Monday, October 31, 2011

Secret Message Bananas

I want to do this when my kids know how to read. And stick 'em in their lunch boxes. Just write on them with a toothpick and after time, the message will slowly appear. Easy peasy and so sweet!

Happy Halloween 2011

                      Photo by Jeff Lee

                       Photo by Jeff Lee

                      Photo by Jeff Lee

You know when you look at a picture of yourself and are surprised by what you see? Because your view of yourself is different from what everone else sees. I think that's what happened when I saw the first photo. This is the first picture of our whole family together. It was a bit of a shocker. I don't think I really get the fact that I have three kids. I see my hubs. I see my kids. I even see the four of them all together. But I've never seen US all together. I know the lighting's not the best, its not in focus, and Ellie's not happy to be taking it but...I LOVE IT. Thanks Jeff! And isn't Iann the cutest monkey ever!

Tonight, Hallelujah Bash (halloween party) at our church was cancelled due to power outages from yesterday snowstorm. I was so bummed until a friend offered to throw an impromptu party. Hosting a handful of families is a LOT of work. She had food for everyone, snacks, treats and multiple activities for our kids all prepared. She's amazing I tell you. Thanks friend for another great time. The kids were so sad in the car on the way home.

Halloween's never much to me. It's probably because I never went trick or treating growing up. But now that I have kids, I really like it. This year was the best one yet. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkins & Snow

This year, I found out that the hubs is all about pumpkin carving. Who knew! I was going to print templates for the faces off the web but he insisted on sketching them himself. Happy surprise. We let Maxx & Ellie remove the seeds and gunk from the insides and then we did the poking and carving. The kids were surprisingly patient. And of course their favorite part was when we lit the candles inside and turned out all the lights.

Then today, I was going to put the pumpkins on the front porch but then decided to stick them on our deck, off the kitchen. I'd rather our family be able to enjoy them than strangers walking by. (My neighborhood isn't much of cozy community.) And of course the kids wanted to play in the grossly wet snow, so I bundled them up and out they went. My house is such a mess right now. I'm so behind in putting away summer things but my laziness actually paid off this time. The water/beach toys were right by the deck door and did the trick.

Now that I know the hubs is into pumpkin carving, I think I want to make a day of it next year and make a display of multiple jack o'lanterns. This means I really have to find a nicer pumpkin patch next year.

Maxx (cocking his head back imitating me laugh): HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
me: You're suck a punk.
Maxx: I'm a pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Sensitive Guy Theory

Do you know any sensitive guys? If so, I bet they like strawberry ice cream.
Go ahead. Test it. I have yet to find this to be untrue.

The converse, however, isn't necessarily true. Just because a guy likes strawberry ice cream doesn't make him sensitive. But then again, if your married and/or have boys, you might disagree with me all together and say that all guys are sensitive. Both my hubs and older son love strawberry ice cream. Go figure. :)

BTW, did you know Haagen Dazs shrunk the size of their container from 16 ounces to 14! Everyone's cheaping out these days.

House & Hold

I discovered a new online shop today that I really like. Overall it's decently pricey but you can find great home accessories for reasonable prices, and they price match!

     House & Hold

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Going to Stay Home

For the last month, I've been thinking about going back to work...not full time, but part time. The main reason was financial but a small part of me was kind of excited to do something of my own again. The tricky part was that if I did work part time, I'd have to make enough to cover the cost of hiring help and have enough left over to help with the bills and such. Going back to my marketing project management life would take care of that easily but doing contract project work would not give me the flexibility I need with my kids. I considered a handful of other opportunities including helping a friend with a start up. In the end, I came to my senses. WHAT WAS I THINKING!!? I have three kids, one being only 4 months old. How would I possibly juggle all this and be sane? That version of me would NOT be good for my husband and kids. As usual, I'm trying to do too much. So net net, I'm relieved to stay a fulltime stay at home mom.

If anything, I've been feeling like things, important things, are all over the place. I don't feel like I've been doing anything well lately.  Now that Iann's a little bit easier, I need to get refocused and prioritize once again. Discipline, allergies, encouragement, Ellie's birthday, holidays...just some of the things top of mind.

You know, I should've known better than to start looking for a job right now. My rule of thumb is never to let money be the deciding factor for any of my decisions.

PS. I got some photos from a friend so I updated my pumpkin post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where Is There Good Pumpkin Picking In Jersey?

     Photo by MPark

     Photo by MPark

                      Photo by MPark

Yesterday, we went with some friends to Alstede Farms. The kids had a blast but I think the crowds and craze got to the grown ups. It was like a mob scene when we arrived. It sorta killed the mood...for me at least.

I don't think I got one good picture. (edit: Thank you friend, for the great pictures!) The ones from the pumpkin patch were sad, sad, sad. The scene was lopsided, stemless pumpkins sparsely spread out on field of dirt. The kids were poking around but didn't seem excited. I think they had more fun doing other stuff at the farm. What I expected to see was something more like this. If you read her post, her "farm fail" was a Jersey farm. I bet it was Alstede Farms. Haha...wish I read this before I planned our trip. At least the donuts and cider were yum. I'll stick to Alstede for the berries in the summer...on a weekday.

Here are some photos from the summer when Gunn took the older kids berry picking while I was home with Iann. I don't know what it is but I love pictures of dads with their kids.

So anyone know of a Jersey farm where the pumpkin situation was a little better? Don't want another pumpkin farm fail next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maxx Funny

The other day Maxx asked me why nipples were coming out of the holes. I almost died. He now always refers to it as the nipples game. OMG. He's been playing this game for months too.

Packing Lunch for the Hubs

It's week 2 of making lunches for Gunn. So far so good. Today I made him a turkey sandwich on toasted whole wheat with sharp cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce, chopped onions, mayo, spicy mustard, and Clausens deli style pickles on the side. We ran out of his daily morning banana so I threw in some pieces of a crumb cake that a friend made for us, to go with his coffee. (Crud. Just realized I forgot the salt & pepper on the turkey. Oops.)

I have more fun packing his lunch, than actually cooking it. Today's was a sandwich so there wasn't any cooking involved, just making a yummy & neat sandwich. I always disliked it when the middles of deli sandwiches were super fat while the sides had no meat or if there was too little meat overall. I always make sure to evenly spread out all ingredients so every bite is equally yummy. Then I wrap it in paper towel or napkin so that the napkin will soak up any liquids from the sandwich, to keep the bread from getting soggy. (If there are tomatoes in your sandwich, the bread will likely still get slightly moist on one side.)

I cut up the pickles and put them in a small ziploc and did the same for the cake. You know the feeling when you're packing a box and everything you need to put in it fits perfectly inside? If you're a fellow OCD person, you do. Well I got that same feeling today when I put everything into this plastic container. Its the container the Hilshire Farm ham and turkey combo coldcuts came in. It totally makes up for not being able to buy Boar's Head meat anymore. Boar's Head is pricey but the best. I miss it.

Hope this takes away a little stress from his day tomorrow.

Family Update

- still adjusting to being without me at school
- loving his halloween costume
- now snaps with both fingers and does a dance incorporating his new skills

Don't you love pics of kids sleeping?

- working on staying in Sunday School with me
- uses 5-6 word sentences now
- started her first playgroup, not just joining in on her brother's playgroups/dates

She doesn't pick just her own nose.

- got little white nubbins showing on his bottom gums (explains his recent fussiness)
- sleep trained so easily a week ago
- got his second haircut a few days ago

Last picture before my new doo

As for Gunn & I? The hubs has been tired from his long work hours and packed weekends but continually sacrifices his comforts for our family. I started doing quiet time again with some motivation and help from friends, am looking into part time working opportunities, and am doing pretty well with my "cutting costs" list. We're also figuring out where to move to come the summer. I want this next town to be where our kids grow up and go to school. Any recs?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Belated, from Iann's 100th

Before I forget, I just wanted to say a huge thanks for your comments and emails with regards to my "Insecurities" post from the other day. I guess I figured I wasn't the only one but it really does help to hear others' stories and words of encouragement.

And here are the long overdue photos from Iann's 100 day celebration from last month.
(I'm totally regretting not having cut Iann's hair beforehand. Oh well!)


All photographs by Scott K. Doo

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Library Card

After living in Jersey for 15 years, I got my very first NJ library card yesterday. I was planning on getting Maxx a library card but as it turns out, he's too young so I got one instead. (You have to be at least six to get your own library card.)

Being your typical math/science nerd, I didn't read much growing up except for the Babysitters Club & Sweet Valley High series. (Loved them.) I didn't think reading was a big deal until I got my SAT score. There was over a 250 point gap between my math & verbal scores (old scoring system). English continued to be a challenge as I got older. It took me much longer than most of my friends to write papers in college. And now still, it takes me longer than I'd like to write certain emails and some blog posts. Although I love to share my thoughts, I sometimes hesitate and tend to write the way I speak instead of writing "intelligently". And yes, I don't think I speak intelligently...which I'm generally fine with.

But yeah, little did I know that reading WAS FUNdamental SO...I want to encourage my kids to read as much as possible. I decided it was time to try taking the kids to the local library. They weren't overly into it. Maxx goes to his school library weekly so he understood the concept at least. He was more excited to go to a new place over it necessarily being about books. In true Maxx fashion, we flipped through a ton of booked before he found a single one to bring home. And Ellie? She could've cared less where we were. She had so much fun going up and down the stairs and jumping and sitting on all the different kid seating they had.

For me, the trip to the library was actually very nostalgic. The way it looked and smelled brought back memories from the West Brighton Library on Staten Island. A design fave of mine is when there a lots and lots of something...anything . And in my house, the (few) books we have are all lined up in some sort of size order.  But there was something that I loved about the thousands and thousands of books looking all uneven and randomly placed on the library shelves.

I also liked that there were a lot of murals in the kids section. Maxx & Ellie were particularly drawn to the dinosaur mural. Go figure. Maxx was trying to hug the T-Rex and told me that he had to brush the T-Rex's teeth to get rid of the red food. Haha. I told them to pretend that the T-Rex was trying to eat them. Ellie was into it. I love her scared face. Maxx on the other hand is a punk and was looking at me like he was too cool to be doing something so silly.

I left the library wishing we had more books on our shelves and some murals on our walls. I think we'll be going at least a couple times a month. I should check to see when the books are due.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


What does Maxx think of school?
Does he cooperate in class?
Is he making friends?
Is he learning?
Does he think I'm abandoning him when I leave?
What does Maxx's teacher think of him?
What does Maxx's teacher think of me as a mom? As a person?
What do the other kids think of Maxx?
What do the other parents think of Maxx?
What do the other parents think of me as a mom? As a person?
Will Maxx learn to socialize and gain confidence so he can be successful in life?

I was extremely shy, quiet and introverted growing up. I lived in my sister's shadow and thought I was the most boring and "normal" person alive. At the time, the only area I was confident in was my studies.

None of my friends now would ever guess that I was like this as a child. (Well, except the nerd part.) In college, after finding God to be real in my life, I became confident and often times had too much to say. And post college, it just continued and I found myself a happier person.

Lately, I've been feeling like the adolecent version of myself and I'm not liking it. All these questions have crossed my mind repeatedly...some more than others. I wonder if it's just me or if this is normal. After becoming a mom, I've definitely regressed a bit in the confidence arena. And having 3 kids in such a short's not helping.

Whether or not these questions are typical of a mom new to the world of school aged kids...I do know that I'm not trusting God as much as I used to. Life is so much harder now and so I need to work harder at trusting God with everything. I need to remember that includes my kids and every aspect of who they are.

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