Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cute Enough to Interrupt My Shower

I'm battling a backache today so I took it easy at the gym. While I usually shower there, I decided that today was a good day to go straight home after exercising. The girls were both at preschool so it was destined to be a nice, quiet, relaxing shower. PERFECT. Right before getting into the shower, I heard the mail lady drive up. I usually race to the mailbox to see if any freebies have arrived but today, the shower seemed more promising.

As I was washing up, I heard ominous footsteps coming up the stairs. In my head, I was picturing a giant glass of cold water ascending the staircase… I briefly thought that DH may have been coming upstairs to tell me the phone was for me or that something funky showed up in the mail. But I was prepared for anything from my very mischievous DH.

To my surprise, I opened the door to see DH holding two of the cutest children's bags I have ever seen. He had ordered them from one of the other women in his life for the girls to use for their dance shoes. They're still using the ones he ordered for them for Christmas because, frankly, I didn't have the heart to tell them they're just not in season any more. If the girls didn't care, I guess I shouldn't either. But when they see these, they'll love, love, love them!

The woman that made them did an awesome job, using a super-cute popsicle material with a handle to match. She also inscribed each with their monogram, perfect for curtailing the "I want this one" argument.

If you need a cute children's purse/bag, you can check out dasoriginals Etsy shop or go directly to her website. She does quality work and it's very inexpensive! She doesn't have the popsicle tote listed on her page as of this posting, but if anyone is interested, please contact her directly for the details!

By the way - Yes, DH is cute enough to interrupt my shower, but in this case I was referring to the tote bags!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm Spoiled and I Know It

DH and I are both stay-at-home parents. Thanks to some great decisions and opportunities while living in Los Angeles, we have been able to call ourselves semi-retired here in the Midwest.

I am often asked how we manage to spend so much time together and not drive each other crazy. Simple. He's wonderful. He's helpful. I love him.

I love watching him bond with the girls. It's a dramatic change from when Miss M was only one and she barely knew her dad because of all the hours he put in at work, traveling to/from work and out of town because of work. That may sound like a complaint, but it's not. Those sacrifices he made back then got us to where we are today.

The girls are at an age where they are home the majority of the day. They've grown so used to DH being around that when he goes to his volunteer job, they pester me about how long until he'll return. They want him to sing to them and play with them. They want to sit next to him at the restaurant, they fight over who gets daddy and who has to have mommy. They argue about who gets to hold his hand while walking in areas where they have to hold our hands. Am I jealous? Not even close. I'm proud. They want their dad because he's here; he's spending quality time with them and they love him - not because he's absent and they are vying for his attention.

Due to a death in his family and his uncle's sudden illness, he's been away for over a week now. With every day and every small thing I do, I realize how much I miss him. When he calls, I don't complain to him about the girls misbehaving. Considering all the circumstances, my worst day is far better than his best day right now.

Many women have husbands that travel a great deal for work. Other families are broken apart by military assignments. I applaud those people for doing all they do.

I'm spoiled to have a husband who is always around and I'm sorry I don't tell him often enough how much I appreciate him.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Leprechaun?

A Leprechaun? Yup, that's what I said. It really shouldn't be much of a surprise considering this is St. Patrick's weekend.

Each year, my brother dresses up as a leprechaun and skydives into the party at Kelly's Irish Pub in Davenport, Iowa. Effectively combining two of his favorite activities – skydiving and drinking.

Hmmm… I wonder how he gets home.

Shameless Beg For a Survey

You see that BlogHer Ad over there --> in one of the side columns. They're currently running an announcement about a reader survey. It just takes a little while so if you wouldn't mind filling it out, I would really appreciate it! I've included the link in this post so you don't have to refresh for the actual ad.

If you've dismissed it as just another advertisement, you might want to rethink that. Sometimes BlogHerAds runs advertisements and sometimes public service announcement's, but the one thing that is consistent is the feed at the bottom of the ad that links to other blogs. They change regularly so be sure to click through every once in a while. It's a fun a way to discover some really great writers.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is it Real or Is it Fake?

If you are thinking this is gossip about some celebrity's plastic surgery, sorry. That's just not my thing. Instead, it is just about me and my desire to savor that last morsel of pure toddler honesty.

Babies basically have a few different cries: Hungry, Tired, Wet or Wanting Attention. A mom hears the cry and springs into action. That's how moms work.

As they hit the toddler stage, they developed a few new ones: For example, there's the "but I don't want to" cry. The "fighting back the tears/frown face turning into the quivering lip/turning into the whimper" cry. The full on "The world is coming to an end" cry. But my most cherished one is THE cry. The forced out "I want to get my way" fake cry.

When the girls were little and would start that cry, we usually just laughed and asked "Is it real or is it fake?" Their answer… "Hiiitttttssss faaaahhyyyykkee." That just made us laugh harder. They would usually stop crying long enough to yell "Stop laughing, it's not funny." We would insist "Then don't smile!" They would giggle and we would defuse it without much incident. Strangers that caught us in the act would give us perplexed looks until they heard the "Hiiitttttssss faaaahhyyyykkee" then they would giggle too. DH and I would mix up the order of the question to ensure that they weren't just picking the second choice and we even sometimes used it on real cries to make sure we could get the correct answer.

Just recently, I've had to prod the girls with "Are you telling the truth?" When something happened, I already know the answer – I just want them to tell me. It wasn't until recently that non-truths became an issue.

Then there's nap time today. I was upstairs constructing tents to nap in, a luxury they get when they behave. The girls decided to race to the top of the stairs. Miss M had it hands-down but it sent Miss K into turmoil. "I wanted to beat her!" She was genuinely upset and I figured I would spend extra time cuddling her before her nap.

Me: "Let me tuck in Miss M, then I'll come tuck you in."
Realizing I wasn't going to let a small tantrum interrupt the nap schedule, Miss K started the whiny cry.
I finished with Miss M and walked Miss K to her room.
Miss K: (whining) "But I wanted to win."
Me: "I know, but you can try again next time."
Fighting to stay awake, Miss K channeled all her energy. (crying) "Buhhtt my haaand hurrts."
Knowing it hasn't worked in a while, I decided to try. "Is it real or is it fake?"
Miss K: (crying) "Buhhtt I huurrrt my haaand."
I looked at her hand and it had a small scratch on it. Nothing major but I kissed it and made it better. Going out on a limb, I asked "Are you sad or do you just need my attention?"
Miss K: (crying) "Juhhsstt uh-tennttion."
It made my day to know that there's still a little bit of that pure honesty still left in her.

I cradled her for a while then asked if she wanted to sleep in my bed instead of the tent and she said yes. But she said I had to lay down with her. And I did. And we were happy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm Banning "Max and Ruby"

My girls, like pretty much every other kid, like to watch cartoons. Noggin and NickJr are their favorites. However, they recently took a liking to classics on the Cartoon Network like Scooby Doo and Tom & Jerry. Those bring back childhood memories, so I'm okay with that. My personal favorites are WordWorld and SuperWhy because they seem to really teach the girls something. If you have preschool children, I highly recommend you check out WordWorld on PBS because it's a fun show to watch with the kids.

Most of the shows on Noggin and NickJr have a lesson of some sort and I think that's great. But despite teaching a lesson, I've come to despise "Max & Ruby." If you've never seen the show before, Max is a young character and Ruby is his slightly older sister. While she's playing tea party with her dolls, he's off running trucks through the mud. Although I've never sat down and done an official character word count analysis, I would venture to guess that for every 3 sentences that Ruby says, Max says 1 word. All his responses are ONE WORD (maybe two, if we're lucky)… and they are usually the same word over and over. She's trying to get a point across and he's saying something like "shadow" after everything she says. For the entire episode. After everything she says. And at the end of the episode, he's usually right. It has cute characters, storylines and all, but it teaches kids that one word sentences are okay.

So why do I care? It's impacting my kids. I've been noticing it more and more lately that both Miss M and Miss K are starting to communicate with one word – usually if they've seen a Max & Ruby episode in the past few days. For example, the other day Miss M needed to make her bed and wanted me to help. As she headed up the stairs, she looked back at me and said "Bed". I cocked my head and furrowed. She revised her sentence to "Make bed." Grrr. I looked at her and said "If you want me to help, you need to use normal sentences. You aren't Max."

This has been going on for a while, but seems to be getting worse. Okay, maybe it's not worse, I'm just getting more annoyed by it. Either way, seems I'm going to have to encourage the cartoon network in lieu of any more Max & Ruby!

Monday, March 10, 2008

They Must Have Given Me The Wrong Baby

I've decided that Miss K is NOT mine. The hospital obviously mixed things up and sent me home with the wrong child.

Let me explain…

Miss K and I were playing yesterday afternoon while Miss M was still napping. We have a Little People castle and she repeatedly insisted that the Little People not get to play in it. They were banished from the castle to the land of toy box… as she has done on previous occasions. Dora, Snow White and the princess cake toppers (you know, the set from the birthday cake) have castle priority even though Dora has her own castle.

So I finally just asked Miss K if she was tired of the little people and if we needed to get rid of them. She said "Yes, we need to get rid of them." Hmmm. I asked about her interest in the Little People castle and she said she wasn't done with it. She hasn't played with the actual Little People for a while, so I thought it was a good opportunity to throw the Little People Bus and Ferris wheel sets into the yard sale stack. As I was gathering the pieces up to take to the basement, she proceeded to go through the toy box and tell me what other toys to get rid of. THAT'S when I realized something was fishy. I lean to the side of packrat on most occasions and typically only purge when it's obvious that something has to go.

Then I started thinking. She likes to shop for shoes and pretty dresses. I, on the other hand, hate shopping for clothes for myself.

Hand her a dust rag or broom and away she goes. We've already discussed my propensity for cleaning, so we don't need to rehash it.

Thank goodness, like me, she has a really big sweet tooth and is great at jigsaw puzzles (Age 3 and doing 150 piece puzzles) otherwise I would be on the phone with the hospital right now asking where MY child is.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Welcome. This Will Be The Class of 2021

If I didn't feel old before, I do now.

We had kindergarten roundup yesterday for our first child, Miss M.

It was an exciting event for all of us. When we first arrived, we were greeted by all things "cow". Yeah, only in Iowa. There were older/volunteer students wearing cow-spot hats. Kim, the coordinator (and a friend of mine from the Y) instructed us to inform Miss M that "anyone wearing a cow hat is OK to talk to." Instant safe-zone, gotta love it. The presentation room was decorated with cow-spot balloons, tables with cow-spot tablecloths and even cow-spot lunch bags loaded with (you guessed it) animal crackers! Kudos to Kim for doing an awesome job.

While the kids were off doing kid stuff, parents listened to presentations from the principal, nurse, counselor, PTA reps and, of course, each of the kindergarten teachers. I didn't know what to expect, but I certainly didn't expect the first words out of the Principal's mouth to be an announcement that this is the Class of 2021. As people were introduced, I began to feel older and older... and older. I leaned over to my neighbor who was sitting next to me and whispered "When I was in school, I remember the teachers, principal and nurse all being much older."

As each speaker stepped up to the microphone, they proclaimed to have the "Greatest Job in the Whole World" and I really think they each believe it! If the roundup is any indication of what school life will be like for Miss M, then she's going to love it... and so will we.

3/11/08 - Edit to give credit where credit is due: Kim emailed me to say the following "Thank you for the wonderful compliments! I couldn't have done it without all of my helpers. Lynne Schelly happened to be the lead this year and came up with the theme. It was MOOOOVE into KINDERGARTEN for an UTTERLY GOOD TIME!!!! Sue Miller also helped with organizing the googy bags and set up."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Update on Posts – plus Tag of Useless Info

First, I have to apologize for the lack of posts recently. I got back from vacation and my brain had so many blog ideas that I couldn't focus. So my desktop is riddled with thoughts about things that I would like to post about…eventually. After all, I'm the world's best procrastinator. Maybe after I finish reading the 259 posts from the 47 subscriptions in my Google Reader then I'll be able to post something myself!

In the meantime, I was tagged by my friend, Patty over at PipStitch. It called for seven "weird or random things about yourself." This was fun to think up odd and useless information. Hope it gives at least one person a laugh.

(1) My accounting teacher in high school had us play monopoly each class and log our transactions like a business. It was one of the coolest ways to learn about debits and credits.
(2) During my pregnancies, BLT's were my favorite food. We had them at least once a week.
(3) This is the memory that always comes to mind when I hear "tag". When I was a kid, my best friend lived on a farm and I visited often so felt very comfortable there. While playing tag on one visit, I specifically recall running around the pigpen headed for the gated area in front of it. While sometimes the pigs are congregating there, on this particular day, they weren't. What I didn't know is that her dad had just cleaned out all the pens and staged it all in that holding area. There's a gap in my memory between (1) turning the corner and seeing no pigs and (2) actually getting there – where I found myself up to my knees in pig crap… literally.
(4) I haven't participated in 4-H since I was young, but still catch myself reciting the 4-H pledge whenever I see that familiar clover. "I pledge my head to clearer thinking..."
(5) During my first trip to Vegas, I played Bingo because it seemed like a good value of time and money. I actually won and was surprised when they told me the game I won included a guaranteed payout or a small amount of time in one of those wind tunnel things with money blowing around me. I chose the wind thing and walked off with over $400. Was so much fun to be in one of those things and grab money! It got me hooked on bingo, too.
(6) While attending the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I tried garlic ice cream. It tasted just fine.
(7) As a teenager, my brothers called me the "c" word along with several other unspeakable things. They explained "It's only words. If it doesn't bother you, it can't hurt you." I remember it well. As I got older, people would try to use words as a weapon against me. It didn't work. My reaction: "It's only words." Thank goodness my brothers don't read my blog… I wouldn't want them to know they were right about something.

As with any tag, there are rules - Here they are:
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Eeny, meeny, miney, mo! I decided to pick some that I've been reading the longest, along with a few of my newest additions: Trooper at Dating is Warefare, Michele at The Squawkery, Sonny at Girls, Drinks, Etc., Sadie at Finding Perfect, Shot in the Arm, FunkyFrum at Kosher Vegan and Judy at A Very Open Book.