Thursday, December 6, 2012

Out of Nowhere

A couple of days ago, I went to read to S's kindergarten class. I was really excited about it; the teacher had asked for volunteers a few weeks ago. It was set up as a surprise, and I was the first of the readers to participate.

Colds have been running through our house the last few weeks as their wont to do this time of year, but nothing serious since the crazy strep throat incident awhile ago. Of course, the sniffly noses and coughs seem to last forever. S was playing outside in the leaves on Monday as it was 70 degrees out (not bad for December 3rd in the midwest), so she was coughing a lot more that night. So much that it kept us both up even after a does of Robitussin and a Halls cough drop.

Tuesday morning, she didn't want to go to school. I didn't want to tell her why she needed to go and ruin the surprise, so I tried to encourage her in other ways. She wasn't terribly sick, but she hadn't slept much and she was still coughing so much that it really was a major distraction. I told her I couldn't stay home from work, she'd have to go to daycare if she didn't go to school. That's usually enough to convince her to go; she really likes school. But it didn't do the trick. I told her she would be upset if she missed that day because there was a surprise mystery reader coming to her class. I put off telling her it was me until we were halfway to daycare, hoping she'd change her mind, but it didn't happen. Then when I told her it was me, she just said, "Oh." Like it was no big deal. I was disappointed. In a big way.

It's not her fault. I thought she would be really excited about it, and I'm sure if she had gone to school like usual, and I had showed up, she would have loved it. But it didn't happen that way. I still went. I read "What's Wrong Little Pookie?" by Sandra Boynton. The kids really enjoyed it. They asked me to read it again. It was fun, but I was really sad that S wasn't there for it.

On my way to work that morning, the DJ was talking about how they had taken a photo of her 3-month-old in her Christmas stocking which was their traditional first Christmas photo with the babies in their family. I thought, "We should be doing that. A first Christmas photo this year. But we're not." And the tears came.

The one day I wore mascara to work (since I had to read later, I had put makeup on and tried to look nice), and I was crying. Part of it was due to the lack of sleep. Part of it was due to the disappointment with S. And part of it was missing my baby. Weird to think it's been almost a year since I wrapped up the little stick and left it on DH's pillow for Christmas. It feels like eons ago.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dance, Dance, Dance

Friday night was S's first (and likely, last) dance recital. She took a combo class this fall at the community center. Her teacher was my first dance teacher, Miss N. Miss N is old school - literally. Her techniques are strict and disciplined - only pink tights and black leotards - no colors, no tutus - hair pulled back. She has to be 90 years old (she was at least 50 when I started taking from her in 1980), but commands respect and obedience from toddlers better than I do. One day when I dropped S off, I told her to have fun. Miss N said, "We don't have fun. We learn, and we enjoy it, but we're not here to have fun."

S started out in the 3-4 year old class since she'd never danced before, but moved up to the 5-6 year olds after a couple of weeks. In the first class, the tap dance they learned was to "Ellie the Elf." When she moved up, she learned "Spunky the Monkey." I was excited because that was a number my sister did when we were little. Not that she remembers it since she's blocked our entire childhood out of her head - our 72-year-old dad remembers it, but not her.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I told her she could either do dance lessons again after the session ended or do something else. She said, "M (a boy in her kindergarten class) plays football, baseball and basketball. Why can't I do all of those?" I said, "You can, baby, but football season's almost over, and baseball won't start til next spring. You can play basketball if you'd like, or soccer or karate or dance. We just can't afford for you to do more than one right now." She decided to sign up for soccer. I asked her if she was sure she didn't want to do dance again. She said, "No, that's ok. I already know how. I don't need to take classes anymore." Glad to hear you've mastered it in 12 weeks, babe. I'll wait for Joffrey to call...

Of course, I didn't explain that soccer wouldn't start right away, so that Saturday when I told her it was time to get ready for dance class, she said she didn't have it since she was going to start soccer. I told her she still had a couple of weeks left as well as her recital. She said she didn't want to go anymore. I told her she didn't have to take dance again, but she did have to finish the session and do the show since Miss N. had already gotten her a costume. She still didn't want to go. I told her we finish what we start, and if she didn't, she wouldn't get to do soccer or any other activities. She finally got ready and went to class. And enjoyed it. Then she said she wanted to do dance for the next session instead. Sigh...

Anyway, Friday night, we hurried home, ate some pizza and headed to the community center. I asked her if she was nervous. She said she was, and I told her that was normal, but everything would be ok. She was excited, too, and couldn't wait to get there. On the way, she said her stomach hurt. She thought she'd eaten too fast. Crap. We got there and got her dressed in her white turtleneck and gold lame, sequin-lined skirt. I put a bit of blush on her cheeks and a dab of lipstick on her mouth and pinned the gold sequin headband in her hair. It was very surreal to be the mom instead of the child. I had flashbacks of my mom putting makeup on me, curling my hair, heading backstage. I hated the primping but loved the dancing, and she was so patient with me.

My parents and DH's dad joined us in the third row. I said to my dad, "Too bad Tippin's isn't around anymore." Almost every year after my dance recital, we went to Tippin's with at least one other family from the dance studio.

I thought S's class was going to be the third number, but they were the third from last. Luckily, they went on just as I thought I was going to lose Baby R to the inevitable boredom and have to remove her from the area.

When they first went on stage. S looked terrified. My poor baby had stage fright! No wonder her tummy hurt. After the first line of the song, she saw us, smiled and waved. Then she was ok. Afterwards, she told me she was scared, but once she saw daddy, she was ok. I told her she was very brave and did a great job.

We may not have had Tippin's that night, but we did celebrate by going to get yogurt. It was lots of fun, and I hope she remembers it fondly.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Baby R!

I feel like I need to change Baby R's pseudonym since she's not a baby anymore (sniff!). She had an extended birthday since Mommy had a major brain lapse and accidentally scheduled Bunko on her bday. So we had birthday dinner and cake on Monday and presents on Tuesday.

Her party was today. Contrary to the Halloween costume vascillation, the birthday party theme has been fairly constant since we first started discussing it - Minnie Mouse. She's added other ideas at times - and Thomas the Train, and... - but Minnie's been at the top of the list from day one. Thank goodness.

We were able to reserve the gym at our church for forty bucks, which was the same price as renting the park shelter for S's party this summer. The only problem was I bought tablecloths without thinking about the tables they were going on, but I pretended that the white was supposed to show on purpose.

Since last weekend was spent re-admitting Dad to the hospital, and Mom stayed with us through Wednesday, and I hosted Bunko Tuesday night, I didn't get any party prepping done until the very last minute. Like, less than 24 hours before the party. I was frantically trying to decide if I should just by pre-made cupcakes or try to find a way to bake and frost the cupcakes last night when I had an epiphany. If I made brownies and cut out Mickey shapes, I could stick a bow on them and call them Minnies. Luckily, the awesome Baker's Rack shop by our house had a Mickey cookie cutter.

I had a really cute Pinterest idea for favors, but zero time to implement them, so I went simple and just put M&Ms in cellophane bags tied with curling ribbon and a little tag that matched her invitation (mockup shown below).

An open gym with some balls was all the entertainment the kiddos needed, but I did have one game planned - Pin the Bow on Minnie.

Overall, I think it was a success. Now we turn our attention to Thanksgiving and a baby shower for my sister next weekend.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Election Follies

For the first time ever, most of the people I work with are extremely liberal. I'm not very involved in politics, so it doesn't really bother me. Though I'm registered as a Republican so I can participate in local elections during off years, about a third of my votes historically have gone to Dems and a few of my presidential ballots have been cast for Independents. This year I would have voted for the Constitution party, but they weren't listed, so I went Libertarian. I'm not a fan of Obama, and while I didn't love Romney, many say if I wanted change, I shouldn't have thrown my vote away on someone who certainly couldn't win. Maybe. But the beauty of our country is that we can vote for whoever we want. So I usually try to find who most closely matches my beliefs and throw my support their way. Unfortunately, the presidential election tends to focus on the two main parties, and lots of people don't really look into what the candidates' platforms are.

When I was in kindergarten, our school had a mock election. I remember voting for Reagan. My dad was very vocal about his position. My mom isn't a citizen so can't vote so usually didn't say much. I emphasize the importance of exercising the right to vote rather than touting which candidate I back. We have an app on our iPad that teaches about the presidents, so the girls know Barack Obama's name. He's familiar. S voted for him in her mock election on Friday. I didn't find out about the election until after school. I teasingly told her I still loved her. She wanted me to vote for Obama, too. I told her I didn't agree with his politics. She got upset that I wouldn't be on her side. I asked her why she voted for Obama. She said because she liked him. I asked her why she liked him. She couldn't really answer me. I told her it was very important to make an educated decision when voting. Our right to vote shouldn't be taken for granted, and we need to make wise choices. I promised I would do more research, but that I would probably not vote for him.

Tuesday morning, we left for school a bit early and headed to the gym where the polling station was set up. I brought a snack and a book with us to keep S entertained during the wait, but it ended up only taking about 20 minutes. We talked about the process and the lines and the computer ballot boxes and the people. She got an "I Voted" sticker, and felt very proud.

Wednesday morning, I told her Obama won. "Yes!" She was excited. I told her congratulations and was gracious. She said, "Don't worry, Mama. Mitt Romney can be president next time." So adorable. If only that had been everyone else's reaction.

I could not believe how many people were making rude comments on Facebook, getting into arguments and unfriending each other over it. I don't remember it being that way 4 years ago. I finally saw this posted and had to share it:

Ultimately, there's no point in fighting about it now. Let it go and move on. And as another friend posted:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Growing Family

Last Saturday DH called me while I was running errands with Baby R during S's dance lesson. "The neighbors are selling their 20-gallon fish tank in their garage sale. Ok if I buy it?"

I've only ever had one fish. It was a beta. I got it from my sorority big sis (we were the BETA gamma chapter - ha!). It lived in a typical fishbowl on the shelf of my dorm room above the heater next to the window. Not sure if I fried it from the heater or froze it from the open window, but it died overnight.

DH has a heart for animals. When I met him, he had a 65-gallon tank of fish, a bird, two cats and a dog.

I think big fish tanks look cool in doctor's offices and such. But everyone I know who owns one has a fishy smell to their house. I wasn't overly excited about the idea of having one. But it was cheap, and fish are good first pets for the girls. And DH knows all about it since he's had them before. And I was distracted by Baby R trying to push the cart through Hobby Lobby and not take out shelves of glass decor. So I said yes.

Sunday, DH went to the pet store and got pink, green and purple rocks, and a rainbow of plants. And four tiger barbs - two white with black stripes and two green. He set up the tank, let the bag of fish sit in the water to get adjusted to the temperature, and released them. The girls were thrilled! They both wanted the green fish. S named hers Peanut Butter, and R named hers Nemo. DH named his Popcorn. (Baby R had gotten a stuffed horse at Grant's Farm in St. Louis this summer which she named Popcorn but then changed to Mint.) Baby R didn't like that he took that name, so she changed hers to Popcorn, so DH changed his to Caramel Popcorn, LOL. I was very unoriginal and went with Jaws.

The next morning, DH told me not to turn the light on the tank and to tell the girls the fish were sleeping.

Uh oh.

 I try very hard to be open and honest witht he girls about everything. We've discussed the circle of life before. But it seemed too cruel to have their very first pets die less than 24 hours after getting them. So I went along with DH's fib. He planned to pick new ones up on the way home from work.

While getting ready, S kept asking why they were still asleep. Since Sunday was the first day after daylight savings ended, I told her the time change had affected them. (Though it had had an opposite result with the girls - ugh.) She kept commenting about it, so I told her they weren't used to our schedule yet. The pet store didn't open until 9am, so that was when they were used to getting up. That finally satisfied her.

Ultimately, we ended up telling them, and having a fishy funeral over the toilet with a little prayer. The girls handled it better than I expected. Daddy brought new ones home, but we lost most of those as well; down to only one. Hoping we can iron things out soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Busy Thankful, Times

The last two weeks have been crazy busy. I recovered from my illnesses and went out the following weekend - two nights in a row. Uh, who do I think I am? Twenty-fiver-year-old me? Had a blast that Saturday at a friend's 40th bday bash at a bar/restaurant where a local high school was celebrating their 25th reunion as well. A couple of the grads play in a retro band, so they performed - mostly New Wave. It rocked.

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch, too. We went a little crazy with the pumpkins this year, but had a lot of fun.

Which led, perhaps, to my next physical ailment a few days later; a neck-to-toe rash. Thankfully it wasn't itchy, so I let it be for a week before going to the doctor. I had tried switching to Ivory soap, throwing out my shower pouf, not using lotion, and washing the sheets again, but nothing helped. It didn't get better or worse. Doctor's verdict: it wasn't bacterial, viral or fungal. probably just something in the air I had an allergic reaction to. The odd thing was the lack of itch, but I wasn't complaining. Got a script for steroids, and started them yesterday. Should start seeing results by tomorrow.

When I was a kid, Halloween was one day. It consisted of a costume parade around school followed by a small class party, and then trick-or-treating that night. This year, the holiday lasted about 7 times as long. It started a week ago last Wednesday with Trunk-or-Treat at the school. Then Friday we had a party at my office. Sunday my old roommate and his wife hosted our first kid party. We used to throw a  huge, elaborate party every year at our duplex in our single days. When we moved out, we passed the baton to another friend in the group. This was the first time in over 10 years that no one had an adult party. It was so great to do the kid one!

And, of course, this past Wednesday was Halloween Day. I was a room mother in S's class. I was nervous; I didn't want to embarrass her and be a dorky mom. Luckily, she's still young and still thinks I'm cool. We did the costume parade, then for the party, the kids were split into three groups - one played Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-Lantern, one played Hot (Potato) Pumpkin, and the third, which I led, put together a ghost with black crayons, a paper plate and crepe paper. Then they had a treat - pumpkin-shaped donuts from Krispy Kreme and juice boxes that the mom had wrapped in masking tape to look like mummies - so cute!

That night, we went trick-or-treating with S's BFF, P, and our other neighbor, A. S was dressed as Belle and R was a pumpkin. They had fun, but I think even they were ready for Halloween stuff to be done!

Before Trunk-or-Treat, we had S's first parent-teacher conference. It went really well. She's an excellent student. I had some questions I was supposed to ask her before our meeting: What's your favorite subject? Library. What are you struggling with. Nothing. What's easiest? Art. Who are your friends? Matthew, Jay, Kailah and Catalina. One of the things she told me as we talked was, "I love myself in kindergarten." What an amazing statement! So thankful.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Germs, Germs, Go Away

Two weeks ago, I picked Baby R up from the sitter's, and she was lethargic. I asked her if she was feeling ok, and she said she was, but when we got home, she didn't eat dinner. Baby R likes her food. So i took her temperature and she had a fever. My poor baby. We spent the next day lying on the couch watching tv and sleeping. Her fever finally broke that evening. I had to keep her home the next day as well since she had to be fever-free for 24 hours before going back to daycare.

I thought we were in the clear since everyone else was fine the rest of the week. But then last Monday night I started to feel feverish. I had a hard time falling asleep because I kept hearing a hooting. Or a howling. Or something that sounded like my babies wailing. So I would get out of bed and stand in the hall outside their room listening. It drove me nuts until around 1am. Then I had just fallen asleep only to be awakened by the chirping of the alarm on our house.

Our alarm requires a landline, and we have ours through our cable company. This has happened before. The cable company tests the line or something, I don't really know. But the landline stops working, so the alarm goes offline, and it beeps at 10-second intervals until you turn it off. And then they finish testing it, and it starts to beep again. So you have to turn it off again. There's a keypad in our bedroom, so it's impossible to ignore.

Since I was sick, DH was sleeping in the spare bedroom, and couldn't hear it. In the past, this has been the one thing he's dealt with in the night. Crying/bedwetting/puking babies - all me. But he has always dealt with the alarm. For the next couple of hours, I got up, shivering from the chills, about every 15 minutes to reset the freaking alarm. I was almost in tears the last time, and finally stumbled down to the hall to the spare bedroom to ask DH for help. He called the cable company. He called the alarm company. He thought he got it resolved. Thirty minutes later, it chirped again. He called everyone again. Finally, around 4am, he just unplugged the stupid thing. Which was good, because I was about to rip it out of the wall with my bare hands.

Got the girls up and on their way, and went back to bed. Fever and chills all day Tuesday. Tuesday night, my throat and my ear started to hurt. Wednesday morning, I called the doctor's office since I thought I might have strep or an ear infection. While I was waiting for them to return my call, my fever broke. Went in and had a throat culture done which came back positive. Got my Z-pak and went home and back to bed.

Thursday morning, S started coughing. I asked her if she felt ok, or if she thought she was getting a cold. She said she wasn't sure. I decided to keep her home because I was afraid she would get to school and then a fever would start. No sense in exposing all the kids before the long weekend. (They didn't have school Friday.) She probably could have gone to school; she did have a stuffy nose and cough, but played normally. I was exhausted and told her if she stayed home, we wouldn't be doing anything fun, just sleeping. Which is what I did the whole day. She colored and played on the iPad while I slept in the morning, and played quietly in her room during nap time in the afternoon.

When I picked Baby R up from the sitter's that afternoon, she said she (the sitter) had chills but didn't think she had a fever (never heard of that), so I was pretty sure she would be calling to say she couldn't watch the kids Friday morning. Which she did. Thankfully I had a little bit more energy on Friday, but not enough to do anything except stay awake all morning.

Saturday, I felt well enough to shower (thankfulness from everyone for that), but I was wiped out afterward. We were supposed to go to the pumpkin patch, but my lingering illness combined with S's cold and the fact that it was raining nixed that plan. That afternoon, S seemed a little less energetic, so I took her temp, and she had a low-grade fever. Sigh. DH and I were supposed to go to a shower, but I stayed home with the girls and tried to keep things disinfected. I hadn't had the energy to clean anything yet, so I was (am) terrified that we won't be able to keep this from making another round. I didn't get tired as quickly in the evening as I had been, so I got a little bit of stuff cleaned up.

Today, I felt more like myself. Well enough to use my ballet ticket which I was worried was going to go to waste. I felt guilty leaving when there was so much cleaning that needed to be done, but I also just needed to get out of the house for awhile.  The weather was nice, so DH mowed and took the girls outside to play. I think we are all a bit better off for that. Will tackle cleaning tomorrow. And pray that no one else gets sick this week!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Roles

Parental caretaker
Small biz owner

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Recap

Wow, I don't think I've missed an entire month before. September was... difficult. My dad was in the hospital for two weeks. During that time, my mom stayed with us. Dad was in congestive heart failure and a-fib. He's home now with a life vest that can shock him if need be until they upgrade his pacemaker with a defibrillator. Mom did better staying with us than I expected, but there were some disturbing moments when she experienced some long-term memory loss in addition to her usual short-term issues. Thank goodness for our kids who provided levity.

In the midst of the chaos with Mom and Dad, their homes association decided to repave their driveway. The last day they were working on it, Mom, the girls and I stopped by to pick up her meds and a change of clothes. When we were walking out, the mason was using a tool to mark the final line through the pristine concrete. S and I had gone down the hill to where the van was parked on the street so my back was to Mom and Baby R, who was latching the front gate by the patio.

Suddenly, I heard yelling and turned around. Baby R had run down the top half of the driveway which had dried the day before and continued on into the freshly poured and completed bottom half, slipping and falling forward, destroying the mason's work and covering her shoes, legs, hands and arms in concrete. I was furious at her for running through there despite everyone telling her to stop, embarrassed and feeling badly about it ruining the construction worker's efforts, and worried about getting her cleaned up. I grabbed her and raced back into Mom's house, stripped her down and sat her in the sink. She was crying. I was consoling and cleaning her. And slowly, finding the humor in the moment. Because honestly, more than anything else, it was freaking hysterical. And I totally needed a laugh right then.

The doctor's decided that the bottom part of Dad's heart isn't viable, so a bypass was off the table. He decided he should quit his job driving work-release prisoners from the prison 60 miles away to the warehouse near their neighborhood since the doctor said "instant death was possible at any time." It was sobering news for all of us. He was very depressed when he first got home.

Thank God for my half-sister, D. She helped me so much with my mom. My younger sister came home from St. Louis to help me start cleaning out Mom and Dad's house so we can try to put it on the market and get them moved into a retirement community. I feel so terrible for her; she feels guilty for not being here to help more. But, life is just life. Nothing to feel guilty about.

Dad ended up getting his job back when the doctor cleared him last week. Sigh.

The other funny thing that happened when Mom was staying with us was also courtesy of Baby R. We were eating breakfast one morning and I said that the girls were being silly, and they got their silliness from Daddy and Grandma. Totally out of the blue, Baby R said, "Daddy's so silly; he clogs the toilet!"

You should have seen the look on my mom's face. I couldn't help myself, I busted out laughing. Poor DH wasn't even in the room. He came in a minute later, and I said, "Hey, honey. Guess what your sweet daughter just said?" He about died. Kids say the darnedest things, don't they?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten, August 15, 2012

We had been practicing getting up on time for a week. S was still up a few minutes early. I asked her how she was feeling – excited, nervous, scared, happy? She was all of those things. She didn’t eat much breakfast, so I packed a big lunch for her: turkey on whole grain bread with a little mayo and mustard, a few grapes and carrots, half a slice of banana bread and a couple of cookies. And, of course a special note on a napkin. Since she can’t read yet, I drew an eye, a heart and a letter “u.” Then I signed it with all of our names. I carefully placed everything in her Hello Kitty lunch bag and set it next to her pink Lalaloopsy backpack with her water bottle. She picked out her outfit. She wanted to wear her sky blue dress with the butterflies and beads on it. Since it only has spaghetti straps, she decided to wear a pink cardigan as well. We brushed her hair and tucked a sweep of it in the plumeria barrette her Aunt E got her in Hawaii. Daddy and Baby R gave her hugs and kisses and well wishes, and she and I walked down the driveway and across the street.

Her best friend, P, who lives two doors down was also making his way across to the sidewalk. His mom and dad and I were surprised how quickly S and P sped along. As we approached the street in front of the school, an elderly crossing guard bade us good morning. We curved along the sidewalk that wound around the drop-off circle drive, and P and S held hands so they wouldn’t lose each other. Already learned their first lesson of the year.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Part of Me That's Missing

I hadn't thought about you for awhile. Thursday night when I was getting ready for bed, you popped into my head unexpectedly. I was a little sad, but mostly just told you how excited I was to meet you in heaven someday. Then as I laid down, it hit me that it's mid-August. You would have been due any time now. The tears came, and I tried to keep from sniffling and waking your dad, but he heard me. He asked me what was wrong. When I told him, he patted my arm and fell back asleep. It's not that he doesn't feel sad, too, it's just different for him. It has gotten easier with time, but there will always be a part of me that's missing. Love you, baby.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Many times our homecoming after a weekday is tantrum- and tear-filled. The girls are tired, hungry and cranky. We parents are stressed out and grumpy from work. But then there are the days filled with laughter and kindness and joy at being reunited. Dinnertime is blissfully cooperative. Post-dinner is relaxed. Thank you Lord for blessing us with one of those days.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

S's 5th Birthday Party - Dora the Explorer

I'm behind, but a week ago we had S's 5th birthday party. The invitations were ok, but not as cute as I've done in the past. This whole working a full-time job that entails actually working full-time puts a major cramp in my party planning time. :)

The party itself was pretty dang cute, though, if I do say so myself. The invitation told everyone to meet at our house but gave them the heads up that we would be going on an adventurous walk to help Dora and Boots find the birthday party. That way they could move their vehicles to the final destination and make sure the kiddos had on comfy shoes. 

As the guests arrived, S passed out the favors: a purple drawstring backpack filled with a bottle of water, toilet paper roll binoculars, a few trinkets and Map! 

Here we are going across the street...

And between the fences...

And around the gardens!

And look who we found!

Piñatas have been featured at the last three birthday parties we've been to, so S wanted to have one. I found this adorable one at Oriental Trading Company. (That's also where I got most of the party favors.) It was as cute in person as it looks online! And very reasonably priced. Even though the cavity was only the body and backpack, it held a surprising amount of goodies - almost the entire gross-quantity bag of piñata filler that included yo-yos, whistles and other large pieces. 

Unfortunately, Dora was decapitated early on, then lost both her feet, but no prizes were released since everything was in the middle. At this point, S became distraught at Dora's demise which surprised me since she'd seen other piñatas broken open. Luckily, this piece has the ribbons you can pull to open it in case you can't break it, so we were able to finish without too much drama. 

Then it was time for cupcakes. I heart Magnolia Bakery for sharing their recipe online via the Food Network. (But since I just went to the store's home link and see they now ship nationwide, I might go that route next time!) I got the cute ring toppers at a sweet shop around the corner from us. 

After that, we opened presents then played on the park playground for a bit before saying our goodbyes.

All in all, I think it was a success. Now to start thinking about what to do for Baby R in a couple of months....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Survey Results

I saw an idea on Pinterest to give your kids a survey on their birthday each year and see how the answers progress over the years. So on Monday when S turned 5, I did just that. And here are the results.

  • What's your favorite food? Watermelon.
  • What's your favorite sport to play? I don't know.
  • What's your favorite TV show?  The Fresh Beat Band and Clifford.
  • What's your favorite movie? Beauty and the Beast.
  • Who's the coolest person on earth? Mama! And Daddy. (Proof, right here, that you believed we were cool at one point in your life.)
  • What's the thing you're most looking forward to about starting kindergarten?
    Making new friends. 
  • What's the thing that you do best? Play with [her best friend] P. 
  • If you could go to anywhere in the world, where would it be? P's house.
  • What's your favorite color? Green, pink, brown and black.
  • What's your favorite book? Clifford.
  • What are three words to describe you? Girl, friendly, school-age.
  • What is something you used to do when you were little? Play around and crawl.
  • What is your favorite season? When it snows. (winter)
  • What is your favorite snack? Popsicles.
  • What food don't you like? I like everything.
  • Who is your best friend? P.
  • If you had one wish, what would it be? I want another Daddy! (What?) Two of the same Daddy because I love him so much. (Ahhh... ok.)
  • What is your best memory? Riding Bubba Gump. (A horse in Colorado.)
  • What's your favorite game? Connect Four.
Happy birthday, my brilliant, beautiful, amazing girl!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Madness

My first reaction to the massacre at the Aurora, CO movie theater early yesterday morning was, "Not again." One of my sorority sisters worked at Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora in 1993 when another gunman went on a crazed, though systematic, elimination of the employees. (Story here.) Thank God she hadn't been at work that night. Then, of course, there was Columbine in 1999. Though these kinds of incidents aren't localized to only Colorado, it seemed strange to me that Aurora was the site of a second attack of this kind.

Particularly, as others have said, because it seems so random. The Chuck E. Cheese incident was perpetrated by a former employee, Nathan Dunlap.  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were students at Columbine High School. Though it's still early in the investigation, there doesn't seem to be any connection between the suspect, James Holmes, and the Century 16 movie theater. 

There are many who are trying to figure out why and who to blame. But all I want to do is hug my friends and family and tell them I love them. It's tempting to stay locked up safely at home, but that's not living. (And not necessarily safer.) We'll get through this the same way we've gotten through other hard times: with faith, family and friends. Praying for the victims' families, the suspect and his family, and all the law enforcement for healing and peace. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Race by D. H. Groberg

Today at church we talked about facing opposition. When we were preparing for communion, the speaker gave a synopsis of the poem, "The Race" by D. H. Groberg. I thought it would be great to share with you all, so here it is:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Potty Training: Part Deux

So they say that the second kiddo is so much easier to train. I don’t know who "they" are exactly, but that’s not been the case at our house. Part of the reason is due to the fact that when S was that age, she was at an in-home daycare with an older woman who only had 3 kids. They were all the same age, so when she was potty training, it was her focus for all three of them. I did the 3-Day plan (which didn’t work, BTW, though it was a great jumping off point), and then we sent S to daycare in underwear with a couple of extra outfits. Things went fairly well in the long run.

The in-home daycare they are at now is with a different woman who is also wonderful, but has 8 kids in her charge. She doesn’t have the time to devote to potty training, so requires the kids wear Pull-ups until they are mostly accident-free in underwear at home. Pull-ups are just expensive diapers. Fine for naps and bedtime, useless for potty training. And intensive weekend training isn’t enough to get Baby R accident-free in underwear. Naked? 99% successful. Panties? Maybe 10%. Obviously she can’t be naked at daycare, but putting her in underwear all weekend and then in Pull-ups all week is just confusing. So even though we’ve technically been training for a month, we’re at the same point we were with S after about a week. I’m trying not to stress about it; as we always hear, it’s not like she’s going to go off to college in diapers.

The best part about it is that for some reason she started calling it "peep" - "Mama! I went peep!" So funny.

On the plus side, we seem to have hit a breakthough this weekend by switching the treat/prize from peep-ing on the potty, to NOT peep-ing in her clothes, and making it to the potty. We'll see how this week goes at daycare. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Off the Grid

My friend, Natalie, at Mommy of a Monster and Twins posted about her recent absence from cyberspace a couple of weeks ago. I have been intending to write something about how with working full-time again (at a job where I'm actually working instead of playing), I've been finding it tough to keep up with my social media. Work is certainly a big part of it. But if that was all, it would be bothering me. And while I do feel obligated to my small following, I'm not letting myself feel guilty. That's new. I think my response to Nicole's post sums things up nicely:

I feel as if I've come full circle. I started blogging as a diary of our lives just for family. Then I got into the public side, the social media - I wanted to gain followers, build my brand, do product reviews, maybe make some money, too, And now I'm back to just wanting to do it for myself. I don't care if anyone reads it. (Ok, maybe I do a little.) Google updated Blogger about a month ago, and now my comment plugin is jacked up so no one can comment. But I haven't fixed it. At first, I didn't want to mess with it because I knew it would be a pain. But now, i just really don't care. I haven't been on Twitter/Pinterest much either. I have so little free time now that I'm working again, that I spend as much of it with the kids as I can, a little bit on chores, and the rest relaxing. Usually that means sitting on the patio with the neighbors and a glass of wine. Sometimes it's watching tv. And only occasionally do I spend it reading my fave blogs. Or even less often, writing a post. I was worried about it for awhile, but I feel like you do. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the kids' ages. I've decided not to worry about it though. Just going to let whatever happens, happen. Love ya!

That's not to say that I don't appreciate you all. I've made so many online friends and the outpouring of support when I needed you most last winter was amazing. I'll never forget that or take it for granted. But I may not post as often. And I may not tweet or comment much for awhile. I still have lots to say, though, and I'll continue to write whenever I can. But I won't feel badly about it if I don't post every week for now. Thanks for your patience!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baby Bullets: 10th Edition

  • DH told Baby R he would start taking her to ball games next summer when she's 3, just the two of them. He took S to the T-Bones game tonight, and before they left, S told Baby R that she couldn't go, but when Daddy took her next summer, she would get to play on the playground after the 3rd inning, get a treat after the 5th inning, etc. So cute! She loves going to watch baseball with Daddy.
  • When I take a walk with Baby R, I feel like Wil Wheaton in that scene from "Stand By Me" when he's walking behind Jerry O'Connell on the train tracks. It's hard because I want to be able to stop and smell the roses with her like I did with S, but S is always running half a block ahead of us.
  • In case you haven't seen it, there's a Citi Thank You card commercial that's been on for awhile.  There's a woman who talks about rewarding herself by getting new nylons, new shoes, and it sounds very girly in a dainty way, but the images are very powerful. She's talking about new equipment to go rock climbing. I love it!
  • S finished her milk at dinner and told me it made her strong. She had me feel her muscles and said, "I can do anything!" Go girl!
  • Listening to S playing with cars and singing "Breaking Free" (from High School Musical). Love it. Even better when I walked in to ask her a question and startled her so badly she dropped everything. Is it cruel that I laughed?
  • Baby R bit my hand. She wasn't trying to be mean, just tired and not really thinking. Didn't break the skin, but man did it hurt! The muscle was bruised for a few days.
  • S stuck her tongue out at me. I knew the day would come, but I was not prepared for the inherent rage I felt. Thankfully, I was able to calmly tell her not to ever do that again or she would be in serious trouble.
  • Baby R and I were reading a book together and she stopped me and said, "No, Mama, we can't read this one; it's inappropriate."
  • Baby R told me a boy at daycare was her favorite guy. I asked her what about Daddy? She said he is her favorite, too.
  • We drove past a Jared jewelry store today, and Baby R pointed at the sign and said, "I love to play that game!"

I was confused for a minute until she clarified by saying the game was on the iPad:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guest Post: Great Expectations

When my friend Greta asked me to contribute a post to her blog, I was thrilled. She's the sweetest person (and my best customer at Jaborandi Grove!) please stop by and check out her site. You will love her!

Monday, May 28, 2012

I Grieve

Today is Memorial Day. Originally designated as a day to remember fallen soldiers, it has come to commemorate the loss of all loved ones. When I was young, I my parents would take us to visit my dad's mom's grave. She passed away before I was born. Over the years, we stopped going. Since I've been married, my husband lost both his paternal grandparents. He was very close to them, so I suggested we visit the cemetery, but DH is not comfortable with death, and prefers not to go. So for the past decade, this day has simply been a nice long weekend to kick off summer.

This year is different.

This year, I still won't be visiting the cemetery. But I will be having my own private time to reflect on losing our angel. Friends told me things would get better. They have. They also told me certain days would be rough. Like today. It is. But it will pass. Life will go on. And so I share these lyrics with you from Peter Gabriel:

"I Grieve"

It was only one hour ago
It was all so different then
There's nothing yet has really sunk in
Looks like it always did
This flesh and bone
It's just the way that you would tied in
Now there's no one home

I grieve for you
You leave me
So hard to move on
Still loving what's gone
They say life carries on
Carries on and on and on and on

The news that truly shocks is the empty, empty page
While the final rattle rocks its empty, empty cage
And I can't handle this

I grieve for you
You leave me
Let it out and move on
Missing what's gone
They say life carries on
They say life carries on and on and on

Life carries on
In the people I meet
In everyone that's out on the street
In all the dogs and cats
In the flies and rats
In the rot and the rust
In the ashes and the dust

Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

It's just the car that we ride in
A home we reside in
The face that we hide in
The way we are tied in
And life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Did I dream this belief?
Or did I believe this dream?
Now I can find relief
I grieve

Here's a link to him performing it - apologies for the Larry King intro - it's all I could find:

Friday, May 25, 2012


A co-worker and his wife suffered the awful experience of a miscarriage today. Our VP sent a discreet email asking everyone not to send flowers or cards as they just want to forget about it.

While that's understandable, anyone who has had a miscarriage knows that you can't just forget about it. You are reminded every moment of every day for the first week or so. Even after a few months when you think you have forgotten about it, something sparks a memory. Hearing a song that was playing when you felt the cramping start. Seeing a woman at the same stage of pregnancy that you would have been. Finding out a party has been planned on the day that was once supposed to be your due date.

Hearing of someone else having a miscarriage.

It brings tears to you eyes. For their loss, but also for your own. The pain does subside, and life does go on. But the memory remains. You can't escape it. All you can do is let yourself grieve.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Embarassing Moments with KLZ Redux

I don't know if it's the warm weather, or the knowledge that the holiday is coming up. Regardless,  I'm too lazy to write an original post today. So, thought I'd dust the cobwebs off this one since it's pretty entertaining. 

A couple of years ago, Kristin at Taming Insanity and I did a guest post swap where we shared our embarrassing moments. Here's what I had to say:

I’ve been considering a “Top 10 Most Embarrassing Moments” post for awhile now. Due to some insanity in our house during the month of November, I barely blogged at all and most of it was just ranting, so a fun piece like this had been pushed aside for the time being. Then KLZ asked about guest posting, and I thought, “Perfect! I can degrade myself on someone else’s blog!” To be fair, none of these are secret, so it’s really not that degrading. It’s just that now the whole world could potentially know about them instead of just those in the tri-state area. I’m withholding numero uno because even though it’s been over 15 years since it happened, just thinking about it turns my cheeks red with humiliation. I’m not quite to the laugh-about-it stage. Just a smile or a chuckle is all I can muster. Someday….

Since most of you don’t know me in person, a little background – I’m flaky. Like a Grands biscuit. I wish I wasn’t, but I am. I’m also clumsy. Surprising in a way since I play sports and danced for 20 years. When I would stub my toe on the door jamb, my dad would ask me in bewilderment, “How can you be a graceful ballerina and not be able to walk without getting injured?” Unfortunately, I come by it naturally. My mom is clumsy yet graceful/athletic, too. In addition to genetics, there’s also the fact that I’m just generally not a very lucky person. Case in point – my graduating class had around 500 students. There was a post-graduation party that almost everyone attended. They gave out 450 raffle prizes (better odds of winning than not). I did not get one.

Thankfully, I’ve always been able to roll with the punches (sometimes literally). Sometimes too easily. Spilling something in my house growing up was expected. It never even occurred to me that it should be something to get upset about. The first time I knocked over a glass of water at DH’s parents’ house, I thought he was going to go nuts. I usually apologize when I spill at someone else’s house, but it was just water. I just said, “Oops! Do you have some paper towels?” Unlike the time I spilled orange pop at my friend’s house in middle school. On their white carpet. Ugh. FYI, Bounty really does hold up to scrubbing like they say it does on the commercial.

I’d like to say exiting puberty and becoming a so-called adult has aided my physical prowess. I’d be lying. Two of the worst physical injuries I’ve sustained (requiring trips to the ER) happened after I was 25. About once a month I knock over the cup of water on my desk at work. That gives you a general sense of the kind of environment you’d experience in my presence. Fortunately, my witty (?) personality apparently outweighs my embarrassing moment-vortex, so I managed to get DH to marry me and my butterfingers. (And the friend who had the orange pop? She and I are still friends after 20-some years and 1500 miles between us. Although, now that I think about it, maybe the distance has helped maintain the friendship?)

So without further ado,

Heh heh. You'll have to check out the original post at KLZ's place to see the list!
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