Update October 2015

We've been living overseas since about the time this blog petered out. There are lots of funny Mo-and-Curly-abroad stories to share -- I'm exploring the best way to do that.

Thanks for tuning in!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet my brother

Since I've been on a roll with all the funny things that have been coming out of my almost-4 year old's mouth, here's another good one.

We were recently at a gathering with several other preschoolers. I had Babycakes along, too. Some of the preschoolers - namely, those who don't have their own baby brother or sister at home - showed a strong interest in my little curly-headed 1-year-old.

Big Brother beamed with pride over this attention. He puffed up a little, and said by way of introduction, "That's my Baby Brother." Shrugging his shoulders and nodding his head in the direction of Babycakes, he added, "You can pet him if you want."

Monday, June 29, 2009

That's one way to serve salad

We have lettuce of every variety coming out of our ears these days. Each year we buy a CSA farm share where were get a box of in-season organic veggies from a local farm every week from June through October. And the last two weeks it's been lettuce, lettuce, everywhere.

So I'm serving salad with every meal. Usually for my preschooler I leave it plain or maybe put on a couple drops of ranch dressing.

Yesterday at lunch I decided to use a little of the aged balsamic and fancy olive oil that we picked up on vacation. (Yes, it was from the store that didn't allow strollers.)

What was the reaction from our almost-4 year old?

He took a bite and his eyes got wide. He jumped up, ran to me and tugged at my shirt with genuine concern in his sweet little face.

"Mom," he gasped, "There's poison in the salad!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

High-tech tricycle

Since a friend is turning 4 tomorrow, my preschooler accompanied me to pick out a gift today. Through aisles of action figures, trucks, Legos and bubble-blowers, he was surprisingly well-behaved. If he did ask, "Mom, can I bring that home for me?" I explained that it was his buddy's birthday. His own birthday isn't for another couple months.

And I was pleased that he didn't put up much of a fuss.

That is, until we hit the check-out line.

Suddenly, he had to have this mini, travel-size Etch A Sketch. Considering his previous good behavior today, I relented. Plus it was only three bucks.

The whole way home he stared at it, turning the knobs ever so slightly. As we pulled into our street, he suddenly piped up, "Hey! We're almost home!"

I thought, OK, so he recognized this is our street.

Then when we got home, he ran for his tricycle, balanced the Etch A Sketch on the handlebars, and ever-so-carefully practiced doing laps around the house. Still I didn't think too much of it.

But soon after, Babycakes knocked the Etch A Sketch off the trike. Fists clenched, my son turn to his baby brother and yelled, "You're not allowed to play with my GPS!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The quaint, the kid-friendly and the commercial

The Griswalds are home from vacation. (Thus my recent lack of posts.)

And perhaps I should rephrase that first sentence. I'm not sure if the word "vacation" is entirely appropriate when taking a long car trip with two small children. Especially when that car trip involves a Toyota Corolla (we're too cheap for a sedan, much less an SUV or minivan) and the glaring lack of a portable DVD player.

So we helped boost the Wisconsin tourism industry. And from the lack of crowds, I think it needed a little boost. We hit two of the major Sconie hot spots: the Wisconsin Dells and Door County.

The Dells

So I'll be honest. I'm a snob when it comes to the Dells. In summertime, I avoid the place like the plague. If we go at all, it's wintertime when you can find amazing last-minute deals to play in 80-degree indoor waterparks while there's a blizzard outside. Plus you avoid the masses of out-of-state tourists.

But last weekend some of those tourists happened to be my husband's family, in town for his nephew's baseball tournament - so we trekked up to the Dells. And we all had an absolute blast water-parking with Grandma and the cousins.

Just about everything was kid-friendly, from in-room pizza delivery to kid-sized patio furniture, to drive-thrus and convenience stores on every corner, to the fun-to-look at gaudiness everywhere you looked. Everything's entertaining in the Dells. And the kids burn so much energy at the waterparks that they're too exhausted to act up - and there's little fuss at bedtime.

Door County

I love Door County. I've been going every year since I was 14. It's quaint and charming, with homegrown cherries, friendly shopkeepers and melt-in-your-mouth fudge.

Excitement in Door County is watching the sunset with an ice cream cone. It's an afternoon on the golf course or a bike ride through the lakeside trails at Peninsula State Park. You'll find nary a drive-thru. But there are endless little stores to explore and fish boils and supper clubs.

But I'm sad to report that the place is much less inviting when you've got two little wild men at your hip. A leisurely dinner can be excruciating. Shops with antiques, art or glassware can be migraine-inducing. One store, billing itself an "olive oil bar," had large signs on the front door forbidding strollers and anyone under the age of 13. If it weren't for my lovely parents, who met us up there and helped watch the kids, we probably wouldn't have ventured much beyond our resort.

I don't mean to trash Door County. I still love it there, and we certainly came across pockets of kid-friendliness. But bottom line: With kids, the Dells is the place to go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Umbrella table bites the dust

Here's why you should never leave the umbrella in your umbrella table when you're not using it. Lesson learned.




Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Come on 4

Within 10 minutes tonight my preschooler:
1. Almost smashed the mirror in our bathroom with a hammer that he snatched from me when I was hanging pictures.
2. Tore all the sheets and pillows off my bed.
3. Tore all the sheets and pillows from his bed.
4. Broke Babycakes' crib by standing on the rails (to jump off).
5. Kicked me in the hand, pushing back my index finger to an angle it wasn't made to reach.
6. Tore all the sheets and pillows from his bed, again, after I'd just remade it.

He went to time out. He had his bedtime stories taken away - and then his songs. But honestly, I dont' think any of that even phases him.

Someone once told me that age 4 is easier than 3. Oh please, oh please let that be true. Just two months and five days to go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why I don’t deserve a vacation home

Today I got a $100 check in the mail. Bummer!! It was my returned entry fee for an essay contest for a house - yes, a real house. I read about it in the paper, how a couple invested in property but with the economic downturn, they just wanted to be rid of these extra six houses. They researched several options and decided to go with an essay contest.

But alas, after extending the deadline a couple times, they still didn't get the minimum number of entries they were hoping for. So I thought I'd at least share my essay here.

The assignment was a 200-word essay, and one of the possible topics was, "Why I deserve a vacation home." I decided to get creative (hey, I needed to stand out, this was for a house!), so I wrote, tongue-in-cheek, about why I don't deserve one.


Why I don’t deserve a vacation home

Dearest Vacation Home, it’s with a heavy heart that I must declare our love affair is over before it’s even begun. But find solace in knowing it’s me, not you. I simply don’t deserve you.

Because of me, you’d end up stinking like burnt popcorn and overdone sugar cookies. I’d selfishly poke your walls with rusty nails to hang my family portraits. And that’s only the beginning! My husband would tickle your gutters and scrape ice from your sidewalks. With his handyman ways, he’d jiggle your toilets and rattle your plumbing, knock at your rafters and stomp on your roof.

And then comes the sticky, slimy wild-boys, always on our tail. They’ve never met a door they wouldn’t slam or a carpet they couldn’t stain. With their Thomas the Train sneakers, they’ll trample your flowers and climb your trees. They’ll even graffiti your driveway with crude drawings and lopsided hopscotchs!

I would have liked to get to know you, Dear Vacation Home, but surely you can see that you’re better off without us. Just know that you’re something I’ve always wanted, always dreamed of – and I’ll forever look back and yearn for you, wondering what might have been.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beware the preschool traffic cop

Today we were driving down a busy highway when my preschooler suddenly gasped.

"What's wrong kiddo?"

I peak in the rear view mirror at him. He looks utterly disgusted.

"Mom!" he says, pointing to his window.

I look around, and nothing jumps out at me. There's no fire truck with its lights on. No cement mixer. Not even a convertible with its roof down. Nothing out of the ordinary.

He taps the glass, visibly upset. "Mom, look!"

I see a some regular old cars, minivans and a motorcycle ridden by a middle-aged couple.

"Mom, those people!" He points, really upset with the bikers.

The woman has long flowing blond hair. The guy sports a bandanna and a grey beard. They look pretty normal to me.

Shaking his head somberly, my son grumbles, "They're not wearing their helmets."

I recall all the times I've talked him about the importance of wearing a helmet - from riding in a Burley towed behind Daddy's bike, to his own trike to his big boy bike with training wheels. I can see the message clearly wasn't lost on him.

"Mom," he says. "I think they should go to time out."

"Yep," I said. "I think you're right."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Internet is a wonderful thing

Instead of telling a cute story about the boys today, I'm going to reflect on what an amazing thing the Internet is.

I like to joke that I'm so glad they didn't have Facebook when I was in high school. High school was hard enough dealing with real-live people - I can't imagine having Facebook drama on top of it.

But I'm incredibly thankful for Facebook now. My Babycakes has Hirschsprung Disease, a not-very-well-understood condition that he was born with. It makes it so the colon (or a section of it) doesn't function. After a few surgeries, he's doing great - but will probably always deal with constipation and/or diarrhea, and for the next few years we'll be dealing with severe diaper rash and the risk of tummy infections (he's had about six in the last year).

I've never met someone in real life who has the disease or has a kid with it. The closest I've come is my aunt in Arizona whose coworker's grandsons (twin boys) have it. But thanks to Facebook groups, I've found this amazing network of people who are living with or caring for those with the disease. They've been great about answering my questions and letting me know what's coming around the bend. They warned me about anal dilations (they're as bad as they sound) and recommended probiotics (I'm a huge fan).

And here's the cool thing: Now I'm starting to help others with my experience and connections. Who would have thought?! When Babycakes was diagnosed 13 months ago, I had never in my life even heard of the disease.

So here's the story that prompted this rather rambling post:

I was on this baby site that I visit sometimes called thebump.com (it's a spin-off of thenest.com and theknot.com). A mother on the "Special Needs" board was at her wits end because of her son's chronic issues with constipation. He's 2 and has never pooped on his own. She's going through the enema and laxative routine (I can see the Hirschsprung parents nodding their heads) and the little guy is still miserable and in pain.

And here's the kicker. Her doctors keep saying that it's all in her head. And she - rightfully so - is mad as heck. I asked her if she'd ever heard of Hirschsprung, and she had in fact stumbled on it (thank you Internet) but again, she's having trouble finding a doctor to take her seriously. They were testing her son for food allergies.

So I find out where she's from and post a couple queries on the Hischsprung groups' Facebook pages. The next day a guy gives me the name and number of the doctor in her area who operated on his grandson with Hirschsprung. I forwarded it along and she called the same day.

I guess we'll see what happens with the rest of the story. Who knows, she might hate the doctor. Or her son could end up having something completely different than Hirschsprung. But just the fact that sitting here from my computer, I so easily connected these people that I'll never meet in real life ... it just puts me in awe of the Internet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mystery of the baby spoons

I recently solved the mystery of the baby spoons. And the answer was right under my nose the whole time!



It seemed like every time I fed Babycakes his applesauce or pureed peas, it was a struggle to find a baby spoon. The first few times, I figured it stemmed from being a little behind in my dish washing. Then I just got annoyed and bought a bunch more.



And yet, it's still slim-pickin's when I'm digging through the drawer - as poor Babycakes, or should I say Baby Bird, sits there in his highchair with his mouth stretched open as if to say, "Come on woman, feed me already."



I'm embarrassed to say I didn't catch site of this earlier, but I was tidying up the kids' play kitchen today and noticed a little extra splash of color around the toy microwave. Lo and behold...


And I'm sure you can guess what was inside the toy microwave as well.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

All hail the garage sale queen

OK, I'm not really a garage sale queen, but I sure cleaned up this weekend. And I get really giddy when I get a good deal (does anyone out there not know that I paid just $38 for my wedding dress?) so I just gotta share.




Here's what we got:

  • A classy, simple couch to replace the ugly old futon in our living room (click on the photo for a closer look)

  • A kid's scooter (not motorized, just the regular push kind)

  • A boy's bike, perfect size for a lanky 4-year-old who's about ready to ditch the training wheels

  • Two dresses for yours truly

  • A kid's life jacket

  • A pair of water-wings

  • A little toy tea set for the boys to play with

So what was the grand total? Drum roll, please.

Just $99.

$75 (couch); $10 (scooter); $5 (bike); $3 and $2 (dresses); $2 (life jacket); $2 (tea set); and they threw in the water wings for free.

And to help keep the universe in balance, I sold our old bassinet for just $8.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More language of a 3-year-old

Sorry to keep posting about my preschooler's word confusion, but I just can't help myself. He's been saying some of the funniest things lately, and I don't want to forget these:

Sloppy Joes. He kept referencing sloppy joes in a wrong and often bizarre context. So I stepped back and listened more closely. "I love the noodles we get at Sloppy Joes." and "Can we got to Sloppy Joes."

I eventually figured out that he calls Trader Joes "Sloppy Joes."

The Big Tire. We've been hitting the garage sales lately, and whenever we approach a new one my son runs up to the person-in-charge and asks, "Do you have a Big Tire?"

Well, he's close. In reality, we've be searching for a Big Wheel for him.

Pellopinater. I've been wearing a pedometer lately for the Walking Club at work. I guess I could have told him it was a "ticker" or something, but I just told him the correct name for it. Since pedometer is kind of a tough one to pronounce, I wasn't surprised when he came up with his own variation: The Pellopinater.

Because he's so obsessed with my pedometer, I picked one up for him too. I'd love to compare my steps vs. his for the day, but he clicks the "reset" button a little too often for that to work.

And it's really cute. He'll often look at my pedometer and comment (regardless of the number), "Wow Mom, that's a lot of steps today."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Brotherly love and piggies

I think one of the most precious things about having more than one child is observing the interaction between siblings.

Even when they "fight," they're so darn cute. I have to stifle a giggle as Babycakes "yells" at his brother, who's twice the size of him. The little guy's even been known to hit or throw balls at Big Bro for getting between Babycakes and his Mama (or his toy-of-the-hour).

And while they're squabbling is cute - though I'm sure it won't be for long - the little moments of tenderness are my favorite. Like when Babycakes holds out his cheese cube or spaghetti strand to share with his brother. Or when Big Brother wordlessly kisses Baby on the forehead or hands him his bottle.

A couple days ago, I overheard this rendition of "This Little Piggy," as performed on Babycakes by Big Brother:

"This little piggy went to the grocery store -
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy went to day care.
And this little piggy went...
Wee wee wee, all the way to your armpit!"
(Tickling Babycakes' armpits as they both crack up laughing.)