Friday, May 30, 2014

I am the mother of a graduate

Last Thursday Zach graduated from Pre-K and I didn't cry. Who is proud? Me, too! OK, I might have teared up when the director started reading some poem about how we gave them our kids as babies and they are giving them back to us as kids. But I pulled it together. It is just Pre-K after all, I needed to calm down.
Zach's teachers told him to dress up and he took them very, very seriously. Going so far as to tell me I had to wear a dress and not exercise clothes. He even picked it out and told me I had to wear my fancy shoes. He needed to calm down as well.
We went to Chick-fil-A for a celebratory lunch after and I tried to get a photo of all four of us (plus Liv) but as usual it looks like I was not there. Some stranger just took photos of my family.
The entire ceremony lasted about 7 minutes and I put Alex in charge of videoing the part when he got his diploma. I should have remembered Zach's first solid food and known how this would go. Ridiculous.
video

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three is the new two

Everyone who has had a baby in the past five years (maybe longer) will know what I am talking about. The questions start almost immediately after you have your second baby - will you have a third? And God forbid you have two of the same gender, then everyone wants to know if you will "try for the boy/girl". When did having two kids stop being plenty? Because let me tell you, two kids is more than plenty.

But of course you parents of one kid don't know this. You are enjoying all the special moments with that solo kid and worrying about every little thing (no judgment, I totally did it). But if you decide, and are able to, have another, your world is turned on its ass. Totally. I can't even fathom what throwing one more person into the mix is like. I know too much now, it is not like the naivety of going from one to two. I only have two hands, four chairs at a table and I have a hard enough time listening to two people talking to me at the same time. What in the world would I do with another?

And yet.... as my boys get bigger, I have a hard time getting him out of my head, this third Wall boy (we all know it would be a boy).
Back in January, I took James' car seat into the Baby's R Us trade in event and smugly thought, I am handling this so, so well. Look at me! I am not sad or sappy about giving away this car seat we bought for Zach, that James has now outgrown. Only hoarders attach sentimental value to inanimate objects.

Seriously, I was really handling it well.

Then we turned down the baby isle and I lost my mind. I legitimately needed a new thermometer and the next thing I knew, I was holding back tears and throwing diaper paste and safety latches into my basket.

Keep in mind my actual baby, James, was with me. And that I had plans to potty train him in the coming weeks. And by "I had plans" I mean he has been crying about wanting to wear underwear for weeks. Point being, I don't need diaper paste, a safety latch or the Purell I now own. As if I Purelled with James anyway. Clearly I was not handling this as well as I thought.

But what I have finally realized is that I am not sad about not having a third baby, I am just sad that my two babies are not actually babies any longer. I am not looking for that third Wall baby, I just want my two Wall babies to stay little. I get sad that I will never rock them in the chair and listen to the sleep sheep (that I can't give away) while they sleep in the bassinet next to me again. My babies are turning into kids. Great, happy, funny kids, but the more baby fat James looses, the closer it gets to me being alone with three boys in my house.
When I see pregnant women, I don't long to join their ranks again, But, I remember the excitement and the anticipation you feel when there is a tiny being growing in your belly. There are so many questions and so many different ways your future can go. I miss that.

And when your infant comes home and you rock your baby to sleep, or let him sleep on you, it is just the best, sweetest feeling. That small weight in your arms, relying on you, needing you. I miss that too.

I am not sad about not having a third, or not having a girl, I am just sad that that time period in my life is coming to a close. OK, maybe a little sad about not having a girl. But as I told Zach when his asked, if I wanted a girl baby; yes, I did, but I just didn't know I really wanted him.

Monday, May 26, 2014

For the extras

Last week was the boys final week of school. James is out of the twos program and Zach is out of the school, headed to kindergarten in the fall. I am currently in complete denial about it, which is preferable to the mini-panic attack I was contemplating. Three months, people.Three months exactly until they have school again. Terrifying.

Last week I was all sorts of crazy after getting back from a wedding in St. Louis on Monday, pre-K graduation Thursday, then rolling right into Alex's birthday Saturday. I had previously set up the teacher's gifts, so I was ready for that. But what about those extra people, you know, the directors, art/music teacher, etc? I didn't want to phone it with a Starbucks card (because I did that for Christmas, let's be clear, I am not above it.) but I was tired. I really didn't want to get too crafty.

As if, that was possible. I was purchasing the Target gift card for the teachers when I spotted these 8GB zip drives in the check out aisle for 5.99. Surely I could come up with a clever saying for that, right? I feel everyone can use a zip drive. I seem to always loose them and for 5.99, they seemed perfect.
It took me a while, but I landed on the phrase, "Hope we didn't drive you too crazy this year". Because you all know I am a handful.
In case you could use this as well, I set up a PDF file. Just cut out the gray rectangle and you are ready to go!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The P Word

As some of my loyal followers might have noticed, there are few things I don't talk about on the blog. 1) how skinny I am (I know, I know, I am clearly getting too thin) and 2) potty training. 

I know you thought I was going to say penises.

I was at lunch with my friend Melinda last week, telling her the story of James' potty training and she said I had to put it on the blog. I gave her my lecture about how people don't want to read the word "potty", "pee" or "poop". And by people, I mean me. People, do not use any of those words in your Facebook status. We, moms, are thrilled for you and your diaper free house, but I don't want to read about it unless you are telling me how to do it in one day and with no alcohol, Then you have my attention.

Unless you have successfully completed this stage using the above mentioned conditions, I barely want to talk about the subject that monopolizes 95% of my life. But she insisted it was a funny story and should be shared. So, if you would like to not read about pee or the potty, please go away now. Or at least after you look at this photo of me in a pee stained shirt.
That is right, those stains are pee. I sent this text to my sister so she would understand the dire position I found myself in. I still don't know how he manged to hit my shirt. There is pee all over my bathrooms. Please don't come visit and expect to use the bathroom without me handing you a Clorox wipe and protective shoes. I mean, I clean it up, but my baby boy manages to pee out the door and into the living room.

I don't get it. I really don't get it. Zach was not like this. Granted, I am clearly remembering it all perfect - but he was done in three days, his pee always went directly into the pot and he was standing up in about 2-3 weeks. Done and done.

Then came the love of my life, James. He was determined to wear underwear. Spider-man underwear which he and his lisp call Biderman underwear. He first refused to go on the potty, he just peed in his pants. Like a boss. Not the least bit concerned that his socks and shoes were now soaking wet. He would look you in the eye and lie that no, his socks were not wet and no, he did not need to change his pants; he was busy and could you please stop pestering him with this insane talk. 

Once that phase passed he now runs to the bathroom, sits down (that is what baby boys do) and pees everywhere. I am running right behind him shouting, "put you penis down! You can do it!" like a perverted cheerleader. He just beams at me, pees on my good yoga pants and says, "I did soooo good not pee-pee in my underwear". He is just so proud of himself, I can only agree. Even though of course he has peed on his underwear as they sit on the floor at his feet.

I tried to talk to my co-parent and got zero help. "He will just have to learn" and "He didn't do that for me [for the 2 hours I had him]" do not help me as I am using my, now catlike reflexes to dive out of the way of the stream.

So here I am. Cheering and doing a dance to the "We did it!" song from Dora the Explorer after every successful trip to the bathroom, even if "success" now means he didn't get his shoes wet. Or mine.

So now, he is exclusively going in the backyard. Yes, we are those people. I don't care. Not even a little bit. My baby drops his pants to his knees and flashes his teeny tiny bottom and my bathroom stays clean.

Unless it gets rains again. Sigh.

Clorox wipes and vodka can be shipped to my mailing address. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The end is coming

There are exactly 10 more days of school for the boys. Well, technically, James only has five. Holy crap. That is coming really, really fast. I can't focus on the summer yet, or the weeks that we have very little to do...what I can focus on is end of the year teacher gifts! Naturally, I can get really excited about this.

I thought some of you might be getting panicky/excited as well, so I did a round up of the things I have done in the past in case you need suggestions for this year.
Donuts - Send the teacher's off to summer with a sweet treat and a gift card for the local doughnut place. Since she won't be rushing to get to school, she has time, but you know she is up.
Gift Cards - Check out the bottom of this post for a link to printable gift card holders. Make the teacher smile all while saying - thank you for making sure my child wiped!
Cookies - If you didn't use this for Valentine's day, you could totally use it now. Package up some cookies to wish your teacher well this summer.
Cup + Lemonade - Super easy, super cute with printable tags.
Bookmark - This is what I did last year, and might do again. I printed out this cute bookmark and included it with an Amazon gift card. Easy and fast.

Also you can check out my For a Great Teacher Pinterest board for more suggestions than you most likely want. Happy Summer!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Muffin Tin Doughnuts

Can the people at America's Test Kitchen do anything wrong? Not in my book. Every recipe I have tried has been perfect. This one is no different. Who doesn't want doughnuts made without frying and in your pajamas? Exactly.
I have zero changes to the recipe and I just used milk with a splash of white vinegar to make buttermilk. I am certain they would be even better if I actually used buttermilk. They taste like cinnamon sugar cake doughnuts.
I also made a quick pink coating for James (who only wants pink doughnuts) out of juice and powdered sugar. I poured chocolate syrup over Zach's when he asked for chocolate. Neither of them liked these changes. But both of them liked the original version. Naturally.
The recipe is quick and easy, perfect for lazy Saturday mornings. We don't have those being Walls, so I made them on a slow Friday morning.

Muffin Tin Doughnuts
Cook's Country
Makes 12 big or 18 medium sized muffins

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 cup sugar (coating)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (coating)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 400. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Whisk flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Whisk buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs together in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
2. Scoop batter into prepared tin and bake until doughnuts are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes.
3. For the coating, whisk sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Remove doughnuts from tin and dip into melted butter. Roll in cinnamon and sugar, pressing to adhere.