Thursday, July 29, 2010
Mornings are usually a piece of cake. They will wait on the sidewalk for me, they don't pay attention to the playground, and they typically walk right to their room. OK, sometimes Maddy wants to push the stroller by the crib room, but typically we are OK.
Afternoons are a whole other world. At first, they were OK. Then, they wanted on the playground, so I started going another way. Then, they wanted to check out other hallways. Then, they wanted to climb into the bye-bye buggies that were in the hallway. Then, they wanted to sit in the little chair outside the school director's door. Then, they would refuse to walk to the door and I would end up carrying screaming children (often with the help of a teacher, or school director) to the car.
Today, on the last day of school, 3 bye-bye buggies were parked outside of their classroom. I cringed. I brought the stroller today, because I knew we would have extra items to carry (leftover diapers, emergency clothes, etc), so I thought maybe I would be alright.
Of course, they both end up sitting in the buggies and whenever I would tell them that it was time to go, or actually pick them up, I was met with a screeching toddler, yelling "Nooooooo!" I finally just ignored the screaming, told them it was time to go, and had to force them into their stroller. Of course, they splayed their legs and arms out making this difficult so I really felt bad pushing them into their seats. Two other Moms tried to help out, but it was really just a nightmare.
I ended up carrying Libby, while pushing Maddy in the stroller, both were sniffing from crying, and I was hot and flustered from everything.
So, what is the solution? You want them to become independent and it's hard to tell them not to climb in the buggy when it's something they do every day. At 2, do they really know the difference? Or do they know the difference, and just know that they have the upper hand? We are usually on a schedule in the afternoons and I have to be back at work, so I don't have time just to let them play for a few minutes. Should I start looking for books on raising headstrong children, or how not to get pushed around by your toddler, invest in the back pack leashes, or just result to dragging them down the hallway?
We have a month to come up with a good solution since school is out until after Labor Day. So, readers ... get to work so I'm not known as "that Mom" at the preschool.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinners, cool fall days with enough sun to warm your face, pumpkins, fall festivals, glasses of red wine, leaves on the ground, my favorite Japanese maple tree turning fiery red in our backyard, sitting outside on patios during those perfect days where it's warm, but not too warm to sit outside, bonfires and sharing meals with friends, hayrides, scarves around your neck, the perfect long sleeve white tee shirt, those days where you can still wear shorts, opening the windows and letting fresh air in your home, running on a crisp fall morning, hiking in the mountains, cuddled up and reading a book under a blanket, hot apple cider, the anticipation of Halloween and hearing the laughter of children in the neighborhood, watching college campuses come to life, wearing your favorite boots for the first time, needing a sweatshirt on a cool morning, feeling the warmth of a coffee cup in between your hands.
Then I stepped outside and it was still hot and humid, so I calmly shut the door and went back into the air-conditioning.
I love fall, but as I re-read my list, everything is about food or clothes. Oh well.
Monday, July 19, 2010
So on Saturday, it was bath night and we asked them if they wanted to sit on the potty. Maddy sat on it for a few minutes, but nothing happened. We asked Libby and she immediately said "no." As soon as she stepped in the tub, she did go potty. Hubby and I just laughed. We went ahead and gave them a bath ... I figure it was probably mostly water anyway, right?
So, we were nearly through with their bath and all of a sudden, I hear Hubby say "Shit." Literally. Someone had pooped in the tub.
Who needs a potty when you have a big ol' bathtub?
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I tried to bring this style of eating into my running fuel. I find myself needing a little boost on longer runs and I've always used Gu products before. Same with post-run, there's nothing like an ice-cold cup of Gatorade to quench your thirst.
I was at my local running store and picked up some Stingers. These are organic, made with honey, energy chews. I liked the taste and the texture, but they just didn't seem to give me the extra "boost" that the Gu Chomps do. I think I was missing the caffeine. I'll definitely try them again and see if maybe I need to eat more of them than I do with the Chomps.
I think my biggest fail was the natural sports drink I heard about from one of my running buddies. It's called Recharge and was available to Earth Fare, our "healthy" grocery store. She had actually found it for a $1/bottle at Big Lots so I stopped by to pick up a few. Yuck. Not good and I'm definitely not giving up my sugar laden Gatorade for this. Has anyone else tried it? Do you have any good sports drinks that you would recommend? I know that Gatorade is supposed to be the Kool-Aid of Sports drinks and while (I think) it tastes good, I don't know if it's doing anything to replenish me after a long run.
So, as I prepare for 10 miles tomorrow, I'm packing my bag with Gu Chomps and sticking a bottle of G2 Gatorade in the fridge.
Friday, July 16, 2010
It worked out that Hubby could meet us for lunch and we decided to get pizza at Cici's. Yep, it's cheap, but I will say that those people are working hard, the store had a 100.5 health code rating, and they are constantly asking if you need anything. Not too shabby even if the pizza is just OK. Maddy and Libby loved the pineapple, pasta, and breadsticks so everyone left happy.
While we were there, we looked over to see Maddy with a finger up her nose. Then, Libby stuck hers in her nose. While Hubby and I tried hard not to laugh, we just couldn't help it. Of course, they thought this was hilarious and refused to remove their fingers. I almost took a picture, but I decided against as I didn't want to encourage them anymore. Their interaction and "teamwork" always makes me laugh and scares me a little. I have a feeling I'll be doing whatever they demand in a few years when they tag-team me.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
If I can really get serious and make this sucker, that would be even better. Too bad Martha didn't include it in last month's magazine when our fresh strawberries were really at their best.
They also have a frozen peanut butter/banana/graham cracker recipe that looks wonderful, too.
Can you tell I'm entering higher mileage in my training and all I want to do is eat? I really can't believe that it's almost time for my 3rd half marathon of the year in about 7 weeks. How did that happen?
High School ... I had been attending a private school that was K-12 off and on since 1st grade. I attending 1st grade there, then switched to a public school for 3 years, and then went back to the private school in the 5th. I don't really remember how all of this transpired, or why, but that's what happened. I think my Mom personally knew my 2nd grade teacher and really wanted me to have her so we made the switch. So, I was in 9th grade and told my parents that I wanted to switch back to public. My thinking was that by attending a school where I had 20 in my class, I was never going to be able to cut it when I went to college and had classes with hundreds of people.
So, they let me switch, but sent me to the "good" high school that wasn't in our zone. Not that we were in a bad area, but there were plenty of people at my supposedly "good" high school that were doing the same things that everyone at the "not so good" high school were doing.
I had friends, but I was also a bit of an outsider. I was in my punk rocker/bad poetry/hair in my face phase and just didn't know exactly where I fit in. I enjoyed English and Art, tolerated History, and struggled through Algebra and Chemistry. I ended up being friends with the cheerleaders and the popular girls even though I'm sure I didn't look like them or listen to the same music that they liked. I always liked school, teachers liked me, I stayed out of trouble even though I do remember forging late notes from my Mom in the parking lot when I was late for school. I did Sub Debs, went through Presentation and all of that. I ended up meeting a guy and having my first real boyfriend when I was a Junior. He went to a different school and was a year younger, so when I graduated he was still finishing up his Senior Year. Yes, I went to Prom as a college freshman. Say it with me, La-0-ser. But, I did have a great dress because I was so much older and wiser than all of those college seniors.
High School seems so far away now, but I have good friends and memories that I still cherish. I remember being nominated for our "Friendliest" superlative, but lost out by a few votes to a girl named Brandi. Sigh.
Onto college. All my friends were going away to to the larger schools in TN or in Kentucky and I was planning to go away to college in KY with one of my good friends, Beth. At decision time, I decided to stay and attend college in my hometown, where my Dad had graduated from. Not to mention, I had the boyfriend.
Freshman year was probably no different than my senior year of high school. I lived at home, dated the boyfriend, worked part time, and that summed up my life. Sophomore year rolled around and I decided to go through Sorority Rush, my friends that went away to college in other cities all came home, I ditched the boyfriend, and moved in with my oldest friend and now sorority sisters.
This was a little more what college should be like. It was still a bit of a mixed experience. I didn't live at home, but we didn't live on campus. My friend that I lived with had a condo that her Dad owned (and it was AWESOME). I was a good student, but probably not as serious as I should have been. Looking back, I cringe when I think about some of the grades I made when I could have done better, but sometimes wine and cheese mixers at the Pike house took precedent. I majored in Communications, with a minor in English and really loved my classes and professors. My sorority/women's fraternity (Chi Omega) was definitely a big part of my life and I served in several leadership capacities, including Chapter President. Some of those ladies are still my closest friends today and I am glad I made the decision to join.
Do I regret not going away to school? Sometimes. Do I regret not doing things like studying abroad? Definitely. I had a good experience, but there are definitely things I would do differently if given the chance.
Laura C. asked how I got to Greensboro.
After college, I attended graduate school in Chattanooga, TN with one of my best friends. We had always said that we wanted to attend college together, but it just wasn't feasible, so grad school seemed like the next best idea. During our 2nd year, she got married and moved to Alabama. I had taken the first semester off to travel, so I finished out the second semester and started applying for jobs. My thought was that I would get a job and go to school part time. I really felt like I wasn't ready for grad school since I had no real world work experience. I interviewed for a job in High Point, NC, got the position, and moved to Greensboro in May 2008 sight unseen. My other plan was to go to work in Yellowstone National Park again for the summer and enroll in the Masters of Corporate Communication program at my alma mater. Yellowstone is a whole other part of my life that I should really write down. As cheesy as it sounds, it was pretty life changing for me and was my first time living on my own. I probably grew up more in those two summers than I did all of college.
Greensboro has been a great city for me and for our family and it's hard to believe that I've been here for over 10 years. I left briefly when I was transferred with my first company, but returned after about 6 months. Hubby likes to call it the biggest smallest town you will find. We have plenty to do, Raleigh and Charlotte are nearby if you need a "big" city, plus the beach and mountains a few hours away too. I'm involved in my community, we know our neighbors, we have good friends, it's a great area for our family, plus I honestly like the area.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Well, my experience may be slightly different because I had two, but I'm sure that a lot of the items would translate well for anyone.
Items that I couldn't have lived without ...
Some sort of baby chair/bouncer seat. Not only is this a good spot for napping when they are little, it provides a safe space where they can sit and look at toys around them, and you can use it to sit and feed them when they are starting rice cereal, solid foods, etc, but can't sit in a high chair. We had a Boppy brand and one that was Fisher Price papasan style that we borrowed from a friend. I liked them both.
Swing. I know that some Pediatrician's are against the swing, but there were some days that this was the only thing that made my babies happy. We had the Fisher Price papasan style ... both a new one and one that we borrowed. Loved, loved, loved them both.
Dr. Brown's Formula Mixer Pitcher. This rocked. I nursed/pumped for eight months, but we also had to supplement with formula. Since I had two, this pitcher came in handy because I could make up a larger quantity, the mixer really took care of any clumps, and then the formula was in the fridge, ready to go. We used all Dr. Brown's bottles and had good success with them so I never tried any others.
Medela Breast Pump. It ain't a pretty sight, but if you need to pump, Medela's are the best and you can find the hospital grade models easily too.
Halo Sleep Sacks. My daughters still sleep in a sleep sack. Yes, they do go up to an XL that goes up to 36 pounds so I figure that we still have a little more time for these. They liked being swaddled when they were small, but once they got too big for the swaddle blanket, they would never keep a blanket on them and I was always freaked out about suffocation. This way, they stay safe and comfortable at the same time.
BOB stroller. I can't say enough good things about this stroller. We bought it when Maddy and Libby were 6 months old so I never used it with the car seat adaptor. It's good in neighborhoods with lots of curbs and for long runs, too.
Snap & Go stroller. I loved this when the girls were little and still in infant car seats. Like the names says, you could just snap them in and go.
Cloth Diapers. While I didn't do cloth diapers for little bums, we used cloth diapers for burp cloths, to clean up spills, and Maddy and Libby actually sleep with one of their cloth diapers as a blankie each night. I actually prefer the larger, thinner ones over the thick ones. They have adorable lovies, but what they always want is their blankie. You can also tie it around their shoulders and play superbaby, or around their head and play baby with a do'rag!
Sound machine. We didn't use anything fancy, but actually a clock radio of Hubby's that has a "wind" setting on it. It definitely helped to mask noises during nap time and night time.
Board books. Books have been a favorite of Maddy and Libby for as long as I can remember. We made reading stories to them part of our nap and nighttime rituals. Board books are great because they will take more abuse (chewing, drool, etc) than the regular books.
If you want to make your own baby food, and as tempting as the Williams-Sonoma model may be, all you need is a stick immersion blender and silicone ice cube trays. Then just visit wholesome baby food and you'll be all set.
Good car seats. We had Graco's as infants and now we have Britax. Love the Britax.
Baby Jail. Ok, this may not be politically correct, but once Maddy and Libby were mobile (crawling), this thing saved me. I was working from home at the time and it was the only way that I could keep an eye on them while I tried to do a little work. It's huge and if you can get over looking at primary colors all day, then it can save your life!
We've had a few things that were trial and error. I thought I had to have Baby Bjorns, but I really didn't use them all that much, but I had friends wore their babies all the time. Also the Bumbo seat was kind of a bust for us. They seemed to be too small/too unsteady at first and then the next thing I knew, they had outgrown it. However, other people that I know loved theirs. Same for the Diaper Genie. We use a Diaper Champ that just uses grocery store bags and it seems to be so much easier than using something that requires a special refill.
Other must haves that I think were vital to our sanity:
A schedule for meals/sleeping and sticking to it. If it was nap time, then I was at home ... not out trying to get my babies to sleep in a stroller. Not judging those Mom's that can do this, but a schedule was sacred at our house.
A non-quiet house. Huh, you ask. I vacuumed when they slept, flushed the toilet, dogs barked, phones rang, music was on and everyone turned out OK. Granted, I didn't have a party while they slept, but they got used to household noises and now can typically sleep through one another waking up, dogs barking, storms, etc.
Please feel free to leave any more "must have" baby items in the comments and we can all share ideas. I can remember doing our baby registry over several visits because I would just get overwhelmed with all of the stuff. Plus the fluorescent lighting and concrete floors in most of those stores are no fun!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I think the instantaneous bond that I felt with my children surprised me the most. I had no idea that I could feel the love that I feel for my children. I was never one of those crazy baby people. I've always liked babies, but I didn't grow up around lots of babies, didn't ogle stranger's babies in the grocery, but when I first held them, something shifted in me that I still can't truly describe.
The hardest part ... Well, the early stages before they were sleeping through the night was definitely hard. Now, it's truly a blur and I honestly don't remember how difficult it was, or how sleep deprived we were. We had a system, we put the babies on a schedule, and we just kind of powered through it. I have some hard days now. Two at two is hard. Heck, I guess one at two would be hard, and I'm sure two at three will also be hard, but there are days when you have tantrums, or screeching, or you've just gotten hit with the Elmo phone for the 2nd time, and I want to lose it. I'm not proud to admit that I've lost my cool and yelled when it wasn't necessary, but I've done it. I've also walked out of the room during screaming and gone back in 5 minutes when I could better handle it. There are days that I'm glad I work, but there are days that I look forward to Friday (when I typically don't work) and we can have special outings together.
The most rewarding parts for me comes in little snippets throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. Lately, it's been when I'm walking Maddy down the stairs and she asks, "where sister?" because Libby was already downstairs, but she didn't know where she was. Or when Libby gives me a kiss when I ask, or when Maddy's upset and Libby brings her a toy to make her feel better, or when you can hold a freshly bathed, PJ'ed, damp curly haired child in your lap and read a book about meerkats, monkeys, and giraffes and adore the interaction. Or asking them 8 different animals and they get them all right. Or seeing your husband hold/play with your child and see a different kind of love that is so endearing. Those are some of the best moments for me.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Zeus and Zoe were on our save the date cards.Hubby wanted a dog and invited me to go along to see the puppies. I loved dogs and had a weakness for labs, so as soon as we saw 10 little black and chocolate pups, we started throwing around the idea of having two. Gluttons for punishment, don't you think?!
Zeus and Zoe have always been good around Maddy and Libby. Zeus used to rest his head on my belly when I was pregnant and I always felt like he sensed something was going on. We were so worried at first that they would do something naughty, but they really have been good. Zeus will let the girls pet him, lay on him, pull his ears, and put toys on his back. Zoe is a little more aloof around them and likes to come around during snack/meal time, but doesn't enjoy play time as much. She typically just goes in another room if they are playing too close to her.
Emily asked "What do you want most for your girls? And how in the heck do you tell them apart? Really? Is there something about each that makes it clear?"
Wow. Where to begin and I'll start with the "easy" part of this question ... how do I tell them apart.
The first and easiest is that Libby has 3 hemangiomas. Two are on her back and the one on her hand is now very light, but that used to be the easiest way to distinguish them.
Libby is slightly taller (about an inch) and weighs more (about 1.5 pounds), but that is hard to see on them unless you can get them to stand still.
Maddy's face is a bit more round, and Libby's is more oval. Maddy's face is also a little more petite. See, can you tell? Maddy is sitting on Libby's lap in this picture.
Personality. Libby is typically more a "people person." She wants to be with people, checking things out, seeing what's going on. Maddy is too, to an extent, but she is also content to do her own thing more than Libby.
What do I want most for Maddy and Libby? Happiness, independence, laughter, to be challenged, love, education, success, good families, good memories of their childhood and families, a good heart, good character, a sense of humor, safety. I could go on and on. I think as a parent you want everything for your children and of course, that is ridiculous, but I really do find myself wanting them to have everything they could want and even more. Not in a selfish, greedy way, but in the "the sky is the limit, just go for it" kind of way. I want them to take risks and learn from mistakes, be genuine, be true to themselves, and always know that they have parents and family that love, support, and are there for them every step of the way.
Let's give a shout out to Emily who not only took this wonderful photo above, but is scheduled to welcome Baby TT today at 2PM! Cannot wait!
Thursday, July 08, 2010
As far as summer suppers go, I am a huge fan of pimento cheese sandwiches. They remind of me of visiting my cousin Judy (older cousin, more like an Aunt) and she would serve pimento cheese, chicken salad, and cucumber sandwiches by her pool. Of course, she managed to make it all seem elegant and I'm sure there was a pitcher of iced tea involved. Also in this same theme would be a simple tomato sandwich. White bread, sliced tomato, Duke's mayo, and salt and pepper. Hmmm, or a BLT sandwich.
To me, these are always easy, satisfying, and you typically don't have to "heat up your kitchen" as my Meme used to say.
My other option would be something from the grill (fish, meat, chicken, hot dog), served with fresh vegetables, corn on the cob, etc. Hubby just bought a new grill so I want to start making packets of potatoes again. Basically, cube up new potatoes, add other yummy veggies ... you can do anything from squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, add a little EVOO, ground black pepper, wrap them in foil, and let them cook on the grill. Yum.
For the summer cocktail, I'm partial to a good gin and tonic. I don't change it up much and while that may be considered boring, I consider it what works for me. I like a good gin like Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, or Hendrick's. A good beer is always nice in the summer, too. I tend to lean towards something light like Skinny Dip, Hoegaarden, or Natty Greene's Wildflower.
Oh, and since it's food related, MER asked if I prefer croutons or bacon bits. I would have to say that real bacon trumps bacon bits and croutons, but Ruby Tuesday's croutons may trump any other salad topping.
Laura C. also asked "how do southern ladies wear heels and skirts and makeup and all that with the hot weather and not sweat like pigs?"
I had to laugh at this, because while I guess I am a southern lady, I am usually sweating like a pig when the temperature reaches 90. I used to have a co-worker that anytime we had an appointment, it was sweltering and we would always have to park far away and walk just so we could end up sweaty and gross for our meeting. For one, we stopped in the bathroom, put cold paper towels on our necks and tried to dry our shirts Madonna AKA Desperately Seeking Susan style. I do think that skirts can be cooler in the summer because you can get a little breeze by fanning your skirt. Of course, us genteel southern ladies know that we would never do that in mixed company or in front of a gentleman! *Please insert your favorite southern accent to that last sentence.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
I'm going to try to group a few of them together where there is a common theme.
Barefoot in the Park asked me what made me get into running.
I have been running off and on since college. My Mom also ran when I was young, so I remember going with her to races, or waiting on her to finish her daily 6 mile run. She was ahem, much faster than me and often brought home trophies from winning her age group.
I started running one summer during college and started out by running from one light post to another, then walking to the next light post, and repeating. I did this over and over and finally made it up to 3 miles of running. I guess it was my own version of the "couch to 5K" program that is so popular now. I ran pretty consistently in college and grad school. This was back in the day when I carried my hand held CD player, wore a cotton t-shirt, and didn't know anything about Gu, Fuel Belts, or Garmins.
My problem back then was always consistency and really up until 2 years ago, it still was. When I met Hubby in 2003, he was training for a marathon and it was a good way for me to get back into running, because I had someone to run with. From then until 2007, I would train for a race, run the race,then "lose" my running shoes for several months. Then, the ordeal of starting over was always hard and I just couldn't get back into my running groove. I got pregnant in 2007 and hadn't been running consistently so it didn't make any sense to try at that point. After I had Maddy and Libby in June 2008, I decided that I wanted to run again because I missed it. I started in January 2009 and really haven't taken more than a few weeks off since.
I am proud to be a runner. It makes me feel good even when the last thing I want to do is put on my shoes and and go. Even though I'm not setting any records, or winning any races, I know that it helps me be a better person, wife, and mother.
If you still want to read more, here is a post that I wrote about why I run for my running group. last year.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Like everyone else, life is busy ... work, kids, running, etc and I just haven't had a lot to say.
I could write about an unprofessional person that I have to deal with, but I think that is really better saved for private rants with my co-workers.
Or I could write about Libby going to the bathroom two seconds after I took off her diaper last night. On the floor, right before bath time, but honestly ... aren't you a little tired about reading about diaper/potty posts?
I could write about the teeny tiny single serving Edy's ice cream that Hubby brought home last night, but then that just makes you want one of your own and it's not really fair when you are stuck at your office on a Tuesday morning and can't get to the grocery. Oh, wait ... maybe that's just me.
So, dear readers ... any burning questions? Anything on your mind? Anyone else feeling the same way? I don't think I've ever opened it up before, but here goes ... ask away! I can't promise that I will answer everything, but I would love to hear your questions and thoughts. Plus, I need something to get me over this writers block / bout of b-buh-boringness!
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
We have a local restaurant that has a great patio/deck area and on certain Friday nights during the summer, they play movies on a large screen out on their patio. The dinners are themed around the movie and we've always talked about checking it out and we finally went last night.
First, the weather was gorgeous and actually cool by the time we finished dinner. Amazing for the beginning of July.
We watched Bottle Shock, which is a great movie about how Napa Valley wines came to be known back in the 70's. Lots of good actors and we really enjoyed it. Better yet, the dinner included five courses and four wine pairings. Each pairing included one California wine and one French so everyone there had to guess which was which. Lots of wine and great food. Lucky for me, I had already done my long training run on Friday morning so I didn't have to worry about getting up for a 6:30 AM run. Lucky for me I had a little extra sleep to ward off any after-effects of four wine pairings.
So, here's to date nights, fun wine dinners, cool weather in July, and good memories.