Thursday, October 31, 2013

A HAPPY Halloween indeed!

See this?

It really happened today at 4 o'clock in the afternoon! Of course the kids were excited about the Trick or Treating and all the CANDY. But I was excited because their daddy was home to take them Trick or Treating!!! It was like a dream. 

Here's the deal. He is on his 4 week neurology rotation. And WE love it. Why? Sadly not because he is learning so much and dreaming of becoming a neurologist. Nope. Simply because the hours are amazing! 10-3 Monday - Friday. What could get better than that? Oh how about getting off at noon on Friday? Yep that happened too. 

What's my point? I don't really have one except I wanted to record this. So in the future when my husband is gone for unbearably long hours...days even...I can remember that it isn't always like that. So I can remember that sometimes it is good. Really, really good. So good in fact that I get to sleep in every day until 8:30!! And daddy is home in time to play with the kids during the dreaded witching hour before dinner. And we sit and watch TV together in the evening after the kids are in bed. Downton Abbey addicts here:) It has been years since we have watched a program together on a regular basis. It is so nice and normal. I like normal. 

When the next awful rotation hits I will look back at this and smile. 

This little goober and I may have eaten more candy than we handed out. Maybe:) We definitely pilfered all the Reese's Pieces. My favorite! Note to self: next year buy candy you don't like. Much easier to resist!

[Just to clarify, the neurologist Joe is training with has much longer hours than 10-3 but he doesn't require his students to stay all day. At first Joe and I were thinking he should be the go-getter student and offer to stay longer. Then we laughed at our foolish selves and accepted this rotation for the gift that it is!]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hair Bows

First things first, I am linking up with 'A Glimpse Inside' - there is party going on over there!

Sunday was bad. Synopsis: I overslept. Resulting in us running late to church. After church we ran an errand when we should have been home eating lunch and getting the girls down for a nap. Lunch ended up being frozen pizza and peas which the kids only picked at. Nap time was a flop. Hannah cried/screamed the entire time so no one slept. And yet we still tried to take our overly tired, hungry crew of kids to the "Spooky Skate" (i.e. ice skating in costumes). Why? Because we are gluttons for punishment I guess. It only took approximately 2.5 costume changes per person before we were ready to go (Joe included). Emphasis on tried. Apparently the Spooky Skate was on Saturday! Ok bad might be a bit dramatic. But the day was kind of a bust and I was happy when it was over:)

{Plus Joe didn't buy me the 69¢ fountain Pepsi that I had requested because "it seemed like an extravagant purchase and we have been spending too much money lately". Or something to that effect!}

Which brings me to Monday. I was having a hard time getting myself going. As in it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I was still in my pajamas. Breakfast and lunch dishes were filling the sink to overflowing. And I was yet to start the laundry even though Monday is "laundry day". Basically I was a mess. So what's a girl to do? 

Make a hair bow of course! 

Not long ago I was over-the-moon excited that Charlotte needed to use her hair clips. And I still am excited. However lately I have been noticing her hair bows are so little on her big ole noggin:) They were not helping her look like the big three year old girl that she is. So I set out to fix that on Monday...using only supplies I already owned. 30 minutes later I sent this picture of my finished product to my friend:

Yes those are my pajama pants:) 

She loved it (which in turn made me feel much better about my lazy self)! And she requested I teach her how to make one as well. So here it is friend, my attempt to teach you my very basic bow. It is not the "right way" I am sure. But it works. And the second time it only took me 15 minutes. So it's quick and easy too!

Step 1. Gather your supplies

7/8" grosgrain ribbon.  1 piece = 13 1/2 inches, 1 piece = 4 1/4 inches 

1/4" ribbon. 1 piece = 2 inches


Needle & thread (any color)

Twist tie (NOT PICTURED. Oops. I took mine off my bread bag.)

Hot glue gun (& glue stick!)

Hair piece (headband, scrunchie, clip, etc)

Step 2. Form a figure 8 with 13 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon.  Pinch "closed". 

Step 3.  Sew figure 8 in center to hold it together. Thread color and appearance of stitching does NOT matter as this will be covered shortly.  

Step 4. Cut "V" shape from both ends of the 4 1/4 inch grosgrain ribbon. 

Step 5. Place the figure 8 bow on top of the "V" ribbon.  Secure together with a twist tie. Cut off excess twist tie. 

Step 6. Wrap 2 inch ribbon over top twist tie and hot glue together (on the back). 

At this point you should have something that looks like this...
Which I realize is not as pretty as my original bow. Hang in there we are almost there. This next step is key to making a pretty bow. 

Step 7: Bend back the two loops on one end and separate them (i.e. spread them apart).

Place two dots of glue on the ribbon below the loops. Immediately press the loops down into the glue maintaining their separated state. 

Repeat on other end of the bow. 

And just like that your bow should be transformed from plain to in this picture...

Step 8. Attach to hair piece. I hot glued mine to an alligator clip. Not pictured as it is pretty self explanatory. 

Lastly put your newly created bow on a cute little girl's head and admire your handywork! 

Photo credit: Candace Lynn Photography. If you are in the Chicagoland area you should check her out!

Monday, October 28, 2013

I remember when...

...board books were only for reading.

...and my baby wasn't allowed out in public with a booger-y nose. 

...I made all my own baby food. 

...the first birthday cupcake was my baby's first taste of sugar. 

...and TV was not allowed until age 2. 

...outings to the library were another opportunity to learn colors, shapes, letters, etc. kids outfits were picked out by me and perfectly matching. 

...snacks consisted of only fruits and vegetables. I cringed at the idea of graham crackers or goldfish!

...I thought getting a good picture of our family of three was challenging. 

...and all of my kids' toys were neatly organized by type with all their parts/pieces accounted for. 

...the days at home with one immobile baby were impossibly long and I found myself bored at times. 

Nowadays board books also stand in for chew toys. And I am okay with that. 

While I still cringe {a little} when out and about with a snot nosed child, sometimes it just can't be avoided. If we waited until everyone's nose wasn't running we would be housebound all winter. 

 And those baby food convenient! They are worth their weight in gold when trying to feed a baby on the go. {Which I feel like I am always doing these days.} Sugar. In moderation. Just like everything else. But definitely consumed before age 1:) TV...ditto on the sugar sentiment. And lets be honest, somedays it is my-holding-on-by-a-thread babysitter. 

Thank you PBS for entertaining and educating my children. 

We still love the library! {And storytime.} But these days the puzzles, puppets and blocks at the library are just that puzzles, puppets and blocks. A happy distraction.  Not always an opportunity to teach & learn. Because somedays I just need a little me time. Time to zone out {a bit} while my kids play. 

And these days I am just happy my kids are clothed! {Socks are completely optional in this house.} And if they put them on by themselves...even better! I will take what I can get. Snacks come in many different forms...including goldfish and graham crackers! And guess what? The kids are growing. Healthy and strong. Of course we still do eat our fruits and veggies as well:)

And yes sometimes snack is self-served on the kitchen floor. Correction: often snack is self-served on the kitchen floor! Quite the independent crew I am raising.

Family pictures. Ha! It's like herding cats. And trying to give the cats a bath. That's how much they like it. If we are all in the picture I call that a Victory. Yes with a capital V. 

 I  try:)

Oh the toys! They have completely taken over my world. Well my house at least. I laugh just thinking how much time and energy I spent organizing and sorting and keeping track of toys before. Because truly all I care about the toys now is that at the end of the day they are picked up and NOT a tripping hazard. I couldn't care less if all the parts are accounted for or not. {Apparently time has turned me into a heartless being?!}

So am I still bored? 

Not in the least. Oh sure, the days are still really long. And some days are really, really loooooong. And the day in and day out tasks of motherhood can be boring, but I am not bored. No time for boredom. There are always dishes to be washed. Or a meal to prepare. Stories to be read. Laundry to fold. Messes cleaned. Babies to be rocked. Homework to help with. And of course toys to be picked up. Always the toys!


PS - The inspiration for this post came from all the first time moms I watch at the library. They are SO anxious for their toddlers to learn and do. A puzzle is not just a puzzle for these moms. Instead it is an opportunity for them to quiz their toddler on colors, shapes, animals...whatever. Bless their eager mommy hearts. I watch them and think "I used to do that" while not doing it with my own toddler. Sometimes I think they watch me...just doing a puzzle with my toddler NOT quizzing her...and feel bad for my daughter because she for a mom. The other day another mom went so far as to praise my toddler on her puzzle un-doing abilities because I hadn't:) Sometimes I just want to blurt out, "Don't worry she is my third. I used to do that too. You'll change. Just wait." But instead I hold my tongue. And blog:)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween. Done & done! (I wish)

Yesterday afternoon a friend and I took our kids Trick Or Treating downtown. No, not Chicago downtown. I am not that brave. Just in our cozy little suburb. Why they have this one week before Halloween? I don't know. But we went. And we got candy. And we had fun. Despite the chilly & windy 40 degree weather. 

[Charlotte insisted on wearing her strawberry costume from when she was ONE. Hello high waters and wedgie!]

I may or may not have left (and completely forgot about) one of my children on this train while I attended to a fussy little sister. Okay. Okay. I definitely did! Thankfully a kind stranger unstrapped said child and reunited us. No permanent psychological damage done...or at least I hope not:)

Want to know what was truly terrifying though?! All the revolving doors. Seriously about 50% of the stores had revolving doors - which left me and stroller clad Hannah outside - while the "big kids" went through the revolving doors by themselves. Two children that didn't exactly know how to work these doors. Children that were so focused on the CANDY that they paid no attention to the whereabouts or well being of anyone else!  Excited, rushing costumed children plowing through revolving doors! Terrifying I tell you. I was certain that one or both of them was going to fall down inside the door or get wedged between the door and the frame. 

But miracle of all miracles, they survived without any mishaps! In the end it was the stairs that claimed Charlotte as their victim. As in she paid no attention to the two steps in the side walk and instead fell down them, landing solidly on her forehead. My poor accident prone child. 

Do you know difficult it is to push an umbrella stroller across railroad tracks while carrying a crying three year old? I'll give you a hint: it ain't easy. 

We got so much candy (and had so much fun!) that I feel like we already had Halloween. I am tempted to call it done for the year. Just skip all the hoopla on Thursday. I mean we already did  it, right?! I think I could pull this kind of wool over the eyes of my girls and get away with it. But a certain first grader I know is too smart for my lazy mom antics. So we will be back at it on Thursday. Minus the revolving doors of course:)

[Cutest first grader I have ever seen.]

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I ordered a swimsuit online...err...full disclosure here...I ordered a bikini. {Shocking! I know.} And it arrived today! Well kind of. I ordered a black with white polka dots bikini yet somehow a hot pink with white polka dots bikini arrived in the mail today. Yay. But not quite yay. I opened it like a mad woman right before we ran out the door to pick up Isaiah from school even though we were already running late. AND I would literally have to run to get him as the van was still at the mechanics! Ok. Who am I kidding? I didn't run. I walked...briskly:) Anyway. So there I was with the so-close-but-not-quite-right bikini, Charlotte saw the fringed top and declared it a "FUZZY HAT!"  Oh kids. They make my heart happy.

On my brisk walk to Isaiah's school I called my sister to complain about my not-a-fuzzy-hat bikini mix up. She interrupted me for clarification, "You are going to Mexico for a week with your husband WITHOUT kids?" Right.  "And you are complaining because you got the wrong bikini for this trip?" Yes. "Oh well then. I just feel so bad for you! Your life is rough. A week in Mexico in the wrong bikini." Point well taken. Big sister always knows best:) Wrong bikini or not I am going to be in Mexico for A WEEK without children!!!!! So yeah, I think pink with white polka dots will do just fine. 

[only the bottom is pink with polka dots...that is the actual bikini top on her head]

And here I am modeling....

the baby carrier I created! Like I said yesterday, sewing has been my heart's desire lately:) I seriously impressed myself with this little project. Why I chose to make this now I have no clue. I have had the pattern for a couple years. Borrowed from a friend actually. Oops. I intended to make one before Hannah was born. That clearly didn't happen. And she is getting too big to "wear". So naturally I would sew it up now. Oh well it was a fun, fairly easy project made from scraps. And my first time using an actual pattern (with a few slight modifications - mostly because I don't know how to read a pattern). 

You didn't actually think I would model my new bikini did you? My I have carried and birthed three large babies belly has not seen the sun in six years! Why I am going to try to rock a bikini in my 30 year old mom body I am not quite sure. It seemed like a good idea before I clicked 'order'. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A little bug.

Not surprising, since my return from Chicago my kids have been a little "under the weather". 

How else can I put it nicely? We have a not-so-nice GI "bug" that has left me thankful for all of the following things (in no particular order): 

1. A washer and dryer that I can use anytime my heart desires. I definitely should be using it more often these days because our bathtub isn't the ideal location for the sickies' discarded soiled clothing. My husband informed me of such:) Too bad my heart's desire these days is sleep and sewing. Not doing laundry. 
2. A husband who is willing to get up at night with sick children AND change bedding. Changing soiled bedding + soiled children at 2 AM is like an Olympic Sport. It's challenging. This guy is like a gold medalist! I am going to keep him around a bit longer. 
3. Disposable diapers. Sorry cloth diapers. You and I are taking a break. Enough said. 
4. The fact that I am NOT pregnant and dealing with 3 sick kids. And my GI symptoms are almost completely resolved!
5. My husband's neurology rotation which promises to be "lighter". In terms of hours that is. Plenty challenging in regards to the learning curve. It's steep!
6. Bleach. 

So what is a mom of three {slightly} sick children to do?! 

Take them out for a little fall photo shoot of course. Makes perfect sense! My kids were thrilled...ahem...tolerant of my shenanigans. But I feel it was totally worth it because I got these gems. 

And this one I really like...except that isn't a smile on Hannah's face. That's a scream:)

This girl really likes to ham it up for the camera. And I don't mind. Not one little bit:)

Tell me how you really feel about my photo shoot...
Sorry kids. I just can't help myself. 

Ever since we moved to Illinois I feel compelled to take pictures of my kids outside in the fall. Compelled. It's just such a pretty season it seems like a shame to waste a beautiful (free!) background. 

Here are years past:



Saturday, October 19, 2013

I killed GNO.

Not as in "I rocked it". No. I mean I killed it. Like really, really killed it. In case I wasn't clear enough, I killed it before it had a chance to start. It was horrible. And horrifying. Luckily for me (and you) there is no photographic evidence of the evening's events. I will just have to do my best to describe my night. However, be warned, if vomit makes you uneasy STOP reading now. I mean it just stop. 

Weak stomachs, did you stop yet? You should. 

So where to begin? As you know I had a lovely train ride of {relative} peace and quiet into the city. A brisk walk through the city brought me to the hotel doorstep of my dear friend (and her entire family...they came to town for a wedding...not just to see me. Thank goodness otherwise that would have been a huge disappointment!). Upon my arrival I learned we had a groom's dinner in the suburbs to attend before our Girls Night was to begin. I was fine and dandy with this plan. I mean it did include a free dinner after all:)

[Complete irrelevant tangent: On my walk to the hotel one man hit on me. My response? I laughed at him. Right in his face. The idea of someone hitting on me seemed so ludicrous.]

The groom's dinner was going splendidly. I met the groom. And the bride. I was offered many drinks. All of which I declined except water. [I thought I had learned my lesson from my last Girls Night. Ha.] I enjoyed appetizers...mainly crackers and cheese dip. The house was warm, cozy and inviting. The small talk was delightful. There was just one small problem. There was NO sign of an actual dinner. And I was hungry with a headache. Both of which were making me terribly nauseous. 

By the time the meal began I knew I needed to eat but wasn't sure I would be able to. So with great caution and slight fear, I slowly ate two bites of my burger. Eating that burger was the best and the worst feeling at the same time. When those two bites threatened to come up my friend suggested a walk outside in the cold night air. She's a genius! It worked. I then managed another few bites and was feeling brave enough to swallow a few ibuprofen for the headache. 

[Another side story: when my friend went out to the car to get the ibuprofen she returned to the wrong house. Yep just walked right into the neighbor's house. Like two whole steps in before she realized she was at the wrong place. It was the dog...the wrong dog...that clued her into the fact that she was in the wrong house. This makes me laugh. A lot:) Who does that?!]

So there we were. Done with dinner. Ibuprofen swallowed. Ready to head back into Chicago. Ready to start Girls Night Out for real. So we loaded back into the family vehicle. All seven of us. It was all going well until I heard the fateful words "everyone hold on" as we made a too quick left turn onto a busier road. That did it. I just knew it was game over for me. Thankfully my fellow passengers realized it as well and urged my friend's dad to pull over NOW! I made it to the curb before I lost my dinner. Unfortunately I was on display for my friend's entire family - not too mention all the cars driving past!

The rest of the drive back was kind of a painful blur. I do remember playing tour guide a bit as well as mentioning the fact that I hadn't felt this sick since my last pregnancy. They promptly offered to stop and pick up a pregnancy test. I declined. I spent a good deal of time apologizing for ruining their family vacation. To which they said it was fine as long as I named this *supposed* baby after them. I think the chosen name was either McCarty Kaye or McCarty David. I may or may not have agreed to those names as long as they promptly delivered me to the hotel. I do distinctly remember scolding my friend (for what? I don't know!) but I accidently called her Charlotte. Oops. That was a tad awkward. I was still thinking at this point that I would be able to rally and pull it together for some kind of Girls Night.

As we were pulling into the hotel's valet it became evident that I would NOT be rallying. Miraculously I made it all the way to the lobby bathroom this time. So much more dignified:) Sadly it was all down hill from there. And that is how our wild and crazy Girls Night continued. Me lying on the bed, moaning in pain and apologizing for ruining their night, only to be interrupted with me running to the bathroom to puke some more! It was lovely. Just how I dreamed my night out would be. Not. 

At some point I did blather on for a bit to my friend and her little sister to really appreciate their pre-baby bodies now no matter how much they might dislike them. Because later they would miss them. Random. I know. I think I may have scarred them a bit. Sorry girls. We also facetimed with Joe. That was nice. Gave us something else to focus on besides me puking and the fact that I had forgotten a toothbrush. The highlight was when he showed us all three kids sleeping:) I am sure that was the highlight of his night as well. Not!

All the moaning and puking continued until I finally, FINALLY passed out and slept off whatever that horribleness was. And miraculously this morning I woke up feeling human once again. I finally rallied and enjoyed a perfect sunshine filled morning of playing tourist/tour guide in the city. Of which I do have photographic evidence. Enjoy!

Thank you McCarty family for including me on your family vacation again. Lets not wait 14 years to do it again, deal? Deal. Thank you also for {lying to me} telling me I didn't ruin your Friday night. I appreciate your kindness greatly. I love you guys. Oh and thank you for the pizza. It was delicious!

And that my friends is how I killed Girls Night...again! It's official. I am never again allowed to participate in Girls Night Out. Not ever again. Unless of course it is the type that involves sewing and crafting. Because those Girls Nights I know how to rock!