Monday, July 30, 2007

Becky goes to Springfield

Thanks Andrea for pointing me to the website. That's my avatar taking a stroll down main street. Ha! This avatar tool is way better than the Simpsonize Me tool that Burger King is hosting (you upload a photo and supposedly it converts it into a Simpsons looking character...but it sucks.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Random Thoughts...

I haven't posted in a bit and feel the need to type something. I'm just not sure what I want to say. I have some things I want to write down, so I don't forget; so I guess I'll start there. Feel free to skip this entry. It's mostly for me.

- I want to remember how it feels to have Max lay his sweet head down on my chest and fall asleep. He's growing like a weed and may soon be past the point where I can call him a "baby". He generates a lot of heat when he sleeps. I don't recall Tyler ever feeling so warm.

- Tyler never liked to cuddle much either. He was always on the move and wanted to be put down. Max is content to just stay in your arms for long stretches. He will study my face, try to blow raspberries on my cheeks or neck, hang on to my ponytail if I get up to walk around, or just sit on my knee and check out the room.

- I find myself singing way more to Max than I did with Tyler. Max loves it when I sing. Tyler hated it. So there's the reason why. What is even better - Max sings back to me! Sure, he doesn't know that many words yet, but he makes up cute little tunes that go something like this: "Ma ma ma ma MA MA. Da da da da da DA DA. Mmm Mmm. All gone." It so freakin cute I can hardly stand it! Hopefully I can get a recording of him doing it. Or a movie.

- Max will hold his own bottle. Our Ped told us, with Tyler, not to encourage it because it's actually easier to wean if the child doesn't have any sense of "ownership". Since I'm the one always holding the bottle, it's mine - supposedly that's the theory - and this makes it easier when I take it away. Tyler never WANTED to hold his own bottle. He'd cry if I tried to wrap his hands around it. I had no trouble weaning him to sippy cups when he was a year old. But Max... He likes to help. He gets hungry and doesn't want to wait for me to finish changing his diaper before he drinks. He wants that baba NOW! LOL! So, I let him hold it until I'm done with the diaper. Then he is more than happy to let go and relax against me to drink. I just tickles me to see him holding it himself. Just another one of those little things I want to remember.

- Max will follow Tyler around like a devoted puppy. He wants to watch everything his big brother does and then try it himself. This is a problem for Tyler. Apparently Max has been trying to play with the computer while Tyler is playing a game and it causes poor Ty to mess up. Ty has been getting very angry and frustrated with Max and it really bothers me to hear him say things like: "He is so annoying! I hate little brothers! Max, get lost! Make him go away!" and so on. I've been trying to explain to Tyler how Max is in awe. Max looks at Tyler with an expression of rapt devotion; it's almost painfully sweet to see. I just want to cry. The age difference between Max and Tyler is the same as my brother and I. I resented my baby brother's arrival, was mean to him for most of his childhood, and we never really formed a bond. To this day, we aren't close at all. I regret that. I don't know what to do to prevent that from happening to my boys.

- I hate having workmen in my house. I love the idea of having the added space, but I want the work to be DONE. They don't come upstairs unless they have a question (they don't even use our bathroom)...which is good. But I know they are down there. It's a pain having to get fully dressed each day (I often hang out in my night shirt if I have no plans to go anywhere - but not lately). Just knowing they will be showing up in the morning any time between 7:30am and 9am just puts me on edge. If I wake in the middle of the night, there is a sense of urgency to get back to sleep. "Oh man, the noise is gonna start soon. Gotta hurry and fall back to sleep!" Stressing over trying to get the baby to nap. So much noise down there. Ack! I'm edgy and cranky and tired and stressed. Don't like it. Not one bit.

- I'd love to get one of those nifty flat screen TVs (HD would be cool) for downstairs. I also found this cool split recliner loveseat thingy from LaZBoy that would be perfect for watching movies ala home-theater style. I also found an armoire style desk for me. I just hope I can sweet talk John into outfitting the playroom the way I see it in my head. It will get more use if we do it right. Otherwise it will just become a dumping ground for all the boys' crap and not a usable space at all.

I guess that's enough thinking for tonight. If you read all that, here's a cookie.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lounging By The Pool

The current renovation work has rendered us temporarily what's a gal to do when she has workmen making obscene levels of noise under her feet, the baby can't nap indoors, and Curious George on, I mean Tyler is bouncing off the walls and itching to go downstairs to see what progress has been made on his play room. Every 5 minutes or so. Ahhhh!

Thank heavens for impulse shopping! I received a choice bit of spam from one of my favorite online bargain shopping sites a few weeks ago and couldn't resist ordering these two aqua blue zero-gravity lounge chairs for our deck. They arrived just in time!

I pitched our old resin chairs and table over the side of our deck railing (the table shattered quite spectacularly when it hit the ground...11 years of outdoor exposure had made it brittle). They were in baaaaad shape and needed to go. Then John set up Tyler's pool and one new chair and I set up the other.

Voila! A relaxing day by the pool. I can't remember the last time I actually sat out on our deck. It was really nice! And Max passed out and slept like a rock on my chest. It was quieter outside than inside, even with the highway noise in the distance and all the kid in a pool having fun noises that Tyler was making.

I am linking the photo below to my Shutterfly album for more photos from our day. In the background of the photo of Max and I, you can see in the distance the backyard I WISH we had...with a real pool. LOL! Maybe someday...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Bye Bye Basement

I know a couple of my readers will be glad that I am finally doing an entry that ISN'T about my kids. Ha!

Well, it's happening at long last. On Wednesday the workmen will arrive to start work on our basement. They will be adding a wall to divide the space into two rooms...a play room and a new guest room. They will also finally finish John's office space. He has worked in that dank hole for more than 10 years. I can hardly believe it!

Naturally I had to take some "before" photos to document the transformation. Our basement isn't really a "basement" by definition. It is above the ground. It is really the ground floor of our house, adjacent to our garage and laundry room. Really, it's an unfinished room that has looked the same since our home was built.

Many homeowners in our development opted to have the space finished, but we didn't go for that option (to save some dough at the time). Now we need the space!

Poor John has been working down there for days trying to move out all the unused furniture, boxes of crap we never unpacked when we moved in here, old computer junk, books...yadda yadda yadda. The space was once filled to the rafters with STUFF. Now our two car garage is filled to the rafters, as is my living room and laundry room. John says he feels like he moved half a household's worth of STUFF all on his own. It's really an amazing feat on his part. Thanks hun!

If I were more organized, I would have a yard sale. But I can't be bothered. I'll probably FreeCycle a TON of stuff over the next few weeks. If anyone lives in the northern NJ area and name it, we probably have it! Stop on by.

Now for the "Before" pictures:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Let's Do The Time Warp Again!

The past week has been jam-packed with activity; and much of it sent me on a mental journey back to my own childhood.

We started with Tyler's first real play date. (I'm not going to count all those Mother's group get togethers when he was only a few months old or playing with my friend's kids.) Tyler was invited over to his best friend Ethan's house and I was told to bring swim wear. Imagine Tyler's face when he saw the huge new in ground swimming pool in Ethan's backyard. That was my first trip down memory lane.

I found myself drifting in happy thoughts about the fun times at my best pals Sarah and Laura's pool. (Crossley girls...where the heck are you these days?) It was so nice to lounge poolside and watch the boys play. That was last Friday.

Saturday we whisked the boys off to the Montville carnival. Max was in awe at all the kids, rides, music, and general chaos. Tyler, on the other hand, decided to have a couple melt-downs and was generally a total stick in the mud. Poor John spent $20 for one of those ride-all-you-want bracelets and Tyler only went on 2 rides. All the rides he loved last year and the year before were suddenly "too scary", "too boring", or "lame". Ugh! Then he just pestered us to buy him junk food and junk junk at the flea market.

Sunday we left on our semi-short-and-sweet summer vacation. We headed back to Willow Valley in Lancaster PA. We'd been there a few years ago and it was a HECK of a lot cheaper then a 4 day stay at Great Wolf Lodge. OK, the water park isn't nearly as huge or nice, but it was enough for Tyler and Max. We got tickets to Dutch Wonderland (a little amusement park nearby) as part of our package deal. Tyler had a blast there last time (when he was 3). This time? Again it was a total bust. He bitched and moaned about the water park (no actual pool, just sprayers), he only went on 2 rides, then he ran off and was climbing on one of those metal post & rail dividers that help the lines for rides form up and he suddenly pitched over backward and smashed the back of his head on the pavement. What a sickening thunk!

One trip to first aid and an ice-pack later...we were on our way back to the hotel room. So much for a fun day at the park. On the plus side, Max saw his first live action show (a little skit by the "Danger Rangers" about safety) and he really enjoyed the costumed characters' singing and dancing. I just love that look of wonder on his face and the big grins. It's a balm to my soul after dealing with Tyler's negativity and tantrums.

We decided to totally bag a planned visit to Hershey Park. Tyler just doesn't seem to be into it this year. He just wanted to spend time in the pool. Frankly, that's a heck of a lot easier for me to manage than walking for miles around in the blistering heat pushing a baby stroller. I sure hope this timid mouse disguised as a cynical wiseass thing Tyler pulls is just a phase. Please!

Oh! Back to my personal mental time warps! Riding in the van with the boys, I had Tyler in stitches with stories about all the family car trips I took with my parents, little brother and the family dog when I was a kid. Our own little family journey was WAY better than one of those nightmare road trips from my childhood.

Then there was the cute little girl at the pool wearing the sunshine yellow bikini. OMG! Until I saw her, I had totally forgotten about my own sunshine yellow terry bikini I had when I was 10 or 11. I loved that swim suit...except when it got wet. The terry cloth got saturated with water and tended to sag. I came close to losing my bottom half on a number of occasions and was constantly tugging on the drooping fabric over my bum to wring out all the water weighing me down. I'm sure that was a sight to see. ;-) But it was so pretty, soft and cumfy when the suit wasn't wet!

I had fun telling Tyler stories about my pool adventures and all the games we played as kids. I think he has a bunch of ideas on things to try next time we go swimming. That is, if he will get over his fear of getting his face wet. Ethan's mom had a good thought about that. She said Ethan was the same way until they put the pool in. Since he was swimming so often, he quickly got over his fears. I think she has a point. I need to find a way to get Tyler swimming in a full sized pool as frequently as possible. It was really bugging me to see kids half his age jumping off the side of the pool and totally submerging themselves...even with water wings on.


Now we are back home again. I think Max had a fab time on our trip. Tyler...the low points outweigh the high points, sadly. Between the two boys I have mixed feelings about the whole trip. Poor John keeps saying this is the LAST family vacation he ever wants to go on. Ouch. Maybe his mood will have improved after he wakes up from his nap. Old men need their rest. ;-)

I'll let photos tell the rest of the story.