January 30, 2013

True Character Revealed

In a final display of true character, my son's coach was a no-show at the football banquet this past weekend. He didn't bother to come. It speaks VOLUMES about his character.

He spent months preaching "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" and the importance of teamwork. What a joke. What a terrible message to send to those 10 and 11 year old boys who showed up every single day for you on the field.

I hope karma bites him in the ass - and soon.

January 29, 2013

My Firstborn ~ Part 3

By the time he was 2 years old, he had a list of foods he would eat and would not eat anything else no matter what your did or withheld from him. 

~ PB&J
~ mini Aunt Jemima frozen pancakes
~ chicken nuggets - it was a long struggle to get him to eat them in the form of "fingers" too
~ hot dogs, no bun
~ pizza - italian style - fresh
~ french fries
~ soft pretzels
~ corn
~ egg noddles - medium width - no other form of pasta, no mac & cheese, etc.
~ Knorr Rice & Sauce - chicken flavor only
~ ketchup

That's literally all he would eat.  He did love fruit though ... apples, bananas, grapes, watermelon, and strawberries. And yogurt. He ate a lot of yogurt.

He's going to be 11 years old in a few weeks and this is still his diet, minus the PB&J. He will not eat it anymore. I can get an occasional peanut butter-only sandwich into him but that's it.

You cannot convince him to eat homemade pancakes. I watched him almost vomit while trying mashed potatoes. Different shaped pasta is not pasta to him. If you go to a party and there is nothing he will eat, he just won't eat. If you say "try this or no dessert or no tv,"  he will go without. I swear he has a fear of food. When I hear people say, "My kid is picky," I just laugh to myself because they have no idea ... we have tried everything known to man to get this kid to eat normally. He. will. not. eat.

A few years ago I gave up. It wasn't worth the stress on our family or on him to keep pestering him to try new foods. I always ask and encourage him to try whatever I may be serving, but mostly, he won't try anything. 

He was proud of himself about two years ago when he tried popcorn and liked it. Popcorn, people. Who doesn't like popcorn?

I have had some recent success with getting him to eat steak. A major, major break through in my book. Right before Thanksgiving we went to Outback for dinner and when I went to confirm that he wanted to order chicken fingers, he said, "Can I get the kid's steak meal?"  Three pairs of eyes did a complete double-take and we could not believe what we were hearing! Of course you can order steak! I literally had tears while sitting at the table that night.

He ate his entire plate, with french fries of course, but I didn't care. My baby ate steak! We jokingly told him we'd eat there once a week if he was going to start eating steak on a regular basis.

When my second son came along, I was petrified he was going to have the same issues with eating. But thankfully, that wasn't the case. And it wasn't until he came along that I realized *I* didn't do anything wrong. I did all the same things I did with Son #1 as a baby and toddler but the outcome was so very different. Son #2 will eat (mostly) anything!

I've read many articles on adult picky eating disorders and so many of those stories describe my son's tendencies. I still hope and pray he will outgrow this because I worry that it may begin to effect him socially as he gets older. He's very aware of his "eating issues" and has spent many nights in tears trying to explain to me what it's like for him when he sees food. 

I tell him all the time that food is not his enemy. There is good food and there is bad food. And it's okay not to like something ... but you won't know if it's good or not unless you try it.  My wish, my prayer, is that one day he will believe it.

January 28, 2013

My Firstborn ~ Part 2

At first, eating cereal went well. He loved it. I would add a small amount of applesauce to add some flavor and he would gobble it up. He was already sleeping through the night before we started the cereal  ... everything was great. I slowly began introducing vegetables and other fruits to his diet. He instantly shunned all the green veggies. Not unusual, of course, but I still managed to get him to eat it. By the time he was 7 months old, I had to start tricking him to get the vegetables into him, by adding a small amount of a green veggies into the sweet potatoes or carrots.  He began refusing rice cereal so I tried barley and oatmeal. He wouldn't eat it.

When I say he refused, he refused. Flat out shut his mouth and turned his head. Or cried or did all three. So I would take him out of his chair and try again at the next meal ... same thing. Over and over and over. He would not eat baby food!

By 8 months old, I was introducing table food. But he wouldn't eat most of what I put in front of him. He would try it (I always let him feed himself - and I helped when necessary) but spit most of it out. So we'd clean him up and meal time was over until the next meal. Lather, rinse, repeat. Every meal time was the same.

The pediatrician was no help, giving me the standard "kids are picky" and "sometimes you have to introdcue a food up to 10 times before they will eat it" lines ... which both may very well be true for some kids, but this did not describe my son.

By 11 months old I was so desperate to find a meal he would eat, I put the phone on the counter, a bottle of benadryl, and handed him a cut-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He ate it like he hadn't eaten in a year. And thankfully, he did not have a peanut allergy. For the next 4 years, he ate at least one or two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every single day....

January 25, 2013

My Firstborn

Where to start. He's almost eleven years old and almost taller than me. Something is so wrong about that but I've been the same height since 7th grade so I guess I just have to deal with it. He will probably surpass me in height before he reaches 8th grade. Awesome. From day one he's been full of surprises, starting with his birth.

He arrived four weeks early. When you are pregnant for the first time everyone tells you, "First babies always come late!" I recall my OB/Gyn said the same thing to me ... I'm here to tell you that isn't true. And when my water broke that morning, we were not ready. My husband was scheduled for training that morning and I was supposed to work but the baby growing inside my belly clearly had other plans for us that day.

We knew we were expecting a boy and had already decided on a first name ... the middle name was still up for debate. Once I convinced my husband that my water did in fact break and that it meant the baby was coming (he was in complete denial!), we headed for the hospital.

Looking back, my labor was somewhat quick and very productive. Just 3 short hours after arriving at the hospital at 3cm dilated, I was fully dilated and ready to push. I am so thankful I opted for an epidural. Labor is very unpredictable and the next three hours were completely exhausting and I could not imagine going through it feeling the pain too!

Once I started to push, he crowned right away. We were all shocked and amazed at how quick this was all happening ... but something wasn't quite right. When I stopped pushing, he was sort of sucked back in. The doctor figured it was because I was a first time mom and things needed to stretch or maybe he was slightly stuck and needed some time to work his way through. No worries though, they said, we'll give it some time. An hour goes by, still pushing, he's not coming out. Another hour goes by, still pushing, he's still not coming out. Then his heart rate starts to drop and they start flipping me in every direction possible to try to stabilize his heart rate.

At this point, they called in a NICU team and started saying, "If we can't get him out soon, we will have to do an emergency c-section." My husband looked physically ill by this point and I was so exhausted. I just wanted the baby out.

I had been pushing off and on for almost three hours. Forms to sign were starting to fly into the room but the doctor wanted to give it another try ... so we did ... and that's when we realized what the problem: the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck several times, acting like a bungee cord. So when I stopped pushing, it was pulling him back in.  On one final mammoth push, my doctor was able to cut the cord before he was completely out, saving us both from emergency surgery.  The NICU team quickly whisked him away to thoroughly check him. I actually don't remember hearing him cry or how long it was until he did cry ... but by the grade of God he was okay. They brought him over to me for a few minutes but then he was taken to the NICU to monitor his breathing.

He only spent four hours in the NICU.  He was small but a good sized baby for being four weeks early. He weighed 5lbs 14ozs.

We did not have a successful nursing experience and to this day, I'm still angry at the lack of support and information provided by the lactation consultants at the hospital. I was a new mom who gave birth four weeks early. It may have been helpful to know that the sucking reflex doesn't kick in until 37-38 weeks of age. It may account for why we had so many issues and why he'd scream and scream because the poor little guy was hungry.  

After we left the hospital, things got worse and he started to lose more weight. Not good for an already small baby. I had already started supplementing with some formula and tried pumping. He would flat out reject my left side no matter what I did. It was so very stressful. You know how some women say they could feed an entire village with the amount of milk they produced? Not so for me and oddly enough, I had the exact same nursing experience with my second son. I was not meant to nurse a baby!

So anyway, formula it was and we never looked back. He was 17lbs by time he was 4 months old. He drank upwards of 46 ounces of formula a day and never spit up a drop. He was like a hoover. With that appetite, my pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start cereal. 

And so began our issues with food.

January 24, 2013

Pancake Donuts

Once in awhile I have a good idea and while experimenting with a few donut recipes (still haven't found the right one!) I happen to think huh, I bet you could use pancake batter to make pancake donuts and guess what? It works!

I followed the directions on the box to make normal pancakes but just poured the batter into my donut maker. After two minutes (yes, they cook that quick), I flipped them over so the tops would brown a bit as well.


Son #2 approved

Son #1 wouldn't try them ... to explain him, it's a very long blog post ... one day

Warning: these are addictive little suckers and they are good for dipping too!

I used all the batter and threw the extra donuts in the freezer. I hope they microwave well!

January 23, 2013

I Hate Wallpaper

Saying I hate wallpaper doesn't exactly describe my feelings for wallpaper. I despise it. Abhor it. I absolutely hate wallpaper. While I can slighlty appreciate it's value in a home, I do not like it in my home at all. And I always seem to get the home where I have to remove it. I hate nothing more than removing wallpaper. It's time consuming and messy and you ruin the walls in the process of trying to get it off no matter what you do.

I *hate* wallpaper.

In my 1st home, an older home, there was wallpaper everywhere. I think at some point in the 1970's if you didn't wallpaper your house you must have been threatened with jail time. And there isn't just one layer of wallpaper, there are multiple layers of wallpaper. For that I think there should be jail time! We had such a difficult time trying to remove the wallpaper from the walls in that kitchen we ended up painting over the wallpaper. We discovered the wallpaper had been papered directly to the drywall. No primer - no paint - no nothing. Glued right to the drywall. An absolute n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e to deal with. Every since that experience, I twitch when I see wallpaper.

When we were househunting for our second home, I can tell you that we walked out of at least 5-10 homes that were littered with wallpaper, despite the protests of our realtor. I don't care what she said, I was NOT going to deal with that again.  The house we ended up buying had wallpaper in 3 rooms:

1.  Son #1's bedroom - pinstriped wallpaper 1/2 way down the wall with a saiboat border ... but at least it wasn't floor to ceiling wallpaper.

2.  Boy's bathroom - lighthouse wallpaper border around the top of the walls.

3.  Powder Room (1/2 bath) - floor to ceiling (ugly!) wallpaper with a border around the top - awesomeness.

This amount of wallpaper I could deal with since it wasn't in the main living areas ... but why do people wallpaper bathrooms? It's the absolute worst place to put wallpaper!

This past fall marks 4 years since we moved in and I can proudly say my son's bedroom and the boy's bathroom are wallpaper free. But the powder room still haunts me. I actually started ripping down the wallpaper last May (and I may have blogged about it) but summer came, the puppy arrived, then vacation, then football, and then the holidays ... where does time go?

I am now officially sick of seeing the powder room in it's current state and I started the process of removing the remaining ******* wallpaper again.  I'm very thankful the wallpaper is coming down with minimal effort and damage, but it's still time consuming and messy. I hope to have the room done (at least re-painted) before my son's birthday at the end of next month. I hope.  We will be changing out the light fixture, the counter top, the medicine cabinet (why is there one in a powder room anyway?) and possibly the toilet. So yeah, almost a complete remodel I suppose!  I'd rather skip to the fun part of painting and decorating!

My house was built in 1990 and this was the best wallpaper they could find?! I call it the Aztec Brush Stroke Mess of mauve, sea foam green, and a dark brown/pink color with a speckled tan/off-white background ... or we can just go with butt ugly.

January 22, 2013

Doggie Woes

Gunner has been limping for a few days. We thought at first maybe he injured his leg somehow but the limping came out of no where and when we told the trainer we wouldn't be coming to training due to the limping, he freaked out and advised us to take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Fortunately, we are not freak-out-run-to-the-doctor people and since he was acting completely normal - still running and jumping but limping - we decided to give it a few days and see what happens. When the limping continued through Monday, we decided it was time for vet visit.

General consensus is that it's probably panosteitis - growing pains in dogs. It's fairly common in large breed dogs because they grow so quickly.  The onset of symptoms is generally sudden and it was this way for Gunner. For now we are treating it with an anti-inflammatory pill. If he's still limping in two weeks, an xray will be taken.

His current state of limping did not hinder him from doing this while we were out to dinner:

Remnants of a baby spider plant that was sitting on the kitchen table. This picture really doesn't do the mess justice because there was dirt from one end of the room to the other. And then he drug his bed in the middle of it, perhaps an attempt to cover up the mess?!

Anybody want a dog?

I kid, I kid ...

January 21, 2013

To Cruise!

The decision has been made ... we are taking our first cruise later this year. I am VERY excited.  I cannot wait to get off of this continent for 7 days! 

I have been spending a lot of time polling different people and reading a TON of reviews online.  It seems no matter which cruise line you pick, someone has a complaint about it. So I guess you can't win there.

One of my husband's good friend's parents (follow that?) have been on 16 cruises. She is my go-to person about this because clearly, she's familiar with taking a cruise and obviously enjoys it. She made a few recommendations based upon her experience:

~ Avoid all Carnival Cruises. It's a giant party boat. Done!

~ She prefers Celebrity and/or Princess Cruises but they tend to cater to an older crowd and not necessarily family-friendly.  I got that vibe as well while researching their boats and cruises.

~ Royal Caribbean = very family friendly.  Agreed!

~ She has never taken a cruise via Norwegian yet oddly enough, it's the cruise line I'm leaning toward at this point! Ironic, I know.

A few must-haves on my list:

1.  I want to leave out of NYC, Cape Liberty, NJ, or Baltimore, Maryland ... I do not want to fly in order to board the cruise. So yes, this gives us some limitations but it also helps to save money too (money that could be spent on a cool excursion!)

2.  I definitely like the free-style dining option. I don't want to be limited to when and where I have to eat. And while dining with strangers could be fun, I'd rather decide who I'm dining with!

3.  A fun boat for the kids ... cool pools and activities geared specifically for them.

4.  The cruise I'm considering is docked at the destination port for 3 days. This is desirable, in my opinion, because you don't have any time restraints on what you may want to do while on the island. Many of the cruises I've looked at are only at a specific port for 6, 7, or 8 hours before you have to be back on the boat. That's not a lot of time to explore!

5.  The bottom line, of course ... you could seriously spend a freaking fortune on a cruise.

We hope to make our final decision within the week or so and get this cruise booked!

January 18, 2013

2nd Birchbox

I know it's only my second box but I must say, I'm really enjoying receiving the fun mail and not knowing what's going to be in the box.

Here's what arrived this month:

~ DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer .... I've tried the past two mornings. Nice scent and did not bother my skin. The description says, "fills in pores and wrinkles for instantly smoother skin..."  Eh, I'm not noticing a difference. Maybe you would over time? A full size bottle is $85. I probably would not buy it.

~ Juicey Couture Vive La Juicy perfume ... again, another pleasant smelling perfume!

~ Keratase Elixir Ultime ... a nourishing oil to add to your hair regimen to hydrate and smooth your hair - haven't tried it yet

~ theBalm Cosmetics (hot mama) ... 2 in 1 blush highlighter ... not bad. I would consider purchasing it.

~ Beauty Extra: Keratase Muritive Nectar Thermique ...  a leave in cream to repair damamge from chemical processing and protect strands from heat styling ... plan to try it this weekend!

January 17, 2013

To Cruise or Not To Cruise

Even though it sort of feels like winter isn't here yet, I've already started thinking about a vacation!  And I'm thinking about a cruise.  We've never been on one. Sadly, we have never stepped foot off of this continent. I think it's time.

But oh my god where to start ... it's kind of overwhelming. What cruise line, what destination, when, how long, what kind of room and which deck ... the only thing I'm sure of is I want to leave out of NYC or Baltimore, a place I can easily drive to.

I think visiting an island would really make an impression upon the boys. Sure they know there is big wide world out there (they can see that on the globe in our office) but actually seeing a piece of it with their eyes would make it real.

So far, polling friends has told us to use either Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise Lines. It's a start!

January 16, 2013

Personalized Dog Bowl Stand

So I'm not sure if I've mentioned it or not, but I have a handy husband. And he's handsome too, an added bonus! A few weeks ago when our puppy started to lay down while he ate, we realized it was time for some sort of stand for his bowls. It's healthier for him to eat "elevated."  Shepherds can have their stomach flip and it's almost always a life-ending event if it happens.

I had looked a few places and online but couldn't find one I liked so my husband made one! We've been using it for quite some time but hadn't found time to paint it. I finally found the time.  I wasn't the best at taking before pictures but just imagine the wood unprimed and unpainted!

January 15, 2013

Winter, Please Come

This weather is for the birds. I'm an east coast girl. I like my seasons. It's one of the reasons I can't imagine living anywhere else.  I'm not a fan of summer. I'm more of a Spring-Fall girl with a little Winter mixed in. But when my kids are wearing shorts to school and I'm pulling weeds in the backyard because it's starting to look like a jungle, and it's January?  It makes me cranky. It's supposed to be cold in January not 60 degrees.

I want the ground to freeze (so the weeds won't grow and Gunner will stop digging to China.)

I want to pay the gas company more money for heat (our last bill was only $98.)

It's winter dammit, I want it to snow!

January 11, 2013

Overheard in the Car

The other night we were coming home from a lovely weeknight dinner at Chick-Fil-A, and I was reminding the boys of what they needed to do when we got home ... homework, showers, then ipods or TV ... when my 5th grader said,

"Why do I have to take a shower? I can just use Axe."

Axe will not clean your butt crack

"Sure it will. I can just spray some in there."

Laughter ensued of course, because anything about butts, farts, and poop will make boys laugh.

All the years you spend teaching them about good hygiene and now that he's pushing into the pre-teen category, horomones and a general need to do the opposite of what he's told is really starting to kick in. It's going to be a long road to 18.

January 10, 2013

Valentine's Day Wreath

Yes, another idea taken from that P site. You would think that all I do is browse Pinterest all day long but that isn't the case. When I logged in last week, I hadn't been on the site in close to a month. I know. How ever did I survive!

This one was easy and I didn't need instructions. I think the photo is self-explanatory.

1.  Buy a wreath. A styrofoam wreath would work best for this project. I used stryofoam flat wreath - so it was curved like a normal wreath on one side but flat on the back side.

2.  Choose your yarn. Whatever color suites the idea floating around in your head! Begin wrapping your wreath. This is somewhat time consuming but easily completed while you are watching mindless Sunday afternoon TV.

3.  My hearts are cut from felt and I traced a heart cookie cutter to make sure they were all the same size.

4.  Place the hearts where you want them on the wreath and add more criss-crossed yarn. This part was a bit tricky. I cut a really long piece of yarn and began criss-crossing it clockwise around the wreath and then back counterclockwise and tied it off when I was finished.

5.  Hang your wreath in the desired location. Done!


Wreath $6.99 ... but used a 40% off coupon
Yarn $4.99 ... plenty leftover for another project. I could have used a cheaper yarn that was on sale but the gray was too dark for my taste.
2 pieces of felt ... 75 cents.

Total: $9.93

p.s. Firefox to the rescue!!

January 9, 2013

Technical Difficulties

I had a post all set to go today and for some reason I cannot get a picture to upload into the body of the post. I figured it was some sort of website/IE issue so I tried again this morning ... it still won't even load the page to let me pick the picture I want to upload.

Maybe it's time to switch over to Firefox AGAIN ... Every day I get closer and closer to buying a MAC computer!

January 8, 2013

Crockpot London Broil

I plucked this recipe off of Pinterest but changed it quite a bit.  The recipe as I saw it seemed a bit "strong" and worthy of killing a slug.

2.5 lbs of london broil
2 packs of dry Italian dressing
2 packs of dry ranch dressing
2 packs of dry brown gravy
1 cup of water

2 packs each of all of that for 2 pounds of meat and only 1 cup of water? Hello salt content?

I cut all of the mixes to 1 pack each and added 1 1/4 cups of water. My london broil was fresh (not frozen) and I cooked it in my crockpot on low for 6 hours ... perfection!  Very tender and very flavorful. I recommend this recipe to all!

I bet this concoction would make a fabulous beef stew as well!

January 7, 2013


Since I just took down all the Christmas decorations, is it okay to decorate for Valentine's Day or is there a standard amount of time you are supposed to wait? And by decorate, I mean a few little things for the mantle and a heart wreath on the front door.

The stores are already filled with Valentine's Day goodies and Easter candy so maybe I don't have to wait?!

January 4, 2013

Turning 40

I know we're only a few days into the new year but suddenly my brain can think of nothing else except my upcoming birthday in March. I'll be 40 years old.  Let that sink in. Swish it around in your mouth a little bit. 40. When my own my mother turned 40, she was about to give birth to her 5th child. And I thought she was OLD. In some ways, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago and now I'm about to turn 40? What the hell? I'm certain I won't be giving birth this year so that's a huge plus ... but still ... the dreaded 40th birthday, like it's some sort of sign of the end.

It's clearly not the end. Life is actually getting easier. Sure, I still have young kids but they aren't as needy anymore. They'd much rather hang out with friends so that's leaving me with lots of free time. That's good ... and bad. Good because I don't feel as stressed while at home getting done the things I need to get done but bad because I find boredom creeping in at times and I wonder what the hell I'm going to do with myself when these boys grow up and move out. I realize I still have quite a few years before this happens but these are the crazy things I think about.

I'm blaming the 40th birthday.


January 3, 2013

Gunner's Gift

Or maybe it's our gift to Gunner? Or a gift to ourselves?  The puppy has officially been enrolled into boot camp, oh, I mean dog training. But not just any dog training. He is being trained by a K9 dog trainer and I swear he's a dog whisperer.

On the day we met him to check out one of his classes, he took Gunner on the leash and walked in a circle with him a few times ... next thing we know, he had Gunner sitting, unleashed, in the middle of yard while 5 dogs circled him and Gunner did. not. move.  This all happened in under 5 minutes. It was unbelievable!

It's safe to say we signed up right after that. It's not cheap but will be well worth the money in the end!

January 2, 2013

So Begins 2013

I wish I could say I missed my computer during the break but I did not. However, staying off the internet and Facebook for all that time made me feel a bit in the dark ages. It nice to see I can break from technology and survive!

Yesterday was the day I realized it was time to get back to our normal routine. The boys were fighting too much and my ears couldn't take it anymore. Much to their dismay, they were in bed at 9pm last night.

Our break was semi-quiet, mixed with some sickness, some shopping, some lunches out, some dinners out and a trip to the movies. Very low key with the laziness we all needed to recharge.

New Year's Eve was spent at my sister-in-law's house enjoying breakfast for dinner. Our family's tradition. The kids look forward to it all year. This year I brought the game "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" and we learned the hard way, we are not. It was so much fun. Lots of laughs and hopefully a new tradition has been started!  All of the kids stayed awake until midnight to bang pots and pans, even my little 20 month old nephew. My boys were never night owls at that age!

Yesterday I started taking down all the Christmas decorations. Our big tree is being tossed to the curb this year since the bottom third of the tree no longer lights, along with a few other random branches. It gave us a good 9 years which is a decent useful life for a prelit tree, wouldn't you say? I'm not sad to see this tree go. It's so big and so very heavy ... I'm thrilled to no longer be storing that sucker!  I came across an awesome deal on a prelit tree from Kohl's after Christmas (only $78!!)  The new tree won't be as big but I'm all about downsizing these days. It will suit the space in our family room just fine. 

I hope the teachers go easy on the kids today ... I know my 3rd grader was in all kinds of denial this morning that he had to go back to school. I'm thinking it's wine for dinner tonight!