Sunday, September 23, 2012

Potty-Trainer by day, Baker by night.

How I have needed some baking therapy this week. After a gorgeous run to the neighborhood farmers market yesterday, it was hard to resist the lovely pastries I always make a beeline for, but I opted for a bucket of juicy Bartlett pears instead.  I have zero regrets about that. Those pears are delicious. But as I was looking at all the freshly baked goods, I was inspired to dust off my old school recipes and make Croissants, one of my all-time favorite pastries (to make and eat). Getting my hands in butter and dough seemed just what I needed to relieve the anxiety I have felt lately. This motherhood stuff is just hard. Add potty-training (which, of course, includes toddlers-a challenge in and of themselves) to the mix, and it’s hardER. The pressure just builds as I think about how I am responsible for these children learning these fundamental parts of life. ME! Being a human being, I sometimes release the pressure in ways less mature than punching my pillow when it feels like that all there is left to do. So, I think a little baking project was a perfect thing for me to put my mind elsewhere for a minute. Croissants require a little more love and attention than other quick projects. And I felt with a little focus, I had true control over the end result, which is not the case when dealing with stubborn, rambunctious toddlers. 074087123133092The process of making them was truly relaxing, but it wasn’t until the butter was puffing up between those layer and layers of dough in that hot oven, and that intoxicating smell filled the house that I really felt my spirits lift. There is nothing like a hot buttery croissant to melt your worries away, even if just for a moment. Along with delicious plain butter croissants (breakfast sandwich anyone?), I also made chocolate, and goat cheese-apple cinnamon jelly filled croissants. All so decadent and addicting.101147112114167191187

I may be making potty training sound like the worst trial I have faced. While it definitely isn’t (though at times I do feel like it might be the end of me—thank heavens for Mom!), it is still enough to need to take my head out of all of it for a moment. I know it’s just a short term responsibility, and soon I will be on to something else equally fun, but I hope I can always remember to find an escape in the kitchen, where I have turned in the past many times in need of distraction. I wish I could be in there everyday filling my oven with every kind of dessert and pastry imaginable. I’d probably be the happiest, most patient mommy my kids could ask for if I could fit baking time into our crazy life. But time is precious, and I don’t think my waistline, nor my counter space will allow it. I’ll have to save these indulgences for when they’re really needed. Let’s not think about what the kids will be doing to me when I’m in the mood to make a wedding cake.181178197

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Year Running

Last year when I started running consistently, I signed up for the Race for the Family. It was the first race I’d done in years. Well, a year has come and gone, and I am still running, and doing even more in the ways of physical fitness than I ever have (I was presented with all my Boot Camp co-instructor gear (shirt, shorts, and hat) at class on Friday! It’s official!). It’s been a wonderful thing to feel the perks of getting in better shape. Anyway, this race means a lot to me in many ways. It’s for a great cause, helping others overcome Infertility. And since it was my first race (with the exception of a few I did for fun in 2003 without much training or expectations)  I was really looking forward to seeing how much I have improved this past year. With it being on the same exact course, it was a great gauge to how far I’d come since last year.

Mom and Dad joined us. Mom was running, and Dad, a runner himself, offered to stay and help KC with the kiddos. It was a perfectly beautiful morning. I turned on my book, and was off. Who wouldn't love a course so gorgeous? I was just lovely. Although I didn’t beat my best time (nor was I expecting to with all the hills on the trail), I did knock an entire 3 MINUTES off last years time, coming in at 26 minutes! My stamina was much higher, and I just felt better overall. Those hills weren’t nearly as painful as they were all those months ago. It was so great to just feel my body working better.

We enjoyed the little festival they put on afterward with all kinds of yummy food for kids and adults, and so much for the kids to do. Balloon animals, crafts tables, live music, bean bag tosses, face painting, toddler races, and even a raffle to see which Shady Grove Fertility Physican would win the tricycle race. The kids were all in the beginnings of a cold, but had a great time nonetheless. We left with all kinds of fun swag. It was just a heart-warming, festive event. So many great success stories were shared, and I was proud to be among them. They gave out 1st and 2nd place medals in each age group, and from the looks of the official results, I think I  would’ve been 3rd. Mom also was 2nd in her age group! There’s nothing like a good race to get you in the running spirit. I can’t wait for the next one. Which Turkey Trot will I choose?!

And, some pictures of all the fun:

We set out around 6:45 am. Alex LOVES the kids yoga dvd I bought them. He’s doing some stretches on the way to the race. He knows how to start a day off right. 077080

Pre-race, feeling good.084

About the cross the finish line and feeling better.085

Post-race and feeling great!091

2nd place!121

The kids thoroughly enjoyed all the freebies. 087089102105(Nice, Alex. Hehe.)119

During the awards ceremony, I’m not sure why, but the kids made themselves right at home in the middle of the circle of people. They were behind the speaker, so it wasn’t too disruptive. They were cracking us up the whole time.112114117

An attempt at a family picture.122

While visiting the 107.3 booth, they surprised Ruby with this little gift just for fun. She was so excited, and it kept them nice and quiet for the ride home.  123

Now the kids are constantly asking to “play race” which I love. Maybe the running blood will be passed on to them too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I just canceled my Amazon diaper subscription.

Can everyone be happy for me for a minute?! I know I have plenty of “accidents” ahead of me, and taking three newly-trained kids to the potty every time we go somewhere will get a little annoying I’m sure, but I’m in disbelief that my diaper changing days are over. It hasn’t quite hit me yet. It’s been such a big part of my life for three whole years. Crazy.

I just have to say I have the best mom in the world. She and my dad came for a week for their annual conference in DC. I mentioned I was sad they were leaving already (as always), and they figured out a way for her to stay for TWO MORE WEEKS! It just all worked out, so it must have been meant to be. I could really use her right now. I’ve had potty-training B and R looming over me for weeks (while in the hardest part of training Alex, I couldn’t help but feel depressed that I had to immediately go through it all again with two more kids), and I planned on training one kid per month. But with her here, we’re just getting it all done NOW! I’m so happy to have the extra help during this process. Even when I do one at a time, the others are just in the way and demanding in their toddler ways, so it really takes a toll on my fragile nerves. It definitely doesn’t feel like as much of a potty training prison with her here to help out. I’m one thankful mommy.

One day in, Ruby has had a near perfect record from the moment those panties went on! She might like getting those stickers one her chart a little too much, but I’m not complaining! Bennett also had some great successes, but it hasn’t quite figured it out as well as his sister. It will click soon, I’m sure. It’s been a constant state of insanity around here and I’m past exhaustion (mom and I had dessert for dinner as a reward for our hard work today) but I’m used to that by now. Soon we’ll be back to the level of craziness that we’re used to, and that will be lovely.


Eating popcorn to make them thirsty for lots of practice.041

Alex think this potty training stuff is great. He’s a pro, but still gets all the perks.045


If we get bored here at home, we might just have to bring the potties and go out to lunch somewhere. Sounds like a perfectly normal, rational idea, no?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Three Turned Three!

I’m a little in denial right now. It’s just cruel how quickly our sweet babies grow up. CRUEL. I ache to have just a few hours of their baby time back. But is it terrible to say that I am relived that we are done with the year of three two-year-olds?! As much as I have SO enjoyed watching them grow and learn so much this past year, there were times when I thought I might die. Seriously. From flailing arms and legs, or panic attacks, or over exertion from trying to strap kids in the car seats while they insist on screaming and arching their backs, or just the constant feeling of being overwhelmed with life. It’s a serious roller coaster, being a parent, and having these three all at once just makes the ride that much more dangerous, and exciting. I miss my little babies so much it hurts, but I WILL NOT miss the terrible twos. I know the threes come with a lot of drama as well, but I can see that as they get older, they just become easier to deal with, even if just a little. I have seen a clear change in my kiddos in just the last couple of months. I can’t believe I can communicate in almost normal conversation with my babies! Crazy.

So, while I didn’t have huge plans of a birthday party, we did do a lot of fun things. It ended up being more of a week of parties, than just one day. Why not?

It started on Tuesday. That morning, we went to a fun birthday party of a friend who was turning four. It was perfect for the cute group of toddlers, and we practiced all morning saying, “Happy Birthday Jonny!” which they performed perfectly for the birthday boy. It was their first real birthday party, and it was so fun to see them interact and listen (for the most part) to instruction. And it got them all primed for their own big day.

That evening we decided to go with the Ribeiras to Texas Roadhouse. I must have signed up for something at some point, because I got an email saying they got free kids meals for their birthday. We called ahead, were  told it would be 25 minutes from when we called, got there 25 minutes later, and waited and waited and waited. Thank goodness they had a painting station for the kids, all the peanuts they could ever want, and someone dressed in an armadillo costume that Ruby was obsessed with. Who knows how many high fives he gave her. It happened to also be kids night, hence all the activities. We probably waited over an hour. I was trying not to get annoyed since the kids were really doing well. Then we were taken to a booth. We had 4 squirmy kids and 4 adults. A BOOTH! Oh man. We know they had a table for us, but aren’t sure what happened. We hurried and ordered food. We were starving. The kids were restless. Their food came out fast, but we were all so stuffed with peanuts and rolls that no one was that hungry. KC and I had been nibbling on their stuff so much that when ours finally came out we just asked for boxes. They never even brought out our appetizer. The kids were crawling all over the place, and I just kept taking people on walks around the restaurant. I don’t think I sat down for more than 5 minutes at a time. No one ever offered the ice cream they said would be available on kids night (we saw the toppings table), and they cried when we put them on the saddle and sang happy birthday. A splendid evening! When we were done, KC took them out, I waited too long for our appetizer-to-go, and we were home close to 10 pm. We got there at 6:30. Ugh. I hate eating late, and even more I hate overtired kids. We’ll skip that restaurant next time we take the kids out to dinner. At least we did get a pretty good deal, and had a lot of leftovers to enjoy. And that night KC and I got out the tools and assembled three tricycles!172174175179180

On Wednesday, their actual birthday, I didn’t have much planned because my mom and dad were flying in around dinner time. When I told them happy birthday, they just kept saying, “Happy Birthday Jonny!” It took a little explaining, but soon they realized it was now their turn to celebrate! We started with the traditional birthday cereal. Since they can’t choose for themselves yet (like I’d put myself in THAT situation), I chose Trix and Cocoa Puffs. Turns out I chose well. It was a gorgeous day so we decided to go to Watkins Park. It wasn’t our most fun visit with a lot of potty false alarms and Ruby not listening to me when I told (more like yelled at) her to not run into the street as I am running with the stroller to catch up with her. I think they were tired from the lack of sleep the night before and were acting up a little. We were anxious to get home and get to sleep. During naps I worked on the cakes and took a rest myself.


Around 6 I piled up the kids and went to the airport to pick up my mom and dad. The kids had so much to say as they all got reacquainted. KC was busy getting balloons (which I suspected the kids would like more than any present we got for them), and picking up pizzas. We had a delicious dinner of pizza and salad, and ended with lots of birthday cakes. I made a little one for each of the kids with funfetti cake cut into stars that I stacked with different color frostings. They were happy kids. We also enjoyed a late birthday cake I promised to make for my dad when he came. I call it a peanut butter truffle cake. Addicting. The candles were so exciting for the toddlers, and they devoured their little cakes. I was clearly not thinking that day because I forgot to get any before pictures of their little cakes. Arg. After all that fun it was pretty late and the kids were already hyped up with the visitors and sweets so we decided to save presents for the next day. The kids didn’t know any different.


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B (I meant to give B the blue, but they were handed out so quickly, and it really didn’t matter in the end).236243242




After boot camp the next morning (mom and dad came and did great!), we finally brought out the tricycles! They were a HUGE hit, just as I hoped they would be.  Ruby picked it up very quickly and started giving people rides! The boys also figured it out eventually. They are at the perfect age for these. I can’t believe how old they are. I just can’t.273274290293302306307308

The rest of the day was full of fun. With my mom and dad to help out, we took the kids to Pump it Up. Ruby and Bennett dove right in, while Alex hung back. He tends to get overstimulated easily. It happens a lot. But we didn’t let him get us down. We played and played until our time was up. My dad was awesome taking each kid, including cousin Penny, through the obstacle courses. Even Alex who wasn’t too happy about it. It was great. I took everyone in the hurricane simulator, which frightened my kids to death. But we all had a good laugh about it. Good mom, huh? I wish there was some kind of membership deal to that place, cause I’d take my kids there once a week. It’s like 10 minutes from our house. 023024026028051058062063

If that wasn’t enough fun, we stopped at the Chick-Fil-A down the street for lunch, and MORE play time. It was much more Alex’s pace, and the food and service was awesome, as usual. We were ALL ready for a nap at that point. I don’t know how my parents were holding up getting up at 3 am their time for boot camp, and playing hard with the kids all morning, but they were troopers.


That night there were many more presents to be had. They were in heaven, and it was hilarious and heartwarming to hear how happy and excited they were. There was a near-disaster, when the fire truck was the more popular toy among the boys. I was annoyed with myself that I got two different toys. When will I learn!? Luckily, they soon saw the coolness of the helicopter, and did a pretty good job taking turns with each. And I was right about the balloons. Those things are like gold around here. 316318325328332335340347349

So, how is that for a huge, three-day birthday celebration?! Hey, with three kids to celebrate, it makes sense to keep the party going. It was so great to celebrate my babies turning three. Yes, I still call them that. I can’t stop. This has been such a big year for them. And me! I remember the first time I let them walk to the car on their own. That was HUGE for a mom who no longer had to make several trips in and out of the car. Other big developments this year have been that they can actually communicate with me and other kids, they learned to buckle their high chairs, we started potty training, sharing toys is easier, they love to hold hands, they love to say please and “tank you,” they can put on their own shoes . . . the list could go on. Maybe I’ll feel like this at every birthday, but there has been so much progress this past year that has made my life so much easier, and for that I am grateful. These little things might not be so noticeable to others, but you definitely feel a weight lifted when you no longer have to lift three big kids into the back of the van any more.

Happy Birthday, Sweeties. It’s been a crazy year, but we have all learned a lot and have become closer because of it. I now have three three-year-olds. I’m sure I’ll still need all the prayers that were being said for us when they were two. Keep them coming.   149