Thursday, February 26, 2009

Last day of being TWO

Fisch set up a little scene this morning and asked me to take his picture with his animals and his chocolate milk.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book of the Day

Fischer is soooo into Goldilocks. He loves me to read the book or just to just tell him the story. He also loves to retell the story to Andy and I. In fact, he loves it so much... that for weeks he was insisting that he wanted Goldilocks shoes for his birthday! When I asked him what they were... he drew me a picture. I wish I would have saved it to show you. Basically two oval squiggles. When I asked him to describe what they looked like he said, "I drew you a picture!"
Ok, silly me. When I asked what color they were (he had drawn them in pencil)... he started to get annoyed with me because they were obviously yellow since he drew them on a yellow steno pad! OK... getting nowhere. So... I said that Goldilocks shoes are girl shoes. Well, he wants them in white, so ... apparently they are now boy shoes. Now what? I searched the Internet, couldn't find a thing! So I did what (I hope) any good mother would do... hoped he would forget about them. AND, he finally has (at least I think he has, I don't dare bring them up again!).
Anyway, our Goldilocks and the Three bears is retold and illustrated by Jan Brett... and true to her form... the pictures are fantastic.... so much great detail. We love it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Talk to me Tuesday: Cake decorating HELP!

I'm attempting to make these cute little Lego cakes for Fischer's birthday party on Saturday. I found the recipe here on Betty Crocker - it is the best looking of all the Lego cakes I've found so far on the Internet. So, today I took a trial run and - YUCK! The frosting is the problem. After making the sheet cake, you slice it into smaller pieces to create different sized Legos... but that means that you are frosting the crumby sides. I froze the cake and still ended up with a very crumby frosting job.

? - Do you have any tips on how to do this? I've decided to do a white cake, so the crumbs aren't as obvious (I tried chocolate today), and I just used the frosting they recommended from the container... but there has to be a better way. Do I whip it or something? Do you know of a better frosting for this sort of thing? I've been using a butter knife, is that the problem?

I did discover, the marshmallows were easier to frost on top of a fork, rather than the suggested tooth pick ... but still they didn't look nearly as smooth and professional as the picture.


?- Also, I'm planning on making mini-cupcakes for the kids with Lego candy on top. Do any of you have any tips on the best way to pry the little suckers from the pan without sticking? I've gotten mixed reviews on whether or not to use the tiny cupcake papers. Is there a spray that's better than another? Have you tried those sprays with flour in them?

?- I ordered the Lego candy online and they haven't arrived yet. Have you ever eaten these? Are they the consistency of Smarties or conversation hearts? Will they be easy for 3 year-olds to chew?

?- I tried to find the Lego fruit snacks that Kelloggs had, but they don't seem to be sold in any of my local grocery stores and I couldn't even find them on the Kelloggs website. I saw them on Amazon, but they are unavailable. It is probably too late to order them now anyway... but if you have seen them in a particular store this week, let me know!

Thank you for ANY advice you can share, I need serious help before Saturday.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to Andy!!!!!.... three weeks ago

Thank you Mario Lemieux for standing in, yet again, for Andy's picture!
Super Bowl Sunday was Andy's birthday, which is great because it is built-in entertainment for his party! The only thing better would be if his birthday and the Stanley Cup Finals lined up for him each year!
Of course I'd like to take a minute to gush about my one and only love... best husband EVER! Seriously, thank you Andy for being the man that you are, for taking care of and providing for our family and for being the best friend and life-long companion I could dream of. I love you. AND, he's totally hot too!
Anyway, he is not a big fan of being talked about (or pictured) on the blog... so I thought I'd let his own words give you a peek into him. Andy coaches basketball... freshman girls basketball... it is not always easy, seeing as how every year he is basically teaching the girls how to play the game... BUT he makes it so much more. It seems that his goals are: teach them how to play the game, help them to have fun while playing, give them life-long friendships with one another and new found confidence in themselves (this is me talking... this is just what it looks like to me). So after a FUN season of losing... but having fun... he'll be giving them a little gift next week. He had personalized bracelets made for each of them (by his very talented sister) and he typed up a little letter to go with them. I thought you might like to read some of it:
It is said that when asked about sculpting David, Michelangelo stated he was merely liberating the form within by removing the excess rock. By cutting away,he was adding definition to the shape that already existed. If we think about life in a similar way, we find events, opportunities, and hardships can act as a chisel to “chip away” our excess rock to help us learn who we really are. Basketball was one of these opportunities (and sometimes a hardship depending on the day), and I was fortunate enough to watch this process with you. So what did I learn?

I learned you are strong, courageous, and spirited. I saw you rise up to take on formidable challenges, smile after tough defeats, and reach out to embrace your
teammates. Of course I already knew you were smart, funny, and beautiful, but I also saw these qualities grow, each and every day. I learned what an extraordinary person you truly are.

On your bracelet, you will see several pieces of your birthstone. Think of these stones as some of the chips that have been removed throughout the season. Each one represents a step you took toward strengthening one of your qualities. For those who are willing, life is full of opportunities to add definition to your form within.

You will also find a bead with the first letter of your name. I would have put your whole name, but seriously, some of you have long names and it would have ended up a necklace! This bead is to remind you to be proud of who you are. You are an incredible person, and although you might not always feel as such, that is who you are. When you doubt this, just surround yourself with people who already know the truth (or come back to ___ for a visit and some candy) and you should be back to normal in no time!

I have had an incredible time with you this season and thank you for all the time you committed to the team. I am also thankful for you allowing me to get to know you and teach you a little basketball. Nine months ‘till next season!

Friday, February 20, 2009

"It was so easy!"

The other day I was rushing Fischer and I out the door to meet up with friends for a playdate. I had our stuff together, I had him buckled into the car in the garage, I had... lost my keys.... grrr!

I search the car, search my purse, search my coat pocket... nothing. I run back in the house (don't worry the garage door was closed and Fisch was belted in) and scanned the kitchen, the bedroom, the office, the bathroom,... nothing. Back to the car, searching between the seats, dump out my purse... nothing.

Mommy: "Fischer, do you know where my keys are?"
Fischer: "No."
M: "Did you play with Mommy's keys? It is ok if you did, that will just help me to know where they are."
F: "No"

Back in the house, search the junk drawer another bathroom, the floor of the closet, the pants I wore yesterday, check another coat... nothing. Back to the car, search under the seats... nothing. Back in the house, search the toys, call friends and say we may not make it, search the train table, under the couch... weird thought...

Check the fridge... Ah HA!

Back in the car...

M: "Fischer, did you put my keys in the fridge?"
F: silence
M: "Fischer, you have been watching me run around like a crazy person for twenty minutes! Why didn't you just tell me that you put my keys in the fridge?"

F: "It was so easy!"
M: "What? What was so easy?"
F: "You just go in the kitchen, open the fridge and there they are. Easy!"


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drop in and Decorate

I could have sworn that I had already talked about this last year... but I guess not. I can't find it on the blog anywhere, and I guess since we did it in December and I started this blog in February, I never did post about it. BUT, I would think that I would have since it is about saving the world and all! Geez! Well anyway we did it again... so fun!

Drop in and Decorate is the grand idea of NineCooks' Lydia Walshin, and has spread from idea to a full fledged non-profit organization!

"Drop In & Decorate, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Rhode Island
and founded by food writer Lydia Walshin, hosts Drop In & Decorate®
cookies-for-donation events and provides financial and technical support to
events hosted by individuals and organizations around the country.

Drop In & Decorate is a simple concept: bake some cookies, invite friends or family
(or neighbors, or co-workers) to stop in and help decorate, then donate your
cookies to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, senior center, lunch program,
or other community agency serving neighbors in need. (Or, sell your cookies at a
bake sale, and donate the proceeds to a community agency.)"

So last year, our little book club got together and baked and decorated over 150 cookies for the families residing in our local homeless shelter at Christmastime.

This year, Emily (my friend) and I rallied together a dozen or so good friends and baked and decorated over 300 cookies! We had so much fun! We were very excited to have enough cookies for all of the families and all of the men who come to sleep at our local shelter.

Everyone donated so much (cookies, time, decorating supplies, packaging supplies, money, and snacks) and together we had a great time providing Valentine cookies for so many people. Thanks everybody!

The week before, five of us got together and cranked out about 9 dozen cookies and put them in Jenny's freezer. The night before, Emily and I made 14 batches of icing and put them into piping bags. We rented out Emily's and BFF Mommy's clubhouse for the actual decorating. That day, from 10 to 2, people dropped in to decorate cookies and all of the little ones played and played! it worked out great. Emily and I came back later that night after the cookies had set, and packaged them all up to be delivered on Valentine's Day (the next morning). We individually bagged and tied 160 for the families and then stacked the rest in big zip locks for the men (we hoped they'd be ok without fancy bags and ties!). Drop in and Decorate is such a fun idea to get friends together to chat, get creative and ultimately benefit someone else. I think next year will have to be our "third annual Drop In".

The Drop in and Decorate website has lots of fun ideas about how to host your own party and also recipes. We used our own recipes, but I think next year, I'll give theirs a try.

I want to give a big thank you to: Emily L, Emily M, Jenny, Brenna. Danae, Lisa M, Chrissy, Amy, Amie, Vicki, Jolie, Katie, and McKayla. You are such fabulous friends!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Disaster Narrowly Averted

It was a little too quiet at my house the other day... I went to investigate... and low and behold my little Curious George was in his room playing with... EGGS!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talk to me Tuesday... Mealtime

I'm coming to you for ideas.

  • Problem: Fischer will NOT stay seated to complete a meal in a timely fashion. He is on and off his seat, playing, talking, etc. Mealtime takes forever, he eats very little, Andy and I get frustrated.
  • How we actually caused the problem: We have eaten one too many meals at the coffee table.
  • What we've tried: Holding dessert over his head - could care less. Put the high chair back in action - this keeps him in place, but does not ensure that he actually eats.

Obviously, we need to get our family back to the kitchen table, but then what? Any ideas? What works for you? Am I expecting too much?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Garbage Day

Garbage truck in hand, waiting for the Garbage Man. Aw, it's the little things...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer

Recently a group of friends and I participated in a snowshoe 5k to benefit Susan G Komen for the Cure. My good friend Lauren put our team together in honor of her friend Cari. Cari blogs over at UnDomestic: "Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given the all clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metastasized to other areas."
Cari has three little kids at home, and after learning of her story and checking out her blog, it was an honor to snowshoe for her. Our team carried fun balloons that said "Team Cari" on them and we had a blast! I actually had my butt kicked by the course... but supposedly it was REALLY easy. Hmmm. AND don't even try to cut me some slack on behalf of being pregnant... because two other of our team members were much further along that I, and they seemed to practically skip to the finish line!
Anyway, thank you Lauren for inviting me to be a part of such a fun experience and important cause!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bedtime gone wrong

- Bedtime gone wrong: passed out on the couch at 11:00 PM -

I was about to write about what a genius of a parent I am.... but Andy just messed it all up!* Thanks a lot!
We've been having major trouble getting Fischer to go to bed lately (for at least a month). We'll do our routine, kiss him goodnight and then for the next THREE to FOUR hours he'll be in and out of his room for one reason or another OR he'll be talking, singing and playing with his books and toys till his room is completely destroyed AND he is wide awake!
It has been really frustrating, and very very tiring. Not to mention, when he does fall asleep, it is often restless with frequent night wakings and then inevitably, he'll end up sleeping with us. It is getting old.
So, I've tried a myriad of things to help the situation:
I've tried ignoring him and letting him play and play till he falls asleep - but he never falls asleep.
I've tried consequences for getting out of bed or being too noisy - such as: turning his nightlights off, closing his door, taking away toys - all of this just gets him anxious and panicky, and brings on boatloads of tears.
I've tried giving him snacks, reassurance, incentives (like prizes for staying in bed all night) - didn't help.
All we were getting was an over-tired family and a seriously bad habit. The thing that bothered me most was that I'd put him to bed with love, kisses, songs, warm fuzzies, etc. and then end up being angry with him for hours before he finally passed out. Then I'd feel so guilty about it that I'd kind of want to go in and cuddle him, to let him know that I'm not really mad at him (but I didn't because it is not like I'm crazy - after a three to four hour fight I was not about to wake him!).
So, I hope I don't jinx myself by talking about what HAS worked, but here it is:
  • First, let me just say that when you are looking for help with toddler sleep, they always talk about consistency... they mention consistent bedtime and consistent bedtime routines. We've always done that.... forever, we've had the same routine and bedtime for him.... so that is one duck we have in a row.

  • Second, I have eliminated napping to ensure that he is tired at bedtime.

  • Third, I am waking him up at the same time every morning (which totally stinks for me because waking him up is against the very core of my tired being).

  • Fourth, NEW RULE: No toys or books in bed. Instead of helping him to wind down, they get his creative juices flowing till his bed is full of sleeping stuffed animals, there is no room for him and he has completely rearranged his room to have every item of clothing and every toy take up residence on the floor. Then, by the way, he wakes up in the middle of the night mad that his room is messy and wants me to clean it! And I do, because I just want him to be quiet and go to sleep!

  • Fifth, after our bedtime routine, I sound like a broken record. Anytime he wants something or gets out of bed or asks a question, I calmly repeat "go to bed" or "go to sleep". I do not give him any attention after the goodnight kiss. (I know this sounds harsh, but I'm trying to break the habit of him getting out of bed. Obviously if it was an emergency, I'd respond. I do respond calmly and without emotion if he asks about monsters or something scary "We don't have monsters, the dogs would eat them**. Go to sleep".)

  • Finally, I turn off all of the lights that can be seen from his room and make it very quiet, so that it seems that he is not missing out on any grand parties or fun.

I'm also trying very hard to take my own emotion out of the picture. I am ashamed to say it, but I was getting really mad! Then I stepped back and thought, why am I getting mad at a baby? I can be frustrated, I can be consistent, I can deliver consequences, but I don't actually need to feel angry. I think this realization is helping us both.

It has only been a few days, and he isn't "cured" yet.... BUT He is going to sleep much more quickly (within 15-30 minutes), bedtime is much more positive, AND believe it or not, he is sleeping through the night! Yay! Everybody wins!

* So, I said Andy messed it up, because during the critical moments after I've said "Go to sleep" and Fischer has gotten very quiet... Andy walked in to kiss him goodnight! Seriously, this started up the talking and questions and getting out of bed all over again... he added on 15 minutes!

** About monsters, it has worked very well for us and for Fischer to tell him that dogs eat monsters. Therefor you can reason that a monster would never come in our house for fear of being eaten. AND if the monster DID come in, he'd be eaten right away.... so obviously, there is no way we could have a monster in our house. It makes perfect sense to Fischer, although he does like to be reassured of this "fact" periodically. This works MUCH better for him than simply stating "there is no such thing as monsters".

I was talking to a friend recently who suggested that I arm him with something more proactive like having him yell "Go away Monsters", which would give him some control. I thought it was a good idea, so if ever the dogs stop eating the monsters, we'll try that route. Which, incidentally, is a theme we will be needing to address soon with him because he rarely stands up for himself... but that is another story.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What happened to the blog?

So, you know when you were young and you kept a journal and you wrote about everything you did every day? Then you missed a few days or weeks and it seemed too overwhelming to try to catch your journal up? Yeah... it is kind of like that.