Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fun with Daddy

CPV lets me sleep in (at least) one morning on the weekend. During that extra hour of sleep, the girls are exposed to all kinds of goofiness.

Like daddy wearing the Bumbo seat on his head and a saying - in his best robot voice, "I am a robot from Planet Bumbo.  Would you like some Bumbo juice?  Are you a Bumbonian?"

Of course, none of that silliness gets captured in pictures because the resident photographer (me) is happily snoozing upstairs.  And it is a rarity that Chad takes a picture or remembers to take a picture or takes more than one picture at a time.  So when I found this ONE photo from the weekend's daddy daycare hour, I just had to share it:


Good to know CJV was included in the fun.

What caption would YOU give this photo?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meal Plan ... after a long hiatus

Is it possible that I haven't meal planned since the end of April?  That's just pathetic!  I know I can do better!  I will do better!  Starting this week.  Oh, geez, wish me luck!

Sunday - Pecan-encrusted Salmon, Rice, and Veggies
Monday - Chicken Quesadillas with Guacamole
Tuesday - Sausage & Potato Soup
Wednesday - Chicken, Almonds, Broccoli, and Rice
Thursday -  Pigs in a Blanket
Friday - Spaghetti & Meatballs
Saturday - Dining Out or Pizza Party :)

Special Breakfast - Mini Frattata


Baking from Scratch
1. M&M Cookies (Sunday)
2. Amish Friendship Bread (Wednesday)
This week I am trying a chocolate variation: Omit cinnamon and vanilla pudding from the basic recipe and add 1 large box of instant chocolate pudding, 3 tsp. cocoa and 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Bake for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good Night, Sweetheart

It started with Natalie and has continued with Charlotte.

While cuddling in the glider, I sing ... 
You are my sunshine.  My only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Just before I put my baby girl in the crib for the night, 
I sing this verse of a song that was before my time ... 
Goodnight, sweetheart
Well. it's time to go
Goodnight, sweetheart
Well, it's time to go
I hate to leave you, but I really must say
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight

(here is a really cool YouTube version)

and then I sing,

I love you, Charlotte
Oh, yes I do.
I love you, Charlotte
And I'll be true.
When you're not with me,
I'm blue.
Oh, Charlotte, I love you.

I really, really wish these three songs produced
the same kind of sleep from Charlotte as they did from Natalie.
No such luck at this point.

For your viewing pleasure, my girls asleep ... in the car seat ... 

NHV bundled up in January 2008

CJV trying to stay cool in August 2010


---------------------------------------


BJ Mama


Today I am singing along with BJ Mama - you should too!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Get Your Muffin On!

Not long ago, I fell in love with these to-die-for blueberry muffins.

But now, I would pass those over - just about any day - for these amazing Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.



Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 good-size ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions: 
  1. In large bowl, combine dry flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In medium sized bowl, beat egg. Add banana and mash thoroughly. Stir in sour cream. 
  3. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  4. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full; drop about a dozen chocolate chips on the top of each.  This is Natalie's favorite part ...  putting the chips on and eating them.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until muffin tests done with toothpick.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good News, Bad News

Good News: Charlotte has finally figured out how to roll ... like she means it! 

Bad News: The best time to practice new-found rolling over skills? Apparently, for two hours at bedtime and in the middle of the night ... great idea, CJV! I am so amused and a bit annoyed at the same time :)

Good News: Natalie was an absolute doll this morning while Charlotte napped and I rested on the couch.  She entertained herself for almost two hours.

Bad News: The consequence of allowing a three year old to entertain herself for two hours ... a colossal mess in three out of four rooms downstairs!

More Bad News: The fourth room is my kitchen - where I made friendship bread this morning and stacked all the dishes in the sink, piled lunch dishes on top of that ... and the dishwasher needs to be unloaded.



Good News: I enjoyed a delightful chai tea latte from Starbucks this morning ... and shared a pumpkin scone with Natalie.


Bad News: I (desperately) needed aforementioned latte because a) I was exhausted from being up most of the night with my almost 9-month-old who is apparently training for the rolling Olympics and b) my throat is super dry and scratchy, which means I am probably getting sick!


Good News: Three loads of laundry are cleaned, folded, and put away.


Bad News: Two more loads are waiting for their turn on the never-ending cycle of laundry!


Good News: Natalie had her last swim lesson tonight.  Although she only got in the pool for 5 out of 8 lessons, her "report card" was glowing!  I am so proud :)


Bad News:  Not only are swim lessons over, but I am being to think summer is pretty much over, too ... today's temperature hovered around 60 degrees and we enjoyed a morning shower.

Good News: Both girls are sleeping.  Chad and I are curling up on the couch to continue watching the second season of Lost.  This show is so enthralling!


Bad News: No more blogging for me tonight.  Peace out!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Resemblance?

resemblance [rɪˈzɛmbləns] noun - the state or quality of resembling; 
likeness or similarity in nature, appearance, etc.

I think genes are pretty amazing!
Same mother.  Same father
Sisters.

There's a resemblance.
And then, maybe there isn't!

Perhaps we should all just agree ...
they are both more than a little cute!



a special thanks to my friend Deann for reminding me 
that it was definitely time for another side-by-side comparison!

Recent photos of morning snuggles ... oh, how I love these girls!
 

You can see more great photos and Word-less-ful Wednesday
posts here and here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That Kid, Swim Lesson Edition

Tonight Natalie was "that kid" and it happened at the neighborhood pool.  What happened?  What could cause my ordinarily happy, outgoing daughter to become "that kid"?

She had her first "all-by-herself" swim lesson.
Okay, that's an overstatement.

Back story: Last June I did a mom-and-me swim lesson with Natalie at the indoor community pool. We both got "suited up" in the locker room, spent 30 minutes in the pool splashing and singing songs, and then made our way back through the locker room - five days a week for two weeks.   

For this round of lessons, Natalie will be "solo" in the pool ... with an instructor and three other little swimmers. Except, remember I said, "overstatement" ... well, Natalie didn't actually get in the pool.  She sat on the side with her feet in but refused to join the lesson.  Because ... her toe hurt.  That was her reason for missing out on this fun experience. (See the instructor and the two happy swimmers ... and Natalie planted on the side.)


The big toe on her left foot has a tiny scrape just above the nail.  Not sure the age of this wound, but she apparently re-injured it just before leaving for lessons.  We tried adding a band-aid to the toe, which only made matters worse.  She treated that band-aid like a cast - hobbling around like she needed a cane or something.  I swear an on-looker probably thought her toe (or perhaps her entire foot) was broken!  


We insisted that Natalie stay for the entire lesson.  I gave her a choice of sitting on the side (like a grouch) and watching the other kids and listening to the teacher ... or ... getting in the water and having a good time and learning how to be a good swimmer.  She went with option A for the entire thirty minutes. 

Chad and I watched from nearby lounge chairs and shook our heads and tried to figure out how something so seemingly insignificant could keep her from enjoying the pool - she loves the pool!  We also wonder if this was just a one-time detour down "that kid" road or if we'll be traveling there again tonight ... and for the remaining seven lessons.

Natalie then burst into tears, had a meltdown, called for her "moooommmmmy," and requested her binky just before the lesson was over.  We left the pool without even saying good bye to the teacher.  Not good!  

At least CPV (with a new haircut) and CJV (with her baby mohawk) were looking pretty darn cute!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Thoughts on Sequins

Dear Disney - makers of princess attire galore,
I totally get that little girls like sparkly things.  Believe me, I know.  However, is it really necessary to cover the entire bottom two-thirds of the Ariel dress in tiny blue metallic SEQUINS?  This is clothing designed for young children; is SEQUINS really the best option for creating the sparkle they crave?  I can somewhat understand SEQUINS on a prom dress or for a special occasion, but these costumes are being worn everyday ... all day.  Perhaps it's time to hire MOMS to design your next line of princess dresses.  Just a thought.

Sincerely,
Sick of Sequins

Dear Aunt Tricia,
Thank you for bestowing upon your niece her newest, most priced possession.  She wakes up asking to put on her Ariel dress.  If allowed, she would wear it everywhere ... every waking hour ... and perhaps even to bed.  Natalie simply loves her Ariel dress!  It is such a sweet gesture for her cousins to pass down their outgrown princess collection. I have just one tiny little complaint.  The blue metallic SEQUINS - the ones that make this dress look so mermaid-esque - are all over my house!  I cannot walk into a room without spotting a sparkle of blue ... there, there, and there.  I think perhaps it is only fair that your girls accept a gift from me ... I'll be looking for something noisy and messy that I know you'll the girls will enjoy :)

Sincerely,
Revenge is Sweet

Dear Tiny Blue Sequins,
Please stay ON the Ariel dress and OFF my carpet.  If you cannot comply, I am making a deal with the evil Sea Witch.  That's all I'm saying.

Sincerely,
I.Mean.Business

Mermaid ("fish") face and clear evidence of my angst!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sisters

"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."
~ Marion C. Garretty

Before CJV was born, I worried about how
NHV would react to being "replaced."

I spent time planning ways to make her feel special
and to show her how much I still love her.

I feared sibling rivalry would taint the blessing of having a second child.

Before I first witnessed my daughters together,
I thought about finding time to spend with each girl individually.

Figuring out how there would ever be enough of me to go around.

Seeing them together brings me so much joy.
They both light up when they see each other.
My heart swells with love for them. 

I worried needlessly.   

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sleep

I need some ... badly.

My 8-month old is not good at sleeping during the hours of 8:00 pm and 8:00 am.

This is what last night looked like ... because perhaps you can commiserate, relate, or support ... but mainly because I need evidence of just how much this has sucked ... to serve at birth control.

Yesterday afternoon Charlotte had a "not-typical" nap from 3:00 until 5:15. Usually her schedule is closer to 1:30 until 4:30. After she woke up and had a decent nursing session, we played and she spent some time in her Jumperoo while I made dinner. She sat in her high chair while we ate and had a few spoonfuls of baby food apples. I took her upstairs for bath around 7:15. She weighed 12 pounds 9.5 ounces. She seemed very tired and didn't want a story. I nursed her again. Sang to her and put her in her crib - partially awake - at 8:00.

8:00 pm - 9:15 pm - Charlotte fell asleep right away without the binky.
9:15 pm - I heard fussing in the monitor. Gave her about 5 minutes to self-soothe and then went up to give her a quick pat and offer her the binky.
10:30 pm - 11:00 pm - Again, I hear fussing in the monitor. Not crying but her version of calling out. I let her "work it out" for almost 30 minutes. She got quiet at times but always started fussing again.
11:00 pm- I nursed her in the hopes that I could go to sleep at get 4 solid hours of rest.
11:15 pm - 1:00 am - Charlotte would not go back to sleep. I left her in her crib but checked on her about every 20 minutes. Found her rotated 180 degrees with her head down where her feet had been. She was chewing her toes through her sleeper and having a great time!
1:00 am- By this point I was frustrated and tired!  I swaddled her a little tighter, stuck her binky in her mouth, gave her a pat and turned down the monitor.
4:00 am - I didn't hear her again until 4:00.  I nursed her because it had been 5 hours since her last feeding at 11:00 pm.  She went right back to sleep.
5:30 am - She was awake again!  She got a quick pat and her binky.
6:30 am - Nursed her again and hoped for another two hours of sleep!
7:30 am - Put her in bed with me.  She played with her toes.  I tried to snooze until NHV woke up at 8:15 am.
 
Things to Note:
  • I generally lightly swaddle her from the chest down ... because she rubs her feet together constantly and/or brings her feet to her mouth - neither of which is conducive to sleep.
  • Her room is very dark.  I even covered the clock and monitor displays last night.
  • She naps in the morning for 1.5 - 2 hours and again in the afternoon for 2-3 hours.
  • I have read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and found it quite helpful early on.
  • I have read parts of BabyWise and much of it makes sense.  I am just not sure it takes into account the fact that CJV was born early and has difficulty gaining weight.
  • I am a firm believer in the importance of sleep (for babies and mamas).  I know that sleep is as important as food.  I really want Charlotte to get a quality night's sleep and think she is capable of a 5-6 hour stretch at this point.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dental History

 Guess where NHV went today?


Yep, to the dentist to have her pearly whites x-rayed, cleaned, dosed with vitamins by the hygienist and then "counted" and checked by the doctor.

And this is pretty much where the smiles ... stopped ...
before any of the aforementioned interactions even started.

This was not NHV's first trip to the dentist.  In fact, it was her third.  She was seen by my dentist right when she turned two years old.  And that visit went something like this ... Natalie sat in my lap.  The dentist approached with a large, white medical mask covering the bottom two-thirds of his face.  Natalie squirmed to get away.  I calmed her.  The dentist - with his voice muffled behind that ridiculous mask - said, "Okay, little girl, open your mouth so I can see your teeth."  Natalie adamantly shook her head and refused to even look at the guy again.

For our second visit - six months ago - I sought out the recommendations of fellow mamas and found a great pediatric dentistry.  That experience was fantastic!  The hygienist was amazing with Natalie.  She played games with all the tools.  She sang Disney songs ... Natalie didn't know any of them, but she was enthralled by the woman's sweet, calming voice.  All the necessary tasks were complete without any anxiety or fussing on Natalie's part.

And so, about a week ago, I started prepping NHV for a return to the dentist.  It had been six months; time for a cleaning.  She seemed totally fine with that idea.  Before falling asleep last night, I could tell there was something on her three-year-old mind.  We snuggled and chatted ... about, you guessed it, the trip to the dentist.  Natalie explained to me that she wanted chocolate flavored toothpaste - not vanilla - "when the dentist uses dat tick-lee toofbush on my teef."  She also was hoping for a red toothbrush and bubblegum toothpaste to take home with her.  Just as I was giving her a final kiss good night, she said, "Mommy, dat chair at da den-test office.  It goes up and down."  Clearly she had a memory of her previous visit!  I tell you, that girl remembers everything!

In fact, as I was unbuckling her car seat this morning, she told me, "We ride in dee elevator today or we take dee 'tairs?"  Despite that the building is only two floors, I let her decide ... and we ended up in the elevator!  Which was pretty much the highlight of the visit!

The hygeniest who greeted us today was not the same calm, sweet woman from last time.  Instead she was rather loud and a little too enthusiastic.  She spent the first few minutes running around trying to locate the perfect toothbrush.  It was almost like a bribe.  Like, "hey, I don't know how to make you feel comfortable, but I'll give you the exact toothbrush you want and then you'll be good for me while I clean your teeth.  Deal?"  Let's just say, "No deal."  

The x-rays were awful!  The way she was explaining the process to my three-year-old, well, even I was confused.  I was like what does she want her to do?  How about a few concise directions for my preschooler?!  The hygienist from our last visit came in and literally saved the day on that one.  Got both the top and the bottom done in record time and with no fussing from Natalie.  But she had her own patient to deal with, so Natalie was passed back to Ms. K.  In order to clean her teeth, I had to sit her in my lap and hold down her hands.  She cried and squirmed the entire time.  All the while Ms. K assured me that she does it "this way" all the time.  Apparently other moms have to restrain their children in order for Ms. K to work her magic.  Ugh! In retrospect, I should've just declined the damn cleaning!  I will not make that mistake again! Rather than put Natalie through another trauma, I brushed the vitamin gel on her teeth myself.

Her time with the dentist was fine.  However, she would not sit in the chair, and I couldn't blame her.  We got a great report on her teeth.  Two-year molars are still working their way through the gum ... ouch!  The dentist also gave me the all-clear to continue the binky, which surprised me a little.  But I am going with her professional opinion, mainly because I am terrified of getting rid of that thing!

I just hope that six months is enough time for Natalie to forget her awful experience.  Fat chance of that happening.  Our fourth visit to the dentist should be interesting ...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hello my baby ...

I don't know where this came from, but it started soon after I brought CJV home from the hospital.  I sing her this little song each and every time I get her out of her crib.  Her face lights up as soon as I start to sing ...

Hello my baby,
Hello my darling,
Hello my ragtime gal,
Send me a kiss by wire,
Baby my heart's on fire!
If you refuse me,
Honey, you'll lose me,
Then you'll be left alone;
Oh baby, Telephone
and tell me I'm your own.


This is a very recent photo of Charlotte in her bassinet.  She does not still sleep in her bassinet - she has happily slept in her crib for about 4 months now.  However the bassinet is still in my master bathroom where she hangs out while I shower and get dressed.  Keep in mind that she is more than 8 months old and still fits quite comfortably in there!


BJ Mama


Linking up with BJ Mama for Say It with a Song Sunday,
which clearly means all is forgotten and forgiven
with the whole "not tagged" incident :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

I was not tagged

My "friend" BJ Mama is doing this new blog tag thing.  It's called New Friend Friday.  It's simple and looks like a lot fun. You answer questions.  You tag eight blog friends.  And the game continues.  Except, well, BJ Mama did not tag me ... she tagged eight other blogs. Just. Not. Mine.

But I am going to show her.  I am going to answer her questions because I want to ... not because SHE wants me to.  Not because SHE wants to get to know me better.

1. If you were one of the 7 dwarfs, which one would you be?
Ummmm.  Hello?  I would totally be Dopey!  First of all, my name isn't MommyBrain for nothing.  Really and truly I am feel brainless and clueless most of the time.  Besides with a name like Dopey, I am guessing other's expectations of me would be pretty low!  I'm alright with that.

2. What is your favorite room in your house, and why?
It's a toss up between CJV's nursery and NHV's big girl room.

3. What item is at the TOP of your wish list? (something for you alone, not your family)
A new wardrobe!  I am so tired of my worn out, tired, lackluster closet-full of awfulness!  It needs to be functional but also make me look fabulous.  Is that too much to ask for?!  Stacey.  Clinton.  Call me, 'kay?

4. If you could be on a TV show, which cast would you want to join?  One word ... GLEE!  Wonder if Finn is into cougars ... meeee-ooooow! 

5. Is there a class (high school or college) that you wish you would have tried harder/paid more attention in?  Actually, I wish I had paid less attention in high school and college ... I was way too serious about my schoolwork.  In hindsight, I wish I had done more spontaneous, fun, adventuresome things.  I worried a lot about getting good grades ... and really A's just don't matter in the big scheme of things.  However, if my daughters or former students ever find out about this little admission, I will deny, deny, deny!

6. What's your FAVORITE summer drink?
Margarita on the rocks ... or Newman's Own  Lemonade slightly diluted and with lots of ice.

7.  How many pillows do you sleep with?
Two.  One for my head and one for cuddling ... because, yeah, I like to cuddle!

8. If you had a personalized license plate...what would it say?
I did have a personalized license plate. Once.  In high school.  My dad, in an attempt to humiliate me be hilarious, ordered plates for my Pontiac T-1000 with the phrase GO SLOW 1. How could I ever top that?!

So there you have it!  Despite the lack of taggage by one BJ Mama, I answered her questions and hope that you either learned something about me or got a good chuckle because you already know me :)

Happy Friday!
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