Monday, March 31, 2014

Good Sunday and Monday

Happy Monday, folks!

(I love using this blog to be as corny as possible, FYI.)

We had a great Sunday.  The morning was a little stressful, because the girls were acting like raving lunatics for some reason, but we made to it church, which was our only official goal for the weekend.  This is the first Sunday since we've moved here that we've been to church, and we decided to try the Methodist church a couple of blocks away.

Anyway, we got out the door by 10:40 a.m., arrived at church at 10:43 a.m., and sprinted through the wet, cold rain and through the front doors.  Everyone was very welcoming.  Lorelei and Ford stayed in the nursery, and Sydney started big church with us, then accompanied the rest of the children to another room once the "children's church" portion of the service was over.  I liked going to a very traditional service, with a choir, pipe organs, and actually singing from a hymnal.  It was a nice change.

After church we came home, fed the lunatics girls, put them down for naps, and Chet and I looked at each other and, without speaking, agreed that it was not going to be a day to Get Things Done.  So we plopped down on the couch, and Ford joined us in watching two episodes of "The Office."  I also may have eaten some chocolate icing directly from the tub.

After that it was time for the girls to get up, and then next door to have cupcakes for the oldest daughter's (they have three) birthday.  It was not an official birthday party, just a gathering of neighbors and a chance for the kids to play and for the adults to talk.  We were the last to leave, and our loitering paid off, because we ended up staying for dinner (steaks).  We left at 8:00 p.m., and Chet and I agreed that it was a super enjoyable day.  It was nice to not do anything around the house, and if you know me, I almost never admit that.

Fun fact: while we were having cupcakes, the rain turned to freezing rain which turned to snow.  There were huge flakes falling from the sky at an alarming rate for nearly two hours.  Thankfully none of it stuck, and today it was 60 degrees and sunny.

Let's see, what to say about Monday?  Last night I declared to Chet that this week would be "TV Detox Week" (for the girls, not us, ha!) in our home.  I feel like they've been glued to the TV during this whole moving process, and I felt the need to change that this week.  This morning, when they woke up, I announced the TV was broken.  Sydney asked how that happened, and when I didn't have a good answer, she asked if it ran out of batteries.  Yes, Syd, that's exactly what happened.  She told me to call "the guy" (the cable guy) to come and fix the batteries, and I agreed, but that it wouldn't happen soon.  She brightened up when she remembered we had an iPad, and I lied that the iPad was also broken.  They fussed for a minute, then got over it.  We actually had a pleasant day, and they *gasp* ended up using their imaginations!

Confession time: The girls are watching "Frozen" as I type this.  We walked about a mile (round trip) this afternoon to a nearby park, and then the girls played outside with the neighborhood kids for at least another hour.  One of the kids handed out popsicles from her freezer to the rest of the children while the parents gritted their teeth over the fact that they never even had a chance to win that particular pre-dinner battle.  Anyway, I could foresee the type of evening we would have while waiting for Chet to get home, post-popsicle and pre-dinner, and knew "Frozen" was the key to sanity.  I feel nary an ounce of guilt over the fact that I failed at total TV detox.  (Nary is my favorite word.)


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Not-so-lazy Saturday

You would think, just by looking at us, that we had a lazy Saturday. The girls just took off their pajamas, are in the bathtub, and are going to put on fresh pajamas afterward. (It's 6 p.m.) Actually, Lorelei had already changed out of her pajamas. She was wearing this:

I unpacked a bunch of next-season, next-size clothes for her today, and she chose to wear this "workout" outfit that used to be Syd's and that she kept telling us was her bathing suit. (That shirt fits her better than it ever did Sydney, thanks to her more athletic build.) 

Chet also took the time to change out of his pajamas, but he didn't really have a choice since he went to the Commissary (for those of you who don't know, the Commissary is a grocery store on a military base).

Come to think of it, Ford is also out of his pajamas and on his third outfit of the day. But that's because he's so fastidious and likes to look snazzy.

But Sydney and I definitely did NOT put on real clothes, and I didn't even bother to put my contacts in today. Syd added a  tutu to her ensemble though:

There she is, glued to the movie "Frozen." I think she watched it four times today. We bought the girls "Frozen" and "Tangled" for their Easter baskets, but caved last night and went ahead and let them open and watch "Frozen." Syd was confused as to why her friend next door had the ability to watch "Frozen" in the comfort of her own home, and with rain in the forecast for today, Chet and I knew we needed something special to keep the kids distracted while we continued to put the house in order.

So, back to the lazy Saturday. The girls DID have a lazy Saturday, and breathed nary a breath of fresh outside air, but Chet and I worked hard to unpack/organize/decorate. It really did rain all day, so it was a perfect day for such chores, but we're still in that unpacking stage where you can work all day and still be surrounded by a big mess, making you feel like you accomplished nothing (even though you did). For example:

Yikes. But I'm trying to stay positive here, so I'll have you know that all of that cardboard is finally empty of pictures (we have a picture problem, meaning that we have too many pictures to hang and not enough walls to hang them on), and that's a clean load of laundry on the couch. 

Hope you had a great Saturday!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Special Delivery!

This morning I watched a 4'10" woman haul these boxes from her UPS truck to my front door (have I mentioned there are about 10 steps leading up to our front door?). 

Oh, well--Happy Amazon Day! (And that's not even all of it--yikes.)

I'm pretty sure Chet could comfortably take a nap in that box Syd is sitting on. It's huge.

I've mentioned before that Lorelei is a bit of a hoarder. She loves little things that she can put in different bags and containers, and I often find myself at the end of the day on my belly on the living room floor searching for said little things under the couch. 

Grammy gave her a fruit pie toy for Christmas, with 60 pieces of tiny fruit. About a month before we moved, five of the twelve oranges went missing. (It's a good sign when several things go missing at once--it's a sure bet they're all in the same place). I looked EVERYWHERE, pretty much every day, for those oranges. I was sure they'd turn up when the movers came and emptied out the house, but no.

Well. Today Syd was rummaging around in the basement, and opened this tea pot. I had put the tea pot away (I like to rotate the kids' toys about once a month) right around the time the oranges went missing. Voila! My life is complete again!

My sidekick:

Happy Friday!

Lorelei, Lorelei...

For those of you who know her, Lorelei is totally irresistible.  Am I'm not even exactly sure why.  She's an adorable, disheveled, chubby (but not really), smart, coordinated, borderline-hoarder ball of love.  She's talking so well these days, and says things that Sydney would have never said when she was the same age (not bad things, just surprising things).  I suppose it comes with the territory of being the little sister; Lorelei gains "wisdom" (ha!) from her older sister, making her more knowledgeable and street smart at an earlier age.

Anyway, Lorelei is potty training.  Actually, I kind of think she's potty trained.  I started potty training Sydney at exactly the same time of year, two years ago.  Sydney turned two in late January (2012), we went on a trip to TX, and I declared that I would start the potty training process as soon as we returned home from the trip.  We did, and she did fine.  By the end of March she was potty trained, with very few scars for life.  Something I learned though was that the younger you potty train them, the more you have to be involved (physically putting them on the potty, helping them pull up their pants, etc.).  I already knew I would wait until Lorelei was older than Sydney was when it was her turn, because I didn't want to be quite so "involved."

Lorelei turned two in October, and I knew I would not attempt potty training before we moved.  She was probably ready to start training in January, but in January Ford was born, Chet returned home from deployment, and in February we moved 1,000 miles away.  Potty training took a back seat to all of that; no sense in putting ourselves in a situation that would send us to the funny farm.  Even after we "moved" (as in, physically arrived in the area where we would be living), potty training was still not feasible; first we needed to unload the moving truck, then we needed to get the house livable, then we needed to continue to unpack, then, then...  You get the idea.  But last week, I knew it was "time" when we had two little neighborhood girls here at the house (in addition to my three) and I found Lorelei in the upstairs bathroom, sitting on the potty after removing her diaper (#2, mind you).  I slapped some panties on her, pulled out the portable princess potty, and informed her, "Lorelei, from now on you potty in the big potty.  Like Sydney."

Fun fact: I used jelly beans to potty train Sydney.  If she even sat on the potty she got a jelly bean.  If she went potty, she got two.  I didn't want to do that this time around.  I wanted to be super awesome (read: ridiculous) and not bribe/reward her (other than words of encouragement and hugs).  But the morning after we started potty training when I told her, "Let's take off your (nighttime) diaper, go potty, and put on some panties!" she said, "Um, no thank you."  And she refused to potty for the next two hours (I made her try every five minutes).  So I caved, pulled out the jelly beans, and said, "Lorelei, if you potty on the princess potty you get a jelly bean."

Those jelly beans are magic, I tell you.

We've had a few accidents, but very few.  The catalytic incident occurred last Tuesday, and today I say with tentative confidence that she is trained.  She certainly wasn't so quick to learn because of anything I did (remember, I tried to potty train her the cold, heartless way, sans candy).  I really think it happened so quickly because she was older, and because she has a big sister to set the example.

Good job, Lorelei!

Here is Sydney sitting on said princess potty, Christmas Day 2011 (not actually going potty, of course):

And here is the potty trainee, January 2012, the same age Ford is now (I think they look alike, but I also think he looks like Sydney):

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Commuting, Amazon, and "Baseball"

I just made up a rule for myself that I'm sure I won't follow: If I say "more on that later" in a blog post, I must talk about it the next time I blog. So, yesterday I mentioned Chet's 16-minute commute to work. When we were told we would be moving to the DC area, we quickly learned how horrible the traffic is in the Northern VA/DC area, and that public transportation is a popular option for commuting to work. We decided Chet should utilize the great public transportation system here, and that we should live as close as possible to the Pentagon so that we could maximize our time together as a family (read: so that Ashley doesn't pull out every last hair on her head at home while Chet spends an unnecessary 1.5 hours in the car to and from work each day). Anyway, we were fortunate enough to find a home (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) approximately 4 miles from the Pentagon. Chet walks up the street, catches a bus, and 16 minutes later is deposited at the Pentagon. It really doesn't get any better than that. While we were searching for homes, we learned that if you live even 6+ miles away from work, and have to utilize both bus and Metro rail, or two different Metro rails, to work, you're looking at a 45-minute commute to work. Isn't that crazy?! Anyway, we are seriously thankful for this home. 

Subject change.

I received 15 e-mails from Amazon this afternoon, telling me my order(s) has shipped. Literally, 15. I'm a huge fan of their Subscribe & Save program. And now that I have three children and zero desire to take them all to the store if it can be avoided, I use Amazon more than ever. Excluding diapers and baby wipes, I can wait two shipping days for ANYTHING. No instant gratification needed here (although the one-click purchase feature on Amazon is pretty instantly gratifying...and dangerous...and two days is instant gratification compared to the olden days of the 1990s).

Anyway, I order almost everything from Amazon: diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, floss, the kids' fruit name it, I've probably asked Amazon to send it to me. I DO shop smart on the site though--if it's not truly a good deal, I don't buy it. I could probably pay less for the household items I mentioned above by playing the sale ad/coupon game, but I choose not to make time for that these days. My time and sanity is worth the extra money I use by shopping on Amazon.

And even though I choose what to order and everyone knows toilet paper is not an exciting thing, I swear I'm like a kid on Christmas morning come the first of the month when all of my Subscribe & Save items arrive on our doorstep. Apparently I'm still enthralled with the United States Postal Service and its competitors.

I got my hair cut today at my next-door neighbor's house. Approximately every six weeks she and several friends/neighbors choose a day and line up cut/color appointments with this woman. It's cheaper than getting your hair cut "out in town," more convenient, and therefore genius. My next-door neighbor, like Chet's commute, is also amazing. Right now Syd is with her and her daughters at a tennis lesson. Syd calls tennis "baseball."

And for those of you still with me, here are some pictures:

Chet, on his first day of work:

Syd, all bundled up to play in the snow:


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stream of Consciousness

Ok, y'all. Welcome to my new stream of conscienceness blog. Because if I don't do it this way, it will be Christmas before I blog again. Maybe.

Right now I'm sitting at the dinner table. I'm nursing Ford, who is not feeling too hot after his 2-month shots today (no matter that he is nearly 3-months old), and am ignoring Lorelei, who just threw her dirty napkin at me. Now she is touching her hair. Now she says she needs to go poop. The girl really knows how to get my attention. I should probably be conversing with my children over dinner, but I'm all conversed out (at least with people four-years old and under). We started dinner without Chet because we were all starving and I hadn't heard from him yet. Actually, I never have any idea when Chet will be home from work. Since he works at the Pentagon he has to surrender his cell phone at work, and I don't usually hear from him until he's out of the building.

This just in: Chet just texted saying he caught the 6:00 pm bus. He should be home in approximately 16 minutes. For those of you familiar with the horrendous traffic in the northern Virginia/DC area, a 16-minute commute to and from work is practically a miracle. More on that in another post.

I will say though that Chet's work schedule hasn't been unmanageable. He's usually home around 6, give or take half an hour. And thank goodness deployments are not in the mix this duty station. Perhaps I'm also becoming a mothering expert. Perhaps...not.

Adding Ford, Baby #3, to the mix wasn't too hard. In fact, I thought it was harder adding Baby #2 (Lorelei, the napkin-throwing, hair-touching pooper) to our family, and learning how to deal with the needs of two very small people. It seemed like someone was always unhappy, waiting their turn, and it was my job to simply manage the chaos, creating as little collateral damage as possible. (Who knew that my stint as a Surface Warfare Officer would come in handy as a mother?) I say all of this only to point out that I am back in that stage again, managing the needs of three little admirals who are all vying for my attention (two of whom still need lots of help from Mama). At least it's not as stressful/terrifying as it was the first time, because now I know that everyone will come out of this stage unscathed (even if they have to scream in their bouncy seat for 20 minutes while I clean Parmesan cheese off the floor before it get tracked through the rest of the house).

And on that note, here are some unrelated pictures:

Lorelei's looking rough with her hair plastered to her head. The dry weather here is not her friend. But she was really proud of this puzzle (I had to help her, because she was using impressive strength to make pieces fit together that shouldn't have.)

The boy is surrounded by pink.

Syd and her Bubby.