Monday, January 31, 2011

Re-organization (or really, just organizing because it was not at all organized before)

Big happenings in the Oscarelli household this weekend!

In awesome news, Nelson was around all weekend and even took Friday off to spend an extra day with the family.  He'd been at a conference all week and we'd missed him terribly.  It was nice to have that extra day of hanging out together.

Also, we did some toy storage reorganization.  We have a large black shelf that we use for toy storage that had been in our living room, but had been moved to the dining room to make way for the Christmas tree.  We had yet to move the shelf back, so I decided that I wanted to move the shelf to the pass-thru.  The pass-thru is a small room that connects the front hall and the kitchen and the dining room and the kitchen.  My house is pretty old (circa 1918) So I think this room was used for like food staging or something in the olden days.

Anyways, the pass-thru (so named because we "pass through" it to get to the kitchen) is a small room with doors/doorways on three walls and a window on the fourth wall.  It's size and many doors make it difficult to do anything with the room.  On the north wall we have the doorway to the kitchen; on the east wall we have the doorway to the dining room; on the south wall we have the doorway to the hallway AND the door to the basement; and on the west wall we have a large window.  A lot of openings, right?

This is the room where we keep the dog crate.  And that's about it.  Around Christmas time I moved the boys' play kitchen in there so they could play kitchen while I cooked dinner and such.  It has been wonderful.  So I decided to move the whole toy shelf into the pass-thru as well.  I was somewhat inspired after a parent meet up I went to a few weeks ago in a gigantic house that had this huge and gorgeous kitchen and a nice sized room off the kitchen that the mom used as a playroom for her two girls.  Genius!  They played right where she could see them.  Love that.

So, we moved the toy shelf into the pass-thru and we also attached a mirror at boy level so that when they play dress up they can see themselves.  They are already loving this.  I only wish we could move their other toy shelf, and two toys bins that are still living in our living room to the pass-thru as well, but alas there is no more space in there.  A little more toy organization needs to happen in the living room but we are off to a good start.

Some crappy iPhone photos of the pass-thru.  And yes, I realize it is already messy but it's 8AM here people.  The kids have already wrecked my entire house.

 West view; toy shelf and mirror, beside dog crate.

 South view; toy kitchen, dog crate, basement door.

North view; that's my kitchen through the doorway.

In other organizing news, I cleaned out two closets this weekend.  I know, I know, this blog post is finally getting good!  I cleaned out the dwarf closet in the third bedroom (called so because it is a short closet, so that's probably a not a nice name; will work on that) and now that closet is nearly completely empty save for a guitar of Nelson's, my breast pump, and a few baby odds and ends.  I also cleaned out our main clothing closet and it is lovely.

Most of what was cleaned out was baby/kid clothes and stuff that we tossed in the attic.

I'm feeling cleansed after this weekend, like I've been breathing fresh mountain air instead of crappy city pollution.  How are you? How are you feeling?

Friday, January 28, 2011

So, we got some snow

 We got a few inches of snow, maybe four?  It was kind of hard and crusty, not too good for snowmen or angles, but we did have a rollicking snowball fight.  The only rule was no hits the face/head; of course the very first snowball Oscar threw at me hit me in the face/head.  The boys had me outnumbered, but my aim was better so it ended up as a draw.

Some photos of our fun:

 Waiting for mom to take them outside.

 This guy was a little excited.

 And also a little silly.

 This is Miles' first real experience with snow (he could barely walk last year and did not particularly enjoy Snowmageddons One and Two.)

 Miles has his very own A Christmas Story moment (he couldn't get up.)

I helped him right after I took this picture, I swear. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RTT: By the numbers

I woke up this morning and said to myself, "Ah, it's Wednesday! I love Wednesdays!"

And then I remembered it was Tuesday.


Number of children I have: TWO

Number of times my children woke me up last night: FIVE

Number of elevator rides we took into/home from DC on Sunday: THIRTEEN

Number of different elevators we rode in: NINE

Number of elevators devoid of urine: EIGHT

Percentage of behinds that I am personally responsible for wiping in my house: SEVENTY-FIVE

Number of behinds I wipe a day: A LOT

Number of time-outs Oscar received yesterday: TWO

Number of diapers I changed yesterday: TEN

Number of times I wiped pee off my floor: TWO (If you count cleaning the bathroom, which I do)

Number of pounds I gained over the holidays: NINE

Number of pounds I've lost since January 1: NINE

Number of books I've read on my new Kindle: SEVEN

Number of unread items in my reader: SIXTY-EIGHT (not bad!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Conversations with a Preschooler #7: Who's on first?

Oscar:  Mom?

Jenni: Yes?

Oscar: Which Toy Story is the one with the angry monkey.

Jenni: That's Toy Story 3

Oscar: And which one is the one with the birthday party?

Jenni: Toy Story 1

Oscar: And which one has the mean purple robot?

Jenni: Commander Zurg?

Oscar: Yes.

Jenni: That would be Toy Story 2.

Oscar: And which one do they meet?

Jenni: Does who meet?

Oscar: Buzz and Woody.

Jenni: Toy Story 1

Oscar: And which ones to do they meet Jesse and Bullseye?

Jenni: Toy Story 2

Oscar: And which one scares me?

Jenni: Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 2

Oscar: And which doesn't scare me?

Jenni: Toy Story 1.

Oscar: What one is Toy Story 1?

Jenni: The one with the birthday party.

Oscar: What one has the soldiers?

Jenni: They all have the soldiers.

Oscar: Which one has the monkey that scares me?

Jenni: I just told you Oscar. Toy Story 3.

Oscar: Oh, ha ha!Which one has Bullseye?

Jenni: Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.

Oscar: And which one has the Etch-a-Sketch?

Jenni: Toy Story 1.

Oscar: And which one has Mr. Potato Head?

Jenni: All of them.

Oscar: And which one has the scary monkey?

Jenni: Oscar.  The third one.  Toy Story 3.

Oscar: I don't like that one.

Jenni: Yes you do, you just don't like the monkey.

Oscar: Which one scares me?

Jenni: Well, I guess they all scare you a little bit.  In the first one you don't like the toys in Sid's room; in the second one you don't like Woody's nightmare; and in the third one you don't like the monkey.

Oscar: And which one is my favorite one?

Jenni: You tell me.  Which one is your favorite one?

Oscar: Which one has the birthday party?

Jenni: This is ridiculous.

Oscar: Which one, Mom, which one?

Jenni:  The first one, Oscar, the first one.  Toy Story 1.

Oscar: Oh, yeah!  That's my favorite.

Jenni: I'm glad we got that figured out.

Oscar: But, which one has the monkey?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday sleep-in saved

Nelson and I alternate Sunday sleep-ins.  This just means that every other Sunday, we swap off getting up early with the kiddos so the other can get a couple more hours of  shut eye.  This Sunday was Nelson's sleep-in, but he agreed to let me sleep in yesterday (Monday, MLK's birthday) since I have to forfeit my Sunday sleep-in next week because he has to work.

The idea of the Sunday sleep-in was, unsurprisingly, suggested by Nelson.  That man loves a lie-in.  I automatically agreed to this too, because while I do not love sleeping late, I do love lying in bed, reading my book in peace, taking a quite shower, enjoying some kid-free moments that are few and far between when you are a stay-at-home parent.

In theory, this sounds like an excellent arrangement, right?  The sleep-in parent is usually up before 10AM (9AM in my case) so there's a maximum of maybe four hours of solo early morning child care for the wake up parent.  Not too bad.  This arrangement has been operating for about six or eight months.

Except that it wasn't working well for me.  Yesterday (technically a Monday) was a perfect example.  The kids and Nelson woke up around 7 and I got up around 9-ish and came downstairs.  Nelson is on the computer; the kids are playing.  I look around the living room and dining room.  I see no cups, no plates.

Nelson: Good morning!

Jenni: Morning.

Children: Mom! Mom! Mommy! Momma! Momma! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Mom!

Jenni: Did you make coffee?

Nelson: No.

Children: Mom! Mom! Mommy! Momma! Momma! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Mom!

Jenni: Have the kids had breakfast yet?

Nelson: Uhhh, no, I was just going to do that...

Children: Mom! Mom! Mommy! Momma! Momma! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Mom!

Jenni: Have they had any juice or water?

Nelson: No, not yet...

Children: Mom! Mom! Mommy! Momma! Momma! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Mom!

Jenni (looking over at Miles, who is limping under the weight of his diaper): Have you even changed Miles' diaper?

Nelson: No, I was about to.

Children: Mom! Mom! Mommy! Momma! Momma! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Momma! Mom!

Jenni: I'm going back to bed.

Nelson: Well, fine!

So, my husband had been up for more than TWO HOURS with our kids and had not fed, watered, or changed sodden diapers.  Let me be clear, yesterday morning was not an isolated incident.  This has pretty much become the standard state of things when I wake after my sleep-in on a Sunday.  I come down to hungry, thirsty, dirty diapered children and am immediately set upon to rectify all these situations, on top of need to unload/reload the dishwasher and make coffee and a thousand other things.

All of the urgency and immediate needs that need tending completely ruin my sleep-in.  It's basically the same as when I get up early, but with louder and more hungry children.  I come down feeling relaxed and well rested and am immediately stressed out by the state of disarray and all of the fires that need tending.  And you can be darned sure when Nelson gets up after his sleep in, the kids have been fed and changed and coffee made and the kitchen tidied.  I mean, feeding the kids and changing the baby in two hours time, is that really too much to ask?

No, it is not.  It's really, really not.

In the beginning, Nelson did these things.  He fed and changed the kids.  Some days he even made coffee AND breakfast!  Pancakes,even!  But, slowly, as the weeks passed, he gradually stopped.

I'd been stewing over this for several weeks and trying to think of a way to handle the situation without coming off and a total jerk or a martyr and yesterday was the final straw.  I nearly lost my cool, which is why I just turned around and went back upstairs.  I resolved that when I came down, I would simply cancel sleep-in Sundays for the near future, because they were really only working for one of us, until we could figure out a way to make them work for both of us.

I came down about 45 minutes later.  I'd promised the kids I would make bagels so I came down and went directly to the kitchen to get to work.  I noticed Miles' diaper was changed.  There was coffee in the pot.  Even the dishwasher had been unloaded.

Nelson came into the kitchen looking sheepish.

Nelson: I'm sorry.

I though for a minute about staying angry.  About lecturing him.  About explaining to him how terrible it is for me to come down on Sundays where he does nothing. About telling him how close I was to cancelling the Sunday sleep-in. None of that really seemed necessary, though, or worth it.

We hugged and I forgave him and made homemade, whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagels.  The Sunday sleep-in was saved.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Facebook status updates and replies that annoy me, even though I am guilty of making said updates and replies

1. "If there was a love button, I would push it!"

2. "Where's the dislike button?"

3: "Liking" ones own status update

4. An emoticon of any kind as a response/update

5. "Dislike!" (I type this one all the time and hate myself for it.)

6. Overuse of exclamation points

7. Overuse (read: any use) of ellipses

8. "I'll be right over!" in response to a food related status update

9. Replies that use asterisks to indicate and action, i.e. *shudders* or *slow claps* or *sniffles*

10. Weather related status updates

11. Consistently whiny status updates

12. Overly sarcastic updates

11. Updates written as an open letter to an inanimate object

12. Updates that are not sarcastic enough

13. Replies to status updates that compete for worst day, i.e. "Your kid may have a cold but mine is vomiting, FML!"

14. "FML!"

15. Updates that make your life seem more glamorous than mine

16. Any update that claims 98% of people won't repost the update (that statistic has no basis in reality!  NONE!)

17. Ill-informed political status updates/replies

So, are you as guilty of these infractions as I am?  What status updates/replies make you cringe?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The little things

Scene: Oscarelli kitchen, late afternoon.  Jenni, Oscar, and Miles doing pretzel dance and singing pretzel song as they wait for their pretzels to defrost in the microwave.  Suddenly, Miles embraces Oscar in a very well timed bear hug, complete with roar.  Oscar reciprocates.

Miles: Grrrr!

Oscar: Grrr!

Jenni: Wow!  Look at that, Oscar!  That's quite a hug.  Your brother must really love you, huh?

Miles: I sure do!

Oscar: Me too, Miles!

Boys dissolve in giggles. Jenni falls down dead, overwhelmed with love.

Dancing resumes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

RTT: Two boys playing harmonica with dog accopaniment

Yes, you read that correctly.  Highly suitable for


This video is but a teeny, tiny insight into my daily crazy.  Enjoy.  Check out other RTT participant's at The Un Mom.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011: Lets do this thing

You may have realize that we have begun a new year.  Somewhere around ten days ago, 2011 (twenty-eleven, if you will) was foisted upon us and here we are, living it up 2011 style.  I'm not much on resolutions.  I just do a bad job at making realistic, achievable ones and then feel like a colossal loser when I'm unable to keep these resolutions.

And, yet, here were are in the new year and I can't help but think of it as a fresh start.  I can change things! Do better!  Be better!  Achieve more!

I've decided to ride this wave of 2011 enthusiasm and I'm going make some positive changes, health-wise.  I'm not talking about dieting, or not exclusively about dieting.  I'm talking about taking better care of my whole self.   Here are my goals to this end:

1) Eat a more healthy, well balanced diet, including whole grains, lean proteins and limiting sugar and alcohol (yes, really)
2) Go to the midwives to for my annual exam (the last time I went was when Miles was six weeks old, so that's two years now)
3) Get an eye exam (I have not been since I was pregnant with Oscar, four years ago)
4) Exercise regularly, starting with once a week and working myself up to four or five times a week by the end of the year (includes buying new work out clothes/shoes, YEAH!)
5) Obtain a primary care physician 
6) Go to the dermatologist for a skin check
7) Get regular hair cuts, at least every 12 weeks (this is a mental health goal)
8) Go to the dentist twice for cleanings/exams
9) Get tooth #7 extracted and necessary restoration (I've needed to have this extraction done for more than three years)
10) Laugh more

Okay, so that's what I got.  I'm feeling charged up!  I'm off to eat some bran flaks with skim milk and a banana.  Hooray, health!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It just my morning

Both my kids were up before 6:30AM today.  Miles was up BEFORE 6AM.  I'm pretty sure that qualifies for torture.  Quick, some check that parent-child treaty alliance.  These kids are guilty of war crimes.

It's not enough that they were both up before the sun on a day that I could have slept in until 7AM (glorious, beautiful 7AM), but they were demanding that I make muffins.  Can I say again that it was dark out?  And when I offered them some delicious, generic-brand mini-wheats or circle oats I was met with extreme resistance.  Tears and tantrums over muffins.  At 6:50 in the flipping morning.

So I made them pumpkin muffins.  I have no defenses before the sun rises.  It is from the yellow sun that I derive all my powers of moderate patience, caring discipline, Mommy steadfastness, and sound negotiation.   I even did some laundry and put away the dishes and made Oscar's lunch at some point, all the while dancing over small boys and feeing them treats to keep their inner howler monkeys at bay while breakfast baked.

Then, Oscar wore his astronaut costume to school today.  It was like a scene out of a sitcom.  He took off his coat at school much to the parents' and teachers' amusement.  "It's not everyday we have an astronaut in class!" his teacher exclaimed.  He is a special, special snowflake, that kid.

I've had two cups of coffee.  I've read two train books five times. I've put together the same bridge 15 times. I've talked to my husband on the phone.  I've researched electricity rates.  I've bought a baby shower gift.  I've played airplanes.

I'm tired.  How's your morning?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The best of 2010

Becky says we're doing this and I'm nothing if not on board with what Becky says we're doing.

So, here's my favorite posts, by month, of 2010:

There was that time Miles called the cops. What a joker.

Snowmageddon 2010.

Sadly, this still happens almost every night. Some sleep is better than no sleep, right?

Oscar proves to be quite the salesman.  I'm still not buying it.

Not one of my best days parenting-wise, but one of my more urine filled ones.

Oscar asks why.  And why.  And why. And why again.

Not pregnant. Still not.

Remember when that lady gave Oscar a doughnut without asking me first?  Ooohh, I get mad all over again just thinking about it.

Housework made me happier.  Who knew?

I really liked this post about line etiquette.  Too bad no one else did.

How bout when I confessed I dressed my children for future humiliation?  Photos still to follow (I only just got them in the week of Christmas.)

There wast this one where I asked you about a sweater.  Blog comments were mostly opposed to sweater purchase; Facebook comments were nearly all for sweater purchase.  So I bought it; it was too big; we have a head start on sweaters for Oscar next year.

I've really enjoyed spending 2010 with you folks.  I hope you'll stick around and see what the Oscarellis get into in 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas, it is past

Anyone else feeling all holiday-ed out?  Needing a vacation from vacation?  Good lord I'm so behind on laundry if my kids hadn't received pretty much entirely new wardrobes for Christmas I think they'd be all out pants.  

To say nothing of the post Christmas clutter.  Do you all have that too?  Random toys and gifts that you've yet to assign a home; Christmas cards you hate to throw away; new clothes waiting to be washed that just sit in a pile on the table or in the corner and mock you?

What about Christmas detritus?  Dried out pine needles, scraps of wrapping paper, candy wrappers, impossibly sticky pieces of tape that always manage allude the vacuum despite your best efforts?

But, our tree is gone and our decorations are put away.  And this Christmas was amazing.  The entire Oscarelli family was throughly spoiled.  I got four new cookbooks (two bread baking books!!); a new digital food scale; a pair of beautiful new moonstone earrings (a total surprise); a set of gorgeous new dishes from Crate and Barrel from my mother-in-law; and a Kindle from my sister and brother-in-law (also a total surprise); and loads of other things.

Nelson got concert tickets, a video game, felt for his pool table, clothes.  He was pretty happy.

Miles got trains as far as the eye can see.  He got other things, too.  Dinosaurs, puzzles, some new wooden food for his kitchen; books.  He's enjoyed these things but the kid is really all about the trains.  We now have a gigantic purple tub filled with trains and tracks and assorted accessories.

Oscar got new dinosaurs; puzzles; cars; ride on construction equipment; lots of superheros.  I'm not sure what he likes best.  He really loves the dinosaurs and superheros, but has been playing trains with Miles really well. He's a lot more dexterous than Miles, so he's better at building more complicated tracks and repairing broken tracks, which I love because it keeps me off the floor.  I do have to build them a pretty complicated train village each morning, but it holds up relatively well and they add to it all day long.

Oh, and Nelson is finally back to work today, which I love/hate.  I loved all the tag team parenting that was happening, but sometimes he gets just as underfoot as the kids, you know?  I think he was relieved to return as well.

So, that's it.  Christmas is (mostly) over.  I took like two pictures, but do have a couple of videos.  I haven't uploaded anything (of course!) and I still owe you dorky sweater photos and Miles's birthday photos so at this rate the Oscarelli Family Christmas will be photographically documented on this blog by, what?  Easter?

Anyways, hope yours was merry.  Tell me about your loot!