Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Well, Thanksgiving is over and we are on to Christmas. I cranked up the Christmas tunes and spent the whole day decorating for the holidays. Aunt Donna and Uncle Art took Chase to the Shedd Aquarium (Thanks again Guys!), so I did all the decorating today without my "little helper" (YES!) It ended up being a very productive day. Although, it is getting harder and harder to get much accomplished with Dylan toddling under foot. Watching him walk around is like watching an accident waiting to happen. It would be kinda like watching a beginner on a unicycle. He jogs this way and that, front and back. He *almost* always hangs on somehow, narrowly escaping a disaster at every turn. I stand back watching through one eye with a cringe on my face just ready to pounce in and help, but wanting him to learn on his own. Luckily, he is low to the ground and he seems to have an incredibly strong noggin. Toddlers are very resilient. To make it a little trickier, the last couple days, he has been putting a shirt or towel over his head. You can see the look on his face saying "Hmmm, lets see if I can do this any better blind-folded?" (In case you were wondering, The answer is NO!) Thankfully, he took a couple power naps today so I did get lots done in the way of holiday decor.

Chase walked in the door and said "Nice tree MaMa, (chipper) but I wanted to help (whining)." Next year, buddy, I promise. Then he proceeded to turn off the light to the tree repeatedly the entire evening because we are "wastin tricity."


Did it seem like I skimmed right over Thanksgiving?? I'm not, I'm not, I will put some photos below. It was a nice day, and Wendy and Mark were so awesome to volunteer to host. The food was great and aside from a couple minor snafu's it was a very nice day. The first was that our keys got locked in the car so Dave and Art had to drive 2 hours home and back to get the spare set. The second was that the wind knocked over the deep fryer containing the turkey, spilling 5 courts of oil down their driveway. The "silver lining" was that Donna saved the turkey from rolling down the driveway with the oil. The meal was delicious. I just hope they can get the oil cleaned off their driveway sometime this decade.


YUMMY!!!


Anyway, Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on what you're thankful for. So, this may sound cliche' but I am so thankful for all the friends and family that touch our lives, but I am particularly thankful for those three fella's right there! HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Trip to the BIG TOP










Okay, so there was actually no "BIG TOP." Which I think confused Chase a little. When we pulled into the United Center parking lot he kept asking where the tent was. Do you think that they ever still do the big red & white striped tent anywhere??? That would be COOL! Anyway, just thought I would share a few pics (of the over 150 that I took) of our day at the circus. Chase liked it... but he got a little bored during the death-defying aerialist acts and the cool contortionist acts. He really was only interested in the clowns, the animals and the motorcycles! Me, well I was so giddy and excited the entire time that I KNOW I was irritating everyone around me. I was either taking pictures... shocker!... or nudging Chase and pointing, "LOOK AT THAT and THAT and THAT!" When Dave asked Chase on our walk to the car what his favorite part was, he said "Eating the popcorn!" I am glad he appreciated all the costumes, talent, danger, hard work and entertainment that the circus provides!


Chase and his Pop Corn.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Playgroup Reunited To Celebrate Thanksgiving!

All the Mommy's pose for a pic. Melissa and Jena couldn't make it ;(

This has got to be the coolest climbing thingie ever. Chase had a ball!!
Cheers!! The mom's toast with some Sangria -yummmm!

Gobble, Gobble! Kim, our resident Pastry Chef, made the cutest little Turkey Cookies for all the kids to enjoy after dinner. Well, most of them didn't eat a thing EXCEPT the cookies. Who wants to sit and eat when there are so many cool toys to explore?



Our playgroup got together last night for the first time in a LONG time. It was amazing to see how much the kids had grown! Laura and Scot did such a good job hosting and we all had so much fun. Which leaves me to wonder, "Why don't we do this more OFTEN??" Poor Laura is probably gritting her teeth and saying, "I know why we don't do this more often...." as she cleans up her house that I am sure we left in shambles last night. SORRY Laura... and Dave still feels badly he broke your table. I can't take my guys anywhere ;) It does seem hard with so many kids involved. Plus, most of the kids are in now in all different preschools with varying schedules. Toss in a new younger sibling for a few of us and some of the mom's returning to work and.... well bummer, it seems nearly impossible to find a good time to get the kids together to play like we used to. So, we will just have to savour these instances when we can gather and eat and enjoy each other's company. Speaking of eating, all the food was delicious. "Why didn't you cook anything?" my husband asked. "Because they have all tasted my cooking!" I replied. "They put me in charge of Salad and rolls!" I can't screw that up too badly. Anyway, in the spirit of Thanksgiving I just wanted to say how thankful I am for all of our friends!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Too much too soon?

I don't recall ever purchasing a temporary tattoo for Chase.... yet, all summer and most of the fall, his arms have been covered with footballs, stars, advertisements, animals, you name it! I can't tell you how many baths we've given while carefully washing around the "Tattoo of the week. " Chase props his arm on the side of the tub and scolds us if we get water or soap anywhere near his new precious marking. It just cracks me up! I am just not so sure that we should be encouraging a tattoo addiction at the age of three. But, they are always there and he wants to "wear" them and really, what is the harm in it??? This coming from a mom who has a very small tattoo on her backside. Chase has asked a number of times when he sees it popping out of the top of my jeans, "Mommy, why is there a flower on your butt?" ***Blushing*** Opps! "No reason, Honey!!"

This leads me to also question the new shows he is interested in watching. I have decided that even though certain shows are animated, it does not mean they are appropriate for kids. The Family Guy is obvious, but even some of the cartoons intended for kids are a little suspect. Red flags go up IF my husband says, "This new show is really funny!" or IF the cartoon has commercials. Does anyone else notice a direct correlation between cartoons with commercials and inappropriate content? So, a couple new shows that we have tried are "Phinneus and Ferb" and "Skunk Fu." I am just not sure that Chase is ready for those just yet. They tend to be a tad violent and use language that is disrespectful. Yesterday, Chase told me to "Relax Fido!" (Try getting through that with a straight face!) Anyway, it sounds a lot like something Phinneus or Ferb might have said. Am I being a little too protective?? I won't even let him watch Sponge Bob! I find it really crude. I am currently dealing with enough behavior issues... why give him more to run with? He really is like a little sponge right now, he absorbs everything he sees and hears. We may just have to stick to watching Noggin' from now on. Its just so hard to know when and where to expose him to certain things. I am sure I will be struggling with this same issue for the next 18 or so years.

Growing Pains

He has perfected the art of blowing strawberries. Now, a favorite pastime!

Dylan seems to be getting over the crabby phase that has plagued him for the last month. I remember this happening with Chase. Only a few short weeks after he turned one, I was left scratching my head wondering "Where did my sweet, happy little guy go? The one who was so great on his 1st Birthday??" That baby disappeared and a new little guy stood in his place. He is crabby, throws tantrums, is so angry when he doesn't get his way, and seems to be unbearably hard to please. It happened to Chase and now it is happening to Dylan. I am really not sure why the sudden change, lets just chalk it up to GROWING PAINS! So, the first few days of the crabby phase I assumed where due to the fact that Mean Mommy replaced his nice warm formula bottles with a cold milk sippy-cup. (In hindsight, weaning slowly may have been a better option. Who knows though??) Then he was sick...boo hoo... which always leads to crabbiness (I should know -HA!!) And now, after doing some investigating I found evidence of FOUR new little teeth popping up. Dylan only has four teeth currently, so he is getting both teeth on either side of his two front top and his two front bottom teeth. I am such a wimp about tooth pain, that I cringe at the thought of getting four teeth at one time. That has really GOT to HURT! I keep reminding myself of this when I start getting exasperated with his irritability.

He just seems to be so curious these days. He wants to check out everything!!! It has got to be so frustrating that every time he comes near, I am shutting drawers, pushing the dishwasher closed, and closing the bathroom doors. He so badly just wants to check out EVERYTHING!!! He seems to be magnetically attracted to the things he isn't supposed to be playing with. Ya know, like toilets, shoes (yucky dirty), brother's big boy toys, brother's sippy cup (Why is he only interested in drinking milk out of the sippy that doesn't belong to him?), the remote control, etc. To rub salt in the wound, I know that having a big brother around probably makes matters worse. Chase gets lots of cool toys that Dylan can't touch, i.e. crayons. Chase trots in and out of the baby gates with ease while Dylan is left grasping the bars and yelling on the other side. Picture an inmate trying to escape! All of this probably seems incredibly unfair to the little guy. So, lately he hasn't been interested in doing much else that doesn't involve eating, sleeping or riding around on my hip (or at least where my hip is supposed to be..... I YEARN for some sort of hip for him to sit on. But, NOOOO, there is none. So, I end up using my poor arm to hold him up. Biceps of steal are in the works!!) I have actually started calling him affectionately, "My little appendage!"

Anyway, the last few days he seems to be getting back to normal. (I am probably jinxing it by writing about it - right???) He is just so darn cute these days, I can't stand it! I picked him up a few minutes ago and without even asking him to, he planted about 10 kisses all over my face. His "kisses" involve coming toward me with a wide open mouth and his tongue hanging out. I had to towel all the drool off later, but it was so sweet. He seemed so pleased with himself.

He is also getting bigger and stronger by the day. (No big shocker when you see how much he EATS!) This is great when it comes to interacting with his brother. I don't feel as prone to immediately interfere when the two of them start butting heads. Dylan is actually starting to hold his own a little more. It will probably help Chase and I's relationship a LOT if I am not always seen as Dylan's protector. Dylan's strength and size are not so great when I have to change his dirty diaps. (Three/Day - does that seem like a LOT of POOP???) He is so feisty and sneaky, he is getting good at evading my grasp. I equate it to trying to hog-tie cattle OR wrestling an alligator. Anyway, just thought I would comment on some random happenings around here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Power of Positive Thinking

I am conducting a little experiment. I am trying very hard to be more positive. I noticed that Chase mimics my attitude. It is like they say, you LEAD BY EXAMPLE. If I am happy and in a good mood - so is he. (Well, for the most part. At least until he doesn't get his way!) But, when I start getting irritable and frustrated, he exhibits those same exact traits. Which makes me angrier and then he gets angrier and then *poof* he turns into a MONSTER just like that!

So, you can see how it is a vicious cycle around here. I wake up everyday and pray for more patience. I can usually make it to about 1:30 or 2:00pm. I find that I have zero patience with him when Dylan is napping and I really want him to be quiet. He knows that all he has to do is get a little too loud and I snap... which is exactly what he wants me to do. Why is keeping your composure so hard when mothering a four-year-old? I think it is just hard to deal with someone day-in and day-out who doesn't just like to PUSH my buttons... he likes to STAND on them and JUMP up and down. It seriously wears ya down after a while. BUT, today... even when he was blatantly testing me, I didn't succumb to my inner 4 year old... the one who wants to throw a complete tantrum, and then call my husband and whine, "BUT, HE STARTED IT!!!" Nope, I just keep repeating my new mantra "Be the BIGGER person!" So, anyway, I made it one day! No tempers, no time-outs, no meltdowns, no power struggles. It is a small success, I know, but still a success - right? I think I am going to change my mantra to "Be the BETTER person." When I am better, he is better, and well..... isn't that the goal?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Latest Photos from Carrianne!


REALLY, Dylan Don't hold back... just dive right in!!!

You can't really tell that he has a fat lip when he is covered in frosting!!

DARN - SHE ALWAYS RUINS MY FUN!

Here are the latest pictures from my friend/photographer Carrianne. Her blog is linked on the right hand side. I am so thankful that she got some really cute shots of Dylan before he fell on his face and got a big fat lip. Poor guy. At least the tears disappeared when the cake came out.... funny how that works! I love the one where he is just diving in with his whole face. Geez, he must have learned that from his brother!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Where did I go Wrong????

I have been in tears on and off for the last two hours.... and I am usually NOT a crier!!! Yes, PMS is probably coming into play.... just a smidge. But, my 3 year just doesn't seem to get it. (Please don't laugh at the irony in that sentence.) He said very hurtful, violent, and cruel things to me...waaaaaaay beyond what I consider acceptable. I can't even bring myself to repeat what he said.... Anyway, he saw my face fall and my eyes well up with tears. I kinda think maybe it registered that he had struck a cord. I very calmly turned off his show, took his lunch and put it on the counter and carried him up to his room to think about what he had said and how it had hurt my feelings. "I was just joking, Mom!" he laughed when I left him in his room. Gosh, he doesn't even seem to have a conscience, everything is all just a big joke to him. I left him up there for about 10 minutes while I finished feeding Dylan. I did the bulk of my crying when he wasn't there to witness it.

So, I just don't know how to handle these situations. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!! Do I ignore the things he says, he is probably doing it to get a reaction from me?? Do I let him see me cry? Maybe that will show him that the things he says can hurt? Or, is that just more fuel??? Will he just continue to use the power of his tongue to torment me (and others, for that matter) if he knows just how much it can hurt??

I am probably being a little dramatic, but my mind seems to have a fast-forward button. I am constantly looking ahead 10-12 years. What is he going to be like THEN if this is what he is like NOW??? I keep imagining a sullen, moody, shaggy-haired pre-teen yelling "I HATE YOU!!!" at the top of his lungs. Then this intense weight settles in on my shoulders. I HAVE GOT to rectify his behavior, pronto! How do you get him to understand that he needs to be RESPECTFUL... to me, to others, to his brother and to himself!?!? Like I said before, he JUST DOESN'T GET IT!! Or, maybe it is me who doesn't get it?? He is only three, *almost* four. Is this concept too difficult for him to grasp just yet???

After 10 minutes, I did go get him out of his room and he did apologize for being mean to mommy. It wasn't very sincere... but it is a start, I guess.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Nip in the Air

I think I go through this every fall. I must just forget, or take for granted, how hard it is to get all three of us bundled up to head out of the house. The daunting task of getting on shoes (with ties.... I miss Crocs already,) coats, and hats before leaving the house each and every time is making me really start to question the necessity of every outing we make! I realize that in another couple of weeks it will just seem like part of the routine again. But, after the carefree days of strolling in and out of the house all summer without the bulky outerwear, right now, the whole process just seems so cumbersome! Gotta love wintertime in Chicago. (The photo is from last winter... no, we don't have snow on the ground... yet!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Countdown to Vacation

The big countdown has started!!! Less than a month to go before we say "Aloha" and head off to Hawaii for a whole WEEK!!! I am beyond excited. I am not sure what I am looking forward to more.... the Hawaii part or the week away from my house part? Lets just say that I am equally looking forward to both! So, okay, though, back to reality...... only a month..... can you say ekkkkk? I realized that I have so much to do before then. Missing a whole week in December puts a lot of pressure on. I really should wrap things up (literally) for Christmas before I go...... so there is shopping, decorating, Christmas cards (I like to hand-make them.... insanity -right??), gift wrapping, and so on! In addition to all the fun Christmas STUFF that I need to do, it dawned on me that I should also probably start my pre-vacation grooming. You know, like tanning (no one wants to see my ghastly white skin when we hit the sand in Hawaii), getting hair trimmed and highlighted, mani's, pedi's, waxing, arghhh.... Not to mention, I still need to lose that last 5 pounds. Thankfully, I raided Auntie's closet, so at least I have loads of cute clothes to wear. I am hoping that they fit... hmmmm, maybe I should really FOCUS on that last 5 lbs??? I am tossing out all the left over Halloween candy RIGHT NOW. Let's face it, Chase has all but forgotten about it. I am the only one still eating it :0) Anyway, I guess I should go try to start checking off some of the things on my list!!!

(The picture is from Beth's last vacation to Maui -THANKS Auntie!)

Things that make me SMILE!

      I feel like I have been kindof negative lately, being sick gets me down in the dumps..... so I am feeling much better and decided I would post about things that make me SMILE :)

  • Nap Time. Chase's naps are pretty intermittent these days, but IF I can get both of them down at the same time, I am down-right giddy!!!!
  • Watching the Office and Dancing With The Stars... my two guilty pleasures!
  • Scrapbooking. Going Scrapbooking, Scrapbooking stores, Scrapbooking Magazines, looking through scrapbooks.... and on and on and on!
  • Getting out with friends!!
  • Dylan's silky little curls at the nape of his neck and his chubby thighs and his sweet little ears and baby kisses and..... oh pretty much everything about Dylan!
  • The gleam in Chase's eye when he thinks he is being funny or getting into trouble.


  • The super, sugary sweet way that he asks me if he can watch a show during dinner. "MaMaaaaa, may I PLEASE watch a show pleeeeaaasse???"
  • When Dave walks through the door. This apparently makes EVERYONE in my house happy. Chase is practically drooling & frothing at the mouth, Dylan breaks out in a big smile, Bogie even comes out of hiding and starts doing that slinky walk weaving between Dave's legs. I am of course, happy to see him also, but the fact that he perks up everyone makes it that much better.
  • Straight hair! I HATE when my hair is curly. I want to yank it all out by about noon! I am going to add my Chi Iron to this also. It is the best item for straightening out unruly hair! I added BEFORE and AFTER photos.... just to make you laugh - HA!!! But seriously... that thing works miracles in only 15 minutes...... (I expect EVERYONE who reads this to POST a comment about what a DORK I am!!!)







    • Getting into my bed every night
    • Pictures. I think all would agree that I am obsessed with photos.
    • Getting a few uninterrupted minutes to chat on the phone with my mom or my sis or catch up with a friend.
    • Christmas music
    • Coming home from work on Tuesday or Thursday and finding all the little things that my Mother-In-Law has done. She is like a fixer fairy. She fills my salt and pepper shakers, replaces batteries, makes my laundry piles disappear, cleans the hair out of my hair brush, fixes broken toys... the list goes on and on. I think I mentioned before that she is a saint!
    • Sneaking in and tucking the boys in at night. They are so cute and peaceful when they are sleeping.
    • My Seven For All Mankind Jeans. I love them... wearing them right now!!! They are actually hand-me-downs from my fashionista sister... but I love them all the same. I may never go back to the Gap for jeans again - HA!!!
    • Curling up with a good book... even if it is usually of the kid variety. Good thing I love Where the Wild Things Are.
    • Date night with my hubby.
    • Last one... this picture of Chase. He came downstairs the other day with three pairs of undies on his head. He was making these strange faces and saying "I am a Crazy Coo Coo Bird!" Uhhhh... yeah, I have to agree. Man, he takes after his father sometimes. Har Har.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Cleaning Frenzy!!!

    I am frantically cleaning the house... which needed to be done anyway! But this particular cleaning frenzy has one specific mission.... wipe anything down that Chase touches so that MAYBE just MAYBE the rest of us won't catch PINK EYE. He woke up with red, blood shot, crusty, icky little slits of eyes this morning. I knew just what it was.... the dreaded PINK EYE. We went to the Dr. first thing just to confirm and get those Oh So Popular eye drops. We also found out that Chase has an ear infection too.... yeah, an added bonus! Man, we are the picture of health around here! Arghhh.... so I am washing sheets, wiping everything down and cleaning out my car. The cleaning out my car part is because during the course of going to the Dr. and back Chase spilled chocolate milk in his car seat & wiped cream cheese all over his window and Dylan succeeded in covering every inch of my car in cracker crumbs. Grumble... Grumble.... I wish I could ban eating in the car!!

    Regardless, I still have a refreshing sense of hope with the notion of getting things cleaned up.... in my home and the world around. I was so relieved this morning to get the outcome of our presidential election. YES, these are such exciting times. Please, please, don't let us down!!

    I finally uploaded the picture that goes with this post... doesn't he look sad??? This was after a few doses of eye drops....so the eyes don't look too bad.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Retraction

    I am officially retracting my original post that claimed "I Love Mornings." I am replacing it with a post stating "I HATE mornings!" That post was written by a healthy, well-rested, happy, hopped-up-on-caffeine mommy whose kids had been regularly waking up at 7AM. This post is written by a sniffling, blurry-eyed mommy who hasn't gotten a good night's sleep in a week and whose kids were both up at 5:30AM. Also, adding "I HATE Day Light Savings Time" to the list of things I am ornery about his morning.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Chase's First Trip to the Dentist

    After lots of coaxing and encouraging, Chase went to the Dentist for the first time today. (Check out all those clean teeth ;)

    The best part was, I wasn't allowed to come. "I only want Daddy to come with me, Okay MaMa?" Okay???? How about YES!!! (Picture me doing the Football Touch-Down Victory Dance.) I am off the hook for this one. After taking the boys in for flu shots last week, I was more than happy to miss the monumental first trip to the dentist. Although, I don't think it went as poorly as the flu shot debacle. We left the Dr.'s office with blood EVERYWHERE! The people in the waiting room watched us exit with eyes as big as saucers. They probably thought we had just undergone an amputation. Chase opted to get the spray flu shot up the nose, much easier than a shot - right? Riiiiiight....he was thrashing his head so much that the nurse accidentally jammed it in his nose which caused it to bleed.... and bleed. He was sobbing uncontrollably with blood pouring out of his nose. All he would do is bury his head into my shirt and..... yup... you guessed it... got blood all over me and all over him!!!

    Anyway, Dave said that yes there were tears and yes he had to be forced to sit in the chair. But, he did eventually let them clean his teeth with the special tooth tickler and get a good look around in there. Chase came home and proudly showed me his CLEAN teeth and his goody bag and his new toy. NEW TOY???? Hey, I didn't know bribing with new toys was an option! No wonder he wanted Daddy, not Mommy, to take him. Hmmm.. guess who he is going to want to take him for his shots next time?
    The rest of the night he and Daddy played with his new slot car racers. This may be one of those toys that Dave is equally as excited about....

    Saturday, November 1, 2008

    Our Halloween.....

    We started our Halloween off with a costume parade at Chase's school. Chase doesn't go to school on Fridays, but we were invited to come for the parade. Daddy and Dylan got to come too!
    Chase's class all posed for a picture. Aren't they cute!!!
    He handed out goodies to his friends after the parade.
    Chase was trying to patiently wait for the trick-or-treating to start! Finally, he headed out with Tori next door. TRICK -OR- TREAT!!!!

    Our Annual Family pic in front of our neighbor's GIANT pumpkin. This one turned out swell!


    I go inside for 2 minutes... and this is what I come back out to!!! Dylan scarfing down his first candy bar. Thanks Dad!!!


    Chase ended the night helping dad pass out candy to all the trick-or-treaters. I think he likes doing this just as much as going to get the candy. It was such a nice day..... I don't know if we will ever again have such a balmy Halloween. So, we enjoyed it!!! Chase said his mouth hurt today though... hmmmm, too much candy maybe???



    A Marketer's Dream!


    The Christmas Catalogs are already pouring in!!! We get them in the mail everyday and Chase LOVES it.

    About a week ago, he was looking through the Back To Basics toy catalog. Dave and I were running around the kitchen getting dinner ready. So, rather than being called over to look at each and every toy that Chase wants added to his Santa List, Dave gave Chase a highlighter and told him to go to town. I kinda forgot about it, until I downloaded the pics and came across the catalog today. It was fun to look back through and see what he circled. Mostly construction trucks and racing cars. I did chuckle that he circled the old fashioned pop-corn maker.... two of them actually! Anyway, just for fun, I added up all the items he circled. The grand total of his wish list came to $1,832 for 26 items!!! At least that was the total for this book...... but there are MANY other books with MANY other lists going. AND, the last several pages didn't even have anything circled.... I think the highlighter must have ran out of ink!
    Exactly how big to you think Santa's bag is?? I asked Chase. He only has room for a couple toys for each kid. I am trying to drill home the whole naughty and nice thing too. Only good boys get toys... right???? I feel just like my mom as I turn my head toward the sky and ask, "Santa, did you see that??" (She used to pull the ol' Santa card on us all the time when we were being "naughty" :)
    "Do you think we are going to be able to milk this Santa thing for another two months?" I asked Dave the other night. Maybe we started a little too early. He even sent Santa an email the other night! (BTW - I find it comical that this generation won't remember sitting down and composing letters to Santa, they will remember typing out emails!) I am just a little concerned that with all the build up, and all the lists, and all the TRYING to be a good boy that he will be disappointed when the big day finally rolls around. I just hope he isn't bummed that only ONE or TWO of the items on his list may actually make it under the tree. It may be a long holiday season around here....OY!! He did remind us that he has a birthday shortly after Christmas... ya know, for any of the items that Santa neglected to bring him. That little stinker has it all figured out....