Sunday, March 28, 2010

Night Shifts

Tonight is the last night that Dadda monkey has to work the night shift, at least for the next 3 months. When he goes to night shifts, it's always difficult on all of us. He has a hard time sleeping during the day because the kids are up. I have a harder time because he's not available to help me as much and he inevitably throws my schedule off somewhat. More importantly, the kids have a hard time because he's not visibly around as much.

As an example, I bathed both kids tonight, fed them, and got them ready for bed. I let (my mistake) monkey girl climb in Bro Bro monkey's crib (with him) and thought it might be a nice photo op. As I'm taking pictures, monkey girl decides to jump up on the bed (one of her new favorite past times that I'm having a hard time correcting) and when she landed, the mattress gave way on one side. I've told her before, No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed! The mattress is a little unwieldy and I wouldn't know where to begin to fix it so poor Bro Bro monkey is sleeping in his swing until Dadda gets home. On the bright side, I really don't think Bro Bro minds too much.

Dadda monkey likes working nights sometimes because, on top of a little (I emphasize little) extra pay, he can get some school work done, and it's a more casual environment. He did admit today that he is looking forward to going back to daytime hours. Unfortunately, he'll get home tomorrow at 6:30 am and have to be up around one to run some errands with me. Dadda monkey does sacrifice some things for his family (namely sleep) and we love him for it. Welcome back to days, Dadda (your celebratory honey-do list is on the counter)!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Costco Ventures

Today, well Thursday (since it's after midnight already), was our bi-weekly trip to Costco. That's the week we drive about 30 minutes so we can stock up on baby formula, dog food, and household items. I love each time we go in because they always seem to have something new that tempts me. We've also found some great food items as well as a great selection of organic items. Just today we bought some organic salsa, chips, and veggies. I've heard their organic oatmeal is good too, but I haven't tried that yet.

There's only one thing I dread about my trips to Costco. I know I can never leave without spending under $100. There are several places that I find this to be true for. One of these is the vet's office, another one is Macy's (or any place having a major clothing sale).

I mentioned in a previous post that we were looking at getting a playset for our backyard and we've definitely decided on the one we found at Costco. We've been waiting on our landscape designer to get back to us with plans before we bought the playset, but something made my husband inquire about it today while we were there. I'm glad he did because he found out that they only have 5 left and aren't going to be getting any more in. After a bit of discussion about whether we could fit it into my Explorer, we decided not to chance it and hire someone to move it for us. So tomorrow afternoon, Dadda monkey is meeting a guy at Costco to bring the monstrosity home where it will sit in our garage until who knows when. On top of that he's decided when it comes time, he wants to attempt to put it together himself. Wish us all luck on that one.

Friday Follow

It's Friday again so that means I get to participate in one of my new found favorite activities. Friday Follow encompasses a list of blogs that submit their names for other people to check out. I've found some really great and interesting blogs that I make a point to keep checking in on because of their great content. It really is a fantastic way to find some great reading you might not otherwise have discovered.
This week's sponsor is Tooth Soap. Thank you to them and Happy Friday Follow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

National Nutrition Month

Did you know it's National Nutrition Month? March is National Nutrition Month and I could stand to learn a bit more about it for the good of my family. I'm not a great cook and I often worry about improving my daughter's diet. Super Kids Nutrition has a plethora of articles from how to raise a good eater to fun food science. There's even recipes and kids activities on the site.

Starting around this time of year, I like to buy a lot of fresh fruit. Nectarines are one of my favorites. According to Rosanne Rust, nectarines originated in China over 2000 years ago. They are low in calories, fat free, sodium free, and are a good source of Vitamins A and C. I didn't know that I should be storing my nectarines in the coldest part of my refrigerator in a plastic bag. Nectarines do have higher pesticide levels so you should look for organic nectarines. I'm lucky to have a good organic market near me that has great produce.

Another interesting tidbit I learned is that having your family sit down for meals together is important. Family dinners have been found to be associated with better grades, less risk-taking behaviors, more courteous children, positive emotional well-being, and healthier diets. I guess my husband is going to have to let me buy that new kitchen table I wanted.

Be sure to check out for more information and tips that can help your family.

This Mommy 2 Monkeys article is part of a blog promotion on behalf of SuperKids Nutrition Inc.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yum, Cupcakes!

Monkey girl has her two year birthday coming up in April. Unfortunately, we're going to be on a road trip through Missouri and onto Maryland during that time so we're going to have a small celebration at her grandmother's. I'm planning on bringing some cupcakes with us and I hope they'll travel well. For the past couple of weeks I've been experimenting with different recipes and frosting techniques. I'll concede right now that though I love to bake, I'm not a terribly good artist with a pastry bag (see the post about lack of artistic talent). I found a really good lemon cupcake recipe and have learned semi-acceptable swirl, basketweave, and dot frostings. This weekend Dadda monkey gets to try my new chocolate cupcake recipe and take them into work. I like using his coworkers as guinea pigs. I'm not sure how they feel about being the guinea pigs though.

One of the things I bought a few months ago is going to be put to the test and come in really handy. If you haven't seen a Cupcake Courier, you're missing out on one of the most attractive baked goods transportation systems I've ever seen. The cupcakes fit nicely into the recesses and it has 3 trays that each lift out separately without any additional fuss. The cover latches right onto the bottom of the case near each of the 4 corners. I'd like to get another one and they had them at our local Costco (more about my Costco adoration in future posts), but I think they're gone now. They're available online, but I tend to refrain from purchasing items that don't offer free shipping. I'd be lying if I said my decision to bring cupcakes didn't have anything to do with getting to use the Cupcake Courier. Hey it's better than letting it sit in the pantry gathering dust, though my waistline probably doesn't agree.

For my parting words, I'd like to bring up Bro Bro monkey. It seems my posts are never about poor Bro Bro monkey. Although maybe it's because he's such a great, sweet, little baby boy that I don't have anything I need to discuss here (yet). I will mention that he's a big eater and is only 7 pounds lighter than his sister who is 17 months older. I'll leave it at that since it's time to feed the baby monkey (and he does get upset if he goes hungry for any length of time)!

Cupcake Courier 36-Cupcake Plastic Storage Container, Petal Pink

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Toddler Bed Trials and Tribulations

I thought it was going to be easy, but that night my husband was at work. At 8:30 I attempted to put monkey girl to bed, but I knew full well going into it that she wasn't at all tired yet (and yes, she had a nap that day in her bed). So I let her play a little longer and around 9:15 I put her back in bed. She was immediately out and I kept grabbing her and putting her back in bed. This went on for almost 30 minutes. Put monkey girl in bed, slightly close door, wait for her to come out, grab her and put her back in bed. Now she's hysterically crying and pleading with me to let her watch TV while laying in our bed. So, I caved. She went to our room, laid down, and fell asleep within 30 minutes. I, being the responsible mommy, ... let her stay there. Dadda monkey came home at 6:30 to find his spot in bed taken.

Not a big deal, I figured, since it's really the only time she's spent a full night in our bed other than vacations. I'd hoped it was a fluke and we wouldn't have any more trouble since she's usually pretty good about bed time. However, the next night she still didn't want to go to bed. This time Dada monkey was home and he caved (we're pretty spineless parents I guess) so she fell asleep in our bed and he carried her to her own bed a little later. Fast forward to 3 am and guess who shows up at my bedside wanting to sleep with us. I pulled her up into bed and when she fell asleep I moved her back to her bed only to find her back at my bedside 10 minutes later. I guess she'd figured out our transferring trick and wasn't a fan of it. She spent the rest of the night with us.

Last night we had the same problem with trying to put her in her bed so she fell asleep while watching TV in our room. We moved her to her bed and she stayed there until 7 this morning. I call that progress and a small victory for Momma and Dadda. Now I've got to figure out the winning strategy for getting her to start the evening in her own bed without feeling like a horrible mommy for letting her scream and cry. I suppose I also forgot to mention that both of our immediate neighbors like to hang out in their front yards and have told me that when my kids cry they can hear them outside. I guess either my kids have great lungs or I need to invest in better windows. Sorry guys, but I'm trying to establish a routine here whether the kids want to cooperate or not. Enjoy the serenade!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Toddler Bed Conversion

When we were expecting monkey girl, we (okay, mostly I, since hubby hates shopping) had fun looking for the decor for our nursery. We decided on a convertible crib from Babies R Us that would change into a toddler bed and then a full size bed. Of course we have to buy the rails for both of those separately. A few months ago, we ordered the conversion rails for her toddler bed and it had since been sitting in her closet. Two days ago Dadda monkey made the conversion.

Monkey girl was intrigued by it, but didn't want to nap in it. We were okay with this since she occasionally goes without her daily nap and I figured it would just make her more tired for bedtime. I was right and around 8:30 we had no trouble putting her to bed. We pulled her door so it was almost closed and the next morning she got up, walked out, and came into our room asking for breakfast.

A little off topic here, but I mentioned before that we're not morning people so our toddler's bedtime is a little late compared to some of my friends here. I just can't fathom putting her to bed at 7:00, and the worst part (to me), getting up at 6 am with her? Am I really the only one with these later times?

That afternoon, she got tired and laid down on the floor while watching TV. Apparently she was more tired than I thought and she fell asleep there. I left her there while I went to make Bro Bro monkey a bottle and when I came back upstairs she had made her own way to her bed and was now asleep in her room. Score! This wasn't hard at all. She's fully accepted this new change to her bed. At least it seemed that way... To be continued tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is a fun holiday to me. I've been thinking for a couple days now about what the monkeys and I would wear that is green. We had playgroup this morning so monkey girl wore a green t-shirt and jeans. I wasn't so sure the shirt was appropriate since it reads, "I'd rather be naked", but Dadda monkey assured me it was fine. Truth be told, that's probably an accurate statement for her these days. Playgroup was uneventful since we were the only ones that showed up at this week's host's home. We do need to find out how to get more people involved, but the neighborhood doesn't have a community message board yet. Anyways, her son and monkey girl are close in age and both of them need work in the learning to share department, but bubbles seemed to be the one thing they could both agreeably partake in together.

To continue our St. Patty's Day festivities (which were decidedly low key this year) we had cabbage rolls for dinner. Dadda monkey woke up in time to help me make them and we usually do have fun cooking together. At one point, the recipe called for mixing the ground beef, rice, and some other ingredients together in a bowl. Dadda monkey asked me if he should do it by hand and I told him yes. Seconds later, I turn around to find him fist deep in ground beef mixture massaging the ingredients together. I couldn't help but laugh. I told him I thought he was trying to find an excuse to use an electric mixer and that 'by hand' to me meant with a spoon or similar instrument, not literally with his hands.

We all enjoyed dinner, but monkey girl wanted her leftover fettucine later in the night. I contemplated mixing green baby food into Bro Bro monkey's rice cereal, but figured he needed to stick to unflavored food for now so he missed out on the celebration today, but there's always next year. Speaking of which, next year I'll be better prepared and make my delicious brown bread, prepare some green cupcakes and/or cookies, and make everyone watch Darby O'Gill and the Little People (can't believe I missed that this year)! Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bath Time!

After the kids went to bed last night I decided to take a nice, warm, quiet bath. It was so peaceful, but I couldn't help but think about how it usually goes. Monkey girl loves baths! She would probably spend all day in one if I'd let her. Every now and then she takes 2 or 3 in a day because it just gets too hard to keep telling her no. She'll look at us, wave her arms, point to the bathroom, and say 'splash, splash'. And there's no bathing for us while she's up because she will strip down and jump right on in with you. I guess it's better than having to struggle to get her to take one.

Currently Bro Bro monkey hates baths, he screams his poor little head off when we give him one, but his sister wasn't too fond of them at his age either. It gets so bad that I almost hate to give him one and try to pawn it off on Dadda monkey. Hopefully, he'll get better with them, but not to the extreme of his sister.
Last night was a real treat for me. Too bad I couldn't find the book I just won because that would have been even better.

I have discovered that I don't think jetted tubs are worth it. I don't use the jets anymore because they seem to get gunk stuck in them so the next time you turn them on, you get this stuff pushed out of them and floating around your bath with you. They're also fairly noisy and when first turned on they give you a nice shock of cold water thrust at you. Dadda monkey thinks I'm weird too in that I don't like the frosted window they put in above the tub. I'd kind of like to be able to gaze at the scenery while I'm soaking.

On a side note, I had won some Sothy's Energizing Bath Tablets a little while ago so I took the time to test them out too. They were larger than I expected, but are individually wrapped which was nice. I opened the package and put one in the tub while it finished filling up. The water turned a pale green and the tablet completely dissolved after just a couple minutes. I was hoping I wouldn't be left with residue so that was a big plus. I think they're a little pricey for how many you get in a box, but it was really nice to soak in and smelled pleasant. It seems nice bath accessories are never inexpensive though. Hopefully, monkey girl won't start going after my stash.

Friday, March 12, 2010

When Did I Get So Old?

I injured my knees a couple of weeks ago and they're healing at a snail's pace. Going up and down the stairs still bothers me, especially when carrying one, or both, of the kids. Unfortunately this means I've been avoiding walking the kids over to the playground recently. I've tried icing them during the day and putting heat on them at night, but I haven't been as diligent as I should be. We had also been taking daily walks around the neighborhood since the weather's been nice, but that's been put on the backburner too. This means I'm behind schedule on the baby weight loss.

Hopefully, things are looking up since I've been better able to get on the ground to play with the kids this past week. It just makes me feel so old when complaining about my knee pain. I mean it's my knees of all things, what's next, my hips? Monkey dad says he wants to trade in for a new, younger model (lol would fit here, but that's one of my pet peeves). Just wait until I get to feeling better, he owes me a couple tennis matches and I intend to make him feel bad for losing to a girl (with bad knees to boot)!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not an Artistic Bone in my Body

We're getting monkey girl (and by default, Bro Bro monkey) a playset for the backyard. Two of her favorite things to do are slide and swing. However, this thing is a behemoth compared to the swingset I had as a child. We feel our backyard is one of the main features of our house even though it's currently a blank slate and in obvious need of some TLC. So I thought it best to figure out placement of said playset monstrosity before it arrives.

I love design and seeing the beauty that comes through when someone with great talent puts things together, but I do not have an artistic bone in my body. I can appreciate other's efforts and would like to be able to achieve those results myself, but it's just not possible. It takes me days to pick out paint colors and even after I've chosen I constantly second guess myself. My husband hates it, but puts up with it (not that he has a choice).

So we called a couple of landscape designers to come take a look and give us a plan. Basically we need to know where to put the playset, what we can do along the back fence to stop our dogs from escaping the yard, design a modest deck so we can enjoy the yard while the kids are playing, and possibly get a couple of fruit trees. I always thought if I lived in a temperate climate I wanted my own fruit trees, but this area of Texas doesn't have great soil so we'll see. We saw some beautiful Cleveland Pear trees at Costco that we'd love in our yard. Anyways, designer #1 failed to show up this morning and didn't answer his phone all day. Designer #2 should be here tomorrow and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some great (and hopefully affordable) design ideas.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba Saved My Sanity Today

Little girl monkey didn't get to bed until 9 last night and then woke up, extremely fussy, about 2 hours later. We'd take her to rest in our bed and then put her back in hers, which would last about 20 minutes. Rinse and repeat until 3:30 this morning and you get two fairly miserable parents. So when she woke at 8 this morning (still fussy by the way), we tried to carry on as if it were a normal day. About 10, I think little girl and I had both had enough so I put her down for a nap only to have to wake her an hour later for her speech therapist appointment. We got through that and I was not looking forward to the rest of this afternoon, but...we turned on the TV and Yo Gabba Gabba was on. She's now singing (Jumpy Jump Jump), and dancing, and in a remarkably good mood at the moment. I, on the other hand, am struggling to stay awake. If she's singing though then I can consider this good for her speech, right? It's certainly good for Momma's mental well being. I think the TV may be staying on quite a bit longer.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Date Night

After we had our first child, we talked about having a weekly date night that was just for us; a little moment of couple time to reconnect. We shortly found out that that was much easier said than done. For one thing, we had trouble finding a good sitter. One of the drawbacks of not living near family is that it's harder to get out of the house. Also neither of us really felt comfortable leaving monkey girl. Then after Bro Bro monkey was born all that was just compounded.

Tonight was supposed to be our first time out together in quite some time. We planned to have a nice dinner and then probably a movie. Sounds simple enough, right? We found a competent sitter who has spent time with the kids before. So we set off for dinner and tried not to talk about missing the monkeys. Dinner was great it was a nice quiet place with some great food. We shared a couple of things and enjoyed just being together. Then we talked about the movie, there's not much either of us were eager to see, but we settled on something and headed toward the theater. We merely got close to the theater and saw the throngs of people and we just looked at each other and said forget it. Apparently being a shut-in with our family for a good part of the past two years means we can't fathom having to venture into a crowd. I literally cringed at the thought of having to stand in line and sit in a crowded, noisy theater to watch a movie (Friday was clearly not the night we should have done this).

We immediately headed away, but didn't want to go straight home yet. As we passed a sporting goods store we thought we'd stop to go in. We'd been talking about trying to get back into shape and so picked a couple of things up. It sounds silly, but being able to look around the store without worrying about the monkeys made for a pretty good Friday (date) night in my book. We've agreed to look for something on pay per view this weekend for us to watch after the kids go to bed. Curling up on the couch with my husband in the quiet of my own house sounds like a much better way to watch a movie to me anyways. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Developing At Your Own Rate

Shortly after my daughter turned one, we were at the pediatrician who asked how many words monkey girl could say. When I responded 2-3, she seemed concerned. Since then many people have asked if I had any concerns at the time and my reply is always the same... I wasn't concerned until the pediatrician made me so. The doctor said she should be able to say a bit more and referred us to a speech therapist. We made an appointment with Easter Seals who spent a great deal of time evaluating her and asked us what had brought on our concern and we told them just the doctor. I thought it was always stressed that kids develop at their own rate and if your child isn't meeting the 'average' milestones, don't fret and be patient.

Almost a year later now and we are still working with Easter Seals, who have been great to work with. If someone's going to offer us valuable help, I'm not going to turn it down. At the very least, she gets more time with people other than Momma and Dadda. Monkey girl is still 'behind' her peers, but improving, and I'm still not really concerned. She has made progress and I believe even more that there's not necessarily a problem, but she's just a little slower with her speech development. Her therapists also say she's doing well and don't seem overly concerned. I like the way her great grandmother put it...maybe she just doesn't have anything to say right now. Maybe not, but I have no fear that her first sentence is right around the corner. Perhaps it'll be something like, "Momma, get off the computer and get me some Cheerios!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Potty Chair!

So it's potty training time. I was clued in to this by the fact that my 23 month old monkey kept running up to us, saying 'Momma' or 'Dadda' and handing us her diaper then turning to run, bare bottomed, in the other direction. This was quite a fun little game until 'Momma' decided I could finish looking at something on the computer and she proceeded to pee on the floor right next to me.  She now enjoys taking off all her clothes and running around like a little banshee.

Well, we decided to look for a decent potty chair that wouldn't be too complicated and take away from the focus that is potty training. We made a big to do about buying a potty chair and she managed to pronounce potty chair (more on the speech issue soon). We let her help us look at the computer while we viewed our options and we narrowed it down to two. One was a multi-function potty chair that became a seat you can place on the potty and a step stool as well and the other was a simple Baby Bjorn potty chair. I read somewhere that being able to clean the chair easily should play into your decision making and so I opted for the one with less parts to it.

Our blue (so BroBro monkey can use it later) Baby Bjorn potty chair arrived and we ceremoniously set it up in the bathroom. We bought a pack of pullups and now, 3 weeks later, she's used it once! Yep, I'm serious, in 3 weeks, we've managed to go potty in it once. We've sat on it countless number of times, and she loves saying 'potty chair' now, but once is all we've managed. We've agreed we're taking it slow so we'll keep at it and I'm sure it'll come in time. I will say that the one time we used it, it was a very simple dump out and wipe down so I'm pleased with my choice of chairs. Hopefully, the satisfaction of potty training will be near as well.