Monday, April 14, 2014

Fiesta!

My boy is obsessed with birthdays. Can I blame him? Games, candy, cake for dinner, kids running around, and the main event...the piñata! What's not to like?

It's hard to describe the level of obsession: from the day we receive an invitation until party day, he talks about it every day, especially about how there's going to be a piñata with candy inside. One of his favorite imaginary games is hitting the piñata and then fake collecting candy. Then the day of a party he tells us numerous times that *he* is going to break the piñata, no matter that he is almost always the smallest one at the party.

Since Little Boy started preschool, we've been going to lots of parties and boy do they go all out here: ponies (check), spa (check), crafting/painting something ceramic (every.single.time), bouncy house (of course), playground (check), carnival style ride (check), characters and clown shows (yup, yup, yup). In our foreign eyes, sometimes these get a little excessive because where do you go from here if you've already had many of the above attractions by your third birthday? But from my parenting point of view the only thing that is often lacking is food: usually it's a plethora of candy and fried snacks, cake, and jello, not exactly a nutritious meal. But the kids love it, a lot! Happy kids, happy parents!







Friday, April 11, 2014

Monkey see, Monkey do

Baby Brother is our imitator extraordinaire. He is not an observer, he is a do-er. This week he decided to walk up the stairs, walk not crawl. Of course his short and chubby little toddler legs can't really reach. So he stops and stands mid-stair and waits for us to help him, and of course we do because otherwise his erect little body would fall straight back.

Exposition number two: Little Boy is allowed to jump on the small crib size mattress. He's also a little monkey so we figured it was safer to give him a designated spot than having him try to jump on the rest of our beds or couches where he is much higher off the ground. So now the little one gets on the bed, stands up and tries to jump! He obviously didn't get the memo that that is a two year milestone.

And for the grand finale, the other day Little Boy was stacking pillows on the ground as part of his imaginary play. Then he decided to jump off his stack. We immediately put a stop to that since our tile floors are not conducive to that. Well low and behold Mr. Daredevil was watching and has now decided it is a great idea to try and pull pillows off the couch to stack, climb on, and attempt to slide off. Boys.

Mr. I do what I want to do

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Thoughts

Ten years ago I left a (very) high stress job and knew that I would never again choose to be in a position where I had so little say regarding my overall well being. 

It was a moment of change in my life, of pushing boundaries, of prioritizing my desires. I didn't know where it would lead, but I made a rough plan and started moving forward, figuring out the details as I went along. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that within a few months I would meet my future husband,  start changing the course of my life based on shared interests, and prioritize goals that were not my own. I never for a moment regret that leap of faith, but throughout this entire period I also stayed true to that decision I made so long ago; no more stress. 


Recently, however, the stress has found its way back into my life. For a few weeks now I've been walking around with an intermittent pit in my stomach. I'm finding it difficult to deal with having no control over the course of our future. Of course, I will be involved in the details, but that big picture, over arching trajectory: it's not in my hands and it is SO hard. I can make contingency plans, although they end up feeling mostly like a mental exercise without much substance. I can focus on the day to day, but sadly, I don't find that quite enough to be truly fulfilled. I can think about myself instead of "us" but seeing as it's difficult to separate the two that does not feel very fruitful either. 

In the meantime, I'm trying to distract myself enough to not think about it until there is a concrete plan. I'm trying to inspire myself with new recipes, house organization projects, and enjoying the little moments with our awesome little boys. I'm finding that being proactive helps a little, but ignoring the problem helps more. That's something I didn't expect...hmmm. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Homemade Mickey and Pluto Costumes

We recently dressed up for Purim and I asked Little N what he wanted to be. He answered with the only character he knows: Mickey. Seeing as I am all about procrastination, and I wasn't about to go buy a costume for a few hours of dress up, I got crafty and made the kids costumes. 

Mickey's ears were made out of a paper party hat I had leftover. I cut the triangle off and left just a strip at the bottom with the elastic. Then I cut some black foam and stapled it onto the party had. The white circles were just card stock attached to the shorts with a paper clip. For his shoes I just cut a piece of yellow foam that we slipped on like an anklet and they rested on top of his shoes.

I couldn't resist making Baby Brother into something matching, and after looking at my materials and some Disney pictures I decided to tackle a Pluto costume. I again used the party hat trick. I staples two pieces of yellow foam and then a couple pieces of black foam for the ears on top. The nose is a pom pom I just glued on top, and the eyes white card stock that I stapled. For his green collar I just took a little piece of green foam and paper clipped it onto his onesie.  Ta da!

The whole project took only about an hour, using scraps I had around the house and the kiddos loved them!

It was so sunny!

 Here you can see the party hat, paper clips, "anklets" etc.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

An Exercise in Decluttering

Recently I have gotten very motivated to declutter our place. With an impending move, any item that we aren't using currently or in the immediate future needs to go. In four years here, we have amassed a huge amount, partially mostly owing to the fact that we had two kids. Nevertheless, as our household needs have changed, we never really got rid of anything we weren't using anymore. We are so thankful that our out of town visitors have showered us with gifts, but that means that we kept bringing in more and more and could never bring back that amount.

As of right now, we don't know yet how many big items we want to take back, and if we are going to hire a moving truck, so my prerogative is to get rid of as much as I can, including things I would consider re-buying after our move. We haven't yet hit high gear on the selling end, although I have been sorting things into a garage sale pile, and taking pictures of items to post for sale. In the meantime I have been focusing on trash and donations. To make this slightly more informative, and hopefully useful, here are some things I've been working on decluttering:

  1. Outdoor patio (broken/old items, yard waste)
  2. Cleaning and laundry supplies
  3. Pantry (gave away things we probably won't eat before we leave)
  4. Paperwork- a multi-day affair that resulted in tons of trash: bank statements, college course binders, product information binders, important documents, M's office stuff; I'm actually pretty organized, but while having babies piles collected and needed to be sorted into their appropirate binders, or trashed.
  5. Office supplies: every pen, every glue works!
  6. Picture frames: sold unused frames
  7. Greeting cards- a week long undertaking involving cards from our engagement, bridal shower, birthdays, baby showers, baby birthdays: kept absolute favorites in one keepsake box, scrapbooked favorite wedding cards into our guestbook, trashed the rest.
  8. Scrapbooking supplies- this was my impetus to finally (finally) finish N's baby book. I kept things I'm going to use for B's baby book and tossed everything else. I really don't have time for scrapbooking anymore! 
  9. Craft supplies: only kept tools and items for use in next couple of months; no more scraps!
  10. Party supplies: only kept items for N's next birthday before we leave.
  11. Holiday decor: only kept one small box with my favorite items
  12. Travel maps and brochures: kept ones of places we might go in the next two months, otherwise everything was trashed. 
  13. Bath products: this is ongoing, but we are using up all the little ends of bottles and tossing them as we go. I happily haven't bought any personal care products in months!
  14. Medications: toss the expired
  15. Clothes: I did a huge purge a couple of months ago, once I fit comfortably in all my pre-pregnancy clothes and could try everything on. I've been able to add a couple more items every week. 
  16. Shoes: still a work in progress, but I've tossed some, and will sell/donate several others before we go.
  17. Baby Gear- that's where it's at. We've already sold the car seat, swing, bumbo, play mat, bottles and sterilizer. Still on deck are a few more big toys. I figure anything we need later on can be re-bought. 
  18. Kitchen- working on it!





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Snapshots

I've been trying to take mental snapshots of our life right now. I want to remember the moments that are just plain, every day snippets of our life here before everything gets turned upside down. I suppose that's what happens when you have children, suddenly every day comes with the thought that they will never be this exact age again.

 read to head to preschool (junk we need to sell in the background)

 weekend walk on the trail 

 checking out the fountain

playing in the common area (hiding behind the shed)

checking out exercise equipment