Thursday, February 28, 2013


Our nights around here can be a little bit chaotic.
And full of routine.
Getting dressed.
Doing hair.
Crying about not wanting to do hair.
Brushing teeth.
Off to get in bed.
Out of bed to find whatever stuffed animal is deemed absolutely necessary.
Begging for more books.
Songs. {Always "Edelweis." Always.}
Two more songs. Period.
Begging for more songs.
Kisses. {One on the lips, and one on each cheek from Bailey. Always.}
The yelling of Goodnight over and over.

I can't wait until they add I need a glass of water! and I need to pee again! to the above list...

Here is our bedtime the other night.

Graham fits nicely in the doll's pack-n-play, don't you think?

Avery lounging in her new big-girl bed, which she L-O-V-E-S.

Story time with Daddy.
Bailey insists you get in and cover up if you are going to read to her.

The last few nights Graham has actually slept more.
He has been doing a solid 7 hours at least, followed up by a period of an hour and half in the recliner with me, and then another two hours or so asleep.
I am relieved.
I am a much nicer person when I am not functioning on 3 hours of sleep a night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Winter Day

Yesterday we headed outside for the first time this winter.
{With a new baby and much illness,
we have definitely been slacking with the winter activities.}
This was Avery's first time in the snow.

Bailey remembered all the fun from last year.

Afterward we headed inside for the hot chocolate I promised them.
I used it as bait to get them to come in from the cold, but it didn't work until I promised marshmallows, too.

(Pretty sure this pic has the world's worst lighting,
but she was so excited by her grown-up mug that I had to post it.)

After hot chocolate and the colossal mess that came with it, the girls helped Jared make homemade pizza.
{I might be a tad bit biased, but my hubby makes the best homemade pizza.
The secret is his homemade crust. It is amaaazzing!}

Avery tends to eat more than help...
And regardless of how much slobber from Avery's hands ended up on our pizza,
it was delicious.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Let's start at the very beginning; a very fine place to start.

I have been slowly arriving at this point for the last 13 or so weeks.
After gaining 50 pounds during pregnancy (holy shit, yeah I know...) and coming home with the realization that our baby did NOT in fact weigh 20+ pounds, it's no surprise that I am still hanging on to a final 15-20 pounds. I say 15-20 because every morning on the scale is a different number. Just when I think it's only 15, the next few days tell a slightly heavier tale.

So it is time to do something.

So far I have been clinging to the hope of the magical breastfeeding myth. The one where all your pregnancy weight (plus some) disappears just by the simple act of breastfeeding your child. I think every post-partum woman prays for this to happen. And honestly, with Avery it did. I lost all my pregnancy weight by 6 weeks, and by the time she was 8 months old, I had lost the extra 13 pounds left over from Bailey as well.
I am tired of feeling fat and witnessing way too many double-chins in recent pictures.
And while I have been seeing the scale gradually decreasing since about 8 weeks post-partum, it has been slow going...
probably due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
 *  Christmas and its delicious treats
 *  Bailey's birthday and the cake, cupcakes, and pizza that came along with it
 *  a certain 3 month-old who sleeps very sporadically
 *  this winter weather
Living in the Midwest during the winter basically guarantees you will be stranded indoors for a good four months. I don't have access to a gym, and we don't have exercise equipment at our house. And I am not venturing outside with several inches of snow on the ground. Period.
I have decided to do a couple things.
One - Cut out the junk food.
I have a sick habit for chocolate and any of its variations. I just bought 3 large Sam's Club bags of delicious Easter candy (think small Reese's peanut butter eggs) to hide for the girls on Easter morning and I had to beg Jared to hide it from me until Easter. I have no self-control when it comes to seasonal Reese's products...
Two - Workout videos - meaning the free variety you find on the Internet.
Three - Write my plan on this blog so that I can hold myself more accountable.

Today was Day #1.
I looked up free online workout routines. There were quite a few promising-looking ones. I picked one that was low-impact cardio for beginners. It was 30 minutes long. I meant to just start with a simple 5 or 10 minute video, but this one looked harmless enough. I hooked the Ipad up to the TV and cleared all the toys out of the living room. (That alone was a 5 minute workout. Sad, but true.) Some of the exercises recommended 2-lb weights, so I scrounged up a couple cans of Hunt's tomato sauce to do the trick.

I put Graham on a blanket on the floor out of harm's way and the girls and I got ready to exercise. Of course they saw me with my "weights" and needed some of their own. So Bailey was pumping iron with some Rotel and Avery had some mini cans of green chilies.

It was a good video. The lady went slow enough to let you figure out the moves before starting, very necessary for me. Beginner, remember? It was 7 different exercises for one minute each, with some of them requiring one minute for each leg. Then those same exercises were repeated two more times through.
The first set of 10 minutes was easy. Me and my tomato sauces were doing excellent.
The second time through I was feeling a bit less energetic. It was harder to dodge roaming toddlers.
By the third set, I had put down the sauce! My arms were heavy enough as it was. But Bailey wasn't having that. She ran to get my discarded tomato sauces. Mommy, you need your cans! Okay, okay. Even my own child is telling me to suck it up.

By the end of the video I was thoroughly sweating and cursing that skinny, smiling bitch leading the exercises. Easy for her to do - her part was edited in different small clips. It was just the same loop of her and her refreshed looking smile, maintaining the same demanding speed, looking like she was enjoying herself. And every time I would start to slow down, the narrator would say Keep up that same speed from earlier! Or when I thought to myself, "My form sucks. Oh well..." he would insert Remember - form is important!  It's like that dude was right in my living room.

I think I will stick with the videos. With easy access to a variety via the Internet, I can switch it up and have a variety. And the girls enjoyed it too for the most part. After the exercise video I pulled up YouTube, and we danced to a few different music videos. Anything that gets me up and moving is a step in the right direction.

I have no delusions that I am going to weigh as much as I did back in high school. Or that I am going to change into some person who loves exercise. (because I definitely don't.)
I just want to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and maintain from there.
Plus, with the exception of only three months, I have been in either maternity or nursing-friendly clothing for the past 4 years.
That is a long time. I am way overdue for a new wardrobe. (At least I am once this one stop eating from me - aka probably another 9 months minimum.) And I would prefer to fit into my old clothes again in the meantime.

So if anyone wants a good laugh, feel free to cruise past our house mid-morning. Through our big picture window you just might see me jumping around and doing all kinds of weird moves.
There might even be a tomato sauce can or two, especially if that drill sergeant Bailey is around.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This week with the Solkos

Man I am tired.
I think the past two weeks of Graham waking up a few times a night (and then staying awake) are starting to take their toll. He slept for a 7 hour stretch last night, so I am hoping we are headed in the right direction.

He is too long for all the zip-up style swaddle wraps, and he can get out of the larger-sized velcro SwaddleMe wrap, so I have resorted to using a large thin blanket. Last night was the first night he wasn't able to get an arm (or two) out. I have that thing as tight as I can possibly get it.

Also, speaking of sleeping, we officially have Avery moved over to her big-girl bed. The bed itself hasn't been a problem at all. The fact that the girls are now sharing a room once again - that is the problem. Surprisingly enough Avery is the one behaving in this instance. They were up for two hours talking to each other the first night. We figured they had to figure it out for themselves and didn't push the issue. They were finally both asleep by 10 pm.

The next night, Avery was yelling multiple times. I went upstairs to see what was going on. Avery is laying in her bed, head on the pillow, with no covers. Bailey has taken the covers off the bed and is attempting to put them on her bed.
I go up again about 15 minutes later: Avery is laying in bed, head on the pillow (with covers this time), and Bailey is sitting on Avery's legs.
Later I go upstairs again to find Avery protesting very loudly because Bailey has stolen her baby and bunny.
Finally all is relatively quiet. I can hear Avery talking, but she seems happy. I go upstairs to take a shower and peek in their room. Avery is once again laying in bed, head on the pillow, talking around the thumb in her mouth. And Bailey is fast asleep with her arms wrapped around Avery.
Melts. my. heart.
It's times like these that I am so glad they have each other.
I hope that even though they fight like crazy now, they will become the best of friends some day like my sisters and me.

Meanwhile, Bailey is also taking a big-girl step: potty training.
And yes, I wrote about potty training last fall and at the time Bailey was doing a pretty good job. But a week or so later she started to completely refuse to use the potty.
So we took a break.
(It was a very long break.)
Two weeks or so ago we moved the potty downstairs to the living room where she would constantly see it. A couple days later - after one too many nasty #2's in her diaper - we got fed up and stripped her down completely. No pants, no diaper, no underwear. Bailey has too much pride to pee without a diaper on, so it seemed to work. (Candy bribes also helped.)
This has been the scene around our house lately:
And she doesn't just lay on the couch half-naked.
She also loves to do naked handstands against the wall or on the recliner. It's pretty hilarious when she catches you off-guard. It was so funny the first time I wanted to take a picture and send it to my mom and mother-in-law, but I figured that might be considered child pornography, so I didn't.
For the last few days we have been accident-free. Here's to hoping this time takes!
Our little guy has been about the same.
No big milestones. He doesn't seem interested in rolling over just yet, although he is a big talker.
He is growing though.
It makes me so sad to go through his clothes and start putting away outfits that are too small. He can still wear some of his 3-month stuff, but the pants look more like capris. He is already wearing mostly 6-month sleepers.
My little baby is growing up too fast!
Besides pooping about 8 times this morning, he has been content to eat and hang out on the floor near his sisters' tea party.
Thankfully right now he is chilling in his swing so I can do some laundry and dishes.
A big snow storm is supposed to be rolling into town any minute now.
I am thankful for our warm house, a stocked fridge, and the fact that I have nowhere to go for a few days.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bailey turns 3

Our little lady turns three years old today.
Happy Birthday Bailey Boo!
We celebrated Bailey's birthday this past Saturday at our home with family.
She was very excited.
Whenever another person pulled up in the driveway, she would look out the window and yell, "More presents! Look, Mom, more presents!"
Oh, the joy of being a 3 year-old.
Presents are fun. Avery was dying to get in on the action, and Bailey was nice enough to oblige. She actually was requesting Avery's help to open every present. 
(Such a good big sister! - at least that minute anyway.)

Bailey and her main man, Elmo.
Avery not only helped open the presents, but she volunteered to model Bailey's new shoes (from Aunt Fe of course) too.
And so stylish with the dress!
And then came the moment Bailey had been waiting for:
Cake Time.
More specifically, ELMO cake time.
Ever since we received the cake mold in the mail, Bailey has asked every day for some Elmo cake. That is three straight weeks of begging.
Apparently the cake did not disappoint.
Good to the last drop... of frosting.
{And yes, we eat birthday cake shirtless in our house.
Elmo's blood red color would have been quite hard on her new dress}
Her party was a definite success, right down to the classy decorating Jodie and I did with some crepe paper from Dollar General.  Fancy, huh?
Today - her actual birthday - is going to be more low key. We saved our presents for her to open today and we are planning some pizza for supper.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Bailey!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Graham's baptism

Graham Ellis Solko was baptized yesterday on February 17th at the United Methodist Church in Jolley, Iowa.
- the same church where I was baptized,
and my dad was baptized,
and my grandpa was baptized
and probably generations before him.

He tolerated it all the way you would expect a 3 month-old to; meaning he was sometimes happy, sometimes fussy, and very unsure of the entire prospect.

He didn't mind the water at all. Probably, as the minister remarked, because he couldn't feel it due to all that hair covering his little head.

Baptism seems to be a great time to get a few family photos,
specifically 4-generation ones.

{the Ellis side}

{the Weiss side}
After baptism we all went to my parents' house to celebrate - with food of course.
We spent the afternoon playing cards with my grandma Connie and chatting.
It was a nice end to a busy weekend.

the making of Elmo

Bailey really loves Elmo. Avery too.

So for her birthday this year we decided to try our hand at decorating a character cake for her.
It really was much easier than the finished product looks.

We got the cake tin mold for under 10 bucks off Amazon.
Directions come with it, giving you step by step instruction if needed.

We baked the cake a week ahead of time just to ensure that it came out of the mold alright, which it did, and then froze it.

We made our own frosting.
Store bought frosting is just not tolerated in this house. I am definitely a frosting snob.
{Except for the black. You usually can't get the frosting a dark enough shade on your own.}
And when I say "we," what I really mean is Jared. He made it at 4 AM that morning since he was unable to sleep anymore.

Black Elmo!
This was my first time decorating a large amount with the different tips.
Surprisingly it wasn't all that hard. Granted, my technique got a little sloppy here and there, but overall not bad for my first time.

And the finished product...

Bailey was very excited. {Pictures to come on her birthday post tomorrow.}

And I know we will do this again with different molds.
It was fun to be able to pick out a special cake and make it ourselves.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cold Turkey

The milk factory is on strike.

After days of researching and trying every possible trick to get Graham to take a bottle, we decided to go cold turkey starting first thing this morning.
No more milk from mom.
(just for today.)

It is going surprisingly well.
He took very little the first go round.
But this second time he drained the bottle 3 different times. Granted there was only an ounce in each bottle - didn't want that hard-earned milk to go to waste!
Jared has been using cartoons to distract him while he eats and I have been keeping my distance.

Other than pumping, I have more than enough to do before going in to work at 3 PM; mainly getting the house cleaned up and ready for a birthday party tomorrow.

We are celebrating Bailey's 3rd birthday tomorrow with family.
I can't believe she is three already.
The time really does fly.

Also on the agenda for this weekend: Graham's baptism on Sunday.

The weekend is going to go quickly.

And randomly, a funny picture for today:

Syrup is the perfect hair gel substitute.
Jared's picture title: There's Something About Avery

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bottle Drama

I didn't realize how difficult this could really be.

Babies just take bottles, right?

We are having major bottle drama.
Mr. Man doesn't think it is necessary (or even humane) for him to have to learn how to take a bottle.
We have tried for weeks.
And we have tried quite a few options.
A few nights ago I even dug out Bailey's special cleft bottles to see if they would work. He wouldn't even take those!

It is so frustrating. 
And I know he is frustrated too; he doesn't understand why he can't just have the boob whenever he wants it.
A drive up window serving perfectly warm breast milk 24 hours a day.
He doesn't realize that him being constantly chained to my side is a wee bit annoying. And impractical. Mama would like a night away, and unfortunately the boobs have to come with me.

Today while trying for the umpteenth time with the same bottle, we had a small margin of success.
The girls were watching Sesame Street and Graham heard a song and turned away from me toward the TV. He was distracted so I thought it might be a good chance to try again. While in a TV coma, he absentmindedly let me put the nipple in his mouth and at one point seemed to actually suck on it. A step in the right direction!
{I am taking my victories where I can get them, people.}

The worst part of all this is that to make the transition easier, I am using pumped milk. So I have to pump and store it so that it is in the fridge when we need it. And after all that effort, it sucks to see it wasted when he won't eat any of it.
I definitely do not pump for the fun of it.
Not that it is painful or all that horrible, but it's 15 minutes each time and extra dishes: pump parts, bottles, nipples... All to wash it down the drain or watch it leak out of his mouth while he protests.

I am not sure what else to do - short of buying out the entire bottle aisle at Target.
So if you have been there, I appreciate any advice.
Through researching and talking to the pediatrician's office I feel like we have tried about everything, but ya never know. Some times other moms/caregivers have great tips that could really help out.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Oh wait... Fridays don't mean jack to me. 
Unfortunately I don't get a weekend off from my job {aka my children}.
As much as I love them, they are driving me nuts.

My head is throbbing from all the screaming today. All three of them. It was an afternoon screaming group session. And they even had nice, long naps!
Right now I am clinging to what little sanity I have left.

Thankfully they are all now in bed.
They may not be sleeping, but hopefully that is coming.

Sweet Jesus that girl is stubborn. She knows what she wants and she isn't going to back down. I am sure some day that will be a good character trait in certain ways, but right now, it makes me have to count to 10 and take a deep breath. And then repeat. And sometimes repeat a third time...

We are back on the potty training bandwagon. She holds it and can go on her potty on demand, so the only hold-up is her lack of desire to actually do it. We are trying to fuel that desire by any means possible; candy, ice cream, stickers, trips to the store with Daddy - you name it, we have probably offered it.

For the last two days we have refused to let her wear a diaper or any pants. She actually was begging for her diaper yesterday. It has forced her to actually sit down and get the deed done. She is still resisting, but we haven't budged. No potty, no ice cream. Like the rest of her family members: food wins out.

She has been the most well-behaved of the bunch, believe it or not. She likes to get a good bite of Bailey's shoulder every now and again, but she resisted the urge today. Apparently she just didn't want to feel left out, so she joined her little brother and big sister in their respective screaming sessions today - just for fun.

Tonight is her first night in her big-girl bed. Neither Jared or I thought it would be a big deal. She already goes and lays in that bed every night after her bath and snuggles up under the covers. But apparently shit got real when the baby gate went up and the light got turned out. It wasn't 30 seconds before the hysterics started in. Currently Jared is up lying beside her while she falls asleep. Bailey is lightly singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" from her bed in the same room; whether out of a desire to serenade them to sleep or to help herself avoid sleep at all costs, I don't know or care at this point.

Sweet little Graham. How much trouble can a 11 week-old baby be, right? Well truthfully, not much. He is cute and cuddly. Or at least he is when I am holding him. And he almost enjoys his swing these days, so I do get a little break sometimes.

He really struggles with the bottle. (and not in the AA way.) We have been working with all kinds of different bottles. He HATES them. Today it took 45 minutes for half an ounce, and I am pretty sure half of that dribbled out of his mouth onto the burp cloth. Wonderful! he is eating less than 10 ml if it doesn't come directly from the tap. I have some afternoon shifts scheduled starting next week, and he is already making it hard on himself and me! I don't know how I can actually return to full-day shifts when he won't eat at all. He is going to starve himself those first days.

Other than that, he is pretty good. Now if he would just follow in his sisters' footsteps and start sleeping a full 8-10 hours every night. Both of them already were by this point. I can't really complain though. He usually sleeps 6 or so hours straight. And I make good use of the 3 am wake-up call by catching up on all my guilty pleasure shows: Y&R, Fashion Police, The Soup, or any other show Jared rolls his eyes at. Plus the Y&R plot lines seem so much more believable when you are half-asleep.

This turned into a big vent. Apologies.
Parenting is hard. {Duh.}
And right now, wine is starting to sound like an absolute necessity.
Bed sure isn't an option since I can hear Avery's happy squeals all the way down here.
Go to bed, child! {because I really really want to.}

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Holy Hobby Lobby!

We escaped our house the other night and left the girls behind with Aunt Justy to do their usual: hot dogs, (nasty) boxed mac n' cheese, and Disney movie watching.
Graham came along with us while we ran errands in Fort Dodge.
He still isn't taking a bottle well.
We have been trying for weeks. I think we have tried 4 different bottles and nipples - including ones made for breastfed babies that are refusing the bottle. The only way he actually drinks even an ounce from the bottle is if I end up doing it - defeating the whole purpose.

I liked when Jared and I used to be able to load up and spend a whole afternoon and actually go to every store we wanted.
Ahh...those were the days...
Now it is more pick-and-choose what is most important. And where we go to eat depends on whether or not the restaurant has a booth where I can {somewhat} comfortably nurse the baby.

One of our stops was Hobby Lobby.
It happens every time I enter the store.
I go in for one or two items and come out $100 poorer. But we always end up finding things for house projects and little decorations for the kids' rooms, which are still a work in progress.

We are working on decorating Graham's room. Avery still occupies the room, but we are going to start to move her into her big-girl bed in Bailey's room soon. So far, we haven't hung a single thing. We didn't decorate before because we wanted to do it gender-specific and we didn't plan to find out the sex (Whoopsies...) ahead of time. So it is a blank canvas.

We bought some large wood letters to spell out his name just like we did in the girls' room.
{A blog coming in the near-future to show the finished product.}
We also found some cute pictures to hang on the wall and items for the bookcase.
We bought a bunch of other things to work on, but we only completed two yesterday.
Large Hanging Initial
We bought a large wooden letter S {which was 50% off - just like half of Hobby Lobby always is}, two paint colors, one crackle paint, and some ribbon.
We painted down the dark brown color. It took a couple coats because the wood really soaked it up. Then painted on the crackle paint. After that we had to wait about half an hour for it be "tacky" enough to paint on the blue. After the blue was painted on, it had the crackle look.
We finished up by painting the side of the S the same blue color.
All that was left to do was attach the ribbon and hang it up.
It's currently hanging near the front door in our breezeway, which is a good spot for it because this space needs all the help it can get!

Kitchen Chalkboard
We have this really weird area of clear blocks in our kitchen. They overlook the stairway going to the basement and serve no purpose. I am not sure why the original owners put them in when they did the addition. They are just awkward.
I thought that hanging a chalkboard over it might be a nice solution.
Weird, right?
So we bought a large chalkboard for $12.99 at Hobby Lobby.
{Or it might have been half that. I can't remember.}
Jared taped around it and painted the edges white.
We mounted it on the wall and put some decorative ribbon on it, and we were good to go.
Much better, right?
We thought about buying some spray that makes the surface magnetic; then the girls would be able to use their magnetic letters and numbers on it, but we left it as is for now.
We still need to do some further decorating, but this is a pretty good start in my book.
Also while out and about, we stopped at Target and spent more money than we anticipated there, too. I found cute lamps for both kids' rooms AND a lamp for the sofa table in our living room. So three lamps... Random.
We also picked up other things (aka the things we were actually supposed to be shopping for) like gifts for our soon-to-be born niece, due to arrive in less than a week now. (Just to clarify: Jared's sister, not mine.)
So that is all the crafting/decorating I have for now. I will post more of our projects as we get them completed.

Monday, February 4, 2013

So God Made a Farmer...

Watching the Super Bowl last night, I thought this was hands-down
 the best commercial.

Immediately it grabbed my attention.
Jared stopped what he was doing and looked up from his Ipad.
We sat there in complete silence for the full two minutes, just watching and listening.

So God Made a Farmer
Paul Harvey
Dodge Ram commercial

I am probably a bit biased. I do have a few farmers in my life.
Love you Dad.  Thanks for all you do.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Paid off

This month of February is the last month that I will be sending in a check to pay for our car.
We finally have our Honda Pilot paid off!
It was the first vehicle Jared and I picked out together. It's been my favorite vehicle.
(And if you know my dad, you know that I have driven A LOT of vehicles! I think I had 4 different cars by the time I was 16.) Anyway, I digress...
After 36 months, we officially own our vehicle outright. I don't like having debt, so this excites me!

And our other vehicle - my super cool Pontiac Grand Am from the year 2000 - it is still kicking.
**Knock on wood**

It seems every other month or so it gives us cause for concern.
Something goes wrong and we think, "This is it. We are going to have to buy another car."
But it's just a false alarm. The old girl just keeps on a-kickin'.
Sexy, isn't she?
Jared hates this car. Hates it.
I am not exactly sure why.
Maybe it's because it isn't the manliest of vehicles. (Or even close.)
Or because it's an annoying two-door.
Or because you feel like you are riding about one foot above the pavement.
Or because the radio plays approximately 3 stations. 4 on a good day.
Or because the heat or air only works while on the high setting.
Or because if you drive over 70 65 60 mph it starts to shake. Just a little bit...

Me, I don't mind it so much.
My parents bought me this car back in 2004 after my first year of college. I got zero say in the matter, but it was better than what I had been driving before, so I was happy.  And all the annoying things wrong with it don't really bother me. It's like an old friend (or husband) with quirks; you just get used to them. It has done well by me. I made many a trip from Kansas and back in this baby and it never left me down.
And the number one reason why I like it:
it's 100% paid for. (And bonus points because I wasn't the one who paid for it in the first place!)

So I am praying the old girl keeps on keepin' on.
It's only got about 128,000 miles. It's still got a lot of good life left! (Plus that whole paid for thing...)
I know in a few years - as I am hoping to put it off as long as possible - we'll have to get a mini van.
{Yes, Jared, a mini-van. Start getting your mind wrapped around the idea now.}
Right now we only have one vehicle that can haul all the kids and the three carseats that come along with them. Eventually one kid will have to go one place, while another goes somewhere else. That is where the mini-van comes in. Our tiny two-door Grand Am just isn't practical. But for right now, it's working.
Plus I would like to enjoy the feeling of no longer having a car loan for a while.

Now if those student loans would just disappear...
I know, I know. Wishful thinking.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Playing Together

We're on the mend here in the Solko household.
Everyone had some form of the flu this week - with the exception of Graham.
And I have done so many loads of laundry, I lost count.

While Jared and I are back to normal, the girls are still taking it easy. Multiple bouts of diarrhea have plagued Bailey and Avery is only eating a few bites of food here and there. (This is the girl who has eaten 3 large pieces of pizza in one sitting before.)

This week we have just been in survival mode.
Clothes only get changed when they get puked/pooped on. (Which has been several times a day sadly.) And typically we have just been rockin' the pj's.

We have watched a large variety of Disney movies - much to the girls' disappointment. All they want is Simba 24/7. 

Food has consisted largely of crackers, toast and soup. And juice.

In short, I feel pretty lazy.
And truthfully, with a new(er) baby at home, we have been in survival mode a lot of days. Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment if everyone is fed, gets a nap, and takes a bath.

I see posts from Facebook friends and read blogs online about all the cool, fun learning activities other moms are doing with their preschool-age kids. And I will admit it: I feel a bit guilty. I have two toddlers that could be benefiting from finger painting and homemade crafts... I should be doing that too, right?

I want to be a good mom that spends her days teaching her kids new skills and playing educational games, but lately, between talking them into eating their lunch and breaking up fights over toys (and feeding a 2 month-old every 2-3 hours) I have very little motivation left.  Throw in the flu and I am done for. And in all honesty, the thought of the clean-up after fingerpainting is way too much for me.

My patience has been really tried lately. Bailey's attitude and defiance at every turn is enough to make me want to tear my hair out some days. It's so very hard to be patient and let her do things her own way (ie: takes forever), especially when Graham is downstairs crying or I just want to go have a few minutes of peace. I need to try harder.

Bailey has been very into playing together lately. Sometimes she asks at a bad time - when I am feeding Graham or Jared's preparing supper - but I try to say yes when I can.

This morning she asked: We play together? 
So we went shopping.

Little Sister already knows how to swipe the plastic.
Rolling up with a cart full of veggies.

Brother observed from his swing.
{Doesn't he sort of look like George Costanza here? Maybe it's just me...}