Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday moments

Friday moments with Soule Mama again today.

If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link. Thank you to all of you who link up or leave comments here - it makes my day.

It has definitely been a mixed bag this week.

Spring has sprung, yet we're still sick.

See germs? Look, it's spring. Now GO!

The good news is, Wee One has made a full recovery, and has been rockin' the sandbox.

Roar! Kneel before me!

While the Big Boy is definitely on the mend, he's only rockin' the cuddle.

Please don't puke on me. Please don't puke on me.
Please don't puke on me. Please don't puke on me.

But mostly, we've been keeping it low-key. Spending leisurely hours in the sun, pedaling tricycles, "fixin' da fort," and trying to surreptitiously eat sidewalk chalk.

"Blew!" "No honey, that's yellow. Take it out of your mouth."
"Blew!" No honey, that's orange. Take it out of your mouth."
"Blew!" Yes honey! Blue! Now take it out of your mouth."

My to-do list is still breathing down my neck, but I'm working on ignoring it.  As soon as I make this one quick phone call.

What are you guys up to this weekend? You know what I'm doing? Bleaching every square inch of this house. BeGONE foul germs!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Things are a little busy at our house right now.  Yours, too?

We are making some changes, and I'm taking on a few new endeavors (I got to wear the microphone at Pilates this week!).

I have a long list of "things-to-do" and not a whole lot of child-free moments to get it all done. Okay, pretty much no child-free-moments. Ever. "Mumma? Whatcha doing? I want you to come wif me."

So I'm in that uncomfortable place, where my to-do list feels burdensome and I yet I have to accept the fact that my children are my priority. I can't get everything done according to my schedule. If I try to push to hard, to cram in a few more to-do's, I get cranky and irritable with the boys, and we all suffer.

So, dear friends, come along with me as I try to let go of my time-table and accept the reality of a life with two small children.

Though there may not be time to return phone calls, there's always time to get some work done in the sun.

We fixin' dis wight hee-yah."

Though, I may feel overburdened at times, I'm not the only one doing some heavy lifting.

"Biiiig one!"

And when I am tired and cranky, frustrated and grouchy - there's always a little bit of heaven nearby - if you know where to get it.


I get stuck in this place pretty often - chasing my own goals and straining against the boundaries of life as a stay-at-home mom.  I forget that I can't jam a round peg in a square hole by sheer force of will.

I've got to stop banging my head against the wall - this is my life, it's beautiful and crazy and awesome and hard, boundaries and all.

The things will get done. Or they won't. But my kids, these two cool little dudes of mine, they are what matter. I need to put honoring that at the top of my to-do list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moving on

No puke talk today, I promise.

The Big Boy is finally keeping down some bland solid food. Progress! I say, progress!

Though, he is still spending a great deal of time sacked out on his bean bag.

But I am finally letting him back on the carpet.

When he does venture outside, he's keeping it pretty low-key.

This photo is actually from Easter Sunday, just an hour of so before

And I have another Easter photo to share with you - a lovely view of our fabulous.... playroom!

Still needs rugs, chalkboard, comfy seating...
but it's great for playing ball!

Thanks for putting up with all my puke-talk lately. I promise - nothing but sunshine and rainbows for awhile. 

Yeah, right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The stomach flu: A survivor's guide

Warning: this post is about puke, and how to best manage a puking three-year-old.

Today, I browsed through my archives and came to the conclusion that I have written a lot about fevers, puking, and diarrhea.

I shared some toddler-diarrhea-survival-techniques.

I waxed philosophic about fevers and parenting-in-crisis-mode.

The truth is, I was a pukey child (sorry, mom) and I am currently paying my karmic dues by raising a pukey son.

As we cleaned up from the puking-at-the-table disaster on Easter Sunday - we laughed and I regaled my in-laws with tales from my childhood. The time I puked in a fake potted  plant at the Walpole mall. Into my mother's wicker purse (it was the 80's). Into a snow boot. Into a business-sized envelope. The tales are many and varied.

You would think all that puking would have prepared me for life as a parent. Alas, no. But, the good news is, I have learned a few things by trial and error.

For the past four days my beloved three-year-old has kept nothing down except the occasional sip of water.

Unfortunately, he does not have the ability to identify the feeling "nauseaus" and so we've been in quite a messy situation.

Here are a few things I have learned:

If you're headed to Easter dinner, bring a change of clothes for yourself, as well as for your pukey child.

A large bucket is handy, but it usually only catches the second or third wave.

Having a towel within arms reach is a life-saving technique. Stash a few in every room you are allowing the puker to have access to.

Keep him off the carpets - by baby gate if necessary. Do not waver in your conviction - the moment you let your guard down - you'll be getting out the steam cleaner.

Yet again, my diaper sprayer (kitchen sink spray hose attached to the toilet) saves the day. Hose off soiled clothes and towels before putting them in the laundry.

How to best clean up a besmirched comforter: Don latex gloves. Take the comforter outside and hose it off with a garden hose. Squeeze out the excess water. Machine wash as directed. For a larger-than-a-twin-comforter, hose off and take it to the laundromat - they have those jumbo washers.

A bean bag chair (especially those ones that are sort of faux-leather) covered in towels, placed on a non-carpeted floor is a great resting spot for the pukey child.

Ginger syrup: Cut a 1 inch chunk of ginger into slices. Put it into a small pot with 2 cups cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for a few minutes (till desired gingery-ness). Remove the ginger and add a bit of sugar. Allow the mixture to reduce a bit (to desired consistency). I give a teaspoon of the syrup to the big boy for upset stomach. Keeps nicely in the fridge.

No dairy until you have achieved 24 hours puke-free. Unless you want to clean up curdled milk.

I highly recommend the drip-free popsicles which contain gelatin. These are a god-send. Even the baby can eat one without making a mess. They even come in wee-toddler size.

The carseat. Dear Lord, the carseat. Why do they always puke in the car? Cleaning a puke-laden carseat is, in my opinion, nearly impossible. I have no advice for cleaning it, except to bite the bullet: take it completely out of the car and dismantle it. Machine wash the cover. The key is to AVOID getting the seat dirty. When you have a potentially pukey child:
* Cut a hole in a plastic grocery store shopping bag. Place the bag on the "seat" of the car seat, pulling the between-the-legs-buckle through the hole. I cut a hole in a prefold cloth diaper and put it on top of the plastic bag, but a towel would work fine. Be sure to cover side-to-side and front-to-back with your bag/towel.
* Next, strap the kiddo into the seat and cover the buckles. This can be accomplished with an extra-long bib, or by wrapping a towel around the buckles.
* Yeah, yeah, I know - who has this kind of foresight? But if you save yourself the horror of the pukey carseat even ONCE isn't it worth it?

Having a pukey car-seat in my very recent memory, I'm going to pack a little bag with a few grocery store shopping bags, paper towels, baby wipes, a towel, and the car-seat-covering essentials listed above for permanent placement in my trunk.

Offer lots of different clear liquids, even if some of it gets puked up - keep offering. Ice cubes in the sippie cup of water adds interest. Or a fancy straw. Or a chance to utilize mama's fancy water bottle.

When the big boy is tolerating clear liquids I advance his diet using the BRAT diet.
Rice (or plain pasta)
Toast (or saltines)

Yeesh this turned into a long post.

Any other mama's out there with some pukey-advice?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Recap

Just a quickie today, guys.

We had a wonderful Easter weekend, but unfortunately the Big Boy was sick.

He may have puked in my lap at Easter dinner.

He spent the majority of the weekend sacked out on a towel-laden beanbag, with a bucket nearby.

Yes, he's asleep clutching a screwdriver.

But despite the illness and the freezing rain on Saturday, we still hunted treat-laden eggs with great joy.

Dude, this is awesome.

And of course no Easter is complete without beautiful girls in sweet pink dresses.

And blue socks.

We even managed to squeeze in a little outdoor time on Sunday.

"Dis da gah-den."

And tho I am oh-so-weary of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, thermometers, puke buckets, boogery noses and clear-liquids-only diets, I still managed to have some wonderful, joyful, beautiful moments, and for that I am grateful.

Someday I'll forget the puke and remember only the sweetness.
Well, I'll probably never forget the puking-at-Easter-dinner, but you get my drift.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Moments

Hey Gang. Friday Moments with SouleMama again today.

If you have a moment or several to share, please leave a comment with a link. Thank you to all of you who share your words or links here, I truly appreciate it.

Spring has sprung here, dear friends.

Every year these gorgeous, hardy little beauties pop up in my yard. Every year it is a complete surprise to me that they have survived. I have the blackest thumb in the history of mankind, and yet - these little guys - they just soldier on, with absolutely no intervention by me. Oh how I love perennials.

Despite how un-springlike the weather has become the past two days - these cheerful little flowers keep me sane. It's spring, dammit, they say to  me, and you know - I wholeheartedly agree.

Yesterday we dyed Easter Eggs.

This was one of my first forays into holiday-themed-craft-type activities. The Big Boy finally seems to have an attention span long enough to handle simple instructions, and an interest in "helping mama" with an important job.

Sometimes he refuses to take his coat off.
I know, he's an odd little dude.

He was fascinated by the process, and delighted by the colorful eggs.

We only broke two, and in my book - that goes down as a triumphant success!

Quality control.

It was really good mama-son time, especially during a week where needs have been high, patience has been short, and younger brothers have been ... well ... scream-y.

If you celebrate Easter, I hope your weekend is awash in family fun, laughs, love and candy. For those of you who don't, I hope your weekend is also full of family fun, laughs, love and candy. In the end, we're all after the same things, no?

Thank you, as always for visiting here.

Happy weekend to you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A stroke of genius

I have to admit, yesterday I had a stroke of mama genius.

These moments are extraordinarily rare, so I feel compelled to share it with you.

Recently, the Big Boy has become crazily obsessed with a particular scene in a particular episode of "Go, Diego, Go". The episode involves the rescuing of a group of prairie dogs, and the scene that has won my boy's heart involves the prairie dogs jumping over some railroad tracks while avoiding some cackling monkeys, called "Bo-Bo's" on railroad cars.

He laughs hysterically at the Bo-Bo's and enthusiastically tells the prairie dogs when to jump and when to wait.

Yeah, I know - he's an odd kid.

Anyway, he'd like me to replay that particular 90 second segment over and over - which I steadfastly refuse.

What's a mama to do?

Well, I gathered up a few truly random and unrelated toys: 2 monkeys from the "Barrel of monkeys" game, 2 wagons from the "Little People Farm" set, 1 "Little People" lion and 1 "Little People" goat.

"Look!" I say to my baffled three-year-old, leading him over to the train table, "These are the prairie dogs, trying to get across the train tracks." He eyes me suspiciously, as I indicate that the lion and goat are prairie dogs. "Uh-oh! Here come the Bo-Bo's!" I push the monkey-laden wagons down the train track, and he begins to laugh.

That's when I knew I had him.

"Jump, prairie dogs! Jump!" He exclaims, and snatches the lion and the goat from my hand.

Well, he carried that unusual medley of toys around all day, re-enacting that same scene with uncanny accuracy.

I'll have you notice that he is neither yelling nor
bothering his brother in this photo. Bliss.

And that, my friends, is a stroke of mama genius.

I'd love to hear about all the other parenting-moments-of-genius out there. Do tell.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not a moment to myself

Sorry Gang, I make no promises about this post.

The baby was up early today, and my usual coffee-and-blogging hour has been blown to smithereens.

My children are currently in need-machine mode. Yes, I know that children are generally needy beings, but my two are currently taking it to a whole new level.

There is a constant litany of requests, demands and needs. It's endless and grating.

"Mama will do it."
"Mama will get it."
"I want mama!"
"Pick me up!"
"Git down."
"Git down."
"Mama will sit wight hee-yah and weed dis book."
"Mama will give you kisses."
"Mama will not be wight back." (This is toddler speak for, "Mama will not leave me here.")
"I want MAMA."
"Mama, whe-yah ahh you?"

I'm back to my old overwhelmed-mama tricks, i.e. hiding around the corner so I can keep an eye on them, but where they can't see me.

I'm feeling a little claustrophobic and smothered.

My nerves are getting a little frayed.

I can't have a complete thought without interruption.

I haven't been to the bathroom alone in days.

The neediness of one is feeding the neediness of the other, making a hideous snowball-of-neediness phenomenon that is crushing me.

What's that I hear?
Gotta go.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunny days

Thank you for all the birthday wishes yesterday, Hubs was tickled to have greetings from around the globe. You guys rock.


Ahh just another day in paradise around here.

Okay, perhaps not. But the weather has been great!

We've spent long hours soaking up the sun and warm-ish temps, trying to coax the last of the sniffles and coughs out once and for all.

This was the last time anyone rode this bike before mama
inadvertently ran it over with the car.

The big boy is living out his hammering fantasies by banging golf tees into the ground all over the yard.

This might be the smartest thing this mama has ever come up with.

After mama broke his bike, the Wee One spent the remainder of the weekend trying to conquer the fort.

"Climbin'!" he says, though he
 never gets any higher than this.

A climber he is not, but he is awful cute.

"Mama in dare!"

I hope some sunshine has made it to your neck of the woods as well.

How are you soaking up the sun?

Anyone else giddy over hiding eggs and family festivities this weekend?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Hubs

Today is Hubs' birthday.

What can I tell you about this man?

I'm lucky.

His sons are lucky.

He has taught me more about beer than I ever thought I wanted to know.  I know about hops and malt and wort. I know about top fermenting and bottom fermenting. I know about cask conditioning and the difference between a porter and a stout. Watching him scour the shelves for a new or unusual brew is like watching a kid with a dime in a penny candy store. Watching him sniff, sip, savor and comment is one of my favorite past times. I can't help but enjoy myself, too.

He taught me that windshield wipers should occasionally be replaced, and how to utilize that bizarre tome in the auto section that points you to the correct wiper.

He has taught me about the Red Sox, and the meaning of the phrase unconditional love. Yes, we named both our children after players. Yes, we cried when they won. He has taken me around the country to cheer for them in other stadiums, and it will be our great delight to take the boys to ball parks near and far. Thanks to him, I get to participate in a dream I never would have dreamed on my own.

He taught me that you can make a spreadsheet to evaluate anything.

He taught me how to make scrambled eggs - though they never come out as good as his.

He taught me about bar-b-que. Good bar-b-que. Bar-b-que that's worth driving for. Bar-b-que that is served from a shack or from an old bus, handed out by wizened, overall-clad men with no teeth. The meat's so tender, who needs teeth?

He taught me about character when he stayed with me through brain surgery. We were so young, and they shaved half my head. I looked like Frankenstein but he never wavered.

He taught my boys to love music.

He taught his oldest son to throw a mean fast ball.

He taught his youngest son to do a dead-on imitation of Borat.

He taught me to laugh at myself.

He's a good egg, that husband of mine.

Everyone say, "Happy Birthday!"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday moments with SouleMama as usual around here.

If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link. Thank you to everyone who comments or leaves links here - I really appreciate it.

This week we spent lots of time basking in the glorious-oh-so-glorious spring sunshine.

"I sittin' wite he-ah. On da moss."

There were lots of open-mouth-baby-kisses.

Pucker up, Baby.

We had rainy-day arts-and-crafts in our new playroom...

Just ignore the painter's tape. I said "new" not "finished."

And there was baseball. Lots and lots of baseball.

Please note the carefully drawn home plate he's standing on.
Hubs is nothing if not exact.

Sure, there were hellacious coughing fits and lots of boogery-noses, but there were also a ton of sunshiny good moments.

What are you up to this weekend? Any big plans? How was your week? Do tell.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Three-year-olds are the most confusing creatures.

"Push-pull" defined.

So many things are happening for my growing boy.

In the past 6 months he has given up his binky, his crib, and his nap. He's tolerated the emerging strong personality of his wee brother, witnessed a major home project, and upgraded to solo swimming lessons and solo visits to his babysitter's house.

He's experimenting with his emerging imagination.

He's testing every limit.

He wants to do everything by himself.

He's pushing hard against Hubs and I with yelling, rudeness, hitting, kicking and deliberate disobedience. Testing, always testing. They say "No." but do they really mean it? What happens if I do it anyway?

He's pulling away. Stretching father and father. He insists on opening the door, walking out first, leading the way -  even when he doesn't know where we're going, or even if we're only going to the bathroom.

He even tries to tell us which way to drive the car, "Not dis way! Dat way!"

But, where there's a push there must also be a pull. 

He is so conflicted - dying to be a big boy but unable to completely leave behind the familiarity of babyhood.

He's insisting we carry him around a lot. He no longer likes me to leave him, even in familiar environments, "Mama will stay wif you."

Every day he says, "We're not going to swimming." He doesn't want to go anymore, he's nervous.

He wants to stay by my side.

And here is where I struggle as a parent.

Do I push him?

Do I let him regress a little in some areas while he tests out his wings?

Am I coddling him?

Am I being too hard on him?

Am I allowing him too much control? Not enough? How do I even know?

For now I'm going with my heart/gut, which is telling me to give him space - space to push away when he's ready and space to land softly in my lap, arms, or by my side when he needs that instead. I'm trying to let him lead the way in all areas where I can - guiding when he needs help, but also trying to allow him to show me that there's more than one way to get things done.

It's hard. He's hard. The push/pull is exhausting. I-want-you-where-are-you-get-away-from-me-pick-me-up-put-me-down-I-do-it-myself!

To all of you who have ever hung around a three year old: advice? Thoughts? Insight? Inspiration?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A good dog

At this moment our family contains a cat, but we are blessed to have a wonderful neighbor-dog who brings us some serious delight when she visits.

A good dog is a blessing to all he or she comes to meet, no?

My kids certainly think so.

Okay Bud, let go of her face.

This lovely girl is as gentle and understanding as any Grandma.

Gentle touches Bud. Gentle!

Even the Wee One loves her, though he is too shy to admit it.

No one would ever guess you are delighted shy guy, great poker face.

She even tolerates toddler-hugs. And I know from experience that these aren't always particularly pleasant.

True love.

We are so grateful to have such wonderful neighbors and friends, both the two-legged and the four-legged variety.

Do you have a furry friend who brings delight to your life? Do tell.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Oh this glorious, glorious spring weather.

The windows are open.

The toenails are painted.

The daily sunless tanning lotion has been applied to my pasty-white body.


I feel like I haven't taken a breath in months.

Oh yeah, the kids like it, too.

We've been loving a little hide-and-seek action.

"Mama does not see you." he says.

The Wee one loves to be the seeker.

"Find him! Find him!" he says, then he runs around in
circles, yelling "Wheah ah you?"

There are endless T-Ball games, where the Big Boy dictates the ever-shifting rules of offense, defense and who has permission to touch which of the several balls in play.

"Mama will get her own ball, den Mama will be da pitch-ah."

And the sandbox, that great unifier of all children, has been getting a lot of love this week.

"Do not dump that on his head. Do NOT..."
"Oh jeeze come here, Bud. Mama will clean it off."
"You need to say sorry for dumping that on his head."
"No more dumping sand! Put that down!"

How do you welcome spring?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dreary Monday

Hey gang,

How was your weekend?

Our Handy Boy spent his weekend doing some much needed repairs in the lovely weather.

"Wusty is fixin' da well."

While the Wee One spent an inordinately large amount of time pushing around a toy car and laughing maniacally.

He's  a weird little dude, this one.

I required a trip to the doctor to ease a hacking cough.

If I could add a little super-hero cape
to this cough syrup, I would.

And then, with my hacking cough under a wee bit more control, I did something brave. I can't believe I did it, but I did.

Really, Melissa?  Yep.

Now, I wait a few days to see if I passed the exam, and if I did I get to (gulp) start student teaching and preparing to lead my own class. 

What was one brave thing that you did? Or attempted to do, despite being nervous? I'd love to know I'm not alone in this category.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday moments with Soule Mama again today.

If you have a moment (or several) to share, please leave a comment with a link!

This week we said hello and goodbye to the last big snowfall of the year. (It can't possibly snow again, can it?)

The view from the playroom back door.
See the new floor?!

We were as impatient for the snow to melt, as we are for popcorn to pop.

I.e. not very.

Some of us boycotted clothing.

"Get dressed, Bud?"

While some of us had our first experience of falling in love.

Where he goes, they go.

And once the snow had cleared, we got started on a little yard work.


I hope your week had a few good moments as well. What are you up to this weekend?

Thanks for stopping by today.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Right now

Inspired, as always, by Amanda over at SouleMama. Although there are lots of inspiring mamas out there. Like this one or that one.

Right now I am ...

basking in any ray of sunshine that shows up in my yard. The wind may still be cold, but the sun is warm on my perpetually upturned face.

The sun shining on golden baby hair.

finished taping off the trim in the basement - we're ready to paint! Some more.

wishing the Wee One had never learned the word, "Uppa." Oh my aching back.


devouring another embarrassing piece of literature in public thanks to my embarrassing-book-camoflage.

craving cadbury mini eggs.

daydreaming about hiding treasure-laden eggs in the yard, baking sweet-glazey-ham, and leaving glittery cotton balls (easter bunny poop) everywhere. Soon.

relishing the oh-so-brief moments of brotherly peace.


impatiently waiting for news from a beloved laboring friend. Welcome to the world lovely girl.

What are you up to this moment? I'd love to hear.