Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The hostess with the most-ess

I have always been impressed with my mom's ability to pull off an informal or formal gathering at her house. She always seems to have the right food on the right kind of serving-ware at the right time in the right amount. The secrets to her success? She loves to shop and make lists. When my mom recently traveled out to Kentucky to help one of her best friends prepare for a wedding I even asked her if she brought her trust notepad along (she did not, for the record).

About a month ago I decided we had mooched off our friends enough and it was our time to host an event. We settled on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and it went off without a hitch due in no small part to the shopping and list making that occurred over a two week period. Yes, I know it was just a BBQ but the pressure (!) of bringing together close friends and ensuring a good time makes me crazy. Fortunately DH is excellent at making and executing lists so everything was prepared when the first guests came by.

This is the first time we had a bunch of kids (6 total) so I did a lot of brainstorming about what stuff to have to entertain them. That way the adults could have fun too. The biggest hit on the 90 degree day was of course the kiddie pool. But the sidewalk chalk, hula hoop and random assortment of balls went over well too. The more children, the more activities means the less attention parents have to pay to the kids. And that gave me enough time to enjoy some wine. I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend too!

Cameron and her daddy blowing bubbles. Fun, but messy!
Holden mugs for the camera at a friend's BBQ we went to on Saturday.
Cameron and Holden are definitely best friends. They ask for each other all the time. I'm so glad that Amanda and I signed them up for swim lessons together!
Cameron really loves her kiddie pool. Ironic considering we couldn't get her to go in it at all last year...what a difference a year makes!
I didn't have any swim diapers so we now know how much a regular diaper can absorb. The thing must have weighed 20 pounds when we took it off.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Adventures in Play-Doh

Cameron has a new obsession: Play-Doh. The only problem? She doesn't have the dexterity to manipulate the material. So her solution is to have me or DH translate her wishes into Play-Doh.

We picked up a few more containers of Play-Doh this weekend along with a 30 piece cookie cutter set and a little rolling pin. Cameron hasn't quite grasped how to use the rolling pin but I'm sure she will figure it out soon. I hope she doesn't figure out what a handy weapon it can be.

I like Play-Doh except for a few things. First, little pieces of it get everywhere, especially under my nails. Then I smell like Play-Doh for the rest of the night despite numerous hand washings. Second, we have a dog who sheds which means a lot of dog hair that can get trapped in the Play-Doh. Gross. Third, maintaining separation of colors is extremely important or you end up with an amalgamation of colors that are not pleasing to the eye. Finally, we have yet to not have a meltdown when it comes time to put the Play-Doh away. There is a lot of screaming, crying and "mine" thrown about liberally. I've started the count down (you have 5 minutes, 4 minutes, etc.) which seems to help.

Here Cameron insisted that DH create a little Cameron holding hands with her BFF, Holden. Charlie was added in for good measure.Cameron models a necklace and bracelets created by DH. He's handy with the Play-Doh! The shirt is courtesy of Target and already Cameron's favorite.

DH is traveling this week so I better sharpen my Play-Doh skills fast! Are there any Play-Doh accessories that your kid(s) really like or am I better off with the cookie cutter route?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The post where I spend too much time analyzing a TV show

Cameron has joined the ranks of the TV obsessed toddlers. Two weeks ago she started showing a marked interest in one particular show. I admit I encouraged it. She had shown minimal interest in the show 4 months ago so I taped a dozen episodes in the hope that one day she would be content to sit and watch it by herself while I got things done around the house. Well, the interest level is there but she insists I watch the show with her so I haven't been able to realize much gain yet.

We are limiting her to one show a day and sometimes two on the weekend. But the constant refrain of "Minnie Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Minnie Mouse" is starting to get on my nerves. We don't give in but I have to face it, my child is obsessed with the Mickey Mouse Club. She loves Minnie the most which surprises me because I figured Mickey or Pluto or Goofy would be the main attractions. But Cameron is living up to my prediction that she will be a girlie girl with her Minnie love.

I find myself spending far too much time thinking about this stupid show as I sit with Cameron and watch it. The show is very well done. Aside from a few minor tweaks (Mouska Dance vs. Hot Dog Dance) it hasn't changed in the four seasons I've taped episodes from. I can't imagine that it takes much effort to produce an episode so it has to be a serious money maker for the Disney corporation. Story lines are formulaic and many of the scenes can be recycled (hot dog dance, mouska tools, etc.). There is a lot of "interaction" where the characters talk and expect responses which Cameron loves. She eagerly says, "Oh Toodles!" upon command. I saw one extended episode where the writers made Toodles into a true character. He was like the Jar Jar Binks of the Mickey Mouse Club and I'm glad I have yet to see his return. See? Far too much time spent thinking about this show.

I am a TV fanatic so I don't begrudge my daughter a TV show of her own. I like that it is 25 minutes and commercial free. A DVR lets me even skip the before and after ads. I'm sure she has already been sucked into the commercialization but she has yet to ask for any toys related to the show. And hey, at least she'll recognize characters when we go to Disney next year!

So, what other shows so I consider adding to our DVR list over the next few months? I can't imagine I'll avoid repeat episodes of the Mickey Mouse Club forever. And the show is annoying enough that I would prefer not to see any repeats. What do your kids love and you can tolerate?

Monday, May 16, 2011

A walk in the park

For the past two weekends we have been taking Cameron to Freedom Park to walk around the lake and feed the fish. It's a nice cheap (read: free) activity that tends to wear her out. However, her stubbornness and whininess can sometimes make walking the 1/2 mile a challenge. The best part is when she doesn't want to walk in the stroller, won't hold our hands (so as to not fall into the lake) and wants to be carried by Mommy. Cameron must be pushing 26 pounds by now and while I have no problem handling that kind of weight at the gym, 3 sets of reps do not equal toting around a toddler for 10 minutes straight.

I know I need to savor this time with Cameron because how much longer am I going to be able to pick her up when she says, "Up, please?" But damn, she sure does get heavy! Parents - at what age/weight did you finally stop picking up your kids for more than a few seconds?

Cameron feeds the fish and the ducks with very, very stale Cheerios.

These sunglasses were a Christmas stocking gift from my sister, Mommy, Esq. Cameron loves them and they are very durable. If my sister remembers where she got them then perhaps she will comment on this post and other parents can pick them up. They are soft plastic and can bend...a must with a toddler!

A rare sighting: Cameron smiling at the camera!

DH took this picture so I can't take credit for the quality. Thank goodness. But this is another rare sighting: Cameron and Mommy in a picture. I am usually the photographer.

Cameron being goofy because she doesn't like to have her photograph taken.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Contrary Miss Cameron

We have hit the wonderful stage of contrariness from Cameron. Give her options for what to wear, what to eat and what to do? She wants none of them!

Ask her if she wants milk she whines, "No milk!" emphatically. Say, "OK, no milk, do you want juice instead?" "No, juice! Milk! Milk! Miiiiiilk!!"

Picture that exact conversation with different nouns occurring at least a dozen times a day. DH and I can't help but laugh at it because it's so crazy she changes her mind a second later. We are working to give Cameron choices which has helped to lessen some of the battles but they still happen on a different level.

The new weapon in my arsenal? This statement: "Well, Mommy has XYZ, so do you want it too?" That's right, Cameron has decided she wants to be just like me in every way possible. I have my hair in a ponytail? She must have it also (although she rips it out a minute later).

Walking into school this morning I noticed the sleeve of her too big rain coat was not rolled up. I went to roll it up and she said, "No, mommy!" I left it alone but told her, "Mommy has her sleeves rolled up, see?" and pointed to my own too big rain coat. 5 seconds later Cameron tugs on my hand and says, "Sleeve, Mommy, sleeve!"

So this is how I now win my battles with Cameron. I just have to do whatever I want her to do and she'll do it too. I wonder how long until that backfires on me? Perhaps when she wants to start drinking out of my wine glass?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Basking in the parent-to-be glow

No, not me!!

A guy got on the elevator with me and he was practically grinning from ear to ear. It was just us on the ride up and he blurted, "I just got to see my unborn baby for the first time and it was incredible!"

I congratulated him on his impended fatherhood and he went on and on about how amazing it was to see the heart beat, etc. Now call me jaded but here was what I wanted to tell him:

  • Prepare for lots of sleepless nights

  • Find a good babysitter now and schedule your date nights a year in advance. And have date nights.

  • I'm two years in and the toddler stage is way more exhausting than the infant stage. Just so you have something to look forward to.

Perhaps I'm settling more into the idea of one and done? I'm not sure but either way that parent-to-be glow did not rub off on me. Anything else you would have said inside your head to this guy?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not enough hours in the day

My blogging has grown intermittent as of late, I know. About two months ago I started a new job and I am absolutely loving it. Great, right? The problem is that the quality and quantity of hours I'm putting in has increased dramatically leaving me a mushy brained woman at the end of the day and barely able to keep up with Cameron until her bedtime.

My morning routine starts at 6 AM. I usually sleep pretty well so I rarely need a full snooze to get my ass out of bed. While I'm showering, doing my hair (hot rollers if I shower the night before), putting on my suit and make up, DH gets up around 6:20 to get Cameron ready. We meet up in the kitchen around 6:35 and I start the car to get it warmed up while Cameron has a few muffins (she has been eating muffins for the past 4 months every single morning. OCD much?). Ideally we are in the car at 6:45 so I can drop Cameron off and get to my desk by 7:30. I am like a Swiss watch when it comes to the morning routine. I get stressed out when we are even 5 minutes late.

I work through lunch and have very little downtime for procrastinating which means I have to save things like online shopping, looking up stuff for personal reasons, etc., for the evening. Which basically means it doesn't get done which is why I haven't booked my tickets to Portland, ME for our 2 week summer vacation. Which is totally stressing me out because there are only two flight times and they don't work with a toddler sleep schedule.

I typically leave work around 4/4:30. I prefer 4 if I can do it because that gives me the option to get a run in before DH brings Cameron home from school. If I don't run then I have to pack my breakfast, lunch and snack for the next day. Preparing that much food takes time but keeps me on track with my weight. I also pick out my work outfit and hang it on the bathroom door. I have been doing that for years and it really saves time! Cameron is home by 5:30 and we usually play outside for 30-45 minutes before the rest of the evening activities occur.

Cameron's bedtime has been creeping towards 7:15 and I have a feeling that soon we will have a 7:30 bedtime for her. We still don't have family dinners so that means DH and I aren't eating until 8 or even 8:30 sometimes. But we haven't figured out how to prepare a family dinner and still get in quality playtime with Cameron before her bath/dinner/bedtime routine. Any advice from been there, done that parents?

Finally, my DVR is mocking me with the number of TV shows it has recorded for us to watch. We usually get one show in and then it's time for bed for this old lady...I like to be in bed by 9:30 with lights out at 10. 8 hours of sleep is a minimum requirement for me!

I feel bad sometimes because Cameron also has a long day at school - 7 AM to 5 PM. But I figure she gets a nap and is basically playing all day so how hard can that 10 hour day be?

I realize that my schedule isn't that arduous from a work perspective. I rarely have to work in the evenings or weekends and typically keep it to 45 hours a week. How the heck do parents who have to work longer hours do it? I'm tired all the time and I'm in the best shape of my life! How do other parents handle it?