Archive | February, 2011

Kids Love Birthday Cake

27 Feb

Do you really think I had any chance of blowing out the candles on MY cake? :)

Today is My Birthday

26 Feb

Today I’m 40. There I said it!

But it still feels so weird because honestly my brain still believes I am just 16.  40 is supposed to be how old my parents are…and they were, when I was 7! (And totally on a tangent here….my father was giving me a history lesson about HIS 40th birthday and the Saturday Night Massacre…)

While I was recuperating from laser eye surgery (and by the way I am seeing 20/25 now!!!) I couldn’t read or watch TV so I was left with my thoughts.  And so I did some thinking.  I realized it was silly to keep dreading the big 4 o.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I told my husband my sour attitude was done.  I decided to embrace this big birthday.  What choice do I have?

And then another wonderful thing happened.  Last Saturday, I walked into 40 family and friends surprising me with a party!

Boy I have never been the recipient of a surprise party before and it was shocking!  I’m so touched that throughout his neck surgery and recovery my husband was sneaking over to my computer trying to figure out who to invite.  I am amazed at the spectacular job he did!

My parents, who I had Skyped with in the morning, had driven all day to be there and my brother, sister and sister in-laws traveled as well.  Everyone appeared to be having a good time.  That made me happy.

As for today, a 6-year-old party at 10:30 with my big guy and a 4-year-old party at 3:30 with the little one. I have no doubt that everyone at both of these parties will know it’s also my special day as yesterday my little guys told everyone we came into contact with, including the checkout lady at Target :)

Marble Jar Parenting

25 Feb

With two 5 year olds and one 3-year-old (going on 33), I am often exasperated when I am breaking up fights and trying to maintain calm in the house.  And as you know it’s always tougher on these vacation weeks when we are home and climbing the walls.

I mentioned that we were having some behavioral issues with the little one, but the twins haven’t been acting so saintly either.  I was shocked when my husband, who must have been exasperated too, stuck some behavior charts on the wall and encouraged the kids to earn stars.  It was a good try but the system didn’t work for us.  We were bestowing the kids with stars at the end of the day and it was too difficult for them to behave all day.  And then it seemed like there was a lot of focus on the negative behavior and none on the positive (because they weren’t earning stars).

I read about the marble jars on a parenting board and thought it might be a better solution.  Here’s how it works.  Every time a child does something positive or kind one or more marbles is placed in his or her jar.  Consequently, when something negative occurs, marbles are lost.  My kids have been warned that if they hurt one another (we’ve had a big biting problem), they are at risk of losing all their marbles (like I already have :)).  They are not to ask for marbles. When a jar is completely filled, the child will be taken to Toys R Us (which my son calls Toys for Us!) to pick out toy.  And you have to know, my kids have only entered that store once and only once in their lives so it will be a huge treat!

I’m trying to focus a lot on things they are doing right and I am really emphasizing those moments of kindness to one another, like when my son went to help the little one out of her car seat without being asked, or when the little one offered to help her sister carry something to her room, or when my daughter helped her siblings clean up a mess they made.  What I am discovering is that they are consequentially treating each other nicer.  They seem to be really invested in their jars and are disappointed at a marble loss, that is except for the problem child, who seems unaffected!

Either way I do see some improvement after 1 week of the marble jars.  They had a fun time as always going to the dollar store to choose their special jars.

How do you discipline your young children?  What works for you?

Problem Child

19 Feb

My little one was the best baby ever.  I mean it when I tell you she hardly ever fussed.  My good friend from graduate school, Carolyn, tells me that when I was pregnant and worried about how I was going to care for 3 babies (the twins were just 18 months old when she was born), that the little one “heard” me.

I fondly remember a nurse rolling her bassinet into my room at 3 a.m. the day after she was born, announcing, “it’s time to feed your baby”.  There were no cries of hunger.  There she was just laying there, with a tiny smile on her face!

Her sweet demeanor continued even when she turned 2.  She wasn’t “terrible”, just always trying to keep up with big brother and sister.

My husband and I always sort of felt sad as we’d see her running after them, always, trying to catch up, trying to fit in, and in the meantime, suffering from their ‘abuse’.  So when she turned 3 and started getting, oh let’s say, a little feisty, we thought it was a reaction to having older siblings so close to her age.

But now that her behavior has become increasingly more troublesome, my husband and I find ourselves thinking about the movie Problem Child…remember it?   That cute little red-head pushed John Ritter to his limit.

And I’m getting pulled aside on a weekly basis by my little red head’s teachers about her behavior in the class.  Take Thursday for example when the teacher told me the little one was kicking her shoes off in class, saying no, calling other kids stupid, etc, etc.  As if I didn’t already feel like the biggest failure of a parent, the teacher suggested I call my pediatrician for advice on how to manage her!  (I don’t condone her behavior but even the teacher says she’s very bright so I wonder is she’s bored.)

Believe me I’m trying.  This kid is very strong-willed.  When I threaten her with a serious consequence she pretty much nonchalantly tells me she doesn’t care.  We’re having some behavior issues all around in this house so I’ve implemented a new system which I’ll write about later.

It’s hard to believe this little angel has become my problem child! (and that happens to be her right after school)

How do you feel when a teacher talks to you about your problem child? :)

From Snow to 60 Degrees

17 Feb

We are loving the weather this week! Here in the northeast we went from frigid, snowy temps to sunny, balmy days.

We are all about getting fresh air so the moment it turned beautiful we ran outside. Consequently, the kids have been frolicking in the snow without jackets!

I’m really impressed with their creativity. They hauled out their beach toys and got to work building snow castles.

Who else is loving the weather change?

Love the Libary

16 Feb

I’ve always loved the library. I can remember, vividly, my childhood and elementary school libraries fondly.

When I got married and moved in with my husband in a new town for me, I promptly found the library and obtained my card which solidified my husband’s assertion that I’m a nerd.

So naturally, as soon as my babies were old enough to leave the house, we traveled to the library! Now that they are school age, they are able to take advantage of the wonderful story times. And I sometimes get a moment to relax in one of my favorite places.

On dreary days when we want to leave the house, it’s always fun to go the library. One near us has a nice toy area, another has computers for the kids. But really, I just love, love, love watching my kids get excited about books. :)

Who else loves the library as much as I do?

Crockpot Country Chicken Chowder

15 Feb

Well I think I’ve finally discovered a crockpot winner.  I’ve made this several times and every family member loves it; I’m sure you can imagine what a feat that is!


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use dry, minced)
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 small carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cans cream of potato soup (undiluted)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 cup half and half


In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine; brown chicken. Transfer chicken to slow cooker. Add the onions, celery,  carrots, corn kernels, soup, chicken broth and dill to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.  (I find that it’s better to cook on high a couple of hours first otherwise it takes forever for the vegetables to get tender.)

During the last 10 minutes, stir in the half and half. (I always forget and add it with everything and it’s fine)

Tastes delicious.  I make biscuits to go with it…yum.

I love soup…Anyone else make soup in the crockpot?

Valentine’s Day is a Drag

14 Feb

Well I’ve mentioned before that I’m just not a holiday person and I don’t need Hallmark to assign a day for me to love my loved ones (plus VDay also indicates my BDay is looming and this year it’s a big one).  When you have children, however, you can’t be a hater.  Instead, I muster all the enthusiasm I can, which hopefully is enough.

There was my daughter this morning all obsessed with Cupid with a thousand and one questions,

Mom, why does he wear a diaper!?

Thank goodness I had the wherewithal to tackle the class VDay cards before my PRK surgery because I am still way too blurry.   So, 3 kids, 3 classes equals roughly 50 cards.  We sat down on a quiet Saturday a couple of weeks ago and we banged them out.  I was in awe of my kindergarteners who knew all their classmates names and spellings from memory!  My 3 year old did a great job signing her name and I wrote the names of her friends.

So now my 3 year old comes home with her bag of fancy Valentines from her classmates.  I am so disappointed it appears that not one of these children had anything to do with the creation of their Valentines.  They are all beautifully scripted by the moms.  I mean, not even a 3 year old little scratch or initial was anywhere to be found.

The 5 year old bags were filled with cards attached to candy, pencils and other junk.  Have you noticed that every holiday nowadays involves goody bags?  I don’t mean to be such a curmudgeon but it just feels like everything is overdone for kids and it’s all magnified on the holidays.

I remember opening Valentine’s Day cards in elementary school.  They used to come in those little mini envelopes.  I would come home with a bag of those simple little cards and be thrilled.  My husband said he remembers not getting any Valentines!  I guess the good thing about our politically correct world now is that every child gets Valentines.

I guess I am cranky because my vision is still fuzzy.  It’s hard navigating the world this way!   However, the upside to this Valentine’s Day is that it was 59 degrees out.  I do love that.

Any other Valentine’s Day complainers out there?

My Black Hen Nursery Rhyme

10 Feb

My Black Hen

Hickety, pickety, my black hen,

She lays eggs for gentlemen.

Gentlemen come every day

To see what my black hen does lay.


First time I ever heard this nursery rhyme is when I read it to my kids last night. (Is that weird?)

I know nursery rhymes don’t necessarily sense, but, what! ?  It just seems wrong.

But it’s probably my warped way of processing things.  Do you ever have distorted moments like this?

Recovering From PRK Laser Eye Surgery

8 Feb

Last Friday I had PRK laser eye surgery. I’m going to do my best to give you a brief update because my vision is completely blurred.  I haven’t been able to read, watch TV, check my Blackberry, Facebook…horrible, as I’m sure you can imagine :)

PRK has a much longer recovery time than LASIK.  My weekend was HELL.  I was unprepared for it.  I was told I “might” feel some “discomfort”.  What I did feel was searing pain.  No one said anything about horrendous pain!  I paced around with my provided sunglasses in an agitated state until my husband strongly encouraged me to take some pain medication, which I had left over from wisdom tooth extraction in the year 2001.

I broke down and called the laser office on Sunday (which I hated to do) to get advice on how to manage my pain.  The answer:  extra-strength Tylenol.  Really?  So the top layer of my cornea was burned off (and yes, I did smell it) and Tylenol is sufficient to manage that huh?  I thought I was no wuss when it comes to pain, having given birth to my 3 year old with a failed epidural.  It seems that doctors are so fearful these days and that the unfortunate repercussion is an unwillingness to prescribe pain medication.  This was only the 3rd or 4th  time in my life I can remember needing medication.  My heart goes out to chronic pain sufferers.

The good news is that I am a fabulous healer :), ahead of schedule my doctor says.  The bad news is that I am still blurry!  But that is normal and what I was told to expect.  With LASIK, a flap is cut to access the eye where with PRK, the top layer of the cornea is wiped away.  So I’m imagining that my eye is scabby where with LASIK the scabs are internal.

Bottom line though is that the surgery was a success and I can tell my vision is getting better. The other good news is that my husband has recuperated from his surgery and will be returning to work this week.

We’ve been a funny sight…him with the neck brace and me with the dark sun glasses.

Now I’ve really gone ahead and discarded my contacts.  I am excited for the world to start becoming clearer, without any visual aides!

Have any of you had laser eye surgery or are you considering it?


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