Friday, October 31, 2014

A Non-Halloween Post on Halloween

How can I post about Halloween until it's actually happened? So I can't. I won't. But I will talk about my cell phone.

On Wednesday I was at Target. I was talking to a friend when I pulled out my phone to send a quick text because I was meeting another friend. When Friend A saw my phone she said, "What century is this?! What is that?!" She was, of course, referring to my ancient cell phone. Which isn't actually all that ancient, but the fact that it's not a smartphone makes it appear so. She then asked if she needs to buy me an iPhone (to which I should have answered YES).

But the fact is that I don't want a smartphone. Two days a week I sit at a computer. The other days, when I'm home, my computer is always on and I can check email or look up something quickly if I need to. But if I'm out doing something with the boys, why do I need it? I survived this long without having the world at my fingertips, I'm pretty sure I can keep it up a few more years (or decades). And I still have a regular cell phone. If I absolutely need something, I can call Chuck or my sister and have them look it up for me. See? Maybe my dumbphone isn't so dumb after all.

Plus, there's the thing about the cost. Sure, you can get the phones cheap, but man, those monthly plans are monsters (at least for the iPhones). I spend about $15 a month on my dumbphone. Could we afford a smartphone for me? Sure. But that money has to come from somewhere, and choosing between my retirement or a smartphone is an easy choice. Kidding! Of course I'd take money from the boys' college educations. I'm not going to rob my retirement.

I think the only embarrassing thing about this situation is that both of my parents have iPhones (even if the only thing they do with them is make calls). To balance that, my sister doesn't even have a cell phone. I know; we're a weird family.

P.S. If I was any good at Photoshop, I'd put my face in there instead of Zach's.

Annie is on Amazon Instant video. I totally forgot that Daddy Warbucks' name is Oliver! "I'll call you Ollie, my hot tamale." This is going to be used a lot in our house from now on.

P.P.P.S. To get in the Halloween spirit, Chuck and I watched a couple "Tales From the Crypt" this week. I love that show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Do As I Do

A couple of weeks ago, I read some advice given to a parent who was struggling with little-kid-hood. (Sound like someone's blog you read?) The columnist's advice was to basically mold these little individuals into beings that are just like you in hopes of them some day growing up to be people you want to be around. So take them to places you want to go, do things that you want to do. I've been mulling this over ever since.

First, what do I want to do? It's been so long, right? I like to camp, hike, run, read, hang out with Chuck, go to craft fairs, and chat with friends. Guess what? I already do these things with my kids. (Well, maybe not run, but I used to when they didn't fight in the double stroller. And when we had a double stroller.) But we camp with them, we hike with them, I sometimes-for-five-minutes read my book in front of them, I drop them off at places so I can hang out with Chuck (so maybe that one doesn't count), and I take them to playgroups so I can chat with friends. I should be happy, no?

Problem is, they're still kinda cramping my style. I mean, I want to go backpacking, not just car camping. I want to hike eight miles, not just one. I want to read without being interrupted. I want to go on a date with Chuck without paying $50 for a babysitter. I want to go to lunch with friends and not be at a playground.

But (there's always that big butt). BUT. I know, I really do. It's just not the time for that. It's the time for car camping so that one day they'll really love it and will have endurance and strength for backpacking. It's the time for small hikes with treats at the end so that one day they'll love all-day hikes with me. It's the time for me to run alone just for alone time. It's time for me to show them that I love reading so that some day they'll hide in their room for hours reading (and leave me alone--ha). It's the time for me to develop friendships at the park so that when all our kids are in school, we can go to lunch together and eat stuff our kids would never touch.

It's okay. I'm okay. This dude is definitely okay. (The other dude was at school.)

P.S. I'll tell you what I don't want to do. Go to BounceU. Go to "truck touching" events. Go to Disneyworld.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Scary Stuff

Have a little bit of time on your hands this weekend? To get you in the mood for Halloween, I bring you...some LINKS. Ooooh, scary.

First some real, spooky stories. Full disclosure: some bad language exists in these stories.

And if you don't have time for that, surely you have time for a one-minute horror flick?

Finally, want to guess my costume? It involves black boots, a green blazer, and some round glasses. Who am I?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween of Yesteryear

I think the next time Emily and I are together, we should definitely try to recreate this picture. Because it would be awesome.

P.S. How yesteryear? Maybe 30 or 31 yesteryears or so.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Camping Wonderland

We visited our eight state park, Elk Neck, this weekend. (And don't ask why it's called that; I haven't a clue.) We got up there fairly early on Friday, hiked (without complaint), jumped in leaves, played with cousins, ate dinner (with complaint), and then asked to be put to bed. Pretty good day! Saturday we ate breakfast (with complaint), hiked (without complaint), and went up a lighthouse (and screamed about goblins). Our campsite came with two little frog ponds en suite, so that was exciting. However, the camp store here left much to be desired, especially when compared to Pokomoke. But it was a pretty cool little park.

We left Elk Neck and headed to Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park for kids. Rhett went on nearly every ride and Ollie nearly all of the rides Rhett did. The boys had a spectacular time and we closed the place down. It was a long day for everyone, and sadly only half of us were allowed to fall asleep in the car. When do I get my computer-driven car?

P.S. Can I just say, I'm done with this one night of camping thing. We have to do better. Two nights from here on out. I so wish we had done better at taking advantage of this with late church. Sigh.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mom and Ollie Preschool

A couple of weeks ago, I started doing a "Mom and Ollie" preschool. Why? A couple of reasons: (1) it was something to do and (2) I did a "Joy School" thing with Rhett when he was three and would feel like I was getting lazy with Ollie if I didn't. We only do it once a week and it usually only takes about an hour, so it's perfect. My sister found this cute little e-book, and I've been using it.

It's letter-based, so every week we do a new letter. During our "school" sessions it doesn't seem like he's learning much, but I know he's at least recognizing letters because he points them out the rest of the week. When asked what letter we learned Wednesday (M), he consistently responds, "Marshmallows!" Close.

His favorite part of school, by far, is the sensory bin. I accidentally dumped a bucket of wheat. Smooth, right? Rather than throw it out, I had the idea of using it for this. And honestly, even I like playing in this.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Game Changer

I can't believe I left this one off the list. The time has come, friends: we are now a no-nap household. At least for the kids. We adults still need it sometimes.

How did this happen? The same way it does for everyone, I guess. You send kids to nap; they just stay in their room and play. No nap taken. Repeat for two weeks. Accept fate.

How am I doing? How do you think I'm doing? I'm terrified. Naps have been my saving grace as a mother. I can only get through so much of the day being pawed at, whined to, and bossed around, before I just need silence. And I'm not talking the silence that comes from quiet time. No. I need dead-to-the-world silence, the kind that only comes from naps (or really big trouble-making...I prefer the former). If the boys are just in quiet time, there's the large chance they'll get out and come bother me. And let's be honest: I have two little boys. Quiet time is never actually quiet. But oh how I crave quiet.

Gone is the, "I'll just take a nap when Ollie naps." Gone is the, "I'll do the grocery shopping during nap time." Gone is the, "I can't wait for nap time to finish off the cookies so nobody sees." Gone. All gone.

So, what to do? What can I do, you know? Accept it. Realize that maybe there are good things.
1. No need to pack our day into a two-three hour chunk in the morning and a similar chunk in the afternoon, separated by a nap. We can do full-day activities.
1.5 Related to (1), a new freedom. We won't be rushing to get to places or rushing home.
3. No need to worry about a missed nap when camping or otherwise traveling. (Speaking of, last chance for any locals to join us this weekend. Email me for details.)
4. Finally, we're that much closer to not having little kids. And we all know how I feel about little kids...

I'll still institute a quiet time. Ollie's never seen a lot of the quiet activities we have, so everyday he'll get to pick out a couple to take to his room. But hopefully he'll learn to stay there and let me get my (cough, cough) work done. Worse things have happened, right?

P.S. Next game changer on the list: Potty training Ollie! This is scheduled to happen over Thanksgiving. Consider it an early Christmas present to ourselves. We hope.

P.P.S. I guess they were cold.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The New Bet

I don't know how it is in your house, but if there are treats in mine, they're about the only thing I can think of. I know how pathetic that sounds. I do. But raising kids is hard and I don't drink alcohol, so sweets it is. I love them. Chuck, on the other hand, loves and craves soda. As quickly as it's in the house, it's out of the house. We both go through our vices with lightning speed.

So I thought of this bet: Who can go without their respective vice the longest? Chuck, of course, is certain he'll win. Me, I'm not so sure. I know how often he stops in at Safeway for that Mountain Dew, even though he doesn't know I know. And he probably doesn't know how often I take a break at work to get a 25-cent box of Hot Tamales from the hot dog vendor. So don't tell him.

But we can't figure out what the winner gets. I wanted a night in a hotel. I don't even care where; Gaithersburg would be fine. (And locals, you know how exotic Gaithersburg is.) But to sleep in a bed all by myself and to wake up when my body wants me to wake up sounds amazing. But I'm still not sure. And Chuck, well, anything that boy wants is at least $400, so it's hard to please him. Ideas? What would you want?

P.S. I've been sick all week and am so over it. Please let this be my one and done for the winter. Because birthing babies + a serious cough = well, nothing good; am I right mamas?

P.P.S. Has anyone else watched "Flight of the Conchords" on Amazon? I must find others with whom I can laugh over this show.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Feel Free to Copy This Idea

I don't know about you, but most of the women I associate with now, I didn't know when they got married. Which means I know very little about their special day. My friend Natalie and I set out to fix this. Last Friday we hosted a "bridal party." We invited a bunch of women and had them email me pictures from their wedding. We ate and chatted and then sat down to watch a slideshow of all of our pictures. It was a blast. It was so much fun to see these ladies (and their husbands) on their wedding days. And I was only slightly chuckling at how I looked. I think I should do this again in about 10 years so I'll be fully rolling on the floor.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pumpkin Day

Remember when Pumpkin Day came around and I made shirts for the boys and we ate only things made from pumpkin? Yeah, it's evolving out of that. Thankfully the boys' pumpkin shirts from previous years still fit, and we get good enough treats to not miss the pumpkin. Besides, I don't think pumpkin soup is all that good, and it's the only savory pumpkin thing I can think to make.

Now pumpkin day is the day where we go to the pumpkin "patch." Why the quotes? The place we've gone two years in a row has so many other ridiculous activities to keep us busy pretty much all day; I'm not going to complain. Except about the apple cider donuts. I wish they had been warm. Otherwise, perfect day.

Whoops. Didn't notice Ollie's snaps were undone. Sorry Ollie!

Using those skills he learned at the family reunion.

I love this picture so much.

We did pick pumpkins from the vine, but I couldn't resist the solid orange.

My littles and I.

We went earlier in the season than we've ever gone. We were rewarded with GORGEOUS pumpkins everywhere. Seriously.

Kinda fun having a kid big enough to take pictures of us. Kinda fun having clean, blow-dried hair on a non-Sunday. Kinda not fun brushing it after a day filled with wind.

And at the end of the day, I think they were tired.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Family Mottos for the Taking

I've talked about our family motto before, but it turns out that one motto just isn't enough. I still have my original motto, "Dumber people than I have done this" and it works in so many situations. (Dumber people than I have taken their boys camping with no other adults. Dumber people than I have made their own pie crusts. You get it. Maybe I should make the opposite a new motto, one absolving me of so many duties: Smarter People Than I Have Done This...So I Don't Have To.)

There's also this motto that I'm trying to infuse: "They're doing the best that they can." Although my first instinct when I see people doing things I don't like is to judge them, I'm trying to be better at not. Repeating this statement multiple times has been helping. See also: cheesecakes.

But here's another one we've been using around our house lately: "Different families, different choices." My boys are frequently comparing themselves to others. "Why can't we get ice cream like Bert? Why can't we go to bed at 8:30 like Ernie?" I find that our response is usually some version of "Well, they actually sleep past 5:45 in the morning, so they can stay up later." But really, what it all boils down to is that different families make different choices. We respect their right to make them and our boys must respect our right to make decisions for them. Except for clothing choices. Pretty obvious that our boys have that choice. I didn't get a picture of Rhett in his first outfit of the polo and red shorts. Wow. But I did get this beauty: Rhett trying to dress like a vampire.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coolest D.C. Happening...According to Me

Saturday Rhett and I went downtown to Crafty Bastards. What is Crafty Bastards, if not something with a hilarious name? It is "an exhibition and sale of handmade alternative arts and crafts from independent artists." And seriously people, it's my favorite event in D.C. Which explains why I haven't been in years. Actually, it doesn't explain it. My kids explain why I haven't gone. But this year I figured Rhett was big enough to not complain and whine the entire time and Chuck and Ollie were happy to stay home.

So what did we see? (I didn't take any pictures and I'm afraid of copyright, so it's just a bunch of links. Sorry.)

This cool jewelry. I know, I know; it's just jewelry, but this is fun wood jewelry.

This food jewelry. I mean, donut earrings?! California roll earrings?! Poptart necklace?!

This handwoven jewelry. (I think that's it for the jewelry.)

These scarves. I mean, have you ever seen a knitted salad scarf? A pizza scarf? A bacon and eggs scarf? No, no you hadn't until now. Probably.

These cutting boards. Again, cutting boards at a craft fair? So done. But what's not done is Super Mario cutting boards (unfortunately, not pictured).

These stuffed animals and dolls. The tattooed dolls were the coolest, although the fancy pugs did get our attention.

These stuffed animals and faux taxidermy. C'mon, how cool is that narwhal?

One more jewelry. I bought something here (from her sale basket because DANG). I love all the little things she puts in there! Mine necklace has grass.

These bicycle clocks. Pretty cool, no?

These patches. And I thought my mom patches were cool. No, no they're not. ALERT: Some of these are NOT kid-friendly. I whisked Rhett away quickly now that he can read.

These hilarious posters. I love the original posters, but these? Totally surprised and delighted me. Make sure you read the small print on them.

And these. The best of the show, in my opinion. They were gorgeous. Meticulous, interesting, beautifully-colored. If you clicked on nothing else, click on this one. Do it. You will not regret it.

These two were the only pictures I took, and I'm positive I have the rights to display them. Rhett loved the blow-up deer and wondered if it was for sale (it wasn't). Rhett did not love the popsicle when he got a bite with a slowly-dissolving gummy bear. I loved my frozen chocolate-covered banana. I did not love the hipster food truck prices. Oh, and so many vendors loved (and commented on) Rhett's t-shirt. One even asked if I made Rhett's backpack and told me she loved the Ed Emberley fabric. Yep, I was proud. Which was okay since the whole rest of the day I was humbled by all the talent.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mothers and Sons Washout

Um yeah. So we had ten gorgeous days in a row and then, on the night that I want to take my boys camping, we get a rainstorm (complete with flood watch). And although I may inadvertently go camping in the rain, I don't advertently go camping in the rain. Because the rain wasn't scheduled to start until the nighttime, we invited friends over to "play camping." We set up a tent and made s'mores. Then we went to sleep in our own beds. It was kind of the best of both worlds.

P.S. Yes, I made up the word "advertently."....Ooooh, maybe I didn't! Blogger doesn't recognize it, but Google does. I'll go with the latter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mothers and Sons Campout

With today being a half-day and tomorrow a school holiday, it just screamed camping trip. It also screamed, "But Chuck can't be there!" So I screamed back even louder, "Hey, I can do this on my own, right?" And by "on my own" I meant, of course, "with friends." So as long as the weather is good, Rhett, Ollie, and I (along with friends) are going camping this afternoon. Wish us luck!

P.S. Ever notice how there are Fathers-and-Sons, Mother-Daughter, even Daddy-Daughter events, but no Mothers-and-Sons? I did. Maybe this will become a special long as we live in a place where Jewish holidays are also school holidays, that is.

P.P.S. Seriously, weather? Seriously?

P.P.P.S. Thank goodness friends have their stuff together enough to plan a trip to the fire station; we all know I don't.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One of These Things

These are the new bushes we put in a couple of months ago. Can you see that one of them is not like the other? Do you know how much I stress over whether or not these plants are okay? Being a homeowner is hard, I tell you. Being as cute as Ollie, not so hard, however.

Friday, September 19, 2014

World War Dinner

Someday we won't fight at dinner. Someday my boys will eat everything. Someday I'll enjoy cooking and feeding all of my boys. Sadly, that day is not today, or yesterday, or tomorrow. Unless I'm feeding them pizza, noodles with red sauce (but nothing else...looking at you, baked ziti), or burgers, dinnertime is a fight. And c'mon, I'm not feeding them crazy, out-there meals. In fact, everything I serve is basically the same thing with a twist. But when my boys won't even eat quesadillas, there is no hope.

A couple of weeks ago at a particularly hard dinner, I lost it. Completely. After I found it again, we came up with a new rule: within reason, whatever they don't finish at dinner becomes dinner the next night. If they don't eat it the next night, then they get it the night after that. No, they don't need to "clean their plate," but taking two bites and saying, "I'm full" is unacceptable from boys who can eat three slices of pizza. We make sure they understand that it's going to get grosser and grosser each night that it's not eaten. They also know that if the next night's dinner is pizza, they won't get any until they eat tonight's dinner. Point is, they need to learn to eat food that they don't love. They also need to learn to respect my role as food provider.

Don't they know how hard it is to plan a menu that's (1) not boring, (2) not filled with junk, and (3) hopefully edible? Don't they know how hard it is is grocery shop within a certain budget? Don't know they know how much it hurts when, before even trying it, they declare dinner "Gross?" No, they don't. They're kids. But someday, someday, they'll know. And I'll sit back and laugh. Just like my mom is laughing at me now.

P.S. I know mommy battles over mealtimes are not new nor novel. I know. I might as well write about our struggles at bedtime, right? Except that right now, we're actually doing okay with bedtime. So there.

P.S.S. Due to our recent "clean the house" efforts, I'm on the lookout for a mop. Anyone have one that actually CLEANS, unlike the Swiffer I bought?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We Made Stuff

These pants for made for a friend's soon-to-be-born baby boy. Tutorial from Made by Rae, found here.

The baby daddy is a ping pong player (in fact, this is part of his job or something), so of course I had to make a personalized onesie.

Rhett LOVES to create things with paper and tape. This was one of his latest creations: the campground at Assateague. He nearly throws a fit every time I have to put these creations in the recycling. But I have to, right? I mean, some of these things are BIG.

And Ollie made a chocolate face.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Family Duathlon: Biking and Running

Once again, I'm amazed how much the weather can influence my mood. Thursday was really warm and really humid. Even though I spent 10.5 indoors in a cooled office environment, I was still grumpy. But Friday? Saturday? Sunday? Gorgeous. They were days you wish you could clone, you know? "Low" humidity and cooler temps: my kind of weather.

Last week we learned that Rhett had somehow taught himself how to start his bike. He learned how to ride a bike last summer, but still needed us to start him. (It's amazing what a couple of inches will do, however.) So now he's in love with riding. All Friday afternoon, Chuck and I sat lazily on the porch while the boys scooted and rode. It was glorious. Saturday morning I headed out early and it was so cool and so overcast (no sun heat!) that I kept running and didn't stop until 10 miles later. I really think I could have done three more, and probably should have. It was just so lovely. In the afternoon we spent more time just sitting outside, watching the boys ride back and forth in front of the house. And Sunday morning a half marathon was being run not far from our house. So we hopped in the car and drove to mile three and sat on a bench and cheered on the runners. I think that they loved Bruno the most.

Oh, also I went to a baby shower for a friend on Saturday. I won Runts. It was amazing.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Updates on Everyone

Today marks the end of the third week of school. How is everyone doing? Read for yourself (youngest to oldest):

Ollie: I wish I could say that he's sad when Rhett's at school, but he's not. He's such a good solo player, and I love that about him. He helps me with chores, takes super awesome naps, and even though he'd choose BounceU everyday if I let him, he's happy to do whatever I suggest (although I do ask him for input--don't worry). This kid LOVES to wear "soft pants." I'm afraid that I won't be able to get him out of sweat pants as a teenager. Unless he cares about girls, in which case he'll never touch sweat pants. I would like to start some sort of "Mom 'n' Me" preschool with him, but haven't had the energy yet. Hopefully soon.

Rhett: It ain't been pretty, folks. The start of school has once again wreaked havoc on our mostly-happy home. Daily tantrums have returned. Attempts at naps have been thwarted. Early bedtimes have been strictly enforced until tantrums subside. I have hope, however. He is doing great in school and seems to like his teacher. He started karate on Wednesday, and while he's not the most coordinated little person, he had fun. I just hope he keeps the karate to himself and doesn't "share" it with Ollie. Nearing his six-and-a-half birthday and still has all of his baby teeth. So glad I made this, huh?!

Chuck: Now that he's in a 12-month position, his life hasn't changed much. He loves when parents from other counties call to ask about "smart kid" programs for their 18-month-olds, however. So yeah, ask him about that.

Me: I am LOVING the return of routines that school brings. I find that the start of a school year is the time I'm most drawn to setting goals. The one big one for me is to be more disciplined. Which, I know, is a terrible goal because it's vague and not measurable. But in my head I know what I mean. I mean that I make myself do the things I should do before I do the things I want to do. "Things I Should Do" include chores, making Rhett's lunches, playing with the boys, etc. "Things I Want To Do" are internetting, sewing, etc. But I've done okay so far. Snags include when babysitter is sick and we have to rework my schedule and chaos ensues. Thankfully for all parties, babysitters get better.

House: Remember when you brought your first baby home from the hospital and you thought, "What were they thinking?! Who would let us take home this baby?! Who would let us become parents?!" Well sometimes that's how I feel about homeownership. I mean, who let me buy a house?! What do I know about houses? When will I ever find time to take care of it? Some time ago, we started "No TV Mondays." We would use that time to work on house projects that I just couldn't seem to fit in during the day. Then it lapsed. Then I brought it back. Then Chuck said that he'd like it better if we spread it out over the week. So our new plan is to spend the first 30 minutes after the kids go to bed working on "big" house maintenance things. So far we've done things like clean the blinds, scrub the wood floors, clean the cabinet fronts, clean walls, clean closets, vacuum basement spiders, wipe down our dining room table that was a disaster, etc. I'll still get done the smaller things like dusting and sweeping and vacuuming during the daytime, but these big jobs are just much better with company. Plus, it means a whole new calendar I'll get to create!

I think that's about it. Oh, other than this, the most exciting pin I've pinned recently. I love it so much.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life is Crazy

I have so many things to say about our lives and what we've been doing and how Rhett's been adjusting to first grade and the work Chuck and I are doing on the house and how hard life is when you make yourself do things you don't want to do. But life is getting in the way. Hopefully it won't soon.

P.S. Know what else? Tuesdays are usually one of my favorite days. But yesterday was totally ruined. Hate that.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hooray for Odd Numbers

What was the big surprise? I figured that because I love to be with my friends so much, so must he (uh, love to be with his friends, that is). Of course, running or eating frozen yogurt (or both) are not his things, but golf is. So I secretly amassed seven other guys to play golf with him. When he got home from work I told him to pack his golf bags and get out here. He met his buddies, got 14 holes in before dark, and then found a pizza/lil' smokies with bacon/chocolate chip cookies/Coke dinner waiting for them in the trunk. The one regret was that I couldn't control the weather. After our summer of amazingness, we had our first real taste of the horribleness that Maryland can provide. He came home soaked to the skin in sweat. But do not fear--a good time was had by all. And I got a reputation for being a pretty amazing wife. Mission accomplished.

After such a great job by me, I felt I could be done so the next day was not very exciting. We were greeted bright and early by the boys, one of whom (cough, cough, OLLIE) demanded that Chuck open his presents right then. The presents were delivered to bed, and Ollie forced his to be opened first. It should be no surprise that as soon as Chuck pulled out the Mike 'n' Ikes and peanut M&Ms, Ollie yelled, "SHARE! SHARE! SHARE!" I gave him a pretty sweet card, and Rhett "sewed" him a new pillowcase. The rest of the morning was spent doing our usual thing (me: running, Chuck: playing on his ipod, boys: know, the norm). In the afternoon we got a date through our regular babysitting swap and tried to avoid all things outside.

Sunday, however, was gorgeous. After church we grilled some meat, rode bikes, and then ate this ice cream cake. There's not much in the world that's too rich for me, but man, this comes close.

And now that it's Monday, we're are putting birthdays to rest. Good thing because I'm tired and idea-ed out. Happy birthday Chuck!

P.S. This is great.

Friday, September 5, 2014


It will soon be Chuck's birthday and WOWZA do the boys and I have some surprises for him! I know he's reading this, and I hope he knows how very hard it's been for me to keep these things from him. But I'm so close to being able to reveal all. So very close. Enjoy the anticipation today, Charlie!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Return of Naps = Projects!

Now that Rhett is back to school and Ollie can take good, quiet naps, I've been able to get some projects finished.

One rainy Saturday afternoon we put the boys' beds back to bunks. And then it just made sense that Ollie needed a book bag. So he got one. (Again, tutorial from here. I think this makes four of these bags I've made.)

And as it's been about six months, it's time for a new chore system. Because you know, that's how parenting is. We also thought that because Ollie is now three and Rhett is back in school, everyone could use a little bit more structure and responsibility. We'll see how it goes.

And the back-to-school pants. They are identical, but I figure they probably won't wear them on the same day. And even if they do, Rhett is in school so it doesn't matter. Of course, sometimes I like to force them to dress alike (cough, cough).

P.S. In my defense, I didn't intend for the pants to be identical. But when I got to the store, nothing was inspiring me. Both boys like orange, and I thought these monsters were adorable. Besides, I only had one coupon, so I didn't want to have to buy four cuts of fabric. Plus, I like having fights with my three-year-old in the store over fabric. It's fun.

P.P.S. To show I'm not completely heartless, I used the fabric he wanted for the pants to make the book bag. See, I
can compromise!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Thoughts on the Pool

After having access to a pool for one month, I feel totally qualified to talk about what it's like to be a pool member. First the pros. Both boys became so much more comfortable in water when we went every day. We've done swim lessons in the past, but going only once a week for six times just doesn't do it. But going every day, six days a week for a month did. At the beginning of the month, Rhett wouldn't even put his face under the water. And now? He's just this close to actually swimming. Another pro is that there is a community there. You see the same people every day, and I'm sure if it were swim team time, that would be even more so. It was fun to meet new people. Another pro is that it fills up the hot, lazy afternoons. Well, had we had any hot afternoons, it would have filled them up. And of course, I got a little bit tanner than my usual color of "eggshell."

The cons of the pool are that first, having a kid who still naps means we didn't get to the pool until about 3:30 each day. Which means we didn't get home until 5:30ish. Which means dinner was late. Which means bedtime was late. Which means I'm not happy. Also, pool hair is gross. But I felt little desire to do anything about it because I knew it was just going to get gross again the next day. Also, make up is pointless, so I just looked really old during all of August.

By the end of the month, I am ready for it to be over. Next year, instead of paying the ridiculous fees to join for the entire summer, maybe we'll just do August again.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Wrap-Up

Today is Monday was the last first day of school and, being the planner I am (and boy am I a planner!), I've been gathering gathered summer ideas for some time. Because of my work and our vacation, I have 25 days with both boys until school starts again. Update! Here's the review on how we did:

Make-It Days
Crafternoons: Nope didn't do. I'm terrified of crafts with the boys for two reasons: (1) Ollie and (2) Rhett will never let me throw away anything that he makes.
Treats: We made plenty of yummy things.
Popsicles: No popsicles, but we did make some homemade ice cream. I think that counts.
Lemonade stand: No, but am thinking of doing a "cider stand" in the fall.
Science: Nope.

Water Play
Backyard baby pool: Yep.
Water table: Yep.
Sprinkler: Maybe?
Community pool: Yep.
Splashground: Yep.
Water park: Yep.
Boating: Nope.
Creek swimming: Yep.

Big Field Trips
Smithsonians: I think we did one and then I realized those need to be saved for when tourists go home.
Washington Monument: Yep.
Aviation museum: Yep.
BounceU: Yep.
Great Falls: Yep. I think.
Roosevelt Island: Nope.
Gravelly Point: Yep, but with disastrous results.
Zoo: Yep.
Berry picking: Yep.
Beauvoir Park: Nope.
Cunningham Falls: Nope.

Little Field Trips
Libraries: Yep.
Playgrounds: Yep.
Hikes: Yep.
Picnics: Yep.
Nature centers: Nope.
Wheaton Regional Park and train: Yep.
Michael's craft days: Nope.
Regal Movies: Yep.
Fire house tour: Nope.

Night-time Activities
Rockville Town Square on Wednesdays and Fridays: Yep.
Strathmore concerts: Nope.
Bethesda Big Train baseball: Yep.

Silly holiday: Yep.
County fair: Yep.
4th of July in Frederick: Nope, but we had a better offer in D.C.
Acts of Service: Nope.
Playdates: Yep.

Things I Didn't Plan but Did
Hains Point: Yep.
Hershey: Yep.
Fort McHenry: Yep

Other Things I Wish We Did
Buy ice cream from the ice cream truck, just once
Gone camping, just once

I must be honest: I really, really enjoyed being home with both boys this summer. I was super nervous, but D.C. had incredible weather with only one day over 100 degrees and lower-than-normal humidity. I kept my early-morning running schedule, played with the boys, put Rhett into longer-than-planned quiet times because I was just too tired to entertain him, but we had a good time. And don't worry, they had plenty of down time too. There were lots of hours spent making huge messes in the playroom and basement. I think they're happy boys!

P.S. Also, Ollie is nuts. But omygosh I like him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of First Grade

Like last year and the year before that, school prep began on Sunday with the stamping of the shirt. Apparently this tickles.

Heaven forbid that Ollie be left out of something. He got to stamp his hand on a pizza box. Next year he will get his own shirt (!).

Because Maryland continues to deliver the best summer on record, we were able to eat our back-to-school dinner outside. Jell-o! Next year we need Jell-o.

Next year we do not need Chuck putting ketchup on Rhett's face.

Finally it was morning and time to go to school! Notice Ollie spying on Rhett...with backwards binoculars.

When we walked Rhett to school, Ollie insisted on carrying HIS backpack too.

Rhett seemed to have a great day. Of course, he couldn't tell us much about it, other than with whom he played at recess and about the fire drill. I guess that's a good thing!

P.S. So what if I made matching pants for the boys for back to school.