Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Sprayground or Not To Sprayground

Baby boy #2 is at the age now (15 months) where he's walking/running all over and not really listening to mommy anymore. In other words, I've kind of lost control of him. So when it comes to doing things with the boys, aka going to the park or the beach, it's a matter of chasing after him and then having him scream bloody murder when it's time to go. I'm sure there are moms out there who can completely relate to this, but it just makes me hesitant to go anywhere. For this reason, I've been putting off going to the local free sprayground with the boys all summer. But here we are, August 31, and I've been invited by a friend to go to the sprayground this morning. Ninety-five percent of me is going, but there's that 5% that is waffling. I just don't see this ending well. I see a wet, screaming toddler doing that thing when they turn into jello as you're trying to pick them up making it nearly impossible to hold onto them as we're trying to leave. I see it impossible to change him out of his wet clothes before he gets in the car for the ride home. I see a ride home with a screaming child in the back. But maybe I'm just pessimistic . . . or is it realistic?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Power Play

My 4 year old is getting quite mouthy lately. He never just does what he is asked to do. He always says "no" or "no way." And he's usually yelling "no" come to think of it. There's always a battle going on in this house and the 4 year old is 99% of the time my opponent. Even things that the normal 4 year old would enjoy turn into a struggle.

"Let's go to the park."

"No. I just want to stay home."

"Come on. Go put on your shoes and we'll go play for a while."

"No thanks. I want to stay here and play SuperWhy video games."

"It's a beautiful day and we could use some fresh air."

"No way."

Seriously, what 4 year old doesn't want to go to the park? Of course, when we get there, then it's a battle trying to get him to leave the park. This powerplay is continuous and it's all day long and it's exhausting. After about 15 minutes of arguing, I wind up reminding him that I am the adult and he is the child and what I say goes. And I'm usually yelling come to think of it . . .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photo Friday

Ready . . . Set . . . Go!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dreaded Summer Cold

The boys are pushing through a summer cold, and I'm the one feeling run down and exhausted. It started with baby boy's ever-running nose on Sunday. He sneezed the day away while I wiped his nose incessantly and then he seemed to be fine. It never really progressed into much of anything. He's got a stuffy nose know that requires some wiping here and there but he's a tough cookie.

The 4 year old just started sneezing with a runny nose today. Oh the drama. This child gets sick a lot and it's always a production:

"Blow your nose."

"I can't."

"What do you mean you can't? Just blow."

"I don't know how."

"You've been blowing your nose for over 2 years. Now blow."

"I can't. I can't. Waaa! Waaa!"

Inevitably, the non-nose-blowing child winds up with a sinus infection which then requires antibiotics. And it's only August . . .

Monday, August 16, 2010

What Makes You So Special?

I need to comment about every blog I see out there - they're all written by moms about their babies or children. I'm in the same friggin' boat as everyone else who's blogging, and they have a lot more followers than I do. Every mom out there is bragging about their little one doing this and doing that, posting pictures and sharing family trips. I'm just like Ida in Iowa who's frustrated with her life and needs to express herself in some way so she's taken to the blogosphere to test the waters. Only difference is she's got a lot more interesting things to say and prettier pictures. That's just too depressing. Think I'll go eat some chocolate . . .

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Party Party Party

We went to a 2 year old's birthday party yesterday. This party was for the son of a co-worker of dear hubby. We're not one of those families who attend a birthday party every week. The reason is simple - we don't have a party for our children every year and invite every other child we know. Before we had children, hubby and I decided we wouldn't have a big blow-out birthday party for our kids every year to try to keep up with the Joneses. We didn't grow up like that and we didn't want our children to feel spoiled with a big bash and tons of unnecessary gifts every year. We simply invite close family over each year and enjoy the children and each other's company. That doesn't mean every once in a while we don't get sucked in to a party - like yesterday's or the one a few weeks ago at a local indoor jungle gym. I have to admit, these parties get a little out of control. Let's start with yesterday's.

This is not the first time we've been to a party at this particular household. They have 3 boys and we tend to get invited to at least one per year. Since it is a co-worker of dear hubby, it's only right that we attend. This go around, there weren't as many people as usual, maybe 20-25. There are 2 things that stand out when it comes to parties at this home: the mom makes the birthday cake and cupcakes and she personalizes the treat bags. I think when we first started attending these parties, the cakes were just your basic square or round cake with filling. She's since moved on to character cakes with fondit. Yesterday was a monkey. Before that was Wall-E. The next one will be Toy Story. Puts a mom like me with no baking skills to shame. Then there's the issue of the personalized treat bags. I don't just mean she handwrites each child's name on a bag. She buys a gift that is personal for each child. Really? Yes, really! For example, the 4 year old got some colored pencils, glue sticks, and a craft project. Baby boy got a bag full of animal crackers. Is this what I have to worry about now? Personalizing the gift bags for each child? Like just having a party isn't stress enough! Then again, we could go the easy route and host a party at the jungle gym . . . for about $300+. Then there are the parties we attend with a face painter on hand for the kids. Or how about a petting zoo? Pony rides?

Where does it stop? Where, exactly, do you draw the line? What happened to clowns and balloon animals? This is the reason hubby and I decided not to have a big party every year. Maybe every 5 years. Which, unfortunately for us, means we should be hosting a big party for our soon-to-be 5 year old in May. Do I book the face painter now or spend my money on baking classes?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo Friday

Four year olds are so sweet . . . when they sleep.

Baby boy provides a little sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesdays at the Library

Every Wednesday I take the 4 year old to storytime at the small public library in our town. I used to take him to the bigger county library a few towns away but was convinced by a local mom to take him to the local library. The first time we went, I swore I wouldn't go back. I have to bring baby boy with us and, despite the fact that there are toys and puzzles there for him to play with, he wanted to pull every book off the shelf and every DVD off the rack while his big brother sat with the librarian and listened to stories and did a craft. I spent the full half hour chasing the baby around re-shelfing all the books and DVDs. This just wasn't going to work for me. But, I reluctantly went back the following week and, surprisingly, it wasn't as bad. Week after week I've been bringing the boys and it's been much smoother each time. Baby boy is familiar with the library now and isn't as interested in pulling every book off the shelf. He still likes to lift the DVDs and show me which ones he pulled, but it's definitely a lot easier to clean up. I spend the half hour looking for books to check out for the 4 year old to read while the baby touches this and touches that. I've also become friendly with one of the librarians there so she keeps an eye on baby boy if he manages to sneak away while I'm searching for books. I must admit, going to the library on Wednesdays has become one of my favorite things to do.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reality . . . Check!

I've come to the realization that I am a reality tv junkie, and I'm not proud of it. It all started so simply several years ago when I happened to put on the finale of season 1 of American Idol. It's been downhill eversince. To defend myself, I enjoyed watching people in talent competitions. First Idol, then Dancing With the Stars, and wrapping up with Project Runway. As far as I'm concerned, all legitimate singing, dancing, designing competitions (at least that's what I tell myself). After baby boy #2 was born, I found some extra time to surf through the tv channels while breastfeeding and happened upon the Real Housewives of NJ. Check, please! I was hooked and there was no turning back. Fast forward a year later and here is my list of reality tv that I watch religiously or just watch when there's absolutely nothing else to watch (wink, wink):

American Idol
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
Real Housewives of NJ
Real Housewives of DC
Say Yes to the Dress
Jersey Couture
DC Cupcakes (Why? I have absolutely no idea!)
Jersey Shore (I know, I know. Snooki this!)

I'm pretty sure I've seen an episode or 2 of a few others, but I just don't remember them right now. I will say I am completely Bachelor/Bachelorette-free, I've never seen one episode of Survivor, I've never seen those shows where contestants eat disgusting things that make them throw up, and I've never been a fan of the make-over show a la The Swan (which my husband absolutely LOVED). If there's any consolation for me, it is there that I draw the line. I just read today that a new show, Sister Wives, is coming out in September. This show follows a polygamist family in Utah with 4 sister wives in the same vein as Big Love. I'm fessing up now - add it to my list.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wasting Life Away Worrying

As I was sitting on the couch tonight holding the 4 year old on my lap as he fell asleep, I realized how much I worry about my kids. I'm a worrier in general - I can worry about anything that pops into my head this second. I'm worried about taking the kids to the eye doctor tomorrow - see what I mean? It just popped into my head. I was thinking that my little boy is already 4, and a big 4 at that, and I wonder how fast time will really go. I thought of school and high school and then moving out on his own - all in a matter of seconds. It turned my stomach. I want my boys to be strong, independent and capable. At the same time, I'm terrified of what the world can and will do to them. I have these horrible thoughts of them being harmed by random gunfire or barfights gone bad or a mandatory draft for some god forsaken war - all that stuff you hear about on the news that you never think will touch your life personally, until it does. I suppose any parent can worry about these things, but what good does worrying do? I don't want to shelter them and keep them too close, but I'm terrified of what could happen when I let them go. It's a frightening thought to let your children make their way in the world, in today's world, but I'm sure my parents felt the same way as I was growing up. So far I'm okay. I can only hope and pray tragedy doesn't fall upon my family. But why shouldn't it? See - I'm worried.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Like Mother . . .

Sometimes I feel like I'm messing up my kids. I have a feeling this is common with mothers, but for some reason I feel I surpass other moms here. Whether it's screaming at the 4 year old because he just won't listen or dragging him to time out because he just won't listen or sending him to his room because he just won't listen - you see what I'm getting at? Not only do I think this is creating angst in him, I feel it's creating angst in baby boy as well. All this yelling and dragging and threatening - it can't be good for the psyche. I don't know if I just don't have any patience left or I never had it to begin with. I often wonder if it would be this difficult if I had girls instead of boys. For some reason I picture girls just sitting and playing nicely for hours on end. My boys can sit and play with something for approximately 5.3 minutes before moving on to something else. Now I find the 4 year old does a lot of yelling and screaming at me. He gets angry VERY easily and yells and jumps up and down. Even the baby screams at me with his fist in the air. Wonder where they got that from?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No Peace

Ever feel like you're here for something more? Ever feel restless but don't know how to feel fulfilled? This is my life on a daily basis. I CONSTANTLY feel like I should be doing something else or be somewhere else. I drive down streets in ritzy zip codes and wonder what I did wrong not to live in a house like that. I see other people creating art and writing novels and think I should be doing something like that. I am never at peace. I thought children would bring me some peace but instead I feel more frustration. I feel trapped. I feel conflicted. I feel . . . empty. That's cruel because I love my children to pieces and would trade them for nothing but I feel lost in their lives. Their lives of details steal from my life. Horrible - I know. I wanted so much to be a mother and now I am. But I haven't yet figured out who I am. I can't be just a mother. There has to be more. That's partly why I started blogging but I don't appear to be successful at that either. Maybe I need to post pictures with my blog. People are visual - maybe that would draw them in to read. I'm still at a loss but hope to find myself. If not here, then somewhere and I'll write about it here.

What To Do, What To Do?

I find the hardest thing for me on a daily basis is finding something for us to do. Here in NJ, the weather has been unbearably hot and humid this summer making it impossible to have the kids outside for extended periods of time, or any time at all for that matter. I am fortunate enough to have a big yard with shade and a pool but the 4 year old gets bored quickly and I really can't handle the 2 of them alone in the pool. Turns out baby boy is WILD in the water so he needs my full attention. Keeping busy in the house starts to wear on everyone, especially me. "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy." How many times can I hear that through the course of the day? There's only so much mall-walking we can do, especially with a bored 4 year old. Everything is either expensive or outdoors. It literally gets to the point where the baby comes at me with his sandals in his hand looking to get out of the house. Whine, whine, whine, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line, what do I do with the kids today?

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Back

I've been thinking about this blog for quite a while now and realize I need to commit to it more. The best laid plans, blah, blah, blah, but I'm really going to try to continue more consistently. I find myself having questions or needing to write things down now that the boys are getting bigger so I'm going to remind myself that a place already exists for me to pen my thoughts. Just an update to refresh where we are: the boys are now 4 and 14 months. They each had a birthday in May and we kept it simple with just family in attendance. These kid birthday parties are a topic for another day. Baby boy is walking up a storm. He started walking at about 12 months and there's just no stopping him. He's a very different baby than the little guy. Baby boy likes to sleep for about 11 or 12 hours per night and seems a bit more independent at this age than the first. Time is FLYING with the second - a comfort and a drawback. I'm definitely not chronicling baby boy's life as much as the first one. I just mentioned to dear hubby this morning that we need to take more video of baby boy since his life is just cruising along. I once heard in a movie that people want someone to witness their life, that's why they want a spouse or significant other. I feel the same is true for children. As parents, we witness their life every day - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and take it for granted. But actually keeping record of it is another story. We get caught up in the daily details that we sometimes forget this is a life worth witnessing. Each day is a new discovery to them and it needs to be noticed. I need to remind myself of that and capture the daily happenings in some way before they're off to college.