Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grand"mom"ments, Chapter 1

Last night was the first time my mom and I sat down to chat about her memories of us as kids. I think she was feeling a bit overwhelmed and on the spot, like there was a bit of pressure. I told her not to worry about it, and hopefully now that we've gotten going, it will be easier. I already have forgotten specifics about S being a baby - I can't imagine what I'll have forgotten in 35-ish years! She had a great idea to bring a photo album next time, and I think that will help a lot and be a lot of fun. I'm going to try to scan in a few of the pictures to include with the stories when appropriate. So without further adieu, here's her story:

When you were born, you were 4lbs 5oz, and I was scared spitless of you!
What am I going to do with this little wee thing? Grandma Mc came down to
help me and got me settled down. Dad was very calm about it. Didn’t have
panic attacks. As you started to grow, and you grew fast, it wasn’t as scary.

You were always - from time beginning - active. Busy, busy, busy! When
your sister, J, was born, you wanted to be really helpful with her. She kind
of felt like she was smothered several times. Eventually J got
to the point of letting you know, "Get out of my face!"

Like I said, you were always really busy. The first thing we did with
you was put you in dance, tap and tumbling, and you were really good
at that. Then softball, and we had lots of fun with that. Your dad,
of course, was the coach. You were always irritating the other team
when they were up at bat. You were a good softball player. You had
good hits and ran really fast.

You had an imaginary friend, Christy Lane. You loved to play in the
sand, and were always hyperactive, always on the go.

So clearly Mom's memories are less about specifics, and mostly impressions. So what have we learned? I was hyper. Yes, and that explains a lot about why our little Miss S is hyper, too. Can't wait to hear more next week! Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Background on G'ma

Since I'm going to start including grand"mom"ments from my mother on here, I thought I should provide a little background about her. G-ma, as I'll call her, is from a very small town in Manitoba, Canada. She went to school in a one-room schoolhouse and grew up on a farm. Her father's first wife died, so when he married her mother, she had two half-brothers who were about 10-12 years older than her. They have both passed away. She is the oldest of her mother's children. She has a younger sister who has four kids, and a younger brother who is the baby of the family, and he has three kids of his own.

When my mom was working for BMA, she was sent to Kansas City for a short time for a project. While she was here, she went on a blind date with my dad for New Year's Eve. They had an ok time, but neither of them was wowed. I think my dad was kind of seeing someone else at the time, too. Then the same couple who set them up for New Year's had a Valentine's party, and my parents were both there. They went to get ice and got to talking, and it all clicked for them. If I remember correctly, my dad left for California for a week, but when he got back, they saw each other every day until my mom left to go back to Canada a few weeks later. They talked on the phone every day, and my dad, practical man that he is, said they were wasting a lot of money on long distance, and they should get married. (I like to think he was more romantic about it, but that's how he tells the story.) So that's what they did on April 15th.

While you're mulling over that timeline, let me give you a few more pertinent details. It was the 1960s. My dad was divorced (warning bell #1), his parents were divorced (warning bell #2), he had a kid (warning bell #3), and he lived a thousand miles away (warning bell #4) in a different country (warning bell #5). HELLO!?!?!? Those things would be enough to keep me from marrying him in 2010 - after dating for a year - much less in the '60's when those things were still pretty taboo and having only known the man for three and a half months.

Of course everyone assumed she must be pregnant because of the shotgun wedding, but it was seven years before they were graced with my incredible being, and two more years before my baby sister was born. Clearly my mom is an amazing, brave woman. Can't wait to tell more about her!

The One Thing I Want More Than Anything In the World

At age 3, to please my parents.

At age 5, to make a friend.

At age 12, to transition from tomboy to teen girl smoothly like in all the movies where all I'd have to do is take off my glasses, let my hair down and put on makeup, and I'd be beautiful.

At age 16, to be kissed.

At age 18, to heal my first broken heart.

At age 20, to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

At age 22, to find a job so I can stay in Colorado.

At age 25, to find a husband.

At age 28, to turn back time and erase the biggest mistake of my life.

At age 30, to be the best wife I can be.

At age 32, to be the best mom I can be.

At age 33, to get a decent night's sleep.

At age 34, to get a decent night's sleep.

At age 35, to get a decent night's sleep.

I feel like I should change the name of my blog to All I Want Is More Than Four Hours of Sleep a Night. Sigh.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Interpreting Art

When I was working on the decor for S's birthday party, I came across these cute toddler calling cards on the Internet. I had never heard of such a thing, but my designer friend who told me the cupcake toppers were all the rage knew exactly what I was talking about. She was in mid-design on some herself. So I thought, what the heck? I'll make some for S to put in her favor bags. I thought it seemed kind of pretentious for a 3-year-old to have a business card, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. At her daycare, I have to ask the provider to give her friends' parents my contact info so they can contact me so I can invite them to playdates/parties. Wouldn't it be easier to just have cards to pass out?

I set out on my little design project, and felt pretty proud of the result. Here's the basic premise with the names and numbers changed for security purposes:

I backed it to matching hot pink cardstock, and it looked super cute, if I do say so myself. I put the playdate cards in the favor bags. As the party was wrapping up, I was talking to my sisters, neither of whom have kids so were unaware of the purpose of these cards themselves. Apparently due to the phrasing, both my sisters thought I was starting a business where I coordinate playdates for other kids. My older sister even thought maybe I coordinate mommy playdates. What? That's not what it says? Surely they're just misunderstanding because they don't have kids. I grabbed a card and re-read my title:

mommy • playdate booking agent

OMG. Why did I choose to use such ambiguous punctuation and fluffy phrasing? It totally COULD be read that way. I...was...mortified.

My sisters were feeling pretty smug about teasing me, but saw how upset I was getting and told me they really thought it was actually a great business idea. I don't care if it is - it's completely inappropriate to advertise your business in your kid's party favors. It would be like I was a real estate agent and threw my business card in, and as I handed out the favors, shook the kids' hands and said, "Thanks for coming, and hey - let your parents know if they're looking to move, give me a call." Wink, wink.

My sisters told me all this at the end of the party, so I asked a couple of the moms who were still there what they thought. After looking at the cards, they said that's kind of what it sounded like, too, until I explained it. Nooooooooo! My fears were confirmed. One of them had seen other playdate cards so she knew what I was intending. I ended up putting a note in with the thank yous to clarify. And I'll be revising the wording on them going forward. Sooooo embarrassed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog Purpose

When I started blogging, it was to keep a record of our first child's growth. I wanted to do a baby book of sorts, but I knew it would be easier for me to type it than record it by hand in a book, partially because I'm a much faster typist and have terrible handwriting, and partially because I knew I'd never be able to keep track of the dang book, or think of things to write in it when I was away from home.

The first blog was literally only about her with a few current events thrown in for reference. The site I used,, seemed inappropriate once she turned one in July and went from being a baby to a toddler (sniff!). I stopped writing until after the new year when I began a new weblog on Blogger. The premise behind KC BarrBQ Family was for it to be about our family, and I kept it private, using it mostly as a place to keep family and friends updated on our lives. The more I wrote, the more I felt I had to say about things that were beyond the scope of our family; kind of op-ed pieces. I loved creative writing when I was in school, it was my emphasis under my B.A. in English. Even though what I was writing wasn't fiction, it was great to be writing again. So in February, I submitted one of the aforementioned op-ed to Mamapedia, which they accepted! I was thrilled. I realized I needed to have a public blog if I was going to be submitting works, so I created Midwest "Mom"ments. It had identical entries to KC BarrBQ Family, I just changed the names. And omitted a few more personal anecdotes and growth details that I thought wouldn't be very interesting to anyone other than us. After a couple of months of that, I gave up on the family-only one, and redirected everyone to this public site.

So for the past three months, I've been trying to focus on writing interesting pieces about random stuff amidst the family info. I felt that was fine, but within the last couple of weeks, I've been rethinking my process. First of all, I have no subscribers. I know there are a few people who read it (they've mentioned it), but no one I don't know personally reads it. I'm not expecting a huge following or anything, or have grandiose ideas about making any money at this, but I do want people to be aware of my existence in the hopes that more of my submissions will be accepted for publishing. I found a couple of amazing resources, BlogHer and ThetaMom, as well as a couple of blogs, In Pursuit of Martha Points and KludgyMom. At first, I thought I would do a completely separate blog on BlogHer where I would start creative writing again. And then I found some great posts about how to be a better blogger, and it said you should have a specific theme so you can attract people looking for that topic. Hmmm, I'm a mess if that's the case. My posts are ALL over the board. So tried to think of what my "theme" should be. Since then, I've read lots of posts saying it doesn't matter what the theme is, you just have to be real. Find your voice and people will be drawn in. All of those suggestions were helpful, but I still wasn't sure what to do.

I had an epiphany on my lunchbreak. It led to me realizing I already have my theme. Midwest "Mom"ments is: A diary chronicling the joyful, overwhelming, crazy, sometimes frustrating, journey that is parenthood. Part of being a parent is maintaining your own identity while wearing your parenting hat. So those op-ed pieces are still pertinent to me, and therefore, to the blog. And In Pursuit of Martha Points inspired me to create a group of blogs that were creative writing, just for me. And the epiphany that made this all possible, was that as I drove home for lunch I was reflecting as I often do on my own mom. And how she's a fantastic mother, and I am sad to see her memory issues developing, and I don't know how to help, and I wish I spent more time with her. That's when it occurred to me - I should do installments about my mom's "mom"ments. So I'm hoping the blogging workshop I'm going to do with Kludgymom will help me learn how to set up folders or categories or whatever for those three things - op-ed, creative writing, and grand"mom"ments - plus some graphic design stuff . For now, just check out the tags. I'm excited to start this new path with my blog!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Friday Baby R pulled up on the bathtub to stand on her feet. I don't mean a struggling pull, I mean, one fluid heft and she was up. My baby is getting so big. I feel like I'm missing out on so much of her babyhood. I was so focused on S when she was a baby. Every moment, every detail. I would watch her for hours. Poor Baby R gets a cursory glance, and a, "Wow! Good job!" before I have to make sure S isn't drowning in the tub while washing mermaid Dora's "cradle cap". I was so worried about ignoring S when R was little that I focused on R when she needed me, but not much more than that. I'm hoping that I'll get better at splitting my attention between them as they get bigger and more equally independent. Is that unrealistic?

On a funny note, S has some new imaginary friends. They seem to have Chinese/Indian sounding names. I'm not sure where she's getting them from, but I'm glad to know that she's somehow being exposed to other ethnicities. We let her type on the laptop when the powe is off, so she was doing that on the coffee table Thursday when she suddenly collapsed in laughter on the couch. I asked her if she was alright, and she caught her breath and said, "Yeah, Sangdonghanong (sp?) sent me an email, and it was so funny I fell down!" And she erupted in peals of laughter again. I was cracking up. Inside, mind you. Though I was unable to stifle a small giggle.

Sunday has another cute S story, and a not-so-cute one. I'll start with the negative and end on a positive. First of all, keep in mind that we had a rough night, so I know she was really tired when she woke up. I don't even remember what started it, but she had a huge tantrum. I told her she needed to go to her room until she could calm down. She said she wanted to go downstairs. I told her she could as soon as she stopped screaming. She started throwing her books. I told her to stop and that she needed to pick up all her books and put them away, or I would take them away. The latter was the end result. I'm skipping A LOT; this was an hour - hour and a half process. I had planned to go to church, but I was so exhausted by the time we were done at 8:30am, I could barely function.

Thankfully the day got better. Later on, S said she was going to singing lessons and then piano lessons. She sang into the Baby R's toy microphone, and then had "piano" lessons on the xylophone. Very cute.

Unfortunately, today there was another tantrum. I don't know if she was hungry (hardly had any dinner) or tired, but we went for a walk after dinner, and she was wanting to ride in the stroller. We were only half a block from home. I finally put her in it and carried Baby R, and turned us back towards the house. She threw a fit because she didn't want to go home. And then when we got home it was worse. So I put her to bed - no snack, no video, no books - and told her I'd be back to finish her bedtime routine after I put Baby R down. She had wet her pants when I came back. That's something she's started doing lately. Not sure if she's doing it on purpose to piss me off (ha, ha), or if she literally loses control when she's that upset. Sigh.....

Celebrity Look-Alikes

I found a blog today through my new Theta Mom group called Kludgy Mom. She mentioned a site where you could find your celebrity look-alike,, so thought I'd try it on DH and me. The post was asking which actress we would want to play us in a movie. She mentioned the site to help if you were wanting someone who resembled you.

I actually had a guy tell me I looked like Jodie Foster once. I do like her as an actress, so that would be cool. I wondered if she would come up in my look-alike collage. She didn't, but at the time he told me, I was also younger, thinner, and had a bob haircut. And we were in a dark bar. And he was probably tipsy, so I'm going to rely on the website's comparisons.

I tried the collage on two different photos. The first picture I used matched me up with Jessica Biel, Hayden Panettiere and Katie Holmes as matches. Not bad, not bad. If I were to choose one of them to play me in a movie, it would probably be Katie Holmes.

The second one had Bette Midler and Helen Hunt. I didn't save it, because those were the only two people I recognized. They are probably a little more realistic choices, though. :) Helen would be my pick to play me.

Here's hubby:

I found this interesting because I didn't know who half of these people were, and I would never EVER think he looks like a Hanson. Topher Grace? Maybe. And Robert Duvall's not a bad guy to have next to me when I'm old. Although, I know exactly how DH will look when he's old. The family genes are very strong. He will look like his dad, who looks like his dad, who looked like his dad. If anything, I think DH looks like Hal Sparks, who wasn't even an option:

Thoughts? Which celebrities do you think we look the most like? And who do you think would be good actors to portray is in a movie about us?

Good job!

When we were on our trip to Colorado last week, we stayed with one of my sorority sisters in Castle Rock (halfway between Denver and the Springs). Her husband is in the Air Force and she is a SAHM to a sweet 2.5-year-old girl. She mentioned to me that something that grated on her nerves when she would be at the playground was hearing parents tell their kids, "Good job!" We should praise our kids, though, right? Well, sure. But she's talking about when you say it for every - little - thing. "You're breathing! Good job!"

At first, I said I agreed with her. Over complimenting is a big source of why kids today are so darn egotistical. It's all about them. It's high time we started teaching them the world doesn't revolve around them. And they won't believe us anyway if it's empty praise. I looked good up on my soapbox.

And then, it happened. I heard myself tell our 3-year-old "good job" about ten times in the next five minutes. For stupid stuff. Yikes! Do I really sound like that? All the time? OMG. My friend and I laughed about it. She said she realized she did it more than she thought, too, and had worked at rephrasing it to be more specific, and really thinking before saying anything at all. Um, have we met? I'm not so hot at thinking before speaking. But I'm TRYING. Very hard not to say it. It's become a bit of a joke between DH and me. Whenever one of us says it, we point it out.

Clearly there could be worse things we say to our kids. And it's especially difficult right now because every time we turn around, our 9-mo-old is doing something new, so saying "Good job!" really does apply to her pulling up, taking steps, eating on her own, etc. But saying it to our 3-year-old who has said, "Mommy, Mommy watch me!" when she's jumping to the floor from the couch repeatedly is probably not the best use of praise. And it is really annoying to hear it coming out of your mouth once you've become aware of it.

So what's your "Good job!" phrase you're trying to eliminate from your vocabulary?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Wonderful Husband: the Coke Rewards Fanatic

I'm a talker. And contrary to my mother's wonderful advice to only say nice things about people or not say anything at all - ESPECIALLY about your husband - I tend to rant and commiserate. Even about my amazing husband. Ok, often about my amazing husband. I don't think he takes it too personally since I'm like that in general. Not that I only say negative things, I'm just one of those people who says every single thought that comes into my head, often to the chagrin of those who know me (and myself). Because I'm sometimes (ok, fine, often) found whining about the things my hubby doesn't do that I want or does do that I don't, I'm going to take this opportunity to expound on one of the things I complain about, but secretly makes me love him in several ways.

He collects Coke Rewards points. I'm not sure you're familiar with this, so to explain, Coca-Cola has a redemption system wherein you create an account online and whenever you obtain one of their products that has a code on it, you type it into your account and earn points. You can redeem the points for things like gift cards or apparel or electronics or any number of things. To keep it simple, the original rule was you could only enter 10 codes a day. (Now there's a limit to 100 points a week or something, but for the purposes of my story, we'll just stick with the original guideline.)

When I say my DH collects these points, I don't mean this in a general, "Oh, I had a Coke today, so I'll keep the cap and enter the code in later" kind of way. I mean in a driven, obsessive kind of way. The man prints the high school football schedules for the entire city so he can strategize which schools to go to after games to try to score the most caps from the bottles the kids leave lying in the stands, and if he can time it to make it to two on Friday night and one Saturday morning before they're cleaned up. He can collect 500 or more caps in a weekend.

Why is this even something I would complain about, you ask? After all, he's the one doing all the work. I'll tell you why. Because it takes a lot of time. Time to collect them, time to clean them, time to enter all the codes. Time that could be spent doing other things like helping around the house, playing with the kids or hanging out with me. And this has been going on for four years. FOUR YEARS, people! In those four years we've had two kids and bought a house that was double the square footage of our old one. This is the source of my frustration with his hobby. Admittedly, he scaled back considerably with the addition of each of these new responsibilities. (At one point he had six or seven separate accounts. Ten codes per account times six or seven accounts - about an hour or so a day was spent entering them.) And to be fair, a lot of the prizes he's redeemed the points for have been for me (I heart my iTouch). So I shouldn't complain too much. And you know what? Even though I sigh dramatically whenever I see those dreaded caps, secretly I'm feeling quite proud of my man. And here are the reasons why:

1. His passion. Whether it's work or love or hobbies, he puts everything into what he does. He never does anything halfway. I like to think I'm passionate, but often I'm just a lot of talk. He's the hardest worker and most devoted friend you will ever find.

2. His ability to complete a project. I am notorious for starting something I find to be fun and creative and then getting bored and stopping. For example, I did a large cross stitch for one of my friends when her daughter was born. It was about 8x10, two bunnies with some quote about friendship beneath it. I actually did all the cross-stitching - it took months. I did all of it except the finished outline. So close to being completed. Her daughter just started her junior year of high school. SERIOUSLY?? Just finish the dang outlining already! My hubby not only started this four years ago and still does it at the very least every week (usually every night), but when he enters a code, he marks the back of it to indicate which account it belongs to, then places it in a box designated for that account. When the box is full, he dates it and stores it in the basement, neat and tidy. Which brings me to number three....

3. His organization. I like to be organized. I like for everything to have a place. But when I'm mid-project, I'm a mess. At work, my desk is a mess; at home, my crafting space (ie, the formal dining room table) is a mess. I'm good about cleaning up at the end of a project, but don't expect that to happen until I'm completely done. As I mentioned above, he keeps this project organized all the time. He stores the caps he hasn't entered yet in Ziploc bags of 100 so he can have small quantities to work with.

4. His problem-solving/compromising skills. The clean-up crew at the football stadium told him it was a pain for them to deal with half-empty Cokes that were missing their lids because they spilled everywhere, and asked him to stop taking them. He told them if they'd give him a trash bag, he'd throw away the bottles for them. Most people probably would have said, too bad, or fine, I'll find somewhere else to go, but my hubs found a solution they could all be happy with.

4. His compassion/thoughtfulness. When he collects the caps, he wears gloves and keeps the bags of caps in the garage until he has a chance to soak them all in the sink to clean away the dirt and germs which keeps his family healthy. And, of course, as I mentioned before about the iTouch, I've been the recipient of many wonderful prizes. Most of what he redeems the codes for are for the family, like a camcorder and a travel DVD player. Of course he gets some things for himself (mostly autographed sports memorabilia), but he shares A LOT.

5. His entrepreneurial spirit. He LOVES to find a way to make money/get a deal. I do my fair share of coupon clipping and a bit of bargain shopping, but am not motivated to take on something like this. (Don't even get me started on his insane ability to figure out and obtain the hot items at Christmas-time and sell them on eBay for a nice profit.) I am in constant awe of the way he can find an opportunity, set a goal and achieve it.

There are so many more reasons I love my husband. But these are the ones his Coke addiction brings to mind. Now if I can just keep them in mind tonight when I get home and want to snuggle on the couch and watch TV with him, and he says he's got to enter his codes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What I Am Reading Now

I joined a site called BlogHer this week - love it! Thousands of women and their blogs! One of them wanted to see what everyone is reading, so I selected "First Degree" by David Rosenfelt. I think I've read this half a dozen times. I love everything about Rosenfelt's books; his voice, his style, his ability to inject humor and a touch of romance into murder mysteries. This was the first one that I read by him, so I think that's why it's my favorite.

Showing that book cover only tells part of the story, though. I'm a mom so I'm pretty much always reading parenting books. Currently those include "The Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson, "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber, and I'm re-reading "What to Expect the First Year" by Heidi Murkoff et al.

I need to update my Goodreads info - LOVE that site! So cool. You can link to it through Facebook and/or add to your blog (as I have). You can invite friends and see who is reading what, what they recommend, and what they are wanting to read. You have your own "bookshelves" - read, currently reading and to-read, and can customize your own (I have one called "want to read again"). You can rate everything you've ever read. You can see polls about different books and see comments from authors. It's very cool.

Princess Paranoia

I was a tomboy as a kid. I liked my Hot Wheels and Legos, and cringed when I had to play Barbies with my sister. As an adult, I was afraid I would grow up, get married, have a baby girl and have no idea how to play with her. I did get married, but I didn't just have a little girl; I had two. YIKES. Initially I was determined they would not have anything princess related, because all that teaches them is that women can't be happy on their own, and they need a knight in shining armor to rescue them. What a load of crap. Not to mention it just contributes to the Barbie ideal of beauty. I was convinced that a lot of the reason girls have that type of personality is a reflection of the kinds of toys/games/media kids are exposed to so I decided shielding her from that for as long as possible would keep her from being sucked into that mindset.

The first couple of years with S went fine. She got a lot of hand-me-downs with princesses on them, and a dress-up gown, but it didn't really seem to be something that caught her attention. (Another lesson that in nature vs. nurture, nature is often in the lead.) She has very well-rounded interests - Legos, books, babies, trains, singing, Hot Wheels, playing on her swing set, painting, dancing, playing with her mower and her wagon. She loves Hello Kitty and playing with her purse and jewelry, but also Curious George, Sid the Science Kid and Shrek. She has sports paraphernalia for soccer, baseball and golf. Then she started daycare with a sweet little girl who is very girly. You know, the kind who always shows up in adorable outfits with her hair in braids and bows. I'm lucky if I can get S there with clothes on at all, much less matching ones since I let her choose what she wants to wear. And I had to cut her hair into a bob because she won't let me brush it. Her little friend is all about princess stuff. She had a princess-themed bday party in the spring. I thought my fears of S being corrupted were being confirmed when I asked her what kind of party she wanted to have this summer, and she said "Princesses!" My heart sank. But when I asked her who she wanted to have on her cake, she said, "Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover...." Whew!

Of course I want her to be friends with kids who have other interests, and her friend is such a sweet girl. She is very blessed to have met her. And after having read other blogs about this type of thing, I've decided that if DD goes through an obsession with princesses, it will be ok. Because I will do what a lot of the other posters have suggested - focus on the positive aspects of their characters and let her know that a real princess doesn't need to be rescued by a knight - she can be successful on her own. Fiona in Shrek is a good example. Though she is initially rescued, her fairy-tale idea of being kissed by her savior when he arrives is shattered by the reality of Shrek shaking her awake and telling her to get up. Then when she's abducted by Robin Hood and his thieves, she does some Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon/Matrix/Charlie's Angels moves to save herself. And of course the big moral of the story is not to judge a book by its cover. I love how at the end her true self is an ogre which shows that you don't have to have a certain look to be a princess.

I have learned a lot through this experience. Faced some previously unknown prejudices and grown as a person. It still amazes me how much trying to teach my own kids teaches me!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tempering My Temper

I remember being a kid and having screaming matches with my dad. On the one hand, I was a redhead (It's gotten darker over the years. Not sure I can even call it auburn anymore!), so I sort of wrote it off as being expected. On the other, I always wondered if it was because my dad was impatient, short-tempered and a yeller that it was a learned trait. Don't get me wrong - he's an AMAZING father. But his biggest regrets now are those times he fought with us. He apologizes all the time, so I've been trying really hard not to make the same mistakes. Especially since I thought I could just avoid teaching my kids those habits. Until I had S. I've mentioned it before, but she had her first tantrum at 4 months. So now knowing a lot more of it is innate and that I had managed to outgrow the outbursts (except for rare occasions) has helped me reconcile that part of me that I'm not too fond of.

At least, I thought I'd outgrown them.

I've found over the last few months that I am absolutely awful to S at times. I get so angry that I am shaking and have to walk away from her. I've even told her I have to put myself in time-out. I know part of it is that the last six months, she was 2.5-3 so she was pushing my buttons more, and Baby R was born so I was sleeping less. Certainly a dangerous combination. But lately I feel like Pandora's box has been opened, and I can't put the anger away. I'm set off by the tiniest things, and I overreact to her so often. It kills me to see that I've crushed her little soul. I know that words are more hurtful than anything because you never forget them. I try to bite my tongue and use "I" phrases - "I am very angry right now!" instead of "You are making me crazy!" Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes I'm not. She's the most amazing child, and I know that her tenacity and fiery personality will be assets to her. I want to foster the positives and show her how to manipulate that temper into something wonderful. But I feel that I'm failing at doing that.

I know I need to do some things to help my mood - exercise, eat better, get more rest, do meditation/yoga. I need to do those things for more than just my temper, but this may be the biggest motivation I've found so far. Because I want my baby girl to know how much I love her; not think I'm constantly frustrated with her.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Vacation" Is a Misnomer When Travelling with Small Children

DH and I love Colorado. When I graduated from CSU (go Rams!), I tried to find a job so I could stay out West, but fate brought me back to KC (and my future hubby). He had visited Colorado with his best friend, and that's when he fell in love with the mountains. He is also a fan of familiarity. We never actually discussed where to vacation this year, we just started talking about going to Estes Park again. He said he wanted to stay in the same cabins we were in the last time we were there two years ago. Seriously? The one-room cabin I had to sit in the kitchenette with the lights out, and a flashlight so I could at least do some reading after our 1-year-old went to bed at 7:30pm? The one that had the shower that was so small I was bumping the walls with my elbows when I washed my hair which grossed me out because it didn't look very clean? I don't think so. Anyway, because of his desire to take repeat vacations, and my deep adoration for what I consider to be my second-home state, we have been to Colorado many times. We also tend to make this trip with another couple we are friends with. (Thank you, RB, for finding a MUCH nicer cabin for us to stay in!)

The plan this year, as most years, was to visit some of my friends from school, enjoy some hiking/sightseeing at Rocky Mountain National Park, and DH would get in a round of golf. This year we also had horseback riding and a trip in the gondola to the top of the mountain on our list. We decided to break up the drive out there to make it easier for the girls. I thought S would be ok with the long ride, but poor Baby R is still too young to face forward, but too old to sleep all day, so I envisioned lots of frustration for her. So we took off Monday night after dinner, thinking the girls would be up for a couple of hours, then fall asleep. We'd stop in Hays around 11pm so we could get a decent night's rest, drive to my friend's house just south of Denver on Tuesday, then go the last couple of hours to Estes on Wednesday. Piece of cake!

It was a great plan in theory. We loaded up the car and headed out with high hopes like all vacationers do. Unfortunately, the DVD player broke when we pulled out of our driveway, so we stopped at Best Buy on the way out of town to get a new one. (Personally I, having grown up taking insane road trips - one that encompassed 3,000 miles in 3 weeks - thought we could survive without it, but DH believed it to be a traveling staple.) Then we finally pulled onto the highway, and S said, "Are we there yet?" I had to laugh. Didn't expect her to know that phrase yet, nor did I think it would be uttered at an intersection she sees almost every day. She was having a tough time grasping what a different state of the union was. Still, things were going well for a couple of hours. She had told me the day before that she wanted us to have another baby. I told DH that, and he asked her if she wanted a little brother or a little sister. She said she wanted a "Kiefer". That's her friend's little brother's name. So she wants a brother. Which of course, made DH smile. Then she said three was enough. She likes three. Four is not good. LOL. That way her little sister could play with her little brother. And then around 9pm, she said she wanted to go home. I was completely unprepared for this. I knew it was because she was tired and wanted her bed, but I had no idea what to say. I muttered something about you'll have fun when we get there or something, clearly flailing.

Monday night, S didn't fall asleep until we were 30 minutes from our hotel in Hays, and Baby R never did fall asleep, but screamed the last 45 minutes we were in the car. Once in the hotel, S woke back up. Both kids were crying and fussing and couldn't get to sleep. We were all in one room and they are usually in separate rooms at home. One would settle down to sleep, and the other would start crying. Then that one would start to settle down, and the other one would cry. I wanted to cry myself. It was 12:30am before we all got to sleep.

We woke up the next morning around 7:15am which is a little later than usual, but not late enough given our time line the night before. I noticed that Baby R had had another tooth poke through; now she has both bottom front teeth. We hit the road but had to stop for gas and oil, so didn't leave Hays until around 9am. We went back through Hays around 9:20am. DH had gotten on I-70 going East. I will blame the GPS and thank my limited internal compass combined with knowledge regarding the direction of the sunrise.

The drive to my friend's house in Castle Rock actually went much more smoothly than I expected. Mapquest and the GPS said to take CO-86 through Kiowa, but my friend said it's really rural. I let DH decide, even though I was driving at this point. We took the smaller highway, and it turned out to be a fine choice.

We got to my friend's house around 3pm. It was great to see her and her family. Apparently her husband is into Coke caps as well. :) She has a daughter who is 2.5 so S had fun playing with her. That evening, DH went to Colorado Springs to watch their minor league team, the Sky Sox, play. He even got a game ball that was hit out of the park and landed right in front of him in the parking lot when he went out to the car to get his jacket. Bedtime was rough for S. It was too bright in the spare bedroom, so she couldn't fall asleep. She said she wanted to go home again. Sigh.

Wednesday morning, my friend's husband didn't have to work, so he finally got to meet DH. He had been teasing me that DH didn't exist - in all the years I've known him - since college - they've missed seeing each other. We left their home around 10am and stopped in Denver for a picnic with some of my friends from the dorm (see pic of us on the bench). The girls had fun playing with the kids and DH was wonderful and chatty, bless his heart! After lunch, we hit the road for nap time, though by now I knew it would be unlikely that they would actually sleep, and they didn't. We got to Estes and stopped at Safeway to get some groceries. DH had the LBS (Low Blood Sugar) and was grouchy, and it was about to rain, and the girls were tired and hungry, too, so we rushed and got some basics and headed to the cabin. As we were finishing up dinner, our friends we were vacationing with arrived. We unpacked and got the kiddos ready for bed.

Based on the photos of the cabin that I'd seen online, I had thought our family would take the upstairs bedroom and loft area so Baby R and S could sleep in separate areas, and leave the master bedroom on the main floor for our friends. After we arrived and I did a quick recon, I realized that wasn't the best option because the loft upstairs was completely open to the main floor, and Baby R would not be able to sleep without a wall to block some of the noise. That left the master bedroom. It was a little bigger, so I thought I could fit the Pack N Play by the bed, but was dreading it because I knew we'd be right back to the same problems we'd had when we were in the hotel. I did some creative thinking and ended up putting the Pack N Play in the closet. I sound like a terrible mother - How was your vacation? Lovely!! Our 9-month-old slept in the closet. But it was open to the master bath and there was a door between the bath and the bedroom, so it was like a separate room instead of a closet. Baby sleeping issue solved.

There was a king-size bed in the master, and all three of us could have slept in it, but I was afraid when I got up in the night to care for the baby, I would wake the preschooler. (Still adjusting to calling her that!) So I slept on the couch in the living room. At home, we have room-darkening curtains because S will wake up with the sun. We knew it was unlikely there would be any such thing at the cabin, but planned to throw a blanket over the windows there. Unfortunately, the windows were almost the size of the wall - there was no way we were going to be able to cover them. So we were up at 5:30am almost every morning, and she didn't go to sleep until after 8:30 every night because there was still light out. So....exhausting.... Websters defines a vacation as a "time of respite". Clearly, this was not going to be a vacation.

Anyway, Thursday morning, the boys went golfing. When they came back, all of us went on the gondola ride up the mountain. I was surprised DH wanted to go, because he has a pretty intense fear of heights. As do I, though I have a weird thing where if there's a barrier of some type that is at least waist high, I'm ok with it. Not thrilled mind you, but ok. We both did well on the way up until we were almost at the top and a gust of wind rocked the gondola. DH gripped the hand-holds for dear life, but we both put on a tough act for our kids. I was proud of us. Once there, we walked around a bit, looked through the viewfinder down at the town below, fed some chipmunks and got S her souvenir from the trip - a rock necklace.

That evening while we were outside on the deck, we saw some elk on the golf course behind our cabin. Even though the elk are practically domesticated there and walk right up to people, it's still amazing to see.

Friday morning our family went to RMNP and our friends went on a hike with a guy the boys had met while golfing. When we got to the parking lot for Bear Lake, Baby R was asleep. We decided I would stay in the car with her while DH took S for a little hike. About 100 yards in, she decided she was done. That's not her normal adventurous spirit, but I think she was physically and emotionally drained and didn't have it in her. She continued to say every day that she wanted to go home. I was really surprised. I kept saying, "But aren't you having fun (fill in the blank) playing with the kids/seeing the mountains/hanging out with the family?" And she knew about the hike that day - she kept asking when she was going to get to climb the mountain, so I would tell her she had that to look forward to and the horseback ride. I couldn't believe she didn't want to do the hike. So DH brought her back to the car and returned to the trail alone, and I took the girls for a drive with the plan to meet him back at the trail head in half an hour.

Plans are a funny thing. DH planned to hike for about thirty minutes, so I planned to drive down to the bottom of the mountain and back up again. We got about five minutes away and S said she wanted Daddy. I told her he was hiking and we'd be back. But she was afraid to leave him there. I could sense an imminent tantrum, intuitive mom that I am, so I turned around and went back. Unfortunately, when we got there, a line of cars had formed behind the ranger at the entrance with cones. When we approached, I rolled down my window, and the ranger let me know that the lot was full and I couldn't park there. Hmmmm. I told him I was actually just there to pick up my husband, not to park; I just needed to drive through to see if he was there. I knew full well he wasn't going to be back yet, but I also knew that if we didn't get him, S was potentially going to have a meltdown. What to do? I SLOWLY circled the parking lot and left.

S was watching "Shrek" for the umpteenth time (I cannot tell you how relieved I was that this was the movie she chose when we were at Target before we left town. I told her she could pick out a new movie for the trip, and almost didn't let her get it because I thought it might be too big for her, and suggested Elmo or one of the other more pre-school appropriate options. THANK YOU, GOD, that I did not do that. I actually really like "Shrek". And surprisingly, still do, now that I can recite it verbatim.) Anyway, she was watching the DVD player, but when we drove out of the parking lot without Daddy, she asked concernedly where he was. I braced myself for the fit that was coming when I explained that he was still hiking and we could not wait in the parking lot like I had told her we would. She was a little upset, but I assured her I was going to turn around and go back as soon as I could, just like I had done before, and managed to avoid a complete meltdown that surely would have woken the baby. I drove as slowly as possible. We reached the lot, and joined the queue of cars again. Rolled down my window. "Still looking for my husband," I said to the ranger, sheepishly. It took him a second, and then he remembered me, and waved me through. This third time down the mountain, S fell asleep. Whew! I could finally continue down and head back when it was time. Oh, wait, it's time. So I turned around in the same spot again, and went back up. This time, there was a bus stopped in front of the trail, so I went as slowly as I could by and tried to see around it, but was unable to. I realized how poor an idea this was. What if he came out and couldn't find us and we kept missing each other? Luckily before I started to panic, a ranger flagged me down and gestured that a car was going to be leaving. Sweet! I was relieved to be able to stop circling. As I parked, the girls both woke up. Perfect timing. I decided to get out the stroller and walk up to the trail head to wait for DH. As I was buckling Baby R in, DH walked up. I had to use the restroom, so we put S in the other stroller and headed that way before leaving. It was the most disappointing trip I've ever had at RMNP, but thankfully, I've been there before, and we'll go again when the girls are bigger.

We got back to the cabin and had lunch before nap time, and then it was time for the horseback ride. I stayed at the cabin with Baby R while DH, S, and our friends went. I was looking forward to napping and spending some one-on-one time with my baby. Alas, she woke up about five minutes after they left, so no nap. And after about an hour of bonding, I was ready for a break. Not that she's not infinitely entertaining, but I was so tired from the increased lack of sleep on this trip, I needed some help. I had hoped this "vacation" would result in getting extra rest, but as I've mentioned, that didn't happen.

We had decided to eat dinner out that night (I was very proud of us for making all the rest of our meals), so headed downtown when they returned from the ride. This was a terrible idea. First, because it was late, so everyone was hungry and grouchy, and all the restaurants were busy, even the pizza place we went to where we had to wait half an hour for our food. Second, because we were so late eating, it was past bedtime when we got done, and we weren't at the cabin. We had planned to walk around downtown for a bit after dinner. Third, because S had had a horrific tantrum at the stables and DH had actually asked if he could bring her back another time since he'd already paid and buckled her in her seat belt before giving her one last chance to settle down and being able to go back and ride Bubba Gump. So the emotions were running high. We went to leave the restaurant and S had a meltdown. I was too tired for it, snapped at her, took the keys from DH and took the girls back to the cabin, leaving DH with our friends for a night off. He said he'd take them, but I was worn out, so wanted to go back, put them to bed and have a glass of wine and read my book, "The Strong-Willed Child". Which is what I did. Though I burst into tears when he came back later that night, because I was at my wits end with what to do with her. And then, sweet man that he is, he gave me a chocolate chip cookie he'd bought for me while they were out. God bless him.

Saturday we were scheduled to meet a couple of my sorority sisters for a picnic in Longmont. Our friends we were traveling with had planned to go to RMNP, and since our foray there hadn't really panned out, and DH had been so fabulous about the other picnic I'd dragged him to, I let him off the hook for this one and he went back to the park with our friends. The girls and I left Estes a little early because I had promised S I would take her to Chick Fil A while we were in CO. She loves Chick Fil A. I don't even remember how our conversation about it went, but Monday before we left town, mention was made of it, and since I'd been trying to talk up all the fun things we'd be doing on our trip (she had told me she wanted to stay home by herself while we all went on vacation), I said something about how Chick Fil A was in Colorado. She was so excited that was the first thing she'd told the sitter when we got there that morning. So I set off armed with my Mapquest directions and trusty atlas, and not only found Chick Fil A, but also a poorly marked entrance to the park we were meeting at WITHOUT THE GPS. I realize to my DH that seems like a modern miracle, as he no longer can go to the grocery store down the street without turning it on in case it somehow moved through space to a different location. I jest, but I really don't understand the dependence upon it.

The get together was kind of a mess. Only two of the girls were able to make it, and we weren't the only ones who had a tough time finding the park. But it was still fun to see them. S was excited there were swings at this park. She did have a small tantrum as we were leaving, but overall, she was really good.

That night we just hung out and packed up. Sunday morning as we were loading up the car, a doe and two fawns walked by our drive. S was excited to see them. And as we were driving away, she said, "Mommy, I want to stay in Colorado." I do, too, sweetie.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shake, Shake, Shake

R has started shaking her head side-to-side. It's really cute. She says Dada all the time, so I keep trying to get her to say Mama, and when I do, she'll shake her head no. DH will love hearing that!

A couple of days ago I got home and DH told me she'd taken a couple of steps while he was holding her hands. I couldn't believe it! So I sat down on the floor and stood her up so she could hold on to the edge of the coffee table and she pulled herself along a couple of steps. Such a big girl.

Last night she was up at 4am, so I waited about ten minutes but she wasn't settling down, so I made her a bottle. Put her down in her crib and not two minutes later she was up again. Waited a bit more, then heard her bonk the crib and start wailing and knew it wasn't going to get better, so I made her another bottle (since she'd only had a little bit), and got her back down again. A few minutes later, more fussing. Seriously!?!? I went in and rubbed her back, and she almost went to sleep a couple of times, but finally sat up, so I picked her up and rocked her for a bit, but she started to get really upset and throwing herself backwards, so I asked DH to make one more bottle and FINALLY got her back down around 5:30. Sigh.

On the flip side, S went down fairly easily last night (she was probably asleep by 8:15 - hallelujah!), and slept well and awoke refreshed. Such a nice morning! Glad it's Friday. Ready to get home and start cleaning and packing for our trip next week!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Party

The big bday party was Saturday. It did not rain as I had feared it might earlier in the week (whew!), but it was REALLY hot. On Wednesday, I made a list of everything we had to get done, and as I went over my notes, it occurred to me that only two people had told me they would be unable to make it. I have hosted my fair share of parties, and conventional wisdom says that about 2/3 of those invited actually attend. That has always been my experience. I've had a few parties where it was closer to 3/4 and a few with only about 1/2, but most have fallen into that standard percentage (even our wedding to which we invited 500 - yes, 500 people - about 300 showed up). So you can imagine my surprise - ok, panic would be the better word - when I realized that pretty much ALL of the 50 people we had invited were planning to attend.

Is 50 guests too many for a three-year-old's birthday party? Yes, but you have to factor in that at that age, you don't just invite the kids. You invite their parents and siblings as well. I know the rule is supposed to be invite as many friends as the number of years, but there are four kids in her daycare alone, much less the four kids we had playdates with since birth while we moms were on maternity leave together. It's tough to decide where to draw the line. Throw in a couple of others, and she has about twelve friends that I felt like we needed to invite. Plus parents and siblings, plus our own family, and voila - 50 people. Can I just say YIKES!

When I told my DD the headcount (muttered under my breath actually, since I knew what his reaction would be), he was shocked. I quickly reminded him that I had shown him the guest list before I'd sent out the invitations so he was just as liable as I was for this predicament. We frantically started trying to figure out how we were going to work this. Luckily, I had been R-E-A-L-L-Y slow at work and had used that time wisely to draw out a floorplan illustrating the tables and seating arrangement for the kids, down to the balloons, and even placement of utensils. Did I mention how slow and bored I was at work? Anyway, the timing of this brief slow period was perfect because I was able to spend an inordinate amount of time on the minutiae of party planning. I'm awesome at the little stuff, ie place cards for 3-year-olds who can't read. It's the important things (like ice) that I always forget. Thank God for my DH being able to see the whole picture - talk about balancing each other!

Anyway, Wednesday I got the groceries, finished up making the odds and ends for decor and baked the cupcakes. I'm not sure I mentioned this cupcake recipe before, but I found it on a blog I follow, Proceed with Caution. Super adorable Oreo Cookie Monster cupcakes - perfect for a Sesame Street-themed bday party. The recipe is a little complex, but I prefer to bake from scratch for special occasions. But since it's only on those special occasions, I'm not that great at it, so I decided to make them a few days early to give myself time for an oops-round. When I showed the picture of the cute cupcakes to S a month ago, though, she had a different idea about what she wanted. "No, Mama, I don't want cupcakes. I want a cake." I tried to hide my disappointment. I'm all about baking from scratch, but I'm completely inept at making frosting look like it was done by someone other than a 5-year-old. That's why I prefer cupcakes to cake. And I certainly can't draw the characters on it. But I supposed I could just get a store-bought pre-decorated cake at Hy-Vee, and maybe make a small batch of the cupcakes for my own satisfaction. I mean, really, she's three. Let's be honest - the details of the party are really more fun for me at this point than for her.

Back to the cake. I said, "Oh? What kind? Pink? White?" I was not prepared for her response. "Polka dot on top and black on the bum." Translation - Funfetti on top and chocolate on bottom. Interesting. Didn't expect a two-tiered response. Much less in a combination that I'm quite sure the grocery store doesn't carry in general. I had resigned myself to just getting a chocolate cake decorated by the bakery at the grocery store when I came across an adorable solution on Paisley In Paris - cupcake toppers. I hadn't seen them before, but my friend who is a graphic designer (and trendsetter) let me know they are all the rage. I decided I could make S her two-tiered cake and frost it green and use cupcake toppers with the characters on it for decoration. She'd be happy to have a cake in the flavors she wanted, and I'd actually be able to decorate it myself!

But I couldn't resist making the cupcakes, too, so Wednesday I made the cupcakes, and Thursday I planned to fill them and decorate them. I went home at lunch and whipped up the filling. I didn't have quite the right size frosting tip (it required 1mm). But I thought I'd try it anyway. FYI, don't try it if you don't have the right size. Suffice it to say that the end result was a cupcake with an empty hole in it and an exploded bag of filling. I didn't have the time or patience to start over with the filling. Unfortunately, the recipe is supposed to be reminiscent of an Oreo, so the cupcake alone is not very sweet, kind of like when you just eat the outside of the Oreo without the creamy inside. I patted myself on the back for the foresight to realize I would need an oops-round, and made an executive decision. The ultimate goal for the cupcakes was for them to look like Cookie Monster, so since it was crunch time, I decided to forgo making the original recipe again, and just make regular Funfetti cupcakes and decorate them in the mode du Cookie Monster. It actually turned out to be a good thing because since I had realized the headcount was going to be greater than I'd originally planned, I really would need those extra cupcakes. I decided to make a batch that were Elmo, too, using the same basic premise as the Cookie Monster ones. So I stopped at the store on the way home from work and picked up a couple of boxes of cake mix.

Thursday night, I had planned to finish the baking/decorating but DH had softball and by the time I got the girls to bed, I was exhausted. Plus I'd realized I needed a few more party favors for the extra guests who were coming who I thought would be "no"s. The place cards had to go out the window since there were more kids than seats. I didn't think that would be an issue since I knew they wouldn't all arrive at the same time so we could just feed them as they came in and move the party along. But needless to say, there was some last minute adjusting.

Friday night I baked perfect Funfetti cupcakes (God bless you, Pillsbury), and frosted the two-tier cake green with a yellow trim. Uh, it wasn't exactly pretty, but it worked. I hoped the cupcake toppers would distract from the inconsistent yellow trim. I had planned to clean the first floor of the house that night as well, but our dear friends came over to help us set up the tables/chairs/tents and inflate the baby pool. We ended up chatting while working, so it was late when they left.

Saturday morning, my sister and mother came over early to help me. Thank goodness for them because my sister had to help me frost the Elmo cupcakes, and my mom had to help clean. The party was scheduled from 11am-1pm. Right in the heat of the day, and it was hot. HOT. Technically the weather website says the recorded temperature was only 90 degrees, but as anyone from KC can tell you, it felt warmer than that. In fact, that's why they've invented the "heat index". Wish they recorded that. In general, the last few weeks the index has been about 10 degrees warmer, so while I personally thought it felt like 120 since I was running around like a maniac, we'll go with 100. Even with the big trees and tents we'd set up for shade in the backyard, there was no breeze, so there was little relief for our guests. I felt terribly, but there's just no way we can fit 50 people in our living room. I was so thankful it hadn't rained that in a certain respect, I didn't really care it was so hot, as long as it was dry.

And what did the birthday girl think? Well first of all, while I was finishing getting things ready inside, DH and my BIL were outside finishing setting up, and S wanted to play out back. Perfect! However, they were "keeping an eye on her" the way Gallagher says all men do when put in charge of children (if you haven't heard his stand-up on that subject, I highly recommend it!), so next thing I know, she's in the baby pool. Soaking wet. In her party dress. Argh. I decided not to worry about it - most parents of 3-year-olds understand how nearly impossible it is to keep them dressed at all, much less looking clean. I threw her dress in the dryer and put her in a random outfit temporarily.

Originally, I had planned to feed S lunch before everyone arrived because I knew she wouldn't eat when there was so much hustle and bustle. But my parents and sister and brother-in-law came early to help. And my DH's family thought that the party started an hour earlier than it did, so there were already 10 people in the house at 10am. No way she was eating lunch then. She did really well when it came time for the party, though. She didn't eat any lunch then, either, but she didn't panic when she had to blow out her candle in front of everyone. I was worried she would hide behind me or be too shy or cranky to want to participate. But she did great! She only ate about half of her piece of cake before she wanted to get in the pool, so I told her she could put her swimsuit on and go play before I remembered we still needed to open presents. Big mistake. I knew she was on the verge of a meltdown - only sugar to eat, just having been allowed in the pool, and getting close to nap time. But I had to try. I asked her to come out of the pool and open presents. To this request, I received a screeched, "No!"

I had actually read up on the subject of opening presents at parties and if it was ok not to. (S was bored after a couple of gifts at Christmas, and I didn't want that to happen in front of her friends and family). Most people said you really needed to, so I'd planned on it. But it didn't work out, so I decided not to worry about it, and apologized to everyone. It was funny who wasn't bothered by it at all and who was a bit miffed.

S had fun playing on her new swing set (I'll have to do an entire post about the swing set at some point), and in the baby pool with all of her friends. She was missing one of her friends from daycare who wasn't there yet, though, and it turned out his mom thought the party wasn't until Sunday. She called about halfway through the party, and I told her to come on by. Another friend thought the party started at 1pm instead of ended then, so they didn't arrive until a quarter after, and almost everyone was gone. They both felt terrible but I completely understood! It would have been fine, too, because the kids kept playing but poor S was just done. She was so exhausted. Since only a few people were there, I asked her if she wanted to open their gifts and at first she did. She wanted to sit on my lap - in her wet swimsuit. Sigh. Oh, well. I knew she needed that. Plus I'd already had to change my shirt once when Baby R had spit up on it right after the party started, so I wasn't even wearing my "party outfit". So she climbed in my lap and we started opening presents. Suddenly she said she wanted to go inside. I told her of course, and told everyone they were free to keep playing and chatting, and thanked them for coming. It ended up that she had peed in my lap and she was embarrassed and wanted to go in. I told her it was fine, changed her outfit and mine - again, and took her upstairs for her nap which she needed - and actually wanted but couldn't admit it.

The next day I asked her if she had fun at her party, and she said yes. She ended up opening more presents that day and that evening. I think we finished the last few Monday night. A couple of days later we had this conversation that started out of the blue:

"Mama! My cake didn't have anything on it."

"Yes, it did, honey - remember all your little Sesame Street friends were on there and even a picture of you."

"Yeah, but they weren't ON there."

"Oh, you mean they weren't made out of frosting?"


"I'm sorry, honey, Mommy just isn't good at drawing things in the frosting."

Yet. After talking to my mother-in-law and some other friends about it, I think I'm going to take a cake decorating class so I can learn how to do it better. Still not sure I could tackle the cast of Sesame Street, but I may be able to do one character. So ultimately, I'm chalking this party up to a success, with a little room to grow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

First Tooth - FINALLY!

Baby R finally has her first tooth! For real this time. I thought she'd gotten the top two a couple of months ago, but they must have receded. The one on the bottom is definitely through, though. Such a cutie pie!
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