Friday, September 30, 2011

Five on Friday: Favorite Baby Products

I am passionate about products that make your life easier, less painful or just plain happier and when you are a new Mom there is a lot of opportunity to make your life easier and frankly, less painful, so today I am going to share five of my favorite baby products.

1) Tub Kneeler Pad & Guard - this thing is sent straight from heaven to your arms and knees, it is a cushion that makes bathing your small children a little less painful. The one we have is lime green and not exactly like this, but I can imagine it functions just the same.

2) Two Way Communication Video Monitor - I don't own one of these, but the concept is absolutely out of this world and was clearly designed by real parents, because the ability to see your child and talk back to them so they can hear you, without having to go into their room is just sheer genius. Brad and I used to joke about inventing a monitor that functioned more like a walkie talkie, so we could talk back to Olivia when she was fussing, turns out someone grabbed our idea and ran with it, we were just about 2 years too late.

3) Sleep Bags - sounds odd I know, but it was a toss up between swaddlers and sleep bags and I decided that most people already know how amazing swaddlers are, so I didn't need to add onto the already valuable reputation they have, but I am not sure that Sleep Bags get the press they deserve on the streets.  I am not sure that people show them the love, but they are a perfect transition from the swaddlers to straight PJ's and when the little bugs are too young for blankets these Sleep Bags add covers in the safest manner possible, so you don't have to worry about your little bug freezing their tunkus off. 

4) Aquaphor - this is my version of Windex like the peeps from my Crazy Greek Wedding, when you have a small tot you can use it for just about anything from dry skin to diaper rash, it is amazing and very gentle on their skin. 

5) Bob Jogging Stroller - this one was big for my husband, he loved it. It was great when we made the trip to Brad's races in the woods and great for trips to the Pumpkin Patch. This stroller is quite expensive and to be honest with you, I didn't really try any other brands so I can't compare, but we loved it, and felt as though it was worth every penny. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Miss Spray Paint

 I am having major do-it-yourself withdrawal. I just want to pick up a can of spray paint and work some magic on some of the furnishings around this beach house. A brass chandelier, oh my dear me, it could be a masterpiece with a small investment of some metallic spray paint and some new globes...and the natural wood colored frames and decor, yikes, they are screaming for some white spray paint.

 I even asked Megs to pull into the Ace Hardware on our way to the cute shops at Tim Buck II yesterday to see if the rumors were true, to see if Ace Hardware had aisles of spray truth to that rumor and it was a bittersweet discovery, because had the rumor been proven I would have been tortured with nothing to spray paint.

 There are some wonderful thrift shops here, but our Yukon XL is packed to the gills as it is, I can't imagine adding any finds to the mix, so I have kept my distance, but its been hard, a tug of war of wills...there is this huge frame in our house (below) that I would love to snag, repaint and turn it into another fabric cork board, I love the details of the frame.

But without DIY projects to keep me going, I had to do what every other respectable girl would do...I shopped.

Cute, right? 
Hard to tell how cute they are with the plastic covering, but they are AH-dorable. One for each beauty, of course.
Megs and I perused The Cotton Gin and The Mystic Jewel yesterday afternoon while the girls napped and the boys drank some brews by the pool (Brad is a Lobster, btw). I picked up a few Christmas Tree decorations - which is an annual tradition, we always get at least one ornament to remember our family vacation.

A monkey for our little monkey, Avery
I plan to add their names to these with a paint marker, or maybe even vinyl

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

Avery - Corolla 2009

I thought I would try and bring another weekly tradition to my blog and today seemed like a great day to give it a whirl, so here goes nothing.  Wordy Wednesday is going to be a chance for me to document and share some quotes or thoughts I've read during the week. This week I have two to share, one is from Real Simple Family and the other is from Raising Your Spirited Child, both fall into the Motherhood category.

Olivia - Corolla 2009
"Parents teach in the toughest school in the world - the School for Making People.  You are the board of education, the principal, the classroom teacher, and the janitor." - Virginia Satir, Family Therapist, PeopleMaking

Avery & I - Corolla 2009

*This one could be expanded to include: school nurse, lunch lady, and coach, but it does hit the nail right on the head.  When you sit down and think about the pressure associated with making and raising little humans it can be frightening.  I think of some families that have two children, one has turned out like you dream about and the other could be in jail serving a life a parent you really wonder how in the world something like that can happen? Same genes, same environment, yet two radically different children...

Olivia - Corolla 2009

"We try to change our loved ones, and when we can't, we get friction and conflict.  People are not really all that changeable.   One of the greatest tragedies in human interaction is that we believe 'will' can change everything - it can't." Jerome Kagan, Harvard University

Olivia in Corolla 2009

*I am not sure how I feel about this quote, part of me is relieved to read a quote like this and another part of me gets frustrated with it. I want to believe that just putting your mind to something should be enough, but as I get older I encounter situations and people that help me realize that it isn't that simple.  This quote reminds me that I need to adjust how I parent my two beauties. Just because I can get something, doesn't mean that the girls will, and that is okay, I need to realize that they might be giving it their all, and I am just not doing a good job helping them through it, because it isn't delivered in a manner that suits their learning style or their temperament. I am working on it, but holy smokes, its going to be a long road...but one I am willing to travel on from here to eternity if it means I am being a better Mom to my precious tots.

Brad & Olivia - Corolla 2009

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Here Fishy Fishy...

What do you do in the Outer Banks, when it rains for 3 days straight and you have two small children to entertain? That's make the trip to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island and you let them run around like crazy people.

It was so cute watching them discover all the different tanks and the different creatures.  They did their own thing, but found that often times they called each other over to check out what they had found.  I thought that was precious, sharing their finds with each other.

Olivia thought the Sting Ray tank was one of the coolest things since sliced bread, and she enjoyed using the two finger touch to get acquainted with the "big fish with wings" . Avery wasn't having it, she was a big frightened, and I can say with 0% confidence that it had nothing to do with the fact that a Sting Ray tried to jump out of the tank when I happened to be bending over to look in and I responded by screaming and jumping back! Way to inspire confidence and courage in your children Leigh!

We timed it just right and were able to sit through the presentation at the big tank, it included divers going into the tank and then was quickly followed by the fish feeding.  I even thought it was super cool to watch the feeding.  The largest shark wanted nothing to do with the feeding because it wasn't the right type of food, but how she knew that without trying it, is beyond me.  Apparently they only feed her 1-2 times a week or so...can you imagine only eating 1-2 times a week?

The girls loved the Sea Turtle exhibit, which included a simulation of diagnosing, treating and releasing Sea Turtles.  The first step was putting on your Scientist Lab Coat and picking out your injured Sea Turtle,  You then worked with your turtle at the diagnosis station, which included x-rays, blood work and a physical exam, all simulated based on the chip that the reader found in the specific turtle you selected, pretty cool if you ask me.

After diagnosis, we went to treatment section where you got to help treat the turtle. Did you know that honey is used to fight infection and protect the "skin"? I had no idea.

And when it was time for recovery and release the girls wished the turtles luck and sent them on their way.  I thought the Aquarium did a great job creating a very interactive exhibit, perfect for the girls age. Brad and I said several times how glad we were that we made the trip, and that it really appeared as though the girls enjoyed themselves.  We now are looking forward to a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium, and hopeful we can meet up with some friends (Jenni, hint hint hint), maybe in the Spring?

 We stopped at Sweet Frog on the way home...can you guess what kind of ice cream Avery enjoyed? And we dined at Sam and Omie's for lunch, a landmark of the Outer Banks - YUM.

Monday, September 26, 2011

12 and 14??

The last two nights we've had some challenges getting the girls to hit the hay without the early onset of WW3! So to try and minimize the tears and frustration I've plopped myself down between their bunk beds until they settle down and sail off to dream land...well the first night went something like this...(picture me laying on a mattress on the floor between their beds)

Olivia: Avery, do you want to talk when SHE leaves?

Avery: NO

Olivia: Ohhhh, you want to talk now...that's okay too, but if we talk now we have to talk really quiet so that she doesn't hear us!

Me in my head: how old are you two and what in the world are you two going to talk about...are they 2 and 4 years old or did they morph into teenagers over night?

Then last night after an afternoon at the NC Aquarium....I am laying between them again...

Picture me laying on my stomach...Avery starts to poke my elbow gently...

Olivia: Avery are you touching her?

Avery: Yup!

Olivia: Are you using 2 fingers to touch her, just like we touched the "fish with the big wings that flap" (aka Sting Rays)?

Avery: Yup!

It is memories like this I want to sock sways for a rainy day...I hope I always have access to memories like Sister-in-Law has always told me how much she enjoys Listening to her daughters talk at night (they share a room), and now I totally get it!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Corolla or Bust

Our rain filled trip was quick, no complaints about traffic, but our windshield wipers were screaming for a break when we arrived in the good ol' Outer Banks and in the 24+ hours we've been here it has been a complete wash, the roads are flooded and every time we drive through huge puddles the girls and I yell "Oh Honey".

While the 3.5 hour trip was fairly painless we were all thrilled to be out of the car and in the comfort of our "home". The girls played quietly while Brad unpacked the car in the rain and I organized all the food and plotted ways to hide the snack food from the girls, I failed miserably and Avery has been scouring the counter tops in search of Sour Patch Kids and Chocolate Chip's vacation, two rules:  throw caution to the wind and gain 5lbs. Done and Done!

Dance Party USA

We arrived in the rain and the rain set up camp for a few days, so of course we did what all Americans with two small children would do...we had Dance Party USA and shook what our Mommas gave us.

The girls had a blast running around and showing off their dance moves. I gladly participated and burned a few calories while I was at it.  It is amazing how great it feels to just cut a rug with your two little beauties.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five on Friday: Fall Traditions

Growing up in New England Fall was big time baby! From jumping in leaves to apple picking, to all the crazy leaf peepers (people who drive 4 miles per hour on the back roads looking at the foliage). So today the theme for Five on Friday is my Five Favorite Fall Traditions, and I am going to base it on my traditions from growing up.

1) Bobbing for Apples - this one dates back to when I was in Brownies, we used to bob for apples, and I loved it, I was a fierce competitor, loved sinking my teeth into the apple and pulling it out of the water. It wasn't until just a few years ago when I shared my love of bobbing for apples with my friends that they educated me on how gross it is, and how it is just a raging pool of germs, awesome, super glad I didn't know that or think about that back in the day, because I was a bobbing fool.

2) Homemade Apple Sauce - my Mom makes a mean batch of homemade apple sauce and I used to love coming home to a fresh bowl of homemade apple sauce, still warm, fresh from the pot. She still makes it today for the girls and I love to snag a few spoon fulls.

3) Jumping in the Leaves - I am not sure if kids do this all over the country or not, or if we were just the odd balls, but we used to rake all the leaves up into piles, run and jump into them. I loved seeing yards with the leaves all piled up, just thinking about how much fun it would be to jump in them. Seems silly now, but I can still feel my excitement from 25 years ago...

4) Haunted Houses - this one is a bit strange considering I loathe scary things, I am not so sure I really liked the haunted houses all that much growing up, but it was the thing to do, we had a few big ones around us, that we all went to as large groups, it was the thing to do, and we always organized one big trip to the big haunted houses.

5) Rubbing/Tracing Leaves - I remember for years art projects growing up that involved crayons, wax paper and leaves that we found on a nature walk, and I love the warm feeling that came over me when Olivia brought home a similar project just last week.

What are your, or what were your favorite Fall Traditions?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homemade Quilt?

I am on a mission to solve a major design problem I have been faced with for the last few months.  Olivia's current bedding, shown below, is quite busy, and I am having a terrible time finding coordinating fabric for some of the projects I am working on for her room, so I have thought about adding a simple quilt to the bed as the primary bedding and folding up the duvet at the bottom of the bed, so that it isn't so prominent.

I love the pattern and I love the colors, I want to keep them both in the room, BUT I would like to also be able to introduce other fabric options to help add texture to the room.  So I have an idea...

This quilt would calm down the bed, would coordinate with the curtains, which are also the pool color from PB Teen...and this quilt would allow me to paint the rest of her room the color of her current accent wall.  However, here is the thing, I like this quilt, and I almost love it, but I don't love it for the price and how simple it is, so I am wondering if I could make one...if I could just procure a simple white quilt and add ribbon detail to the quilt in the coordinating colors for a fraction of the price.  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Me No Like...

We are hearing a lot of that lately out of the mouth of the youngest beauty.

"Me no like my room, Me no like my bed" - which makes bedtime a battle each and every night and nap time is nonexistent.

"Me no like those panties, Me no like those pants, Me no like that shirt" - which makes getting her dressed a difficult task.  Picture her in a bikini and Uggs like the random teen shown above...that was her outfit of choice for our Saturday morning trip to Costco..who does she think she is? Heidi Klum? Had we still been faced with 85 degree days I would have let her rock it, but it was 50 degrees and getting ready to rain, so I protested and needless to say we didn't make it to Costco.

Last night I had to sleep/lay on her floor until 10pm just like that sweet dog photographed above. Every time I attempted to crawl to the door (with lots of adult pride, I might add), she would wake up and scream her adorable little face off, which would then in turn wake the oldest beauty up and the vicious circle would begin again.

Not Avery's Room, photograph was found on the Internet, but a good view into what Avery's room looks like every morning

The newest phase is plagued with indecisiveness.  She has no idea what she wants, one minute she wants purple panties, the next she wants blue, and it isn't just as simple as changing out her panties, a fit has to transpire between each and every change of her mind.  I've tried a few different approaches to move the phase along but nothing seems to be working so this morning, at 5:34am I took a different approach.  I declared defeat and cried while sitting in her glider while she emptied her drawers in search of an outfit that would satisfy her changing mind.

I didn't want ya'll to have to envision this chaos on your own so I thought sourcing photographs from the Internet would be a helpful visual for you, and turns out it helped me realize that other families are faced with the same challenges.  Not every two year old is a well behaved little human, some are small monsters living in little human bodies. The silver living is, this little monster is all mine, for better or worse she is mine all mine. Anyone else been faced with the changing mind phase, or rather the "I have no idea what I want" phase? And if you made it out alive, suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Five on Friday

Five Colors schemes I wish I could add into my home somewhere and somehow...not sure one home could stand this much yellow, but I just swoon over these color combinations...if I had several houses you bet your bottom dollar it would work out just perfectly! HA!.

1) Yellow & Navy

2) Aqua & Melon

3) Light Blue & Red - I am working on this one for our family room...but it will likely end up being navy, light blue and small pops of red

4) Grey & Yellow - this is likely going to be our 5th bedroom color least that is the hope

5) Aqua & Yellow