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!