Friday, September 30, 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!

As promised, I've been trying to really focus and enjoy fall this year.

Apparently, I'm not the only one.

"I dwivin' ovah dis pumpkin."

"Dis pumpkin fwying."

"Dis my pumpkin!"

Hooray for fall fridays!

Have a great weekend, gang.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Wee One

Now that the Big Boy is in school, I have a few hours per week alone with the Wee One.

I thought he might be psyched about some 1:1 mama time, but alas, he has made it perfectly clear that he would rather go to preschool than hang with me.

This boy is so different from his brother.

It has been suggested by several wise people that the Wee One is just like me.

My mother finds this hilarious.

Intrepid explorer.

Sometimes I feel as if I don't know this boy. 

I don't know what he wants. I don't know why he's yelling. I don't know how to handle him. 

Yelling? What yelling?
Oh trust me, there's yelling. 
During this sliver of time we have with just the two of us, I'm trying to really focus on this boy. 

Despite how crazy he makes me, and trust me - he does drive me absolutely nuts, I'm trying to get to know him. 

But I'm afraid I'll never know  understand him, the way I understand his brother. 

Is this yet another example of my badness as a mother?

"I pushin' wocks and soil wif my bulldowzer." 

It's funny because everybody loves this kid. He's charming, gregarious, friendly and with his baby-voice-meets-college-vocabulary he's stops strangers in their tracks.

But we butt heads, this boy and I. (Sorry Derek, don't hate me).

He may be cute, but he's giving his mama a run for her money.

I suppose it's an opportunity. By getting to know this Wee boy, I think I'll learn a few things about myself. And perhaps I can help him avoid some of this pitfalls that our shared personality traits predispose us to fall into.

But first I have to get him to stop eating things he finds in the yard.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beauty and the Beast. And poop.

Warning: this post contains poop.

You don't like poop? Go check out SouleMama or Martha Stewart.

I have a wonderful friend who watches the boys for me so I can work.

I know, I know - I have sung her praises before.

She had an amazing wedding, she writes a really cool blog, and she sells really beautiful items in her fab Etsy shop.

She's sweet, funny and wise far beyond her years.

And she's truly amazing with the boys. They love her dearly.

The Big Boy has been pretty horrible with her lately, testing, testing, testing - and this tells me he trusts her. He knows that he can test his limits and she will reinforce the boundaries, but she'll still be there when he's done being horrible  three.

But, I digress - where's the poop you promised, Melissa?

Yesterday, beloved Miss Kristen (I suppose we should be calling her Mrs., now) told me the Big Boy had had some sort of catastrophic diaper malfunction involving poop, which required a change of clothes.

She had handled it without batting an eye, going all MacGyver with a paper towel changing pad.


As she was leaving she calls, "Melissa?"
"Yeah?" I say, dashing through the garage to see what's up.
"There's poop on the Big Boy's bike."

You were warned. 

The diaper failure had been so catastrophic as to leave that behind.

I cannot afford to pay her what she deserves.

Unless you count undying love and respect as benefits.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In the kitchen

What's been happening in the kitchen lately?

In our house we've been trying to eat our way through the end of the CSA season. (Insert frowny emoticon).

I am disappointed that I let so much go to waste, but this was my first year as a CSA-er and next year I will be far better prepared.

Anyone have a chest freezer they'd like to hand over?


We were awash in a sea of bell peppers for awhile - so several varieties of stuffed peppers came out of the oven.

If only the boys would eat some. 

My stuffed peppers:

Either cut the tops of the peppers, or cut them the long way.
Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in a foil lined baking pan at 350 while you prep your stuffing.
Stuffing: Saute just about anything in a skillet. When everything's fully cooked, stuff the peppers and bake for and additional 15-20 minutes.

This week I cut the peppers the long way and for the stuffing: sauteed chorizo, peppers and onions.
After stuffing the peppers I covered them with cornbread batter and baked for about 35-40 minutes.
Woah nelly.

Anyone else awash in a sea of produce?

Monday, September 26, 2011


Warning: A problem with the coffee pot has led me to the computer prior to an adequate intake of caffeine.


"He should be getting himself dressed." said the preschool.
"Okay!" said I, and I began to teach him the ins and outs of shirts and pants.
Saturday morning I turn from my post at the griddle and see this:

"Whatcha doing, Bud?"
"Eatin' dis pancake."


Speaking of pancakes. This weekend they were pumpkin!
Despite the canned-pumpkin-shortage, I managed to snag a few cans at Wal-mart.

I hold fast to my assertion that it is Fall despite the
80 degree temperature and 100% humidity. 


One last thing from my caffeine-deprived-mind.
This made me laugh.
A car in a funny place, once again.

Why Hello Lightening McQueen. 

And that's about it. 
How was your weekend?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Moments

Ahh... Friday.

Friday moments with SouleMama as usual.

If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link!

This week we had some rainy-day moments.

The joys of mud were explored.

"Git it off, Mama."

Boys and mud. I better get used to it, yes?

Number of clothing changes required yesterday: 3.

What else is there to do on rainy fall afternoons?

Why make muffins of course.

Umm, Bud? You eat the other part. 

I do hope someday I can put eggs back in my muffins, it certainly does improve the texture.

But watching my oldest scarf them down is worth the somewhat springy texture, I suppose.

You storing that muffin for winter, squirrel-cheek?

Now, upholding my squeeze-the-most-out-of-fall pledge, I am contemplating apple picking or a nice walk in the woods this weekend.

Definitely some pumpkin-based baked goods will hit the oven.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Last weekend we took the kids for some good 'ol BBQ.

There was anxious anticipation

Woah nelly, settle down there. 

I have to admit down-home BBQ joints are fabulous places to take children.

The food is good, and table manners are considered highly overrated.

Goody Cole's Smokehouse.
Totally worth the drive. 

There was a brief appearance by Elvis Presley.

Thank you. Thank you very much. 

And some serious Nutrigrain Bar flute playing.

The pied piper of fruit bars.

Generalized happiness was achieved by all.

Sticky fingers and faces.

Full bellies.

The Wee One graduates from sippy to straw. 

It was good.

Anyone else know of a good hole-in-the-wall place to eat?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall stuff

I, Melissa, do solemnly swear to wring every last drop of goodness from this, my favorite season.

I will engage in a fall activity each and every weekend.

I will wear my sweater boots (remember the two lefties I got last year? Yeah, those).

My house will smell like one of the following every day:
* crock pot deliciousness
* cinnamon baking
* oven roasting deliciousness

I will take note of the lovely colors.

I will love my mums.

As we say in New England, these are "hahdy" mums, not even my black thumb,
nor the over-zealous enthusiasm of a two year old can kill them. 

Whatever would we do without him.
A little green thumb, in the making. 

I will enjoy the sun when it is warm.

Perhaps not quite this much, but I will lift my face and soak it up. 

I promise not to let it slip by, like I always do.

Now, what shall go in the oven today?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trip to the lake

This weekend we took the kids to a nearby state park.

We basked in the beauty of a perfect fall day - cool, then hot, then cool again.

"Ploop!" our favorite game.

Scientific observation.

Speak softly, and carry a big stick.

I'll take every opportunity to put my toes in warm sand,
I know these opportunities are about over for the year.

It was a good day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Angry Mama

Sorry Guys, I know it's Monday morning and a cheerful, low key weekend-recap post might be just what you need with your cup of coffee, but if I don't get this off my chest, my head might explode.

Over the weekend we took the kids to the playground.

We were having a blast - there were lots of other kids, friendly folks, and gorgeous weather. A beautiful moment in time.


So I'm standing by the twisty slide supervising the Wee One as he climbs the stairs when an older boy (perhaps 7-9 years old) races nimbly up the climbing structure and slides down the slide, head first, on his belly.

His dad reaches over the side of the slide to stop his descent and tickle him.

I am laughing, too - until I hear the sound of skin squeaking painfully against plastic. "Ow! Ow!" the boy cries and the dad lets go so he can slide to the bottom.

It was clearly an accident, and not a bad one at that. Just a little Indian sunburn on a knee or an elbow.

"That really hurt!" says the boy when he reaches the bottom of the slide, rubbing his leg.
"What?" says the dad, his voice high pitched and mocking, "You want your blankie and your pacifier?"
The boy knows he's supposed to laugh, and he tries.
"Shut up, Dad!" he says, still trying to laugh, but there's a forced joviality.
"You really... suck!" he says, and now his laughter is a little less forced.

"Stink" his dad corrects, "Say stink instead."


What did this kid (and all the other nearby kids) learn?

When you inadvertently hurt someone you should mock them until they stop complaining. No apology necessary.

It's not okay to look for comfort when you're in pain. If you do, you're a baby.


The mama lion in me stirred. She's old and fat, but she's still pretty vicious when it comes right down to it.
I thought about saying something, anything.
But to who? The boy? The dad? The mom (who stood nearby and did nothing)?

I hate that my boys will have to interact with folks who function this way.
Who think that this is the way men and boys should interact.
Bullies are built, not born.

As I walked away, I sent a fervent prayer that some other male role model might enter that boy's life. Teach him a thing or two about being a real man.

It takes a village to raise a child, and I firmly hope that that boy's village is strong and supportive.
Perhaps he can teach his dad a thing or two.


Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox.
Funny photos and stories to return asap.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday Moments with Soule Mama again today.

This week the boys discovered the magic elixir that is, Nutella.

Would you like something besides Nutella?
No thanks, but I would like some more.  
Notice the wee bit of Nutella on his face.

My big bot is a tidy eater, for the most part.

His bro, on the other hand?

Tidiness, failure.

Not only did our beloved Miss Kristen take this picture,
she also cleaned up this Nutella face.
Is it any wonder we love her so?

Nutella moments, who could ask for more?

Big weekend plans?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Oh Fall, how I love you.

Love, love, love.

I love boots and sweaters, apples and cinnamon. I love cider and Oktoberfest. I love football.

You know what else I love?

Fall PJs.

There is a breed of PJ in between summer tank tops and winter footies - and it is oh-so-cute.

Between the crinkly diaper bum and the skinny legs - it gets me every time. 

And the coup de grace - naked feet.

My little yogi. 

 Fall PJs - one of the many things I love about this season.

And it's a darn good thing there's a lot to love about fall, because boy-oh-boy do I hate winter.

More to come regarding fall goodness, of course.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Simple Things

Ahh the simple things.

My life is chock-full right now. Busy, busy, busy.

And we're just about to enter the busiest time of year.

I'm doing a lot for myself. I'm working more than I have in years, I've taken on some new things (please come to my Pilates class on Tuesdays, if you are a Gold's Gym member!), but I am trying desperately to hold on to some balance with the boys.

I'm not there yet, I'm a little stretched in all directions right now, but I am working on bringing myself back to center.

One way I do that is by stopping to acknowledge the good moments. Really acknowledge them. Put my cell phone down. Take a few pictures. Breathe. Stop making lists and consulting the calendar in my head. Focus my eyes and my mind on what's really important.

Like taking my Big Boy for ice cream after our wedding date last weekend. Just the three of us: Me, Him, and His Favorite Thing In The World.

It was so great, and I am grateful I actually saw it.

He thought it was pretty cool, too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good reads

A week or two ago I mentioned hitting up the library for some books on dealing with squabbling siblings.

I came home with a stack of books.

When I take on a research project, I don't fool around.

I know not everyone enjoys parenting books, but I for one, love them. Even the bad ones.

The good ones are actually ... well... helpful. 

And the bad ones make me feel better that I don't have time to read everything ever written.

Today I am going to recommend two fabulous books.

Taking Back Childhood [Helping Kids Thrive in a Fast Pased, Media Saturated, Violence Filled World.
First up, Taking Back Childhood Helping Kids Thrive in a Fast Pased, Media Saturated, Violence Filled World. by Nancy Carlsson-Paige.

Don't let the title scare you - this book isn't preachy. 

What's great about this book is that the author combines a firm foundation in child development theory with a thorough analysis of current research. The effect is a powerful one-two punch.
At first the book is a little disheartening. It's a bit like: here's what's happening with our kids, here's why it's bad, and here's some nice scientific evidence to prove it. Gulp.
But that's only the beginning.  The good doctor goes on to provide 200 pages of really helpful advice and anecdotes.
Caveat: I like this book because it blends nicely with my own beliefs about childhood and parenting. I often feel pressured to place the boys in lots of programs, to get them potty trained, reading, and playing violin by age 5. This is not how I parent. I firmly believe in playing in the dirt. I'm making choices for my boys that I am hoping will benefit them in the future, but I could (gulp) be wrong. This book provided actual research to back up the choices I'm making with my heart and gut.
If you are not this type of parent - don't read this book. It's not for you. And please don't leave me hate-comments.

"Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!": The Solution to Sibling BickeringNext up "Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!": The Solution to Sibling Bickering by Anthony Wolf.

A much lighter book (I promise).

This book was hilarious and helpful - hooray! It describes a very "hands off" approach to sibling bickering. I've tried some of the techniques with the boys and it really has been helping.

The author has an interesting take on the way siblings relate to each other. He says that within a family, people often relate at the level of their "baby self," and are pretty focused on getting their most basic needs met - social niceties be damned. I thought this was an interesting concept because it hit home for me. It made sense when I thought about it in reference to some of the boys' behavior. I find it helpful to keep this idea in mind when the they are driving me batty. If I can remember that they're just trying to get their needs met- it takes the wind out of my frustration.

Once again, though, this book meshes with my own ideas about siblings. I believe that I should let the boys work things out on their own, if they can. Even if they yell or push each other around a little. As long as they're not actually hurting each other - I try to give them a little room to work things out.


As always, I'd love to hear what you are reading (parenting literature or not) - I love a good recommendation.

I am currently reading a bunch of creepy literature that I'm hoping to share here in the beginning of October. Yay for Halloween!

Monday, September 12, 2011


I went to the coolest wedding over the weekend.

My beloved friend Kristin married her love right in their back yard.

It was beautiful, intimate, and touching.

I felt privileged to be among the guests.

Hubs and the Wee One were sick, so the Big Boy was my date.

Unfortunately, large crowds of strangers make him nervous, so he spent a large amount of time on my lap. (Which is okay with me.)


This was no cookie-cutter ceremony. It was beautifully personal. 

So sweet.

The Big Boy could not believe that the beautiful woman in white was his beloved "Miss Kristin"
Totally blew his mind. 

Kristin is so cool.

And talented.

There was beauty in the details. 

Love the table runners. 

It made for a truly remarkable experience.

And not only was my beloved friend beautiful, she was comfortable. 

She rocks.

Congratulations, guys.

We love you. 

Friday, September 9, 2011


Friday Moments with SouleMama again today. If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link.

Last week I spent some lovely moments "fishin" with the big boy (Thanks Grumple!)

He's not big enough to operate the fishing pole properly, but with a little creativity from mama - I made it work for him.

We hauled plastic snakes out of the kiddie pool for a really, really, long time. 

Sweet outfit he's wearing, eh? Blame hubs.


I am trying to make a conscious effort to play with the boys. Especially the big one. 

No cell phone nearby, no distractions. Some creative thought on my part. 

It surely made for a few great moments. 

Happy Friday folks!!