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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

whoa, baby.

just a little peek at the belly.
please ignore the heinous wallpaper in my bathroom.
(i literally can't even talk about it. it's hunter green and maroon. which makes me want to barf even more than this pregnancy. and that's saying something...)

also note the child throwing a royal fit over not being able to hold the camera exactly when she wanted to.

isn't that face awesome?!
(so are you as alarmed as i am that my belly is this big when i'm 8 weeks pregnant?! or is it just me?)
whoa, baby.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

methods to our madness

as elias has gotten older, and in turn, more mature (as well as at times, rather difficult), i've been scouting out a good way to help him understand his responsibilities and the rules of our house. a few months ago, i realized i expected him to know the rules of the house without ever actually sitting down and explaining them to him (uh, dur?) as well as the reasons why we should share, and speak respectfully, etc.

after seeing what some of my friends are doing, doing some reading, and perhaps an occasional tivo fast forward through supernanny, i created a reward chart and some house rules so elias could have something concrete and tangible rather than "because i say so." i hate "because i say so." it's so lame to not know why we say the things we say.

i have to tell you, i've been more than pleased with the results so far. he now understands much more fully that he is expected to participate in making our home run, as well as expected to behave (and not behave) in certain ways. in turn, i get to teach him a little more about how Jesus was ("no, elias, Jesus didn't punch bad guys. he loved them even though they were bad.") and how i expect he (and piper) to be. his rewards are things he would get anyway: a movie, a treat, a trip to the playground; but knowing that they are a direct result of positive behavior and good choices, he feels really proud of himself. and he is one eager kid to help because that behavior has been met with such positive praise. it kills me! he helps unload the dishwasher, just because; he cleans his toy room without being asked; he clears everyones plates off the table after dinner instead of just his own. AND he doesn't ask for a sticker every time. he's just learning about participating.

below are the stratton house rules that are on our fridge for elias to see and learn from. and his reward chart is there for him to add stickers to and get excited about (orrrr throw a fit when he's not close enough to a reward yet. lol. a work in progress, people).

i want to know: what methods do you use? or what methods did your parents use? i know there are methods to our madness as parents, and i'm always curious to cultivate/refine/develop/improve mine.

so come on, whatchu got??

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Friday, March 26, 2010

bag lady

at the end of may, the 4.2 of us will be traveling to florida to celebrate dave's grandma's 90th birthday. SO exciting. we've decided to make a vacation out of it because frankly, well already be there, in sunny florida, which is no small feat. so it makes a LOT of sense. AND as part of the celebration, grandma is putting her whole family up at the safety harbor resort & spa, which is beautiful, so what better place to stay?!

the last time i flew, i was 4 months pregnant with piper, and elias was a lap child. the way there? easy. the plane was almost empty, and he watched curious george on our portable dvd player and read books (annnd was spoken to by the flight attendants frequently for being a rollicking, exuberant almost 2 year old). the way back, however? nightmarish. picture elias on my pregnant lap for over two hours, and the gentleman sitting next to me being 6'3" and 250, easily. and i was alone, because dave had driven a car back. this time around, being pregnant again, and having piper to contend with? not gonna lie- i'm a little scared. but i have dave, and elias is always such a good boy. i also tried to book direct flights that worked with their schedules, which will be SUCH a big help.

the ONLY thing right now that i have to figure out, is how to account for car seats. dave's grandma is renting a van or suv for the family while everyone's down for the weekend, so i'll need to have car seats for the kids to sit in while we're carting them to and fro in florida...but that means i'll somehow have to bring them/check them/carry them/have them. this is tricky, but this is not the first time someone has traveled with small children. and i know there must be at least a few of you out there who have done this.

i need to know: are there special car seats that are small or that fold up that are also legal for driving? because i don't know if we can carry all our luggage, a stroller, a pak-n-play, carry-ons, juice cups, blankies, 2.2 children, AND 2 car seats...

SO. i need some options, ideas, and advice. because although something like this guy below looks good, it's not exactly freeing up any hands, and it's not exactly something i want to invest in. i need inexpensive options that can help me avoid being a crazy bag lady and pack light...i think. or something?


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Thursday, March 25, 2010

that's cool...right?

so maybe i did sleep longer than piper this afternoon.
while elias read a book about sports champions and changed his outfit 5 times.
and maybe even after piper had woken up, i fell asleep again.
for an hour.
while elias honed his babysitting skills. (he's about old enough...right?)
and watched, i don't know, hannah montana or something on the disney channel that was totally not age-appropriate. (i'll have to talk to him about making better choices for the kids he's watching...geez.)

and maybe all i want to eat is bacon cheeseburgers every day.
and french fries.
or mozzarella sticks.
oh yeah- and donuts.

i mean, i don't eat them every day.
but i would. and i want to.

that's cool...uhh, right?

i feel like pregnancy is this force to be reckoned with. and it makes you okay with things like ignoring your children so you can sleep in the middle of the day. or eating things that clog your arteries and worse.
and this almost unstoppable.

what have you seen, heard, or experienced with "the force"?
c'mon, share. it will make me feel better :)

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

100% accuracy

once upon a time i was just barely pregnant with my first child. i can remember sitting on the couch in our condo with dave, wondering what our family would one day look like. we imagined we'd have a boy and then a girl.

and then we'd have twins. a boy and a girl.

(who daydreams about having twins?!)

umm. us? there are a lot of twins in my family, so i really almost assumed i would have twins. it seemed inevitable.

it gets weirder: i had a dream the other night that i had twins. you know those dreams- the ones that you wake up from and you're not sure if it was real life or not? it was one of those. and then i was greeted at church that same morning with my sister whispering in elias' ear that she and he should be praying that mommy has twins. now, i don't know how many of you have sisters out there, but we have this creepy connection we call sister sense, and sunday, it allowed the crazy thought of twins to be both in my mind and hers.

i have to tell you, i was a little freaked out after dreaming about twins, and remembering that dave and i thought we'd have twins back in 2006, and then hearing my sister randomly out of nowhere telling my son to PRAY for twins...

and every time i look down, i'm like "whoa- my belly is, like, huge." and i feel like i want to barf everywhere all day every day, which was never the case with my first two pregnancies. so while this is my third child and my belly will get bigger sooner (and yeah, i could stand to lay off the french fries...), and while every pregnancy is different, so my nausea means, well, nothing...

i'm admittedly sort of afraid of my ultrasound on april 5th. i mean, i'm way excited to see a little baby, for sure, but now i'm a little nervous there's going to be, like, more than one.

so. i've just shared my crazy person inside thoughts with you. i'm a lit-tle scared to say them out loud because we've been right so far surmising we'd have a boy and then a girl...

but now? i'm decidedly undecided about going for 100% accuracy.

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Friday, March 19, 2010


(this is me. prancing with the birds in the sunshine. because sun=joy, don't you know?!)

we had a great day yesterday. yes, the mere sight of the sun is like a magic drug that makes us all inexplicably glad and positive and excited. my guess is it's most likely because we were created to be in the sun absorbing all that marvelous vitamin D. we were NOT created to be inside. that's why when we are inside, we are mad. and we want to be outside. it's the magic drug calling our name. so let me talk about why i'm high on vitamin D and love everything right now, especially yesterday and today.

1) this goes without saying, but: the!

2) elias got to play at the playground at watson pond with his buddy aidan (and run around with sticks. and throw pine cones. good times!)

3) which meant that i got to hang out with yvette and chat (i had an adult conversation! with another mother! who's fabulous and pregnant, too! and i mostly kept an eye on my kids!)

4) and meant piper got to follow aidan around and make girly eyes at him. she might have been even happier than elias to see aidan :)

5) when i got home, i realized i got a little color on my face and chest. and i kept catching myself doing double takes like 'why am i pink?' and then i'd remember...and my heart was glad.

6) i got to take a nap. so maybe elias was knocking over lamps and jumping on the bed. i still fell asleep a couple times i think!

7) i spend some time in the backyard raking and realized my tulips were trying to push up through all the wet piles ofBold leaves. tulips and lilacs are my faves and i want nothing more than vases all over my house filled with freshly cut flowers.

8) i was happy to rake. and yes, i was wearing a skirt. that's how i roll.

9) dave snuck home long enough for us to all go out and pick out some more paint swatches at home depot and get fried food for dinner (that's what baby wanted. gotta give 'em what they want!)

10) it was still light out after dinner!

11) i gave the kids a bath and read in bed while they splashed water all over the place. i'm reading point of impact, a stephen hunter book with bob lee swagger, the legendary sniper. (perhaps you remember the movie "shooter" with mark wahlberg. it was loosely based on this book.)

12) the kids went to bed, and i read in bed until dave got home. and then read some more. i didn't touch the dishes, i didn't clean the toy room, i didn't put the laundry away. i just...relaxed.

13) oh. and i'm PREGNANT! woo-hoo!

today is going to be another great day. i'm taking take eli and pip to the playground in west bridgewater to meet up with lee/cadie/jax/madie, and then i have the honor of helping to pick some paint colors for brockton christian. i LOVE paint. but, i'm sure you know that by now.

so what about you? is this sunshine making you all nutty happy cuckoo, too?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

photo booth

me and the kids went to the mall the other day (and every time i get home, i think to myself, "why? why did i ever do that?") to do a couple returns. elias is a big fan of camp bucky, and i am a big fan of shopping alone. we can't, of course, ALL get what we want, now can we? so i told elias we could pack a lunch and play on the slide at camp bucky if he cooperated while mom went to 2 stores. easier said than done since some random nonsense kept me in old navy for an eternity. i feel like the only time i get held up in a store is when i'm trying to just get in and get out. ahhh, the irony. he and piper were SO well behaved (this is not always the case. my kids mostly hate any shopping experience that lasts over 1 hour.) and because they were ΓΌber-patient in the store (unlike me), i treated them to a photo shoot in a photo booth (after they had run around like wild animals for 10 minutes), which blew their minds. they though it was so fascinating and hilarious, which made for a positive ending to what could have been a debacle of a day.

and now i have the perfect photo to keep in my mom purse to show if for some reason i'm out and about without them (gasp).

hey, it could happen.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

b's and g's

well, maybe that's overstating it just a tad, but seriously? i don't know what is going on, but i am SO excited about being pregnant again.
beyond ecstatic.
(and perhaps many other appropriate "e" words.)

when i was pregnant with elias, i knew i was having a boy right away. i even bought him the teeniest tiniest swim trunks you've ever seen before i knew. with piper, i was sure it was a girl, but then i was feeling like if i was wrong and it was a boy, i was going to be disappointed, which wasn't cool, so i spent a couple weeks telling myself i was having a boy so that i could come to terms with it. and i was pleasantly (not) surprised :)

i had a dream last night that i had a boy, and i tell ya, he was the most adorable thing i've ever seen, with tufts of dark hair sticking out all over the place (yeah. i have a things for babies with lots of hair. my kids, of course, are straight up bald). and in my dream, i was just enamored with him and his cute face. mostly with his hair, though. was my dream prophetic? i wonder...

(until, perhaps, i remembered that in this very same dream, i was also a double agent being chased up and down stairwells trying not to get shot. sooooo..)

my mom and friend lee are "voting" for a girl. which would be terribly convenient given the nursery walls are painted raspberry and there's a chandelier over the crib. having one of both, it's easy for me not to care. i would love a boy OR a girl. or both. (wait- what?!) but if i want a boy, apparently i can just eat lots of food, namely cereal.
(again- what?)
(i guess the high intake of pizza and mozzarella sticks i ate back in '06 explains a lot, doesn't it, kris?)

so indulge me. let's take a vote. everyone always has a "feeling" or a "thought" and, hey, you have a 50% chance of being right!
what do you think??
boy? or girl?

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

big news!

well, folks, it's official:

that's right, stratton baby 3 will make his or her debut late october, early november 2010.
we couldn't be more excited!

it's funny, i set up the video camera to get dave's reaction since he had no idea. of course i told elias (who's reaction was "how can YOU make a baby appear in your belly?!" [ummm, errr...]) to run and get him, but instead he yells up the stairs of the studio "hey dad! mom's got a baby brother in her belly!"

welllll, elias, that's jumping the gun a smidge, and yelling it up the stairs wasn't exactly what i had in mind, but how can you not love such a classic almost-4 year old move? :)

so get ready for games like the "name that baby" game, the "where exactly am i going to put 3 kids?" game, and the "how can i get these children from A to B without a minivan?" game!


Thursday, March 4, 2010


i haven't talked books in a while. hmmm. you know how i love books. i think for a clip i was on a little book break from "serious" or involved novels. sometimes you just need a little light reading. in my non-heavy book reading season, dave would take the kids to the library and bring back books he thought i'd enjoy, which was really fun for me because when i pick, i tend to be drawn towards certain types of books. he brought home vanished by joseph finder and michael crichton's state of fear, which were two books i really enjoyed and read quickly. i live for suspense :) also, the "hero" in vanished was kinda cool, and "state of fear" is like this manifesto on global warming wrapped up in thriller of a story (i mean, it's crichton, so...). a fascinating book. really. especially if you're a little bit of conspiracy theorist like me :) and while i'm talking about the late great MC, has anyone read pirate latitudes...and liked it?? i need to know.

after that i read fireproof, which was that movie with doogie howser, i mean, kirk cameron adapted into a book by eric wilson. it was abook my mother-in-law sent me because she knows i'm hopelessly romantic and a total sucker for lovey dovey relationship stories. it was a good little story. realistic, i thought, which made it easier to enjoy.

i'm also in and out of boundaries with kids, by cloud/townsend. i think it's a good resource for parents, and i think boundaries are an important element of child rearing.

my best friend lee and i are reading the red tent by anita diamant together right now and i have to say, it's one of the most compelling and interesting books i've read in a long long time. if you haven't already, you should read it. it's well researched, and for me, put personalities and lives to names in the Bible that can become so familiar. i think i may really love historical fiction, and actually, it was suggested to me in one of my last book posts, so thanks!

i want to know what YOU are reading.
what should go on my list next??

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

bedroom inspiration

so this photo is the the inspiration the future of our bedroom. who knows if or when. i just love to dream :)

i'd love to switch out the bedding to something some subtle, maybe a white with some texture, or some sort of neutral. (truth is, white scares me thinking about the little nosies and toesies in my bed!)

see the yellow in that frame in the previous photo? i'm thinking that yellow alll over the nightstand(s) below, and alllll over a vintage bureau my parents have that is the same shape. with glass knobs?! ugh, i'm getting anxious even thinking about how good it'll look.

this is an ikea bed frame...that's $99. it might as well be free! love it.
and this bad boy at the end of that fabulous bed?

what do you think??

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

bedroom befores

i love before and afters. i have a lot of before and after drafts up my sleeve, but more often than not, projects aren't quite finished around here, and i don't really want to post almost-after pictures. that's way lame.
but if i don't, i'll never have anything to show you because nearly every room is at work in progress somehow. so i guess i'll have to be a little lame :)

these are the before pictures of our bedroom. this room i hated more than i could ever explain for a few reasons:
a) the paint colors, though not terrible, clashed with our bedroom set. BADLY.
b) whoever painted it was likely blind. what a mess. AWFUL.
c) someone was trying to get creative with the two-tone, but didn't finish the trim work and so it mostly looked ric-rac. ugh.
d) the wallpaper on the ceiling (which is the only unfinished part now) really had to come down. it was so ugly and elias enjoyed peeling it off while he'd lay with us in bed. awesome.
e) the list goes on. and on.

i'll post the after pictures of the bedroom in the following post and soon i'll reveal the plans we have for it in the months to come. if you're lucky, maybe i'll give you a hint...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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bedroom afters

the bedroom: after

i have to admit i'm quite pleased with how this room turned out. then again, anything is an upgrade from the hot mess it was.

this first photo is of one of my favorite little details. it's actually a hook for a jacket, but i'm using it as a tie-back. i bought it at michaels (a craft store) for 70% off thinking i'd use it for the foyer, but when i realized there's no place in there i want random things hanging, i decided to use it to sweep my too long curtains to the side.

the paint is a custom mix very close to behr's "english channel" (ul230-2). i adore it. the trim is a creme color called bare (oc-98) by benjamin moore. i'm going to switch the window shutters for the white ones i had put in the bathroom since now there is no more brown trim. hallelujah!

this will eventually go on the slanted wall where we took off the old wallpaper. as soon as i'm not to nervous that i'm going to screw it up royally. eek. wallpaper scares me.


tomorrow's post will be a sneak peek of what i have in store for the bedroom :)

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Monday, March 1, 2010

wwjd- what will jake do?

i don't care what he does, as long as he doesn't pick vienna.
now, i'll be surprised if he chooses tenley, because she an uber-safe choice, and most men simply don't pick good women- that would be LOGICAL. no no- they pick CRAZY wacko women.

i fear jake isn't smart enough to choose tenley (anyone) over fake faced/weird half-hearted smile/dead eyed vienna.

if he's in his right mind, he'll choose neither and go back to the drawing board. or he'll pick tenley and see if she's got more spunk then she'll allow on tv. but tenley is a bit vanilla, and i think a guy like jake is vanilla enough himself, so he needs a little spice.

but not vienna-type spice. yikes. i can't look into her eyes andsee anything genuine. i just can't. am i alone here? anyone??



befores and afters

the bulk of my time over the past few years has been dedicated not only to raising my two beautiful children but also to revitalizing my 150 year old cape with the help of my handy husband. when i first saw this house, dave and i were driving by it on our way back from looking at another house. elias was almost 6 months old, and we were starting to grow out of the condo we were living in. so we called the number on the for sale sign, and learned the house had actually been taken off the market. we figured it was way out of our league anyway, but later that day the realtor called back and said the owner would be willing to put it back on the market if we were serious.

the rest is history, God-style. we sold our condo in less than 24 hours after it was put on the market, even though there were 5 others for sale in our complex. We made an offer that was accepted, an although this house is far more than we could have ever thought of owning, it sureee needed (needs) a lot of cosmetic work!

well, if you're me it does.

and so i'm beginning what i call "before and afters" to give you a peek at the transformations. there are oh so very many, though we haven't actually put a lot of money into the house, really. a little paint or decor...some new hardware or furnishings can go a long way. i'm no interior decorator, i just know what i like (and it's not ugly wallpaper or bad light fixtures).

i hope you'll all enjoy the transformations as much as i have. volume 1 will be our bedroom. stay tuned!