Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smoothie Pops

I am in love with this warm weather. Night and day from last week. And to mark the momentous occasion of the start of Spring and the return of the sun, Ben enjoyed the first popsicle of the Spring/Summer. I try to make a smoothie every day for myself and Ben as an easy way to increase our fruit and veggie (I use a fruit/veggie juice blend) intake. Now I simply blend up the daily smoothie at lunch, pour them into popsicle molds, and by the time the kiddies awake after their nap, I have popsicles. To enjoy outside on the grass of course. Messy, messy. While the boys get half the popsicles in their mouth and half on the grass, I lean back looking up at the warm sun through the leaves of our giant front yard tree, and pray the weather will last.
Because I don't think I can take another week cooped up with two two-year-olds who just can't get it through their heads why we can't go to the PARK! I really don't!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mommy & Me Week: Day FIVE

I realized today while laying on Ben's floor waiting for him to drift off into sleepy land (yes I'm still doing that, but yes he falls asleep and STAYS asleep until the next morning at around 7:30, 8 o'clock, so it's a small sacrifice), that I forgot to wrap up our mommy & me week. Plans fell through with my parents to go to the Children's Discovery Museum, but have been rescheduled for this Friday so stay tuned. Thus the highlight of our day was a trip to the Dollar store for birthday party goodies. After scoring some great gag presents to add to our novelty prize table, I spotted some kites and slipped one into our cart. Ben immediately grabbed for it and spent the rest of the shopping trip jabbing passerby-ers and nearly knocking everything in his path off the shelves. Despite the mishaps in the store, I knew that it was the perfect purchase as my hands tightly gripped my steering wheel on the way home to prevent my car from being blown off the highway. Yes a perfectly windy day for flying a kite. Once safely home we ripped off the packaging and then after some light assembly I attempted to unwind the very thin string. The thing was completely twisted, and with an impatient yank, I got loose about ten feet of the hair-like string and called it good. We ran out to the front yard to try the new contraption. Ben was thrilled when I got the thing off the ground. So much so that he began to run around in a frenzy on the grass and came head-on with the kite, snapping the pole in half and permanently grounding our new treasure (in Ben's eyes at least). You know the saying trash-to-treasure? Well, our little kite underwent an opposite transformation, and in five minutes went from treasure-to-trash (when Ben wasn't looking of course).

There's just something magical about flying a kite. So you bet we will be giving it another go. And next time I'll throw down more than a buck. : )

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Me, Myself, and I

Last Friday night I had my first microderm appointment in San Francisco, so I got to enjoy a whole five hours, solo. Even the drive was relaxing on my own. Ben doesn't fall asleep in the car anymore like he used to, even on long drives, and he has a tendency to constantly ask me questions from the back seat-- so I could actually think. Upon arriving in the city I got my car valet parked in a hotel parking garage (surprisingly no more expensive than other public parking garages throughout the city). Then I enjoyed a nice sandwich at a cafe before heading to my appointment. The environment was wonderfully relaxing and the treatment went great; I already love the results and get to go four more times (more on that later). It was just nice to get away by myself and get pampered. All women deserve that. And mothers need it. In my opinion, especially stay-at-home moms!
In an elevator on my way up to the tenth floor for my treatment.

Rain, Rain Go Away

What do you do on a very wet, rainy day with two 2-year-olds to keep your house decently clean and your sanity in tact? Take them to Pump It Up's Pop in and Playtime. Let them run, jump, and slide for an hour and a half.
Fill them up with a yummy lunch. Read them three stories. And tuck them in for a long nap. My plan worked perfectly. My house remained clean until 3:30 when the boys awoke, and was then barely messed up until Seb was picked up at 5:30. And I thoroughly enjoyed running, jumping, and sliding around too-- gotta love those endorphins!
But I am so ready for this rain to be GONE already. It's a rough week when we can't go to the park. :-) The sun did peek out for a short while yesterday though. So I bundled the little guys up and we took a walk around the corner to say hello to the firetrucks.
Then there was a friendly race home to avoid the oncoming rain. Not to brag or anything . . . but Ben smoked Seb!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Just for Laughs

I wanted to record down a few funny things Ben has said this week. He is talking more and more, and more and more of what comes out of his mouth is just so hilarious.

James and I were discussing something and apparently I was getting a little worked up about it and started to raise my voice. Ben who was sitting next to me on the couch stood up and placed his little hand over my mouth, saying "calm down, mommy." (Lesson learned Ben, thank you).

Ben walked into the bathroom where I was cleaning up and asked me very seriously, "mommy, you like me?" Then after assuring him that I did, he paused for a moment and then asked, "you like daddy?" I told him that I did and he immediately ran out to the living room and confirmed with his daddy that I like him. I'm not sure which one of them was wondering this?!

As I was putting Ben down for his nap today he told me "mommy, close door" (pointing at the bathroom door, which had a load of clothes in the dryer; one article's zipper clanking away). I confirmed, "you want me to close the bathroom door?" "Yes, mommy. So annoying!"

Where does he get this stuff? Oh yah, from me. Time to choose my words and tone of voice very carefully from here on out. Great!

Mommy & Me Week: Day FOUR

Every Thursday morning at 10:30 am for the last couple months we walk to our local library for Story Time. This particular Thursday Ben was not in the mood for it and told me he did not want to go. Instead we stayed in bed watching cartoons till past ten. I wasn't going to force him after all. To be honest I have before though. It's hard to balance planning activities for your children that are good for them and therefore, you want them to do. And knowing when your child is just worn out and wont have it. I don't want to be one of those parents that over schedule their child, but I also want to provide my child every opportunity to learn, socialize, and develop physically. I guess I have a while to get the balance right, and am not going to start stressing about it now. So instead we spent our day building block houses and trains and setting up domino courses for Ben to knock down. I need to remember that Ben enjoys just spending time with his mommy at home playing toys just as much, if not more than going to the movies, or even the park.
I also have to brag about a trip to Safeway. Before heading to the store I went to Safeway's website and loaded my Club Card with all the deals and coupons I could find for things that I normally purchase anyway. Then I emailed the list to myself so I could pull it up on my iPhone will shopping. After sufficiently filling up my cart, the total rang up before Club Card at $150. And after Club Card . . . $100. I thought that was a pretty successful trip, and will be doing this for every grocery trip.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mommy & Me Week: Day THREE

Our day started with a wake up call from James. He decided to take an early lunch at around 9 (he gets to work before 5) and take us out to breakfast. We walked to a great little cafe that was recommended to us, and it did not disappoint. Now we know to get the short stack of pancakes because they were monsters, but so delicious. Definitely will become a new favorite spot for us. Here's Ben enjoying some leftovers.
I decided to take Ben to our little old theater downtown and the first showing wasn't until 5:30. So after naps we bundled up and walked to the theater. We saw Rango. It was okay. The animation was strange. Ben kept commenting about how ugly everyone was. They were dessert creatures like Armadillos and lizards. Not one that I will be purchasing, but entertaining enough. Full of "adult" humor. I thought more than normal. Thank goodness for the popcorn and gummy candy I brought Ben, because he wouldn't have lasted long otherwise. James was out-of-town, so after the movie we went and got some Taco Bell for dinner. Then got into jammies and called it a day. (Notice Ben's little friend at the movies-- he now goes everywhere with us. But I think he's contributing to Ben staying in his bed all night, so I don't mind.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mommy & Me Week: Day TWO

Day two as planned was spent at Petroglyph painting Nana a little surprise for her birthday. By spent, I mean it lasted about twenty minutes before Ben was bored and wanted to leave. Oh well, he did a great job and his Nana is going to love it. After painting we went next door to the greatest little candy shop there is and picked out a sweet treat. Here is my little guy painting his masterpiece . . .
And here is the result. It cost $14 including the painting fee and for the mug itself. Fill it with a little candy and wrap it up pretty in cellophane and ribbons and you got yourself a great handmade gift for under $20!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mommy & Me Week: Day ONE

I am without my little guy I sit for this week, so I thought that it would be the perfect time for a Mommy & Me week. Now that I have another child that spends most of our days with us, I really cherish mine and Ben's one-on-one time. I notice that he is such a better boy when I am showering him with attention. I mean, who wouldn't be. I also feel guilty sometimes now that he has to share my time and attention so it's also a way of repressing my guilt for this week. : )
Our first Mommy & Me day started with a trip to our local party store, Affordable Treasures. It's such a great store and had TONS of stuff for Ben's upcoming B-day bash. The theme I'm going with this week is classic fun and games. I wanted a bunch of classic novelty prizes for all the games I have planned for the kids, and scored big time at this store: think Monkeys in a Barrel, Candy Dots, Slinky, and Silly Putty!
After our shopping trip we headed to the main event, a haircut for Ben. Have I mentioned before that my son loves haircuts. We went to a new place (I don't really want to travel an hour to his old place anymore), Kinder Cuts in San Jose. Of all the cool car chairs to choose from, Ben perched himself on a little frog-like critter and was ready. He was such a good boy as usual and got a lollipop to boot.
Then to Joann's we went in search of fabric for Easter (I'm hosting the family Easter this year-- so excited), and Ben's b-day party (which is in June, but I'm giving myself an early start). After some great finds we headed to the cutting counter where Ben announced proudly that the fabric was for his "Birday Party!"
Finally a very hungry Mommy & Ben split a cheeseburger and fries at In -N-Out.
Such a great day with my little guy. On the agenda for the rest of the week is:
  • Tuesday- painting a ceramic mug for Ben's Nana for her birthday at Petroglyph
  • Wednesday- matinee movie (I owe him)
  • Thursday- Story Time at the library
  • Friday- Children's Discovery Museum with Mimi & Papa

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Few Funny Things

Ben insists on peeing standing up now (just like Daddy).

A few days okay Ben uttered the most complex sentence of his life. "Mommy, I have
an idea" ('clack, clack, clack'-- what he does when he's thinking), "We should
go to the park." This kinda blew me away.

After a bad day with Ben and Seb, and feeling like I lost my cool with Ben one too many
times, I asked him before putting him to bed if I had been a bad or mean (can't
remember my exact word) mommy today? He just looked right at me with sleepy eyes and
said, "No. Your a good boy, mommy." (Tear). He's like his daddy; he doesn't hold a grudge. I'm
working on the whole mommy is a girl, and ben and daddy are boys.

These are the things that make me want to go to work (SAHM) everyday!!!!!!

Midweek Movie

We were feeling a bit like it should already be Friday yesterday, so decided to go to the movies. Our plan was to see Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, but because we were late, we changed and saw Just Go With It (pretty darn hilarious). James was nervous about how Ben would be, and he did surprisingly really well. It worked out nice that we went on a Wednesday and there were only about five or six other people there. It also helped that he had a giant thing of popcorn to keep him preoccupied throughout the movie. The other day James said to me that this whole potty training thing is a full time job. And he was not kidding; I had to take Ben to the bathroom three times during the movie! I actually got so sick of leaving the movie that by the third time I told him to just pee in his pants (he had a Pull-up on after all). Bad mommy. But good boy, because he refused. I bribed him before the movie that if he was a good boy for mommy and daddy's movie, I would take him to go see a kid movie. I think we will wait for the Shrek spinoff, "Puss in Boots." (Ben's a Shrek fanatic)!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Groupon and the Like

Have you discovered Groupon yet and other similar websites? You sign up, choose your area, and then they send you daily emails with deals in your local area. I'm in love. It has had three impacts on my life so far: (1) It has given me new ideas for things to do with Bentley and for other people. A month ago I purchased a 3 for 1 pass to Pump It Up Jr.'s pop in and playtime. Ben now is officially obsessed with it and I enjoy taking him and bouncing around on the jump houses with him, and sliding down the big inflatable slides. It also gave me a great idea for my sister in law's upcoming graduation present (and of course I'll be getting a great deal on it too). (2) It has caused me to start treating myself to some luxuries that I never or rarely allowed myself before. I got a $50 haircut for $25 (I'm bad about regularly getting haircuts), I got an amazing 60 minute facial for $59 (original value, $160). And the best deal to date that I have found is something that I have been wanting forever, and James and I always talked about once we had the money we would do it. Last week I purchased a series of five microdermabrasion treatments from a spa in San Francisco, a whopping $750 value, for, wait for it . . . $150 (thanks mom)!!!! I'm super excited and have my first appointment scheduled for this Friday. I cannot wait for the results. I have some pesky acne scars on my cheeks that have always bothered me so much, and I hope, hope, hope that this will diminish or erase them. (3) It has made me more thrifty in searching out deals for things I would have normally just paid full price for without blinking an eye. I now get Fandango movie tickets, 2 for $9, search Internet deals before taking the family bowling or to mini golf (sometimes getting these things for free, or half price). Now the one thing I could really get better on is watching grocery store ads for sales and cutting coupons before going to the grocery store. There are so many deals out there, and it's kinda fun hunting for them, and making the most out of your budget, no matter what it is.

Other fun websites that send daily deals to your inbox are:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bentley and Sebastian

Such regal sounding names, huh. There common-man names are Ben and Seb, but they refuse to call each other by their preferred names (more on that in a minute). Sebastian is the little boy I started to sit for about six weeks ago, and it's been a bit of an adjustment for myself and Ben. Ben does fine with sharing me; he does not have the "she's my mommy, so back off" thing going on. In fact, he doesn't even mind that Seb calls me mom (he hears Bensaying it all day, so it sorta stuck with him, even though he finally knows my name now. Oh well. People must just assume that he's adopted). He does however, get possessive of his things. He's not all that bad though about it, except when it comes to his favorites. No, the big issue that Ben has with Seb is that he ignores him. Ben can call Seb's name out (actually he says 'Bastian') ten times without so much as a response. I have to say, "Seb, don't be rude" for him to finally turn to Ben and say "what?" This irritates Bentley, understandably so. And when he gets irritated with being ignored or when Seb refuses to "play basketball" with Ben, Bentley runs over to him and grabs him by the shirt to force a response out of the kid. Oh goodness! This is why it has been an adjustment for me, because I find myself yelling at Ben WAY more when Seb's here than when he's not. When I hear a confrontation going down in Ben's room, and even though I don't know the facts about who started what, I immediately blame Ben; I guess because he's my kid, and it's always more awkward to discipline other people's kids. Also Ben is louder, more demanding, and a tad bit more aggressive, so it probably WAS him. I have faith that it will get better, and both Ben and I will adjust to our new little house guest.
The two of them are pretty funny together. They bicker like two grumpy old men in their side-by-side stroller or in the back of their car in their respective car seats. And like I mentioned earlier, I think they purposely try to annoy each other by refusing to call each other what they want to be called. The following conversation went down a couple weeks ago in the back of the car:
Bentley: "Bastian, Bastian, Bastian, Bastian, Bastian, Bastian, Bastian . . ."
Me: "Seby, don't be rude."
Sebastian: turning his head towards Bentley (as he had had it turned the opposite direction as Ben was incessantly calling his name) "Seb." (trying to inform Ben that he wants to be called Seb.
Bentley: "What?" (Sebastian has a very quiet speaking voice)
Sebastian: "Seb."
Bentley: "Oh, Seb? (long pause) "No, Bastian."
A similar conversation occurred later that day as Bentley was telling Seb that his name is "Ben," and Seb brushed it off and said, "No, Bentley." These two are going to be a handful! But aren't they cute together?!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Valentines Party/ Ben's Birthday Party

A few weeks back I hosted a little Valentine's Party/play date for some girlfriend's and their kiddos. I have been meaning to email my friend Becka for some better pictures than my old iPhone pics, but figured I better post it with mine seeing that it's already March (where did February go?). I was really looking forward to this because I love to plan and throw parties. On the morning of as I was unloading the tables and chairs I borrowed from my Grandpa, I was giving myself a little pep talk: "Julie, don't freak out if no one comes, don't freak out . . ." I had gotten a lot of maybes and probables, so I was nervous that everyone would be a no-show, and I put time and thought into these kinds of things. Well, lets just say I was relieved when everyone showed except one (and they were in Utah so hah).
The first thing on the agenda was Valentine card making. Although with toddlers, I realized I couldn't have an agenda. Some sat down for a few minutes and put a couple stickers on my pre-cut Valentines, and then took off to Ben's room to play. They all had fun though, so that's what matters, right? Ben is so funny, he was more interested in the under one crowd on the rug in the living room, than the two-year-olds in his room. He spent his time bringing toys and books out to Baby Einstein. My friend Marissa, has a cute-as-can-be little baby girl, and as soon as Ben saw her he dubbed her Baby Einstein. We think it's because her hair sticks straight up, resembling the logo for Baby Einstein movies. I thought the name might have been a fluke, until at church on Sunday when he saw her, even asleep in her car seat, all wrapped up, he peaked in on her and said "hi, Baby Einstein." Anyways, after thoroughly messing up Ben's room, I called all the kids back in for lunch (heart shaped PB&J's, strawberry rice snacks, and apple slices), and then we wrapped things up with some cookie decorating.
I really enjoyed watching the kids have fun, and loved chatting with their mom's as they played. Play dates are really a win-win for mom and child alike. I'm already hatching up plans for a springtime play date. Here are a few ideas I have planned for it (as seen on Family Fun and The Hungry Housewife).
Oh, I almost forgot to mention how Ben completely believes that our little V-day party was his birthday party. He even received a valentines gift in the mail that day from his Nana Lin to further make him believe it was his b-day. One of the little girl's at the party, Chloe, thought she was at Ben's birthday party too as she kept singing "Happy Birthday dear Bentley, happy birthday tooooo yooooouuuuu!"