Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Fun

When I'm reincarnated (and I'm pretty sure I will be because the lesson of "patience" is still not quite sticking) I want to come back as one of my children... you know, when I'm not acting like a screaming banshee at them.  Because, seriously, my kids have a good life.  Let's just look at this past weekend.

On Saturday, we went to the Yellow Balloon Fair (a fair put on by a local preschool that has been happening for something like 30 years). 

There wasn't much for Chloe there (although she did enjoy hanging out in the play spaces and watching all the other kids) but there was a lot of fun stuff for Evan.  He got a yellow balloon (surprise), a lollipop, found buried treasure, rode a pony for the first time:

And... there was a bouncy house.  That was the first place we went when we got to the fair.  It was early enough that they weren't yet following any "rules" so Evan was able to play inside, run around, and not have a time limit.  Here's a video:

At the end you hear me getting kind of stern... that's because he was body-checking people in the bouncy house.  And my tone of voice didn't even slow him down. 

Then we came back to the bouncy house before we left for the day.  By then it was busy and they were only letting in about 5 kids at a time and they had a time limit of 4 minutes per group.  We waited in line and when it was Evan's turn it began to rain a little.  I took Chloe back to the car and Brian waited for Evan to get his turn.  Chloe and I played hide and seek in the car until I saw Brian walking down towards me with Evan wrapped in his arms.  Brian didn't look too happy.  Turns out that to alert the children that their time is up the people in charge blow a whistle.  When this happens the children get out of the bouncy house and the next group of children go in... that is, all the children get out of the bouncy house except for Evan.  He saw this as an opportunity to play in the bouncy all by himself and was running around like a mad man.  Eventually Brian had to go in and physically get him out as he screamed, "No Daddy... no."

On Sunday we then went to a park recommended by our next door neighbor (Hadley's Park).  Apparently it was built by a family whose children were physically handicapped.  This means the entire park is a foam surface and wheelchair friendly.  It also means it is awesome for a little girl just learning to walk and a little boy who is a complete daredevil.

Here is the fun they had on Sunday:

Evan and Daddy playing on a bridge.  Evan would run across as fast as he could - he did this about 10,000 times.

Here's it in live action:

Chloe watching Evan run again and again and again across the bridge.

Chloe, closely watched by Daddy, crawling towards a slide after she just crawled up 8 stairs and over a bridge to get to the slide.  She did this about 5,000 times... not yet as active as her brother.

Chloe being as cute as they come. She was in the "hull" of a ship banging on a treasure chest that you can't see. 

Evan also slid along this thing all by himself. I can not explain the situation so thankfully I have a video:

And then, right before we left, Evan spotted a man and a soccer ball.  Turns out this guy was setting up to play with 5 & 6 year olds but they didn't show.  So Evan mosied on over and the guy started coaching Evan.  The guy claims that Evan is a natural (he gets all his soccer talent from mommy) and Evan went up and down the "field" scoring goals.  I was holding Chloe who was squirming to get down the entire time.

Thankfully Evan went to school this morning because I need to recover from our weekend.  Although Chloe is teething and in the middle of a growth spurt (I'm making this consumption based on all the food she is consuming and demanding) and has been a bit of a cranky pants most of today - only sleeping for a total hour so far.  Maybe I'll get to recover tonight... after they fall asleep and before Evan wants to crawl into our bed.  But his new sleeping habits (new to when we moved to MD) are a whole different story and one I will tell when I actually get a good night's sleep again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cleaning After Children Arrive

Next weekend we are having a small soiree for Chloe's birthday and I was thinking of the things I have to do before everyone comes.  I tend to make lists and then I sometimes make sub-lists (and then I leave the lists behind and forget about half the things on the lists).  And I was surprised, looking at my list, how my priorities have changed since I've had kids.  For instance, I used to have a "to clean" list and now my master list just has two cleaning entries: 1. vacuum, and 2. clean bathrooms.

You see, before I had kids I used to clean ALL the time.  I swear, I loved to clean.  On the weekends, Brian would spend Saturday afternoon doing some work and I would clean.  I would dust, vacuum, get on my hands and knees and clean the floors, etc.  I'm pretty sure that you could have eaten off of any surface in my house.  Brian always joked that my definition of dirty was someone else's definition of immaculate.  And let's be honest, how dirty could my house have been?  It was only Brian and I and some cats.

Then we had Evan and during my c-section recuperation I didn't really clean that much.  But, once I was better and once he was sleeping on a schedule I was back to cleaning.  Since it was only snippets here and there it probably wasn't as deep cleaning but things were still really clean.  Then we moved to an industrial loft in Atlanta and cleaning changed.

First off, if you remember, our loft did have a door to Evan's bedroom but it wasn't exactly soundproof.  So while Evan was sleeping (12 hours at night, 4 hours during the day) I couldn't do laundry or vacuum.  And since Evan started to get mobile in the loft, when he was awake he was constantly underfoot, and grabby, which made cleaning dangerous.  In addition, did I mention the loft was industrial?  This means my concrete floors had cracks where dirt lived forever and or rafters had dirt leftover from when it was a warehouse.  You couldn't get the place clean if you tried.

Then we moved to the new apartment in Atlanta and cleaning was easier in that Evan's room was insulated from sound and far away from the washer and dryer.  What was difficult there is that we shoved so much stuff in that tiny apartment that you couldn't get in between everything to get all the dust / dirt out.  Oh yeah, and life was a little stressful because I was pregnant and building a house - remember that?

Then we moved into our house during construction.  I swear it takes a full year to completely get rid of construction dust (and we didn't live there a full year).  Then I had a newborn... then the pollen in Atlanta descended and made the inside of my house yellow... then we had a ladybug infestation... blah blah blah, excuse, excuse, excuse.

And then... we moved one more time to Maryland.  And now I have 2 mobile children who literally follow me around and dirty whatever I just cleaned.  I'm not kidding.  I put something away, Chloe drags it back out.  I clean a floor, Evan follows behind me with dirt on his feet.  The only feeling worse than having everything un-cleaned is laundry because I swear that as soon as I finish putting all the clean laundry away all the laundry baskets are full again.  And so, I no longer love cleaning... and I don't spend a whole lot of time doing it anymore. 

I can still see the dust on the baseboards I just don't have it on my list as a priority.  Yes, I could be like some super-organized moms who follow a cleaning schedule (laundry on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, etc) but in reality I'm not much older than a teenager when it comes to schedules and if you tell me, or if I tell myself, to do laundry every Monday then I will find reasons I can't do laundry on Mondays.  Remember - schedules don't work for me. 

Or, during nap time I could spend some time cleaning... but here are the things I would rather be doing during nap time in no particular order of importance:
  • Writing my blog
  • Catching up on TV (hello... HBO's "Game of Thrones")
  • Napping
  • Writing lists ("To Do", "Grocery", etc)
  • Meal Planning
  • Reading
  • Looking at Facebook
  • Picking my teeth

So here is how my cleaning schedule works now: I tend to vacuum when I look at the floor and think "my God, Chloe is crawling around on this."  Or I dust if I see Chloe or Evan put something in their mouth that just sat in a pile of dust.  And, I do laundry when Brian tells me he is almost out of socks or when I putting the kids in something that fits "enough."  I've gone the "as needed" route rather than the "preemptive" route.

And, using my excellent skills of rationalization, I've decided my way is good because, 1) it will make my children healthy as adults (since it will probably introduce them to germs), 2) it means I have more time to play with my children, and 3) hopefully it will teach my children that there are more important things than base boards that shine.

I mean, don't get me wrong, my house is still clean (we aren't stepping over day old pizza or anything like that) but if your sandwich falls on the floor let's just say I wouldn't pick it up and continue to eat it if I were you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Between driving back and forth to New Jersey, Evan going to school, play dates, still trying to find places for everything I unpack, Chloe growing up, and time-outs (there are a lot of time-outs), I feel like I've been living my life in snippets so that is how I'll share what has happened recently.

Chloe can now kiss.  I don't mean she blows kisses, she actually kisses.  If you ask her for a kiss, she opens her mouth and leans right now.  She then usually follows up by clapping.  It's enough to make me give her anything she wants - thankfully she can't yet ask for anything.

Chloe also got a nasty diaper rash.  We went to the doctors.  Chloe had a blast crawling all over the office in her diaper:

Evan didn't have quite as much fun but he still hung in there:

We went back to New Jersey this past weekend since my niece was the lead in a musical (and she was fabulous).  While we were there Evan, Chloe, and I had a chance to catch up with old friends:

I finally got my hair cut.  And after living in many different places and trying out many different hair stylists, I can't tell you how awesome it is to be close enough to the hair dresser who did my hair for almost 20 years before I moved to Texas.  She is truly an artist:

As Chloe becomes her own person more and more Evan becomes a little more jealous and acts out... mostly by pushing his sister down.  He now puts himself in time out and runs there while laughing.  I used to say that when Chloe got big enough I would look the other way and let her get 2 hits in... we're now up to 3 hits.  I'm afraid the number will just increase.

Chloe is still not walking but keeps taking a step or two each day.  She is talking more than Evan did at this age.

Evan made a friend - a little boy who lives just down the street who will turn 3 in September.  He has a little sister who is 7 months old.  Evan is quite smitten with Xavier and asks to see him a couple times a week (we've had 2 play dates with him). 

No matter how organized I try to be I'm still always behind... and that seems to be as good as it gets.

Monday, April 16, 2012

All About the Little Girl

First off, let me address something up front.  This is the second post in a row that is about Chloe.  Well, she is on my mind a lot lately because my little girl is almost my big girl... she turns 1 in 20 days.... this is less than 3 weeks people.  In addition to this her "accomplishments" are starting to steamroll.  So I need somewhere to record all of this and isn't that the purpose of this blog?

Some of the Foods Chloe Eats:
Disclaimer - When Chloe first started solid food I was being all good about only giving her something new every 3 days... blah blah blah... and then I found out Evan was feeding her everything he ate so all bets were off.  And I can't remember everything I feed her but if we eat it I try to give her some.
  • Pork - and she loves pork (just like her momma)... she's had ham, Canadian bacon, pork chops and she loves it all
  • Beef - another favorite... glad I'm instilling good and healthy eating habits :)
  • Chicken - can take it or leave it
  • Pears - LOVES
  • Apples - can take them or leave them
  • Cheddar cheese - yes, yes, yes
  • Yogurt - any kind so far
  • Smoothies (with almond milk, mixed berries or mango) - it's like cold soup for her
  • Cheerios - so over these once real food was introduced
  • Carrots - well cooked of course
  • Meatballs - she is I-talian
  • Scrambled eggs with cheese - depends on the day
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal (with brown sugar, milk - often almond milk, and sometimes jelly) - could eat an adults portion in one sitting
The Foods Evan Feeds Chloe:
  • Goldfish
  • Graham Crackers
  • Dried pineapple
  • Chocolate
  • Bread
  • Potato Chips
  • Andes mints
  • Cookies
Chloe's Accomplishments:
  • Claps
  • Waves hello/goodbye
  • Stands / cruises - has taken a few steps alone
  • Dances
  • Holds a car to her ear like a telephone
  • PLAYS with TOYS - this is in caps because Evan never played with toys and still doesn't - but little girl will spend 20 minutes just rolling a car back and forth
  • Intelligible words she says: "night night", "uh-oh", "hi", "Chlo-Chlo"
  • Feeds herself - with her fingers, no silverware as of yet
  • Uses a sippy cup.... finally
  • Blows kisses
  • Pets cats
Some of Chloe's Favorite Things:

1. The Water Table - We bought a water table for our backyard.  Mostly we bought it for Evan since he is obsessed with water and we figured this would give him something to play with in our backyard.  Surprisingly, it's Chloe who spends the most time at it.  The other day she stood around it for almost an hour - putting things in, taking them out.  Meanwhile, Evan played with it, played on the deck, took everything apart on the table, poured the water out, etc.  Chloe just played and played.

2. Evan - Chloe still loves her brother best of all.  When he goes to school she doesn't know what to do with herself.  When he is put in time out in his bedroom she crawls back to his door and they play underneath the door (completely defeating the purpose of time out of course).  And of she wakes up from her afternoon nap first, she crawls back to his door, drops to her belly, and screams underneath his door until he wakes up.  When he isn't around something is just missing for her.

3. Swings - you could probably push Chloe in a swing for at least an hour if not more.  She just loves sitting in it, getting pushed, and watching all the children at the playground. 

4. Crawling at the playground - Daddy has started this new thing where he puts Chloe on the play set at the playground.  Chloe just takes off.  She climbs up a ramp, up a flight of stairs (yes, all by herself), across a bridge (which I'm underneath taking the below picture) and then she and Daddy go down a slide together.  If you put her back at the beginning she does the whole circuit again.  She is just a maniac.

This is a video of her crawling across the bridge and then startling a little boy who probably isn't expecting an 11 month old to be crawling up so high:

5. Water Ice - no, Chloe hasn't embraced the goth sub-culture (yet at least) but she does have oddly blue lips.  This is because after the park we sometimes walk over to an ice cream / water ice store where I get blue raspberry water ice and where Chloe starts to flail like a mad woman until you give her some.  And this is how she looks afterwards.

I'm having some growing pains so there may be a few more posts about her "growing up" before I can let it go.  I mean, it's so bad that I teared up the other day watching a commercial where a father is watching his little girl drive a car but his little girl is actually 16... clearly I still have some pregnancy hormones... right?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Little Girl vs. The Climbing Thing

I know you are going to be completely shocked by this, but this morning we went to the park.  I know, who would have thunk it?  And recently, since the weather is starting to get warmer and since Chloe is starting to get more independent, I allow her to roam the parks with supervision.
At the park we went to today (dubbed the "close park" because it is right down the street) there is a really cool climbing octagon.  When we first moved here it was something Evan felt he needed to conquer.  He does a pretty good job of it now:

And little girl has been clearly watching her brother because she went right to it this morning:

She was "climbing" but she was jumping over those bars like an expert.  She wasn't even remotely scared of her brother coming down:

And in case you don't believe me that she was mobile around this climbing thing, check out this video:

After about 20 minutes of this I had to put a stop to it (mostly because Evan took off to another part of the park).  And it was time to go home so we could start the lunch dance.

While at the park it seemed like Chloe had definitely been the victor in the battle versus the climbing thing but on the way home the true winner was apparent:

Little girl was down for the count.  The climbing thing won.

It didn't beat Evan though:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why You Don't Give a Toddler Your iPhone

This was going to be a post about Easter.  I was going to tell you how nice it is to live close enough to family that you can drive to see them on a holiday for which you normally wouldn't travel.  I was going to share with you tons of photos of Evan, Chloe, and their cousins all playing together.

I was going to tell you how much Evan loves his cousins (Chloe too, but at her age she loves attention from anyone).  How once he sees his cousins I no longer exist.  He follows them wherever they go, tries to do whatever they are doing, and I think he would move in with them if my sister would let him. 

I was going to share with you how seeing Evan with his cousins makes me remember my Connecticut cousins*.  How when my mom said we were going to visit my Uncle Tom the only thing I could think about was playing with my cousins.  When I remember those visits my parents are not in my memory.  I remember playing in the pool with my cousins, I remember going on a double date (I was the 5th wheel) to a drive-in movie theater with two of my cousins (and I believe one of the dates married my cousin Suzy), and I remember going to Dairy Queen because someone was always working there.  But I can't tell you if my parents were even there or if they just dropped us off.  And I hope that Evan has the same memories some day.

I was even going to use this post to tell you about my amazing nieces and nephew.  How my sister, and her husband of course, have raised children that I'm more than happy for Evan to emulate (well, maybe not all the daredevil things my nephew does).  My nieces and nephew are the type of people that you want as friends for your children.  They are smart, kind, active, and interesting children.  It was sad for me when I thought that Evan and Chloe wouldn't be able to spend as much time with their cousins as I did with mine.

But, I can't tell you all of these things in this post.  See, yesterday Chloe was scarfing down scrambled egg and I wanted to take a picture of her face and clothes all covered with egg.  I grabbed my iPhone and went to turn on my camera app.  However, the icon wasn't there.  I looked all over my phone and couldn't find it.  The only explanation I could think of was that Evan, who always plays on my phone - his games, videos, and pictures - accidentally deleted the icon (which apparently is difficult to do). 

I remembered that my husband had backed up my phone a couple of weeks ago so I knew I could restore it.  So I plugged it in and restored it.  The camera app re-appeared.  Then, last night, I went to write a post about Easter and all of my pictures were gone... everything from the last two weeks.  Turns out that when you restore your phone you restore EVERYTHING so that it looks exactly like it did 2 weeks ago.  I'm sure for some people this is a "duh" but I didn't really think this through.

So, all I have from our weekend are 2 photos that I took with my iPhone then emailed (and made the resolution smaller) to my in-laws of Evan and Chloe at Easter.  Enjoy... and be careful when you let a toddler play with your iPhone (or make sure you are backing up into the cloud like I'm doing now).

Chloe in her Easter best (sadly, the bow did not last)

Evan in his Easter best (of course he is around musical instruments)

*I have awesome cousins in other places too... two even grew up in the same town as me.  But my Connecticut cousins were special because I only got to see them every once in a while.  The same way that I LOVE pumpkin pie but probably wouldn't love it so much if I ate it more often than Thanksgiving.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

10 Reasons My Children Are Smarter Than You

Why Evan is Smarter Than You
  1. ABCDs.  That is what Evan calls his alphabet.  You probably call your alphabet the "ABCs" and I'm sure you think that your way makes more sense.  But, take a second and sing the song in your head... now who makes more sense?
  2. Pajamas are comfortable during the day and clothes are over-rated.  I'm sure that most mornings you wake up, take off your pajamas, shower, and get dressed in clothes.  Evan doesn't and he probably things you're nuts.  You see, if your pajamas were comfortable enough to sleep in then why wouldn't they be comfortable enough to wear during the day?  Lost of days Evan keeps his pajam tops on (he would keep on his bottoms too but I refuse to allow him to wear belt-less pants since that usually leads to no pants, no diaper, and peeing in my shower.  Some days Evan chooses to only wear his diaper.  This means he has no tight clothing to deal with, no zippers eating in to his skin, no adjusting... now who's smarter?
  3. Being friendly will get you friends.  I know, this one sounds like it's common sense.  But when you walk down the street do you say "hi" to everyone you see?  Do you make sure to wave at garbage men, construction workers, and postmen?  Evan does.  And you know what, people stop to say hi back (yes, even when we lived in East Atlanta even though I wasn't always excited about who stopped to say hi).  This is how I've met most people in my neighborhood... because Evan is friendly.
  4. If adults like you, then you can get away with murder.  Most of us try to be sly when we do bad things.  Not Evan, he makes you believe he could never do anything bad and then does it right in front of your face.  But, by that point you are so "under his spell" you can't believe it's happening.  For instance, at his school in Atlanta, my well-adjusted child started to steal snack off of other children's plates.  He waited to do this until everyone at the school thought he was so good he didn't even need to be watched.  And when they told me... they were laughing.  He got away with it (and this works on mommy too).
  5. Music is the common language.  I can't tell you how many times we've been at the park and Evan has made friends because he started to sing with someone.  What I'm saying is that when Evan wants to play with someone who doesn't speak English, HE DOESN'T JUST  SCREAM AT THEM TO SEE IF THEY WILL UNDERSTAND ENGLISH LOUDER.

Why Chloe is Smarter Than You
  1. If it doesn't taste good then don't play with it. I'm thinking that if more people adhered to this policy then there would be fewer problems.  Seriously, how many drugs actually taste good (they make you feel good... but taste good)? 
  2. Both hands should be full at the same time - always.  The other day Chloe was walking around with a piece of graham cracker in each hand (I know, she eats everything, Evan feeds her like she's a pet) and because both hands were full she couldn't play with the screw that Evan had left on the floor (please don't ask me why Evan had a screw).  There are a lot of  bad things that Chloe avoids this way (unless of course her hands are full of bad things... but that is a different story).
  3. Silence gets you more attention than crying.  This seems to go against the cliche of "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" but Chloe has figured this one out.  Think about it, if Chloe is crying I know exactly where she is and based on the kind of cry I know if I have to go get her right away, if I have a couple of minutes, or if she will be able to soothe herself.  But, if I'm doing dishes and all the sudden I can't remember when was the last time I heard Chloe, I'm off lookin for her immediately.  Most of the time she is just sitting around playing somewhere, but it was the silence that got my attention.
  4. There is no such thing as too much of a good thing. I never understood the concept that you can have too much of a good thing and neither does Chloe.  If one egg is good then two eggs are fabulous. And if she doesn't want the second egg then it's no longer a good thing and she won't eat it.  It's all perspective.
  5. Taking her stuff is not okay.  Too often, as grown-ups we allow people to take some things, not like our TV, but like our pens and other miscellaneous items.  Chloe would tell you it is NEVER okay to take something.  She will cry and let you know.  This does not mean she won't share, it means you can not "take."  And maybe we shouldn't let people take either.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Only To Me

I don't mean this as a "woe is me" post since most of the things that happen to me aren't bad they are just weird.  And I can't figure out if they truly only happen to me or if I'm the only one who is willing to publicly talk about them.

Like when I was 17 and my wallet was stolen out of my purse on a bus in Italy and then 6 months later I received a package from the Florentine police that had my wallet with everything in it but the cash.  Or how once when Brian and I were driving down Boulevard in the Old Fourth Ward one night in Atlanta (if Atlanta had projects this would be where they would be but since Atlanta doesn't have projects instead you just find the apartments of slum lords here) and Brian and I saw a Mexican (not common in this area of Atlanta) riding a saddled horse down the street from a gas station... in the middle of the city.  I kid you not.

So, while what happened today was yet again weird, I don't find it uncommon.

Evan, Chloe, and I were at the park (what a surprise) and a wave of children had just left so it was just the 3 of us left at the park.  I parked my double stroller next to a bench and Evan was playing on the slides while Chloe crawled around (and I tried to make sure she didn't eat anything too lethal).  Evan wanted a snack (his precious goldfish) and I turned around and saw a squirrel close to our stroller struggling with something.  I decided I should be the one to go over and get the snack and shoo the squirrel away.  As I got closer I noticed what the squirrel had - a big Ziploc bag that had smaller Ziploc bags of snacks (specifically graham cracker goldfish and freeze dried bananas).  It was MY Ziploc bag.  So this meant that the squirrel had to climb in to the bottom of my stroller, go in to my diaper bag and drag this bag out. 

I was in awe.  Check out the squirrel in this video:

Evan wasn't sure if he should be scared or amused.  I think I finally won him over to amazed.  Apparently when I go to the park I have to bring my snacks in an air tight container.  Who knew?

And come one, to how many people does this happen?