Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Double-Room Project

This weekend was officially the beginning of get-the-house-ready-for-our-third-child.  I know that I shared with you all our adventures in getting Rachel into her big girl bed and I really appreciate all the comments and advice you provided on doubling them up in the same room so we can have the third bedroom for Junior.

Scott and I hashed out a plan, which was simply:

1)  Paint the bedroom (walls and baseboards).
2)  Move furniture into room.
3)  Pray that the girls sleep in said room.

Friday morning, the girls and I ventured to Lowes and, thanks to the distraction of fruit snacks and goldfish, I was able to pick out the paint I wanted, along with the needed supplies.  Saturday, I had lessons in the morning while he moved furniture and prepped the room and Scott was finally able to get started putting actual paint on the walls when I got home in the early afternoon.

Here were shots of the room before...and I have to apologize up front for my picture quality.  Our camera has died and until we get a new one, you're going to be stuck with cell phone shots!
From the door of the room

Closet and two dressers.  Why yes, that is a naked Dora doll.  Don't you have naked dolls all through your house?

Bed and second window
We wrapped up the painting on Sunday evening and Scott was able to move the girls' furniture in just before bedtime.  

Paint and furniture in place
Just on a side note, if I thought I loved my husband before, I cannot tell you how much I love him even more now after watching him paint and decorate in shades of purple and pink, solely for the joy of his little girls.  I know I've said it before, but there is nothing sexier than watching your husband be a good daddy. 

Here are the curtains and curtain rods he hung for me.  Aren't they adorable?!
These are all the pictures we're going to do for now, as this weekend, we plan to touch up the paint and decorate the walls...but this should at least give you an idea.

Now, I hadn't anticipated the excitement of the new room, but after being banished from the upstairs most of the weekend and seeing the purple walls and their beds in the same room, we had two little banshees on our hands.  

There was no slowing them down Sunday night.  In the tub, they splashed and screamed like crazy.  They bounced on the bed through story time.  They giggled through their bedtime prayers.  So Scott and I looked at each other, shrugged, kissed them goodnight and closed the door.  

I remember one time growing up, I had a bag full of those bouncy balls you used to get in the little machines walking out of the grocery store.  One day, my neighbors and I thought it would be fun to bounce them all as hard as we could (all at the same time) in a little enclosed area at the bottom of their stairs.  I can still remember them ricocheting in all different directions as we covered our heads and squealed with delight.

That is the best comparison I have to the sounds coming from the room above Scott and me as we attempted to watch TV for the next couple hours.  They laughed.  They cried.  They sang.  

But they did not come out of the room.

Around 9:30 p.m., Scott looked at me and whispered, "I haven't heard them in a couple minutes."  And we both sat there, listening. 

We gave them about 15 minutes and then checked on them.  Elizabeth was tucked in under her covers and Rachel was completely sprawled on top of hers, but they were in their own beds.  Asleep.  

And it was heavenly.

Until 3 a.m.  

Rachel started the wake-up call by crying for me, and because I was sleeping with one ear open, I jumped up and ran in the room.  I took her downstairs to rock and, as we ventured back up the stairs to get back in bed, I heard the second cry from Elizabeth.

That she had thrown up.  In her bed.  

Thus began the next two hour frenzy of changing sheets and drying tears from both girls and finding the puke bucket and trying to get them settled down again.  At one point, I found myself on the couch, laying on the opposite end as Elizabeth, with Rachel on top of me and my son kicking me with all his might on the inside.  

It was a bonding experience with my children, that's for sure.

Last night went much smoother, without the excitement of the first night and they both settled down quickly.  Closing the door, we heard big sister tell little sister goodnight and the she loved her and needed to stay in her bed.  

And honestly, our hearts broke just a little.  You see, in all my worrying and planning on rooming them together, I totally underestimated the powerful bond of sisters.  I roomed with my sisters and can still remember talking and laughing and enjoying the time together without mom and dad, in the dark. 

And now they'll have the experience of sharing secrets and fun and stories after the lights go out.

Well, and we will too...since we moved the baby monitor in their room.  ha!  Scott said, "Do you think we can just hide it and keep it in there until they're 16?"

They slept all night and woke up happy and healthy this morning.  I am so proud of them for adjusting quickly and am thankful to have a husband who works full time to provide for us and then does weekend projects like these during his off time with no complaints.  

This week, I'm hoping to start on the baby's room and at least get the edging and cutting in done while it's warm enough for me to open up the house.  

But we shall see...I'll keep you updated!  Thanks!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Secrets to a Happy Marriage - Part 2

My husband knows that I have an itty-bitty, teensy-weensy obsession with Amazon.  It isn't unusual for the UPS man to show up a couple times a week to our house, delivering anything from paper towels to toilet paper to diapers. 

So boxes in the hallway don't really surprise Scott, although I really have to give him credit for his reaction when he walked in the house and saw this bad boy...

He simply said, "Babe, what's in the gigantic box by the front door?"

Upon hearing that it was a curtain rod for our front window, he didn't even blink to volunteer to put it up for me that weekend while he watched the girls during my lessons.  And then he was only slightly irritated in telling me how a project that should have taken 30 minutes lasted two hours as his little helpers ran off with his tools and hardware.  Oh and he was missing the football game...

But I am so thrilled with the results.  Do you remember our front room?  I asked you for your advice this past summer here.

But in case you don't feel like going back and reading all that again, here was the before:

And after:

Like it?  Didn't he do a great job?  Thanks Scott!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Comments heard from beneath the countertop

Just a couple random conversations heard among my little people...

Duh, Daddy

Our Y is awesome and has a wonderful children's nursery.  Especially in Elizabeth's age group, they do crafts and play outside whenever they can so it's a great experience for them - which makes me feel not at all guilty for dropping them off to go get an hour to myself.  So last night, we went during the evening hours and ran up to the door as I came in to pick her up, so proud of the picture she had drawn.  I really didn't ask her much about it, but she continued to tell me all the way home how she was going to bring it inside to show Daddy.  

"I can't wait to show Daddy."  "Daddy will be sooooooooooooo happy with this picture."

So we get home and Scott was working at the kitchen table and Elizabeth ran right up with her picture.  Taking her onto his lap, he looked at the picture, praising her work.  Then he said, gently (as every parent does to a 3-year-old who consistently draws jibberish), "Now honey, tell me what this is here."  

Elizabeth looked at him point-blank, shrugged, and said,  "Oh you know, Dad, just a bunch of pink and purple squiggly lines.  That's all."

And that was all.  So much for Picaso, folks.

Rach's New Name

The reason why we went to workout later yesterday was because we had a play date earlier in the day.  My friend Susie has three little girls, all around our ages, and we try to get together about once a week because the girls scatter through the house and leave us with nothing to do but have coffee and actual adult conversation.


So, like any time your kids play with other kids, they seem to come home with a new piece of vocabulary or something random that you've never heard before and last night was no different.  Getting ready for bed, Elizabeth suddenly started referring to her little sister as "Rach" and must have thought that sounded smooth coming off the tongue because she continued over and over.

Without skipping a beat, the young one would auto-correct her every time, adding an "-el" to the end of the statement.

"Hey Rach..."


"I really like those pj's, Rach..."



For about a month, Rachel has molded Scott and me into one term: Mama-Daddy.  

As in "Tank-ew, Mama-Daddy."  "I wuv ew, Mama-Daddy."  And many other absolutely adorable phrases.  She is a talker and is really more advanced than Elizabeth was at this age, which I'm sure is normal for a second child who has to compete with an older sister for air time. 

I'm not sure what made her link us up, but it is definitely her thing of the moment.

At the same time, Elizabeth has grown quite fond of saying the evening prayer before dinner.  Upon joining hands, if you don't jump on thanking God, she'll do it for you.  Not that we mind, as our little girl has shown quite an open heart and giving spirit - two things we want to nurture.  

Well, of course, Rachel has begun to want to say the prayer too.  Most of the time, upon Elizabeth's Amen, little sister yells out her signature, "ME DO IT!" and closes her eyes tight for a couple seconds, followed by a robust "AMEN."  

The other night, she squeezed her eyes closed a little longer than usual so I tried prompting her.

I whispered, "Thank you, God."

To which she repeated, "Tank you,God-Mama."

And I thought, Lord, that's a pretty high complement in this house!  

What Sound Does it Make?

Elizabeth has the uncanny ability to think of every animal that makes no noticeable sound and ask me to mimic it.  

"Mama, what sound does a lady bug make?"
"Mama, what does a giraffe say?"

And my favorite came the other night...

"Mama, what does a wildebeest say??" 

*sigh*  Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Planking - Elizabeth style

I don't get the whole planking thing, although I've seen it across the Internet and on various blogs.  And now, I guess the pose of choice (especially after yesterday's game) is the Tim Tebow prayer on one knee.

In fact, I think my favorite plank was performed by Missy's husband over at It's Almost Naptime!!:  Just a Man and His Will to Plank.

But I digress.

In the midst of all the hype over poses, you have our daughter, who has made up her own sleep-anywhere-you-want-to-pose.  It's going to be the rage, folks.

I shared a while back that we were venturing out of the nap time zone, much to my chagrin and sanity.   She began to stretch her bedtime to later and later at night and would venture downstairs after being tucked in more and more.  Her pediatrician broke the bad news to me that if she was up past 9 p.m., then I probably needed to do away with the nap.

I think I teared up in the office.

And it wasn't just that she was getting up, it was that we wouldn't know that she was up, finding her later, asleep, in the strangest of places.  One night we got up to go to bed and she was asleep behind the couch.  Another time, it was at the top of the stairs (which scared the be-jeezers out of me).

Here are some examples of our favorites...

But do away with the nap we did and while she isn't completely over the hump of not needing an afternoon snooze (seriously...who is?), she goes to bed much easier at night and sleeps through the night without a hitch anymore.  And honestly, after being up with her all day, I'm ready for some parent time by 8 p.m. 

So you can imagine my chagrin when, during the hustle of the holidays, she started falling asleep for a little cat nap in the afternoon.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the alone time and ability to get things done, but I knew I'd pay for it later in the evening.  And most nights, we'd keep the same routine with Scott reading to her in bed and turning out the light, and, like clockwork, she'd be outside the door when I got out of the shower or sitting at the top of the stairs, listening to the TV or in her room, singing and jumping off the bed.

Today, I could tell she wasn't going to go the distance.  She was whiny and crying and laid down on the couch in her green leotard (*sigh*) and before I knew it, she was out.  Even though I woke her up after an hour, I could tell by the bedtime rituals that she wasn't tired yet.  However, mama was tired.

Scott wasn't feeling well, so he went to bed early and I got the girls to bed and came downstairs to finish cleaning the kitchen and sit on the heating pad for a while.  Five minutes later, I heard the familiar thunder of her feet jumping off her bed and then saw her peek around the stairs. 

Too tired to fight, I gave in.  "Come here, Elizabeth."

Her hair was still damp from her bath and she was in her pink flannel princess pj's and she ran with her Juno doll up to the couch and scrambled up beside me. 

"Are you watching your cooking shows, mama?"  They love to watch cooking shows with me, which I find hilarious. 

"No, I'm watching this one about some people buying a house,"  I answered.  "Do you want to watch it with me?"

"Yes," she said simply, and snuggled into my side.  I put my arm around her and felt both of us relax after a long day of parenting/growing up.  She was quiet and content to sit there and steal heat from my heating pad and watch HGTV.  

After about a half hour, I told her I needed to take a shower and she needed to go to bed, which she seemed fine with, so we went upstairs together and I tucked her back in and she was asleep when I came back out.

I fear that there's going to come a day that we won't be able to get her out of her room and that she wouldn't dare snuggle up to mom on the couch - but I hope not.  And I'm thankful that, at these times, my tiredness allows me to relax just a little bit to enjoy her at the same time that her tiredness relaxes her enough to be lovable. 

Because, Lord knows, they're growing up so fast and we'll one day look back and laugh at this stage along with the rest of them.  

Have a great night!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Scott's "I don't care how pregnant you are" 3rd Trimester Circuit Workout

Lately, I've been feeling overly...well...PREGNANT.

At 29 weeks, my belly is already huge (although it always gets huge - I'm a little person) and I have begun to get knowing looks from formerly pregnant women everywhere.

I'm met with, "How much longer?" comments almost everywhere I go and then enjoy watching their expressions change from shock to realization and finally to pity when they hear three more months.  Oh, especially if I have my two little helpers with me. 

Over the holidays, I took a week and a half off from the gym.  It wasn't voluntary, as we had days on end of sickness combined with company and topped off with days it was just plain closed.  The week before Christmas, I only did cardio, as I needed the mindless escape of the treadmill and HGTV for an hour.  So I thought today, Monday January 2, would be the perfect day to begin a new lifting routine.

I googled researched third trimester lifting ideas and, while there isn't a ton of information to find, I did come across evidence that I could still strengthen my core, in the form of planks and cable work, although most of the lifting seemed a little too elementary for what I was looking for.  

My husband to the rescue, Scott whipped up this circuit for me and, I have to tell you, I am disappointed that I didn't start something like this sooner.  My heart rate stayed elevated for the entire time and I broke a great sweat, but not in a "I think I might die or have this baby right here" sort of way.  I haven't been doing the stairmaster, as it's not the most comfortable piece of machinery for me right now, but he encouraged me that the picking up and down of my legs would help my hip flexors - and even at the lowest setting, he was right. 

Sometimes you need someone outside your self-pity bubble to put a challenge to you regardless of your situation...well, at least I do.  And I have to say that Scott  is not only my top supporter but my top challenger as well.  

I think even if you're not 29 weeks pregnant, this might be something worth looking into, if you want a full body workout.  This took me about an hour to complete and I didn't take any breaks once I started.  Feel free to increase the intensity from my mediocre weights!

Scott's "I don't care how pregnant you are" 3rd Trimester Circuit Workout

Stairmaster - 10 minutes (Ours is the large kind that the stairs actually move and you have to pick your feet up)
Kettlebell Swing - 2 x 50 reps (I used the lightest Kettlebell I could find - close to 8 lbs.  You stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and, holding the weight in both hands, bend your knees slightly to swing it between your legs and then, keeping arms straight, straight up in front of you while straightening out your legs.)

First Round (go through 3 times)
DB Deadlift - 20 (I used 10 lbs)
Alt DB Shoulder Press - 20 (I did these standing with 5 lbs)
Bird dog Complex - 10 per limb  

Second Round (go through 3 times)   
DB Incline Bench - 20 (I used 10 lbs)
Seated Row - 20 (This machine was actually taken so I modified this to reverse pulldowns at 37.5 lbs.)
Split Squat - 20 (I did these without weight but placed my back foot on the bench.)
Plank - 30 seconds (First round to the front, second to the side and third to the other side)

Stairmaster - 10 minutes

Towards the end of my second round of kettlebell swings, a woman walked past me with a medicine ball and asked if I was using the reverse incline bench (since I was standing near it).  I told her no and continued to the end of my 50, as she set up to do some sit-ups with the weighted ball.  When I got done, I turned to her and said, "It was very sweet of you to ask if I was going to do crunches," pointing to my belly.  She took one look at me and busted out laughing.  She said, "I was in such a zone and you were working so hard that I didn't even notice!  I guess you won't be using this for a while, huh?"

For a second there, it was same joy as being carded at the grocery store after the age of 30...or am I the only one that considers that a complement??

Enjoy the workout!!