Monday, August 31, 2009

Whoops, here I am...

Oh right! I'm supposed to be blogging, aren't I?

Well, in the interest of having a long overdue entry on this, the last day of August, and not having the energy to blog about anything of substance after using up all my juice captioning my August 2009 Facebook album, I will just briefly give you this.

David, singing his version of the famous toddler clean-up song, while puttering around tonight:

"Clean Up, Clean Up,
Daddy's doing every one's share!
Clean Up, Clean Up,
Because the girls don't really care."

Poor boy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My True Love is a Space Goat...

Last night, in honor of our wedding anniversary, David and I went on a date. It was pretty fancy for a Tuesday.

Naturally I took a lot of pictures.

We met at a local park...

We haven't been on a date for so long that I was a little shy at first...

But soon we began dancing to music that only the two of us could hear...

I slipped into something a little more comfortable...



Eventually we decided to get out of there...

And went skinny dipping!
Why? Where did YOU think we were going?

It was a bit of a drop...

But the water was very refreshing...

Swimming made us hungry so we continued our evening with a romantic picnic...

The view from the top of a mushroom is particularly lovely...

Next we flew to one of Nagrand's floating islands to continue our picnic with a change of view....

The night sky was beautiful...

Refreshed and full, we spent some time chatting, while fishing off the Stormwind Pier. We may or may not have discussed the children...

It was a wonderful date...

And shockingly cheap!
-------------------
What?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8 years together, and yet I still have a question...

8 years ago today, on a Saturday morning, David and I were married. I'm phenomenally lucky that it has been 99.9% fantastic, and that .01% is minor stuff. David is a wonderful husband and a much loved awesome daddy.

Traditionally we take a photo on the day of our anniversary and add it to a book that my mother gave us for our wedding. Each year has space for an update on where we are and what has happened in the past year, and so far we haven't missed a photo. Of course 8 years, isn't that much, come back in 25, but it still is nothing to sneeze at.

This year, we'll call it "Self-Portrait Year", I'm not sure which photo direction to go. We ended up with a lot of photo choices. So, which one would you pick?

Very Tan Husband?


Devilish Husband?

Kissy-Face Husband?

Putting on a Show for the Camera Husband?

Silly Husband?

Tender Husband?

Which one of these guys deserves to be in my book for the next 70 years or so?

Monday, August 24, 2009

This day has come too soon...

While today was the big Back to School Day for my county, it was a milestone of a different kind for my Lilli.

Before:
(Yes, I'm aware that you're not supposed to use a mobile after 5 months, no toddlers were harmed by it staying put)


After:
*sigh*
I officially, for the first time in almost 4 years, do not have a child small enough and cooperative enough to be in a crib.
I happily kept Elizabeth in her crib until she was almost 3, she never climbed out, and I liked knowing she was staying put. I only switched her over to a toddler bed because (as I suspected) the crib was inhibiting her potty training.
Lilli is a lot different.
The crib did not impede her using the potty one bit, so I planned to keep her in there indefinitely. She had other ideas. For the last week or two things have been mysteriously appearing in her crib overnight. I could explain the things away as someone other than me putting something in her bed that had been under blankets so I didn't see it when tucking her in. And we knew that she could reach her lamp cord through the crib bars, since she no longer has a functioning lamp in her room due to that ability. So, I didn't wonder much.
But last night, after Lilli should have been asleep, I heard her talking to two of her dolls that had NOT been in her bed when I left her room. I went to check on her and found her in her crib, not only with those two dolls, but with the rest of the dolls they had shared a basket with, the basket, and 5 or 6 books that had also not previously been in her bed with her. The basket of dolls had been on a bookshelf at floor level, way too low for her to have reached through the bars and somehow levered them up, and the books had been on the side of the shelf farthest away from the crib. She said that she had gotten out of her crib to get them and climbed back in again, but she refused to show me how. I was horrified but groggy.
Today my dad called me, very distressed, because he'd caught Lilli in the act of climbing out of bed. Not such a big deal if she does it successfully every time, or if we had carpet, but later this afternoon she tried it again and it didn't go so well, and we have tile throughout our house.
So now she has a toddler bed.
And my heart is a little bit broken.
This was too sudden and I did not have time to mentally prepare. I thought I had my crib baby for almost another year. I will miss the way she still loved her mobile and would use it as a night light to "read" in bed by. I will miss the way that she would want me to roll her blanket up into a bolster and curve it up into a "C" shape so she could curl up in it and then have me cover her feet with her pillow. I will miss the way she would move her pillow sideways to lie horizontally across her crib and stick her feet through the bars to rest them on the wall and then sing herself to sleep.
I'm sure that I'll have new mental pictures of her all cozied up in her Big Girl bed soon, but I resent that I need to create them. I will remember this first night though. She was very excited to get the bed, and get in the bed, but when I kissed her good night and headed for the door, she call me back in a tiny and very hesitant voice. I could tell she was a little nervous.
Until, that is, I rolled her blanket up into a "C" shape, snuggled her up in the curve, and covered her feet with her pillow.
It's nice to know that some things don't change.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eventually I can probably make one of those posters...

Happy



Displeased


Silly


Pretend Sad



Sad for Real



Concerned



Pleased



Surprised




Mad


Smug

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spin Cycle: Pastime of choice

For the second week in a row I'm having a problem with the Spin Cycle topic.

Why? Because I can't narrow down the topic! It's books/reading, and of course any spin we want to put on the topic. But we're talking about one of my most favorite things and I can't seem to pick an angle. So I'm approaching this from the list perspective: 15 semi-interesting facts about books, or me, or the two of us together.

1. I taught myself to read at age four with the book "Whose Mouse Are You?"

2. I am delighted by the fact that Elizabeth also loves this story and has it memorized. That was the first step to reading for me.

3. I have read a lot of books. That is the understatement of the century, but I can't even begin to guess at the number. It has to be in the thousands.

4. This is quite a bit due to the fact that I'm an only child and had plenty of time when I was younger for this activity.

5. And didn't have TV until I was 10.

6. Even with two children, a husband, and a full time job I read almost as much as I used to.

7. Because I frequently choose books over sleep.

8. I read quickly, which has benefited me quite a lot in my life, especially on tests, in English class and when signing contracts.

9. I read quickly enough that I am frequently accused that I must not be reading every word.

10. That is not the case.

11. My favorite author is Robin McKinley. She writes for "youth", but she's wonderful. Her book "Beauty" has been my favorite since I first read it at 14.

12. I've loved plenty of other books and authors though, from a wide variety of genres. Some of my other favorite authors are: Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Andrew Greeley, Stephenie Meyers, Tess Gerritsen, Lynn Kurland, James Patterson, Meg Cabot, Dick Francis, Tamora Pierce, Madeline L'Engle, Iris Johansen, and Julia Quinn.

13. There are more.

14. The best day ever? I would wake up and lay in bed reading for an hour or so, eat some breakfast, get back in bed for another hour or so and read some more, go take a hot bath, book in hand (I have actually showered while reading. Yes, it's possible, the book stays a lot more dry than you would think. Yes, I know that I'm a freak, I'm comfortable with that), read through lunch, get back in bed and read some more, take an afternoon nap, read through dinner, go see a movie (gotta let the eyes look at something farther away for a while), and then read before bed. Of course I would miss the girls on a day like this, but I would be wiling to make that sacrifice once a year or so.

15. I'm grateful every day that my daughters appear to love books as much as I do. I hope it stays that way.

-------------------

Now go do some reading of your own! Head on over to Sprite's Keeper and check out the other Spins on books.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Today I've decided to be a little opinionated...

You know, I haven't had much of an opinion when it comes to the health care debate.

I, like a lot of people who don't have a lot of pennies to pinch at the moment, have had a hard time imagining how I'm going to come up with the funds if the new health care plan creates or increases my payments on something. But at the same time, I'm a devoted mama, and I don't want my children or anyone else's, or any adults for that matter, to have to go without a doctor's care because of a lack of insurance. So like a lot of people I've been waffling. But since I'm fortunate enough to be provided good coverage by my job, it's not something I stay up at night pondering.

But then I read the latest post from a blog I've been following for a while, from a mama who has good reason to feel the way she does about things, and I made up my mind. I can't say I really care any more if I have to dig around in the couch cushions for change to pay my part of whatever tax bill comes out of this.

I try not to be overly opinionated in my posts, at least when it comes to matters of politics or religion or any of the topics that aren't considered good manners to discuss the first time you meet someone. It's the internet, anybody can wander by (and does, I see my stats- Brussels? Zimbabwe?), and since I pretty much just want a platform to talk about my girls, I'm not out to dabble in controversy. So I don't often point at another site (again, the link is above) and say "yeah, read that, see?" But I am this time. Maybe you already have an opinion and will find it quite heart-wrenchingly validated, maybe you'll form one, or maybe it won't change a thing for you, but I thought she made her point.

See what you think.

Friday, August 14, 2009

So much for the theory that my camera is permanently attached to my person.

We saw a full rainbow tonight.

A full, huge arc, vibrant enough that I expected to see a Care Bear suddenly slide down, that looked like it belonged in a coloring book. I'm pretty sure that it's the first time I've ever seen one like that, and I've seen some pretty spectacular rainbows since I moved to Florida. The girls were extra excited, since from our vantage point it looked like we would drive right underneath it, and each girl could see it clearly from her own window.

Of course this had to be the one time I was not carrying my camera, so I have no photographic or video evidence of it, and it really was a beauty.

Dang it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Thursday without the Spin Cycle is Like a Ship Without a Sail

Just trust me, it is.

Thursday is my self-appointed night for Spinning, but I am being uncooperative. The topic this week is Our Worst Post Ever. Not only do I have too many to pick just one, but I don't want to point them out. Not even to make fun of them.

Instead I think I'll describe (the short version) how dinners have been going at my house lately. We've rearranged my living room, which is a good thing, but it means that the girls can't watch a video during dinner. Some of you are thinking "Yay! What the heck was she doing letting her children watch something during dinnertime?" I can't blame you, but it guaranteed they would mindlessly eat their food 95% of the time. Now that they're paying attention to what they're eating? They've suddenly become more picky and have a hard time focusing on the business at hand.

I tend to take whether they eat or not in stride, usually because I'm trying to sneakily read a book down at my end of the table, so I'm only looking up once in a while to make sure that nobody is choking. Or maybe the girls and I are being silly, and why eat when you can be silly? I just figure that I've made them dinner, I've given them several different foods on their plate, if they haven't eaten anything by the time David and I are done eating (and we aren't inhaling, this is a leisurely process), that they must not be that hungry. I'm not making any alternate menus, and they'll make up for it at breakfast.

But my poor David finds the whole thing excruciatingly frustrating. Which means meal time goes like this lately:

Rachel- Puts the food on the table, makes sure everybody has everything they need, gets everyone settled, starts eating.
David- starts to sit down, then heads to the stereo to pick out some music. This is not a fast process.
Elizabeth- either starts drinking her milk or eats all or most of her veggies and fruits.
Lilli- starts drinking her milk, wrinkles her nose at the main course, eats the fruit, eats the veggies if it's broccoli, and starts saying "I all done! I all done!"
Rachel- looks up, determines everyone is still alive, finishes eating, continues reading book.
David-starts eating, tries to read own book, realizes that neither child is eating the meat on their plate and says "Elizabeth, eat your (chicken, etc.)! Lilli! Eat!"
Elizabeth- tries to negotiate
Lilli- pretends she didn't hear.
-Repeat this several times.
David- (in general) "DO YOU WANT A TIME OUT?"
Elizabeth- takes a bite
Lilli- pretends she didn't hear anything OR starts to cry and says to me "Daddy hurted my feelings!"
David- (moans) "Lilli, why won't you eeeeeeeeeat?"
Rachel- hands Lilli a napkin. Playing in your food gets messy.
Elizabeth- starts re-enacting a favorite scence from the Wonderpets Sleepover with Ollie.
Lilli- finishes her milk, does her parts of the re-enactment. Those girls, they're the next Abbot and Costello.
David- "THAT'S IT! YOU'RE BOTH DONE! YOU'RE NOT EATING ANYTHING ELSE TONIGHT!"
Elizabeth- finally eats a decent portion of the main course. Leaves the table.
Lilli- pretends she didn't hear anything.

End scene.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weird Wednesday

It's Wednesday, therefore it's library night.

But I went by myself.

Why?

Because my children decided they'd rather play with the My Little Ponies (which are "mine" and are therefore off limits most of the time since they require supervision and sharing) than go to the library. And they LOVE the library.

Weird.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

RTT: Children Edition

randomtuesday
Who do I think I’m fooling here? Most of my editions are children editions. Anyway, it’s Tuesday, I thought I’d be random about it, so here are some things my children have been up to lately:

Cookie Baking Part 2: I probably should have uploaded the pictures. Let me just say- sprinkles. Sprinkles everywhere. A very good time was had though, and for those of you who e-mailed me, 350 was the right temperature, and 10 minutes was perfect. Yum.

I love the way Elizabeth says words lately. I’ll have to get them on video. She rolls her “L”s almost the same way Spanish speakers roll their “R”s. She’s been doing it since she was little and couldn’t say lemon without saying 5 or 6 “L”s on the front. Now it’s the Ls in the middle of words. Instead of “dolly” it’s more like doll-luh-ly. Only its sounds cuter than that spelling looks. “Heffalump” is Heffa-loh-lump”. She also frequently speaks in a random Boston accent. We’ve never been to Boston, there’s no reason for it, but among other things, we drive in a “cah”.

We are going through the “Why” stage with Miss Elizabeth also:
“You made me mama?”
“Yes”
“Why?”
“Because we wanted a little girl”
“Why?”
“Because we like little girls.”
“Why?”
“Because girls are nicer than little boys”
“Why?”
“Because…”- you get the idea.

She is also at the stage for general questions. She’s been singing since she was very little. Singing songs word perfect, but apparently without a clue what she’s actually singing. So now, when singing “Jingle Bells” (a tune that I’m very tired of since we are nowhere near the holiday season), she interrupts herself every few words. “Mama, what’s a bobtail?” “Mama, what’s a drifted bank?” “Mama, what’s ‘upsot’?” When singing “I’m a little coconut”, it’s “Mama, what’s ‘cracked you see’?” “Mama, what’s a date (the kind you go on, not the kind you eat)?” “Mama, what’s shredded wheat?” She taxes me. I never thought I would have to struggle this hard to define words so that she can understand them. And then as soon as I tell her what something is, she says “Why?”.

My Lilli baby, who is not such a baby any more, is struggling to exert her independence. Almost everything you try to do for her is met with a cry of “No! I do it!” Or “Don’t want it!”, even if she does. She’s going through a sensitive stage, so if Daddy tells her no, or puts her in time out, there are heartfelt sobs of “Daddy hurted my feeeeeeeeelings”. She wants what she wants, and she wants it now, and resistance to her wishes is not appreciated. Dramatically not appreciated in a casting herself to the floor in distress type of way. If she’s in an uncooperative mood (which fortunately is not as often as I just made it sound) and you ask her to stop something (unsafe, not nice, or just annoying), she will either pretend she hasn’t heard you, or look right at you with one little eyebrow raised and do it One. More. Time. She enjoys snatching something out of her sister’s hands and running off with it, grinning at the rising wails in her wake (this one is only fair based on the number of times Elizabeth snatched things out of her grasp when Lilli was too little to defend herself). Her most favorite word ever is, of course, “NO”.

But then on days when I think about dropping her back off at the hospital, I remember the rest of it. She is super loving. She throws her arms around my legs, looks lovingly up at me and says “I love you Mama!" She hugs super tight, and will kiss on you until you get so soggy that you have to stop her. She kisses booboos with such faith that they actually do feel better. Even though she likes to torture her, she loves her sister dearly. She can’t wait to see her when she gets up, she spends most of the day trying to be near her (fortunately this love is returned at this stage). She’s very verbal and is constantly surprising us with her observations. And she’s cute to boot. We are definitely not giving her back.

For more randomness, head on over to the UnMom, where I hear that this week's theme is nudity. You may notice that I stayed away from that myself. But then- toddlers- champions of nakedness. So I think I'm covered.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cookie Baking Part One. And maybe the only part...

I seem to forget that the girls are only 2 and 3.5. I think I'm so antsy to experience things with them sometimes that I forget that they're still practically babies.

We had an hour or so after dinner to kill tonight, so looking for something to do with them that wasn't a video, I decided that we'd bake sugar cookies because we could roll out the dough and play with it like play dough. As far as I can remember I've never done that with them. They've "helped" me make cakes and cupcakes and muffins, and Elizabeth can sprinkle cheese onto a pizza like nobody's business, but I pretty much do the "work" and they stir, taste and supervise. They can deal out ready made chocolate chip cookie dough onto a cookie sheet so fast it will make your head spin, but since I didn't have a nice hunk of Pillsbury dough in the fridge all set to play, with I did a quick internet search to get a recipe.

That was fine, I found a super easy one, but I then realized that it requires overnight refrigeration before you can roll out the dough. I hunted for another recipe, but most seemed like too much trouble or required both baking soda AND baking powder (and I literally emptied my can last week). Seriously people, I needed a FAST dough recipe. I was not trying to channel Julia Child this evening. Butter, flour, sugar, and eggs and vanilla. That's all I wanted. So I, grateful I had not told the girls my plans for the evening, had them grab their step stools and we set into part one.

They helped me measure the flour and sugar, they clutched the sticks of butter to their little chests in hopes of making it soften quicker (we finally resorted to putting the bowl of butter into the oven which was still warm from dinner), they deeply inhaled the vanilla, they tasted the salt, they helped hold the mixer, they tried with all their might to stir the flour into the dough, only to discover that it was a little too thick and they were a little too small. They did so well at dough making that their MAMA was the one who forgot that they are still small. So when all of a sudden (as happens with a pair of toddlers), they suddenly ran out of attention span, and the flour ended up on the floor as Lilli suddenly tackled Elizabeth off her step stool with a shriek of glee, I may have raised my voice just a tad.

Possibly more than a tad.

So then I had to apologize.

So tomorrow, as my dining room table becomes covered in cookie dough, flour and sprinkles, I need to remember two things. One- they're little. And two, this was all my big idea in the first place!

One other thing the recipe was lacking though- baking directions. For quarter-inch thick cookies, I'm thinking 7-9 minutes at 350. Does that sound right? Anyone? E-mail me?

If you live near me, I'll save you a cookie...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

She's Gone Country


video


In case you're wondering, 1) that thing she says in the middle of the video to her horse is "Howdy Pardner", and 2) all day today she insisted on wearing a diaper. She still used the potty, but didn't want to wear a pull-up. Must hide the diapers. *sigh*

Friday, August 7, 2009

Win!

Elizabeth wrote her whole name for the first time tonight!

It is a triumph because she is 3 and a half and it has taken her a while to get to this point.

Shame on me for giving her a nine letter name.


She could write individual letters before, but didn't have the ability, or at least the interest, to write the whole thing at once. Sure, she had to look at her name as I'd written it out first in order to do it, but the important thing is that she did it, it's BEAUTIFUL and she was excited about it.
She only had trouble with the lower case "H" (although she pointed out and was not pleased by the fact that her "z" looks more like a two).

We owe this success to the LeapFrog Scribble and Write thingamajig. It seems my child is a creature of technology. She has little pre-school workbooks, which she enjoys, but I guess letters and shapes are more fun to draw on the fancier option. Whatever it takes I say. I wanted to see if she could translate what she learned on the Scribble and Write to paper, and it seems she can. We will be practicing "h"!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Spin Cycle: Recycle

We got an easy assignment for this week's Spin Cycle, we are just doing a re-post of one of our favorites.

Ideally it should be one of our more clever or well-written posts, but you're getting a repeat of one of my Disney posts from our trip there last year. Not because it's that good, just because, when I was looking through my archives (it amazes me that I have been posting fairly regularly for an entire year now) for something to post, I got hung up in September and enjoyed the memories so much I never moved on to October. So here you are, from September 16th, a post that didn't really have a name...

----------------------

This is show and tell:


Pair One: purchased (on clearance for 2 bucks, yay!) specifically for the trip, please note the careful theming- Disney Princesses. Lasted less then a day. Possibly vanished at the Pooh themed play area in the Magic Kingdom.


Pair Two: used to be Elizabeth's, handed down to Lilli when grew too small, scrounged from the floor of the backseat of the car in desperation. Lasted less than a day. Last seen at the Boneyard play area in Animal Kingdom.


Pair Three: And I really liked this pair, too. Actually lasted a day and half before being casually tossed aside at the Toon Town play area in Magic Kingdom. Or at least that's what we were told.



Pair Four: Amazingly, we brought these home.

How did that happen? I can only assume it's because we didn't go to any play areas after we bought them. Somewhere in the bowels of WDW, in a lonely and forlorn Lost and Found Department, three pairs of small sunglasses wonder if we are ever coming back for them.
Not on a sunny day we aren't.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two Quick Things

My little mini-me, Lillian has had some extra ATTITUDE lately. I’m thinking the Twos are hitting her harder than they did Elizabeth. I’ll come across her sitting somewhere with her little arms folded and with a glare on her face, and I’ll say “Lilli, are you feeling cranky?” And she’ll say “No! I’m mad!” I can only imagine what she’ll be like as a teenager.

She sure doesn't look cranky here though. I'll have to get her to make her "mad" face for the camera.



One day Elizabeth was playing some game or another and she said that she was Mommy, Lilli was Daddy, and I was Elizabeth. So I said “Oh good! I would love to be Elizabeth. If I’m Elizabeth I can sleep 12 hours a night, and take a nap every day, and play all day, and have the mommy make food for me and clean up after me.” She looked at me utterly horrified and said “No, you CAN’T be Elizabeth!”

It seems she hadn’t realized how good she has things.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reorganizational Pains...

We've undertaken to rearrange our house.

But of course we can't do it the normal way. Or at least what I imagine is the normal way. If we were normal we would first never let things get like this. But if the insanity had crept up on us anyway, I think most people would make a task list, prioritize it and set aside bite size chunks to do each night. But that's not how we work. Oh no it isn't.

We are great at procrastination (we make a wonderful team, even at that), so we put things off and put them off until either we have an impending visit by someone from out of town or someone from in town who would promptly drop dead on the sight of my living room, or things have gotten so bad that just walking in my front door makes me want to throw up.

Hmmm. I feel I'd better pause and define "gotten so bad". Our house is small to begin with, I shop the clearance aisles like a fiend, so the girls have way too many toys, and, as I said, we procrastinate, so instead of putting something in its home we tend to leave it where it fell until it's gained 2 or 3 (hundred) friends. So while my house is clean (as clean as it can be with 3 cats in residence), thanks to my dad who mops it constantly, and my willingness to move a pile of junk, dust the spot and put the pile back, it is very very cluttered. Which makes it feel even smaller. Which makes my claustrophobia kick in, and who needs that?

So anyway, we are in the midst of a massive cleaning and re-organization process, because I just can't take the mess any more. But instead of the bite sized thing I mentioned above, we spent nap times and evenings this weekend just diving in. We're trying to create both a play area for the girls and some storage options, plus open up the walkways, and let me tell you, it isn't easy. We have tile throughout, and our backs are feeling it, because we just throw ourselves into the process until we drop from exhaustion. So far, though, I'm loving the results. Some day I may even post the "after" pictures on here. Even more exciting, I may someday not have to carefully scrutinize pictures of the girls before I post them to make sure that the fact that I am forced to use old diaper boxes to corral all their toys is not too visible.

That's amazing to even contemplate.