered what to do...do I take him or not take him? Now I have decided to go ahead with it. I am going to take my son to get evaluated for his speech. He says a few words here and there, but in comparison to his peers that are around two years old...he does not speak as much as they do. Around twenty words or so, but as much as I work with him and make it as fun as possible (songs and dance) my son can not say any words that start with "B" or "P".

For a while now I thought perhaps my son is like his Dad and he is just quiet (at times). He articulates well and follows most direction (we're in that "mine" phase so following directions on that all the time is not so great). I just wonder if I am being an overly protective parent or not a proactive enough parent when it comes to this situation. He took his time to crawl, walk and do some other milestones. He could do them I think way ahead of when he actually did it, but just did not feel like it. When he first crawled, he crawled across the room. There are pros and cons to knowing I have a stubborn child...

I decided in the end what can hurt with getting an evaluation? If anything they tell me he's fine and just wait a few months to see if there is any progress. If not then it gives him the early therapy he needs.