Category Archives: Family

Behold The Rice Cake Monster

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Picture this.

It’s Saturday, and I’m dragging both my husband and Avery to grocery shop.  I know I could get it done faster if I went alone, but what fun would that be?

Avery’s bottle is due in 2.5 hours, so I obviously have TONS of time to get us all to the grocery store, get the shopping done, and make it back here in time for his you-better-not-be-late bottle. 

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

We’re rounding the corner into the freezer section (I forgot breakfast and a frozen pizza for $2.67 sounded ideal), and then the kicking, fussing monster starts.  Holy hell, his bottle is 20 minutes overdue.  Yeah, my sense of time these days is um…not present.  I, of course, didn’t pack one because that would make it too easy.

Cue the rice cakes.  Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine Avery would look at an apple cinnamon rice cake and then devour it like that crazy blue monster we all love so much.  I had tossed some in the cart at the start of the trip just to see if he’d take to them. 

While the groceries were being bagged, I forked over a rice cake and watched my little man look at the not-too-sweet disc and immediately start nibbling.  He ate the whole thing.  I was impressed.

Cookie Monster is awesome and all, but my Rice Cake Monster is the best. 

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The Change-Up

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Look at that happy couple.  Full of wine and anxious to close the deal on their new house. 

This picture was taken at a good friend’s wedding approximately 3 months before that fateful Friday.  I will forever remember January 15, 2010 as the day I peed on a stick, and my life changed forever.  It was that day that I found out I was pregnant with my son – certainly the most drastically altering day of my life.

Up until this point, this blog has been an inaccurate reflection of me.  While I greatly appreciate all of the full-time-stay-at-home-mommies that can survive on 10 cents a day, home school their children, do all the housework, AND have 6 well-rounded children – I have not been given those super powers. 

My super powers are collecting Guinness-worthy cat fur balls in the recesses of my messy living room, finding new and creative ways of getting dried food off my ceramic floors, making up new songs about anything and everything to distract my son, and finding diapers at less than 20 cents each. 

I just want to be myself – my sarcastic, slightly neurotic, in-it-to-win-it self. 

I’ll be writing what I feel, when I want, and only using a PG-13 filter.  That’s what a blog is all about anyway, right?  I’ve experienced the vise-like pressure of conformity, and let’s just say….Been there, done that, threw away the t-shirt.

At some point, I’ll get around to doing a full bio (in all its glory) on my about page, but until then, I hope you’re not too puzzled by the abridged version.

So back to the photo.  It’s a great reminder of who I was before that fateful January day, and I will forever be in debt to the photographer, but….and this is a big but (ha)…that chapter has ended and the new pages are often writing themselves before I even have a chance to eat breakfast or put on pants in the morning.  The new pages are written by a true master – a boy named Avery.  He is my main focus is life, so why not accurately represent that in my blog?

I’ll leave you with a highly-coveted photo of the great one.  As for me, I’m off to scrape Cheerios off the floor and mainline some coffee.

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Destroyer of the To-Do List

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A year ago, if you asked me if I were a procrastinator, I’d say that my procrastination days ended long ago…when I was 17…Thanksgiving weekend…when I thought the police would show up at my house…and drag me out…kicking and screaming.   What????

Oh yes, everything you read is correct. 

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving around 6 pm, and I decided to finally clean out my car.  When I got the the backseat, long after “normal business hours”, I discovered the speeding ticket that was due to be paid a week prior.  In a panic, I called the phone number at the bottom (the police department) to discover that there was no one I could talk to about it and yes, that meant that technically there was a warrant out for my arrest.

Cue the hyperventilation, adrenaline rush, and absolute and utter panic attack.

After this horrible incident I decided not to procrastinate ever…again.  Well, with anything serious.

So…when I look at my blog and see that I haven’t posted anything in a month, that forever-burned-in-my-brain panic creeps up, and I wonder, “Why can’t I just write a post?”

See that cute little boy in the picture?  His name is Avery, and HE is the reason.  And to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

These are just a few of the reasons I haven’t written in awhile:

Digging cat food out of his mouth, kissing his finger after his toy bit him, picking up all of the DVDs he’s removed from the shelf (again), collecting yards of toilet paper he’s decided to share with the rest of the house, sweeping up Cheerios and other partially chewed food he’s launched at the floor, pre-treating all of his clothes and their unidentifiable stains, washing his bottles, cutting his food into bite-sized pieces, changing yet another diaper, chasing him, wondering if and when he’ll ever stop 1) drooling and 2) putting EVERYTHING into his mouth….

This list is endless but the big picture it all creates is my cute and happy baby. 

So to all those babies out there who like to destroy your Mommy’s to-do lists, keep on destroying – we secretly love it.

My Little Fish

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My First Swimming Pool Adventure

I remember when I was 9 years old and my mom signed me up for swimming lessons at the local pool. It seemed like it would be a fun and exciting, but I was still nervous. Even today, I’m not one for being examined in front of others (and really, how many of us can say we are?) so the thought that I had to learn things and be critiqued was kind of daunting.

I had always been a fan of being at the pool. I knew I couldn’t go out to the deep end because I’d sink, but I don’t think I was aware that I couldn’t officially swim. I knew how to dog-paddle, and I really thought that’s what swimming was.

Avery has always been a HUGE fan of water.  He has kicked and splashed and shown signs of extreme excitement during his baths since day 1.  I knew it was crucial to get my little fish in a pool at an early age so he could learn to swim. 

When our local recreation center called the “Rec-Plex” released its summer classes and camps, I registered him for an indoor infant swim class as soon as their online system would let me.  (These classes have a maximum of 8 children per class and fill up extremely fast.)

We bought him a pair of swim trunks (see above – aren’t they cute?), a pack of swim diapers (I scored an amazing deal at Walgreens a few weeks ago and got 11 of them for $2.99), a tube of SPF 55 sunscreen, and he has a sun hat with SPF 50 built in.  Ready to swim!

We are very lucky and live at the entrance to a city park that has a really nice swimming pool.  And it just so happens that the weather was perfect for swimming this past weekend, and the pool was open. 

We lathered ourselves with sunscreen, dug out or bathing suit and swim trunks, loaded the car with the necessary supplies, and made our way to the pool. 

The kiddie pool was empty when we got there and for a good reason – the pool crew seemed to forget to skim all the wonderful bugs out of it – ick. 

I did a visual scan of the “big pool” filled with LOTS of screaming, splashing children and decided we could sit on the stairs leading into the pool without too many distractions.

The water was pretty chilly, but our little fish was a trooper and once we got him in, he had a blast.  There was a lot of frog kicking, lunging forward, and his own cute version of splashing.

I’m confident that our decision to acclimate him to water early is a very good idea.  We fully intend on keeping him enrolled in swimming classes/lessons until he’s an expert little fish.  I feel that this will teach him to not only to swim, but it will give him a sense of respect for the water.  Safety is my number one motivation in this adventure. 

I would love to know your thoughts on learning to swim and what equipment (floaties, boogie boards, goggles) and pool toys you find to be worth the investment.  Have any of you visited the pools yet this year?   

 

Building Your Own Severe Weather Kit

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There’s nothing like living in tornado alley during tornado season. 

Before my son was born, I would typically peek my head outside when the sirens would go off to see what the sky looked like (not so smart.)  I’d turn on the news and see how serious things actually were (why didn’t I trust the National Weather Service?)  If I deemed it “pretty nasty”, I’d head to the basement with a book and my cell phone (you know, it’s like sitting in a waiting room.)       

Now when the sirens go off, my main thought is “MUST keep the baby safe!”  As we dart to the basement, we generally just grab what we think we need – including the cats.

With the local meteorologists telling us that today will be a “severe weather day” with the chance of multiple tornadoes, thunderstorms, and damaging winds, I’ve made the decision to build a Severe Weather Kit right here and now.

This is what the American Red Cross suggests for a severe weather kit: 

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

These are a few items I plan on having ready in addition to the kit above:

Do you have a Severe Weather/Disaster Kit ready?  What do you include in yours?

The Great Baby Chase

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The most popular word in our house right now: NO! 

Our current age-appropriate (8 months) tactic is saying a firm “No” and relocating and/or distracting Avery away from the “No” zone.

His favorites right now are:

  • attempting to chew on the door stoppers screwed into our trim
  • opening the drawers in our end tables to see the pretty batteries (!)
  • spilling the contents of the cat food bowls (no eating just yet)
  • tugging on our curtains
  • assaulting anything with buttons
  • investigating anything and everything in our hall bathroom
  • chasing the cats (my personal favorite)

I’ve been told by several people that it’s time to “baby-proof” our house.  What appeared in the beginning to be an easy concept is becoming a daunting one. 

When he started to crawl, my dad assisted us in promptly installing a baby gate at the top of the stairs that lead to our basement.  So dramatic tumbles down the stairs are not a concern for those of you that are worried!

We’ve also purchased some foam corner protectors for the sharp-edged furniture in our living room that just happens to be at baby eye-level when he stands.

What seems to be overwhelming to me is the installation of cabinet and drawer locks, toilet locks, the puzzling question of how not to starve the cats and keep the boy out of their food, a few other specific-to-our-house issues, and the worry that I’m forgetting something crucial.

The market seems to be flooded with gadgets, crazy gating systems (my son is NOT livestock!), multiple books, and of the opinions that come with the aforementioned overload of baby-proofing STUFF.

I need your help, readers.  I need ideas and your trusted opinions on what YOU found necessary in your home during this adventurous time I refer to as “The Great Baby Chase.”

So let me have it – this baby-proofing adventure needs to begin…like yesterday.

Whoa, Baby!

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Avery enjoying a lunch of Vegetable Beef Pilaf.

So my in-laws have departed for home in the UK, my husband has gone back to work, and I am surviving a newly crawling 7-month old who has changed into a different baby in the last few weeks.  My son is now not only crawling, but pulling up on everything he can find, opening and closing drawers and cabinets (baby proofing weekend, anyone?), and often insists on feeding himself.  I’m still kind of flabbergasted that he has changed so much in the last few weeks!

We’ve also now put him on a different brand of a milk-based formula in hopes that this one will work.  He tried yogurt a week or so ago and absolutely loved it with no adverse effects.  Most of the lactose in yogurt has been eaten by the bacteria, so it generally doesn’t affect those that are lactose intolerant.  We are now hopeful that his milk-based formula will not be an issue.  I also chose to skip on the aseptically packaged flavored yogurts in the baby aisle and opted for plain, natural yogurt from the dairy section.  I’m flavoring it with pureed fruits such as peaches, bananas, apples, and/or prunes.  He doesn’t seem to mind a little tartness, and I feel good about skipping out on all the added sugar. 

He’s also now eating cubes of cooked veggies, wheat toast fingers, chunks of banana, and has taken a few sips of apple juice (100% juice, no added sugar.)  We’re giving him some more time to adjust to his new formula before we introduce any new foods.  I have the following lined up for the very near future: spinach, cherries, turkey, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, papaya, and lots of other yummy foods 🙂

I’m still making some of his baby food, but I’m also getting some help from Earth’s Best Organic for a few meat-based dishes and snacks.  I want to point out that we are not an “Organic Foods Only” family, but we find that Earth’s Best combinations and the actual smell and taste of their food is fantastic.  I’m finding it hard to buy those ever-popular cheese-puff type snacks from Gerber though – especially when he’s such a big fan of fruits, veggies, and whole grain alternatives.  We do buy a few vegetable and fruit purees from Gerber as Avery really enjoys them.

What are your children’s favorite snacks?  And if you don’t have children, do you remember what your favorite snacks were as a child?  I would love to hear from you!