Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are we destined to be the Weasley's?

We have two boys.  Naturally, the second son wears a lot of hand-me-downs from our first son.  I saw this article today, http://omg.yahoo.com/news/elizabeth-olsen-wore-mary-kate-ashleys-hand-downs-152644231.html, about Elizabeth Olsen wearing hand-me-downs and it made me I wonder if that REALLY matters to kids?!  Now, I'm the oldest, so of course this is a non-issue to me.  But especially with boys, it seems silly to buy new clothes when you have an entire wardrobe of clothes already! 

In the Harry Potter series, the Weasley family has four children - three boys and a girl.  The series makes a point that the children all get hand me downs, as the family cannot afford 'new' wands, robes, books, etc. for each child. 

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But the Weasley family was tight-knit, and they all loved each other. Isn't that what makes a happy family? You don't need new things to be happy, and isn't that a good life lesson in and of itself? I'm sure my sister and I would have shared more clothes, if we had fit in the same size or had a more compatible style!  But when you are young, you are wearing what your mother picks out.  At what age does 'style' come into play?

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I understand that a child needs their 'own' things, and I hope to be able to provide Zachary and any other children we may have with certain things that belong to only them.  But didn't you wear hand-me-downs as a kid? Is it really that bad!?! Tell me your thoughts. I know my sister will!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mommy Tattoos

Yahoo News today has an article about celebrity moms and their mommy tattoos. http://shine.yahoo.com/beauty/mommy-tattoos--new-trend-spawned-by-female-celebrities.html  Are tattoos really a trend? They have been around forever. Now that celebrity moms have them, it's trendy. 

I would never get a tattoo, but that doesn't mean my boys aren't special to me! I wear the birthstones of our whole family on my necklace every day, and I have a ring for each boy with their birthstones that my husband gave me.

[caption id="attachment_137" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="August and February birthstones"][/caption]

Sorry it's blurry. It's a cell phone self-portrait

So tell me, do you have a mommy tattoo or wear something to represent your child/ren?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baby nicknames

Our older son has always been cautious and well-behaved. Jacob is 'by the book'.  He doesn't want us to call him anything but his name. He doesn't even want us to say, "Are you being funny?" His reply, "No, I'm Jacob."  He did not prepare me for our second child.  Our second son, Zachary, is very active.  A typical 11 month old, he's interested, curious, and lots of fun. He is also 'mayhem'.  He clears the table, the couch, the shelves, and whatever is in his reach.  He smiles at you, while he does it.  Then he crawls away to do it somewhere else. He is the complete opposite of his brother. He's always moving, and always eating!

Now, it is VERY possible that it is just the addition of a second child that makes the house chaotic.  But he is so different from our first, that he seems like such a handful. A wonderful, happy, beautiful handful.  My family calls him 'Baby Mayhem' and I even heard Jacob call him that yesterday. My husband and I were laughing at an Allstate Insurance commercial.  The commercial featured the Mayhem character, and we had been chasing Zachary around the living room- so we looked at each other and said, "He's Baby Mayhem!" And so, that's his nickname.

[caption id="attachment_130" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Baby Mayhem"][/caption]

I took a picture of what he did in 30 seconds, while I tried to put his laundry away last week. His brother, who likes things in their place, was horrified.  I'm not sure why I try to keep his toys in bins.  He loves taking things out of containers/boxes/bins.  Now I just need to wait for him to take interest in putting things BACK into bins.

I never gave Jacob a nickname. He is 'just Jacob', and he can't be Jake because that is his Daddy. But Mayhem has quickly acquired one.  It got me to wondering- do you have a nickname for your child?  How did you come about it?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts on Preschool...

As my son turns three and a half, I have been forced to deal with the issue of preschool.  It is an expected part of his 4th year of life, and many children start even sooner than that. 

First, I was excited.  It is a big step, it will be good for him, and he'll make new friends.  Then, I convinced myself he was not ready.  He was not potty trained, and he seems quite happy in his current routine.  Now, I am realizing that maybe it is ME that isn't ready.

Preschool is a big step.  Jacob is my first child, and sending him off to school seems crazy!  He's my baby!  I JUST had him (OK, August 2008 seems far away, when you think of it that way...).  He can't be ready for that.  Once you go to school, you are in school for years. 

I am not afraid of how he will act, or that he wouldn't like being there.  I know that the social interaction will do wonders for him, and that he will love absorbing all the information that he possibly can.   

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 So why do I have hesitation?  I don't stay home with him, so why does it even make a difference to me?  Going to school means he will be more independent, and that is what I want for him.  But that also means that I have to let go of him, just a little bit.  I don't think I would ever be ready for that step! 

Did you dread sending your little one off to school?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Managing Stress

The beginning of this year has been particularly stressful for me at work.  With the State of California taking action against redevelopment agencies (I won't bore you with details), my public sector job has been less than stable. 

I have been really trying to keep the stress at work, and not bring it home. It is a 'must' for working mother sanity! You have to take care of yourself first, I know you have heard that before- but it's true! I wanted to share a few of my favorite stress busters - and see if you had any to share!

1. Lavender - candles, incense, essential oils... whatever method works for you! There is something about the scent that just relaxes me. I happen to LOVE Bath and Body Works Lavender Vanilla bubble bath http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11669930&cp=4090259.4090258.4090278.4431583.11226303, which brings me to #2!

2. Take a hot bath! My mother always told us, whatever was wrong, to have a cup of tea and a hot bath. I still take her advice to this day. Add the bubble bath, and you're on your way to relaxation!

3. Get on the floor- After a long day, there is nothing better than kicking off the heels and playing with dinosaurs with my 3-year-old.  Kids can have a way of melting the stress away, SOMETIMES!

4. Dance- When nothing seems to make sense, put on a silly CD (I recommend "Silly Songs with Larry" from Veggie Tales) and just sing with your kid(s). They love it, and soon you'll forget what you were so stressed about in the first place.

5. Forget about 'have to's'- Give yourself a much-deserved break. The laundry will be there tomorrow, and the same for the dirty dishes, and the cobwebs, and the dust bunnies, and the recycling... just sit down! 

6. Put the kids to bed just a little earlier than usual- Mine can't tell time YET, so this may get harder as they get older! Sometimes, Mommy needs more 'me time'... and some wine!

7. Yoga- If you can get away for an hour, to do yoga (or whatever hobby/class you like)- it is worth it! It is an invaluable chance to focus on yourself, and the 'here and now'. Believe me, I know it isn't easy!

8. Don't look at your phone- I can't bear to turn off the cell phone, since we do not have a 'land line'. But I do put it on vibrate, and leave it in the kitchen. It's important to focus on your family when you are at home, everyone else can wait.

I also like to walk the dogs, but if you don't have dogs- that obviously wouldn't work for you.  What do you do to de-stress?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Motherly Judgement

My neighbor once told me, "Oh, my children aren't allowed to wear 'character clothes'," when I asked if her son liked Thomas the Train. That's not even an answer to what I asked. Then, I'm not even kidding, her daughter's photos were put up (as a model) in the mall's Disney store. Does she even see how hypocritical that is?

This is the mom who excitedly asked me, "Are you staying home now?" after she saw me home on maternity leave, in the middle of the day. When I responded, "No, I go back to work on Monday." She said, "Oh, too bad" and drove off in her minivan. As though we could have actually been friends if I had stayed home...

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy for her. I'm glad that she can stay home with her two children- if that is what she wants to be doing. But do not judge me. Do not feel sorry for me because you are home, and I am at work. Do not try to make me feel guilty that my child watches tv, or loves Thomas the Train, or wears Yo Gabba Gabba shoes.  And I won't judge you for walking around the neighborhood with your bearded dragon.

If you work, and you want to work- that's great. If you stay home, and you want to stay home- that's great too. The GUILT comes in when you are doing one or the other, and you do not want to. I know that we all have our reasons, quite a few of which are financial. But all mothers need to be comfortable with their decision- and not feel guilty about it! If you are at work because of financial reasons, and you'd rather be home- be comforted by the fact that you are helping the family on many levels, and you are not alone. You are still the 'mom'. Believe me, they know!

Have you felt 'judged' by other mothers?  Does it make you question your choice to work or stay home?

Monday, January 2, 2012

He wants to own a zoo...

Besides the two boys and two adults that we have in our tiny townhouse with a patio for a yard, we also have a variety of animals.  We lost two geckos since we moved in, which I have not let my husband replace.  We have the two dogs (basset hound and dachshund), three turtles and a beta fish.  I know, beta fish are hardly any work.  The dogs are like our first children, and they are groomed and vaccinated regularly (costly though it may be...).  The turtles... well... I could do without the turtles.  My sister and I got them while we shared an apartment in LA.  Then she moved to New York, and the turtles moved in with me. 

My husband thinks that we should ALSO have a coonhound.  And his latest obsession a jellyfish aquarium.  For Christmas, I got him the Discovery Kids jellyfish lamp...

I thought I was clever, but it just made him want the real jellyfish even more.  We should be living on a farm in Montana to fit all of the animals that he wants to live with us.  He has even said, "If the house was on fire, would you save the turtles?" Answer: No. I'd save my wedding dress before I'd save those.... ugh, maybe not.  They are living beings.  But I would probably resent them for the rest of their lives.

So now when I see the marketing for the new Matt Damon movie "We Bought a Zoo"- I just hope that my husband doesn't get any more ideas!

Christmas 2011

We had a great Christmas over at Grandma's house! My sister posted pictures of present-opening here: www.ihaveadegreeinthis.com Most importantly, my family wore matching pajamas.

[caption id="attachment_92" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bullock Family - Christmas 2011"][/caption]

The whole thing was a little overwhelming for Jacob (3.5 years), as it was last year. He would have been happy with the $7 bin of dinosaurs that I found at Target.

[caption id="attachment_93" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="He told Santa, he wanted "more dinosaurs""][/caption]

Zach (10 mo) just basically crawled around and played with wrapping paper, which is fine with me!

[caption id="attachment_94" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Wrapping paper is delicious"][/caption]

The biggest hit was the cardboard house! ($19.99 @ Bed Bath and Beyond)- Who would have thought. My brother was in there, my sister and I colored with markers on the outside, and Jacob parked his McQueen power wheel along side. Grandma delivered 'mail' through the mail slot.  
Cardboard house!!

I was a little disappointed that we didn't get a picture with Zach and Santa, since it was Zach's first Christmas. But we tried. We had brunch 'with Santa', but he got stuck in traffic on the 405 and showed up about 2 hours late. Well, we didn't make it that long. This is the picture we got instead...

Brunch without Santa


I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your family!