Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday ...

It's Wednesday! And that means, it's time for a little list of what I'm loving this week ...

First up, I'm loving that I may have found a small group of moms here in Durham to link in to. On the advice of some of my neighbors, I joined the Durham Mother's Club. Man, was it worth it! At the orientation yesterday, Beatrice Kate and I met several great moms and tots around Bea's age.

I'm loving the fact that our new Crate and Barrel furniture came in yesterday! I'll take and showcase pictures of everything once we get the entire room set up, BUT... it looks AB. FAB. And, the delivery guys were early. When does that ever happen?!?

I'm loving this new conditioner that I bought at Target:
 I've been growing my hair out since before Bea was born and it's SUPER long now. I have grand plans of chopping it all off this winter and donating it (more on that later) but until then, I needed some help with The Tangles. This did the trick.

I'm loving the fact that I've started Bea's wall mural this week. Here's an "in process" photo:
It has a long way until it's done but I think it's going to be super cute once I get it all painted and glittered up (yep, I'm adding glitter!). Her room is actually my project right now and I can't wait to show off pictures when everything is finished.

On a related note, I'm loving my Pinterest finds this week for Bea's room re-do:

I'm really, really loving a web site named, Tea Collection. I'm sure you've probably heard of them; but they're a great clothing company that makes unique pieces for children. I'm trying really hard not to spend all of Casey's paycheck on one site. But these things make it so hard to say no:

And as always, I'm loving my sweet girl, Beatrice Kate, who recently has been more than uncomfortable with not one but two emerging molars coming through this week. She's been... a bit of a pill this week. Poor baby. Poor Mommy:


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EOTTS: A condition that effects the entire family ...

Are your blissful family times often interrupted by fits of screaming and erratic behavior?  Are common household items used as projectile weapons on a frequent basis?  Do your family meals sometimes end with more food on the floor than was eaten?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your toddler may be suffering from Early-Onset Terribly Two Syndrome (EOTTS).
This is the face of EOTTS. And it's not pretty.
Symptoms of EOTTS include:
  • Crankiness for no reason
  • Refusal to take a nap; regardless of outward signs of weariness
  • Random tantrums often resulting in kicking and screaming; which usually occur on the floor
  • Requests for banana/apple/yogurt/eggs/food item 
  • Refusal to eat the aforementioned items.
  • Refusal to eat anything other than Veggie Straws, animal crackers or small pieces of trash off the floor
  • Refusal to wear a diaper
  • Refusal to remove diaper
  • Refusal to wear clothing
  • Refusal to change out of clothing that has been smeared with blueberries and ketchup
  • Erratic behavior in the car, often mimicking the emotions of a drunk college girl 
  • Tantrums for unclear and unreasonable reasons (including: Mommy won't let me eat her keys and Mommy doesn't let me walk down stairs)
  • Screaming for no reason, often in very public venues, followed by periods extreme cuteness
  • Staring at inappropriate times at nearby restaurant patrons
  • Desire to put unsafe items in their mouth (including: wrenches, tape measures, bike helmets, etc.)
While there is no known cure for EOTTS, some research shows that  parents find relief from these symptoms by employing a very common tool: Time with grandparents. Note that simply saying "Oh, they'll grow out of it" has not been shown to decrease the stress to parents with a toddler suffering from EOTTS. In fact, it probably makes it worse.

If your child is suffering from EOTTS, know that you are not alone. We, the Collins Family, are knee-deep in the Syndrome with no foreseeable end in sight.

Somebody hold me ...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why I'm OK with being JUST a mom ...

My high school reunion is coming up in less than two months. This will be the first time that will see most of my graduating class since we walked across the stage ten years ago. Big deal? Well, kind of.

You see, I went to an ultra-competitive residential magnet school here in Durham, The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. And when you graduate from a school like this, you don't just go off and do whatever. You're expected to make something of yourself. Accept the Greater Challenge as the school's motto states. There was no superlative for "most likely to succeed" because it would have been a 200 way tie. So this reunion, it's not really a 'typical' reunion by any means.

There will be a lot of doctors, a lot of lawyers, a lot of PhDs, a lot of MBAs, a lot of people who have gone out and changed the world around them. And thinking about this, frankly, made me a little nauseous when I first received the reunion invite.

What about me? What do I have to show for the amazing education that I received from NCSSM or that fancy Chemistry degree hanging on my wall? I'm just a mom.

I clean up our house six times a day. Wipe vomit off my shirt. Sometimes I don't get to wash my hair or even take a daily shower. Don't even ask about make-up. I do laundry, wash dishes, fix breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes these meals are eaten; sometimes they're thrown on the floor or given to our dogs. I pick up toys and books, fold teeny tiny socks and little bitty pants, I make our beds and change the sheets.

Today, I even celebrated poop in a potty like it was freakin' Marti Gras in the bathroom. Instead of saying things like, "Buy" and "Sell" or "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury", I say, "No, don't put dog hair in your mouth", or "Seriously, please stop eating chalk."

My life is anything but glamorous. But instead of being embarrassed or ashamed that I'm just a mom... I'm really, really proud of it.

That's because when it's my kid that's taking turns nicely at playgroup or giving hugs freely. Or wooing cashiers at Whole Foods or the old ladies at the drug store with her ridiculous cuteness, I get think to myself, Yea, I'm her mom.

The extra pounds I'm carrying around these days, came with the ability to say words like, "Baby Weight" because... I'm a mom and I grew a whole new person.
When Bea is playing quietly in her room, provided she's not eating diaper rash cream, and I sneak in to watch her, I'm the one who gets to think, Wow. I'm a mom.
 When she was first born and the doctors said, "She's very small, but you can tell she's got spunk and she's a fighter. Congratulations, Mommy."  It was me that got to say, That's right she's my daugther and I'm now a mom.

And when she stumbles around and skins her knees and hands and no one else can make it better but me... that's right, it's because I'm Mom.

So, in October, when my fellow classmates ask me what I'm doing with my life these days; if they ask me how I've changed the world around me, I can tell them about my career with pride. I get to tell them that I created a human... FROM SCRATCH.
That's right, at my reunion, I'll be known as a MOM. Period. No just needed.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

10 things I love about you, Beatrice Kate ...

Earlier this week, I ran across this blog post from another preemie mom. In it, she explains 10 reasons why she loves her son, Jack. I found it to be a beautiful post (and a beautiful blog) and it motivated me to write a similar list for my sweet girl, Beatrice Kate. So, here goes ...

Beatrice Kate, there are a thousand reasons why I love you; and each day that list changes, shifts and comes back around. But, here's just a small snapshot of the reasons I love you, today (in this second, because it'll change later today) :

1. I love how you have defied every diagnosis given to a baby born at your size. You have exceeded every. single. expectation ever given to you from the minute you were born. You shouldn't be able to do the things you can do. You technically shouldn't even be here to be doing them. It's incredible and so are you.

2. I love the way that you scrunch up your nose when you giggle. It's so silly and it makes me laugh every time. Recently, you've even started "half-way" doing this when you think you're doing something you shouldn't be; just to get out of trouble. It works and you know it.

3.I love the way you'll start singing, all by yourself, to a tune that only you know and when you catch someone looking at you, you'll stop and smile. You do the same with dancing. It's precious.

4. I love how you have developed a love for books and reading. We hoped that you would like to read like we do, but didn't know what to expect. I'm so happy that you frequently choose books over toys!

5. I love the tiny, renegade wisp of hair that's at the top of your head. Whenever I try to brush your hair or pull it into pigtails; that little section always falls out of place. It's like your hair's been cut and we missed a piece!

6. I love the tiny gap between your front teeth. It's just like Daddy's, only more adorable, and it's so sweet when you smile!

7. I love the way that you like your hands and feet to be massaged. You are just like me in this way. Sometimes you will hold out your hands at breakfast, just so I can rub them. And, you love to have the inside of your palms rubbed while you're being rocked to sleep.

8. Speaking of sleep, I love that when you're rocked to sleep you always rest your little hand on my chest, just over my heart.

9. I love that you wake up happy, each and every time you wake-up. It's like someone hit a reset button, even if your nap only lasted 5 minutes. Often times, you'll wake up singing or talking to yourself in your room and it will be a full thirty minutes before you'll call out to be picked up. I can't believe what a happy baby you are!

10. The most important reason: I love the person that I have become since meeting you.  Being a mother isn't really something I thought I would love or even be good at. But you have changed me, forever, for the positive (I think). Taught me humility, patience, a deep love for family and revived my faith in the Lord. It's amazing to me that something so small (you) has taught me so much.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday ...

I seriously don't know where the past seven days have gone. One minute it's Friday and the next, it's halfway through another week! Sadly, I hate to admit that in that time I've managed to not do a single thing to improve our "unpacking" situation around here. In my defense though, I can't really do much until we get the painters in here next month. So there. Justified. Right?

Anyway, this week let's start with the fact that I am lovin' this weather. It hasn't been 90 degrees all week and the humidity? Bearable. I can see Autumn starting to peek over the head lock that this oppressive summer has been putting on us all.

I'm loving this blog post that I stumbled upon today. It's a list of 10 things she loves about her son; who just happens to be a former micropreemie. I love reading about other Preemie Moms and their struggles and joys. I see so much of our story in Jack and Jessi's story; just like I hope other moms see in ours.

I'm loving that sometime over the past week, we've picked up three new "official" followers. To the new folks: Welcome! Thanks for joining. To the regulars: Welcome, too! I'm so thankful any and all of our readers (even if it's mostly just my dad checking 4,000 a day). If you've been a lurker for a while, maybe you'll consider officially join us soon as well?!

In the same spirit, I'm loving all the sweet comments we've gotten on some recent posts. I have to admit the Turkatermelon quip may unfortunately be the peak of my comedic humor and it could all just be downhill from there. But I will continue to try ...

I'm loving these Pinterest finds:

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

I'm loving the fact that I just discovered that Immaculate Baking Company makes a gluten free ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough. Yep, you guessed it- I found it at Whole Foods on one of my million trips there this week. I'm pretty sure I did something wrong though, because mine didn't turn out like the ones on the package, but they were a really good substitute for the "old fashioned" kind:
I'm loving the fact that even though folks in the area felt the earthquake yesterday (including my husband 2 miles away at his office), somehow my napping child and I did not feel a thing. I'm all about respecting Mother Nature and her ability to do some damage; but not when my cranky toddler is in the middle of an epic 4 hour nap.

And finally, as always, I'm loving my baby girl; who nowadays isn't looking like much of a baby anymore. Somebody hold me, this is all happening too fast:
Doesn't she look like a little girl instead of a baby?!? I think I may have a breakdown over this ...
What's on your lists this week? Leave some comment lovin' and let me know. And, if you haven't already... feel free to come out of the interweb shadows and become a "Follower". It has a nice ring to it, huh?



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Individuality, Expressed Artistically

Remember my group of girlfriends, the ones whose children will eventually (hopefully) become Beatrice Kate's childhood, life-long friends? Yeah, those girls. Well, we all got together last week for a Baby Meeting of the Minds. A finger-painting playgroup that was equal parts genius and mayhem. So basically, my favorite kind of get-together:
Power Brunch: Sippy Cups and Snackimals. Brain Food.
The best part of the whole ordeal (besides getting covered in washable paints) was seeing how each of the babies toddlers expressed their individuality and very, very distinct personalities through their artwork.

Abby, quite likely a future Class President and valedictorian, was very precise with her color selections:
Minions, hand me the colors I need, when I need them!
She is (very impressively) able to call out her color of choice. "Blue" seemed to be a theme for her masterpiece:
She's so good, she doesn't even look at the paper.
Although, she did branch out to other complementary colors eventually as well. But once she was done, well, Abby was done. The. End:
I said OIL ON CANVAS, not water colors on paper. IDIOTS! I can't work under these conditions.
Then there was Sam, who may appear to be a future Class Clown at first, is really a Ladies' Man at heart:
Lady #1: His mama.
Sam was the renegade, a Finger Painting Rambo, who dabbled a little in all the available colors. Yellow out of reach? Not a problem, Sam doesn't mind a cross-plastic trip to highlight his artwork:
I'll need a little of this, and a little of this, and a little of this too.
 Then there was the whole "Paint Eating" incident. But we won't talk about that:
Really glad Amy sprung for the non-toxic stuff. She knows our kids all too well...
That brings us to my little Picaso, Beatrice Kate. True to form (from her only other previous painting attempt), Bea was slow and deliberate with her brush finger strokes:
The Minimalist at work
She carefully considered her paint placement, color selection, theories of relativity (Ok, maybe not all of those). Girlfriend is nothing if not deliberate:
I call it, "Isolation in Color"
Oh, and she really, really hates paint on her hands:
You guys, this is SO SLIMY. Get. It. Off.
Things got a little rowdy towards the end. There was a little Self-Painting (and I don't mean portraits, either):
Uh, you have a little on your face.


I think your mom is encouraging this ...
And a little Mommy Painting thrown in for good measure:
What a good sport.
 And... the dog may or may not have been painted as well:
After all was said and done, we tried to take a final group shot of their works of art (the toddlers being the works of art of course). That didn't go so well:
Abby was Dun-zos. Bea and Sam are just confused.
And because there was no way I was putting this in my car:
I knew I should have driven Casey's car that day.
We did what any responsible mothers would do. Baby Bubble Bath Time (and we all got a glimpse of what it's like to have triplets... yeah, I have serious respect for Multiples Moms):
I really hope Bea and Sam are looking at the bubbles...
Oh, and these pictures? They're my insurance policy for good behavior during her teenage years. Stay out late past your curfew? Maybe this photographic evidence of your Billy Ray Cyrus Mullet will help you get home sooner:
I Want My Mullet Back...
Kissing boys? Sass mouthin' yer Momma? Remember this guy? He saw you naked once:
I really hope to be able to use this at their wedding some day ...

Wait, this is supposed to be Blackmail. Don't look so entertained, please.
Yea, that'll keep her in line, right? RIGHT?!?! I better get a back-up plan quick.