5.31.2011

confessions of a mom

I laughed out loud the other day when I was reading an older issue of Good Housekeeping and a mom/writer/blogger/with her own GH column admitted that sometimes she vacuums the small Lego's.

That is SO totally something I would do... ONLY IF they can't easily be kicked under the couch!

My confession for today:  TOILET TRAINING A NOT-QUITE-2-YEAR-OLD.  What was I THINKING?  Oh, I laughingly told people that I would not have 2 in diapers.  No sir ee.  I would toilet train Hazel this winter.  Oh and how I've bragged about the ease in which Hazel has taken to the potty.  Oh how I cheered when those first drops hit the removable pot.  Oh how I rewarded when she began to go #2 in the potty. 

...
and then I realized that she is too young/uncoordinated to pull her own pants down

...
and then she spent days w/o pants on

...
and then there have been many many MANY accidents on my floor ("uh oh" is what she says over and over again until mama has everything scrubbed... or at least throws a towel over it)

...
and then she always has to go "pee pee"  when I'm feeding Heidi (yes, I can breastfeed while I pull down pants, wipe, flush & wash hands.  if Heidi has an eating disorder someday, it's totally because she spent her infancy eating in the bathroom.)

...
and then we taught her how to pee outside and she loves it... so she saves "some" almost every time she uses the potty, runs to the living room, and squats

...
AND THAT IS WHY I FREQUENTLY SAY "oh please just go in your diaper/undies".

yes, it's true, I BEG my toddler to go in her pants!  Beat that one mamas!

5.30.2011

a MEMORABLE 2 months

Happy Memorial Day friends!  Today we mark Heidi's 2-month birthday as our country honors it's heroes who served and died in service.

Here is my gorgeous birthday girl


Unoriginal, I know, but I must say that I feel like Heidi has always been a part of our family.  I can't imagine life without her.  She is an "easy" baby who fits seamlessly into our daily life.  She eats about every 3ish hours, more when she's awake, less what she sleeps.  Oh, blessed sleep.  Heidi loves to sleep... nestled next to her mama or when mama insists, on her belly on a sheepskin. 

She refuses the pacifier which is disappointing.  She has used it maybe 4 times.  Most times she gags on it.  When she sleeps less, we may be in trouble on long car drives!

The only problem we have is her is her bms.  As in, it's been 5 days since she last had a bm!  Typically, we wait a day or two to smell that buttery liquid gold.  An odd thing to worry about, but nonetheless, I tend to obsess about this "schedule". 

Well, there is one superficial problem.  The Doctor calls it cradle cap, but she doesn't have a flaky scalp, instead she has a rash along the back of her neck and on bad days, on her cheeks, back and chest.  Fortunately there is an easy fix for this:  hydorcortisone cream and a bath in Selsun Blue.

As for this holiday weekend, enjoy a few pictures from our first family camping trip (everyone slept better than I ever hoped was possible!):
Clockwise starting upper left:  Hazel hiking from campsite to creek with her Grandpa Orris (Junko); Jake with Heidi in her SleepyWrap (doesn't she look like Yoda in that position?); cheeseface Hazel on her mini camp chair with waterfall behind her; Heidi sleeping peacefully in our tent; Hazel playing in the creek, something she can/did do for hours, impervious to the cold water...not my child!; Heidi not enjoying her birthday photo shoot; Grandma Orris relaxing with Heidi; Hazel dancing to the music in her head.

5.28.2011

miss me?

If only I had a personal secretary who I could verbalize my posts to and she... or HE... would post them online.  In addition to neglecting my own writing, I haven't been reading blogs.  So I'm enjoying catching up this Saturday morning!

Why have I been such a slacker?  It's all Stieg Larsson's fault.  That guy could sure write a novel.  Wow.  I just finished "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and it was such a page turner.  I'm so impressed with how one brain can come up with such a complex story line.  When I was halfway through the novel, I couldn't phathom there still being much story left.  Plus, due to the norwegian names and words and his non-fluff writing, it took me way longer than normal to read this book.  However, the book is closed and I promise (my family) that I won't pick up another full-length novel for at least a week :)

I also just received my copy of the "Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market".  It's the textbook for my goal to BECOME A CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR!  So exciting!  I've identified an untapped market (no I'm not telling you what it is), I've begun creating my characters and now it's time to do some serious writing.  Wish me luck :)

5.27.2011

oil cloth

Last spring I recovered the seats of my dining room chairs.  I live in Po-dunk Ville and our JoAnn Fabric store offers teddy bears, gingham & camo.  Period.  I lean towards avocado and lime green accents in my living room and yellow in my kitchen (that's the plan though there is currently NO yellow there).  The dining room table is part of both rooms due to our open floor plan.  So, I chose a fabric that incorporated both yellow and green and stapled it onto my seats.

My sister immediately grimaced at my choice while I insisted it was retro cool.  Jake also grimaced because the flower print also included pink.  For a year I've stared at this fabric that I only sorta-kinda like.  For a year my baby has grown into a toddler and climbed on these chairs, dropped food on these chairs (yeah, I'm gonna blame it on her), ground play dough into these chairs, wiped boogies onto these chairs (ditto, totally all her).  PLUS, the chair padding was at its prime back when Jake's dad was a kid.  Now this bony-butted family fidgets uncomfortably during a long dinner.

So, it's time for Round #2 of Julie versus dining room chairs.  This time they will NOT win!  I am refinishing the table, chairs, buffet table, and that china hutch turned TV cabinet that I featured months ago.  I AM going to do this.  I don't think anyone believes me.  My plan is to refinish the wood on the top of the table and buffet with a dark stain while painting everything else a crisp, glossy white (kinda like my new blog design!). 

Picture white wooden chairs with a thick padded seat covered in oil cloth or laminated cotton.  Ah, sounds heavenly!  Since I'm being extra cautious this time around, I'm doing my research and shopping online for fabric.  What do you think of this?: 

The green is a little more pastel than I would prefer, but I like the lemon-like flowers and it's the best option I've found so far.  

Also, any insight on the best way to pad chairs?

5.18.2011

before it's too late

It's that time of year.  The time of year when one housewife I know takes every light switch off the wall and cleans behind it.  Wow, I humbly bow to her domestic obsession.  She ranks right up there with a friend of mine who spent a day-off cleaning her baseboards... on a two-year-old house!

I had NO idea there were people like this in the world!  Though I have a lot of thoughts about every day/week/month cleaning, I'm here to chat about something BIGGER!

Something so big in fact, that it will affect the HAPPINESS OF YOUR LOVED ONES!  What?!?  Yup, your childrens'/friends'/neighbors' happiness is on the line and you're either going to do something about it, or you're going to ignore this fact and sabotage the happiness of said loved one.

Ready for more specifics?  Look around you.  Even better, look in your attic, your basement, your garage, your (gasp) storage shed.  STUFF?  It's everywhere isn't it?  We are all guilty and rightfully so!  It's good to surround yourself with things you love.  It's ok to save a few sentimental items.

It is NOT OK to leave piles and piles of these items for someone else to deal with in the future.  I'm not even talking about when you die.  I'm talking about the simple fact that at some point in the future, you will be too old to do this physically and MENTALLY challening task. 

Sure, you can tell yourself that you're going to get around to it someday... but when is someday?  I guarantee someday will arrive and pass without your ever knowing it.

I moved into my beloved grandparents' home.  It's a blessing...and honestly, a curse.  I LOVE my grandparents.  To some extent, they raised me.  They saw me off on the school bus every morning, they stoked our fire every afternoon so our house would be warm when we got home.  They've attended every big and TINY event of my life.  I'm the lucky one.  I could never do as much for them as they've done for me.

And yet, our relationship is now clouded by their stuff.  This is not what they would have wanted, but they grew old before they realized the consequences.  Now, EVERY TIME I see them (practically every day), they ask me about a particular item from their home.  They describe in detail where it could be found.  My reply is always the same, your belongings are gone, the (fill-in-the-blank) has been given away/ sold/ taken/ thrown away.  Just writing the words breaks my heart.  A lifetime of things, gone.  They don't know where.  I did this.

They knew for years that they needed to organize their belongings.  They knew for months that they would be moving.  someday...

Where does that leave me?  Feeling like the BIG BAD WOLF.  We bought this house (way over our budget, but the perks were simply too great to pass up... like I said, they live NEXT DOOR!) and agreed that they and their children would have about 6-months (through an entire summer) to take everything they wanted.  But that's awkward, isn't it?  Claiming your inheritance while the owners are still alive. 

So, tonight as we dine together, Grandpa will invariably ask my husband (again) to bring up another filing cabinet (though the one he has sits partially empty with boxes from over a year ago still unpacked sitting next to it... he is 90 after all).  My husband will tell him (again) that they are all gone.  Then my grandma will ask me (again) for a particular book.  And I will tell her (again) that they are all gone.  Then she try to hide her look of confusion and sadness and will tell me that she always planned to give that collection to (fill-in-the-blank) and I will be filled with guilt, then annoyance, then frustration, then anger... but mostly, love with a cloud of sadness.

5.17.2011

fly on the wall. self reflection

At some point, everybody wishes to be a fly on the wall to see theirself from other peoples' points of view.

There are rare times when, if we're paying close attention, we can glean this insight from our interactions with others.  This is a tale about such a time.

The other day I asked Jake to PLEASE PACK MY SNACK/ACTIVITY BAG as I was trying to get myself and both girls out the door to church... here's the key part...fully dressed (oh, life was so simple before Hazel knew how to take off her socks and shoes).  Except, I'm pretty sure that I didn't use the word please.

He asked if I still used the snack cup or if Hazel made a mess of things by taking the lid off and scattering the snack.  Very observant of him, I was impressed.  However, the snack cup is reusable and I was feeling green, so I told him to use that instead of a ziploc.

Later at church, I pulled the snack cup out of my bag and it was STUFFED TO THE BRIM!  Grr... I was a bit peeved.  Why would she need that many goldfish for one morning?  I involuntarily flinched in anticipation for the fit Hazel would throw when I tried to limit her goldfish consumption throughout the morning (though this did not happen).  Snacks during church are important 'cause they keep her occupied/quiet and provide a bridge in case she falls asleep on the car ride home and misses lunch.  However, I'm not trying to teach gluttony!

I considered sending him an annoyed text (and we all know what his reply would have been... mmmkay), but took the high road and decided to delicately mention it later so he wouldn't make that mistake in the future.

That evening, I kept to my guns and mentioned it in as kind of a way as possible.  For reals, I mean, I did recognize that he dropped what he was doing that morning to help me get ready and I do try to be thankful.

However, his reply gave me a chilling look into my behavior as of late.  He said, "well, I thought about that, but was afraid that if I didn't put enough snack in the cup, you'd get mad."  A classic:  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

GULP.  It's true... I expect mind-reader perfection out of my husband. 

So, here's to eating some humble stew and working on some self-improvement in time for Father's Day!

5.16.2011

mmmkay

My husband has a very bad habit.  He says "ok" A LOT.  Excessively.  Abundantly.  Repeatidly.  Candidly.  It can be a statement, a question, a filler or an answer.  Recently, I asked him to stop replying to every text I send him with "ok".  My phone doesn't have much memory space and I'm too lazy to delete needless texts.

I've realized that he learned this habit from his parents.  It's totally a family thing! 

Let me pause while his parents reflect on whether they say "ok" a LOT.... 

...

....(well, except for his dad who doesn't read this blog, just looks at it for the pictures... wonder where he learned THAT habit?)...

...

Whoever said that you can't teach an old dogs new tricks was a moron.  My husband rapidly, successfully changed his ways!

Now I get a dozen texts a day that simply say "k".

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR... mmmkay?

5.14.2011

where the river runs, that's where she is.

I get really excited when other people start to blog.  It means I'll get to be a voyeur into their life.  I enjoy reading their posts a thousand times more than a facebook status.  Yes, it'd be great to get all this information in an email or... gasp... letter, but let's be realistic... that wouldn't happen. 

For example, I've had 86 people view my post from earlier today.  Would I have sent these 86 people the pictures and musings that I posted?  Nope!  Also, blogs are not pushy.  The only people who see my ramblings are the people who purposely choose to.  I'm not in their inbox, it's more detailed than a Christmas "brag letter" (as hubby calls them) and let's face it, I get inspired and educated through the blogs I choose to read. 

Yes, blogs are delightful. 

That being said, somehow I missed the memo when my dear dear friend and cousin started a blog.  I heard about it a week ago and promptly forgot.  So, tonight when I found it... it was as exciting as finding buried treasure!

For your viewing pleasure:  RIVERANDSHORE

She's an english teacher, so her writing is solid yet artistic.  She shares pretty much the exact same hobbies and interests that I have... so that's another reason why I'm ecstatic that she's blogging.  (let me pause to say that though we share the same hobbies... she's better at pretty much everything!  She'd never admit it, but take one look at her athletic build or artistic creations.  Yup, you know it's true too :)  However, I'm older and therefore wiser, so there's no jealousy running through our family ties!)

Welcome to the blog world Kathe (never did learn how to make that darn oomlau over your "a").  I love you!

hate to see you leave

...but love to watch you go!


Took this priceless pic while going on a walk with Hazel and photographing the glorious spring blooms.  (someone had a "potty" accident and instead of returning home, we simply continued our walk minus the wet undies and pants.  sorry future Haze, but admit it, this is an adorable pic!)  Ever notice how gorgeous dandelions are?

I didn't start this post to talk about spring, but might as well go with it.  We've had a warm... dare I say... HOT week!  After months of rain and gloom, I feel like a caterpillar breaking out of my cocoon.  This week we dined on asparagus and rhubarb picked hours before consumption from my father's garden.  Biting into such fresh food makes me want to sing from the rooftop.  My body has felt more energized and alert this week.  Perhaps it's because my peanut is past the 6-week mark.  Perhaps it's because I'm no longer running the tutoring center.  Perhaps it's because I'm finally cooking real meals and eating a healthier diet.  Or perhaps it's simply because part of me has been hibernating since October and has finally awoke!

Never one to let sleeping babies lie...

yes, I shamelessly thought of a way to sneak a picture of Heidi in :)

Time for me to go back to my original plan for this post:
Farewell to my cutesy bloggy background and hello to crisp, refined, uncluttered Kosker's Idlewild!  Last weekend I caught myself telling my brother-in-law how I really like WHITE SPACES.  They appeal to me and make me pause.  "Duh", I said silently to myself... time to redesign my blog!  However, redesigning a blog is a lot harder when one knows NOTHING about html or photoshop.  Enter an old college choir friend, Lindsay, who writes a fun blog entitled "A litttle Kloep".  She read my plea for help and within 24-hours, sent three headers to my inbox.  Wow!  Talk about the kindness and generosity of others!  Thanks Linz... don't know how you found the time, but I'll be looking for a way to PAY IT FORWARD :)

Do you like my new design or is it simply YAWN INSPIRING dull?

5.12.2011

header help

Hi!  As you can see... I've been playing around with my blog this morning.  I want to stream-line the look.  Make it crisp and uncluttered.  I also wanted to use the graphic I had purchased for my Lazy Green Mama experiment.  Can anyone help me make this graphic the right size?  Please and Thank you!

p.s.  I don't have photoshop :(

5.10.2011

wonderful weekend in review

Our wireless internet is not working, so my online presence will be sparse until I figure it out. Right now I'm sitting in the DISASTER ZONE aka office/guest room with the computer sitting wonkily (it's a word if I use it, right?) on my heaping pile of "stash it in the office until I get around to filing/mailing/reading it".


Despite the technical difficulties, I really want to write a quick recap of the past few days because they've been wonderful!

Friday was unofficially COUSIN day! My cousin Michelle spent the morning with us. She came heavily loaded with presents for the girls and culinary delights for the adults. My husband is considering leaving me for her... he was THAT excited about her veggie lasagna. Oh well, at least he's keeping it in the family ;)

After our afternoon naps, the girls and I drove to our favorite ice cream place (Shreffler's) for a play-date with Jake's cousin, Jen, and her daughter Hailey. She is the coolest 3-year-old. A bit precocious and a lot delightful. Here are the kissing cousins (or err... 2nd cousins or umm... 1st cousins once removed or ...)

On to Saturday... my mother called me in the morning with the offer to take my grandma, me and the girls to the “May Mart”. It was a GORGEOUS day to walk around the park and visit with the gorgeous spring flowers. The best part was being treated to lunch !
unedited to better showcase the good semaritans work.... thanks for the shadows as opposed to the fountain.  that's precisely why we stood there!
Jake's brother, Josh, officially graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (concentrations in Graphic Design, Metals, Jewelry and Painting). Total over-achiever. We are insanely proud of him and excited for his future. His professors think he's the next big thing... we humbly agree. Can't wait till he launches his online portfolio so I can brag some more! We celebrated that accomplishment with a nice dinner and bonfire with friends. Here's the scholar

Moving on to Sunday... MOTHER's DAY! Jake knocked my socks off with a thoughtful and OBSERVANT gift. I had admired (begged for) this necklace while on our babymoon in Berkeley Springs this winter. Never did I expect to actually receive this beauty. Hubby said that I truly deserved it :) awww...

photo courtesy of wildlife wonders
Topped Sunday off with a dinner with my mother and grandmother (spouses too of course) and I was one happy girl!

Here are a few pics of me with my raison d'existence (one of whom I've distracted with a sheet of stickers and I will now spend the rest of my day extracting them off of various furnishings...and baby limps. Oh, motherhood...)


and my favorite:

5.08.2011

The best 4 letter word... Mama!

With a baby sleeping on my chest and a toddler sitting at my feet, I can't help but relish the sweetness of this Mother's Day.

Folks always say that "you never understand how much your mother loves you until you're a mother".  That was not a profound reflection for me... until I became a mother.  Now the truth of that statement hits a strong chord.  I always knew that my mother loves and adores me (my husband can't get over how she can be so excited to see/ hear from me EVERY TIME... even multiple times a day), but now I get it.

The thing about motherhood is that your kids are the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD.  To say that I would do anything for my girls is not comprehensive enough.  To say that I would sacrifice my life for them doesn't describe their importance enough.  To say that I LOVE and ADORE them is true, but I want a new word... a word not used to describe flippant romances.

The ironic thing is you raise your kids so that they grow to be independent.  (pause... Hazel just walked over and asked for a "huggie").   My dream for them is to grow into adulthood and create their own families (unless they choose a different adult path).  So being a mother means that you WANT to take 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) place in the life of your #1!

So to my #2 (I count Jake, Hazel & Heidi as a group), HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  I love and adore you and can not say THANK YOU enough.

To my #1, thank you for making me a mama.  The greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

5.04.2011

Ola!

Guess who is typing with Dora the Explorer on in the background?

I just checked the stats of this blog and though it is only 9am, I've already had 78 hits today!  WOW!  When I was writing Lazy Green Mama, I checked the stats regularly 'cause I dreamed of sponsorship and numbers are crucial.  However, until I wrote my birth story (Holla Holla... 1,035 pageviews!), I never looked at the stats of this blog... figuring that my mom and sister and the few committed commenters were my audience (Thanks girls!  Love those comments!).  Clearly I was wrong and for some reason, you are here... reading my thoughts and I am SO THANKFUL!

Blogging is such an interesting forum.  A way for me to journal my life and specifically the day-to-day growth of my baby girls.  A way for my loved ones from afar to feel connected to me (especially since I avoid the phone).  It's also a way for me to interact and be social.  As a stay-at-home-mom who lives deep in the woods and doesn't have a car... I'm certain that blogging is key to my sanity.

So again, thank you for joining me on this journey and humoring my "I want to be a writer" hobby.  Feel free to send me feedback and/or request content in certain areas.  You're here and I want to keep you coming :)

5.03.2011

musings on the rich and famous

Typically, I keep my opinions of all things not kid/green-related to myself.  It's safer 'cause I hate to verbally debate things, so if no one knows my opinion, they can't try to rope me into conversation.  Ack... flashbacks to my AP English teacher telling the whole class that I need a shovel 'cause I'm not deep enough.  I blame her for the fact that I didn't pursue studying English Literature, Library Science or Writing.  Shameful. 

I consider myself a deep, thoughtful person... I just don't share that side of myself with just anyone.  My poor husband has to beg me to invite Shannon, my Geologist BFF, over just so he can have in depth conversations about PEAK OIL. Yeah, I'm NEVER gonna enter a conversation on that.  Nope, sorry... somewhere there's a toilet that needs scrub or some other task that I'd find 1000 times more enjoyable.

Onto my royal musings:
*I love our President.  Believe me, I'm as shocked as you... never thought I'd have good things to say about a President.  Ok, I love him because he has great comic timing... seriously... he's funny!

*I would like to take a pause from all this discussion over his birth certificate to say... I WOULDN'T CARE IF HE WAS BORN IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY (or Muslim)!  Seriously, does being born in America make you less likely to be corrupt or something?  Let's ask my friend, Whitney, whose American parents just happened to give birth in a different country.  Sorry Whit, you can take your global-minded self OFF the election ballot 'cause you might be a terrorist.  That's right FOUNDING FATHERS... you should have consulted me.

*Boy did the Royal Wedding polarize people!  Either people LOVED it or found it RIDICULOUS that people were watching it.  I fall into the 1st category.  I mean, it is the ENGLISH MONARCHY folks!  Serious global importance there.  I don't care if those misguided founding fathers did go to war so that I could be free from English rule (ok, I do care), the monarchy is still important and incredibly fascinating.

*Along those same lines, from the itsy bitsy research I've done over the weekend to quickly learn more about the Monarchy and William & Catherine... I'm a big fan of Catherine!  My fingers are triple crossed (ouch) that their marriage thrives despite the pressure of being royal.  She radiates class and when I grow up, I want to be just like her.

*Final musing:  I'm 29 (so is Her Royal Highness.  ha!).  I remember when my Youth Director turned 30 and I thought she was SO adult!  Yes, I have a husband, a mortgage & 2 kids, but I'm still surprised when I see other people my age or YOUNGER being so adult and successful.  Guess I still think of myself as a 20-year-old (sigh of relief that I'm not!).