Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Weekend

Our weekend got off to a pretty rough start. What I'm praying is two year molars, and not Harry's new attitude toward life, has left him in a horrible mood for the majority of the last few days. By the end of the day Friday, I was in desperate need of a drink and the only way to keep Harrison from having a meltdown for the 31st time was watermelon slices while hanging in the kiddie pool. We all made it until bedtime, and had an exciting Saturday to look forward to.

"Five Seconds in the Life of Harrison"

Saturday morning was another hot mess, but Saturday after naps was amazing. We headed to Buskerfest to check out street performers and food trucks. We got to see mimes, dancers, musicians, and knife throwers.  We didn't get to see as much as we hoped for, too many people and everything at street level, but the awesome company and fantastic food made it worth while.

The kids were only interested in eating the bacon off our hot dogs, so like any good parent I decided they needed fro-yo since they didn't eat dinner. Really, I needed fro-yo. It was the happiest Harrison had been in 4 days, so it was well worth the sugar high that followed. 


This morning we headed to the zoo with daddy and a few of our favorite ladies. The kids, especially Brooke, are starting to test their boundaries, a lot. It made for an interesting morning. Every time we'd give B an inch of freedom, she'd run out of our sight. Even though we always take the stroller with us, I'm starting to consider breaking out the backpack leashes again. 

We had a great morning even with two testy toddlers. The weather was perfect and we always love the zoo. 

The kids woke up from naps asking for Frozen. About 30 minutes in Harrison lost his cool over his bubble mower that he knew was in the back yard. Once we remedied that situation, he lost his cool over ice water. A 10 minute tantrum over a glass of ice water. He wanted it. Didn't want it. Wanted the straw in. Wanted the straw out. Wanted the straw out, but didn't want me to take it out. He could only drink it if he was sitting in my lap. As frustrating as it in the the moment, it's hilarious to think about after the fact. We are officially in the ridiculous toddler phase.

The kids are sleeping, Rob's in the kitchen whipping up some desserts, and I'm sitting on the couch watching "What to Expect When You're Expecting," and working on the longest packing list in the history of man. The kids, Tyson and I are headed to the lake for the week on Tuesday. Rob has to work most of the week, we'll get him for a couple days, and Jules is headed to daycare for a few days. I'm so looking forward to this week, and seriously hoping that a week away from home isn't too much for H and B.

I hope you all had a great weekend, and that everyone has a great 4th of July weekend, or week if you're taking some vacation time like us.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Yes, I just went there.  Super cheesy, I know, but I couldn't resist. When it comes to my hair I seem to have a 2 year cycle. I grow my hair out for a couple years, cut it all off, and then swear I'll never cut it short again.

It was close to a 3 or 4 year cycle this time, but the urge to chop it all was finally more than I could resist. I love having hair to the middle of my back, but I always wind up pulling it into a pony tail or top not. Especially during the summer, I always want my hair off my neck.  

Every time I make the big cut, I make sure I cut off enough to donate. I have donated to both Locks of Love and Pantene Beautiful Lengths in the past. They are both great organizations that help make wigs for those in need. This go round I decided to donate to Pantene again. They team with a partner company and The American Cancer Society to make wigs for women battling cancer. Their minimum length requirement is 8". I hacked off between 9-10". I still have long enough hair to pull it back into a pony tail, or more importantly enough for a fancy wedding up do come August. 

I love how light my hair feels, and I'm happy with how it looks too. No tears of regret after this cut. I'm sure I'll have a freak out moment when I shower in the morning, but right now I'm beyond thrilled with shorter hair.  

If you want to learn more about donating to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, start with their FAQ.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I've seen quite a few posts pop up in my Facebook feed about how as parents we don't have time for our friends. This link in particular was shared quite a few times and it got me to thinking.  While I agree with a lot of what the author says, I feel like it's a cop out to use your kids as a reason to stop hanging out with people. Most people my age either have kids, have friends with kids, nieces/nephews, or used to babysit as a teenager. Everyone understands, kids take up a lot of time, they have schedules, and they can be bossy little shits.

First concert out of the womb, The Freak Brothers.

Brooke and Harrison went out for their first lunch date at a week and a half old. They slept through the entire thing. At a couple months old, they would come with me to dinner or to an outdoor concert. I would spend the entire evening with one baby or another attached to my chest, but they were content and I got to visit with friends. By 4 months old we had to move up their bedtime and all of our outings had to be finished by 6pm. My friends were willing to adjust times so they could get to see the kids and I. 

B's best Carlos impression on a fro-yo date.

Now either I have the only amazing friends out there, my ladies are really great, or people aren't giving their friends the opportunity to show how accommodating they'll be in order to spend time with you. And I'm pretty sure they want to spend time with your kids too. I've found most friends will even help with your kids if you need it. I wouldn't go asking your friends to change diapers, but I bet they'd gladly help give a bottle or try to entertain your kid for a few minutes.

H napping during an outdoor concert.

Now don't get me wrong, my kids aren't angels. Yes they like being out in public, but there have definitely been times we've had to leave early because someone threw a fit, or even cancel plans altogether because someone's having a bad day. A certain incident at Baskin Robins where Brooke flipped out and wouldn't stop crying no matter what, comes to mind. But friends understand.

Lunch date with their Godmother to visit our favorite server.

I guess the whole point of this post is to say, don't let your kids take your social life away from you. Make the time to see your friends, even if that just means your friends come over and catch up during nap time. My friends help keep me sane, especially since Rob works so many late nights. Even something as simple as catching up on a good TV show with a friend gives me something to look forward to and keep my head on straight. It's so easy to get lost in baby land. Yes our kids are our whole lives, but we can't let them be the only thing in our lives.

B strolling in the Beco with Auntie L.

My Tips for a Successful Outing with Kids

  • Pick kid friendly locations. While martinis and fine dining are probably out of the question, a You Pick Two and iced tea from Panera make for perfect lunch or dinner fare with a friend and your kids. It's also a safe bet that your friend is probably willing to join you for a walk to the park or a trip to the zoo.
  • Outdoor events are your friend. Outdoor concerts, farmers markets, and summer festivals are all great places to meet up with friends when you have the kids along. All of the action makes for the perfect distraction, both for you and your kid(s). 
  • Snacks are your friend. Bring snacks, lots of them. When H and B were younger I always made sure I had a pouch for each of them and a bag or two of yogurt drops in my purse at all times. 
  • When eating out, be one step ahead of your server. I would often order food for the kids when I ordered my drink. Then I would ask for a box and the check as soon as our food came out. Being a step ahead meant we rarely had to wait for the server to come back around, because he/she had already brought us what we needed. Also see "Snacks are your friend." You never know if your kid is going to like restaurant food that day, so be prepared.
  • Books. Books are the perfect quiet entertainment. Bring a few of their favorites. 
  • Get out early. I started taking the kids places when they were really young. They are used to being in public and having to sit still at a table while we eat. While they need a lot more redirection now that they're in toddlerhood, they still behave well in public. I'm convinced it's because they're so used to being out and about.
  • Try and relax. Kids can sense our anxiety. What's the worst that can happen? Someone throws a fit? Has a diaper blowout all over them and you? Makes a scene in a quiet restaurant? All three at the same time? You'll live, and so will your kids and anyone else involved. 
  • Carryout. If all else fails have a friend pick up Jimmy John's or Chipotle on the way over. Sharing great company can be done at home too. We host almost weekly get togethers to make sure we get to see our friends. Sometime I cook, sometimes we do a carry in, and other times delivery pizza is on the menu. Friends don't care if you prepare a 4 course meal or request they bring a dish.

Hanging with an Auntie C during TWD night.

Thank you to my friends who are amazing, and who make sure the kids and I get to see them on the regular.

Bathtime with their BFF before they headed off to bed, and we played Cards Against Humanity.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Adios, Braces

Today is a very exciting day, and also a bittersweet one. First with the exciting part. After 393 days, more rubber bands and wax than I care to count, and enough days with a sore mouth to last a life time, my braces are gone! You can read about getting them on here. In their place I have permanent retainers glued to the inside of my teeth. My course of treatment finished a couple months shy of the original projected date, and I couldn't be happier.

This picture is a couple months before I had the braces put on. Seeing these pictures were what made me decide that braces were something I wanted to do. I didn't like smiling for pictures anymore, because I didn't like how my smile looked anymore. Fast forward to today, and I am officially done, and love the results. 

Post removal selfie with my fantastic orthodontist.

And a kitchen selfie. Because, why not?

On a different note, today would have been Layla's 8th birthday. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. There was something so special about her, about the way she affected the kids, and Tyson, and me. Her time with us was cut short, and I so wish we would have been able to see her relationship with the kids grow. I am thankful for every day we had with her, and cherish the memories of our life with sweet Laylers.

Layla on her third birthday.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Weekend

In just a couple short weeks the majority of my siblings will be in town and we'll try to squeeze 8 adults and 3 kids into a two room lake cottage for a few days of summer fun. My parents refer to the cottage as "A step up from a tent," which is pretty close to accurate, but we all grew up there and love cramming ourselves into a the house for a week of fun. Jules had not been to the lake before, so we thought Friday would be a great time to make a day trip and see how she'd handle it.

She loved it, maybe a little too much. She and Tyson wanted to run around the yard and rough house, but the were kids around and she had to be on a tie out. Not the best combo. Picture kids tripping over her long leash. I think she may still be a bit too crazy for cramped lake living, but it was great to see that she enjoyed being around the water. It was also great to see Tyson so excited. The old man doesn't get excited about too much anymore.

Passed out on the drive home.

Since we were there, we thought we should take the kids out for a boat ride. It was too cold and windy, high 60s with 25+ mph winds, to enjoy swimming or to take out the pontoon, so the kids and I piled in the Ski Supreme for a cruise around the lake with Grandma. They both loved it. Harrison kept asking to go faster. Going through the tunnel was by far their favorite part. I can't wait to take them tubing and go for more boat rides.

On Saturday the kids and I ran some errands with their BFF, Sophie, and then we hung out around the house getting ready for our friends and Aunties to come over that evening. Both H and B are OBSESSED with Frozen. They ask to watch it all the time which means we watch it all the time. Usually once a day, occasionally more. So they watched Frozen while I mopped the floors.

The makings of a heavenly Mojito.

While they napped I broke out my juicer and got to work on food prep. We had Mexican night complete with taco salad, chili cheese dip, George's fresh salsa and of course Corona and Mojitos. After the kids went to bed we lit the chiminea and played games until the wee hours, and by wee hours I mean midnight.

Too many Mojitos meant a slow start to our Father's Day, but the kids and I did manage to make breakfast for their dad. When I say we, I mean they watched Frozen while I cooked. Both kids were in a mood on Sunday thanks to two year molars and what we know now is a stomach virus. That meant lots of books and tears on Sunday morning, but we made it to nap time all still alive.

After naps we headed to Rob's parents for dinner and to visit with his dad. While we were there Brooke's stomach virus started to show its face. Thankfully a few toy cars from Grandpa and popsicles from Grandma kept everyone happy-ish.

While Father's Day was kind of a hot mess from start to finish, it proved yet again that Rob is an amazing dad. Even when the kids are having a terrible day, he's so great with them, and he looses his cool way less than I do. He works his ass off every day so I can stay home with the kids. I am so thankful for him and I know the kids are too.

Yesterday was also Brooke's first time wearing pig tails. This is a huge deal, at least for me it is.

On a completely unrelated note, the kids are 25 months old today. I hope you all are having a great start to your week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wedding Day Fun

Yesterday was one of my best girlfriend's weddings. We've been friends since the first day of sixth grade. I won't tell you how many years that is, but it's a lot.

I mentioned in last weeks' post that Harrison, Brooke, and I were all in the wedding. This is their first time serving as flower girl and ring bearer, and they did pretty well. Everyone made it down the aisle without crying. However, once we were standing in front of everyone, Harrison lost his marbles over the fact that sissy had a basket and he didn't. Harrison spent the rest of the ceremony walking around with his daddy so the rest of the guests didn't have to listen to him scream for 15 minutes.

H and B were super happy about pictures.

In true 2 year old fashion, Brooke informed me half way through the ceremony that she needed to pee, even though she just went before we walked down the aisle. Thank goodness for pull ups and Grandma, otherwise I'm pretty sure she would have peed in the grass right where she stood. 

The rest of the day went as well as could be expected with all of the excitement. Having lots of extra hand and eyes was a huge help. A major thanks to my mom, dad, and all the kids' aunties for helping Rob while I was pulling bridesmaid duty. 

Yes that's a pig, and yes Harrison is feeding him a corn chip. Best wedding reception ever. 

Doesn't she look amazing!

The original plan was to fold down the back seats in the van and make a bed for the kids to crash on so we wouldn't have to leave early. 30 minutes before their usual bedtime, it was obvious they were exhausted so Rob decided to take them home so I could stay and enjoy the rest of the evening. He wins the "Husband of the Year" award again.

We danced Gangnam Style, got low, rocked out to Rick Springfield, and belted out a little Journey.  We also ate more cookies and cupcakes than we should have while we helped break down tables as the night wore down. The perfect end to the evening was sitting around a bonfire with the bride and groom.  It was an amazing wedding for two people who I love dearly.  The weather was perfect. The venue was perfect. And they were perfect.  Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Exner!!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekend Recap

Now that summer is unofficially here, our weekends are packed full to the brim. This weekend was so fun and busy that I needed a nap yesterday and today to recover. Our fun started Thursday evening with my BFFs wedding rehearsal. Harrison and Brooke, along with two other lovely littles, will be serving as flower girls and ring bearers. They had a grand time at the rehearsal picking leaves and grass and putting them into flower girl baskets. All four kids are three or under, so this will be interesting the day of. The wedding is this coming Saturday, so expect lots of adorable pictures.

She loves the pearls she gets to wear for the wedding.

On Friday the kids and I had no plans, so we decided to make a day trip to the lake. It was our first time making it up this year. We dropped Jules off at daycare for the day, and ventured north with Tyson in tow. The water was still a bit chilly for their liking, I think it was perfect, but we still got in some swimming, beach time, a decent nap, and lots of play time with toys they hadn't seen in 9 months. 

Harrison is a neat freak. I have no idea where he gets it from, because I am not at all and neither is Rob. He doesn't like anything messy, including the sand. He screams and cries as soon as his feet touch it. Even if he's wearing sandals, mess, mess," is screamed through tears. Below is the face he made when his sand toy got sand on it. This went on for at least 5 minutes until he realized his sister was having fun digging in the sand.

Saturday morning was spent cleaning out the van and getting ready for H and B's first slumber party. It's ridiculous how much stuff two kids need for one night away from home. After their naps, Grandma and Grandpa picked them up to take them to church and then to their house. In the hustle to get the kids out the door and to mass on time, I may have forgot to put Brooke's underwear on after taking off her diaper when she woke up from her nap. I got a text from my mom 30 minutes after they left letting me know my kid was going commando at church. Oops!

Rob and I had bachelor/bachelorette parties to attend, so that's why H and B were crashing at my parents. On the ladies agenda for the evening: Painting with a Twist, dinner and drinks, dancing, and a slumber party. True to form, my head started hurting on my way to pick up everyone. I had already volunteered to be DD, the minivan is great for driving carpool and drunk friends, so I stuck to Diet Coke all night. I was really looking forward to a Martini with dinner, but now I guess I have a reason to go out another night. 

Rob wound up being stuck at work until after midnight, so he never made it out for the bachelor festivities. I passed on the slumber party action, and wound up crashing at home around 2am. The next morning Rob and I slept in until almost 10 and then went out for brunch. Sunday brunch used to be an every weekend outing before the kids. It was great to stuff my face full of waffles and bacon and not have to worry about making sure the kids were eating and behaving.

Trying my best Forgetting Sarah Marshall impression. Notice I look just as awkward as the girl in the movie.

H and B were in a mood after we picked them up, so we just hung around the house for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We ended the evening with ice cream, or as Brooke says, "a-cry-seem," and an early bedtime. Rob and I watched R.I.P.D. after the kids went to sleep, which was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.

Today everyone was back to their usual happy selves. Jules went to daycare. The kids and I went to the gym and Target. A quiet Monday was just what we needed to get back into the daily grind. I hope you all had a great weekend and survived your Monday. Only 4 more days until the weekend!