Friday, October 29, 2010

I shall call him Cheese

Carter's first school photo:
Who's cheesier ... Carter for posing with a pumpkin ... or mommy because I cried when I saw his first school photo?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Papa

A very special birthday video ... for someone very very special

video

A mommy bloggers love for holiday cards

I have this problem (stop laughing, I know I have more than one). I have this design degree (and years of experience as a graphic designer, advertising director, creative director, etc etc for multiple companies).

Why is this a problem you ask?

Because it makes birthday invitations, holiday cards, thank you cards, etc all something I obsess over (seriously, if you saw how much I obsess, you would send Chad sympathy cards (and then I would proceed to stare at the cards wishing they were a different color and had used a different font)). I can’t exactly creatively direct a diaper change or plate of mac and cheese. So I obsess and fester about every little detail on photos for, text for, line widths, etc etc on any paper product that leaves this house. It makes me happy. In a very very geeky way.

But it’s also a bit of a problem because I don’t exactly have time to fester about kerning or cool new photoshop tricks anymore since someone is always pooping, throwing up, crashing a truck into something breakable, or needing a magic kiss to fix a boo boo.

Enter my solution. http://www.shutterfly.com/

I have shopped at shutterfly for holiday photo cards, birthday invitations, birth announcements, photo books, calendars, mugs, ok…I should stop before Chad checks the bank account to see the past damage I have done (Love you honey).

But for those of you that are busy moms, like quick and easy (yet great looking) items, want something that you don’t have to fill out (they offer folded cards too – for those of you that send out yearly family updates (friends & family - please keep sending me these…I love them), allow me to walk you through how the online process works:

Step One – go to site and pick a design (I always like this stage…because I can preview cards and obsess about them for hours if I have time…or just pick a pretty one quickly if I’m in a hurry)
Step Two – upload your own photos and text (and obsess about the color, thickness, etc (this step is crucial for control freaks (like me)... because it lets me feel like I still controlled the art direction of the card - do you see the degree of my problem?)
Step Three – Order (I also like to kick back and drink a glass of wine at this point ... but that part is optional)

Done. DONE. No hunting down printer quotes, sifting through paper options (only to find out that your favorite paper was milled by monks in some remote country – making it uber expensive). Just done.
Here are my two leading contenders for the Gotfam’s 2010 holiday cards. I love the fun and cheery tones they have. Plus – I love that I have multiple places on these cards to plaster pictures of my kiddos faces. Feel free to post comments to vote for the card you think I should pick. I can’t say I will pick that one…but I always like creative comments.

My word for companies like this: Love.

Disclaimer: Shutteryfly did not compensate me for this post. They did however agree to send me a coupon for some free holiday cards. Paint me excited! Check your mailboxes (or this blog) in early (read: late) December to find what I picked.

Friday, October 22, 2010

More real conversations from the Gotfam household:

Me: Carter, do you want to play a game?
Carter (while somewhat ignoring me and pointing out trucks on the way home from school): Uh Huh
Me: Let’s play ‘where do they live’
Carter: Uh Huh
Me: Where do Nana and Papa Live?
Carter: Itch-e-gan
Me: Michigan - Great Job!! Where does Carter live?
Carter: o-HI-o
Me: Very good! Where does Uncle Andy and Aunt Meredeth live?
Carter: Or-gia
Me: Georgia…Good! Where do Uncle Trad and Uncle Michael live?
Carter: Booston
Me: Boston – Good! Where does Aunt Gretchen live?
Carter: Our-Lot
Me: Great Job – she lives in Charlotte! Where do Mama and Daddy Live?
Carter: In mama’s truck
Me: Umm…in my jeep? Why do we have to live in the car?
Carter (blank stares…silence)
Me: ok….umm…Where does Baby Avery live?
Carter: Daddy’s butt
Me: This game has gone downhill quickly. Wanna play spot the big truck?
Carter: Uh Huh

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pardon my excuses

Avery's teething (read: not sleeping), I am working on a new brand for this site (more to come on this), etc etc wah wah wah.
In light of all of those excuses....I am posting pictures today instead of any fun stories/lame opinions/anger over some corporation/questions about potty training, etc.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saugatuck Michigan

We packed the kiddos up this past weekend and went to Saugatuck Michigan to hang out, enjoy the fall weather, see Nana and Papa (read: grandma and grandpa (Carter named them Nana and Papa a while ago))…and just have fun.

We rented an amazing cottage about three blocks out of downtown (seriously, the cottage rocked….if you need cottage rental ideas – let me know). We put the double stroller to good use, we enjoyed the beautiful weather, we window shopped, we played at a park with the kids, we went on a little bar crawl with the kids in the double stroller (what…we threw them some food scraps here and there), and that was just Friday.

Saturday, Nana and Papa arrived and we headed off to the Saugatuck Fall Festival. They had pumpkin sling shot games (where you could fling pumpkins or potatoes into the harbor (and I have to point out - papa and Carter were the only ones to get a pumpkin into the tire goal...so they got a prize)), gourd toss games, pumpkin decorating, music, beer (this is important to Chad and I…if you can’t tell), and fire truck rides!
(and when I say fire truck rides...I mean people literally rode on top of the fire truck. It was like Carter heaven)

And of course, as all visitors of Saugatuck should, we enjoyed the local art (which is all over town).


In the event that you have never heard of Saugatuck or have never been there…I’ll just say – you should go. Saugatuck is not only one of my favorite Michigan towns, but it has also received some national recognition,

Including:
- Listed as one of “The Dozen Distinctive Destinations” in the United States – by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Midwest Living Magazine rated Saugatuck/Douglas 5th among the top 100 vacation destinations in the Midwest
- It is consistently named one of America's top 25 arts destinations, and is often referred to as "The Art Coast of Michigan"
- Saugatuck’s Oval Beach is ranked one of the top 25 beaches in the world by Condé Nast and one of the top two in the USA by National Geographic Traveler
- The Chicago Tribune rated it number one out of the Midwest's five best beaches

A few other fun Saugatuck facts:
- Saugatuck hosts the internationally-acclaimed Waterfront Film Festival every year – in June.
This festival was named the third most popular film festival in the world - after Sundance and Cannes - by the Screen Actors Guild's national magazine.

Also, and not to be downplayed, the ‘corner drug store’ has a soda fountain where sodas and malted shakes have been served for 84 years.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Picking Somewhere In Ohio

Last weekend (yea yea…I’m behind) we went pumpkin picking (we’ll call this activity 23).

Now, you can pick pumpkins out at a local grocery store, big-box store, or nursery…or you can find a farm and pick them yourself. We opted for the self-picking method. And we’ll be doing this from now on.

We drove about 30 or 40 minutes south of Cleveland to a pumpkin farm somewhere between Lodi and Wooster. I say “somewhere between” because I was lost from the time we left the Lodi outlet mall vicinity until we got back there.

So I can’t:
A.) tell you how to get to this farm -or-
B.) even tell you the name of the farm ... since I spent so much of the time staring at cows and farms (I’m more of a city girl …what can I say).

We played in a toddler-sized hay maze,

(Oh yea - that's my little guy in one bad ass skull and cross bones shirt. Don't mess with him ... he's one step from a harley and studded leather jacket (if mommy ever lets him stop wearing footie jammies))ran through a huge meadow maze, sat by a fire (where you could roast marshmallows or wieners), rode on a hay ride (a very very long and super fun hay ride) back to the pumpkin patch (Avery's first tractor ride...yup - starting this one early...yee haw Avery!)…and then picked some pumpkins.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Things I shouldn’t admit on my blog

A few things happened today that make me feel … like I should feel embarrassed …but I don’t.

Thing 1 (no, I won’t make this whole post sound like a Dr. Seuss book):
I walked out to my car …and noticed that Carter’s potty was sitting in the (open) garage … drying in the sun. In front of our entire neighborhood.

Thing 2:
I had to go to the urgicare because I had three very separate issues.
One issue, my pink eye had not gone away yet…in fact, it’s now in both eyes. AND…I’m all tweaked out because friends of ours told me that pink eye comes from bacteria from feces.
The second issue: my nose hurt… in my nose…it felt like I had a big bump in it (not so much big random zit pain...more like "ouch..something hurts in my nose"). Turns out – I have a cold sore … in my nose.
The third issue: my ear hurt. Turns out – I have fluid in my ears.

So, to sum up today’s “things”… I clean out and dry my kid’s shitter in the driveway/garage, I have herpies in my nose, and shit in my eyes.

I'm so classy. So freaking classy.

Bet you wish you lived by me!

note: for obvious reasons, there are no pictures to go with this post

"The Same Page"..whatever that page may be

Another conversation brought to you from my shiny happy household:
(this one takes place between Chad and I in the car coming home from dinner…the night after Carter had thrown a terrible tantrum at a kids shoe store at the mall):

Me: So what did you say to Carter when you took him for a walk – when you left the store?
Chad: That’s between Carter and I
Me: What…no seriously…what did you say?
Chad: That he embarrassed me
Me: WHAT?! You can’t tell a kid that they embarrass you.
Chad: Yea ya can…. I wasn’t mean – I just told him that he wasn’t acting appropriately and that he was acting rude
Me: Seriously…don’t tell him that he’s embarrassing …it’ll f him up for life…now he’s gonna be the creepy weird teenager…all because he thinks he’s this embarrassment to his family…and he’ll always be looking for someone’s approval…by being all needy and weird.
Chad: Umm..honey…I was just trying to scold him for throwing a tantrum. Don’t make it all about feelings and blah blah blah
Me: Well, so we’re on the same discipline page – I try to say things like “Carter, I understand that you’re frustrated…and I understand that you’re feeling mad…but you can find other ways to communicate this frustration to me and I promise to listen.
Chad: Oh good lord honey…you can be all rainbows and skipping through fields of sunshine between 9 and 5…but don’t come crying to me when I’m able to discipline him by giving him “the look” and you’re all (and at this point he added a whiney female voice), “ohh….wah wah wah Carter won’t listen to me…and he doesn’t take me seriously…it’s like he doesn’t care what I say…wah wah”

And then Chad parked the car (in our driveway) and got out and skipped up the driveway singing “ohhh…rainbows and sunshine…rainbows and sunshine…skippy skippy la la”

I followed behind him glaring at him. I take it…we’re not on the same page.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Carter’s school had a science fair (activity 22)

Given how extremely nerdy I am…I had to go – because science is fun.

In fact, I was really excited to go. Even though, his school is for pre-preschool, preschool, kindergarten and first grade….so we couldn’t expect any mind boggling experiments….but whatever – science fairs rock (enter my nerdiness (although – nerdiness is in the eye of the beholder right? Maybe my husband’s fantasy football is nerdy too… but in a much different (read: lamer) way)).

And we were pleasantly surprised to see some really fun and really interactive science exhibits. Carter learned about bugs, magnifying glasses, microscopes (although he struggled using it with just one eye), strange matter, water tornados, dancing raisins, etc.

Science fairs rock. For us nerds.

I wish I had pictures of the science fair. But I forgot my camera.

Instead, please enjoy this picture of Avery in the double stroller (while Carter played in the park).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sock Off

He's saying, "Sock Off" "Daddy Sock Off."

video

And if you hear something else in this video...maybe you're the awful one (I write it like this because I had a little backlash from the Motorcycle video - but you know what.... if you don't like it...don't watch it (that's my opinion of censorship too). I find humor in some parenting happenings...and if you don't...you should lighten up...or stop reading my blog). S-NAP

Friday, October 8, 2010

I respectfully disagree

Someone recently told me about a website where you could plug in your url and it would plop out it's estimated worth. And of course, I thought this would be a nice way of seeing that I am (read: my blog is) in fact worthless.

(I also wanted to know because I have been toying with the idea of getting my own url...and website...no offense blogspot).

Well, to my surprise (and to the internet's obvious error)...this is what popped up:

Now...we all know that something was wrong for this site to indicate that my blogspot address is worth that. But...how fun to see this!
If anyone is in the market for a new blogspot url... I'd be happy to sell this one to you for the bargain price of $20,000 (but this is my limited time offer...and i'll even throw in the cat (watch out...he poops on the floor)).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Activity 21: Cleveland Autism Walk

Chad and I brought the kids down to the Cleveland Walk for Autism a few weekends ago.

We partially went because we have a friend who works with autistic kids. We partially went because we wanted to learn more about autism. And we partially went because we want to do anything that we can to help find a cure … or just help…in any way.

Now, I have to admit; I didn’t know a lot about autism.

I knew that it mostly affected boys and that there are more cases than what people think. But what I didn’t know was that 1 in every 110 children (and 1 out of every 70 boys) is (are) diagnosed with Autism, which makes Autism more common than childhood cancer, childhood diabetes, and pediatric aids – all combined.

I also didn’t know that it is estimated that the diagnoses of Autism are increasing 10-17% annually.

There is no known cause and no known cure.

As a mother of a child who didn’t talk for two years, who has to have order and structure…I have to admit – this hit me somewhat hard. I feel for the parents of autistic children. I feel for autistic children – and adults. I feel for everyone that is in any way affected by autism.
I highly recommend getting involved in this incredible cause. Find local organizations and get involved.

For more information about Autism, see:http://www.autismspeaks.org/
For more Northeast Ohio info: http://www.autismnortheastohio.org

Activity 20: The Lakewood Park

Ok, so I have been a little bad about blogging about my 30-day (read: 30-activity) challenge. In fact, I have been sort of bad about even completing it. I lost my momentum. I totally lost it.

But ... I’m back now. I bought a double stroller … and I’m like a whole new mommy! "So What?" you ask. Well, a double stroller is like gold for a mommy of two small children. Because it means ... containment.

Watch out world, I’m equipped with a massive-sized double stroller (that can fit through most standard-sized doors). So the kiddos and I are off…to explore the rest of Northeast Ohio (well, locations that I can get to through doors that are standard sized or bigger).

And what better time than fall (my favorite season)?

Our 20th activity was the Lakewood Park (we went there a few weeks ago). I love the Lakewood Park. Love it. It’s hands-down one of the best parks in Northeast Ohio.

The Lakewood Park was (in fact) this mommies stroller-breaking point. I went with a single stroller …and ended up fighting with Carter the entire time and had to threaten to leave multiple times (I was so that mom - the one that's all, "no no no...don't run away from us...stay by your mother and sister....stop running away"). So, thank you Lakewood Park for solidifying my decision about a double stroller and for lighting a little fire under my rear end to get it soon.

Avery had fun in the single stroller though. A lot of fun in fact. It was one of the first times that I heard her laugh out loud.
And Carter had fun on pretty much everything. The swings, the slides, the tires, the boardwalk, the weird-animal-spring-riding-toy things, etc.