The Mythical Mommy

By a Mommy for Mommies

Itching for Spring

Well, we didn’t make it out of this winter unscathed. I can’t tell you how ridiculously healthy we have been as a family this winter. Up until last week. I catch a cold – and sure enough, no amount of cleaning on my part prevents the kiddos (and maybe even other family members) from catching it.

BIG SIGH.

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And, now that the kids have the sniffles – I am trying to find some ways to make them more comfortable. We have humidifiers going CONSTANTLY – yet our house remains a wood-splitting 28% humidity.

I did find this blog. This woman is hilarious. The tips in the post are pretty good too – except, I have read on several occasions to NOT use full strength Vick’s Vapor Rub on little ones. But do read some of her other posts – she is a riot.

If you have any tried and true kid cold remedies, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

In addition to laying around and single-handedly keeping Puffs in business, I have had some time to think about Spring cleaning projects. Of course, I am planning for the basics – screens, blinds, carpets, etc, but I am also thinking of a few fun projects to get done.

1. Our vertical blinds need replacing. I never really loved them from the beginning, but they do make sense. We lost a “slat” this winter – it just broke off, on its own actually. So I have been giving thought to new blinds or even some tall curtains. I found these blackout curtains, but they freak me out. A little too dark. I might have to enlist my MIL in the making of something – we’ll see how ambitious I get.

2. As most of you saw in my post “Getting Caught Up and Hung Up” I have a tendency to organize and try to make things easier around the house. My most recent headache? SHOE STORAGE. I know. First World Problems. But really, I am tired of our shoes being everywhere. And mind you – I don’t own that many pairs of shoes. All of them live in our laundry room closet, but as hard as I try, they tend to hang out in a big pile.

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My good friend Bob Vila showcases a lot of good DIY options here. Personally, I like the PVC storage idea. I have seen it before and I think it would work in our closet. I am sure it will be a project I start that the hubby finishes. 🙂

3. Finishing the basement. It is a work in progress (2+ years) and I am getting anxious. Kyle has been super busy, and we have had many slow-downs in our progress, but the plan is to finish the basement off this summer. I. CAN’T. WAIT. My first act when it is finished – moving most of the toys downstairs. The largest portion will be devoted to “play space” – with a small area for gym equipment. I will also get a small crafting room – for my sewing and other projects. The bedroom will be used as an office and we’ll turn the current office (upstairs) into a spare bedroom. I have this thing about basement bedrooms – I don’t like them. And the space under the stairs and by the furnace will both become storage. We will gain a lot of room and it will free up a lot of upstairs space. I am already starting my Craigslist searching for nice, newer furniture for downstairs… It’s amazing what people buy, decide they don’t like, and sell for cheap.

So for now, while it is still super chilly – I just keep researching and planning. Hopefully it will warm up soon enough to get some projects started. If you have any great ideas – let me know. 🙂

Well, back to staying warm – I have some sniffles to cure and babies to snuggle.

Cheers!

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A Little Customer Service Story

Good morning everyone! Happy Friday! TGIF, and all that good stuff!

I was going to post something in the last few days, but I had been taken down by a fast hitting cold of some sort. I am much better now as a result of excellent care from my hubby and 2 littles. They remain unscathed as I went into FULL-ON Paranoid LYSOL/CLOROX wipe CODE red lock down. Trust me, it’s a thing. An unfortunate side-effect is that I am going to turn Silas into a germophobe.

But, alas, I am feeling much better.

On to my post… So as many of you know, it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. But, one of the things that really gets me – poor customer service. Now, I understand people have bad days, some people don’t like their jobs, etc. etc. But, to receive poor customer service ACROSS an entire group of people within a company… that’s bad form.

As you know, AirTran, the airline we flew to GA accidentally lost our luggage on our return trip home. From that point on, let me break down for you the events that happened:

1. We politely cooperated with their staff – whom were nice, but a tad “aloof” about the entire situation. No apologies were made, just general statements such as “we will do our best”.

2. I had to stay on top of the staff (calling a few times) as they did not call when they said they would and frequently confused us with other passengers “Your bag from Milwaukee right?”  Uh… no.

3. Our bag, when finally arrived, was delivered by a guy (totally unmarked car and no uniform) who looked like he would rather be on fire.

All and all, we got our luggage back. There are much bigger issues in life than what happened. I actually kind-of let the whole thing go.

But, after thinking about it for sometime, I thought, I want to share my thoughts with someone who might be able to make this process a little easier for others. (Call it naive, but I actually thought I might be able to influence something).

So, I called up the number on the card they gave us at the airport.

– Automated message. Press “X” for this, this, or this…
– I press… get another auto message.
– Press again… get voicemail.

Really?

So I resort to the website comment form. Gotcha. No problem.

I send a very nice, polite message, outlining 3 things I thought could be improved. And, as I noted from other posts I read online, I asked for my $25 bag check fee back. Mostly because of all the hassle we went through, and having to buy extra toiletries, etc.

AirTran’s form stresses that they will try to respond within 48 hours. It says it 3 times between the form and follow up email… 48 hours. 

So, I wait. And wait. And wait. 7, yes SEVEN days later, they respond. I get a canned email response, that basically tells me they won’t give me my money back.

They apologized for the employee’s poor performance (when my comment actually didn’t say anything about the employees). They cited that I could be reimbursed for toiletries, if I filed my receipts, filled out a form, sacrificed my first born, and presented it in person to the claim specialist at the airport. Then they asked for my continued business.

Oh, and they spelled my name WRONG.

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Really?

It seems really stupid, and it is. But, why set expectations if you aren’t willing to live up to them? Why tout your great customer service, if it really isn’t so great? Why tell me 48 hours if you are going to take 7 days?

My comments to them (wish I had saved a copy) basically asked for a little compassion. I simply suggested they try 3 things:

1. A simple apology
2. Reimbursement of the baggage fee
3. A little note with the returned luggage

SIMPLE STUFF.

Having worked in marketing for some time, I guess I’m more sensitive to a company brand and all. I want to shake AirTran and say… wake up!

So, next time, I’ll spend a little more and we’ll fly Delta. And… we’ll be the people with the obnoxious carry on luggage. 🙂

Cheers!

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Trying a little something new…

Good afternoon all! I started this post yesterday, then decided on a glorious nap in our sun soaked front room with our cats. Totally worth it. Today, I am going through the motions as I woke with a bit of a sore throat. I am sure it is yet another lovely parting gift from air travel.

But back to what this post is about: following our lovely trip to GA, Kyle had expressed a strong interest in modifying our diet to be closer to the “Paleo Diet.” The diet is working wonders for several of our friends and family members, so we figured we would give it a shot. As Kyle expressed, he is looking to be about 75% Paleo. If you are a true, hardcore Paleo dieter – good for you! We would probably have a hard time swinging 100% with two kiddos – who are both carb lovers.

However, I am doing my best to make lots of changes. We have been sticking to the diet with lots of lean meats and healthy veggies. I have traded our regular yellow potatoes for sweet potatoes. We aren’t eating cereal. Bread is for the birds…well, the kids. Dairy, well I am struggling with that one. While I don’t typically drink milk – I do like cottage cheese (a main protein source for me) and string cheese. That might end up being my 25% non-paleo part! I also refuse to give up peanut butter. I eat it in moderation, but seriously, I would cut off my arm in exchange for it some days. It is one of my favorite foods and I have been known to eat it on a spoon. Don’t look at me like that. I am sure you drink from the carton…eat whipped cream… don’t be all judge-y. 😉

SO – after a week of eating mostly Paleo, I have a few things to report.

1. I miss cereal. And I don’t even eat sugary cereal. I guess it is hard to always start the day with protein. However, bonus – I feel fuller longer. Today I did have some oatmeal (not paleo) but I really needed a change and we were almost out of eggs!

2. I am running out of ideas. WAIT WAIT WAIT. I know you are thinking “the internet has a gazillion recipes” – I know. So, let me put it this way. I have about 25 “go-to” recipes that I have cooked since I got married. About 2 of them would qualify as Paleo. So, when I think about lunch or dinner… my “new” library is empty. In my head, I am staring at empty shelves and a very temperamental librarian who would like a bowl of ice cream. Finding the energy and enthusiasm for cooking new things – a challenge.

3. The kids are trying new things. Slowly. While I still give the kiddos some of their favorites, I try to have them eat what we are eating. Silas questions my cooking frequently. In fact, he HATES sweet potatoes. He told me the mashed version I made the other night tasted like “smushed feet.” I took note.

4. Giving up beans might be unrealistic for us. I am probably going to offend people who really understand the Paleo diet… but, I am still confused as to why the “hunter-gatherers” of our past wouldn’t have had access to beans. I am sure I am missing some critical historical element… but I think we will eat beans in moderation.

With all that said (and all our mods) we have given up a lot. And, we have changed a lot of our habits. We are all feeling better, which is a good sign, and just like going to the gym and everything else – we are going to make the transition slowly and adopt it as part of our routine so as not to fall backwards from changing too quickly.

So tonight’s menu?

Paleo mini meatloafs 

Silas’ Smushed Feet – Smashed sweet potato. I’ll give Silas something else 😉

Smushed Feet
Plus – Shout out to Melissa Guinn, Pampered Chef Guru. Notice my sweet potatoes are on a PC mini stone. They bake up PERFECTLY. You need Pampered Chef. Go HERE.

Steamed broccoli

Hopefully my non-Paleo cravings start to subside. Right now I might commit a crime for a PB&J, but I think I will survive 🙂

If you are a Paleo eater – feel free to leave comments to your favorite recipes!

I will keep you all posted on our progress!

Cheers!

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Kyle’s Birthday Vacation in ATLANTA!

The last 4 days have been an exciting time! I thought I would blog each day, but I was so tired by the end – that I waited until we got home. As promised, I had arranged some outstanding plans for Kyle’s 30th birthday! Mind you, he turned 30 on January 9th, but my plans just COULDN’T be executed until this last weekend.

So – leading up to his birthday, I enlisted the help of as few people as possible in order to keep this a big secret. You see – Kyle is a big Craig Ferguson fan (LATE LATE Show) and had made several references to wanting to see him (or the show) someday. Well, this girl Googled (about 4 months ago) and found that he was going to be in Atlanta this last weekend! Good thing for me, we needed to visit Kyle’s sister and brother in law in Atlanta anyway! [THE STARS WERE ALIGNED!]

So, with some help – I was able to pull off a plan that had us all over Atlanta!!

I took a token photo of us on our way to the airport. Kyle isn’t usually one to show a tremendous amount of excitement. Pretty sure he is excited here, but is less than thrilled about photos:

On Our Way

Here is when we got to the airport and Kyle finds out we are going to Atlanta:

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Again, I am expecting up and down jumping – but alas, being a man prevents you from over-reacting like I would have. Plus, he was thinking we were going to go to Florida – perhaps for Twins’ Spring Training. (NOTE TO SELF, TAKE HUBBY TO SPRING TRAINING…)

So once we got through security, then our antics started. We waited at Terminal 2 for our flight. I suggested going to our gate, but since we were about 45 min out from our departure time, Kyle wanted to grab a drink. It WAS his birthday, so why not? So we stopped (only about 100 yards from our gate) and Kyle got a drink.

at the barWe were sitting and watching people go by and I suggested “Hey, it’s 30 min till our flight leaves, maybe we should go to the gate…”  Kyle (totally relaxed) says “They are calling the flights overhead, they haven’t called ours yet.” I am thinking… “Ok, weird, but I hadn’t heard it either.” So we sat. Taking selfies…Us

And then they called OUR NAMES OVERHEAD!!! Kyle Seidel and MacKenzie Seidel please report to gate H8. I was MORTIFIED. Not really sure why, we were able to get on the plane just fine, avoid the lines, and we still had to wait awhile before we got to our seats… but still. I felt like a big dork!

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Here is Kyle’s “I should have listened to my wife face.” Not very convincing… I know.

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We had a great flight – We even sat in the Exit row with only 2 seats – so it was just like FIRST CLASS. Without the extra $100. We played chess on my computer. I lost. A lot. I never realized how good Kyle is at Chess.

When we arrived in HOTLANTA I assumed that Kyle knew we would meet up with Karissa and Jason, though I tried to make up some story about them being out of town. Apparently when I called them I answered the phone in “Halllo” and that totally gave it away. The Reck’s were kind enough to host us for the entire weekend and they picked us up.

We got caught up on the ride to their lovely home in Newnan (wishing I had taken a photo – I am not a big photog and forget all the time) and treated us to some DELICIOUS smoked ribs and a coleslaw I am still drooling over. And other snacks. WE WERE SPOILED. 🙂

Next morning, we were feeling brave enough to join the Reck’s at CROSSFIT NEWNAN. I think the word CROSSFIT is slang for (KICKS YOUR A**). Lots of very nice and friendly (super fit) people welcomed us to the gym. We paired up to do the Workout Of the Day (WOD) which on this particular day was:

1 mile run
50 push ups
50 pull ups
50 squat cleans

Now, that is a lot for even the fittest person – and Kyle and I had to learn what a squat clean was. So in a very quick tutorial we were up to speed, partnered up, and ready to roll. Karissa and I rocked the mile, and got through almost the entire workout. She was seriously slowed down by me (I was learning the squat clean as I went) and I halved the reps to 25 instead of 50. Watching Karissa do the squat clean made me seriously JEALOUS! Girl looked like a pro in one of those videos where they do every rep perfectly.  I am pretty sure I looked like I was having a seizure while holding the bar.

Meanwhile, Kyle had cranked out most of the workout, was getting to the cleans, and BOOM. Bad News Bears. 😦 Unfortunately, he injured his back and was in a lot of pain. I assumed he was just winded, but as soon as the workout wrapped, I could tell it was more than that. Everyone was very helpful and concerned – and off we went to get some medicine, and more importantly, CHICK FIL A breakfast!!

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image_9It was DELICIOUS. You will notice a trend in this post – a lot of our visit was spent eating. 🙂 Above, you can see the “DWARF HOUSE” entrance to Chick Fil A. Not really sure what it was about, but it is scary that the door is almost appropriate for us!

Following our yummo breakfast, we headed home and then off to the Sweetwater Brewery Tour! Jason spent some significant time stocking their fridge with awesome Sweetwater beer that Kyle enjoyed – so it was awesome to go to the actual brewery!

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Here we are waiting in line. It was chilly for GA, but standing in the sun felt amazing. Meanwhile, MN was getting snow. Ha Ha… suckers.

Below is a photo of a sign that reads : “Snowmaggedon, Iceapocolypse, and Eartquake, Drink More – Who Knows What’s Next!?!” as all three things happened in GA before and while we were there!

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Here is a photo of brother and sister, enjoying a beverage 🙂 Aren’t they adorable?


IMG_4235Here is a photo of all 4 of us, not paying attention on the brewery tour. What is funniest, neither Jason or I was drinking, but in every photo, Jason has a glass and I look drunk! 😉

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IMG_4243Who are these goofs?!?

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Below is a photo of us in front of the big tanks. They shared with us that it would take 85 years for a person to drain one tank – drinking 1 GALLON of beer per day. Kyle suggested we put one in our basement. Brilliant!
IMG_4239I love this photo. Super cute!

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Here is Kyle, pretending to be the “BrewMaster” – He suggested we turn the nozzle and fill his glass. I advised against it.

image_10Following the tour, we headed to a wonderful heaven called “Sublime Doughnuts” – OMG. It was amazing. The doughnuts were the best food I have had in a long time. DELICIOUS.

Here we are, getting our lovely dessert:

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IMG_4247Following that, we went to a great mexican restaurant in Newnan called La Parilla. By this time, we were so tired and our phones were dead… so we have no photos. 😦 It was delicious.

I realized at this point, that people in the South know FOOD. Is that a Southern thing? I mean, everything we ate was better than the last. I am pretty sure we gained a good 5 lbs on the trip.

Sunday morning – Karissa and Jason left for his Crossfit competition where he dominated! See the image below. I know. Jealous right?

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Sunday was my big plan day. A few weeks prior to our trip, we watched the “Best Food Ever” show on Netflix and watched a list of the best burgers in the US. One happened to be at “Holeman + Finch” in Atlanta. Trouble is, they only make 24 burgers every night at 10pm and it is a lottery! Only exception to the rule is that they have them on their brunch menu on Sundays. SCORE. We ventured out into ATL and found the restaurant. We had to wait about 45 min, but finally got a table and it was outstanding.

I also chose this time to give Kyle his “gift” and let him in on my secret! Here is Kyle with the brunch menu:

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Here, Kyle is opening the “gift” I had for him. See how skeptical he is?? Now, I am not sure if people remember from my 30th birthday, but Kyle gave me 30 gifts. One of those gifts happened to be these ridiculous clearance iron-on tshirt graphics. He intended to make me a shirt, but ended up just giving me the transfer. That backfired a bit cause I made him a tshirt!
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Here is the amazing burger! Homemade pickles, homemade ketchup and mustard. AMAZING. I am actually drooling while remembering it.

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So Kyle was smart enough to figure out that we would be going to a show of some sort, but he was unable to guess who or what. Here he is opening the tickets, and this is the face he made when he finally realized who we were seeing!

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After the burgers, we ended our meal with this. I know. See why we gained weight? Totally worth it.

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Are you bored yet? This is a really long post. I am going to stop you right here and let you know that we have a long way to go yet. Go get a snack. Use the bathroom. Take a nap. When you are done, come back.

Good?

Good.

So after Holeman + Finch, we had some time to burn before our dinner reservation. What to do? In ATL, they promote the heck out of the Coca Cola World. Knowing very well that it was going to be gimmicky, we decided to hit it up anyhow and waste some time. After about 5 minutes, we were bored. It was fun seeing all the old advertising and the attractions were cute… but it was aimed at kids and Coca Cola fanatics. We did enjoy the “tasting room” briefly, until someone suggested we try the “Beverly” beverage from Italy. This gentleman, here, sums up the drink quite well.

Here we are enjoying “Coke World”:

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image_31This was regular Coke in our glasses – Post the Beverly tasting tragedy.

After Coke World, it was time to head to Morton’s. Surprisingly, I actually was almost dead-on in my memory of where it was located. Stopping only briefly to get the right “Peachtree St.” As the opening comedian would remark later in the evening… every other street in Atlanta is named “Peachtree” and there is no logical order to intersecting streets and hills.

When we finally arrived to Morton’s, they greeted Kyle with “Happy Birthday,” in fact, all of them did. I had sent notes along with my reservation and the ENTIRE staff seemed to have read them. We received commemorative menus, had our photo taken, and even a complimentary chocolate lava cake (their specialty) and it was EXACTLY as we expected. The food was AMAZING. I tried a photo, but it was very dark and I didn’t want to be flash photographing and annoying other diners. Here is the best I could do:

image_33We were so full by the time we were done, we were both a tad nauseous! This was ALMOST the culmination of a weekend of being foodies. But, we still had an amazing breakfast the next morning. Again… 5 lbs. Maybe 10. I am wearing fat pants today, so I am not sure yet. 😉

SO, FINALLY, after several months of planning… we were on our way to see Mr. Craig Ferguson. This guy, for those who don’t know:

Craig

He hosts this show.

ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS. It was a great show and I am so glad we were able to see him. We’d still like to see his actual tv show being taped – but his stand up was just as good. I tried to get a good photo – but the lights were really low and the spot light made him glow. See:

image_37Following the show, we headed back to Karissa and Jason’s house and CRASHED. Such a long fun-filled weekend. We enjoyed so much of it.

The next morning, we headed out for breakfast at the Highland Bakery. Again, we just couldn’t get enough great food while we were in Atlanta. Karissa and Jason were AMAZING hosts and we were sad to have to wrap up our trip. I intended to take a picture of Kyle’s french toast, but I spaced it out. To give you an idea, it was as big as his head.

Karissa and Jason kindly dropped us off at the airport – with enough time to grab some snacks and hang around. We had a pretty good flight home. Thankful that we didn’t get detoured because of snow. I had just asked Jason (as he works for Delta) Monday morning if people’s luggage really got lost as frequently as it seemed. His reply? “Yep.”

I jinxed us.

We got to the baggage claim and sure enough, no suitcase for us. 😦 This lady standing there was waiting for us and knew we were coming. Apparently our luggage wasn’t done vacationing. It decided, instead, to go to Philadelphia instead of MSP. HOW? I HAVE NO IDEA. The flight gates were close to each other – so it probably walked on to the other plane, right?

If it was the worst part of the trip (besides Kyle’s backache) I guess that isn’t too bad. We were kind to the baggage women as we were sure they must be used to people yelling. It is just stuff. It burns a bit (especially when you are tired) but…it is just stuff. I joked that “we were lucky it was a short trip – otherwise I would have no underpants…”  Lynnette, our AirTran baggage help, didn’t really laugh. I decided then and there, I would NEVER want that job.

Our bag was supposed to come in this morning, but it didn’t. Instead, it spent an extra few hours in ATL. It is supposed to arrive between 4 and 8pm today. I am hoping it took pictures in Philly as we have never been. Silly bag.

SO. That is it. Our trip in long version. A wonderful time. A special thanks to Karissa and Jason for hosting, to Terri and Bill Parfitt (Grammy and Papa) for watching the kids, and to everyone who helped! Terri was sweet enough to send me this photo the day we headed home:

image_39A very sweet reminder of what he had waiting for us. We really did miss the kiddos and while it was fun being “kidless” for a few days, nothing compares to the hugs and snuggles you get when reunited. Evi held me for almost an hour – and Silas was excited to play. 🙂

I’ll keep you all posted on upcoming news – but for now, I am going to work on a plan to burn off the 10 lbs we gained (JK). But seriously… we have been spoiled.

Love you all!

Cheers!!

2 Comments »

Holy Lack-of-Posts Batman!

Ah… done with another Blogging Hiatus. Wait, what? Oh yea. You see, I am notorious for making a commitment to at least a weekly blog, and then I fall off the face of the planet.

I usually try to avoid excuses, but I have one anyway. Having 2 kids is a TON of work. It is the best work in the world, but it sure keeps a girl busy.

That said, I am going to make an effort to get back into the blog-o-sphere. I am excited to let you all know that soon I will be sharing some posts related to some very big things happening in our lives (NO, we are not having more children). Particularly a trip to celebrate Kyle’s 30th birthday (Jan 9) that will start FRIDAY!  I can’t hardly wait. But details will have to come later.

Kiddo Update:

My kids are growing up too fast. Somedays I feel like if I blink or take a nap, they’ll be 18. Evi is proving to be just as whip smart as her brother. I can’t wait until the kids can do the taxes.

Little girl is into saying all kinds of things. Favorite words of the moment: “Please, Tank You, Love You, Cup, Oh My Goodness (which sounds like O myyygooose) and of course, Silas.”  She is tall too.

Silas, continues to be a force and can now hold his own in an argument. In fact, sometimes I end up agreeing with him. He is trying new foods and is quite a little gentleman.

This goes without saying though, I am a mommy and I am biased. My kids (nor us as parents) are not perfect. AND, when we do step out of line… we have a new punishment. “Nose on the Wall.”

Silas has started beautifully leaving his schnoz print in the same spot everytime he is naughty. It is the best punishment EVER and he avoids it at all costs. When he does get in trouble, he usually has Evi pleading his case. Example: Here, you can see that Silas got into some trouble. FOR…wait for it… PUSHING EVI.

Silas Timeout

Cute huh?  Well, it gets cuter. Even though he pushed her… She started crying and took the punishment with him!

Double timeout

It was so cute, we were taking pictures. Terrible, I know.

But the kids are doing cute things all the time. Another example. We had been out on a busy day/evening on Sunday. When we got home – both kids were asleep. Kyle brought Evi in and tried to hand her to me. However, I had to pee so bad, had I taken her from him… I would have peed my pants. So, desperately, I just said “Lay her down.” Thinking, of course, he would put her on the couch. Nope. I walk out of the bathroom to this:

Evi OutNotice she is still in her coat? Silas wanted to “pretend” to sleep next to her. Hence his smirk. Little stinker.

I can also (knock on wood) report that she is mostly sleeping through the night. Which is great for a mommy like me who needs her sleep. I wouldn’t trade my kids for sleep-filled nights, or for anything for that matter… but I do appreciate a good 8 hours.

Finally, since I DO love the buggers so much, I will share one of my favorite photos from the other day. It may be surprising, but even though I post a lot of kid photos on FB, I usually save my favorites for us. This one though… too cute not to share:

LOVE

These two really are best friends. We cherish every moment and couldn’t live without them.

OK, enough sappy mommy. I promise more exciting and interesting posts to come! Stay tuned!!

Cheers!

2 Comments »

Heading Into Summer – I think?

The weather has been TERRIBLE the last several weeks. We have been plagued with wavering temperatures, persistant rain, and the fear that snow may just come back. Alas, we have been held up in the house and that means for a CRAZY (almost) three year old who has many things to “work on” in the garage and the yard.

To entertain ourselves, we have played Play-Doh, trains, painting, coloring, baking, movie day, crafts and more… but nothing quite wears out a little boy like running in the yard. In fact, if you were not aware, Silas’ super power is running. He IS a SUPER RUNNER. He’d be happy to show you his super running super power. His energy – or “injury” as it sounds like he is saying, comes from apple juice. Without sufficient apple juice, he can’t be a Super Runner. Or so he tells me.

His antics have been entertaining, as has been dressing Evi up in Silas’ old clothes. I had a few “unisex” outfits early-on, as we didn’t know if Silas was a boy or girl until he was here, so those worked nice with Evi… however, now things are getting a little scarce. There is though, one onesie I wanted to make sure she wore – the token “Star Trek” shirt that Kyle fell in love with when I was pregnant with Silas. I have to say, it was a little tighter on her than Silas, but she is a tad taller than he was at this age.

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Have I mentioned at all that my hubby has been looking good? I mean, I ALWAYS think he looks good, but recently…. Rarrr. We have both lost a lot of weight and are in pretty good shape – but I just love how good he looks when he is dressed up for work.

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Kyle was mowing the lawn tonight and came to get me  – wanting to show Silas a frog on one of our downspouts. Silas wanted to see it hop, but it was fairly sluggish. I actually thought it might be dead except Kyle said it had moved. Silas, having drenched half our garage with his squirt guns, decided the frog might be thirsty and hosed him down. Still… no movement. After a few more minutes, I finally looked over and – gone. He had disappeared completely. I am starting to think Silas was right and all he needed was a drink of water 🙂

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Finally – I have a revelation for all of you who love French Toast. You see, I am a fairly good cook (according to Kyle) but breakfast foods are something I always seem to be terrible with. It has taken me 5 years to perfect eggs, but French Toast is one of Kyle’s favorite foods and I fail at it MISERABLY. I have tried different breads, different recipes, and all would come out with some issue or another – sogginess, bland flavor, not french-toasty enough… you get it… I suck. SO, while at the grocery store the other day, I saw this GEM – in the strangest place – by the fresh pasta and ricotta… I know, weird.

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For $3.50 I thought… that is REALLY expensive for egg batter. BUT, desperate, I thought – I will give it a shot. Let me tell you – IT IS AWESOME. We made it tonight. All you do is shake it and make French Toast. I followed the directions exactly and they turned out perfectly! Kyle ate 3 pieces… and that is a lot since he and I are eating less. He was willing to “cheat” for an extra piece! So, it may seem dumb to everyone, but if you are like me and FAIL at French Toast… it is worth the price. Not to mention, it makes 18 slices! We are having it for breakfast tomorrow 🙂

Well, I am off to put the kiddos to bed soon – I’ll have a week-long recap following our trip to IL next week!

Cheers!

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Mother’s Day Thoughts

Mother’s Day is technically only a few short hours away. While I LOVE the Moms in my life more than anything, it isn’t typically a holiday I get too excited about for me – just another day like any other. However, this year, I am feeling a bit more reflective about the whole thing.

Kyle and I have been blessed with two healthy, happy, wonderful children and it is a great reminder to be thankful for that. Being a mommy has been the single most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. No question. I am still amazed at what my body – with no instructions, blueprints, or training – was able to build in the shortest 9 months of my life. TWICE.

I can remember when Kyle first told me I was pregnant with Silas. We both cried the happiest tears we ever had – at least until he was born – then we cried even happier tears. I get goosebumps remembering that feeling of equal parts excitement and complete fear. We had plunged into unknown and terrifying territory – but we had each other. We were excited at every milestone. My grandmother gave me a little journal of prayers and growth milestones. I remember the week that said he was sprouting arms. I looked at Kyle and made a little flipper motion “Arms! The baby has little arms!”

His first kick was altogether an out-of-body experience. Some women say that it is like having gas. I beg to differ. Even at such a tiny size, Silas roundhoused me while in the womb. I was so proud of his first little movement. My baby was strong!

After we had Silas, two amazing things happened. I got to experience life as “Mommy” – the caretaker, food source, and overall boss of such an adorable little being, and I got to see my husband be a “Daddy”.  Funny to think back to when Kyle and I were 15 and just dating. Little did we know we would make people together.

Then there is my newest little one, Evi. My little spoiled princess. She was a headache (literally) from the start. I had a terrible first three months of pregnancy – a stark contrast to my pregnancy with Silas. And, while I was pretty sure Silas was a boy, I KNEW baby #2 was a girl. I could just tell – she was high maintenance from the start!

Evi’s milestones went a little more unnoticed, as I was now chasing a two year old around. But, I have a crystal clear memory of a sunny morning, looking out our bedroom window from my bed. I remember thinking, “what a beautiful day, I can’t wait to share it with BOTH of my children”. At that moment, Evi must have rolled completely over in my belly because for a second it looked like it was going to walk off without me. I swear even in utero, babies have a sense of what you are thinking/feeling. There is a bond there that just can’t be explained… you have to FEEL it.

After Evi was born, I thought, “What could be new? This is old hat!” I knew what it was like to be a Mommy, I knew Kyle was an amazing Daddy. But, this time, I got to see it in Silas’ eyes. He was a BIG BROTHER. He was so proud – and instantly became Evi’s protector. He kept one eye on everyone who came near his little sister, and he still does.

Being a mommy, twice, has filled my heart in so many ways – has taught me the meaning of life, has given me purpose and changed my perspective on basically everything – forever. I am both challenged and strengthened by my children. I am thankful to spend my days sharing smiles, playing toys, drying tears…and yes, even wiping butts and changing diapers. I live for my children because they are my everything.

Tomorrow, while a great time to reflect about being a mommy – IS just another day. But as Mommy to Silas and Evi, it’s just another best day of my life.

 

Evi Baby

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Call the Fire Trucks! & Other Exciting Happenings

The last week and a half has been both a lot of fun, and EXHAUSTING. When people tell you that watching kids is a full-time JOB, THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH. Enough with the caps, but seriously. Giving my full attention to two little ones is draining – when you add it to marathon training, regular chores, and limited sleep (thank you very much Everleigh).

But, I wouldn’t trade my kiddos for anything – because they make me laugh so damn hard. For example, for those who don’t know, we live in a neighborhood that has several designated areas of protected prairie. I like to think it is because we are an environmentally conscious neighborhood, but no, it is the easement for the giant powerline poles. Either way though, the prairie is beautiful and brings lots of butterflies and other woodland creatures (I’ll get to that in a moment) to our area.

Well, the thing with prairies is, to keep them nice, they need a controlled burn every 3 or so years. The term “controlled burn” simply means that guys on 4-wheelers hose down the perimeter and let the middle go up in flames. If Kyle or any of his siblings ever lost their jobs, I know what they could do for a living – ever seen them around a bon fire?

So, this year was the planned burn year, and with the weird weather, the date of the burn was delayed, so we really had no idea when they were going to do it. Then, all of a sudden the other evening, Kyle walks in the house and says “Hey come check this out!” and we go outside to view half the neighborhood prairie- ON FIRE!  We have seen this twice before, but every single time, the “Stop Drop & Roll” training of elementary school comes flaring up and you have a momentary freak-out moment. It is just too weird. Here is a picture of the weirdness.

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The best part is how the neighborhood kids react. Silas kept yelling to me, “Mommy, call the Fire Trucks!” and looked confused when I told him that it was on purpose. Each car that drove by, he’d yell “Go Get That Fire” – So apparently in Silas’ mind, Prius’ are capable of putting out fires too! I thought he was being such a goofball until I heard the twin girls down the street yelling to their Dad, “We’ll get the water, hurry!” as one was trying to drag their garden hose across their yard. TOO CUTE. Kids are so smart sometimes.

As mentioned, along with the prairie, comes many happy little (errr big) woodland friends. So far this Spring, we have seen:

  • Peanut the squirrel
  • A big red fox
  • The neighborhood Coyote (newly named Wylie)
  • A giant raccoon that lives in the storm drains
  • A black cat

I normally wouldn’t pay close attention to these animals, but with kids, your yard becomes your own zoo and every animal is the most awesome animal you have ever seen.

For some reason, Silas has always been afraid of raccoons (I have no idea why), so when we saw the giant furball the other night, Kyle and I called him “Big Kitty” – haven’t seen big kitty in a while, but I think he has been rolling around out there.

We look for him when we leave the house, but since it is daytime usually, I don’t think we will see him. Nonetheless, we were on the look out on our way to get Silas’ a haircut on Monday. He loves getting haircuts – and often asks for them. A stark contrast from about 8 months ago when they scared him half to death. Now he politely talks to the stylist and thoughtfully selects a sucker when he is done. It must have been a tiring endeavor, the only picture I got was when he passed out in the car!

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Not to be outdone by her brother’s cuteness, Evi has been on a roll. She is learning to crawl. Except girlfriend’s gears are stuck in reverse. She can go anywhere in the livingroom, as long as she can scoot backwards!

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She also spends a lot of time in the “Office” – that is what we call her play chair. She has to go to the Office every morning to get some work done. Things need spinning and drooling on, and Evi is just the gal to do it. If she isn’t in the office a few times a day, she gets quite feisty. Here is Evi in the Office, with a dorky flower headband I finally bought her. She is quite the princess.

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We did “treat” Evi to a $20 rubber chew toy. I know, it sounds silly, but really, this thing is just like a squeaky dog toy. It is called a “Sophie” giraffe  – you too can have one by going here.

I read the reviews and people swore that it was an amazing investment. We invested. And, yes. It is well worth the $20. Evi loves chewing on Sophie, and Silas loves squeaking it for her. Poor Sophie is smushed, mushed, chewed and covered in Evi spit 90% of the day. Gotta love it.

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And, if she doesn’t have Sophie, she always has her best friend, Buddy:

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Finally, the kids and I had a great weekend in Antigo, WI with dad’s family. We got to see Grandpa Butch, Aunt Mary and Uncle Jimmy, and others. It was fun. The kids were well-behaved most of the time except for Silas continuing to call my Aunt “That Guy”. We are going to call her “Aunt Pat” from now on ;-).

Well, that was a bunch of randomness, but a post nonetheless. Happy Wednesday!

Cheers!

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Mommy’s a SOFTY!

Ever since Silas was born, there has been debate within our families as to whether or not Kyle and I would be strict parents. While I think we run a pretty tight ship, I have been known (from time to time) to fall victim to Silas’ sweet sweet face, ridiculous long eyelashes, and his adorable smile (do I sound like a mom or what?).

Kyle has aptly named me “The Softy” since I have a really hard time saying no. However – only when Silas is practicing good behavior and is being a good big brother. SO – let me explain my latest lapse into child-spoiling parenting.

About a month ago, we started a new reward system for Silas. He is very bright about actions and consequences, so to help encourage that, we started a plan where he gets a magnetic star for one of 4 good behaviors. I told him that if he collected enough stars for the week, that he would get a special prize. Little did I know, he would take it VERY seriously. From helping with his sister, to cleaning up his toys – I am pretty sure he’d repaint the house if I asked him to – just for a star.

After the first week of stars, Kyle and I brought him home two small trains for his Thomas set. HE LOVES TRAINS right now – and now knows there are about a million of them ever since Connor and Ronan’s birthday party 🙂

He was ECSTATIC over the two trains and vowed to be good for the next week.

SO, I wasn’t expecting every reward to be a purchase – maybe ice cream, or one-on-one time… but come the end of this week, all Silas would talk about is getting stars so he could get another train. Whoops.

Well, we are going out of town for the weekend, so last night Kyle and I decided to let him pick out one train at Wal-Mart. ONE TRAIN being the key part of that sentence.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the Thomas sets – the evil Fisher Price company didn’t just make one reasonably priced train set with different cars. NO – there are like 4 different types of sets, with different sized trains, and everything is priced as if you are single-handedly paying for Fisher Price to send all their employee’s kids to college. Some trains are as much as $20 a piece. DANG.

So Silas, in such a cute nature, starts perusing the selection, gently reviewing a number of trains, spouting off the names he knows, etc. etc.  Now those tricky Wal-Mart folks (in cahoots with the Fisher-Price folks) put the most EXPENSIVE sets at kid-eye-level. Silas had picked out a single train, but it was for a larger set (which we don’t have). I tried to explain to him that he needed to pick out a small train. It was lost on him (he has hit the bigger is better, faster is cooler, more is awesome phase). So he stands there a minute (after I explained we would need to get a bigger set at some point) and finally made a decision.

Silas looks up at me (Kyle had wondered off) and hands me the train he had thought he wanted. He says “Here Mommy, this won’t work with my trains. I need a new set. I want THAT train.”  His pudgy little finger was pressed against a large box with a single Thomas train in a clear little window within the box. It was the “Risky Rails Bridge Drop” set. A large train and lots of pieces to set up. I say to him “Silas, that IS just one train, but it is a whole set.” To which he replies “I get ONE train, and I was a GOOD boy.” I started to talk him down a bit and he replies with “I will share with Evi.”

Now, I need to tell you that he wasn’t arguing or whining. He was simply discussing it with me. He had good points. He asked politely. He said please.

Me = Softy

I said yes, but told him it would count for two weeks of good behavior (but I don’t think he heard anything after “yes”).

We made our way back down an aisle to Kyle who said something to the effect of “What happened to just ONE train?”

I explained and Kyle reminded me that I am indeed a “Softy” – though, I can’t wait to see how he reacts to Evi when she gets a bit bigger and says “Please Daddy, I love you!”  Just you wait!

So here are some pictures of the beloved train set (which has not had a break except while Silas slept).

This is when we got home. How could anyone say No to THAT smile??  Note the “One” Thomas train in the top.

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Then there was assembly. Here is Silas lending moral support to Kyle while he tried to decipher the ridiculously vague instructions.

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Here is Silas playing with the set this morning – Note Evi is allowed to play too – but from a few feet away 😉

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I have one last thought before signing off. At what point do we lose the ability to fall asleep anywhere? Silas usually will usually only sleep in his bed. However, the other night – while waiting for me to put Evi down for bed, Silas fell asleep on the stairs. I took a picture because he was totally OUT.

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I wish I could sleep wherever, whenever. Like now. 😉

Cheers!

 

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Getting Caught Up… And Hung Up!

I have been terribly delinquent in my blog postings. I have a million excuses as to why, but I will spare you the time in reading them and my effort in typing them!  That said, I have missed writing for some time and thought that now would be a great time to catch up!  Over the last couple of months, I have been enjoying my children, getting in shape, training for a half marathon, and altogether trying to survive this CRAZY Spring we are having! I seriously cannot handle any more snow!  No more! I am done! My children need to be outside, running around and not in the house driving me crazy!

I have done my best to keep both kids entertained. I am a pro at playing cars, play-doh, coloring, crafts… you name it, we have done it! We even have afternoon dance parties. I am surprised the neighbors haven’t called an ambulance as I am sure I look like I am having convulsions!

All and all, Silas and Evi have been great. Silas adores Evi and she idolizes him. They are quite the inseparable pair – as you can see.

Silas and Evi

Evi is also technically gifted, like her Daddy. See, she learned how to turn on the Xbox. Silly baby, Xboxes are for Daddies!

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Being cooped up in the house has also had me thinking about all kinds of organizational projects. My mind runs wild with all these “great” ideas for improving our lives. One that I have wanted to do for quite some time has finally come to fruition! I noticed that when anyone comes over to our house, they always hang their coats, purses, etc. on the banister, over chairs, on the couch – you get it. I leave our front hall closet completely open for guests to hang their coats, but either I forget to say something or I am too late. (And no, I am not that OCD to run around and move people’s stuff).

So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have some nice coat hooks next to the door? People could just hang their stuff up. Easy PEASY. I also wanted something similar in the laundry room because the Hubby is also one to drape coats and clothing everywhere.

On a day we were going to Menards for something, I decided to pitch the idea to Kyle and ask his advice on a few items. We walked through and picked out what we would need. I took several suggestions from Kyle and was impressed at how excited he was for such a silly project too. Little did I know he was getting ready to be a project stealer! Not that I am complaining, but I do so-few around the house jobs, I was kind of excited to use some power tools. I guess Kyle had been missing the tools too – so he did most of the work!

So here are the lovely finished products. I, of course, wanted them up one night, and Kyle obliged, only to be extremely frustrated when the screws that came with the hooks started breaking off. (See image).

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I told him it was his brute strength, but he wasn’t amused. I told him to make his happiest “helping my wife late at night, and not angry about stupid screws” face.  (Also see image).

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All and all though, I love them. Quite handy and not too shabby looking. We spent maybe $15 each (buying pre-sanded wood) and I have seen similar sold for at least $50.

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Finally, I want to introduce everyone to our third cat. He isn’t actually a cat, but I consider him one because he isn’t afraid of our cats. He is a squirrel and we named him Peanut. Feeling bad for all the birds in this weather, I sprinkled quite a few sunflower seeds on our porch. Stupid birds just flew off and never came back. Peanut on the other hand – had a feast! All day today he kept coming back and I would hear Buddy the cat making this weird noise, and there would be Peanut, stuffing his face. Silas watched him prance around our yard and also suggested we feed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What is scary? I think Peanut would have carried one off. Well, I know there is one fat and happy little woodland creature out there.

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Well, that is all I have time for at the moment. I will try to be better and more frequent in my writing! 🙂

Cheers.

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