Saturday, March 30, 2013

Boys and Dirt

My house has been misted with dirt ever since spring hit. I have two little mud magnets who I believe are conspiring against me and my mop to ensure the house remains forever powdered with the remnants of their afternoon adventures.
Lucky for them, I'm so excited it's spring that I can't help but smile each time I step on a loose pebble that has found its way into my kitchen.
Carson's new favorite game is unrolling all the toilet paper in the house. One day while I was rerolling the toilet paper up for the hundredth time, I thought, "I wonder if I'll ever miss this one day."
Will I miss the dirt and the crumpled toilet paper vandalizing my home? Are my kids going to grow up as fast as everyone tells me they will? 

Yesterday Eli told me everything that was on his mind. All day long. I realized I would miss the mess of toddlerhood as he raced in and out of the house leaving his trail of dust with every step. Then I got thinking about that dirt. And how the boys have left layers of memories about our house just like the dirt that seems to be forever embedded into my carpet.

So I took a moment to appreciate Eli's cuteness of wanting his Maters to join him in his TV viewing before wiping away the mess.
And Carson's first steps have sprinkled memories all over our living room.
The memories of bee hunting that has overruled any other spring plans is nestled in with the dirt in our backyard.

So for now we're talking and laughing and giggling. And hoping the teenage years hold off a little bit.
And I'm appreciating the dirt, scattered toys and unrolled toilet paper because I know it won't be around forever.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Confessions of a SAHM

Do you know people on the interweb call stay-at-home moms SAHMs? In the words of Bill Nye, "Well now you know."

I am a said SAHM. I stay home. Mostly all day long seeing as one child naps at 10:00, one naps at 12:00 and the other naps again at 2:00. Doesn't leave a lot of time for escaping the confines of our property lines.

Maybe it's the combination of the lingering winter, Jeff's busy season and extra stresses of everyday life, but I feel like I have been less than awesome lately. It's true.

Then I hop online and can't help but find article after article from all these moms who have life together. From the internet's perspective anyway.

Then I thought, what if, by some crazy chance, someone thought I had it all together when in reality, most of the time, I am feeling less than adequate to have the responsibilities of motherhood?

So you know what? I'm going to get real. Because I'm a little sick of reading about perfection, and I want to reassure anyone who could think everything is hunky dory in our neck of the woods 24/7 that I've done one or two motherhood "don'ts" and "shouldn'ts."

Here are my confessions. Disclaimer: I'm not depressed or sad or anything. I'm just figuring out I'm human, trying to do better, and maybe I'm hoping someone else will read this and realize they're doing alright in the mom department too.

1 - This whole post stemmed from this evening. Carson was crying and Eli was screaming after I put them down for bed. Everyone had fresh diapers on, full bellies, and I knew they were just tired. I conveniently chose to vacuum to drown out their cries. When I turned the vacuum off, there was silence! I've also been known to get in the shower under similar circumstances, and I've always had good results. It gives me a few minutes of peace and usually gives the kids time to cool off without me having to hear their whining.

2 - I fed Carson peanut butter and honey this week. Not supposed to do that until 1 year folks. That's still 3 weeks away. I didn't feed Eli peanut butter until he was probably 18 months because I was so nervous about it. I've let a lot slide with #2.

3 - Carson frequently gets bottles in his crib. Being up with two kids at night is a joke. I'll let the boy's teeth rot if it means I get 20 extra minutes of sleep every time he wakes up at night!

4 - I used to be so appalled when parents yelled at their kids. Back when I only had one kid. Since becoming a mother of two, I've been known to raise my voice. Quite a bit. Every day. Not proud of this one, and I try every day to do better.

5 - I put Eli in a diaper for his naps (still not potty trained for sleeping), and lots of the time I don't take his diaper off until the evening because it's so much easier to not have to worry about taking him to the bathroom. I take full responsibility for my laziness.

6 - My rule is - if the kids are happy, don't mess with them. So by golly, if Carson needs a diaper change, but he's happy as can be, I don't change him until he gets whiny.

7 - Dinner most of the time is spaghetti or tomato soup. That's on a good night when I actually get around to cooking dinner.

8 - If my kids are crabby and I really need to get something done, I keep them busy by feeding them  piles and piles of chocolate chips. Works like a charm.

9 - I hardly ever read to Carson. And he doesn't like to read books. And I feel like it's all my fault for not reading to him enough as a baby.

10 - Eli eats hair. Yup. He does. It's disgusting and I don't know what to do about it. (See #4)

11 - Eli started sucking his thumb, so the binky is back. He is an angel with a binky and I'm done fighting with him over stealing Carson's binkies. We'll wean them both in a few months. Maybe.

12 - I'm not an activities-type mom. Luckily for me Eli's super independent and can keep himself busy. Hopefully the rest of the kiddos follow suit because I am really bad at providing entertainment for children. (This picture is deceiving for this confession. Deal with it.)

13 - I bribe Eli with candy at Wal-Mart so that he stays in the cart. It only works occasionally. But I always cave and give him the candy anyway.

14 - We are a three-ring circus at church. Toys everywhere. Screaming. Crawling under the benches. Snot dripping down the kids' noses always. That's us. We are that family.

15 - Carson's whole diet is basically macaroni and cheese. We joke that he munches on other food just to sustain life in-between his macaroni-and-cheese binges.

16 - The kids don't wear pants a lot. Or ever. But you guys already knew that.

I'm sure there's more but that's all I've got for now. It was quite refreshing to "get real" on the blog where I always try to be cheery and optimistic. Which I still am. Really. I don't want you to get the wrong idea from this. And actually, writing this all down has made me realize I'm doing a lot right. And these problems are mostly miniscule. But regardless, we're not perfect, and you should know that.

Now tell me all your confessions. You don't get to judge me without showing your real side, too. :)

(Carson did the hand motions to the Popcorn Song for the first time today.)
Happy Sunday everyone.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eleven Months

Carson is eleven months old! I took a ton of pictures of him for his first birthday. We got a couple good ones.

This morning Carson finally took 3-4 steps all on his own! He's on his way to walking. Here's what else he's up to:

  • Started pointing at everything all the time this month.
  • Can stand on his own for up to a minute.
  • Said "Ba ba" in reference to his bottle for the first time.
  • Started breaking his molars on top. So he stopped sleeping through the night...
  • Finally learned how to go down the stairs (without falling). He still gets frustrated trying to figure out how to turn around to go backwards at the top of the stairs, but he's done it all on his own several times. 
  • Looooooves macaroni and cheese. Also discovered cottage cheese this month which is a new favorite. Pretty much anything cheese related he likes. He also weirdly likes broccoli. He has kind of become a picky eater over the last month.
  • He got sick again this month. We can't catch a break around here.
  • Takes two naps still. 10:00 and 2:00. 
  • We're working on getting a set bedtime around 7:30-8:00. Daylight savings is killing us.
  • Favorite activity is looking out the window.
  • He also completely loves being outside. And eating dirt.
  • Started trying to escape our pew every chance he gets when we're at church. Just as we were getting Eli to stay put, we got ourselves another runner.
  • I think his favorite time of day is the 30 minutes before his afternoon nap when Eli is down for his nap. Carson roams the house so thrilled to get to play with whatever he wants to without his older brother pushing him around.
  • He can only fall asleep in his crib or his carseat.
He was so happy when I was taking his monthly picture, I couldn't choose just one!

Standing on his own! Putting those chunky legs to work.
Wouldn't be a monthly Carson update without one of these pictures:
And another.
We love our little guy!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sun Days

I hate being that person who's like, "Hey. Sorry I haven't blogged in forever. I promise to do better."

But. Hey. Sorry I haven't blogged in forever. I promise to do better. Don't hate me. Here's one heck of an update to get you up to speed on all things Excell.

As I said on instagram, "Eli never used to like playing with play dough until my sister told me to add toothpicks into the mix. Best parenting advice I've ever received."
 Watching Jeff leave in the morning.
My failed attempt at a brother photo shoot:
 Successful attempt at a cute Carson pic.
Eli's our coin collector. Whenever he finds money, he runs to put it straight in his piggy bank. I started calling it his mission money and now we sing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" every time he adds to his fund. One day he insisted on carrying his piggy bank around with him all day to count his "mission money" over and over.
We love a good game of hide-and-go-seek around here. Mostly because Jeff and I can cram the kids in all the places we wish we could still fit.
Watching the neighbors play basketball -- our favorite activity while we wait for Jeff to get home.
I love this picture.
All the snow melting away put an extra spring in everyone's step. Eli's new shoes helped his steps spring even more.
One Sunday while making popcorn Eli mysteriously started frowning. We laughed and laughed. Then the frown turned into hysterical crying and we realized he had burnt his finger on a hot kernel. Whoops.
Sunshine and bicycles. Happy, happy.
Eli crammed a whole bunch of grapes in his cheeks one day. Then he smiled and I died laughing. He doesn't even look like himself.
Baby model.
New spring clothes! Yup. I bought Eli red pants so we can be trendy twins.
Eli has now successfully gone #2 in the potty 3 times *cough* in one year *cough*. We bribed him with a second trip to D.I. to try to motivate him to ditch the diapers. A year later when he finally earned his second prize, he had quite a hard time deciding what to pick. He took for-ev-er to pick something out. It was funny because it was the first time I felt like he really understood he only got to pick one thing, so he had to test out all the toys to make sure he was getting the best choice for his long awaited prize.
I did a photo shoot with Carson for his first birthday! This beauty came from it:
Here's Eli and his friend. I love this picture. They're like two old men.

We have been in heaven with this warm spell. Jeff's still convinced more snow is on its way, so we have been taking advantage of every warm minute we've been given.

We had our first picnic! Most of the food ended up on the cement, but the kids ate it anyway!
Then Eli lined up all Jeff's tomato cages as a maze for the kickballs. I love to see his little mind work.
They were busy and quiet and concentrated for so long.
Once they got their fill of the kickball maze, the boys used this fake wasp nest as a hat. Then as a kite. I'm starting to be anti-toys because I love to see Eli's imagination go wild with everyday things around the house.
Not sure what he's doing here, but look at his adorable outfit.
Then he found his "telescope." What? How does he even know what a telescope is??

Carson makes weird faces all the time. I figured out he was probably practicing his wink for this fateful moment:
The walks are back. Eli insists we stop and go in conjunction with the traffic light that's aaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll the way at the end of the road.
The melting snow reminded us we never got around to raking up the leaves in our yard last fall.
The kids were happy to flop around in the leaves while Jeff tried to contain the mess.
Leaves are really appetizing.

Apparently there are these big trucks that drive around in the middle of the night where we live to kill off all the mosquitos with mosquito killing spray. Apparently those trucks haven't been out yet this year because these aren't chicken pox:
Finally, St. Patrick's Day German Pancake breakfast. That's about as festive as we got around here.
Whew. The end.