Navigating the sticky, jam-covered road of life.  

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods...

Hello from Virginia. We are visiting family for the holidays. Well, I should say that we'll be here for just three quick days. Not nearly long enough. With no family in the lovely state of Georgia, I desperately miss the hustle and bustle of these humongous family gatherings. Aunts, Uncles, siblings, and cousins. Many, many cousins. My family knew something about procreating.

I love that we can cram so many women into my grandmother's postage stamp-sized kitchen. I love that we work so flawlessly together in said postage stamp-sized kitchen. Well, if you consider several small arguments about whose mother was going to live with who, a burned pan of mac and cheese, one flying green bean flawless. The green bean was really good.

Somehow supervising the children downstairs became my responsibility tonight. Not quite sure how that happened, and I'll be sure to have several glasses of wine before doing that again. For the most part, I like to be there primarily to avoid a costly trip to the ER. I actually enjoy watching the children try to work out their little tiffs on their own. They're incredibly creative. Not always fair... but creative. And who knew that the "it" toy this year would be a play microwave. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, that is what the children are fighting for over here. A play microwave.

I'm super psyched about tomorrow. I get to go shopping. At the butt-crack of dawn. Without my children. With my mom and sisters. At the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale. See, and you thought I was being sarcastic. And my husband's even excited about it.

Could it get any better?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All, and to All A Good Night!

The Apple Store elves were working overtime this year.  I got my MacBook back, and it's beautiful.  It's embarrassing how much more productive I was when I did not have my computer just a room or two away.  I even got the bathroom counters cleaned and the laundry folded.  I even just managed to finish wrapping presents.  Good thing, too, seeing as Christmas is tomorrow.  The tree looks beautiful.  I think the girls will be thrilled.  As for Todd and I, we just can't wait to see the look on their faces. 

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!  


Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's gone...

The Apple Store is holding my MacBook hostage for the next 7-10 business days. I predict that by tomorrow afternoon I will be huddled in a corner, eating my hair. Either that or I will be incredibly productive tomorrow. Let's hope it's the latter.

Posting will unfortunately be dependant on my husband's nightmarish work schedule as I will need to fight him for his computer. He automatically wins. Something crazy about needing to support us. If anyone wants to call me when Redneck Mommy updates, I will be forever in your debt.

Love to everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silly Mommy... Why would you think I wanted chocolate?

OK.  So now I'm really bummed.  Todd is working.  We're all a little off today.  In an attempt to add a little spontaneity, and perhaps a little whimsy, to our day; I decided to make chocolate chip pancakes for dinner.  Chocolate?  For dinner?  Yes.  Me.  I actually made something chocolate for dinner.  What did my oh so grumpy kid say?  "Mommy?  (Of course it is in her most sarcastic, know-it-all voice.)  You made chocolate pancakes?  But I wanted couscous for dinner."  Are you kidding me?  She wanted couscous?  I'm trying desperately not to take this personally.  But seriously, no good deed, folks.  

Searching

I haven't gotten any sleep in two days.  I am WAAAAAYYYYY behind in doing laundry, and I ran out of sheets for our bed.  I had to resort to using a set of sheets that I never, ever use.  They're satin. Luxurious, or so you'd think.  No.  Wrong.  So very wrong.  They're awful.  And every time I put them on the bed, I remember why it is that I never use them.  (Except until I run out of all other clean sheets.)  My pillow slips off the bed.  The blankets slip off the bed.  I almost fell off the bed.  At around 3 am, Todd asked if I was still awake.  I was, and he suggested sleeping in between the blankets.  That just completely defeats the purpose.

Things have been really busy.  Aren't they always?  We've had a lot to do these last few nights, and the girls have been going to bed way late.  And weirdly enough, getting up a little early.  Combine those with smaller nap times, and I feel like our house is a powder keg waiting to blow.  Todd and I are tired and grumpy.  The girls' moods are rapidly cycling between giddiness and severe grumpiness.  Sunshine and I had a birthday party to go to today for one of her classmates.  So in addition to being tired, she's now hyped up on sugar.  Super.  I'm actually a little jealous of Todd who got to dash off to work when I returned home with Sunshine.  

Cookies to bake, presents to wrap, ornaments to repair, mountains of laundry to fold... I feel like I'm missing out on the joy of the season.  I can't seem to get past what I need to do.  I don't want any of this to feel like a chore.  Maybe it's the weather.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas when it's a balmy 70 degrees outside.  Maybe it's just a long, tumultuous year coming to an end.  I don't know.    Whatever it is... I need an injection of holiday spirit.  It seems a bit hard to come by this year.  I want to go see some Christmas lights, spend just one evening with the girls doing nothing but having fun.  Todd is working tonight, so maybe tomorrow.  Definitely tomorrow.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Once every year, around this time, pigs fly....

This is the one time of year my husband enters the kitchen for something other than sneaking tastes of what I'm cooking.  It's my birthday, and every year he makes me a birthday cake.  The last two years, Sunshine has helped.  It's such a treat to watch them, because I don't pick just any box cake recipe.  I like a loaded carrot cake.  Nothing in the world better than homemade carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  This particular recipe involves shredding carrots (so much fun to watch him try to figure out the food processor), whisking eggs for what seems like forever (because our hand held mixer died and I lent out our large one), and the addition of lots of fun, complex spices (like cinnamon).  Todd is such a good sport.  This particular evening has been made all the more special because it is now almost an hour past the girls' bedtime, and Ladybug keeps taking her diaper off.  She does love her naked time, and I love this man more than life itself!  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ai ya... Ai... Itai... Aeya... Oy Vey!

On what must have been an incredibly frustrating day, many, many moons ago, my lovely mother (and I'm not being sarcastic when I say that.  My mother is lovely.) put a bowl on the top of my head.  And she cut.  Now I know my sister and I were not the only children to suffer from the dreadful bowl cut.  I'm sure it was fairly popular back then.  But I still cringe when I look back at photos taken of me around that time.  What can I say?  I have beyond stick straight hair, and that bowl cut is meant for people whose hair curls just a tad at the ends.  At least then it looks just a little bit feminine.  Me... not so much.  I looked like a boy, a boy with an awful hair cut.  

I've often wondered about what possessed my mother to do something so drastic.  And now I know.  I have two beautiful little girls of my own.  One of them with long, beautiful curls, what must be an incredibly sensitive scalp, and the lungs to let me know when I've damaged said scalp.  Of course all I have to do is look at her hair and that is damage enough.  She flees with the speed of a baby cheetah at suppertime when I suggest that it is time to brush it out.  When I finally manage to wrangle my child, her hairbrush, and whatever I'm using to torture her hair with on that particular day, she screams and waves her hands.  "Mommy, you're hurting me," she yells... before I've even touched a hair on her head.  

It is starting to take every ounce of strength I have not to threaten her with the bowl cut.  She really does have the prettiest curls.  It would be such a shame to cut them off.  I know I won't do it, which is why I don't threaten to do it.  I hate not being able to follow through on my threats.  Seriously though... something's got to give.  I hate starting our mornings this way.  It's not a total monarchy though.  She does, for the most part, get to choose how she wants her hair done on any particular day.  It's just that it must be brushed.  For a while I joked about how hard I must be pulling her hair, and how the children in China must have felt it.  Worked for a while.  But now, I'm just plain out of material.  Maybe I'll teach her "Ouch" in several languages and we'll laugh as we try to pronounce each word.  Any other suggestions?  


Sunday, December 14, 2008

He Said What?

I can't even begin to tell you how fantastic this weekend was.  Well, Sunday was great.  Friday night and Saturday... not so much.  Ladybug screamed all night on Friday.  And I do mean ALL NIGHT.  Anyone who knows my kids knows that they are probably the world's best sleepers.  I put them to bed at 7:30 pm, and don't hear from them until close to 7 am.  Ladybug has always been this way.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times she's woken up in the middle of the night.  I know it sounds a little unbelievable, and trust me... there aren't many people that I tell that too.  I have no desire to be the target of a sleep-deprived new parent.  

So after screaming all night long, I called the pediatrician.  She had had a fever on Wednesday and Thursday, and I was a little worried about ear infections.   Did I mention the fact that she screamed bloody murder ALL NIGHT?  After the doctor, who didn't bother introducing himself, listened to me talk about how fantastic a sleeper she is and how out of character it was that she SCREAMED ALL NIGHT LONG, he had the nerve to say, "So you mean to tell me that you brought your daughter in this morning because she was a little fussy last night?"  

I had gotten less than 3 hours sleep that night, and I was thinking a little slow.  I did manage to sputter out something about how he must have misunderstood me.  That "a little fussy" didn't begin to describe the tirade that occurred.  We ended up leaving the office with a nice little diagnosis of "virus."  Now honestly, that's what I expected.  

What I didn't expect was the level of disrespect I received from the physician treating my child.  I expect that her doctor should take into consideration the fact that, at this point, I know my child far better than he does.  I have no patience for a physician that  does not believe me or listen to me when I tell him important information regarding my child.  I absolutely will not tolerate being blown off by my child's doctor.  So we're leaving the practice.  When I have calmed down, I will write a letter describing why we are leaving.  Don't quite think I'm there yet.  To add insult to injury, the parking payment machine gave me back $17, in change.  Lots and lots of change.  

The weekend did get a little better.  Ladybug slept perfectly on Saturday night, and I got a nap.  I actually managed to finish most of my Christmas shopping, at least the thing I had to get before school ended for Sunshine.  Actually that alone should make the weekend a stunning success.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

We went to see Santa this past weekend.   It's difficult to tell exactly who looks unhappiest in this photo.  Well, maybe not.  Ladybug was sincerely unhappy when I unceremoniously placed her on Santa's lap.  Santa really doesn't look thrilled either.  Sunshine was ambivalent.  I should probably add that this is the first year Sunshine has gone anywhere near Santa.  She even managed to suggest, in her quietest voice, that Santa bring her a sled, some skis, and some skates.  We've been reading the Berenstain Bears' Christmas a lot lately.  We can't seem to convince her that it doesn't snow here in Georgia and those particular gifts really won't work well.  

I think what was most amusing of all was the fact that they tried to lock us into a photo package before the girls even got so much as a peek at Santa.  Are you kidding me?  Do they really think I'm going to pay $25  for ONE photo of my kid screaming on Santa's lap.  I think the issue was that they didn't want me to use my camera.  Well, really.  You mean I can't use my camera, but everyone and their brother can use camera phones?  I told them in my nicest, you must be crazy, voice that I would have to wait and see what the photo looked like before I would commit to purchasing it.  The sad thing was that I would have been more than happy to purchase a photo if the prices had been anywhere near reasonable.  

We went to the Aquarium later that day, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but another Santa, although missing his reindeer.  We were quick on the uptake that day and explained that Santa was following us around.  How cool it was that we got to see Santa twice.  Sunshine didn't seem to notice that the second Santa really didn't look anything like the first.  I think all she noticed was the red suit.  I don't think that explanation will work next year.  

We're a little late with the Christmas cards this year.  Since none of our Santa pictures passed muster; I'm going to try again this weekend.  Wish me luck.  For every fabulous picture you see of the girls, there are fifty more with Sunshine trying to put Ladybug in a headlock, and Ladybug doing just about anything she can to break out of Sunshine's grasp.  We may actually be sending out New Year's cards.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Play Dates and Clay

Sunshine's teacher suggested during our conference that she might benefit from play dates with several of her classmates.  She's making friends, but perhaps some time together out of the classroom would help her feel more at ease in the classroom.  Always one to complete my homework, I invited several children to spend the afternoon at our house.  Different afternoons, of course.  I'm not a total masochist.  I did accidently schedule two play dates for the same day.  Luckily I realized it at about 5 am one morning, and had just enough time to correct it.  That's always a fun conversation.  "Gee, I really screwed up dates, and I've double booked my kid.  Do you think we could reschedule?"  

All in all though, the play dates have gone fairly well.  It's strange... having play dates without the other parent there.  Makes me wonder how my kiddo behaves when she goes to someone else's house without me.  Does she demand first choice because she's the guest?  Is she loud?  Is she a picky eater?  How well does she share?  I guess it's  all about chemistry.  She plays really well with some children, not so well with others.  I think you could call it the perfect play date if I don't have to do any mediating; if the girls can occupy themselves with no input from me.  

Sunshine was behaving a little badly during today's play date.  She had very little interest in sharing, and cried several times.  We spent a lot of time talking about how we should behave when we have guests.  How exciting it is to have friends come to our home.  That how sometimes friends can have some really great ideas about what to do.  She wasn't very receptive.  That's when I thought she could use a hug, and realized that she was burning up.   Poor kid finally managed to contract whatever it is that has slowly been making its way through her class.    

I'm exhausted, and I'm so glad that we don't have anymore child-only play dates scheduled.  Hopefully the next few will take place at someone else's house.  I don't have to do carpool tomorrow (don't actually think Sunshine will be attending school tomorrow anyways).  Yippee!  There's no more auction project work for a while.  (What was I thinking, joining the committee to create the classroom auction project?)  I'm not creative.  And, as I discovered this morning, I can't even cut clay evenly.  Thankfully one of the other parents spent most of the morning telling me that I was doing a lousy job cutting the clay.  I'm so happy, because I was actually planning on quitting my day job to devote my life to ceramics.  Now I know I would be wasting my time.  

I would say that I'm looking forward to the weekend because I'm exhausted, but frankly I need the shopping time.  Seven more mornings to holiday shop without Sunshine and counting.  Actually 6, thanks to the awesome fever bug that just bit us.  

Saturday, December 6, 2008

All By Myself

I get very little time to myself.  During the weekend, when Todd is home, we like to spend time together as a family.  He rarely takes the kids out by himself.  Well, today he took the girls out to get a gift for my birthday.  Before they left, Sunshine looked up at me with those gorgeous hazel eyes.  "You're going to be so lonely, Mommy,"  she said.  Well, not really.  But I didn't tell her that. 

Definitely One I'm Going to Tuck into My Parenting "Bag"

The girls were earsplittingly loud after school yesterday.  About 30 seconds before I was about to pull my hair out, I sent them out onto the porch.  Told them they could scream their heads off for as long as they needed to.  The hitch was that they couldn't leave the porch, and that they had to speak in indoor voices when they came back inside.  You would have thought Christmas came early.  I don't know why I haven't thought of this before.  They screamed and screamed and screamed for close to 15 minutes.  And thanks to the incredible insulation in this house, I could barely hear it.  They were perfect, quiet angels for the rest of the afternoon.  Saved my sanity yesterday.  

Speaking of saving my sanity, a little sleep might help.  That lovely "mommy radar" that wakes me up at the slightest sound in the middle of the night needs to go.  Any sound after 3 am, and I'm up for good.   Definitely doesn't make for the happiest mommy come dinnertime.  I think that's my witching hour.  It's not even really the girls waking up.  It's just them crying out in their sleep, or the cats playing, or a crack of light in the curtains.  I've already invested in room darkening curtains and eyeshades to get rid of any stray beams of light.  You know those LEDs on alarm clocks can be so intensely bright.  I guess I'm going to have to start thinking about ear plugs.  Heck, why not invest in a sensory deprivation helmet or something.  Now that might allow me a full night of sleep.  Speaking of sleep, the girls are evidently done with that for the night, as I hear the sounds of singing from their room.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's really December? Already?

So I think I'm definitely in the running for the World's Worst Gift Giver.  Ask my family.  It's either a lousy gift on time, or a decent gift several months too late.  I just can't seem to get it together and do both at the same time.  Case in point... my sister's birthday is in June.  I finally managed to find her gift in October.  To be perfectly honest though, it was a great bag.  Christmas is a tough time for me because it requires that I have gifts (good gifts, even) for lots of people, all on the same day.  I wish I could be one of those people who painstakingly hides gifts away throughout the year.  That simply requires organizational skills I just don't possess, or maybe I'm just too lazy.  

Most of the time, I just can't think of what to get someone.  I have not one creative bone in my body.  Inspiration will eventually come, but it usually arrives long after the actual holiday or birthday.  It's far easier when I see the person everyday.  But I've lived so far away from family for so long, that I don't really know what they would love.  I wish I were a little more like my sisters and mom.  They've had their shopping done for a while, and they're so incredibly creative.  Their gifts are always spot on, thoughtful.   Christmas has just snuck up on me this year.  

I've been working really hard over the last few days on some ideas that I have.  I just don't want to have to resort to gift cards.  I know... it's nice for the person to actually be able to pick out something that they like.  (Especially when the gift comes from someone like me.)  But I really do want to find that perfect gift.  I think what I need is a huge kick in the rear in September.  A countdown perhaps.  I would probably still ignore it, waiting until Dec 1 to start placing online orders.  Lets just hope my expedited shipping costs aren't too high.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Smooth Flying and Lots of Mints, I hope.

Travel day is upon us.  I think we're totally packed.  Of course I'm probably forgetting some crucial item that when discovered missing, will illicit a massive fit from my drama queen daughter.  Girls are so emotional.  Of course I've let them pack the babies of their choice, but when bedtime comes it will naturally be the wrong baby.  Same with books.  I've had some of their favorites packed away for some time, just to help them become "new" again.  They will most certainly be the wrong books come storytime.  

It's become increasingly difficult to pack clothes for Sunshine.  She really likes to take charge of her ensembles, and I completely support that.  I'd like to think that I'm helping her develop some self-confidence.  As long as her clothes are clean, and she's warm, the "what to wear to school today battle" is not a hill I want to die on.  However, it might mean she goes to school on a lovely winter day in a sundress.  I do insist on leggings and a shirt underneath.  I usually also let her choose how she wants her hair, as long as it looks neat.  But when we travel, I would prefer my children not look like rag-a-muffins.   I'm a little afraid of the tantrum that will ensue when she realizes that the butterfly dress was not packed.   It will be enough to completely throw her day off.  Hopefully letting her choose from a group of neatly bagged (complete) outfits will be enough to satisfy her urge to control.  

Luckily Ladybug still doesn't care what she's wearing.  As long as it has easy diaper access, she's a happy camper.  I am worried about the "lap child" portion of today's traveling.  She's so not going to want to sit in our laps.  I'm afraid that the fact that we're flying out at naptime is also not going to help.  My kids are sleepers... in bed... in a dark room.  They've never slept with us, or in our arms.  So the potential for a cranky, tired kid who can't sleep and doesn't want to sit in our lap is high.  I can just see the glares on the faces of our fellow travelers today.  

It's absolutely exhausting flying with children.  Most people don't see the sheer energy that is required on the part of parents to ensure a good flight.  We constantly worry about the people in front of us, and is Sunshine kicking their seat?  The people around us, and are our kids too loud?  You have to be so on top of things, anticipating the wants and needs of the children well in advance of the children asking for something.  One little misstep, and you are automatically relegated to the status of lousy parent who let their kid scream "throughout the entire flight."  People are so intolerant and unforgiving.  

Here's hoping I have everything; books, a new notebook for drawing, raisins, apple bars, magna doodle, babies, and mints.  Lots of mints.  Sunshine knows what good Mint behavior is.  We're trying to relate that to good plane behavior.  Ladybug loves them too.  She just doesn't have a great grasp on the need for good behavior to get a mint.  Maybe I could convince our fellow travelers that they'll get a mint if they don't stare at me like I'm ruining their entire vacation simply by daring to bring my kids on a plane.  My kids can certainly show them what good Mint behavior looks like!    

Well, if I don't get the chance to post tomorrow... Have A Very Happy Thanksgiving!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Butterflies, continued.

So... any suggestions on what I should do with the butterflies that are now almost 3 weeks past their "expiration date?"  I'm so not hiring a pet sitter.  I think I just may have to release them if they're still here when we return from visiting family.  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Things They Take to Bed

There were never any loveys or binkys in our house.  Sunshine never needed them.  The pacifier was thrown out of the crib at age 7 months, never to be seen again.  She never really adopted a special blanket or toy that she had to have to sleep.  Secretly, I was both disappointed and glad.  I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe.  The thought of my kiddo physically attached to a potential germ magnet gives me the shivers.   But I still have my blanket from when I was little.  Actually I have both of them.  Yes, Grandma Hay.  My elephant blanket and my blue knit blanket are alive and well!  I still remember the smell of the elastic on the corners of my elephant blanket as it came out of the dryer.  It's the scent of my childhood, or at least I like to think it is.  I'm sure my parents would disagree.

I would love it if Sunshine attached herself to something that she could look back and hold as an adult.  Now, there is Jungley, that beautiful little elephant that Sunshine herself picked out a couple of years ago.  She doesn't have to have Jungley to sleep, but it's definitely her favorite animal.  

Now Ladybug's attachments are absolutely riotous.  There are several things that stay in her crib; her pillow, a baby, a barbie, several books, maybe a sippy cup of ice water, 2 soft blankets.   The books are a must have.  As soon as we start to say our nighttime prayers, Ladybug scurries around the room and tosses several new ones in.  Given her penchant for wearing dirty clothes on her head, her newest attachment should not surprise me.  She has taken to picking out a piece of clothing from the hamper and taking it to bed with her.   It's almost always something of Sunshine's that was worn that day.  I do try to hide the really messy things.  Last night it was a little different.  She was hell bent on taking a cold, wet washcloth, that I had used to clean her face, to bed with her.  I couldn't let her do that.   Even I have my boundaries.  I hid the washcloth as deep in her hamper as I could.  She was crushed, but as we finally finished saying her prayers, she grabbed a pair of Sunshine's jeans.  They were the only thing that could console her.  I could put the hamper up, but I'm sure my kiddo would find some piece of used clothing somewhere.  I actually think this behavior will eventually extinguish itself.  Probably when we move her out of her crib and she has the ability to curl up with her sister instead of just with her sister's clothes.  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Because you were all so patient...





Updates

The dinner party last night was a great success.  Amazing considering one of Todd's bosses decided that day that no one needed to take off for Thanksgiving.  Nothing says thankful like telling your employees that you don't care what their plans might be for the holidays.  The food was good, the conversation was plentiful, and no one cried.  A high standard of success for your average kid's birthday party or a dinner party with colleagues who don't socialize together.  

We were lucky enough to not get hit by the stomach flu that roared through Sunshine's classroom.  She was one of three kids who didn't get sick.  I can't tell you how thankful I am that we dodged that bullet.  Wow, I'd better find some wood, and fast.  That was practically an invitation for the Gods to smite me with an extra long incubation period.  

All in all, things are going well.  Sunshine is doing moveable alphabet work and wants to skate all the time.  Thanks, Aunt Ashley.  Ladybug has started trying to console her big sister when she's having one of her drama queen moments.  It's so sweet to watch her rub Sunshine's back when she's laying prostrate on the floor, crying.  Todd is still super busy at work... but because I am the BEST WIFE EVER, he is now at the Ga Tech-Miami game.   I even get bonus points because it was a very last minute invitation.  I am also doing well, especially after learning what wonderful things happen when you combine figs, olives, goat cheese and walnuts.  It's a sublime experience.  

Seriously though, now that this dinner party is over I get to start concentrating on Thanksgiving.  It literally takes days to plan for trips with my kids that last longer than just a few hours.  Packing when there is a flight involved is all the more complicated.  Why is it that it takes everything but the kitchen sink to care for my children in a place other than our home? Ladybug still requires a pack n' play to sleep.  That will be fun to take on a plane.  Add the car seats to that and we're just about at our luggage limit, without any clothing.  Thank goodness for gate check.  Do you think they would let me just gate check my kids?  Just kidding, kind of. Well, just a couple of days to go.  Let the packing commence!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sisters

Tonight we watched our little Ladybug share all of her ice cream with her big sister.  And she was excited about it.  Later they held hands and tried to run together down the sidewalk, laughing the whole way.  Can life always be like this?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Butterfly Trials

Todd and I have been toying around with the idea of getting a fish for Sunshine.  She always seems up for new responsibility.  Thankfully we tested our idea out with butterflies first.  We gave Sunshine a Live Butterfly Pavilion for her birthday.  It's actually an amazing gift.  We sent away for caterpillars, watched them grow stunningly large, form chrysalids, and hatch into butterflies.  Sunshine loved it.  We feed the butterflies sugar water and orange slices.  We watched them lay eggs.  Theoretically, you're supposed to release the butterflies after you've spent a few days observing them.  Unfortunately it's too cold here to do that.  These butterflies are supposed to have a three week life span.  We're going on four.  Sunshine stopped wanting to care for them after two.  We're so not ready for a fish.  We had these grand plans to hatch some of the eggs into new caterpillars and start the process all over.  Yeah, NO.  I really just want to get rid of the butterflies.  We'll send away for some more in the spring.  Hopefully then we can release them when Sunshine tires of them.  All in all, I highly recommend this if you think your kiddo  might be ready for a pet of their own.  Saved me from taking care of yet another little creature.  


The Flu Loves Us, The Flu Loves Us Not... Here's Hoping NOT!

Today was my day to drive the kids to school.  Pulling into the parking lot, we noticed that there were very few cars there.  After hauling ourselves up three flights of stairs, we noticed that no one was in line to great their teacher.  Normally there's a line at least five kids deep.  Turns out 22 of 30 kids had spent the night and morning vomiting.  Fabulous.  What's the likelihood we miss the stomach flu roulette?  I'm not hedging any bets.  We took a quick trip to Walmart today to pick up the stomach flu essentials, ginger ale, pedialyte, and crackers.  I think I've washed my hands 30 times.  I so don't have time for this.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things Past, and Things Yet to Come

Busy few days lately.  Todd has been working so hard, and the girls seem really needy.  Ladybug's molars are coming in and she's clingy.  If she could velcro herself to my shin and ride around all day, I think she would gladly do it.  It helps that she's discovered how much fun hugs and kisses are.  She can't get enough of them, though she's picky about who she'll give them too.  Even Sunshine has been a little out of sorts lately.  The crying fit she threw yesterday (for no reason whatsoever) could have been an Oscar-winning performance.  She promptly passed out for two hours after it.  I'm going to blame it on the time change. 

These kids are still getting up an hour earlier than they should be.  Trust me, the patter of little feet at 5:30-6 am is zero fun.  According to Sunshine, the sun is up - so she should be too.  Silly sun, we say.  Didn't anyone tell him about the time change?  Unfortunately, in order to check how high the sun is, she opens up the blackout drapes that we have installed that are so crucial to Ladybug's good sleep habits.  I am all about convincing my children that it is pitch black outside in the middle of the afternoon.   So all this checking up on the sun's progress inevitably wakes up Ladybug.  Screaming for Daddy ensues.  Also not necessarily a pleasant way to wake up.  

All this waking up early leaves the kids minus an hour of sleep, and Mommy and Daddy a little cranky.  We're compensating though.  I'm way less creative, have WAY less patience, and I practically pass out on the couch by 9 pm.  But I am rather chipper in the morning.  I don't remember it being this bad last year.    But then again, I can barely remember what day of the week it is.  

The next week and a half are going to be insane.  So I apologize if posting is sparse.  We're hosting a dinner party for Todd's office next week.  It's going to be relatively formal.  Invitations were sent.  Beautiful invitations, I might add.  A menu has been painstakingly planned.  Good Lord, I'm nervous.  No one in this office socializes together.  I have the sinking feeling it's going to feel like Forced Family Fun Time.  But it's important, and hopefully the cocktail portion of the evening will relax everyone a bit.  Alas... the call of the To Do list is overwhelming, and it is already way past my bedtime.  Night, everyone.  


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Busy like bees this morning.

What a crazy, busy morning.  I managed to change all bed sheets, neaten and vacuum the upstairs, clean the girls room, clean the ginormous master shower, and get myself showered.  Ladybug had an industrious morning as well.  She managed to empty one full toilet paper roll and a nearly full box of tissues.  She also emptied a full laundry basket of her clothes in search of the perfect pair of underpants for her head and the bookshelf of all of its books.  Thinking that perhaps the upstairs had returned to its normal state of chaos, she decided to lay down for a little rest... in the dog's bed.  It's OK though, she brought Sunshine's newly cleaned pillow and blanket in there with her to make it a little more like home.  Now I remember why I miss morning naps!

Trick or Treat




I thought you all might want some Halloween pics of the girls.  Sunshine was beautiful.  She wanted her hair in a bun like Mommy, and it's been that way every day since.  She pranced around in those silly plastic heels, even running at one point to see some friends of ours.  Ladybug was adorable.  She said "thank you" for the first time, and insisted on saying it to everyone we saw.  Regardless of wether or not she got candy.  I love it.  A fabulous time was had by all.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Doing Our Civic Duty

So we got the kids up this morning at the ungodly hour of 6 am to vote.  Waking my kids up in the morning is generally not a good idea.  It's FAR better to let them wake up themselves.  This morning went smoothly though.  There were only a couple of threats to take away the lunchtime piece of Halloween candy if Sunshine didn't get dressed.  It worked.  My sugar-deprived kid thought that it was more important to keep that piece of candy, and we were dressed and in line to vote at 6:30 am.  

We actually had a nice time standing in line.  The girls were thrilled with the cereal in a bag and juice boxes.  Anything that changes an ordinary morning, right?  Two hours later we were done.  Sunshine proudly displayed her Georgia Voter sticker and told everyone within earshot that she voted.  She's a little young for a civics lesson, but she really enjoyed it.  What's really nice is that they're BOTH napping thanks to the early wake up call.  

Happy Election Day, everyone!  

Monday, November 3, 2008

Anyone with the right Lotto numbers?

I've got a bone to pick with law firms these days.  My husband works so very hard.  Most days he's gone by 6:30 in the morning.  Lately, we're lucky if we see him by the time the girls go to bed.  Mostly it's well past their bedtime.  The worst part is that no matter how much work he does, it's never enough.  Several years ago I came to the realization that he does not want to be at work.  He would much rather be home with us.  Work is something that he does to pay the bills.  Ahhh, if only we didn't have to worry about such silly things as food and housing.  Seriously though, it's a little sad.  I would love for him to enjoy his job as much as I do mine, but looking at it this way has helped me to tell him that it's OK.  I understand that he needs to be at the office.  I miss him, but I'll have dinner waiting when he gets home (sometimes).

You want to give 110% to your job.  You need to give 110% to your job because there are lots of other people out there who will if you won't.  Part of that is what makes it so hard.  You'll work 14 hours a day, but someone out there will work 15.  But how do you do the same for your family?   Something always seems to suffer.  I've got to hand it to Todd though.  When he's home, the girls and I are his top priority.  

I feel so terribly guilty that he's missing so much of the girls' formative years.  I know that he's doing this so I can stay home with them.  It would be so much easier to break this cycle if I were working.  He could start his own firm, or take a job that he really enjoys.  The thing is... I really love my job.  I couldn't imagine doing anything else.  Todd is completely supportive, which actually makes it a little harder.  I feel so guilty, and so selfish.  Here's hoping we win the Lotto, right?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feeling a bit like the teacher in Peanuts...

Why is it so easy for Sunshine to tune me out?  I know it's her way if exerting her independence, of pushing her boundaries.  But good Lord, sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode.  I know yelling is not the answer.  That just makes it easier for her to tune me out.  But it's definitely my first instinct.  So how do I get her attention?  Jumping up and down just makes her laugh.  The vein popping out of my forehead doesn't quite seem to inspire her either.  She simply asks me to count to 10.  Any idea how infuriating that is?  

I really feel for Ladybug.  I don't like her watching it.  She absorbs everything.  She sees so much more than Sunshine did at that age.  I wonder how this will affect her.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

She Speaks!


I've written before about Ladybug and her amazing use of body language to communicate.  Her lack of speech doesn't really bother me.  She's not frustrated.  She really communicates very well.  I've long suspected that she's capable of saying far more than she lets on.  This morning, it happened.  

Ladybug and I were putting together a puzzle.  It's a fabulous magnetic animal puzzle that doubles as a book.  Got to love Melissa and Doug, and thank you Auntie Sharon.  Anyways, her favorite is the monkey.  She can OOOHHH  OOOHHH, AAAHHH AAAHHH with with best of them.  Today I asked her where the panda was.  Not only did she point to the panda, she said "PANDA."  I asked her where the zebra was.  Same thing.  She pointed to the zebra and said, "ZEBRA."  Of course when I clapped and cheered, she looked at me like the floor show portion of this morning's entertainment was over and dashed away oohhh ooohhhing like a monkey.  (Perhaps I need to learn to be a little more low key when she hits little milestones.)

I don't think she'll be reciting Dickinson anytime soon.  But it's a start.  

Monday, October 27, 2008

Apples, Pumpkins, and Memory Loss




Wow.  This weekend was amazing.   Thinking we had nothing to do on Sunday, we decided to travel to the North Georgia mountains for a lovely day of apple and pumpkin picking.  We started off at 9:30 am for a nice 90 minute trip north.  A little excessive as we could have done this closer to town, but the mountains are beautiful at this time of year.  The directions seemed great, until our first leg of the journey landed us at a chicken coup, literally.   Sunshine felt the need to warn us not to hit the chickens as we made a 5-point turn to get out of there.  A little warning, Googlemaps is not so accurate in the north Georgia mountains.  

We finally pulled into the apple orchard at nearly noon.  One hay ride later we were in the orchard.  We had a picnic lunch, a jug of apple cider, a large bag for apples, and two children who were ecstatic to be out of the car.  Oh, and a piece of fried apple pie.  Oh my that was heavenly.  What an amazing time.  The girls loved the apple pie.   Sunshine was so excited that she could actually reach some of the apples herself.  Ladybug loved picking apples with Daddy.  

Since my directions to the pumpkin patch were actually from the chicken coup instead of the apple orchard, they didn't really work.  Thank goodness I have a good sense of direction.  It was a slightly roundabout way to get there that involved a dirt road barely wide enough for a car, but we arrived at Grandpa Jones' pumpkin patch.  The website wasn't as accurate as I might have liked, but the patch was cute.  It took me a while to convince Sunshine that using a portable potty wasn't going to be the end of the world.  But finally, we made it out into the fields.  We were provided with a lovely straw-filled wagon which the girls loved.  Very handy for lugging those pumpkins around.  Our rule is that each person can pick their perfect pumpkin.  Your perfect pumpkin must also be one that you can carry by yourself.  I picked a beautiful, squat Cinderella pumpkin.  Ladybug and Sunshine each chose small green and white striped pumpkins.  Daddy chose a beautiful orange carving pumpkin.  It was a perfect day. Until we received a call from our friends.  

We received a call from some very good friends of ours at around 4:30.  They were at our house for dinner.  We were not.  I had forgotten that we'd invited them over.  We were almost two hours away, and never would have made it home.  I felt terrible.  Still do.  I don't know what's going on with my brain.  I'm usually so good at keeping track of everyone and everything.  These days it seems like I could completely forget my children if they weren't adhered to my leg.  And between school functions and other planned events this holiday season, I desperately need to find a better place for my calendar.  Perhaps stapling it to the front of my shirt would be best.  

Some more of our favorite pics from yesterday...





Friday, October 24, 2008

Because it's important.

I promise I won't do this often, but this time... it's important.  I could barely make it through this post the other day.  Wiping away tears, I forwarded it to several people.  Today I thought I would post it so hopefully it might reach more people.  I've been reading Catherine's blog for a long time.   Here was where I first learned of her nephew, Tanner, and his struggle with Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy.  If you can help, or if you know anyone who can, pass this along.  It's important.   

Thursday, October 23, 2008

She's found her bliss.






And these days it involves wearing, on her head, any pair of discarded pants or underwear that she can find.  She runs through the house with them on her head, giggling maniacally.  She even goes through laundry baskets in search of pairs within easy reach.  Just a little incentive to make sure the laundry is done the next time we have guests over!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's in a Name and Other Goings On

The Husband is very unhappy with being called "The Husband."  Totally understood.  I wouldn't want to be The Wife.  Although people have called me that, usually when asking The Husband if he's allowed to go out for the night.  Like he needs my permission.  I guess I'm just glad they didn't call me the old ball and chain.  In any case, I'm looking for suggestions.  Anyone?  Something tells me calling him "The Man Formerly Known as The Husband" just wouldn't sound right.  

Today, as we were playing on the playground after dismissal from school, Ladybug decided that whatever Sunshine was doing was the best thing in the world to do.  She followed her all the way up onto the big slide platform.  She really wanted to drive with the little wheel, but Sunshine had a different idea.  I was chatting with another mom, when I see Sunshine pick Ladybug up and seat her at the top of the slide.  She shouted "Mom, Catch" and proceeded to give Ladybug a huge push.  Thankfully I'm a quick sprinter.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

More photos....








While the cat's away...






The husband will work out all the quirks in our computer system.  We have pictures!  I know you all have been dying to see more photos of the girls.  So here they are.  I'll post a bunch because I haven't in a while.  What a fantastic weekend though.  


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Doing a Happy Carpool Dance

We've hooked up with another family that lives nearby to carpool to school. Woohoo!  Yes, I'm happier that we're now a little greener.  But actually, I just love the free time in the morning.  So does Ladybug.  Right now she's dancing to Sesame Street.  We never get to watch Sesame Street.  We've danced, read countless books, enjoyed a hot cup of tea together, gotten dressed in a leisurely fashion, and done two loads of laundry.  All in the hour we save by not driving Sunshine to school in the morning.  It's the little things.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Preparations

So I'm getting ready to go away this weekend.  Without my husband.  Without my children.  I am amazed at the sheer amount of things I need to do in order for the weekend to proceed smoothly for my husband.  If he had it his way all outfits would be laid out in the order in which they should be worn, down to the shoes and hair bows.  Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners would be cooked and neatly portioned into labeled tupperware containers.  Frankly, I'm not nearly so organized.  I feel like I'll be lucky just to get the girls' clothes washed.  (So Sunshine has a clean soccer uniform on Saturday morning, of course.)   

Seriously though, I think they're going to have a blast.  The chryalids are nearly ready to hatch. The weather is beautiful.  There are passes to the zoo.  The only thing that would make the weekend better is a refrigerator full of junk food.  I'll work on that on Friday.  

I'm going to miss them so much.   

Monday, October 13, 2008

The People I Left Behind...

So most of you know that I moved from Virginia several months ago.  In moving to Atlanta, I left my two wonderful sisters and brother back up in Virginia.  There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss them terribly.  

I used to talk to Sharon at least 5 times a day.  Even when we lived in the same state.  Our conversations might not last for more than a couple of moments, but she's always one of those people that I want to talk to on a semi-hourly basis.  We have children that are just two months apart, so most of the time we're going through the same things. She has this amazing way of making me see things from another perspective, and I am eternally grateful for having her for a sister.  Sharon decided to go back to teaching this year.  Special Ed.  God has a special place for people who can do what my sister does every day.  She works so hard for her family.  It means that now I only get to talk to her once every couple of days versus every couple of hours.  It's been hard.  I've literally picked up my phone no fewer than 6 times today just thinking about calling her.  Sharon...if you're reading this.  I PROMISE I'm not trying to make you feel guilty.  I just wanted to say that I miss you!

I can't even begin to say how proud I am of my sister Ashley.  I missed most of her growing up years.  I've gotten to see a lot of her these last few years, to get to know her all over again.  Ashley's another on of those people that God has a special place for.  She's working her way through grad school to become a social worker.  She's tremendous with kids.  My kids, other people's kids.  A bit like a Guardian Angel.  I get to talk to Ashley a little more than Sharon.  But it still never seems like enough.  

My brother Christopher is still a bit of a mystery to me.  There's such a large difference in our ages, and I'd already left home by the time he started school.  I was just getting to know him again when I left.  He is the epitome of hard work.  He had it toughest of all of us, and he's amazing.  He works so very hard.  Two jobs and a full load of classes at college.  I wasn't strong enough to do that.  I don't get to tell him how proud of him I am nearly enough.  

It's sad.  When I left we talked about how we'd see each other more than just once or twice a year.  With school and jobs, we're going to be lucky to see each other that often.  I'm going to see two of the three this upcoming weekend, and I'm ecstatic.  It will be far too short a weekend, and I'll be left craving more time.  But it will have to do.    

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Soccer Chronicles, Week 2

I think it was the bindi that did it.  Sunshine received several sheets of bindis for her birthday, and she's been wearing them ever since.  So when I suggested she might like to wear a bindi to play soccer today, she jumped at the chance.  She put on her soccer uniform without even having to be asked.  She ran out onto the field with her Daddy.  She practiced with her team.  She played, excitedly running onto the field when her coach called her.  It was such a dramatic transformation that I think I have to attribute it to the bindi.  

The way 3 and 4-year olds play soccer is to essentially take turn scoring goals.  One kid from one team runs up the field with the ball and scores a goal.  The opposing team then repeats the process.  We kept telling the kids to try to take the ball away from the kid running with it.  At one point, after calling to Sunshine to take the ball, she stopped running and looked at us as if we were crazy.  And I came to a startling realization.  I've been teaching my kid for the last four years that you don't take things away from other people.  At least not without asking first.  And now I expect her to take a ball from someone who is obviously playing with it and play with it herself.  It seriously goes against everything I've been teaching her.  I'm so proud of my kiddo for looking at me like I was crazy!  

How You Know Your Little One Is Growing Up...

When she tells you for the first time that kissing her boo boo won't make it stop hurting.  Just about broke my heart.  

Friday, October 10, 2008

Out of the Closet

So my blog is out of the closet.  Congrats to Aunt Kirha for finding it.  That took patience!  I started it not too long ago after listening to two of my favorite bloggers, Kristen and Mir, extol the virtues of keeping this legacy for their children.  I was inspired.  Doesn't happen often, and I wasn't sure where it would go.  You know, there are a lot of things I start but tire of after a while.  I'm hoping that this isn't one of them as it has now become my dream to support my family via blogging like this fine lady.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Truthfully, I'm really enjoying this, and I'm thrilled that you all want to hear about the girls.    I'll post more pictures, but I'm dealing with some computer issues that has resulted in the complete destruction of the door to my hard drive.  I'm working on rebuilding it and, as the apple tech explained it, moving each piece back where it belongs.  The pictures haven't been moved yet.  

So, if you all are out there, leave a comment.  Tell me what you think.  Say hi.  I love it.  Mom, it's super easy.  Just click "comments" at the bottom of each post.  Type in your comment.  You can click "anonymous" because that's easier, and then publish.  I'd love it.  The girls (well Sunshine) would too as I read everything to them.  Well, I might modify them a bit.  

So, busy weekend ahead of us.  Sunshine has a soccer game tomorrow.  Last week the only thing we could do was convince her to put on the jersey.  Hopefully this week we'll graduate to actually standing on the sidelines and cheering for her team.  Baby steps, right?  After that Notre Dame plays.  Go Fighting Irish!  Here's hoping they win, because if not the world as we know it will cease to exist.  At least according to my husband.  Sunday brings Sunshine's Fall Potluck.  I signed Daddy up to help organize the kids games.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure I told him that yet.  First things first, though, the start to the weekend.  Hopefully it begins with me not having to cook and someone else cleaning up.  Honey, did you catch that?

Love you all!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diaper Woes

***WARNING*** This post includes information you may not want about my second daughter.  

So I've been having a problem lately.  Ladybug absolutely can't keep her hands out of her diaper.  Sounds gross, I know.  It really kind of came upon us in stages.  First it was just when we changed her diaper.  I can handle that.  We wash hands after changing.  Her giddiness when learning that it is time to change said diaper actually makes it funny.   And now I can actually get her to wipe her own bottom.

Next came the hands in the leg hole of the diaper.  Didn't so much mind it when we were at home.  We wash hands often.  However, it became a little excessive when she spent our entire hour at Target with her hands in her diaper.  No amount of my pulling her hands away could make her stop.

It progressed even further.  Now she really relishes taking her diaper off in her crib.  Kind of a downer to reach in for my beautiful little girl in the pitch dark and feel a naked, wet bottom.  However, Ladybug even managed to top that one.  I picked her up from her crib the other day after nap time.  Everything seemed normal.  It didn't feel like her diaper needed to be changed.  I took her downstairs and proceeded to start trimming her nails, and noticed something brown on her fingers.  Surprisingly I didn't think too much about it.  Until I realized what it was.  When pants prevented her from removing her diaper, my sweet little girl had managed to empty out her diaper for me.  I went back upstairs and the mess at the foot of her crib confirmed my suspicions.  I'll never look at black beans the same way again, and I love black beans.

So, how early is too early to potty train?  I'm very much in the child-led potty training camp.  Kids generally know when they're ready to start, and you can't really force my kids to do anything that they're not ready for.  But this is getting ridiculous.  She knows when she is going.  She'll stop everything just to put her hands in her diaper and feel herself going.  Ask her if she's going potty and her whole body will shake "YES".  This sounds like readiness, doesn't it?  Goodness knows I'd love to get rid of the Pampers, especially since she's not really letting them do their job in the first place.  Just not so excited about the exponential increase in dirty laundry.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

It's a gray, dreary, chilly day in the ATL.  Perfect weather for a hearty lamb stew and some great cuddle time on the sofa with the girls.  We're screening The Bee Movie today.  After more than 30 days with no rain I forgot how nice it is to curl up during a thunderstorm.  The puppy girl is anxious though and is pacing everywhere.  All in all, it's been a perfect day so far.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Great Birthday Party Dilemma

So this past weekend was Sunshine's very large birthday party with her friends.  Daddy and I had gone back and forth for weeks about whether or not we would even have a big friend birthday party.  I didn't necessarily want to.  I mean, what is it with birthday parties?  They are insanely expensive.  The entire class needs to be invited.  (Not such a small task considering your average Montessori classroom has 30 students.)  Not to mention the fact that keeping 30 3, 4, and 5 year-olds busy and entertained requires nothing less than creativity on the level of Walt Disney.  We're not even going to talk about the goody bag dilemma.  

My husband's argument for the party was compelling.  Sunshine's never had a birthday party with her friends.  She's had such a tough time making friends at school.  Maybe seeing all of them outside of school would help.  Every kid should be able to experience a big, fun birthday party every couple of years.  It's a cool part of growing up.   

So I gave in.  I booked a party at Leapin' Lizards, a really cool inflatable place in Decatur.  I absolutely was not going to try to entertain all those children in our home on 2.5 weeks notice.  Then I started worrying.  What if no one came?  These kids haven't know Sunshine for very long.  What do we do about gifts?  I wanted to say "no gifts," but Daddy thought she should be able to experience a party with gifts, just once.  The only party slot available was 4:00-6:30 pm.  That meant serving dinner.  What do you serve 30 kids for dinner when some of said children are vegan, some are kosher Jews, and some just have parents who don't want anything not organic or free-range to pass across their child's lips?  Then the goody bag dilemma.

Invitations went out.  A tentative menu of cheese pizza, chicken tenders, and a vegetable tray was planned.  Much thought was put into the goody bag dilemma.  Several ideas were discarded.  Finally tote bags, markers, and foam stickers were purchased.  Party plans were moving along nicely.  It would have been nice if people had actually RSVP'd by the date, but that's OK.  It's relatively easy to move numbers around with a party like this.

I was still so anxious though.  I know, I know.  I'm worried about a kid's party.  How lame is that?  But we're new to this school.  We don't know these parents well.  We want Sunshine to fit in.  We want her to be accepted.  We want to be accepted.  What would the parents think about us?  Would we get party invitations after this?  My stomach was churning all day long.  

All in all though, the party went really well.  The kids jumped.  They played.  Sunshine found a friend that stayed with her through the entire party!  She didn't play alone!  Surprisingly there were no tears, from anyone.  It got a little chaotic when we called the children in for dinner.  I was so busy thinking about what to serve, that I didn't even bother to think about how I would get all these children plates fixed.  But the other moms there were fantastic.  They stepped right in.  We didn't really have enough food for the parents to do more than graze.  We probably should have had more.   Oh well.  Sunshine had a blast.  That alone makes it a complete success.  To top that, I even got compliments on the goody bags.  

I'm embarrassed to say that I was so nervous about this.  I know a bad birthday party won't put my kid into therapy.  I just want her to start feeling a little better about this move, her school, her friends.  I know buying her things won't help, but I'm hoping this experience did.  I'm not sure we'll do a big birthday party next year, but she'll have some great memories from this one.  



Monday, October 6, 2008

Charades, anyone?

Ladybug is in such a fascinating stage of development.  Or at least I think so.  She is very non verbal, but she is finding ways of using her body to communicate.  Suggest that we go upstairs to change her diaper, and she will get so excited that her whole body shakes itself yes.  Not just her head, but her whole body.  It's absolutely wild to watch.  Ask to share her raisins, and her head drops down to the floor, her bottom lip pouts out, and she'll clutch her raisins so tightly that the phrase "Over my cold, dead body" comes to mind.  She'll flap her arms wildly when she sees a bird, or airplane for that matter.  She pants when she sees a dog.  She even puts her hand to her ear when she hears me tell Sunshine that it's time to help find my cell phone.  I'm beginning to think the rest of us should sign up for sign language lessons.  

Sunshine never really went through this stage, so it's all new to me.  It's kind of fun, playing charades with my kid.  I know I'm right when her entire body starts bobbing up and down wildly.  It's the very definition of "YES."  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Shout Out to Daddy

Ever since we moved and Ladybug learned to walk, the girls have been all over my cabinets in our bathroom.  There is something so enthralling about lots of little bottles and containers.  The girls just can't get enough of them.  The second that Ladybug's feet hit the ground, she'd make a beeline for for them.  I'd walk into my bathroom seconds later, and the floor would be littered with bottles and jars, some with their lids nearly off.  I can't tell you how many times I've stubbed my toe on something that they've dragged out.  

I came home from a birthday party round robin with Sunshine a while ago and again tripped over something left on my bathroom floor.  I said something remarkably similar to what a sailor might have said, and bent down to put it back in the cabinet.  I couldn't pull them open.  My amazing husband had childlocked my bathroom cabinets.  And then left something out so I would be sure to trip over it, let loose some colorful vocabulary, and put it away.  But that's ok, he did it without my even asking him to.   And he's helped to ensure that our children's vocabulary is way less colorful!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Some more photos of my beautiful girls.....





Happy Birthday, Sunshine!



My Amazing Sunshine,

You're four years old now.  Four years going on fourteen.  You told some of our neighbors that you were turning four, and you had such a grownup look about you.  You were posing.  They gave me a look that said, "Oh Angela, you are in such trouble."  But that's another post.

I feel like I spent all day looking at you and thinking about that truly scary, exhilarating day that you entered this world.  We were nervous, like all new parents facing labor and delivery for the first time.  I remember just bits and pieces now.  Like how it took so long for you to cry, and that they didn't bring you to me like they were supposed to.  I remember feeling very anxious.  You were perfect; you just needed a little time.  I remember trying to nurse you that very first time.  How I had no idea if what I was doing was right, but you seemed content and busy.  I remember that very first night that we brought you home.  Silly me.  I thought you would wake me up every two hours to eat.  You didn't.  I woke up, completely engorged and terrified that you'd stopped breathing six hours later.  You were fine.  Just sleeping like a baby.

We quickly learned that you will do things when you are ready.  No amount of cajoling on our part can make you ready for something you are not.  You will do things in your own time.  You were a swaddled baby.  Couldn't sleep without it.  We tried to take it away several times, but you weren't ready.  Then, at six months old, you suddenly couldn't sleep with it.  And you told us, in no uncertain terms, that you were done with it.  Even now, you let us know when you're not ready.  Just this weekend you had your first soccer practice.  You're on a team with children you don't know, playing a game you are a little unfamiliar with.  We should have known that you wouldn't necessarily take kindly to practicing.  I wish the coach  might have let you kids have time to get to know each other.  But we don't live in a world that caters to us, and your Daddy and I are trying to teach you a little bit about that.

Your kindness and courtesy amazes me.  I love that when we go out for ice cream, you are the first to offer up your flavor to us for tastes.  You give bites of your favorite foods to Ladybug, without hesitation, if you think she might want them.  You gently help her down the stairs, and cheer her on for getting down without falling.  We've even caught glimpses of you curled up at the corner of her crib, reading her stories.  You absolutely love to hold doors open for others (thank you, Richmond Montessori!), and you know that trash belongs in a trashcan.  There are many students at the high school next to your school who still don't have a great grasp on those lessons.  

You understand so readily that there are certain things that you don't have to share; Cat, Jungley, Baby, and that everything else is up for grabs.  You're so patient with Ladybug when she wants to play with all these toys that were formerly just yours.  You even show her how to use them properly.  

You have an amazing love of all things girl:  sparkly shoes, butterflies, cool hair bands, Fancy Nancy, Barbie dolls (thanks, Mimi), and jewelry.  It never ceases to amaze me.  You need to feel put together in the morning.  Everything matches down to your accessories.  Your purse goes with you to school.  I'm so the very opposite of well put together.  I usually don't match.  My hair is usually up in a bun, and accessories con only rarely be found on my person.  It's absolutely delightful watching you.  I do feel as though I lack some girly gene though.  I know we'll butt heads, but for now I love watching you grow.

Sunshine, your laugh is absolutely infectious.  Luckily we hear you laugh so much more often than we hear you rage.  Although as you test more and more boundaries, you seem to feel more and more frustrated.  We've been working on counting to 10 lately.  When you're angry, I can ask you nicely to count to 10.  You do the same for me.  It's only fair.  Hopefully this will make for some better mornings.

I see so little of the baby that you once were.  I think I'm mourning that just a little.  On the flip side, it's incredible to see the girl you are becoming!

Happy Birthday, Sunshine!
Love, Mom

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's been a tough few weeks with Sunshine, on top of a tough few months.  She's turning 4 on Friday.  Sometimes it sounds like she's turning 14.  We try very hard to speak with kindness in our home.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not perfect, but we try very hard.  That's why it's so hard to hear the incredibly sarcastic tone that currently comes out of my daughter's mouth.  

We give her a "do over".  She gets a chance to try saying what she wants to say another way, in another tone of voice.  She almost always gets it right the second time.  I really just wish she would say it nicely the first time.  All in all, this is not a bad problem to have.  We're working on it, and she's getting better.  I think my problem with this is that I don't know where she's picking it up.  Is it us?  We really do try to speak kindly.  I don't think she's hearing it at school.  It's not the Montessori way.  

Maybe my biggest problem with this is that it seems like a little preview of Ms. Sunshine, the Teenage Years.  And it scares the hell out of me.   

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I thought I had a while before this happened...

Several days ago, Sunshine and I were waiting in line to say good morning to her teacher.  Along the way we pass a lunchbox featuring some music group.  I wasn't sure who it was.  

Sunshine:  Look Mommy, It's the Jonas Brothers.
Mommy:  Who are the Jonas Brothers?
Sunshine:  SSSHHHH, Mommy.  You're embarrassing me.  

I think I stood there with a look of shocked surprise on my face.  I still don't know who the Jonas Brothers are.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ahhh...The Wonders of Walmart

So it's been pretty quiet here.  On Saturday, Sunshine and I left for a bit while Daddy watched the Notre Dame game.  That's generally a safe decision, especially if it looks like the Irish might play down to their opponent.  It saves me from having to explain to Sunshine why she shouldn't yell at the TV or repeat the colorful new language that she's learned.  

We needed some groceries, and I thought we'd head to Walmart.   I'm generally not a fan of Walmart.  The stores are dirty, the help is lacking.  But the economy being what it is....Walmart is far cheaper.  Anyways, it's also a good place to kill a little time.

We had the best time together.  Ladybug was napping, so she didn't join us.  We got there, and spend almost 30 minutes swinging in the garden center.  She laid her head on my lap, and we spent that time just talking about what we were seeing.  Then we moved on to the fish.  We looked at every tank.  Then it was on to the clearance aisle.  We'd spent almost an hour there by the time we hit the toy section.  She loved it.  Just Mommy and Sunshine time.  I got a lesson on what accessories princesses need.  She showed me how almost every toy within her reach worked.  She rode a bike.  And she talked to me.   We talked about everything.

Sunshine has been fairly quiet lately.  She clams up a lot, especially since school has started.  But just walking with her in Walmart, she really opened up.  She talked about everything.  Her friends at her old school.  Her friends at her new school.  Her teacher.  Colors.  Her favorite food.  We spent 20 mintues talking about what kind of candles she'd like on her birthday cake.  She was a totally different kid.  I'm thinking that it was the one-on-one time that sparked it.  We don't get much of that lately, and it's so incredibly important.  I need to keep reminding myself of that.  We killed so much time just talking to each other at Walmart that the game was over by the time we got home.  Talk about a Win-Win situation.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

For the Love of God, Why Octopus?

So after an incredibly busy Sunday, the family sat down to dinner at one of our favorite Cuban joints.  The black bean quesadilla is out of this world, but the Hubby is crazy about the paella.  You know the dish; rice, chicken, andouille sausage, lots of squid, shrimp, and octopus.  Small, but whole, octopus.  Sunshine has been sharing this dish with her Daddy for a while now.  It's still unnerving to see her pop one of these whole octopi in her mouth.  This from the kid who won't really touch chicken.  All in all, it's kind of neat.  Until we're standing in front of the Octopus exhibit at the Aquarium and she tells everyone how good it tastes when you eat it.  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Protecting the Nurslings and Their Mommies

I'm angry.  I'm appalled.  Anyone who has ever nursed a little one, or followed Her Bad Mother's saga, has come across people who think that breastfeeding an infant belongs in the bathroom or beneath a filthy airline blanket.  How unbelievably archaic.  How unbelievably sad.  

I nursed both of my little nurslings for more than a year.  Sunshine was 16 months old when she decided she was ready to stop nursing.  Ladybug was closer to 13 months old.  I couldn't get either of them to even look at a bottle.  I loved nursing my kiddos.  I am so proud of myself for getting through that difficult beginning to nursing (read thrush).  I am so proud of my husband for being so incredibly supportive of me.  For me, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  They were my constant companions, and I'm proud to say that I nursed them in public, in private, on a plane, and in a car (while the car was stopped, of course).

 Having said that, I usually did try to find a quiet place.  FYI, Nordstrom's has some of the nicest rooms for this.  But that's not always possible.  Babies are unpredictable, and you can't always be in a private place.  My little nurslings couldn't stand to be covered up.  So there goes the blanket.  I think I showed more skin trying to keep the blanket on and the child latched.   I think every mother tries to be discreet.  No one is waving their breast around saying, "Look at me, I'm nursing."  

Anyone who even remotely suggested that I might want to take my child to a more appropriate place (read filthy, disgusting public restroom) was usually met with a withering stare and a don't mess with me attitude.  But what about the women who do need to nurse gasp in public, and don't have the energy to stand up for their rights?  For the rights of their hungry children?  Why does society see nursing as something shameful?  Why do so many nursing mothers feel like they have to take their precious children to absolutely appalling places to simply feed them?  THAT'S WHAT BREASTS ARE FOR, PEOPLE.  They are there to nourish babies.  I agree that they are also there to have a little fun with.  But their primary function is to nourish babies.  I will defend, with every fiber of my being, my right to feed my child where ever I want, whenever I want, in the manner I see fit.  

I am tired of hearing that nursing mothers are being asked to move because they might make someone else uncomfortable.  That they might offend someone else by doing something that is so natural.  I'm tired of hearing it compared to urinating in public.  I'm tired of hearing people say that nursing mothers are "sexually abusing" their children if they nurse them past six months of age.  So all those people who think that breastfeeding is gross or disgusting, and should take place in a bathroom can go straight to a Hell where nursing mothers are EVERYWHERE.  

I guess I've come to the conclusion that it's not my problem.  If someone is insecure or offended by the fact that I'm breastfeeding, it's not my problem.  It's theirs.  They need to deal with it.  If someone thinks that what I'm doing is shameful, it's not my problem.  Feeding my child is my problem.  And I will nurse them where and when I want.  They deserve nothing less than the best, and I can provide them with that.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gone, Baby, Gone

Relief is coursing through my body.  It's gone.  Thank goodness it's gone.  It's been such a weight on our shoulders, and now it's finally gone.  Our beautiful home in Richmond, VA has been on the market for more than 8 months.  Yesterday it sold.  Closed.  Gone.  I can't even begin to express how good it feels.  

The saga of this home is so sad.  It was our dream home.  An incredible 1880's Queen Anne Victorian.  My husband and I love old homes.  And this was it.  A beautiful wrap around porch.  Turrets.  Everything was original; from the floors to the tile in the fireplaces.  The slate roof was original.  And that's what did it too us.  Caring for the slate roof of an incredibly old house is challenging at the best of times.  Caring for this house took everything out of us.  Selling it just about ripped our hearts out.  

Fast forward to January.  We're transferring to Atlanta, and the economy is tanking, and we need to sell our home.  The panic that set in was horrific.  We laid awake for so many nights worrying about how we were going to deal with selling this monstrosity.  My husband went ahead and moved, leaving the me, the girls, the dog and the cats to sell the house.  Three months of pure loneliness, interrupted by weekends of pure bliss.   Still no movement on the house.  Finally I couldn't stand it any longer and moved to Atlanta.  Still no movement on the house.  

I should mention that there was no air conditioning in the 1880s.  Our house was never retrofitted.  It would be sacrilege to tear apart the house to add the ductwork necessary for central air.  In Richmond, in the summer, it could be upwards of 90 degrees in the downstairs of the house.  Someone would be crazy to buy it.  We were crazy to buy it.  (I did manage to spend on very pregnant summer in that house though.  So if I can do it, pregnant no less, anyone can do it.)  

Well, months later, we finally got an offer.  It was lousy, and the seller wanted too much.  But I don't think we really cared.  We just needed it to be gone.  At this point, we can barely bring ourselves to look at even a photo of the house.  I know we're lucky.  There are so many people who can't sell their houses now.  Who have to just let it go. 

Now we can start to rebuild.  We've cut ties with Richmond.  We never have to look back.  It's over.  Last night we cracked a bottle of wine that we bought in Italy on our Honeymoon.  We toasted our new beginning.  The relief is overwhelming.  Not quite as overwhelming as the dread and anxiety that we felt while it was on the market.  But that's OK.  It's finally over!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

On Becoming Sisters...

We went to the Zoo yesterday.  It was Mei Lan's birthday, and Sunshine is absolutely crazy about Mei Lan.  Anyways, we didn't take a stroller.  That's always such a risk, because you never know who will need the rest time.  Ladybug was amazing.  She walked almost the entire time.  She adored watching the animals.  What was even more amazing was watching Sunshine and Ladybug together.  Daddy and I got to walk, holding each other's hands, no less, watching our two little girls holding hands.  They walked together, watched the animals together, laughed together.  I know it was fleeting.  They'll be back to arguing over the Elmo chair today.  But for just a little while, I saw them as I hope to see them when they are adults.  The way I see myself with my sisters.  I love being with my sisters, and I miss them terribly.  I am really enjoying watching Sunshine and Ladybug become sisters together.  

Friday, September 5, 2008

We're Speaking, Just Not The Same Language


I have been having the best time with Ladybug in the mornings.  I think she's really enjoying her alone time with Mommy.  She's been trying to communicate a lot with me.  I just not always getting it.  Around Sunshine, Ladybug just goes with the flow.  She's such an amazing easy kid, that I don't have many cues for her.  We've never really needed them.

Well, today Ladybug was speaking loud and clear.  I just didn't read the signals.  We were shopping, and she kept trying to stick her hand in her diaper.  Now she doesn't normally do this in public.  First cue.  And she was whining.  Again, not a whiny kid.  I just thought she was a little hungry.  Second cue.  Turns out she was soaked.  Completely.  She tried so hard to tell me.  There she was, practically screaming that she was wet and uncomfortable.  Luckily we have every weekday morning to learn eachother's language.  I think it's going to be a great time.