Monday, December 31

2012 In Pictures

January

RR turns 8.



February

TT turns 1.



March

RR  earns his Wolf  badge in Cub Scouts.


April

Happy Easter!


May


I get accepted to train as a Breastfeeding Consultant.  
(I expect to finish my course in the next 3-4 months)   

RR gets his first pair of glasses.  He has lost or broken 4 pairs since then.



RR makes his First Holy Communion.




June

Happy Father's Day!!



July

Family re-union on Husband's side of the family.



TT hanging out with Mommy and Daddy while Big Brother is on vacation with Ney-Ney.






August

TT's first hair cut.




Family day out at the CT Science Center.



September

RR starts 3rd grade.


Town fair.



October

Halloween.



November

Thanksgiving.



December

TT helping get ready for Christmas.



Christmas Eve.



Saturday, December 29

Thursday, December 27

Hot Chocolate & Peppermint Mocha Lattes

Yesterday I made up a batch of homemade hot chocolate.  It has been far too long since I have made this from scratch.  Considering how easy it is, I really should do it more often.  This recipe is not for making hot chocolate mix, but rather for making it ready to drink.

Hot Chocolate

1 tbsp cocoa (baking, non sweetened)
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp water

Combine above in pot over medium heat and whisk until smooth.

Add 1 cup milk (I use 1%) and 1 tsp vanilla extract and heat until desired temp.  Do not leave finished product on the burner as it will scald the bottom of the pan and make a nasty mess.



So after drinking this yummy-ness yesterday I started thinking about peppermint mocha lattes.  Oh how I love a good peppermint mocha latte.  In my opinion Starbucks is way better than the McD's one;  but it is twice the price.  Not to mention the weather had turned to snow and freezing rain and the brakes in the car need work.... so I decided to figure out how to make them at home.  All of the recipes I came across called for peppermint syrup (which I don't have) and espresso which I don't have (since college confiscated my fancy coffee maker my junior year), so I improvised.


Peppermint Mocha Latte

Make above Hot Chocolate recipe and add to it 1/4 tsp peppermint extract.  This stuff is strong and a little goes a long way.  You can always add more if you like, but use sparingly.  Then make some really strong coffee.  Husband and I think this is a great way to use up the "bold" k-cups we get in the variety pack that we don't normally like.

The nice thing about making this at home is you can make it your own.  For me a half coffee and half coco mixture worked well.  Husband preferred his 1/3 coffee to 2/3 coco mixture, with 2 tsp sugar added.

 
Oh... and I am a big fan of whip cream.  Yum!!

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 26

Breastfeeding & Jaundice

Earlier in the year The Alpha Parent Blog did a series on "boobie traps", the pitfalls and obstacles women face when it comes to breastfeeding.  They were looking for stories from nursing moms who had overcome various "boobie traps" and I submitted my stories in regards to nursing RR and TT.  Last Tuesday, as part of the blog's Triumphant Tuesday segment which highlights women and babies who have overcome these "boobie traps" my nursing stories where shared.

You can find them here: Triumphant Tuesday: Breastfeeding a Jaundiced Baby.

Please note this is my story told through someone else.  Some of the text is wholly my own, some is not.

Ornaments 2012

A few weeks back I wrote about our family tradition of getting new ornaments for the tree each year.  This year we were a little late in the game when we finally got around to going to get them; so our family ornament this year isn't my favorite but hey it made RR happy when it picked it out.



RR got an ornament for BOTH him and his cat; because I wouldn't let him get one for just the cat.

Husband and I really like our ornament this year; and hope our retirement looks something similar to this.

TT's ornament looks very much like one RR had at the same age.




Oh and as a bonus the boys got to see Santa while we were getting the ornaments.  TT was not a fan.  Not at all.


Thursday, December 20

Nicknames

TT has many many nicknames.... to the point where it's just a little silly.

His given name:

Theodore Wayne

His nicknames:

Theo
Ted
Ted Ted
Teddy
(the) Ted-ster
Ted Theodore Jones
Jones
Teddy Bear
Bear
Bear Fur
Fur
Triple T (which stands for Too Tall Teddy)
Angle Love
Monkey
Wayne's of the Theodore

and....

P2




Saturday, December 15

The Best Laid Plans

You know what they saw about the best laid plans right?

About 2:20 this afternoon we; RR, TT and myself, were in the activities room at a local nursing home with the rest of the Cub Scouts in RR's pack.  Everyone was singing their hearts out for the residents.  RR was in the back with one of his best buds and TT and I were chilling over on the side with his girlfriend and her mom.  I was having flashbacks to my days a Girl Scout and going Christmas caroling around the the neighborhood.  The streets were snowy and frosty and I am sure my mom had hot chocolate waiting for us when we got back.  It was around this time that I finally decided on where I wanted to go for my belated-birthday dinner; 99 Restaurant.  I was in the mood for steak.

You see I had the best plan laid out for today.  I took the boys to breakfast and grocery shopping in the morning.  TT was suppose to nap when we got home; then lunch and out to Christmas caroling for 2pm.  After caroling was through; and since we were in the neighborhood, we were going to swing into our local Toy and Baby Mega Store and get the boys Christmas gifts off lay-away and grab some needed day-to-day baby items (read disposable diapers for night time and wipes).  We had plans to meet my mom for dinner; and I figured we would go see the mall Santa while waiting for her.

My plan did not take into account what would happen if TT didn't nap.  My plan also didn't take into account what would happen if TT refused lunch.

Guess what?  TT didn't nap.  TT didn't eat lunch, aside from a few bites of banana.

But still I was optimistic.  There we were at the nursing home and the boys were signing and my heart was filling with holiday cheer.  The residents clapped and we began our tour around the facility signing for the residents and handing out cards.  TT was doing well.  Very well.  He was happy and smiling and clapping and flirting with any old lady that would give him a smile.

And then he wasn't.  We reached the end of the rounds and they were handing out ice cream, and TT had to wait to get some and he lost it.  By far the biggest meltdown of his life.  Other parents were trying to console him, offering him toys, music on their phones.  Nothing.  Husband showed up just in time to help me wrangle him into the car.  

Oh, the crying and the tears he was miserable.  But then he calmed down some and ate his ice cream in the car.  Husband and I couldn't decide what to do.  We bickered about it.  Just go home or do we carry on?  We opted to carry on.  We got to the store.  It was insanely crowded.  I went to get the lay-away.  He took the boys to look around.  I texted my mom with an update and got the gifts into the car quickly.

Upon coming back into the store I came across the rest of my family.  TT had spotted a Mickey Mouse train-set.  Does it get any better in his eyes?  I think not.  Where we buying this train?  I think not.  And so the water works and the tears ensued; again.  He screamed.  He flailed around.  Green snot was pouring from him nose.  He was red in the face and sweating.

I tried to save my day out with the family.  I walked Teddy and walked him some more; hoping he would fall asleep.  We offered him more food and more walking.  But there was no hope.  We needed to go home and he needed to go to bed.

I know in the grand scheme of things days like these don't matter.  I know we made the residents at the nursing home happy and I know my mom isn't upset about missing dinner and I know there will be more chances to see Santa.  But I still feel bad.  Like I could have controlled whether or not TT slept.  I think not.

And I am very grateful for my children, no matter how many meltdowns they have, no many how many plans are ruined.  I am thankful that they are alive and well and are able to ruin plans.  The tragedy in Connecticut yesterday really hit home for me, as it did with most of the nation.  I've hugged my boys longer and tighter since then.  I cannot fathom sending my boys off to school and never seeing them again.  My heart truly breaks for all of those affected.



Friday, December 14

Peanut-Butter in His Stocking


While wandering around the grocery store on my lunch break (that is what everyone does on their lunch break isn't it?) I came across a jar of this - White Chocolate Peanut Butter.

It was like when Indiana Jones saw the Holy Grail - there was a flash of light and angles were signing.  OK, if that didn't happen in the movie you get the idea regardless.  I am terrible with my Indiana Jones, and Star Wars...

There it was.  It was calling me.
"Buy me for RR."
"He will love you forever."
"Your son needs me."  You get the idea.

You see RR has fallen in love with white chocolate, which isn't even really chocolate, but I'm not going to argue with an 8-year old who already knows everything.  I went through the same stage at his age.  White chocolate everything.  And my parents indulged me getting me white chocolate only on Easter, which was a feat back in the 80s.

So as I was lugging the $5 (on sale) jar off the shelf I decided this was going in his stocking.  It would fill it up nicely.

There you have it folks... the 8-year old is getting a jar of peanut butter for Christmas.  And not just any jar of peanut butter; White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter.

Thursday, December 13

Are You There?

Yes, I'm still here.

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  Yet.

Life has been full of blog-able moments.  I have tons of stuff to share with you.  But really life has been hectic.  Isn't it for all of us this time of year?

I really am making an effort to enjoy a simpler Christmas this year, thanks to a book I recently read.  So I can't really blame my lack of blogging on that.

I'm just not a fan of December.  I have a December birthday, and I am not a fan of my birthday.  Really I would skip the day all together if I could.  Some of it has to do with my paternal-grandmother's passing and funeral back on my 25th birthday; some of it has to do with the "whole year older" BS.  Some of it is because I really don't like celebrating my birthday.  I just don't get the idea of adult birthday celebrations.  Sure it makes sense when it's a milestone like 50 or 75 or any birthday after 85 for that matter.  I don't enjoy all of the attention.

Not to mention work has been insane.  Did I tell you I got a promotion at my day job?  I have this new added responsibility of managing other people.

When did I get so old?

And responsible?

We are also going through other organization changes at work, and moving around offices; and all that fun jazz that just makes for very long days.

Oh and I have been sick.  Head cold, turning into a chest cold.  The baby is getting it as well.

Good times in our house right now.

Everyone thought I was so on the ball for doing most of my Christmas cards before thanksgiving.  I'd like to think I was a little bit of a fortune teller.  I was able to see in December and see what a train wreck it was going to be and I acted on my premonition.

And no, that does not mean I will be waiting out the end of the world with the Mayans.    

Tuesday, December 4

School Lunch

Thank you school lunch program for making my life easier.

I am being serious.

I dread days when RR wants to bring his lunch with him.

When he was small and first started going to preschool I took pride in packing his lunch and spent undoubtedly too much time trying to come up with healthy and creative lunch ideas.

But now that he's big and is going through the "lunch boxes and cold packs aren't cool" stage; not to mention he's a bit of a slob and I dread when he brings home a old lunch kit, it's just easier for him to buy lunch at school.

Seriously... have you ever seen what happens to a yogurt left exploded all over the inside of a bag and left un-refrigerated looks like?  It's not pretty.  Not to mention the smell.  Eeeewww.

Then there is the hassle as to what to feed him; that doesn't require being kept cold (see above yogurt problem for why I stopped doing this).  We're lucky that he can still bring peanut products to school; but he crushes sandwiches unless they are in a Tupperware container, but those he looses and forgets to bring home...

You see my problem here?  I feel like I am blogging in a circle.

So yes, school lunch you are a life saver.  I love weeks my kid buys lunch everyday of the week.  My evenings are just that much easier.

For $2.25 a day he is fed.  How sweet is that?  And he's getting at least 3 servings of fruit and veggies (all of which I know he eats).  I wish I could eat lunch for that little.   But then again, in four years when I am having to spring for lunch for two boys I may not enjoy the "low cost" so much.... clearly I can see why growing up all of us kids didn't buy lunch regularly and why once we were old enough we made them ourselves.

But for now... thank you, thank you school lunches.  Thank you for making my life easier.


Sunday, December 2

A Rarity


Look at all of those clean diapers!!!  It's a miracle.  Seriously I hardly ever have this many diapers clean at one time; because well you know TT needs to pee and poop in them.  This stash represents about 85% of the diapers we have in the current rotation.

For those of you not versed in the world of modern day cloth diapering the two left rows are mostly pocket diapers; which means you stuff the pocket on the inside of the diaper with an absorbent pad.  Some of these diapers are all-in-two (AI2) which is a diaper in which you re-use the cover (for more covers see the photo below) a few times over and change the inner liner.  The diapers on the left are what they call fitted diapers - think contoured old school diapers, but way more absorbent; you need to use a cover otherwise you'll have a big ol' wet mess.  Ah covers... those are below and are the modern day version of the plastic pants.

We do use some old school flat and pre-folded diapers; but those aren't picture worthy.  Sometimes I stuff diapers with them other times I use them like my mom would have used a cloth diaper; expect I don't use pins we have bungy t-shaped elastics with teeth.  Now... that sound like something you want down there... ha!!!!  Kidding.



Saturday, December 1

Silent Saturday



Oh yes, yes I did; Christmas pancakes for breakfast.   Happy December!!!

Thursday, November 29

Wish List

Last year all RR wanted for Christmas was a flute, and I was able to make that happen for him thanks to Facebook, a friend from high school and my brother and sister-in-law.

So this year I should not have been surprised when he made yet another off-the-wall-holiday request.

No, he did not ask for a saxophone, or a trumpet, or the like.

While him and I were driving along last night he says to me "I really hope I get what I most want in the whole world for Christmas".

"What's that?" I ask him, bracing for an insanely expensive Lego kit or video game I would rather him not play.

"I want 5 pillows and 3 blankets".

"5 pillows and 3 blankets?", I question.

"Yes, and 2 stuffed animals."

"Ok, why?"

"Because I like being really snugly".

I've said it before and I will say it again; I should have named that kid Linus.




Tuesday, November 27

A Story to Tell

My Christmas tree has a story to tell.  If you are willing to look.

Tonight we decorated the tree before the boys went to bed.  Mind you, I am not that on the ball; we had spent a better part of the weekend just getting the tree up and the lights put on.

As we are unpacking the ornaments RR squeals in delight "Look, here are all the ornaments I made!"  After we peel through a layer of paper and glitter and glue and puzzle pieces we uncover our "family" ornaments.

You see we've been collecting new ornaments year after year.  Ornaments that mean something.

Ornaments that tell a story.  The story of us.

In 2004 I got RR his first ornaments - Baby's 1st Christmas.  I think he has 3 of them.

The following year he made some ornaments in day-care and I have a photo frame one of him.  This was my first Christmas as a single mom, and yet I kept my ex's family ornaments. As I didn't see them as items to be discarded and tossed out along with the relationship, but rather building blocks to the family we are now; which includes members of my ex's family (Nana).  These are items that will leave the house along with RR when he is grown and ready for them.

In the years that followed I gathered yearly ornaments for him. Ones he picked out; often in the image of his most current obsession (cats, trucks, trains and what have you); all marked with his name and date.

When Husband entered the picture we expanded our annual ornament collection; adding a couples ornament and a family ornament; many times getting multiples of a particular theme as gifts.

We have ornaments that mark our first Christmas together, one marking our engagement, one marking our pregnancy with TT, ones proclaiming our wedding and first anniversary.

With the birth of TT we added his First Christmas ornament and our family ornament expanded from 3 to 4 people.

But our tree is more than my recent past.  My tree includes ornaments of mine from my youth.  Ones friends gave me as gifts in college.  Ones passed on to me from my mom; from 1993 and 1986 to name a few... gifts made by friends of the family or bought by my parents; with my name and the year proudly displayed.

I have an ornament I bought to mark my brother's passing and another bought to commemorate the passing of my step-father.  Reminders of loved ones that are not with us, but are certainly not forgotten.

I have ornaments that were my Grandmothers.  Some of which are too fragile and delicate to display with a one year old around; others to bias to a bygone era that are also stowed away.  Yet, there are many still, from them, worth hanging.

That's my Christmas tree.  It's the story of me and of my family.  I do wish I had ones from Husband's youth to display on it as well, but regardless I am glad to work on this tradition with him creating memories of our times together to pass along to our children.











Sunday, November 25

Treasuers

You can never leave Nana's house empty handed.  It has always been this way.  You visit, you leave with something - anything.  Over the years her parting gifts have gotten bigger and bigger; err better yet it's gotten to be more and more stuff.  When we were there 2 months ago she sent us home with 3 or 4 area rugs.  Really it's sad when you think about it; it's like she wants to make sure you have certain things before she leaves this Earth.

And then some visits you just leave with stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff; treasures as my boys put it.  Today's visit was one of those days.

We left with -

* 5 grinder rolls (leaving with food is a big one with Nana... no matter what you take food from her house)

* a banana-coffee-cake ring

* a toothbrush (new, thankfully)

* a pacifier (also new in the package, not sure why she had it)

* 2 sponge back-washers (the boys have been sword fighting with them)

* a 24" long shoe horn (she insisted Husband needed this)

* 2 sweaters

* 5 candy bars packed in an inner-office mail envelope (I may claim to the Milky Way Dark)

* 2 ski-outfits - his and hers matching set complete with ski pants and jackets

* slippers and slipper socks for the whole family (I have been told I need to wrap these for Christmas, but Husband already put his on)

* 4 neon colored baseball hats - old school style with the plastic adjustable strap in the back

* a set of 3 small plastic bowls

* the rest of the Chinese food from lunch

It's a bit big.  OK, a lot big.

Stuff.

The hats.  Good thing TT loves them.

Storage bowls for scout stuff I think.

That is the deadliest shoe horn I have ever seen.
She kept trying to send us home with a naked Barbie.  And I suppose I should have taken it to make her happy, but really... she was naked.

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