Thursday, May 31, 2007

Support a mommy blogger!

My dear friend Rachel has started up her own online business with some of the cutest accessories for baby. The name of the website is Pipsqueak Pretties, which I think is the most adorable name ever for a business like hers. And while looking at some of her products, I thought, "How ingenious, why didn't I think of that?" The items are practical (well, some of them, others are just plain fun), are great gift ideas and are one of a kind originals. Go support a fellow mommy blogger and check her out!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wordless Wednesday- a side by side comparison

Everyone always tells me how much my kids look alike. I can see a little resemblance, but they all look so different to me. Lately, alot of people have been telling me that Marc-Adam looks exactly like Zachary. I don't think so at all. So I scrounged up some pictures of Stephen and Zachary when they were about Marc-Adam's age. The quality isn't great and they aren't the pictures I wanted to put side by side, but it'll give you an idea. What do you think? For those of you that know us in real life, can you tell who's who?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The monster in our living room

There's a monster in our house. It goes by many names. It turns small children and sometimes even grown men in to zombies. It sucks up every bit of productive time one might have and has no remorse. It puts silly ideas in to the heads of my kids and teaches them things to drive me crazy.

I've watched the monster grow. Heck, I even invited it in. I introduced it to my children and let it make friends with them. For a while, it was a welcome friend. But now it has overstayed its welcome by taking over our lives. And I'm grabbing my figurative sword and slaying this monster.

My friends, I am done with the TV. We in this house watch entirely too much of it. Especially the kids. We got into bad habits when Marc-Adam came along. And now, I'm just done.

I've tried to wean the kids off of it gradually. But it doesn't work. I tell them, "We're turning it off after this show." But then I realize that they really love the next show. So I let them watch it. And then when that show's over, I think, well it's lunchtime now, I might as well let them watch while I make lunch.

Before I know it, they've spent the majority of the day in front of the monster. And then when I actually do turn it off, they have no idea what to do with themselves and follow me around looking to me to entertain them.

So, we're going cold turkey. We started today. This morning, the TV was only turned on so that we could listen to our Dr. Seuss CD and some music on the DVD player. I warned Stephen several days ago about this. He cried then, but once he knew it was coming, it was no big deal. I was afraid of Zachary's reaction, though. This is a child who needs some time to wake up in the morning. He would crawl up on the couch with his morning cup of milk and wake up while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or perhaps a little Peep. It was a rude awakening this morning when I told him no TV. He cried (screamed, threw himself on the floor, etc) for about 5 minutes. I made breakfast earlier than usual and once we were at the table for breakfast, the TV was forgotten. They played all morning, we read lots of books, they helped with dishes and laundry. They're still looking to me for entertainment, but I think that will pass once we get used to this.

Stephen actually seems happier without the tube. He even said that we should do this again tomorrow. I don't think he got that this was going to be a permanent change. We might watch a movie here or there, but I don't want to turn on the satellite for them anymore because that is what sucks up the time. Once a movie is over, it's over.

This has actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. So far. There's still time for a mutiny, I suppose.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blog? Blog, is that you?

I almost didn't recognize you, it's been so long.

In all seriousness, I'm not sure why I took a little bloggy break. There's actually quite a bit going on, but nothing I want to really blog about.

There are some big changes on the horizon for the Sweet Family. One concerning our livelihood and the other concerning something that seems to have taken over our lives. We're making big decisions over here. More on all that later. I'll prolly be needing a little support. The next few weeks/months might be a little bumpy.

So, ya think I could be any more vague?

Anyway, I'm still around. Still checking out all of your blogs, even if I'm not commenting much. Don't give up on me.:)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And a Wordless Wednesday

He can't be trusted in the Bumbo anymore.

Works for Me Wednesday

This is my little trick for getting my little guys (ages 2 and 4) to help clean up their playroom, and sometimes the living room if the mess from the playroom has overflowed.

I'm not a proactive type of housekeeper. I don't keep things straight. I wait for things to get messy and then I clean them. Especially the playroom. I usually clean the playroom about once a week or when the kids are no longer playing in there because of the mess. I used to end up doing it all myself, but that's not quite right since they made the mess. I had a terrible time getting them to help me clean up. They would put a toy away and then pull 2 out to play with. They would put a few books away, then get side-tracked and sit down to read a few. So here's what I do now:

I set the timer for a fair amount of time to get the job done, but not so much that we can go slowly (I usually set it for 25 minutes). I tell the boys that if we ALL work together and get the playroom clean before the timer goes off we'll ALL have a treat at the end. But we have to hurry. If someone gets side-tracked, I'll say something like, "Uh-oh, we only have a few more minutes to clean up before the timer goes off! We better hurry!" That usually gets them moving again. The treat at the end is something like a cookie (that are usually off limits to them, just my guilty pleasure), a favorite show or an activity that I've been avoiding. After it's all clean, I make sure there are high-fives all around, and I stand in the playroom to comment on how good it looks and how quickly it got done because we worked together. Then we all sit around to enjoy the treat.

This works for me because I don't mind letting the playroom get messy in the first place. I don't like having to constantly tell the kids to go clean up. Maybe when they are older I'll make them be better at picking up after themselves in the playroom. But right now it's just not worth it to me.

For more cool tips, check out Rocks In My Dryer.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's our responsibility to make this better

I have a little bit of a heavy heart today. I was talking with my neighbor last night. We ended up giving our dog to her and her daughter last Friday. My neighbor (I'll call her Sharon, because I don't want to give up info about folks who don't know I'm blogging about them) said that her daughter (I'll call her Savannah), is really loving having our dog. She said that Savannah really needed this right now because she's been having a hard time. I asked if everything was okay and she told me that the kids at Savannah's school are really hard on her. They call her fat and ugly. I feel like crying just typing this. This beautiful girl is far from fat and far from ugly. She's sweet and cute and gentle and kind. She's so smart and talking to her is like talking to another adult. Even if she were what they say she is, it wouldn't be any less hurtful. But because of these kids, Savannah quit eating. In fact, she passed out at school on Friday from dehydration.

This just makes me so sad and so mad. I know that kids have said mean things to other kids for centuries and I'm sure that at one point or another we've all be on both sides of this. But I'm so scared for Savannah. She's still in elementary school and is already being bruised by hurtful, hateful words. It certainly isn't going to get any better for a few more years.

Hearing things like this make me glad that I have boys who are less likely to starve themselves because kids heavier than my kids call them fat. But it could still happen. And more than likely, they will get picked on. I want to protect them from this and build them up in such a way that no one would ever be able to tear them down with a few hurtful words. And I want to make darn sure that they are never the ones tearing some other child to pieces by telling them that they are anything less than what God made them to be. I pray that our boys not only stand up for the kids who get picked on, but befriend them. I just wish all parents felt the same way.

Life's hard enough...we have to find ways to keep it from being so hard when our kids our so young.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Passing along these little jewels

Given the several health/medical issues the boys have had over the last few weeks (everyone's fine, just lots of little things popping up), there have been several times that I've had a question about something that didn't seem worthy of a call to the doctor or even to the nurse line. So I head to my trusty Google and type the magic words, whatever they may be. Almost every time, one of the first results is information on this website. After the third or fourth time of visiting that site, I started really poking around to see what else I could find. Dr. Greene's website is a wealth of information for parents. The advice is down to earth and the information is not at all scary (because it's easy to find "now-I-can't-sleep-because-I'm-so-freaked-out" health information on the internet) . I've even found that he does periodic live chats. And I've always gotten whatever information or reassurance I went looking for. It's definitely worth checking out next time you're looking for info about your child's health/development.

Oh and as a bonus, if you have babies and/or toddlers, Wholesome Baby Food and Wholesome Toddler Food are great sites, too, for finding kid-friendly recipes. There are some great recipes on the Toddler Food site that are better versions of foods our kids love like breakfast bars and mac&cheese.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Because I know you are screaming for more...

Kelli tagged me for the 7 random habits/facts meme that's going around. Since I just had my "100 things" post 1o posts ago, this is the short sequel. Hang on to your seat people...this is some riveting blogging.

1. On televisions and radios where the volume has numbers, my volume number always has to be even. It makes me nervous if it's not.

2. All of my kids (and myself) have 9 syllables in their full name. And that's not a coincidence.

3. I played the lead role in "Amahl and the Night Visitors" in high school.

4. I love spring and summer because I can go barefoot more often. That's the only reason I love spring and summer.

5. Until high school, I always pronounced the word crayon wrong. And I didn't know it until my friends pointed it out and made fun of me (because that's what high school friends are for, right?). I realize now that it probably wasn't just me because Stephen says it the same way I did. "Crown".

6. I only get my haircut 2-3 times a year. I wish I could do it more, but time gets away from me and I have to earmark the money months before I get it.

7. Even if I'm not paying attention to the TV, the "Breaking News" sound on Fox News always brings me running to the TV from where ever I am in the house. And I can't tell you how much I hadn't wasted the energy to come running when they told me Paris was going to be spending 45 days in jail.

I'm not sure I even have 7 readers to tag and while I love being tagged, I don't like tagging. So, consider yourself tagged if you're reading this, haven't done it and want to do it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Just another day in paradise

It's dinner time. I'm feeling more than a little frazzled. Sweet Hubby's outside mowing the lawn that probably should have been mowed about 2 weeks ago. The baby's been fussy all day and has spent most of his waking time on my hip. The boys are still in their jammies. The house is a mess. The playroom looks like the toybox and bookshelf got the same germies and both threw up. I've gotten nothing done. All week. Zachary's been through 5 pair of undies today. Laundry's piled up on the least it's clean. I have no idea what to make for dinner. What's worse is that I'm in no mood to even think about it. So, I go with the old stand-by, breakfast for dinner. Blueberry muffins (I could eat a whole pan by myself), scrambled eggs, and bacon. Except we only have 4 eggs. And two have to go in the muffin mix. Okay, no problem. I'm not getting the kids dressed and hauling them all to the store. Blueberry muffins and bacon is just fine.

The stage is set for Stephen to take what's left of our snack bag of popcorn and spill the contents (oh, all the tiny little kernels) all over the living room floor. I'm trying to mix muffin batter and fry bacon while keeping Marc-Adam from getting into the muffin mix or getting splattered by the bacon grease. I tell Stephen to clean it up. He whines, pouts and moans about not wanting to clean if up while I whine, pout and moan about it needing to be cleaned up...until he asks if he could vacuum it. I'm wondering why in the world I didn't think of that and plug it in for him. Thankfully, he loves the vacuum and this will keep him busy for a while.

I go back to the muffins. I then proceed to dump the entire can of blueberries into the sink of dirty dishes.

Muffins and bacon. Give everyone some OJ and some apple slices and it's a real dinner, right?

I consider calling Sweet Hubby in to tell him I can't be trusted with the what's left of our dinner. My track record with bacon should have kept him from letting me make it to begin with.

I hide in the back of the house the rest of the evening. I'm so tired. Regardless of what my house looks like right now and the fact that my family only ate half of a real dinner, I feel like I earned every penny of my $138,095.

Free to good home

Our sweet little Zachary has had eczema for about 2 years now. We've fought it and fought it. Medicated it, moisturized it, bandaged it, etc. We couldn't figure out what was going on. Some days he would be fine for days on end and then one day, it would flare up and become raw and he would scratch till he bled. Recently, I started suspecting it was an allergy of some sort. When I took him in for a cough a few weeks ago, the doctor (not our regular doctor) saw it and mentioned it. He told us to cut wheat, soy, milk, corn, fish, nuts, chocolate and something else I can't remember out of his diet. All of it. Gone. And then he said we could slowly re-introduce those things one at a time to see if it caused a reaction (assuming the eczema cleared up after cutting them out). I was a little overwhelmed by that idea, and made an appt with our regular pediatrician to discuss it. He said that that sort of elimination diet was a little drastic and said that there was a blood test we could do. Makes me wonder why that other doctor insisted we put Z (and me!) through an elimination diet when all we really needed was little blood.

So we got the results yesterday. I was 99% sure this eczema was a result of a food allergy. Alas, he's allergic to dog. He also has a mild allergy to peanuts and mold.

We have a dog. We got her right after we got married. Honestly, she hasn't gotten near the attention in the last couple of years as she did the first couple of years. We haven't been responsible pet owners. Having her around the kids makes me nervous, and I've become super-aware of what little germies she contributes to the household. We've come to the decision that she can't live here anymore. Zachary's been miserable with his eczema and we want him to get better. We don't know how to let them co-exist happily without sanitizing the house every single day. And who has time for that?

And so, we're looking for a good home for our four-legged family member. I want to make sure she goes somewhere where she gets lots of love and can run around. I'm scared to take her to an SPCA. I'm afraid she won't get adopted out and they'll put her down. I'm scared to put an ad in the paper because I can't guarantee who ever takes her will be good to her. So I just don't know what to do.

I've broken the news to Stephen. He seems to totally understand that our dog is what's causing Z's rash and that for him to get better, she has to live somewhere else. He's a little disappointed, I think. I'm not sure it'll set in until she's not here anymore.

I'm a little sad, too, I guess. But I'm really looking forward to a day that Z doesn't scratch himself to shreds. My poor little baby.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For Mom & Dad

If you're still trickling in for Works for Me Wednesday, just scroll down a bit and you'll find it.

Most of the posts here on AiI (HA! that sounds way cooler than it really is) are dedicated to my children, my own silliness and sometimes, my dear Sweet Hubby. But today is special.

Today, my parents celebrate their 27th year of being married. In a culture where people change their minds about marriage the same way they change their minds about the paint color in the bedroom, that's something. And what's so great about them, is that it is obvious that they still very much love each other. And what's more, they are still best friends. Many couples tend to slump down into a state of co-existence, especially once the nest is empty. But they've built a life and a relationship strong enough to ride out the hard times and big changes. I can see that they are stronger now than they've ever been.

So happy anniversary, guys. We love you both so very much. May God bless you with 27 more beautiful years.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday--Birthday edition

Shannon's doing a birthday edition Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer. Lots of fun tips.

So I'm not going to claim my tip as my own. It's an idea I saw at a kid's birthday party just this past weekend.

Everyone knows that no kid likes to sit and watch another kid open present after present when they know they can't play with them, or help open the presents (this is especially true for the younger kids). My kids lose interest, get bored, whine, wander off....not a fun time. And the birthday kids sometimes just tear through the presents not slowing down to thank the gift-giver. I went to a birthday party for a 2 year old several weeks ago where the mom just skipped present-opening for the very reasons I mentioned.

But this party we went to this past was for a 4 year old. And the mom had 2 chairs set up for present opening. She would hand her son a gift, find out who it was from and then ask that child to come sit next to him. The gift-giver got to watch him open his present (and help if they wanted), the kids got their picture taken together and the birthday boy got to thank the gift-giver right then and there. So many good lessons for both kids, I thought. Then when he moved on to another present, the next kid hopped up in the chair. Present opening went much slower than normal, all the kids stayed put for most of it and they got to get involved. Everyone seemed to enjoy it more and it was less of a whirlwind than when my kids have opened presents.

I haven't tried it yet, but it certainly works for me!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why I have kids

Because I get to laugh at things like this....and then take pictures.

My, how I love these kids.