Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kung Fu Chloe

Chloe has been pestering us for about two years to take karate. We have kind of ignored those requests until recently. She has been asking to quit swimming to take karate. We didn't want to have her quit swimming because she's really good at it and has a natural talent and ability. Nonetheless, I did some research and looked around at the different forms of martial arts and we decided that Kung Fu is a better fit for Chloe. Surprisingly enough, even though we live just outside the largest city in the U.S., Kung Fu schools are few and far between. Luckily, one of the best rated martial arts schools in the NYC metroplex is in our county. I called the school, spoke to one of the owners and signed Chloe up for a trial class. She loved it and I thought it was pretty awesome too. The children count and learn Chinese in class, they learn Kung Fu as well as other important life lessons. When Chloe left the trial class she told me that she "loved it!". So we signed her up. Today she got her uniform and sash. She's very proud!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knock, Knock

This video couldn't sum up our lives better if I had hired a Hollywood director and script writer. It's short but captures so much of our day to day.

Oliver has taken to telling "Knock, Knock" jokes. Well, he's taken to telling one "Knock, Knock" joke and it's always the same:

Oliver: "Knock, Knock"
Me: "Who's There?"
Oliver: "Ball"
Me: "Ball Who?"
Oliver: "Knock, Knock"...and repeat the above all over again and again

This video captures Oliver telling his "Knock, Knock" joke at about the 50th repeat where big sister Chloe decides to hop in once she realized I began recording this joke-telling marathon. How it ends is classic Oliver--a scream (and it's not even a loud one. Yes, he CAN get louder) and then the "shhh" sign. Enjoy a glimpse into our lives!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Chilly Weekend

The sun was out but the weather was cold. Matt was out of town driving cars with the Po*rsche Club on track. The kids and I had big plans but it didn't seem to work out as the weather didn't want to cooperate. Saturday was bitterly cold and Sunday was better, but it was still chilly.

We had hoped to go for a bike ride and perhaps the Br*onx Zoo on Saturday but with a wind chill in the 20s, it wasn't happening. We were going to go to the Hall of Science in Queens but there was a police shooting that shut down the highway that would take us there. We then thought we would go to the science center in NJ, but I thought it would be really crowded and there is only one section that is approprate for Oliver's age. In the end, I decided that the kids should blow off some steam and I took them to an indoor kid's village of bounce houses, enlcosed climbing gym, arcade games, etc. Chloe had a blast and so did Oliver until it got to be too much and caused a complete and utter meltdown. That was our cue to leave. We grabbed lunch on the way home and both kids napped afterwards---SUCCESS!! On Saturday evening I took the kids out to eat Mexican food. It took our food forever to arrive and by the time it did both Chloe and Oliver had filled up on chips & salsa (yes, Oliver LOVES salsa) and flour tortillas. Oliver declared "Done!" and tried to squeeze himself out of his highchair about 5 minutes before the entrees arrived. I asked the waitress to bring the check when she set the entrees down and then proceeded to shovel my fajitas in my mouth before she arrived back at the table. When Oliver is DONE, he's DONE! I was so proud of my mad super-mom skills that day I went crazy and even stopped off after dinner at that big box toy store and let the kids pick out a toy. Oliver picked out a car (of course) and Chloe picked out the new Le*go Sta*r Wa*rs III game for the Wi*i. I picked up the "cheat book" for the game so I could explain to Chloe how to play it.

Sunday we went to church and Chloe kept asking to go for a bike ride. The child has NO concept of cold or chill and was relentless in her request. The sun was shining and I gave in. We aired up her tires and dusted off the tricycle Chloe had as a child and we went for a bike ride. Chloe has yet to master riding her bicycle on the sidewalks. She was taught to ride her bike on the running track at the high school and so she is accustomed to a smooth surface. The sidewalks in our town are jagged and cracked from tree roots. While Chloe is good on two wheels, she is not so good on two wheels on uneven surfaces. She spent most of the time with her feet off the pedals pushing her bike. Oliver on the other hand loved the tricycle. I walked behind steering the tricycle and he thought he was the coolest thing. I couldn't get him off the thing! Chloe was ready to return home after two blocks, Oliver was not. I had to keep pushing and steering him up and down the street and finally in the backyard. In an attempt to get him off the tricycle, I had to promise to bounce him on the trampoline.

The kids had so much fun playing in the yard the rest of the afternoon. It was chilly but fun. I managed to sneak inside to grab the camera and snap some photos.

Oliver pushing his tricycle around. He kept calling it a "car". He loves the thing.

Chloe on her bicycle on the patio of the house.

Riding in the backyard. We're going to have to work on riding on sidewalks.

Bouncing on the trampoline and getting some energy out.

Oliver loves being bounce on the trampoline.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Has Disappeared

I think my eagerness for the arrival of Spring has caused a retreat. It snowed yesterday (and two days before that) and it's only 41 degrees today and the daily highs for the remainder of the weekend stay around that mark. Matt is in Virginia racing cars and I am scrambling, trying to figure out something to do with the kids this weekend that is relatively warm. I am so sick of being indoors that I may just bundle the kids up and do something outside. The sun is shining and it makes you think it is warmer than it really is.

I do know that I need to go shopping for a crib tent for a certain toddler who I caught attempting to climb out of his crib today at nap time. He had already pulled the blackout curtains off the curtain rods as well as move his crib away from the wall by pushing against the wall with his feet. Mom's going to put a "kabash" on all of that with the crib tent!

In the meantime, here are some photos of the children doing the activities they like best---
 

 Oliver--playing with his cars and pointing his finger telling me "NO".





Chloe, doing cartwheels in the front yard.




Monday, March 21, 2011

Ah, Spring & Playground Dramas Ensue

It's finally here, Spring. And how does it greet us? With rain and snow. It also seems that the temperatures are going to keep dropping during the week and we're in for more snow mid-week. Gee, I'm glad Spring is here!!

We did have lovely weather Thursday and Friday last week and I was pleased to see my tulips started poking through the ground (of course, they're dusted in snow now). It was warm enough to put the top down on the convertible, take a visit to the playground and visit the nursery for spring plantings. I was also planning on putting away my winter clothes and jackets but didn't get around to it as I was enjoying the outdoors. It appears I still need those heavier coats and clothes. Grrrrrr....

Heading to the playground both Thursday and Friday did convince us that a playset for the kids birthdays would be a wise investment.  Not only can prying a certain 21 month-old from the playground can be harrowing it seems that some parent's have lost their minds. It seems lately that I cannot take my kids to the playground without a altercation breaking out between parents. There is one playrground we prefer because it is fully enclosed and it has age-appropriate play equipment for Chloe's age as well as Oliver's age. But, it seems every time we visit this playground a war of words ignites. I wish I was exaggerating, but I am seriously not. EVERYTIME. It is always high drama. The first drama at the playground was when a mother yelled out, "Who is the crappy mother of this child?! Take control of your kid!" and then hurled a string of expletives on the mom when she stepped forward and inquired as to why she was such a crappy mother. It seems the irate mom thought the other mom's son was playing too rough around smaller children. He also climbed on top of the roof of the little kids play area and he should have been told to get down, but wasn't because his mom was too busy talking with some other mom friends. The war of words escalated, lawsuits were threatened and both mother's grabbed their children and left. Needless to say the playground was left silent as we all witnessed two mother's behaving badly.

And the most recent incident occured at our playgroup session. An eight-year old boy kept hanging around Chloe and the other 4 older kids in our playgroup. I would see him say something and see the kids in our group turn and walk away. He would walk up, say something and the kids would move again. I walked over because I didn't want Chloe to exclude this boy or be rude to him. I asked her why they kept walking away and she told me that he was a "bully" and that "he's saying mean things to us." So, I told her that she was doing the right thing to ignore him, not say anything to him and walk away and I went back to chasing Oliver. About 10 minutes later I turn to see a mother with her finger pointed in my friend's face telling her that she needed to bring her son back over to apologize. It seems that the boy who was insulting Chloe and her friends wouldn't stop and pushed his way in to the group to tell one of the little boy's in our group that he "was a wimp" and "played stupid games." Chloe's friend pushed the boy and told him to go away. It was my friend's son who did the pushing and she saw the incident. She called him over, got the story but told him he shouldn't push other kids and made him apologize to the boy. It seems the mother of the boy, the one who had her finger in my friend's face, thought the apology was insincere and he should do it again and mean it this time. She also didn't care if her son insulted our kids, he didn't need to apologize too, he didn't push anyone! She was also telling my friend that she handled the situation wrong and was an unfit mother. She also commented that other mother's at the playground we're unfit, pointing a few out (glad I didn't make it on the list!). Realizing this woman was a little off,  my friend didn't further the argument, called he  son back over and had him apologize again to the boy. To which the boy responded, "I don't believe you!"with a smile on his face. With that, the mother started getting mad again, thinking my friend's son was still insincere. We said nothing and became the mom's who grabbed our kids and made the quickest exit possible.

The playset we chose.

Fast-forward to Saturday...Matt and I loaded up the kids and  headed out to look at the numerous choices of playsets on the market so we can have our own playground fit for both kids in the not so insane privacy of our own yard. I had been looking online for about a week but the playground insanity the week before solidified the decision. There are many "showrooms" around the area as well as the big box stores that carrying playsets so we went to check them out in person.  After we recovered from sticker shock we looked at all the choices out there on the market we made a decision and placed an order. The kids should have their own playset in the backyard well in advance of their birthdays in June.  Lets just hope that it doesn't arrive so early that they forget what Mom & Dad got them for their birthday! In the meantime we will stick to the much smaller, not as much fun but more sane playground.

Here's hoping that Spring will arrive soon and restore sanity to the mom's who have been indoors too long.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day...

from our little leprechauns.


It was a lovely 63 degrees here and we went to the park. Keeping an eye on your child at the playground on St. Patrick's Day with every kid wearing green can be tricky!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Birthday Celebration & Date Night

Happy Birthday to Matt. To celebrate we left the kids with the babysitter, went to dinner and to see a Broadway show.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Dogs


It would be nice to have a place to sit in our house, but I don't want to disturb the dogs.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Crafty

Perhaps it is the lack of sleep or the longer days and sunshine that is driving me to get out the glue gun and fire it up. Its been a while.

Arts & Crafts--not such a big thing in the NYC 'burbs. Antiques, high-end furniture, yes. Craft stalls and cutesy tchotchkes, no. So, when my mom alerted me to the latest craft rage in Dallas, poly mesh, it didn't take long to find inspiration. Finding the material was a different story but with a little time on the Internet I found a distributor. I purchased the poly mesh in several colors and several forms for making the wreath.

My first wreath was a St. Patrick's Day wreath. It is currently on our front door.

Next, I set to work on an Easter wreath. Here's what I used:
poly-mesh
A cheap, straw wreath
different Easter decorations from the craft store

I cut the poly-mesh into strips and tied it to the wreath. I also added some ribbon.


I then hot glued the bunny face on to the wreath. I am sure that I will add and rearrange this wreath before it officially goes on the door, but here's what I have so far.

And then, I kept going...

and going....



I think I need more doors.

In the spirit of craftiness, and to take a break from wreaths, I made Chloe a new "To-Do" dry erase board for her door. I bought a cheap, white picture frame and inserted a dry erase square on top of the glass. I then embellished with vinyl letters and some sticker dots. Lets wait and see if Chloe notices!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Addicted

As I beamed at the box perched on my front door step the thought did occur to me, "Do I really need another calendar?". I brough my pink faux-croc desk calendar inside and unpacked it. I flipped through the pages. I am perpetually on a quest for a better calendar and I had hoped that THIS was THE ONE. You see, it was my third calendar of 2011. The first calendar of the year met an untimely demise after having a sippy cup leak on it, sticking the pages together. The second, the one the new arrival would replace, well it just wasn't cutting it.
But this one....

The new calendar
I know what you are thinking. Its the same thing my husband says, "A paper calendar? REALLY?". Yes, I keep a paper calendar in my purse, I also keep a dry erase calendar on the refrigerator, a paper desk pad calendar in the office, as well as the calendars on my iP*ad and iPh*one. But, the paper calendar in my purse is the master calendar, with flight itineraries, coupons, and other various documents tucked neatly into the pages at easy reach for the day and moment they are needed. Can you tuck your child's printed medical history & insurance information in your iPa*d calendar for their first trip to the dentist? No. So paper calendar it is.

I look around the house. A calendar here, a calendar there. How many calendars do I need? Apparently, a lot. Am I really that busy? No. But each calendar has its purpose and need.

Truth be told, I love calendars. I do. I love pens too, but that's another addiction. PerhapsI have an office supply addiction. My friend and neighbor once called me "anally organized". I am not, but I am a planner. I like to plan things out and know what's coming next (I've already started planning our winter 2012 vacation).

The refrigerator calendar. AKA "The family calendar".
My first full-time job was as a documentation writer for a software company. How many user documents did I end up writing---ZERO. My title was "Documentation Writer" but a few short months into my job my boss asked me to take over as planner for the company party and once-a-month company "fun" functions, maintain the company calendar and all posted materials in the breakroom. Yes, I became the company social director. It never fails, every group, every job I have ever held, I always get the side-job as organizer, social planner, etc.

Its just in me, some driving force telling me to plot every day, week and year, tuck "to-do" lists on important dates that take some extra planning, print reservations and tuck them in on the date, etc.


Replacing the old with the new and backing up the i*P*ad calendar.


The desk calendar--I use this to keep Chloe's school lunch menu plans.

So, is it any wonder that my daughter has made her own calendar and keeps a to-do list on her bedroom door (that she loves to check off each night)?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Cookie Time


I'm troop cookie mother this year. Cookies are everywhere.

Matt came home from work the other night to a room full of boxes of cookies. He looked bewildered and said, "Please tell me these aren't all our cookies!".

Friday, March 04, 2011

Jetlagged

This past week has been a blur. Its gone by so quickly. It hardly seems possible it could be Friday and we have been home nearly one week from our Hawaiian vacation. ***SIGH***

Finally! He naps!! But, of course he fell asleep about 15 minutes before we had to go to get Chloe from school----grrrrrr!


But perhaps it has gone by so quickly because it HAS been a blur as I manuever through the week in a fog from lack of sleep. Things have been crazy at our house this week as we try to acclimate back into the cold and the time change.

The five hour time difference has played havoc on sleep patterns. Oliver has been waking between 3:30-4:30 a.m. every night with little interest in going back to sleep. I have been laying on the floor next to his crib coaxing him back to sleep. Around 6 a.m. he gets bored with my pleas and finally gives up and falls back to sleep. I have to then wake him up around 8:30 a.m. to take Chloe to school. Naps have been hit or miss this week too. Oliver has always been a great sleeper, both naps and at night, so I hope this is just a jetlag phase and will be over soon. I'm praying this isn't a new sleep pattern.

As for Chloe, she's been falling asleep reading every night around 7:45 p.m. and then waking several times in the night to complain about this or that (she's cold, the dog jumped on her bed to sleep with her, the dog didn't jump on the bed to sleep with her, where is the dog?, her covers don't come up high enough, she has to go to the bathroom, she's thirsty, etc.). It usually ends up that she crawls into our bed and attempts to take over my side of the bed.

Needless to say, I haven't had an uninterrupted night's sleep since last week. I'm not accustomed to having my sleep interrupted nor do I function properly when it is interrupted.


So, I am happy to say that we have only one thing scheduled this weekend for the family---SLEEP!
Chloe still sporting the Hawaiian shirt. She wore it to school today. She's still livin' "aloha"! I am just hoping she gives up the Hawaiian time zone and accepts that she is back on Eastern Standard Time!
 
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