Navigating the sticky, jam-covered road of life.  

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


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