Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Giveaway #2, In Which I Solicit Recipe Ideas

I'm going to ask you for something in return for this one. I am getting bored with all of my standard recipes, and also need some quick and easy ideas for after I go back to work. Post a comment with your favorite fall recipe, and the randomly selected winner will get a $15 Starbucks gift card. I'm going to let this one go until end of day Friday (November 4), in the hopes that I get more entries. Easy stuff like casseroles and crock pot recipes are preferred, since a diaper needs changed every 6 minutes around here. Make sure you include your email address if it's not on your blog or in your profile!

***UPDATE: I forgot to add that I have since changed the rules - you may submit up to three recipes to get a max of three entries in the giveaway. Due to this error, I am extending the contest until Monday night (midnight Ohio time). Feel free to link to other blogs if it's a tried and true recipe, and to submit more than three if you are feeling generous!

Halloween Giveaway #1, In Which I Confess How Much I Suck

Okay, so I have a confession. Remember back when I had a contest for guessing Lucy's birthday? Well, due to a number of circumstances totally within my control (procrastination, losing her address, forgetting which gift card was for $15 and which was $25, having a newborn, etc.) I am only just freaking now sending the gift card to Lacey. I bumped up the amount and included some bonus goodies, but I still feel like such a jerk, especially since I feel like part of the reason I let it go on for as long as I did is that Lacey has become a friend and I knew/hoped she would understand. So basically, not only am I a crappy blogger, I am a crappy friend. NICE WORK!

Since this isn't the way I want to roll, I am going to have a giveaway for one of the target gift cards I bought and then couldn't remember the amount of (it's either $15 or $25). All you have to do is comment by end of day Wednesday, November 2 (make sure you include an email address if it's not on your blog or profile), and I will mail it out as soon as I get the randomly selected winner's address in an attempt to restore my bloggy karma.

Adriana Milestones: Emotions, Lying, First Haircut

Lawyerish's post about the adorable Felicity's first haircut made me realize I left a few milestones out of Adriana's two year letter. I blame sleep deprivation.

Has anyone ever seen the movie Kicking and Screaming? I don't mean the Will Farrell one, I'm talking about the good one. One of my favorite quotes from the movie is "I can't wait until I'm old enough to feel ways about things." The other day, Justin told Adriana his back hurt so she would have to walk down the stairs. She started crying, and when she reached the bottom, she shouted "I'm mad at you, dada!" When he asked why, she said "because I'm cryin'!" It was too cute for words. She has also let us know when she is sad and when she is happy. My baby is old enough to feel ways about things!

She has also started lying, but she pretty much sucks at it. This picture was snapped right after I asked her if she snuck some pumpkin muffin batter, and she replied "nooooo...." We get the same response if we ask if she pooped.

Finally, about a week after Lucy was born, we took Adriana in to get her first haircut. It was LONG overdue, but I wanted to grow out her bangs as much as I could before she got the chop. She was actually really well behaved, thanks to the rocking horse, Blue's Clues, and sucker hat trick.

The sweet before mullet:



These pics were a couple of months ago now, and looking back at them is making me realize that a) Adriana is due for another trim, and b) her hair is cute short. I'm loving the little flips in the back. Perhaps I should abandon my plan to grow her hair long, and keep it short for a while?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Adriana: Two Years

Drini Bean,

You're TWO! How is it possible that I have such a beautiful, big girl???

There have been so many changes since you were 21 months old. You're a big sister!!! Although the transition was tough at first, you have handled it like a champ. You have yet to master the art of being gentle, but you are no longer actively trying to hurt Lucy. In fact, you are surprisingly sweet and nurturing. You are constantly handing Lucy her binky or covering her up if her blanket falls off. You stress out if you don't know where she is, and you light up as soon as you see her in the mornings. I hope this is a sign of things to come, and the two of you grow closer every year.

You don't just save your love for your little sister. You are FINALLY a cuddler, which delights your father and I to no end. We have spent many hours of our maternity/paternity leave cuddling with you on the couch or taking naps with you in "Dada's bed". You love your grandparents, aunts and uncles, your cousin, and all of your little buddies in daycare. You also make sure you let me know that you love your milk, your shoes, Dora, Brobee, crayons, blue cars, yellow trucks, legos, the zoo, or a million other things each day.

You are an outgoing little chatterbox who can charm her way into strangers' hearts. People at the grocery store, restaurants, and doctors offices are always entertained by your antics. You have even mastered the art of making friends your own age, which blows me away. This is a picture of a little girl you met at the park the other day. She was shy at first, but you were persistent. Before I knew it, the two of you were holding hands and hugging each other like you were BFFs for life. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Speaking of the park, you could spend hours there, "fwinging" or sliding. You like to kick the leaves around, search for acorns, and approach strange dogs. You get upset when you it's raining and you can't play outside, but...

You loooove watching tv. You would watch Caillou, Dora, and Yo Gabba Gabba all day, if we let you. We don't (usually, ha!), which causes some fun temper tantrums. Your favorite episodes are YGG's "Ride" and Dora's "Choo Choo", both of which you request repeatedly.

Your language development continues to amaze me (it must be all that tv). You string together 9 or 10 word sentences like it's no big deal. You use past and present tense. You love a good adverb, often telling me to "go slowly" as we walk down the stairs. You randomly attach the word "either" to the end of sentences, whether it's appropriate or not ("I don't want my diaper changed either"). You are starting to understand time, complaining that Baby Lucy has been crying "for hours", asking me to hold you "real quick" or "for a minute", and even asking (repeatedly) what time it is. I'm not really sure what you do with that information, but I answer you every time.

Happy birthday, Adriana! I hope all of your wishes come true.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parenting Confession #2: Sometimes I'm Tempted to Leave my Kid in the Car

Okay, now before this post title brings out the crazies, let me first disclaim that in my two years of parenting, I have never once left either child unattended in the car. Not even for two seconds in my parents' driveway in the safest neighborhood in the universe. I am merely putting this out there in the world because I have absolutely no idea where my stance on this falls on the parenting spectrum, and I'm curious about what other normal, sane parents do. Random peeps looking to stir up some internet drama need not apply.

I never really entertained the idea of leaving Adriana in the car when she was the only kid. One of me, one of reason to not take her wherever I was going. However, I must admit, now that Justin is back to work and I'm the one taking Adriana to daycare twice a week, I have briefly considered leaving my sleeping two month old in the car while I run inside for two minutes (at the most) to drop off the two year old.

Now, remember...even if 100% of you say that you would totally leave your kid in the car, I'm not sure if I would/could ACTUALLY do it.

I just really, really want to know if this is a thing that people do, or if it's universally considered a huge no-no.

I have a feeling that it's kinda like car seats - all of our parents left us in the car and wouldn't think twice about it, but our generation would be about as likely to leave a kid in the car as they would pull a Britney and drive around with the kid on their lap.

I have distinct memories of spending what felt like HOURS in the backseat of my mom's Chrysler Horizon, my sweaty face glued to the vinyl while I tried to nap while sitting on the hump in the middle. My parents, OF COURSE, claim that I am completely fabricating this memory, but my brothers agree that, while it likely wasn't as long as we think, we definitely spent our fair share stuck in the car while my parents went furniture shopping.

So what do you say, internet? Have you ever left your kid in the car while you run inside for a minute?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Smokin' Hot

So, we had some unexpected visitors today...

That's right, folks. I almost burned la casa Diniwilk down to the ground. The culprit?

Apparently I knocked some french fries off the pan when I slammed the oven closed before Adriana could reach in and burn her fingers. I was nursing Lucy in the living room and had no idea anything was burning until the fire alarm went off. I ran into the kitchen to find smoke pouring out of the oven. There weren't any flames, just some burning french fry embers. I turned off the oven and threw a glass of water inside, which (of course) did not help the smoke situation.

Once I was fairly certain there was no danger of fire, I ran through the house opening windows and turning on fans, and then I got the girls outside so they didn't inhale any more smoke. It was only then that I realized that the alarm company probably called me (and the fire department). I ran back in to get my phone, but the fire truck was already coming down the street.

At least they were nice about it, even posing for some pictures with an awestruck Adriana.

It's also good to know that both the upstairs and downstairs smoke detector and our alarm system all work properly. I just hope none of the neighbors were home to witness my dumbassery (and embarrassing outfit - I looked like a total scrub).

Adriana Does the Accent Vlog

Adriana wanted to take a crack at the accent vlog in preparation for The Blathering 2040 (I told her she would get a reputation as a gunner, but she said there is no such thing as bad press)'s in two parts because she hit the stop button halfway through. Please excuse Dora and Lucy in the background, they have no respect for the toddler vlog.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Accent Vlog

I decided to jump on the accent vlog bandwagon, since Adriana is at daycare today and I wanted to try out the camera on my Macbook. Sorry about the sniffling (me) and the crying (Lucia) - I was determined to only do one take since I wanted to "keep it real" and not edit myself. Enjoy!
Here are the rules (as if you don't already know):
Say the following words:
Aunt, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught

And answer these questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that curls into a ball when you touch it?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?
*Update: I tried twice to get the video to upload without syncing problems (or the end being cut off) to no avail, sorry!
**Update: I also tried to upload it to flickr, only to realize hours later that only half uploaded. The internet hates me today.

The MIL Saga: Part 7 - A New Beginning (I Think?)

If you haven't been keeping up with the MIL drama, you can catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6. Or you can skip it and just assume there has been a lot of tension and passive aggressiveness from all parties involved.

So, I don't remember if I wrote about it here or not, but I was stressing out around the end of my third trimester because I didn't want the MIL to be there while I was in labor with Lucy. The hubs and I decided that we would call her to let her know I was in labor, but we asked that she didn't come visit until after Lucy was here. This plan actually applied to everyone on all three sides of my family with the exception of my mom and dad, since I wanted them there and felt like they were the only people besides Justin who would not annoy me. Justin communicated this to his mom, and we all went on our merry way.

Come birthing time, we followed this plan, texting MIL to let her know we were at the hospital, and calling her minutes after Lucy was born to give the deets. Justin ended up leaving her a voice mail, since she didn't answer her phone. He called or texted her something like four times that day, and sent her another text after we left the hospital after just 24 hours, so she didn't show up to an empty room.

This was all in vain, seeing as how she didn't come to see Lucy until she was two months old.


MIL called Justin last week to set up a visit. We decided to just go ahead and let her come, but to not go to any extra trouble to make the house sparkle or to have plenty of food to offer. In fact, we limited the visit to two hours since we had to attend my dad's birthday party later that day.

When she first came through the door, Adriana ran away, buried her head in my neck, and wouldn't talk to MIL or SFIL (which secretly delighted me to no end). MIL actually acknowledged that this was "probably her fault" since she hadn't been around. This was the only mention the entire time of the weirdness or tension that has occurred over the last year. Keep in mind, this was the first time our families saw each other since last THANKSGIVING.

Adriana did end up warming up to them, and things went rather smoothly. The only hitch was when MIL gave us her health update, and said that she felt amazing and "actually felt like herself for the past two months". I watched Justin bristle at the unapologetic admission that she was feeling fine yet still missed the first two months of Lucy's life. To his credit, he kept his mouth shut and now Adriana has her first good memory of time spent with MIL and SFIL.

So, it appears that the drama has ended without any of us really talking about it. The new game plan is to simply accommodate MIL when she sees fit to visit, but not to go to any great lengths to impress her, and not to get overly upset when she disappoints us. Hopefully this works for us, and this is the last time I write about her.

101 in 1001: 200(ish) Day Update

October 16 marked day 200 of my 101 in 1001 challenge (see how I did the first 100 days here). I completed 11 tasks this time, which means I am still pretty much on track to get all 101 done by Christmas of 2013. I also have a bunch of tasks that are in progress or nearing completion as we speak. The fact that I am getting so much done and constantly referring to this list makes me think that I should do some sort of weekly goal setting on here going forward. The blog holds me accountable, I guess.

Here are the tasks I completed this time:

1) Complete a maternity photo shoot

8) Buy a new computer. As I mentioned previously, I now have a shiny new Macbook Pro. I lurrve it.

9) Upgrade my iPhone. This one was completed ahead of schedule. When the iPhone 4 came out, there was a traumatic incident which ended in me watching my beloved new toy bouncing down the highway during rush hour traffic. Since I didn't stop the car to pick up the pieces, I couldn't prove to the AT&T folks that my 3 month old phone was broken and not sold for profit, so they wouldn't cut me a deal on a new one. I had to go back to my crappy 3G, which was barely functional thanks to mass quantities of baby drool oozing through the cracks. Thankfully, my hubs was up for an upgrade just in time for the 4S, so he got one of those and I inherited his iPhone 4. I still plan on getting a 5 with my next discounted upgrade once it comes out, and I will also replace our iPad with an iPad 2 in the next year. I am turning into quite the little Apple whore.

16) Get cushions for the patio furniture. This one was also completed ahead of schedule, thanks to a stroke of luck. I wasn't planning on tackling my back yard until the spring, but Target had cushions that perfectly match my style on clearance for $12 a pop at the end of this season, so I grabbed them. I'll post pics in the spring when I paint the furniture, seal the patio, and otherwise pretty up my yard.

18) Restart the book club or join another one. I joined Book-It 2.0 (named after that old Pizza Hut reading program back in the day, haha). We are currently reading The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht or something like that (too lazy to grab the book to fact check).

27) Install a railing on the staircase. This ended up taking like 3 weeks since we had to pop off the random chair rail, patch it, sand it a million times, and completely repaint the wall. We also had staining issues (we still didn't get the stain exactly right, but whatever). Isn't it pretty?

28) Install a new thermostat. This one gets its own post later.

32) Take kid(s) to the Childrens' History Museum. Okay, so apparently I was confused. Cleveland has both a Childrens' Museum and a Museum of Natural History. I meant the Childrens' Museum when I wrote the goal, so I'm counting it. We went for Adriana's birthday last week, and now have a membership. I'll post pics next time we go, since I didn't have my Nikon with us.

42) Find a family physician, get a physical. I have gone to the same doctor since I was 6, and I hated her. The Office is offering a $20 credit each month if we complete a number of tasks, including proof of a family doctor. I found a lady I like, except she ran a lipid profile and called me saying I need to go on cholesterol meds since mine was "quite elevated". I reminded her that I had a two week old in my arms at her appointment, and that pregnancy can practically double your cholesterol. I have since had it rechecked and it is fine. I get that doctors can't be expected to know everything, but I'd think that should have been common knowledge? I remembered it without google, and I only went to 1 year of medical school. So yeah, I'll probably revisit this one if she makes any other weird mistakes.

58) Take my nephew on a fun outing. We went to Yo Gabba Gabba Live. Doesn't Colin look like he could be Adriana's brother? I think they look more alike than my brother and I do.

71) Send someone a care package. Remember a while back when I asked for suggestions for a NICU care package? I followed through and sent it. I need to do this more often (hopefully under better circumstances); it was fun coming up with a personalized basket of goodies. My friend's twins are doing great now, btw.

The next 100 days end 1/24/12...Hopefully I can get around 15-20 more done, since I am beginning to suspect I'm only tackling the fun/easy ones and a bunch of hard ones will be left at the end. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Newborn Photo Shoot

While searching for photographic evidence for my last post, I realized that I never uploaded Lucy's newborn pictures. These were shot by Sara, the same photographer who did my maternity photo shoot. The fact that she got any usable shots whatsoever is amazing - Lucy was fussy the whole time, and Adriana is going through a phase where she HATES having her picture taken. I'm sticking them all on here, because I hate picking and choosing.

Let Me Ass You A Question

Hi! I still can't sleep, so I am going to continue actually writing all of the blog posts I've written in my head while nursing over the past two months, and you are going to pretend like these were all nice and evenly spaced out instead of crammed in all at once, okay?

This one is about my butt, aren't you excited?

I have always had a disproportionate ass. This was first brought to my attention in third grade, when Melissa O'Brien* kindly informed me that the reason she was snickering during the pledge of allegiance was because I was "sticking my butt out". I turned bright red because not only was one of the more popular girls making fun of me, but I truly wasn't doing it on purpose, it just stuck out on its own.

Thanks to Sir Mix-A-Lot and Kim Kardashian, my ass enjoyed a nice window in which it was admired by the menfolk while the Melissa O'Briens of the world looked on in shame. Howevs, over the past few years (which just so happen to coincide with my childbirthing years), the situation has gotten out of control. I would probably be at least two sizes smaller if my butt wasn't so massive.

Photographic evidence:

So. This has been on my mind is because, for the first time since before I was pregnant with Adriana, I went running. Go me, right? Wrong. It was horrible. You guys, my ass was literally bouncing up and down to the point that it was SHAKING MY PANTS RIGHT OFF. Now, I am somewhat familiar with the pants sliding down the butt feeling, as jeans have not fit me properly since some asshole invented the low rise. But these were workout pants. Tight ones, with lots of elastic and synthetic materials. If I am going to have to hitch up my pants every 10 steps, it will probably be another three years before I attempt running again.

So, to enhance everyone's viewing pleasure, please help me with the following:
1) Are you aware of any magical pants that will withstand some serious butt jiggle?
2) Are you aware of any magical workouts with butt-shrinking properties?

The citizens of Northeast Ohio thank you in advance.

* Name not changed because I am a world champion grudge holder

Two for the Price of One

Continuing my trend of updating you on things I originally posted about months ago, we did end up joining the Catholic church down the street and baptizing the girls. It seemed like the thing to do since we are planning on sending them to school there from preschool through eighth grade. I still have absolutely no idea what I am going to do when the girls are older and start asking me about what I personally believe (or don't believe, as the case may be), but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The Diniwilks on baptism day:

Adriana and her godparents (my older brother Nick and high school friend Jackie):

Lucia and her godparents (my younger brother John and his wife Val):

Adriana action shot:

Lucia action shot:

I actually also went to high school with the priest who did the ceremony, which was a nice touch. However, I now feel extra obligated to bring the girls to mass once in a while and to follow up on his suggestion to have our marriage recognized by the church (which involves more classes and meetings and ugh). Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

Update: Dining Room Makeover

Justin went back to work on Monday, so I am now on my own with the girls. I have to say I'm kind of relieved, since I am waaaaaay less productive when he is around. I will miss all of the lazy days cuddling on the couch, but I am ready to get back to finishing up all of my projects around the house before I have to go back to work too (November 21, boo).

I did manage to finish one project while he was home - remember way back when I posted about our naked, boring dining room? Well, it has been slow going due to lots of rug drama and budget constraints, but it's finally done-ish for now.

Here is the embarrassing before. We literally spent a whole year eating on a lone table in an empty box:

The first step was to clear off all of the clutter in the built-in and to get some storage for mail, stamps, batteries, pens, and other random office-y crap that accumulates in this room. As you can see by the overflowing middle basket, we still have some organizing to do, but at least it's not stacked all over the place anymore.

I bought some decorative items from target (the hurricanes, candles, and assorted vase filler items) and west elm (the glass bottles below and the ceramic owls above). I also threw in some pumpkins for some seasonal flair. It's all kind of thrown together still and will change as I figure out what works together, but at least it's a start.

I bought the curtains, mirrors, and buffets from the mood board in the previous post. The rug is the Andalusia rug in horizon from west elm and I absolutely love it. In my experience, west elm is a total pain in the ass because at least half of the stuff on their website is either backordered for months on end (like the rug) or completely out of stock, never to return (like the duponi silk curtains I originally wanted, and the linen ones I eventually went with - I had to call 3-4 individual stores to find a fourth panel). I really love their style though, so I put up with it.

And now, for the big reveal:

I still have a lot I want to do, but at least it looks like people live here now. I think I want to push the bench against the window and get 8 of the black leather parson's chairs (from the mood board). I am not sure if that would be weird or too crowded, but it would give us more seating for when we entertain. If I do that, I would make a cushion for the bench (I am envisioning black with beige and/or gold stripes) and throw a couple of pillows on there. I would then put some of the stripey fabric on the back of the shelves in the built-in to add some interest. I am also looking for some sort of wine storage for the remaining empty corner - Pier One had a black hutch with hand painted accents that would go with the yellow in the rug but I can't find it online anymore. I also need some larger wall art but I have no idea what I am looking for, so that will probably take forever.

What do you guys think? I am especially interested in opinions about my bench idea - would that be too cramped or could it work?