Monday, May 7, 2012

Bed Fairy

When we came home from church on Sunday, we found that the bed fairy had visited us and replaced the crib with a big-girl bed. 

I wasn't expecting that.


Nonetheless, baby Bri had been climbing in and out of her crib for quite some time now and this was a good move for her.

{{milestones, ugh!}}

The transition went as well as could be expected. 

That is, she did not take her nap and, instead, played quietly for awhile on her bed.  She was also somewhat fussy when it was time to go to bed that night.  I was starting to wonder if she maybe had an ear infection or something because she just kept fussing. 

However, she finally fell asleep and slept soundly through the night and was so eager to show off her new bed when she woke up.

I just knew that my faithful readers would want pictures so I asked her if I could take a picture of her new bed.

You know she is very picky about getting her picture taken {{more on that later}}. 

She said "yes."

First she let me take a picture of the bed while she stood to the side.

Then, she said I could take a picture of the bed with her sitting on it.

Then, she totally surprised me when she sprawled out on the bed and said, "Take a picture Mommy.  Take a picture of Bee-elle.  See my feet?" 

Look at her... with her cheek propped up on her hand like that.  Wow!  She must be very excited about her new bed.

How much longer can I call her my baby?

Friday, May 4, 2012

We are still celebrating Get Caught Reading month.  Are you?

Today is a little Q and A post.


Question:  What's better than one little girl looking at books (see yesterday's post)?

Answer:  Two little children looking at books.

Question:  What's better than two little children looking at books?

Answer:  One big brother reading to one little sister.

Again, this is right after tooth station.

Station details can be found on my May 3, 2012 post.

Question:  What's better than one big brother reading to one little sister?

Answer coming soon!  Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Get Caught

My sources tell me that May is Get Caught Reading Month.

While Lu and Bro were very eager readers and would sit for bedtime stories on a nightly basis, Bri has been harder to nudge along. 

I've wondered why she doesn't love books like the other two did.  I asked her teachers if they thought she has a learning issue.  I took her to the pediatric eye specialist because I was CONVINCED that she could not see the pictures. 

Everyone said that she is normal.

Why oh why doesn't she like books? 

THAT IS NOT NORMAL {{to me}}!!!!!

Nonetheless, we keep up with the daily book routine.

We also created a book station of books she specifically likes:  farm animals, Barney the dinosaur, and interactive lift-the-flap books. 

Additionally, we have a consistent bedtime routine we follow every night.  It includes story time.

The first part of the nightly routine is pajama station - put your jammies on.

Next is teeth and potty station - go potty and brush teeth.

If the kids behave in station one and two, they move on to station three, book station.
We read three books in book station.  Book station is either on my bed or Bro's bed.
Sometimes the kids are separated for book station, so they each get some one-on-one time.  Sometimes we do this as a group.

Finally, we have song station.  Song station is in the kids' room.  We turn out the light and sing bedtime songs before it's time to go to sleep.

If the kids misbehave, fuss, or whine for pajama station or tooth station, they move directly to song station which means that they sit in bed and wait for me to come in and turn out the lights. 

Typically, we move through the stations seamlessly.   We really don't have many bedtime issues at all.

Just the other night, Bro was out with Daddy, but right after Bri finished tooth station I walked into the kitchen and when I came back to the room I saw little Bri looking at her books.

I felt like I won the lotto {{okay - not quite the same feeling but you get the general idea}}.

How wonderful that May is Get Caught Reading month because I continue to catch these kids reading and it melts my heart.

Yes, I still have more pictures to share with you.

Did you catch anyone reading yet?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Get Caught Reading

May is Get Caught Reading Month.

Get Caught Reading Month is a small nationwide campaign to remind people of all ages how fun it is to read.

I have a few pictures of my kids reading that I am waiting dying waiting to share with you.

I actually "caught" them reading.  How cool?

Let me know if you catch anyone reading and share your picture/link with me in the comment section below. 

If I knew how to do a "blog party" with "Mr. Linky" I would.  But, I don't know how to do that sooo.... we'll just have to do this the ol' fashioned way (mkay?) and you'll have to leave a comment with a link to your picture/blog post.

I know that you are readers and you have readers in your life.  I hope I see a few comments between now and the end of May. 

Catch someone reading! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Circus Birthday

Baby Bee Toddler Bri had a birthday.  Yay!

You may wonder why I get so excited about my kids' birthdays.  My excitement does not come to brag or to boast, but more from a place of concentrated celebration.

Concentrated celebration?

Yes - a celebration that is concentrated on one particular thing.

Still confused?

I grew up as an only child and all our daily lives centered around ME!  This means that I felt tons and tons of love from my family, but I admit that at times I was somewhat spoiled.

Thus, I equate "all about me" as "love."  I have outgrown this in my old age somewhat.

My biggest obstacle to overcome as a parent of three kids is how to make each of the kids feel special and unique.  I know this is crazy... and I love their sibling bond... and none of them complain that they don't feel special... but I just want them to know that they are each so very special and unique and they are all held in high regard in my life.  You understand this.  Right?

So, while I have to treat them all equally during the course of a regular year, a birthday is a time to look at one child and say "YOU are really special to me and today I want to celebrate YOU!"

Am I making any sense????  Does anyone else have this inner conflict (does each child feel special?)???  Anyone???

We were off to an early start with the festivities when Fairy Grandmother and Luvs2Boat brought over a water table.

It was not assembled when they got to the house because they thought that the kids would have a great time putting it together as well.  They were so right.

All hands were on deck and Brody really enjoyed that he could "help" put this present together for his sister.

Brody was the first to announce that Bri would definitely share "her" water table with him.  Hmmm... just like she shares "her" sandbox from last year, right? {{Note:  I think that Brody forgot that the sandbox belongs to Brielle.}}

Many hands make quick work and it wasn't long before the water table was up and running.  She definitely loves her water table. 

Bro knew that he was not allowed to get in it.  But, that didn't stop him from talking someone else into jumping in.  Really guys???

Moving on.

The next day, I was in full birthday mode while the kids were at school.

First, I made a monkey cake (using these instructions from smitten kitchen) for daycare... and ran it over before snack time.  {{Yes, I know I should have made it ahead of time but we were too busy playing in the water table... napping... ahem.}}

Since we were going to a small circus at our local fairgrounds, I made a circus cake for home.  This was especially meaningful for me, because it was a replica of a circus cake that my mom made me when I was little.  Cool, huh?

Here's the undecorated cake with the photos from my childhood birthday as a template.

Look!  Not too bad, right???

It's just like I remember.

I knew that it would be late when we got back from the circus, so I set the table before I left.

They didn't have any circus-theme balloons at the store, so I had to go with the next best thing... monkeys, of course.

In the days leading up to the circus, Bro was adamant that he was nervous about the circus because "tigers scare me" he said.

He had this concerned look on his face the entire time the tigers were performing.  {{I am sure that he and I both had the same concerns, except that I was able to fake a smile. Gulp.}}

Bri kept telling me not to take her picture.  I did eeek out this blurry cheese.  I tried to tell her that I was taking Daddy's picture, not hers, but she wasn't buying it.  "MOMMY - do NOT take my picture."   {{Fine then... be that way.}}

After the circus we raced home to have cake and open presents with the birthday girl.  She squealed when we rounded the corner to the kitchen and she saw her cake and monkey balloon. 

I wish we had more pictures of the evening.  However, we are dealing with a toddler here and after a whole day of festivities (yes, they even celebrated at school) she was not in any condition to pose for pictures. 

In attendance, but not pictured were, of course, my parents Fairy Grandmother and Luvs2Boat... even though they were late.  {{Hi Mom - I'm just kidding about the late part!}} 

And now for the grand finale...

As many of you know, my favorite picture of the year is blowing out the birthday cake candles.  It's a little blurry here, but I think you get the general idea...

Happy birthday to the spunkiest girl I know... Happy birthday to you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let's Go Caps!

Last night, the Capitals hockey team was in the final game of a 7-game series. 

Of course, I tried to capture a cute picture of the kids in their jerseys {{yes, for facebook}}.  I have to bribe them to take their picture you know? 
Today's reward?  Play time. 
"You let me take your picture and you can play outside, okay?"  "Okay!"

Sorry - these were taken with my phone.  I thought it would be too much to ask if I could go get my real camera first.

Here is picture #1.  I thought we could do better.

They both decided to stand up and scream. So, I asked them to sit down.

When I asked them to sit down, I got this blurry action shot.

When I asked them to be still, Bri stood up and danced.

Since Bri stood up and danced, Bro had to do it too.

Finally, Bri was dancing and Bro was totally mocking her.  Look at that face, would ya? {{Your sister does not look like that.}}

So, I uploaded the original photo to facebook.

Bri wanted to show the world her climbing skills and asked me to take a picture of her at the top of the ladder leading to the monkey bars.  Yes, she climbs up there all by herself. 

I asked Bro if I could take his picture and he stated, "I don't look at cameras."
"What do you mean you don't look at cameras?"
"You heard me.  I don't look at cameras.  You can take the picture if you want to but I'm not looking."

The good news is that the Caps won their game,
so we can show off our team spirit again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I am really having a battle with Bro in the morning when it is time to get out of his pajamas; he doesn't want to take them off.  The battle has escalated over the past few months (some days are better than others - i.e., the days he gets to wear his Iron Man or pirate shirts).  But lately, these battles end in taking away his morning TV and/or a time out... along with his whining, crying, and/or yelling, depending on the day.

This morning, he was sent to time out.  After he calmed down, I went into his room and sat down on the floor next to him and explained, in preschool terms, that we must get dressed for our day in the morning.

He explained that he likes to keep his pajamas on because they are warm and comfortable.  {{We can all understand and appreciate wanting to stay in our jammies all day long, right?}}

I offered up this compromise:

Every evening, in lieu of wearing jammies, I'll send him to bed dressed in the clothes that he is going to wear the next day.  Then, when he wakes up in the morning, he will already be dressed, warm, cozy, and ready for the day.

How do I really feel about this compromise?

I tend to think that this is a bad idea.  Educators are telling parents that constant negotiating at home is why teachers are having such a hard time with kids in school... because these kids think that everything can be negotiated.  When the teachers set boundaries and limits, the kids try to negotiate for different terms, which is maddening. 

I once had a friend who warmed his daughter's clothes in the oven every morning.  {{I'm not kidding.}}

Want to read another opinion on negotiating with children?  Check out How to Negotiate with Children from  Their main point is:  "How do you allow children to negotiate with adults, without allowing them to become obnoxious little princes and princesses who feel the kingdom is entitled to them?"

Either way, the morning battle is draining {{welcome to parenthood, I know}} and I might be taking the easy way out but I'm desperate. 

I am open to any other suggestions that you might have.
Bring it on!

In other news, unbeknownst to me, that pretty flowering tree in my backyard is a lilac bush/tree.  You can clip the blooms and bring them inside and they look great almost anywhere.  Of course, I have to put them up high to keep them away from Godzilla Baby Bee.  Maybe I can buy a proper vase with my birthday money.  Ya think? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

How I Spent My Birthday Weekend

Wow!  A mid-April birthday is not always that pleasant. 

In fact, here is the weather analysis for my location over the past 15 years.

The temperature typically varies from 51°F to 64°F and is rarely below 43°F or above 77°F.

The coolest hours of the day are from 2am to 9am with the coldest at 7am, at which time the temperature is below 56°F three days out of four.

The warmest hours of the day are from 1pm to 7pm with the hottest at 4pm, at which time the temperature is above 56°F three days out of four.

The day has gained half its heat by 11am and lost it again by 11pm.

Emphasis on "Rarely above 77 degrees."  To be honest, we had an ice emergency on my birthday one year.  It was so cold and dark and dreary and it was sleeting.  Awful!  April showers really do bring May flowers... which is a bummer for those of us with April birthdays.

This weekend, however, was gorgeous!!!!!  Sing it with me now... gorgeous!

Here are the highlights:

Bri got her first haircut.

I wasn't so sure she would sit still... or sit at all (and she is standing in this picture) but she was begging to get back into her car by the time we were finished.  Bribing with lollipops really helps.  :-)

Saturday morning we took Nugget home to be with her family.  It was great to see all of the chicks together again and to share experiences with the other families.  Nugget is not pictured in the picture below, but this is the environment where she will live out the rest of her life.  Picturesque, isn't it?  Seriously - I want to move to this farm.

No sooner did we pull out of the driveway but the kids were asking, "Mom can we got to Chick-fil-a and get some lunch?"  Really?  Who can even think about chicken at a time like this? 

Later, I napped while Dear Husband started working on my birthday present (a little free library).  Yay!

Saturday night Lulu and I went to see the Hunger Games movie.  AMAZING?  Yes.  The movie really captured the spirit of the book.  After reading the book book a second time, I started to get worried about how some parts would come across on screen.  Mainly, her feelings about some of the most important relationships in her life are in her head.  Thus, unless she is constantly thinking out loud, how would you know how she really feels about Gale, Peeta, and Rhue.  The film did a great job of covering these areas.  Really - I couldn't have asked for anything more and it was worth the wait. 

Sunday, it was my turn in the volunteer rotation to volunteer in a Sunday School classroom.  To volunteer, you show up on your assigned date and time and see where they need help.  Often, they need help in the infant room.  I've had more than enough experience holding babies over the past few years.  The infant room is my least favorite place to volunteer.  The ratio is one volunteer for every 2-3 babies.  Ever wonder what it's like to parent twins or triplets?  Not fun.  Luckily, I was assigned a space in the 2nd-3rd grade room.  Oh hello!!!!  Hold me back!  I loved these kids.  I loved their ideas, the activities, the program in general.  I can totally see myself volunteering in this position - totally. 

However, I have one hesitation about teaching Sunday School.  Timing.  The great thing about this church is that Sunday School happens at the same time as adult worship.  So all of the kids go to Sunday School while I go to church.  If I taught Sunday School, then I would either (1) miss worship so I could teach or (2) teach during one service and then attend worship during the second service, which means that my kids would also be in Sunday School during both services.  For a variety of reasons, I am not open to staying at church for half of the day.  I know that spending time at church is rewarding, but my family also has other needs and I don't know that spending that much time at church is the correct balance for us at this time. So, I need to give the Sunday School thing some more thought. sigh.

After church we had lunch at a local restaurant and Bro tried clams for the first time.  He's been asking to eat clams for quite some time now. 

The great thing about clams is that they are a hand-on food experience which he really enjoyed.

And the great thing about having lunch at a crab house is that you can get as messy as you want to and no one cares. Just sayin'.

Finally, as promised, I took Lulu to the Verizon store so she could pick out the new phone that she wants for her birthday.  We couldn't pass up some down time at the local coffee shop. 

AH, it was the best of times!

What's the weather like on your birthday?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oh goodness...

As promised, here is the update on the chicken situation.

Unbeknownst to me, the farm got a visit from animal control the night before we were supposed to pick up our chickens.  The farm sent a late-night email to families letting us know that the chick program was cancelled because State law dictates that they are not permitted to release any animals under 3 weeks old (despite the fact that he farm gets all of their chickens when they are under 3 weeks old) to anyone for any reason.

They apologized to the families and offered 3-week-old chickens to families who are still interested.

Dear Husband, Bro, Bri, and I arrived to the farm on a gorgeous Saturday morning.

The staff was polite and gracious and humble and totally wonderful as they explained the situation to those of us who had not read their email.

I was heart broken and not about to take home a half-grown chicken.  Nope!  Not happening!

We hung out for a little bit and checked out the farm.

I watched my son drool over the livestock on the other side of the fence.  I think he could have stared over that fence for hours.  I have no doubt that he is a future farmer. 

Even baby Bee seemed to really enjoy the sights.

The farmers brought out the baby chicks and I was shocked and amazed at how gentle baby Bee was with them... I mean totally shocked... as "gentle" is not in her vocabulary. 

When it came time to leave (without a chicken - wink, wink) I gave a cheerful, "Okay guys.  Wasn't that fun?  Let's go!"  {{yippee}}

And, Brody replied, "But Mom, what about our chicken?  We are supposed to babysit a chicken."

"No, no, no.  They said that we can't take the baby chickens.  We only get to take the big chickens.  So, we aren't going to take on home with us.  Okay buddy?"

"No - I want a chicken.  I want to babysit her."

So, we took her home....

... we gave her a name... ahem... "Nugget"... and showed her how to play with the LeapPad.

We had to lift up the flaps on the box (to make the sides taller) because she was perched on the side of the box within minutes of her arrival.

We also took her outside to play.

The kids just love her.  Even my teen wants to keep her.

Here is a great video from CNN on urban chicken farming.  Have you ever heard of a chicken diaper?  You have now - watch the video.  Oh my goodness.

Oh the things we do for our kids... Oh!

Friday, April 6, 2012


Have you noticed?  I don't get much blogging done in February and March... for a variety of reasons:

1.  work is crazy busy and I put in extra hours;
2.  which means that my "home time" is jam packed with activities (cleaning, cooking, washing, and yes - playing with kids) and not filled with lots of blogging and taking pictures; and
3.  illnesses can wreak havoc on our already-packed schedule.

Now that we are getting over our illnesses - at least one person in the house has been horribly ill for some part of the last few weeks - and work is slowing down, I am back on the blog train.  Hey y'all!!! 

At this very moment, I just finished reading the - ahem - care manual for the chicks that we are fostering.


Yup - a local farm (they call themselves "holistic" actually) is reaching out to the community and giving an educational experience to raise chicks for two weeks.  The opportunity comes with a tour of the farm, supplies for the chicks, and then a dozen farm-raised eggs when we return the chicks in two weeks.

My whole family is beyond excited.  I am excited - my biggest concern is that I do not want them to die - please do not die!

The care manual seems fairly straight forward.  {{Please do not die!}}

This chick project creates another problem for me though.  It's a kindness-to-animals dilemma actually.

Last year {{was it last year - maybe it was two years ago}}  I read The Omnivore's Dilemma which is a book about what we eat, where it comes from, and the treatment of farm animals.  I didn't really change that much about what we eat.  However, we are trying to eat one vegetarian meal a week and this past week we were meatless for 4 days in a row.  More and more, meat is starting to seem a bit icky to me.  I am fine with eating meat, but I am not so fine with inhumane animal living conditions.

Regarding egg-laying chicks... they are some of the must abused animals in the meat-production world.  Really people.  You can google it for yourselves and I am not passing judgement on anyone who eats eggs... but I feel so bad for the mother hens... sooo bad.

So, I am researching ways to get my hands on some eggs with humanely treated mother hens.  I urge you to do your own research – google "humane egg brands" – but basically the bottom line is you need to check your labels and this is what you need to know: 
If you want to take a step back to the pure, bucolic life an egg evokes, the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) asks you to make a modest new year's resolution -- switch from commercially raised eggs to buying those labeled "Certified Humane," "American Humane Certified," or "Animal Welfare Approved." This means your eggs came from chickens raised with care, not confined to battery cages and stuffed with weird growth hormones or antibiotics. And these three designations are verified and monitored by animal rights organizations. In other words, they have some oomph behind them, unlike popular claims like "cage-free," which does not.  See Ellen Canner - Meatless Monday, Cracking the Egg Label Code
Thus, I think that I am fairly certain that all of our eggs that we eat at home will be labeled "Certified Humane," "American Humane Certified," or "Animal Welfare Approved."  And, I'm not quite sure if I can find these in my regular grocery store, so I might need to go to Whole Foods.  And, I am fairly certain that I am going to have a small heart attack when I see the cost of these eggs.... but I'll have to get over that.

Again, I am not passing judgement on how you get your eggs... I just know that these two little bundles of sweetness are coming to stay with us... will be in our care... and I owe it to them and their relatives to do the best I can to only support the best care they can get.

While we wait for out Easter chicks to arrive, lets look for some signs of Easter around the house.

Look - the baskets are waiting to be filled....

... and plastic eggs are everywhere!

By the way, we are dyeing real eggs this year but we are all about these egg nots ceramic eggs next year.  Cool, huh?

Are there signs of Easter around your house?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Yesterday you heard all about my kids' Valentine's Day.

Now you want the husband update - right?

This is a great story!

First, let's establish the fact that he and I give each other gifts for our birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and our anniversary.  To be honest, I am trying to remember if he gave me a Mother's Day gift or if I gave him something for Father's Day.   

This is a mutual agreement of not exchanging gifts.

However, I always have a card for him and he usually has a card for me.  I always have a card for him because one time {{and only one time}} he had a card for me and I did not have one for him.  I felt horrible.  In the future, I will ALWAYS have a card for him.  For the record, I don't mind if he doesn't have a card for me.  Why?  Because his presence is my present.  I don't want him to buy me anything... I want him to be present with me... and with the kids... creating the types of memories that last a lifetime.  I'm NOT kidding folks. 

In fact, I think that I am going to tell him... "From now on... your presence is your present.  Mkay?"

Well, this past Valentine's Day I got him a card.  And he didn't get me anything... but I was all like... "honey, where's my gift? hahahahaha."  And, he got the biggest grin on his face... like he was hiding the best gift ever... and he said... "Well, I was going to bring home these Christmas lights I found today.  They are in the house {{that he is rehabbing}} and... THEY ALL WORK!"

He was so excited and he went so far as to run to the computer and pull up this picture of the basement in the aforementioned house.

It was like he found a real treasure.  He was so proud of himself. 

"They all work honey.  They all work!"

To be honest, we spent the evening opening Valentines with the little ones and he even volunteered to pick up Lulu from cheer practice for me.  Really - what more could I want????  Nothing more.

What is the craziest Valentine gift you ever received? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine Recap

Even though I am in the height of busy at work... we still celebrated the latest holiday.

I started off with a trip to the movies with my teen to see The Vow (a new romantic comedy).  I can see that going to the movies with her is going to be one of our mother-daughter things since none of the men in our lives care to see the movies we like.  Yes, I know that she will ditch me for some young and handsome Mr. Wonderful someday, but for now, I really enjoy her company!

I also thoroughly enjoyed her help with addressing Valentines for the little ones' classmates.

Oh... yes... that is yet another terrarium in the background.

We made some cookies with a certain Fairy Grandmother.  That is, she made the cookies and set out all of the icing and decorations and we decorated the cookies covered her kitchen with icing and sprinkles and then went home. 

While Lulu went to cheer practice on Valentine's Day, the kids and I opened all of their Valentines.

Here are their respective loads of candy and Valentines:  Bri on the left and Bro on the right. 

Bro's teacher addressed his Valentine, "To Iron Man."  Really?  How sweet!  {{He almost always insists that we call him Iron Man.}}

Bri... such a stinker... would NOT... as usual... smile for the camera.  She deliberately does NOT smile for the camera.  She is such a stink pot. 

She showed me her messy hands though.  {{Oh wow Bri - you are ALL HEART - NOT.}}

However... when I pulled my face away from the camera... {{No - I am definitely NOT trying to take your picture.}}  I caught some of this...

... and this...

... and this!

We'll talk more about Valentines tomorrow.