Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mammary Game

Have you ever secretly wanted to be a toddler or preK(id) again?

I mean, minus the whole tantrums and "that which shall not be uttered" business.
You can buckle yourself into your car seat...
(but when you are tired, Mom still seems to do it for you)
You are more physically independent...
(but when you are sick, Mom still rubs your back)
You are still required to take a looooong nap. (At least at my house.)
And you start to play with really fun games, like MEMORY! Or, "mammary" as my children prefer.

Don't get me wrong, I love a rousing game of London Bridge and Candy Land...but I'm starting to get giddy thinking about playing things like Mancala. Games that require strategy!

For Miles's birthday, my bestie from Wisconsie (oooh...approximate rhyme FAIL) outdid herself and sent us this little number:
I mean, totally amazing, right?
She outlines her crafting prowess over here. This could be my the favorite toy of the year. And the fact that she used rogue scraps of fabric, all of which I think I want to make pillows with (if I could sew) and sell on etsy, is so resourceful.
I got weepy looking through the lot; I saw fabric from FOUR YEARS AGO for Miles's first pair of Schlocks that Amy made...and then the fabric from the matching bird pj pants she made after Felix was born. And then more Schlock fabric and even our recent pillow fabric from our craft exchange.
Functional-educational-craftional
(I made that last one up, but the composition just screamed for a threesome.)
Memory is a great game for those of us with competitive streaks...and OCD.
It's like Miles is at the age where I can *house* him in the game, but still secretly make it so it seems like he found the matches on his own.
Don't be mistaken--he's got some made Memory skillz.
But I'm better.
And I like to win.
Yes. I have skipped pages in books at night, and I have intentionally won at games with my children. But I promise it's the exception, not the rule.
And there is something (pathologically) satisfying about cleaning up the game.
Miles and I organize the blocks in all sorts of repeating patterns and then put them back into the box all single file like a 3rd grade line of children off to library.
See? Memory = rife with strategy.
Felix likes to throw them. (Score another for the non-destructive quality of the toy/game!) And find the tractor square announcing "I MATCHED THE TRACTOR!"
We are working on the whole "matching" concept.
I really am obsessed with quality, handmade gifts.
Yes, they have to be quality.
 I only accept sub par crafts done by the 4 and under contingency.

The sentimental nature of this gift (both in the creator and in the content) really pulls at my heart strings.
There is something about the thought and intent that even gets me weepy now! Like I just got choked up scrolling up through pictures of fabric squares. No joke.

I was sitting with Miles playing this (it happens most nights now) while Felix did a little naked leaping around the room, and was feeling very "present."

No fancy iPad.
No batteries.
Just the 2 of us. (What up Will Smith)
Enjoying the strategy.
Collecting the spoils of our rigged turns.
Feeling like a kid again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He's got a ticket to read...and he does care

Preconception, I was pretty sure that I would never use reward systems in my house.
Hello--you do chores because it is part and parcel of being part of the family.

Rule by example, and the children will follow.
Then reality guffawed quite audibly in my face and let me walk out of the proverbial parenting suite with toilet paper on my shoe.

I am no longer above dangling metaphorical carrots in front of my children's faces in order to get them to do stuff. (Actually, those carrots need to be bathed in butter and dripping with honey. And for Miles, those carrots need to magically turn into[fill in a carbohydrate] slathered with Nutella.)
 
My kids are pretty good at doing things because that's.just.what.you.do to be considered "hygienic" and "civilized", but when we take Marc Summers's physical challenge every morning before and after work/school, we need some structure. (Instead of green slime and milk-like substances, it's all about slingshotting feces and dodging boogers.)

And because crating isn't an option, I've resorted to a "ticket" system.

I found some cute (free!) bathroom printables from Over the Big Moon. I had to snuggle up to Word and Wingdings to mock up some additional ones like "No Fussing", tag each one as morning or evening (sun or star), and put their names on the back.
 
Here is how it works:
You complete a ticketed task, then you find your personalized ticket and put it in a special box.
3 tickets = 1 book at night.
You transgress, and you lose a ticket.
Simple pimple.

Tonight, Miles earned 7 tickets. 
He counted his tickets in "threes" and determined he earned 2 books.
We talked about how many more tickets he needed to get another book. 
You know...I'm all academically deceptive.
It's like hiding zucchini in brownies, except not as delicious.
He picked My Milk Toof and Gracie Goat's Big Bike Race. (High five for both those books!)

Felix lost all of his earned tickets because he won an Oscar with his Sally Field's at the end of Steel Magnolias cemetery scene breakdown when he refused to get out a diaper for bedtime. 
And then refused to put his dirty clothes into the laundry basket.
And then threw the floss into the toilet.
And then picked his nose...and ate it.
And then told me he loved me. 
And then all was forgiven. 
But he didn't get the tickets back--"too bad so sad" is our mantra in these parts.

My goal is to see if this ticket system can last longer than that whole 52 weeks of mail. I've learned I am really good at starting things, but have some commitment issues with "follow-through."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recipe for a good party

This picture is brought to you by Instagram
We had a lovely, low-key 4th birthday party for Miles.

(Not as low-key as Felix's. His was technically "no-key." Umm...we didn't have one. Donations to Felix's PayPal therapy account forthcoming.)

We invited just a couple of his school/family/'hood friends and had what I call a play date on steroids.

How are you oozing such creativity, Ali?
I have to thank Pinterest leading me to another blog for the mason jar/cupcake liner idea: 

(Compost clean-up is uh-mazing.)

I mean, did you come up with any of this stuff on your own?
Nope. Not even the (incredibly dangerous) grapes on a stick.


And the hydrangeas?
Leftovers from Eric's track banquet.

Dirt cake in the real plant pots?
All Martha on this one.

(I highly recommend the recipe: SINFUL. Make your own whipped cream. Go big or go home, right? The baking the pots for 3 hours was a little tedious...but I guess sanitation is good when dealing with children.)



Tea light?
Power outage stash.
Didn't even have a proper birthday candle.

And this kid?
Got him on clearance.

Due to this woman and her failed parenting.
(No one should trust a face like hers.)

I also made other people's recipes for Tri-Colore Orzo (yes, the "e" is supposed to be there) and Cucumber-Watermelon Salad.

There was no structure. Just playing in the sandbox, throwing balls on the roof, coloring with chalk on the driveway, scooting around on our ride-on toys, and then running through the sprinkler.

Oh, and baby ogling.

"Hey, I'm *realllllly* cute, m'kay?"

"What? You want me to smile?"

"Oh, fine..."

There was also a set of 5 month old twins and an almost 1-year-old baby at our house.

KEEEEEEERRRRRRRRSPLAAAAAAAAAAT

What was that?

My ovaries just burst.

And of course, the afternoon ended with our family and our "chosen" family (the D family) shooting the breeze after everyone left.

First these two slept next to each other, now they are "sprinkling" together.
I mean, couldn't the picture below be right off of a Papyrus greeting card?
I call it "topless tutorial."
I'm no photographer, and the lighting/composition isn't perfect...but the juxtaposition of these two slays me.

Life really is good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance: Etsy style

You know how people transformed "Google" into a verb?

I am doing it with etsy.com.

You heard it here first. I am addicted to etsying.

I've waxed on about my love for etsy, and outside of Amazon, it's the first place I go to when looking to buy a gift. (Can Ms. Etsy please get on that whole PRIME membership bandwagon? I love me some free shipping.)

It is graduation time! We have a number of close family friends graduating from both high school and college. Oh, don't forgot Miles is graduating from childcare...(shudder, denial).

And I was wicked excited about some of the gifts that we (and by "we" I mean me, myself, and I) got for a recent college graduate. Eric's contribution was giving me the blessing to spend more than $25 as we now have a system of mutual permission for expenses over 25 bucks. (Don't ask me about the recent legit kitchen compost bin I ordered sans permission to replace the mini office trash can I called the leaking pit of eternal stench. Big spender here. Thirty bones. Spent a fortune on my sarcasm, too.)

Thankfully, I've received kudos for both the graduate purchases and the compost bin from Eric. (Mama knows best, honey.)

So. I'm totally going to help you with a gift you may need to get a graduating girl. (Sorry boys, your gifts are comprised of non-etsy stuff like autographed copies of running magazines, shoes, and running singlets.)

Bingo, bango, voila! Sprinkled Joy came through big time. Nice, huh? The photos below are from her listing (not the graduate that I purchased for).




I chose a chevron pattern and a heart "marker" for the city where her college is located. I used the school's colors as well. I literally "etsyied" (or would it be etsied?) Sprinkled Joy, and got a reply with a proof that day. We had to make a few changes, and then it was seriously at my doorstep before I could blink. I put it in a frame, and it's off to the new graduate!

I also got a girl graduate a necklace, which I am still contemplating keeping for myself. It's from Simple Sweet Studio:

It's a past, present, and future necklace. Fitting, no? I love its delicacy, meaning, and simplicity. It came incredibly fast in the cutest little box, too.

Check the shops out!

Have I said how much I love etsying?

Note: I received no compensation or special deals for my posting/review. I searched for these myself, picked them out of the thousands of listings, and was a happy customer--glad to leave glowing reviews of great service and products.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My summer boys, the encore

I'm not huge on blogging analytics, but I *heart* the "popular posts" gadget that Blogger offers. I put it on my sidebar, and from time to time, check out what posts are trending in the popularity contest.

Hands down, the post that consistently wins president of student council is My Summer Boys. (And now that I included that link, it will surely hold office for at least 2 terms.)

Really?

I started freaking out that perhaps I had inadvertently posted a picture with the boys' heinies in full moon status, and that perhaps some pedophiles were abusing my site.

Yes. I thought that.

So I went back and tried to identify what the traffic was all about.

There is some crack, but predominately boogers and bug bites.

Maybe someone has a booger fetish.

I do love the pictures, but I think I've trumped those a number of times. And the writing is sugar-free vanilla at best.

It still kind of creeps me out, and I am just wondering what it is about that post that has generated the most amount of clicks.

I might just spend a few hours one night clicking on a random posts. It's gonna be a blogging coups d'etat.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kids say the darndest things: late night

Totally interrupting my scheduled posts for the week.

I recently got two identical books to document all of the ridiculous things the boys say because I keep finding myself saying, "wait, Eric...what did Miles say that was so funny yesterday? Remember when Felix said that thing about a boo boo and tweezers and...ugh! I can't remember it exactly!"

Of course, the day I purchased them from Amazon, my kids stopped being funny...until tonight. I got a glimmer of silly 1 and silly 2, and have a feeling I won't regret the purchase.

Scene: Felix is running around in cotton training pants, which are padded *generously* in the crotch area. Eric panics and says, "Oh my gosh! He's got a pant load!" Eric sweeps him up and rushes him to the bathroom. Miles turns to me and asks, "Did he drop a log in his pants?" 

Um, has he been hanging out with some frat boys? I have no idea where he heard that! Oh potty humor. It never gets old...(Thankfully, it was a false alarm, and just a shadow in his underwear thanks to the exceptionally weighted gusset-like genital covering.)

Scene: (Later the same night after bath) Felix is trying to slap Miles's bare bottom. I remind Felix that we don't touch other people's private parts. This has been a topic of discussion since we got a birthday book that the boys love called Amazing You! (image courtesy of Amazon, gift courtesy of Aunt/Uncle and lil bit cousin)
Miles reminds me, with the straightest of faces, that one of the boys in the book nicknames his penis a "hot dog". Felix, not missing a beat, says, "I call mine chicken nuggets!"

We all had a good laugh.


It's like sometimes I wonder if I'm a 13-year-old boy trapped in a 32-year-old body (which may or may not look like a 13-year-old boy to some capacity.)

If this is what it's like raising boys, I am in trouble...

Video Killed the Radio Star

~Ah, lame post title~
I.just.couldn't.get.the.creative.juices.flowing.

I wanted some witty title to pay homage to the amazing tune by the Buggles, but I couldn't get "Instagram" and "SLR" to give me the same British synthpop magic. Shucks.

So.

True story.

I had a conceptual post in my mind about the iPhone and Instagram and how it has turned everyone into an Annie Lebovitz while at the same time slowly causing the demise of the SLR. But the post was just a newly fertilized zygote, unsure if it wanted to nestle into the cushy walls of the proverbial literary uterus and turn into a masterpiece.
Whoah.
That was cray-cray imagery, Ali. I just pictured a blank piece of paper floating down a fallopian tube. 

Basically, I didn't have a single cogent sentence put together in my mind, and was all "Holy bovine! I have lost the command of the English language and am pretty sure I am thinking in photographs. Not sure how well this will translate into all my work reports. Hope clients like Wingdings!"

Is this thinking in pictures a disorder in the DSM-5?
I need to ask my sister-in-law who has probably diagnosed me with a multitude of psychiatric disorders over the course of this blog.

And then my pretend friend at This Place is Now a Home went ahead and did it for me. Thanks, girl!

And by pretend friend, I mean I got connected to her when one of my closest friends from growing up sent me her blog during a time she was blogging about pumping up the jams and pumping out the baby food. (Don't steal that line--it's my unwritten book title!  I don't have a lawyer to sue you...but I do have a 2-year-old who will break your skin with his canines, picks his nose and either eats it or smears it on you, and who has recently started putting his index finger in his bum with the exploratory curiosity of Lews and Clark.)

Ah, yes. Another amazing Mommy photographer and writer who has this blogging thing in the bag. She is cute, accomplished, funny, and I love her blog. Aaand, I totally am hoping she doesn't blacklist me for calling her out on my blog (Don't worry, K, I have 3.5 followers.) We've exchanged some e-mails, and I quickly moved her into my Google Reader folder "Almost Personal" where I host all of my Internet Mommy Blogger Crushes. Like--can we please be friends?

(That has GOT to be in the DSM-5...)

Any-hoo.
I suggest you go and read her post (then follow her) as she perfectly articulates the struggle of trying to keep up taking the real deal banana peel (my overused bumper sticker quote) SLR pictures.

Yet, there is something liberating, easy, and "artistic" about being able to take cool picture, slap on a "1977 Filter", and then put all the equipment back into my pocket.
Scratch that.
I ended up getting the Zack Morris Ottorbox Defender series. I can barely fit the darn phone in my purse.

I don't have to know a lick about ISO, F stops, exposure, etc. I just have to click a button, and then decide if Sutro, Amaro, or Valencia gives the photo the best effect.
(Actually, I pretty much stick to the Walden and Sierra filters.)

Everyone can do it.

But there is still something about that ole ball and chain of the Cannon EOS rebel that takes the most amazing photos.

I just need to learn how to use it.

Or continue to try to get my husband to do it.

In the meantime, I've been exploring with Instagram, and even figured out how to have my blog automatically post the last 2 pictures that I have taken--huzzah! (It's on the right sidebar.)

If you have instagram, come follow me @teamheintz.
Or don't.
My feelings won't be hurt.

The picture of Miles and the totally trans fat free, made with vegetables, cholesterol lowering doughnut in the beginning was my first iPhone Instagram photo.
I was hooked.
And the picture of Miles in the tub from his 4th birthday post was another Insta-amazing-photo I got.

Love.

Below are some of my favs:

Birthday Kite


Felix with a 103.3 degree fever


Yogi


Snickerdoodle

Dead arm hang: Nature Preserve Style

Hygiene: the dental variety

City Blocks



The end.

:)


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Motherhood isn't glamorous...

But it sure is fun!

We decided to ignore every safety rule for Miles's new Ybike, and I decided to ignore every rule of fashion. (I wore old maternity sweats that I haven't packed away, a snoopy t-shirt I got for a "Peanuts" party at work, and old white nursing crocs.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

4.


Happy Birthday, Miles Linus. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Love.These.Boys. (and my camera phone...)

Thanks to these 2 crazy cats for making me fulfill my life's purpose. (And for being willing to wear their Mom's and Grandma's sunglasses when it was too bright at the air show. Function before fashion is how they roll. I thought they were cute. Eric called them Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un.)

Yeah, I'm a day late with my post, but as I recently pinned on my Pinterest board:


We had a lovely, low-key Mother's day with the boys and my in-laws.
  • Sleep in until almost 9am? Check!
  • Man-made breakfast of champions (ie, pancakes, sausage, and local doughnut shop confectioneries)? Check!
  • Ridiculously cute Mother's day crafts from the boys' school? Check!

  • Comfy giraffe t-shirt from the boys? Check! (ummm, when did they learn how to use etsy?)


I also got cute cards and an "About My Mom" survey that Miles filled out at school.

Hmmm...funny...the week before I tortured both boys into trying to answer a Mother's day questionnaire I found online. (No wonder they were resistant!)

I think 3-4 is the year you do these questionnaires for Mother's Day. I had 4 friends post their questionnaires on Facebook. It's.just.so.cute. (And as evidenced by Felix's video below, 2 is a little too young to get anything of substance out of a questionnaire.)

I'd like to say that I would do this every year and see how the answers change, but
A) I cannot even follow-through with my 52 weeks of mail (ummm, anyone notice it got stuck on 23?), and
B) I don't really love the questionnaire I found on Google. (ummm, anyone think it is a good idea to ask a post-natal woman how much she weighs? That being said, I rarely mention my weight-gainers plan, but another Mother's Day gift was that I hit a goal weight. Now I just have to tone the extra baggage.)

Before the videos are a few links to my favorite "ode to Mother's Day" blog posts. Gotta get them in before the yawn fest begins (although around 1:28 seconds on Miles's video and he does a booty show.)

A Prayer for All Mother's By Tina Fey, posted on Momastery
Here's To Us, posted on Scary Mommy
Am I Mom Enough? (Boston.com)

  Cliffs Notes:
  • Felix thinks I am 2 and like to play princess.
  • He got 4 lollipops for pooping on the potty 4 times that day at school. No joke.  
  • Miles cannot handle being serious when he can see himself being taped on the iPad.
  • He does a "booty show" around 1:28 min showing off his new day of the week underwear.
To all you Moms out there...you are amazing!

Especially my Mom/Mahna/Anne. I think my best friend Rebecca, sent the most beautiful message to her (insert tears...):

Happy Mother's Day to one of the most kind, gentle, and devoted mothers I know. Have a terrific day today, Anne.
     

Monday, May 7, 2012

Counting, hirsutism, and balls

It's time for video of my children that is only interesting to the grandaparents!
I know, how did you all wait this long? (Were you expecting something more salacious given the title? Just me trapping you into clicking again.)

Video Title: "Why Felix will not be a mathematician"
Felix cracks me up. He gets his "mathness" from his mother. I swear he can count to 30 when he thinks no one is watching and walking up stairs. But this is far cuter. (The head bob at #19 just kills me.)

Video Title: "A hairy situation"
Miles is beginning to learn about body hair, but doesn't yet know you *never* comment on a woman's leg hair. Never.


Video Title: "Nothing funnier than a ball to the face." Or, "Why Miles will be a Mathlete." (Posted from Facebook; apologies for the wonky alignment!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Try this on for size

I think Miles is going through an "experimentation" phase. First he assumed the role of Rambo, and now he is trying on the proverbial short skirt of a hormonal 15-year-old girl.

I'm not sure which is worse.

The other week, Miles got into the car and started chanting:

Shut up
Shut up
Shut up
Shut up

At first, I didn't think he was actually saying it; his speech can be a little hairy at times. But I was lucky enough to have a WITNESS (hi Mom!) in the car who heard it too. Under my breath I was all, Mom, do you think he is saying what I think he is saying? Her head bob was all, yup!

So, taking a lesson from the bubble wand gun incident, I took a step back and decided not to react off the cuff. I said very plainly:

Miles, what are you saying?

And he said it again:

Shut up

And then in my most "vanilla" and casual voice said,

Huh...well...what does that mean? Where did you hear it?

AHHH! Double barrelled question! Tsk Tsk. Have I learned nothing from my formal education?

Of course my first thought was--did he hear me say this?

I will admit to it. I say "shut up" around friends, but it's more like this:

Friend: Ali, I heard Justin Timberlake is coming to your house...and he's bringing sexy back!
Ali: Shut up! (sub-text: no way! Are you kidding? I hope you are not because that would actually be awesome. Tell me you are lying..no, tell me you are telling the truth.)

But Miles said,

They say it in ____ [insert movie].

It was a movie that was given as a gift, which is rated G bee tee dubs. And we happened to watch it over and over and over and over and over (did I say and over?) when Felix was frying his neural connections with the mad cow virus he had last week and was attached to my body for 3 days straight.

Funny, I "saw" that video about 7 times over a few days, but never remember them saying that phrase. I watched it again and determined:
  1. Yup, they say it.
  2. Junior Varsity Disney impersonator movies are not nearly as polished and kind of remind me of the "tough kids" in the 'hood.
My reaction?

Hmmm...well, that's actually not a polite thing to say.

And that was that.

Note to self: be more present.