Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Power of Underwear

Evan and I made a deal.

Pee pee in the potty = big boy underwear  (or as I remember them - underoos)
Pee pee in pants = baby underwear (aka diaper)

He totally went for it.  It's amazing the power character-themed anything has on children.  So to be able to wear "undawares just like dada" is even more spectacular with Lightening McQueen on them.  We'll see how far this little ploy can take us.  It's looking good so far.

Evan is so empowered by his underwear that he demanded music over cartoons this morning.  He wanted to shake what his mama daddy gave him instead.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We have a new addition to the family.

Thanks to a gift card received from the Santels, Evan experienced the closest he's gonna get to having a baby. He "built" a dinosaur and has a birth certificate to prove it.

Build-A-Dino is an extension of Build-A-Bear, both located at Broadway at the Beach.  Any time I pass by the shop I witness hundreds of kids streaming in and out of the front doors - enough to keep me away.  Of course this is true for any shop at Broadway during season.  Now that we're out of season, I thought it would be a great time to experience this whole concept of building your own stuffed animal and receiving a gift card was just the motivation I needed to get me in the door.

The experience is a step-by-step process, but picking out the animal is by far the hardest part.  There are numerous bears with a random alligator, monkey or gorilla thrown in the mix.  And then of course there are the dinosaurs which are kept in another room.  This made step one a lot less painful because I simply dragged Evan into the dinosaur room leaving all those other options behind.

Evan immediately gravitated towards the purple dinosaur.  This is no surprise considering purple is currently his favorite color.  I kinda laughed under my breath because I could already see Robert's expression as Evan strolled in with this bright, sparkly dinosaur under his arm.  But in the end it was the orange/yellow dinosaur that won Evan's heart so I was able to avoid giving my usual speech which is, "Babe, he's two years old.  Quit being ridiculous."

The remaining steps in this whole process are as follows:

Step 2:  Pick out a sound box.  Some of the choices were roaring, barking, giggling, a couple of Jonas Brothers songs (ABSOLUTELY NOT!), Star Wars theme song, Happy Birthday and record your own.  Evan wanted Happy Birthday and I'm sure you can imagine how much I hate that song now.  Actually this particular version isn't so bad and it has only been a few days.  Ask me a month from now and I may consider canceling all future birthdays just to avoid hearing that song.

Step 3:  Pick out a heart.  Warm the heart by kissing it and put it inside your animal.  This was really sweet.

Step 4:  Press the machine pedal and watch the animal "come to life" (the lady fills it up with stuffing).  Evan was afraid of the large, stuffing-filled machine.  It made a loud noise as it filled up the animal.  This step took a little coaching, but we managed to get him comfortable.  The lady then sews up the seam.

Step 5:  Give your animal a bath.  This is included so that the kids can brush off any excess stuffing that may be sticking out.  Evan got into this part.

Step 6:  Create a birth certificate.  I filled out all the required info (address, birthdate, etc.) but I asked Evan what he wanted to name his dinosaur.  He took two seconds and came back with Dino.  Original, right?  I'm thinking he's been watching too much Dino Dan.

The experience was fun and I'm sure we'll do it again.  Dino is now one of six animals that sleep with Evan.  The only difference is that Dino sings Happy Birthday all...night...long.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Jeggings?  I'm sure you've heard of them by now.  They are one of the hottest trends of the season despite the ridiculous name.

The popular jean/leggings combo somehow found their way into my wardrobe a few weeks ago.  Yes, that's right, friends - Amanda Stinnett is sporting jeggings. Anybody who knows me well will laugh when they read that sentence simply because I am NOT a trendy girl.  I definitely buy new styles as seasons come and go, but I typically stick to the more classic pieces.

The name is actually what got my attention when I first learned of these pants.  The fact that they are stretchy, more durable than your average leggings and can fit nice and snug inside a pair of tall boots - that's what made me buy them.  And, honestly, I love them.

The average woman would've progressed from a bootcut jean to a skinny jean and then to jeggings.  But me?  I went balls out, straight for the jeggings.  Since this purchase, however, I have also acquired a pair of skinny jeans.  And I love them too. 

This is what Robert had to say about it via Conan...

Laura - here is a picture at your request.  I stole this picture from the Buzz's Roost FB page.  I'm breakin' it down at the holiday party in my jegs. ha!

Friday, January 21, 2011

This is How We Roll

This is what we've had to resort to in order to get anything done around here - and that includes eating.  All of our efforts to try and eliminate the cause of Mattie's discomfort continue to get thrown back in our faces.  It looks like we all may have to suffer until the issue is outgrown.  Deja vu?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Speed. I am Speed.

Pretending to be Lightening McQueen can sometimes mean more than just imaginative play.  Especially when the speeding car doesn't slow down for obstacles in the road.

My little race car was zooming around the living room yesterday showing off his Nascar skills.  His passion in life right now is to go fast and to make race car noises in the process.  Even as I warned him 12 thousand times, "Evan, please be careful.  I don't want you to get hurt." - he continued to rev his engine and burn rubber through the house.

Sometimes, no matter the skill level, accidents just happen.  Evan - oh, I mean Lightening McQueen, failed to see the puzzle laying at the bottom of the steps (where he left it, of course) and as he came racing through the foyer he stepped on the puzzle which went sliding across the floor.  His body was completely horizontal in the air until quickly falling face down on the bottom step of the staircase.  Ouchy!

There was blood and several tears, but other than a busted lip, Evan walked away unscathed - at least seriously any way.  But nothing was more evident that he was ok until I looked at him very sympathetically and said, "Buddy, are you alright?" And he immediately responded, "Ka-chow!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

3 Months

Our little girl, who we affectionately refer to as Fattie Mattie, turned 3 months old today.  Every month seems to fly by, but we recognize how blessed we are every single day.

Complain Much?

If humans someday evolve to the point where infants can actually communicate their discomforts there will be some very happy mamas and daddys out there.  It's a win/win situation, so what's the hold up?

We've dealt with more than our fair share of fussiness over the past couple of months.  As I noted here and here we were under the impression that MJ might have an aversion to dairy.  We also suspected that her reflux was causing burning in her esophagus.  Through much trial and error we finally came to the conclusion that dairy played no part in this whole drama and if she was in fact experiencing any burning the Zantac the doctor prescribed must be working.

I've read so many times what works for one baby may not work for another.  Let me throw my favorable vote in on that statement.  While I was depriving myself dairy - the nectar of the gods, in my opinion - all MJ was trying to tell us what that she was tired.  Through out the day I would rotate her from her bouncer to the swing, just like I did with Evan (of course nothing worked for him so he may not be a great comparison).  She would nod off here and there, but while she was awake she was very unhappy.  Her unhappiness would get worse as the day progressed and she would really let loose at night, right before bedtime.  We were thrilled though when she started sleeping 9+ hours each night.  I also mentioned her two worst episodes were when we were visiting family over Thanksgiving and then family over Christmas.

To sum up this ordeal, I started laying Mattie down every two hours or so, whenever I noticed she was getting sleepy.  And lo and behold, we finally had a winner.  She now wakes up cooing and smiling and seems content in her swing and her chair until its time to lay down again.  We realized that we were forcing her to stay awake by not laying her down because she doesn't seem to sleep well, if at all, in the swing or chair.  For weeks she was so exhausted by night time that she would be screaming from exhaustion - so no wonder she slept almost 10 hours every night (she's back to sleeping about 6).    And our trips to Florida and Tennessee?  Imagine the additional stimulation she received from all the extra people and going from place to place.  She must have been off the charts exhausted.  How silly do I feel for not figuring this out sooner?  I thought about not even admitting it, that's how silly.

But just when you think you've rounded that corner...


As if it's not hard enough.

Mattie's reflux causes her to spit up in massive amounts after every feeding.  If they made a perfume that was "barf" scented I would no doubt be the spokesperson.  I have been covered in the stuff for quite some time now.  It's reached the point where I don't even use a burp cloth any more.  Unless they decide to make one poncho style there is no way to avoid the barf shower.  But I accepted all of this long ago.  As long as she was gaining weight I could deal with it.

In an effort to alleviate this issue our doctor suggested feeding her a bottle and adding cereal to the breastmilk.  She claimed the combination would sit heavier on Mattie's stomach preventing it to come back up.  I, of course, was willing to try it, but in doing so meant I would have to pump and feed rather than feed straight from the breast.  In other words, my life would revolve around breastmilk. 

Currently, my life revolves around breastmilk.  The cereal works like a charm.  I receive a little burp action on my shoulder every now and then, but for the most part, each meal stays down.  While this is all great I'm beginning to feel burned out from having to devote so much time to feeding.  Not to mention, I feel like Mattie is wanting more milk.  Going from 4 oz to 6 oz at this point would be normal, but I'm not able to pump more than 4 oz. every 3 - 4 hours.  All you expert, breastfeeding moms out there - suggestions?

And while all of this is already a struggle, Mattie has decided to start teething.  Back to crying we've gone.

Is someone playing a small violin yet?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bringing Sexy Back

Well, sexy might be pushing it. But I'm finally starting an exercise program to bring something back from my pre-baby days. While this extra layer of flab may be keeping me warmer this winter, I'd like to be able to trade it in for a cute bathing suit this summer.

The hardest thing about exercising, in my opinion, is just getting in the routine. In order to get results it's important to stick to some level of consistency. There are a million programs out there that guarantee results as long as you adhere to a 5 day workout plan, devoting an hour and a half to each day and sticking to a strict no carb diet. Let's face it - who can realistically do that? Maybe for a month, yes - but as a way of life, I don't think so.

For me, a three day work out plan is ideal. I can devote 45 minutes to an hour to each of these days. As far as diet goes, I just try to make healthier choices. Instead of the usual 4 scoops of ice cream, I will now settle for one. Instead of a bag of chips, I will snack on a mini bag of popcorn.  I'm a snacker by nature so I would be foolish to think I could cut all snacking out of my diet.  It would also be silly for me to think I could eat only raw veggies and fruit as my snacks and be satisfied.  I'm not preparing for a bikini contest here - just want to get back into some sort of shape - and preferably not round.

The program that I have chosen to follow is the Couch to 5K plan.  Running is the one exercise that I know I can always do no matter where I am.  It doesn't require a gym or equipment to get in my day's worth of exercise and the plan is based on 9 weeks.  That's really all I need.  Once I've reached that point successfully I can then run on my own without any sort of aid.

Today is day 1 of the program.  This is the starting point: 
Brisk five-minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

I will use my blog as a motivator by recording my progress.  My brother, Tim, also mentioned that he is starting to train for the Chicago Marathon so maybe I can feed off his energy a bit too.  I'll need as much motivation as I can get.  Trust me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Talk to Me

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Weather

We got our first taste of winter weather the day after Christmas.  We had snow flurries the majority of the day, but no accumulation.  It was still a beautiful sight considering our last seven years have been spent in Florida and we rarely saw the temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

We've been under a winter storm watch for the past 24 hours and it seems the storm has finally made its way to Murrells Inlet.  The snow is coming down hard and we're actually beginning to see some accumulation outside.

Growing up in NC we were lucky to get one good snow/ice shower and usually we were cursed with ice.  Travel would be dangerous, no power for miles and of course everything would be closed.  But amazingly, it was still exciting.  The phone lines would be busy for hours from everyone calling around to talk about the 1 - 2" of precipitation they've received.  Kids would drag out their sleds trash can lids and attempt some sort of sledding action while moms whipped up the hot chocolate.  We would literally have to dig out the boots, gloves and hats that were stored in the very back of the closet hoping we had at least two that matched.  Michiganians would scoff at our enthusiasm for winter weather.

I imagine I'll never live in a region where snow is an afterthought - and I'm totally ok with that.  I prefer to be excited by one or two episodes and then look to spring with even more excitement.  It's possible I may end up right back in FL when it's all said and done.  But for now - I welcome and love the change in seasons.

Oh, and to give a true sense of a SC winter storm - the time it took me to write this post and feed MJ the snow has melted.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Favorite Reads

Reading time is a critical part of Evan's bedtime routine - and by critical I mean he won't go to bed without a story.  On vacation this summer I think we read a brochure from a hotel we were so desperate for reading material.

His love for books has grown as he as grown older and he becomes more immersed in the story each time its read - which brings me to the reason for writing this post.  Evan easily has over a hundred different books in his room to choose from that vary greatly in subject matter - but for some reason, without fail, there are roughly five books that he demands to be read every night.  And many times one of the five will be demanded for several consecutive nights.  I am currently on the 10th consecutive night with Corduroy - and that's not even including nap time.  I wish I could tell Corduroy to get a new pair of overalls already.  Geez.

Evan's Current Top 5 Reading List
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
How Dinosaurs Say I Love You by Jane Yolen
Me Too by Mercer Mayer
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

As interests change I'm sure his demand in bedtime stories will too.  In the meantime, if anyone needs me to recite by memory the stories listed above you have my number.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Undeniable Truths

My friend, Kylie, sent me an email today that had me nodding and laughing beginning to end.  The truth of this email is undeniable, but it definitely takes being a parent to appreciate its honesty.  I wanted to make sure to post this, not only to share, but to have a great collection of lessons for my kids to look back on when they're older - which of course they won't truly appreciate until they too are parents.

Thinking of Having Kids? Do this 11 step program first!

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!'

(Author unknown)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in 2011 Tar Heel Style

Wow - I am exhausted.

It was an eventful weekend spent with great friends - and unfortunately for Robert, they showed up on Thursday night to witness Carolina's win over the Vols.  We have waited for this match-up with great anticipation and I am so happy I can now taunt Robert with sheer pride and confidence.  Poor Evan - he was forced to be on the losing side as far as apparel goes, but I'm pretty sure I heard a few "Go Tar Heels" from him through out the game. Mattie made a perfect cheerleader and chose to dress appropriately.

In addition to a Tar Heel victory we also celebrated the arrival of a new year.  In attendance were Jessica, Kelly and Ella; Natalie and Abby; and Bill.  Mike didn't join us until Saturday due to a work obligation.  John, Fritze and Amanda were also with us via Skype.  Technology really is amazing.  We spent our evening in conversation and laughter - the best possible way in my opinion.  Robert and I realized how thankful we are to be back closer to our friends and look forward to spending a lot more time with them in the future.

As for the remainder of the weekend - we chased crazy children around.