Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolve

I'm lousy and making and keeping resolutions. My friend Nancy makes it a point to make resolutions every year that are very achievable - like one year she resolved to brush her teeth for at least two minutes every time she brushed. Brushing her teeth for the ADA recommended two minutes may not have been a sea change in her life, but it did improve her overall dental health (theoretically, anyways; I'm not her dentist or anything.)

Me, I always resolve things that are more...generalized. Like to improve my eating habits, exercise more. One year I made this whole huge list of things and did not do even one of them (okay, well I did get Oscar's bassinet in the attic; and I did have baby no. 2, although it wasn't really "planned.") Last year, I resolved to not get pregnant or give birth in 2009. So, that one worked out pretty well for me.

This year, I've decided that instead of making resolutions to change things in my life, I'm going to resolve to keep doing the things I'm doing well.

So, I will continue to:

1. Parent my children in the best way I know how.
2. Make healthy, nutritious dinners for my family at least five days a week.
3. Not be pregnant (unless I decide to become pregnant again. Unlikely, but possible.)
4. Laugh with my husband.
5. Be more easy going.
6. Swear less.
7. Love more.

Happy New Year, folks! I hope this one brings you all you've been hoping for.

Submitted as part of Sprite Keeper's Spin Cycle.






Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's Going On

It's been a rough week here in Casa de Oscarelli. Rough as in how-the-hell-am-I-keeping-my-eyes-open rough.

Both boys are sick with some ungodly cold. Ropes of yellow and green snot running faster than I can wipe; thick, chesty coughs that rattle their little bodies; much whimpering and whining; napless days; sleepless nights. And when they do sleep they snore and wheeze and cough themselves awake.

We've had nights with two children in the bed. Nights with no more than 30 minutes of interrupted sleep. A night where Miles bit me so badly while nursing he drew blood (two days later, it's still sore as all hell.) Last night found Miles away around midnight, covered in his own vomit with a diaper filled to the brim with very smelly poop.

Oh, and then my microwave broke Christmas week (I to melt butter IN A PAN like a goddamn pioneer or something) and late last week our wash machine went up. I have two toddlers - do you have any idea how much laundry I do every day? AND, we'd just started using cloth diapers, so the timing was awesome.

Today finds me with a two-year-old considerable better, a one-year-old still sick as a dog (with a possible visit to the pediatrician in his near future), a new microwave (waiting to be installed), and a gigantic, new super-ultra-mega capacity washing machine (SCORE!) slogging through two weeks of laundry.

On the plus side, Nelson and I went to a movie this weekend AND I went out with my girlfriends last night to celebrate Amy B.'s 34th birthday and I had the most delicious margarita. Happy birthday, Amy!

Also, Miles is walking. Officially. Not exclusively, but he can now take 5+ steps in a row and does so regularly. He is so proud of himself, and so is Oscar, "Miles is walking! Yea, Miles!" SOB.

And, Christmas was pretty amazing. It was our first year of real Christmas Magic for Oscar and it was just that; magical. It was a even a white Christmas, the first I can remember in decades.

So, that's what's what in my neck of the woods. Looking forward to catching up with folks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hey, Santa!

Oscar's first visit with St. Nick:

He requested that we go see Santa, and he LOVED it. He was so well behaved that Nelson didn't even recognize him. Oscar now refers to Santa as "my friend Santa."

Happy holidays, all. See you on the flip side.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow

About 20 inches worth:












Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Gifts: The Miles Edition

Even though this is technically Miles William's second Christmas, it feels more like his first because he was only nine days old last year. He's not really going to get it, and Oscar will likely open his gifts, but I did decide to do it up for him anyways. This is really our first year of Christmas Magic, so even though M Dub won't get it, Santa is still going to treat him right. All links go directly to Amazon.com, and if you purchase via these links, I get a piece of the action (albeit a very tiny piece.)

Miles presented a challange because I needed to find things for him that we don't already have. We've got a milling xylophones, stackers, nesting cups, blocks, etc. that one-year-olds love, so I needed to be a bit more creative.

Miles loves putting things together, so I got him these Alex Jr. First Pops Pop Beads and Alex Jr. First Snaps . Looking back, I paid way to much for them, but was totally wooed by their pretty packaging and all their fancy schmancy awards.
Alex Jr. First Pops Pop BeadsAlex Jr. First Snaps Building Toy
Cute, right? But, I could have gotten something comparable for cheaper so I'm kind of kicking myself. So he better love them (he'll likely never touch them.)


International Playthings Hide'N Squeak Eggs
Miles loves, loves, loves put-and-take and nesting toys and these cute little eggs are a different spin on those types of toys. I've had my eye on these since Oscar was a baby, but I just never though they were his bag. I think Miles will love them (more likely never touch them.)

Along the same lines, I got Miles this Vtech - Explore & Learn Helicopter:


Vtech - Explore & Learn Helicopter
It has balls that go in and out and wheels so he can drive it and it's "educational." It also makes a lot of noise so I'll really regret buying this one (and Miles will LOVE IT.) Best thing about it, though, is that I got it for a song. It was on super sale at Tar.get and I only paid $10 for it.

Miles is really interested in whatever Oscar is interested in, and Oscar is interested in trucks. I found this Playskool Wheel Pals Cushy Cruiser Pickup for my baby:

Playskool Wheel Pals Cushy Cruiser Pickup
This truck is perfect for a one-year-old. First, it's soft. Really, really soft. He can bite and and fall on it and not do any damage to himself, and he can really grab a hold of it. It's also a good size - he can grip it with two hands and push it around, but it isn't so giant it'll take up my whole living room. His Gigi got him the bus model of this toy for his birthday and he loves it. Also, I got it for only $15 at the Tar.get, so another deal.

Infantino Matching Colors and Textures Puzzles
The concept seems a bit advanced for a one-year-old, but he'll love the textures and probably Oscar will steal it anyways.

Miles really loves balls (as do all babies his age) and he really loves putting things in his mouth, so I got him these Edushape See-Me Sensory Balls:

Edushape 4
They are nubby and they give quite a bit, and should fit right in his hand. Kind of teething balls. I think he'll love them. And there are four so when he looses one under the couch it can easily be replaced and I don't have to get covered in dog hair looking for it. Score!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One

You woke up this morning with a fever. Your little body was so hot it made me gasp. You? You, Miles William, you smiled. (The fever is down and you are reseting comfortably.)

I find myself thinking back to this day, and the week preceding it, one year ago. My anger and frustration when I found out that you were breech. How I hard I worked to get you to flip. My inability to get you to turn into the right direction. Finally accepting the situation and scheduling your C-Section. The C-Section that never happened because you decided at the last minute you'd prefer to come out the old fashioned way. Ten days after your due date, two doses of Castor oil, three days of pre-labor, 12 hours of active labor, 13 minutes of pushing and BAM! You joined our family and we could hardly believe we'd ever lived without you.

You are the happiest baby I've ever seen or heard of. "Does he always smile and laugh like that?" people have been asking me since you were two months old. "Yes. Always," I tell them, because it's true. You are this amazingly joyous and happy baby. I often wonder what I did to get so lucky to have you in my life, my surprise baby, my special gift.

So, thank you, Miles. Thank you for picking me to be your mom. Thank you for being such a ray of sunshine. Thank your for all of the joy you've brought to my life. I love you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Name Calling

Scene: Oscarelli Family living room. Jenni, Oscar, and Miles are reading a book together.

Oscar: What's that, Mommy? (points to a picture in a book)

Jenni: That's a corn car. That's a corn cob made into a car.

Oscar: Oh. What's Dora's name?

Jenni: Her name is Dora, silly. What's your name?

Oscar: My name is Oscar!

Jenni: That's right! What's my name?

Oscar: Your name is Jenni!

Jenni: Right! What's this guy's name? (motions to Miles)

Oscar: That's my brother Miles. He's a turd.

Miles: Hee, hee! IIIIIIEEEEEEE!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Celebrated

We had a very intimate, low-key celebration for Miles William's birthday this weekend (the actual day is this coming Wednesday.) It was a tough decision, particularly after the blow outs we've had for Oscar's first and second birthdays. Ultimately we decided a smaller, more laid back celebration was better for our second, more laid back son. So, it was just my in-laws, my siblings, Oscar and Miles' cousin Ella, and then Oscar, Nelson and I. It was perfect. Best decision we ever made, and Miles positively loved it. Evidence of his oneness below:




Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Gifts: The Oscar Edition

I've already waxed poetic about my love of holiday shopping, and since so many of my blog readers have kids close in age to my own, I though I'd steal a page from Swistle's book and share some of the things I've purchased for my kids and niece. Edge of your seats, right? (All images borrowed from Amazon.com, where I bought most of this stuff. Also, I've been in no way payed/cajoled/etc. to talk about these products, but I will get paid if you click the links and buy the products.)

The first gift, his "main gift" I guess I'd call it, is the Sprig Toys Discover Rig:


Sprig Toys Discover Rig
Man, is this thing cool! It's made of an eco-friendly wood composite, does not require batteries, and it comes in minimalist packaging (score, score, score!) You put a little man (or woman) into it and as the kid pushes the toy, it tells a story. And, they can push it with their hands, or their is an attachable handle so they can stand upright and push it. It's a great size too, and there is a little basket up top for Oscar's treasures. Perfect for my vehicle-racing, treasure-seeking little boy.

Next is the Green Toys Tea Set:
Green Toys Tea Set
My 2-and-a-half-year-old is really into pretend play right now an he loves to cook and serve food, so I though a tea set would be perfect. It's made from recycled plastic, which I think is cool, but the real reason I bought it was because I wanted a tea set that skewed a bit more gender neutral and I think this one fits the bill. (Swistle also considered this for Henry, but dismissed it because of the potential mess factor.

Oscar loves, loves rockets and when I found this International Playthings iPlay Stomp Launcher Pump and Rockets it was like it was made for him:
International Playthings iPlay Stomp Launcher Pump and Rockets
Rockets that Oscar can launch by stomping on them? Are you kidding me? What two-year-old doesn't love stomping? And, we can launch this rocket indoors so it is a perfect rainy day toy. I think we'll have lots of fun with this one.

This next one is my best bargain find, the Sprig Toys Eco Recycling-Truck [Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging]:

Sprig Toys Eco Recycling-Truck [Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging]
I was looking for a Sprigwood toy for Miles when I found this bad boy, on sale on Amazon for $10! I got one for Oscar, one for Miles, and one for my niece Ella. There was a limit of three (!!!), but I'm sending Nelson online to buy three more for; one for Danny (hey, Monica & Susanne, guess what Oscar's giving Danny for Christmas!), and also for my friends' Diana and Pam's kids who also love cars/trucks.

The LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set is one I saw on Swistle's Henry Shopping Post and it caught my eye because she said it was $15 on Amazon and I'd been eyeing it in Tar.get for $20:
LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set
I smelled a deal! An educational deal at that. So, I went to Amazon and put it in my car for later. But! The next day it went up to $20! Three days later, back down to $15! Then $20 again! Blast! So, it went back down to $15 yesterday and I just snagged it.

I got him a few other little things, some dress up hats from Ikea, a few books, a couple of puzzles, and that's about it.

I've been vacilating about this, the Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set:


Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set
My hair stylist has one of these at her salon and Oscar adores it, and so do Swistle's* kids. It would also go great w/his tea set. The reason I've been going back and forth is the price. Sometimes Amazon lists it as $20, some times at $14. I'd spend $14, but not $20. So, if it goes back down, I think I'll get it. If not, than not.

*Linking to Swistle a bajillion times to make up for ripping off her shopping post ideas.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Internal Struggle Over Our Holiday Card

I ordered our family holiday cards last week. I chose a photo of the boys of the boys wrestling. It's one I've actually featured here on the blog. It really captures the spirit of our day-to-day life around here, so I though it was appropriate.

I always choose a winter-themed card and use a generic non-holiday specific sentiment. For example, in years past we've used the simple phrase, "Be merry!" This year I chose "Peace. Love. Joy. Happy Holidays!" I do this because we send the card to many people who do not celebrate Christmas and like it to feel inclusive. Whatever, it's cute.

The signature on the holiday card is usually just our given names, "Nelson, Jenni, Oscar, & Miles." I think that works fine. But, for some reason when I was asked to select the signature, it suggested that we sign our family name in addition to our given names. And the card looked really cute like that, with the family name followed by individual names.

Here in lies the problem. I don't share the same last name as Nelson and the boys. I'm totally fine with that and have no plans to change it but looking at the cuteness of the card gave me pause.

I've written about the whole name-change issue before (that's right, I scoured my archives for you people.) I don't think having the same last name is what makes you a family; it's the love that matters.

And, I have a really cool last name. No kidding. And Nelson's last name, while perfectly respectable, it a bit vanilla in comparison. It would be like going from the last name Peschi (as in Joe, chosen because the syllables and ethnic origin are very similar to my last name) to the last name Gleason (chosen for the same reasons.) Jenni Peschi or Jenni Gleason? Which is cooler? No contest.

Also, a lot of people actually call me by my last name so it's more than just my last name. It's my name, name. Like, when I sign birthday cards to certain people, I sign "Peschi" instead of "Jenni."

Okay, so back to the holiday card. It really did look cute w/the family name. I debated using "The Gleason and Peschi Family" but that was a bit long. I debated just going with our given names per usual but it looked a little empty after seeing the version with the family name, like it was missing something.

Then I started thinking. Maybe I would just have it say "The Gleasons." I let people get away with calling me Mrs. Gleason all the time (even though, seriously, I'm really not a Mrs. Anybody; it just doesn't suit me.) It's just easier than explaining to dumbfounded stares and silence that yes, we are married but no, we don't have the same last name because I kept my last name. And, yes, my children have my husband's last name but I do not. And, no, that generally does not cause confusion as to weather or not the kids are mine. And, and, and, you know? So I let it slide to avoid these conversations and the follow up questions because oh my god are people nosy about this shit.

I mean, it's not like I kept my name for political reason. Not really, anyways. Yes, I think the original idea of changing a woman's name to transfer ownership is archaic, but I also don't think that's why women change their names anymore. I like my name though, it's important to me.

And here's the other thing: When I get Christmas cards addressed to Dr. and Mrs. Gleason, I feel ANNOYED (but I do not feel annoyed if they are addressed to the Gleason Family because I'm complicated like that.) I mean, we've been married for nearly five years, who that is sending us holiday cards does not know I kept my name? Who? Are people trying to diminish my choice, or act like my decision to keep my name doesn't really matter, like I'm REALLY Mrs. Gleason no matter what I say? It gets under my skin. Like I said, it is important to ME and I want it acknowledged.

But maybe it's not that important to me because our holiday card totally says "The Gleasons." That's right; I did it. Did I diminish my own choice not to take my husband's name when we married? Yes, I'll allow for that. It looked cute and I liked it and even though my last name is not Gleason and never will be Gleason. Yes, I realize that now when I receive cards addressed to Dr. and Mrs. Gleason I have to let it go, but it's probably time to let that go anyways.

I did change the card about 15 times before I clicked "Approve." And even after they sent confirmation to my email, I felt a little funny about it, like I was a poser or something. Like I'm all "I LOVE my name, my name is important," but I sold out for a cute Christmas card. Because that's kind of true. Whatever though, because I'm okay with it. Mostly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RTT: Yawn...

*Miles William is still not sleeping through the night. We're back to CIO. On Sunday, He work at 11pm and cried for about 20 minutes. He woke again at 2am and cried for around 10 minutes. He woke again at 5am and we brought him to bed for his first morning nurse. Not too bad right? LAST night, he woke at 11pm and cried for about 5 minutes. And I'm thinking, Score! Then, he woke and midnight and cried on and off until 3am. That's three hours of crying, probably in 20 minute intervals - 20 crying, 20 quiet. Not panicked crying, just tired whining-type crying. Then, Nelson went and got him and Miles flipped the crap out. Like screaming and flailing and such. So, I nursed him and he slept until 7am. Oh my god am I exhausted.

*I woke at 5:30, Oscar was up at 6. Have I mentioned that I'm exhausted?

*When Nelson is playing Xbox online, he'll kick people from his games if they say/do sexist things to the women players. He said he just won't put up with it. I'm not surprised, because Nelson is awesome like that. So, if you play online and are a jerk to the ladies, my husband won't have it, yo. He'll boot your ass from the game, even if you are an awesome player. Be forewarned.

*Our tree is up and trimmed. Surprisingly, neither kid has pulled it down, and Miles has shown almost no interest in either the tree or the ornaments. We think it's because we got a green spruce and it's needles are razor sharp. Seriously, I needed stitches after trimming that bad boy.

*Let me tell you something about Steve from Blue's Clues. Weirdo.

*Oh, Miles was momentarily interested in the lights on our tree. We have those giant, old-fashioned, colored ones. As soon as they were on the tree, he grabbed one and put it in his mouth (of course he did). For a second, his entire head lit up like light bulb. The kid was glowing. But only for a second because I was was all, ohmygodthebabyisgoingtobeelectrocuted and Nelson yanked the light bulb from his mouth. Miles was super festive for a second though. Totally in the spirit.

*Our stupid Passat is acting up again. That fucking car. When it works, I love it. But it just doesn't work properly often enough. We were going to keep it another to years, until the warranty ran out, but now I'm not so sure. We are going car shopping Friday, so we'll see.

That's all I got. I'm exhausted, remember? Go check out Keely's place for more Random Tuesday Thoughts.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Perfect Parent

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in an RTT post that parenting is not a theory; it is a practice. The funny and insightful Jan from Jan's Sushi Bar commented that the only time you are a perfect parent is before you become one, and that made me laugh out loud because it rang so true. I had a lot of Ideas about Parenting before I actually became a parent, and when I think on them now, many of them are pretty laughable. Here's a few of my ideas that turned out to be complete crap:

1. No TV until they are at least two (HA!)
2. No sugar until they are at least two (double HA!)
3. No processed foods EVER
4. No giant pieces of colored plastic-type toys
5. No battery operated toys
6. No bringing small children out to restaurants until they are at least ten
7. No co-sleeping
8. No giant, sidewalk-taking-up stroller
9. All organic, all the time (though we do do mostly organic for the kids, I'm not nearly as strict as I imagined I'd be)
10. No cry-it-out sleep training
11. No McDonald's or other fast food EVER (he only gets it rarely, but he does get it)
12. No carrying used tissues in my pockets
13. No going out in public covered in children's' bodily fluids
14. Keeping children impeccably groomed at all times
15. Always traveling with a fully stocked diaper bag (still a good idea, I think, but hard for me to put into practice)
16. No character themed clothing, sippy cups, or other accessories


There you have it, a list of my parenting Ideas before I became a parent. How about you? Are there things you said you'd never/always do as a parent that just weren't practical in practice? Or, maybe they just weren't as big a deal as you thought they'd be? Regale me with tails of your parenting naivety.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Listening

Scene: Our car on a Saturday morning, returning from a trip to Trader Joe's. Jenni is driving.

Jenni: Look at all this traffic. There must be a game.

Nelson:...

Sixty seconds later...

Nelson: Look at all this traffic. There must be a game.

Jenni: You're kidding, right?

Nelson: No. This looks like game traffic. Why would I be kidding?

Jenni: I just said that exact same thing to you not two minutes ago and you completely ignored me. It's like I'm talking to myself over here.

Nelson: What? No way! You didn't say anything.

Jenni: I did. Those exact words just came out of my mouth. You just weren't listening to me. How many times have we had this conversation?

Nelson:...

Several minutes pass. Nelson places his hand on Jenni's thigh apologetically.

Nelson: I'm sorry.

Jenni: ...

Nelson: Look, I'm going to be honest here. Sometimes I just space out.

Jenni: You space out when I'm talking to you?! How am I supposed to feel about that?

Nelson: No, no, it's not you. I have a lot of things on my mind.

Jenni: You have a lot of things on your mind.

Nelson: Yes. I just get lost thinking about things.

Jenni: Well, can you try thinking about listening to me?

Nelson: Oh, come on!