Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

There was a lot going on in the Castrucci house this weekend but let's start with Halloween.  First off, let me start off by saying that Halloween was a holiday that my mother hated.  I don't remember having Halloween decorations (except for pumpkins... we always had pumpkins) and basically you could be a hobo and dress up in old clothes or a rich woman and wear a dress, gloves, make-up, and costume jewelry.  Although, in fairness to my mother, there is a photo of me as a witch one year where I wore a black dress and a construction paper cone hat with green yarn glued on to the hair for my hair.  So, I'm not blaming or anything, but I think I've inherited my mother's ennui for this holiday... I'm just not organized enough nor do I care enough to really get into Halloween.  This is probably why Brian came home from work today and said to me, "I'm not saying this to you just you... but this is the last year we can be half-assed parents about Halloween."

So, onto our half-assed Halloween.  No decorations, a painted pumpkin, and a paper bag that I tried to get Evan to decorate but he had no interest.  Brian decided he wanted Evan to be a Jedi (from Star Wars) for Halloween and he saw a Yoda costume in Target that he liked.  He also found a Princess Leia costume and got that for Chloe.  So, when we tried on the costumes last weekend we found out that 1) the yoda "hat" basically looked like green bunny ears, and 2) The Princess Leia costume was clearly not an infant costume since Chloe was swimming in it.  So, we had half a costume for Evan and none for Chloe.  Brian left me in charge (re-read the first paragraph of this post and wonder what he was thinking) and he had to go away for a few days.

Well... if you remember I had some rough days filled with a non-sleeping naked child and basically did nothing about the costumes.  I decided Evan could wear his Jedi robes and with his blonde hair he basically looks like Anakin Skywalker so I went with that (and Brian bought him a glow-in-the-dark light saber):

Trying to figure out his light saber.


And then I got cheap and decided I wasn't going to buy a costume for Chloe since she wouldn't leave her car seat anyway.  Instead I dressed her in a really cute onesie with a tu-tu that says "Rocker Princess" on it and spiked her hair.  I then dressed up in an ensemble which faintly resembled a fat midget hooker with some 80s paraphernalia (this is what happens when you don't define your costume well or wait until the last minute):

Clearly I should have gone as a "rich lady" but Chloe looks super cute.

And... Brian went as Brian.  He did wear a sweatshirt from his alma mater so I said if anyone asked he could be a college student.  No one asked.  Although someone asked me if I was dressed-up and that just confused me a little... but I guess I was plausible and probably had on the same make-up I wore in the 90s (which Brian really liked by the way).

So, on Saturday off we went to the East Atlanta Village Halloween night (EAVoween).  Basically all the businesses in our downtown hand out candy to everyone... it's a nice safe alternative to house to house trick-or-treating in East Atlanta.  It was a lot colder this year so we didn't see as many kids but Evan still enjoyed himself (and Chloe loved looking at everything). 

We ended the evening at the Firehouse where Evan got to sit in a fire truck:

He was so excited he didn't even know what to do.

I think he kept looking for permission because it was too big for him to understand.

We then decided, mostly because I was too tired and didn't feel like dealing, not to dress him up Evan tonight and take him out.  We got about 10 trick-or-treaters at our house, with only about 7 of them in actual costume, and then we shut off our porch light.  Brian's right... we are a little half-assed about all of this.  There are some days when I feel like we are the Griswold Family (the wife's name is Ellen). 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Been One of Those Days...

Actually... it started last night.  Chloe was up twice (once for a feeding and once from coughing - apparently she needs to hit me over the head to tell me she needs a humidifier) and Evan was up... like 5 bazillion times.  I still am not sure why but he was up at least 4 times that I can verify... I also think there were some more times he was up but I didn't fully wake up so I can't count those as 100% true. 

And then he woke up at 5:00 am.  I was able to convince him to stay in bed (I have no idea if he slept or not) until 6:00 am and then we were downstairs watching Yo Gabba Gabba (which is the current obsession).  Chloe then decided to wake up at 6:20 am (almost an hour early).  I was pretty sure none of this was a good omen for my day and then this happened and I knew my day was not going to be good:

(Listen - don't hate me for the privacy box, there are creepy people out there.)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the face of a little boy who decided he did NOT want to wear his pajamas or his diaper this morning.  I had no say in the matter as he didn't need my help getting any of it off.  He made himself naked and then informed me he would be using the potty.

And the potty was there (along with 4,000 other things as you can see in this picture) and he even sat on it once or twice... but he did not use it.  Thankfully, at one point he decided he was too cold and he put his pajamas back on.

So, once he put back on his pajamas and Chloe agreed to her morning nap (which was an hour earlier than usual since she woke up so early) I thought maybe... just maybe this day was salvageable.  Then Chloe only slept for an hour (she usually sleeps for 2 in the morning) and I was ready to stick Evan on the corner and see who would take him.  Both children really needed some sleep time but I had to be smart about it and figure out how to let them nap for just so long so that they would still nap in the afternoon (or I was going to start drinking at 2pm).

At 11:00 am, I opted for the tried and true technique known as "the walk."  I put them both in the double stroller and took off.  They wouldn't sleep... apparently the fresh air was too enticing.  I walked all around my little corner of the world and finally... at 11:45 am, they both nodded off (it was creepy... first Evan fell asleep and then within minutes Chloe went to sleep - I don't know if she was waiting for him or what).  The good news was that they fell asleep... the bad news is that the window was small for letting them sleep without putting the afternoon nap in jeopardy.  So I started the walk home.

I made it back to the house by 12:05 pm and had to take pictures of the sleeping babies before I woke them up (mostly because I needed to remind myself how cute they are when they sleep because they weren't cute when they were awake):

So, they woke up and I was reminded that there are some days you just get through.  Chloe only napped 1.5 hours in the afternoon (again, down from the 2 she usually does) and Evan took forever to fall asleep for his nap (because he kept calling for me) and therefore he had to be woken up (he can't sleep past 4:00 pm or he won't go down at night) and was even crankier (if that was possible).

It was one of those days that made me think of what my mother said once (and I'm paraphrasing), "There were days I was happy that you all couldn't tell time because you went to bed early."  Both of my kids were in bed and lights out by 7:00 pm (Chloe by 6:30 pm).  Usually this phenomenon doesn't happen until 7:30 pm.  And I might be in bed with lights out by 9:30 pm. 

But before I go to bed I'm going to ask the Universe to go easy on me tomorrow... or easier than today.  Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Bunch of Random Things Together

Here are some random moments of my life over the last week...

It's been cold here this past week (and real cold... like in the 40s at night and 50s during the day) so I had to pull out the kids' new winter coats that Maga (known as Naga to Evan) bought as Christmas presents.  This is what Chloe looked like... the cutest pink elf I've ever seen.

As an aside... putting her in and out of this coat is such a pain in the tookus that unless it's been freezing I've just been throwing a blanket over her. Yes, I'm sometimes a lazy mother.  And, on top of that, the other day I went to Target with the kids and Evan had on his winter coat but no socks or shoes... some battles just aren't worth my time.

The East Atlanta Village Farmer's Market and the East Atlanta Parents Network worked together to bring pumpkin (or "punky" as Evan calls it) painting to the kids. 

I think my son is a craft fiend.  He was really in to the whole painting aspect.

Seriously, it was hard to get the brush away from him once it was time to go.  Thankfully the paint was washable because first-time mom over here didn't even think about putting a smock on him. 

And this is Evan's block tower.  He has recently become very obsessed with stacking blocks and he was SUPER proud of this tower.  I swear I only put on the top few layers... he did everything else.

Oh, and the cans?  He took those out of my pantry to stack them.  Seriously, I had to explain that?  Didn't / don't your kids do that?

This picture has a lot of stories behind it.  The first one (and Brian's least favorite) is the headband.  Yes, Evan is wearing a headband.  The morning that this picture was taken I put on a headband.  As usual Evan was in the bathroom with me (because he really is never more than 2 feet away from me when Brian isn't home) and once he saw me put in a headband he wanted one.  So, I gave him one.  And he wore it most of the day.

The second story is that Evan, for some reason, has recently decided he doesn't like his picture taken.  I don't understand this whole thing since he used to be a camera hog... but now he runs away. 

Don't believe me?  Check out the video evidence:

Or view at:

And here we move on to Chloe.  This was the headband day and Chloe was wearing Evan's hand-me-downs so I felt I had to get a picture of her all decked out in boy clothes (and I say that facetiously because no one noticed she wasn't wearing gender appropriate clothing... probably because at her age a monkey isn't gender specific).

And this is a sad moment in Chloe's hair.  Chloe has cradle cap (which I may or may not have told you all) so she gets her hair washed every couple days with selsun blue.  This shampoo washes her hair a little too well so it doesn't stick up like it usually does... and this makes me sad.  But, she is still super cute.

This is Evan's yoda figurine (which used to be Brian's figurine that Evan bought for Daddy for some holiday that I can't remember but which Daddy gave back to Evan once Evan figured out that he wanted it).  And it is of course not age appropriate since it is ceramic... which you can tell because one of his ears has fallen off.

This photo is Evan showing off his $1 canister that I bought at Target and that he uses to put things in (which is currently his favorite past time... all bags, any containers... he puts things in them).  But, the best part of this picture is the head band.  I gotta say... it looks really good on him.

Friday, October 21, 2011


So, I've been thinking about those people who claim they have a poltergeist in their house because cabinets and doors are open that they didn't open, drawers are emptied of their contents, etc.  I'm probably thinking about this because I've been watching that new show on FX "American Horror Story" and it's really good... and really spooky. 

And I've come to a conclusion.  Those people who think they have a poltergeist first need to make sure there is not a 2-year old within a 5 mile radius of their house.  Because... it's probably the 2-year old.  Here is my irrefutable data:
  • I was giving Chloe a bath this morning, turned around and all the cabinets were open... no Evan in sight but he had been in earlier.
  • I was in the shower this morning and when I got out the contents of one of Brian's drawers was on his sink... no Evan in sight but he had been in earlier.
  • Regularly I enter my kitchen and all the cabinets that he has access to are open with no Evan in sight.
I'll start worrying when a chair ends up on my kitchen table or if upper cabinets are mysteriously opened (and Brian isn't home because he is notorious for not shutting cabinet doors... I think it's a clue to me where he has been).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Deal

No, I don't have a book deal and as far as I know there are no book deals forthcoming.  But, earlier today as I was trying to cook dinner with one baby crying and another running around the house destroying everything I thought about a book.  More specifically, I thought what would be the title of a book if I wrote it about my life... because, you know, no one has ever thought about writing a book about being a mom... especially not a funny book.

Anyway, these were the titles I came up with (feel free to add any other ideas in the comments):

  • I'm Going Crazy Over Here... No, Seriously
  • Want a Free Kid?
  • Dante Missed a Circle (sub-title: Clearly He Didn't Have Children)
  • I Have Kids Therefore I Drink
  • Sorry, I Can't Hear You Over The Screaming
  • I Would Never Have Time to Read This Book
  • This Is As Good As It Gets... Meh

But, I do have to say, now that everyone is in bed, and it's quiet, and I've had a few minutes to regroup, I do really love my children and I am really grateful to be able to be a stay-at-home mom (but none of this is funny which is why it would never make it in my fictitious book with its fictitious snarky title).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Me - Awesome Mom

Not only did I make sure that Evan got musical instruments for his birthday, not only do I let Evan use crayons in the house, not only do I have finger paints waiting in the closet for the perfect day... but I let Evan play with play dough AND I let him mess up the play dough and mix all the colors (it is his play dough after all).  I know, I'm an awesome mom... stop telling me, I already know (that is until I completely lose my cool because Evan keeps trying to play with the kitty litter and do something really mature like lock him out of the litter room while I'm in the room cleaning it only there is no lock on the door and he can turn the handle to get back in the room so I turn into a screaming banshee... then I'm not so awesome).

Anyway, back to me being awesome... on Sunday I introduced the play dough to Evan.  And it only took about 10 minutes for Brian to come out and want to play as well.  I of course then made sure that Chloe was part of the fun.

I let Evan play with the play dough out on our screened-in porch on top of newspaper. Surprisingly he kept it on the paper the entire time.  And, to let Chloe participate, I put her on the table in her Bumbo.  You know, because only a responsible parent would put her child in a foam chair on top of a table.

And sure, her father was there in case she threw herself backwards... but he looks a little distracted by the play dough.

And then there is this... I'll never tire of those big blue eyes.  Oh, and did I tell you... the reason the Eagles won this past Sunday is because Chloe wore this onesie.  She'll be wearing it again in 2 weeks (bye week for Eagles this weekend - no game).

The boys didn't even notice how cute Chloe looked.  They were busy in their own worlds.  Evan was working on making one giant blob of play dough and Brian was working furiously, using my cookie cutters, to make:

Yup, Star Wars play dough.  And, he insisted I take this picture so we could have it for posterity.

Brian wasn't the only one enthralled by the whole play dough / cookie cutter connection.  Check out these videos:

Or access the link:

Or access the link:

Oh, and just for fun, let's look at yet another video where my daughter refuses to perform:

Or access the link:

I swear that when I make those odd noises she usually responds.  Trust me, I'm not walking around talking to myself like that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Una Fiabe Paesana (or our trip back to NJ for Columbus Day* Weekend)

C'erano una volta [once upon a time] there was a prince (watching tv in a bumbo chair that is way too small for him):

(clearly from Northern Italy),

and a princess:

(clearly of Southern Italy).

The prince and princess decided it was time that they left their southern kingdom and made the long and arduous (mostly on their parents) trek to visit the royal family.  They boarded an airplane where the Prince watched the same episode of Yo Gabba Gabba at least 10 times (but was probably fewer than that since the flight was only 2 hours) and the princess ate, slept, and was cute. 

When they arrived in the family's Northern Kingdom they were met be a Lady in Waiting (clearly the Italian genes did not win this war):

One of the many excursions planned for the prince and princess (in addition to banquets, hunting, and other royal past-times) was a trip to a royal playground:

At the playground the Lady in Waiting and the Court Jester were quite content to play with the prince.  They helped him walk across treacherous terrain.

They watched him as he conquered dangerous animals.

They helped him overcome any concerns about the lay of the land and the possible dangers it held so that he could truly enjoy himself.

And to thank his court the prince regaled them with melodies from olden times like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

While the prince ran around the princess used this time to rest (she knew that this trip up north would be very taxing). 

All of this fun did not mean that the Lady in Waiting could let her style lapse.  Isn't she beautiful?  Oh, and she is also a cousin to the prince and princess... don't you see the resemblance?  No?  Don't worry... no one does but they are indeed blood related.

And no trip to the playground can be complete without some time on the royal slide (it's the biggest one in the playground).

Oh, and the Queen decided it was a perfect day to enjoy herself as well since the prince and princess were otherwise occupied.  Notice how she wears the crest of the Eagle?  It's in her blood.

And here is the Queen again... just meandering. 

Meanwhile, the princess decided that lying down wasn't her preference anymore and she made it known to the Queen Maga (known as Naga to the Prince) and the King Grandpa that she requested a change.  So, of course King Grandpa picked her up.  He can't resist the little princess... but who can?

The royal time at the park ended and we all adjourned back to the palace. 

The next day, we had asked the Duke of Scotland (my brother-in-law) if he would take a family portrait of us and some pictures of our kids (he is a fabulous photographer).  So, we chose the color blue as our color for the portrait and the Queen found this adorable onesie for the princess.

After a consultation, the princess and the King agreed that the princess was indeed the piu bellezza dello palazzo [most beautiful in the palace].

While up North, the Queen decided it was a perfect opportunity to see some old friends and reconnect with them at the country estate (Camp Matollionequay).  She felt it was such a gift to have people in your life with whom, no matter when you or how often you see them, you have an immediate bond.

On the final day of the vacation, the King, Queen, prince, and princess decided to venture to the Royal Zoo with the Ladies in Waiting, Court Jester, and the Duchess of Scotland. 

The prince was very excited to be hanging out with the Ladies in Waiting and the Court Jester.  So much so that it was often necessary for the King to hold the prince so a fotografia could be taken.

You may remember that one of the Queen's favorite things is to watch her children from the back, whether they are walking away or playing (and the other favorite thing is to be in the kitchen observing while everyone has fun at a party she is hosting... what can she say... she's an observer). 

And this "from behind" shot is extra special in that it also includes the Ladies in Waiting and the Court Jester.

As you can tell in this photo, the prince took quite a liking to the youngest Lady in Waiting. 

While at the Royal Zoo, the Prince decided to ride il treno [train] around in a circle and his court joined him.

And then it was time to leave the Royal Zoo because everyone, including the Queen... or especially the Queen... was exhausted.  On the way out the King and the Princess posed with a Royal leopard.

This whirlwind tour of the northern kingdom was just too much for the little princess who fell asleep where she was sitting.

But not too exhausting for the prince.  He met some new members of his court.

And he played until he passed out with his family.

But the consensus from the family was that it was nice to see everyone and good to be back with family.

And that it's always good to get to experience new things and look at them differently.

*For those of you not from the Northeast... Columbus Day is a big Italian holiday (because Cristoforo Colombo was Italian... Genovese to be exact) and there are actually parades and stuff... not in my family because we are fake and bake Italian but others take it very seriously... and that has nothing to do with this post but just wanted to share.