Saturday, March 29, 2014

7 things you just can't child-proof

I was sitting in my basement the other day, when this wave of nausea came over me and I suddenly found myself shouting at my kids: "IS IT JUST ME OR IS IT HOT IN HERE???"

That's when I realized...  It WAS hot in here, way hotter than it should have been.  That's when I put two and two together and ran upstairs to find this:

This is just one of the many obstacles I have faced in child-proofing our house in the last 3 or 4 months.  Brendan has suddenly become VERY curious/ mischievous/ strong willed/ defiant about exploring certain things in the house.  Basically, if he wants it, he is going to find a way to get to it.  Case closed.

Here are 6 other things in my house that simply can't be child-proofed... which has been a super fun challenge for me to (unsuccessfully) try to figure out.







(Niall's shoe... true story)

I have my work cut out for me :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Flashback Friday... that I didn't post until Sunday

It recently occurred to me that I have never, in 4 1/2 years of blogging, gone back to the beginning and read through all of my posts.  At this point, there are over 450, so it would be quite the endeavor, but I would really love to take the time some day and read about all the different stages both kids went through and how I was feeling at the time-- although I can take a guess for some of those phases ;)

So I started flipping back through some of my photos, because I realized that I couldn't remember what Niall looked like 2 years ago (when he was Brendan's age).  All along the way, I've had people tell me that they look so much alike and others say they have grown to look completely different from each other.

I vividly remember, during Brendan's first year, being completely freaked out by how much they looked alike.  But then, once Niall turned 3, he looked like such a real kid that I no longer saw any similarities between them.  What I didn't realize was how consistently they looked alike at that particular age.  (Niall @ 1 vs Brendan @ 1, Niall @ 2 vs Brendan @ 2).  I stopped comparing after the baby stage and I was completely shocked by how much they look alike, not just during that first year, but also as toddlers.

Once I compiled all of the photos in a folder, I had to use the background or clothes or setting to figure out who was who for a lot of these.  I had no idea that Niall had such blond hair for a while!  Honestly, the only real difference between these guys is that Niall is skinnier and has less hair.  So let's play a little game of Who's Who.  Because I'm curious if it's just me who thinks they are total twins...



(1. Niall, 2. Brendan)



(3. Brendan, 4. Niall)



(5. Brendan, 6. Niall)



(7. Niall, 8. Brendan)



(9. Brendan, 10. Niall)



(11. Brendan, 12. Niall)



(13. Niall, 14. Brendan)



(15. Brendan, 16. Niall)



(17. Brendan, 18. Niall)



(19. Niall, 20. Brendan)


Tricked ya!  Both of these are Niall, but they reminded me so much of Brendan, I had to try to throw you off ;)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

30 by 30

30 has now come and gone, so it's a little late for the 30 before 30 bucket list.  Honestly, I guess I like the idea of it, but I had to completely block it out of my mind, knowing that if I made a list, I would have ended up putting it together at the last minute, giving myself a few weeks to accomplish all of those things, never actually do them, and then feel really bad about myself for leading such a boring life.

So, instead, I like to reflect; a look back on the things that I have accomplished without even trying, mostly.  A better way to look at the big picture, don't you think?  I have to warn you, about 75% of this list might not be deemed an "accomplishment" by the majority of the population.  But for me, these are events, tasks, memories and idiotic stunts that have somehow made my life all the better.  Let's just say my "30 by 30" is a bit... unique.

So here they are:  30 completely random things I have accomplished by the time I turned 30 last week.  (In no particular order)

1) been peed on by a tiger... don't ask, it really is that simple
2) participated in Ellen's Dance Dare
3)  Took a day trip to NYC... with my 1 yr old... by myself... during Christmas time... and miraculously found parking... and maneuvered around the city with a BOB jogging stroller... and had a panic attack while stuck in traffic inside the Lincoln Tunnel.  NEVER AGAIN... but probably would do it again at some point when I'm feeling particularly crazy/ambitious and then curse myself for doing it again
4) came face to face with a baracuda... and proceeded to try to push my snorkeling friends closer to it so that I could get away (I was born with a real motherly instinct)
5) endured 40 hours of labor... and then the 40 minute Adventist minister conversion attempt that followed
6) had my appendix burst while I was studying abroad in Ireland
7) survived a flight where I am 99% confident the plane was struck by lightning... and then proceeded to be thrown across the sky... and then I yelled out "We're not gonna make it!!!".... and made a 15 year old girl cry... and then we made it... and then I flew again (MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT)
8) went waterskiing while 6 months pregnant
9) Irish danced at my wedding
10) Irish danced for Jessica Lang, who I met in a small pub in Ireland with 5 other people in it, all of whom had no idea who she was
11) took an outdoor shower.  I don't know why, but you haven't lived until you've taken an outdoor shower.
12) laughed so hard that I've peed myself (specifically, practically every time I get on a trampoline)
13) left my kids and hubby at home for a long weekend in Key West with my girlfriends-- and never once felt guilty about it!
14) watched a sunrise by myself in complete silence on a beach with a nice hot cup of coffee
15) saw a shooting star-- let me explain:  I am fully aware that seeing a shooting star is nothing special because EVERYONE has seen a shooting star.  Except for me.  Until a year ago.  I have searched far and wide my whole life and stood helplessly while others screamed out "There's one!  Look, another!  Over there!" and I would spin around in circles and grab binoculars and never ever see anything.  But I finally saw one and now I am at peace.  But I have yet to find a 4 leaf clover and I'm not entirely convinced that they exist, so I'm going to let that one go
16) swam with dolphins in Mexico
17) went to a nice dinner by myself and enjoyed a glass of wine.. and felt completely self-conscious the whole time, but told myself that I was exuding confidence
18) spent an absurd amount of money on private ballroom/ Latin dance lessons after watching the first season of "So You Think You Can Dance"... until I realized that we could no longer afford a $250 per month hobby
19) went through a Taco Bell drive-thru in a limo
20) pencil-rolled through a McDonald's drive-thru when they wouldn't respond to me on foot.  Someone really should have informed me that it is not, in fact, a "tire censor" that recognizes your presence, but video cameras.
20) jumped off of a bridge... honest to God, because my friends did it
21) was so scared going through a haunted forest with my friend that I decided I had to escape, attempted to run off the path, tripped over the rope, fell on my face and cut up my entire leg... and then when the chain saw men stopped to make sure I was ok and I said "yes", they continued to chase me with their chain saws
22) saw Michael Jackson in concert.  Enough said.
23) had a dead squirrel carcass from 1979 fall out of the chimney and directly onto my face-- well, ok, it fell on Matt's face, but I was close enough to still feel the thrill
24) went to comedy school in NYC
25) spent a year traveling the country with complete strangers, bunking up in sleeping bags under stadium bleachers, to help disaster victims in their recovery (AmeriCorps)
26) had a real live tea party
27) gutted and cleaned and butterflied my own fish before cooking and eating them.  I felt like a real survivor of the wild, until I remembered that my godfather was standing over my shoulder telling me what to do because I had no idea
28) created a vision board after reading "The Secret"... tucked it under my bed, and then never looked at it again.  But I put a lot of effort into that vision.  Has to count for something.
29) received a standing ovation for my karaoke rendition of Steely Dan's "Peg"
30) I suppose I should mention my hubby and kids somewhere on here.  They are pretty cool, too :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Second Child Syndrome

It's kind of strange to look back on the days when Niall was Brendan's age.  Everything was completely different from one kid to the next.  I spent most of my time taking Niall to different "story times" all over the 10 mile radius, catching rides on the choo-choo train at the mall, and walking down to the Kensington train station to watch the freight cars whiz by.

I knew that things would be different when I had a second, but I can't believe that Brendan has never done any of those things!  That was seriously all I did with my first.  What did I do to fill my time with little B these last 2 years?

Oh, right, he just tagged along.

He tags along to Niall's playdates, he tags along for our field trips to "big boy" museums & places that Brendan has made quite obvious he is not ready to appreciate yet, he tags along and waits for Niall to take a break from the cool toys so that he no longer has to play with his "baby" ones, he tags along while Niall fills up his piggy bank and picks out poop prizes and decides what cereal they are going to eat that day.

No wonder the kid is so crazy assertive!

I spent so much time worrying about when Niall was going to stick up for himself at that age, when all of the other kids were pushing him around at the train table and snatching toys right out of his hands.  Niall would just stare up at me, defeated, and go find a different place to play.

None of that with my #2.  Some innocent kid touched Brendan's shoulder at the mall the other day and he instantly got this look of disgust on his face and screamed at him: "GET.... OFF.... OF... MEEE!!!!"  We were playing in that kids area at the mall (something I rarely would have done with Niall because "Oh, how disgusting those things are!".... now I am lucky if I remember to wash their hands after we leave) because it was one of those few days that I had some time to kill before picking Niall up from school.

After he verbally assaulted the kid who was trying to play with him, Brendan heard the "Choo Choo!!" in the distance and sprinted to the bench where he could climb up and see.  My boy was in complete awe and, with the most desperate, sad face, begged me "I want the choo choo!  I want to ride the choo choo!"  I am so used to dismissing almost everything Brendan demands, that I was ready to say "Not today", when I realized.... Brendan had never taken a ride on a mall train before!

In my mind, this is a complete travesty.  How could I have let this happen? .... Because it's $12 for 2 kids to ride with their mom for a 4 minute loop and a complete waste of money, but that's besides the point.

Suddenly, I realized how special it was to have some one-on-one time with B where we aren't running errands or rushing from one destination to the next.  I was actually really excited to ride this train with him and make him the center of attention for once.  He waved to every person who passed us and shouted "Choo Choo!" about 57 times.  He was so proud to be on that train.

Needless to say, totally worth it...

Yes, Niall has definitely done some pretty cool things in his heyday...

And sure, Brendan has been left out on more than one occasion...

But in the end, I think Brendan is happy to be able to tag along for all of his big brother's adventures.  From day 1, he has always been thrilled to come along for the ride.  And honestly, while he doesn't get as much attention (or a choice for that matter), his ride is probably much more exciting than Niall's ever was at such a young age.

Plus, he's got something pretty awesome that Niall never had at that age either...