Life Lately...

posted on: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You know how some bloggers post Instagram round ups with little updates on their lives and families? Well this is like that, but with words. I may have crappy iphone images of some of these events I could include as well but you've probably already seen them on instagram anyway, so, I'll spare you.

  • I am still, STILL waiting on my bench cushion to be recovered before I show you pictures from our finished mudroom. The fabric I ordered finally, FINALLY shows up and what do you know - my upholsterer is in Boston on vacation this week. Next week, even if I have to cover it myself (which I do not recommend) but some way, some how I swear this project will be complete.
  • I'm 11 weeks pregnant now! I've had a consistent underlying baseline of constant nausea throughout this pregnancy so far that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. It's mostly manageable, and I'm just thankful it's not worse so I am not going to complain. But it has turned tooth brushing into a daily EVENT, let me tell you. I have to psyche myself up and then do it as fast as humanly possible to make it through without gagging.
          And you're welcome for that little visual into my life. Anytime.
  • Josh and I saw the Grand Budapest Hotel last weekend and it was great of course. It only served to strengthen the confidence I've always had in our choice of name for our first born child all those years ago. I especially loved how Ralph Fiennes' character called everyone (including the men) darling throughout the whole thing. So, so good.
  • Speaking of dates with Josh we've had a few other fun ones where I've gotten to hang with his new co-workers a bit and start to get to know them. They're fantastic by the way. The first was a few weeks ago when we got to attend a Cavs game (my first ever)  with the whole Think Media crew. Their company does all the video for the Cavs and they'd created a special video that was projected onto the court during a half time ceremony when they retired Zydrunas Ilgauskas's jersey and team number. It was very cool. And now I can say I've been to the games of all three of Cleveland's pro teams for the first time in my life. I'm like a real life bonafide northeast Ohioan now! The other date night was just this past weekend when my mom kept the boys for a sleepover at her house and we met two of the guys Josh works with and their lovely wives up in Cleveland to see Marc Maron perform stand up. It was a really fun night and the latest I've stayed out in AWHILE.
  • And speaking of sleepovers, we had our baby niece for an overnight a few weeks ago and I'm officially in love with that little lady. That is all.
  • We bought Lincoln a leash and a harness and a line to be tied out in the backyard and so he goes outside with us now. He loves this development and is pretty much a dog in every possible way outside of looks. Especially when he steals all the pizza and eats it like it's going out of style.
  • My baby (not the in utero one) is turning three on Saturday! And we're having his party at our house. Right after the annual Easter egg hunt that morning in Akron that we have to attend because Wes will not let us get out of it this year even though WE'RE HOSTING A PARTY AT OUR HOUSE MERE HOURS LATER. Then Easter is the next day, of course. It's going to be a very busy weekend.  I need a nap just thinking about it.
So what's new with you guys? Any crazy/busy weekends on the horizon for anyone else?


Coloring Easter Eggs

posted on: Monday, April 14, 2014

It's that time of year again! Time to pull out a pair of Josh's old t-shirts and an old plastic table cloth and let the boys find their inner artist for an hour or so. I love documenting them at work every year. They hardly make a mess at all anymore and they're getting way more serious about the task at hand. Wes was concentrating so hard on making his patterns and designs and it was so sweet to watch him be so into it this time around. Like last year we skipped the vinegar style dye kits and found one with paint packets that allow the boys have a little more control over their finished product. I think this method is a lot more fun for them than the traditional dunk and wait dye kit as well.  Another successful year for my little ones and they can hardly wait for the Easter Bunny to see all their hard work this weekend! ;) 

It's amazing how much they've grown since just last year. I love looking back at these photos from past few years and watching their transformation. If you're interested, here are photos of easter egg coloring from 2013, 2012, and 2011 (Oren was still days away from being born in this one!)

More Books I've Read

posted on: Thursday, April 10, 2014

About every five books or so that I manage to get under my belt I find myself back here in this space doing yet another re-cap post. I know books aren't everyone's cup of tea (even my own sister told me she skips these posts) and so I hope you don't mind. But I like doing them, and I hope some of you dear readers out there like following along too. I know I enjoy and appreciate getting good book recommendations and so for now, I'm going to keep on throwing in my two cents. So without further ado, I'd like to call this post the "follow up" edition. That's where I read a bunch of books written by authors of other books I really liked hoping to find another gem. As one might expect, some succeeded while others did not. I could also just go ahead and call this the "meh..." edition if you're looking for brevity.

Let's start with The Goldfinch, shall we? (***MINOR SPOILER ALERTS BELOW SO PROCEED WITH CAUTION***) This is Donna Tartt's very much anticipated third book. This guy was pretty good if I had to sum it up in two words, but I don't exactly think it lived up to all the hype. It wasn't life altering or anything like that and I wouldn't consider it a new favorite, but it was pretty good. I liked the story and although I spent most of the book forehead slapping myself over Theo's character and his endless succession of bad decisions I still found it to be compelling overall. I couldn't believe how much I found myself liking Boris's character by the end of the book as I was sure he was going to end up throwing Theo under the bus once and for all. But to my surprise, he never did. Their relationship story line really pleased me after all was said and done and ended up being one of my favorite things about the book. What did disappoint me though was Theo and Pippa's storyline. It just seemed to me that after so much importance was put on their relationship in the beginning of the book that when they just kind of fizzled out in the end it was kind of a bummer. But maybe that's just me. Did you guys read it? What was your take? People seem to be all over the board loving or hating this one so I'd love to hear some other opinions.  

Remember last time I posted about books and I mentioned how much I loved Gayle Forman's book, If I Stay? Well, this is the sequel to that little hunk of fictional heart break and it was everything I'd hoped it would be! I wasn't sure at first where it was headed and I desperately wanted a happy ending for the two main characters. Like, no matter how unrealistic or sappy it had to be, I wanted my happy ending, dammit.  They DESERVED it, nay,  I DESERVED IT.  But  as I started to read things seemed to be going downhill really fast and I was just sure it was going to be a depressing bummer of an ending and I was stressing out hardcore over it. But then, at the very last minute everything turned around and BAM! happy freaking ending after all. I was sobbing. Like starts with a little lip quiver and before you know it you're shaking and hiccupping and having a whole moment. It tore my little heart into shreds just like the first one did in the best possible way. These books are SO good and I heartily endorse giving them a read when you're in the mood for a good cry.

Now this book on the other hand, was such a disappointment. I mean I hate to say it because I really, really liked The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and I was so hoping for more of the same here. But it didn't happen and this book just fell flat on it's face. It was also just really confusing. Like, what even happened? What was the point? There are all these semi-interwoven stories and I still don't really get how they all connect or what the take away from the whole thing was supposed to be. I thought I was just totally missing it and when I was done reading I started frantically googling "What happened in Great House" and "The plot of Great House" hoping someone smarter than me could break it down into a simple summary and maybe I'd have an a-ha moment where it would finally all come together for me. But, as it turns out, no one really gets it. So there was some relief in knowing it wasn't just me, but also a lot of annoyance that there were really so many loose ends left untied.

This was another "meh" moment for me. After I'd read Middlesex by Eugenides I was super interested in what else this guy had to offer. Middlesex was epic and strange and left me pondering it days after I'd finished. It was just so completely unique and it stuck with me for so long after I'd put it down that I was just sure this book would be killer. But alas, The Marriage Plot was pretty boring in comparison. And maybe that's my problem because they are two such completely different books that it's probably unfair to compare them at all. This was basically the story of three college students set in the early to mid 1980's who are stuck in a love triangle and trying to find their way out. Throw in a little mental illness for good measure and there you have it. Nothing shocking happens. No crazy twists or turns. Just a little story about a confusing mix of young romances and how they eventually all worked it out. It was ok. It was no Middlesex.

Now this one was actually pretty good. But again, so many people had recommended it to me saying how much they absolutely LOVED it that I probably went in expecting too much. I really liked it, I did. It was a very touching story about how one family comes to terms with a new and confusing  epidemic ravaging the nation in the 1980's. The epidemic, of course, being AIDS. The book chronicles how this disease comes into their lives and affects each one of them deeply and profoundly and very, very differently. I'd recommend it. Is it the best book I've ever read? Nah, but it's pretty darn good and well worth your time.

And because apparently I really like to cry I'm currently reading A Thousand Spendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. And just like the Kite Runner before it, this book is working it's way through my insides slowly ripping me apart piece by ever loving piece. I'm only half way through, but dude does not disappoint. This one will be a keeper - I can already tell. 

So what about you guys? Anything good on the Kindle these days? As always, please share!


April Sunshine

posted on: Monday, April 7, 2014

This weekend felt so, so good. The weather on Sunday was absolutely perfect. We woke up to sunshine streaming through the windows and birds singing "wake up, wake up" and it just felt like spring had really arrived. We put a tray of muffins in the oven and made for the front porch, still in our pajamas with a blanket and cups of tea in our hands. I told Josh as we swayed slowly on the porch swing that if every day could start out this way what a difference it would make. That little lazy hour of sunshine and fresh air with no where to rush off to and nothing we had to do was such a shot in the arm. Vitamin D to the rescue! It seemed to set the whole day off on the right track and with that extra little boost of energy we decided to use the rest of the day for spring cleaning and finishing up some small projects around the house that had been slowly accumulating over the winter. Josh fixed the part of our back fence that had fallen down and finally took down our exterior Christmas lights from the front of the house. He switched out a couple more light fixtures with new ones and we finally finished up the last few punch list items for our back entry/mudroom project (pictures coming soon!) I scrubbed and scrubbed and vacuumed and dusted with the doors open and sun on my face and music in the house and it was just really nice.

We have a few family get togethers that will be happening at our house in the next couple of weeks and now I feel like the house is really ready for people after such a long and dismal winter. What a difference some fresh air and clean sheets can make. We've got a steady forecast of temperatures in the 60's to look forward to this week and I have never been so happy to pack up the snow pants and winter boots as I was yesterday. Spring jackets came out of storage and the hats and mittens and scarves got tossed in a bag until next year. I'm so excited for the birthday parties and Easter egg hunts and bare legs and green grass that I can hardly stand it. So, welcome spring, let me get you a glass of lemonade, put your feet up, relax, and please stay as long as you'd like. We've been expecting you.

Thank you, thank you

posted on: Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I just wanted to pop in over here today and give a big thank you to everyone for all your encouragement and congratulations over the news we shared Monday. We are, of course, THRILLED to be expecting our third baby this fall. It was a long time coming and it took quite awhile before we felt really ready to take the plunge. I mean, after Oren Henry it would take awhile for anyone to get up the gumption to go for another ;) But seriously, the stars finally aligned with jobs and the bigger house and everything we felt we needed to have in place before we could feel comfortable committing to another baby. But we did it! We're finally here, and it feels so good!

I am only a smidge over nine weeks along which is still very early. We would have preferred waiting until we were into the second trimester before sharing the news but my belly popped pretty much immediately (third baby and all) and there was just no sense in trying to hide it any longer. I think half the people we see on a regular basis had already guessed anyways. The good news is, monday morning we had our first ultrasound and my midwife and doctor assured me that so far baby is doing great and things are right on track.

I just feel really, really lucky is all I can say. I was never sure a third baby was in the cards for us and as much as I'd hoped for it to happen one day, it was never a guarantee. I feel like this is just such a special gift we've been given to get one more shot at this parenting thing and to meet one more amazing little person who will change our lives forever.

So thanks again for all your kind words and phone calls and messages. We are completely over the moon.

We have a little something we'd like to share with you today...

posted on: Monday, March 31, 2014

And we are SO excited!!!!!!!

On (Not Really) Potty Training

posted on: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We're at that potty training age with Oren now. Well, since he'll be three next month, we've been at that potty training age for awhile now actually. Usually around their second birthday we pull out the old potty seat, show them the drill (we did this with Wes as well) let them know if they use the toilet they get a small reward (a little piece of candy or marshmallow) and let them have at it. With both boys there was an initial interest (mostly due to the candy factor) which gradually tapered off until they were really, actually ready for potty training. Which usually happens around age three for boys, and I'm totally cool with that.

Some parents might find this wait annoying or frustrating, but here's the thing with me. I HATE potty training. In my opinion it's infinitely easier to change a diaper than deal with taking a toddler to the bathroom. I can change a diaper with my eyes closed (not that I'd recommend that ;) and it takes all of about 10 seconds. Taking a toddler to the bathroom, especially one who's not very interested in it yet, is so much more time consuming with the waiting and the wiping and the hand washing etc etc. Yes, it's true, I may be the only parent in the history of ever who actually wants their kids to stay in diapers! Ok, so I don't actually want them to stay in diapers forever, but I for one, am completely fine with waiting until they're ready. Yes, we pull out the seat and introduce it to them at age two, because I want them to know it's available and an option if they want it, but I surely don't expect a two year old to hop right on board. I found with Wes and I'm finding the same to be true with Oren that they will be ready when they're ready and there's not much you can do to change that.

On the day before Wes's third birthday he came up to me and said he wanted to wear underwear from now on. So I said sure, let him pick out a pair from his drawer and that was the end of it. He never had another accident or used a diaper again (except for over night when I still put a diaper on him just in case). I certainly wasn't going overboard trying to "train" him at the time, I'd simply provided the tools and information he needed and he was just finally ready. He came to me and initiated it himself and I could not have been prouder. The more I thought about it the more I came to believe that you can't force them to be ready to potty train before they actually are. Wes was ready right around his third birthday and that's the typical age for boys in the US, and I didn't do much to get him there. Even if I had, would he have been trained any sooner? I seriously doubt it. I think we would have just had a lot more frustrating days during the process.

Abby baked him his own batch of mini cupcakes to celebrate (which we told him was the grand finale of the treat/reward system which put an end to that nicely) and we were good to go. I never pushed him, never forced him and never, ever made him feel badly for an accident or for not being ready.  And it worked! The best part was how easy the whole thing was.

 Wes and his cupcakes 2011

I'm doing the same with Oren, and I just keep in mind that no matter what form of potty training you do (or don't do), ultimately you end up with the same result  - which is a potty trained kid. And I for one prefer the no stress, no guilt, no rush route. Oren has been using the potty on his accord every day lately and he rarely even remembers to ask for the treat afterwards which tells me we're getting very close. But no matter how long it takes him, I'm ok with it. He won't be 17 and still in diapers. It will happen naturally and in his own time when he's ready. And I'm just fine with that.

So you guys tell me, what approach did you use to potty train? If you made a more concerted effort do you think you got results any sooner than if your child would have determined the time line? If so, how much extra effort did you put in? What methods did you use and most importantly, was it worth it? I'd love to hear!

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