Monday, May 30, 2011

1, 2, 3, 4...I declare a CRAFT war (okay, exchange)

Turn up the heat. Put on a dated cardigan...I am skipping middle age and heading straight into the Golden Girls era.

One of my best friends, AS, is a master crafter. I envy her sewing skills and ability to generally complete within 1 week's time: 11 thousand crafts, read all of the NY Times best seller books, raise one heck of a cute baby girl, nurse, pump, make baby food, blog, cook gourmet meals, run--and run well may I add, work a full time job, find a cure for AIDS (okay, that's not true, but I wouldn't put it past her), keep up to date on all popular culture, dress to the nines every day, and just be an all around awesome person.

AS has provided my kids with a variety of awesome homemade goods--cloth blocks, which are still a favorite toy ("Amy balls" we call them), matching birdie pajama pants, a ton of schlocks for their feet, and a tummy time mat. (Still in use for playing on!)

Enter: a need.

My husband has a lovey when he sleeps.

It's not his "Big Bear" from his childhood.

Or a rag tag scrap of baby blanket.

It's a pillow his ex-girlfriend made him in college.

We call it "J-C-U." (After his college.)

And he sleeps with it between his knees.

Does anyone else have a problem with this?

In reality, I have never had a problem with the pillow, but recently I've been trying to figure out how we can eliminate it from our bedroom. It's a singleton, and it doesn't match anything we have (outside of his current school's colors). So when I make the bed (emphasis on WHEN and I because WHEN it happens, I make it) I usually shove it under the bed or behind a pillow so it doesn't look like some shmata pillow on the bed landscape. Like this:

I know, I's totally promoting the colors of not only his college, but also his current place of work. And it's handmade...and it has an "E" on it...and it looks rather loved and to be honest, is quite soft.

But I wanna be a grown-up and have matchy-matchy things. Like throw pillows.

So I decided to get a new knee pillow for Eric. And it just so happened, I could pad my case with "you know, I'm kind of over you sleeping with a pillow made by your ex-girlfriend in your crotch."

Can you argue with that?

But where to get the pillows? IKEA and CB2 were the first inclinations...until I had a stroke of genius.

ENLIST your besty crafty friend from WI to see if you can do a craft exchange and have her make pillows!

Unfortunately, my craftiness is limited to knitted elephants, hats, and door wreaths. I was hoping she'd bite.

And she did! See her process on her blog here.

And now see what Eric got for an early Father's Day gift:

And these things are quality pillows. The chevron pattern was hand made--and we've got a zipper, folks!

Man--I could barely fudge a sewed up fly on my middle school sunflower boxers.

Eric loves them--and so do I! It's like you almost don't even see the snot and spit up stains from the boys wresting on our bed every day.

It's like--I'm almost an adult.

In exchange, I made--shocker of all shockers--a wreath! I used a new honey bun called Martinique, and was incredibly tempted to keep it for my own door. 

How much do I love craft exchanges? It's a fantastic "currency" if you ask me.

I'm thinking I'll preposition the pediatrician's office--craft for a copay?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I smell a giveaway!

Hmmm...I wonder what a giveaway might smell like? If I had a choice, it would be freshly baked homemade bread, newly cut lilacs...or gasoline.

It's another GIVEAWAY!!

(the hat--not the cute kid. And yes, I put a baby girl hat on my toddler boy. Models don't come cheap these days, so I have to take what I can get)
 My friend Mama Stacy spent the weekend away from her brood back up north to come to Atlanta to visit a college friend. I've talked about Mama S before--she is another preemie Mama who I went to high school with...and could be in the running for the "coolest stay at home mom" in the country.

We reconnected over the past couple of years, thanks to the Internet and our kids, but I hadn't seen her since high school (like, when Seinfeld was still running on prime time, and we carried portable CD players around), so when I found out she was coming down to Hotlanta, I made sure we got together.

Mama said she was going to bring down a crochet project she just whipped up (teach me please!) for the sake of being uber crafty and generous. And she had a stellar idea: have it be part of a giveaway on my blog! It's an adorable baby blanket and two hats--a newborn hat, and a slightly older baby hat (see "Felicity" above). Utilizing runners' lingo, I would call this a girl's "kit." And I'd like to call it the Girl's Juicy Watermelon Kit. I would say the white hat is newborn size, and the pink is a few months old (I know, "few" is so relative, but my boys' heads were like 8 millionth percentile at 5 months old, so I like to remain intentionally vague with this kind of stuff.) The blanket is the perfect size for those initial weeks of tummy time (as long as you don't have one of those "spitter uppers" or "explosive poopers," then I might opt for a less coveted blanket), and also for car seat draping as it would just about cover a little baby girls' body, and not have to be crammed into the sides, or dragged on the floor.

As cute as Felix looks in the hat, it's a little small--and let's be honest--there has to be an adorable baby girl out there (or soon to be) that would look a lot cuter.

Although, this would make an excellent baby gift, so even if you are not in possession of a little baby girl in your arms or in your belly, I'd consider vying for it as a great baby shower gift!

Since Mama Stacy was so generous in making the Juicy Watermelon Kit for some lucky baby out there (and rumor has it, it only took her a week!)--I figured there was only one way to run the giveaway:

What are YOU going to do in the next week for someone else, for no other reason than to make someone's day?

Rules: Once you execute this random act of kindness (RAK), come back here on the blog, and post a comment letting me know what you have done.  And get this--as some extra kindness from me to you, I'll let you post up to 3 RAKs until the giveaway concludes next Sunday night at 11:11pm (June 5th). (Why 11:11pm? Why not?!?). I'll announce the winner and his/her RAK(s), and then send off the loot within a day! Please provide me with your e-mail address if I don't have it so I can contact you if you win!

Some more pictures to get you inspired...

Here is when my model was no longer willing to play dress up with me, even with the promise of playing "pony boy" and doing belly zerberts, so I had to opt for "Sean," the pantless, slightly ambiguously gendered doll.

Oh, and to get him upright, I put him on the potty. Yup. It's the one that sits in our master bathroom, unused, and typically a warehouse for toy cars during our morning play sessions before school.

At least "Sean" doesn't ask for much.

Alrighty folks! Lemme hear about your RAKs.

In the words of Miles: "On your mark...den set...GO!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Move over 11, it's all about 3

Eric and my "lucky" number is 11. And it always will be:

We are both born on 1/11
Married on 7/22 (7+2+2=11)
I was proposed to with 110 tulips--and a rogue 111th little daisy type that slipped into the mix by "accident."

This list actually goes on and on.

But I think Miles's # is going to be 3.

He's 3.
He weighs 30 lbs (okay, a little over 29, but if we weigh him on his projected third birthday at the end of June, I bet he'll tip the scales!)
And he is 3 feet tall.

We have been celebrating his birthday for a little over a week--but I refuse to go 3 weeks.

It's like overnight he turned into a little boy--except he still wears diapers. And can I mention that over night I all of a sudden felt like he is too old for diapers? And that I am a little more discrete when I change in front of him? It's like he looks at me and instead of the innocent "Mommy--bottom!" he used to say, he just stares with a "one of these things isn't like the other..." kind of inquisitiveness.

The extended celebration lasted days as generous family/friends sent us birthday packages. Now, each day Miles asks: "am I three NOW? Do I get more presents?" Although he has a concept of "presents" and dates, we can still pull a few sly tricks--like using the giant polka dotted gift bag we got from one of Eric's friends who bought him a bunch of cars, and reusing it multiple times over the course of a few days to "wrap" the gifts we bought him.

Some of the highlights (ie, things I took pictures of to date--and not in representative order of "favorite" or "best" gifts--just my inconsistent documentarian job):

Scooters from Mahna

A new Picasso Touch the Art Book! (Although, I think the Pop Warhol's the Top one we got a few months ago is slightly better.)
Touch the Art: Pop Warhol's TopTouch the Art: Catch Picasso's Rooster

Automoblox cars from Felix, Mommy, and Daddy

A Warrior Dash souvenir hat from Daddy, which has been donated to our childcare's dress-up closet. (Felix had to get in on the play time, too!)

An astronaut outfit from AunT and Nuncle (hello Halloween 2011!)
Felix still needs to graduate from space camp--he's not looking too comfortable, here.
Popcorn ball from Grandma and Opa (along with cars and an awesome plant/water sprayer for outside)

A black eye...

ERRRR--back up, black eye?

Oh yes. On the way to his birthday party playdate with some friends, Miles first skinned both of his knees and drew some drops of blood. Thanks to Curious George band-aids, we were able to make it to the birthday party without a trip to the ER. But then as we are about to decorate our own homemade sugar cookies, the darn kid gets so excited (that, or wearing Daddy's hat obstructed his vision, or he slip n' slided on the massive amounts of sunscreen "ocean" I lathered him with...and yes, slided is not a word.), that he tumbled off of the picnic table, and kissed the concrete floor with his eyebrow. 


But he had a great time at the playground (despite being up since 3:45am--of all days he decides to get up in the middle of the night over the past year). And to protect the reputations of most of the kids, I will just post family pics, but let me tell you that we have a cadre of really cute friends! We opted for the local airport's playground, and just had a sort of open invitation for all to come--watch the planes, eat junk, and sweat in the 90 degree heat.

Miles really squeezed on the frosting. It kinda reminds me of shaving cream. Funny how for his 1st birthday, I was SO anal about having a "cake" with limited sugar. We made a carrot block cake that had about zero sugar in it--no oil--just carrots, wheat flour, apple sauce, and love. It was...interesting. Last year I upgraded to carrot cake cupcakes that are DIVINE, but still convinced myself they were "healthy" by using apple sauce in place of oil, lots of carrots, half wheat flour, more brown than white sugar, and as many organic ingredients as possible. This year, I threw caution to the wind, and made homemade sugar cookies, and colored white frosting and put into little make-shift piping bags out of zipper plastic bags. The ingredients were all organic outside of the sugar and frosting...but let's be clear, that doesn't mean ANYTHING in terms of "health." 

And they were GOOD. I'll post the recipe along with some additional ones soon.

Felix showing off his bubble blowing skills with T's Mommy.
High five for turning 3!!

It was a really nice, low key birthday.

How on earth do I have a "fwee" year old???

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things: Miles - Appendix

If only I caught this on video this morning...

As I was applying sunscreen lotion (Miles calls it "ocean") to the boys:

Miles: "If you don't wear ocean, you get burned, the firetruck comes, and takes you away."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things: Miles - 36 months (3 years!)

I think my keyboard has dried from the saline residue I left after developing and posting Mile's 3 year retrospective.

Back to short snippets of KSTDT: Miles at 36 months/3 years old

This kid cracks me up.

Reindeer? Really? Again? I think he is just memorizing the answers he has said in the past. Although, we do now rotate between teacher, fireman, and doctor for future careers.

Some spotty transcription--also, pay attention to him saying "bye" in the middle of my interview. Clearly I was taking away valuable outdoor time

Miles is three ("fwee")
Miles's favorite color is red ("wed")
Miles's favorite animal (still that darn "wain-deeeeer!")

Why is he afraid of dinosaurs? I'm not sure, but I think he said "I sick."

I'll bet you dollars for doughnuts we walk away with a recommendation for speech therapy on Friday's well child visit. Might as well--it almost seemed like Felix's therapy was winding down.


Friday, May 13, 2011

I offer you 9 minutes of my tears

Not sure there is anything to say in this post...I think the video says it all.

Comments on the soundtrack below

It has been an amazing 3 years. 9 minutes surely doesn't capture the intensity of our love for you.

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!


The soundtrack is courtesy of Sia, "Breathe Me"--the chorus echos through my mind whenever I think of Miles as a baby:

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I'm needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

And Ben Folds "Still Fighting It"--poignant excerpt. I heart Ben...and this song.

Good morning, son
I am a bird

It was pain
Sunny days and rain
I knew you'd feel the same things

Everybody knows
It hurts to grow up
And everybody does
It's so weird to be back here.
Let me tell you what
The years go on and
We're still fighting it, we're still fighting it
Oh, we're still fighting it, we're still fighting it

And you're so much like me
I'm sorry

Birthday preparations

Miles turns 3 on Monday.

I'm in utter denial.

Sometimes it feels like he's been around my entire life (and, I guess he sort of have if you guess that I am born with all of the eggs my body will produce over my lifetime-ha!)

And other times I feel like Eric, Carol, and I were sitting in the delivery room--absolutely unprepared for his induction. But laughing, watching, and getting ready for an crazy delivery.

I've been toying with our new Macbook pro and iMovie for the last 2 nights. I created a great 9 minute montage only to realize I had been doing it in a very old version, and not with the new iMovie 11. Argh! It's not easy to transfer the project between versions, so the archaic one will have to do.

And then I realized I had to compress and turn into a Quick Time movie to put onto YouTube. So now it looks so much more grainy and choppy. Frustrating! Oh well. At least on our computer it looks pretty darn good.

Through this reflective process I have realized a number of things:
  • Miles was ridiculously cute as a baby. He's still really cute, and I know I am his mother, but his tight lipped smile is almost too much for me to watch.
  • With each passing month, we took fewer and fewer pictures and videos. Poor Felix will have a 3 minute video when he is 3.
  • Miles's hair was exceptionally long at one point. What was I thinking?
  • We have had a lot of tears and struggles over the past 3 years, but even more smiles, giggles, and hugs. 
Life is pretty darn good...and that's in a large part to Miles.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Confession: part II

I have another confession...or 2:

1. I have a crush on Christy Turlington.

2. There are many days I wake up, commit to living a buddhist lifestyle, quit my job, have another 2 premature boys (cuz we know that's what my body is MADE for!), and when money gets really tight, the electricity shuts off...we just propose an extended front yard camping adventure.

(Until I put the boys into child slave labor and have them push my mediocre knitting and wreath creations in a lemonade-stand type of operation. My 'hood is predominately comprised of the grandparent types--they eat that kind of craftiness up, no? And with my boys' one can resist.)

A few of you readers (you 3 know who you are...) have been the best "go-to" Mamas for discussing the: "I want to quit my job...or do I? Rather, can I? This is rotten! Why did I get a masters? Why can't we figure it all out? This is complicated! Stop me from being envious of my part-timing and SAHM friends."

Yes, tantrums are intense. Diapers are smelly. And I'm pretty sure I cannot replicate the amazing exposure my boys get at childcare...but the stress of professional life weighs so heavily on me. And part time work just isn't an option. (To maintain benefits, I have to work 35 hours a, that's pretty close to full time if you ask me!)

This weeked I saw a tv spot on Christy Turlington courtesy of the CBS Sunday Morning show. Okay, she's my new hero. Move over Ashley Judd, Christy is just about the most beautiful, graceful, eloquent, impactful woman. I want to be her. Kate Middleton was so last week. And seriously--remember Christy in the George Michael music video Freedom? My. Personal. Hero. And get this--she is currently, at the ripe age of 40 something, getting a Master of Public Health from Columbia. (Yay MPH!) When I mentioned this all to Eric and concluded with "I want to be her." Eric said, "no, given her cureent career aspirations, she wants to be YOU!"


Anyway, what it reminded me of is that there are women who have figured it out, and in my heart, I don't think it is all about money (yeah, Christy's got some). But I'm still not sure exactly what the right formula is. Part of me thinks it's about the *opportunity* to do what you want, how you want it. And the truth is, I don't have that luxury now that I have additional lives to support.

I think after Mother's Day weekend, I am a little more "how can I figure out this whole work-wife-mother balance better?" I am going to bed feeling like Monday morning is going to hurt--in the heart. (Yes, I write posts when I'm overtired in my bed and schedule them to post the next day.)

Any million dollar ideas? I'm listening...

And to keep ME going through the week (cuz I'll come back to my own site just to look at pictures of my kids. Yeah, I am THAT kinda mom), some pictures from this weekend. And soon, I'll actually be able to save them to more than just my online smugmug account-new computer en route!!!

Reason #1 and #2 why I have these confessions... (wait, is Felix giving me the finger?)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mommy Confession

On the heels of Mother's Day, I thought I would throw you all "what is she thinking?!?" post. It's been awhile since I've caused gaping mouth reactions from my readers.

There are moments that I have a hard time "liking" being with my children.

I see the first draft of the virtual petition to forcefully exempt me from Mother's Day this weekend. 

Whaaa??? This coming from a girl who drives to work every day coming up with outlandish plans to start her own boogie belt company so she can be a work from home mom while still avoiding bankruptcy?

Let me explain--bear with me.

Colicky babies (I had one, so I have license to run my mouth about the struggles) can try the patience of any parent. Never before until Felix was in the height of his colic did I understand how a parent could EVER shake a baby. (It's still a heinous crime, but there is now a part of me maybe does not condone, but understands how you don't have to be walking around with a balloon of heroin sticking of your arm, an empty flask falling out of your pocket, and cocaine dust adorning your nose to be the "type" to feel compelled to squeeze an inconsolable new one.) Now, before the next 10 people sign that petition, I NEVER shook or aggressively manhandled my babies. Never Ever. And never even felt the desire. But there were moments of tears and even some nights I would look at Felix and say (okay, kinda scream through tears) "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY WON'T YOU STOP CRYING?" And I read over and over the best strategy was to put your baby in a safe place, and walk away. (Or pass him over to the best husband on the planet to deal with.) Folks, that's good advice.

And you know what? It translates to toddlers, too. With a colicky baby, as hard as it was, night after night, to go through the hours of agony, I just loved him more and more. He was helpless, new, small, and clearly not mature enough to manipulate. (And I also think dealing with an undiagnosed raging double ear infection. Guilt! Damn the Pediatrician for not seeing my babies from months 2 to 4!)

Toddlers lie and manipulate, people. (Good thing they are cute.)

It happens right close to 3 years old.

And mine tends to throw tantrums as his horses' doovers to the feast of fibs and manipulations.

And yes. Take away my Mommy license, but during some of the worst episodes, I do not like being around him.

I confess.

I'm sort of all over the place with discipline/gentle direction...or whatever you call it. (Read: I have not yet plunged into the excessive library of behavioral books.) I think I had a big brain dump back in November 2010, and have a hard time reading through a full J.Crew catalogue at the moment. I'm bloated on baby, sleep, and mothering books from the last 2 years and am on a temporary hiatus from anything written by someone with an MD or PhD behind his/her name.

At our house, we do the "uh, oh...bad to a quiet chair" waterted down version of love and logic/natural consequences (I think some of it is way too ridiculous.) For the boys, it works okay. And yes, I'm pretty militant about manners and apologies. I run the risk of diluting the meaning, but much like saying "I love you," I think repetition also breeds acceptance and understanding.

And I want to make clear, that I firmly believe that after every moment my children have to sit alone, or deal with consequences of their actions, I ALWAYS make sure to say I love you, and give them hugs once the dust has settled. I never want them to feel as though we do not love them or will not protect them. But that doesn't mean we accept their behavior.

But recently we've gone into new territory--where quiet moments and zen like parenting is no longer cuttting it.

Miles is willfull. And dear God help me...because Felix is going to be stealing my car keys and running off with upperclassman girls to make-out in a Friendly's parking lot.

Miles loves his way, and when he doesn't get it, it can be like full blown dissolving. Luckily, he isn't violent, doesn't hit, doesn't do self harm, doesn't spit, and doesn't say mean things (yet). He just wails.

I know his triggers. And I also have the sense that as an extremely introverted, intense, and shy little boy who will probably forever be a second adopter and not a trail blazer (which is okay!), asserts himself in environments where he feels safe--and that is home. At home, he can let loose and unload any of the day's pent up fear.

Recently, it's been lots of "I can't DO it! No, Daddy--Mommy do it!" It's like as he started getting closer to 3, he started pretending to be more helpless--and that I am the only one who actual has parenting skills. And I won't lie...I fear that this Mama's boy shtick will turn into full blown Freudian pathology--Ha!

Sometimes, it makes me kind of chuckle when Felix pushes your hand away when you try to help him walk, and then in tandemn, Miles collapses at your feet, saying he cannot walk--his leg is broken and he needs help. And then sometimes, especially when I relent, I get visions of him as a teenager, sitting in a hammock while I fan him and hand feed him grapes with the skin peeled off. And I get kinda frustrated.

But we *try* to draw the line. The kid has 2 parents, and Daddy is just as capable, especially now that nursing is out of the picture. So, sometimes there is a lot of ignoring going on in our house. And a lot of "Are you done crying? Let us know when you are done and ready to play." And sometimes, there is even "Miles, I cannot be around you right now. I'm going into the other room to get away from you."

Yup. I say that. Ask my Mom. I did it in Boston the day we were leaving when Miles, I think overtired from a ton of travel and picking up on the stress of the journey ahead, just couldn't keep it together over a piece of pizza. I walked outside on the front steps and removed myself from the situation. Just like with a colicky baby.

I don't like those moments.

We are not yellers or spankers or hitters in our family of 4. But here's the rub--when we are out and traveling, not only does Miles put on an extra thick layer of infantilizing himself, but we are not in a position to as easily "draw the line." So much of the time, we acquiesce, and I see the manipulation blooming. I know, you all are like, "he's only 3! He is helpless!" Yes, at times, but he's also a dramatist and slowly starting to understand causal relations. (The worst is when he throws a fit, gets me all worked up, and then instantaneously forgets about it, say, when a truck horn blares outside and he calmly asks, "What's that sound, Mommy? What's that truck doing?" I'm all--wait, weren't we just in the throes of a tantrum?? You cannot just disengage so fast--I'm still pissed!)

But for the first time over break, when Miles was at a peak tantrum while in Maine, I said to Eric, "I know it does no good, but I want to spank him."

I DIDN'T! But I said it.

I just felt trapped--in someone else's home--and I couldn't remove him to a more familiar environment and do what we do at home when he acts up. I felt helpless.

And in order to enjoy Mother's Day (if you all are so willing to let me), I need admit these moments. Allow myself the opportunity to be human and frustrated, and work toward remaining calm and firm in the future.

Every day there are tests. Toddlers can be, well, trying as they say! Miles is old enough to have a beginning sense of power, and I know he is starting to explore what that looks like.

Mom: We cannot go to Kroger with Daddy because you said you didn't want to change your diaper on the way out of school today when I said you needed it changed before going to the store. You asked to have it changed at home. Sorry, but that was your decision.
Miles: No! I want to change it at school. And then we will go to Kroger.
Mom: Nope. Sorry. We are in the car already on the way home. I gave you a chance on the playground.
Miles: We go home. Change my diaper and THEN go to Kroger. Please?

And so begins the bargaining tactic.

And another confession, at times I resort to bribing and taking away priveleges when things hit fever pitch. "If you don't get calm, we are not going to play with cars at home--Uh, oh, only 2 stories tonight if you don't sit down in the bath--Miles, if you wait until your clock turns green, that means your a big enough boy to go to the Dr Suess play."

I know my strategies are flawed...especially because although he waited until his clock was green today (actually, he woke up when it was green... I cannot give him that credit, yet), he didn't yesterday. And we are still going to the Dr Seuss play tonight.

Empty "threats" are dangerous territory...enter, "Mom doesn't mean what she says."

I try to be consistent, even tempered, and still loving. I try.

And sometimes I fail.

But perhaps being a good Mom is about acknowledging these difficult moments. Cutting yourself a break, but also committing to consistency.

And no matter where you fall at the end of this post (petition signer or not), I have to end with a defining moment that I replay over and over in my head because it gives me a moment of great pause and reflection. And validation from one of the most important people in the world:

My Dad and I are "close," but I wouldn't say have that traditional "father-daughter" relationship where we tell each other secrets and I would curl up in his lap and have him tell me how beautiful I am. And Dad--that's totally okay--I probably would have laughed and asked to go play basketball outside. But on our way to the airport last week, as he dropped us off (and yes, I was crying prior to leaving because 1. Miles had a tantrum that drove me bananas 2. There were impending tornadoes hitting the southest that we were scheduled to fly into, and 3. I didn't want to go home and already missed my family) he gave me that standard Bob/Dad hug, but squeezed extra tight and said:

"You're a good mom."

Cue: tears.

Thanks, Dad. And you are a good dad. Love you.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"I won't grow up!"

At the tail end of our New England vacation, we just needed a few good hours to play.

And I'm talking about adults and kids alike.

Listen, when you have toddlers like mine who are used to being outside for a good portion of the day, keeping them pent up in houses because of less than ideal weather with limited toys, and lots of adult land mines (electronic equipment, flights of stairs, etc), the boys start to go crazy, resent the phrase, "don't touch that!" and sometimes throw the worst tantrum you have ever experienced that a parent actually calls up Babies R Us and pleads that they take a special return without a receipt. Okay, so I didn't do that, but both Eric and I were on the verge of tears on one occasion.

Add the fact that my children were exposed to more television and junk food than they have been their entire lives, and also that their sleep routines were off...and you have a recipe for chaos.

Diversion for a minute--at what point do toddlers get this uncanny ability to sniff out anything with transfat, high fructose corn syrup and chocolate? Miles found himself rummaging through pantries and of all things, would pull out some sort of candy and ask about it. And we don't keep candy hanging around in our house like we do, say, dust bunnies. And although this kid is smart, he's not yet reading. Our explanation that the bags were just "decorations" lasted all of 1 day. I think I have a candy addict on my hand.

Diversion 2 for another minute--lest you think that the chaos that was my children resulted in permanent damage in the 2 houses we bunked at during our vacation, you would be wrong. Oh, there was damage, but it wasn't caused by my 2 little rugrats. Gazelle in a china shop over here helped saturate Eric's sister and brother-in-law's kitchen ceiling with a leaky shower experience. And Eric tried to one up me and broke some dishes. Neither of which we could blame on those who only speak Ewok (ie, Felix). I felt awful--tried to make a joke along the lines of, "well, you both are on maternity/paternity leave and are finally getting a hang of things after 2 months. We thought we would keep you busy now that sleeping is almost predictable." 

We all needed some time outside. 

And the day before your harrowing trip back to GA, we had some amazing weather in MA at my parents' house. So, we played. And played hard. For 2+ hours we scooted and motorcycled down the driveway, played with chalk, bubbles, tossed balls around, and just let loose. (You cannot tell from the pictures, but we would FLY down the driveway on any wheeled vehicle. And the motorcycle is probably on order of 34 years old--works like a charm.) 

It was awesome.

Yeah, sometimes, I don't wanna grow up. 

Um, that's totally my Mom doing scooter races. She's the biggest kid of all...

The luge. He learned the hard way that it is much preferable to the skeleton

The boys get a turn

The tongue of concentration

30+ year old motorcycle!! (on this one, you really FLEW!)