Monday, March 31, 2014

I veto all colored frosting!

Last month Ali and I attended a birthday party for a little friend of hers who was turning two. He had a big Mickey Mouse face cupcake cake, essentially a bunch of cupcakes all pushed together and frosted over as though it were one big cake.

In case you are unaware, Mickey Mouse is pretty much all black, which results in a 'cake' with black frosting. In a room full of two year old's.

They looked like they had the black plague and were all covered from head to toe in black frosting. Elle ended up with it on her too since I got it all over me trying to clean up Ali, who was, of course, wearing white.

This past Saturday we attending another birthday party for another little friend who was turning two. She had a big Elmo cupcake cake. Basically a big pile of red frosting.

Thankfully, I dressed Ali in red, but instead of looking like they were all about to die, the all looked like little vampires who just feasted.

This is the face of a very happy little girl...or a murderous psychopath. 
You decide. 

By the way, that frosting, goes in red, and comes out red on the other side...made for a very interesting day on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I think I killed my plants

I do feel badly but I do not have a green thumb. It's really not any shade that might even resemble green. The plants at my house survive despite me.

I'm fairly sure the day lily died over the winter because I didn't water it. Probably a good reason.

The others have been outside for about a month. The problems is, I didn't put my plants outside. My mom did. On a warm day. Then it got cold again. And I left them there.

We had one good freeze and two of my leafy plants looked a little rough. I have a couple other ferny ones that don't look too bad. Last night though we had another freeze. I haven't actually seen the plants yet to know how bad it is, since it's dark when we leave the house, but I'm pretty confident the rest now look just as miserable.

I had planned on spending some time this weekend re-potting my plants, cutting them back, giving them some new soil and fertilizer. I'm wondering now if all I'll be doing is switching out the dirt so I can have clean dirt in some new pots with no living plants in them.

Well, at the very least, it's an activity that Ali will love, so, if I really did kill everything, I may have to go invest in a few new plant additions before this weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2014

How to deal with an over emotional child?

I have started doing a lot of research online regarding Over Emotional Children.

More and more I am starting to feel that Ali really falls into this category but I'm having a lot of trouble finding a true definition.

My definition is that for her, every emotional reaction is huge, extreme. When she is happy, she is hugely happy. When she is frightened her reaction is extreme. When she is frustrated, her reaction is extreme. She concentrates on an activity to the exclusion of all things. When she is upset, she is hugely upset. All things are big with her. BIG. But I can't find anything that describes this in children.

I found a lot of information on Highly Sensitive Children, which doesn't quite fit. Some of it does, her desire for order, cleanliness, some compulsive behaviors that she has. But a lot of it, dealing with sensitivity toward others, not there at all. I actually feel I am going to have to work very hard to create an understanding of empathy in her.

Her main issue, from my perspective, is that she is so easily overwhelmed and her only response is tears. She freezes up, and cries, and that's it. She has no other ability to deal with or move past the 'issue'. And the 'issue' isn't always clear.

This weekend I went to a new local Farmer's Market and brought Ali with me. All in all it was a little disappointing, but there was a cute little toddler sized playground.

She was having a great time until some older children started playing on it too. These boys were a little big for this sized play structure, but the real issue was that they were sitting inside the slides, so no one else could go down. I asked them to move once and they did, nicely, with no problems. I don't know if their parents were around or not, no one was upset by my asking, but no one corrected the continued behavior either.

After attempting to go down both available slides, and finding them both 'occupied', Ali just froze up and started crying. I calmly brought her down and we moved on.

I don't know if that was the correct way to handle it though.

She's two. Not Six. She doesn't have the ability to communicate herself well in situations whereas an older child can be expected to say 'excuse me, I'd like to go down the slide'.

But I don't feel like her reaction is altogether normal either and I am just at a loss.

I don't know how to help her. I don't know how much to help her. I don't know how much to push her to figure it out herself.


I am so thankful for my girls.

I am thankful that I have two girls. I know my husband wanted a boy so badly, but I grew up with a sister and I am so excited that Ali and Elle get to have that relationship throughout their lives. 

I am so thankful for Ali. She is such an emotional girl. She is so easily overwhelmed. I fear for her struggles in the future because I know how she feels and what she's working to overcome. I still struggle with walking into new situations confidently and without trepidation. It hurts my heart to watch it magnified by two year old emotional limitations.

I am so thankful for Elle. Every evening I play and snuggle with her before putting her down and say a small prayer of thanks that I am so blessed to have a beautiful, happy, perfect baby girl. Another, beautiful, happy, perfect baby girl. I want to remember how it feels to hold such a small body up close to mine. 

They are little for such a short time. It went by so quickly with Ali, and I know that I'm going to turn around soon to find Elle running alongside her sister. Those will be magical moments as well, but right now I want to focus and treasure the tiny little girl that she is and appreciate the growing personality that Ali is. 

Exercise Fail

I"m not giving up.


I didn't do s**t last week. I think I did my toning workout twice, maybe. I did go to a yoga class Friday morning, but that's not going to be a consistent thing, you know, cause I work. I had a doctor's appointment Friday morning so I decided not to go into the office and instead go to an 8:30 yoga class. I really enjoyed it. However, I do still have to be at the office on the occasional Friday so, that's not going to be able to be a weekly thing.

The weather has also turned cool again which is foiling my plan to take the girls to the park for a walk once or twice during the week. Ali isn't really the problem, it's Elle being so little that I don't like taking her out for 30-45 minute walks when it been cool and damp. She'll be 3 months old on Thursday. I can't believe it!

Anyway, Tuesday's there is a 4:30 yoga class that I am going to figure out how to attend. It means I have to leave early from work and Mama T would have the girls until 5:35 when she actually closes at 5:30. I think she'll be ok with it, but I need to check.

I have got to get rid of this roll around my middle. It's so hard to get into a routine.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The definition of crazy...

Every morning I get Ali up at 6:45 am.

By 6:55 we are downstairs and she is in her seat ready for breakfast.

By 7:10 she's eaten about three bits of a banana and 1/4 of an English Muffin.

By 7:15 My lunch and bags are packed. Elle is in her car seat and I am sitting next to Ali at the table telling her to "take another bite." "Take another bite" "Chew." "Finish up, come on."

By 7:20 I am pleading with her to please finish up so we can go.

By 7:25 I am furiously brushing her teeth, throwing a jacket on her and loading everyone into the car.

By 7:30 we are finally pulling out of the garage.

By 8:15 I am at the office. Late.

Every morning.

At what point am I going to do something to change this schedule so that I am not starting the day off annoyed, frustrated and late?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sleep is for the weak...revisited

I have an 11 week old baby.

I have an 11 week old baby who sleeps.

I have an 11 week old baby who sleeps from 9 pm until 6 or 6:30 am.

Yes, you heard that right. She is awesome.

So why am I awake each night at 1:30 or 2 until sometime around 4?

I have no idea but this has got to change.

Yesterday was tough, but not bad.

Today it actually hurts, I'm so tired.

Ali had a dentist appointment this morning, I actually considered dropping her off at Mama T's afterwards and going home to call in sick so I could take a nap.

I probably should have.

Four more hours until I can go home.

Where I still have to be a mom.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

chicken and corn chili

Chicken and Corn Chili
This is one of our favorites and is a nice change from a standard chili. I got it from, my main recipe site of choice and it is just as easy as it is delish!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of salsa (16 oz)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 can Mexican style corn (11 oz)
1 can pinto beans (15 oz)

The instructions actually say to cook the chicken, salsa and spices first and only add the corn and pinto beans in at the end, but I just throw it all in together at the start and let it go.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove the chicken and shred. Return chicken to the pot, stir and allow to simmer for another 30-60 minutes. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar. I like to add a little cilantro to mine, but my husband can't stand it so I leave it out of the general recipe.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Catching up on my lack of a 'misguided' youth

I have always loved to read. Ever since I can remember, I've loved books and have had my nose buried in one. Now that I have my girls, it's hard to find time to actually sit down with a book. Any quiet time I have these days I try to spend with my husband, or I end up dashing around the house trying to do whatever chores need doing while I have the opportunity to do them.

To make up for that, I listen to audio books so I don't feel completely cut off from the literary world.

I always favored science fiction and fantasy books over more main stream or 'real' stories. I started reading Stephan King when I was in middle school. And so, while I had heard of Flowers in the Attic, and knew that it was not 'approved' reading for young adults, I was never that interested in finding out why. I knew it was quite a controversy at the time and knew the general outline but that was it.

So, Lifetime TV made it into a movie of the week. Sheer curiosity, and the fact that I was home on maternity leave led me to record it and eventually I watched it.

To my surprise, I thought it was really well done, although I could tell there was a lot that had been glossed over for editing purposes and while they did a good job developing the characters in such a short window, there was a lot that I could see that was unfulfilled. As a book turned to movie typically is.

So, I felt the need to delve back into the reading I missed in my youth and see if all the controversy was founded.

It's a fairly long audio book, 16 hours. I'm 6 hours in and enjoying it, again, I'm slightly surprised by this although I don't know why. It's well written and compelling. While I know the ending, or the TV version anyway, I am excited to turn it on for those few minutes each day between Mama T's house and my office.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ground Zero

Today I weighed in at 135.6 lbs. Which is actually a full pound lower than I had been all week. Whoohoo! That leaves me 10.6 lbs from my goal!

Hips: 41.5 inches.

Belly at Navel (without sucking in): 35 inches.

Mid Thigh: 22 inches.

I plan on checking in each Friday with current stats.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

There is always a plan

 I am a planner.

A big time planner.

An over planner.

It makes me feel more in control.

Today I am wearing my size 8, pre-baby dress pants, unbuttoned. They fit everywhere else, but my belly. It was making me crazy this morning to put on my 'fat pants' which are too big everywhere except my belly and no matter what top I put on, I just look huge all over.

So, I came up with a plan. An 11 week plan. Which is probably ridiculous and unrealistic, but I"m going to go for it anyway. I've done this type of thing before where I print up these calendars with a workout plan and then do daily weigh in's and write in any additional exercises done. Like Tuesday, I went to the park with the girls and walked for half an hour, I'd write that in on the day. I tape up my calendar's above the scale in the bathroom so I can see it every day and keep myself accountable.

While the last time I did it, I was attempting to lose a lot of weight (after Ali was born), this time it's not as much the weight as it is toning. I think if I can tone up my arms, legs, belly and rear, things will really start to fit and I'll see the weight loss too. I'm not terribly far from my pre-baby weight so this is my progressive plan for the next 11 weeks. Every morning I do a warm up with Sun Salutations and then sit ups, push ups, squats and planks. Each week I make it a little harder, a little longer. Sunday's will be a rest day.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pride & Joy

I am fairly certain that there is very little in the world that is as beautiful and infectious as a small child filled with pride for accomplishing something new.

Ali put her shirt on by herself. That was the whole event and you would have thought she had just won gold at the Olympics. She's put her pajama top on herself the last few nights and every time once it was on, ran full speed down the hallway to tell her daddy that she did it all by herself.

It is completely adorable.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Too good to be true

You know those ads that pop up everywhere advertising major designer merchandise for rock bottom prices.

Those sites are never what they claim to be. Either their 'rock bottom' pricing is $50 off a $5000 item or the sites themselves are a little sketchy.

Facebook apparently knows my shopping habits, as well as most online sites do these days, and there on the right side of my screen this morning there was an ad for a Louis Vuitton bag for 'up to 75% off!' I clicked on it. I couldn't help myself.

I was taken to a beautiful site and a whole list of big designer names, Hermes, Burberry, Prada, Fendi, etc, etc and there, on that page was a fabulous and huge Louis Vuitton bag. A $1,200 Louis Vuitton bag.

Listed for $220.

I almost fell out of my chair.

I really can't afford to spend $220 on a bag right now, not that I don't own several bags that cost a bit more than that, but we just started this month with two kids in daycare. I don't have $220 to spend on a bag.

But boy, it was so tempting.


For a Louis Vuitton bag that could totally double as a diaper bag, it was that big.

I can almost put together a reasonable rationalization for it.

So, I put it in my shopping cart.

And I clicked, 'check out'.

And then realized this company is in Hong Kong and I have to pay with the Chinese version of paypal.


It's never the deal you think it is. I couldn't do it.

It may even be a legitimate site. With legitimate merchandise.

But I just can't do it. I think I"d rather just save the money and buy the real thing, someday. Not any day soon, but someday.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chef Ali

Ali loves to help. Whatever I"m doing, she wants to do it too. She helps me do everything from laundry, to washing windows, to dusting and vacuuming. Cooking is her most favorite activity though. She loves to help me make dinner, or breakfast, or bake, doesn't matter. She mixes, stirs, pours, rolls, etc, and has a fabulous time doing it. She even washes up afterwards.

Dinner, featuring celery in a pasta box...

'Chopping' vegetables (with a dull peeler).

Christmas morning, 'helping' Grandma make muffins for breakfast.

This past weekend, helping me make dinner.

After she went and got her little stool to try and wash dishes, I got her regular 'helper chair' (see above) so she could actually get into the sink, but this photo is so cute.

Cookies that we made this weekend too. She did it all. I measured the ingredients and put the sheets in the oven but that was about it.

I realize I have no photos of her face while she's doing this, but if you could see the level of concentration as she 'cooks' you'd understand why she doesn't look up. Isn't her hair beautiful though. :) 

Last night as my husband was cleaning up dinner he asked what the bowl of veggies on the counter was for. I told him that was Ali's for her to 'cook' with. He asked if they were a part of dinner and I said no, they're just veggies I keep on hand for her to play with. I don't usually give her the things we're actually having for dinner because she tends to take bites and then put things back in the bowl. We both just laughed. How many people keep veggies on hand specifically for their children to 'chop' and 'cook' with so they can munch on a few slices of green pepper or broccoli as they want to. She cracks me up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sick of Sick!

It seems like it has been the worst winter for colds. My husband is on his third round of the sniffles since the beginning of the year and he NEVER gets stick. Ali has had a runny nose off and on since before Elle was born and Elle has ended up with it twice too. I had one very short version of the cold but am now feeling like I am fighting off something.

I am just over it! I am ready for spring so we can get out of the house and into the fresh air! All this being cooped up inside is making us sick, literally. I want the windows open the fans going and all that sick, germy air out!

This weekend is looking like it will be beautiful so I hope to get both girls out for a long walk in the sunshine.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Trying to find a direction

When Ali was about six or seven months old I hit a wall. A pretty big one, face first and at full speed.

I was trying to do it all and do it perfectly.

I was trying to have a clean house, clean laundry, healthy meals, an exercise routine to lose the last 10-15 lbs of baby weight that hadn't come off yet, I was working full time, I had a foster dog, plus our two dogs that I walked every day and I was trying to keep everyone happy and content on my own.

That didn't work.

One morning after dropping Ali off with Mama T on the way to work I just started crying. I cried the rest of the way to the office and I had no idea why.

I just felt wrong. I felt like everything was wrong. That I was trying so hard to do everything, that nothing was getting done well.

I got to work and sent an email out to everyone with a big cry for help, I was drowning.

My husband started handling a little more, my mom started coming over on Friday's to help clean the house and do laundry and I started to let go a little of what I thought I needed to be.

Now, I have two children, one dog (with issues), and am back to working full time. I have already relinquished a lot of the dog responsibilities since I wasn't able to do much during the pregnancy and my husband and I had already decided he would continue to walk Big M in the mornings. I didn't think I was going to be able to reasonably walk him, get two children up, dressed, fed and ready and still get me up, dressed, fed and ready, to be out the door at 7:20. I'm not entirely positive I can do all that even without the dog walking, but that remains to be seen. (Mama T had a family emergency yesterday and today, so my mom is home with the girls.)

I am trying to remain calm and organized as I figure out how all this is going to work. People do it every day. People do it with more kids than I have and no husband to help, or wife to help. I just need to stay open to the bumps and give in to the exhaustion.

It's ok if dinner ends up as a box of Mac and Cheese and some fish sticks.

It's ok if dinner ends up scrambled eggs and a banana.

It's not ok if I push myself to have everything done exactly how I think it needs to be done and end up a sobbing mess on the floor of my minivan because I"m too tired to think straight.

I need to be prepared. Be organized and be open to the directions that come up. Life has a way of balancing out if you let it. But if you keep pushing and keep forcing, that's when you lose it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Back in the saddle

I"m a much better blogger when I'm working. I just don't sit down at the computer on a regular basis when I'm home for long periods. I'm a queen multitask-er and always seem to find time to fit a post in while keeping up with emails and things at the office.

Elle is wonderful. She's so fun and so happy. She is such a joy. She's currently sleeping most nights from 9 pm until 4:30 am or later. She's sleeping for such long periods that I had to go buy night time diapers for my two month old because the diapers for children her age, aren't really intended to last for 8 or 9 hours at a time and I got tired of changing sheets at 4 in the morning.

I'd love to take lots of credit for the sleeping thing, but really it's my daycare lady, Mama T, who has helped me schedule both Ali and Elle from when they were infants to get them onto solid napping and eating routines. Babies like routines. Once you set it and stick to it, they adjust so fast and are happier having that routine in place. They know when they're going to eat next and they know when they're going to nap next. It makes a mom's day easier too, knowing what you can schedule and plan for.

If you have an infant (or toddler) who's not sleeping, I highly recommend the book, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Baby. I forget who the author is, but it's spot on in terms of setting a nap/sleep schedule and sticking to it come hell or high water. It's really dry (really, really dry), with a lot of repetition but if you skip to the end of each chapter he gives a condensed cheat sheet for what was important in that section.

Back on the personal side of things. I am down to being within 9 lbs of my prebaby weight and I am so close to fitting into my clothes that I can taste it. I was about 5 lbs heavier than I wanted to be when I got pregnant and I had bought a few pairs of 'larger' pants that were one size up from what I would typically wear. Those I can get on and zipped, but not buttoned. That roll of lose skin around my belly is slowing shrinking, but really, I had a lot to get rid of so it's not surprising that I"m still working on it. Ok, ok, I know it's only been 9 weeks. 9 weeks postpartum. I can't expect miracles. But still, I can get my 'smaller' pants up, not zipped or buttoned, but I can get them on, so that's pretty exciting.

Now that I"m back at the office I do expect that dieting will be easier, well, I had thought that until I got in this morning to find they had brought in donuts to celebrate my return...

Diet starts tomorrow!