Thursday, January 30, 2014

catch the moment 365: week four

Week four is complete and we are almost a month into 2014 and a month into this photo project.  I have to admit, I've struggled a bit this week.  It's been so dark and cold and just gross outside, which can make it a challenge to get decent pics inside.  Also, SURPRISE! I was sick with strep throat and then the flu for this entire week of photos. It was all I could do to remember where my camera was most days.

22/365: January 22nd. I was preparing oven shrimp and thought the colors were so bold.

23/365: January 23rd.  I'm not sure if I ever moved from the couch on Thursday so I had to snap this one while admiring Dexter's cute blonde curls after the bath. I think he was in the middle of saying "curl" when I took this picture.

24/365: January 24th. And this is what the sink looks like after Ryan has been a single dad for 36 hours during my incapacitation. Luckily I felt well enough to tackle this mess on Friday.  P.S. Props to actual, literal, for real, single parents... I don't know how you keep up!

25/365: January 25th.  Theo, just lounging around the house on Saturday morning.  I don't normally let him sit on the arm of the couch, but what the heck?  Shew that hair needs to grow out!

26/365: January 26th. This little prize is what Dexter earned after tolerating a chest x-ray, nasal swab, and throat swab. All to diagnose the flu and a tiny collapse in his right lung.  Yes, he had his flu shot. We all did.  And we all got the flu. Don't get me started.

27/365: January 27th. Snuggling with dada, still fighting 104+ temps. 

28/365: January 28th.  Roasted Piquillo Pepper Alfredo with meatballs over linguine.

I know I keep saying this, but I really cannot wait for Spring.  Bleh.  I'm feeling very bleh, and very OVER this stupid sickness crap. A whole post is coming on this topic but I haven't felt like writing lately.  If I have to pick a favorite photo, it's day 25.  Theo just thinks he's such a big boy these days and I'm in denial, but the truth is --- he's right.  His 4th birthday is in 5 weeks and 2 days. GAG.

Which photo was your favorite this week?  


Thursday, January 23, 2014

catch the moment 365: week three

Another week dominated by illness at our house! ARGH.  I'm so ready to get this gross winter over with. Not only does it make taking decent photos inside the house impossible on work days, the sickness we've been going through is really starting to get depressing. I realize I'm posting way more photos of Dexter than Theo this week, but sometimes Theo is just not very cooperative for the camera. That's life, ya know?

Linking up with Mindi @ Simply Stavish, Sarah @ Nurse Loves Farmer, and Stephanie @ Behind the Camera and Dreaming for Catch the Moment 365.

15/365: January 15th.  Alone time for mommy at Homegoods after dinner with a friend.  So much pretty stuff here, why do I own zero percent of it? 

16/365: January 16th.  I guess this one speaks for itself?

17/365: January 17th.  I took the day off to spend with a friend and it ended up being a sick day for me. This was the only photo I could muster but pretty much sums up the day.

18/365: January 18th. A long day after a long night with the boys waking up multiple times apiece.  Dexter enjoyed this fun learning game and so did I!

19/365: January 19th. Cabin fever set in - we had to get out for a morning treat. America Runs on Dunkin!

20/365: January 20th.  On the drive home from work.  This project has me constantly scanning for something beautiful. Something photo-worthy besides my kids.  I'm enjoying my elevated awareness of the beauty around me. 

21/365: January 21st.  Story time with dad before bed.  Sometimes story time is not Dr. Suess, but looking through daddy's Marvel Encyclopedia and learning about villains.  My boys love the bad guys!

So we made it through another week of sickness and seem to be on the mend....until the next bug bites us. And I'm 3 weeks into this 52 week photo-a-day project and so far all of my photos have been taken with my DSLR with the vast majority shot in something other than Auto.  I'm also doing the Fat Mum Slim photo-a-day challenge on Instagram so taking pictures is always on my mind. This week, my favorite photo would have to be day 18 - Dexter working on the alphabet game. I just love the colors and his little chubby hands! I'm actually happy with all of my photos this week, aside from day 17.  I can truly say that it was a challenge that day to just pick up the camera and make the effort.  

Which one is your favorite from this week? 


Thursday, January 16, 2014

catch the moment 365: week two

It was back to somewhat normal routines after a couple of weeks of Christmas break topped off by a few snow days.  Getting back into the groove of the daily grind was a little tricky at best.  Luckily the boys' first week back to reality was only three days long before two more "mommy & daddy days."  Unfortunately we started the first full week with more illness.  When is enough enough? Because we've had enough!

8/365: January 8. Bathtime = Playtime.

9/365: January 9.  Frozen tundra.

10/365: January 10. Time sheet day.  It's not every day that you get to use correction tape.

11/365: January 11. De-Christmasing the house. Plastic, shatter-proof ornaments are basically the best thing ever when you have little kids.

12/365: January 12.  The great thaw.  Finally, a sunny warm(er) day to melt the foot of snow.

13/365:  January 13. They actually cooperated with posing together - they just wanted to show off their coordinating shirts.

14/365:  January 14. Sick day home with mommy. 

Which is your favorite picture from this week?  I kind of like day 14 - Theo's sweet, baby, innocent face.  Why can't my skin be that perfect? I don't get to stare at him being still for very long most of the time.  I also love the colors of the ornaments on day 11. 


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

overheard around the house

It's been a while since I've recapped some of the cute/funny things that the boys say. I've been trying to keep a mental list, so here's what I can remember right now.

Theo and Dexter both say "yo-grit" instead of yogurt.
Dexter doesn't say "r" in words like green, broke, etc. They sound like "geen" and "boke." I rarely try to correct him, because it's one of the few, fleeting baby things still happening around here.  I'm enjoying it while it lasts. He calls fruit snacks are "fwoot snacks."

Theo says "Monsters Inc Universed" instead of Monsters University.
Theo says "Teenage Mint Ninja Turtles."
Theo calls Star Wars "Starwers."
Dexter is starting to say grown up phrases like "how many times did I tell you?"
Theo often answers questions, "shoot yeah!" or "shoot no!" I'm not sure where he heard that!

Theo sometimes uses "responsible" and "ridiculous" interchangeably. This can be pretty hilarious at times.

Theo pronounces most things perfectly but gets a little tripped up on a few character names.

For example:
R2-D2:  R-Tooty
Darth Vader: Dark Vader
Clone Trooper:  Clown Trooper
Darth Maul: Dark Mall
Madam Leota: Mama Yoda

Dexter overheard someone expel a little gas over the holidays and said "what did YOU have for breakfast?"

Theo is always asking us, "what's your favorite color?" and giving us a toy or book or anything that color. As if we automatically like anything and everything that color.

Every day when the boys wake up, they ask us "Is it wake up time?" and "Is it a mommy and daddy day?"

Every time I'm in the kitchen, and Dexter hears the microwave, he asks "is it dinner time?"

Oh, there's so much more but every time I sit down to write it out, everything flies out of my brain. These are the little things that I know I will soon forget, yet love so much about this age and stage in their lives.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

the winter games: how things have changed

As the 2014 Olympics draw near, I can't help but feel a little sentimental about where we were in life when we watched the last winter games.  For one thing, they took place in Vancouver and we had recently visited there during our Alaskan cruise.  Watching the games brought back so many memories of that special trip.

Babies. We were just babies!

Zip-lining in Icy Strait Point.

Got sidetracked...but it's fun looking back at our old photos.  Anyway.... I love the winter games.  I remember sitting on the couch in our old house watching the games all day, all weekend on DVR -- and feeling absolutely miserable!  Because I was 8+ months pregnant with baby Theo.  Thinking back, life was so unbelievably different then.  I could lay down and nap whenever I felt tired.  Ryan and I could enjoy a quiet dinner at a restaurant.  We could even eat our food at our own pace, and while it was still hot. What!?  We even had extra money for trips, new clothes, or going to the movies.  We were expectant parents.

Feb 2010

We had no clue what we were getting ourselves into but we were ready to dive in headfirst.  I remember that time in our lives fondly. So much anticipation and excitement.  Expectations and questions.  We didn't know how to take care of a baby, but we sure trusted ourselves and each other to figure it out. And that we did.  

Little did we know that 15 months later we'd have TWO babies.  Little did we know that a brown haired, brown eyed boy and a blonde haired blue eyed boy would consume our hearts and lives.  We didn't understand that eating a quiet, hot dinner at a restaurant was an absolute luxury. Or a full night's sleep, for that matter. We didn't know what exhaustion was.  Or how full our hearts could feel or how big they could grow. 

I look at this picture and see a girl.  She looks young and naive and hopeful.  I look at baby pictures of the boys and think about how quickly their babyhood has flown by.  At the start of the 2010 winter games, I had 0 children.  Now I have two kids.  Not even babies anymore.  Over the weekend we sold their double stroller and gave away several other baby gear items.  Our house is looking less and less like a place where babies live. Legos and puzzles and books have replaced swings and bottle warmers and rattles.  The girl in the picture only ever imagined holding a sweet baby and having heart to heart conversations with her teenage son.  She didn't realize that there's so much in between.  That she'd pull her hair out and cry out of frustration sometimes.  She didn't realize that by the time the next winter games rolled around, her babies wouldn't be babies anymore.

That's me in the picture, but it's not.  The boys will be old enough to understand and enjoy parts of the winter games this time around.  It's mind-boggling and exciting.  We're moving into such a good stage with our kids right now.  They are still little, I'm acutely aware of this, yet they are growing more independent. They can entertain themselves and each other.  We don't have to worry about their safety every second that they are out of our sight anymore.  It's just interesting to me - time has this way of constantly blowing my mind. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

the perilous life of a kanka blanka

Behold, Kanka Blanka.  Or Kanket. Or Blue Kanky. Or Blue Banky.  Or a host of other options.

Whichever name comes out, we all know who he's talking about.  Notice I said "who," not "what."  That's because Dexter talks to his favorite blanket like it's a human. Or one of his action figures.  If you heard him in the car, you'd think he was acting out a scene with little toys. Sometimes he says "I love you," and from the front seat of the car, I'll say "Aw, Dexter! I love you too," only to be informed that he was talking to Blue. I bought this blanket at Walmart of all places (I never shop there) a day or two before Dexter's first Christmas when he was just 7 months old.  We were at Ryan's parents' house and I ran to the store to get diapers or some other essential item and the blanket caught my eye.  Theo's favorite blanket at the time was fuzzy like this, with satin trim along the edge, so I wanted Dexter to have something similar.

Blue Kanka Blanka about 2 years ago.  

It quickly became a favorite and he's only gotten more attached to it as he gets older.  It's really funny.  He's fine with leaving it in the car and doesn't ever cause any problems. I don't have any intentions of taking it away from him because he loves it, but also because it provides a lot of entertainment!

The other night Dexter and I were waiting in the car while Ryan and Theo went into a store.  Poor blue kanket went through quite an ordeal.  See, he lost his mom and dad, but the he found them. It was a stressful time, because you see, blue kanket's mom and dad were hiding in the trash truck. Thank goodness blue kanket was reunited, but it wasn't long before trouble struck again.  While blue kanket was getting in the car, he hit his nose on the door and it started bleeding. So naturally, we had to take blue kanket to the hospital for a shot. In the nose. Ouch! Blue kanket said that it hurt pretty bad but afterwards, it felt better.  The really bad news is, though, that through the whole hospital ordeal, blue kanket lost his parents. AGAIN. Apparently blue kanket's mom is red and his dad is ... blue of course.  Oh, blue kanket. You've been through so much.  I'm not too sure if or when blue kank found his folks the second time or not because Ryan and Theo returned and interrupted our story.  Once Theo was in the car, Dexter and I told him what happened to blue kank while they were gone. Theo has asked me to re-tell this tale several times. Funny. Love that Dexter's little personality and imagination are emerging and so silly.

Does/did your children have a security blanket?  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

catch the moment 365: week one

Here is the first of (hopefully) 52 weekly posts showcasing 1 photo for each day of 2014. I've decided to link up with others participating in the Catch the Moment 365 (co-hosted by my friend Mindi at Simply Stavish) for moral support and inspiration.  This first week is a bit of an odd one for us because I didn't have to work on any of the days below.  I was scheduled off work the first 5 days of the year and the other two were snow days due to the crazy arctic conditions and foot of snow we experienced here in central Indiana.

1/365: January 1.  On our way to Tennessee for Christmas with my family.

2/365: January 2.  My pretty niece Penelope in front of my mom's tree.

3/365: January 3. Theo making his big decision at Build-a-Bear.

4/365: January 4. Pit stop on the way home at Circle K.

5/365: January 5. Milk mustache.

6/365: January 6. The silliest of buddies.

7/365: Still acting silly, 24 hours later. Same antics, different pajamas.

One week down, 51 to go.  Which photo was your favorite from this week?  Mine has to be day 5, Theo's milk mustache. I don't know what it is, but the innocence in this picture speaks volumes to me.  THIS picture is the reason for doing a Project 365.  Capturing the sweet moments that would otherwise be lost forever. (Although days 6 and 7 would have to be very close, because HOW CUTE ARE THOSE BROS?).


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

restarting the clock.


I know everyone slips up, but I feel like a failure... again.  I made it exactly a month without yelling and it felt great.  Now I remember why I wanted to stop - this is a sad, pathetic feeling.  So by January 7, I'd already messed up on my most important resolution.

I'm certainly not trying to justify it, but I want to remember it.  I want to remember the way I felt afterwards for inspiration to do better next time. It was our fourth day of being snowed in, which in itself was not a bad thing. We've had plenty of toys and games and movies to keep busy.  Plenty of food eat and no reason to brave the scary roads or arctic temps.

Things took a turn for the worse yesterday when the boys refused to take a nap. They just played and goofed off in their room for 2 hours. By that point it was already almost 3pm so I wanted to keep them up for a decent bedtime since it's back to real life today. By 5:30, Dexter was asking for warm milk (which means he thinks it's bedtime). He was falling apart at the seams. Theo was fine until we turned his movie off and transitioned to the library for story time.  He chose a huge Marvel encyclopedia and had Ryan talking to him about different characters for 10 minutes while I read two books to Dex.  By the time we finished up, Theo had decided the Marvel book was "boring" and wanted to choose two new books.

Uh uh.


We told him he could choose one other book, but that he'd made his first choice and was not bored with it for 10 minutes so that counted as one of his picks.  He started crying immediately, whining that he didn't like it and that it was boring. We said ONE BOOK. He said two. One. TWO! And so on.  Finally it turned into us saying zero books, at which point he really lost it.  We ushered him towards his bedroom and bathroom to start brushing teeth, etc. and he ran into his room and started hitting a canvas picture on his wall. I raised my voice and said "Stop!" out of caution and alarm but he continued. The picture fell off of the wall and hit him on top of his head (don't freak out, it weighs a few ounces). It startled him but didn't hurt him.  I grabbed it as it was falling and put it back up on the wall.  I picked Theo up by his armpits and carried him down the hall to the chair in the corner. Sternly but calmly, I said "Time out for hitting your picture!" and sat him in the chair. I turned my back to set the timer and before I could turn back around, I heard things falling over the sound of his screaming. He was standing on the chair, pulling papers and pins off of the bulletin board.

That was it. I don't know why that set me off. I don't know why that put me over the edge. I don't know why I snapped. But I did.

I'm not even 100% sure what I said. All I know was that I was in his face, shouting, and I couldn't stop myself. I didn't even think about not yelling or try to prevent it.  I'm sure there are a million things I could have done differently, like just let him have the dumb 2nd book from the get-go.  But that's what I did.  I got in my little boy's face and yelled at him. Because I'm bigger than he is. Because he made me mad. Because I can't manage my own emotions when I'm tired... yet I expected him to.

Fail, fail, fail, fail.

Normally when he's in time out, we will start the timer and walk away so we are not giving him attention, but I knew I couldn't trust him.  I stood and watched him (towering over him of course -- why, why, why didn't I just sit down?). He cried. He begged for 1 story. He said he was so sorry.  He begged me, "talk to me, mommy! Why won't you talk to me?"  But I remained silent.  I waited for the timer to buzz and asked him why he was in time out.  He didn't even remember. He said "because I said no."  I explained to him why he went to time out and why his behavior was dangerous.  He continued crying throughout tooth brushing and getting into bed.  He cried while I sang Dexter 4 bedtime songs and declined when I offered to sing him songs as well.  He cried that he wanted to sleep with us.  We told him we were not ready to go to bed.  He said he didn't care and that he just wanted to sleep in our bed.

This is when the gut-wrenching "what do I do" thoughts crept in.  Is he crying now because he's still tired? Because I broke his heart? Because he's scared (from the movie he watched)? Is it a stalling tactic to stay up longer? Is it attention-seeking?  Would it help or hurt us in the future if we give in?

I kissed him and told him goodnight and left the room.  Ryan stayed and talked to him a little longer but the crying continued.  Ryan came out and it wasn't long before we heard through the monitor "daaaa-deeeee! Daaaaa-deeeeeee!"  Ryan went back and laid with him until he fell asleep. Compromise I guess.

I shed a few tears.  I feel really sad and guilty about it. I'm disappointed in myself not only for yelling, but for only making it one month without yelling and only 7 days into 2014.  I'm moving on. Today is a new day.  Today I will not yell.  I will review my alternatives to yelling and try something new when I begin to feel frustrated. Every day is a learning opportunity.

The Orange Rhino says:
Changing is hard.
Not yelling is hard.
Making a promise to do the above, is hard.
Mistakes will happen.
Moving forward and achieving my goal will only be harder if I don’t forgive myself along the way; if I don’t love myself along the way.
So love myself more, forgive myself more, I will.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

snow days: 2014 style

Click below for depressing fun flashbacks:
snow: 2013 style
snow: 2011 style (itty bitty baby Theo!)

We got home from Christmas at my mom's just in time to avoid having to drive in the blizzard conditions we've been experiencing here in the Midwest.  Throughout the day on Sunday, snow fell and we accumulated 12 inches.  Yesterday, wind chills were -40.  Ryan asked me if I wanted to go outside to see what -40 felt like.

No thanks.  Today we've warmed up to a nice -28 wind chill.  I've never experienced such meteorological madness! Luckily these insane temps are only expected to last these 2 days and then we're supposed to get back up above zero.  Thank goodness, my office has been closed these two days and Ryan is able to work from home.  I can't even imagine getting the boys out in this weather. I remember driving to work in scary snowy conditions a couple of years ago and I'm glad that I no longer have to contend with that stress and danger. Get to the point, right?  Sunday, while the snow was falling from the sky, a guilt fell over me as well.  I knew the boys would ask to play in the snow and that it would be way too cold by Monday for them to do so.  As much as I HATE the snow and the cold, I suggested playing outside and the boys jumped on the opportunity.  Theo got out much quicker than Dexter did and I had to get my camera out of the weather because it was getting too wet so I didn't get many pics of my blondie bear.

Only Ryan gets credit for this awesome snowman.

Other than our fun in the snow, we've just been inside watching movies, snuggling, and playing Legos, Jake, and Batman. And eating. And just being generally lazy.  It's like the best thing ever. 

Time for haircuts. Again.

The boys have been getting along and behaving surprisingly well considering we're on our 4th day home. I think the LOAD of Christmas presents they've received in the last 2 weeks must be helping.  I've been playing with my camera, getting away from Auto and into Manual.

So what if our house looks like this?

Hope you're staying warm.  Unless you're at the beach. Then I hope it's just unseasonably cold there. 

Just kidding.

Kind of.