Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wrap Up

Well the verdict is in, and it appears that real-life princesses are not nearly as impressive to a five-year old (at least my five-year old) as their animated counterparts. Though I tried as hard as I could, I could not capture the attention of Little Diva with any part of royal nuptials. She was more interested in watching the groundhog bore holes in our lovely lawn all morning, while I stayed glued to the screen, waiting to catch a glimpse of the newest addition to the British monarchy.

Here were Little Diva's main concerns about the whole affair:

Why didn't Prince William and Prince Harry match? She did not like that one was wearing black and the other wearing red.

Why was Maya from Suite Life on Deck getting married to him anyway. Doesn't she like Zack anymore?

Why did they all have "those things" on their heads?

How come there were trees inside the church?

Why didn't the horses pulling the carriage gallop?

Sometimes you get a completely new perspective on just about anything when you look at it through the eyes of a child.

In any case, I must admit that I was inspired by the transformation of Kate from girl next door to HRH. After spending the better part of the morning viewing the coverage in the comfort of my pajamas, I glanced at myself in the mirror during a potty break, and realized I was about as far from regal as you can get. I immediately put on decent clothing (like some that actually live on hangers in my closet), brushed my hair and put on a little makeup. Knowing that Kate will never have another day to run to the grocery store in a pair of sweats and a pony tail, made me feel slightly guilty about lazing around like a slug.

And since I do not see a horse-drawn carriage waiting for any of us out front, it's pretty safe to say I won't need to shake 3000 hands or anything today, but embracing your inner princess every once in a while can be a good thing. It is a total cliché, but this is the only castle I've got, so I'll make the most of it, and play with my little princesses all day - no ridiculous hats required!

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? And what did you and your kiddos think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not in hiding

Hi all!
I just managed to claw my way out from under a 6 foot mountain of laundry under which I have been buried for the last week or so to say hello. How is it that 4 people (two of whom are under 4 feet tall) can generate two tons of dirty clothes on a weekly basis?

Just wanted to confirm that I am alive and well. I have moved on to picking up the delightfully minuscule foil balls made from the Easter candy wrapping that are scattered throughout the house. I have only stepped on (and hence, shattered) three plastic eggs in the process! I consider that a small victory. I have also hidden the chocolate bunnies in the freezer "so they won't melt." (wink.wink) I think the only thing worse than my kids hopped up on sugar, is having them hopped up on sugar with sticky-melted-chocolate-covered-hands.

Hope you all enjoyed your spring holidays as much as I did!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hard Way

So I picked up a few pointers from myself yesterday on how not to make life more difficult that it can sometimes be already.

Here we go:
1) Do not go to the park with an eighteen month old when the local elementary school is having some kind of field day/let the wild animals run free/let the teachers stand around and check Facebook on their phone in the sunshine day.  If you do, have a plan in place for the baby therapy that will be needed to remove the scars to her delicate psyche.

2) Do not get your five-year old all excited about rearranging her room furniture without first measuring the spaces - ALL THE SPACES - to make sure your plan will work. And better yet, do not start moving said furniture (said heavy, made of solid wood, with a iron core, furniture) by yourself only to find out the hard way that it does not fit.

3) Do not pull a baby toy out of storage, and expect that your five year old will have any interest in letting an actual BABY play with it.

4) Do not assume that a baby will not want her own treat from the Ice Cream Truck. If you do, you will just end up giving her yours. And along those same lines, pretty much plan on the fact that the treat you choose for yourself will be more appealing to your five year old than whatever gumball-eyed/red dye #5/superhero pop she picks and you will end up "trading". Order accordingly. Why do I always forget that?

Hope this helps your weekend go a little more smoothly.
Does anyone else have any good life lessons that you have picked up lately?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Warning: Toddler on the Loose

Most of us are aware that raising your kids involves navigating the relentless sea of completely insane behavior that changes by the minute phases common to developing youngsters. It often seems that as soon as we find a groove in which we can all just get along for about 30 minutes at a time, a new wave washes in and we are left floundering on the rocky beaches of parental incompetency.

We have recently entered the phase of "I Can't Take This Kid Anywhere That Is Not Specifically Designed to Entertain a Toddler." It basically limits us to visiting our local play cafe, story time, the park and play dates in the home of other hostage like-minded parents.

Completely out of the question right now: any kind of public event in which allowing a toddler to run free would be dangerous or disruptive (which in case you did not realize is ANYWHERE) and dining out (unless you enjoy a meal punctuated by flying sippy cups, overturned meals, ongoing pleas for release from the highchair and a nice helping of meltdown for dessert).

Now having two children at different developmental stages, means that you cannot completely avoid the challenging situations in which you will spend the majority of your time imitating a border collie attempting to rein in the rogue sheep. Little Diva has needs and is not afraid to demand that they be met. So we will occasionally brave a lunchtime visit to the pizza shop and usually, we need to bring The Baby along to her other activities because Sweet Hubby's schedule makes him unavailable for the tandem parenting that can be helpful during this phase.

We prepare ourselves as well as any Super Nanny might instruct for these outings, but quite frankly, it doesn't make a bit of difference. No matter how many toys, books and snacks I pull out from my diaper bag, the allure of everything else that is out there is just too strong. The Baby wants to be free to terrorize her surroundings explore with unrestrained abandon. Who can blame her?

This means that I presently find myself digging quite deep into the endless pool of patience and composure that was assigned to me at Day One of motherhood with alarming frequency. Let's hope that this phase plays out before the proverbial well runs dry. I need to keep a little of that supply on hand to deal with Little Diva and her current mission to become a teenager by age six. But that is another post all together.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Struggle to Downsize

I really hate to make excuses for myself BUT how in the world am I supposed to do it?

I have been "planning" to kick my weight-loss/healthy eating/get fit quest into high gear for a long time now. I am about 12 months overdue to shed the 40+ pounds of "baby" weight that came into my life around the same time The Baby did.

I find this whole process very tricky. First of all, as my sister pointed out to me, it is a challenge to simultaneously grow your children and shrink yourself. I am not a big fan of making different food for the kids at dinner time. Since Sweet Hubby is at work until way past bedtime, I am a one-woman show each night, and multiple meals are not in my repertoire. I have a hard enough time making sure at least one meal is balanced. And by balanced, I mean, hopefully contains at least one component that did not come out of a box or can.

Trying to incorporate some kind of "lifestyle change" (because you are not supposed to call it a diet, right?!) selections into a weekly menu that the kids will actually eat is tough. I also don't want to deprive them of the necessary calories and good fats that their little bodies need to grow big and strong.

And from a philosophical standpoint, I don't want to call constant attention to the fact that I need to lose weight in front of my kids. I want them to grow up with a healthy body image, so I hate to let them see me focus so much time and energy on what I eat. That seems like a recipe for potential eating disorder disasters down the road.

Sure, I can tell them that I "just want to be healthy" and I am making sure my body has healthy fuel, not junk. Blah. Blah. Blah. But at the end of the day, I am measuring my Cheerios and counting my pretzels for crying out loud. Surely that will stick in their little minds.

Then there is the small matter of how much more expensive my grocery bill is when I am "following the herd plan". It turns out that those bright and colorful fresh foods (as opposed to those in the bright and colorful boxes) cost a whole lot more. You don't find a lot of coupons for kale or cauliflower.

But the fact remains, that Mommy 2.0 needs to reboot before the whole system crashes. I need more energy. I need to fit in my clothes again. And most of all, I need to have a healthy body for my kiddos. To set a good example, and to make sure I am going to be there for them when they need me, for a long, long time.

So I am ready for any and ALL of your tips, tricks and tactics for making weight loss attainable, despite the challenges that we mommies face (not enough time, not enough money, not enough self control). How do you do it?

P.S. Weight Watchers ™ is my plan of choice, mostly because I cannot live without eating pizza (real pizza). End of story.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hi. My name is Mommy and I am a chaos addict.

I cannot leave well enough alone. Whenever it seems like life is just a little too mundane for my taste, I seem to find a way to pile on a whole bunch of insanity all at once.

I guess I am kind of a stress junkie. I seem to function at a much higher level when I have twenty different plates spinning in the air.

As a young professional, I had jobs that literally kept me running from start to finish.  The more "in the weeds" I was, the more accomplished I felt at the end of my shift.

After Little Diva was born, and I dragged myself back to work, armed with nothing more than a chip on one shoulder, and a breast pump on the other, I evolved into one of those moms who could do it all. Cue the "Enjoli" commercial from the 80's - I could bring home the bacon AND fry it up in the pan. My day usually included two hours of commute time, a white knuckle race to the daycare before closing time, and an evening of checking email from home because I felt guilty about leaving the office after 9 hours had to catch up.

So when The Baby came along, and the potential for a double day care bill was looming large, I had two options, continue working in a high stress situation for the equivalent of zero pay, or stay at home, for, well, zero pay. I made the choice to "retire", as Little Diva puts it, quite happily. And it has been a wonderful 18 months so far. Not without its challenges, I am not going to lie, but I cannot imagine things any other way right now.

Well, except for having more money. I think we can all agree that it would be kind of nice.

So, in my efforts to add a little something (emphasis on LITTLE)  to the family piggy bank, I have started spinning the plates again.

All of the sudden, I feel very busy. I am juggling the rather opposing schedules of three different tutoring clients, shopping for the best deals to find super cheap (sometimes free) activities/food/stuff to offset my lack of income,  doing product reviews and service evaluations, trying to keep up with my blog, and most importantly,  playing chauffeur and housekeeper playing Barbies as much as I can spending time with the little girls that I am here for in the first place.

Yup, I am totally "in the weeds". Having a severe case of the mommy brain makes the chaos just a little bit more exciting, too. I am never 100% sure if I will make it through the day without totally spacing out on one commitment or another. Luckily I have my iPhone calendar to keep me on track. I have noticed that it doesn't work so well, though, if you forget to add your events. Really? There ought to be an app for that.

Lucky for me, it's that kind of stress that makes me tick (and not usually in the time bomb/ready to explode kind of way - in case you're wondering).

So I wonder, how many moms out there dig living the life chaotic, the way I do? And how many moms are happier when things are serene?