Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tipping The Scales

I have to think about something other than my bathroom disaster right now, so let’s talk about my weight. Doesn’t that sound like a fun, interesting, exciting, relaxing topic to be discussing in public on my blog? I thought so, too!

Obviously, I gained a couple of pounds when I had a baby. I still blame him for the weight, but I really don’t want to be that mother that is dropping off my kid at kindergarten and still whining that I just had a baby, so please forgive my muffin top jeans. It’s been 18 months since I’ve had my body all to myself, so it’s about time to lose the baby weight.

I found some awesome motivation at the My Virtual Model website. It allows me to see what I looked like before, what I look like now, and what I’d like to look like when I reach my weight goals.

This is what I looked like after David was born (there isn’t an option to add stretch marks, so just imagine that you see them all over my stomach.)
This is what I look like today after losing 28 pounds.
This is what I’d love to look like by the time we go on our prize vacation to Punta Cana in November. My goal is to lose ten pounds by November 1. I know I need to lose more than that to be at my ideal weight, but I also realize that I need to set a goal that is realistic. To motivate me to hide my Godiva chocolate and put on my running shoes, I’m using the free Fit Day website to track my progress. I’m also telling you about my plans so you can shame me into losing weight.

I’ll keep you posted!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: How to Remodel an Ugly Tub

Just add a dash of adorable baby and houseguests will fail to notice the ugly pink bathtub.

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Benefit of Siblings

The University of Florida published the results of a study they conducted on the benefits of siblings on the development of social and interpersonal skills. They have concluded that “through cooperative play, helping and teaching younger siblings, and negotiating and resolving conflicts, siblings have opportunities to refine their communication skills.”

I didn’t need a scientific research study to tell me that. I knew David was learning something from his sisters when his first effort at combining words into phrases resulted in a toddler screaming, “Go away! Go away! Go away!”

Where do you think he heard that?

Friday, August 22, 2008


Our bathroom is still not done and I'm getting really impatient! I'm posting this pic to remind myself that the results will be worth the wait. Anything is better than this!


You certainly know that I’m a baby addicted Mama, but I don’t brag about my stepmonster status very often. I don’t talk about it here very often because it is a role that fills me with frustration. It’s not even my teenage bonus daughters that vex me. It’s society in general.

Since school is starting next week, Hubby called their schools to provide his contact information and request their class schedules, open house schedules and information regarding parent teacher conferences.

Can someone explain to me why such a simple request is always met with hostility from school administrators? Why must they always be suspicious and defensive? Is there a good reason for the rudeness and dismissive attitudes we always encounter? Not only would you expect a father to be involved with his kids’ education, but he actually has a court order that allows him to be involved.

I believe that God gives children both a mother and a father because his divine plan was for a child to feel the love and support of both of those parents. If that’s true, why does our society dismiss the role of fathers as unnecessary and an inconvenient interruption to the status quo? Why is it that schools, daycare centers, and health care providers make it so difficult for divorced dads to remain involved with their kids? Shouldn’t the guitar teachers and soccer coaches be delighted to see all the parents at classes and practices? Shouldn’t dads feel welcome at ballet recitals and football games? Why do all these folks discourage participation from Dad’s and then society frowns on the deadbeat dads that aren’t involved with their kids?

Am I the only person on the planet that sees the paradox in these attitudes?

My vent is over, but the frustration is never-ending.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Big Boy Chair

I’m so excited about my new big boy chair that I wanted to tell you all about it right away. I’m sure my Mama has told you that I’m almost 18 months old, so you realize that I am a big boy now. I just started going to the toddler class at school and I noticed that all the big kids sit in little people chairs. We don’t have any highchairs in my new classroom and I really like the freedom I have in the little people chairs.

I thought it might be a good idea to act like a big boy at home, too, since it’s so much fun at school, so I won’t sit in my highchair anymore. I tried sitting on the big people chairs in our kitchen, but I’m not big enough. I like to sit with my back against the chair, but I also want my feet to dangle off the front. I’m too short to do both at the same time and that makes me so mad!

Mama and Daddy understood my dilemma, so they bought me a little big boy chair of my very own. My new chair buckles to the big people chair and I love buckles. The chair is just the perfect height to slide under the table, so I can eat there with my family. My booster seat also has a tray with a removable plate. The removable plate is really cool because it’s easy to clean when I eat something messy, like pancakes with dipping syrup. I love to dip but I make a big mess.

Mama and Daddy complain about the tray a lot because it’s really hard to get on and get off. It’s bad because they make a mess trying to get me out of my chair, but it’s good because I can’t take the tray off all by myself like I did when I sat in my highchair.

Now that I’m a big boy that sits at the table, I have a new big boy chore. After dinner, I collect all of the placemats and I put them away in the drawer. I ball them up really small because they fit inside the drawer better and Mama loves all the little wrinkles it makes. She is really proud of me for being a big helper!

I just wanted to tell you that I really love my big boy chair. It’s not perfect, but I’m really glad I have it!

Home Temporary Home

Nothing brings out the love in a family like sharing one room for too long. Since our bathroom is torn apart, we are spending a couple of days in a hotel. That means Mommy, Daddy, Skywalker and Little King David spent hours upon hours in a tiny hotel room last night.

Granted, the room is not actually tiny, it is only tiny when filled with four people and all their junk. I was relieved to find that the hotel was clean and tidy upon our arrival. Luckily, this Motel 6 was formerly a Fairfield Inn by Marriott and just changed management recently. The bedding looks fairly new and the room was remodeled at some point in the not too distant past, so we were definitely comfortable. That was a very good start to our extended stay.

The kids settled in nicely with a pillow fight and an invigorating jump on the beds, then David helped Mommy find the ice machine. We made the mistake of passing the pool, which made David crazy because he wanted to go swimming NOW, NOW, NOW, but we had lots to do getting settled in.

After we unpacked, David took a bath in the tub and he was allowed to splash as much as he wanted. He got his pajamas on and read his bedtime story. After his book, he grabbed his blankie and said “night, night” to everyone. Then he began to gather all of our shoes and said, “Go. Go.” as he pointed to the door. He didn’t react very enthusiastically when I told him that we weren’t going home.

As David had his meltdown, Daddy and Skywalker began their hour long fight over the remote control. Daddy wanted to watch Discovery Channel and Skywalker wanted to watch a cheerleader-teenager-romance-chick flick. I found both choices to be incredibly annoying, so I decided I had my hands full enough with screaming toddler that I didn’t need to vote on the television debate.

David finally fell asleep in his Pack-N-Play and I was able to take a shower all by myself, which was the goal of staying in the hotel in the first place. I even shaved my legs! The little pleasures in life!

We all slept well and I woke up at 5:30am without a struggle. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely impossible to get dressed in our hotel room without waking the baby. David’s eyes popped open shortly after I got up and they stayed open. It wasn’t too much of an inconvenience since I had showered the night before and I forgot my makeup at home, so it didn’t take me long to get ready this morning.

Despite only having a few minor inconveniences, I have to admit that I am incredibly crabby about this entire situation. I really cherish my routine and I didn’t realize how important it is to me until this week!

Luckily, my jury duty assignment has been postponed until next month, so I at least have the comfort of my normal routine at work.

Only two more days to go until the bathroom is done!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Little Comforts

As the bathroom remodel continues at an agonizing snail-like pace, we have decided to spend the next couple of days in a motel. I can (barely) endure not having a functioning shower in the house, but I can’t live without a toilet. After a couple of days of showering at the YMCA, I’m ready to have my own personal shower. Besides, I think the YMCA staff are beginning to think that we are homeless. We go into the locker room, come out with wet hair, and the pool is closed. We’ve earned a few curious glances from the folks at the front desk.

We’ve made reservations at Motel 6 because Priceline hates me, or in other words, they wouldn’t accept any of my bids on a really comfortable hotel for a ridiculously low price. I suppose my expectations are a little high, but considering that we got a room at the Marriott in Pittsburgh for $29 per night back in November, you can understand why I was so optimistic about getting a great room at a cheap price.

I am hopeful that Motel 6 will be a good compromise. The hotel is less than a year old, so it shouldn’t be too filthy yet. Besides cleanliness, my other major worry is that Little King David hasn’t slept in a hotel room since he was nine months old. He is slightly less easy going now than he was then, so I wonder how well he will sleep in his Pack-N-Play. I’m also concerned because he just started sleeping through the night (finally, after seventeen long months!). I really don’t want to jeopardize his new sleep routine.

Tune in tomorrow for a hopefully uneventful and boring post about how our hotel room was immaculately clean and why I didn’t have to karate chop the front desk staff like a Jackie Chan body double.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Weekend Plans

I had such high hopes for a relaxing weekend, but again my hopes have been dashed by reality.

Of course, the bathroom is still an ongoing disaster. The remodeling project that we planned to have done by Saturday night probably won't be done until Wednesday of next week. We have a toilet for now, but we're showering at the YMCA. I'd love to say that its really not so bad, but it really is bad. Just ask Skywalker how devastating it was to see that naked old lady in the shower room last night.

We'll probably be staying at a hotel next week for a couple of days while the bathroom floor is being laid, but for now, we can still enjoy the comforts of our own beds at night.

I was hoping that we might get out for a couple of hours and visit the Feast of the Assumption festival in Little Italy as I have a wicked craving for Cannoli, but Little King David and Hubby are sick. I think it's fairly rude of them to have a cold in the middle of the summer, but what can we do? They don't look like they are in the mood to go anywhere.

At least I won't be bored. There is still plenty of laundry to be done!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Moving Up

As I get ready for Fall Semester at school for the degree program that I should have finished five years ago, my Little King David is getting ready for big changes, too. He is moving up to the Toddler Room at daycare.

Initially, I was terrified by the thought that my little darling baby wouldn’t be in the baby room anymore. He has a unique bond with his teacher and I am wise enough to realize what a blessing that has been for us. He has flourished under her loving care and the extra attention she lavishes on him. I was nervous about the transition because I don’t know the toddler room teacher at all. She comes to work after I drop him off and leaves work before I pick him up. I love to talk to his teacher in the morning and in the afternoon. Although I’m not with him all day, I like knowing all the little details of his life away from home.

Despite my trepidation, I have realized that he is ready to make this transition. He needs to play outside everyday and he needs interaction with kids that can talk and walk and hit and bite. He wants to sit on the big-boy chairs and sleep 0n a cot rather than in a crib. He needs to watch the big kids go potty and wash their hands so he will want to be just like them. He needs to finger paint and play games and enjoy story time.

He is ready to move up and I think Mommy is ready, too.

Remind me of that next week when he brings home his first finger-painting and I cry all over it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to School

I suppose it’s already been a couple of weeks since my Summer semester course ended, although I feel like I just blinked and Fall semester is staring me in the face already.

I was really hoping beyond hope to take an English Composition course because I absolutely love to write really long, rambling, incoherent term papers, but the course is completely full. Honestly, I do love to write, even if I’m not really talented. I thought this course would be a breathe of fresh air and I might actually learn something that is relevant in real life. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

Unfortunately for me, I haven’t checked my student email account in ages, so I have about 349 unread messages. One of those messages must have been the announcement about early pre-enrollment, which allows folks to hold space in classes that they have no intention of registering for. By the time I realized that I needed to register, the English classes were full. So were the history, math, and science classes that I need but am avoiding.

I started to panic when the only class available was Listening to Music 101 because I have absolutely no musical talent and no appreciation for fine art. We recently received free tickets to the Cleveland Orchestra and Hubby actually wanted to go to the concert, which I am convinced was a form of punishment for something I did.

God must have heard my whimpering, because a seat opened up in the history class this morning. Although it’s not the English class I was lusting for, the History of Modern Civilization does sound fairly interesting. The added benefit is that Hubby and Skywalker are history buffs, so our dinner conversations might include a question from me on the Industrial Revolution and lots of note-taking while they ramble on about something that I really should have read in my textbook but didn’t.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with pretty nerds.

Tantrum Update

I’ve been so consumed with the bathroom remodeling disaster that I forgot to give you an update on our Little King David. A few weeks ago, I shared our frustrations about his behavior problems and sleep issues. We scheduled an appointment with his pediatrician and scheduled an evaluation at a pediatric development center.

In preparation for our appointments, we started keeping a daily log of David’s routine. We wrote down how he slept, what he ate, what activities he participated in that day, his mood, and each and every tantrum. Our goal was to document a typical day so a specialist could get an accurate idea of what happens with him at home.

We were shocked by what we found.

David typically has only one or two tantrums a day. Some days, he doesn’t even have one. He usually sleeps through the night once a week, but the other nights he wakes up for only about 10 minutes. He always naps well at daycare. He eats unusually well for a toddler, frequently devouring an entire plate of beets, asparagus or brussel sprouts. He even eats some of Skywalker’s vegetables because we don’t have a dog and she is a self-proclaimed meat-a-tarian. (that’s a topic for another post!) He behaves better when he has a chance to play outside and he has meltdowns when he is tired or we are having a particularly hectic day.


We were spending so much time focusing on the fact that he was crying or not sleeping through the night that we lost our perspective. In reality, our kid is normal. He is independent, obstinate and determined. And he should be at his age.

I feel a little silly for overreacting, but I will not apologize. David’s oldest sister, Queen of Sheba, is autistic. Her condition was not accurately diagnosed until she was ten years old. She missed out on early interventions that may have significantly improved her quality of life. We pray that David will never experience her challenges, but if he does, I don’t ever want to jeopardize his treatment because of my own fears. I’d rather be vigilant and be wrong than ignore the warning signs.

I’m delighted to say that as of today, he is perfectly healthy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flush Flush

There is an unspoken rule that every home improvement project must include an unexpected glitch. My Dad would call it Murphy’s Law, but I’ll call it Just My Luck.

We’ve been ripping tile out of our only bathroom for the past week in a desperate effort to have everything demolished before our contractor arrives to begin work on Thursday. We needed to save a little cash on this project, so we thought ripping out some tile would be easy enough to do ourselves.

If you’re done laughing at me now, I’ll tell you how the project is going in reality. The tiles popped off the wall in the blink of an eye. The floor tiles were a little bit harder to get off and we damaged some concrete underneath them with our overzealous use of hammers and crowbars.

Once we got the concrete off the floor, we discovered that one of the floorboards is damaged and has to be replaced. We were very happy to find the weak floorboard, because we were worried that we destroyed the concrete for nothing.

Last night, the contractor stopped by just to review the work that would begin on Thursday. The original plan was that the remodel would take three days and we knew that we wouldn’t have the use of our shower during that time. We planned to take showers at the YMCA (finally using that gym membership!) We would be able to use the toilet every night, but would need to go to the library or gas station to tinkle during the day.

Well, now that the concrete has to be replaced on the floor, we will not be able to walk into the bathroom for three days.

No toilet.

At all.

Three days.

I’m looking for hotel rooms on Priceline right now…

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Advice

If you think you love your husband, I advise you to begin a major home renovation together.

Don’t hire a babysitter for your toddler, don’t have all the tools you will need, and make sure you find an unexpected problem in the middle of your project. You should also have an unrealistic deadline.

If you are still talking to each other when it is all over, then you really did love each other.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home Improvement

I have again abandoned my blog in pursuit of work-life-church-chore balance, but I’m nowhere close to balancing anything. We are remodeling our bathroom, replacing the roof and replacing the driveway this month. I thought this would be so easy since we’re hiring contractors to do most of it, but I was wrong!

Once upon a time, hubby and I would do all of our home improvements ourselves to save money. Our house was a two bedroom bungalow when we bought it five years ago and we have added two bedrooms since then. That project only took sixteen months of our lives, but we saved tons of money. Now, Little King David prevents us from committing so much time and effort into home repairs. I have to admit I don’t miss it.

Although I’m sure we are saving tons of time by hiring contractors, this is still more work than I thought. It took months to schedule contractors to visit for quotes and apply for a home equity loan. Then, we decided to demolish the bathroom and buy our own supplies to save some money. That was a fabulous idea until we started ripping up the concrete floor in our only bathroom over the weekend.

We are sore, bruised and bleeding and we only have the floor half done. We have until Thursday morning to get this done because the contractor is coming to start the tile work that day. The bathroom is conveniently located right next to David’s bedroom, so we can’t do any work during naptime or after 9:00pm each night. We also can’t do any work without David’s constant supervision because he is dying to know what all that noise is in there!

This too shall pass…

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gerber Lil Snackin' Bowls

It’s been a while since my Mommy had a really brilliant idea, but I think she did a really good job today, so I wanted to tell you all about it.

Mommy and Daddy were getting ready for work this morning, so I was doing my best to help them. Daddy wanted me to share his oatmeal with him, but I could really see that Mommy needed my help putting away the clean dishes. While she had the cupboard open, I saw something that I wanted. I kept hollering, “Bowl! Bowl! Bowl!” but she couldn’t figure out what I wanted. Maybe the thing I wanted isn’t called a bowl, but I can say bowl, so I thought that might work. It didn’t.

Mommy was starting to tap her foot at me, so I started to think I was never going to get what I wanted. We never did figure out what I was asking for, but Mommy gave me the best bowl ever made. It is a bright blue bowl with a pretty green lid. The lid feels like rubber and it has a hole in the top where I can put my little fingers inside. It is so cool!

Mommy put my French toast in my happy little bowl and she let me carry it to the car! I finished all of my breakfast and I didn’t even spill any of it because I am a big boy. Also, the bowl has that fancy lid I was telling you about, which helped.

I think it’s funny that as Mommy handed me the bowl, she told Daddy, “Like that could ever stop Little King David from dumping a pile of Cheerios all over the car.” I don’t know why she doesn’t trust me, because I showed her how neat I am with my French toast.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I really like Lil Snackin’ Bowls by Gerber. I thought you might like to know just in case you know a messy little toddler like me.