Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Top Ten - Baby Items I Love

Here are my top ten absolute favorite baby inventions. These are the items that I would recommend every mom-to-be put on there registry and the first things I would go buy if my house burned down and I lost everything.

These aren't the more obvious, crib, pack-n-play, car seat, stroller, baby bottles (Dr. Browns are my favorite), diapers, etc. items, these are the things I wish someone told me about before I had a kid because only moms know about these things.

1. "Rain or Shine Kids" blanket - this blanket is pretty pricey (I lucked out and bought mine on; but it is my favorite on the go blanket. It is plush on one side (which Campbell loves rubbing on her face when she is tired); and water proof on the other side. You can tie it on to your stroller, car seat or chest carrier to keep baby warm and dry in any weather; or tie it together to use as a nursing cover. It is also great as a blanket to lay baby on the ground. I like is so much more than something like the Bundle Me which is less versatile because it is only used in the car seat and gets damp in the rain.

2. Moboleez Nursing Hat - Personally I am not a huge fan of nursing covers, and neither is Campbell. This is a great alternative. Hides everything that you want to keep private is a very inconspicuous way. Plus it is pretty cute too!

3. Nosefrida - The first time I saw a friend use this on her baby, I literally almost threw up. But, then she bought me one, and I have been hooked ever since. My kids NEVER have snot dripping of their noses, because when they are stuffy I use my Nosefrida which gets everything out of their nasal cavity, not just what is on the outside. It comes very highly recommended by my pediatrician as well.

4. Boon "Squirt" Feeding Spoon - This was something I used to feed Aaron on the go all the time, and will be using on Campbell soon. You fill the handle of the spoon with baby food and squirt it our onto the spoon to feed baby. A lot of baby food comes in pouches that you can attach a spoon to with the same idea in mind now a days (they didn't have that when I had Aaron). However, I make all my own baby food, so this is perfect to fill up and throw in a bag.

5. Snug & Tug Swaddle Blanket - we have tried lots of swaddle blankets, and my Houdini babies always seem to wiggle out of them, until I found these! I give them at least particle credit to how well Campbell sleeps at night!

6. Muslin Receiving Blankets - These light weight blankets are perfect for summer babies and babies who sweat a lot during sleep. I also use mine for a nursing cover, and a sun shade over my car seat or stroller in the sun.

7. Plastic Links - They might seem super simplistic and boring, but they are so versatile and a must for baby! My kids teethed on the them, learned colors with them, shook them to make sounds, worked on dexterity linking and un-linking them, and I have used them to hook toys onto strollers, car seats and high chairs so they don't lose their toys.

8. Bumkins Waterproof Bibs - I love these bibs! Peter and Aaron actually still use theirs. They are not your average baby bib to wipe drool away. These are heavy duty, food everywhere, toss in the dish washer bibs, that I also use as painting smocks!

9. Sili Squeeze - In all honesty, I have not tried this product out, but I plan to as soon as Campbell is old enough. Similar to the Boon Squirt Spoon, but it is for when kids are a little older and can squeeze/suck the food out of the bottle themselves.

10. Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier - I probably have a minimum of five different baby carriers, slings, backpacks, etc. But I always prefer my Bjorn. I love that baby can look out when they are old enough, I love how easy it is to put on and how quickly you can adjust the size. My second favorite (for when baby is a little older is the Playtex Hip Hammock in case you are wondering.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten - Things I Love That Are NOT My Children

Being a mom of three (or two, or one for that matter) it is hard not to lose your identity and just become wrapped up in your kids. People don't make it easier either! 90% of people who do not know me well enough to know I have other things going on other than my kids ONLY ask about my kids. Well guess what people, I have more than just my kids! I had a life before kids, and I try my hardest to keep up with it as a mother.

So here you go, the Top Ten Things I Love That Are NOT My Children.

1. Washington Capitals Hockey - (you are shocked, right?) Instead of me retyping all about my love for the Caps, just go read this blog.

2. My husband - Obvious I know, but without being too cheesy, I literally found the absolute most perfect person to spend my life with. Brett lets me get away with being a little crazy at times, while also keeping me grounded. He fully supports me staying home to raising our family, and is a wonderful father. We have the exact same corny sense of humor, and he isn't bad to look at either. I should write a top ten about how awesome he is.

3. My yearly road trips - I have 3 trips that I make every year that I am absolutely obsessed with. The first is my annual trip to the Hershey Spa with my Aunt Marilyn, cousin Shellie, and friend Sun in the winter. Second is our time share at Massanutten Ski Resort the week of President's Day. Third is our trip to Syracuse for the New York State fair and my Uncle Jim's bonfire. I look forward to these trips all year because they are relaxing, and have become such tradition.

4. Working Out - It doesn't matter if I am running, biking, swimming, weight lifting, or taking a class at the gym, working out it a huge part of my life. Staying active and working on keeping my body healthy will always be a priority in my life, no matter how busy I get.

5. Working - A lot of people don't know that I work, but I do. From home, for about 2-5 hours a week, I work for and interior decorating firm Graham Designs as an Administrative Assistant. Most of my work is invoicing, maintaining the website, and paperwork; but I still like making a little money for the family and continuing to use my brain. Plus it is great to have on the resume in case I ever want to go back to a "real" job again.

6. Crafting - I love nothing more than to craft. Whether it is scrapbooking, making decor for our walls, painting, or most recently making hair bows for Campbell. It is very calming for me after a day with the kids, and a fun way to make personal gifts.

7. Cooking - My grandmother loved to make fried food, my grandfather loved to bake, my mom loves making chilies and stews, and my father cooked a mean breakfast or anything on the grill... I love it all! Which is good seeing as we can't afford to eat out much!

8. My Friends - I had people tell me that when I became a parent, I would lose all my single friends. Well I must have lucked out, because here we are three years later and we are still close friends with the people we were close to before kids. Our friends are generous, understanding of our busy schedules and very fun! I do not know what I would do with out them!

9. Music - I inherited a very eclectic taste in music from my father. Brett and I have a CD collection of over 800 albums that range from all genres and time periods. We LOVE seeing live music and make it a huge part of our every day lives.

10. Games - I will play anything (although the less coordination needed the better) Cards, mini golf, Fantasy Football, bowling, dominos; you name it I'll play.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ask a Stupid Question, Get a Stupid Answer

This morning Peter and Aaron were playing with something that I didn't want them touching.

Me - Peter and Aaron, please stop playing with that... Excuse me, Mommy is talking, I asked you to stop playing with that!... PETER! AARON! STOP!

Finally they stopped and looked at me.

Me - Can you please explain to me why I have to constantly repeat myself before you two do as I ask?

Peter - Because we are always not listening to you, Mom!

X Rated Carrots

The other night at dinner, Peter handed me this carrot, telling me, "Mom, I can't eat this carrot, it has boobies!"

After looking at it I could see what he was talking about, although I probably would not have drawn that conclusion on my own.

Then this evening, I had some girl friends over for a little pot luck dinner and look what we found in a totally separate bag of carrots:

There is no way I am letting Peter see that one! I don't even want to know what he would have to say about it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gardner Campbell

I realize that my daughter has both a last name and a boy's name as her first name, but I never thought I would have the following conversations with confused individuals.

I got a call from my doctor's office the other day and literally felt like someone was playing a joke on me.

Me - Hello

Nurse - Hi, Gardner Campbell please?

Me - I think you are referring to my daughter, but she is an infant so she isn't really talking yet. Can I help you?

Nurse - Yes, hello, Mrs. Campbell...

Me - That isn't our last name.

Nurse - Oh, I'm sorry do you go by a different last name than your daughter?

Me - No, our last name is Gardner - her FIRST name is Campbell.

Nurse - Oh, ok, I wasn't sure what the first name was.

I guess looking at the 100 pieces of paper work I filled out for the doctor's office where I wrote "Campbell" under the first name section was too much work for her. Not to mention, who names there daughter "Gardner?"

Then yesterday, we went into the doctor's office for Campbell's 2 month check up and as I was signing in the woman at the front desk was equally confused.

Me - I am here for my daughter's 2 month check up.

Receptionist - Name please?

Me - Campbell Gardner

Receptionist - Not finding it, is that hyphenated or with a space between the two last names?

Me - First name Campbell, last name Gardner.

Receptionist - Oh, ok... and its a girl???

Since both incidents happened with my doctor's office, I have to question the intelligence level of the people they are hiring there. But I do love our doctor (when we see the doctor I like, Dr. Kelly).

For those people interested in Campbell's stats from the appointment here you go:

Height - 23 inches - 56th percentile
Weight - 11.5 pounds - 51th percentile
Head Size - 15.5 inches - 51th percentile
Cuteness Scale - 100th percentile (seriously the doctor said she had a perfect head, so that is what I took from her comment)

Also, a little side note - Peter had to get a shot yesterday and DID NOT CRY... I was so impressed. He is such a big boy now, it astounds me!

Tuesday Top Ten - Top Ten Lists

I was recently at a party and over heard the hostess point me out to a friend and say, "Jill has a blog about parenting in Northern Virginia, with little tips about how to raise your kids and the best places to take them in the DC Metro."

My first thought was "this person does NOT actually read my blog!" - Followed by "maybe I could put more stuff like that on my blog, since I do have a lot of readers who are local mothers."

Well that was about four months ago, but last week I had a chance to catch up on my blog a little and was trying to think of a way that would force me to blog on a more regular basis. So here is what I came up with:

Tuesday Top Ten Lists - Each week I will post a Top Ten of recommendations, or things I enjoy or observe in life. They may or may not be mildly comical; but don't expect me to be Dave Letterman.

For my first Top Ten list, here is a list of Top Tens that I have been thinking about writing - My Top Ten, Top Ten:

1. Things I have learned as a parent
2. Annoying things people say to me when I am out with my kids
3. Things I do differently as a mother to baby #3 or Advise I would give to myself if I could go back
4. Things I love about MOMS Club
5. Things I love that are not my kids
6. Things I dislike about being a mom of three
7. Favorite baby products
8. Favorite kid TV shows
9. Funniest things my kids have said
10. Things I love about being a mom of three

See you next week!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 3, 2011

Home Schooling

I have always told Peter that when he is potty trained he could go to preschool. Last week, he called me on it.

Peter - Mom, I am a big boy now so I get to go to preschool now, right?

Me - Sure, Peter, we can look into it.

Peter - But, how can Aaron go with me if he isn't potty trained?

Me - Well, Aaron, Campbell and I would leave you there and go do something else. You would stay with a teacher and other kids and play.

Peter - OH... well, maybe I will be brave enough when I am 5.

So I decided to start "home schooling" him for preschool - this is for a few reasons. First of all, he flat out said he didn't want to go to preschool, which was sort of good because Brett and I didn't have to rework our budget. Second, Peter shows so many signs of wanting to learn and it is probably good for him to get a little special one-on-one mommy time while the "little kids" are napping. And lastly, I am considering home schooling him for Kindergarten next year (my reasons are extensive, so I will leave it at that for now).

Peter LOVES his "preschool homework" and spending time with me each day, but Brett (who is not as on board with the home schooling for kindergarten) has his doubts. Doubts which were revealed today when Brett got home from work and Peter and Aaron started dancing around him and singing:

"Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat! If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear!" Followed by hysterical laughter.

Brett - Who taught you what song???

Peter - MOMMY!

Brett - I see the home schooling is going GREAT!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

I take being a house wife/stay at home mom some what seriously. By that I mean that I do think of it as my job to keep the house clean, make 3 meals a day for my family and take care of the kids without the help of preschool/daycare/nanny/babysitters. That doesn't mean I live in the 1950s and have heels and an apron on when Brett gets home, but I try to have a hot meal and a some what straightened house.

If I was actually employed as a house wife/stay at home mom I would have been fired today. I wasn't feeling great, so I laid around most of the day writing blogs, while the kids played, watched TV and fought over the iPad. It wasn't my finest moment. When Brett got home the house looked like a tornado hit it, and the kids and I were at the dining room table eating for only the second time today (not sure what happened to lunch).

Brett - Hey guys, what did you do today?

Peter (who has a very vivid imagination) - We had a playdate with a family of dragons.

Brett - Wow, really?

Me - Yep, that is why the house looks like this.

Coming to a Potty Near you - PETER!

I am finally comfortable saying it - PETER IN POTTY TRAINED! WOOOOO HOOOO... seriously, lets have a party because that was the hardest 15 months of my freaking life!

Peter first went potty on the potty in April of 2010, had a short stint of being semi-potty trained around his birthday last year (when he turned 3), and then about 2 weeks after his 4th birthday he decided he was ready and BOOM... Potty trained in two days.

Peter took all the rules of how to potty train a kid and laughed in their face. He proved that he was strong willed, and was not going to do it until he was good and ready. I'm not going to lie, it was extremely taxing on Brett and I. Sometimes there were tears shed, and sometimes it wasn't Peter doing the crying.

Many people said things that hurt my feelings and Peter's feelings on the subject. As a parent I cannot tell you how hard it was to listen to friends say to Peter, "Don't you want to be a big boy?" and having him cry about it later.

Or how hard it was when people told me that, "Boys are physically ready by the time they are three." - Thanks, are you trying to say that my kid is delayed or that I am a bad parent?

There are moments the past year that MORTIFIED me. Being the only mom in the 2007 playgroup who's kid was still in diapers was so hard, and the few times when I was changing Peter's diaper in public restrooms and strangers walked by and said, "He is a little big to be in diapers!" I wanted to curl up and hide.

The fact was, Peter was TERRIFIED of pooping. He held it for DAYS until he would be rolling on the floor crying from the pain. Because he was holding his poop, he wasn't able to hold his pee. Because of both I had to let him wear Pull-Ups.

Based on all the research we did online, and talking to doctors and parents with the same issues, this is normal for boys. "Normal" does not make it easier to live with, but it did make me realize that I was powerless and needed to stop getting frustrated. Peter kept telling us that he was going to start wearing underwear when he turned 4.

The day after his 4th birthday I asked him if he was ready for underwear and he said, "Maybe when I turn 5." So I waited.

Two weeks later we were at the Disney store. Peter wanted everything in site. So I let him pick a toy (Cars) and a new pack of underwear and headed to check out. When I got home I put the kids down for naps and got to work making a chart (entitled: Peter and Aaron's Race to Diaper Independence):

Day 1 - Lot of accidents, Peter cried for his Pull-Ups. I gave them back and reminded him that even though he was wearing Pull-Ups he could still use the potty when he needed to go.

Day 2 - Peter wore Pull-Ups and didn't have any accidents, BUT I saw him holding his poop. I decided to give him something to help him go so it would be less traumatic. Fifteen minutes later he ran to the bathroom, went poop and has been going on the potty with no problem ever since (I think it helped that I made a HUGE deal about how it didn't hurt and wasn't scary at all).

Day 3 - Went back to underwear and has been virtually accident free ever since.

He does wear "training pants" at night (they are essentially cloth diaper pull ups, but with very little absorbancy), but he has a lot of dry nights and I am not really concerned about that.

This experience has taught me a few things, the two most important being -

1. Waiting until your child is ready to potty train is so much easier than fighting with them. Pushing when they are not physically or emotionally ready is only going to frustrate you both and could potentially do more damage than good.

2. Do not let people make you feel bad about the way you choose to deal with tough situations with your kids. I let people get to me. I knew in my heart that Peter would do it when he was ready, but outsiders frequently made me feel like a bad parent.

I know this is a much longer blog than I usually write (and more serious), but to any mom who is having trouble, you are not alone. And to people who know someone who is having trouble - give your friend/relative a break. It is hard enough without your commentary.

Next task - Aaron... who, guess what? Is also terrified of pooping. Of course he is.

Semi-New Addition

Like the new blog header??? You might notice a change; or I should say an addition.

Campbell Louise Gardner (our little princess) was born on July 19, 2011. She was the biggest baby I ever birthed (8 pounds, 1 ounce) and the most well behaved! From day one, Campbell has been an easy, laid back, good eating, great sleeping baby; who is loved by the entire family... but probably most loved by her Big Brother - Peter:

Now lets get past the face that it took me two months and nineteen days to acknowledge her on my blog. I am busy people!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We are the Champions

I have recently been having a hard time dealing with Peter and Aaron always competing. Everything thing we do, down to getting in our seats to eat dinner or getting in the car, is a race. That inevitably ends in one kid yelling, "I win!" And the other in tears.

It makes me nuts, so I have been trying to work on it with them. But the other day I lost my temper and before I realized what I was saying, the following works came out of my mouth:

Me - Peter and Aaron, stop it! There are no winners in this family, we are all losers!

Sadly, there is probably some truth to that statement sometimes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Old McDonald

This morning in the car Aaron was signing to himself.

Aaron - Old McDonalds had a farm E-I-E-I-O, and on that farm he had a chicken, E-I-E-I-O. With a balk balk here, and a balk balk there, here a balk, there a balk, everywhere a balk balk.

Old McDonalds had a farm E-I-E-I-O, and on that farm he had a french fry, E-I-E-I-O...

Hey mom, what does a french fry say???

Me - Aaron, french fries don't live on a farm.

Aaron - But they live at McDonalds!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stick and Stones

We were at the park playing today, when Peter picked up a huge stick that had fallen during last week's hurricane. As he danced around with it he almost hit another kid with it prompting a time out and being told he was not allowed to pick up anymore sticks.

Two minutes later he picked up a stick off the ground.

Me - Peter, what did mommy JUST say about your privileges with sticks?

Peter - I am not allowed to pick up sticks.

Me - Then why are you holding a stick?

Peter - This is a branch!

Me - Branches are made out of sticks.

Peter - No, they are made out of wood and bark.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yeah, we had an earthquake. In VIRGINIA! Nuts right?

Everyone insists on telling their story around here, so this is mine.

Yesterday at whatever time the shaking started (I don't know the date, so don't ask me to focus on time) - I was sitting on the couch watch Big Love on Netflix and nursing the baby (yeah, we had a baby - maybe I should post a blog about her). The boys were upstairs sleeping.

My first thought, "wow, the garbage truck is late today."

Immediately followed by, "Oh SHIT - are we being attacked???" Because, let's face it, when you live outside of DC and the world starts shaking you think terrorist attack WAY before earthquake.

But it didn't stop, it was getting stronger and glasses and things started to fall off the walls and shelves.

So, I ran outside (boob out and baby in arms). That was the scariest part, the cars were shaking like crazy! I don't know earthquake protocol, so I went to "rescue" the boys and bring them outside. I was screaming, "Peter, Aaron, Wake up!" in the boys room when it stopped.

Both boys were still sleeping, so I went to check on some neighbors (we have an elderly couple two doors down and several kids who do not have parents home).

A bunch of the neighbor kids ended up at my house because they were scared, so we all unsuccessfully tried to get a hold of loved ones over the phone while we watched the news and learned that there was a 5.9 earthquake.

At that moment I was a little freaked out. Brett was in his office building (which he later told me was SWAYING) so I wanted to make sure he was fine before I could breath. But the news was not reporting any major damage, so I wasn't too worried.

After it was all over and we knew no one was hurt and that there wasn't major damage, it was just really cool. I witnessed an earthquake! Not something I ever thought I would be able to say as an east coaster. Pretty awesome!

We did have two fatalities - two wine glasses that were perched on shelves in our dining room fell to their death.

Oh, by the way, people who live in Cali are absolutely freaking crazy - it was fun once, but I wouldn't really want to do it again, and especially not one that actually does do damage. I know west coasters are probably making fun of us for freaking out over this one, but we are all making fun of them for choosing to live somewhere that it can happen so frequently!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


This evening we were at the pool, when a huge storm started rolling in. We packed up quickly and started walking home as quickly as possible. On our way, I started thinking about what we would do now that Mother Nature had changed our plans.

Me - Brett, I am thinking that I can make dinner while you get the kids showered and in their PJs, then we can have dinner, and if they are good we can do a M-O-V-I-E after (spelling it out so that the kids wouldn't know what I was saying).

Brett - Sounds perfect.

Peter - What movie can we watch?

Brett - Uh oh...

Me - Why did we teach him how to read???

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Aaron Vs. Alex

After Aaron's whole tooth ordeal I Googled "Ovi missing tooth" to see if Aaron had the same tooth missing as Washington Capitals super star Alexander Ovechkin. Turns out Aaron is missing the opposite tooth, but here are two photos I found in my internet search that were a funny comparison:

The toothless gaps -



Upside-down shades -

Aaron (taken the day before he lost his tooth)


Now if only we had this magazine, we would have had a much easier time finding a dentist to pull Aaron's tooth yesterday!

An Early Visit From the Tooth Fairy

Our normal routine in the evenings is to go to the pool as soon as the kids get up from their naps in the afternoon (where Brett meets us when he gets home from work), then we walk home, change into pajamas, eat dinner, brush teeth, read books, go to bed.

Yesterday was going the same as always, except when Brett got to the pool I headed out to make dinner for everyone and get ready to leave for dinner with some friends.

Right as I was finishing up cooking dinner and was grabbing my keys to leave for my dinner out with friends, I heard Brett and the kids coming in the front door. Brett looked distraught.

Brett - Aaron chipped his tooth at the pool.

Me - WHAT? Why didn't you call me? What do we do? I need to call Debbi (my friend that I was going to meet is also mother of 3 children who are older, so I figured she would have advice).

Debbi didn't have a specific dentist to call, so I got off the phone with her and went into mommy mode. While the kids watched TV (Aaron wasn't actually crying at all, but his mouth was bleeding), Brett and I were on the phone calling the pediatrician, dentists, and anyone else we thought could help. What ended up being the biggest help was a post I put up Facebook asking if anyone knew an emergency pediatric dentist.

An old friend of ours who is a dental hygienist called me right away and was able to calm us down a little (apparently chipped baby teeth were no biggie), but she also gave us the number of a friend who was a pediatric dentist. Once we called him, Aaron let me get into his mouth a little more to see what was going on. Turns out his "chip" was more like a split up the center of his tooth (the whole center was shattered away) and the dentist advised us that he would either need it pulled or need a root canal. Bad news (as if the whole tooth thing wasn't bad news) - this doctor was out of town and most of the people he would recommend were also out of town. However, he knew one dentist - Dr. Ternisky out of McLean. Another friend on Facebook had JUST recommended the same dentist, so we gave her a call.

Dr. Ternisky was EXACTLY what we needed. She explained over the phone that it wasn't going to be a fun process. Aaron would need to essentially be strapped down to the table, and we would need to hold his head while she gave him shots in his gums and then she would pull the tooth.

Knowing that we didn't want Peter to have to listen to all of crying and yelling and knowing that we wanted to both be with Aaron, we started calling around to friends who could potentially watch Peter for a couple hours. Thankfully our friend's Christy and Dave were more than willing and we were able to quickly drop off Peter and head to the dentist.

Once we got to the dentist, everything went exactly as she had explained, except she didn't really say that it would be the most torturous moment that anyone of us had ever endured. Poor kid needed about 10 little Novocain shots in his gums and into the middle of the tooth, and pulling the tooth was not at all like what I remember from having loose teeth yanked as a kid. The dentist had to get the root, so lets just say, it didn't come out too easily.

With that said - Dr. Terniski was wonderful and Aaron was such a little trooper. Through the tears he made jokes, got excited about the tooth fairy and gave us some smiles (photo post pull):

The dentist recommended that we take him out to ice cream after we picked up Peter, much to both kid's excitement.

When we got home, we put Aaron's tooth under his pillow (something I never thought I would be doing while one of my kids was still sleeping in a crib). This morning he was so excited to find a dollar and looks forward to going to the Dollar Tree later this morning.

Side note - the photo of Aaron at the pool (at the top of this post) was the last photo ever taken of his baby tooth. The dentist said his new tooth would grow back in 2-4 years, so we have a long time before we have another photo with a full set of teeth in Aaron's mouth.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


There are about 6 "spraygrounds" or interactive water fountains (that I can think of) in the DC Metro area. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about - these are play areas where water shoots out of the ground for the kids to run around in. For someone who is 8 months pregnant in the DC heat it is a great way to wear your kids out, while cooling down with splashes from the water as they run by.

Yesterday my MOMS Club was scheduled to meet at Fairfax Corner which has a fountain AND was hosting a puppet show. When I told the boys, they were BEYOND excited about the day of fun we had planned. Until we arrived about it seemed like every mother in Fairfax County had the same idea. It was standing room only to watch the puppet show and you could barely get to the fountain to play in. Try #1 at playing in water - failed!

Somehow I found two of the moms I was meeting there and suggested we go to Reston Town Center because their fountain was rarely packed, so we packed up and left. Deciding to meet at Pot Belly and then walk to the fountain together for a picnic and play.

We got to the fountain just before noon and the water was not on. Knowing that they sometimes turn them on right at noon, I wasn't discouraged and set up our picnic. After 12 noon rolled around with no water, I decided to call the Town Center management company and see what was going on. Apparently it was broken. Try #2 - failed.

We did end up staying to eat lunch while the kids ran around, but they still wanted some fun in a water fountain.

So, this morning I planned to take them to Lyon Village Sprayground. Again, I started the day by telling the boys what a fun time we would have and getting them excited to put on their swim suits. And again I got there right before 11am (the time I THOUGHT the water came on) and there was no water. Five minutes later (at 11:03am) still no water. I decided to look up the Arlington Sprayground schedule online, only to find out that Lyon Village was CLOSED on Thursday. Try #3 - failed.

However, another one was supposed to be open and was close to where we were - Hayes Sprayground. So I called the friend we were meeting and changed the venue. When I pulled up to Hayes I was delighted to FINALLY see water shooting from the ground. The boys grabbed their water pails, and we headed over to play. After all that we had finally been successful at finding a place to enjoy a day of water fun. The kids scrambled to take off their shoes and run to the water.

Five minutes later they were complaining that they were cold and hungry and wanted to eat lunch.

Not sure if you would call Try #4 a success or a failure.

The Fire Truck

Yesterday, we pulled up next to a fire truck and the kids got seriously giddy. The fire fighters on board were nice enough to wave at the boys, who were practically jumping out of their car seats.

As the light turned green and we drove away the boys had the following exchange from the back seat.

Peter - I LOVE fire trucks, they save people.

Aaron - I love fire trucks because they have an eagle and Slapshot is an eagle!

There was a TINY eagle on the truck, similar to this one -

But apparently my kids are so brain washed, that Aaron saw this -

Good to know they are thinking about hockey even in the off season.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shower After Swimming

The following took place at our pool this evening.

Please keep in mind that Peter almost always speaks VERY loudly when he talks (yeah, I know, where did he get that from?)... Anyway...

Peter - (teeth chattering) Daddy, I am cold, can we go take our showers and go home now?

Brett - Sure Peter.

Peter - Can I get naked?

Brett - Yes, Peter, you will take your bathing suit off to shower, and then you can walk home in your robe.

Peter - OK, but when I am naked you CANNOT touch my private parts! NO ONE is allowed to touch my private parts!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Brett and I have each others names tattooed on our left wrists. In addition, I have "Col 3:17" on my right wrist.

I never really talk about my tattoos with my kids, and they never really ask. Which is why I was surprised when Aaron asked for a sticker the other day and put it here:

Monday, June 27, 2011

To Cloth or Not To Cloth

Living in the DC Metro, on one salary, with a third baby coming is absolutely terrifying when we start thinking about finances.

A new baby means less money coming in each pay check (our kid's 529 college money gets taken out of Brett's pay check before we get it), more medical expenses, more mouths to feed, and more diapers to buy.

Thankfully, I have TONS of mom friends who have daughters and a LOT of generous hand me downs, so we didn't have to buy clothes. But the thought of $20 a week on formula, and $50 a month in diapers is enough to make me sick. So I am absolutely determined to breast feed and am seriously considering cloth diapers.

After TONS of research, polling all my friends, looking at all the brands and realizing that I was totally on board with making the change to cloth I took the last step before actually buying the diapers. Asking Brett.

Me - So, I have been crunching numbers and I really think that we should consider cloth diapers for Campbell.

Brett - No

Me - (stunned because Brett is usually very open minded - especially when saving money is in question) Um... can you at least look at my research? It will save us hundreds of dollars and thousands if we keep it up for our fourth child.

Brett - It is gross, and I just don't like the idea.

I will stop the conversation here because things got heated, but lets just say I got my point across. Once Brett thought about it a little while, and was willing to look at the research I had done he started to come around.

If you are someone thinking about cloth, here are the two sites we found most helpful:

Young House Love's Cloth Diaper Blog

I Love Cloth Diapers

After polling friends, internet ratings, and pricing we decided on bumGenius One-Size Cloth Diaper. Our second choice would have been FuzziBunz, but there was a SLIGHT price difference (on Amazon) and they had the extra step in washing of removing/putting the absorbent layer back into the diaper.

We also settled on using Imse Vimse Flushable Liners as a compromise to "showering" off the solid waste (this was a big factor in convincing Brett). Here is a video of how they work:

We figure we will need about 1 roll per month (200 liners come on a roll). They sell for $11.60 (on Amazon), which breaks down to about $0.06 per diaper change. Compared to Pampers Swaddlers disposable diapers which are about $0.23 per diaper change, and end up in a land fill.

Our initial investment will be:

16 - bumGenius One-Size Snap Cloth Diaper 4.0 - @ $17.95 each = $287.20
1 - Planet Wise Wet/Dry Diaper Bag - @ 23.95 (for dirty diapers)
1 - Imse Vimse Flushable Liner (2PK) 200 pieces/2 rolls - @ $11.60

Total - $322.75 - With the only reoccurring cost being the Imse Vimse Flushable Liners.

We haven't pulled the trigger and purchased these items yet, but it is looking like we will be soon. I will update the blog in a few months and let you know how things are going!

If it does work out I am going to try hard not to kick myself too much for not starting with Peter, or to think about how many dollars we have flushed down the diaper pail.

Baby Items

We are pretty much finished getting ready for Campbell's arrival (and thank goodness, she will be here in 3 weeks!). All of the baby stuff that we had lent out to friends has moved back into our home, and I think the boys are enjoying them:

Peter Writes his Numbers

This morning, Aaron slept in so I was in the living room with Peter. He asked if he could have a dry erase marker so that he could practice his numbers (in his little counting book).

I gave him the marker and turned around to check my email.

Five minutes later Peter walked his book over to me, set it on my lap and said, "Look at my six, Mom!"

I looked down at the book to see a nicely traced "6" in his book:

Then I looked up at Peter to congratulate him on his wonderful penmanship and saw this:

Visit to the Pet Store

Yesterday, we were invited to a birthday party at "My Gym" in Burke. This "My Gym" was located in a strip mall that also had a pet store. So after the party a bunch of us walked over to let the kids look at the animals.

As we were looking at all the mine, hamsters, and reptiles, I heard Aaron scream for me.

Aaron - MOMMY, LOOK! This animal died, and now he is just a skeleton!!!

What are the chances that the snake hiding under that log got the miniature person who once lived in the cage?

Fashion Advice

The other day I came down stairs wearing cargo pants.

Peter - Mommy, WHAT ARE YOU WEARING???

Me - These are called cargo pants.

Peter - No, they are called FIREMAN pants. YOU are a GIRL. Take them off!

Aaron - Yeah, Mommy, those are fireman pants.

Peter - Girls are supposed to wear skirts!

The sad thing is, I did change my clothes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Riding the Roller Coaster

This morning my MOMS Club held an event called "Water Day" at one of our member's houses. Our hostess (Irene) set up a baby pool, water table and sprinkler in her yard and with the help of some water toys, balls, side walk chalk, bubbles, and a few snacks we had 2 solid hours of entertainment for the kids.

As the morning of fun was wrapping up and all the moms were cleaning up I noticed a bunch of the kids sitting on Irene's front stoop. Thinking that they were trying to get in the house (with wet dirty feet) I headed over to stop whatever mischief might be happening.

That is when I heard one of the kids say, "OK, sit down and buckle up. The roller coaster is about to start!"

Not a single one of the moms had helped this group of 2-4 year old kids think up this game, they had done it all on their own. As other kids finished getting dressed from their bathing suits they joined in the roller coaster fun, and I got a couple great photos of them "riding down a hill":

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to the Family Audrey Claire!

Brett and I would like to (finally) formally introduce our first niece:

Audrey Claire Gardner
Born June 4, 2011 at 2:14pm
6 lbs. 11 oz and 19.5 inches

Audrey was a long awaited addition to the family and we are so thrilled to welcome her to the Gardner Family as the first grand-DAUGHTER (Sorry Campbell, she beat you to the punch!).

Here are some more photos from the hospital:

And my favorite - Audrey sleeping on her Daddy (Don, Brett's brother):

This past weekend, Brett was able to fly down to Atlanta to meet Audrey in person. She came to pick him up at the train station looking cute as can be:

I will not be meeting her until August when we plan to travel to Raleigh for her Baptism, and am looking forward to introducing her to all THREE of her Gardner cousins!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Silent but Deadly

When Brett came home from work last night, the kids and I were baking cookies.

Brett - Wow, something smells good in here.

Peter - Oh yeah, 'cause I just farted!!!

I will let you decide for yourself which parent he got that one liner from.

Pop Culture Reference Wasted on a Three Year Old

This evening after Peter and Aaron went to bed I heard Peter call for his father.

Peter - Daddy, I need you.

Me - Peter, Daddy is outside watering my plants he will be up in a minute.

Peter - Nooo. I need him NOW.

Me - Patience grasshopper.

Peter - Don't call me grasshopper, Mom, I am NOT an insect! I only have two legs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Workin' 9-5

Brett has been working longer hours the past couples months, so understandably when the kids wake up before he leaves for work they cling to him when he tries to get out the door.

Then I have to spend the next five minutes explaining that Daddy has to go to work to earn money so we can have our house, and food, and toys, and so we can do fun things.

From a young age Peter has seemed to understand that Daddy has the money, so this seems to make sense to him.

But now when Brett gets home from work in the afternoon the boys don't ask him if he had a good day, they now want to know, "Did you have fun making money today, Daddy?"

Monday, June 20, 2011

No Pinching

This morning I dressed Aaron in a lobster shirt that said "No Pinching Allowed."

We were all playing in the living room when Aaron walked over to me and asked me what his shirt said.

Me - It says "No Pinching Allowed" (pointing to each word as I read it)

Aaron - Uuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm... I think it says "YES Pinching Allowed"

Then walks over to his brother and pinches his arm.

And that pretty much sums up what life is like with almost 3 and almost 4 year old boys.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

One Generation to Another

This evening my mother came over for dinner and she and Peter had the following conversation.

Peter - Grammie, today I fell at the pool and I got a boo boo WITH BLOOD, so we came home and I got to have a BLUE CRAYON BAND-AIDE.

My Mom - Wow, Peter.

Peter - Yeah, Mommy had to get it out of her car, from the red box.

My Mom - Oh really?

Peter - Yeah, when you were a little girl did your mom have a red box in her car?

Me - He is talking about a first aide kit.

My Mom - Well, I think my mom hand Band-aides at home.

Peter - But, what if you were at the park when you got a boo boo?

My Mom - Then we would go home and get a band aide, but my Mom didn't have a car because she didn't know how to drive.

Peter - (eyes wide) WHAT?!?!? Than HOW did you get to playgroup???

Where fore out thy Gnomeo?

For years Peter and Aaron have been obsessed with the movie Cars, but there is finally another movie that is a close second favorite.

Gnomeo and Juliet came out this Spring, and from the beginning credits (i.e. first Elton Jon song) my kids were hooked. We saw it in the theatre three times, and to their excitement one of my friends got it on DVD for us this week.

Their absolutely favorite scene in the movie is at the end when there is a big song and dance number to Elton Jon's Crocodile Rock. This is Peter's new favorite sing. Or, his "jam" as he calls it. He even requested that they play Crocodile Rock at our MOMS Club Musical Munchkins Class (which they did, and Peter danced to the whole time).

Yesterday, I told the kids that since Brett was going out of town for the night, we could have a special movie night and watch our new movie. While we were driving Brett to the airport Peter told him our plans.

Peter - Dad, GUESS WHAT?

Brett - What?

Peter - Miss Christina got us a NEW movie, and Mommy said we can watch it tonight.

Brett - That sounds exciting Peter. What movie is it?

Peter - I'll give you a hint... WAAAAAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH (as per the chorus of Crocodile Rock)

If you haven't seen Gnomeo and Juliet we would highly recommend it. Definitely fun for all ages, great music (all Elton Jon), and some pretty funny jokes for adults.

Here is the trailer:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Sissy!

Today is my sister, Katelyn's, 26th birthday. Since she lives across country I have spent the day calling and leaving messages, mailing birthday gifts from the Post Office (I would like to believe that she gets to celebrate her birthday for several days because my gifts will be arriving late), and of course harassing her online.

When I hung up from my last phone call, Peter started asking questions (as per normal for an almost 4 year old).

Peter - Mom, who are you talking to?

Me - I was leaving another birthday message for Aunt K

Peter - Is it her birthday today?

Me - Yes, that is why we keep calling her.

Peter - So, is she having a birthday party?

Me - Maybe, but she lives far away so we can't go. But we will celebrate with her when she visits next month.

Peter - BUT MOMMY, we can take the mini van! It is the fastest car in the whole world.

Me - Well, Aunt K lives so far away that we would need to take an airplane.

Peter - Oh... But, they don't let pregnant ladies on airplanes (this was information he was given when we dropped Brett off at the airport today to go visit our new niece)

Me - That is right, so we can't go there today.

Peter - OK, well maybe Aunt K wants to TRADE birthdays with me? Then we can have my party today and after you cut Campbell out of your belly we can go visit Aunt K's house on August 14th and have HER birthday party. Doesn't that sound like a great idea???

Nice logic Peter, but it doesn't work that way.


(photo taken in Vegas last year when Katelyn's finance, Jason, flew me out as her birthday gift)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Painting the Town BLUE

Brett has been working long hours and weekends recently trying to finish up a project at work by deadline. It is now complete, so he took today off to make up for some of the over time he has worked.

So, last night we turned off the alarm and decided that we would get up whenever the kids did and have a lazy morning. Since our alarm usually goes off at 6am, and the kids get up between 7:30-8am, we were hoping to enjoy two extra hours of sleep.

We got WAY more than we bargained for.

This morning I was woken up to the sound of Peter talking to Aaron over the baby monitor.

Peter - Hi Aaron, are you ready to wake up now.

Aaron - Yeah Peter, I am.

Peter - Do you want to paint with me?

My ears perk up and my heart starts racing. Then ss I jump out of bed I hear:

Aaron - Peter, NO! You painted Lovey Lamb BLUE!

I walk into Peter's room to find him COVERED IN BLUE PAINT. Paint brush in one hand, paint bottle in the other. (Of course there are no photos of this scene, but I did capture a lot of the mess).

Me - Brett, HELP!

Brett comes running in as I hand Peter off and go investigate the damage, which started on Aaron's crib, then as I moved down the stairs I saw hand prints on the carpet:

Next I saw hand prints on the floor in the foyer:

When I turned the corner into the dining room I found this on the walls:

And on the wall of the basement stairs:

The mess finally ended in the kid's playroom where he had found the paint and started his artistic debauchery by painting his trains and train table:

Also found in the basement was a container of muffins that he had gotten for breakfast, and a whole mess of craft supplies that he had taken out and scattered all over the floor (these were cleaned up by the time I got the camera).

Needless to say Peter's busy morning goes on:

And he is grounded for life (to quote my parents, who said that to me several times growing up).

It is mornings like these that I wonder why we want more kids, but the truth is even though it was a MAJOR pain in the neck to clean up, punish, etc. first thing this morning, I find this stuff to be sort of hilarious. Peter definitely has my knack for naughtiness... and creativity!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Do the Crime, Do the Time

Brett and I have a rule that if the boys get out of bed at night, they get their "pets" taken away for the night. This evening a little after bedtime we heard Peter out of his bed, so Brett went up to "regulate".

Brett - Peter, you got out of bed, so I am taking your monkeys.

Peter - (cue instant tears) NOOOOOOOOO

Brett - Peter, you know the rules. Get back in bed and you can have them tomorrow.

Peter - (continues throwing fit) But I NEEEEEEED my baby monkey!!

Aaron - Daddy, that is NOT NICE! Give Peter back his monkeys!

Brett - Aaron, Peter lost them because he got out of bed and so lost his privilege.

Aaron - Well, I'll count to 20 for time out and then you give them back. 1-2-3-4-5-20, you can give them back now, Daddy.

Nice try Aaron.

Whipped at the Tender Age of Three

The last few weeks my boys have become every-other-day nappers. This means that my free time is more limited (read - my house is messier), and we now have to find activities to do in the afternoon.

Thankfully, we aren't the only ones. A few of Peter's friends from my MOMS Club are also dropping their naps so we usually have someone to play with. One such friend is my friend Christy's daughter, Emy.

Emy and Peter play AMAZINGLY together. I rarely see them fight and they seem to be completely on the same page with the little fantasy games that they play together (usually Prince and Princess, or Mommy and Baby... where oddly Peter plays the role of Mommy).

This is great for Aaron, who prefers to play by himself most of the time, because Peter leaves him alone when Emy is around.

Until this afternoon.

A few of the kids from our morning playgroup stayed for lunch and to play in the sprinkler today. Playing in the sprinkler turned into everyone watering my flowers and playing in my little garden. That is when I heard Peter defending a girl for the first time.

Peter - AARON, NO!!! Do not put mud on MY princess!

I guess he hasn't learned the saying, "Bros before... princesses"

My Handsome Husband

Our night-time routine with the kids is about 90% Brett's job, while I am usually doing laundry or cleaning up from the day's activities.

This evening, Brett was saying good night to the boys while I was in the next room working on Campbell's nursery.

Brett - OK boys, it is time to say good night.

Aaron - I have to go potty again.

Brett - You just went.

Peter - I have to go too!

Brett - Alright, come on guys we will go sit on the potty again.

Me - Peter, tell your dad he is a sucker!

Peter - Dad, you're a sucker!

Brett - Peter, that isn't nice.

Peter - OK. Mom, dad says that isn't nice. How about we call him a looker?

Me - Well, he is that too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Caps Kid

This afternoon Peter took off his jacket, which lead to his friend, Lucy, and he having a conversation about the shirt he was wearing:

Lucy - Wow Peter, your shirt has an eagle on it!

Peter - Yeah Lucy, this is a Caps Kids shirt. It is hockey. That is Slapshot the eagle.

Lucy - Oh, cool.

Peter - What sport is your family named for?

Lucy - What?

Peter - We are Caps Kids. I am the "P" for Peter. What are you? Soccer? Softball? Basketball?

Lucy - People aren't named after sports.


Clearly Peter doesn't understand that his family isn't "normal" yet.

Questions We Just Don't Have Answers For

Brett and I store our extra batteries in a drawer in the kids playroom - this was a decision we made BEFORE our children started opening drawers. But, they have learned not to open the drawer, so we have left them there (although with a new baby coming I might be rethinking).

However, today for whatever reason, Peter DID open the drawer and started to pick up some batteries when Brett stopped him.

Brett - Peter, we do NOT play with batteries.

Peter - Why? (A question I am beginning to HATE)

Brett - Because, Peter, batteries aren't toys.

Peter - Then why do so many toys need batteries?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yesterday morning the boys and I dropped our dog, Rusty, off at the Pet Smart groomers to get his Spring shave. Later when we went to pick him up the following happened.

Me - (as I am opening the door to the groomer) Now boys, Rusty might look a little different with his hair cut, but he is the same dog.

Aaron - (seeing a big Husky as we walk in the door starts crying) NO, Rusty turned into another dog!

Everyone in the place starts laughing, and our groomer goes to the back room to get Rusty. During this time I calmed Aaron down, until he saw Rusty come out.

Aaron - He IS a new dog! I want my Rusty back.

me - No honey, his hair will grow back. Just like when Mommy cuts your hair.

Aaron - (grabbing his head in terror and completely forgetting about his concern for Rusty) I DON'T WANT A HAIR CUT!!! Mommy's buzzer is NOT nice!

In his defense I have given him a few bad haircuts.

Here is Rusty's adorable new haircut:

Is Peter Growing up in the 50s?

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment, so my friend Kim told me she would watch the kids. In preparation, I explained to the kids where I was going and that they needed to listen to Miss Kim.

Me - While Mommy is at the Doctor, you will be at Miss Kim's house playing with Trey and Grant. In Miss Kim's house, Miss Kim is the boss so you need to listen to everything she tells you. Do you understand?

Peter - Yes. But what if Trey's Daddy is home, then he will be the boss?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Need to Hire a Staff!

This morning I looked at the calendar for this summer, and realized that we have confirmed plans for the following:

July 19 - Deliver Campbell (I actually packed for the hospital today, which means she will NOT come early or unexpectedly - this is the first time I packed a bag for the hospital although it is my 3rd child)

July 23 - Released from hospital (based on when having a 5 day stay with Peter and Aaron, but hopefully we will be able to leave earlier)

July 30 - Aaron's 3rd Birthday Party

August 4-5 - Brett is in a wedding in Pittsburgh, PA

August 13 - Peter's 4th Birthday Party

August 19-21 - Trip to Raleigh to meet our soon-to-be niece or nephew

I sent out invites for Aaron's birthday today (early I know), am working on Peter's and have booked both hotels for the trips we are going on. Yet somehow I feel like I probably should hire a nanny, maid, dog walker, and chef for the summer. You know, with all of our extra income.

Not complaining though - I am very excited about all the events we have ahead of us, and I have tons of amazing friends and family who are always around to lend a hand so I am sure we will make due.

Either that or my house will look like a tornado hit it, but what else is new.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Decisions to Make

This morning, Peter came in my room to tell me that he was awake when I was doing the last thing I needed to do to get ready for the day - putting my earring on.

Peter - Good morning, Mom. The green light is on, so its wake up time.

Me - Great! Mommy is going to put her earrings on and then we can go pick out your clothes.

Peter - Mommy, why do only girls wear earrings?

Me - They don't, some boys wear earrings.

Peter - THEY DO!?!?!

Me - Sure, lots of boys wear earrings and you can too, but not until you are a grown up and decide if you want to.

Peter - Hhhhmmm... well I am going to be a fireman when I grow up. Do you remember if any of the fireman at the firehouse were wearing earrings?

Me - I don't remember, but we can look at their ears next time we go there.

Peter - OK, and ask them if it is OK for firemen to wear earrings. Then I will know if I get earrings.

SO, the next time we have a MOMS Club field to the Firehouse, it should be very interesting what my son asks during the question and answer portion of the program.