Thursday, June 25, 2009

I won! I won! I won!!

Thank you Christy of Lil' Welsh Rarebit fame! Big grins over here! I never win stuff, so I was very happy to find out my name had been drawn for her blog giveaway! I won a $25 gift certificate to Dali Decals...oh so fun shopping around for what I wanted. I had my eye on this tree, but my husband nixed it for the cost (I'll just paint a mural of one) - so what did I buy?I got these adorable Elephant decals!! My oldest son's room has these awesome curtains with a Indian motif and is full of animals including elephants (my favorite). Thanks again Christy!

From DD to JJ...Miss you JJ!!!

DD has progressed to JJ. My sister was recently in for visit. I miss her already, it was so great to see her! Her last visit she came in town to help out with our two year old while I was in the hospital delivering our youngest.

My sister stayed in the house alone with our 2 year old rolling through his daily routine and handling it perfectly! Peter loved his "DD", as he called her, and cried when she left!

Well, this visit he no longer calls her "DD". His mispronunciation of her name, Auntie AJ, has now progressed to "JJ"...still a cute nick name! :)

When my sister was here last time I lamented in this post that I never got a photo of her with my newborn son. It still makes me sick I didn't capture them together in a photo. I made up for it this last visit and love the outcome.

Miss you JJ!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to keep Mosquitoes Away

I recently linked to an eHow article on how to keep mosquitoes away using home remedies. I tried almost all of them and they kind-of made an impact...I particularly liked shoving drier sheets in my sons pockets and pinning them to his clothes - it helped a bit, but this kid is a mosquito magnet. I'm not kidding. Right now he has roughly 20, no exaggeration - 20 bites on his body! So these home remedies just weren't cutting it. Staying inside is just not an option! His major energy rush happens every evening right at that early evening mosquito hour between 4 and 6 p.m. If I don't let him out of the house to run and play ... the house is torn up and we are at our wits end!

I gave up on the home remedies and bought Raid's Yard Guard Mosquito Fogger. I go out back and spray everything down 15 minutes before we go outside and voila!!! not a bug in sight!!! Not one! I realize this is poison I'm spraying around, but bugs be son is NOT getting sick from mosquito bites! I'm careful not to spray anything he plays with or touches...spraying the parimeter is all it takes. Raid claims this stuff works for six hours, but it's more like two to three hours. So, if you need to eradicate those mosquitoes... screw the catnip, the citrus plants and the drier sheets...just buy the Raid Yard Guard Mosquito Fogger.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I don't wear Prada to the playground

update/edit [10-8-09]: I have to send a thank you to Christy at Lil Welsh Rarebit for putting this post up over at Mama's Losin It's list of blog writers you admire. I couldn't understand the sudden increase of hits on this old post until I saw an email from Christy telling me she had put me up on the list...


thank you to those stopping by and please leave me a note that you were here!

The original post:
I don't wear Prada to the playground

.... but sometimes I wish I did. Maybe Prada is not what's in Vogue right now, maybe saying "in vogue" is not in vogue...but all the more to the point that I'm clueless as to the ins and outs of what's in! And that's fine. That's who I am, and who I am just can't understand being decked out in Prada (or whatever), high heels, a beautiful flowing scarf, the latest high fashion bag, full face of make-up and perfectly coiffed hair at the sand pit in the playground with your toddler. What the....?

I don't get it. Let me tell you, I'm in the minority here in DC too! Me and the Nannies are the only ones in jogging pants and tennis shoes, actually, some of the nannies are in skirts (but they do have on tennis shoes with that skirt).

This is the reason I pretty much stick to the Adams Morgan playground. There seem to be more Moms like me at this playground versus Rose Park located between Dupont Circle and Georgetown. I guess location is everything. I get the same feeling going to the Dupont Circle Farmers market versus my own neighborhood Market. As one friend put it, you feel like you have to dress up to shop at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. These people think they are at some sort of European Market photo shoot!

I digress.

What I want to know is WHO ARE THESE MOMS?! It's not so much a money thing as it is a TIME thing. I can NOT leave my two year old alone for very long before he destroys something. So how in the heck would I ever have a chance to take a nice long shower, fix my hair and put on makeup and assemble some sort of "outfit"?! Well, OK, it's a comfort thing too. I really can't see myself chasing and playing with my two year old in heels! But then, I rarely see these moms chase & play with their kids - the poor things. I take solace in the fact that these women must have more help at home during the day than I do! If you're one of these Prada-Moms...please do not burst my bubble by commenting on this post that you in fact do not have help at home...I don't think I could take it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another First!

I'm so proud of my youngest son! He is far and away a better sleeper as a baby than my first son was! My oldest woke up every two hours on the nose for the first 14 months of his life! I was convinced it had to do with breastfeeding him because the instant I weened him he started sleeping through the night. However, it was most likely just his personality. Because Paul, my youngest, seems to sleep quite well. By two months old he was already sleeping anywhere from 4 to 6 hours at a time.

Last week my youngest put himself to sleep when I was unable to get to him quickly while he was crying. Now, today, another first. I had him on the floor under his jungle gym-thingy in the living room and he fell asleep while playing! This is after a full night of sleep where he only woke up twice to be fed! He's in the living room with the TV and my two year old playing and shouting...amazing!!! He does NOT get this ability from me!! I have to have quiet and darkness! He must have inherited this incredible ability from his father who can go to sleep anywhere and anytime!

Hooray for sleep!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just GOTTA have the last word!

OK, Maggiano's!!! You just HAAAD to have the last word, didn't-ya?! So...I posted about Maggiano's apologizing for an incident I had written to them about...and how we enjoyed their freebie "we're sorry" meal. So after such a wonderful "we're sorry" meal, I felt the need to write back to Maggiano's headquarters and say "thank you for the nice apology".

Well, today I received this (see above) letter from Maggiano's saying...we're so glad you had such a wonderful experience and gave me a $10 coupon for my next visit. Just HAAAD to get the last word in, didn't you, Maggiano's? That's totally fine by me! You now have a more than happy customer!!! but I still get the last word .... THANK YOU!!!

Why is it so quiet?!!!!!

This is not the "playing alone photo", obviously. I didn't want to disrupt Peter's
playing alone time with a photo. So I leave you with a balloon moment photo.

With great alarm I rushed out of the was quiet...why?

I had horrible thoughts of what could have happened. Had someone broken into the house and made off with my two adorable little boys? Was there a ransom note, no we have no money... Were my children, at that very moment, being tortured or worse? Had the proposed kidnapper been waiting for that moment I left them alone to go pee?!! Or, had the two of them gotten out of the house somehow and are now meandering down the busy street? Or had both the baby and toddler managed to fall and break their necks? Don't ask me how a 3 month old could meander down a street or manage fall down stairs...fears aren't logical - quit asking me to be logical! You know you've had crazy fears like this, it's OK to admit it. It's called being a good parent - as if we don't have enough REAL concerns to occupy our minds we fill the tiny little voids with insane worries.

This particular day, thankfully, none of these had happened. What had happened was a series of shocking events. The first was that my two year old, ALL BY HIMSELF, had walked downstairs to the playroom and was playing quietly all by himself. Did I mention he did this all by himself?! WOW! Now this is a REAL milestone event...I mean, BY HIMSELF? Without announcing he was leaving the room... without begging mama to go with him...without asking for help to turn on a light...or to help wind up a toy or build blocks...without crying that he wanted to play...just went and played.

The other event was my 3 month old son, who had just moments before been fussing like mad, was suddenly quiet. SIDS?!! I just knew I would peek in his crib to see a blue-faced baby! But no, he had soothed himself to sleep, the wet fist was still resting close to his mouth as evidence. Another first! Still, I watched his chest raise up and down a few times before walking away.

Then...the big dilemma...what the heck do I do with myself? I mean, the two year old is happy playing all by himself, the 3 month old is sleeping, unbelievable but all my house chores were pretty much done. I plopped on the couch and.... wait for it...TOOK A NAP!!!

May this wonderful event come to you all soon!!!!
This is an old photo of Paul sleeping when he was about a month old.
I didn't want to disturb Paul's peaceful slumber for the photo op.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

$300 value giveaway

It's official, I'm addicted to blog giveaways. Really, how can you NOT be addicted with giveaways like this one at Fantabulously Frugal where the prize package is worth $300?! I've said it before, the odds of winning are so huge. I can't begin to list all that you win on this giveaway, go to her blog to read the complete list, but here's a photo of the booty:
If you enter, please be sure to reference me in the form so we can both get an extra entry in the contest! Entries for this contest are accepted until 11:59 p.m. CDT on June 22, 2009.

Good Luck!

Peter & Paul's Magnetic Wall!

I'm sooo excited about this project I have in mind. When my husband converted our unfinished basement into a playroom for Peter we had originally planned to purchase a large sheet of tin or some kind of metal so Peter could have a very large area for his magnets. It turned out that large sheet of metal was going to cost more than we were willing to pay.

Enter Magnetic Paint! Yes, you heard me right...paint that turns whatever surface you paint magnetic! Maybe you saw it on the episode of Extreme Home Makeover. I seemed to have missed that episode, so it was a huge discovery for me! You can either buy the magnetic primer paint that goes on under any color paint you choose or you can mix in an additive. I'm going for the latter since it requires less coats of paint (I'm lazy like that).

I just placed my order for the paint this morning and I can NOT wait to get started! I love having the basement where anything goes! I plan on getting a really fun color for the panel of the wall that will be magnetic...such fun!

I bought these Doug and Melissa magnets and have them tucked away to use the day we get the the magnetic wall completed!

Pictures of the new wall to come!


Well, bummer. The magnetic paint, it seems has a fatal flaw! The paint seems to only be strong enough, magnetically speaking, to hold flat rubber magnets. From the website:
"Recommended magnets are flexible rubber sheet magnet or rare earth magnets (neodymium type). Most heavy fridge magnets do not hold well on magnetic paint."
Meaning, that definitely the heavy wood magnets I've purchased won't work. His toy magnetic figurines won't stick, meaning...I cancelled my order and am back to the drawing board. :(

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two bye-byes?

Good morning world! It finally stopped raining in Washington, D.C. after what seemed an eternity of rain! My cabin fevered sons and I are heading out to the Zoo today - the playgrounds will definitely be too wet.

We're eating breakfast and Peter, who can't sit and eat is dancing around with a balloon in one hand and a piece of toast in other and starts yelling two bye-byes mama! two bye-byes! I ask him what two bye-byes. He says play-play and zoom (that means playground and zoo). :)

Two bye-byes it is! I'll have to bring him a change a clothes since he'll be all wet after playing in the swamp, I mean playground!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away With Home Remedies |

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away With Home Remedies |

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Beautiful White Jade Necklace - For Free!

I can't help it, I wasn't going to post another giveaway until after my friend, Christy's Giveaway, was finished...but this was just too beautiful to pass up! You can win this gorgeous white jade necklace (above) by going here:

We've Made it 3 Months!

This is Paul on his 3 month birthday

I'm a terrible mother! How could I have forgotten to post about my youngest boy turning 3 months old?! Well, the truth is, information flows in many directions for me...this time I sent out a big email with all of Paul's stats - so posting on the blog slipped my mind. Looking back through my posts it seems I forgot to post about his 2 month old bday as well.

Perhaps the biggest news in Paul's growth is the fact that the boy already has a tooth punching through that cute little gummy smile! He's about a month and a half earlier than Peter who got his first tooth somewhere around the 4 month mark. They are identical in that they both got their eye-tooth as their first tooth.

Paul is able to turn on his side and is quite the wiggle worm! Every time I look up he's moved to a another position on his toy or crib! And he gurgles, coos, chatters and laughs like crazy. I'll have to try and get it on video. His favorite thing is to blow spit bubbles which makes my 2 year old very happy!

Weight: roughly 14 lbs (6.35 kilos)
Height: about 22 inches long (55.9 cm)
The obligatory photos:

Paul this morning

More of Paul this morning.

PS. Thank you Auntie Donna for the very cute outfit Paul is wearing today!

Friday, June 5, 2009

How to get free stuff!!!

So, a friend of mine has gotten serious about this blogging thing, a result, to drive traffic, she's giving away some AWESOME stuff on her blog, A Lil Welsh Rarebit!! Here's what she's giving away:

This adorable necklace from Tags-N-Stones that you can choose the stone, monogram and choose either silver or gold:

A gift certificate for decals from Dali Decal, here's an example of something they offer:

and finally, a gift certificate for some green cleaning supplies from EcoStoreUSA:

Find out how to win by going here:

I plan on winning that necklace, but I'm really loving the decals for my sons' rooms too!!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Kind Nod in The Direction of Maggiano's Restaurant

In this post I mentioned an incident that occurred while trying to grab some lunch at a Maggiano's restaurant during a particularly frustrating day. One of the commenter's on that post said something about Maggiano's actions being discriminatory. That had not occurred to me, at the time that I posted I just found it to be another incident in my trying day but the more I thought about it the more I felt she was right. So I sent a note via the Maggiano's website recapping my experience.

A couple of days later the GM of the restaurant called me. I was surprised, frankly, to hear back about the note at all let alone receive the most sincere of apologies. The GM explained that he was thoroughly embarrassed about my experience, he asked for details, if I possibly knew the names of the hostesses, and apologized profusely. He even told me to ask for him the next time I'm in the restaurant so he can personally see to it that my next experience is above and beyond and stated my meal would be on the house. He was sooo soo nice and apologetic and assured me that my experience was not the common policy for Maggiano's and he would do everything he could to see to it something like this never happened again.

Wow. I mean really, I didn't expect all of that!

So today, with my mother and two boys in tow, I went to Maggiano's for that promised free meal. They certainly made good on their promise, including my mother's two glasses of wine, my two-year old's spaghetti, my gnocchi and salad and my mother's order of the special of the day (can't remember what it was). In the end our bill totaled close to $50, completely comped! LOVE IT! :)

So, Thank you Maggiano's for your most sincere and delicious apology!!!

Great Thunderstorms

We've had some pretty good storms lately but it seems up here in the Northeastern United States, or at the very least here in Washington, DC they are extremely short.  Last night was the first exception to that comment in the 10 years I've lived here.  The storm was beautiful, loud,  harsh, thunderous, windy and long!  It reminded me of the storms I used to sit on my back porch in Memphis and watch.  I always loved the quiet just before the storm.  You could feel the humidity and pressure in the air and in the summer the sweet sweet smell of the peonies were much more fragrant.  I miss the south for these things.

Anyone who has known me for more than 10 years knows I've had my moments.  Most artists do.  I think my "moments" are fairly well behind me now and I seem to float through life on an even keel.  Much to the suffering of my art I must admit, but unlike famous artists of the past I am not willing to sacrifice my happiness to produce good art.  Not that I was any where near becoming famous.  During one such "moment" where I had just lost my dear Grandmother and her sister (My Great Aunt) both to cancer and both within a week of one another I was sitting on my back porch and enjoying one of those quiet before the storm moments and I wrote the following poem:

Lightening bugs in my trees
As I sit with the summer breeze
One dark evening, a storm on the rise,
The wind plays my hanging chimes.

The majestic trees dance and play
As the lightening bugs glow and sway
The crickets trumpet just below
Adding their talents to the musical show

A sweet scent carries on the breeze
The smell of honeysuckle it frees
Mingled with the peony flower
my nose is enjoying this sweet hour.

Minutes pass and time stands still
Nature speaks if you only will
listen to her with patient ears
she soothes your worries and calms your fears.

I sit and watch the spectacle of lightening,
to far to hear or to be frightening
the storm approaches as the breeze turns to wind
Causing the ancient trees branches to bend.

Enthused with what this lightening may bring
I hear my windchimes beginning to sing
Louder and longer their song becomes
They let me know when my storm comes.

I grow anxious for her arrival
My storm's rage is my survival
When she rips and tears through the Earth
It is my rage that she gives birth.

From rage and hate I need relief
Rage and hate my storm shall release
She comes closer as her lights grow brighter
I can not wait to sit down beside her.

Her viscious wind and cool rain
Will wash away all of my pain
And when my storm's tantrum is suddenly finished
My rage and pain will have diminished.

With thunderous feet she now approaches
My giant storm, my world she encroaches
With open arms I welcome her home
I smile and rock, sitting alone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What a great day we had!

Yesterday Peter, Paul and I had a big day!  We left the house around 9:30 a.m. and didn't get home until around 3:30 p.m..  I'll remind you that during the day I am carless so anything we do is on foot!  After lugging the 25 pound two-seater stroller down our front steps I loaded the backpack and both boys in and off we went.  

My oldest son had spent all of breakfast chanting "Go bye-bye, Zoom!" over and over (zoom, I'll remind you is his word for zoo) - so I was surprised when we got outside and in the stroller that he started asking for the playground ("play-play" in Peter-speak).  So off we went to the playground.  Around lunch -time we headed to Starbuck's around the corner and had lunch.  Then, Peter asked for the playground with the sandbox ("play-play sand!" in Peter-speak); so off we went to the next playground.

A couple of hours later when my son was so tired that he was laughing uncontrollably at the seeds falling off the tree I knew we'd gone too long.  He was well past nap time and completely loopy!  My 3 month old, however, never woke up all day!!!  He went from 9:30 a.m. until I woke him up to bring him inside at 3:30 p.m.!!  I couldn't believe it...and he STILL slept two 4 hour stints last night too!  I think I've lucked out and gotten a real good sleeper this go 'round!

Here are some photos of our day yesterday:

That's a giant bag of raisins Peter is carrying around with him at the playground.  So much for making sure he has clean hands while he eats.  It was slide down the slide, grab a handful of raisins, eat, repeat.  :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Baker, Baker, Bake me a cake ...for less than $160!!!

OK, On a previous post I stated my shock over the cost $156 for this cake:

I had decided I could make a cake like that and swore to put my money where my mouth is and give it a go.  Half way through reading the instructions on how to make an "easy" marshmallow fondant (that's the smooth-looking icing that goes on the cake) I realized it was worth MORE than the $156 I paid!  But I gave it try anyway.  After cooking and mixing and kneading it for 10 minutes I had what resembled the recipe photos and what a freaking mess!!!:
That's powdered sugar everywhere.  I thought I'd be smart and use my kneading/dough attachments for my hand mixer, powdered sugar flew everywhere!!!!  A real genius!

So the recipe required the fondant to sit in the fridge overnight.  Today I took it out and let it sit on the counter all day to bring to room temperature.  When we got back from being out all day, I got the two year old down for a nap and started rolling out the fondant.  I was getting so excited as I rolled it out; it was actually looking like something!!!  It was perfectly beautiful, white and smooth like a wedding cake!  My creative mind was running wild with the decorations I could put on it!

Then I placed the sheet of fondant on top of the lightly iced cake (to make the fondant stick) and I managed to put my finger through the fondant, then it pulled and buckled after I got it on so it looked pinched in sections and overlapped.  Then, while I was cutting away the extra from the bottom it ripped in's definitely something that requires practice and experience.  Here's what it looked like before I gave in and let my son finish decorating it:

There was a ton of fondant left over, I plan on practicing a bit more, and finding some more tips on line before trying again.