Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Birthday presents

Cameron got a lot of great presents for her second birthday. We ended up spacing out the gifts over a few days because there were so many. In fact, there are two presents still waiting in the hall closet. I figure we can keep them in reserve for when bribery is really necessary.

Here Cameron models her new hat and sweater knitted by her great-grandmother, Mimi. There are bunnies for buttons. So cute! Cameron is also modeling her "smile" when I ask to take her picture. I have a feeling that many of my pictures this year will involve an uncooperative child.
I saw this Elmo backpack and knew that Cameron would love it. My sister has written about her child's obsession with her backpack so I am not surprised that Cameron has followed suit.

A random cute shot of my munchkin!
We also got Cameron her first basketball hoop. It's one that will "grow" with her and it's a great outdoor activity for us as a family. Here Cameron practices her jump shot.
This video highlights everything that it means to be 2 years old. Listen for the "mine" the "no, no, no" and then the hysterical laughter. Plus DH got in a great shot.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Adventures in Home Improvement: Painting the Exterior

When DH and I refinanced our house last year the assessment specifically dinged the house on it's exterior paint. The right side of the house gets full sun exposure and large swaths of paint had chipped or peeled off over the years. It was definitely time for a new paint job.

I've never been crazy about the color of the house. Grey with black shutters just seems so boring, you know? DH did all the due diligence and got 5 estimates. The one we decided to go with was the cheapest but also someone who had done work on our library three years ago.
It took about a week, start to finish and the guys were fantastic! If you live in the Charlotte area, we highly recommend Carolina’s Premier Painting Co. Our neighbors were so impressed with the transformation that one of them has already contracted to have her house painted next week.

DH actually had a week of vacation he had to use up so he took this past week off. That gave us the benefit of detailed oversight of the work. Plus, DH decided to wash and repair all of the storm windows. He also washed the interior windows and we paid the workers $50 to clean the exterior windows. 50 bucks for all those was a no brainer! My windows will probably never be this clean again. And the best part? I didn't lift a finger.

We also had the workers power wash the driveway, walkway and patio. It cost a little extra but it made such a huge difference. The driveway actually looks white now instead of a dingy gray. We plan on renting a power washer and doing it every few years.

Take a look at the before and after pictures and let me know what you think about our paint choices. It took us reviewing 5 paint samples before we decided on the final colors. I can't remember the names but if you want to paint your house the same colors let me know and I'll send you an email.

We had a large black awning over the door that was essentially crumbling when we took it down. Plus now we get extra light into the foyer which is always a good thing. Here you can see the holes that the bolts left when we took the awning down.

The painters did about 3 days of prep before they even started painting. We had 5 or 6 sofits that needed to be repaired (no, I didn't know what a sofit was before this started) and miscellaneous carpentry work. We also had them paint the storm window frames so everything was the same nice white color.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dear Cameron: Two Years Old

Dear Cameron,

Today you are two years old. I will try not to wax too nostalgic but your daddy and I cannot believe how quickly these two years have passed. Wasn’t it just yesterday that you took your first steps into my arms? And now you are jumping and learning how to do somersaults. Where did my baby go?

You are a funny, loving, stubborn, whiny, adorable little girl. Your personality has grown so much in the past few months and we take great delight in seeing your mind work as you process new things. You are very particular about things and will happily insist on singing the ABCs 4 thousand times in a row. You are obsessed with “outside” and having us push you in your little car around the neighborhood. . You are finally understanding how to walk up and down stairs rather than crawling or having us carry you. My back thanks you for that!

Your vocabulary expands every day and you are now regularly putting 2-3 word sentences together. When you ask what something is and we tell you your eyes get even bigger and you say, “Yeah” like you totally understand what we are saying. If you can start saying “yes” instead of “yeah” your mommy would be happier.

You boss Charlie around like an older sister but also love to give him hugs and kisses. You like to tell mommy and daddy what to do while playing. You come by your bossiness naturally but I won’t tell you from which side of the family. You have started to really play with your friends. There is still a lot of “MINE” coming out of your mouth and a decided lack of sharing but your tantrums over it tend to pass quickly. You also love to whine and whine and whine when you don’t get your way or mommy and daddy can’t understand what you are saying. I’m sure it’s perfectly obvious to you what you said but “blahareya” really doesn’t mean anything to us.

You are obsessed with muffins and would eat them every meal if you could. You are a terribly picky eater and we are resigned to the “introduce a food 14-20 times” timeline to get you to try new foods. Just recently we removed the high chair and you now eat at the kitchen table which you love.

You are more interested in books that TV which surprises your TV-aholic mother. The one show you will watch is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and occasionally Thomas The Train. You are still a champion sleeper and your tired parents thank you for that. You are obsessed with animals, especially “woof woofs” that you see on the street and have no fear of them. You love school and playing with all your friends there all day and learning. Daddy loves when you see him at the end of the school day and run into his arms screaming, “Daddy!”

You say, “I love you” to mommy and daddy regularly and it warms our hearts. We love asking for hugs and kisses and you are figuring out how to give really good hugs. Snuggle time before bed is one of my favorite times of day. Less appealing? The PSTD you seem to have acquired during bath time.

Every day your daddy and I talk about how amazing and wonderful you are. We love you and can’t wait to see what you will do next.


Mommy and Daddy

April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I just want a grocery trip without the tantrums

Even though technically Cameron isn't two yet her precociousness has resulted in us labeling her behavior over the past two months as "terrible" and unfortunately indicative of many more months, I'm sure. The battles are constant. The whining kicks in without warning. The crying over every little thing that isn't perfect in her eyes. Gah. It makes me want to run away for a day.

The grocery store is a prime example. DH and I usually go together and it's a good thing because for the past 3 trips I've had to take Cameron out of the cart and twice out of the store entirely. It's frustrating because I am so distracted the entire time trying to placate her and keep the other patrons from wanting to kill us that I can't focus on what we need at the store. I've been relying on DH to pick up the slack and he is good but a few things fall through the cracks. Plus, it's just generally frustrating for me because Cameron always wants mommy. Isn't it time for a daddy phase to kick in?

I know, you're probably thinking, why not grocery shop while Cameron is napping? Because I don't want to, dammit. Nap time is better spent exercising, getting a pedicure or maybe even a nap for me. Grocery shopping is one of those things (typically takes us 30 minutes) that Cameron should be able to endure.

During today's trip she got the special car cart, one of the free cookies, two balloons (one got away from her) and DH and I interacting with her. But she protested DH pushing the cart instead of me. Or she wanted to sit in the basket part rather than the seat. Or she wanted to wear the balloon and then didn't. The list goes on and on. And the latest trick is for her to stop and drop if she's not happy with what's going on. So Cameron will lay on the ground...anywhere.

I'm at a bit of a loss with how to deal with it and I'm feeling like a bad parent because I don't know what to do. I don't want her to have a temper tantrum when we are out running errands. But I also don't want to cater to her which is what I find myself doing far too often just to keep the peace. For experienced parents out there please help! Am I doomed to keeping Cameron in the house for the next 6 months? Are there good books to help with this?

Cameron's latest "smiling" face when I take her picture.

Wearing DH's disgusting hat. Mental note: run it through the dishwasher.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


It took 51 weeks and 53 pounds but tonight at my WW meeting I hit my goal weight. If you do the math (what self respecting MBA wouldn't?) that works out to be just over a pound lost per week.

Here are some other stats if you've been playing along at home with my weight loss journey:
  • I went from a size 18 to a size 8/10 (brand depending)
  • I only missed 4 WW meetings due to travel
  • I went up 6 times and maintained twice
  • The most I ever lost in one week was 4.4 and I have no freaking idea how I pulled those Biggest Loser numbers
I have very few "before" pictures because who wants to get their picture taken when fat? But here are some photos to demonstrate how far I've come.

Excuse me while I go have a big fat glass of wine to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New job, new Cameron adventures, house painting, oh my!

I have been woefully remiss in posting lately and I apologize. The craziness of my life has resulted in a complete shutdown of functions in the evening. Wine also helps that.

About a week ago I started a new job at BigFinance. Unlike my past 3 roles (4 if you count my internship) this one is directly related to my most recent job. What that means is I have hit the ground running with no ramp up time and a crazy amount of deliverables due in a short amount of time. It’s nice to already know the key players and the priorities of the organization but expectations are high for me which is a lot of pressure. My commute time is up about 20 minutes a day (because of when I leave and how much farther my parking spot is) and my work hours are also creeping up. It’s making me feel a bit frazzled but I’m sure it will be the “new normal” soon enough.

We have eliminated the high chair from our kitchen. Yay! It was a monstrosity and a pain in the butt to clean. Cameron loves sitting at the table but keeps telling me “sit down” and patting the chair next to her while she’s eating. Usually I use her dinner time to pack my lunch or get ready for the next day. But it highlights my thinking that we are just a few weeks away from pushing back her bedtime and having a family dinner. The biggest hurdle to family dinner is that sometimes DH and I just punt and make our own meals (frozen for me, pizza for him). Plus, we usually don’t eat until 7 PM so it would be a bit of a scramble to get dinner on the table at 6:30 PM. But, the benefits of getting Cameron to try new foods and have family time should far outweigh the drawbacks. Plus it means buying a new kitchen set which makes me happy. Any recommendations for a round table that you love? Must seat up to 6, please!

Cameron is still afraid of the bath but it’s SLOWLY improving. I bought an Elmo bathmat and bath crayons and markers to try and minimize her adverse reactions. I can’t wait until she goes back to wallowing in the water and refusing to come out of the bath. As opposed to her current 3 minute soap her up, wash her off and get out routine. Any other bribery items you can recommend?

We are painting our house. DH really took the lead on this by getting 5 quotes and calling references. We ended up going with a smaller firm and supposedly they will be done early next week. Craziness! It was a good time (price wise) to get our house painted because it’s still early in the season and painters are hungry for work. The biggest pressure was picking new colors. Don’t worry, I’ll post before and after pictures once it’s complete.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Overcoming another traumatic experience

We have had another traumatic experience in our household. Unlike last time I thought it was hilarious when it first happened. But now repercussions have reverberated through our household and I am turning to my Internet friends for advice and sympathy.

DH and I had a wonderful day with Cameron on Saturday. We went to Holden's birthday party at Monkey Joe's and then out for a relatively (for me) healthy lunch. Cameron napped until 3:30 PM and then our amazing (and moving to California BOOOOOO) babysitter came over at 4 PM and DH and I went to the movies and then dinner. Date night was delightful (I recommend the movie The Adjustment Bureau) and DH and I returned home around 9 PM.

I expected the normal "she had a great time" report from Amy but received a different one entirely. 99% of the time Cameron did have a great time. The remaining 1%? Not so good. The reason? Cameron pooped in the tub. Apparently she freaked the hell out and screamed and screamed. Poor Amy had to manage Cameron and clean out the mess at the same time.

A huge part of me is relieved to have been spared the pooping in the tub incident. DH and I laughed and laughed about missing this parenting milestone and gave Amy some combat pay for her troubles. But the incident has spawned a new behavior that reared its ugly head tonight (we bath Cameron every other night). I put her in the bath and everything was fine for approximately 90 seconds. Then she stood up and started screaming about a "bug" in the bath water and how I needed to get rid of it RIGHT NOW. I removed the offending bit of something floating in the water but that wasn't good enough. The problem was that Cameron had food in her hair so a bath was necessary and non-negotiable.

I quickly soaped Cameron down while she screamed her head off. As soon as possible I removed her from the tub. While drying her off and getting her dressed Cameron kept telling me "Poop in tub" so clearly she remembers the incident from Saturday evening very well. For the rest of the night I told Cameron that the poop was all gone and that bath is fun. I'm not sure I got through to her, however, so I am already anxious about what will happen during bath time on Wednesday.

So my Internet friends, has this happened to you? Will this incident be long forgotten by Wednesday? Am I going to have to strip down and bath with Cameron to make her comfortable and not worry about poop in the tub? Eek!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fun: Potty Training = Nakedness

Now that we are starting our potty training journey Cameron has a lot more naked time in the house. She is so used to it that she insisted on going shirtless for several hours last Saturday. Here is a cute photo that she will kill me for posting in a few years.

PS - Still just some intermittent success with potty training but that might change when Cameron moves to the 2s room at daycare in 3 (!) weeks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You know you are a working parent when....

I thought it would be fun to put down on paper some of the things we do as working parents that stay at home parents may not. Please play along in the comments section!
  • You give your child Motrin along with breakfast just in case a fever pops up with a cold. You do this because you have meetings scheduled that you can’t miss and your spouse is traveling.
  • You let your child eat mini blueberry muffins every single day for 4 weeks just because it’s easier and you need to get out the door on time.
  • You have the morning routine so scheduled that a 5 minute delay causes total chaos and seems to result in getting to work 20 minutes late.
  • You lay your clothes out the night before so you don’t have to think about what to wear.
  • You know that a true vacation day is one where daycare is open but work is closed (Yay for President’s Day!).
  • The Blackberry is a critical tool to get out of the office on time.
  • You schedule the earliest doctor well visit possible so you can still get to daycare before the cut off and put in an almost full day of work.
  • You are firm that evening time is family time and additional work must wait until after your child is in bed.
  • You love Fridays because you work from home and don’t have to commute 60+ minutes for that day. Enough time for a good workout!
  • You indulge your child’s request for “ABCs” (aka “The Alphabet Song”) 57 times on the commute to daycare because you won’t see her all day.
  • You get an incredible feeling when your child shouts, “Mommy!” and runs into your arms for a hug after school.