Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We are "Unplugging" (sort of)

After reading this post on The Young and the Relentless and then watching this episode of Oprah on Wednesday, I decided that my family needed to cut back on our technology use. We watch WAY too much TV (especially since I have gotten pregnant), I am on the computer WAY too much and S loves his Blackberry. I think it is time for us to spend the next few days looking at how much we rely on technology and then develop a plan for the summer that allows us to cut back and enjoy the simple pleasures of life :)

Originally I had wanted to "unplug" all technology for a week (like the families on Oprah) but then S and the rest of my friends pointed out how we are not abnormally connected to technology, like those families were, and that cutting back a little bit was all we really needed. My friend M also pointed out that the end of my term as VP of our mother's group is coming up and I will need to participate in a bunch of emails :)

For those of you who missed that episode of Oprah, the two families had to give up all technology (cell phones, i-pods, game systems, TV's, computers etc.), go on one grocery store trip for the week (budget of $125.00), eat all meals from home (either at home or brown bagged), spend no money on stuff, participate in one family activity that gave back to the community and the couple had to plan a date night.

So to kick off our summer, the Raising Z household will be monitoring our technology usage over the next few days and then will start our new and improved technology plan on Thursday, May 28th. Z will cut back on his TV viewing (I want to get him down from two hours to one), monitoring my laptop use (maybe an hour for the entire day) and S and I will try to cut down on our TV time in the evening. We will also attempt to eat more from home (take out is so easy when you are pregnant), will attempt to visit the grocery store once a week with a budget (I have been going 4-5 times a week!) and will try not to spend money on anything that is not necessary. Hopefully this will give us more time, energy and money to enjoy our summer!

I hope that this challenge will free up some time for Z and I to focus on potty training. S and I can now spend the evenings playing board games, talking and finally get our fire pit up and running. And I will be able to accomplish some things that have been on my to-do list for awhile: start taking a daily morning walk with Z (I could use the exercise), get the nursery organized, quilt and maybe write a letter or two :)

So my blogging time will be limited this summer but I will be checking in a few times a week :) I will continue to update you on our progress!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer Adventures

Every year, for the past 5 years, S and I have made a list of special things that we have wanted to do over the summer. We find that summer flies by in a tornado of craziness and before you know it, the leaves are changing colors. These lists have helped us to make sure that we make the most out of our short New England summers. Here is how we did with last years list.

A few weeks ago my friend Cl took Z and I on an "Adventure" with her two boys. When she takes her sons on an adventure, the boys have no idea where they are going or who they are going with (this way if plans need to change, they are not disappointed). It was so much fun to participate in the excitement of their adventure (we went to a train shop with a huge model train) and so Z and I have started going on "Adventures" of our own. He LOVES them :) Thanks Cl!

So in honor of Summer 2009, S and I have split our plans up into three categories of "Adventures". The first category contains Summer Adventures with Z during the week (maybe with friends, his cousin or his Neene), the second is filled with Family Weekend Adventures and the third is our Home Improvement Adventures (things to do before the baby comes or the weather turns).

So here is our Summer Adventure list :)

Adventures With Z
1. Space Adventure--trip to the Planetarium
2. Fish Adventure--trip to the local Fish Ladder
3. "Moo" Adventure--a visit to the local farm
4. Wet and Wild Adventure--a visit to a splash park
5. Periwinkle Adventure--tide pooling
6. Curious George Adventure--a trip to the zoo
7. Sun and Sand Adventure--a trip to the lake to build castles and swim
8. Movie Adventure--a trip to see the latest Kidtoon Film
9. "Play Ball" Adventure--a trip to see our local AA baseball team

Family Adventures
1. Fantasy Weekend Adventure--a trip to the local children's Amusement Park and a ride on Thomas the Train :)
2. Ocean Adventure--a trip to our favorite beach for a picnic
3. Fish are Yummy Adventure--a pilgrimage to our favorite spot for clam cakes and CHOWDAH!
4. "Ahoy There Matey" Adventure--a boat trip with a cannon blast
5. Putt Putt Adventure--a game of mini golf
6. Quack, Quack Adventure--a trip to the Boston Public Garden to follow the path of Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack
7. Oooh, Aahh Adventure--a trip to see Fireworks
8. "Fore" Adventure--a trip to the driving range
9. "Farmer Z" Adventure--Z would like his own carrot garden like Curious George
10. Lazy Days of Summer Adventure--3 weeks at the lake :)

Home Improvement Adventures
1. Finally finish Master Bathroom (we are soooo close)
2. New flooring in our Kitchen and Dining room to fix the damage of our indoor flood
3. Work on our new front landscape
4. Building our new laundry room in the basement
5. Remodel downstairs bath
6. Get Nursery ready
7. Paint front of house and deck

And as always we will be playing the summer license plate game! I have been playing this since I was a small child. It is really easy....from Memorial Day-Labor Day you try to find as many license plates from the 50 states as you can....one year I had 47 (including Hawaii!)

I highly recommend putting together your own Summer Adventure list. We find that our list helps us to make the most out of our summer and helps us to create so many wonderful summer memories! The summer countdown has begun :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Noni's Garden

Z loves being outdoors and would stay out all day long if we let him. He loves his swing set, playing ball, riding bikes and his latest love is GARDENING :) Unfortunately his mom has a bit of a brown thumb (gets this from her mom) and so I have been trying really hard to improve my gardening skills for Z's sake ;)

This past weekend at the garden center, Z ran toward the marigolds and shouted "flowers". There were hundreds of flowers to choose from but he decided the marigolds, way in the back, were for him. I couldn't help but smile and ran to catch up with him. As he tried to pry the marigolds from their large flats, I explained that marigolds were what Noni planted in her flower garden every year :) He smiled and continued trying to free the flowers so he could put them in his wagon. I asked him if he wanted to plant a special "Noni Garden" around the mailbox and he said, "YES!" So that is exactly what we did.

We also had dirt delivered that day to help with our front landscape (S ripped 5-6 dying plants out of our landscape). There is nothing more fantastic to a little boy than a pile of dirt! What fun Z had digging, climbing, driving his trucks and raking the dirt about. When he wasn't in the dirt he was watering everything and anything he could :)

My little gardener now has his own garden gloves (for planting and weeding), a larger watering can (so we don't have to fill it up as often), a new hose attachment for "watering the grass", seeds growing inside and plans for a carrot garden that he is going to plant with S (just like Curious George). So now when we go outside, he runs right by his bucket of balls and runs straight for his garden tools. It is too cute ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer Reading List

I just read this post from Life in the House of No Sleep and made the sad realization that I have only read 22 of those 100 classics (although there are 7 Harry Potter books and 7 books in the Narnia series as well)! I am a bit ashamed of that number and so I decided to put together a summer reading list for myself (I use to dread these in High School). I know once this baby is born, I will not have that much time for reading so it is time to cram in some classics.

Here are the books I have read:

1. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
2. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (I have read them at least 3 times each)
3. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
4. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
5. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (I have read this 4 times)
6. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
7. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
8. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
9. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
10. Animal Farm - George Orwell
11. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
12. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (I read the entire series)
13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
14. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
15. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
16. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding (I read the sequel as well)
17. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
18. Charlotte's Web - EB White
19. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
20. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
21. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
22. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

Here is my summer reading list:

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Then I need to read my book club books (unfortunately not on the list), Pregnancy Week by Week and many Potty Training Books (oh I need lots of help here!).

I think that is a pretty hefty list for now. I will submit a book report after each book :) Here's to your summer reading!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I have been feeling better over the last few weeks (have actually been off of my medication for the past 4 days) and this means that my appetite has come back. With this new appetite, I am enjoying the world of pregnancy cravings! It amazes me that I will crave something one day and then find it repulsive the next. When I was pregnant with Z, I could not get enough mashed potatoes. This craving lasted for three months and then I couldn't go near them for the rest of my pregnancy. My other big craving with Z was chicken. I know this might not sound strange but I had not had chicken for 10 years when I was pregnant with Z. I had always told myself that while I was pregnant I would eat white meat and when my mother in-law brought wings to the house one day in my first trimester...I devoured them! This time around chicken repulses me (unless it is mixed in a sauce). Go figure ;) Maybe I will give red meat a shot (haven't had that since I was 16!).

During pregnancy I allow myself to do three things that I don't ordinary allow myself to do. They are: spend time each day with my feet up, not feel guilty over not exercising as much as I should (or at all) and giving into cravings. I try my best to eat a well balanced and healthy diet but pregnancy is the only time I don't allow myself to feel guilty over eating things that I would normally stay away from.

So my cravings this time around have been pickles (traditional), Chicken Chow Mein with crunchy noodles, goat cheese, Portuguese Sweet Bread (still haven't found any of this), root beer, Kellog's Raisin Bran and Pizza Combos. Today I REALLY wanted potato chips and French onion dip. When I went to the grocery store to pick up things for tonights dinner, I was on a mission to find the best dip. As I was walking toward the dairy case I heard this little angelic voice say, "Miss, would you like to try some chips and dip?" Was she kidding??? Was she sent from heaven??? Of course I said yes, grabbed Z's hand and ran over to her free sample station. I told her all about my craving and she smiled and gave me 3 coupons. I just finished up my snack....so good.....and I hope that I still like it tomorrow because I bought a lot of it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

He Did It!!!--Potty Training Part II

Z peed on the big potty today for the first time!!! It was so exciting for the two of us and of course I was so not ready for it :) My goal was to start his training next week and work this week on finishing my reading of this book, create a reward system with a chart and go out and buy all of the rest of the potty training materials that I think we need (pad for the car seat, more pull ups, training pants, shield for the public potty etc.).

Z's new potty came in the mail yesterday (our third attempt at a potty, he has not liked the traditional potty on the floor or the plain squishy seat on the big potty) and I made the mistake of putting it together in front of him last night. As soon as it was together he asked me to put it on the potty. I did and he went up and down the built in step stool and tried the potty with his pants on. I was on the phone with my BF chatting while this was going on. All of a sudden he asked me to take his pants off....I hung up the phone, took them off and he tried out the potty for about 20 minutes without pants on (up, sit, read, down, up, sit, read, down....). We read all of our potty books last night at bedtime and I put him to bed.

This morning he asked me to try out his potty again. He climbed up and wouldn't you know it, he sat down on his potty and he peed!!!! (He peed all over the floor because this potty doesn't have a big splash guard and I haven't taught him how to push his penis down but who cares!?!?!?). We wiped him up, flushed, washed his hands and then put on his first pull-up :) We danced around the house, he ate his two jelly beans and got his brand new Red the Fire Truck from Disney Cars ;)

He then eyed the lollipops in my "Potty Training Candy Jar" and said, "Momma Lollipop?" I thought quick on my feet and told him that lollipops were for poops on the potty. He then ran back to the potty and sat there for 20 minutes (god love him) trying to poop on the potty (we read many books and sang songs). We had to leave the house so I gave him another jelly bean for trying and told him we would try again later. He was sad to leave but psyched to be wearing his new pull-ups :)

As soon as we got home, he ran to the potty. I told him that mommy had to go first (I think a pregnant lady trumps a toddler trying to get a lollipop...right?) and he finally agreed to this. When it was his turn he pulled down his pants and tried again for another 15 minutes! Unfortunately no poop.....then he got off of the potty, went to his train table and pooped while playing with Thomas. Go figure....I am not sure he is ready for pooping yet :)

It was a great success for us. Z is a child who hates change but he seems to really be enjoying the candy, bribes and the big deal that I am making over this. He can't wait for his daddy to come home so he can show him how he sits on the potty! I do need to figure out a system quick....he can't be getting a new car every time he pees or a lollipop every time he poops (he poops up to 5 times a day). I am off to figure that out and I will let you know what I come up with ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Mother's Day

My Mother's Day began at 5:30 AM with Z standing up in his pack n play saying, "Daddy". I quickly grabbed him before he woke anyone else up in the cottage and pulled him into bed with S and I. I snuggled in with him, rubbed his back and prayed that he would go back to sleep. S and I were exhausted from our crazy travels the night before (we drove 2.5 hours to a friends 50th birthday party and then drove back to the lake after the party), we really needed sleep.

Once I felt Z start to drift off, my small pregnant bladder began to act up. I had already been to the bathroom 3 hours prior but had to go again! I whispered in Z's ear that I would be right back and quietly tiptoed out of the room. Sleeping in the great room was my sister, brother in-law and their dog.....I tried so hard not to wake them but the dog began to stir. I waved to him and kept on my mission.

When I was tucked back in bed, Z snuggled in and I continued to rub his back. I was not happy to be up that early but it was so nice to start my Mother's Day off with my little guy in my arms. I thought about the baby growing inside of me and could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. At that moment I felt like the luckiest woman alive. I do have my own share of daily struggles but being a mother is the most important job I have ever had and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with my child. He is such a wonderful kid and I can't wait for him to meet the baby and teach him or her all of the wonderful things he knows.

Feeling so blessed, I drifted off to sleep and woke up to Z stirring at 7:30! S quietly got out of bed and Z and I laid in bed and chatted. We talked about his evening with his auntie, uncle and grandparents. He told me all about what he did, ate and the fun he had. I told him all about the birthday party....it was a really nice time. It took S a long time to return (we thought he was in in the bathroom but he was actually fishing!!!) but when he did, he brought my mother's day gifts in. He and Z gave me roses, a balloon and a pregnancy massage (I can't wait).

It ended up being a bit of a crazy day but we did have a nice breakfast out with my parents and my sister and her husband. After that it was back to work at the lake (S, my mom and dad were staining the cottage for most of the day). Z and I were snuggled indoors because the wind was whipping across the lake and it was too cold to be outside. We got my mom the Wii for Mother's Day (and her birthday) so Z and I had fun playing that together.

That night we returned home to our flood (did I tell you we have water under our kitchen and dining room floors???) and S went to work tearing apart our garage ceiling to try to locate the leak before the plumber came in the morning. I ended up getting Z ready for bed and did S's nighttime routine with him (S was covered in insulation and other fun things). It was not really the relaxing evening I had envisioned but it was nice to end my day in the same manner that I started it. Z and I snuggled in, read stories, sang songs and talked about our weekend at the lake. I gave him a squeeze, a kiss and tucked him into bed.

It really was a wonderful day!!!

The picture above is Z the day he was born :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Mother's Day Challenge

This past weekend we visited with our friends J and R. They just had their first child three weeks ago and had that new parent look (you know the sleep deprived, glossy eyed, "are we doing this right?" look). After we left (we made sure to keep our visit short and that we brought them dinner) I thought back to those early days with Z. All the sleepness nights, the daily visitors, the constant worry and oh that ADVICE. I remember when Z was about a month old, I looked at Scott and said, "I can't take it anymore! We have gotten so much advice in the past few weeks and half of it contradicts the other half. What do we do??? Are we doing this parent thing right? What if we mess Z up?" It was the classic panic attack of a new mother. It was then that we decided to politely listen to all advice, read up on topics that we were curious about and do what made sense for our family.

Looking back on our visit with J and R, I realized that both S and I had given lots of advice. We talked about the positives of being a SAHM, nursing, Baby Sign Language and so much more. Now I feel incredibly guilty for doing that to them (I hope they didn't mind....after all they did have some questions). I am sure they are feeling just as overwhelmed as we did and are not sure what to do with all the advice that they have received.

I often look back at Z's life and remember all of the things that I (we) have done wrong. How could I have let my son sleep in a bouncy seat for 6 months? Why did I let Z watch TV starting at 6 months? (I always vowed he would never watch TV until he was two years old). Z has too many toys....is he spoiled? Z didn't sleep through the night until he was 12 months because I was so weak. Z is the worst eater, afraid of change and very bossy....these all must be my fault (I am sure S can share some of the blame :)). I could go on and on and on.....however in honor of Mothers Day, I have decided to celebrate those things that I (we) have actually done right :) So here we go.....

1. I nursed my son for 15 months and had to keep a very restrictive diet to do so.

2. I taught my son to use Baby Signs to communicate starting at 4 months old (he started signing at 7 months) and I am convinced this is why he is so verbal today.

3. We laugh every day!

4. S and I have read to Z every day of his life (we have never missed a day) and I am convinced this is why he LOVES books.

5. We sing every day!

6. We try to give Z as many new experiences as we can (outings to new places, family vacations, walks around the farm, playgroups, classes etc.)

7. We have taught Z how important family is and he loves being with his grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins.

8. Z is very polite (thanks to constant drilling and modeling).

9. We have taught Z to love and respect the outdoors (he adores the lake and farm the most).

10. Z is very kind and loving. I believe this has something to do with S and I and how much we love each other and how often we express our love for Z.

So there you go, I guess I am not all that bad ;) Believe it or not, that wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. So Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there (especially the greatest mother in the world, MINE ;)). I challenge all of you to reflect upon and celebrate all of the things that you have done right for your children. Your list might just surprise you :) Have a wonderful day!

The photo up above is three of the mom's who mean the world to me ;) S's mom, my mom and my Noni. I love you all and Happy Mother's Day!

This photo to the left is of my Pops, Noni, Mom, Dad and I on one of our many family vacations :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Our Spring

Here is a pictorial view of our spring. I am sorry but I am too tired to write anything lately. I am feeling a little better each week but after entertaining Z all day....there is not much left to give :)

I hope you are all doing well! Happy May :)

Z's New Train Table!!! The "dangerous"trampoline that left Z with a gray front tooth was recalled. Now he has the train table of his dreams :) It came at the perfect time, during the worst of my nausea!! It has been a wonderful distraction for Z.

Easter on the Farm :) It was chilly!

Our April Tropical Heatwave.....we took off for a weekend at the lake (my dad opened the house a month before we normally do, just for us!). Z could not wait to build sandcastles, fish with his new pole, play trucks and go swimming. We told him that it would be too cold to swim but he didn't listen :) He also was blessed with his first trip to the ER :( He is fine but he split his lip open on a pressure treated swing.

Z "swimming"

Daddy's first fish of the season :) Z took to fishing like a natural!

Water fun day with Auntie and G

A fun trip to the train shop :)