more catch-up and a few things utterly unrelated

Something sweet:

Close to my heart from Jen Lula.
(This is why I babywear.)

Something sad:
My Gram... its not good. Can't really share right now, but send thoughts/prayers/good ju-ju to her please.

Something refreshing:
Our insurance (AAA) has been incredibly easy and great to work with! The cleaners got started on our house yesterday, and we're going to talk to the head guy tonight to discuss the progress. Our ancient wallpaper (in kitchen, dining room, living room, and hall), which won't stand up to intense scrubbing, will be taken down and insurance will pay for the painting. When we get back into our house, hopefully by early next week, but definitely by next Thursday, it will be a cleaner house then it has ever been!

Something exhausting:
The last of Gwen's first four molars is halfway in now. Its clearly paining her and its been disrupting her sleep. Frankly, I think bedsharing is disrupting her sleep too (we all love it in our small morning doses, but all night long is too much for all of us). Add that to a poor babe who's all thrown off by being away on vacation, then brought back here and going back to school, but not living at her house or with her dog, instead in a un-childproofed house where she can't play with 95% of the things in it, and you have a tired, cranky girl who is just not herself. Even her daycare teachers noted that she was "more emotional" then normal.  :-(   My poor girl. This is hard on all of us, but I feel horrible for her since she doesn't really understand what's going on.

Something put off:
The plan had been to nightwean about a week after we returned from CC (once she was back on schedule). Now, obviously that has been put off. Definitely until at least a week after we get back into the house, when she seems to really be back into her schedule and feeling more herself... but maybe even longer since we are heading to Arizona at the end of August! I don't know that I really want to do all the work to night wean, only to have her get all thrown off again by another trip. I'll play it by ear and see how she does when we're back home, but for now it looks like I might be waiting until early-September. Which is definitely longer then I wanted, but Gwen does not need her little world rocked anymore right now!

Something(s) little and happy:
My birthday in just over 2 weeks. Rebate from PECO for our new Energy Star fridge. Small credit on bill from RCN for the cable/internet we don't get to use for almost 2 weeks.

We're escaping to Ro & Pat's tomorrow to relax and eat and play and swim. Hopefully seeing some more familiar faces, and being allowed to just play, will help Gwen. I'm sure it will help us.

Have a great weekend.



Yesterday was exhausting... I was running to the house to meet the guys delivering the new fridge (which went perfectly, they were wonderful), running back to Willy's, grabbing lunch on the way, so I could throw my pump parts in the dishwasher on heavy wash (which ran while I ate lunch) then hand washed them again, so that I could feel safe using them to pump, which I did while driving back to the house to meet the insurance guy and the cleaning service guy.

We did the walk through, he took pictures, and I made arrangements to meet the cleaning crew Thursday at 8am, when they will start. A week (or hopefully less) and we should be back in. Not long in the grand scheme of things, but man am I ready to have Gwen back amongst her own things, and to not be living out of a suitcase.

After that it was back to Willy's, stopping to grab some dinner on the way; a quick shower before Trav and Gwen got home, dinner, a walk, then Gwen's bedtime.

Sleep has been hit or miss, but we're borrowing a pack'n'play from a friend, so I'm hoping that will help. We all need our own space now.

Not to say that its been all bad. We have a great place to stay, and Gwen is enjoying all the time with her Pappy. She loves "playing" his piano too!

We had a really lovely moment the other night. It started pouring out, and since Gwen loves all things water, i thought I would take her on the porch to watch it and stick her hands in the stuff pouring off the edge of the roof. As soon as she saw it though, she started pointing to go out in it. I started to say, lets just stay here, but then I figured, why not?! We had the best time running out into the rain, dancing around, and then darting back under the porch roof. We must have done that half a dozen times, and Gwen would have done it a dozen more, but there was some lightning, so the adult in me won out! We were soaked, but Gwen was beaming and I felt so relaxed. It makes me look forward (even more then normal!) to the next rainstorm.

I'm trying to play catch up at work too... which is made harder by a bunch of coworkers being out, an event today, not working yesterday, and having to arrive late tomorrow. Not to mention, just being distracted.

Now, since you made it through all that... a few more Cape Cod pictures (from my iPhone, still none off of the camera):

Driving up.. fighting sleep, patting the dog.

Swimming at a friend's place.

Are we home yet?

I feel like I had more to share, but have to wrap things up here, and my brain isn't throwing anything else out... so off I go for now.



Where the hell do I even begin?
(Seriously, I've had this up since 10 this morning... its now 2. I don't know where to begin.)

First the good/happy stuff: 
Cape Cod was beautiful, like always! I didn't download our pictures yet, but for now will sprinkle in a few of my Brother-in-laws.

CC is certainly different with a baby in tow.... a lot less sleeping in, laying around, reading... but fun in a whole new way. Gwen LOVED the water. Every kind of water we could find.  

She went in a pool, the lake, the ocean, and a bay while we were there. We were in the water for at least a little almost every day we were there. She had a great time playing with her cousin, and we loved visit with him, Andy and Megan; plus my in-laws. 

It ended up being a great week for it too. The weather her in PA was horrid... 100s, hot, humid, gross. It was in the 70s/80s on the Cape, and we really only had two days that were either hot or very humid. 

Trav was really great about trying to take turns being "on duty." He got up with her most days to give me more sleep. I went kayaking one day will she napped, and he would entertain her so I could do some reading. 

My mother and father-in-law (MIL/FIL) also babysat her one afternoon while Trav and I went to see Harry Potter, then got some sushi for dinner. It was a great "date."

She loved it there. Loved seeing her Pop-Pop and Nana, loved spending all the time with us, loved "swimming" and chasing Daisy.

We also went out to eat at Baxter's (our favorite chowder place), took a walk through Hyannis, went to see the Quads at their place, visited with a college friend and his two girls who were also on the Cape for the week, got ice cream from Four Seas (our fav ice cream place!), had a lobster dinner, and went out to eat with his parents. It was a full, fun week.

The Annoying:
- Still don't know what time our fridge is getting delivered tomorrow.

- Our computer isn't back yet.

The Bad:
- My MIL tripped over a baby gate, fell, and got a hairline fracture in her elbow/arm on Tuesday.

- Got a call on Friday that our neighbor's house, which is attached to ours (we're in a twin), had caught on fire. The firemen contained the blaze to their kitchen, but the kitchen is charcoal, and the whole downstairs (at least! haven't seen the rest of the house) looks like someone painted it black because of smoke damage. Our neighbor had to escape through his bedroom window with his dog. His wife was at work. Thankfully, after a brief stay at the hospital for inhalation, he is physically fine. And our side of the house suffered no fire damage, though it was apparently full of smoke. The firemen pushed through our bedroom window air conditioner to get into our house. They determined there was no fire damage, and opened the place up to release the smoke. Now, in addition to getting our new fridge tomorrow, I'm also meeting two insurance guys to walk through our place. They will pay for the "cleaning" needed to get the smell, and the reside creating the smell, out of our house (and furniture and clothes, etc).

For now, we are staying with Willy, while Daisy has a sleepover at Trav's coworker's place (the one who watches her frequently). Obviously nothing about this situation is ideal (man was I ready to really get Gwen back on her schedule! and I miss my pup!), but I'm just so thankful that it wasn't worse for everyone. I'm so thankful our neighbor is okay! Everything else is cleanable, replaceable, fixable...

- Then my dad let me know that my Gram's cancer is malignant. I'm still doing my best to remain optimistic for her sake, but I'm sad/scared.

Obviously, things are a bit overwhelming right now, but we're doing our best to just keep on keeping on until things get back to "normal."  I'm so glad we had our vacation to recharge.

So that's where we stand now.


the weather is here, i wish you were beautiful...

Its been gorgeous here. Some warmer days, but so much cooler and nicer then Philly. The breezes off the lake are wonderful.

We're swimming and visiting people and spending time with family. I don't want the week to end!!

More later. Or maybe when we get home.


7 Discipline Mistakes All Moms Make

[I really enjoyed this article and wanted to post it here to 1) share it with you, and 2) have it around so I can flip back to it when I need the reminder!!]

When it comes to dealing with bad behavior, everyone screws up. We'll help you do it right.

By Katy Rank Lev

I haven't been to the post office since "the incident." I was that wild-eyed woman with a screaming child, slowly working my way up the line as one customer after another let me go ahead. Turns out my desperate attempts to comfort my kid were the result of a rookie error. The tantrum came from an oversight I made earlier that day: failing to notice the signals (eye-rubbing and crankiness) that he was tired. No wonder he had a meltdown.

I'm hardly alone in missing my child's cues, says Parents advisor Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. According to her, there are patterns to behavior. Kids do the same things when they're tired, hungry, or getting fed up; it's up to adults to take note and adjust accordingly. My son's moodiness should have told me to let him nap, then run errands when he was ready.

Ignoring a kid's signs is one of many discipline mistakes parents make all the time, but fixing them can make a huge difference in the parenting experience. We asked the experts to reveal the most common missteps.

We're too negative.

"Don't hit your sister!" "Stop pulling the dog's tail!" The number of things you tell your toddler or preschooler not to do is endless.

THE FIX Ask for the behavior you want to see. Nobody wants to raise a child who doesn't understand limits, but "parents say 'no' so frequently that kids become deaf to it -- and the word loses its power," Dr. Borba explains. Moreover, "we often tell kids not to do something without letting them know what they should be doing," notes Linda Sonna, Ph.D., author of The Everything Toddler Book. So save the naysaying for truly dangerous situations (think: fork in the electrical socket or your child eating the spider plant), and focus on telling kids how you would like them to behave. For example, instead of, "No standing in the bathtub!" try, "We sit down in the bathtub because it's slippery." Later, when you notice your kid splashing away in a seated position, offer some praise ("I like how you're sitting!") to reinforce her good behavior.

We expect too much from our kids.

You're sitting in church when your toddler shouts. As soon as you shush him, he does it again. Mortifying! Why doesn't he listen?

THE FIX Play teacher. Very young children still haven't developed impulse control or learned the social graces required in public places like stores and restaurants. "Parents assume kids know more than they do," Dr. Sonna says.

When your child breaks a norm, remind yourself that he isn't trying to be a pain -- he just doesn't know how to act in the situation, so snapping isn't effective (or fair). Focus on showing your child how you want him to behave, softly saying things like, "I'm being quiet because I'm in church, but if I need something from Dad I lean in close to whisper." Also point out what others are doing ("Look how Charlie is coloring while he waits for his meal to arrive"). Kids are born mimics, so modeling or drawing attention to something we want them to do goes a long way.

"It takes time and repetition for kids to learn to handle themselves," Dr. Sonna says, which means you should expect to give your kid a lot of reminders -- and remove him when he doesn't get the message. Over time, he'll learn how to act.

We model behavior we don't want to see.

When you drop something, you yell. A man cuts you off and you call him a rude name. But then you get mad if your kid reacts the same way when things don't go her way.

THE FIX Apologize and take a do-over. There's a boomerang effect to behavior: If we yell, our kids probably will too, says Devra Renner, coauthor of Mommy Guilt. Yes, it's hard to be on perfect behavior around the clock, so apologize when you do slip up. "Emotions are powerful and difficult to control, even for grown-ups," Renner notes, but saying "sorry" demonstrates that we're accountable for our actions nonetheless.

It also creates the chance to talk about why you reacted the way you did and offers appropriate ways to respond when you're feeling frustrated. That's what Deena Blumenfeld, of Pittsburgh, did when her son Owen, 5, protested so much about getting dressed that she snapped, "Just shut up and get dressed!" Realizing this was not how she'd want her son to react in a similar situation, she knelt down, apologized, then talked about how important it is to be on time for school. It worked: Owen got ready for school calmly after that.

We intervene when our kids simply annoy us.

You hear your children chasing each other around the house and immediately shout.

THE FIX Ignore selectively. Often, parents feel the need to step in every time kids do something, well, kid-like. But always being the bad guy is exhausting, Dr. Borba notes. Keep in mind that children sometimes do things that are irksome because they're exploring new skills. (So your toddler could be dumping juice into his cereal because he's learning about liquids.) Other times, they're seeking attention. When it comes to reacting, Dr. Borba's rule of thumb is: When safety isn't an issue, try watchful waiting. If your 6-year-old is playing his recorder with his nose, try not to shout. See what happens if you just continue with what you're doing as if nothing is happening. Most likely, if you don't respond, he will eventually stop -- and you'll feel calmer, having avoided a shouting match.

We're all talk and no action.

"Turn off the TV... I'm serious this time... Really!" Your kids continue bad behavior when warnings are vague for the same reason you run yellow lights -- there aren't consequences.

THE FIX Set limits and follow through. Nagging, second chances, and negotiation all convey that cooperation is optional, says Robert MacKenzie, Ph.D., author of Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child. To teach kids to follow rules, make expectations clear, then take action when they're broken. If you want your kid to, say, get off the couch and do homework, start with respectful directives ("Please turn off the TV now and do your work"). If she follows through, thank her. If not, give a consequence: "I'm turning off the TV now. Until your work is finished, your TV privileges are suspended." 

We use time-out ineffectively.

When you send your 3-year-old to his room after he hits his brother, he starts banging his head on the floor in rage.

THE FIX Consider a time-in. A time-out is meant to be a chance for a child to calm down, not a punishment. Some kids respond well to the suggestion that they go to a quiet room until they're chill. But others view it as a rejection, and it riles them up. Plus, it doesn't teach kids how you want them to behave. As an alternative, Dr. Sonna suggests taking a "time-in," where you sit quietly with your kid. If he's very upset, hold him to get him settled down, Dr. Sonna adds. Once he's relaxed, calmly explain why the behavior wasn't okay. Too angry to comfort him? Put yourself in time-out; once you've relaxed, discuss what you would like your child to do differently. You might start by saying: "What can you do instead of hitting when Milo grabs your train?"

We assume what works for one kid will work for another.

The best way to deal with your son's whining is to get down at eye level and explain how his actions need to change. But your daughter is more aggressive and refuses to listen.

THE FIX Develop a diverse toolbox. It's easy to blame your kid when a discipline technique fails. But "you may have to go about getting the behavior you want in different ways with each kid," notes Avivia Pflock, coauthor of Mommy Guilt. While one might respond to a verbal reminder about what is acceptable, the other might need a consequence when she acts up -- like having her Wii unplugged. Being firm with one child and touchy-feely with another isn't being inconsistent; it's tuning in to different needs and learning styles, Pflock assures. "The punishment should fit the crime -- and the kid."


i am from...

i am from loving family
cat stevens songs at bedtime
reading books at the bus stop

i am from time with my grandparents
overnights and weeks in sweet valley
day trips to sunny rest

i am from summers with my best friend
poolside and video games,
hot dogs next to the (buttered) rolls, cheezballs

i am from grapefruit soda
macaroni and "yeasty cheese"
sneaking my brother all my beans and broccoli

i am from long drives through the country
getting "lost" on purpose
more trees and horses than people

i am from clarinet lessons
then, for longer, choir practices
always music around

i am from "freaky" friends
black eye makeup and clothes
fierce loyalty and affection

i am from celtic roots
irish, scottish, welsh
so damn proud in my kilt

i am from hippie parents
open hearts, open minds
i am so damn proud of where i am from...


fridge frustrations...

(Sorry I need to vent/complain.)

So, ordered my fridge from Lowe's on Wednesday. No problems there, ordering online was easy. I get my confirmation email in a timely manner:

Yesterday, I wait for my call "within 24 hours" to schedule my delivery. This is important since we will be gone all next week, and I can't stay home from work on Monday, but don't want to wait any longer then Tuesday to get it! So I really really needed to schedule that delivery for Tuesday the 26th.

I don't get a call. So at 4:00, I give the store a call. I'm told that the delivery scheduling people are gone for the day, but "don't worry, you'll get a call tomorrow." So, I wait. Today, no call. So 3:30 rolls around and I try calling the store again. The woman was very nice, but try as she might, should could not get one person from any of the 3 departments that might have been able to help me on the phone. Then I get disconnected.

So, I went up. I called the national Lowe's number instead of the specific store. I got a lovely, very helpful woman on the line who finally got me connected to someone from the store who could (through her sneering irritation) help me. And I find out that:

1) The 7/20 estimated arrival time in my email, is in their system as a 7/18 scheduled delivery date! (Um, how do you figure that one?!)

2) Apparently that date was in the computer as having been chosen by me, when I was never given the opportunity to chose a delivery date during check out. (Not a problem since I was going to be called in 24 hours to figure that out, right...)

3) That the "we'll call you within 24 hours of your order to schedule" was actually being treated as a "we'll call you 24-hours before we plan to show up to your house to let you know the time." (You know, because no one has to work.)

Thankful I got the delivery date changed to the 26th, but I cannot tell you how frustrated I was when I hung up. I'm not anti-Lowe's now, but I can tell you that I'm certainly not going to be using that particular Lowe's anymore. You know, the mistakes/miscommunications/break downs in Lowe's technology (whatever they are) above would have been annoying but not completely frustrating. However, being delivered by a woman (the one from the store, not the one from national who was lovely) who's voice clearly stated that I was being a pain in the ass since it was all clearly my fault, well that's a bit much to handle. Though thank goodness I did go through the hassle, because how much of a hoot would it have been if they had shown up to deliver our fridge on  Monday when we were 5 states away?!

(leaving for Cape Cod in about 2.5 hours, but who's counting?!)

what i've been holding inside...

The final Harry Potter movie opened last night... I didn't see it then (baby and work made that not so feasible), and won't for a few days while we get settled into our vacation, but I am beyond excited for it. And beyond sad that it is the last one.  :-(  No more books to look forward to. No more movies. I'll definitely be checking out Pottermore and hopefully going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but I'm still sad.

In interest of the movie though, here's some HP stuff I've been enjoying lately:

(All 8 movies in just over 5 minutes.)

Amusing article about Why Harry Potter should be all about Hermione Granger.

(Click to embiggen.)

Any other big HP nerds out there?


is it friday yet?

Thing #1: We've known for a while that we were going to send our computer in this week to be fixed. They said it takes 8-10 days, so we figured we'd send it in this week, so that it would be gone while we were on vacation... minimizing the amount of time we were actively missing it. We still have our old laptop (which I'm blogging from, as I'm home from work today), so we figured it wouldn't be a big deal. A little slow and annoying, but not a huge deal.

Well, Trav called in Monday night to put in the order, so they would be awaiting our computer's arrival. "Lets try some things first..." says helpful guy on the computer. Fine with us! Except that nothing he suggested ended up working, including the last thing he had Trav try, which was basically completely restoring our computer to factor-new condition... aka. deleting all our stuff. Now, we were planning to back everything up again before sending the computer in, since it had been a few weeks; but we weren't planning on a frantic "hold on for 10 minutes while I do this" backup scenario.

Meegs: So, you got everything...

::computer works in background, deleting everything::

Trav: Yup, I got it!

Meegs: Music? [Trav nods]
Documents? [Nods]
Pictures? [Freezes... Errrr....]

Luckily its only a few weeks worth, but still... bummed.

Not to mention, I can't tell you how many times I've started typing away on the computer keyboard and wondered why the hell it wasn't working. Opps.

Thing #2:  The good news, I ordered a new fridge today! I think you can guess the bad news?
For now we have just a few things down in the mini-fridge in the basement, and a big container of stuff is being stored in the freezer at Trav's work. Most of our fridge's contents are a loss, though the freezer is holding out for now. Fridge should be here two days after we return from vacation.

Annoying for now, definitely... though I am getting a bit excited for our new black fridge!! Managed to find almost everything we wanted and stay about $300 under the top end of our budget.

Thing #3:  My Gram has cancer. She's going in today for a biopsy to find out whether is contained in her liver (where they found it), or if its spread there from somewhere else. We're obviously hoping for the former, which still means a grueling surgery, but a optimistic outlook. The latter, well... we're just really hoping for the former. We'll take any prayers you can spare.

I'm choosing to remain optimistic! She is a strong woman.

Thank goodness for vacation in just two days. I'm ready to get away for a little.


summery weekend

Its hot today (90s). Hot and humid. Its supposed to even hotter tomorrow. (Makes me a bit happy that I'm working from home on Wednesday instead of Tuesday this week.)

This past weekend was nicer though. Still warm, but with lovely breezes that made the shade a comfortable place to be. I got my hair did. Then had a diner lunch and headed to meet Ro, Pat, and babes for ice cream. We all enjoyed the ice cream, and Gwen LOVED her first opportunity to help feed baby Casey.

She did a very good job holding the bottle.

After that we all stopped at 2 wineries on our way back home to grab some of our favorite Lehigh Valley wine. We took turns going into the wineries and hanging out with babes.

Sunday was more low-key, though with one fabulous fabulous bit. Trav helped with the last tennis camp of the season, we played out in the yard a little bit in the late afternoon, but otherwise we mostly just hung out and watched Harry Potter!

The best part though? Gwen slept in her crib for nap again... and she actually did it for the whole 2 hours!! Yay!! I think I need that nap as much as she does.  :-)

Now we just have to get through this week, and we can screw up all that great napping with a vacation... ;-)

4.5 days!

Ps. Prayers for my Gram please, they found cancer. Biopsy Wed to see if its primary site, or metastasized. She just can't catch a break.


that's what she said

Just for my own record (and hopefully some of these will make you go, Awww...), here's what Gwen's saying at almost 17 months: 

Excuse Me (Doos De) - kills me with cute, every time
Mommy's glasses
Daddy's (normally followed by pointing to his cup)
Bone (for Daisy's bone)
All Done (has signed this for a LONG time, but now says it too)
No-No, Mama! (normally when I try to steal a bite of her food... LOL)
Blue/Purple/Brown Bear (each used to correctly identify the differently colored bears!)

(In addition to words she's been saying for a while:)

(And signs:)
All Done

(She also makes sounds in appropriate ways:)

Shhh (complete with finger to lips)
Ah-shh, ah-shhh (sleeping sound, with hand by the side of her head)
Ahhhhh (when you open your mouth to brush your teeth)
Aw (when something is sweet) 

She also knows many more, and will answer questions. She is starting to repeat a lot of words after us, though not using them independently yet.

(In addition, she knows and will point to these body parts:)
Belly  (she loves blowing raspberries on Mama's belly, thanks Daddy!)

I can't wait to see what comes out of her mouth next!!


from my work computer desktop

(I'm too tired to post anything that requires thought today... molars are the bane of my existence! I've been meaning to do something with these or at least show someone though, so now's my chance.)

Click to embiggen.

I just can't get this picture out of my head... copywrite Blurbomat.

I want to make this!!

I'm in love with these playrooms pictures...

Inspiration for Gwen's future room?

Vacation: 9 days and (who's) counting


4th of july weekend

Three-day weekends are pretty great to begin with... but Friday we both got out of work early, which was even better. It gave us some playtime in the yard.

Aww, my boy.

Saturday, Trav slept in while Gwen and I ran out the local farmer's market. It was pretty hot and steamy already, but we wandered around for a bit and shared some freshly made blueberry-strawberry lemonade, a peach, and a slice of cinnamon swirl bread. Mmm.

The rest of the day was pretty low-key, did some chores, etc. Gwen took a nap in her crib, for what I think was the first time ever! (We're working on doing it all the time now.) Those with toddlers... do you have a pre-nap routine? She's definitely fighting sleep. Obviously we just started going down in the crib, so it will take some getting used to, but just wondering what everyone else does.

Sunday we had our Ro and Pat over with the girls, for a little grilling. It was a lot of fun and Gwen had a great time playing in the pool with GG.

Baby butt!

It was a really nice day.

Monday (HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!) we all got to sleep in, as Gwen didn't really wake up until 8 (unheard of)!! Trav let me sleep a bit more, then we headed over to our community's 4th of July celebration. It was in the park next to our house. We listened to some music, rode the little train, played on the playground, and ate some shaved ice.

After that, we hid in our house because it was horrendously humid and gross out!! After a brief reprise, summer is back with a vengeance.

Last night we fell asleep to the sounds of fireworks in the distance. 

For today, its back to work like normal... though thankfully only a 4-day week. And only 10-days until vacation!