Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On Slipping and Sleeping and Such

I totally bit it on the driveway this morning.

It is snowing in Connecticut and while it looks beautiful on the trees and the kids get super excited, it just adds a bit of the unknown to my day and I am having a hard enough time keeping it together as it is.

Our driveway is totally iced over. The half inch of fluffy white snow did nothing to break my fall. I was wearing snow boots, but perhaps my balance was a little off because I was carrying my bag, a computer bag, a small lunch bag, the Lady's backpack and a pair of black boots.

Thank goodness I had the foresight to hand the Lady my travel coffee mug or things could have gotten really ugly.

As it was, I just ended up with some wet pants that I tried to dry quickly by turning the seat heater up to extra high.

I have been driving the Lady to the bus stop in the morning because it has been in the 20's here and I don't want our nanny to have to take all the kids out in freezing cold weather. It has been nice to have some time alone with her in the morning and it actually makes my mornings a little bit more manageable because I have a few extra minutes to spare before we have to get out the door.

My hubby is finally getting home from California tomorrow, although it will be late at night and I will have one more solo evening of trying to deal with getting everyone to bed in a manner that has been nothing close to routine.

In the course of the last two weeks, I think I have slept by myself a grand total of two nights. The  Little Lady--who is suffering from what I think are night terrors will wake up, run down the stairs (if she isn't already sleeping on the couch), come into my room repeating the phrase "I want to go home" over and over again and then when I ask her what she is afraid of points out into the darkness and says "that."

Talk about creepy. This means that it takes me about another 30-40 minutes to fall back asleep because I don't like scary things and I kept on popping up to look around the room. After I saw Scream in college all my roommates were sleeping out and I put all the lights on in our place because I was afraid to sleep there alone. I wish that this was a one time deal with the Little Lady, but it isn't and it is clearly the same reoccurring dream. I am thinking about putting a little Holy Water on her while she sleeps. Couldn't hurt right?

The other issue is QT. A few nights ago I thought I heard someone out in the living room, when I called out I got no answer. About 20 minutes later the Little Lady came down the stairs and I heard her say "QT what are you doing?" before coming into my room and asking to sleep with me (I said no, fast forward a few hours and see above paragraph for how that night ended).

When I went out to see what was going on, I found him wearing only a diaper, his feety pajamas cast over his hockey sticks in a toy bin, lying on top of both his blankets, with a poop in his pants, totally passed out.

Repeat the same scenario last night (sans poo) and I think you can get the sense that things haven't been going that great at bedtime here. I did put QT back in his crib, only to have him back in my bed around 3 a.m. where he proceeded to sleep on me for the remainder of the night and where I heard him say in the middle of the night "I hate you mommy."

WTF QT?

The best sleeper is the Lady. Although she has insisted on sleeping in a night cap, which is a Santa hat she got for her first Christmas and that is barely fitting over her 6-year-old head. She is also insisting on wearing it to school. I have given up on fighting that battle. Can't wait to see what pajama combination she picks out for her Holiday Pajama Brunch on Friday. Will try to get a photo! 

On a positive note, I did get a little wrapping done last night. I am now unsure if I have gotten enough for everyone or too much for everyone. Looking forward to my husband getting home so I can leave him with all the kids and make an unnecessary stop at Target to just load up on stocking junk and toothbrushes! Merry! Merry!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Some Sticky Seasonal Situations

The Little Lady glued three, colored 8.5x11 pieces of paper to the wood floor in her room.

Oh Elmer, you are lucky it was your glue and not super glue or glitter glue. I guess I was lucky she wasn't playing on the rug.



These types of things seem to be happening with greater frequency in my house if that gives you any indication of how things have been going this fine holiday season.

QT wrote with permanent markers on my refrigerator (thank goodness for the magic eraser), he also upended a huge container of Rainbow Loom rubber bands that we have almost gotten back into the bin (on a side note, I do kind of find the sorting and organizing of the bands quite soothing, especially after trying to subdue the copious amounts of rage-a-hol pulsing through my bloodstream after finding paper glued to the floor).

The Lady insists that none of the messes have been made by her (although she is the one who was using the permanent markers for an art project and then left them out).

The one positive outcome of all this mess is that it has given me the impetuous to just get rid of stuff.

You can't play with it and put it away? Gone.

And I am talking garbage gone.

As much as I am trying to remember the meaning of this season, be grateful for the imagination and creativity of my glue and permanent marker-bearing children, I am wondering why I am even working myself up about bringing more stuff into our house, especially if it isn't going to be taken care of by the kids.

We need nothing else and clearly I am having trouble trying to get them to take care of the things that they have. I am trying to find a way to teach them about the spirit and magic of Christmas and about caring for people other than themselves in this world. It sometimes gets lost between Christmas lists, 50% off sales, and that freaking Elf.

The Elf, who the Ladies left a strawberry out for because they were concerned he didn't have enough time to eat during his nightly excursion to the North Pole, "found" a dry erase board and a marker and compiled a Naughty List with the names of the Three Beans listed. Not my proudest moment as a mother.

The Ladies came down to find the Elf holding the pen, sitting next to a half-eaten strawberry and on top of a dry erase board that listed them as naughty.

The Lady couldn't tolerate that for a second and found a way to remove the pen, without touching the Elf, and change naughty to nice. Not sure if that lesson sunk in.

I love that my kids are at the age that they can all play together relatively unsupervised and that they enjoy each others company. Granted, we have a few minor incidents but overall they have fun together. I just wonder why it is at always at bedtime when I am at my lowest and just ready to crash that things seem to go so astray. Maybe I throw away a few more plastic things I find on the floor, maybe I just let them turn their room into one big art installation, but in the spirit of the season, why can't they just be good for goodness sake?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Find a Penny, Pick it up, All Day Long You'll Have Good Luck. . .

. . .Unless of course you have spent the last three days sifting through the poo in your 2-year-old's diaper trying to find the penny he swallowed on Sunday night.

I guess it was good luck that I actually found it, clearly we tried to drive home the message of not putting anything in your mouth, and Lord knows this mamma needs a little luck in her life, but this wasn't quite the way I was looking to find it.

***********

It is full on holiday time and this year I wanted to be organized and ready to go. I had my Christmas cards ordered and delivered by mid-November, I made lists for gifts for the kids, cousins (and even myself) prior to Thanksgiving and had an Amazon cart full and ready for purchase come Cyber Monday.

Not wanting to dive right into the Christmas season and bypass Thanksgiving, I decided that we would get all the decorations down post-Turkey day.

We had a busy four days. We were all over the place and we had a great time seeing family and friends. However, by the time we got back to our place on Sunday around 2:30 we were all done. I tried to ignore the list of things that needed to be done.

Number 1 on that list? The Elf on the Shelf.

Here is where the mommy mind melt kicks in. I have a vivid recollection of talking to my husband about the fact that we had to put the Elf on the Shelf away last year. He was still hanging around post-holiday tree take down and I wanted to make sure the kids didn't discover him on my husband's dresser.

I also kind of remember putting it in a bin.

Fast forward to 8:30 Sunday night, we were about 2 hours post-penny swallow and the kids were in their beds but not quite sleeping.

I sent my husband out to bring down the decorations from the attic of the garage as I tried to decide the best place to put the Elf. He called me from the garage to let me know he couldn't find it and he had looked in "a lot of bins."

I love my husband. He does a ton for our family, but less than 24-hours earlier this conversation happened while he was looking through our diaper bag in order to change QT.

Sweet Husband: Where are the wipes?
Me: They are in the bag.
Sweet Husband: I don't see them, are you sure you put them in here? (Add some tone to this.)
Me: Yes. They are in the bag.
Sweet Husband: They aren't in the bag.
Me: Ok. I am sure there are some wipes here. (We were at his sister's house and there were like 10 kids there)

One minute later I look in the bag and there are the wipes. I am not saying he didn't look for them, I am just saying maybe he should have looked a little harder. So, I was a bit skeptical that he couldn't find the Elf on the Shelf.

The next morning the Lady came down looking for the Elf. I did some quick thinking and said that he didn't come because we didn't read the book first. She bought this as an excuse and I told her he would come that night.

I got home from work and headed straight to the garage. I looked in the Christmas bins that my husband brought down. No Elf. I looked in a lot of bins in the attic of the garage and guess what? That's right we have a ton of stuff that we don't need and don't use up there. There is also a ton of stuff that I would love to use if we just had a little more room! Also, no Elf.

We put the kids to bed, I pulled on a heavy sweatshirt and headed out again. 40 minutes later. . .no luck. WTF? Where was this Elf? Was I going to have to go out to Target at 9:30 p.m. and spend another 30 bucks on this thing? Ugh.

My husband said he would go pick up a new one, but first maybe we should look under our bed. Lo and behold, there he was in his box, hanging out for a year or so, just waiting for us to remember that we never even took him out of the house.

Victory was mine that night and the kids couldn't have been more excited to see him the next morning. Please remind me to move him tonight though!

****************

This is an actual conversation that took place last night as the Little Lady was once again on our bed a full hour and a half after bedtime. My husband was watching some sports talk show on HBO about the documentary "Trophy Kids." They showed a clip of the doc with a little girl golfing. Here is what followed:

Little Lady: Do you remember when Tiger Woods cheated on his wife?
Husband and Me: Um. . .yes
Little Lady: That wasn't very nice of him and now she doesn't even want to be around him anymore.
Husband: Yeah, he wasn't very nice.
Little Lady: I think she went and moved in with her dad.

Actually Little Lady, I am pretty sure she knocked down and rebuilt some huge palatial home in Florida and is dating her neighbor, but I am sure her parents wouldn't have minded if she moved back in. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

No Nanny? No Problem?

Our nanny is away for three weeks.

She came to the U.S. as an Au pair three years ago and hasn't been home since.

She got her Green card at the beginning of November and flew back to Brazil to surprise her mom.

Every time we talked about her plan to go home without anyone knowing she was coming, I started to cry because everyone should have a surprise like that in their lives and I was so happy for her and for her family. She told her mom she was sending a package and then had a friend get a giant box that she could jump out of when her mom opened the door. Tears.

The problem of course is that I am without a nanny for three weeks.

In typical Three Bean style we are winging it.

It would have been nice if work had granted my request to work from home a few days a week, but they didn't and they continue to be less than accommodating to a mom of three who just so happens to have Stage IV cancer. Oh well, more on that another day.

What I am grateful for is the fact that my mom will cover two days a week and one of my little sister's good friends will cover the rest. My husband is stepping it up in the morning routine and is also responsible for pre-school pick up and my sister took QT one morning to help out. I am grateful that she will be away over Thanksgiving and that next week is a short week. But as usual things are usually always easier said than done.

Between pick ups, swim, gymnastics, the bus stop and trying to balance not taking advantage of my mom, explaining the logistics of our lives to someone new, and still trying to get to work on time, I realize how lucky I am to have our nanny, someone who cares about my kids, someone who knows our schedule, knows the crazy that is our lives and who still shows up in the morning even if the kids were rotten the day before.

But you know what? I still wish it was me. I wish I didn't have to leave QT crying "I want you momma." I wish I wasn't stopped by the Lady's teacher in the hallway one morning this week--as I attempted to pick up the Holiday Wish Stars in the office for families who need a little help this holiday season, drop off the bag of food for the food drive and leave the plates and napkins for the Lady's Thanksgiving feast--and have her tell me that the Lady is fine once she gets into the classroom and that she knows the mornings are hard and that "she just wants you."

I'd like to think that the Little Lady also wants me, but every time I have the opportunity to drop her off or pick her up she likes to tell me that she prefers it be her dad (and she would prefer to only be picked up in Minnie-Ru, I guess the old "green car" as we call it isn't good enough for her!). However, I would love to spend a little more time with her, even if it is only for when she tries to correct my pronunciation of "Jared" a boy in her class and "Ratatouille." I think I say Jared with a bit of a NY accent, while she prefers a softer first syllable pronunciation. Her faux French accent on Ratatouille is amazing though.

I think this last year has taught me the lesson of time. It has taught me that things will not always go according to plan and that you can do one of two things--give in or take control. I am trying very hard to do the second. I am trying very hard to put the focus on what is important to me and what I can do to make sure that I use as much of my time to make sure that my needs are met and those of my family are as well.

My nanny will be back two days after my husband leaves for his annual two week work event in California. (Panic! We might get a Christmas tree before he leaves--do I want a living Balsam Fir in my house for a full month? More on this later) I am hoping she had an amazing time. I am hoping her mom realizes what an amazing daughter she has raised and that even though she hadn't been home in three years that what she is doing here is unbelievably important to me.

I am also hoping that sometime soon I can say that I have figured out a way to make things work for me that I have taken control and that the needs of my family come first. I hope to be blogging from my kitchen table, dodging QT's baseball bat that he shouldn't be playing with in the house and making my own pre-school pick up run (in Minnie-Ru of course).

I hope that I can answer that "I want you" with "I am here."







Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beat by the Box Tops

I blew my box top load.

125 box tops all taped nicely to Halloween-themed photo copies.

10 per page.

It was just that I had been waiting and waiting for the first contest of the year.

I had been saving those little tiny scraps of paper in a Ziploc bag on my kitchen windowsill the entire summer and what can I say?

I got excited.

This has never happened before.

I am so embarrassed.

The Lady's class didn't win.

We didn't show, we didn't place. 

I made up for it by buying entirely too many boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios and deciding that even though I had never bought them before the Pillsbury Grands biscuits were needed in our house because they were 2 for 4 and that means two box tops. (Also, having made them, they are delicious.)

Seriously, I need help.

Send your box tops to Stamford. . .(oh, you thought I meant I needed psychological help? Nope, I am doing just fine but if you happen to celebrate Taco Tuesday in your house tonight try clipping that tiny, tiny box top from the seasoning mix and drop it in the mail.)




Monday, September 30, 2013

Dear Rainbow Loom

Dear Rainbow Loom,

You have me hooked.

You have me driving around town looking for Tye-dyed rubber bands and an adequate carrying case.

You have me trying to manipulate tiny colored bands with a hook so small and a frustration level so high, just so the Lady can have a few rubber bracelets to wear.

She hasn't been so excited about something so cheaply made since the days of the Smelly Jellies.

I have watched your how-to videos. I have moved from the "single" pattern on to the "diamond" pattern. Single Rhombus, here I come.

I have mastered the fishtail.

I have spent precious time that I should be doing other things (grocery shopping, cleaning, tending to my children) trying in vain to hook a tiny band, pull it through another tiny band (without it popping off) and creating bracelet magic.

I have spent entirely too much time trying to separate mixed bands.

QT has dumped the entire contents of one of the Lady's carrying cases.

Fifteen minutes after we picked it up the Little Lady kicked over the other one and I found myself sitting on the hardwood floor of my children's bedroom in what I like to describe as "rage-fueled crazy time" only to be seduced by the calming rhythm of sorting each tiny little band into the correct place.

I made a fishtail bracelet on my fingers at work. I promised the Little Lady, and it was probably the most productive thing I did all day.

At a recent street fair a young girl was selling them as she moved through the crowd. She offered them up like a seasoned drug dealer at a music fest. I touched the one on my wrist to let her know I was all good and we both moved on.

Oh Rainbow Loom, I look at the thousands of those bands, each in its tiny section of the carrying case and think "How the hell are we ever going to use all these things?" and "What am I going to do with them once the appeal wears off?"

Until then, I will try not to curse you as those tiny bands pop off the loom, or the case gets dropped, or the bands end up in the dryer, in the fridge and on the floor of the car. I will wear the creations of my daughters proudly on my wrist.

Starburst pattern here we come. . .

Happy Birthday to the Lady!



The Lady is six!

I love you my beautiful girl!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

End of Summer and Start of School

We packed up and headed out to the beach on Friday night. I just wanted one more day to spend on the beach. It was a gorgeous beach day and also a magical one.

Behold. . .

QT stepped foot in the sand! Granted, it took him a while to ease into it, but after playing with trucks on his sand-covered towel, he ventured down to the water's edge with bare feet.

The Ladies got one last day to run and play and we ended the night with some ice cream and a full-on meltdown by the Lady, but really isn't that what the end of summer is about? Ice cream and sheer exhaustion.

End of summer fun

The Little Lady's new pose. Gone is the cheese face. It has been replaced with the ballerina pose.

The next morning we got up and out early and headed over to Mystic to meet up with some friends. It was another beautiful day and I was charmed by the New Englandness of it all, and I live in New England.
Drawbridge in Mystic
Everyone got a new book from the local bookstore and some more ice cream. We watched the bridge go up a few times then got back in the van and headed home to prepare for the Lady's first day of first grade. On the trip home she lost her second tooth, which is great because when I have to drag her back to the dentist next week they won't have to pull it. 

The Lady outside the bookstore

One good thing about the start of this school year was that it was a delayed start. There was no mad dash to get out the door. I made homemade pancakes. I tried to do something Pintrest-y and make the pancake into a shape of a 1. It looked more like a penis than a 1, so I scrapped that idea and had the Lady make her own sign to mark the day.

Best first day of school sign ever!

We were all up, dressed and ready to go. However, there was confusion about what time the bus would be coming and what time school really started. The letter from the elementary school said that they would start at 10:45. The letter from the city said that they would start at 11. We took a guess and headed out. The Lady was 30 yards ahead of me walking out of the driveway, QT and the nanny were behind her in his little red car and I was trying to catch up while at the same time encouraging the Little Lady to maybe hurry up as she tried to maneuver on her Barbie scooter.

The Lady before boarding the bus.

After the Lady got on the bus I obviously ran back to the house so I could jump in the van and meet her at school with a giant bag of school supplies, which included four boxes of Kleenex (each with a box top on it and four additional box tops on the outer plastic, which I debated taking for myself, but figured the teacher would put them toward the class total), two rolls of paper towels and an assortment of crayons, markers, pencils and glue sticks.

I rushed the Little Lady into the van and headed out. I knew that the bus was ahead of me, so I was worried that I might miss the Lady getting off the bus. I was super psyched when I pulled through an intersection and saw the bus sitting at a red light while I went through on the green. After it turned the bus ended up being two cars behind us.

As we approached the school, you could see that things were not in order. Buses were lined up at the top of the entrance and cars and buses were backed up onto the main road. I like to think I channeled my husband here as I made a quick move into the church next door, parked totally illegally and got out. The Lady's bus was stopped at the flashing yellow at the entrance to the school waiting to make the turn.

The Lady's school is down off the main road about 100 yards or so. There is one entrance/exit road with two lanes total. The Little Lady and I started walking. People were stopped all over the place, cars were beeping, buses were idling, it was like we were on our way to Max Yasgur's farm. The Little Lady didn't like that the grass was wet, so I lifted her, the giant bag of school supplies, my camera and my purse, and weaved our way down to the front entrance.

The Little Lady could have walked backwards and through molasses and we would have gotten there before the Lady's bus. To say that there was some first day confusion would be an understatement. This year kindergarten orientation was in the morning, so all the parents who had gone with their kindergartners were now trying to make there way out of the school. Chaos ensued.

Ten minutes after the Little Lady and I got to the front entrance, the Lady's and three other buses pulled up. Good thing I met her because at that point they were technically late and all the aides that usually help with directing the students in the morning had already made their way into classrooms.

Gone was that comfortable bubble of kindergarten. I didn't know where the Lady's classroom was and neither did she. But we grabbed hands, made our best guess as to the direction to go and ended up in front of her classroom. I was incredibly relieved that as soon as she walked in I heard another student call her name. I kissed her goodbye, grabbed the Little Lady, stopped and signed up for a few less volunteer spots than I did last year and hoped that the Lady would have a great first day in first grade.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Day at the Dentist x3

We survived three kids at the dentist this morning. We had an 8:45 a.m. appointment and even though there were two pre-dentist breakdowns (one about bringing watercolors and another one about trying to erase permanent marker off a case of watercolors in order for me to put the Lady's name back on it in "fancier" handwriting) by both the Little Lady and the Lady, we made it there with time to spare.

We were the first people in the place and as pediatric dentist places go, this one was pretty pimped out with all types of trademark violations. We had Elmo dressed as a knight, a Rapunzel mural, faces of teen stars as well as Dora and Diego plastered on a photo-covered wall of Yankee Stadium, with Mets or Yankee's caps painted on them.

The Lady was disappointed to see that Selena Gomez is a Mets fan.

While we sat in the "stadium style" benches watching the exact same episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that I had to turn off before we left the house, about six other kids came in after us.

All six of these children went behind the faux-stone castle door and disappeared into the back before we did.

Did I mention I came prepared with backup? Not only did my husband come but I dragged our nanny as well. I am sure she wanted nothing more than to spend over two hours in a pediatric dentist's office, but as usual I am glad I trusted my instincts to bring her.

I have never brought all three kids to the dentist at once. When they said we can take all three kids at 8:45, I assumed that meant that all three kids would be worked on individually at the same time.

Instead all seven of us were escorted to the dog-themed room that had only one chair. QT obviously loved the dogs and I was super psyched to see that they were playing "Wreck It Ralph" on the two TVs in the room, but it still took about 10 minutes before anything happened. I had to answer the required questions about recent surgeries, allergies, etc. Then I did the requisite lying about how many times they actually brush their teeth. I did cop to the fact that they don't floss, but I didn't list any sugary snacks or recent Kit-Kats that they may have eaten.

It was at this point that I realized that all three of them would be going one after another and not simultaneously. Ugh.

Both Ladies needed X-rays so my husband was able to manage the two of them while I tended to QT. He showed the dental hygienist how he brushed his teeth and didn't seem fazed by anything going on in the room. I was then told that I had to get in the chair and hold him. Holding QT is tough, he is a squirmer and he has a hard head. I still have to tread lightly in the boob area and even though the right side is almost as big as the left, it is still a little delicate. I was hoping for no sudden movements.

QT did great. It literally took the guy two minutes to clean his teeth. The fluoride vitamins they painted on his teeth didn't go over too well, but he took it like a champ. I thought it would be best if I sent him back out into the waiting room with the nanny and the iPad.

Sometimes my children amaze me. I have endured so many tantrums, restaurant meltdowns, doctor's office freak outs that I never know what to expect. Both the Ladies thought the X-rays were cool. They listened, stayed still and did whatever the hygienist and dentist told them to do. They were super happy with the cache of Hello Kitty stickers they got, but the amount of time we were there seemed excessive.

The one sticking point was the vitamins. The Lady walked around with her tongue out practically drooling and I had to clean her tongue off with a paper towel. The Little Lady, who was last in the chair, knew what was coming and did clamp her mouth shut for a time or two until the dentist told her they were princess vitamins and she relented.

QT and the Little Lady have no dental issues. The Lady, not so much. The guy basically said braces by 9 or 10 and we have to go back for some fillings. They had an open 2:30 p.m. appointment today, but I know when not to push my luck. I am not sure if the Lady will be so amiable about going to the dentist after our follow-up but I am hoping that she will continue to surprise me.

All in all we left with about 10 stickers, three toothbrushes, two balloons (much to the chagrin of QT who headed out a bit early with the nanny to check out the play place at the mall and didn't get one) and one super pissed hubby who couldn't find the parking ticket for the garage and ended up having to pay the lost ticket fee.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Some Updates on the Three Beans

I've had a tough summer. Here are a few things you might have missed.

The Lady

The Lady lost her first tooth a couple of weeks ago. It happened during a blanket war with her little brother where they act like dogs and each hold a side of a blanket in their mouth. She came up to me with a bit of blood on her fingers but no tooth and at first I thought it was lost for good. We did finally find it on the carpet underneath the blanket and we avoided having to craft a letter to the Tooth Fairy. I had no idea her tooth was even loose, probably because there was a full-grown tooth behind it and it was just wedged in place. And you read that right the new tooth is behind it, like a full row behind the rest of her teeth. I think we are all headed for orthodontia in the future. Wish me luck this Friday when all three of the kids visit the dentist simultaneously.

The Lady is very excited for school to start (one week from today!) and we finally got the letter with her teacher and all the school supply info last week when we got back from Crayola. The one good thing was that the teacher she got was the only first grade teacher she could actually name when I asked her a few weeks ago. I am hoping for a smoother transition this year.

I took all three kids to Target on Friday night to get the supplies on the list. We got everything we needed in addition to a new Hello Kitty lunchbox for the Little Lady (who isn't even signed up for Lunch Bunch), a copy of Kidz Bop 24, which I am mortified to admit to you. The Lady knows all the songs on it, but these are the cleaned up versions sung by children. Some are better than others. The Selena Gomez cover isn't bad, but three 13-year-old girls should not be singing Mumford and Sons. Ever.

There were a few Target mishaps along the way, the Little Lady couldn't make up her mind about being in or out of the cart, the Lady was three steps ahead of me at all times trying to cross everything off her list and QT thought he could take off whenever he wanted when he wasn't trying to push the cart by himself. But in the end everyone earned a Kit-Kat and I think that says something. I think that says something indeed.

The Little Lady


Both girls are taking a four week/twice a week gymnastics class. They love it, which is great because we all know how those classes have sometimes ended up for us. The Little Lady started the first week as the only kid in the class. She was pretty much getting a private lesson and even though a new girl showed up last week, I am glad she is getting some directed attention because she is so into it.

So obviously we had a gymnastics/bouncy house party for her birthday over the weekend. She showed up wearing just the leotard, no clothes to cover up, she was full-on ready to literally roll. I was so glad that two of her friends from her class last year were able to make it and that by the end of the party everyone was exhausted and we didn't have to clean anything up! We ended the day at an impromptu BBQ and pool/dance party and the Little Lady fell asleep on the way home so she didn't get to open any of her presents until yesterday, which she did with the abandonment of a four-year-old girl presented with a bag full of presents tied up with balloons.

School doesn't start for the Little Lady for another couple of weeks. I think getting back to a schedule will be good for her and I am waiting to see who her teacher is. Hopefully, it is who she likes or we may be hearing about it for a while. I am reminded about a blog I wrote a couple of years ago. You may remember it, I think it was called the Ferocious Fours. Here is to hoping we have a great year Little Lady!


QT

What can I say about this kid? He is talking so much now and he is also mimicking pretty much everything his sister's say including the dreaded and punishable "stupid head." It is hard to punish him though because he is so freaking cute and also likes to peek his head around the corner from the "time out stair" with a huge smile on his face. He is a runner and will take off quickly. I know he is small but it is hard to keep up with him! He still hates sand and during every beach outing this summer has refused to step one foot in it. He will however nap on the beach for 1-3 hours at a time, which is amazing. We will see how it goes this weekend as we attempt to make it back to the beach one last time.

I was able to spend a little bit of time with him on Saturday before the Little Lady's party. He was the only one who wanted to run errands with me. I will admit to dawdling at Dunkies because he prefers to sit there and eat three bites of a donut rather than take it in the car. It was nice to just hold onto his little hand and watch him explore his world. It has been so long since we have had any time just the two of us and it amazes me how much he has grown in just the last few months.

The kids have all really started playing well together. Sometimes it is pure chaos but when you hear the three of them laughing hysterically it is a lot easier to ignore the giant mess they just made and think I am doing an OK job by them.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Are You Experienced? And the Great Kit Kat Crayola Meltdown

And boy do they mean an "experience."

I took a vacation day yesterday because I think after the last few weeks I have earned it. It seems like the summer is already over and I am finally getting around to feeling better and feeling like I can actually participate in activities with my kids.

I will admit to being a little out of practice of navigating all three kids at once, which is why I didn't risk taking all three of my kids to meet five other children at the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA (a two hour drive from our house) without bringing our nanny. I know that sounds kind of ridiculous, but QT is totally on the move and I am still not 100% and besides I had to pay her for the day anyway. So after we made a quick Dunkies stop, the five of us headed out to a color wonderland in hopes of having a wonderful day.

We arrived a few minutes before our agreed upon 11 am meet-up time and spent some time in the gift shop. The kids were given firm instructions that they would not be buying anything at that time and that if they were well behaved that we would pick something up on our way out. I think we could have just hung in there for an hour and the kids would have thought it was a pretty decent outing. Kind of far for crayons, but there were just so many of them and in so many colors--who knew what the full experience would bring.

We met up with our Pennsylvania and Brooklyn friends, avoided the ticket line with our pre-bought discounted online tickets, got a bag each with a map and some tokens and set off to explore. 

First stop was something called "Meltdown," which was basically painting with melted wax and was also a term that took on quite a different meaning as our day drew to a close. The big kids loved it. We had a group ranging in age from almost 7 to 1. QT had about a four minute attention span for that attraction and it was then I was super grateful that our nanny could take him down to "Toddler Town" for some play more on his level. 


The Ladies in front of a wall of pink crayons

QT on what I think is some sort of crayon dog, but am unclear. This was in the gift shop. I am pretty sure we could have just gone there picked up some crayons and the kids would have had considered it a good day!
Missing one kid. This time it wasn't the Lady (more on that in a later post).

Once all the kids finished up their artwork, we moved on to the "Crayon Clinic" where you took a crayon and put it into a machine that melted it and reformed it into a new shape. Most of the girls wanted the ring. It took about four minutes for the process to take place, there were maybe two stations with the ring. I will admit that there were two very helpful members of the "color crew" on hand to help out, but that maybe instead of just one guy walking around with a plastic twist tie that you use to bind computer cords or as an alternative to handcuffs from what I have seen on COPS, that maybe one should have been left at each station. There were a couple of little wax burns here and there. 

Did I mention that I went on this excursion with two of my favorite women in the world? No? That is because I think we talked to each other for a grand total of two minutes each. We mostly communicated in head nods and hand gestures to let the others know how many kids we had in our sight line.

Next stop, the indoor play space. This was much needed. The bigger kids got lost in a maze of crayon-themed climbing equipment and the 3 and under set met up in "Toddler Town" that is until we had to have a bathroom break and QT needed a diaper change. 

When we finally regrouped everyone was ready for lunch. They discourage bringing in your own food, but it didn't look like they policed it, so if you are going to go there at any point, I would recommend packing lunch. We waited on line for a pizza, some salads, and of course anyplace that is selling hot pretzels gets extra votes in my book. I think we ordered six for the table. QT and I "shared" one. 

Because this is the most exciting place we have gone this summer, we brought the school mandated print out to be photographed with. What you are not seeing (or hearing) in this photo is the Little Lady screaming behind me that she wants a Kit Kat "or else I won't be your daughter anymore."

After lunch every one was re energized and ready for some creating. The tokens they give you in the bag at the door enable you to create your own label for a crayon. You can pick an image and name it anything you want. You can also mix your own marker, all the kids loved this. It is kind of cool to see how they inject the ink and it is all done pretty quickly. QT loved pressing the buttons when he wasn't running in the opposite direction of where I was standing.

I have to admit he did pretty well for no nap. All the kids were really well behaved and they were good listeners. I think the hardest part of navigating something like that was that there were just a lot of us and it was hard to keep track of everyone. Also, I find that all of those indoor places have that background noise that makes you feel like you are standing next to rushing water. It is white noise, but at a high volume and it was only when we got outside that I realized I had probably been shouting all afternoon to be heard.

There were a lot of neat exhibits and attractions. All the kids gravitated toward the iPads, but the best part was that the artwork you created on the iPad showed up animated on a huge wall. The Little Lady colored in a glitter fish and then wrote her name on top. She was so thrilled to see it up there.

When we planned this trip, I didn't think we would spend more than 2-3 hours there. All of a sudden it was almost 4 o'clock and time to get moving. One of my girlfriends was going to stay for a few extra minutes and the other was heading down to the gift shop. I sent the Ladies on with her so that I could navigate QT in the stroller on the elevator and pick up a little bit of popcorn for the Little Lady, who had asked for it earlier in the day and I didn't want her to be at all disappointed.

I showed up in the gift shop. It was much more crowded than when we were there first thing in the morning. The Little Lady walked right up to me and said "remember you said I could get popcorn?" Oh, what a great mom I was, I whipped out of the hood of the stroller a cup of popcorn for her. Mom of the Year. Mom of the Year.

My girlfriend had the four kids in her sight line and I told my kids they could each pick out one thing under $10. My nanny had QT strapped in the stroller and he was perfectly content with a Cars-themed coloring book that came with markers. The Lady wanted to fill the authentic looking crayola tin with crayons and markers. It cost $15 but I said OK.

The Little Lady was undecided. It takes her a while to make up her mind about things. We looked at a lot of great crayon-themed items from cups to socks to every single Crayola item you can find in the stores. She finally decided on what basically equates to playdoh, and that I will probably throw away in the next week after I find it on the floor.

I went to check out. The Lady asked for a Kit-Kat. The Little Lady already had popcorn as her treat. I said yes to the Lady. Once this bit of information became knowledge to the Little Lady she put her cup of popcorn on the floor and started asking for a Kit-Kat.

Could I have just gotten her a Kit-Kat? Yes, but she had asked for something else and had already been enjoying it. The Little Lady is the type who knows "you get what you get and you don't get upset" but gets upset every single time. I think we have 300 opened ice pops in our freezer because she only wants purple and I can't tell the difference between the red and purple in the paper.

Moving on.

She started to lose it. Everything was paid for and put in the bag. One Kit-Kat. I tried to say my goodbyes to my girlfriend and her kids. The Little Lady started pulling on my shirt. Her voice started to rise. She tried to leave the popcorn behind again. We moved into the lobby for one last bathroom break.

"I want a Kit-Kat."

"You better give me a Kit-Kat or else I won't come with you."

"I waaaaaant a Kit-Kat"

All the while, I am trying not to lose my mind. I am trying not to just go back in the store and buy her a damn Kit-Kat, I mean in the scheme of things how big of a deal is it really? But it is kind of a big deal. She has a habit of asking for something until she sees something else. The grass is always greener type of thing and that won't serve her well in life and you know what else? Sometimes she needs to hear no and sometimes I have to be the parent.

Instead of heading straight to the parking garage, I made the decision to go to the front entrance so that the Lady could take a picture in front of a giant marker with a piece of paper the school had sent home so that kids could record places they went over the summer.

I recognize that sounds a little crazy, especially when the Little Lady was still screaming about the Kit-Kat.

"GIVE ME THE KIT-KAT OR ELSE I WON'T BE YOUR DAUGHTER ANYMORE!"

"GIVE ME THE KIT-KIT OR ELSE I WON'T HOLD YOUR HAND ON THE STREET!"

But, I have three kids and the other two were totally fine and the Lady should have her photo in front of a giant yellow marker. I mean we all should really. So, I took like 25 photos of the Lady while the Little Lady pulled on the back of my shirt and screamed about a delicious wafer/chocolate treat.

We finally headed back to the van. Lots of screaming still. The van was stifling and smelled like old egg sandwiches from the morning. Both the nanny and I had to jam the Little Lady into her seat and she continued to scream about the Kit-Kat until that blissful moment we hit RT 78 and she was asleep.

The Lady woke up. She wanted her Kit-Kat. Everyone else was asleep but the Kit-Kat was in a bag in the back of the van. I told her when we stopped for gas we would get it. We stopped. I gave it to her, thirty seconds later the Little Lady woke up. I have to give it to the Lady, she tried to hide the Kit-Kat. I offered other snacks to the kids.

I had held onto that cup of popcorn and gave a few kernels to QT. This didn't make the Little Lady happy. She spent the next 10 minutes screaming about wanting her popcorn. I didn't give in until she said please, which she finally did and then whimpered for the next few exits, even after the Lady shared some Kit-Kat with her.

The nanny said she had never seen her like that and was unsure how she would have handled it if she was alone with them. I assured her as the nanny, she will probably never have to find out. As the mom, I know it all too well.

We sat it traffic by the bridge and decided on McDonalds for dinner. (Hey when did they tear down the Mickey D's in Nyack off exit 11? Had to wait to get back to CT for another wholesome chicken nugget Happy Meal.)

For those of you keeping score at home that is Dunkies egg sandwiches for breakfast, pizza/hot dogs for lunch and McDonalds for dinner as well as popcorn, pretzels, and of course some Kit-Kat.

But we also went home with some cool markers, some crayons in funky shapes, personalized crayons, three left over tokens and more than just an "experience."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Little Lady Turns 4!

Happy Birthday to the Little Lady!

Here's to a little girl who last week brushed her teeth while still eating a lollipop, a sweet lady who likes to sneak into my bed well after her brother and sister have fallen asleep in hopes of catching whatever we are watching on TV. In doing so she has seen Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, not only more than anybody should, but especially more than any child should.

A little girl who idolizes her big sister and dotes on her baby brother, but is never, ever afraid to tell you how she feels and has no regard for the volume at which she will try to get her message across.

Here is to my Little Lady, who if I happen to be imbibing an adult beverage asks me if I am "drinking a beard." Someone who never fails to make me smile and who at this very moment has walked into my room with a complaint about her sister and has started climbing into my bed. . .

I love you Little Lady, my fantastic four year old.






Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up: Back to the Beach

Summer is finally here! The Lady's last day of school was Friday and the Little Lady had her last day of camp. I was able to pick up the Little Lady, get the Lady off the bus, take both ladies to the nail salon and get everything organized for the weekend.


I can't, this kid is just too cute!

I would like to say that we had a lovely meal out on Friday with the kids, sitting al fresco on the sidewalk, enjoying the sweet summer air to celebrate the solstice, but then I would be totally lying. It was, per usual, a mess of bathroom breaks and trying to corral QT. As my husband said "remind me to never do this again anytime soon." Oh well, we tried.


A very pensive Little Lady post-afternoon pass out.

The next morning, I got up early, met up with two amazing ladies and ran a 5k. I wasn't fast, but I wasn't last. It was a step in the right direction and I am so glad that I did it.

My husband meanwhile, put the kids in the car in pj's and headed up to the beach. Next time I will remember to give him the keys to the house as well as the code to the garage. And whoever moved the compressor to fill up the pool from its spot in the garage is in trouble, not only because my hubby had to fill it with the hand pump but because I had to hear about it.

As always there were a ton of cousins to hang out with and since my husband had to drive back home that night to fly out the next morning we had a little sleepover.

This sleepover wasn't as bad as the Hunger Games themed one last summer, but they kids did go to bed super late, QT slept with me and rolled out of the bed in the middle of the night, and the Lady showed up at my bed at 6:15 in the morning, followed by her sister and the Big Guy. This may or may not have contributed to a few breakdowns throughout the morning by my children, but it didn't stop us from getting to the beach. 

The big guy


I thought that by having the ladies carry their own chairs that I would have enough hands to carry everything else. This was not the case. I will not forget my beach cart next time. 

Know what else I had to carry? I am sure you all know the answer to this. Could it have been a newly turned 2-year-old who about 10 feet from the boardwalk realized he was at the beach and started walking in the other directions crying "I no want to go"?  Oh QT. Buddy, this is your third summer at the beach. Don't start it off this way. Don't do it.



The Lady. Look, I didn't think it was a string bikini when I picked this up from Old Navy and by the time I realized it, she had already removed the tags and was modeling in it. I am in some trouble with this one.

So, I left some stuff at the top of the beach, transported QT, who was suction cupped to my side, plopped him in a chair and got the rest of the things I needed. Since the kids were immediately in the water, I moved my chair closer to the water, put QT down with a truck in the sand and hoped for the best. That lasted about 7 minutes. I then had to cradle him in my arms while he whined about wanting milk (not going to happen) and his blankies (probably should have brought at least one of them down with me) until he fell asleep and I could put him under the umbrella where he slept soundly for about two hours. When he woke up, he would only walk on the towels and sit with his feet up in his chair. He did allow me to carry him to the water's edge but did not let me put him down. One good thing is that at the end of the day we took everyone to the sprinkler park at the beach and he warmed up to that pretty quickly. It is going to be a long summer if this kid can't even put one foot in the sand!



Because there is nothing better than being 2 and hanging in the pool.

I was just happy to have a full day down at the beach. That definitely hadn't happened since QT was born and to see how excited the ladies were to play and splash at the beach it totally worth having to carry a 26 pound kid on your hip for a couple hours.

QT is a cutie.
In addition to bringing the beach cart next time, I will also remember to reapply the sunscreen. At 10 a.m. when I was letting the Little Lady try to apply spray sunscreen to my legs with a button she could barley push with her tiny little hands, my cousin said that perhaps I should redo those pale, white legs when we got down to the beach. Know what never happened? That is right. Not only do I have a sunburn on my legs, it is in the worst pattern imaginable. Think of scribbles a three and a half year old might draw on a piece of paper and apply it to my legs. Total JV move. It won't happen again.

The best part was last night as I was trying not to let any blanket touch my burning legs, and the Little Lady was once again by my side watching the Prisoner of Azkaban because she was still awake after passing out for a full hour from 6:15-7:15 on the ride home from the beach, I complained about my legs bothering me. She said "but mommy didn't I do a good job putting on your sunscreen"? Always on my game, I turned those burnt legs into a teaching moment about reapplying sunscreen. I will also not be able to wear a skirt or dress to work at all this week. 


This is what 9:45 p.m. looks like at the beach house. 6:15 a.m. wasn't so adorable.

I will say that my kids slept over an hour later this morning than they did yesterday and I am totally looking forward to our next beach day. I am thinking about getting a covered wagon for QT so I can just pull him on the beach and leave him in there with some trucks, it is either that or start wearing him Bjorn-style again.

Wish me luck this summer. . .







Monday, June 17, 2013

QT Turns 2!

I can't believe my guy is 2.

We had a little party for QT on Saturday to celebrate. Here are a few pics.  



The Lady found this hat in her aunt's room. QT rocked it.
 
Nothing like licking the cake!

Finally got his own scooter!
I am not sure if he could be any cuter. Biased? You betcha.

Monday, June 10, 2013

On Boobs, Box Tops and Breakdowns: A Recap of Last Week

On Boobs

For my anniversary last week I gave my husband new breasts. I am pretty sure that beats the set of Callaway irons he just got and I think he will probably get more use out of them too.

Turns out I am getting surgery, which will include a boob lift. There is nothing that says marriage more than standing in a small examining room having a doctor you just met measure your boobs and take photos of them while you awkwardly try to make jokes about throwing in a tummy tuck and your husband casually looks on. I am not sure he signed up for that on that gorgeous June day eight years ago, but I am always grateful for his unwavering support.

For more on the boob situation you can check out The Fight and Write, post will be up soon.

On Box Tops


I can't believe the Lady is going to be done with kindergarten next week! Throughout the year her school does box top drives and the last one ran through May. Her class never wins.

I like to think that there are these crazy box top moms out there who have been stockpiling those precious pieces of cardboard, who have signed up online to reap extra rewards and who eat enormous amounts of Old El Paso products in order to gather enough of these box tops to make a difference. I assume their kids are usually in the upper grades (because it always seems like a second grade class wins) and these woman are experts on stock-up sales and all things box topish. I am secretly jealous of them.

The Lady always comes home talking about the ice cream party or hot chocolate party or ice pop party the winning class will receive. In turn, I start cutting off box tops from unopened cereal boxes, Yoplait Dora yogurts, and may or may not buy extra fruit snacks (even though I am trying to cut down on serving them to my kids) just because they are 2 for $4 and they have box tops. I send them in to no avail. Our $2 worth of box tops usually don't cut it.

Thanks to reupping at Costco and the large amount of Honey Nut Cheerios my kids eat, I have been stockpiling a few box tops of my own. So in May, I diligently cut out and taped box top after box top onto the photocopied sheets provided and sent them in every Friday. In the PTO email that comes out every week, I was not surprised when I didn't see the Lady's class on the list of classes in the lead. Then one of my co-workers gave me a few Ziploc bags filled with those tiny cardboard sweet dreams.

I sent in 82 box tops on the last day.

Last Monday the Lady came home and said that she heard her name over the loudspeaker as the winner from her class for the most money raised for the jog-a-thon (many thanks to my husband's coworkers who donated a few bucks towards the cause). She also said that her class won the box tops. I scoffed at her. She had told me one other time that she had heard her teachers name over the loudspeaker about the box tops, but it turned out that her teacher had only won some sort of gift basket. She also came home one day telling us that she was reading at a second grade level, we scoffed at that as well. Turns out she is (like how I threw that wee bit of info in there. What? I can brag about my baby bean!) and turns out the Lady was right about the box tops.

When the PTO email came there it was in black and white. They won. I felt a ridiculously large sense of accomplishment. Her class won with a total of 453 box tops, the Lady brought in like a quarter of those. I felt like kicking up my heels and making an extensive taco dinner with fruit snack-topped iced Betty Crocker cupcakes and a side of Go-gurts.

Oh, if you think I won't be one of those moms next year. . .let the collecting begin.

On Breakdowns

If you follow The Three Bean Salad on Facebook (go ahead and "like" it you know you want to) you know that my car broke down on my way home from work last week. It was my anniversary and my husband and I had 6:30 reservations. At first I thought that I had a flat tire, but then the check engine light started flashing. Luckily, I had just pulled off the Parkway and was on a very commercial road with a ton of car repair shops. I coasted into the first one available and tried to call my husband. He didn't answer.

I turned off the car, waited a couple of minutes and tried starting the car again with the hope that the issue had magically disappeared. It hadn't. I tried my husband again, texted and called one more time. Still no answer. I went into the shop, told them my problem and sat down. They told me to take what I needed out of the car. This consisted of my badge for work, my giant chemo blanket and a blue yoga mat.

My husband called me back. Traffic during rush hour in Fairfield County, Connecticut, is never easy to navigate. My husband's office was probably three miles from where I was. There was the possibility of it taking 30 minutes for him to get to me. He told me to call a cab.

I met him at a Toys R Us. Payed $10.80 for a four minute cab ride, tossed my blanket into the back of the van and headed out to dinner.

We were 15 minutes late but it was well worth it, not only to celebrate with my husband, to enjoy a night out alone without having to chase QT through the restaurant, but to also eavesdrop in on the conversation of a very WASPy couple sitting next to us, who had very firm beliefs on Catholics, Latinos, massage therapists and Socialism. Happy Anniversary to me!



The church where we got married

Friday, May 31, 2013

Busy Beans

Things are winding down, or ramping up. It all depends on how you look at it.

The Little Lady's last day of her 3's program was yesterday and she left there with a binder full of laminated artwork and photos of her throughout the year. I can't believe she is going to be four this summer! There were also a few pages of questions that she was asked about her family and her feelings. Apparently, her father is only 10-years-old and do you know what makes her angry? When bears come. That's right, when bears come.

We have signed her up for two weeks of camp in June, which will end the same day that the Lady gets out of school.

The Lady was a wee bit perturbed that the Little Lady was out of school almost a full month before her. However, between the jog-a-thon, field day, two field trips in one week and three half days in the next three weeks, I am sure her complaining will lessen. I am trying to make it to as much as I can, which means that some days you participate in a jog-a-thon at 1:00 in the afternoon on one of the hottest days of the year with a group of kindergartners while your 5-year-old seriously outpaces you.

QT has turned into a full-on 2-year-old boy. He is way into hockey and we play a lot. A lot meaning that he might interrupt you while you are trying to pee at 7:15 in the morning and lay that puck down right in the bathroom because there is no way he is waiting until you get done. He is also always on the run. Like, he can't be taken to restaurants because he knows how to unbuckle the high chair belt and once free he takes great pleasure in the fact that he is fast, he is nimble and he loves to run.

We are so looking forward to some beach time (we will see how QT's aversion to sand works itself out) and were bummed that we didn't make it up to the beach house for Memorial Day, but the only thing worse than sitting in our house all day on a wet, rainy, Saturday with my three kids would be sitting in the beach house all day on a wet, rainy, Saturday with no TV.

Here are some pics:





The Little Lady first day of 3's


The Little Lady last day of 3's



Score!



QT was running




The Lady at the jog-a-thon.

The Little Lady at the jog-a-thon


A very sweaty Lady and her sister