Saturday, December 27, 2014

Testing 123

This guy has requested that I start blogging again. I'm pondering it. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

When In Doubt, Organize

Oh, my pantry, how I love thee. Even in your most disorganized state, you are still huge and wonderful.


In times of high stress, I tend to seek out small organizational projects that I can tackle during naptime on a weekend day.  Sense of accomplishment and control gained over a short period of time = I feel less like I'm losing my grip on reality.  It makes for a good life mantra, actually.  When in doubt, organize something.


The pantry was working okay like this, but it was really uninspiring.  I'd open up the doors and feel exhausted just looking at the stuff scattered everywhere.  It needed a plan.


I got my inspiration from an organizing blog called A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I even liked her pantry idea so much that I searched and searched until I found nearly the same wire baskets as she used.  (They were at Crate & Barrel for $8 each.)


I used some Martha Stewart labels from Staples because they are pretty.


And I found some fun red and green bins from the Dollar Store, which is an incredibly awesome place to look for storage bins.  Cheapo!  My first incarnation of the organizational project had two red bins holding Tupperware, and the other two holding cleaning supplies.  I soon realized I had too many cleaning supplies for just two bins, so you will see below that I repurposed all four of them for cleaning/household supplies.


And I bought myself some pretty storage bins from Macy's -- again, the Martha Stewart Collection. I think these were like $7 or $8 each?


So here is the finished product.  Note, this took me since maybe early September to finish.  I only finished it up because all of our pantry goods were stuffed into the wire bins without signage, and it drove Steven crazy not being able to find anything.


I am hoping these categories will work for us in the future.  They seemed to work based upon the groceries we had on hand.  I hope this is what we normally have....I think it is, but you never really know.


So, we have gone from cluttered pantry to pretty labeled bins everywhere!  Mama is a happy camper - the pantry makes me smile each time I open the doors!  I also removed all the stuff that was between the bottom shelf and the floor -- it feels so much less messy with nothing on the floor except brooms and the trash can.


I ended up having to hang two signs on some of the bins, because I had to put many varied things in them (and also was too lazy to re-do the signs when I made that realization).  I think it looks fine though.  It also speaks volumes about our life right now that we have a whole sign that reads "Hamburger Helper/Mac & Cheese."  Welcome to life with two full-time working parents, a toddler and a 10 month old, I guess, right?  I'm surprised we don't have two bins solely dedicated to hamburger helper.  (Oh, and see my Lazy Susan for the spices? Also an idea from an organizing blog.)


My dollar store red bins.  I like them!  The cereal boxes are the bane of my existence, but I fear they cannot be organized any better than that.  They come and go too quickly, so I am just going to bear with them.  I think they look fine all lined up, so whatever.


And last but not least, I have made Sophie and Scarlett their own snack basket, down at kid-reaching-level, filled with apple sauce packets, goldfish crackers, and Capri Sun flavored waters.  This could be a grievous error in judgment, as Sophie helped herself to not one but TWO Capri Suns today after naptime.  I'll give it a week and see how it goes...


Any ideas on what I should tackle next?  The rest of the house is in need of this same type of organizational makeover.  And let's not even get started on my office at work....

Language Explosion

(An unposted blog from October 2012!)
The day Sophie turned two (or so it seemed), her language skills exploded, and what previously felt like a guessing game ("You want this... sock? Spoon? Steak? Samurai? Soba noodle? Oh, you want some of Mommy's coffee? No....."), has suddenly become a full-on conversation with a tiny little person.

"Mommy, I need candies."

"No, you don't need any candy, Sophie."

"Mommy, I need fewt sacks."

"No, you don't need any fruit snacks, Sophie."

"Mommy! Carr-yett touchin' fire! Dont touch, Carr-yett! Its hot!"

"That's right, Sophie, we don't touch the fireplace! Dont touch, Scarlett!"

"Carr-yett get out first.  Sophie stand up, bafftub make-a noises!" (Sophie's job is to pull the bathtub drain at the end of their bath.  We ask her every night who should get out of the bath first, and every night, she graciously volunteers her sister to go first, so Sophie can have a few more seconds to play in the tub by herself.)

This morning she woke up crying and had apparently had a nightmare.  She called out for Daddy.  I went in and got her (because Daddy had already been in the three times prior), and she said "I need Daddy! I afwaid! Colin do it!"

Colin is a very sweet little kid in her class, who wouldn't harm a fly.  According to Sophie, Colin showed up in her dreams and "push you!" which means Dream Colin apparently pushed her.  Poor girl.

Life Planner and Kitchen Command Center!

Our kitchen has this lovely little spot for a desk.  Sadly, it was a source of stress for me for nearly a year before I did something about it.  It began as a dumping ground for every bag, paper, and tchotchke that came in from the car each evening after work/school.

First order of business in any organizing project is to clear everything out and analyze what you have.  I left a couple of things - cloth napkins, a collection of Everyday Food magazines, some pink paper plates/napkins from Soph's birthday, and my camera/cords/flash.


I then brainstormed for probably 3-4 weeks about what I wanted.  I knew I wanted a big wall calendar to display the family's schedule a month at a time.  Someone pointed me in the direction of Erin Condren and I was hooked.  I ordered her Life Planner and her wall calendar, both personalized!  I then waited with bated breath for the postman to arrive.


You know its something good when you take a photo of the wrapping.


Here's a close up of the personalization on the calendar -- it is 11 x 17, so its nice and big to see from a distance.  I really could write larger on it, but I was trying to be neat.  (For client confidentiality purposes, I had to blur out a couple of work things.)


I also bought a mail holder from the Martha Stewart Collection at Staples.


I relocated a little desk lamp from the family room - it fit perfectly.  I bought a magnetic white board from Target to hold the calendar and any other notes.  I bought a pack of multicolor Flair felt tip pens, but Sophie wanted them so badly that I had to hide them in the cabinet.


Here's my Life Planner!  I decided not to put a picture on the front because I'm always in court and I sort of felt skeevy about all the random people at the courthouse seeing photos of my kids every time I needed to write something down.  Behind the Life Planner is the deskpad that comes with the big monthly calendar!


The Life Planner comes with stickers! So fun!


Of course, Soph has already claimed the spot as her own.  We got a chair from Home Goods to complete the little desk nook.  I love it.


The shelves above the desk were outfitted with bins from Target and labeled with those Martha Stewart labels from Staples.  Lest you think I did this in one shopping trip, let me explain that this took me at least a month to put together.  Time for Mommy-Projects moves so much more slowly when one has small children....


I organized the baskets based upon what I had originally stuffed into those spaces -- I did this in September and these bins are still working great in December, so the categories seemed to cover what we needed them to include.


And three months in, my Life Planner is getting some serious use. (Again with the confidentiality stuff. You understand how it goes.)  I love that the day is split into morning/day/night.  I try to use the morning part for exercise/stuff about daycare/important things to remember for the day.  "Day" is for all my work appointments/court appearances.  And "Night" is typically reserved for meal planning.  It is a work in progress.


Most of all, I just enjoy having a brightly colored calendar in the black and white, Times New Roman drabness that is a law firm.  It also happens to make a lovely cupcake coaster. :)  You know, for that 3 PM pick me up.


So that's my kitchen command center and my new Life Planner!  Next up, my pantry organization project!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Story of The Jake

For the past few weeks, Sophie has been demanding that we sing very specific songs to her, and she will get ANGRY if we sing the wrong one.  But occasionally (oh, who am I kidding... OFTEN), we can't figure out what song she's asking for.  Or worse, she's saying it perfectly clearly, and we just don't know the song.  ("Ouchie song" is one that comes to mind.  Anyone ever heard the Ouchie Song?)

The one that really had us stumped for weeks was one that Sophie referred to as "Joo Jake."  Joo Jake, Mommy! Joo Jake!!  I would apologize and ask her to please sing it for me so I know how it goes, Sophie!   But no luck, she didn't want to sing it, she wanted ME to sing it.

After weeks of cries for Joo Jake! Joo JAKE!, I had finally had enough.   The curiosity was killing me -- what is this song she loves so much?

Then, one night at dinner, she surprised us by reciting a prayer of grace that she apparently had learned at school.  It went something like this: 

What we say
When we eat
Thank you for this food today
God bless
1, 2, "Fwee"
Now we eat!

I was so enamored that I wrote to the director the next day and asked her if I could have a copy of the prayer from their curriculum book.  She called me back and let me talk to the teacher directly, and the teacher explained that she would just write the little mealtime prayer on a piece of paper for me.  Right before I hung up, I had a flash of brilliance: WAIT! Sophie sings this song... she calls it Joo Jake? I can't for the life of me figure out what she's saying.... Do you know the song she's talking about?

The teacher laughs and says, "Oh, you mean Do The Jake!  Yeah, that's a good one."

Do The Jake?  I asked her to write it down for me also.  And then, because I am the type of parent who apparently is not afraid to humiliate a poor preschool teacher, I asked her to sing it to me on the phone.  And it goes like this:

(To the tune of Skip To My Lou)
I see a girl with a [color/design] shirt on
I see a girl with a [color/design] shirt on
I see a girl with a [color/design] shirt on
And her name is Sophie!

Sophie, do a little dance [or do the Jake]
Sophie, do a little dance [or do the Jake]
Sophie, do a little dance [or do the Jake]
Now its time to sit back down.

So, of course, once I actually sing "The Jake" song for Soph, she is utterly enthralled and demands me to sing it OVER and OVER and over again.  And we do, because its fun, and because during the second verse where Sophie is instructed to "do the Jake" she jumps around and dances like a wild thing.  Its very cute.

The next day, after a good four hour evening of nonstop Jake Dance, I mentioned to one of Scarlett's teachers in the baby room that we'd learned this fun new song called Do the Jake.  She looked at me with a strange look, and said she'd never heard of that song.  So I sang it for her.  And she laughed and said:

"Its not the Jake, its do a little JIG."

Oh.  Right. I knew that.

(I'm pretty sure it wasn't me that got the pronunciation wrong, since the teacher wrote out the song for me on a sheet of paper and she very clearly wrote "Jake," but still I am sort of wondering if I should have been intelligent enough to figure that out...)

(Clearly I wasn't intelligent enough to make that connection....)

(We still sing it as "do the Jake" because it is funnier that way and because Sophie likes it.)

Do the Jake, everybody!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Conversation with Sophie

Sophie is 20 months old now, and she has more and more words under her command every day.  She seems to wake up each morning with new words.  Its been such a funny transition, from being the person who maintains 100% of the dialogue with a baby Sophie, to now conversing with a little person who can talk back to me.  Here is a sampling of our conversation from this morning:

(I hear her yelling from behind her closed bedroom door)

"Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!"

(I open the door)

"Mommy! Hi Mommy, Hi Mommy!"

"Hi sweet girl, did you have a good rest this morning?"


"Do you want to go see your sissy?"

"Sissy.  Daddy. Downstairs?"

"Ok, let's go see your sissy and Daddy downstairs.  Do you want some breakfast?"

"Yeah.  Muk? (Milk?) Ceeyall? (Cereal?)

"Ok, I can get you some milk and cereal.  Can you sit in your high chair?"

(She runs over to the table, wants to sit in the booster seat at the table and not her high chair.)

"Chair? Chair? Milk? Cereal?"

(I put her in the booster seat)

"Bib!"  (she grabs a bib from the table and tries to put it on herself, then sees a hair clip on the table)

"Hair? Hair? Hep? (Help?) Hep?" (I help her put the clip in her hair)

"Pitty!" (Pretty!)

(I get her some milk and cereal in a bowl with a spoon.  She starts eating, and I go over to tend to Scarlett.  I hear Sophie then from the kitchen:)

"Fee, Four, Five, Six, Yaaaay!" (She is counting her Cheerios.) "Yaaay, School!" (She claps for herself, and counts the Cheerios several more times, applauding herself each time.)

"All done? Down? All done?"  (I go over to help her out of her booster seat) "Buck-a-den? Buck-a-den?" (This interpretation takes me an extra minute to figure out....)

"Buckled in?" (I ask her)


"Oh! Yes, Soph, you were buckled into your seat in the chair! Wow, smart girl!"

Daddy comes downstairs.

"Daddy! Hi Daddy! Up! Up!" (He picks her up!) "Go! Go!"

"Go where, Soph?"

"Whiss way? (This way?) Whiss way?" (She points to the door to the garage, she wants to go get in the car.)

We pack her in the car, and Soph and I have this exchange on the way to school:

"Emmo bid-oh? Emmo bid-oh?"

"Ok, you may watch ONE Elmo video."

"Watch it? Phone?" (She points to my phone.) "Watch it? Mah-sters? Mah-sters?"

(I am stumped. She wants to watch a specific video, which she is calling "Monsters"? Oh no. Which one IS that?? I try a couple of favorites?)

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Whiss One? (This one?) Whiss One?" (She points and chooses Patti LaBelle singing the Alphabet. I could not have translated that being the "Monsters" video. She watches it and then picks Feist next.  I am amazed that she can remember the videos she likes, AND that she can operate the iPhone to choose them.  She starts singing along:)

"Free, Four, Monsters!" (Feist sings, "one, two, three, four, monsters walking 'cross the floor." This must be the "Monsters" video she was referencing.) "Again? Again? Hep? Hep?"  (I help her re-start the video and she nods her little head and taps her feet.)

My little conversationalist! She is growing up so fast and she is such a bright little girl. I am constantly amazed at how much she can get her point across already, at only 20 months old!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy To You! Sophie words: 20 months

"Dere Jay Mom!" (That's Jayden's mommy!) (first sentence!)

"Me! Me!" (points to her play house, wants me to sit in the playhouse - she picked this up because she would point to the house and I would say, "Me? You want me to go in there?")

"Up! Up!"


"Donsteers! Donsteers!" (downstairs!)

"Ahstiers!" (upstairs)

"Ahsigh!" (outside)

"Ahsigh don!" (upside down - she shows this by standing up, putting her head on the ground and looking backwards between her legs at you, upside down)

"Sower!" (shower)

"Bash!" (Bath)

"Sooes!" (Shoes)

"Kok!" (socks)

"Surt" (shirt)

"No!" (one of her favorite words)

"Not nice!" (also a favorite)

"Be nice!"

"Soller? Soller?" (stroller)

"Apple?" (open?)

"Bock-ock-key!" (Broccoli)

"Rameoney!" (ravioli)

"Muck?" (milk)

"Beegull? Beegull?" (bagel.  We have one each morning - she and I split it on the way to school.  I quit putting cream cheese on it because she always demanded to share and she always made a huge mess. I eat them dry now. The plight of a mommy.)

"Hi Car Yet" (hi scarlett)

"Baby!" or "Hi baby!"  (usually yelled at scarlett while she is sleeping, sometimes with a pat on the head from sophie)

My favorites are the things she spots on the road every morning when we drive to school:

"Ock-a-gon!" (a stop sign)

"Ga-ga-kackle!" (Motorcycle - she LOVES these - not sure why!)

"Ga-kackle!" (bicycle.  She has realized it has fewer syllables than motorcycle)

"Buh-sh!" (school bus)


"Wooo wooo wooo!" (anything with flashing lights or a siren)

"Kool! Kool!" (school - she says this when we drive into the parking lot at school)

"Hoooooome!" (She says this about 50 feet before we turn into our neighborhood - she has learned the streets!!)

"Hop Hop!" (IHOP.  What can I say, I like coffee and pancakes....)  She also calls it "Yay-ya" for her friend Layla who we happen to see there occasionally, dining with her family.

More Words:

"Ook."  (book)

"Bean-ket" (blanket)

"Pass-eee!" (paci)

"Fohn!" (Phone - she announces when she hears a phone ring.)

"Go! Gooooo!" (When she wants you to move somewhere - either out of her way, if you are blocking something she wants, or, if you are holding her, this is a demand to transport her in a certain direction, usually indicated by pointing, or if you are not moving fast enough for her, by LEANING in that direction and howling, Goooooooooooo!)

"Go! Way! Go! Way!"  (I have interpreted this as "Go this way!"  She shouted this at me as she sat in the doll stroller and demanded to be pushed around the house.  I'm really more of a bondservant than a mother in her estimation....)

"Yay don. YAY DON." (pointing to the pillow on her bed, this is her command that you, parent, must lay down with her in the bed until she falls asleep.  We pretend not to know what she is saying, and instead we say, "Yes, ok, your puppy can lay down with you, good job puppy, lay down!")

"Ay-pain! Ay pain! Choo choo! Choo choo!" (Airplane! She points at them and says choo choo.  It is too cute to correct.)

She is also counting from one to ten, although she does not know the numbers when she sees them - she has just memorized what it sounds like to say, "one, two, three...." and so on.

She is singing more songs than I could count - we have many toddler CD's in the car, she knows all the songs on all of them.  She knows several Jason Mraz songs, a Coldplay song, and a Chris Tomlin song, and she can sing along with the rhyming word at the end of each phrase.  Its amazing.  For example, the Jason Mraz song goes: "I won't give up ..... on...... love........ even if the skies ....... get.......... rough."  She sings "up, on,, get, rup" exactly on time and pitch with the music.  Same with things like "Where is Thumbkin," "Wheels on the bus," etc.  She also does hand motions for lots of them.

One of my favorite songs that she likes and sings often is the Happy Birthday song.  Except I like how she sings it even more than the original: She sings "Happpy To Youuuuu, Happy to Youuuu!"  And then she will say "kuh-cake!" because of course whenever she sings that song at school, the teachers hand out cupcakes because it is one of the kids' birthdays.  So the song and cupcakes obviously go hand in hand.

Happy To You!