Sunday, January 25, 2009

Combating the Winter Blahs

Winter time in a small town with small children at home is... interesting. We've all found ourselves with cases of cabin fever, although, we try to keep busy and entertain ourselves.

I've been doing a lot of this:

Sewing and crafting up a storm. Which is a great distraction and lots of fun (most the time) although, it's also a leading cause of why I've been blogging less as well.

Keeping the kids entertained is another thing though with their boundless energy and need to work it off through activity.

So, I've been trying to keep things interesting.
One day we played with puppets, which, although on the surface sounds pretty sedate, we managed to turn into a full on athletic sport. (Mommy wore the puppet on her hand and made it chase the kids around, trying to "bite" them, while they screamed and squealed.)

Then there's indoor soccer. We have a little kid soccer ball that's a lot of fun, since Noah is just starting to be coordinated enough to kick and throw it successfully.
Getting ready for a big throw!

Smiling after connecting with the ball in a solid kick.

This particular game is a big hit with Noah...
I mean, check out this happy face!

Bree likes that kind of stuff too, but tends to favor dress up these days.
Striking a pose in Tinkerbell PJ's accessorized with a pair of Mommy's black high heels.

Of course, it's not like we don't get out sometimes. But, it's just so cold! And, you know, after spending 30 minutes bundling up the kids you only end up spending 5-10 outside before someone gets too cold and wants to come back inside.

But still, on occasion we do "bungle" up (as Bree calls it) and head out gamely to try and have some winter fun.
Our last attempt at this was, on a slightly warmer day, to head out to a nearby lake and do a little snowshoeing. (Travis got some snowshoes for Christmas and decided to buy Bree a little pair as well.)

Bree and I trying out the snowshoes. Trav let me borrow his for awhile and he pulled Noah along in the sled.

Bree tromped along quite happily for awhile...

...then she decided she wanted a turn in the sled, so I carried Noah.

Waving at Daddy.

But still, we are definitely inside a lot more lately and sometimes it's hard to think of new things to hold off the winter whineys. It gets to where you try to spice up even the everyday things just a little.

Like brushing your teeth. I bought the kids new electric toothbrushes in fun themes, and actually, they were a big hit!

More so than I would have thought. It was pretty funny, I also bought them a new bottle of hand soap (watermelon scented) for their bathroom at the same time, and that was apparently quite exciting too! So, killed two birds with one stone, the kids felt like they were getting cool stuff and I'm happy that they're into good hygiene.

Here's Bree admiring her toothpaste foam goatee.

Recently I also turned a little haircut into a spectacle. I decided Noah needed a little trim so...
I sat him down in the middle of the kitchen table and went after him with some clippers.

He thought it was a big game and was laughing and dodging, much to Bree's amusement.

I'm lucky I didn't shave him a bald patch! But, it turned out pretty good, here's the final result.

The kids also have their own ways of keeping themselves amused. One of their favorite things is playing crib peekaboo.
Either that, or Noah finds much joy lately in standing on one side of his crib and then throwing himself forward and landing in silly positions on the other side...

...which makes both kids laugh like crazy people.

And, if all else fails, there's always a game of naked Jedi fighting while wearing a bath towel cape! Always popular at our house!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I have to admit, this week was not a hallmark of parenting paradise nor did it set a standard for ideal parent-child relationships. It was a long, frustrating, and tough week for both myself and the kids. Too bad for me, Moms never really get a vacation. Sometimes just the sheer amount of times I hear someone yelling "MOM!" makes me feel like I need a straight jacket and a padded room! And now that Noah's verbal, both kids are at it. Although, it is interesting to see their different approaches to getting my attention.

Both kids seem to think I'm either deaf (or at least hard of hearing) and that they must compensate for this somehow. Noah's method is sheer volume. He'll walk right up to me, stand a foot in front of me and just yell out, "MOM!" He can't seem to say it, he just yells it. I have to say, that usually works and gets my attention so I say, "What?" But, having a limited vocabulary, Noah seems to think "mom" is a word that can mean anything. So our usual conversations go, "MOM!" "What little man?" "Mom. Mom. Mom, mom, MOM!" The latter accompanied by much pointing and gesturing. At that point, if he hasn't gotten his point across he usually grabs my hand and tries to drag me to where he wants me and further elaborates his needs. One of his needs seems to be, quite frequently, eating a banana. He's a monkey and loves them! He would eat 8 a day if I'd let him! Actually he's just recently learned to say banana. Well, he says "ba-ba" but it gets his point across. So to confirm that I understood him I usually repeat, "You want a banana?" Then he'll smile and nod emphatically and sort of laugh like, "At last, she got it!" But then there are those times when I don't get what he wants right away. Then I start guessing... "You want a drink?" "You want your truck down?" "You want help?" And each time I'm wrong I get an emphatic NO, or actually I get "BO!" since Noah says it with a b.

Bree's strategy, on the other hand, is repetitiveness. She'll say, "Hey Mom..." and if I don't respond immediately, and I mean immediately as in within a few seconds, she'll just repeat herself.."Hey Mom! Mom! Hey Mom! Mom..Mom, Mom? Mom! Mom? MOM! MOOOOOOMMM!" I suppose this could be remedied if I make sure to have a prompt response but heaven forbid that I'm on the phone or deep in thought with trying to plan out a weekly menu or what have you. And in my defense, I have a very talkative little girl here... I mean, REALLY talkative and active, and sometimes it's just so much that I can't process it all and my brain sort of just checks out. Additionally, she's 4 and has the patience of a typical 4 year old so even when I'm in the process of getting her the drink she's asked for (20 times) then she's watching me and going, "MOOM, what's taking so long?"

It's all very normal but it can be exhausting at times. I'm truly convinced that while mothering young children a stay at home mom's IQ can go down a good 20 points. Really, it takes so much of our time and energy feeding, clothing, bathing, changing, and protecting them that there's not much room in our forebrain for much else. This is not to mention that our train of thought is interrupted so regularly that it almost becomes ingrained so even when the kids are asleep or are being watched by someone else, we're not used to getting to think our own thoughts in complete sentences.

So, this week was a challenge. (TGIF!) But, time to take a deep breath, try to remember the good moments and start ov . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Bath Fun

Yes, I realize that my posts are getting farther and fewer between here folks. I also realize that quite a few of them consist largely of narrated pix. I have several excuses... the holidays, growing kids keeping me busy, other hobbies take up time, (yes, I've been cheating on Blogger with Facebook, sewing, and Guitar Hero, don't judge me!), and so on. Well, one of these days I'll get back into a groove and maybe even start writing entries with actual words, organized into thoughts even. Until then, play yourself some elevator music in your head and please enjoy this photo montage of my kids having way too much fun than should be legal while in the bath tub:

Who needs toys? At our house they just like to scream it up at the top of their voices. It's for therapeutic reasons really, stress relief and all that, plus they get great reverb in there.

Naturally, they find this quite hysterical. Mommy just finds it headache inducing! But, I can't be mad at them for it when they look so darn cute and happy.

Hey look it's Snorkel Steve!

Bree got this snorkel set for Christmas, she's wanted one for years now, and we finally found just the right thing for her. Of course, since it's too cold to play outside with it, the kids wanted to use it in the tub. Noah, however, didn't seem to be quite grasping what exactly these things were for...

...then he decided he liked the breathing tube as a trombone better. And he thought the goggles made a better hat.

We tried to show him how you really wear the goggles. Bree even demonstrated.

Noah didn't really appreciate that though.

They do love taking their baths together, twice the splashing, twice the fun! Which isn't to say they don't have their little disputes over the bath toys. But, they always make up...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Why, Yes, I am a Guitar Hero!

Well, as I'm sure you all know, since I've posted several long and introspective entries on the subject, I turned 30 last month. Yep, the big 3-0. And man, I partied it up like a total rock star!

Check it out, here's your proof:

Oh yeah, that's me sitting at my own kitchen table in front of a pile of presents.

It's this next shot that really captures the craziness of the celebration though...

Whoa now! :) Actually, my birthday was a quiet, but wonderful day, probably my best birthday yet! I got thoughtful gifts, spent time with my kids, who were very sweet, and went out to dinner too. It was all very nice, but my big gift this year was the game Guitar Hero World Tour.

You see, for those of you who may not know, yes, in high school I was a so called "band geek." I played the flute and did marching band, pep band, was in the pit for a few plays... (some of the best people and times of my life!) So, I have a musical background. Although, its been years since I've flexed my musical muscles. And lately I've been wanting to get back to that. This time around though, instead of the flute, I thought it would be fun to be a drummer! I like songs with a beat so why not BE the beat, right? (And, to satisfy my early midlife crisis, it was either be a drummer, or get a leather jacket and a motorcycle! Trav opted for the safer of the two that wouldn't drive our insurance sky high.) Alas, we have no space for a full sized drum set, so we found the perfect solution, Guitar Hero! And since we got the World Tour version, the whole family can play, there's a guitar and a mic as well. (Noah's the groupee, only job he qualified for.) Truthfully though, most the time we wait until the kids are off to bed and then Travis and I get our rock on! I have to say, I'm not half bad either!

My "drum set" and I "in action." I'm trying to wade through the menus to get to play a song for the first time. Yep, so far it's been a whole lot of fun and satisfies my musical urges and my need to get out some aggression after a hard day by beating on something. :) As an added bonus, it's also a bit of an ego builder since, at the end of every song you successfully complete it tells you,

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy New Year!

We had an exciting start to the new year at our house. Yes, it was quite wild! We watched a movie, played Scrabble, put the kids to bed by 8 pm and us adults hit the hay before the big ball officially dropped at midnight. What can I say? That's about the extent of living it up you tend to do with two very young children at home. Although, the night wasn't without some celebration... we decided to bring in the new year with a drink of champagne and a family toast. While the adults got to have regular champagne, Bree and Noah got "kid champagne" aka sparkling apple cider.

I don't know, do you think they like it? :) They were both pretty thrilled with their drink and the fact we let them drink it out of official wine glasses and everything.

They had several refills.

Then we taught them some of the traditions of ringing in a new year, like saying a toast to happiness and prosperity in the year to come...

...although, their favorite part of toasting was getting to clink their glasses.
We also told them that people cheer and clap when it's a new year...
Here's Noah going "Yay, new year!"

... and that it's a tradition to give someone a kiss for the new year too.
So, Bree gamely tried to kiss her brother, but Noah wouldn't stop guzzling his "champagne" long enough for her to get to his lips!

By the end, he was even two fisting it! It was about then we decided they'd had enough for one night and put them to bed to sleep it off! :)