Thursday, February 27, 2014

100% maple awesome.

AW reminds me of a little elf sometimes.  He's small. He's cute. He has lots of energy. He looks good in striped leggings. And here is another reason...he now prefers his breakfasts completely doused in maple syrup.

The similarities here are uncanny:
 See how he's keeping tabs on that syrup?  He's not letting it out of his reach.

First, it was just the breakfast sausage.  Sure, no big deal. But then one morning, he asked for it on his eggs.  So, being tired and just wanting to drink my coffee in peace, I obliged.  And guess what?  He ate all the eggs on his plate and actually ASKED FOR MORE.  It was a breakthrough.

See this beautiful breakfast I made?  Let's make it even better...
There we go.  Now it's edible!

What is a mom to do when your two year old spits out the phrase "mo' see'up peeeeeaaaaaaasssseee, mom?"  You give your adorable child as much syrup as his little heart desires.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

F is for fun outing fail.

AW and I checked out another library story time and this time it was a hit! Tip: give a toddler jingle bells to play with and you shall win their heart forever.  And we made a cute puppy craft. We named him Brownie. And again, as all crafts seem to go these days, AW lovingly destroyed him on the car ride home.

Sorry, Brownie. This is why we are in a no dogs for pets holding zone.  

So thinking that AW has really turned a corner here with story times, I had the great idea that we should check out the story time at Barnes & Noble. We also haven't bought any new books in a while, so two birds with one stone. And Starbucks. Three birds. Bam.  

We were also meeting friends there that we hadn't seen in a while (random shout out here to M&M!  Hey!) so all in all I thought this was going to be a grand success. And this is how it went:

At approximately 9 am I begin telling AW that we are going somewhere fun today.  He says "No.  Play cars." I keep mentioning that we are leaving as I get everything ready to go.  I keep getting met with: "No.  Play cars.  Watch TT (how he says TV, oh how adorable).  Take bath..." This goes on until 10:15 am when I finally just shove him in the car.

10:15-10:45 Car ride there: AW whining. DW crying because AW is whining. Give AW the kindle so he can watch Cars 2 for the one thousandth time. He says he's hungry. Give him Mott's applesauce pack. This is how we arrive at B&N:  
I will spare the picture of the kindle covered in applesauce for HW's sake.  (note:  all turned out well for the kindle and, yes, I realize it may have been a bad idea to give him the applesauce in hindsight).

10:55 Starbucks. Yay.  

11:00 Story time. Not yay. Pretty much the second we roll up to the children's section AW has decided that all the world of B&N is evil and he must cling to me for safety. Meanwhile DW just chills out in the stroller playing peekaboo with himself and his hat flap because no one has time for the adorable 6 month old. Sigh. (Wish I had a picture of this but of course I had no time to take one, so here's an old one of him in the same hat.)

The fun time I thought we would have picking out some new books turns into a rushed, frazzled mess.  AW keeps pinching my legs to get me to go wherever the crazy voices in his toddler brain are telling him to go and he refuses to socialize with the other children or look at the books I am trying to show him.  

12:00 We head to lunch and the whining continues.  The waitress is scared. They can't make the grilled cheese fast enough.  Then AW intentionally spills water on his pants. Why do I keep giving this kid food? I don't even remember what I ate or talked about in the following hour.

12:55 We exit the restaurant and some lady makes a "whoa that thing's big" comment in reference to my double stroller. Hey, lady, no one talks about my city select stroller that way. You wouldn't know a good double stroller if I ran you over with it. It's awesome, so keep your "I obviously do not have any small children" comments to yourself. 

1:00 we are all done and shoved back into the car, wet pants and all. 

Fun outing fail.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

A very happy half-birthday to you!

DW is six months old today!  Happy 1/2 birthday buddy!
Ok, I know celebrating a "half" birthday may seem silly to some people.  Heck, I was one of those people when kid #1 was born.  But life happens and perspectives change, and well, we needed another reason to make some cupcakes around here.

No, I didn't let him eat the cupcake.  Naturally, I took it and ate it in front of him and told him I was doing him a favor, like any good mom would do.

AW enjoyed our little party too.
Then he got drunk on sugar and demanded to sit in the Bumbo seat.
Then he gave DW the old "when I was your age Bumbo seats didn't even have safety straps" lecture.
Seriously, who invited this guy?  

But seriously with all light-hearted joking aside, I mentioned before that perspectives change sometimes.  About two years ago, a mom friend of mine lost her child just days after he turned six months old.  He was the same age as AW, so the news of his passing was particularly painful, as I held my son and could feel the true weight of what she had just lost.

Before the accident that took Milo, his parents celebrated his six month milestone with a little cake and a "1/2" candle. The image of him eyeing up that sweet cake in the pictures they took that day live in my heart.  Now, suddenly, half birthdays seem just as much a reason to count your joys as real birthdays.

Little Milo's memory is dear to our hearts in this household.  Over the past two years, I think of him quite often.  I think of him and his parents, who are two amazing, built from rock-strength people, and his new little brother who is DW's age.  His mom advocates for car seat safety in honor of Milo so that other parents do not have to know her pain.  Though Milo was properly secured in his car seat it is still her mission to make sure that kids are riding as safely as possible.  If you are unsure of how to properly use your child's car seat, I urge you to educate yourself.  This is a great place to start:

It seems incredible to me that DW has been with us half a year already and in the next six months he will learn to sit and crawl and maybe even walk.  And by the end of summer I will have a one year old.  It simply goes by all too fast.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sleep troubles.

Things have been a bit off kilter this week and I just haven't found the time to sit down and gather my thoughts.  Mainly because of this guy.  Remember him?

Isn't he cute?  Good ol' DW. He will turn six months old tomorrow!  Where has the time gone?  My sweet, perfect boy, who has been having a major "going to bed and staying asleep" issue this week.

Life around here gets a bit hectic.  And usually the first person who loses out is the happy-go-lucky baby. DW really has no set schedule so we rarely work around his napping needs.  Some days, I hate to say it, but the poor kid doesn't get more than 20 minutes sleep because we are so busy running around.  He's such a happy baby during the day that if he misses out on sleep he doesn't show it...until bedtime, of course.  And then this is the riveting drama I spend my evenings glued to:
We just can't seem to find the magic solution to his sleep issues.  He really makes no logical sense. I figured since he wasn't napping a lot during the day, I would try an earlier bedtime. Yeah, no.  Earlier bedtime just led to being wide awake at 9PM...which led to this:  
 Up watching the Olympics with mom instead of sleeping.  
He was transfixed by the Nancy Kerrigan/ Tonya Harding story. 

Figure skating is pretty awesome, so I couldn't deny him watching a bit. 

Being a second time mom here, I know everything there is to know about infant sleep.  But... I still can't seem to harness that information into anything useable that works for my kids.  I'm just over here messing it all up.  Kid #1 is never just like kid #2.  

I am having a tough time observing a real pattern with his sleep. At least not one my battered mom brain can figure out.  Sometimes he needs to nurse to sleep, sometimes he needs to fall asleep on his own, sometimes he likes his magical seahorse, sometimes it only makes him cry more, sometimes he likes to roll onto his tummy, sometimes he screams for me to roll him back over, sometimes he goes to bed fine at 6:30, sometimes he doesn't seem to want to settle down until 9 PM, sometimes he's up either just a few times, sometimes he wakes every hour.  I just can't figure the little bugger out.  I kind of realize his problem is that he has no real schedule during the day and maybe we should start figuring one out.  And let's all cross our fingers tonight is the night he will magically learn to Sleep Through The Night.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The number you have dialed is busy. Please try your call again later.

Sorry no new posts in a while.  We are really busy over here eating very large tortillas.  'Kay bye.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Too much time at the park today.

Today was a "my kid is crying whilst eating mac and cheese because he wants mac and cheese" kind of day.

We spent the better part of the day (2.5 hours at least) at the park.  We swung on the swings, slid down the slides, met some crazy characters and went home kicking and screaming.

Early bedtimes for all!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chocolate minefield.

We are getting pretty low on chocolate around here.  So I had to open up the old Russell Stover assorted "fine chocolates" heart.  Oh, how cute.  They give you a little chocolate map.
I guess life is not like a box of these chocolates at all.  I know exactly what I am getting.  And I don't like it one bit.  Just reading "apricot cream," "molasses chew," and "roman nougat" makes my mouth unhappy. I know I am in for disappointment but I am desperate here.  So I tried a few.  Here, Russell Stover, I made a new chocolate map for you:
Now I have to get a glass of wine to wash the taste of roman nougat out of my mouth.  Your chocolate is the worst.  Crappiest filling choices ever. That's all I have to say about that.

Snowy day at the park.

Today was the first day in what felt like weeks that it was over 20 degrees outside.  Perfect makings for a trip to the park.  What I love about living on post is that there is a huge playground steps from our front door.

DW napped the whole time in his Ergo carrier (he was tired from being up all last evening because he knew it was a new Walking Dead and Downton Abbey episode night).  Oh, that guy.

It was pretty warm but AW decided to wear his hat anyway (to cover up his mom-cut.)
This particular park has a section dedicated for the EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) children which is why it is gated off from the other part of the park.  This is great for toddlers.  Keep those little energy balls enclosed.  But if you have a "grass is always greener on the other side" kind of child like mine, you will constantly have to open the gate because he can't decide which side is more fun.
There was still a lot of snow out.  The ground was a soggy, muddy mess.  There were some deceptively large puddles out there hidden in those snowdrifts.  We took an imaginary boat trip to Jamaica for pina coladas.
We both came home with wet feet.  All in all today was a pretty good day.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mastering the mom-cut.

As a stay at home mom you have to wear many hats - banker, cook, maid, secretary.   Sometimes you even get to play barber.  

Want to know the secrets of giving a great at-home haircut to your kids?  First, go out and get yourself a cute kids size hair clipper like this:

Then, put that in a drawer until they are seven. Because at two, it will make them cry. Next step:  just go get some hair scissors and a comb.  

I like to cut AW's hair in the bath.  Easy clean up.  Here's a tip:  don't get the hair wet.  It will just confuse you.  Take some hair in the comb and then grab a section and pull up between your index and middle fingers to make a clean even cut.  As you begin to cut your toddler will turn their head.   Do not get discouraged.  Just keep cutting.  There will be moments where you will doubt you are doing it correctly.  And rest assured, you are not.  

Before you know it you will have an awesome hair cut like this to show off to all your mom friends.  And you can say proudly, "I did it all by myself!"

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The dishes are done, man.

My absolute least favorite household chore is washing dishes.  Yet cooking three homemade meals a day, one tends to end up with a lot of dirty dishes.

Remember how I mentioned we had no hot water because of a burst pipe?  Yeah, that is still happening.  And guess what?  The dishwasher doesn't work without hot water.  And guess what?  Hand washing dishes in freezing cold water is very disagreeable.  So I have had to heat water in the tea kettle and dump it into the sink.
This is insanity to me and much more work then I feel I signed up for.  When are these amazing robot maids going to be invented?  It's 2014 already for goodness sake.  I fully expected to have a robot maid by now.  Smart people, can we get on that?  Otherwise I'm going to have to keep putting this guy to work.
Note how AW has to lean on the radiator because he is so tired from all the work I make him do around here.  Just kidding.  He loves the vacuum.

But, I digress.  Back to whining about the dishes.  To add insult to injury, this happened:
And this is why we register for 12 place settings, people.  Because one day your dishes will get reckless and spontaneously leap from the counter knowing full well that Crate and Barrel discontinued the pattern.

It's a good thing there is a lot of Valentine's chocolate still left over.  But if this hot water pipe situation doesn't resolve itself soon I'm going to start reenacting scenes from classic 90s movies.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Another V-Day in the books.

I've never been a big fan of V-day, but it is a holiday that involves chocolate candy, so it's not all bad in my book.  My plan for today was to make some red velvet cupcakes, take some cute pictures of the boys, have a nice homemade dinner with HW and then some wine.  Simple and not too sappy, right? Here's my cute pic:

Don't let them fool you with their sweet smiles.  They were total brats today.  AW woke up last night because his room was insanely hot (thanks 1950s sucky heaters) so I brought him into our room.  He decided to stay awake for the next two hours playing with MVGC (the cat) and lovingly caressing our faces as we tried to sleep.  It was really cute.  Really.  Until you realize it's 4 am and you NEED to sleep.  So since he didn't get enough sleep last night, AW was a cranky pants jerk all day, and well, I was one too.  He "helped" me make the cupcakes.
Prep time listed on the recipe:  20 minutes.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  Oh, Paula Deen, you are funny.  When you have kids, here is how you calculate recipe prep time: multiply the "suggested" prep time by the number of kids you have and then raise that to the fourth power, if you have good nappers divide by three, if you have bad nappers add 30= it took me around four hours to make these damn cupcakes.
Yes, I realize my frosting abilities need work.  The day kind of spiraled downward from there.  We put the kids to bed early and I've got a whole lot of dishes to wash and no hot water in my sink (thanks 100 year old house and burst pipes).  So I am eating cupcakes over the sink like Paul Rudd while HW writes another paper.  Happy stupid Valentine's Day. At least there is yoga tomorrow to look forward to.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Toddler gym time.

Today was AW's first toddler gym class.  So exciting, right?  Good news - he LOVED it.  Bad news - I've got that kid.  You know, THAT kid who doesn't listen or follow directions, exploring wildly through the place as if it was the first time we've introduced him to the outside world.  Here he is trying to eat a bubble:

The teacher started the class with some cute floor warm-up exercises.  All the good little boys and girls sat with their moms and attempted to follow along with the stretches. And I sat alone as AW sprung around the mat like a cracked up maniac.  I think sometimes he is composed of pure rubber. Then we did some obstacle courses and he just could not get the concept of following and taking turns.  They do learn to listen and follow directions at some point, right? 

Second bit of bad news - he's terrible at gymnastics.  His forward roll was disastrous, he kept falling off the balance beam and he could not, literally, grasp the concept of the bar.  
But I can still dream that one day he will be a future Olympian, right?  Stick that landing little buddy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I made you a valentine. And then I ripped it in half.

We have been checking out local story times at a few libraries this week.  Which means Valentine's crafts have been afoot.  This is what I have learned:  AW is not into crafts so much.  This heart person was pretty much my own handiwork, except for the little scribble there.  Yep, right there, that one little scribble.

So he looked adorable as he carried his little heart craft through the library and into the parking lot and cuddled him into his car seat.  And then he ripped him in half.  And then said, "Mom, fix."  Sorry, kid.  Broken hearts are not that easily mended.

My characters.

The inhabitants of Fort Nonsense:

We are going to use initials here and we are going to have fun with them.

1.  AW (pronounced a-dubs) is my two year old.  Smart, handsome, completely self-centered and more than mildly insane.  He loves reading, pretending to be a cat, playing Cars and talking on the phone.

2.  DW (d-dubya) is my almost (gasp) six month old.  He is all smiles and sweetness.  He likes drooling, losing his socks and keeping me up all night.

3.  HW (hub-dubs or hubya-dubya, whichever you prefer).  He is a really busy guy and has no time for pictures or hobbies. 

4.  MVGC (short for Millie Von Glitterclaws). No, we are not those sort of people who give their own last name to their pets.  That would just be silly.  That would also mean that she is part of our family.  She's not one of us.  She is a hot mess of fur all unto herself.  She loves puking and napping.

5.  ...and then there's me.  I like Downton Abbey, wine, chocolate and using Instagram to make myself look Lo-Fi.

Surrounded by insanity.

Emerson writes, "A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic."  Ain't that the truth.  I have two lunatics orbiting me -  making me mad, making me laugh, making me tired, making me see a spectrum of raw emotion - moaning and wailing one moment, giggling and gurgling in just a beat.  Hopping madly around my kitchen, babbling incoherently, demanding things wildly, planting kisses unabashedly.  Changing their minds radically, one budding idea to the next, repeating things ad nauseam as if it is new each and every time. My days go from the sublime to the ridiculous in the instant of a breath. And it is all glorious. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Military kid problems.

Military kid problems:  What makes the trauma of daddy leaving every day just a little bit more unbearable?  Thinking every guy who walks by in a uniform is your dad coming back home.  

Darn those ACUs.


Welcome to my story.  I'm glad to have you following along.

Professor Bhaer tells Jo March to write "what you know."  So she does and finds success.  I struggled for years to find my story.  I have a yellow, curling writing degree and three 200 page unfinished novels strewn along old flash drives with no direction, where nothing happens, my poor characters treading water with no life preservers on the way.  Self-doubt and timidity rusting my typing joints. Somewhere in the last few years life started happening.  My husband happened, the Army happened, and my children happened.

So here I am now.  This is what I know: 1 am feedings, 3 am feedings, 6 am feedings.  Sticky hands, spilled milk.  Play date mornings, park afternoons.  Tantrums and timeout.  Caillou cartoons and chocolate binges. Ring slings, strollers, car seat safety, baby led weaning and myriad of other mom-things.

I also know being lost in the world of my children, parenting alone because the "job" comes first, struggling to find a balance for us all.  Anger management and patience and "daddy will be home soon."

Connecting distances and map dots of displaced friends.  Endings and beginnings and pauses amid a background of constant change - a new station, a new unit, a looming deployment, a new child on the way. A missed funeral, a missed wedding, more birthdays and the constant disconnecting from your old home. Moving sight unseen into little pockets of the world and building our own little fort of nonsense with walls to keep the happiness in. And inviting in strangers who become family along the way.

This is my world and I'd like to share it and hope to have a lot of laughs along the way.  So let it begin.