Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Some days are amazing despite themselves

If you had asked me 15 and a half hours ago how I thought my day was going to go, I would have told you to stay away, it's not going to be pretty. Steve was out of town last night and today. Reid woke up at 5:30 a.m. Jack woke up at 5:45 a.m. Jack had school. Reid hadn't taken a morning nap in the last four days. I was ready for some tired cranky boys and a very long day.

But it didn't turn out that way. In fact, I had one of the best days I've had in quite a while. And I'm pretty sure the boys did too. It's amazing what a little calm thinking, showering the night before and Dollar Tree can do for a day.

After dropping Jack off at school, Reid and I hit up Starbucks for a little reassurance. We came back home and enjoyed our snack and played a bit. He really likes the cactus and the maracas.


I snapped that picture 2 seconds too late. He was using the maracas to dig around in the pebbles in the cactus pot.


If that picture doesn't say I love maracas, then I don't know what does!

Around 9 a.m., he went to sleep. And pretty easily at that. I was amazed! And he slept until 10:15. Wonderful. I didn't have to wake him up to pick up Jack. And while he was sleeping, I was able to get my chores done.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more organized/better at housekeeping. I'm using a schedule I found on Pinterest. Basically, one chore a day. It's working out nicely so far. Today was wash the mirrors and windows day. I got every mirror cleaned, and I tackled all of the finger-printed windows. There are way too many windows to clean all of them. That would take all day and make me crazy. Not part of the resolution.

I got two loads of laundry folded, and I even got a list together for the Dollar Tree. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great resource of items you can buy at the Dollar Tree and how to play with them. More on that in a sec.

So Reid and I head off to pick up Jack. He had a good day at school. He even remembered what letter he is learning about. At this point, I start to think this day might be alright. But I stop myself; I didn't want to jinx it.

After a nice reminder call from my sister about getting my flu shot (it's pretty bad out there!), I decided there's no better time than now to stop at Walgreens. After reassuring Jack that he was not getting a shot today or anytime this week (and that I would help him hide so he didn't have to see), we made our way back to the Pharmacy, and I got my flu shot.

Now, I've accomplished my chores and a major to-do list item. I normally would have just called it quits there and been happy. But now I was on a roll. Off to the Dollar Tree.

The Pinterest inspiration listed 100 things (and even listed the aisle to find them!). I went in with a list of 25. We made our way through the aisles and found about half of the things on my list. I had a little scare here. Jack kinda likes the Dollar Tree. He likes to touch everything and run up and down the aisles. And if I don't respond quickly enough when he wants to show me something, he piles the things into his arms and brings them to me. Today, he laid out 4 or 5 puzzles in the middle of the aisle. Luckily, we got it back together pretty quickly, and he was still able to pick his one thing to buy.

Reid, meanwhile, was just as happy to sit in the back of the cart and attempt to stand up and remain standing when I turned corners. Yeah for the little things.

When we get home, the boys couldn't wait to play with some of our new finds. So I broke out the colanders and the pipe cleaners. They both played happily with these while I made lunch. Win!

I'll skip the boring details of lunch. Suffice it to say there's a lot of sitting and waiting for Jack to finish eating. Then we play a little, read a few books, and attempt naps.

This is where the day almost took a dark turn. Reid didn't eat much for lunch, but he was tired. So after books, I sent Jack to his room with an I Spy book and directions to stay in bed until I got there. I spent about 5 minutes getting Reid quieted down, and then laid him in the crib and left. He stayed quiet for about 15 minutes. I even thought he fell asleep.

Jack and I then read a couple of books. Then we closed our eyes in his bed. That's how I get him. He doesn't have to sleep, he just has to close his eyes for 45 minutes. Since 45 minutes is less than an hour, he doesn't think that's a long time. Winner! Except Reid starts crying. And then proceeds to cry for 30 minutes off and on. Luckily, I close my eyes and actually rest a little (not sleep mind you), and Jack actually falls asleep. While I was laying there, I kept thinking about worst case scenarios and how I would deal with them. I was ready for Jack not sleeping and Reid being a crying mess at the same time. Thank goodness I only had to deal with half of that scenario.

This is when I go rescue Reid, and we head back downstairs for a snack and some more play time. Luckily, the colander and pipe cleaner game is quite fun. We played that for a good 15 minutes before he decided it was time to head to the basement.


While Reid and I played Hot Wheels in the basement, Jack slept for an hour and a half. I woke him up at 3:30 as I didn't want to mess up bedtime. I had told Jack that if he kept his eyes closed for the full 45 minutes, that we'd play with the bubble wrap from Dollar Tree. So after a snack, that's just what we did. The boys liked jumping and walking on it to make it pop. Reid actually did this for a few minutes before trying to put the bubble wrap in his mouth. Amazing!

So after a little more pipe cleaner/colander action and some Sesame Street while I made dinner, the day ended fairly easily with a normal bed and bath routine.


I can't believe how much I accomplished as well as how much fun we had together today. This is definitely one of those days I am so grateful to be a stay-at-home mom.

I still hope they sleep in until at least 6 a.m. tomorrow. There's no way I can do this two days in a row!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Things I need to remember for Christmas season next year

I think the title says it all. I need to document this though so I actually remember. I feel like I have these realizations every year at the end of the holiday season, and then the next year comes and I don't use what I've learned.

#1 - I will spend frivolously on my husband buying him anything I think is fun and that he would enjoy. I will not stress out about whether he really wants it or not or if it's the perfect gift.

#2 - I will bake Christmas cookies the first week after Thanksgiving, and we will eat them whenever we feel like it, even if it's all at once. We can always make more.
#2a - I will not feel guilty about eating lots of Christmas cookies, even if I eat the entire batch of peanut butter kiss cookies by myself.

#3 - I will get a professional to take a family photo in October. There is no reason for us not to have a nice family picture.

#4 - I will buy the yearly Christmas ornaments the first week of December instead of putting it off and stressing about it.

#5 - I will plan one fun Christmas outing for each week between Thanksgiving and Christmas including driving around looking at Christmas lights and ice skating. I will not hesitate to do these things because I am unsure if anyone else wants to. We always have fun doing them even if we aren't in the mood when we set out.
#5a - This includes going to the zoo for the lights event.

Okay, that's about it for now. I'm sure there are other things that I have already forgotten, but this will at least get me started next November.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy 2013! Here's a review of 2012


I'm a big talker. Anyone who has spent five minutes with me could tell you that. I guess I have been talking about making black-eyed peas and cornbread for New Year's since I met Steve (about 12 years ago). This year, I finally did it!

Growing up, my parents always made this dish for luck and money in the new year. I'm pretty sure my Memere made it too. It's a Southern thing. My sisters and I have wonderful memories of eating these peas. Although I don't know that we ever loved eating them, I think we loved the tradition of it.

So this year, I hunted up a recipe and tried my hand at them. Now, my mom used to make them on NYE and we'd eat them at midnight. Since my boys do not see midnight on purpose ever (if we can help it!), we had ours today for an afternoon snack.

I found a great easy recipe online that called for beer (specifically Guinness) and salted pork (we substituted bacon). Sounded good to me! So we soaked our peas in Guinness overnight, and after we were all awake and had our wits about us today, I simmered them for the 90 minutes it called for. They were quite spicy, much to Steve's liking. The boys liked the cornbread. And me, I'm very happy with the results, enough that I will do it again next year.


Aren't those guys just the cutest? We really had a wonderful 2012. I was a little worried about how it was going to end, what with having the cold from hell run through our house and wreaking havoc with our Christmas, but we did it! This picture is from our sledding adventure a couple of days after Christmas. We have a great hill for that in the front yard.

Over the past year, we've met so many amazing people and have had some pretty amazing experiences.  As a family, we adventured to Starved Rock, IL; Ludington, MI; and Fort Walton Beach, FL. We now have a pretty cool playset in our backyard. We've been to the zoo more times than I can count.

For personal specifics, let's start with Reid.

Reid has grown into a little toddler over the past year. He walks now and plays with us a lot. He has definite likes and dislikes. For instance, he definitely likes hot wheels cars and balls; he definitely does not like to go to sleep at nap time. He definitely loves his Pepere. He definitely loves water. He is generally a very happy little guy.

Jack has had quite a year too. He started a new preschool just about a year ago, and he's continuing to do very well at school. He loves to write and draw. He loves to play pretend and use his imagination. He has made some great friends at school too. Over the course of this year, he has really developed his swimming skills. He's a little fish at the pool now. He has started to play soccer and is learning how to ice skate so he can learn to play hockey.

Steve and I have also been progressing over the last year. Steve had lots of success with his resolutions in 2012. He gave up red meat for the year, and he did an excellent job sticking to it. Through that, our whole family has been eating healthier. He also got us back running again by resolving to run a 10K, which he did with TJ over the summer. We ran a 5K together in November, which was a lot of fun (it involved chocolate!). He earned a promotion at work, and is now the Director of Enterprise Mobile Solutions, or something close to that.

I have spent the last year rediscovering what makes me happy. I did not set out on a specific journey to find it, but it has happened non-the-less. The boys and I joined a fantastic Moms group in Dundee, and we've all made wonderful friends through the group. I've discovered an interest in fashion that I didn't realize I had. I've rediscovered my love of photography and writing, although I wish I could do more of it. I learned how to quilt thanks to my sister Cathy. And best of all, I've found a real calm and joy in spending my days with our sons. This stay-at-home-mom gig is a pretty nice one. I don't know that I'll ever be able to repay Steve's kindness and support in helping us do this.

Since 2012 started out sans black-eyed peas and it was pretty awesome, I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store!