Friday, July 31, 2009

A new skill

Recently Mason got his first bike. A Radio Flyer tricycle he picked out himself.

Every time we went to Babies R Us he would drag me to the section with the bikes and have me watch as he tried so hard to ride. On our last trip Mason surprised me with his ability to get around the store pretty good on his own. So I gave in and bought it. The smile on his face said it all. That and the fact that as we left the store he refused to let go or get off the bike in order to load it into the car.

Being told he had to wear a helmet, which he was annoyingly unhappy about, in order to ride the bike outside; he mostly rides inside the house. Though after much insistence and pleading o my part he reluctantly picked out a Thomas helmet which I find adorably cute on him.

Around and around the main living area, through the dining room, kitchen and hallway; Mason rides his bike every day. This learned skill has greatly improved in just the three short weeks of owning his new bike. He now peddles like a champ, no longer needing that helpful push. He has also improved on his steering and maneuvers corners like he's on rails. He tells me he is going to the grocery store to get me vitamins or some other item of interest at the moment. He can be often heard yelling from a distance "which way now, mom?" To which I reply, "left" or "right" or "straight." And is sometimes overheard questioning where to park.

This reminds me of my childhood. Summers spent riding our Schwinns around the neighborhood armed with maps our Dad drew up consisting of places of importance, such as the grocery store, post office and of course our apartments (various storm drains on the culdesac) because in our imaginary play we were always adults. We'd play away the afternoon running "errands" from a list our Mom created. Such imagination and creativity we had as children. Something I fear is lost on this generation, so used to electronically overloaded toys and DVR capability.

*to enjoy this video with sound turn off the music player found on the sidebar to your left.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

two months.

Sweet little Sophia:
  • you are starting to look like a real baby to me. No longer fragile and small but chubby and cute.
  • all your smiling is contagious. Even though you still cry a lot, causing Mason to copy me and shout "Seriously, Sophie, I hear you." It's a wonderful change to see you so bright eyed and happy. I especially love how you light up when your brother hugs you.
  • but when you are angry, you don't cry, you scream. Ear piercing wails that I'm sure if we lived in an apartment child services would surely be called.
  • you are eating between 4-6 ounces at a feeding (usually 4 hours) but tend to cluster feed in the evening starting around 6pm. That's when you get 2-4 ounces about every hour until bed time.
  • with the added chubs you are now beginning to wear 3 month clothes.
  • sleep is getting better. The last few nights you have gone 6 hours between your last feed before bed and waking up in the middle of the night for your next feeding.
  • you have a death grip, especially when it comes to my hair.
  • you have the beginnings of little babblings, desperately trying to talk to us.
  • your baby acne has started to disappear. Yeah!
  • you've got a pout that rivals my best. Which means this trait was either genetically passed down or a result of you being no doubt 100% female.
I can't wait till your monthly scheduled check up to see how much you've grown in numbers. Nor can I wait to see what changes and developments this next month brings.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 86 year old concrete king

You know the shows Flip That House on TLC and Flip This House on A&E? That's us. Except without all the flipping. We actually live in the houses we fix up. But fix them up we do. None more than our current house. Boy was this place a shit hole when we bought it. To describe the state of the house when we first saw it: the tile throughout the house was coming up so much we kept tripping on it, the carpet was so disgusting and stained it looked as if they took soda and cough syrup and god knows what else and just dumped it on the floor and then never cleaned it up. My shoes were literally sticking to the carpet it was that nasty. Not to mention the dog poo on the deck and the smell of piss in the basement so bad I couldn't be down there for more than a few minutes without feeling like I was going to hurl all over the place. I'm sure all our family and friends were wondering what the hell we were thinking; probably that we were crazy for buying this place.

Two months of non stop remodeling of every inch of the house and we finally moved in. It has now been a year since we moved in and still are in the process of "fixing" this place up to our taste. Two projects we knew we wanted to do from the beginning but would take a while, due to money and time constraints, are the front walk and the deck. The concrete of the front walk is cracked and has shifted so bad there are gaps where the steps have separated from the main stoop. There is no railing and the distance from the step to the stoop is significant. Not ideal, especially for kids and our aging family members. The wood on the deck is not pressure treated, the railing is loose, and a "fix" to a section was not done up to code. Ideally we would also like to have the deck screened in to keep out the bugs and sun. After a lot of debating, weighing the pros and cons, we decided that the front walk was the project most needed to be done. Luckily for us, Fred's grandparents are in town. Why is this lucky do you ask. Well for the simple fact that Grandad Briggs is the concrete king. Getting his opinion on this project is like conversing with the Dalai Lama. Extremely valued. Getting his help; hitting the jackpot.

So day one, the Briggs Clan piled into their Toyota Tundra leaving the blissful countryside farm and headed to our little old house in the suburbs. Upon arrival Fred (my husband) and his dad (also named Fred) began to unload the jackhammer a nice contractor let us borrow, while Grandad (also a Fred. It gets confusing I know but stick with me) picked up the sledgehammer and started to whack away at the walk. My husband and father-in-law urged Grandad to stop. We have the jackhammer no need for the sledgehammer. Recluctantly, he gave in.

Now I must mention that Grandad is eighty-six years old and has recently had a knee injury flair up. So the mere fact that he is out there helping with this project is amazing to me. After a few hours of jackhammering and hauling big piles of concrete to the bed of the truck, the men are ready for a break and a trip back to the farm to drop off the load. Half of the walkway is gone. Impressive progress. This is where the knowledge of Grandad being eight-six years old becomes outstanding. Fred (my husband) and his dad were gone for about an hour and a half dropping off the load while Grandad stayed at the house. In that time frame the unimaginable happened.

We are sitting around the table chit-chatting when I hear a loud banging outside and notice that Grandad is no longer around. I head to the door and open it only to see this eighty-six year old grandfather (his age must be repeated for impact) whacking away at what is left of the front walk with the sledge hammer. I am just staring, in utter amazement. It's like a train wreck, I just can't seem to veer my eyes but feel like I should do something to help. Though I know that there is no way in hell that I could pick up that sledge hammer without causing severe damage to myself and I'm only thirty. In the time frame it took to take the load to the farm and come back, Grandad had managed to break up the rest of the walkway with the sledgehammer. BY HIMSELF! Not only that, but he also managed to pile the big chunks of concrete by the driveway for easier loading.

It's okay, you can let your jaw drop now. I did.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

The Magic of Baby Wipes

It all began with an evening enjoying the company of friends. The kids were being rambunctious as always (you get more than one toddler in a room full of toys and give them sugar and you are bound to have chaos) and the adults were indulging in a bit of wine with good conversation. I have to admit it was probably my fault to start. Red wine, white carpet. It's just asking for trouble. Plus I shouldn't have put my glass on Mason's train table so I could tickle and wrestle him. But I did, and wouldn't you guess, it got knocked over. I didn't freak out too much until I realized that the laws of attraction kicked in and the red wine was greeting the white carpet like old lovers. Shit. Quickly, we ran for the paper towels and wondered aloud if we had any carpet cleaner. On our hands and knees desperately trying to soak up the never ending stream of red wine and praying to God that we can get it out, Lawrence speaks up. Baby wipes. What!? Baby wipes. You can use baby wipes to get up the wine. They clean up anything, he says. Though they use the Costco brand and we only have Pampers but it'll do. Doubting their ability or effectiveness against red wine on a white carpet I hand over the tub of Pampers Sensitive wipes and watch. Our friend Lawrence, lying on the carpet, vigorously rubbing and sure enough it's working. We also happened to find the carpet cleaner and sprayed it on for good measure. Just to be sure. Now you can't even tell there ever was a spill.
That was around a month ago and the only reason I think of it now, is due to Mason and the trouble toddlers get into when left alone. Yesterday morning, while in the family room (same carpet as the red wine incident) playing with Mason, I am sitting on the carpet and turn to get up to go into the kitchen when I notice some marks on the carpet. It looks like Mason took some kind of writing utensil and ran it through the carpet making lines. As I get closer I realize it is highlighter. Yellow lines now decorating the spot under the makeshift end table (it's really a t.v. tray table). Shit, Fred is going to kill me. Not that it is necessarily my fault, I wasn't there when it happened. But I am the one responsible for him during the day and I don't want him to kill Mason either. I run to the sink and grab the carpet cleaner and paper towels. Not really wanting to spray harmful chemicals all over the carpet that my toddler plays on everyday I quickly run through my options and remember the phrase about baby wipes. They get everything out. Really? So I put them to the test and what do you know; the highlighter came out. Rather easily I might add. Hmm, I wonder what else it would get out. The dirt on those damn door mats?
Months ago, while Fred and our friend Adrian were outside detailing their matching corvettes I was inside cleaning. I paid particular detail to the door mats just inside the front door and the garage. While the front door I managed to get clean I gave up on the garage. Fast forward to the present and once again the mats are dirty, especially the garage. How I desperately wish we could walk on the mat and not come away looking like we dipped the bottom of our feet in soot. Thank you Fred's blue Mustang project. Once again I turned to the baby wipes. Were they up to the challenge? Yes. They were getting the dirt out, but slowly. With a screaming baby and toddler demanding my attention I was desperate to get it cleaned ASAP. So I combined the cleaning power of Resolve with the magic of Pampers Swipers and Viola! The front mat is almost spotless and while you can still see the remains of some nasty stains, the garage mat is infinitely improved. Who knew? Besides the Imeish family, to whom I am incredibly thankful for the tip. I too am a believer in the magic of baby wipes. And so is Fred, who when I recited the following story to him replied, imagine if you had the Costco brand. Oh I can. I can.
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can we get a Wii now, please?

If this isn't convincing enough reason to get a Wii, then there is no hope.
*turn off the music player to get the full effect of the video.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday mini album: Memory Game

Remember the game Memory from our childhood? You have a deck of cards that all look the same on the back side but have different pictures, objects, etc. on the other with a matching pair. The idea is to take your turn flipping over two cards. If they match, you go again. If not, it's the next person's turn. Well I had this brilliant idea to make Mason his own version of this game. The idea was to help his skills develop. Give him an education at home while waiting for preschool. I'd been wanting to make this for at least a year now but was trying to figure out the tools to create it. A few months ago I was browsing the $1 bins at Michaels and ran across a pack of coasters. Immediately I thought of the memory game. I should have bought more than one pack but at the time I wasn't sure how it would turn out. Of course now I can't find them again.
Seeing that Mason has been having a difficult time adapting to the addition of Sophia to this family. His behavior is not like him at all; acting out, not listening, overly emotional, etc. I thought that focus some of our time soley on him would be beneficial to all of us. When Mason asked if he could have an album after seeing the pregnancy album I made of Sophie I decided to attack this project over the weekend. It went surprisingly fast and was actually fun to put together. And I got the satisfaction of actually completing something scrapbook related in a long time.
I measured the coasters (3.5 x 3.5) and then selected pictures of things Mason loves (sidewalk chalk, thomas trains, cars, him running through the sprinkler, etc.) cropped them to size and printed them out on photo paper. I then cut out the pictures and adhered them to the coasters using glue and my ATG gun, trimming them and sanding the edges to fit. I then chose a patterned paper that I had an abundance of in my stash and repeated the steps I did for the photos on the back side of the coasters. Voila! We now have a game of Memory to take with us to restaurants to occupy him so he isn't running around and driving us nuts.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Right Now.

This is my right now.
Feeding two kids while tweeting & checking email.
Hoping that once burped and given that last bit of orange juice and chocolate bunnies, they are satisfied and I can finally get myself the lunch I've been craving since we hit Wegmans for those oh so essential items and still managed to forget the hot dogs once again.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baby Announcement

So I think it is safe to say that everyone has received their announcements so I can now post it here on my blog.

I really enjoyed making these, so much easier than the ones I made for Mason. Though both were pre-made ahead of time Sophie's is all digital. All I had to do was plop in the picture and stats and print them out at Costco. Gotta love planning ahead. There was much debate over the photo. I personally think it came out great. So if I didn't have your address to send you one. Here you go!

[Supplies: Fonts: Flourencesans and ChocolateBox; Digital Paper: Cherie Mask Pink October; Elements: MCO Journal Tag]
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celebrating Milestones

A week ago on June 28th, I said goodbye to my young twenty's and turned thirty years old. I woke up that morning to my son singing, "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Mommy." Could there be a sweeter way to start the day? We celebrated by going out to lunch at our favorite restaurant, Not Your Average Joe's and saw The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Which by the way is wickedly funny and one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Totally recommend seeing it. When we got home we shared in the cake Mason so kindly spilled the bean about the day before. "We got you a cake Mommy. It's chocolate." I love my son. So here are a few random facts about me at 30:
  • I am a mother of two kids: Son 2.5 years and Daughter 1 month.
  • Arachnophobia doesn't begin to describe my fear of spiders.
  • I recently celebrated four years of marriage.
  • I hate cleaning especially doing the dishes and bathrooms.
  • I am a natural blonde even though I dye my hair blonde.
  • I need my cup of coffee every morning or I get nasty headaches. My favorite summer coffee is Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino.
  • My favorite color schemes are blue/brown & pink/brown.
  • Our new house doesn't feel like "home" yet, making me miss our little home in Leesburg
  • I prefer candid shots and my photography tends to be mostly close-ups (and of my children solely).
  • I drive a mini van and I am soooo not a fan of mini vans.
  • My scrapbook style has become more simplified and I am loving it. I tend to enjoy the smaller size layouts like 6x6 or 8.5 x11 than my usual 12x12.
  • My inner critic is my kryptonite.
  • I have become a social network junkie. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and of course Blogging 24/7.

Our little Sophia, you turned one month old on my birthday. Still so small and seemingly fragile. Here are just a few facts about you right now:
  • you hold your head up briefly when having "tummy time"
  • are wearing newborn or 0-3 month clothes, and size 1 diapers
  • you love being held constantly, I think it's the warmth. So I enjoy the Ultimate Baby Wrap to carry you around the house. Allows me to be hands free and calms you.
  • your baby acne flairs up on most days but the doctor assures me it will go away by four months
  • you don't cry, you scream at the top of your lungs and mostly during the wee hours of the morning. So much that Mason seems to think you don't like him because you "crying all the time."
  • you cluster feed right before bed time and because of this I can't figure out how to get you on a schedule. This is frustrating because you tend to sleep very well during the day and not so much at night. The most you have gone is 5 hours in one stretch at night. Left wondering when you will learn to sleep through the night so we all can get some rest.
  • not a big fan of the pacifier. Acting as if I just put the most foul thing in your mouth every time I try. I fear now that you can't self soothe and use feedings to do so.
  • you are eating around 30 ounces a day and it is showing because you now weigh 9lbs. 12oz. and 21.75 inches long.
  • you handle Mason's attempts at being the best big brother; picking you up and trying to calm you, with mild tolerance. He wants to be so helpful and I love that desire in him. I was nervous that he wouldn't want anything to do with you, but find he is very protective of his little sis.
  • since you were born you've been such a squirmy little thing, making our preferred burping technique fairly difficult to execute.
  • you have started to smile and it gives me joy. Bonding hasn't exactly happened with us yet, so much is going on I don't get time with you alone so those little smiles touch my heart.
While it is a struggle to transition from our secure family of three to a chaotic family of four I am feeling so blessed. I am thankful every day that I get to spend this time with the cutest kids in the world. *I'm not biased or anything*

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