Friday, March 29, 2013

our home: the boys' shared bedroom

Looking in their room from the hallway.

The canvas print you see when you first open their bedroom door.  From Target. I love it.

This is looking to the left when you walk in the room.  

Looking back at their bedroom door from the opposite side of the room.  The changing table... I rarely use it.  Dexter is pretty much too big and the thought of putting Theo on there is hilarious.  But it's where we store diapers, wipes, sheets, some blankets, etc. We'll keep it until we are ready to sell all of the nursery furniture as a set.

Their messy but large closet.  It could use a lot of reorganizing.  Theo's clothes are on the right and Dexter's are on the left.  Tubs of toys and clothes.  So. Much. Stuff. 

Dexter's bed. Opposite of their bedroom door.  The hamper gets used for stuffed animals now since we have a laundry chute. It will be a sad day when we no longer have a baby in a crib...that day is probably coming sooner than later!

Toy storage between Dexter's crib and the dresser.

Just another view. Dinosaur canvas print from Target.

Cutie pies over the dresser in the corner.

Nursery furniture is from Burlington Coat Factory/Baby Depot.

Curtains from Target.  Curtain rod, holdbacks, and finials from Pottery Barn Kids.

Cute kids by me & R.

Theo's big boy bed and the inspiration for the paint colors in the room.  My mom painted the room.  She did a fantastic job, didn't she!?

Bedding from Target.  Canvas print from (SURPRISE!) Target.

Closer to how it usually looks. :)  I feel like this long wall needs something on it. Maybe a better way to display their art (than taping it to their closet doors), but then I worry Theo will mess with it.  Have to be careful what we hang above his bed.  I think their room turned out super cute.  I love the colors.  I can't imagine having this large of a room for one child.  Sharing a room has been great for them so far!

What's that you say?  Not impressed?  Maybe I should have showed you the "Before" photo first.  I just wanted to save the best for last. 

I can assure you -- this is the same room in the same house in the same decade. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

why we said no to co-sleeping

I started to comment the other day on a FB post asking if readers did or didn't co-sleep and why or why not.  My comment started to get lengthy. And then I accidentally deleted it. That was the end of me commenting on that post. 

We chose from the beginning not to co-sleep.  I worked for the Department of Child Services Child Abuse Hotline at the time Theo was born and every child death had to be reported to us.  Every unexpected infant death was investigated as a possible abuse/neglect case.  We received a startling number of these reports.  So the decision, for me, was largely about safety. I did not want me & my baby to become a statistic.  I didn't know what I was getting into - how easy it would be to roll over on an infant, etc.  I didn't know I would sleep lighter than I'd ever imagined for 2 years after becoming a mother...yowzer, that sucked, but is not the point here. (Disclaimer: That's not to say we didn't doze off during a nursing session and succumb to the exhaustion more than a couple of times during those very early, sleep-deprived weeks.  Being a real parent and not just a lady that worked for DCS, I realize that those suffocations usually involve an altered state due to drug use, alcohol, or some other risk factor that did not pertain to us.  But notice that I did say USUALLY.  Not always. This is still a strong argument for not co-sleeping with an infant).

My decision was not solely based on safety.  Someone I knew allowed their child to sleep with them from the beginning and that worked out fine for them.  But I knew it wouldn't work for me. It turned into a situation where the child did not would not go to bed until the parents went to bed.  The child ended up sleeping with the parents until age 5 or 6.  That's a lot of child-in-your-bed time if you ask me.  And as much as I love playing with those little cherubs, I value my me-time after they go to bed. The child didn't end up sleeping with the parents for life.  I just saw the fight they had to get the kid to go to bed alone and knew that I didn't want any part of that if I could avoid it.

So we were determined from the beginning to a.) not smother our baby and b.) have our grown up bed to our grown up selves.

Do I regret our decision? Not really. Sometimes. Occasionally.  No, not really.  Sorry. I had to sort that out in my head for a second. 

The only time I regret it is when those cute snuggly little bears do actually crawl into our beds and fall asleep in my arms.  They learned to sleep in their beds from the beginning  - not to say we didn't rock them, etc. Gah I sound so cruel and cold.  WE ARE VERY LOVING, okay? Anyway, they learned to sleep in their beds early on so they don't seem to need that closeness to fall asleep now that they are 1 & 3.  However, there is the random occasion when this happens and all I can do is stare at their sweet, peaceful faces and soak it all in.  I let my mind wander off to consider what life would be like if we had let them sleep with us all this time.  Would they be more snuggly now? They wouldn't sleep with us forever, after all.  Childhood goes by so quickly and the years are short, even when the days and nights are long. 

Then, while I'm kissing a baby-smooth forehead and smelling a head full of silky hair, the thought starts creeping into my mind, should I have let him sleep with us? Is he going to think this is how it's going to be from now on? Don't worry, I'm able to snap out of it and enjoy the moment.  Unfortunately, these moments are all too rare.  I'll have to enjoy our snuggles on the couch and before bedtime because these boys are not even interested in sleeping with mom and dad 364 days a year.

Ultimately, I do not have any regrets. We've been lucky in the sleep department for the most part and this lifestyle works for our family.  And that's all that matters.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

did you hear!?

My most embarrassing moment post (remember the one where I peed in a sippy cup that wasn't big enough?) was determined to be funny enough by Mrs. Hilarious herself, Julie over at I Like Beer and Babies, to be featured on The Confessional today, a gut-busting series of parenting blunders that she hosts.

I'm so tremendously flattered!  And if you don't read her blog, well... why not??  What's wrong with you?


Thursday, March 21, 2013

in honor of celebrate-your-childcare-provider day

I don't know if that's a real thing, but it's our babysitter's birthday today, so we're celebrating her.  I always hesitate to use the word "babysitter," because she's so much more than that to us and to the boys.  That word simplifies the extent of the relationship that my family has with hers.

Feb 2013

Dexter is at a stage now where he does not want to leave when I arrive to pick them up.  Sunday, he started saying he wanted to see her, her son, and her husband around 6pm and would.not.let.up.  Theo, when asked who his best friend is, often answers with her name.

We've been through a lot together.  She was there for Theo's first birthday.  And for Dexter's 14 months later.  She had a challenging pregnancy and worked every day of it.  We celebrated her son's first birthday earlier this year.  I don't know how she's survived in all this boy madness for the last three years, but she does a damn good job of it. 

When we set out to find childcare, we weighed the pros and cons of a home sitter versus a daycare center.  At the time, my work schedule was weird and we liked the idea of having some flexibility with paying for only a certain number of days per week.  We liked the idea of fewer kids.  We liked the idea of someone who would not only teach them things, but nurture them as well.  

We interviewed two other ladies who ran in-home daycares.  Meaning, they were stay at home moms who did nothing but let their toddlers watch t.v. all day and were just looking to make some extra cash.  That was not what we were looking for.  When we interviewed our sitter, she had prepared folders with contracts and examples of schedules depending on the age of the children.  She explained that the children would not watch television and would be involved in scheduled learning activities daily.  We discovered that she had her degree in elementary education and teaching was her passion.  The choice was easy.  

We feared that there would be issues with reliability.  Having only one caregiver meant if she called in sick, so did we.  This lady...can I just tell you?  This lady has never called in sick.  Oh, well...unless you count that time her newborn son was in the hospital for a week.  We gave her a pass on that.  :-)

Ryan and I have both switched jobs in the past three years and the kids' schedule has increased from 3.5 days per week to 5 days per week.  As hard as it was to give up the extra time with them when I switched jobs last August, I know they are in great hands and they are somewhere that they love and want to be.  

She not only teaches them, she loves them.  And we love her and her family.  We found her through and took a chance.  I'll never forget the sick feeling I had in my stomach the first time I left Theo there.  I couldn't shake the thought "but she doesn't love him." I didn't want to leave my tiny baby in the care of someone who was practically a stranger. Someone who didn't love him.  Someone who didn't know exactly how he liked to be bounced when he was grumpy.  It didn't take long before I had total trust in this amazing woman and it became clear that she grew to love him very quickly.  The day I left Dexter was sad too, but only because I knew I would miss him.  She loved him before I ever dropped him off.

We've taken for granted the peace of mind we have with where are kids are, day in and day out.  She certainly spends more waking hours with them during the week than we do.  It would be ridiculous to say that she isn't shaping them into the little people they are becoming.  We couldn't have chosen anyone better to help us do just that.  

I tell her from time to time that while some people may think that she doesn't have an "important" job, to me she has the absolute MOST important job in the world.  Keeping my kids safe and happy when I can't.  There is no way to put into words what a huge responsibility we have placed on her or the gratitude we feel for her.  We expect a lot from her.  She delivers.  

I'm not a person who goes around using the term 'blessed' very often.  But when I think of how this relationship has turned out, that's how I feel.  

So thank you, to our babysitter extraordinaire/teacher/nurturer/potty trainer/food fixer/cheerleader/toy finder/craft coordinator/endlessly energized and all around amazing lady.  And happy birthday.  


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

fun bonanza: a week in photos

I should probably break this up into at least six separate posts, but eh.  My blog. My rules.

First things first, the boys got haircuts last Tuesday.  It was sort of spur of the moment.  I didn't realize when I said "use the clippers" that Dexter would be BALD 2 minutes later. Whoops.  I had her use the scissors on the top of Theo's head.  My boys look so different.

Moving right along.  Friday I took dinner to a friend who had a new baby boy 2 weeks earlier.  Maybe it was partly an excuse to get over there and snuggle up with a cute, squishy newborn.  Maybe it was an excuse to get my boys together with her big boy, who is 7 months younger than Theo and 7 months older than Dexter.  Neato.  :) 

The boys loved little Parker and had fun playing on Paxton's cool bunk bed.  We had to get home to clean up the house before my mom rolled into town and were surprised by sweet friends who stopped by with some gifts and pizza for Theo's belated birthday. Dexter was kind enough to help Theo open his presents.

Somehow I managed to forget all about bringing my camera along with us on Saturday but posted a couple of pictures of the fun things we did on Instagram.  

 We went to the zoo.  I took this picture while Dexter and I were waiting for my mom, Theo, and Ryan to finish looking at icky snakes.  Honestly, it's so hot in the desert building that I was about to start sweating.  We were fine catching some fresh air and chit chatting about life.  See?  That's Dexter's serious face.

After the zoo, we visited Jersey's Cafe, which Ryan and I had seen featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives 2 years ago or so.   The food was amazing!  I had the Little Egg Harbor Crab Cake sandwich.  Wow.  Just wow.

We stopped by Ashley Home Furniture on the way home to see a bed in person that a friend of mine is selling.  Turns out, we love the bed and are getting it this weekend.  Like it?

Then we went home and talked about how full we still were from our late lunch, played with some cute little boys, and went to bed.  Sunday we revisited one of our favorite places to take the boys in Columbus, Indiana.  I love looking back at the previous times we've been there to see how much these bubs have grown!

The first time we went, Dexter was 2 months old and Theo was 16 months old.  
The second time we went, Dexter was 9 months old and Theo was 23 months old.  
This time, Theo was way to old to count his age in months (36) and Dexter was 22 months old.

It never ceases to amaze me how fast time flies. It's even more painfully obvious when you have young children. I love these two places I'm about to blog about for the THIRD time, but even more I love looking at how much the boys have changed.

We visited the Commons, an amazing and unique indoor playground perfect for cold or rainy days, and an old fashioned soda fountain, Zaharako's, perfect for ruining any diet.  (P.S. Did you notice my naughty eating habits...Friday pizza & Saturday giant sandwich.  Oh, and a sundae on Sunday.  That splurge meal turned into a splurge weekend...gotta live a little, right?)

This kid was a little tentative about climbing by himself.

Watching his big brother, not too sure what to think.  Nervous face.

Ryan and I both ended up climbing to the top a couple of times.  So much fun (and not a bad workout).

Up the slide...
And down the slide.

 (Ha - I just noticed Ryan & Theo on the big slide in the background!)

my monster.

A step back in time just across the street.

Restored to it's original glory.  Ridiculously beautiful and equally delicious!

Mom headed back to Tennessee after lunch and we visited Ryan's parents afterwards since Theo's been begging to go there for the last week or so.  Monday was uneventful.  That brings us to tonight. 

Oh, you know how it is on a Tuesday night.  Guys' cards night and everything. Gets a little out of control!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

my 3 year old won't poop in the potty

He never has.  We've tried bribery.  We've tried being stern (once...I didn't like it).  He still refused.  He's smart and sneaky.  He still wears a diaper at night and for naps, so he will hold it until he has one on.  Usually, ten minutes after he lays down for a nap, he will announce that he has pooped.  We've promised him a trip to the ice cream store when he finally drops a deuce.  Still, nothing. 

On the rare occasion when he doesn't nap or poo around nap time, he will simply ask for a diaper.  Obviously he feels the sensation and knows exactly what is going on.  He's capable.  I just don't know if he's scared, if he doesn't know how to relax, or if it is just defiance (I really don't think it's defiance).  Maybe he's just nervous or doesn't know how to make it come out.  He's tried several times but gets frustrated before he ever really relaxes. He can't sit there calmly.

After reading about the 3 day method several different places, I'm tempted to try it.  Cold turkey. No diapers.  Truthfully, the reason I haven't done this yet is because I don't really want to get up in the middle of the night 8 times to change his sheets.  He has never-ever-not-once woken up dry in the morning.  However, he hasn't had an accident the 3 or 4 times someone has forgotten to put a diaper on him at nap time.  This tells me we might be successful with this cold-turkey method.  But if there were no diapers, would he just poop in his underwear?  Or would he poop in the potty?  Knowing my kid, he would hold it until his bowels popped... 

We talked to the doctor about this Monday and he suggested gradually training him rather than taking the diapers away all at once.  He thinks it is fine to bribe him with treats, stickers, etc.  Whatever does the trick.  (He also promised that Theo would not be pooping in a diaper when he's 16...we'll see).  So with his theory, we allow him to poop in the diaper but he has to stand in the bathroom for a week or so (however long it takes him to get comfortable with that).  Then the following week, he has to stand next to the toilet.  The next week, he sits on the toilet (with diaper on).  Finally, we would remove the diaper and sit him on the toilet.  Does this seem like, well, babying him too much?  Or is taking the comfort of his diaper away cold turkey inhumane? 

I just keep going back and forth and I need some advice. 

Your thoughts?


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

mommy's pet peeves

I'm participating in Toddle Along Tuesday with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky and this week's topic is Mommy's Pet Peeves.

Let me just say that I try to maintain a positive attitude overall, but sometimes it's just fun necessary to vent!  Here are some of my pet peeves:

1. I know I'm not a princess and my children are not royalty or anything, but for the love of Pete, hold the freakin' door open when you see a lady with an 188' long double stroller coming through. No excuses.

2. I've never denied that Dexter was a "surprise" to us but for crying out loud, don't ask a lady you barely know if her second pregnancy (or any pregnancy) was planned.  Geez.

3. You know how annoying it is when people park 3" from you and you have to shimmy into the car sideways to avoid slamming your door into their car?  Only because you don't want to mess up your own car?  Well, there's a whole new level of annoying to this when you have to put a toddler in a carseat.  Come ON!

4. How about every time you say something about your child to someone and they have to one-up you?  They feel the need to tell you something that their kid did that was bigger and better than your kid's thing.  Every.Single.Time.  Guess what?  It's not necessary.

5. People that have to have every most expensive brand/thing for their kid.  Just because it's expensive.  Because it sure isn't always cute.  Can't use hand-me-downs because that's for poor people. Go ahead and call me poor, pal, that's one less thing I have to buy.

6. Rude strangers in public that ignore my {obviously adorable, sweet} children when they wave or say "hi."  As crazy as it makes me sound, I am always offended by this and am paranoid it will hurt the boys' feelings.

What annoys you the most?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Theo's third birthday celebration

Can't believe this was a year ago.  Can't believe this was two years ago.  Yikes.

Friday morning we started our day with a quick breakfast at McDonald's.  We'd planned on going to more of a sit-down breakfast place but as usual, it took us longer to get out of the house than we'd hoped.  The boys didn't mind.

Afterwards, we drove to the Newport Aquarium.  The reason we were hoping to get an earlier start was because we knew the boys would fizzle out after/around lunchtime.  We still got there around 10:40.

One of Theo's favorite things was this big demonstration tank and the scuba divers.

Dexy liked the alligators and crocs.

He doesn't really measure up to Mighty Mike.

I can't help it.  He's such a dreamboat.

And little Mr. Handsome himself.

Waiting for the lorikeets to get interested in our nectar (they never did).

Theo showing off his little box of tiny critters/souvenirs from the aquarium.

I missed my mid-morning snack and by 1pm when we left the aquarium, I was ready to eat one of my children, poor dears.  Luckily there was the MOST AMAZING THING IN THE WORLD right there by the aquarium called a soup and grilled cheese restaurant.  What I don't understand is if someone built a restaurant JUST for me, why am I just now finding out about it?  I give you Tom + Chee.  

Playing with new critters while waiting for our cheese. Yum. Cheese.

Heaven in a plastic basket.

Oh, ya know. Just drinking milk out of the carton like I'm in school.

Goofing off at B&N.

I found it really surprising that by this point in the day, Theo still had not mentioned anything about opening presents.  We had decided the night before that we would let him open as many of the ones that we got him and the ones that had been shipped to us from my mom and a friend when he woke up, if he asked.  We didn't want to make him wait.  Since we ended up being in a hurry, we were relieved.  Finally, around 4pm, after we got to Ryan's sister's house in Cincinnati, he asked to open some gifts.  

After we went out to dinner, we came back for cupcakes, more presents, and more Toy Story madness. To say that the boy is obsessed would be an understatement!  


Singing to my boy.

Make a wish!

Dexter was every bit as excited as Theo was.

His wish came true.  Emperor ZURG!

All in all, it was a long, exciting, happy day.  I think Theo got everything he had hoped for and has been playing with his new pals ever since.  We spent the rest of the weekend soaking up family time and playing outside on Sunday in the beautiful weather.  It's hard to believe my baby boy is already three years old.  I know time's not going to slow down any time soon.  Boo to that, but cheers to the next year and Dexter's 2nd birthday coming up in two months.