Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just funny

These girls of mine are so funny.
Lucy has decided in the last week that she is going to learn how to walk. She was never too interested before, but this girl is determined. She is starting to pull herself up on furniture and she grunts as she stands up. When she gets nervous, her palms get sweaty. She sweats up a storm walking, but she is getting really good at it!
Maggie is starting to say some really funny things too. The other day, she woke me up by coming in our room and telling me "I'm ready for action". Today when I was talking to my sister in law, Maggie asked if she could play with my hair. I said yes, so she stood behind me and starting playing with my hair. All of a sudden, she announced "I think I need a chair". Then she went and got her little chair out of her playroom, sat on it, and proceeded to play with my hair some more.
And to top it all off, tonight at dinner, Maggie put a pea up her nose. She was sitting in her highchair (on the floor, don't ask) talking about peas while I was making dinner. Then all of a sudden, she tells me "Mommy, I need some help getting this pea out of my nose." It was really funny. Luckily I was able to push it out from the outside. Of course when it came out, she wanted to eat it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

25 Things About Me

I've been writing a lot about the girls, my family, crafting and decorating. I haven't written too much about myself though. So, here are twenty-five things about me.

1. I have two younger brothers. When I was little, I really wanted a little sister. Now, I have two sisters-in-law.

2. If I won a million dollars, I would pay off my student loans, and buy a bigger house.

3. If I had a lot of money, I would be one of those crazy people who redecorates their houses every year. This is fed by my pinterest addiction.

4. My first bachelor's degree is in advertising. My second is in nursing. I am so happy that I went back to school.

5. If I could, I would live on diet coke, baked lays and goldfish crackers.

6. When I was pregnant with Maggie, I craved nachos and squirt. When I was pregnant with Lucy, it was chocolate milk and brown sugar pop tarts.

7. I was born with one kidney.

8. I have always wanted four kids, two girls and two boys. If my next baby is a girl, I am not sure if we will try for number four.

9. My house is 95 years old. We are probably only the 3rd owners. (the people who lived here before us lived here for 67 years)

10. I am obsessed with Ikea. We remodeled our kitchen with Ikea this spring and I can't wait to go back.

11. I have to limit myself to one trip to Target a week or I will be broke in no time.

12. Planning and cooking dinner is the most frustrating part of my day. I wish I could hire a personal chef.

13. I love old houses. I would love to buy an old Victorian someday.

14. I am allergic to dogs. This makes my husband really sad.

15. My fifth wedding anniversary is coming up in about six weeks.

16. I have lived in two large cities and one small town, but I have never lived in a suburb (and I don't plan to). I am a city girl.

17. I feel like a magician when I get both girls to take a good nap together in the same room.

18. I hate to cook but I love to bake.

19. I don't like to run but when I was running regularly I was in the best shape of my life. Then I got pregnant.

20. One of my biggest fears is that I will die young and the girls won't remember me.

21. I always wanted to move to Boston.

22. I worked as a nanny for three years. It was one of my favorite jobs.

23. I became much less judgemental at other people's weddings once I had my own.

24. I have twenty-six first cousins.

25. We went to Italy on our honeymoon. Best decision ever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


About a year after my husband and I started dating, I decided to go back to school to become a nurse. The first semester that I was back in school, my husband went back to get his EMT certification. It took me four and a half years to finish my nursing degree. At first, I worked full time while going to school, but in the last few years, I could only work part time because of my school schedule.
We got married halfway through nursing school and luckily my husband had a good job and was able to make enough money to support us. We made a deal that as soon as I was finished with school, he could go back to school to pursue his paramedic degree and I would be the one to work full time.
It was a great plan. But then, during my last semester of nursing school I caught baby fever. I was convinced (for various reasons) that I would never be able to get pregnant so I insisted we try as much as possible. The week before I graduated, I found out I was pregnant with Maggie.
My husband was still busy working at his job and there were no definite plans for him to go to school. When I was five months pregnant, he lost his job. I told him that he either needed to start school or get a new job, pronto! That spring semester when Maggie was just a few weeks old, he started school again.
We've been plodding along with him finishing an associate's degree while I worked full time. Then this past January, he was accepted into a very rigorous paramedic school program.
So, I have been working two jobs since January so that he can focus on his schoolwork. We are constantly juggling childcare. Of course, things would be easier if we didn't have the childcare dilemma, but our lives would be so much emptier.
Sixteen weeks from yesterday is his graduation. When he finishes school, he will be able to start working and I can quit my second job (or scale back my hours considerably because this job might pay for the girls' tuition at private school).
It is taking a lot of sacrifice on all of our parts, but I am confident that the end results will be worth it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Going to the Zoo

Last week I had a much needed day off so the girls and I went to the zoo. We haven't been for a while and it was fun to see how much fun they had. Of course, there were tons of people there because school hasn't started again yet. I think it will be even more fun to go back in a few weeks when the older kids are back in school. We had a nice little picnic lunch and saw a lot of the animals. Maggie really liked the monkeys and the rhino. Lucy liked the snakes and turtles in the reptile house. I love to see the chimps but they were off display when we were there. We also missed out on the giraffes becuase it was hot and getting close to naptime. They had so much fun and when we came home they both napped for over two hours. When I worked as a nanny I was so good at getting the kids out of the house and going to different museums and zoos. I really need to work and making this a more regular thing to do with the girls. There are so many cool museums and zoos in our city and we should take full advantage, especially since we can get free admission passes to most museums from the library. Next week we will aim for another field trip. I can't wait.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Crayon Wreath

My mom is an elementary school principal. She had kind of a rough school year last year, so I wanted to give her something to start this new year off on a better note. I saw these crayon wreaths on Pinterest and decided it would be a cute decoration for her office door. The ones that I saw online were made using two wooden embroidery hoops of differing sizes. When I went to JoAnn's, however, they were totally out of all of the wooden hoops so I improvised. I started with a 12 inch round styrofoam wreath.
I bought two rolls of wide satin ribbon to cover the wreath. The colors for my mom's school are maroon and gray so I chose maroon ribbon. I pinned the ribbon to start with a straight pin and then wrapped it around the wreath overlapping just enough to cover all the white styrofoam.
When I was finished, I pinned the end in place with another straight pin.
When it was finished, it looked like a pretty satin wreath. I bought three boxes of 24 count Crayola crayons to glue to the wreath. I had seen some people use a 64 count box of crayons, but the 24 crayon boxes were 75 cents a piece at Target. I had a hard time laying the crayons out ahead of time because the wreath was rounded so I just spaced them out evenly in the beginning and hoped for the best.
Some of the wreaths that I had seen had the crayons laid out in a rainbow spectrum pattern but I liked the randomness better. I did try to alternate warm and cool colors and avoided putting two of the same color next to each other. I used my glue gun to attach the crayons to the wreath. I was careful to turn the label out so the Crayola part was visible. (Not necessarily because of my love for Crayola, but more so that they would look the same). I think it turned out pretty cute. I just folded some left over ribbon into a loop and pinned it to the back for a hanger.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The girls are taking baths together, which I love for several reasons. They have fun in the bath so we don't have to fight about it. Plus, they are both done at the same time. I found these bath fizzies at Target a while ago (they used to have Elmo on box, he disappeared for some reason). They are basically like colored alka seltzer. You drop them in the bath water and they fizz away while coloring the water. The color is pretty vibrant but it doesn't stay on skin or wash cloths, which I love. Maggie calls it mermaid water and loves picking out what color their bath will be every night. Tonight it was two pink fizzies. There are few things that I love more than watching them splash and laugh and play in their mermaid water.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This afternoon I got the sad news that my sister-in-law's teenage cousin passed away early this morning in a car accident. She was sixteen. Her twin sister was not in the car. Every day when I drive on the highways around Chicago I see the signs listing the number of traffic deaths so far this year on Illinois highways. Suddenly, those 500+ deaths are a lot more personal. I did not know this young girl very well. We met a few times two years ago during the wedding festivities when my brother and her cousin got married. We were both bridesmaids (along with six other girls). But I know that my sister-in-law was very close to her cousins. I also know that this is not the first time a child died too soon in my sister-in-law's family. Her own brother died about fifteen years ago from a heart condition when he was twelve years old. Parents should not have to bury their children. Grandparents should not have to bury their grandchildren, let alone two of their grandchildren. All I can do right now is to send my prayers and hug my own daughters a little tighter. Tonight I let Maggie stay up a little past her bedtime just to spend a few more minutes with her. As parents, we do all we can to protect our children. We teach them how to recognize and avoid danger from an early age. And yet still, accidents happen. Kids drive to fast. Cars flip over. Families are shattered beyond recognition in the blink of an eye. So hug your babies while you have them. Call your griend that you haven't talked to for a while. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I have mentioned in the past that I work 12 hour day shifts as a nurse. This means that I work 7am to 7:30 pm three (rotating) days a week. I absolutely love my schedule and I can't imagine working five days a week. I love that I can work full time (and make a full time salary) while having four days off every week. Another HUGE advantage of my schedule is that it makes it really easy for me to work overtime and to work a second job. My husband is in paramedic school for the next four months or so and my second job helps us make ends meet in the mean time. Because he spends so much time in class/clinical, it's hard for me to pick up overtime shifts. This past weekend, however, I had four days off in a row from the hospital and they were short on night shift nurses for Friday night. After discussing it with my husband, I decided to bite the bullet and pick up an overtime night shift. Of course, the money is really good but the sleeping adjustment has been difficult. I am terrible at taking naps, so I am better off to just stay up and drink extra diet Coke. It's hard on the girls when I am gone for long periods of time and a huge advantage to picking up night shifts is that they are asleep most of the time I am gone so they don't even miss me. Of course, then I am not sleeping and all that. It's a sacrifice I am willing to make every now and the for right now as a way to make some extra cash, but once my husband is finished with school, my overtime days will be over!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Picnic Dinner

I need to work on taking more pictures of the "everydayness" of our lives. I know that someday, this will be what I miss. Anyway, Thursday night, my husband left for class and the girls and I made a picnic dinner and headed off to one of my favorite parks. We used to live about three blocks from this park and went there all the time. Since we bought our house and moved last summer, we don't go quite as often we do have a pretty decent park a few blocks away). Maggie was so excited about being at the park that she barely ate dinner. I made her take a few bites of her sandwich and she probably ate about half an apple, so at least she ate something. She would run, climb, slide for a few minutes, then come over and take a quick bite before running off again. Lucy ate much better (but she is also much less mobile). They loved the see-saw and swinging next to each other in the "baby" swings. I need to enjoy this while I can because I know that next summer they will probably be entertaining each other and I'll just be another mommy on the sidelines. Sometimes I feel really overwhelmed and sad because I spend so much time working. I hope the girls remember some of these special times like picnic dinners too so that they can realize how much I love them!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

T-shirt bags

OK, so I mentioned earlier that I wanted to try out some pinterest crafts and see how well they work in real life. My first project was to make reusable grocery bags out of old t-shirts. I thought this was a great place to start because I am trying to be "green" and use mostly reusable bags when I go to the grocery store (and to Target where I save 5 cents for every bag I bring from home, yay!)Plus, I have a lot of old t-shirts that I hold on to for sentimental reasons but I know I won't wear anymore. The first step was to find an old t-shirt to use. I used this Beatles shirt from high school. While I still love the Beatles (enough to name my daughter after their songs), I am very unlikely to wear this shirt out in public ever again.
I turned the shirt inside out and sewed the bottom closed. I used very small stitches to give the bag strength and stability. (I have seen where people pin the shirt closed, but I was lazy and just held it. It turned out just fine.)
I wanted to give my bags a boxy bottom so that they would hold more things. To do this, I folded my bottom into a little triangle and sewed across it about 1 1/2 inches down. Again, I could have been really precise and measured and pinned this, but I didn't. I am not entirely sure where my straight pins are right now and I didn't feel like looking for them. My bags turned out fine and pretty even without the measuring/pinning.
That was the end of the sewing (woo hoo!!). The next step was to cut some handles. To do this, I simply lined up the sleeves from the shirt and cut them off.
I cut the sleeves off before the seams so that the sewn seams stayed in place. This provides some extra stability to your handles.
The next to last step was to widen the neck hole. This is going to be the mouth of the bag, so you want it to be big enough so that you can put things in it. Again, I just lined the shirt up and cut what I felt was a nice sized opening (being careful not to cut too much off the design of my shirt). The nice thing about using a jersey material like t-shirts are made from is that they do not really fray so you don't have to make a seam. Just cut and go.
And that's it. The last step is to enjoy your cute, new bag. I have made a few of these and I am impressed by how much they hold. It's a great use for a shirt you might not be using any more and they're so easy to make. (I think each bag took about ten minutes - max!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Saturday was Lucy's birthday. We had a backyard barbecue with our closest friends. Luckily the weather cooperated, not too hot! We started the party later in the afternoon when the yard would be mostly in the shade and it was perfect! This was also the first party we've had in a long time where all the grandparents were able to attend (not an easy feat when they all live out of town!)
We tried not to go overboard with the presents, but we wanted to get something fun that she would play with for a while, so we went with the Princess Cruiser (complete with flower bow from Grandma). She loved it!
Otherwise, she got mostly fall clothes. I know it's boring, but honestly, she won't remember this birthday and we have a lot of one year old type toys. Plus, Maggie was in 12-18 month clothes during the summer, so there aren't many hand-me-downs that we can use. She got some really cute stuff and I can't wait for the weather to cool off so we can try them on. (Since she still lets me pick out all her clothes, unlike her sister...)
We got a cupcake cake for her party. It was easy and cute. Lucy got her own cupcake of course and she devoured it! All in all it was a great day and a fun party. Now on to toddlerhood.