Friday, July 31, 2009

A Pwaydate!

Tonight the girls and I had another playdate with Sprite! It was pretty impromptu, but the way things worked out I think her mama must be a little psychic.

The girls were super excited when I came home from work this afternoon and told them what we were doing tonight. There were many shrieks of "A pway date! A pway date! YAY!!!!!" from Elizabeth. The girls had all kinds of fun. Have I mentioned how much the girls love Sprite? You're not sure? They love Sprite. On the way home tonight Elizabeth found a random piece of paper in her car seat and pretended to write a letter on it.

"Dear Sprite and Sprite's Mommy", she said. "I wuv you".

Here's a sweaty bunch of little girls:
Yep, a very good time. If they hadn't been ready to collapse from exhaustion I think my girls would happily have continued the party all night.
Next time though? A play date for mommies only! I've already cleared it with David. Maybe we'll finally be able to get more of a story out of our mouths than just the first three sentences. Woohoo!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spin Cycle: Make New Friends, But Keep the Old...

I think most people would agree that I don’t have any problem making new friends.

I meet someone, I like them, they seem to like me, bonding takes place, *poof*! New friend. Unfortunately I don’t do a good job keeping in touch with people when they aren’t in my every day circle any more.

If I move or change jobs, I’m sad to leave people behind. They’ll e-mail me (because most people are not jerks like I seem to be), I can’t e-mail them back right away because I’m busy, or I don’t because I’m distracted, and then suddenly it’s 2 months later and they’ve e-mailed me 3 more times and I still haven’t responded to the first one because, you know, it’s been too long, AWKWARD! So I hide in shame until they stop trying to contact me. I’m not happy about that, but in most cases that is just what happens. I still genuinely like the person and miss them a lot, but it feels like it’s too late or too random to reach out. Thanks to blogging and Facebook I’m back in touch with a ton of people that I had missed, and am doing better at not losing touch with people in the first place, and I’m really happy about that.

But there’s a person out there somewhere that I strongly regret losing contact with, and Google and Facebook have not yet provided me any clues to how her life is going.

When I was in middle school, my mom (who had been a teacher before my parents got me) re-certified to become a Home Economics teacher. Right at the end of the summer before I was to go into 8th grade (so close to school starting that the practices for Cross Country had started. I’m not a quitter, but I hadn’t known I wasn’t a long-distance runner either, so I was about to be saved from myself) she announced that she had found a position and wanted to try it. Rather than uproot completely, and take my dad out of his job when he didn’t have one to go to, and (I think) as a safety measure in case she didn’t like teaching, my mom and I got an apartment two hours away from home in Southwest Ohio. She was going to teach at the middle school I would now be attending. You might think I would have minded this upheaval from the school system I had attended since first grade, but since my best friend from 4th through the first half of 7th grade had decided that we were no longer best friends, most likely due to the fact that I had snagged myself a boyfriend and she did not have one (I could be wrong of course, but the timing was mighty suspicious), I was pretty happy to not have to face 8th grade without her as a friend. Things had been cold and unpleasant on that Cross Country team, let me tell you.

So on the first day of 8th grade my mom and I went to school together, and I immediately felt welcome. She didn’t so much, but more on that later. Everybody I met thought it was cool that I was from the “big city” (*snort*), I didn’t run into anyone who wasn’t completely nice, and I had a math class that day that completely changed my life. Heh, that's probably the only time I've ever gotten something good out of that subject.

In that class was another new girl, who had just moved up from Texas with her younger sister, mom, and step-dad. She had curly dark auburn hair (the kind I’ve always wanted), wore glasses and was named Rachael. With nothing more to bring us together that first day other than our mutual newness and our almost identical names, within 24 hours we were solidly bonded as a unit, which was known from then on as the Rach(a)els. You want to know how fond of her I was? She was the only person who I have ever let get away with calling me “Rachie”. That’s a serious privilege. But she saved both my self-esteem and my optimistic outlook on life so she deserved that and a lot more.

With my former best friend suddenly decided I was no longer worth spending time with, I thought what any middle-school girl would have thought: that there was something wrong with me. That it was ABOUT me. It wasn’t until I got much older that I realized what had to have really been behind it (the boy). So all the fun I had with Rachael and the group of girls that formed around our unit (and the new boyfriend I picked up pretty quickly), with people wanting to be with me, jostling to sit on the side that wasn’t next to Rachael, and to have someone to do anything and everything with, who was a much better friend and person than my former best friend had ever been? Totally restored my confidence.

And then when my mom, who was disenchanted almost immediately with her new job (junior high kids having lost whatever politeness they were still displaying in the 70s), but didn’t want to quit, started to mentally withdraw into her misery and would forget to come home from school (I could either take the bus or walk), or cook dinner, or ask where I was or where I was going to go, Rachael and her family pretty much welcomed me into their family. I ate dinner at their house more than my own. I slept over almost every weekend. They included me on family trips to Kings Island. They were wonderful people who were raising two wonderful daughters (is it any wonder that I’ve always wanted to have two daughters, one with curly hair? It started all the way back then), and seemed to genuinely enjoy having one more, and it’s thanks to them, and especially Rachael that I came through 8th grade not only unscathed, but more confident and happy than I had ever been before.

But do you know how long this friendship, one of the most significant friendships I have had, lasted? 4 months plus one week. By the end of December my mom had given notice and shortly after the start of the new year I was back in central Ohio. And the fact that I've never been good at the keeping in touch thing? Bit me hard. Even though I got to visit her in Texas (she had also moved back to where she was from, but she got to wait until the end of the year) for one wonderful week the next summer, I was distracted by life and let her go by the wayside. I was able to go back to my old school in the middle of 8th grade and have a great second half of the year thanks to the things I’d learned about myself while I was away, and head to high school where I got myself a pack of wonderful new friends. Including my best friend of 15 years (met her on the first day of 9th grade in science class), who I love so much I named my daughter after her. And heck, I’d probably let her call me "Rachie" too if she was that kind of girl who called people "Rachie". But the point is, I was self involved and I lost touch. And Rachael is the one person I have regretted losing touch with more than any other.

So what’s the main message of this very lengthy spin?

Simple, don’t be like me. It's wonderful to make new friends, but don’t lose track of them.

Do be like me in one way though. This walk down memory lane was brought to you by Sprite’s Keeper and the Spin Cycle. Head on over there and take a look at the other entries on friendship. Maybe you’ll make some new friends, or at least add to your Google Reader.

Monday, July 27, 2009

3 Letters


I considered it as a possible diagnosis only this morning, got the official diagnosis this afternoon.

What a fascinating day.

It's a lot better than Colon Cancer, which was one of the possible diagnoses tossed about almost cheerfully last week.

So I have to give up caffeine, my drug of choice, but in the grand scheme of things that's nothing more than a few tired mornings while I adjust.

It could have been so much worse.

Not such a bad Monday after all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reasons Why I Feel No Guilt For Not Using the WiiFit This Weekend

I got two children, fresh from morning baths, lotioned, powdered, into coordinated outfits (including shoes) with combed hair and out the door with a packed diaper bag in record time. Twice.

I sprinted up and down the walkways of the local outlet mall to accomplish all my errands in the minuscule allotment of time given to me by my husband (who was watching the girls on the playground- he would like me to clarify that "minuscule" is in the eye of the beholder. Or shopper). And scored all of the 4T t-shirts I've been looking for at delightful prices. Thank you Children's Place!

Ate a sub while repeatedly returning wandering toddlers to their chairs. Just my girls though, that other lady was totally on her own.

Did innumerable reps lifting a 28 pound weight (the 2 year old) up as high as my shoulders and out in front of me, so said weight could reach to make baskets in a game at Chuck E, Cheese.

Followed same child on many, many laps around the game room while pausing to lift her onto every ride/seat she couldn't reach on her own.

Repeatedly hit large button of the game where the force you pound it with determines how many balls pop up and into a dog's mouth. Experiencing a surprising amount of pain today.

Was used as a slide by my children for longer than I care to remember.

Spent much of today with 2 year old (in a clingy mood) attached to left hip. I may never be able to walk again.


So yeah, no guilt whatsoever. I've been active enough!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ok, I'll say "Say Cheese!", and hold up the camera, and you give me the most unattractive smile you can manage...


Uh huh.

Oh, she makes me proud.

More like this, please, and less like those others. I take hundreds of pictures for one good shot.

And that is why digital photography is a blessing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A moment for reflection...

I was driving home from picking up a prescription (long story, I will spare you), and looked around my car and realized that I was listening to Toto's "Africa" (a song my husband loves, but I do not so much) while eating sushi (a food that I do not eat very often). The spicy kind! I just looked in my rear view mirror and asked the universe-

"WHO AM I???"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Big Girls Do Cry...

...and then, it seems, they apologize.

Or at least Lilli did this afternoon after receiving her Hep A vaccine.

You (or at least I) just don't think they're going to remember a vaccination that last happened 6 months ago, but Lilli sure did. Last night we were watching "Bear in the Big Blue House: Visiting the Doctor with Bear". She was watching the different scenarios very closely and finally turned to me and said "I no want shot right now." I said something to the effect that I knew she didn't, but I had gotten some stuff that might help (more on that later) it not hurt so much. She considered this and said, pointing at her thighs, "Booboos right there?" I said yes. She emphatically said "I no want it." She spent most of the ride to the office (between the songs I was attempting to distract her with) engaging in a long monologue to herself that I could only understand part of. Mostly the words "checkup", "no", and "shot". Oh yeah, and "NO!". And then, on the first glimpse she got of Nurse Dawn calling back another little girl, she velcroed herself to me with both arms and legs and refused to let go until we were back in our room. And that was only so she could be measured and weighed in the "boat", and that was not by choice. She wasn't crying or anything, but she looked terrified. And she wouldn't talk to the nurse, which of course made me look completely stupid as I was telling (ok, maybe bragging a little bit) Dawn about her skills. Sure, she knows her all her body parts, colors, shapes, alphabet letters out of context, and can count to 30 while only missing the number 14, but if she's not going to even tell the nurse which Princess was decorating her birthday cake, who's going to believe me?

Fortunately she talked to her doctor (She calls him Dr. Papa, because he has white hair like her Papa and is also older), quite extensively, demonstrated many of the things she can do, and that she is in excellent health, and was even quite charming on top of it (her only uncooperative moment was refusing to say "Ahhhhh" on cue), and passed her exam with flying colors. And I, who look at these checkups as the parenting equivalent to a quarterly review, passed also by extension. *whew*

She accepted her hemoglobin stick like a champ (even though she did look very accusingly at Lourdes and say "OW!" before graciously accepting a smiley face drawing on her bandaid), and seemed quite ready for her Hep A. Only to demonstrate that she wasn't.

And that was my fault.

Parents or Parenting (I can't ever remember which is which) did an article a month or two ago, about making injections less painful. Not only did I read the article myself, but it seems that podcasts I listen to and blogs I read have been talking about it. They talk about topical numbing creams possibly making this experience pretty much painless, which naturally is a lot more pleasant for everyone. They talked about EMLA cream, but that has to be prescribed by a doctor and applied a good half hour in advance. Well, something I read or heard suggested using Bactine or any anesthetic spray of the First Aid variety, and I got some to try. But of course I told my baby about it without spraying myself to see if it did anything, or confirming with my doctor's office that I'd even be allowed to use it. Realizing this en route to our appointment, I took my life into my hands to spray myself, and didn't feel a thing, except a slight cooling. I thought though that since baby skin is thinner than adult skin, that it might help her. But when I asked, they said that sure, I could use it, but it, and even the EMLA cream don't do anything for the deeper layers, like the muscles that these vaccinations are being injected into, and that they tend not to work at all on the babies and toddlers (who psychological tricks don't do much for) and to completely erase all pain from the older kids because even water would work if you told them the shot wouldn't hurt.


Well, I put it on anyway, and Lilli knew what I was doing and was completely prepared for the shot not to hurt. And then it did. Bad Mama! And she went from lounging sleepily back in a relaxed fashion to having her eyes suddenly open wide in shock, and she HOWLED. For a good 30 seconds. At which she realized that it was all over and struggled manfully to get herself under control. And then THANKED NURSE DAWN. And then while I was getting her shoes on said "I sowry (sorry) I cwying." Horrified, because this was of course ALL MY FAULT, I said, "That's ok, honey, you're supposed to cry when you get a shot! I feel like crying myself now!" And she said "Shot huwt (hurt), I sowry."


What, does she think being 2 means she's not supposed to cry when she gets hurt now? I wish I could get inside her head! Oh, and I also wish I hadn't fallen prey to Internet rumors of pain free vaccinations!

Stats: 36.5 inches tall- Above the 95th percentile, her usual place on the chart.
Weight: 28 pounds- 75th percentile, also her regular spot on the graph.
Head circumference- no number given, 75th percentile, still her regular spot.

Diagnosis: Tall and skinny, "Outstanding"

In my words, the Mary Poppins standard of measurement: "Practically Perfect in Every Way".

*sigh* I do love her.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

She's 2! What does she know?

This weekend we finally had my parents over to celebrate Lilli's second birthday. We had a great Princess themed Saturday that was all about her.

She thinks its about time!
P.S. The play kitchen? A huge hit. I am totally stuffed on imaginary food cooked by my new personal chef.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So, today is a happy day, really. Really. I promise.

Lilli is two!

She's technically been two all day, having made her grand entrance at the ungodly hour of 4:44am, and so far she seems to have mixed feelings about it. We're having my parents over for a family party on Saturday, so today has mostly consisted of lots of rounds of the Happy Birthday song, and we took her out for ice cream. Which was fun. She's definitely enjoyed those parts, so I wasn't quite sure what to think when she had a poor reaction to the song I was singing her, about turning two, while I was putting her into her pajamas. Even though it mostly consisted of me singing the word "two" to Leeann Rimes (spelling? I don't feel like googling her at the moment) song "Blue", complete with yodels, it didn't seem to be the actual song she didn't like. It seemed to be the age. She's a little young for her first depression over getting older, even though she does take after me. But even though, for the last 9 or 10 months, she would answer all queries about her age with the response "I'm two!", tonight, when she can finally say that truthfully, she kept saying "Not two, one! I'm one! NOT TWO!" So I don't know what that's about.

She's not the only one with mixed feeling though. Of course I'm having a hard time with it. You couldn't expect me to react any other way. So even though I'm thrilled with all the cool stuff she can do, and I love to see her grow and learn new things, I'm a little melancholy because I have no more baybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. *sniff* When Elizabeth turned two I took it quite well because I had a bobbly little two month old to distract me. Even though she was a bruiser at that age, at least Lilli was relatively tiny and cuddly.

Well, I don't have a bobbly baby this time around, and no plans in the near future to get one. So I'm a little disgruntled. But I'm happy that Lilli's growing so well. But I'm sad because she doesn't like to cuddle for very long at bedtime any more and today she took her DADDY'S hand instead of mine at the ice cream place (ess chem pace, in Lilli-speak). But I'm happy at how smart she is and how hard she tries to do what her big sister does, and that she succeeds quite well most of the time...

Argh. I'm a mood swingy mess tonight. I think I'll go sneak in her room and sit in her rocker for a while and stare at her like a stalker mama while she sleeps. She's still in a crib, so at least she kind of looks like a baby when she's sleeping if I squint a little.


Happy birthday, Lilli, you'll always be my baby.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Sure I can!"

My very favorite thing that Lilli says right now is what she says in response to a lot of questions.

"Can you please put on your shoes so we can go bye-bye?"
"Sho (Lilli for "sure") I can!"

"Lilli, can I brush your hair now?"
"Sho you can!"

"Can you take this to your room?"
"Sho I can!"

I don't know where she learned it, but I like it.

She's a very polite girl. She says thank you to everything, with true gratitude in her voice. Even if you've done nothing more than hand her a grape. It's a nice trait and makes up for her drama queen tendencies ten fold.

I can't believe she'll be two on Tuesday, but I think she's turning out pretty well so far!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thank you! We are aware that he looks young! Shockingly young!

There was a knock on our door this afternoon.

David went to answer it.

Man at the door: "Are your parents around? I'm selling steaks, it's a great deal."

Taken aback, David said "No, no they're not."

He was telling the truth, because well, they're in South Carolina and all, but it's an interesting way to be able to get rid of solicitors.

But sheesh. He's 31, not 12, even though he looks young, a fact that is undeniable and extremely obvious. A fact that 99% of people that we meet feel impelled to point out, each adding the identical caveat that "people must tell you that all the time". More than once I have been asked if he's my son, even though when I am alone I am regularly accused of being in my high teens or low twenties. More than once someone has told the girls what a nice big brother they have. 14-year-old girls hit on him, right in front of me, making me thank God that he is not a pervert. He has a slim build and is boyishly handsome, if I do say so myself, and I get the confusion, but good gravy!

It's pretty funny that the same people who wouldn't dream of pointing out someone's bad skin or missing limb or pot belly can exclaim ad nauseum about someone's extreme height or GIANT pregnant belly (complete with a thorough fondling) or shockingly young looking face without realizing that its just as rude.

But whatever, we're pretty used to it (and I say "we're" because people who actually do think it might be rude to mention David's youthful appearance to him, have no boundaries at all when it comes to me.), so this business with the salesman at our door mostly goes into the category of Things That are Annoying, but Kind of Boring.

Except I'm now trying to think of ways to use this to my advantage!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kissing Cousins....errrr....not literally....much

Much more hugging than kissing actually, which soothes a parent's mind, even at this sweet and innocent stage of life. But based on how Elizabeth kept following her cousin around saying "Oh, KAI, you're so funny! Oh, Kai, you're so silly! Oh, Kaaaaaaaaai, you're so awesome!" I feel we will have to have a discussion at some point about just how closely related we all are. Still.

If you're my Facebook friend then you already know that some of the below pictures can also be there. So maybe just close your eyes at the pictures and read the commentary. Ok? Ok.

Our nephew, Kai, and his mom visited my in-laws in South Carolina for most of the time that we were able to visit. Much to the girls delight. The last time they saw him was Christmas of 2007. They thought he was fantastic then (Lilli in sort of a smiley 6 month old baby way), and they thought he was just as fantastic this time around.


They made for a hilarious crew.

I have a very entertaining video (which I have decided not to subject you to for the time being) of the older two at the pizza parlor shouting out "Nose-a-roni! Ear-a-roni! Elbow-roni!" as possible pizza toppings. Good times.

There was lots of wild activity, Kai currently believes he is part cheetah and runs and growls like one much of the time. Delightfully, Elizabeth has, for the last two days, begun growling furiously if she doesn't get her way. I am so pleased about that....
Anyway, they did do quieter activities, we'd brought the girls' trains, and there is plenty of space at Nana's house to make the longest train ever. I'd still say "markering" was the favorite activity, and since I had refused to let Lilli use them before this trip, I'm sure my in-laws were grateful that they had purchased the washable kind. Did you know that if you color on a paper, touch where you colored and then touch furniture, you can leave perfect little finger and hand prints on the couch...and mantle...and table...and rug....and.... Well, you can.
So the girls were sad when it was time for Kai to go.

Super sad.

Which of course made me sad.
Weirdly, it also made me wish for a time machine, which I would use to go back in time to make them an older brother.
But then, with one more fiendish, cheetah-ish growl, the favorite (and only) cousin sprinted to his mom's car.
And the urge passed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spin Cycle: Driving Me Crazy

So! Welcome back to me, from my longest blogging hiatus ever! Perhaps some of you were wondering if the world really did end on my birthday? No? Well, glad I didn't make anybody worry then. Although to continue my theme from the other day, I found it ironic that Billy Mays (the spokesman guy) from Tampa died while I was actually in Tampa. And I am rarely in Tampa. So I hope it's not a wonder that I've been feeling like an unlucky charm.

Anyway, 30 has not been as bad as I feared, although I did wake up the very next morning to find WRINKLES. Wrinkles that I swear had not existed while I was 29. Some sort of skin timer must have gone off and now I am going to have to deal with eye cream. Exciting stuff.

To get on topic, or at least the topic of my choosing, this week's Spin Cycle topic is Driving. Having just returned from a road trip to and from South Carolina, I've got something to say on the topic.

Growing up, my parents and I lived 5 hours away from my maternal grandparents, and we visited fairly often. As soon as I could read I kept myself busy, but before that I got plenty bored, since these were the days of low tech car rides and I have no siblings. I distinctly remember my poor mom riding in the backseat with me making my kitty puppet talk to me for hours. I may be the only kid who has ever played Princess/Cinderella type games with a Persian cat puppet. Although maybe not, anything is possible if you get a kid desperate enough. I also frequently talked to a purple ski hat with a pom pom on top that my mom made into a doll/puppet for me. She would also read to me and I had these felt paper doll things I could dress up, but really, the bulk of the entertainment fell to her since my dad always drove, and those could be some long car rides. We always made exactly one stop, at a certain McDonald's on the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania, and if you wanted to stretch your legs or use a bathroom at any other time, too bad for you.

I'm not that kind of traveler these days, but I still like to get where I'm going in a timely fashion.

That's why, when David and I decided to go visit his parents, who live on Hilton Head Island, 8 hours away from here, we did some hard thinking about just how we planned to get there. The last time we drove there, as opposed to flying (a topic for another day entirely), Elizabeth was 9 months old and she slept most of the time. She still managed to add an extra two hours onto the trip since we believe in changing a kid's diaper as soon as its wet, but beyond a bottle and some songs, not much was involved. We've gone on short road trips since we've had Lilli, no more than 3 or 4 hours, but this trip was a biggie. So we decided to drive through the night. We left at 10pm, arrived at 6am, ahead of the Google Maps predicted schedule, even with driver changes and one dazed middle of the night, side of the road (God bless portable potties) potty stop for Elizabeth. We also ended up accidentally taking a 5 hour nap that afternoon. So it was great for time, not so great for recovery.

Knowing that we had to be functional at work today, we left the island at 10 yesterday morning. In theory that should have gotten us home around 6ish. Instead we got home after 9. Without the portable DVD player? I suspect it would have taken longer. Maybe we're too permissive and we let our children walk all over us, but my children do not like to sit in the car for long periods of time. And now that I have one entirely potty trained child, and one 99% trained (just enough to keep a girl constantly on the edge of insanity), someone always needs to use a restroom. So we stopped for a bathroom break after an hour. Then we stopped for lunch for an entire hour. Because, you know, how could we pass up Playland? At least we couldn't pass it up without sobs so heartfelt they didn't even seem faked. So, yeah, Playland. And then we had another potty break. And then another. And then we got gas. And then we had dinner, but since we'd already had fast food once, we had to stop at a Cracker Barrel. And that took a while. And then we had to stop to switch drivers. Frankly, I'm surprised we made it home at all. But at least we got a full night's sleep last night. Really, I can't win either way.

Still, we had such a good time on vacation (posts on that subject to follow) that I suppose it was all worth it. But maybe we won't attempt it again until the girls have learned to go longer between bathroom breaks and can read. Or at least can change their own DVDs and reach their own snacks. Or maybe I'll have to just build in a day of recovery on each side and prepare myself for a future of driving through the night. Blech.


For some driving related Spins that are unlikely to drive you crazy, zoom on over to Sprite's Keeper!