Friday, January 30, 2009

around the house

so i was telling my sister today that my awesome husband put together a shelf for us & i had some fun decorating it with stuff from savers, the clearance rack at target, and our own collection. she asked for pictures from around our apartment so here we go! sorry the pictures are a little blurry but you get the idea.

this is our kitchen table which we love (it was a gift)...and the centerpiece is really cool but i didn't get a close-up. ben found it outside our dumpster one day & brought it home so it was free...

the shelf... (ikea, $30)

my favorite thing on the shelf, i wish the green came out more clearly, it's really vibrant (savers for $8)...

the little blue teapot (savers for $0.99), the green frame (target clearance for $3.98), the little vase (ikea for $1.50), the flowers (ikea for $0.99/each)...

purple frame (clearance from target for $2.98), small silver frame i've had for years...

(again, blurry picture, sorry) vase ($1.99 from savers), white antiqued frame i've had for years...

monet plate (savers for $0.99), green vase/bottle (savers, $2.99)...

the glass bowl (savers, $3.99), the only thing bought full price were the cherries to fill it (target, $7.99), the from out by the dumpster...

frame, a gift from my mom...vase, i've had for years...little marbles (target clearance, $1.99)...

another thing i love are these endtables. you can fit a ton of stuff in them! we were able to get 2 of them for 70% off in the clearance section outside of a furniture store...

and this vase i bought at savers for $2.99 and i love the colors of it too...

and there you have it. i think color has been really important to me because i don't have the option to paint my walls & it feels plain with everything so white. it's still a work in progress but i'm liking how it's all turning out so far.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

million dollar baby

check out those cheeks! the smushed nose, the big lips. i'm trying to remember what the mailman looks like & if she takes after him? just kidding. her hand looks a little gnarly but it was a 3-d photo so the ultrasound tech said it will look like that with a 3-d. but even if her hand comes out gnarly, she's already so loved. she's also in the 65% percentile, the dr. estimated a 7 1/2 lb. baby.

and we all know how accurate those estimates are.

but still, it was reassuring that she's measuring great, this was right around when caleb stopped growing so it's nice to hear his sister is not following in his footsteps.

other than that we verified that this girl is in fact a girl. so now the countdown begins! weekly appointments, cervical checks. all the fun.

we're getting all prepared here. thanks to some fantastic friends & family we have enough clothes for the little lady, a bassinet all set up, and a baby shower on saturday.

after that all i need is for someone else to take over my body during labor and we're good to go!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

have you seen me lately?

tonight ben was achieving his lofty goal of killing his body one p90x video at a time. but before he started up, he said to me, dead serious,

"why don't you do this one with me? you could totally do the plyometrix dvd with me."

i didn't know what plyometrix was so i thought in order for him to suggest that i join him, it was probably a low-impact, yoga type of thing. i haven't been feeling well for the past few days and told him i didn't have the energy.

but joined him in the room to watch while i surfed craigslist for a new dresser. (ours has fallen apart several times only to give us the hope after we repair it that it will continue to survive. then two weeks later, another drawer falls off.)

and about 2 minutes in to his workout i looked at ben and said,

"have you even looked at me for the past 8 months??"

watch this video and you can see why. this is not ben, just another guy. but you get the idea of why i was so incredulous that my sweaty husband would even ask me to accompany him in this type of "low-impact" work out.

ps-this particular dvd work out lasts 60 minutes. i'm pretty sure by the end of that i would have produced a premature baby. i get braxton hicks just watching him.

Monday, January 26, 2009

the curious case of benjamin strader

there are so many things that ben does right.
he takes care of me when i'm sick, encourages me anytime i want to go out with the girls, constantly makes me laugh, supports me in whatever i do, and is my partner in crime when it comes to potty-training. just the tip of the iceburg, i could go on & on.

that being said, the man can't be perfect...he's married to me. if someone absolutely perfect was married to someone with some very obvious flaws (moi), the universe would be knocked off its balance, wouldn't it?

i walked around the apartment today. and here is what i saw, all compliments of mr. benjamin. (this is serious, none of this was set up.)

i give you, exhibit A:

exhibit B:

exhibit C:

exhibit D:

i applaud him for giving it his best effort. i call them the "almost made-its" and really, am thankful he's trying. maybe after 6 more years, we can actually work to get all of these things just a couple of inches further to make their goal. we're almost there, i can feel it in my bones. in fact, just thinking about it gives me the chills.

so whaddaya say, sweet pea?

i'm just glad there is something he needs me around for. i was beginning to wonder what i could add to our relationship when he's so darn fantastic. love you bennigans!

Friday, January 23, 2009

the poop water scandal

so this little boy...

went poop in his potty!!! and it wasn't even a huge issue either like i thought it would have been. he had been holding it for a couple of days, so i just said that the next time he sat on the potty, he needed to go poop too & he'd get double the marshmallows.

well within 5 minutes of sitting down & playing his favorite computer games, he called me back in & said, "I'M DONE!"

of course i have heard this specific statement several times throughout the week & was pretty skeptical as to what "done" meant.

i walked in & he stood up & had done it!

wasn't that a lovely story?

except that it doesn't stop there...

so i pick up the little bowl out of his potty to dump it in the toilet. and was so excited about it all, congratulating him & praising him, that i didn't think through the logistics of the dumping of the stuff into the toilet.

i just plop it in there and...


you have got to be kidding me.

poop water all over me.

a drop on my cheek even.

and of course, i was wearing a white shirt.

i start gagging and dry heaving, coughing & choking. caleb looks at me & i'm still trying to tell him how proud i am of him through my gags.

i don't want him to see how revolted i am by his masterpiece & all that he's just accomplished. i finish cleaning it up, then him up, then myself.

and though i'm still dry heaving just thinking about the experience, i am so proud of him. and if i have to have poop water splashed on my cheek every time just so he'll go on the potty, i'll do it.

okay, not really.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a healthy addiction

first of all, thank you to all for your kind words & advice from the last post. even though i don't want others to have a hard time with potty-training just so we can all be miserable together, it does make me feel better that i am not the only one. i was thinking that everyone else was finding it smooth sailing while i was stranded out on the rocky shores without a paddle. so thanks for helping me through this!

we are still at it and i must say, it's getting better. at least the constant crying has stopped. (his, not mine. :) caleb is one who will push until you are sure you're going to break, then when you continue to dig in your feet, he finally caves. lucky for me i had lots of practice with this at the group home.

ben & i feel like saying to him, "friend, until you have threatened my life with a knife, or a hockey stick, or one of your crutches, this is cake." but we don't want to put any ideas into his head.

on another subject.

for the past couple of weeks i have been in, more obsessed with this:

i consider this a somewhat healthy obsession. well at least i did, until i realized a few days ago that i get a little possessive of it.

the other night we were nearing the end of the carton. i was pouring myself a glass as ben walked into the kitchen & said, "ooh! pour me some too."

normally that is no big deal but i stared into the carton, looking at what was left like gollum looked at the ring that took his soul.

the soy milk called to me. it wanted me. it needed me. i was greedy.

i poured the rest of the carton into my cup and told ben i would share it with him.

but the precious took over.

i gulped and gulped until there was like two sips left for ben.

he looked at me, standing there with guilty eyes and cheeks full of chocolate soymilk and said,
"nice sharing, babe."

and i started laughing. so hard in fact, that i sprayed chocolate soymilk all over myself, and it came snorting out of my nose. both nostrils.

luckily i was close to the kitchen sink, but still, it was a mess. and i lost most of the precious soymilk i had been so selfish with because i have no self-control.

you'd think i would have learned my lesson from that experience. but ben walked in from the store last night with a new carton and i have to say, i felt that same greedy little voice lovingly purr in my head, "my prrrrrreccccioussss."

is potty-training my only problem? clearly, it is not.

introducing... a girl with issues.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

quote of the day...

"i was singing from the wrong rectum."

-american idol reject

(that loony lady took me back to my other life...last year...and i didn't miss it.)


let's just be honest here. why did it take us so long to potty-train caleb? well i've composed a list of excuses, such as:

  • slow physical development, making it hard to teach him how to sit down & stand up from the potty
  • living in the group home last year, knowing our schedule was so crazy that we wouldn't be able to dedicate the time needed to him
  • his total disinterest in potty-training, exhibiting none of the signs that all of the potty-training books say toddlers will exhibit when they are "ready"
  • traveling plans, schedules where we didn't have 3 consecutive days of staying home all day

there is truth at the heart of all of these justifications. but if we want to call the pawn, pawn & the vino, vino (as our friend pdge puts it), the real truth is this:

i know my child.

and i knew that at 18 months, 2 years, 2 1/2 years, 3 years & now 3 1/2 years, this was going to be difficult. but i kept hoping that as he got older, he would catch the vision.

you see, aside from inheriting his mother's dimples, he also inherited his mother's stubborn streak.

remember this day? (from the private blog)

for those new here, this was a year ago when caleb opted for like a 45 minute time out in order to avoid getting a hair cut. i tried to bribe him with treats, shows, toys, you name it.

and i finally caved because i just couldn't do it anymore.

so back to the task at hand...

we are on day 2 of potty-training. i have tried the steps from "potty training in 3 days" and all he will do is go sit down on the potty, cry about how scared he is, then afterward, get up & 10 minutes later, have an accident. and because we are doing our best not to shame him, we say, "oh that's okay." so he thinks it's just fine.

then i have adapted to dr. phil's "potty train in 1 day" where we just sit on the potty....for a good hour or books, watch shows, etc. until he finally goes. this method has seemed more effective because he actually goes and then we can throw a party to motivate him to do it again.

which makes him feel fantastic.

until the next time he has to go sit on the potty again.

for those parents who get to post on their blogs things that say, in a nutshell:
"wow, he/she just sat down voluntarily & just potty-trained himself/herself! we didn't have to do anything!"

i am sincerely happy for you. sincerely.

but today i am not necessarily in a place where i can hear those stories of amazing success & all of the un-difficulty it took to potty-train your child.

i am tired, due in 5 weeks, and just want the un-fun that potty training is, to be over.

advice, words of encouragement, perhaps a volunteer to come over & be a miracle worker?

any of those are welcome.

right about...


Monday, January 19, 2009

growing up

today is the day.

the day.

we are potty-training caleb & ask for a moment of silence as we celebrate his first time going potty like a big boy.

it only took quite a bit of crying, about 30 mini-marshmallows, some cool underpants, about 15 books and 3 hours.

then the biggest potty party you have ever seen.

here's to many more potty parties & moments of silence today.

what a big boy.

hope you're having a great holiday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

being knocked off my high horse

caleb has been known to humble me many times while being his mom. on several occasions he has run away from me covering his eyes & screaming when i am not wearing make-up, and just a few days ago told me he didn't like my "smell."

well yesterday he & i were having a discussion about his new primary class and what he learned there. out of the blue he said,

"but you can't come in my class, momma."

"why not?" i asked him.

"because you're too big. your belly won't fit through the door."

and if that wasn't enough, he then finishes deflating what self-esteem i have left by saying,

"you're so big, you'd knock the whole class over."

i was so shocked and started laughing at his brutal honesty. remind me again why i taught him english? i should have had him learn french from a tutor so that when the insults came flying at me, at least i wouldn't know what he was saying.

before you go thinking he is a total brat, let me assure you he isn't. maybe half-brat, half-angel. other times he can be really sweet and tell me how beautiful i look and how much he loves me. and don't worry, even though i laugh i make sure to tell him that there are certain things we don't say to people because it can hurt their feelings.

i love how being a mom can totally make you lose your self-esteem & self-worth. and then your 3 year old opens his mouth and exposes your vulnerabilities. that you look like a scary boy without mascara on, you don't always smell like flowers, and you no longer have the ability to suck in your stomach while walking through doorways.

standing up on a pedastal? who, me? with caleb around, that's very doubtful.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

cocoa butter is crap.

while we are on the subject of embarrassing pregnant stories, last night took the cake. maybe sharing in my humiliation will help others to not feel alone??

or really, just to help me look like an idiot.

i always get extremely thirsty around 10 pm. i don't know why. but it's unfortunate timing because consuming any type of liquid at that time results in multiple trips to the bathroom before i can get to sleep and at least one time of being awoken by my full bladder around 4am.

so last night i drank a full bottle of water around the usual time and tried to empty things out before i hit the sack. but as i was brushing my teeth, i decided for some reason to inspect my belly at that moment. i started staring at the tiny, yet very noticeable purple marks in my lower abdomen that confirmed my fears.

stretch marks.

i know a lot of people get them and that there's really not much you can do. i didn't get them last time because caleb was so tiny. but why oh why does cocoa butter claim to help? i have lubed up my stomach morning and night but to no avail.

cocoa butter is crap.

as i stare at my belly in the mirror, lost in loathsome thoughts directed toward the marketers of cocoa butter, i unintentionally drool toothpaste all over myself.

and ben stares at me. and i realize what has happened. i start laughing so hard that i drool some more and almost snort toothpaste out of my notstrils. (seriously, how could he not be in love with me?)

of course, right then my bladder reminds me that i had consumed 8 oz. and it can barely hold 2, so i run to make an emergency trip to the bathroom before the nightmares of mrs. atwood's 1st grade class repeats itself.

no buttons up the back of my pj's thank heavens. us short-armed people are not built for such shenanigans.

luckily i made it and then cleaned up my toothpaste drool while ben laughed at me and climbed in bed.

see what crappy cocoa butter made me do?

and on another subject of crap...

please allow for a minute of venting about p90x.

it's not that the program isn't as intense as it says it is. i know first hand, after sitting on the couch watching ben do his ab work out while i ate cookies. it is some hard stuff. these people are not messing around.

but here is my issue. we buy the dang thing (i did get it for 50% off, but still, it's expensive) but then realize that not only do you have to buy the program but then you have to buy:

a weight set (like $300 for the one he, not going to happen when we still need to buy a carseat for the child about to enter the world)
a pull-up bar ($35)
a heart monitor ($100 for a decent one)
a membership on their snazzy look-at-us-lose-our-weight website ($2.99/wk)

i mean seriously!

he has been doing the program for a mere 2 days now and it has kicked his butt, but in a good way. though it's very time consuming & something that i am skeptical of because it seems like a lifestyle that is difficult to keep up.

but buyer beware, the 13 disc program is the least of your worries. how about having to get a second job to support all of the bells & whistles you have to buy after it?

crap #1= cocoa butter...
a lame attempt to put pregnant moms at ease
crap #2= p90x...
effective but expensive

girls night

we rounded up some of the craziest ladies we knew for a dinner filled with good food and sassy conversation. it was new year's day at the gateway mall & we had every intention of shopping afterward...but who knew all the stores closed at 6pm that night??? we thought it was a joke but sadly were mistaken.

it didn't take away from our good time though, here are some pictures. i wish you could hear the filth coming out of carrie's (ben's twin) mouth as we snapped away....

myself & amanda. we are about 2 weeks apart. i wish i would have turned to the side for a more accurate comparison, but i think it's awesome that her belly is bumping my chest...

mom & carrie...

wendy (friends since 2nd grade) & lauren...

myself & christy (friends since 9th grade)...

luckily wendy joined our elementary school after the pants-wetting incident...

carrie, amanda & new friend andrea (thanks for coming!)...

we missed those who couldn't come and really you missed out on a great time.
here's to next year!

Monday, January 12, 2009

christmas eve night.

christmas eve night, caroling & having a fantastic evening at nana's house.

caroling to tiffany, mick & addy. they lived across the street from us for 10 years, then bought our old house & fixed it up fancy...

paul, my mom & cindy. sorry about the closed eyes photo, mom! you still look great...

the two fellas eagerly awaiting the gifts...

giving nana a big squeeze...

gabby entertaining herself with the baby jesus...

helping nana open her goods...

bruce relaxing during the gift-giving...

another nana squeeze...

favorite present? buzz lightyear who spins & lights up...

checking out each other's loot...

while merrick parties the night away with some bubble wrap...

and after getting to sample real sugar plums while we caroled, we went to bed with visions of nana's ooey-gooey in our heads instead. if you couldn't tell, sugar plums leave a bit to be desired in the sweets department. nana's ooey-gooey, however, does not. yummmm!

thank you for the wonderful night!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

choosing the wrong door

this morning i had to make a judgement call:

1) shave my legs


2) wear non-maternity nylons

since i was running a little late i opted for door #2. though i felt like a sausage squeezed into a little tube, things were going relatively fine. that is, until i was asked to say the prayer in the beginning of the last meeting. as i stood up to walk to the front of the crowd, i felt the nylons roll down my big belly & settle around my hips.

awkward. but not noticeable to the public.

then as i went to sit down, the nylons rolled down to just underneath my caboose. it was past the point where i could just walk out of the room looking semi-normal & slip into the restroom to readjust. what to do now?

the only thing i could do.

throughout the rest of the class i would shift around and let the ill-fitting hairy leg covers slide down a couple of inches until they were just above my knees.

finally i was down to the wire where class was almost over & i knew i was going to have to stand up & walk out of the class & my secret would be exposed to the world.

so during the closing prayer, i said a little prayer of my own. that everyone else in the room had their eyes closed. i quickly pulled my nylons the rest of the way off of my feet & stuffed them in my church bag.

i don't know if anyone noticed, they probably did. but at least they had the class to not say anything & let me continue pretending that i had gotten away with an embarrassing situation. like the time i wet my pants in the 1st grade. oh wait, that was in front of my entire class & all the little kids yelled "EWWWWW!" when they realized what had just transpired in front of them.

that dreadful day long ago i had also mistakenly chosen door #2. i had decided to wear a cute little jumper with buttons going up and down the back of it (who in their right mind would design that for a 6-yr old??) instead of another outfit with normal buttons in the front. i tried with all of my might to get those buttons undone before my bladder gave way but just couldn't do it.

so the moral of the story is, even if it takes more effort & you might be 5 minutes late, always always pick door #1. otherwise you may wind up in the same predicament. and have your 5th grade boyfriend call you lynsey peed-your-pants-in-the-1st-grade steadman as you break up. awesome. or have your husband call you lynsey nylons-fell-off-during-church strader. sweet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

christmas eve day

sharing the fun we had on christmas eve.
complete with...

the waffle party...

lauren & dad...

a sleepy-looking gabby goobers...

santa jude...

david, brenda, matt & ben...

typical kirsten & ty...

merrick with the awesome 'do...

the kids hanging out...


and onto the presents.

brett helping jude...

"too cool, too cool" star wars guys...

caleb's new spy goggles complete with exploring kit & back-pack...

papa opening up his gifts...

matching race car tracks...

then a wrapping paper war...

clean up & heading home. what a fantastic time we had.

but wait!! one last gift. i'd like to introduce you to:

mr. p90x!!

(you don't understand, i have had to listen to the ramblings of a maniac about this for the last 6 months. if this program doesn't work, heaven help us all.)