fun (and super cheap) father's day gift

This is what the kids gave Jay for Father's Day today. It was so easy to make and can be tweaked to any occasion and number of kids. I just made the signs on the computer and took pictures of the kids outside holding each one. Finlay did more eating than holding, but it made for a really cute picture! Also, if you didn't want to use the signs, you could have the kids hold those big cardboard letters that they sell at craft stores to spell D-A-D or whatever you wanted. I looked for a frame with four openings side by side, but couldn't find one. I ended up finding this frame at Michaels for $24.99. I love the way it turned out!


@#$& happens

There are certain things no one tells you when you are considering having children. For one, no one tells you what pregnancy is really like. Yes, it's beautiful, creating a life and feeling your baby kick and all that. But it also, well, sucks sometimes. No one tells you that your entire body becomes pregnant. From your hair to your fat, little swollen toes. Every inch of your body changes during pregnancy. Some things grow (your ass, i mean belly), some things shrink (your bladder), and some things go away completely (your memory and general ability to form sentences). This, by the way, is why I've never believed those women who went to the bathroom one day, and BAM, out pops a baby!

Anyway.... none of this is my point. My point is that everyone tells you how much having kids will change your life and how much you will love these little people you create. But no one tells you that after you become a mother, there are days you wake up when NOTHING goes according to plan. I mean, so not according to plan that it doesn't even slightly resemble the day you had envisioned. I intended to spend my morning with a few high school friends and their children. We were going to finally all get together and let our kids meet and run around crazy for a couple hours. Then Jay and I were going to take the kids to the pool in the afternoon, followed by a local strawberry festival. We were going to make a yummy dinner, put the kids to bed early, and watch a movie, just the two of us.

Around 6:30 am, my plans changed. Declan crawled into bed with us, burning up with a fever and covered in puke. After checking his temperature, giving him medicine and stripping his bed, I went downstairs to find that our kitchen had been overtaken with ants. Not one, not two, but several thousand ants. While Jay headed to the Lowe's to buy super-duper ant killer spray, I wiped down every surface I could find trying to get rid of the ants. Our kitchen counters, by the way, are the same color as ants. And these ants aren't just any ants, these are crazy ants who fly and swim. They are resistant to Chlorox wipes, water, and super hot water. Finally I pulled out the Dyson and started sucking them up. I felt like one of the Ghostbusters. This seemed to get rid of them, but for all I know they are just bulking up on the goldfish crumbs that live inside my vacuum and they're going to come back bigger and stronger tomorrow.

After the ant infestation was under control and Declan was content upstairs in our bed watching a Dino Dan marathon, Jay and I took turns running errands. I went to the grocery store, he went to the Sam's Club and the gas station. Tag team parenting. One parent left the house, while one enforced the Declan-upstairs/Girls-downstairs quarantine policy. Not exactly the day of family-togetherness I had planned.

Being a parent forces you to expect the unexpected. Expect that the first time post-baby that you take a shower, get dressed, and put on make-up before 10 am, your baby will projectile vomit on you on the way out the door. Expect that your babysitter will cancel the morning of your first date-night in six months. Expect that your baby will poop up his back and in his hair only if that was your last diaper.

But honestly, it's those hilarious and ridiculous moments that make the best memories. I don't remember the days where everyone woke up happy, made their beds without having to be asked and played nicely all day. But the day I had to make a diaper out of a Shamwow in a parking garage in Northern Virginia, that is a day I look back on and laugh about. It will also make a really great story to tell Declan's first girlfriend.


school's out for summer... kinda

Remember when we were kids and the end of the school year meant no more school work? When we could spend all summer at the pool or rotting our brains in front of the TV, if we wanted? Then teachers spent the entire month of September re-teaching us what we learned in May?

Apparently, not anymore! A packet came home from Ava's school last night. Ava is supposed to spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day reading, either with a parent or alone. Her teachers sent home a list of recommended authors and a chart to keep track of her reading. She is also supposed to set aside a half hour each day to work on reading, writing, and/or math. She is also expected to keep a summer journal to write down her "activities, experiences, thoughts and feelings". These journals will be shared with her class in the fall.

While I think it's great, Ava may have a different opinion. SO...I'm going to make her a little summer reading kit to get her excited.

First, I ordered a bunch of books from Amazon from the recommended authors. Here are a few:

I also ordered this workbook:
Summer Bridge Activities: 1st to 2nd grade

And this book just for fun:

I also thought I'd get her a cute tote bag for the library like this one:

Or this one:

Then maybe a few little extras like this cute pencil case:

This would also make an adorable birthday gift! Maybe I should make little reading kits and save them for when we get those last minute birthday invites.