Friday, January 29, 2010

The Lucky Ones

I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, happy and healthy family and for everything else that I have.

But sometimes I wonder if my children realize how lucky they are to have me.

The other night LP asked me, "Mommy, how come sometimes you go 'ACK!!!' when something happens?"

I told her honestly, "I say 'ACK!!!' because I am frustrated. And saying 'ACK!!!' helps me calm down and makes me feel better."

What I didn't say was, "I say 'ACK!!!' so that I don't say or do something worse."
  • They are lucky that I do say "ACK!!!".
  • They are lucky that when they are up for no apparent reason (like last night) from 1am until 3:30am I am awake with them, trying to comfort them and solve for all their ills.
  • They are lucky that I have a seemingly infinite amount of patience when they upend their lunch plate and all of its uneaten contents all over my dining room.
  • They are lucky that I have given up on my couch, so I just run and get wet paper towels when they draw, drool, or snot on it.
  • They are lucky that I love them as much as I do so that when they jump on my with all of their weight, knees first, I only grunt and remind them that it hurts.
  • They are lucky that they are as cute as they are for so many reasons.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coolest Aunt Ever

Okay, so I know it doesn't count if I bestow that title on myself, but I certainly feel like a pretty cool Aunt. For the record, I say "Ant" the Hoos' family says "Auhnt" and pretty much they all just call me "Amy" anyway.

For her Bat Mitzvah my oldest niece, the Divine Miss M, got a laptop and her first email account. This allowed her to hook up with two of my other nieces, Chill-E and N2, whom reside on the other side of the world in Budapest. M's brother, Homer, also got in on the action and the four of them would chat up a storm using Google Talk.

Last week I got a request from M to get a Gmail account so we could chat as well. It was like being asked to be friends with the popular cheerleader! Except she wasn't "itchy!" She was my wonderful, down-to-earth, 13-year old niece.

Now about once a day she pops in to say "hi" via chat. Of course this is usually at 9:30 at night - when she is doing her homework - or supposed to be doing her HW (like the cool abbreviations I use for chatting?). I think my coolness quotient definitely goes down when I ask her if she is doing her HW or remind her that she should be doing it. But, most awesomely, she still ends every conversation with "love u." I wish I could bank it.

I have also been able to chat with N2 in Hungary. Which is great, because it is hard to stay connected when the time difference is 6 hours.

The cherry on the cake was that yesterday, Homer, the quiet, introspective nephew, invited me to connect with him. We haven't actually chatted yet, but I am looking forward to it.

I know that I blog because often communicating is easier in writing than in person, so I am hoping that this will be a great opportunity for me to connect with my nieces and nephew and reinforce our relationships.

Now I just have to get my 6 and 3 year old nieces in California and my 6-year old nephew to learn how to type!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Yesterday morning as the Hoos was trying to get the girls out of the house, he had to scold AK. She stopped, burst into tears, looked around, and ran to the only other person in the house for comfort - LP. According to the Hoos, LP was a bit stunned, but she stepped up, eating her bagel with one hand and patting her sister's back with the other as AK held on tight to her big sister's waist.

Last night it was AK's turn to be bewildered.

As I sat with the girls at the dining room table while they were eating dinner, AK put her feet on the table. Obviously a big no-no and a recent habit because we moved her to the booster seat and out of the high chair (YAY! A corner of my dining room will no longer be filled by clumsy baby gear!). LP stood up from her chair, and began pushing AK's chair away from the table (her legs aren't so long so by moving her a few inches you remedy the problem). But LP kept pushing and turning AK's chair until she was facing her. She gently grabbed AK's chin, looked her in the eye and said, "That's not funny [AK]. It is NOT funny!"

For the record, she said she was pretending to be Daddy, not Mommy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Only Me

Last night after my group shower (during which LP told me how unlucky the Hoos was because he "has to shower all by himself. Not like us three ladies!"), the Hoos was struggling to get AK dressed. She kept squirming her little tiny nekkid tushy around, insistently requesting Mommy.

After the Hoos completed his mission, I put AK to bed while he dealt with LP. Suffice it to say when we both retired downstairs a few minutes later, no one was actually asleep. And the girls figured out how to play off one another, chanting "Mommy!" back and forth. Like it was really going to make me come back upstairs.

Okay, it worked. How can you not respond to rhythmic chanting of your "name" by two adorable, giggling munchkins?

As I walked into LP's room she quietly asked, "Mama? I have a question. Where do puppies come from? From their mommies bellies? I mean, their vaginas?"

Really?! This is the type of question that keeps her up at night? The type of question that she reserves for Mommy?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pass It On

  1. My cold. Congratulations, Hoos!
  2. The goodness. ShopRite generously sent me a $20 gift card along with my "specially marked box" of HoneyNut Cheerios (and a reuseable shopping bag). When buying myself a couple of additional boxes of cereal, I filled the bag with non-perishables (2 lb. bags of rice, beans and similar non-perishabes for .77 cents each!) and dropped it off at my local shelter along with the gift card. It felt good. Better than the picture, even.
  3. Good dental hygiene. This morning I took LP to watch the Hoos get his teeth cleaned. Better him than me. It isn't really a person at their prettiest. LP loved it and is looking forward to her own dentist appointment in March.
  4. The love. At least I think that is what LP is doing in the picture...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prepare to Be Underwhelmed

In stores this Sunday, three-quarters of my family will be world famous. Maybe if you click on these they might be big enough to see:) Once you know what to look for, we are on here about 15 times. As an example, second row from the bottom, two inches in from the right.
Better yet, go buy a box and support ShopRite and General Mills for their efforts to end hunger.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lost and Found

You know, there is a reason they make 'mom jeans.' And the reason is that there are these things known as 'mom bodies.'

When I had AK about 19 months ago, I lost a few things. First, and most fortunately, the baby weight. I didn't necessarily lose it from the places I had gained it, but at least the numbers on the scale returned to a range I was comfortable with.

However, I also lost elasticity in my belly. With LP I knew the skin pouch was going to be put to good use again soon as we anticipated having another child; after AK we are still not sure and, well, I think I would like to have a less dimpled, less stretch-marked belly while I decide.

Last night in the shower, LP asked me how I grew so much skin on my belly, so, apparently, I have also lost any sense of dignity.

At this point I have also lost any hope of finding jeans that fit. Low rise is all the rage. Low rise means that I have a bubble of skin hanging over the sides of jeans, as well over the front. Doesn't that sound so pretty? Is the thinking that people won't notice because they are distracted by my arse, which is also hanging out?

Mid-rise jeans are apparently the new mom jean. They are impossible to find and because they cover so much more than the "typical" jean on the street, you feel like everyone must think you are wearing mom jeans. While they don't go high enough to double as a brassiere, it looks like they might, but mostly because your boobs hang so low...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

What do I have in common with Mary Lou Retton, Bruce Jenner and Michael Phelps?

You may think it is my fabulous physique and obvious athletic grace, but alas, those are coincidental.

I am going to be on a cereal box.

Next week.

I kid you not.

Many months ago I implored my blog readers and Facebook friends to comment on my blog to earn boxes of Cheerios for my local food bank - remember?

In addition to helping feed those in need, ShopRite and General Mills offered participating bloggers the opportunity to have their mug on specially marked boxes of HoneyNut Cheerios. So, for those of you in ShopRite's home markets (I think the tri-state area) bring your magnifying glass to ShopRite the week of January 24th and seek me out. For those of you outside of the range, they are sending me a jpeg of the box and I will share that next week (I know, the suspense is killing me too).

And, finally, for those of you green with envy, I have good news. You, too, can be featured on a cereal box!

ShopRite Partners In Caring, together with General Mills, has launched a video contest, Expressions of Hunger, that challenges everyday people to submit videos using song, poetry, dance or dramatic reading that creatively express the plight of the hungry or offer solutions to the issue of hunger. Up to six grand prize winners will have their stories and photos featured on a special-edition Cheerios box available exclusively at ShopRite stores in September 2010!

Head over to for the complete contest rules.

Save Water! Shower Together

We are all about being green and sustainable in our house. We recycle, compost and do a host of other things to minimize our footprint on this planet. Recently we have added water conservation to our list of Earth-friendly activities.

LP, who as an infant detested water, has suddenly decided that she prefers the shower to the bath. The Hoos is thrilled. Why would he care? Because LP is 3.5 and if she wants to shower, someone has to get in there with her, and because he is the lone male in our house, he has somehow decided that this is a "mommy job."

I realize that giving my kids a bath or shower every day is not in the spirit of water conservation, but we do. I run to the pediatrician enough as it is and the hope is that if we wash germs off daily we will all be sick less (tell that to my lingering cold!). Fortunately the shower is quicker than the bath and I think LP's hair is getting cleaner (much easier to get the shampoo in and out with the shower head than by dumping cups of water on her). She has a lot of hair, so we might be saving a few gallons of water with this effort alone.

AK joined us in the shower for a couple of nights, but last night when I pointed upstairs and asked if she was ready for the shower, she ran to our downstairs bathroom insisting "Bath! Bath!" So perhaps the Hoos isn't off the hook yet.

The bonus of all of this is that the girls are getting to bed earlier. Since LP goes to the bathroom and brushes her teeth before showering, it has cut about 15 minutes off the bedtime routine. So, if we aren't conserving water, at least we are saving time and THAT is something a mom can truly appreciate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Max Destruction

My house is cozy. It does not have a family room. Instead it has a living room which serves every purpose, from television watching, to book reading and playing to being a general repository of every toy we own.

AK has an amazing ability to walk into a room and quickly assess which toys will create the biggest mess with the least amount of effort. This usually involves dumping out boxes of flashcards, pulling puzzles off the shelf, and airing out any plaything that has multiple pieces. I swear it is not because she actually wants to play with any of these items, or any items stored below these items, I really think she just likes the concept of chaos.

Every night once the girls are in bed I struggle to put the room back together. I know the effort is futile and tomorrow will bring more scattered toys, but I can't help myself. Plus, if I don't pick it up I will likely step on something and hurt myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Word on the street is that second children tend to be more reserved and later to speak than their older siblings. This is often the result of the big brother or sister speaking on behalf of the little one or just plain talking louder. Couple this with the fact that, once you have two children, you are more distracted, so as a parent you read less to, and likely focus less attention on, your new addition than you did on your firstborn.

So far this hypothesis does not appear to be holding true for AK. She has been talking up a storm lately and has way more words that we give her credit for. Five new words pop up every day - from "umbrella" and "bird" yesterday to "Melmo" - her favorite Sesame Street character. In addition, she is a voracious reader. I have to "read" at least four books a night to her. Fortunately, this mostly involves looking at the pictures and asking her to show me something in particular. And man, if she isn't spot on every time!

Watching AK do things - like removing her shoes and socks and tucking her socks into her sneakers - really brings back memories of LP starting to do the same things. Then again, they are really very different. Even looking back on my post from almost exactly two years ago when LP was going on antibiotics for the FIRST time. AK definitely has her beat on that front!

In terms of personality, LP has always been quite social and she definitely has a "mothering" instinct. She always tries to take care of her friends and we frequently get notes on her daily sheet that say she was a good helper to her friends and teachers. AK is more focused on herself. And being an entertainer. She is incredibly silly and she loves attention. And she has no fear - not of hurting herself, or animals, or food. This is quite different from LP, but I can't recall if that set in later.

In fact, instead of being outshone by her big sister, I think AK is challenged by her. In reality, AK thinks she is three and a half. She walks into LP's classroom like she owns the joint and seeks out activities or toys. AK wants to do everything like LP, from putting on LP's coat and hat to eating her food (literally, taking food off LP's plate when she has the identical items on her plate) and drinking from her cup.

Note, I am a second child and can't remember a time when my older brother was louder than me. He often overshadowed me in the classroom, but I think I have the edge on the volume and social fronts. I am sure he will correct me in the comments if I am wrong.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Retrospect

Looking back, the Hoos and I used to BOTH give LP a bath when she was an infant/early toddler. "Both" not as in taking turns, but "both" as in - he took her top half and I took her bottom half. Ridiculous, right? Especially considering that up until she was 18 months or so we used to bathe her in our kitchen sink (remember this video?).

Nowadays, and really since AK was six months old, the only "both" involved in bath time is that "both" girls are bathed at the same time. There isn't really enough room in our bathroom for us to tag team this activity and, honestly, there are about a million other things the extra set of hands could be doing instead of cluttering up the pink bathroom. Too bad it took us two kid to figure this out.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Nose Nos!

My sweet, angelic AK has a troubling new activity. She sticks things up her nose.

Not just her finger - which is bad enough - but her food. Peas, corn, whatever is handy. Last night I caught her trying to put a piece of grape tomato up her nose. I thought I had stopped her, but after tilting back her head and recognizing something red a bit further up, I realized I had only caught the second piece. Fortunately, my pinky finger is small enough and the nail on it is long enough that I was able to drag the tomato back out.

AK thought this was so funny and entertaining. She then tried to shove an entire meatball up her nose while I watched. Fortunately the meatball was way too big. Some time later, well after the girls were done with dinner, she sneezed. As I approached with a tissue she held out a slimy, snot-covered piece of tomato.

The Hoos and I are at a bit of a loss in discouraging this behavior. We yell at her and tell her no, but it doesn't really resonate. I am hoping this doesn't mean I have to watch her like a hawk whenever food is around, because, to be honest, meal time typically means "free time" (and by "free" I mean time to pee, or prepare lunches, or get my dinner in the oven).

In positive news, we don't need no stinking BuhBee in our house! Friday night I resolved to hold out and not give AK her paci. Since then we have been pacifier free. Bed time takes about 10 extra minutes but the challenge has been the morning. We used to be able to give AK the paci and get an extra half hour of sleep. Saturday she was up at 6:50 and insistent on starting her day. Sunday was a more reasonable 7:30. Hopefully by next week she will be sleeping until closer to 8 on the weekends.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Today I am home with both of my daughters. LP has a cold, it is snowy out, and well, why do we need an excuse to huddle together, really?

Last time this happened on a week day, nap time was an issue. I am not saying we have everything worked out, but things are going more smoothly. After returning from an excursion to Stew's I let them both know it was nap time. I reminded them that we had purchased popcorn as the 3 o'clock snack and if they wanted some they would have to nap.

First, I put AK in her crib and left her to try and relax while I read LP a book and told her a story. Nor surprisingly, LP still wasn't sleeping. I told her that she could play quietly in her room during nap time and she agreed.

I then went into AK's room to settle her down.

A few minutes later I heard LP open her door and steal out of her room. I wasn't sure if she knew I was in AK's room and hoped that she wasn't looking for me. Fortunately, she wasn't. Instead I heard her walk to the bathroom, turn on the light, slide the door shut and use the potty. And then wash her hands. And then return to her room and shut the door. Quietly. Without even saying a word.

When I finally managed to put AK down, I crept down the stairs. A moment later, I heard LP's footsteps and thought, "Uh-oh..."

I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to report that she said, "Mommy, I am going to nap in my chair." I gave her the thumbs up. However, seconds later, she was back at the top of the stairs, "Mommy, when I close my door with my flat hands and not the handle, it doesn't close all the way." I let her know that she didn't have to close the door.

Now it is silent. And I am not complaining.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm Late! I'm Late! For a Very Important Date [not]!

Last night when I picked LP up from day care her little nose looked red and sore like she had been blowing it all day. And she let me know that she coughed all through nap time.

"Uh-oh!" I thought, "The cold has hit significant proportions!"

When it took her a long time to fall asleep thanks to all the coughing, the Hoos and I determined that I would stay home with her today. Timing was key, because usually I leave the house before the rest of my family and if she wasn't well enough to go to school and I had already left the Hoos would be stuck at home when he really needed to be at work.

Amazingly, LP slept through the night. And popped out of bed. And when the Hoos asked if she was healed she shouted, "I am healed! My nose isn't running!" She was barely even coughing. Whew!

So I made it into work two hours late, fully knowing that I may end up leaving early if the cough comes back. Oh well. At least I brought in the digital camera and can share some new photos with you.

Before you say it, yes, I realize my kiddos are very silly. And yes, those are LP's (fortunately clean) undies on AK's head...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tap Tap. Can You Hear Me?

Monday I took AK for a hearing test. She has had monthly ear infections for the past year and the pediatrician does not want to recommend tubes unless it is impacting her speech or hearing. I can respect that. It is not like I want my baby to get anaesthesia or undergo surgery, but on the other hand, monthly antibiotic treatments are not really desirable either.

The good news is that most of the time when AK has an ear infection, it is hard to tell. She rarely gets fevers, and it rarely interrupts her sleep or affects her eating habits. Basically I just end up taking her to the doctor when she has a cold for more than a few days because that usually means the gunk has had enough time to back up into her ears.

According to the audiologist, AK's hearing seems to be fine. There were no major gaps and she responded to vowels, constants and different tones in a satisfactory manner, despite the fact that she had some fluid in her ears.

The result was not a surprise. Like most toddlers (or children of any age - including husbands) I know that AK has selective hearing. She ignores most things she doesn't agree with. She also has this incredibly awful shriek. Really really killer. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with her hearing and everything to do with her wanting attention. However, she also has quite a few words: light. up. cat. dog. Mommy. Daddy. DiDi [her big sis]. duck. teeth. BuhBee [the paci]. Tubbies. candy...(her sister taught her that last one).

Following the audiologist I took AK over to the pediatrician to discuss the results and double check her ears. I ended up learning a few things. Maybe I also have selective hearing, because I don't think it was the first time she said, but it was definitely the first time I heard, that only 50% of ear infections are bacterial. Meaning that antibiotics are not always necessary to treat ear infections. And maybe it isn't so bad to let them run their course.

I AM NOT GIVING MEDICAL ADVICE HERE. However, she did say that if AK isn't running a fever or extra cranky or waking up frequently, we don't necessarily need to put her on antibiotics for every ear infection. This ties in to my experiential approach to parenting. If I suspect an ear infection and AK doesn't have any symptoms, I can bring her to the doctor to check it out, but what they might do is tell us to come back in a few days to see if it is improving on its own BEFORE giving her antibiotics.

I am going to try this and see how it works. I am also taking AK in for her second hearing test in about six weeks so the audiologist can continue to monitor her hearing.

Many of my friends rave about tubes and the positive impact they have had on their children and chronic ear infections and behavior. I am a believer. And, if it is determined to be the right course of action I am all for it. BUT if AK can outgrow the ear infections without surgery, I would be a happy camper.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Charge

Every once in a while when I am doing something incredibly mundane - like laundry, or grocery shopping, I will stop and shake my head in disbelief. Out of nowhere it hits me - I am the mom in this family. Among other things, I am responsible (with the Hoos' help and unwavering support, of course) for:
  1. providing nourishment and [healthy] snacks for four people;
  2. making sure everyone has [mostly] clean clothes;
  3. checking to see that no ones panties are too tight or pants are too short;
  4. ensuring (compulsively) that our bills are being paid, our checking account has funds and our savings accounts are growing;
  5. straightening out scrunched up clothes wedged into dresser drawers and switching said clothes out when the seasons change;
  6. offering a shoulder to cry on, an angry glare to run from and scolding words to learn from;
  7. entertainment in the middle of the chaos and distraction in moments of boredom;
  8. producing snacks and various toys from my seemingly bottomless pocketbook in a moments notice;
  9. apprising my children's health (with no medical training) and determining the appropriate course of action;
  10. the health, happiness and welfare of two of the most beautiful and precious gifts I could ever imagine.

So I stop and think, when did something so extraordinary become so...ordinary?

Don't get me wrong there are many exceptional moments and millions of bright and wonderful moments in our future...but the day-to-day is just that. Being a mom has become my comfort zone. Whoa.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Taking it Up a Level

When I wrote my New Year's post I was thinking of the year that was, instead of the decade that was. For some reason I am having a hard type grasping the concept that I am old enough to talk about entire decades without sounding ridiculously pretentious. But I guess I can. And looking back, the 2000s were pretty life altering.

Some of the positive happenings:
  • 2000: Start it up. January 2nd, started a new job in the dot com world. Enjoyed the ride, got some perks, got out 2.5 years later.
  • 2001: The year of travel. Paris and London with the my boyfriend at the time (the Hoos, natch) and Costa Rica with my parents and brother.
  • 2002: NEW everything. New state (NY from VA), new job, new husband, new life (you know, with the Hoos starting law school approximately 36 hours after we fed each other wedding cake...)
  • 2003-2004: Small moves. Including my first move to CT.
  • 2005: Big moves. Law school graduation, the Bar(s), homeownership, pregnancy.
  • 2006: Hello gorgeous! Motherhood. Figuring out life as a full-time mom and part-time employee.
  • 2007: Coasting. Watching LP grow. And pregnant again.
  • 2008: Heaven. LP kissing her baby sister for the first time.
  • 2009: The life. The kids, the husband, the house...what more do I really need?

Little Stinker

Apparently I need to learn better diaper changing manners. So, I will commit the proper etiquette to writing in the blog to remind myself over and over.

When changing a poop diaper, so it somewhere private. As LP says, "No one needs to see that."

So true. My bad. Apologies to all impacted. At least it was well after lunch?