Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Little Help Here

I truly thought that when I decided to begin potty training the boys that they'd learn at the same time.

I had another thought coming. 

Once I decided it was time, I did lots of reading. 

The most useful of all of the information that I read was written by fellow blogger Shannon at Stickers & Glitter about The Potty Watch
After reading her post I literally ran to my computer and ordered two! 

Once they arrived I explained to the boys how the watches worked and told them that we'd start going in the potty tomorrow. I got them all excited about the idea and we prepped for it all day and into the evening. 

After they got up, I had them each pee in the potty and then put on real underwear and pants and we strapped on the watches. 

David was totally into it and when the watch played the music and the lights blinked he yell, "Potty time!" and run into the bathroom. 

Daniel would run behind the sofa. 

The initial reward was a sticker but that was only good for a couple of days before they both lost interest in the stickers and, quite frankly, I got tired of scraping them off the floor, windows, furniture, cabinets...you get the picture.

I finally decided that pee would be rewarded with two jelly beans but a poop would earn the Holy Grail: Chocolate. 

This was no incentive for Daniel at all. In fact Daniel was totally non-plussed about the whole thing.  

Meanwhile, David was so into it that he figured out that he could squeeze out one turd at a time and get a piece of chocolate for each one! Clever little bugger! 

By day four David was out of diapers completely even at night. 

In fact, the night I decided to put him to bed without a diaper was after I found him crying in the hallway because he couldn't figure out how to put his diaper back on after going to the bathroom. 

That day we made a trip to the store for nightlights. 

I even had him practice getting up and going to the potty with only the nightlight on so it wouldn't be totally foreign territory for him. 

Daniel was showing no improvement...at all. 

I stuck with it. Everything I read said that you train for a week and if there is no progress you stop and try again in a couple of weeks. 

After Daniel ran behind the sofa for the seventh day in a row I gave up and put him back in a diaper and continued to reward David. 

By the end of the week David was trained...completely. 

He was telling everyone that he, "was a big boy because he poops in the potty but Daniel was still wearing a baby diaper." 

REALLY?! 

Where the heck did that come from?! 

We've tried again and again with Daniel with no success. 

Before Christmas I asked Daniel if he knew what mommy wanted 'the most of all' for Christmas. He replied with, "What?" I said, "Mommy really wants you to poop in the potty." He gave me the most pathetic, 'You're really not going to like this answer' look followed by, "No." Then reached up and put his arm around my neck, leaned in and said, "How about a necklace?"

I laughed so hard that I almost wet his bed!

We tried again a couple of weeks ago...spent the weekend cleaning urine off the floor - Allow me to recommend hardwood floors people - It's worth the extra money in the long run! 

I've all but given up. 

However, On three different occasions I have discovered him coming out of the bathroom with his diaper undone and when asked he says that he went pee-pee in the potty. 

There is hope. 

The last time was a couple of days ago when I walked into my bathroom to find him in front of my potty, pants down to his knees, diaper open on one side. 

He looked at me and said, "Little help here" and looked down at his diaper. 

Yes sweetie I will give you a little help! 

Now...can you please poop in the potty?!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Silver Lining

As an individual who was raised in a house where there was magnet on the fridge that said, "Dust is the protective covering of fine furniture" I've always struggled to keep a clean home.

I ways wanted to have this showroom spotless house that could accommodate company at the drop of a hat and I did sort of have that.

BC.

You know? BC...Before Children

I had this stupid, romantic, dreamy-eyed, child of the 70s and 80s sitcom-stupid idea that we'd have this perfect life with perfect children and this perfect house with clean laundry and spotless toilets.

Yeah...Um...That is not the case.

If all things are going well I might get the laundry finished, folded and put away before Wednesday every week and maybe, just maybe, I'll have enough energy to get at least the first floor vacuumed and mopped.

If my in-laws are coming I'll go the extra distance and make sure that the powder room toilet is scrubbed and that there is no pee on the floor.

The house is not condemnable or disgusting but it does get pretty dusty from time to time. If I know that people are coming over I'll make a point of cleaning and even dusting but day-to-day stuff I just don't have time for.

Don't judge...It's the best I've got...for now.

When I was a teenager my mom gave up on nagging me about cleaning my bedroom, which in hindsight should have been condemned by the board of health; however, she did make us clean when company was coming. It was an all day battle when company was scheduled to visit and usually ended with me stuffing things under my bad and throwing out the stuff that smelled.

I hope to avoid that with my boys but only time will tell.

The funniest things about my teenage years was that, aside from babysitting, my primary income came from cleaning my neighbor's houses.

I do try to set a decent example and try to encourage the boys to help when I am cleaning.

Having been a Dyson Demonstrator I have many cordless vacuum cleaners that the kids love to use.

Once we've picked up all of the toys, I give one to each boy and we go around the first floor of the house "cleaning." I usually have to go over where they were but they love to help so I am trying to capitalize on their willingness. Mom may not have been the greatest example for cleaning but she certainly did not raise an idiot!

One day the boys decided to help clean and piled all of their toys into a collapsable tube that goes with a play tent.

They were adorable marching back and forth singing their "Pick Up, Clean Up" song while stuffing toys into that tube.

It was so heavy when they were finished that hubby and I couldn't even pick it up. I was so proud of their effort that I didn't unload it and put it all back for a day or so.

One of the decisions I made right after the kids were born was to make the switch from toxic chemical cleaners to non-toxic green cleaners. It is a decision that I will never regret and one that paid off in spades last week.

After scrubbing the bathtub in the boys' bathroom I accidentally left the spray bottle of cleaner on the side of the tub and promptly forgot about it.

Guess who found it?

Yep...and they were taking turns hosing down each other and all the rest of the surfaces in the bathroom. The good news is that since there is no bleach their clothes were not stained, the cleaner didn't even hurt their eyes and when I finished cleaning it up it was cleaner than it'd been in months...

Silver lining.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Synergy

I've recently lost my mother.

TO LOVE!!!!

I know that there are many adult children of widowed parents who would not share my enthusiasm but I am so excited!

Back in November my mom had begun to date a man named David. David and my dad were high school classmates and my parents and David and his wife used to hang out together at the high school reunions. David was widowed a few years ago and out of the blue he called my mom this past fall.

He joined us for Thanksgiving and although my mom enjoyed his company she kept telling me that there was "no chemistry."

Chemistry...Really?!

I pointed out that at her age, chemistry was probably less important than companionship and if she enjoyed spending time with him then she should.

The first change in her came just after the five year anniversary of losing my dad. It was almost as if someone had flipped a switch and she had regained some of her internal spark.

It was like she'd decided somewhere along the way that five years was enough and it was time to move on.

The second change came on new year's eve. She and David met us in Kennett Square for the annual Mushroom raising on New Year's Eve. (They do a "count up" and raise the lighted mushroom at 8pm so that people with little kids can see it and then take their kids home and put them to bed.) Then they do a countdown and drop the mushroom at midnight like they do with the ball in Times Square.

After that night mom was completely transformed!

Evidently David is a one hell of a kisser who floored my mother and totally knocked her socks off!

She is no longer on the verge of tears all the time or wondering why she is still here when her husband is gone.

She has become a giddy teenager in love.

And in love she is.

He is a wonderful man who doesn't yell (big difference if you knew my dad), doesn't swear (bigger difference if you knew my dad), and is always calm and even keeled.

He is not even (gasp) a sailor!

The cool thing is that he is so different that there is nothing to compare.

She is Chuck's widow and he is Sarah's widower.

Their worlds were, for all intents and purposes, completely different.

The two different worlds collided.

That collision produced a relationships with a synergy that few get to experience.

They are in that early stage of being in love where everything is fun and life is new and shiny again.

Mom and David are now looking at the future together with hope and love in their hearts.

My mom has regained her feistiness and the light, that I thought had been extinguished forever, has returned to her eyes.

David did that and, for that alone, I will forever be grateful to him.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Not Inconsolable

December 3, 2015 was the fifth anniversary of my father's death. Leading up to that date my sister, mother, aunts and I were a weird bundle of nerves. Anniversaries are odd that way.

Lots of anticipation.

I'd imagined that I'd wake up this ball of tears who was inconsolable for hours.

That did not happen.

Per my usual morning habits...I got out of bed, grabbed a cup of coffee and hit Facebook.

First order of business was to pay tribute to the man who gave me the two greatest gifts: My life and my husband.

I did not cry.

I was not inconsolable.

In fact, it felt like my last birthday...just another day.

The lead up was so much worse.

Lesson...

All the worry in the world did nothing but make me miserable.

I am not usually a worrier

In fact, I tend to go the other way. I've been around the block enough to know that worrying seldom produces anything positive and is less than productive.

I tend to take this attitude with my kids when we are home.

They pretty much have free reign of the house and, unless they are doing something blatantly wrong, I can usually repair the damage or clean up the spill.

Spills are something that happens with three-year-olds.

They are curious and learning new things daily so they get into things they shouldn't.

If you have kids you know that silence is typically a VERY bad sign.

Well, the other day I was up in the office designing posts for Facebook for my job and suddenly realized that I didn't hear anything.

I stopped typing for a moment and just listened.

Laughter! Aaaaaaah. The glorious sound of laughter!

Wait!!! What were they laughing about?

I headed downstairs to find them standing on chairs in front of the kitchen sink, water on, sprayer in hand, puddles on the floor, the two of them soaked but giggling hysterically.

It was impossible not to laugh.




Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Goat Closets and Crap Stores

I often forget that the two, very verbal, little people that inhabit my house do not have the same vocabulary that I do.

This was never more obvious than the day I cleaned up their play tent and put it away in the hall closet.

They came down from naps and asked where the tent was. I explained that I had cleaned and put it away in the coat closet.

Both headed down the hallway only to stop in their tracks as Daniel declared, "I don't see a goat."

I made a hard "c"sound and said, "Not goat closet, coat closet." Which prompted David to ask, "Why is it called a coat closet?"

Evidently a 'goat closet' makes more sense.

I have been trying to get the boys to do more hands on things and have discovered that they love things with small stick on parts or just plain stickers that go in coordinated places in books. Finding crafts appropriate for three-year-olds can be difficult but AC Moore seems to have a pretty good selection.

It's gotten better recently but for about two months getting David to wear anything other than pajamas was a nightmare. He'd end up in tears and I would be beyond frustrated that he didn't want to get changed. I thought that everyone would think I was some sort of failure as a mom for allowing my child to leave the house in anything less than real clothing.

I'm over that now but at the time it seemed important.

But I digress...

If you have kids you know what a pain it can be to keep anything that resembles a schedule. I wanted to get out of the house, do the shopping, have lunch, get the crafts and get home.

David wanted to kick, cry and scream because I wanted him in clean clothes.

I had already told them that we were going to the craft store that day but he was being so difficult that I began to bargain and, yes even bribe, telling him that we were going to have lunch and he'd get to pick out his cookie.

He perked right up and said, "And then we're getting crap."

Wait, what?!

I panicked and replied, "We're not getting crap." He said, "Yes we are. You said we are going to the crap store today."

The image of AC Moore flashed into my brain and I quickly corrected his pronunciation.

Evidently between coats and crafts I lack a bit in my ability to enunciate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My How Life Has Changed

Being at the beck and call of two miniature people can be daunting sometimes. Whether I'm changing a diaper or refilling a sippy cup, when I am home with the boys I rarely get much in the way of peace.

When I do, I enjoy my time by doing the laundry or mopping the floor.

Yeah, I'm sexy like that.

It's been more than a year since I've enjoyed a pedicure and I read at night after the kids have gone to bed. Curling up with a good book on a cold rainy day doesn't happen unless there are two boys vying for space on my lap to read Dr. Seuss.

I am not complaining...Just thinking of what life was like before kids.

I used to have the BEST Halloween parties. Lots of food and spirits and everyone knew that costumes were mandatory!

I even went so far as to hide a small stuff rat behind the pedestal in my powder room that would scare the daylights out of the girls when they were peeing.

The rat has recently been resurrected and is now showing up around the house in various locations being dragged from one to the next by the tail as one of the boys shouts, "I have Templeton!"

They love the movie Charlotte's Web and of course they love The Rat.

Tantrums were not a thing I had to deal with before kids...at all.

That has changed.

We recently endured the battle of the PJs.

David, for whatever reason is justifiable to a two-year-old, decided that he only wants to wear pajamas and refused to put clothes on to go outside.

When I say refused, I mean kicking, screaming, flailing refused.

Trying to get out of the house was a nightmare.

I was sharing this to my moms group when one of the moms (who also has twin boys) said, "One of my kids spent three years in nothing but pajamas, cowboy boots and a cape." Another mom's hand flew to her mouth as she exclaimed, "OMG I saw you in Home Depot!" Evidently her daughter thought it was the coolest outfit she'd ever seen!

I have given up on the PJ argument.

If he goes to the store in pajamas I don't care. We are all happier and other moms come to me and tell me that their son or daughter went through the same phase.

Thank you to the moms who have "been there, done that" and share their experience in a way that gives me hope.

Some of the things I've learned from other moms and from the boys are:

  • Relax
  • I wasn't one to take myself seriously before and do so even less now. 
  • What's important to me, is seldom important to others.
  • Talk to other parents.  
  • There is no such thing as a spill-proof sippy cup. 
  • Almost all boo-boos can be fixed with a kiss. 
  • Someday my boys will push me away. 

Each of the boys goes through a needy time where only mommy will do. As the first husband of my best friend once said, "There are two people in the world: Mommy and everyone who isn't mommy."

Right now I can't imagine that there will come a time that the boys won't want to be with me all the time but I know that it will.

When one of the boys is throwing a tantrum I try to remind myself that this will not last forever. This too shall pass and my adorable, happy, sweet boy will once again emerge.

This applies to the good stuff too.

Not in a negative way but just a reminder that I need to appreciate each moment for what it is because all moments will pass.

Nothing lasts forever and I need to be in the present as much as possible.

Friday, September 4, 2015

You Called Me!

I've been bailing my mom out of her computer calamities for at least the past decade.

It could be as simple as a basic email mishap or as complicated as the time she did a mail merge from an Excel spreadsheet to a Word document and somehow managed to delete the Excel Spreadsheet. Either way, despite my having at least two nephews who are much more computer literate than I, she calls me.

Unfortunately...

I don't mind that she calls me. I mind that she argues with me when I try to help her.

I end up like a raving, stuttering Italian mother with my hands waving and spittle forming in the corners of my mouth!

It's ugly.

Years ago I purchased a MacBook Pro and was able to take a break from my roll as Emergency  Technician because she had a Windows based computer and I could get out of things by saying, "I don't know mom, I have a Mac."

Well that hiatus ended when she bought at MacBook Air and chose not to take the three free lessons at the Apple Store.

I was once again her Help Desk.

Most of the time I don't mind until she argues and then I want to rip out my hair all while desperately attempting to be calm and speak in a non-techie language so she can understand what I'm saying.

Words like dohickey, thingy and hooha are used as if those things really exist.

If the computer doesn't respond when she hits a key, she hits another, and another, and another...

You get the point.

Anyway, the computer doesn't stop taking the commands, it just gets slower which causes her to press more and more keys while I yell, "Stop TOUCHING!" into the phone and my children look at me as if I were insane.

She called me the other night while trying to print her boarding pass and luggage receipt for her flight on US Airways and couldn't get it to appear in the print preview window properly.

My mother has one of the most impressive vocabularies of any person I know or have known but her love of the English language goes out the window when frustrated.

She could make a sailor blush.

I do the usual with her and walk her through the print screen stuff but can't figure out why it's coming up funky so I tell her to take a picture of the screen and send it to me in an email so I can see it.

She does as told, for a change, and sends it to me so that I can figure it out and call her back. Right before I hang up she says, "I'm going to reboot my computer while you're looking at the picture."

Yeah, um...don't do that because it negates the point of taking the picture in the FIRST PLACE!!!!

Did I mention that she has the patience of a gnat?

I finally get her to agree to stop touching things and wait for me to call her back.

I get the picture, it's odd and I still can't figure out how the hell she got there so I call back and ask her to send me the email that she received from US Airways so that I can see it and figure out how to print it.

She does and I immediately figure out that she had been trying to print something in Gmail from the top of the screen where it says: File, Edit, View, etc. instead of using the print option IN the email as opposed to the entire page. I tell her to open the email from US Airways and she replies, "Which one?"

God grant me the Serenity...

The one you just sent me.

"Where do I find that?"

To Accept the things I cannot change...

Um...your inbox?!

"I can't see it."

O! M! G!

She finally manages to find the email and I ask her to tell me what she sees in the upper right hand corner which turns into her telling me not to yell at her. I wait what feels like and eternity until she's finished and say, "Can I speak?"

I walk her through printing the email which again turns into me yelling, "Stop, Stop, STOP!!!" When she tried to change from printing 'All' pages to 'From # to #.' 'All' is the default and was selected but because the 'From 1 To 1' was visible she thought it was only going to print one page.

Dear God in Heaven...

She finally just clicked Print and lo and behold two pages appeared like magic in the top of the printer.

Mom breathed a sigh of relief and asked, "What would I do without you?"

I don't know, I just wish you wouldn't argue when you call me for help!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Coffee To Chaos

For the past couple of years my hubby has been becoming a gardener.

It's not the type of thing one becomes overnight.

It takes work and lots, and lots, and lots of reading. Not to mention the fact that he's doing organic gardening which takes more time and more reading.

It's worth it in the long run to know that we are not poisoning our kids with pesticides and we are being environmentally responsible with any runoff that might come from our property.

I help when I can but my cake business keeps me pretty much married to the kitchen during the week and I work a part-time job on the weekends.

Given how busy my schedule is I'm rarely able to get out by myself for any length of time. Meeting a friend for coffee is such a treat that I can't really describe the enjoyment I get from it.

Last week I arranged to meet a girlfriend of mine in the evening at Starbucks for a much, much needed break. We were there barely 30 minutes when hubby started blowing up my phone with panicked messages about the corn going bad. I joked about having a big party over the weekend and he informed me that the corn wouldn't last that long.

Evidently, the bugs had gotten to it.

Bugs are an organic gardeners nemesis. We don't use the high powered deadly pesticides that others use and therefore our 'crops' are more susceptible to infestation.

So...there I sat at Starbucks, desperately trying to enjoy my caramel Frappuccino, researching methods for freezing corn while not ignoring a friend that I haven't seen in six weeks.

Fortunately, the information isn't in-depth because the panicked text messages kept coming and it was nearly impossible to hold a conversation or concentrate on what I was trying to read.

We agreed that my assistance was needed at home so I hugged my BFF and headed home to calm the hubby and get to work.

The good news is that it looked pretty simple. There are basically 9 steps and most are not difficult.

1. Pick
2. Husk
3. Clean
4. Blanche
5. Cool
6. Dry
7. Remove from the cob
8. Bag
9. Freeze

Easy? Yes.

Messy? Very.

I returned home to a wheelbarrow full of corn and a totally freaked out hubby desperate to save all of his hard work from this summer.

I showed him what I had found and got him to settle down and relax we got to work on the, more than, 6 dozen ears of corn that needed to be saved.

We make a great team!

He husked, I scrubbed, blanched and cooled the cobs in an ice bath. After they were cool hubby did the drying, cutting and bagging.

After hubby husked the corn I scrubbed that silks from the cobs and put the pots of water on the stove to blanche the corn.





Once the water was ready I put four ears in the pot and removed them after the water returned to a boil.



The ears were then put in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and then inspected for silks that I missed when cleaning and moved to a towel to dry before cutting.



After they were dry hubby hubby cut the corn from the ears and we bagged it for the freezer. We kept the best looking ones to freeze on the cob so we could enjoy a little summer during the winter months.


Once the corn was bagged, it was submerged in water to squeeze all of the air out before the bags were sealed. This will prevent ice crystals from forming around the corn which would give it freezer burn. Contrary to popular belief it is not "protective ice." 


The end result is a freezer full of delicious sweet corn that we can enjoy once the weather gets cold. 

Hopefully this week, I'll be able to go back for coffee with my girlfriend. Maybe this time I'll be able to finish a sentence! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bloglovin'

I'm listing my blog on Bloglovin'

Pretty cool service that lists all of the blogs that I follow and recommends others based on the one's I've chosen.

Check it out.

www.bloglovin.com

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14368027/?claim=cke2eu9jb7f">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I Want It All...Just Not Right Now

Two and a half is an amazing age!

The rate that our boys learn is astounding. 

Their verbal skills leave our mouths hanging open on a daily basis and their memories are incredible! 

Days fly by in a blur and no matter what I do I never have enough time. 

This was much worse when I had a full time cake assistant. 

Since I started the cake business, I've dreamt of becoming a household name and having a booming cake business. I wanted to have this amazing reputation and be sought after for every major event that could be enhanced with a specialty cake.

I did it! 

With Ismael's help we were completing eight orders a week that consisted of anything from 19 dozen cupcakes and multiple tiered cakes with oodles of flowers to carved cakes made to look like cartoon characters or trucks. 

I attended networking events as often as I could. Invested in being the sponsor at the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce monthly Network at Noon Luncheon and provided cupcakes and cake pops for the WSFS Bank After Hours Business Card Exchange and the Hotties for Humanities fundraising nights. We were booming! 

My dream had come true!

Woohoo!!! 

I was miserable...

I was paying my assistant to make cakes, I was paying a teenager to watch my kids, I was working 2-3 times harder than ever and I making less. 

My kids couldn't understand why I wasn't available. The house was always a mess, I was cranky and sleep deprived and my hubby was taking the brunt of my lousy attitude.

It was obvious to everyone that I had overdone it, and despite my very big mouth, bitten off more than I could chew. So I decided to go back to what I was doing before: 2-3 orders a week and more time for the family. 

I'd like to say that my house is spotless, it is not. But the laundry is finished and put away. The kitchen is clean and the beds have been made.

More importantly, my family is happy.




I'm no longer cranky all the time and, despite being an insomniac, have actually gotten some rest.

The orders are still coming in just not as fast, and that's ok.

I am a little bummed about the timing of all of this. But at the same time, this is the second time I've slowed things down and the business is still coming in.

The good news is that I didn't fail! I quit my full-time marketing position to invest in my cake business and it was and is still succeeding it was just growing faster than I could keep up with right now.

I love to be the supermom who can do it all: full-time domestic engineer who oversees the family finances while raising twin boys and running a cake business.

I want it all!

But, sometimes I want to sleep too.