Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Fun

For as much as I may gripe complain incessantly about how much I hate super hot weather (take today for example---95 degree, melt-directly-to-the-pavement kind of weather), I really do like summer.  On the more mild days.  When there's little humidity.  And evenings when it cools off.  So yeah...I like about 50% of summer.

Favorite summer things, in no particular order:

Fun, bright nail polish
Currently wearing my new Essie "Cute as a Button":

Ice Cream
Is there really anything more refreshing than a nice, big serving of ice cream on a summer day?  I think not.  Bonus points if that ice cream comes from my favorite place, Dave & Andy's.   Coming to visit Pittsburgh?  Yeah, yeah....people may go on and on about Primanti's, but really...the gem of the city is Dave & Andy's if you're an ice cream fan.  The smell inside that shop is intoxicating.

Sweet, sticky, goodness, normally made in the cool of the evening (see criteria for enjoying summer above), s'mores on a fire just scream summer to me.  They're even better when shared with friends and neighbors!

I found this new recipe for Rolo S'Mores on pinterest, we might have to give those a try soon, YUM!

Trashy Summer TV
We all know I love my guilty pleasure TV shows, and summer is the king of the seasons when it comes to this.  So You Think You Can Dance, Dallas, The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Big Brother, The Real Housewives of NJ, and Love in the Wild are the ones I'm tuning into this summer.

Picnics and BBQ's
I love appetizers, dips, cheeseburgers, and desserts....these items are the standard fare at most picnics and BBQ's.  Sign me up! 
I have no idea what is going on in this picture, but it popped up when I did a google image search for cheeseburgers.  Chihuahua Cheeseburger Slippers? Awesome.

We skipped our annual trip to the beach with the BFF's last summer because Liam was so young, but we are more than ready to return there this year!!  Packing and vacation lists have been edited, sorted, and printed, piles of beach things are starting to stack up in our guest room, and we are counting down the days.

Descriptive title, right?  I love just the feeling of summer, probably going back to being a kid and having no worries, other than where I was playing that day, and how late I could stay out before I got drug in the house for bedtime.  We're more lax with bedtime in the summer, and it's nice because our evenings typically feel so rushed, that even letting them stay out an extra 30 minutes in the evenings makes a big difference.  Lazy days of summer, indeed.

What are your favorite things about summer?

Random Jakeness

 *2 weekends ago, he had his very first solo sleepover at GG and Pappy's house, and it was a success!  He was very excited about it, wanted to pack his own bag, and had a lot of grand plans in his head.  They ended up playing outside a ton, having a water gun fight, getting special treats at McDonald's, AND going for ice cream the next day after lunch!  I was proud of him that he did it, with no tears about Brian and I not being there.  Actually, when he went to leave that day, the person he asked about and seemed concerned that he wasn't coming, was Liam!  And the next morning, he told GG that he really missed Liam...awww! :)  Here he is, packed and ready to go!

*He's been very into puzzles lately, and he's fast.  I think I might need to invest in a few more that are more challenging for him, we have all 25 piece sets at our house. He also surprised me the other day when out of nowhere, he said "Mommy...if you have 4 apples over here (gestured to his left) and 4 apples over here (gestured to his right) how many do you have?"  I said, "hmm....that's a good question, do you know how many?"  He took a minute to think and said, 8.  He did this with all of the numbers up through 5!  Gotta love a good preschool program :)

*We've been going to our local library more frequently, and he loves to be able to pick out his own books.  He brings his own tote bag and loads it up!  They have a summer Reading Club that you can join, and you basically track the number of books your child has read online through your library card, and every time you come in to the library, you get a token to get a small prize.  They will also have different events throughout the summer, so we hope to make it to some of those (although unfortunately, most take place during the day in the middle of the week, so I'm not sure how much we'll be able to participate)  But Jake was so excited to be "in the club"!  His only knowledge of a club is that he knows I'm in a book club; so when I asked him if he wanted to join the reading club at the library, his immediate response was, "Yes!  Will they have food there?"  :)  I guess he knows what the main focus of my book club is!  When we were there last week, he marched right up to the librarian's desk, tote bag on his shoulder, and proudly said, "Excuse me!  My name is Jake, and I'm in the reading club!" and plopped his books up on the table. 

*Recently, he told me he was going to have a new baby brother, and his name was seahorse.  jake was going to be the daddy and take care of seahorse all by himself.  I heard him saying things like, "Oh seahorse, don't cry...are you tired?  I'll give you a nap.  Want a song?  Ok, twinkle, twinkle...."  This is the same kid who usually has so much energy that he runs circles around me, so to watch him play "baby" for a good 30 minutes was so different, and really nice to see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things they don't tell you about breastfeeding.

  • It hurts. Everyone may tell you that it can be painful, especially at first, but they're referring to the actual pain of breastfeeding from the baby latching on, sensitivity, etc...  I'm referring to the pain that occurs when you are nursing in the first few days after birth, the pain of your uterus contracting back to shape.  Of course, everyone would love for their uterus to return to normal, but sweetmotherofGod, I felt like I wanted to beg for an epidural for my waist up for the times I had to nurse Liam in those first 3 days or so.  I vaguely remembered being uncomfortable with Jake (but I was also all drugged up on the magnesium drip, so my entire memory of those first few days is very foggy), but nothing like what I had with Liam.  It was so bad that at one point on day 2, I actually asked a nurse if I was ok when she came by to do rounds. I really thought that I was hemorrhaging or something, it just didn't feel like what was going on could be considered normal.  Her response was, "Oh honey, totally normal with #2. In fact, it actually gets to be MORE painful for each child.  I just had a woman in here last week who was on baby #4; she was literally screaming into a pillow and clutching the bed rails with each feeding.  Could I get you some more ibuprofen, that would help!"  Um...yes, please to the ibuprofen, no thank you to baby #4 with the screaming, writhing pain.
  • You will feel like you're starving to death.  If people think that pregnant women can put food away, they have never witnessed a breastfeeding mother do some serious damage to a pantry.  It makes sense; you can burn up to 700 calories a day from breastfeeding, so you have to replace that somewhere!  And I felt like I needed to replace those calories every hour or so.  I was hungry all.the.time.  My advice to new breastfeeding mothers is to have lots and lots of snacks nearby, and make sure you can easily consume them with just one hand.  Oh, and always check your baby's head after your snack sessions; I will not admit to the number of times I would find a stray piece of cheese or pretzel somewhere on the kids.
  • It's hard to stop.  Liam easily dropped his mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottles the week of his 1st birthday (and didn't seem to miss nursing at those times a few days later when the weekend rolled around).  So that left us with him nursing when he woke up and at bedtime.  I didn't really have a plan for dropping either of those, but he actually stopped nursing at wake up on his own.  One day he just started playing with Jake when he woke up, never got fussy for it, and was content to just eat breakfast instead.  So we dropped that one and never looked back. He's now 13.5 months and still nursing before bedtime, and honestly, I don't know who between the two of us is the one holding onto that session.  I'm sure for him it's just become a part of his bedtime routine, and for me, it's become something that gives me guaranteed quiet time every evening, with this child who is becoming less and less of a baby with each passing day.  Could I stop soon?  Probably. Do I want to?  I'm not sure yet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Fish

We decided to take a family trip to the big, exciting pool on Sunday...the real pool, not just the inflatable one in our backyard. 

This is a prime example of how I sometimes forget that the kids were at different stages in different seasons.  For example, the first time Jake went into a big pool (at Nana's house), he was around 6 months old and perfectly content to just chill in one of those baby float devices for hours, and even fell asleep in it.  We went into this experience over the weekend thinking that Liam would do the same thing, you know, being that it's his first time in the big pool, too.  This is where we forgot the crucial piece of information that Liam is 13 months old, not 6 months old, and is mobile.  Oh, and that he has a big brother who he tries to keep up with at all times.  He tolerated his float for about 5 minutes before trying to plunge himself off the side of it and into the water.

Yes, I dressed them in matching swim shorts.  They were the most stylish kids at that pool!

We were at the pool for about 2.5 hours and Liam spent nearly that entire time wanting someone to help him "swim" around the pool...belly down, arms splashing, feet kicking.  When he wasn't doing that, he wanted to "jump" off the side with Jake; which meant that one of us had to hold him under his arms and lift him way up in the air like he was jumping, then bring him back into the pool.  The muscles in my entire upper body were crying in pain on Monday morning. 

He briefly humored us by going into the baby pool, only to try and escape back into the big part after just a few minutes.

Cups and a tiny wading area, seriously?  This baby pool is lame.

Jake did an awesome job with those swimmies on his arms; he jumped right in, and paddled his way around the pool, no fear.  He even went down the big twisty slide a few times!

I'm mortified to show you the "before" of our garage....

....but I'm quite proud of the "after" so I'll go ahead and suck up my embarrassment. 

The history of our garage: we have a 2 car garage, which might have been minimally organized at one point in time, shortly after we moved in.  And I say minimally, because it was more just that everything at least had a home that wasn't on the floor; but it still needed a LOT of work.  There was a lot of stuff that needed to be purged.  We weren't using the storage that was available to its fullest potential. 

Then, this spring rolled around and things went from bad to worse.  We were in a frenzied rush to get a bunch of stuff done before Liam's birthday party, and the result was that all of the supplies from those projects got tossed into one side of the garage.  On the floor.  Brian's car was displaced and forced out into the driveway.  Enough was enough! 

I also wanted to use this time to attempt to create a "mini mudroom" area.  We always enter the house through the garage, which goes into our gameroom.  There is no closet space in the gameroom, so essentially what happens every day is this: I get the kids out of the car from daycare, Jake leaves his shoes right in front of the door (because there was no room for him on the shoe rack, thanks to me and Brian having completely taken over that space), then all of the stuff from daycare (coats, backpacks, gloves, hats, etc...) gets tossed onto the floor in the gameroom, OR some of it gets brought upstairs and ends up in various spots all over the house.  This was not working for two reasons: 1) because my OCD ways caused me to twitch whenever I'd see that pile of things on the floor, and 2) because things easily get misplaced this way.  Who wants to spend 5 minutes every morning going, "Jake!  Where are your shoes?  Have you seen your gloves?" 

All of that being said, here are the before pictures....try to not judge me too much.

And after:

Hey look, our garage has a floor!

the shelves actually make sense now, organized by what is on them...what a novel concept.

And the part I was most excited about, the mini-mudroom area!

Yeah, I know it's not much (and certainly not as dazzling as all of the mudroom pictures I see online and drool over), but it's a vast improvement over what we had before.  This spot is right by the door, which is where the freezer lived previously, so we just had to relocate the freezer to another wall.  The "bench" is actually a book shelf that Brian had from his childhood (we used it in our old house in the playroom) that was living in our attic.  When flipped over on its side, it becomes the perfect height for Jake to sit on while taking his shoes on and off, and the shelves become the perfect cubbies for their stuff.  The green buckets inside the cubbies are from the dollar bins at Target (of course!) and will hold winter accessories once that time rolls around.  The hooks hanging on the wall were already there when we moved in, and the picture that's on the wall was previously in our guest room but not being used there anymore. 

Grand total cost for his project: $3 for the bins.  Can't beat that!! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One of the best $5 investments ever.

I picked up this slip & slide at Target at the end of last summer for $5; it's been worth every penny.  Liam loved the splash pool area at the bottom:

Jake loved going down the slide, every which way:

And when they needed a break from all of that hard work, they hopped in the pool to relax:

If we continue to get these horrific heat waves (95 degrees?  No thank you.)  I have a feeling we'll get a lot of use out of this $5 piece of plastic....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

We had a great weekend celebrating all of the dads in our lives (and will get to tonight, too...Nana and PopPop are coming to visit for the week!)  The celebration started at school on Friday; there were crafts from the kids, and some games for the kids and dads.

rock painting (with his buddy, Zach)
Liam came to the party, too!
sleeping bag races (love this shot!)
"I'm Hooked on you, dad" gift from Jake, complete with a bag of Goldfish snacks :)
Gift from Liam

On Sunday, the main gift from the kids was that they both slept in until 6:30, haha! (and yes, that is "sleeping in" for these kids.  If you leave a comment about how your kids sleep in until 8am, and you just can't imagine getting up every day of the week by 6am, I will ban you from this blog.  I promise.) After that glorious stretch of sleep, we all headed downstairs to give Brian his gifts.  First, Jake gave him the transcription of the "interview" I had done with him about daddy:

some of his answers had us cracking up (ie-What does daddy's hair look like?  Jake's answer: a grasshopper  Where did you and Daddy meet?  Jake's answer: at the library).  We also got him a new pair of swim shorts, a tshirt, and this cool canvas picture to put on an easel in his office (from site!):

Later that morning, we went to spend the day with GG, Pappy, Uncle Nate, and Aunt Katie.  The rain held off, and we had a nice time playing outside (yes mom, even I had a nice time outside!)

There was some relaxation:

Chillin' with Uncle Nate
"Can someone grab me a sippy cup??"

Some eating:

And some sports:

They look so thrilled to be watching the games in the yard!

I have to share both of these pictures because the first one of Liam touching Larry's nose makes me giggle:

Happy Father's Day to Brian, both of our dads, and all of the dads out there...we hope you enjoyed your day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review: "Keeping Faith" (Jodi Picoult)

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

I've read a lot of her books. So many, in fact, that I'd taken a year long hiatus from know how for as much as you may love an author, sometimes you just completely OD on their books?  Yeah, that's where my relationship with her books was.

But, I figured it was time to return to them, because I have enjoyed almost all of them in the past.  This book just happened to be the first one available through the Kindle library lending system, so that was my selection.  I was really, really into the book for about, oh I'd say, 98% of it.  It was an interesting story, there was suspense, and in her usual style, the author led you down different paths to make you think different people were the "bad" guys.  So many of her books have a huge shock factor at the end that comes out of nowhere (My Sister's Keeper, anyone??) so I was waiting and waiting for that moment.  I wasn't hoping anything tragic would happen, but I wanted something to happen.  And then....the story ended.  That was it, just....ended.  There was no something.  There was just and ending. 

Up next: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  (Mindy Kaling)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New obsession-thank you, Sherwin Williams.

I have no idea when we'll get around to it, but eventually, I'd love to paint the dining room.  The color in there now is beige-y with peach undertones; not terrible, but there's a nice chair rail and I'd like to play that up by having 2 different colors on the walls.  Lo and behold, today I stumbled across a fabulous online tool thanks to Sherwin Williams that allows you to upload a picture then "paint" the walls of the picture.  Genius!!  Click here to check out their color visualizer.

Here is the before of our dining room:

Here are the 2 test pictures that I did of our dining room:

Sherwin Williams Cobble Brown on the top, Nantucket Dune on the bottom

Sherwin Williams Loggia on top, Plantation Brown on the bottom
We don't have the area rug on the floor anymore, so it's just a hardwood floor.  We're keeping the light fixture, but I'm open to changing up the curtains.  So we really have no color limitations in the room.  We have a lot of blue walls in the house (foyer and all of the upstairs hallway, and the powder room on the first floor), red in the living room, yellow in our bedroom and Jake's I feel like we're set as far as primary colors go, but I'm open to suggestions/ideas!  What color do you have in your dining room?  Do you love it?  Or are you about to go play around on the Sherwin Williams' site, too? :)  We've never used Sherwin Williams paint (we're pretty Behr loyal), opinions on their paint?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tball season comes to an end

 It was amazing to see this team go from looking like wild animals running around the field with no direction or organization, to actually looking like they were playing a game of baseball, in just 8 short weeks.  The season came to an end on Saturday, and Jake's take on the sport was, "I had so much fun playing tball with my team.  I'm going to miss it.  I loved eating snacks at the end of the game, too".  It was unclear which activity (playing or eating) he would miss the most. 

He got to play 1st base!

Jake and Maddie, one of his friends from school :)

A video of Jake's final hit for the season:

Liam showed up to the game dressed appropriately:

After the game, they had a nice little trophy presentation, and even Brian received a plaque for being a coach (in sad news, the plaque featured a team photo...Brian is absent from the photo because that was the day he was sick with the stomach flu and didn't make it to the game.  I told him I'd cut out a picture of him and glue it on there)

I'm not sure if he was more excited for the popsicle, or the trophy...

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