Friday, July 30, 2010

A Late Phone Friday- Bathing Adventures of Fake Baby

Ben is absolutely fascinated when Ian takes a bath. Usually there are about 900 questions pertaining to if he ever took a baby bath and did he ever pee on me (yes to both.)

This morning he decided that fake baby needed a bath too and then proceeded to wash, dry, diaper and then put the baby in the Bumbo seat. Too bad his version of helping mom with the real thing involves hugging the life out of Baby Ian or telling him not to pee.

Fake Baby by the way... a girl named Baby Ian

T-Minus 10 hours for 24 hours sans kidos. Suite at the Marriott, Dinner at the Chesapeake House and comedian Jim Gaffagin. I would have stopped at the Suite. Period.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


No real post of importance so how about a bunch of random thoughts:

1. I have poison ivy... AGAIN. You would think I would learned my lesson from last year. Ah, NO. Good news is that instead of trying to treat it at home for a week I went to the Dr yesterday and got on a steroid cream with instructions to return for a shot if not better by tomorrow.

2. NO shots. I freakin' did enough shots to last a lifetime last summer. I recently found our IVF basket in the closet, literally frozen in time, instructions, sharps container, everything untouched. It was sobering to look at all that stuff. I also can't seem to throw anything away.

3. Ben pooped in his pants at TJs yesterday. He was mortified and was really afraid I was going to be mad at him. He wanted to take a bath when we got home he was crying on the way home. Either I have permanently scarred him for life about pooping or he has made pooping the end all be all by himself.

4. I got EIGHT hours of sleep last night. I went to bed before 11pm. I can't say that has happened once this summer. Unfortunately I felt really bad when I got up. Go figure, but I did take 2 Ativan so I am wondering drug interaction with the steroid? Better than the night I mistakenly took 4 and slept 14 hours straight. Thankfully Bill got up with Ian both times.

5. Skipped am workout (see #4), but have gone 6/7 days for 2 weeks. Tried a variety of classes and love being back to a routine for exercise. Bill is restarting his Couch to 5k for a run this fall or spring.

That's it, got grading to do, and attempt at housework before I go get Ben from daycamp and than to meet up with Chrissy and the boys.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Star Wars Cookies!

Since it was over 100 on Sunday we skipped the pool and stayed indoors. We had given Bill Star Wars cookie cutters for Father's Day and a hot oven seemed JUST the plan for a hot day :-) Ben has been pulling them out for a good month and talking about "the Vader, he is a Vader" with no concept of the holy grail SW holds in the Vinson House.

We made several batches and Bill took most of both to work. Ben got into decorating them with pink icing and sprinkles. Note those didn't go to work. Believe it or not but Ben has yet to see Star Wars. He has a shirt and talks about it, but Bill for his own reasons has yet to watch them with him. I'm sure when he does we will never hear the end. I'm sure he will want to play with the BOXES of Bill's childhood toys in storage or already on display.

We were super impressed with the detail once baked and the quality given they were from Williams Sonoma was totally worth the price. Thinking about the SW pancake molds next.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And the answer...

to Friday's question: I'm taking the year of leave postdated from 4/14/10 until 4/14/11. My hope is that no school will want someone for the final quarter of the year and it buys me time to make a decision about outright resignation until next summer.

While it may seem like given the options this was the only real choice, I did think long and hard about what I want my life to look like while taking this time.

Bill and I talked over our fabulous dinner out Saturday about what it will take to make this new situation best for all. I appreciate that he heard my concerns and in the end left the decision to me.

I'm working on my mental list of how to make this increased time with the boys work for their benefit and to not loose myself in the process.

Funny that I asked 9 people for advice, 8 agreed that the leave was the best (and most reasonable) option. I'll take those odds.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Question

What to do about work. My decision needs to be finalized by the 25th. Here are the options:

1. Return to work full time. Both boys would be in full time daycare that is closer to home. Would consider keeping the one section of the online class to stay in the pool of teachers.

2. Resign. Any vacation/sick converts to leave that can be used if I return within 5 years. Ben would still go to preschool for part of the day.

3. Take a one year leave of absence from the start of maternity leave in April. I have no guarantee that my job at my specific school will be saved. An equal job somewhere in the system will be saved with expected return start of April, 2011.

I have been asked back for the fall to continue online. I have for an additional sections and have been told if enrollment is there I would be considered. When I would work on the class, as most students would be taking the class in the afternoon or at night, is a major consideration as this is prime family time.

To be honest I have been thinking about this decision since I went back after Ben's birth. I was lucky that I had almost 3 months over the summer with him as a newborn. What I returned I transferred to a closer workplace, but traded it for being on the ground floor of starting a new school. It was a very hard year in which I put back on 20 lbs, never exercised, and took an almost one year hiatus from going to therapy.

I was tired, burned out, and felt like I traded work for the little time I had with my baby. It's not a plan to repeat and when I was planning a 2nd pregnancy, I was also planning a long term work decision too.

I started by writing out goals-

1. Quality time with our family. In particular, time alone with each of the boys
2. Reduce feeling anxious and frazzled most days
3. Give myself as many options for a return to full time when circumstances are right
4. Make a serious attempt to loose weight in prep for post bypass plastic surgery. Personal goal by early 2012 to have lost 70 lbs

Making the decision based solely on money is not in the cards as without infant daycare there is only about a 5-8k difference to keep 2 sections of online + the summer session.

So my real question becomes will be a better mom to my kids if I am at home with them for more of the day? That may seem like an asinine question to ask but I know that more time is not always quality time.

This summer as a trial run has had been a mixed bag. Discipline with Ben has been rough and I willingly admit that I haven't been the parent I have have needed to be at times. Much of this due to when the going gets tough I drop out becoming detached, despondent, and isolate myself. Parenting took a direct hit with some bad decisions. Early in the summer, parenting was at my worst.

I have a serious concern that if I am at home without feeling like I have structure and direction, I am setting myself to feel trapped and without options. The last thing I want is to have made a decision that is not good for me as well as hurtful to my kids.

Bill and I have a sitter for a first night out alone since Ian arrived over the weekend. We are going out to celebrate his one year out from surgery. A whole dinner to discuss and finalize this plan as a couple as well to talk strategy with Ben. Maybe not a romantic evening, but one well needed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Camp Mommy Extended Release Recap

Great news late on Tuesday that the surgery went well for our friends. Our little house guest left Wed afternoon with his dad to head home to the coast. Overall Ben and Eli played well together much to my refereeing. Ben was coming off of restriction (again) for hitting at camp so I expected a rough patch.

I had already shared my apprehension with the family before they decided that Eli should stay with us since this is the summer of discipline hell. This time Ben is facing a week of restriction if hitting at camp (or home)continues.

We did have quite a bit of "I'm four, you're three" bossy behavior. We also had our share of general whiny behavior by Ben while Eli was a dream child. Ben is soundly at the let me have an audience for why I am wonderful stage. FUN :-(

I'm having serious 2nd thoughts about leaving Ben next weekend for our overnight 24 hr trip. A friend happened to offer to take him after hearing that our original plan had fallen through. I have big fears that the continued hard work we have put in these past weeks could be diminished Ben is ugly and is not curbed with time out or restrictions. I regret that when we planned this trip in April in our newborn stupidity, we didn't think about Ben, not the baby, being the one with issues. If we need to call it next week I think it would be worth it to loose the tickets.

To recap the boys wore boots and shorts the entire time. I think they would have gotten IN the pool in boots if I hadn't stopped them. They played everywhere that cars, a giant garbage truck, and a giant Leggo plane could travel in our house.

We made mummy dogs and pancakes and peanut butter play dough. We had some bedtime homesick tears that were soothed by iPad games with Bill. I found Ben asleep at the foot of Eli's bed around midnight. Overall a good visit and moreover great news of the successful surgery

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Today is the extended release version of Camp Mommy. I will be driving out in just a bit to meet my friend's husband and pick up their son who will be staying with us overnight and most of tomorrow.

I *hope* Ben and Eli will play well together. We are wheeling to the pool this afternoon and Laura's decision to keep the other baby will allow me to be a bit more hands on with the boys. Playdough, sand and water table, water slide, making Star Wars cookies and mummy dogs are all on the agenda in the next 24 hours.

There are moms, super moms, and then Laura Hunter. Indeed a super mom to not only had a difficult twin pregnancy and birth but to have traveled each week to UNC since April in preparation for this day during the newborn period of handling twins. She is a good friend to entrust her oldest son to me.

My thoughts and prayers are with them this morning as they start the first of several surgeries for Baby Leo. My prayers are also with the amazing team of surgeons at UNC that have cared for them to this point and know what direction to take with each progressive procedure.

As always when we where making plans for the pass off last night, she was upbeat and positive and the definition of an indomitable spirit.

Thinking good thoughts. Thinking good thoughts. Thinking good thoughts.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It Started with Watching a Roomful of Preschools Doing the Hustle

That was Friday at noon pickup and the Christmas in July assembly at the Y, cookie decorating, and ornament making. Ben was estatic that I made this family Friday (I missed the first one and swore not to again.)

I finally got around to booking a hotel for our overnight trip to see Jim Gaffagin on the 31st. We had been waiting until we had Ben settled with someone for the overnight we will be gone before booking.

Bill and I dropped the kids at the gym child area and both worked out Saturday (nice)

I did an early am spin class for the first time yesterday. Great workout and I am crazy sore today.

Both days Ian stayed in the gym childcare while I took Ben to the pool post workout. Result, successful Ben and Mom alone time both days and Ian was out of the heat.

Started True Blood Season 2 with Bill and for some reason I rewatched season 1 Project Runway while working on class. Oh the drama, and I so got sucked into hating Wendy again.

Saturday night out as a family in between torrential rain and hit the mall. I ventured into H & M for the first time. Another goal for weight loss is serious shopping.

Typical weekend chores and with the rain mowing makes the list this week. It's either that or consider a goat.

Speaking of this week, it's busy with houseguests up midweek and getting my game on to watch the gaggle of boys coming to the house.

Add to it the push for the final weeks of class and getting the nonworking kids going with status reports and daily contact. I managed to call all of them yesterday so I am ahead on one task.

Today's plan: progress reports to sent out to all kids and their schools, taking the dog for repeat bloodwork (no seizures but she now has little bowel control due to the meds side effects), grocery run, and if I can pull it a 7:30 Zumba class tonight.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Loving the Life You Live

"I have to say that you are like a model Mom in my book...always out and about...but I have yet to make it to the pool or gym...way to go"

Once home I had this line in a fb message from a friend. Seriously, tonight of all times. OMG, were you just at dinner with me? Obviously not because nothing could be further from the truth.

I thanked her for her sweet comment and then laughed out loud at the ridiculously of the idea that I am some model mom. Even in my Martha Stewart/SuperNanny dream, "model mom" has never been reality at Casa Vinson.

It's go time for a decision about returning to work. I appreciate friends hearing me when it seems like a no brainer of a choice. This has been a hard call and I have spent time the last couple of weeks researching my options. Bill and I are going out totally child free next Saturday to celebrate his 1 year out from surgery. I know that a final decision will make the short list of topics to discuss.

I wish I could revel in that compliment because it's somehow true. One of the biggest challenges I have is loving the life I lead, not the one of my dreams that likely is never going to come to fruition. Loving the life I have right here in front of me day to day with all it's frustrations and parts that you just have to get through. Part of this decision is what do I want life to look like for the next year or longer. Can I be content and like the person I am with whatever roll I have casted myself.

Glad I'm making a pros/con list, I would hate for someone to think I wasn't organized or had my shit together.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

"The 4 year old lies and often the more convincing the child is, the greater intellectual aptitude"

In the past month I finished NutureShock and Your 4 Year Old, Wild and Wonderful. Both dedicate a section to preschool lying. I had a hard time believing that lying is actually a measure of cognitive development until I read the explanation. This is not to say that the whoppers uttered of late by Ben are indicative of future academic success.

Instead it makes me realize that his innocence is fading into burgeoning boyhood. At this point he lies to avoid punishment or to gain something he wants. Luckily he's not very good at it and usually his grin gives up his true intentions.

Both books have given me much food for thought about parenting at this age. In light of family dynamic changes and frankly some of the worst behavior has occurred in the last six months. In part this is due his changing position with the new baby, household stress of the last months adjusting to life as a 2 kid family, and the dreaded 3.5-4 year old time frame.

But as hard as this is to admit, one of the reasons the last 6-9 months in discipline hell is due to bad parenting. Among the casualties include differing disciplinary styles giving mixed signals to Ben and not being as strict and following through when the situation calls for some hard core parenting.

One of my major goals this summer being home most of the day with Ben and identify what triggers bad behavior. I totally acknowledge that I have to sleep in the bed I made because I took the easier road of giving in because I was tired, pregnant, stressed and ready to phone in some parenting. This summer is prime time to turn around certain behaviors before we return this fall to a new school.

Since Bill and I have identified that to Ben, any attention even negative attention was part of the ongoing issue we are trying some new tactics. I am looking for individual time with him throughout the day and opportunities to give him chances to show he is a big brother that can do things babies can't. Bill is also doing a once a week dinner out with dad. We are also going to do a Sat class for Bill/Ben this fall. At this point we are looking at a gymnastics or beginning karate.

The final chapter of Your 4 Year talks about Year 5 being about control and compliance. Really? While I can't imagine an orderly, compliant Ben V it's something to hope for in anticipation.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Pity the Drool

My sweet boy is 3 months today. 90 whole days old, a 1/3 of your lifetime before you arrived, 1/4 of a year. WOW... time is flying.

Just in the last month you have started smiling, reaching for objects (usually a car handed to you by Ben), love crinkle books, rattles, and tags. You coo when in your bouncy seat or when sucking on you thumb and finger. Like your brother, you shunned the paci much to my sadness. You are becoming a little person with your own identity.

Your biggest accomplishment to date is rolling from back to tummy. You become frustrated or konk out in some interesting positions most nights when you realize you can't turn back over. You have also learned to scoot yourself to the ends of you crib much to our amazement you have built up strength in your legs.

My guess is you already know being a little brother to a active 4 year old, you better bulk up now to hold your own. At your 2 month check up you were just shy of 11 lbs and 24 inches. Just like your brother you are middle of the road.

Your hair has remained a strawberry blond and your big blue eyes are wide with excitement. Since you decided that sleep was cool we are all so much happier. You included!

While it's taken some adjustment and I'm still getting there, know you are loved and were wanted beyond reason. As we celebrated Sunday with friends, who all loved on you in your Mr. T onsie, I celebrated that this past month we are finding our groove doing the baby/mommy encore thing.

Happy 3 months sweet Ian (My Little Mr. T)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Goodness Grows in NC

After one of the BEST WEEKS EVER in discipline at Camp Mommy I decided that Friday that we would go on a trip with a treasure to a surprise location.

We drew a treasure map to follow since we had to make a couple of stops before we got to the secret location. We sang Ben's fav new song from camp all the way there much to Ian's unhappiness (crying). Then once we arrived at the Raleigh farmers market we had to plan our attack as protectors (or 'tectors as Ben is calling himself these days. I don't think the mounds of fresh veggies needing protecting, but I played along.

We went over the ground rules of no running, hands in the parking lot, and don't eat random samples of food unless mommy says ok.

I got great deals on plants to replace those that didn't survive the recent heat. Ben picked out a watermelon, and with his new frog change purse he bought a cookie. Part of the new discipline strategy is money each day for staying in his room at quiet time that he can redeem at the ice cream truck.

Ian was sleeping peacefully until Mommy's traveler spilled in his carseat soaking him. Ask how the cup turned over and I will answer you with that only a mom carrying a giant redneck Dicky's BBQ cup with NO lid is asking for problems. Also ask who bumped into the stroller in an attempt to pick up the frog purse.

Fifteen mins later and using all the farmers market restroom paper towels, we left the plant area and headed to lunch. Ben had the Mickey pancake, Mom had a fresh veggie plate and we split the basket of hush puppies and biscuits.

A great day and time had by all minus the giant tea flood. Even Ian, who other than the initial crying, settled down once changed and fed. Once home Ben help me shuck the dozen ears of corn that we took off the cob for corn/smoky bacon chowder to freeze. We sliced peaches and plums for dessert, sprinkled tomatoes with blue cheese, and threw steaks on the grill before dad got home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

check in

yep.. it's time (again) to say where did the week go? Since it's confession time how about the last month, last few months. I feel like I have been in a big ol mommy fog albeit that I do get some pass for the whole newborn thing.

Needless to say it's been a busy summer, but not being on the go as with years past. I'll repeat that need be so prove the SAHM I have become.

I'm home with both kids for most of the day, balancing a part time job, make that almost full time learning how to teach online, going to twice a week swim lessons for 8 weeks, helping with the twins each Tuesday, what else can I throw in there has taken time away from trying to post each day. I recently had to make a laminated weekly work/home to do list that I kid you not include the words, "pack clean underwear" after forgetting Ben's camp bag more than once.

So on that note, I'm finding the grove bits at a time. I'm adjusting to the whole two kid thing slowly, very, very slowly. It's been a good week discipline wise at All Day Camp Mommy. But I am happy that Y 1/2 day camp starts back on Monday. If anything I'll be happy to have a couple of hours minus the background of a freakin' bus station while I'm on the phone with schools everyday.

I got word today they want me back this fall to teach online, but with no promise of number of sections. So now it's decision time and it's funny that I heard back today from the powers that be accepting my resignation from NHS.

There are several posts in the works, I just need to finish them, proof them about million times and then post. Following Moxie Friday with an online discussion of NutureShock is a start for several posts. I have recommended this book to so many other teachers/friends alone and it's really made me think about parenting as well as approach to students. And there is this other freeze ahead blog that I keep compiling recipes for and need to get up by then end of the year. Yeah, yeah...

Think I know where on the priority list that is going to go right now. Looking forward to the weekend with a big grill out/ welcome baby party that we had to reschedule from May. At least it's not at my house and I have been forbidden from helping cook or clean in any way. Perfect.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Pics Tell All!

Weekend trip to SC in pictures. We decided to stay an extra day and return on Monday. Sadly I didn't get pictures of the patriotic hymn sing that I took her to Sunday.

I thought about it but then figured I would want to remember it for all it's Bob Jones-Esque-Ness. Plus I would need some reason other than to complement the rhinestone hand-sized TEA bag broach the church organist was wearing to take her photo. PLUS! CAN'T.BELIEVE.I.FORGOT.MY.PHONE (thus only camera on this trip)for the crescendo of the weekend events.

From monogrammed lip balm and poopy on the potty cards at Hallmark and the marriage of NASCAR and Fireworks at the WALMART sized fireworks display on the size of the road, it was a good trip overall. I was giddy when I saw one of SC's famous construction sign inviting the other 49 states to one up their safety zone placards. True SC residents really don't shed their true native redneck self and I'm beginning to think I will be reincarnated as a Confederate flag one day. Note it was on full display at the hymn sing on more than one shirt and flying on the back of more than one truck.

Even old glory was honored in more lewd dress code violations than imaginable at the 4th celebration downtown. Best being a duel USA flag into a bra halter top. Again, wishing for photos, but didn't think chancing a slap fight with said accusers who looked like they could kick my ass and then take me home to my momma.

So I give you my weekend in pictures. Best part were the yummy veggies from Brian's garden. Made for a super dinner last night.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Better Enjoy all 10 Fingers Before I Get There

South Carolina bound after I pick Ben up from day camp tomorrow for the holiday weekend. Since my mothers day gift of Bill going with me was just that, restricted to mothers day only, I'm solo parentin' it this weekend.

I really can't wait to see SC fireworks stands in all their glory. I bet all area hospitals will be on full alert for amputations. Speaking of it wouldn't be a trip
without something being broken. Luckily this time it's only 2 fingers and a bone in her palm from a fall at the beginning of June. Small potatoes on the injury scale.

Coolers packed with freeze ahead meals, her birthday gifts, tons of kid/baby stuff to keep the troops occupied, a audiobook for me to drown out Cars, and my patience meter running.

Bring it Patriotic Hymn Sing I'm taking her too on Sunday. Ten bucks says the sermon is about how God wrote the Decleraion of Independence. All I can say is when I get to Hell, I'm getting a weekend off.