Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Can you believe that she dressed herself?

The purple things on her hands are a pair of princess slippers. I think these paired with the size 6 month hat shows off her unique and budding fashion sense.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Cousin's Wedding/ Our Date

Last night we went to my cousin’s wedding. As I mentioned before, my mother-in-law took care of the girls so we could go. I was determined to completely clean and organize our house before she came over which, of course, did not happen. I’m amazed at how long it takes to clean our small place. I can only imagine how long it’s going to take once we move into our new house. I was still happy though because the house was clean although not completely organized.

We arrived 12 minutes late for the wedding despite our determined efforts not to be late to another wedding. The wedding started on time and we had our usual viewing spot of watching the bride enter the church before we were allowed to sit down. The worst part is that the bride can see you and knows that you couldn’t even make on time to her wedding.

After creeping down the aisle into our seats my husband and I started reminiscing about our own wedding day. We were so young and happy. We’re still young (although we feel old) and happy but a lot more stressed and busy now with two kids. It’s hard to find time for each other, but hopefully we can do better now that I’m not completely consumed by school.

I do have a complaint about the reception though. It was a stand-up cocktail-type reception (without the cocktails!). Which is just an excuse not to feed us dinner but I understand that weddings are expensive. However, I was wearing heels which started to hurt after about 20 minutes of standing in them. I’m not used to wearing heels let alone standing on them for over two hours. I wear heels approximately every 3 months for 3 simple reasons. Reason 1. My husband is short. At only 6 feet he is the shortest of the men in my family. I’m Dutch which means some of the women in my family are 6 feet. I myself am 5’9 so wearing heels usually puts me up to his height or above. Which he doesn’t seem to like for some reason. Reason #2 is just that I don’t normally have an occasion to wear heels to. As much as I want to be the chic put-together mom I end up in jeans and a t-shirt 99.5% of the time. Reason #3 is that I can’t move very fast while wearing heels. Which normally isn’t a problem, except when you have to run after a toddler.

Although my feet hurt we still enjoyed ourselves. Attending weddings forces us to go out on a date, which we don’t do nearly often enough. It also reminds about why we got married in the first place. Seeing each other dressed-up reminds us how we were physically attracted to each other at the beginning and seeing another couple clearly in love reminds us about the excitement of being newlyweds. It’s easy to forget about the reasons we first fell in love but a wedding every once in a while is poignant reminder.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Best Motivation for Cleaning

I've got big plans for this weekend. I intend to clean every square inch of our house. And not just clean, I need to de-clutter and organize everything. While I've wanted to spring clean for a long time, I now have a very important deadline. My mother-in-law is coming over!

She is coming over to watch the girls so we can go to a wedding Saturday night. It is much easier to put them to sleep in their own beds and then we don't have to wake them up when we get home.

I love my mother-in-law but I would be horrified if she walked into our house when it was messy. There is just something about daughter-in-laws needing to prove to their mother-in-laws that their son is being well taken care of. My husband still thinks I should make his lunches since his mother used to make his lunches. And she worked full-time while raising 6 kids and got her Master's degree too!

And now that I can't even use school as an excuse for my messy house I better start cleaning.

I'm finished school- now what?

I took my last exam this morning. I really wish I had been more prepared for it. I have an unfortunate combination of procrastination and perfectionism that led me to put off studying and then try to spend the entire night before the exam studying. This was also the night that my little angel decided to wake up 5 times when she normally sleeps through the night. That took up a lot of time and I kept falling asleep on the couch. I had my alarm clock on my phone set to keep getting me up but eventually sometime in the middle of the night I fell asleep. I woke up 40 minutes before my exam started and panicked. I quickly fed Sweet Pea and got the girls dressed. My mom picked them up and after quickly reveiwing my notes I headed off to school. There were some things I didn't know on the exam but for the most part I could write down an answer. I normally am way more prepared but my procrastination caught up with me. You would think that after 5 years of school I would have learned not to procrastinate!

But it's over now, I might not get my desired A but I should still do ok and will certainly pass which is all that really matters for the degree.

I'm really not sure what I'm going to do now. I don't want to start working right away. I would like like some time to just be a mom and see what life is like when I'm not completely sleep-deprived. At some point, I hope to find a fabulous, flexible and well-paying part-time career that is located close to me. Since I'll have 2 kids in daycare, the money has to be worth it for me to work. Luckily, I have the luxury of not needing to find a career immediately thanks to my husband's full-time job and my current part-time job.

I probably will take more schooling down the road but first I need to get some work experience and figure out my career path.

For years, I've been concentrating on taking the classes required to obtain my degree and now I have the chance to explore a wide variety of careers and opportunities. I'm excited for what the future holds for me and my family.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Studying For My Last Exam

Today I am studying today for my last exam ever!! Well of my bachelor's degree at least, I'm sure I'll go back to school for something someday. I don't know how much studying I'm going to get done during the day with the kids running around but I'm going to have to cram tonight and hopefully get a few hours of sleep before the exam.

I've been done all my classes for over a week so I've been relaxing and now have to force myself back into student mode. I can't wait for this to be done and then I can concentrate on the rest of my life. I'm excited for what the future holds.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Here is my picture for Wordless Wednesday. It was taken about 2 weeks ago. It was laundry day and the lack of clean clothes resulted in her colorful outfit. It amazes me that at only 10 months she can climb on this thing herself. The music it plays is so annoying but the kids love it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is coming up in 20 days. Now normally I don't even think about getting a gift until the week of and normally pick something up that day or maybe a day early. But this year I want to get my mom something other than flowers or chocolate. Although my mom appreciates anything we give her I want to give her something that shows that I put a little bit of time and thought into her gift. I'm looking up various Mother's Day Gift Guides and trying to find something unique and meaningful for my mom.

This gift guide by Sweet Mama has different gift ideas for sporty, foodie, crafty, eco, literary, outdoorsy, sentimental and glam moms. All the items are available online which saves you a shopping trip. Sweet Mama Shopping Guide

If you want some more gift ideas and you want to support work-at-home moms there are some more ideas at the Tip Junkie Website

I still haven't decided what I'll get for my mom but now I have some suggestions for my husband and kids.

What are you giving your mom for mother's day? What are you hoping and hinting to your kids or husband that you want?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 1 of being Super Mom and Super Wife

To get a full sense of the irony of this post you should start my reading my previous post first.

After writing down some life goals last night, I was inspired and made sure I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen and living room before going to bed. I started off today with big plans. I would bring my husband lunch, take the girls to the park and make a fabulous dinner. All while keeping a clean house of course. I managed to do some of those things but not the way I wanted to.

As part of my goal to be a better wife, I decided to make a great lunch for my husband at work. I wanted to make a nutritious and delicious lunch for us but realizing that I didn’t have time to make anything fancy I settled for peanut butter sandwiches on multi-grain bread. We were a little late and he didn’t even like his sandwich since there wasn’t enough peanut butter. That’s the last time I ever bother to bring him lunch! But it was still nice to see him during the work day and let the girls see where daddy works.

After that, we drove to a nearby park and met a friend with a daughter the same age as Sweet Pea. We had a fun time and the weather was beautiful. I took some pictures but the camera memory was too full to take very many. I have this fear that if I delete the pictures off my camera my laptop will suddenly die and I’ll lose all my pictures. Before I can safely delete any pictures off my camera I have to upload them to my laptop, upload them to a photo-sharing site online and burn them to a CD. Anyways, although I was feeling like a good mom for getting my kids outside and active I neglected to bring any snacks along. So by the time we left, Princess was complaining about her tummy hurting. We rushed home and got her some yoghurt while I breastfed an exhausted Sweet Pea to sleep. Princess refused to go to sleep but luckily my dad called and came to take her out. I should have cleaned up the mess that had already accumulated but was exhausted from all the playing at the park so I went down for a nap. By the time I woke up, it was time to make dinner. That’s where it all started going downhill.

Princess came home tired from her long day and Sweet Pea was still tired when she woke up. I was in the kitchen trying to make a fabulous dinner when my two normally sweet girls decided to fight over every single toy. I was determined to make something delicious since I’ve already had two dinner mishaps in the last two days. I decided to make Twice-Baked Potatoes and Chicken Skewers with a side of beans. The potatoes took a lot of time and work and I kept having to break up fights between the girls. My husband called twice and we could barely talk over the screaming that was going on. I finally took a break from making dinner to feed Sweet Pea in hopes of getting her to take a nap. Then I searched desperately for a soother for my crying baby. Then I began to cry because the house was so messy that I couldn't even find a soother to put my baby to bed with. I finally found it and put Sweet Pea in her crib. Princess was a little concerned about her bawling mommy and began to cry herself. I then cried even more that I upset my daughter.

My husband came home to Sweet Pea protesting her nap, and Princess and I sitting on the couch in tears. He hadn’t had the best day either and I felt horrible that he came home to a messy house, grumpy children and a stressed-out wife. Realizing that Sweet Pea was not going to nap I got her up and handed her to my husband. With another adult around I was finally able to finish up dinner. I realized that I had forgotten the vegetables but didn’t even care anymore.

Although the twice-baked potatoes turned into a twice-baked casserole it was pretty good. My husband even said he liked the potato chunks that didn’t get completely mashed up. I didn’t quite believe him but didn’t care enough to argue. We had a peaceful dinner for a few minutes before Princess’s exhaustion became evident. My husband quickly whisked her away to bed where she fell asleep immediately. I managed to put away the leftovers before plopping myself on the couch. Sweet Pea resisted going to bed several times and I was forced to call my husband in to put her to bed.

Now I’m sitting here ignoring the chaos around me and rethinking my super mom goal. Taking them out to the park resulted in tired girls (myself included) and instead of being a super wife my husband turned out to be super dad. I managed to do all the things on my list (minus the clean house) but became stressed out as a result. Can I be an active mom who makes delicious meals while keeping a presentable house? Is it really possible to do it all? I’ll keep trying and keep you updated.

Any tips from other supermoms?

Life After School

This week I had the last class of my undergraduate degree. I still have an exam coming up but I feel done already. It’s such an amazing feeling that after five years with two kids in the last three years I am a graduate. Yet the day after my last class I felt a little lost. Being a student was a large part of my identity. When people asked me what I was up to I rattled off my list, “Well I have two little girls and I’m in school. Oh and I work part-time.” Now people inevitably ask me what I’m going to do now that I have a degree. The problem is that I don’t know. I did not plan on having kids so young and was prepared to spend ten years in school pursuing a graduate degree in psychology. Now my priorities have shifted. I’m not willing to be a crazy stressed-out mama for so long. Although I may have looked like supermom on the outside, I struggled to do it all. I stayed up late every night reading and doing homework. I can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep on the couch while trying to get through a textbook. Being that tired made me a grumpy mom some mornings and I didn’t have time to go on many play-dates or do other fun things with the kids. I was doing so much and feeling like I could not give 100% to anything. My poor husband suffered the most since his needs were not as urgent as a crying baby or a looming project deadline. I already look back on it and wonder how I managed to get it all done. So while I am so glad to be done I’m not sure what I’m going to do now.

My professor said something interesting during that last class. After he finished his PH.D he almost became clinically depressed since had completed his goal and had nothing to work towards. He said the pursuit of goals makes life meaningful not the actual achievement of them. So some goals should be unattainable or just within reach. Better yet, they are goals that you continually have to work at such as being healthy. With that in mind, I need to set some new goals for my life. I want to develop skills that will help me in life and learn things that make me a better person, mom and wife.

My list (in no particular order)
· Eat healthier
· Exercise and get in shape
· Be a better wife
· Learn more about html and blogging
· Learn how to effectively discipline and raise toddlers
· Read books other than textbooks
· Read books more often to my kids
· Potty-train my toddler
· Keep a clean and tidy house (This really is a never-ending goal)

These are goals and now I need to make a plan to achieve these goals. I am writing them down so I can remember and be held accountable. Later, I'll look back at these goals and see which ones I’ve accomplished.

What are your goals for the future?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Free Princess DVD from Fisher Price

Fisher Price is giving away a Free DVD about Princesses. It's only a 12 minute DVD but you don't even have to pay for shipping and handling. It looks like these Princesses will be better role models than traditional Disney characters who need to be rescued by charming princes. Their website says that the Princess Sirina and her friends will use their unique strengths to work together.

Click here to request your Free DVD. Sadly, this offer is only offer to residents of the US and be prepared to wait 12-14 weeks! So I wouldn't tell your daughters about this yet otherwise they will be asking where their DVD is for the next 3 months. By the time you actually get it, you'll probably have forgotten you ordered it and it'll be a surprise for everyone.

Easter Weekend

We had a great Easter weekend. We had dinner at my parents Sunday night. They were a little disappointed that we had neglected to dress-up the girls since it was rainy and miserable. My husband I each made a cake to bring along, both of which unfortunately had some minor flaws. The next day, we had lunch at his parent’s house. I love it when I don’t have to cook two days in a row. This time we decided to dress up the girls. I found some cute new matching dresses for a great deal at a swap meet. The dresses were a little bit too summery for the cold April Easter so we kept them indoors.

Princess got to participate in her first ever Easter egg hunt. Just to make sure she would understand the concept I let her watch Dora's Egg Hunt. Although in hindsight, I think she would have figured out the idea quickly especially since there was the usually forbidden candy as a reward. Luckily for her, she is the only one of the cousins that can walk and talk so she had a monopoly on all the eggs (besides the ones that the adults had eaten before the egg hunt). Later, she decided to pull her little sister around in their new wagon from Grandma while she kept up the hunt for more eggs. Once she had found all the eggs, she still wanted to play so we hid them again for her. I think I might have found a new way to keep her occupied at home! She was allowed to eat a couple then kept playing with eggs the rest of the afternoon. She did manage to sneak away a couple of times to eat some more eggs. The only way we knew what she was doing was when we found the empty wrappers she has left lying on the floor. It’s hard to get too mad at her though, she must get her love of chocolate from her mom. The surviving eggs are now safely hidden away. We’ll use them as potty-training treats or mommy pick-me-ups.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hoover SpinScrub Floormate Contest

While I'm not a huge fan of cleaning, I do appreciate anything that can help me get the house clean faster. One task that takes so long that I avoid doing until it desperately needs to get done is mopping. Which means taking the time to sweep, mop and then wait for it to dry, all while keeping the girls occupied and off the floor. Luckily there is an easier and faster solution.

One of the blogs I like to read, Life Starring Ellie and Eve, is giving away a Hoover SpinScrub Floormate! This handy gadget vacuums, mops and dries! There's no need for a mop and bucket and there is no switching between tools. With the drying option we can get back on the floor even faster. Which means the girls can start dirtying up the floor again even sooner.

Click here to enter the Hoover SpinScrub Floormate Contest

Dress-Up Princess Toy

Do you remember the paper dolls that came with paper clothes? They were inexpensive and fun to play with but flimsy and easily torn. With a baby in the house that will eat any paper she comes across I didn’t think that one of these would last long in our household. Luckily, my husband came home one day with a surprise gift for his little princess. Princess Eliseis a sturdy wooden doll who is magnetic. She comes with multiple outfits that Princess loves to play with. There are dresses, skirts, tops hats and gloves to attach. Her favourite is the pink outfit the doll came wearing. As a toddler, Princess finds it far easier and quicker to change the outfits on this doll than a regular doll. Thanks to this toy, Princess has learned the importance of matching and outfit coordination. Although, one day I’ll have to explain to her that outfits are allowed to be different colours.

It’s fun for adults to assemble the outfits too. Even my husband wanted in on the action and was showing Princess the different outfit choices. I was pleasantly surprised by the cost too. I figured that such a high quality toy would be rather expensive in comparison to the regular manufactured plastic toys. It turned out be less than $15 and can be found for as low as $10 on Amazon.

This was my first time using Melissa & Doug Products and I like the line so much I’ve bought other toys. I love the wooden construction and the fact that it is a family business. You can order this toy and other toys from the Melissa & Doug Website but I found that the prices were consistently lower online at Amazon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Beginning of a Princess

My daughter transformed into a princess on her 2nd birthday. Her aunt bought her a princess set that came with a dress, jewellery, high heels and a wand. The second she put it on she was hooked. She instinctively knew she was a princess, although up until that point we had never seen any books or movies that showed princesses. She loved the pretty dress and could walk surprisingly well in the too-big high heels. I guess all the training in my shoes helped. She had a blast and wore it the rest of the night. Since it was her birthday she was allowed to stay up way past her bed time and indulged in a lot of sugar. We ended the night with a melt-down when I tried to take it off her to put her to sleep. The next morning she couldn’t wait to put the dress on again.

Since then we’ve added several new dresses and princess-related books. I often find Princess in a dress throughout the day. She loves to dance in them and often refuses to dance unless she has her dress on. Although some parents are concerned about raising a spoiled little princess, I think we can allow her this fun role-playing activity without raising a little monster. In fact, we use it to our advantage. It’s very effective to tell her that “Princesses don’t make messes” or “Let’s clean like Cinderella.” Also, although she may be a princess, as her mom, I’m the queen. And we all know that the king and queen are in charge.

I’m sure she will outgrow this at some stage, but in the meantime I’m enjoying raising my little princess.