Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nugget!

This post is a bit late, but the kid celebrated his birthday for so long, I feel like he should be 5 by now!

With Spring Break, I feel like I completely lost time planning for it, but things turned out great! I delayed sending out the invitations because I was HOPING we could have the party at the fire station. I had to get clearance from the city's head chief, and he wouldn't call me back, so I said forget it, we'll have it at the house and pray it doesn't rain. Late Thursday night, I remembered I had to send out the invitations, so I printed out these:

They didn't have just fire truck stickers, so some kids got a truck, some got the boots and hats and some got a hydrant. Not going to win an award, but better than an evite!

The next week, I had everything put together for the party, but I couldn't find any fire fighter
badges, so I called the station. They guys said to come on over and they'd have some stickers a
nd coloring books for me, and Nugget could tour the station. Sweet!

The super cute very polite fire guys let Nugget climb all over the truck. He got to go inside and push a bunch of buttons and climb on the front and look at every little thing.

They were SUPER patient as he pointed to EVERYTHING and said, "What's that?" and they
would answer. Then every answer was followed up with a "What does it do?"

I've never seen a kid so excited about the jaws of life.

He even got to go in the kitchen and they gave him a banana. As we were leaving, one of the guys gave him a purple glove blown up like a ballon and you would have thought he gave Nugget a million bucks!

So the next day was party day!

The boys took Zoe to the spa (because I didn't know ANY of these kids and didn't want one freaking out about a dog and having to deal with a scared kid and a Zoe locked in our bedroom. Plus, she needed a bath. Aunt T entertained the kids and I finished throwing stuff around. Here are some party pic:

We also had "Pigs in a Fire Blanket," but I didn't get a picture.

I thought up lots of fun, cute, fire themed games and activities, and while I won't share them all, I will share their favorite:

Yup. Uncle J had one balloon left and tied it to the bucket of water guns. The kids LOVED it.

Later, we let a bunch of 4 year-olds take out their aggression on a fire truck pinata (no pull string, just give the preschoolers a stick!), opened presents and had cake.

The kids grabbed a fire pail party favor, and we took the birthday boy out for some hibachi deliciousness where Nugget fell asleep at the table. Now that's what I call agood day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First day of training in the books!

Hilarious and available at Zazzle. I may have to get it. Or the shirt.

Not the greatest day, but I got it done. There were many points where I could hear God saying, "STOP! This is not for you!!"

I got up, got the kids up, slapped on my running gear and loaded the car (Strip backpack, Nugget backpack, Nugget lunch, my work bag, Nikon camera, video camera (Nugget had an Easter program today), workout bag, toiletries, work clothes, work shoes, heart rate monitor, heart rate watch, iphone arm band. I think that's it. Oh! I forgot to pack my lunch, so as I grabbed Nugget a snack out of the pantry, I snagged a sleeve of crackers and a jar of peanut butter. Rounded it out with a gatorade in the garage, 2 bottles of water and a cup of applesauce. Gotta love the day after a Costco run). Packing for Disney seems so easy compared to that.

Made it to Strip's school early, although I think we still could have gotten there a few minutes earlier. Scooted up to Nugget's school and this is where things went wrong. I thought I could sneak into the office, drop off my work stuff, unlock and drop my bags in the shower room, drop Nugget at early drop off, run, sneak back into the shower room and be sitting at my desk by 9:00.

I thought wrong.

I unloaded the car (see trunk description above) and dropped my stuff at my desk. Went to unlock the shower building and my key didn't work. Tried the second key and that didn't work. Lugged everything to Nugget's preschool, dropped off my clothes, bag and gatorade in the director's office (glad to have friends in high places!), plopped Nugget's stuff in his room, drug him down to the early drop off room ("Dat's not my class!!") then ducked in the bathroom to put on my heart rate monitor.

Time to hit the road!

Oh look! No sidewalks on my side of the road. After a fun game of frogger, I was cruising (and what a difference running with a fun playlist makes! Thank you, iTunes!). I knew I needed to rock out 2 miles which was good because I was about 15-20 minutes late starting. I had mapped out my path and knew where I needed to turn. Unfortunately, half a mile in, I turned down what I thought was Circle, but turned out to be Court, and I ran a tenth of a mile backtracking. Then there will hills. And very familiar cars.

By the time I made it back to work, I had passed 8 people I knew while running and STILL couldn't get into the shower. Three keys and a custodian later, that problem was solved. And in an impressive Superman-like move, I was showered, dried, re-hydrated, face made-up and dressed within 7 minutes. Why can't Disney have that kind of race?!

After today, the only thing I am thankful for is that there is still a lot of time left on that count down ticker! So ready to be able to be able to breeze through a 10k.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Every once in a while

I have a good idea. And every once in THOSE whiles, the good idea actually works (that's grammatically correct, right?!).

Here is Strip's bed:

I promise there's a bed under there. We don't make her sleep on a bed frame and a plush wonderland. But as you can tell, she is quickly poising herself for a starring role on Hoarders if we can't let go of these stuffed animals.

I was a stuffed animal lover myself (as a child. They drive me nuts now as a parent), so I know where's she coming from. But her room is smaller than mine was, so the ratio animal to square footage is not so good. As I was cleaning and organizing her room the other day, I started to separate the ones I knew she played with from the ones I'm sure she's forgotten about, and they all ended up back on her bed.

If we can't donate them, we had to come up with a better way to organize them. When I was little, they had hammock type nets that you could hang in the corner of the room and pile them all up. Problems with that? 1. They are ugly 2. her room only has one corner where it would fit and it's over her dollhouse, so they wouldn't be easily accessible and 3 I'd give it 3 minutes before Nugget climbed on the roof of the doll house, crawled into the net and ripped it off the wall meaning we'd have to go to the ER (to patch up Nugget), Home Depot (to patch up the wall) and Costco (because you can't patch up a pressed board doll house).

Option 2, I actually had. It was an ugly, white, plastic chain that you could hang from the ceiling, then hang all of the animals on the chain. Problems with this? 1. It's ugly. 2. There's only one corner of her room where we could hang it (see above) and 3. If the kids thought the poles in our basement (that were there for support. We did not put poles in our basement nor are we pole dancing people) were fun, imagine their delight of climbing a chain resulting in a trip for 2 to the ER along with the above mentioned.

Option 3, Google.
After googling "stuffed animal organization" and passing the other 2 options, I found this bad
boy. It's by Boon and it's a plushy bag with a mesh "window." The kids can stuff it full of their animals, still know that they are there and it becomes a decorative
pillow/seat/whatever in their rooms instead of a gang of plush.

Problems with this? I worried with the way my kids played that they would rip the mesh where it attached to the bag and as much as I'd love another sewing project i have no desire to fix seams and reattach zippers.

Problem 2 is that many of the reviews said it was too big (and they have even bigger ones!). So if I got one for each kid, and they didn't fill them up, there would be a deflated bag of animals on their floor. And if we DID manage to have enough to stuff it full, where would we put the things?!

Problem 3? The price. They averaged $60 each so I would be paying $120 for fuzzy Flex Force garbage bags? I think not.

Garbage Bags....hmmmm..bean bags? Bean bag covers! That's it!! They are basically bean bag covers, but a bean bag cover is MADE to be plopped on and if I got ones like the kids already have, they have super reinforced zippers and seams. I AM A GENIUS!!

But... they just got bean bags for Christmas and the covers weren't cheap. LOVE the quality, but didn't want to buy 2 more. It was time to hit ebay.

I found some in a great selection of colors for less than $7 each. I then noticed they were bean bag OTTOMAN covers. I was about to close the page when I thought, "Even better!!!" I can get TWO per kid and they will be small enough to have little kid seating in their rooms to read books, play, whatever!"

I bought four (gotta love buy it now option) and the seller had them to me super quick! While Strip was at school, Nugget and I got to work.

Step one:

Assess the masses

Step 2

Get to stuffing!!

There's no method to this
madness, just grab an animal
and squish it until it's in the

Step three

Keep going! You might have to sit down, but keep shoving
those crazy animals/angry birds/grinches into the bag until
full. Then zip em up!

Step 4: Ta da!

Now take a breath of relief. All of those animals (and some who had fallen off the bed) are stuffed snugly into little seats! Out of site for mom, but kids know where they are when they need "students" while playing school! They are on the floor so they can sit on them when playing and are easy to open, get out the animals and stuff for clean up.

And I know what you're looking at. "What's with the unicorn? He's not in there,"

You are right. But he's a pillow, he's a pet, he's a PILLOW PET! So he didn't have to get stuffed in the bag.

Rooms are back under control, and I can now walk by Build-a-Bear without wanting to punch something.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Good idea on paper...

Or it could be titled, "What was I thinking?!?"

This is the email I received at 10:30 last night:

Yes, you read that correctly. Three registrations for the Disney Wine and Dine HALF MARATHON! I know what you're thinking, "I didn't know you were a runner!" That's because I'm not.

I've always hated running. Even when I played soccer in high school, and we had to run for tryouts, I hated it. I thought people who ran track were insane. What is fun about running around in circles for hours? Running around in circles chasing a ball for hours, I'm totally into, but if no one's holding a cupcake ahead of me or a gun behind me, the idea of running for running seemed silly.

Around St. Patrick's Day, we did a family fun run, and Hubs ran the 5K. We had SO much fun! I had seen the Disney marathon in January and REALLY wanted to do the princess half last year, but that's about as close as I got to doing it.

But the more I thought about running, the more I wanted to do something. When I brought up the idea to Hubs, he informed me that "most people don't just decide they are going to run a half marathon. Usually, you start running. Then you run a few 5k's and maybe a few 10k's THEN you run a half marathon. You don't START with a half marathon."

So why start with the half? Why not! The thought of paying the registration fee and training to run a 5k just seems silly. A 10k, maybe, but if I'm trying for that, why not just do a half? And the biggest reason I want to do it? It's a goal I can set, and once I achieve it, I'll never lose it. I can tell myself I want to be a size 2, work like crazy, walk into the Loft and buy a pair of 2's that are loose, then walk into Nords and not have the 2's go over my knees. I could set a goal weight and NEVER hit that number no matter how hard I work (that number is 120 by the way. I think I passed it in middle school and haven't seen it since). And even if I were able to get down to a goal weight, whatever it is, there's no guarantee I'll stay anywhere near that.

But if I ran, and finished a half marathon, I'll always have that memory and medal.

And why three registrations? I thought it would be fun to challenge Hubs and since UP will be living in FL soon, I thought it would be a great birthday gift for him! Last Sunday, I ordered these from Bondi Band

(I got a purple one for me!) and three 13.1 car magnets I wrapped up the gifts and gave them to Hubs and UP a couple of nights ago. Monday, I bought a band for my phone. Tuesday, I downloaded the Nike+ app. Thursday night, UP and I planned out our training for the next 12-24 weeks. Then I mapped out neighborhood routes and put the final touches on my itunes wish/playlist. Last night I took the big step and actually REGISTERED the three of us and today, I bought a heart rate monitor watch. Basically I've done everything to prepare for this except for run.

Well, that's not true. Thursday, I ran 2.2 miles. Lance Armstrong said I set a new record, but I don't think my time was anything to brag about. This weekend, we've been training really hard on the wining and dining portion of it.

Real running starts Monday! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out how to program my watch!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ode to a Nugget

I can't believe my sweet baby boy is FOUR! It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in my nephrologist's office hearing the words, "And if you decide to have anymore kids, we'll need to talk." My response? "Well let's start talking!"

I knew you were a boy from the beginning. With Strip, I gained 55+ lbs and felt fantastic. With you? I started puking at 7 weeks and didn't stop until you were born (literally puked in the OR). Once I started eating again (somewhere around 22 weeks) I remember wanted burgers at 9 am (thank you Grill and Chill for serving burgers at breakfast!) and fountain cokes. I never stopped moving, and neither did you!

You came out a few weeks early and gave us a scare there at first, but made up for lost time in the NICU. I thought because you were surrounded by noises and on a strict feeding schedule, you'd be a breeze. WRONG! Lightest sleeper ever and you'd wake up at 3 am refusing to fall back to sleep.

You were the smiliest baby ever. EVER! You started smiling and laughing early and haven't stopped.

And no one had to really DO anything to make you laugh. I remember crawling in the backseat during the last half hour of a disney commute and just looking at you. You'd giggle hysterically until you got the hiccups that only made you laugh harder.

You crack up all your teachers, the lunch bunch crowd and everyone you come in contact with. You have a great little sense of humor and roll with the punches so well. You're our laid back, go with the flow buddy!

You dare to be different. While most kids learn to crawl, you did the hop scoot. Once you figured out how to sit up on your own, instead of crawling, you'd push off of your ankles and scoot yourself backwards.

You have no fear. NO fear. Well severe weather freaks you out, but other than that? Nothing. A few weeks ago, a frog jumped in front of us, and without hesitation, you went after it with both hands. While your sister and I screamed and squealed, you turned around with both hand gripping a giant, slimy frog! After letting it go, you screamed and laughed hysterically that "he peed in my hand!" A few weeks ago, you came in the kitchen to say, "There's a spider in Strip's room." I told you ok. "Here!" you said as you placed a giant, fuzzy spider on the kitchen counter. I hope you keep that sense of adventure, but would still prefer you hold my hand while crossing the parking lot.

You are strong-willed, stubborn and loud and I wouldn't change a thing about you :-) You keep us laughing and pulling our hair out and I catch myself wondering what you are going to be like in high school and college and what in the world you are going to be when you grow up! These past four years getting to know you have been so much fun and I can't wait to see what the next 365 adventures bring.

Happy Birthday, Nugget!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sticky Situation

Recently, we've been letting the kids have gum. There's never been a reason before NOT to, but there's really not been a reason TO give them gum either. It started as a fun treat in the car, and I quickly realized neither kid should have it for opposite reasons.

Strip is just like me; can't physically chew gum without pulling it out of her mouth, stretching it on her fingers and twirling it all over the place which equals sticky, sticky kid.

Nugget? He just swallows it. Oh? We're about to eat? GULP! This piece lost its flavor? GULP! And may I have another piece now? I'm convinced his stomach is now lined with gum and do not see how the kid is still hungry or eating.

So Wednesday night, I'm driving the kids home from church and they ask for a piece of gum. We have to stop at Bed Bath and Beyond so I can get some kcups and we can look for Nugget's birthday present from Strip (a ladybug pillow pet), so I figure why not! And because I'm feeling good, I even let them each have a whole piece.

On the way home from BB&B, I glance back to see Nugget scratching his head...but not chewing.

When we got home? I discovered what I feared. The good news? He did NOT swallow it. The bad news? The gum now solved the cowlick problem...

Now what?!

The first thought that came to mind was peanut butter. The second thought was google. After a quick search, I found that the options were peanut butter, olive oil and ice. Figuring EVOO solved Baby Strip's cradle cap problem, I opted to go with that, so....

Step one: Cover with olive oil:

Step 2: Comb through gum covered area.

Key word? Comb. I looked all over the house and couldn't find one. I had NO desire to ruin an Aveda paddle brush, but then it hit me! BARBIE!

So, step 2a If you can't find a comb, enlist the help of Barbie and/or My Little Pony

Comb through the gum/oil until it's out of the hair (and thank your lucky stars your short-haired boy child did this and not your long-haired girl child.

Step 3: Grab some crusty Italian bread and sop up the excess

because even though your child is now gum-free? He will be oily for the next 2 days.

Nugget is now on a 2 week gum probation.

And you'd think that would solve all of our problems, however, when tossing them in the bath tonight, Strip asked me to help her with her buttons on her dress, which I distinctly remember NOT doing this morning.

"Yeah, my teacher had to button my dress for me!"

Awesome. I can't even get my kid dressed in the morning. I then turn my attention to Nugget who hopped in the tub. I picked up his dirty clothes, but no undies. Yay! He got in the shower with clothes on, AGAIN! I pull back the curtain attempting to snag his batman undies before they are stuck to him, but... no undies.

Back to the pile of clothes. Undershirt, socks, plaid shorts, shirt. No underwear.

"Buddy, did you wear underwear today?"

"I guess not!"

I'm going to have to start patting them down when I tell them good-bye in the morning!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Four years later and his birth is still taking me by surprise.

You would think that a scheduled c-section for April 26th would mean a well-planned baby and birth. However, Nugget, had other plans, and although his official 40 week date was May 3rd he made us a party of 4 earlier than expected.

The picture above was taken when he was four days old. Almost four years after that picture, you'd THINK that his own MOTHER would have his birthday down. But, with Spring Break, NCY trip and craziness at work, his birthday, once again, totally snuck up on me!

I normally start brainstorming both kids' parties in the fall, but with the move, that didn't happen. I printed out Nugget's birthday invitations last week, gave them to all the boys in his class on Friday and started mentally preparing for his party this weekend.

Today is Tuesday and the RSVP count is zero.

Fearing my sweet baby boy wouldn't have any buddies to celebrate with on Saturday, I started planting the seeds of plan b.

Me: Hey buddy! Do you want to go somewhere super special on Saturday to celebrate your birthday?!

Nug: What?

Me: Maybe a special dinner? We can go ANYWHERE you want to for your birthday. You're the birthday boy, so we can go where EVER you want!!

Nugget: I fink....I wanna eat at home!

Me: Oh, buddy! You want me to fix you something special for your birthday dinner?

Nugget: Yeah!

Me: Ok! What do you want? I'll make anything.

Nugget: Cheese sam-wich.

Me: Really?? Anything in the world and you want a cheese sandwich? You had that for dinner last night!

Nugget: I know. I love it!

Bless his heart, if he stays this easy to please at mealtime, he's going to make a lucky lady very happy one day!

And what is with my kids and their choices of my favorite "cooking?" While in NYC, Strip exclaimed while eating REAL New York pizza, "This is good, but I like yours better!" When I thanked her, she followed up with, "Yeah, you set the timer just right!" Ha! I'm sure their second favorite culinary creation of mine is popcorn.

Meanwhile when I asked Nugget what he wants for his birthday, his list includes a cake with fire on it (check!), balloons (check!!) and a cheese sandwich.

I think four's going to be a great year!