Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cyber Week Madness

Cyber week is killin' me.

At first I found the concept wonderful. As a stay-at-home mom with two tots that are difficult to drag to the store (readL: they want to walk anywhere BUT into the store), online shopping is my cup of tea coffee. And then when a form of Black Friday would be reality for me (read: lazy shopper in pajamas clicking a button while lying in bed and ordering Christmas presents), I was happy. Oh so happy.

Until these "cyber week" emails just WILL NOT STOP. I have gotten "cyber special" emails constantly this week (cyber week=an excuse to spam the heck out of your email list and call it "good will toward shoppers")

All of them advertise a deal. $10 off, free shipping, 50 PERCENT OFF, Buy One Get Ten Free, Trade In Your Husband For Credit....and you must do all of them RIGHT NOW while standing on your head and whistling "All I Want For Christmas Is You" to get the site to work since there's so much traffic competing for the very same object that will be fought over at January White Elephant gift exchanges all across the world.

After the first few deals were emailed to me, I was all over Cyber Week. All right, I WILL save $10 on Christmas presents that I was going to buy anyway. Why not? But after an hour of searching their site to find one present that would work for my list (but being tempted by twenty things that would work perfectly for ME), I discovered that even though I would save $10 for spending $40, I couldn't get free shipping UNLESS I spend $75 which meant that my $10 saved in the name of "cyber week" turned into a $9.98 shipping bill. WHOHOOOOO 2 cents saved!!!!

Alert the masses. The DEAL OF THE YEAR.

Unlesssssss.....I almost double the amount I spend and therefore save $10 while spending $35 more when all of the other items that would work for my Christmas list are out of stock anyway.

Um OK, you got me. That's an hour I'll never get back (plus I still have an empty Christmas list to fill).

So I never thought I would say this. But I am SICK of Cyber week. Over it. Done. I'm tired of the "deals" that make you panic and make you feel like all the good in life will disappear if you don't order RIGHT NOW using their special code. I'm exhausted from hitting "delete" all day from these spammy emails from sources that I might normally consider my friends. (Gap and Express, I'm talking to YOU) The stress of worrying that I might miss that one magical item on its special deal THIS FIFTEEN MINUTES ONLY is just not worth it to me.

Dear Online Shopping,

I think we might need to take a little break. I KNOW Christmas is coming, and I KNOW that I've only filled 2% of my shopping list. But I'm going cross-eyed from constant advertisements for things that I didn't realize that I needed until RIGHT NOW. You say that it's my lucky day because it's 60% off AND it will be delivered to my house by SANTA riding a motorcycle with his choir of angels singing "Jingle Bells" in the language of my choice, but I just don't believe you anymore.

Circle of Trust? broken.

It's not me. It's totally you. You've gotten annoying. You used to be a valuable tool to help this ol' mom out. But now you are #1 on my REASONS I AM GOING CRAZY list. Just stop with the emails. Please. Just. Stop.

Also, you've turned one of my best friends against me. Facebook used to be a pleasant distraction, but now it's just one of your little evil elves designed to make my life miserable until I give you my PayPal Login information in return for....junk that I don't need anyway. You said that I was special...but am I just ANOTHER CREDIT CARD TO YOU??????

You're not worth all of this pain. I think we should see other people. You are turning "the most wonderful time of the year" into "the time of year when you think you own me".

I was thinking....a babysitter....plus a Starbucks stop....plus an afternoon of schlepping around town to hold those real-time objects that are ACTUAL size and I know really what I'm paying for without having to make extra trips to the Post Office because it seemed "bigger and bigger" in bright lights on your site than it did in that measly brown bag that soaked in the snow for a few hours before I found it.

Sorry that things had to end this way. Could we still be friends?

Sincerely,
The Mommy Grinch

p.s. I WAS holding it together until I unsubscribed from several lists and then KEPT getting ALL the emails with the subject line "See What You're Missing". Seriously?

p.s.s Oh, and please ignore all of the boxes from Target on my back deck. Target is the exception to every rule.

p.s.s.s. I will mostly likely be back after things cool down and we can talk this through calmly. I do have 98% of my list to fill after all...but by using your math, I should just be happy with the 2%, huh...


So...how about you? Are you as annoyed at Cyber week as I am? Or are you out there sweeping up those items that were out of stock when I tried to buy them? (-:  (I will love you anyway....well, maybe)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stick a Fork In It

Lately my children have become extremely independent when it comes to eating. Not that they can successfully feed themselves (Addison is getting better). Oh no, it's just that they don't want ME to feed them. Apparently they have their reasons for becoming suspicious of whatever poison of the day that I might be trying to pass off as "food".

This has been going on for a while now, increased by that "horrible pink stuff that is forced down our throats to help us feel better". Bubblegum flavor notwithstanding, how DARE I subject them to such a torture as children's tylenol. 

I put away their picnic table a little while after the infamous spaghetti post because Carter started standing on top of the table (and diving off), and Addison started wandering away from the table whenever she got bored with this tiresome duty of eating something that wasn't chocolate.

But yesterday we pulled it back out because I think they might (fingers crossed) be ready for it again (plus they are a little antsy/bored because of their sick-houseboundness)

We've been working on self-feeding, and I found that if I spear their bite and then set the fork down next to them, they will pick up the fork put the food in their mouths, and chow down appreciably. But if I were to try to put the forkful IN their mouths? We would have a full out wrestling match ahead of us complete with "SHE'S TRYING TO KILL ME!" screams. Why??? (other than my obviously suspicious nature) No idea.

But last night I had to laugh at them as we started out with such a nice bowl of potato soup: (I held a fork for each of them to feed them the chunks while they messed around with the soup part. Foul proof plan, right?)
Addison ate (and danced) with a flourish(she was hungry from their before-dinner-living-room destruction)...Carter....well, Carter...
video
 He's all boy. Messy boy. Disruptive boy. Spill-the-soup-on-the-table-and-then-maul-it-with-forks kind of boy. (Addison is doing so much better with her utensil to mouth coordination, but she doesn't always take a lot of food with it)
 Let's examine this more closely:
 And then when sister got extricated for bath time first, what did he do?
 Oh Carter, Carter, Carter. Was it really SO BAD when all you had to do was pop your little jaw open and wait for me to spoon it in for you?
My two babies toddlers are independent little souls. They are totally different and yet completely alike. Good thing their extreme cuteness is helping me get through the extra cleanup duty. (-:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Real Life

When I began blogging almost three years ago, it was for entirely selfish reasons- a therapeutic outlet, a chance to share news about Addison's health in just one spot instead of having to update twenty people a day, a place where I could view my life with Down syndrome more objectively.

I don't even know what clued me in that as a blogger who wants to be read, I have to start reading other blogs. One of the first blogs I found (I don't even remember when or how) was The Bates Motel written by Becca. And ever since I have followed the adventures of Sammi who also has Down syndrome, but who is several years ahead of Addison.

And somewhere along the line, Becca started following my blog back and leaving fantastic and sweet comments (comment leavers are always my favorite.) (-:

I always get self conscious with posting some of my thoughts and soap box moments about Down syndrome because I KNOW that I am still young in this process. I KNOW that there are those out there that are more knowledgeable than I am. I KNOW that in a few years I might have a totally different opinion towards an issue and an entirely different soap box of choice. Sometimes I look back on posts that I wrote even a few months ago and cringe at how I have grown even since then. 

Becca is one of those who is much more knowledgable and experienced in the field of Down syndrome, IEPs, behavioral management, and just really so many things. But she has never once made me feel irrelevant or silly for sharing my opinions and such. She has always encouraged, laughed when appropriate (yes, my attempts at humor always appreciate a laugh...even a courtesy laugh), written suggestions, helped gain perspective- you name it and Becca is there.

Truly, she is one of my blog heroes.

And on our drive back from North Carolina, things magically lined up for us to do our dinner stop in her neck of the woods.

and....wait for it.....

Guess who got to meet???
(you can tell that Addison was thrilled-lol)
 I told Becca ahead of time that Addison was sick (lest you think I am a total germ monster) and she bravely kept our meet-up (seriously, dragon fighters have nothing on a mother who willingly goes to meet a friend with a sick child)
 I was only able to snap a few picture on my phone because my children were not being horribly cooperative. (They had been in their car seats all day and had a long night ahead of them. I'm not holding their crankiness against them) (-:
 Samantha was a complete doll. She was very loving towards Addison
 and of course, Carter- who she started calling CH after she heard Aaron call him that (smart, smart girl!)
Becca is the very first blogging friend that I have met in real life, and admittedly I was very nervous and wished for my DELETE key more than once for the dribble that was pouring out of my mouth (seriously, why CAN'T there be a real life delete key to avoid foot/mouth situations?) I excel in hiding behind my blog. (-:

But just as she is in print, Becca in real life is a sweetheart and sets such an amazing example with how she parents Samantha.

So yeah, if you read The Bates Motel....there is a REAL PERSON writing it...I have proof! (and if you don't read it..you totally should). I walked away from our meet-up with a fresh dose of inspiration and confidence of the potential that is hidden under the label Down syndrome.

Thank you, Becca and Sammi for making time to meet with us and putting up with our travel weary selves. Can't wait until you take that ski vacation. (-:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Family Reunion

All week we've been blessed with this view:
  in much-warmer-than-Vermont North Carolina (pictures courtesy of my sister Andrea)
We got to hang out with this motley handsome crew (this is all the aunts, uncles, and cousins on Aaron's mom's side. This reunion has been planned now for a couple of years):
 with the added bonus of two of my siblings coming up from school:
My responsibility for this week of fun and eating? (Oh wait, I mean thanksgiving...)

These two troublemakers:
 and making many, many pie crusts (for the record, I LOVE making pie crusts, but Aaron's not a huge pie fan. I loved having the excuse to exercise my "pie crust" itch):
 On his first day of "exploring", this little boy found himself a "pet" snake hidden in some leaves (there are no pictures of the snake because I was too busy rescuing him from danger screaming like a crazy woman):
This little girl got waaay off her schedule which meant that her body shut down into some sort of forced "sickness" (this is becoming a pattern). She ended up sleeping most of the day of Thanksgiving until she was offered some chocolate cookies (chocolate trumps everything...she even gave me a "Thank-you-for-the-chocolate smile):
This group of cousins played beautifully together (even "cranky" is cute when you add a loud enough hair bow):

And the pie crusts were all finished in time:
I even caught this handsome man helping out in the kitchen now and then (charity begins at home, mister!!!!)
Because it was such a long drive (sixteen hours turned twenty on the way home) and because we did it overnight, I feel like I dreamed the whole trip. I feel like I dreamed the fabulous roasted pig, fried turkey (oh my so good), the countless sides, the endless sweet tea, the apple cake that I'm still drooling over, all the delicious non-Thanksgiving meals, the late night volleyball game, the conversations that included laughter (with a touch of snark), the inspiration from Aaron's cousins who are also mothers of young children (but who complain a lot less than I do), the remembrance of Aaron's recently deceased grandmother, the competitive card games, and the massive piles of dishes that I didn't have to do (alone, anyway) (-:
I've never had the privilege of being close to my extended family like Aaron has been with his. It was amazing to slide into the already-created family dynamic and find my quirky-weird self accepted for exactly who I am. They are all completely awesome. And oh yes, as Addison's off-schedule sickness turned into some sort of plague, I give them all props for not kicking us and our germs out to the curb. (WHY DOES ADDISON GET SICK EVERY TIME WE TRAVEL??????)
While I type this, snow is gently falling outside, covering the road that we just traveled, and completely erasing our tracks- making it seem as though it never happened. I sip my coffee (there is simply not enough coffee to follow an overnight road trip in which you can't stop for a minute because children wake up and start coughing up a lung), watch the children observe Daddy clean the snow off the front deck, and wonder if maybe it didn't happen. (If that's the case, I would like to know who's responsible for the suitcases vomiting clothes piled up by the front door????)
For those of you who were there, thank you for a spectacular Thanksgiving.  To those of you who weren't there, I hope your Thanksgiving was just as memorable (in a good way).
This girl? Is going to take her Thanksgiving 5 (yes, that's a thing), cup pot of coffee, and go enjoy the beautiful snowfall for just a minute before "put away" duty begins. It won't be pretty. But in spite of the long travel, the cranky kids, the Pediatrician appointment later today, the wacky schedule changes, the messy car, and the struggle to mother away from my nest (read: comfort zone), I would say- worth it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

WHAT in the name of signing time is going on????


-from Carter

Something is happening. Something is horribly wrong. I have been strapped in this carseat for hours and hours and hours with no end in sight. Is it the end of the world? Am I going crazy?

I heard mommy say something about “Sleep”. Simply hilarious. I silently thanked her for the much-needed chuckle and continued on my wonderings. Perhaps this was a test? If I could fight whatever it was I was supposed to be fighting against and come out the victor, then maybe they would take me out of this padded prison?

The “sleep” part seems to be my only clue since it has been repeated SO MANY TIMES LATELY. The constant repetition worries me. Maybe mommy is losing her mind? Clearly, my only option is fight sleep since she’s no doubt going for some sort of reverse psychology thing. Great idea! For the next twelve hours I’ll randomly scream and sing and throw things at Addison to help my cause. Pretty much I'll do anything BUT sleep. I can best this wily foe! And since I don’t know what an hour is, I’ll just do it FOREVER until a better option comes along. YAY!

At first whatever this torture is didn’t seem too bad. I was only strapped up for a bottle or two and then we stopped for some French fries and McNuggets. Delicious (the best ones were the ones I stole off of Addison’s tray. Why were hers so much more flavorful than mine?)

However, right before we sat down to eat, my clever escape (just stretching my legs!) to explore the kitchen was cut terribly short by mommy. Rude. Sure everyone was screaming and waving for me to get out, but if you didn’t want me in the McDonald’s kitchen, why did you put ice cream cones at eye level that screamed “CARTER, CARTER. COME PLAY WITH US!”. Seriously people. I was just listening to the very persuasive ice cream cones. No need to yell about the boy loose in the kitchen. I wasn’t loose. I was obeying my life calling.

Mommy also did the same sort of interrupting when I tried to climb on board the hotel elevator with another family without her. This family WANTED a little boy. I know. The little girls were winking at me. It’s simple math, really.

To sum up 1. I’ve decided not to sleep ever again 2. McDonald’s sends some rather mixed messages 3. Mommy doesn’t want me to have any fun.

Yup, probably the end of the world. Best release the tension in my bowels and then do some seat dancing to make sure it’s properly smeared. Who said revenge was a dish best served cold?

p.s. mommy said something about us "being HERE!" whatever that means. Can't wait to see the look on her face when she sees what I did with her computer that she left too close to my seat....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Travel

With travel plans in our near future, we've been making lists and checking them thrice.
While I have had my share of travel adventures pre-kids, I have been very content to stay mostly in my corner of the world since becoming a mother. When I was pregnant with Addison I couldn't travel because I was such a high risk pregnancy. After Addison was born she was attached to oxygen and had such severe health problems we couldn't travel away from her doctor's (other than Boston for her surgeries). And then by the time she was OK to really take a long trip HELLO I was pregnant again.

Becoming a mother has turned me into a (boring) home-body, and I'm OK with that. It's just easier to do my job on my own turf.

If anyone remembers, the last trip we dared to take with our two (this is embarrassing) was last December to Michigan for my grandfather's funeral. And while we were driving in the middle of nowhere Addison got severe croup and couldn't breathe. And every time the car stopped moving Carter screamed bloody murder and made Addison even more agitated (he also did this the entire night in the hotel room). And then we accidentally burned Addison with the breathing treatment device? Worst. Trip. Ever. 

So I'm sure it comes as no surprise that for our eighteen bazillion hour drive to North Carolina next week I'm not jumping up and down in excitement (I'm excited to actually BE there, just not the driving part).

I can't speak for everyone else.
We've decided to hit twelvish hours of the trip overnight (SLEEP CHILDREN SLEEP!) and then do the last six with Signing Time, frequent stops, and iPad time.

And another worry? Carter is a runner. You put him down and he takes off so fast you see a blur and hear tears in 3-2-1 when his uncoordinatedness wins over his need for speed (this week he jumped OFF our deck without stairs...what did he do when he reached the bottom? run away from me of course.)

1. He's going to scream and kick to be kept from his running activities for so many hours at a time 2. When we DO stop I'm afraid he's going to seriously run off into traffic or something.

But at least he's not a three month old who likes to vomit and scream just for screamings sake. It HAS to be better than last time, right? right??

Are you traveling for Thanksgiving? I realize all of you are no doubt traveling experts. So after you're done laughing at me for my greenness in this area- What are some of your kid travel secrets? (Especially those of you with twins. How do you coordinate them both at once in an unfamiliar place?)

I have friends who pack their kids in their mini van without a thought and bebop it off to vacations thousands of miles away....like every other week. I have a feeling this is the sort of thing that the more you do it the better you get at it?

Hopefully I won't have a big dramatic story to report back. Hopefully such a boring yawn fest that I won't even need to mention it ever again. (fingers crossed)

We welcome peaceful vibes, prayers for safety, and kid-trading for those ones that are already used to traveling...

If you don't already follow me on Instagram, I'm eanfe. We'll be posting there more frequently than here while on the road.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Skinny

OK. I'm going to say it. The thing that everyone is thinking but no one actually says out loud.

Here goes. Ready?

Approaching out of nowhere (WHERE IS TIME GOING?) are the holidays. Opportunity after opportunity for parties and family gatherings and such. And sometimes this means traveling out of town to party and family gather it up with people that you haven't seen since last year's parties and family gatherings. (Read: we're going out of town next week for a big family reunion)

When you're in the stage of life with very small children, this means that you think back to the last time you saw these individuals and desperately try to remember what stage of bloating/pregnancy swollen/post-baby/pre-baby stage you were in the last time you saw them. This then determines how fabulous you need to look in order to save face with the weight loss police that makes an appearances at most universal family gatherings.

Still with me?

For next week's gathering, I haven't seen many of these people since before I had Addison. And HYPOTHETICALLY speaking, I might be a way different weight (and body shape) than I was then.

Therefore when I see them next week, they are in for a shock.

They will probably ask if Aaron's skinny wife died and who is that lumpy "comfortably shaped" woman he's with now. (OK fine they're way nicer than this but in my mind's eye that's all I imagine them thinking)

This concerns me. Greatly. Being the problem solver that I am, I put together a little week-before-the-holidays weight loss plan that I have been following pretty closely. I'm sure I can whip my ol' body back into shape through SHEER willpower in a WHOLE seven days.

Easy peasy.

And because I'm such a thoughtful person, I am going to share this list with you.

You are welcome.

I'm certain this will dramatically change how you spend this next week. And of course prepare you to be at your body's best shape by the time the holidays roll around....oh say next week.

DEANNA'S HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS PLAN

1. Bake lots of cookies to take to the family gathering
   -sample the dough large spoonfuls at a time
   -sample the first and last two cookies from each batch (quality control is very important)
   -have a social cookie with each of your children
   -have a social cookie when your husband comes home
   -drink whole milk to wash down each cookie

2. When you get stressed thinking about packing up two children and all of their necessities for a week, go have a cookie. And a bagel. And anything with carbs that will provide your stomach with enough happiness to accompany that extra cup of coffee.

3. Insert a coffee IV so that you can pour straight flavored creamer into your mug.

4. Go to an exercise class and only participate half-heartedly because you're saving up your energy to pack suitcases when you get home

5. Pick out the clothes you're going to take and then shrink them all in the dryer to make you feel extra guilty about each extra lump and roll.

6. Have a tshirt made that says "I've had two children in two years...but not for breakfast"

7. Stay up all night worrying about which jeans have the best chance of  fitting; pre-first baby pants, post-first baby pants, pre-second baby pants, post-second baby pants? While having a midnight cookie snack, reject them all as possibilities and decide to drag both kids shopping for new jeans the next day.

8. Medicate heavily before attempting that.

9. Have a nine hundred calorie snack along with your Lean Cuisine and convince yourself that since you didn't finish that last bite, it was probably only three hundred calories.

10. Make some more cookies (following step #1)

11. Repeat constant prayers and affirmations to your metabolism so that it will kick it up a notch for a week or two

12. Write a blog post about your weight loss thoughts. Be as sarcastic as possible. This will make the pounds just FALL off.

13. Pull out your Jillian Michaels 30 Day shred DVD and laugh at how uncomfortable she looks all fit on the cover and then relax for a few minutes on the couch.

14. Follow Pinterest boards that emphasis large scarfs and baggy layers as this year's fall fashion.

15.  While you're on Pinterest, pin hundreds of sinful looking desserts and tell yourself that you will make them for "gifts" (this will most likely make you hungry for more cookies)

16. Write a list of snarky replies for when people slyly mention that you "look good" including a fake pregnancy due date, a reason why you needed to wear this baggy sweatshirt when everyone else is all dressed up, and/or your recent stock purchase in spanxs.

17. Sleep through your alarm for an early morning run, but during that extra sleep have a very detailed dream about an awesome run in which you run super fast for miles and miles.

So there you have it. All you really need is a plan aaaaaand WALA you will be family gathering ready.

Anyone else struggling with this problem? NO??? Just me? Well, you could have said something before I shared my top secret plan...

Oh, and if you need a cookie recipe, try this sugar drop cookie one:
I thought I would be safe making them since they're not chocolate, but they are surprisingly awesome. Well, not for that aforementioned jean shopping....ahem...


and if anyone that will be at that family gathering actually reads this...I know you're not that mean at all and that there's not a weight loss police. Telling myself that is just my secret motivation in the plan...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not a Fairy Tale At All

Once upon a time there was a youngish mother who was often mistake as the babysitter (thank you, instagram friends for this reminder)
 This mother has two children:
 And all was going well until one of her children became quite ill THE SAME DAY that Daddy went out of town for a business conference:
This mother immediately took her little girl to the doctor and was given the privilege of waiting (a very long time) in a tiny room with one extremely sick girl and one overly hyper boy.
 But the wait was not without its reward as at long last the little girl had some magical antibiotics which meant that she finally got the extra rest that she needed while her brother set into motion his long range plan for trouble.
 He wrote about it all in his own secret blog that he wouldn't let the mother read and looked at her crossly when she asked to see it.
It was a long, rough recovery for the poor little girl.
 It required lots of cuddles and TV, not necessarily in that order.
 Then, just when the mother thought she might go crazy from trouble-making brother and very sick sister combined with the fact that they couldn't leave their house for pretty much the entire week...
...sister gradually started to feel better.
and wanted to wear something other than last year's Christmas PJs. Anything else, really.
 And then the icing on this cake of awesomeness (which is of course chocolate) is that Daddy came home.
which was cause for celebration
 and an "I CAN LEAVE MY HOUSE AGAIN" not-at-all fake or ridiculous looking pose on the jungle gym.
The point of this long and overly dramatic story? (oh goodness I hope there's a point)

That youngish mother of the two children hopes that somebody is still reading her blog even though she disappeared off of the face of the bloggy world last week. 

Because she was thinking of you. And this blog. But just didn't have the words to describe being caught in the throes of the mundane/sick/mischievous/disaster-filled week...

Also, she wanted to mention that she feels like it's super weird to talk about herself in the third person, but now that she's started she's not really sure how to stop.....hmmmm...so she'll be back later. But soon later. Not a week later. Promise.

So if you're still there...blink twice, smile, or.....wait a minute...I give up- wait SHE gives up...whatever...we're done here...