Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Lone Wolf Time

Being a mom is tough. One of the hardest jobs you'll possibly ever take on. I don't care if you stay at home, go to work every day or run your own business, if you have kids it makes everything that much more difficult to accomplish everything you want and need to do.  There's always so much to do and just not enough time.  I often wish that I had just a few more hours in the day or the ability to survive on a lot less sleep.

Unfortunately, as mothers, we tend to put everyone before our own needs.  You want to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee?  Well, the baby just woke up, maybe tomorrow.  You planned to go to the gym tonight?  Your son begs for you to read him "just one more  book", so many that you end up running out of time.  You want more?  I could go on and on and on....

Enter the Lone Wolf Day.   This invention is actually a brainchild of my husband, though I'm the one that tends to want/need it most!   This is a day that you take totally for yourself.  For me, this would include taking a vacation day from work, dropping the kiddos off at daycare and spending the day ALL BY MYSELF.   It doesn't matter what you do, just that you do what ever YOU want.  It could be getting a pedicure, going to see that movie you've been dying to watch, or just sitting on the couch in your pajamas all day watching trashy TV.  

You're probably saying "but I don't have time for that!"  I'm here to tell you that you have to MAKE THE TIME.  No one is going to make the time for you, it's not just going to magically appear.  For the first time in probably a long time, you need to be selfish and put yourself first.    Let go of the guilt and let yourself enjoy a little lone wolf time.  I promise, it will be worth it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conceding Defeat

When I started this blog last month, I thought it would be a fun way to share my experiences as a mama, hopefully relating to others and I thought the 31 day challenge would be a good way to sort of "jump start" this new adventure. As it turns out, it just created more stress. I was constantly worried about my next idea and trying to get it written. My posts were choppy, rushed and not at all what I wanted them to be. That's not what I wanted out of this blog. This was not my vision.

So, I officially give up on the challenge. I want to write about whatever inspires me, not what I feel like I *have* to write. I concede defeat...

So stay tuned for some better upcoming posts!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23: Let Him Win

Cole is not a gracious loser at all. I'm pretty sure he gets that from John who thinks losing is for the weak.  (Remember, all your children's bad habits come from your spouse.)  All games start out fun, but the moment Cole thinks that he might not win, all hell can break lose.  It's like Lou Pinella-style freaking out at times.  

So tonight, I let Cole know that I love him by letting him win.  Now granted, he doesn't realize that I do this, but the excitement on his little face when he wins is just priceless.  I'll admit, it's not all that difficult to "cheat" at Candyland, hence the ease of letting him win on the sly. 

I'm sure in a few years, I'll have to give up and start teaching him to be a gracious loser, but for now, I'd rather see that happy face when he reaches the finish line as a winner.   Of course, I may want to start working on him being a gracious winner soon.  He certainly loves to flaunt his victory, but it's fun nonetheless.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22: Ode to my husband

John likes to regularly tell me how lucky I am to be married to him. Usually, I laugh it off and say "you're lucky to me married to ME!" But you know what? He's right, I am lucky. This weekend he cleaned almost the entire house himself (as usual), took my car into two different places to have work done on it and tried not to balk when I told him how much it was going to cost to get my hair done on Sunday.  

Oh and he made us dinner!  Ok, not the entire meal, but he smoked a whole chicken for us and it was delicious. For those who know him, cooking is not exactly his forte, but he's definitely developed a knack for the smoker that he "had to have".  I fought him on that damn smoker, but I am definitely pleased that we have it now.

 I sometimes hear women complain about how their husband's don't help with the kids, don't clean up after themselves and sound generally useless to me.  Why would you want to be married to someone like that?   I'm so glad to have found a man who is not only a great husband, but is an amazing dad as well.  Even though Nolan is a little mommy-clingy right now, Cole thinks that daddy hung the moon. 

As for cleaning?  I seriously married the yin to my yang.  I am a general slob and he likes things to be organized and neat.  If I was in charge of all the cleaning, I don't even want to think about the state that our home would be in.  Let's just say that Hoarders might come a-knocking...

We've been together for almost 12 years, married for over 7 and I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 20: Double Date

Tonight John went to play poker, so it was just me and the boys. After dinner, I decided to take them out for frozen yogurt.  I have a recent obsession with the self-serve frozen yogurt places.  Any combo of yogurt and toppings that I can think of?  Yes, please!!

Like mommy, like son.  The toppings are even more important than the yogurt!

We checked out a new (well, new to me) place by the house, Tastebuds.   They had this great kids area right in front with a coloring table and a movie playing.   The guy working there (the owner?)  was really nice and mentioned that all of the flavors were homemade, so I thought that was a nice bonus. 

Cole was pointing out "Finding Nemo" to Nolan.   Better known as "Fishy!" when Cole was a little guy.

After we were done, we took a little walk to check out what was in the area.  We spotted a cupcake shop that we must visit in the future. We are a dessert loving family here, don't judge us. 

It was a nice evening with two of my favorite little guys.  Everyone was on their best behavior, no one cried or threw a temper tantrum and we got to have a tasty treat!

Day 19: Poor Baby

Yesterday, Day 19 was sort of a bust because Nolan ended up with his first ear infection. In fact, it's the first time he's really been sick. He was pretty sad and pathetic and spent most of the day snuggling.

Also happy 9 months to my baby! I can't believe he's 3/4 of a year already

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18: Just Say Yes

When you're four years old, it must seem like the world is against you. You hear people say "No" Cole probably feels like he never gets his way. Mommy won't let him carry his brother around and daddy won't let him leap off the couch. He's not allowed to have cookies for breakfast or stay up all night to play with his toys.

So today I said "I love you" to Cole by saying "yes!" This morning was a rough one, trying to get all of us out the door on time. John left for work before we woke up, Nolan was grouchy because he's got four teeth coming through and I was running around like a crazy lady trying to get everything done. So when Cole asked if he could wear his Thor costume to daycare, my automatic answer was "no way!" He was devastated and I thought to myself "why not?" So I helped him get his costume on and off we went! He was so happy to show everyone his costume at daycare that I didn't care that he looked silly. That happy face was all that mattered.

Yes, this picture was from last night.  You don't think I have time in the mornings to say "yes" and snap a picture, do you??  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16: The Remote is King

You know what says love to a husband?  Deciding what to watch on TV.   Well, at least that's how it is in my house.   John and I have some pretty opposite taste in TV shows.  If it was up to him, we would only watch baseball, Sports Center or odd reality shows like Storage Wars and Pawn Stars.   Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike any of those.  I just don't need the TV dominated by them all.the.time.  So of course, this makes me bitch and moan about "can't we ever watch anything else???"  

Well, tonight my "I love you" statement is letting John watch what ever he wants without a peep out of me.  Unfortunately for me, I failed to remember that the Presidential Debate was on.  Since we're on complete opposite sides of the political spectrum, this was an interesting way to spend the evening.  Of course, baseball quickly came on post-debate.  But it's the playoffs, so I'll continue to bite my tongue ;)

2 Ingredients Pumpkin Muffins

A funny thing about me and pumpkin.  I love ALL things pumpkin.  All things that is, except for traditional standby: pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin spice coffee; the list goes on and on, I love them all!!   So when I spotted a simple recipe for pumpkin muffins floating around Pinterest last year, I knew I had to try them.   I believe this is the link that I pinned. Truth be told, with over 2500 pins, I have a hard time finding specific pins a year later... 

But I digress, on to the muffins!!  I swapped out the yellow cake mix for spice cake mix and they are to.die.for.   Seriously, they can not be more simple.  It's hardly a recipe, it's that easy.  You simple mix a box of the cake mix with a can of pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix) until well blended.  It will seem like you need to add something else to it, but DON'T!  Trust me on this, just keep stirring, it will eventually come together. Once well blended, spoon the batter into the muffin tins and pop into the oven, following the directions on the cake mix box.  Viola, muffins!! 

They are SO amazing and not at all dry.  I prefer mine with a smear of cream cheese frosting, but they are also delicious without the frosting.  I love them and even my toughest critic, the four year old, adores them. Cole actually prefers them without the frosting which just means more for me! 

Next up on the pumpkin treat list is to try out this four-ingredient pumpkin frozen yogurt.  

Want to see what other goodies I've found on Pinterest?  Follow me here!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 15: Simple is best

Sometimes the easiest way to say" I love you" is with a simple gesture. Tonight it was my turn to play with the bath crayons and leave a little drawing as a surprise for John when he takes a shower in the morning. I hope that he likes it! Hopefully, he isn't annoying that now he has to scrub it off....

Day 14: Just the two of us

 Note: I forgot to publish this yesterday.

Believe it or not, I rarely spend any one on one time with Nolan. Sure, I spend a lot of time with him but its usually feeding or getting him ready for bed. Most play time is spent with dominated by Cole. But not today. At first I was irritated that Cole dozed off on the couch just a few minutes after Nolan woke up from a 2 hour nap. I mean, why couldn't they nap at the same time so I could get some stuff done around the house, read my book, relax, etc?

Then I realized that for the first time in I don't know how long, Nolan and I got to play all by ourselves. No daddy, no big brother, just Nolan and mommy time. We sang songs, played peekaboo and I tickled him until he squealed with little baby laughter.

These are the moments that I cherish and yet I feel like I have so few of them. With Cole, he was always the center of our world. With the introduction of Nolan into our family, all that has changed. He has had a tough time adjusting to that, so I've had to really make sure to carve out special time for just him. In many ways, Nolan really gets the short end of the stick. He rarely gets any time with either John or I all by himself. This is one reason that I still sent Cole to daycare while I was on maternity leave. I know a lot of people probably thought that was stupid, but since we were paying for it anyway, I wanted to seize the opportunity to have that one on one time with him. I got to spend 12 weeks alone with Cole when he was born, why not Nolan? Besides, who wouldn't want to hang out with this cutie?

If you have more than one child, how do you ensure quality alone time with each of them?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 13: Fail

Ummmm, just realized that I didn't update yesterday. I got caught up in preparations and the execution of Cole's birthday party. This kid is going to think that his birthday should always last a week and a half. He only got about a new zillion toys. Most exciting was the new light saber that lights up with sound effects. He's already gotten in trouble for brandishing it too close to his brother. I see more of this in the future.....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 12: Sweets for my sweet

What says "love" better than chocolate cupcakes??  Tonight, I had Cole be my Sous Chef during the difficult task of cupcake making. I was in charge of measuring and he was in charge of pouring.   Yes folks, we used a box mix here tonight.  I love to cook, but baking a lot of things from scratch still makes me nervous.  Cookies I can do, cakes and brownies make me nervous.  But I digress, back to my mini pastry chef.

His responsibilities also include licking the spatula. Yes, with raw eggs ***GASP***. The more disturbing aspect of this was him licking the spatula and sticking it back in the bowl!  Thank goodness a batch was already in the oven otherwise we would have had 2 dozen cupcakes tainted by Cole germs..... Not exact good for public consumption. Though truth be told, I'll still eat them.  It's hard for this lady to turn away cake.  We made mini-cupcakes to determine the difference between the "safe" and "tainted" cupcakes.  Cole and I will keep those for ourselves ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11: Color my way to his heart

Tonight Cole and I had fun coloring. Not just any coloring, but bath tub coloring! I bought special bath crayons and surprised him after dinner. This kid hates a surprise. He demands to know immediately. "Tell me, mama!! WHAT IS IT?????" However, the element of surprise was a good way to bribe him into finishing the last few bites of dinner ;)

He's obviously a brilliant artist in the making, yes?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10: Lunch with my love

Today John and I got to do something that we rarely do anymore.  In fact, I can't even remember the last time we did it.  Wait for it....

We had a meal with just the two of us.

That's right folks, an ADULTS ONLY meal.  No kids around to distract us.  No 4 year old to protest every bite, no baby that wants to fling food all over the place, just us.  It was delightful.  I'd like to take credit for this, but actually lunch was John's idea.  He had a slow day at work and had the time to come meet me for my lunch break.  We didn't go anywhere fancy, just the local Chinese place.  We got to sit and talk and just enjoy our food instead of having the meal be a stressful event where we both swear "we're never going out to eat again!!!" 

We also discovered that one of us is a monkey and one of us is a snake.  I wonder which one is which ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 9: Arggghhh Matey!

Today I showed Cole and Nolan I loved them by acting like an idiot in Target.  How did I do that, you wonder?  Oh, we just moseyed around the store practicing our pirate lingo.  Things like "yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for meeeee!" and "arrgggghhh matey!"  Cole thought this was hilarious and I'm pretty sure that Nolan was judging us based on the looks we were getting from him.   I'm sure that you'd like to witness my stupidity, but alas, there is no video :/ 

Sometimes being silly with my boys is the most fun way to show how much I love them :)

In these last minute updates, I'm realizing that I've sort of neglected my husband during this challenge.  He's on deck for tomorrow then.  Stay tuned ;)

Day 8: Birthday Boy!

What better way to show Cole that we love him then by letting perfect strangers sing to him in a restaurant?  He chose a "rice and bean shop" aka Mexican restaurant for dinner.   Dinner, of course commended with the servers surrounding our table to present him with ice cream, announce to the restaurant that it was his birthday, sing to him and finish it off with a hearty "Ole!"

I cannot believe that my baby is 4 years old already.  Time has flown by faster than I could have thought possible.  At this rate, I'll blink and he will be heading to high school.  SLOW DOWN AND STOP GROWING SO FAST!

Day 7: Roadtripping!

On Day 7, we headed back from our long weekend in Cali.  I ended up sharing the back row of our rented mini-van for the entire 6+ hour drive next to an uber cranky Nolan.  I spent almost the entire time talking and singing to him, playing peek a boo and making silly faces trying to keep him from fussing.  My efforts seemed to be futile against Sir Crabby Pants, but I still tried my hardest.  Loving your children means sometimes you'll do almost anything to fix the crabby.

Day 6: Tickle my way into his heart

On Day 6 of the challenge, Cole and I had a tickle fight in our hotel room.  Nothing brightens my day more than the sound of his laughter.  He pretends like he doesn't want to be tickled, but eggs me on to get me to do it.  Then he shrieks with laughter and makes me laugh as well.  It's like an endless cycle of hilarity.   He will even tell me right where to get him. "Mama, DON'T get my armpits!" But then raises his arms in the air to taunt me.  So of course, I head right to that spot.  What a mean mommy ;)  

No one can make me crazier than Cole.  Some days, I wonder how in the world I will survive the insanity of being his mother. The endless questions, the whining (oh the WHINING!!), picking on his brother, the list of crazy goes on and on.    Then the laughter starts and I forget all about the way he almost sends me into the looney bin.  Tickling is such an easy way for me to instantly pull both of us out of a cranky mood and make a connection with my little dude. 

Day 5: Disneyland!!

Spent Day 5 at Disneyland with my family, building memories.  If that doesn't say love, I don't know what does :)

This Disney visit was so much fun!!  It was Nolan's first trip and he had a blast looking at all the sights and checking everything out.  Apparently, he was unimpressed with Pirates of the Caribbean because he dozed off half way through the ride.    Cole had an even better time than our Disney trip last year.  He is taller now, so he *just* barely made the height requirement for Star Tours.  I thought he would be terrified, but he loved it.  Also, it's created a new obsession with Star Wars.  I thought I had years before the Force would lure him in...

Day 4: Fail

On Day 4, we spent most of the day driving to California so it was kind of a bust on anything special.   But I had fun checking out the beach with these two cuties

Day 3: Animals in the bathtub!

Anyone remember these from childhood?

You put them in water and a few minutes later, POOF, little animals. For $1, Cole thought they were great fun and we made bath time a little more special :)

Unfortunately for Mommy, my little bathtub surprise was overshadowed by this.... a Batcave.

 It came in the mail today as an early birthday present from Grandma.  Oh well, you can't win them all. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2: Clean dishes say I love you??

Today I showed my husband that I loved him by doing the dishes. Now I realize this may sound crazy to some people. How in the world do clean dishes say "I love you"? Well, if you know my husband and I personally you will know that he is the neat and clean one and I am a little bit  lot on the messy/hate to clean  side. As evidenced by yesterday's post, our son seems to be following in my footsteps.  True fact: John does at least 80% of the cleaning in our house.  Yes, I am aware of how lucky I am.  Thank God, I didn't marry a fellow slob or our house would look like those on Hoarders: Buried Alive.

But I digress...   John gets home today from a 6 day trip to Chicago. Every time he goes out of town he cleans the house and not so secretly hopes it will still be clean when he gets home.  The dishes are a particular hot button issue.  100% of the time he goes out of town, I am an epic failure and the kitchen typically looks worse than ever.  But not today!  I can't wait to see his face when his eyes spot, not a sink and counter full of dishes that he has to clean, but an empty sink and not a dirty dish in sight. This, my friends, is what will set my husband's heart a-flutter.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 1: Having fun despite the mess

This was not what I planned for today, but I couldn't pass it up. Today I said "I love you" to Cole by:

Letting him have fun and make a mess with a giant bag of straws when every fiber of my being wanted to scream "PICK THAT UP NOW!!"

Sorry for the super blurry picture, but I think you get the "essence" of the moment. ;)