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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What To Do?

I think the world of my son. He is the light of my life, the beat in my heart, my everything. He has the most beautiful smile, the cutest laugh and has the most adorable shining eyes that lights up every time he figures out a new thing (good and bad). I have already posted this once, but I will post it again...I don't know what to do. My kid hits, bites and pulls hair.

Literally this Mama has poured through countless articles on what to do. Some say bite or hit right back. I think the idea is stupid. Sorry if you don't agree with me, but its stupid. In my opinion it just reinforces the idea of hitting/biting but only if you are bigger then someone. Other articles talk about time outs, taking away toys, etc., I am game for that and have done that consistently. I look for behavioral signs if my son is tired, hungry, over stimulated, etc., It doesn't matter. He will do what he does (as embarrassing as it is for me) any time of the day or night. I also read where toddlers will learn quickly (which in my house its apparently not happening)while other toddlers will take their time and stop doing it after six months. Six months! REALLY? Please God no.

It sucks because you feel guilty for it happening in the first place. You feel bad for the other kids. You feel bad for the parents of the "victims". I have some parents where they understand. It sucks but they understand its the age (thank God). I have other parents where they kind of freak out on me. Its not like I want my kid to do "XYZ" to their kid and I am doing the best I can. Its not like I am encouraging the behavior by saying, "Go honey GO!" I find the parents freaking out me part just stresses me out ten fold along with the embarrassment/stress of my son's action(s).

My kid is head strong and I adore that about him. I doubt in life he'll be pushed around very much. However this biting/hitting/pulling hair issue I think is my biggest parenting challenge yet. Forget late nights/early morning, sleep deprivation, endless amounts of poop diapers, temper tantrums, never having a clean shirt on because something will be wiped or spilled on it because that has NOTHING on this challenge. I know in time this will be a distant memory. My son will learn that this negative behavior isn't cutting it. Until then, be patient. Don't yell at me and don't judge me because seriously I am doing the best I freaking can.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Toddlers, Twice the Fun and Double Tired

Today my sister flew out out on a couples vacation to Chicago with her husband. My parents were to babysit my little nephew who is just a few weeks older then my son. Because the day care was close to my work and because my Mom had to go to a doctors appointment with my Dad, it was up to me to hang out with both my nephew and son for a little while this afternoon. It was fun, a great bonding experience for all of us and I think I am ready to collapse (in a good way of course).

My nephew is a timid little guy. He's a very reserved child that is the type to look before he leaps. My son is the complete opposite. He is a little ball of energy with a lot of excited love behind his hugs/kisses. I wondered as I walked through the day care doors to pick up my nephew what his reaction would be. He obviously knows who I am, but would he be upset his Mommy wasn't there? Once he saw me, he was a little confused. His little eyebrows raised in curiosity, but was okay about it. After all, he got to escape to the outside world, wave goodbye to his friends and hear what a great time he was going to have that afternoon. It certainly is different having a little one on the commute home. He was just a chatter box talking away about this and that (I had no idea what he was talking about) and I found out he loved the Roadrunner as he would mimic every "meep, meep" with a "beep, beep".

Next we picked up my son whose day care is very close to my home. My son had the same curious look my nephew did of "what is going on" once he saw my nephew and I walk into his room. It was cute though. Both boys eyeballed each other as I placed them in their car seats and made the two second commute home. My husband was home early that day. I think he just wanted to see the two boys play really and helped unload the car of babies with me. The boys ran straight away to the family room with all the toys. My son jumped on his new prize toy (his wooden ride on) and my nephew eyeballed a vacuum that I failed to put away the night before. I know he really loves cleaning items like brooms, mops, etc., but I don't think his Mom intended for him to clean my house during his stay, so I refocused him to a different toy. The boys had so much fun playing together. They rode the ride on toys, played with blocks, danced to music, ate snack, etc., After a while it was time to go see his Grandparents, and together we all made the journey to my parents house (another two minute commute) to eat a pizza dinner.

Now you wouldn't think that my nephew had a fabulous time with me, which he did. His Grandma came into the picture and it was like "forget you Auntie". Thats cool. I can deal with that. Grandma is pretty cool afterall. We ate dinner and I cut up both boys pizza and got them drinks. It was only until after dinner I got the awesome acknowledgment that my nephew and I bonded. My nephew took my hand and wanted me to go see a toy he wanted in another room. Doesn't sound big, but this is big. His Grandma was two feet away. I was chosen over the "chosen one". My Mom and I both looked at each other in bewilderment as I walked away with my nephew pulling my hand.

It was a fantastic day. It was wonderful that my son and nephew got a chance to just hang out at a non-party atmosphere. It gave them a chance to just be and I think they did better because of it. My nephew and I also bonded which was really heart warming. I am glad that he loves and trust his Aunt. I want him to know that I love him and want the best for him. Two two year olds really are twice the fun and also have that amazing ability to just WEAR you out, but I hope that there will be many more days/evenings like this because really it made my day.

I Want...No Need A Vacation!

A few weeks back my wonderful husband surprised me with a trip to Sesame Place. It was a fantastic trip for the family and we had such a wonderful time. My only wish was that I wish it was just a bit longer.

I think I am having one of those summer itches of just wanting to get away. I want to get out of town with my family and be somewhere other then the week to week mundane work stuff and that looming feeling of guilt that I need to clean this or that in the household. To get away for me means quality time with my family, peace and relaxation.

Thankfully after a talk today with my girlfriends (the planners) and I started thinking about a trip to OBX. We went last year and I honest to god believe this is the best vacation spot to travel to that is close enough, far enough and relaxing enough with a toddler and with a great group of friends in tow. With a toddler (like it or not) you have to consider a lot of things like what is age appropriate, schedules, food, and perhaps some peaceful time once your toddler is asleep and this vacation was perfect for it.

We rented a six bedroom house with a pool that was in walking distance to the beach. Each night a couple or friend was assigned to make dinner, but lunches and breakfast were on you to do for yourself. It was so easy to wake up, walk to the beach and once nap time hit you just go back and have some quiet time. Night life wasn't about clubs and going out really. Its not something that is me anyways. It was fantastic knowing the kids were fine in their designated rooms while we played Tripoly, a rendition of the Newly Wed game (which was the most hilarious thing ever) and just enjoyed actual adult conversations. In all I think the trip for us for a week including food and stay cost under $500. Where in the world can you stay for a week where it costs that little?

So the plans are coming together. We have some interested parties. I just know in just a few months I will be relaxing on the beach with some fantastic friends and my wonderful family. I Just wish that it would be tomorrow, because this woman/Mama/Wife/friend NEEDS a vacation!

Hockey Withdrawal

I understand why people can get into more than one sport. There is sport withdrawal! I for one am having a major withdrawal when it comes to hockey. After my beloved Caps lost in the Stanley Cup playoffs from those nasty wuss Penguins, I even (gulp) watched them in the last Stanley Cup series win against Detroit (I was rooting for Detroit).

Hockey is a sport I have loved since I was a child. My Mom will always tell the story of my first hockey game when I was three years old. My Mom had sprained her wrist the day before and my parents decided to take my sister and I to a minor league game (Winston-Salem Thunderbirds), because it was easy to get to and quite affordable. My Dad had told me about the game and the basics of it, but wasn't sure if I quite got it or not because I was so young. I was all in wonder observing the men skate around on the ice as if they were flying and watching the puck bounce back and forth around the rink. Then the Thunderbirds scored a goal and I raised my arms up and slammed them down on the arms of my seat yelling "YES". Unfortunately my Moms sprained wrist was on one of those chairs and that gave her a bit of a hurtful shock needless to say. My parents knew I had got the gist of the game. We continued watching the game and of course there would be those occasional fights or penalties (I loved that), which I learned that the penalty box was "the bad boy box". Easy concept for a kid to get. If they are bad and do something wrong then they need a time out.

In 05-06, I finally went to my first NHL hockey game, which I believe we played against the Flyers (I got beer spilled on me that night by one of their drunken fans). It was Ovechkin's rookie year and although was a promising player was not hyped like he is now. It was also the season guys like Mike Green, Sydney Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist all played their first NHL games. It was also the season where Mario Lemieux, Brian Leetch, and Brett Hull played their last game. I found watching an NHL game is so much more different then watching a regular minor league game. There are tons more people and less fighting as I once watched a minor league game that was so bad that EVERYONE on both teams were fighting including all the guys from off the ice came on the ice and the lights had to be eventually shut off to stop the fight. It was AWESOME (especially to a eight year old). However, I never stopped loving watching the game of hockey rather it be an NHL game or a minor league game. I started a new love for the Caps that year.

Thankfully with that new love came the NHLs mandatory 82 games that my team played in the regular season unlike the NFL that players 16 games and the NBA that has up to 36 games depending on what team/conference they are on. I came to love the Caps, their players, etc., How I love my Brashear! I started highly disliking our rival teams like the Penguins, but had a little soft spot for the Flyers because of their goalie Biron. That is one nice looking man...damn. My team finally started doing well in the past two seasons, which was so exciting. When Fedorov joined the Caps, my husband was ecstatic as it was his favorite player when he was growing up. To have him on OUR team was amazing. We were a hockey family. My son's four word was "goal" and he said that before he said, "Mama".

When you love a team, you care. You know everything there is to know about them like the Don Cherry incident, Leonsis Bucket List, Mike Green scoring a record year and wondering why the hell Easton won't remake the famous blue and black Easton Stealth stick. Then when its all over you feel a void. A void that really sucks and nothing can replace it. I can not wait until the new season begins again. Where there is a promising hope for a Stanley Cup win. When you can see your players back on the ice and talking the same smack as they did last year (Avery/Crosby). I just miss it. I truly miss it. I am having some major hockey withdrawal.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A New Little One

Today one of my best friends is giving birth to her second child, a girl. As any Mom can attest, once you come toward the end of your pregnancy most of us just want to be done being pregnant and finally meet their new little miracle, which my friend has been looking forward to for weeks. God bless her because she is three days past due.

I always marvel at the miracles of new births, especially with friends and family. I take so much joy in meeting each new little one (often with tears in my eyes) and wonder what these little people will be like? Will they be like their Mom? Their sister? Brother? Grandparents? What will this little person do someday? Be an awesome Mom/Dad? Discover a cure for a disease? Become a defender of their faith?

I know all too much that newborns grow too quickly. I look at my son and just wonder where the time has gone? He is only two (thank god he isn't eighteen yet), but I just wonder where did the two years go? It seems like yesterday I was rocking him in the wee hours of the morning feeding him a bottle and worrying about when he was going to roll over, crawl or walk. My son is emerging from being a baby to becoming a kid. He obviously still needs lots of attention from Mom and Dad, but he can point to what snack he wants, pick the toy he wants to play with and bring you his favorite story to read. Often I feel like the Mother from I Love You Forever, because there are days/nights where I pick up my sleeping son and hold him because he no longer wants to fall asleep in my arms. Babies grow so quickly. As much as I miss my baby being a little baby, I love watching him discover new things and witness this little being, my miracle grow and grow and grow.

I know I will partake in witnessing this little girl grow, which is just amazing. I can not wait to meet this new little bundle today, a true miracle gifted from God. I can not wait to hug and congratulate my beautiful friend as she looks onto her family and friends with that new proud Mama look (most of us know those beautiful expressions). There is a new being that is entering this world today. There is nothing more beautiful then that and because of that this Mama is not wearing mascara today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Belated Father's Day

On Friday and over the weekend, I was so busy with work, family, home stuff, etc., I didn't have a chance to post and wish all the Father's out there a Happy Father's Day!

As you have read many times before on here, I think my husband is wonderful. He really cares and loves his family and friends. He does so much for me without complaint or question. If a family member or friend need his help, he is there to help out in any way he can. He's just that type of guy. He also is an amazing Dada.

Dada is what my son calls him. He is two and says "Dada" with such gusto and oomph that you would think every time he says it is more of a statement then a name. My son and my husband have a special relationship. When thinking of their relationship, I can't help but have flashbacks of the time I asked my husband about having kids, the first time he heard the heartbeat when my son was in my belly, the moment we found out we were having a boy and the moment my husband laid eyes on my son right after his birth with tears in his eyes. If you know my husband, nothing phases him. He is as strong as they come. For tears to come to his eyes, there are some powerful emotions going around inside him. The two pal around together in such a way that I can see through my son my husband's childish nature. My son brings the boy out in my husband. Watching that emerge is so special and wonderful. They pal around having such a good time playing hockey with each other, watching hockey games snuggled up on the couch, playing on playgrounds, etc., I love hearing my husband read books to my son because he is typically calm and even keel, but when reading a book, new character voices comes out making my son smile up at my husband with such love and adoration only a child could give.

My husband is a Dada. A true Dada. A Dada that loves, adores and plays an active role in his child's life. He sacrifices for his son, gives endlessly to his son and always always makes time for him. Being a Dada is hard work as most of us know parenting is one of the hardest things you could ever do. I am just blessed beyond comprehension that God gave me the most wonderful husband and Dada to my son. Happy Father's Day sweetheart.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sidewalk Chalk...Love It!

As a kid I loved me some sidewalk chalk. I got more into it when I moved up to Virginia as I guess it was not a North Carolina thing because before moving to Virginia I can’t really remember using chalk other then when I was in school or visited my Grandparents house (they had an awesome chalkboard in their upstairs hallway). I remember after getting a huge bucket of it and drawing on my parents driveway with several of my girlfriends and my Dad being a bit flustered about the amount of “artwork” he came home to after a long work day. My Mom eased his mind with, “its just chalk and once it rains it will go away.” I am glad my Mom was so lax on the sidewalk chalk issue, but I can’t half blame my Dad as we would write things like “Elvis Lives” so large that passengers in passing planes could probably read it from the air and outlining ourselves on the driveway looked like a murder had happened the day before. Perhaps some neighbors walking by may have had questioned what had happened, but outlined bodies, with pink hair do’s and yellow, blue and green outfits probably eased any suspicion.

Not too long ago, while attending a party, part of the activity that day was to play with some side walk chalk. I was certainly down. I did not write “Elvis Lives” or outline any of my adult friends or their children, as my son was much busier with a play lawn mower he found in the garage and didn’t take the time to play with it. However, my husband had his first (I believe it was his first) experience with sidewalk chalk. He wrote names of people in Russian and I think he rather enjoyed his new experience.

I am sure in the years to come the sidewalk master pieces in front of our house will be quite colorful on some days with the artwork from my little man, perhaps his little friends and maybe (just maybe) a Mommy and Daddy participant as well.

Being A Slave to the Clock

Summer is here and even though summers are though to be a relaxing time of year, I realized that I am a slave to the clock. How can I help myself? There is work during the weekdays, nap times to consider, parties to attend. I need to know what time it is! I wish there was some weeks or even a day when I didn’t have to care.

I always look at the clock. Usually it at that 6:30-7:00 am time where I know I am going to be late for work…again. My son is usually awake at this time, which means Mommy will be bringing him to day care, settling him into the classroom so he does not freak out when I leave and then running out the door to commute to work. The work hours tick by ever so slowly even when I have things to do. I think about how my husband is doing and what my little boy should be doing at that exact time. Its 10:00 the little man should be eating snack and heading outside soon. 11:30 it is time for lunch and then more play after that. 12:30 the kids should start settling down for their nap. 2:30 my little man should be waking up and eating snack soon. 3:00 I run out the door to commute the thirty minutes to day care where I get to see my son’s smiling face and little outstretched arms running towards me, which is the highlight of my day. 4:00 we have snack time and around 5:00 my son starts asking about his Dada. Dada won’t be home for at least another half an hour sweetie.

Weekends are thankfully much less about time keeping as I know nap times will happen some time in the afternoon. I know lunch will be anywhere from 12 to 1 o’clock. Snack time usually is reminded by a little voice saying “more” followed by sign language. Throw in birthday parties, reunions, and any other type of event you have on the weekends, this Mama is certainly a slave to the clock even during down time.

I wish I didn’t have to worry about time. I wish I could let the day flow. I am not one of those Moms (at least I don’t think so) that is overly regimental about schedules. I just wish some days we could put the clock away. This can only happen if I put the clocks away, which is a daunting task I really don’t want to do. Sigh. I need a vacation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reconnecting With Relatives

On a whim a few months ago, I googled the town my Hungarian relatives came from. I wanted see pictures, know a little history and know how the town is doing. On one google link, I saw a person query about if anyone had information on a family member who came from the same town I was researching. Funny enough, the last name of this person was my family name. The town in which we came from is quite small and probably had about seventy people living in it today, so it was too much of a coincidence not to write back.

After several emails back and forth and doing some research, it turns out that this person named Tamas (Thomas) is my fourth cousin! Our Great Great Great Grandfathers were brothers! What a find! He was able (as he is Hungarian) to have access to several archive records that dates back to the 1800's. He was able to help piece together who my relatives were in connection with him and give me information on who my Great Great Great Great Grandparents were, which beforehand we had only information up to my Great Great Grandfather. Tamas was also able to show us birth records of most my relatives, including my Great Grandfather which my Dad had a wonderful relationship with as a child and a young adult. Needless to say both my Dad and I were ecstatic and so was Tamas. Funny enough, we were always wondering what happened to our Hungarian relatives back in the old country and they were wondering about their Americans relatives whom we lost connection with generations ago.

Over the course of a few days, Tamas and I have started a wonderful relationship through correspondence. We literally talked through chat six hours yesterday. I don't remember the last time I talked to anyone that long. I asked questions about our family, what he was doing, things about Hungary, etc., He too asked questions about his US relatives, what I was doing in my life with my family and what is it like living in America.

I am so thankful that Tamas learned English and that I on a whim did a google search for the heck of it one day. It just goes to show you never know what you will find over the internet. Some things can be bad, but I have found other things you find out can be priceless. Knowing my family tree is so important. Seeing documents on my relatives regardless if is in Hungarian...I am just beyond grateful for.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Its That Age

I can't imagine what the world is like to a two year old. You have limited vocabulary, you know what you want and often you can't voice what you want, and it is hard dealing with emotions when you're frustrated, sad, scared, etc., I don't remember what it was like being two. My Mom says I was a kid that was full of gusto at a very young age. I can only relate to that age by observing my son. He is a loving, adorable, little man who is full of gusto. He is either on or off with no middle in between. He is learning vocabulary everyday, but does not speak very much. Plus right now we are dealing with a stage very common amongst two year olds where he sometimes bites and hits.

Dealing with biting and hitting is quite hard, especially when your child lashes out to another kid. It isn't that he is being mean or vicious. I know my child loves to be around other children and observe them. He just can't quite communicate properly on wanting a specific toy another child may be playing with and the frustrations that come out with that from time to time. He does not bite or hit every time he is frustrated, angry or confused either so its hard knowing exactly when he will bite or hit.

I have (like most caring parents) read countless articles on the subject of biting and hitting to help curtail this behavior. I have found that consistency on punishments such as time out, talking to your child and having your child in some form say they are sorry is key. Obviously a two year old does not learn the do's and don'ts the first time he/she is told. What child does? Consistency is key with this and this is what we as parents are trying to do. It isn't less mortifying though when my son will do things to hurt another child unintentionally. What I am glad after reading so many articles and watching different parenting movies, is that parents that don't have toddlers that bite or hit should consider themselves lucky. It is a very common problem with this age group.

So we are working on it is what I am trying to say. It is hard. It is embarrassing. It is a new learning process we are going through. Patience is key. Consistency is key. Understanding is key. Every toddler has their own behavior thing rather it is biting/hitting, being standoffish, temper tantrums, and other various outbursts. My thought is temper tantrums although loud and embarrassing is nothing to the hitting/biting phase. I'd take temper tantrums any day over biting/hitting.

Friday, June 12, 2009

What I Was and What I am Now

Ever since I became a Mom, I have had a few realizations of the woman that I once was before kids is not the woman I am now. I am a Mom first, then a wife and then me. You can agree or disagree with my hierarchy of what I am and what I choose to be, but it is who I am and it works in my family. I don’t want you to think that my post is me wishing I had a different life or that I miss the old one. Take this post as a matter of fact thought out realization of the woman I have become and the girl I once was.

Before kids life was different. Schedules other then going to work were very lax. I cared about the clothes I wore, that my makeup was put on each and every morning and that my hair was washed not at night but in the morning so it would look in pristine condition when I would enter the real world. I had sexy jeans (all girls at one time have these). I shaved my legs more then once a week. I even took naps during the day. My two bathrooms were scrubbed and cleaned top to bottom EVERY (yes I said every) Friday or Saturday. Girls night was a monthly ritual. Eating out with my husband at a nice restaurant was a common occurrence. There was money to spare and designer purses (at least the knock offs) were “my thing”. I even remember wishing that I could get away with wearing my high heel red coach shoes all year round, but sadly they were a sandal high heel and there is nothing I hate more then cold feet in the winter.

Today I look at myself much different. My schedule is run by the two year old “emperor” in my house. Nap times, bed times, meal times, snack times all have to be considered. Wearing the latest fashion? Not so much anymore. Of course I like to look cute, but instead of low neck, cute and colorful little tops I wear anything that hides my Mommy gut. If they are colorful then that’s a bonus, but for some reason the fashion designers is against anything with color when you have a tummy. My makeup is a 50/50 occurrence. I could go or not go without it depending the time I have and if I have the energy to really care. My hair? Well it is clean I’ll give you that, but with time constraints and just pure convenience for the most part it is washed at night. When I wake up, my hair resembles Medusa and then takes a wet brush to manage all the little girlish wisps I still have that I will seemingly NEVER grow out of. Sexy jeans don’t exist in my world. I am glad when I was able to put on non-maternity jeans post pregnancy and almost two years later. If I could wear one pair of jeans from my pre-pregnancy days regardless if they are sexy or not then I am proud of myself. Sexy? Yeah right. Then the shaving of the legs. Do I shave them twice a week? Heck no. I am glad when I can shave my legs once a week and that’s if I do it while the baby is asleep. Scrubbing bathrooms from top to bottom? HAHA! I laugh at that person. The bathrooms will get wiped down here and there but I don’t remember when a full cleaning was done in one sitting. Perhaps the counters and toilets may be done one week and the bathtub/shower area done another week if I am lucky. They aren’t nasty, but I sure as hell wouldn’t eat off the floor. Eating out at restaurants used to be a luxury until my son could walk. He used to as an infant sit so nicely in his carrier. I remember a few times when other restaurant patrons would mention how they didn’t even realize we had a baby with us because he was so quiet. Now days there are screaming, crying, because meals should be instant like fast food and shouldn’t go longer then 15-20 minutes. Its cool, I realize that so we plan ahead on where we eat now. Naps are an occasional thing. 90% of the time, I don’t nap when my son naps. Its just too convenient to do the things that I need to get done while he is asleep because if I tried doing things while he was awake, then it would either not get done OR would take twice the amount of time to complete it. Girls nights are now maybe on a quarterly basis. Its not because we don’t want to see each other but with kids and other busy schedules its hard to nail down a time when everyone can come. It’s a success when half the crew can make it! Also purses and high heeled shoes are no longer a necessity in my world. I typically carry diaper bags and wearing high heels while carrying a 25lb plus toddler just isn’t ideal. My money is better well spent putting it towards college and buying cute little shirts with monkeys, cars and Sesame characters on them (for my son, not me). Kate Spade, Prada, and Coach can just move on over because its all about Gymboree, Janie and Jack and The Children’s Place now days.

I think women go into having their first child a bit na├»ve on how much change will really happen in their life. How could we not? No experienced Mom could EVER give us the complete low down of what goes into a day in the life of a Mom. We can watch other Moms, read countless books and hear countless words of advice and/or stories, but we won’t get it until it happens. Some mourn the loss of their old self before having kids. Although I would like to sleep in on occasion, run an errand without it taking twice the amount of time and actually have more money to spare, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being the old me is part of my past like my childhood is part of my past. It is something I look back on fondly and without regret. I look at what is now and what is real and most importantly what is important. Will I care years from now what my hair looked like or what outfit I bought that looked oh so sexy on me? I don’t think so. I’ll have memories of blowing daffodils with my son, playing in the sandbox with him and remembering the pure happiness my husband has on his face when his son excitedly says his name and runs up to him after two claps and gives him a hug.

Taste of the Town

Reminder for all you NOVA residents! This Friday starting at 3 to Sunday marks the start of Taste of the Town in Reston Town Center! It really is one thing you shouldn't miss. You get to taste all these wonderful and fantastic foods that most of us (especially with kids) would probably not be trying otherwise. So go and have some good food!

From Jay-Z to Sesame…music changes

I asked my husband the other day, since I was having a Sesame Street themed birthday party next month for my son would he mind getting a collection of Sesame Street/muppet music for the party? He eyeballed me for a moment and told me “no problem”. I know my son would love to listen to the familiar Sesame songs before and after the party so having it would be nice anyways. My son is a “get down” and “groove” baby. He has more dance skills then his poor Mama does and man does he bust a move when he hears “Elmo’s Song” or the “Sesame Street Theme Song.”

As I watched my husband tap away at his computer, it dawned on me that music has changed in our house. Of course we still listen to most of our regular day rock, rap and pop songs. I want my son to know songs from Supertramp, 80’s rock and 90’s music. Because of my Mother I love listening to the Mamas and Papas, The Doors, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Simon and Garfunkel and I appreciate that. Do I listen to Buffy Saint Marie? Not so much. If you think Janet Joplin was bad, this woman has a one up on her. Perhaps Ben may hate Guns and Roses or Black Eyed Peas, who knows? I just want him to have a love of music. His music is just a mix of “Its Raining Again” by Supertramp, “I’m A Little Teapot” and “Elmo’s World Theme Song”.

I remember the days my husband would burn music for just me. Things like Disney songs, nursery rhymes and muppet music did not really exist in our world once upon a time. He opened up Jay-Z, Usher and many other rap/pop artists to my world of music. Our son opened a new world of music to us. Having kids really does change every aspect of your life.

La la la la La la la la....little man's world...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Will You Read that Again Mommy?

I love reading. I love that my child loves to sit down, cuddle up and read a book with me. What I don’t like is reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear over and over again or The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I have memorized half a dozen books that my son has in his rather large toddler library and I think the list will continue to grow.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?…we’re going to read this again I can guarantee.

But who can resist a toddler with a button nose, shining eyes and a gleeful smile as he hands me a book we read two dozen times earlier in the day? Or when you get through a book, a little face looks up with an inquisitive expression and says “more” and signs “more” as well? Call me a sucker, I read whatever he wants to read again and again and again.

In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf. This book again? Good grief!

I want to help his reading and I think it will with the amount of books we read per day. One of my favorite childhood memories is when I would read with my mother. As I got older she would read a page out of a chapter and I would read a page. Together her and I read the entire Little House on the Prairie series, Charlotte's Web, the Judy Bloom’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing collection, etc., I think because of that, I was always an excellent reader. I want my son and any of my future children to have that same memory. I want them to have a passion for books, writing and exploring all the different worlds you can only find on book shelves just like I did and still do.

F is for Flowers that smell so sweet! Can Mommy now go to sleep?

For now I read Brown Bear, and alphabet books and cute little pop up books. One day I am sure I will read The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe and many other classic stories with my little man and perhaps he too will have fond memories of the days him and his Mom would read together. Then when he has children a long long time from now, his kids are totally getting his Brown Bear, Brown Bear and that darn Hungry Caterpillar book.

Dandelions…what fun and what a mess!

So anyone that read my post about the HOA giving us a friendly reminder, you know that our yard has weeds. Now I may be able to give you some insight on why we have so many weeds or perhaps why our neighbors might curse us. Perhaps it is the new love my son has for dandelions.

When I was a kid to find a perfect dandelion without any of the white seeds blown away was a real treat. We used to say if you could blow all the seeds off in one breath then you could make a wish! Aren’t the simple things in life grand? So when seeing the first dandelion in my yard one day after picking my son up from school, I just had to share a childhood experience with my son, blowing dandelions! With dress pants and work shoes still on, I sat down with my son on the stoop while I showed him how to blow dandelions. Did he blow all the seedlings off? No. Like a typical boy he first watched me and then had a better idea. Why not whack the poor dandelion to death against something until all the white, fluffy seeds come off? Sure! Why not?

So each day we were typically greeted by a new flower. I meant to pull them up, I really did. However each time I would pass a new dandelion on my way out the door, I stopped myself from pulling it up. Why? Because I as any Mother, I am addicted to watching my child discover new things and if those new things makes my little one smile and/or laugh with content its even that much more special. The only draw back to that though, is my motherly contentment got me a nasty gram from the HOA.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary Babe!

Today marks my three year wedding anniversary with my husband. I can't believe how fast time has gone by. Sometimes it seems that we have been married forever and other times it seems that only yesterday we were just starting to date with the memories of those times being so fresh in my mind. But here we are, celebrating the "leather anniversary".

I have to say (as most people would hopefully say about their own), that my wedding day was one of the best days of my life. I remember looking at my husband as I walked down the aisle with my Dad. I knew that I would be scared that so many people were going to be looking at me, that I decided beforehand that I would keep my eyes fixed on my husbands. However, it didn't matter what I planned out beforehand regardless if I wanted to keep my eyes on him or not, I couldn't keep my eyes off of him anyways. He looked so handsome dressed in his tux, with his shining green eyes and cute boyish grin staring back at me. As my Dad handed me off, he took my hand so gently as if it was a metaphor of guiding me into my new life with married life with him. I remember laughing to myself when I said, "I take you Eugene..." because before that day I had never in my life called him Eugene. I still don't consider him "Eugene" but either call him his given Russian name or his American nickname he came up with years before I had met him. As the wedding proceeded, I could feel the clamy hands holding onto his for dear life. I had to remind myself to not lean over to kiss him because well that was for the end of the ceremony. During one part of the ceremony, we had to drink wine from a single cup. I told him beforehand (as I detest the taste of any wine) that he better nearly finish 99% of it up in his three sip turn. Did he? No! He left me practically half a cup, which I with all my might had to swallow in the symbolic three sips while trying my best not to make a disgusted face. I was the bride after all. I didn't want to have a grossed out look on my face. Needless to say many witnesses will tell you that my face was memorable because if there was a doubt before, there was no doubt then that I detested wine. After the ceremony was over. I think I finally breathed. I didn't spill any wine on my beautiful dress. I didn't mess up any of my lines or any of the multiple things I had to do. My husband and I made it...and we did it together.

Our reception was beautiful. So many friends and families members were able to make it. We dined on some delicious food even though I don't think I ate that much that day. When it was time for my husband and I to dance to "Love Will Keep Us Alive", my husband tenderly took me into his arms with the most adoring and loving expression that I have only seen once since then, which was the moment my husband laid eyes on our son after he was born. After our dance ended, I danced with my Dad to "Butterfly Kisses". I didn't cry with my husband, but cried with my Dad. I knew it was an end to one phase of my life with my parents and I knew for him it was bitter sweet. He cried too a bit, but handed me his handkerchief first like any loving Father would. After that, together my husband I literally danced the night away to every single dance. We didn't stop until out reception ended. On our way outside, we found that our car was decorated to the nines with window paint, streamers, and flags galore. I think we had to kick out a few balloons just so we could get in. When we finally made it back to our apartment, we did the traditional "carry the new wife through the threshold thing". That part was romantic, but then I got back to my regular every day self saying "take this dress off of me! I have to pee!" My husband carefully helped me out smiling away and stayed the complete gentleman as his wife ran down the hall half naked with a corset tied tightly around my torso to the bathroom.

Three years have gone by. We have been through so much. We moved out of our rental apartment and bought a townhome. My husband's parents got divorced and my beautiful mother in law has had two boyfriends since then. Go her! We made friends and lost friends. We've seen my Mom go through a horrible sickness and taken care of her after her multiple heart surgeries. We actually got real furniture in our house now. And above all, we have the most beautiful, energetic toddler that has graced us in this world and has taught my husband and I more about ourselves, about teamwork and about our marriage.

Happy Anniversary Babe. You are amazing!

Note: The picture for this post was my actual wedding cake topper.

Clean Up Your Yard!

I have a love/hate relationship with HOA. I think for the most part, their hearts are in the right place. HOAs are designed to have a neighborhood looked upkept and so people can't paint their houses purple. However, they can get a little annoying at times.

I take pride in my home. I honestly love it with the amount of space we have, the layout, etc., There are days and maybe even weeks where some rooms don't get the deep cleaning they need, but that is just part of being a Mom. Do you dance like a loon to Teddy Bears picnic with your toddler or do you go and clean toilets? I choose to dance while making my son giggle and laugh. Nothing beats that. All I have to say is, I am GLAD the HOA doesn't visit the interior of my house, but on the outside of my house...well thats another story.

Yesterday, we got a "friendly reminder" to de-weed our front yard. Yes it has weeds. I swear that I will go through pulling up the weeds from the different flower areas, but two days later they are back with a vengeance and seem to multiple twice over the amount of weeds I had before. I am trying to stay on top of it HOA people...I really am!

Our yard (in my opinion), does not look junky. Sure there are bald spots where grass refuses to grow and those never unending weeds, but I don't think it looks bad. Looking at other houses on the street, our house pretty much resembles their yards if not better at times. We don't have weird/tacky borders around our flower areas nor do we have kid stuff (yet) scattered around the front lawn all day and all night.

So HOA people, I will get there. The yard will be de-weeded when I can muster some time in my schedule. Will Teddy Bear's picnic dance offs come before kneeling over the garden area? You better believe it.


I think even before we think of having children we think of the parents we would like to be. We say to ourselves that we'll do certain things our parents did or did not do. We'll also say that we'll won't do some things our parents do. I remember seeing parents out with screaming toddlers, a Mom that looks a little haggard and thinking to myself "Not me. Not my kids." I laugh at that girl now. I am the tired Mom that may or may not put makeup on. It just depends if I care to or not and maybe if I have the time before we have to leave the house. My goals have changed from wanting to always be dressed nicely and looking cute to making sure my son is well fed, well rested and happy. If I can achieve that in a day, then I call it a successful day. Sure there days when he doesn't want to eat as much, skips naps or for some reason has shorter ones, and is cranky for obvious reasons of being over tired or maybe just plain sick. My world for me revolves around my husband and son. I can't imagine it not as my husband is my partner in crime and my son needs me . But what about those parents that are less then there? How could they be?

I wonder how some parents can just let their child go free. Let them do what they want 24/7. Do things like drink excessively, and/or do drugs, and/or party like they are teenagers again when their child needs them. I am not talking about the occasional tipsy night you have with your friends after the kids have gone to bed. I am talking about drinking/drugs/partying when your child is awake and needs you. How can you ignore that little face? Their little needs? How on EARTH can someone care for a little person with half the attention span? It takes 100% of my energy to care for my son. I frankly don't get how, but I am guessing all people including children are just survivors.

Children to me are God's most precious gift. They are miracles, each and every one of them. Once you conceive and have that little person, your life no longer belongs to you. It belongs to both of you (and more so that little person). Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but also the most amazing, rewarding and most important job you will ever have. Shaping a life is a gift and one that no one should take it lightly. Being there, being present, being active and engaging with your child is what I call parenting.

I included a few quotes for this post for you readers that have either made me smile or made me nod my head and say "right on".

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot

There comes a time when a woman needs to stop thinking about her looks and focus her energies on raising her children. This time comes at the moment of conception. A child needs a role model, not a supermodel. ~Astrid Alauda, on the "hot mom" trend

Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson

Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn't have anything to do with it. ~Haim Ginott

If you have never been hated by your child you have never been a parent. ~Bette Davis

The quickest way for a parent to get a child's attention is to sit down and look comfortable. ~Lane Olinghouse

Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children. ~Marilyn Penland

My mom used to say it doesn't matter how many kids you have... because one kid'll take up 100% of your time so more kids can't possibly take up more than 100% of your time. ~Karen Brown

The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent. ~Frank Pittman, Man Enough

The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents. ~John J. Plomp

In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage. ~Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986

Monday, June 8, 2009 thing EVER

This weekend, my parents set up a sandbox in their backyard for their grandchildren. They only have two and both have finally reached the age to start enjoying it and man did they enjoy it.

I am glad my parents went with the sandbox that you could sit in it with the tiny benches that were on each corner. When growing up, my Grandma had a type of sandbox that resembled a trough where you stand over it and play with the sand. Maybe it was because a snake lived in the tree next to it, but to me it wasn't enjoyable as the sandbox that I could sit in at home. When my parents decided that they would add a sandbox next to their swing set, my Dad first thought was to build one, as he built the sandbox I played in as a child. However, after seeing a few sandbox kits and telling my parents about it, they went with the easier option of buying a kit from Costco. It really is a beautiful sandbox made of ceder (that will help with the bugs) and had little benches on all four corners. It took some time getting the sandbox put in the correct location and low enough (since it didn't have a bottom) so the sand didn't spill out, but it was accomplished with curious two year olds looking on probably wondering WHAT their parents and Nagypapa and Nagymama were up to now.

At first both boys (my nephew and son) who are in the verge of turning two, both were a little unsure of this sand stuff. We took the shoes off the boys, so their little bare piggies could feel the sand and to save the parents some hassle of getting sand out of their shoes later on. As they felt the sand on their little piggies with little tushes sitting safely off the sand on the sandbox benches they started to get into it. Shovels, sifters, buckets and bulldozers minutes later were being explored with excitement and smiles. They were having a blast!

I watched my son and nephew with bitter sweet amazement. I remember when I enjoyed making cities, creating "soups" and playing with my friends in my sandbox. I had such a great time in my sandbox and I am glad that they both now can enjoy something that I once did. I wonder what their little imaginations will come up with in the future? I am sure their little imaginations will be hard at work. Sandboxes are the best thing ever : )

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Question

I get THE question every so often, "When are you going to have another baby?" I don't mind it for the most part. I think it is sweet that people care to ask. I just don't have an answer for them.

It isn't that my heart doesn't want another one. I know God put in my heart to have more then just one or even two or three. Some people are just satisfied with one child, which is understandable because kids are A LOT of work. I wonder how they feel or respond when they get that very same question though. Are they angered? Feel sad? Defensive? Matter of fact about the situation? Who knows, as I am sure it depends on the family, their situation, etc.,

For me wanting another child comes with setting goals and achievements first. I need to pay off debt, put a little into savings and then at some point during that time period my husband and I will talk about it. Me having another child means that I stay home. Financially day care isn't an option, which is okay by me since I want nothing more then to stay home with my kids. However going from two salaries down to one and adding another addition to the family takes some planning and budget balancing in my family. I sort of see this as Gods plan at work to tell me when is the right time for the family to expand.

So to answer your question of when I am going to have another baby, I don't know. Its when I can organize and get my family budget together and feel logically secure with finances. Hopefully it will be sooner then later, but I have a plan and I'll be sure to let you know when I see double lines on the pregnancy test stick.

Great Finds ~ Sesame Street: Singing Pop Up Pals

Rating ~ A-

My son and I absolutely love the Sesame Street: Singing Pop Up Pals. It is a great gift for any young toddler that really loves Sesame Street. It is a great learning tool as toddler will learn how to turn, flip and push switches or buttons. I also love that once a button is pushed or a switch is flipped or turned, that a Sesame Street character will pop out and sing their theme song. I gave it an A- only because it does not have a switch to make the noise a little more quieter. However, in my opinion, the toy isn't really loud. You just may get tired of hearing certain Sesame tunes. It retails around $22.

Great Finds ~ Snack Traps

Rating ~ A

I wanted to share a contraption that has helped scaled down messes in our house, which is the Snack Trap. It is a great container to put goldfish, cheerios, puffs, etc., I love that the container has a lid that can easily allow little hands to poke through the top to grab a bite to eat. Often, my toddler (if he has an open container without a top) will inadvertently walk down the hall and spill his entire snack on the floor, which equals more mess for Mom to pick up. So to make life easier for myself and to save my dogs from gaining a million pounds, we have incorporated this little device into our everyday use. VERY worth it and cheap.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NBC White House Special

I am one of those people that love it when television crews pokes inside a place or home to see the day in the lives of people, especially famous people. I loved watching Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work, a PBS special. It gave an inside glimpse of the British royal family in what they do, what their schedules were and painted a picture of them broader then the few glimpses you see of them on the news. I believe one of my favorite scenes was of the Queen in a formal dress looking down a stairway balcony like a school girl anticipating an event. It just shows how normal they really are. I got this same feeling when I watched last night's NBC White House Special.

I am not a huge Obama fan. I don't agree with many of his policies, but I respect the leadership position and the role that he plays. I respect that he values his family and that even though he is the leader of the free world, he will admittedly say without shame or false pride that his wife makes sure he has his head on straight. Last night I was able to see a glimpse of the White House at work as well as a day in the life of being the President and I found it fascinating.

Would I ever want to work in the White House? No. It doesn't matter what type of administration is in it. Their schedules and demands are much greater then I would ever want to take on. I am glad that someone is doing it though. What I liked about last night's episode, much like the Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work special, it showed the President and his staff as seemingly ordinary people.

One of my favorite scenes of last night's special was a moment in which Obama went to Five Guys to order lunch for his staff. As The President stepped out of his unmarked limosine, patrons eating outside were surprised, shocked and baffled that The President walked up behind them and said "hello". Could you imagine? Once inside Five Guys, the staff and other visiting patrons inside were also shocked and stunned by the President's arrival. You could hear the excitment, feel the anticipation and wonder of everyday people getting to shake hands with The President in a very uncommon presidential atmosphere. Obama even remembered to take Brian Williams order (a cheesburger with just ketchup). Could I see my past boss's (with one exception) doing that? Heck no. I had many boss's that let their title get to their head.

I believe tonight and tomorrow the White House Special will continue with more clips and scenes of The President's everyday life and I'll be tuning in to watch.

I Love It When

I decided (since I was in a sour mood yesterday) to write something on a more positive note today. Obviously yesterday's post did not show my mood, so some readers are probably like huh? I am just tired of hearing about the recession, who is to blame, what our country is going to, etc., so here is my little nice things to write about.

I love it when....

...the skys are Carolina blue.

...when guys who look good in hats wears hats (my man).

...and also when they don't.

...days go by where there are no temper tantrums or fussiness by my almost two year old. son goes to bed at a decent hour (thankfully that happens most days). husband surprises me with cool things like vacations, cleaning up the house or fixing something for me or the house. gas tank is full the beginning of the work week. hair decides to play "nice". husband cooks me a delicious meal (thank you for that hun). husband does not care that I plan weekends and just goes along with it,which he does every weekend. sons surprises me with kisses and hugs that I didn't expect. son learns something new right in front of me. son shares his FAVORITE toys with either me or his Dad. friends call me to come over with my circus. Mom hands me "mail" from the old house but surprises me with things for me or my son.

...I find something cute and new for either of my men.

...holidays and vacations are spent with family or friends. man writes the first email of the day while I am at work and wondering how I am doing. man acts very silly and when he acts very serious.

... my husband is thinking about his family and what he can do to make us happy (which is something he does on a daily basis). sister calls me everyday to say hi or see what is new. nephew calls me and says something cute (teacups or dal-gone).

...I have the energy to clean the house (including bathrooms).

...I can actually work a full week without being called out due to sickness on my part or for my son.

...I can put a full pay check towards paying down debt. husband pays simple but meaningful compliments to me.

...I see people are courteous to me, my family or even a stranger. Mom still calls me cute names because it always makes me smile.

...I hear a new story about my family like Great Grandfathers, etc.,

...I learn something new about my husband's family.

...I see my husband having fun like a kid again.

...I can eat my dinner all to myself. husband and I have some of those great conversations. husband comes over just to give me a kiss or a hug or maybe just to flirt.

Finally I love it when people are decent to each other. When you don't have to remember manners, but can act comfortable around family or friends. When the little things don't matter and when people see the big picture. I love my guys so much and feel blessed that God gave me such two wonderful people to be apart of my everyday life.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cool Site ~ Esty

I stumbled a few months ago when looking for a certain coat for my son on a website called Etsy. This website allows you to buy or sell all things handmade. I love the uniqueness of this website as it has so many new and interesting things to look at, view and get ideas from that you can't find in usual retail stores. Whats not to like at looking at a craft sale online?

I ended up buying a coat from this website. It wasn't handmade, but it was a vintage coat which dated back to the era of my Dad's childhood. It was a beautiful, sky blue coat with brass buttons resembling the famous coat JFK Jr. wore when he saluted his Dad as his casket processed to the White House. The coat was something different, something new (at least to us) and you can't help but think what little boy or boys wore it at one time and the history behind that.

So take a gander. It is well worth the search. Who knows? You might find something for yourself!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sesame Place Review

I had one of the best times with my husband and son over the weekend after my husband surprised us with a trip to Sesame Place in Philly! I promised a review, so here it is.

Sesame Place is certainly a place to bring your kids to. My son will be two this July and was at a pretty good age to go. There were plenty of rides to go on like the Elmo ride (resembles the Dumbo ride in Disney), a balloon ride, teacup ride, etc., There is also an area (for kids five and younger) to play, which was under the shade (I was grateful for that). It basically is a very bouncy gym mat with lots of shapes to play with. It is a hot spot, but the area is so large it doesn't seem that full. The nice thing is it is gated, so there is one way in and out, so there is no chance your kid will make a dash for it. I also loved in this area that they had stadium seating around the play area so parents could take a break and let their kids run.

There were also a lot of fantastic shows. We went to the Elmo's World show,which we had to leave because my son was WAY overdue for a nap. It was cute and for any Elmo fan it is the show to go to! The set is exacting to what you see on the Elmo's World set you see on the T.V. Even Mr. Noodle made an appearance! My sister went to two shows and highly recommends the show we went to and the Big Bird Beach Show.

There is also a parade twice during the day (both at 4pm and 7pm). All the Sesame Street characters that you could possibly think of comes out and really interacts with the kids on the parade route. If you want your child to be apart of the parade, you can also opt for that by going to one of the retail stores by the carousel. I can't remember exactly what the store is called but it is right next to the diner and ice cream place.

Also at this store (sorry the name slips my mind) had some really great merchandise. IF you want to buy a stuffed animal character, then this is the store to go to. Plushies usually cost around $21, BUT my son found a plushie he liked that was larger and happened to be a puppet that was $15. The puppets that they had for that price was Elmo, Grover and Zoey.

Sesame Place also has a great water park area that is attached to the dry ride area, which is both good and bad. It was a little cold to go in the water, so my son did not participate. However, they had a lot of great toddler areas to go and play with shallow water. I think the water was maybe a foot deep? They also had a lot of great water slides, which my husband went on. He told me that they were pretty awesome and highly recommends it as well.

I will also have to say that there are LOTS of other things to do in the area other than Sesame Place. You can go into downtown Philly, which is 30 minutes from Sesame Place and visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and the Please Touch Museum. Pat's and Geno's are open 24/7 and you must have a Philly cheese steak if you visit Philly, although my husband says that Tony's Pizza in Fair Lakes has a much better cheese steak. If you are a sports fan the Eagles Stadium, Flyers Stadium and Phillies Stadium are all right next to each other. I also heard that the Philadelphia Zoo is a really great place to go as well.

In summary, we will be back to Sesame Place. It is a really great and child friendly place to go to and that your child can grow into. There were rides for all ages from toddler to older kids. It really is a great family vacation spot.