Sunday, July 31, 2011

Home Again

My in-law's house is amazing. It's huge, it's gorgeous, it's a short jaunt to the Atlantic Ocean (it is their dream retirement home after all). The carpets are plush, the hardwood floors are as smooth as silk, the sheets are softer than air, the towels are cushy and so absorbent that they practically dry you when look at them. There are plenty of comfortable places to hang out, and there's even cable (we refuse to pay for it ourselves when we barely watch any tv, although we did enjoy it on vacation). We love Hilton Head, even at its summer season tourist peak, because of the greenness, the trees meeting overhead, the huge beach space when the tide is out, our favorite restaurants (Market Street Cafe, Aunt Childada's, the Crazy Crab, Jump and Phil's), our traditions (fudge at Coligny Plaza, Black Market Minerals, playing at the mall playground), and the fact that there is always something new to do.

But this morning we are really happy to be home. Yes, there's tile and a lower grade of carpet, our sheets are a lower thread count, the towels not as plush, we can't spend money like we're on vacation, and it's back to our usual routine, but we love it.

There's no place like home.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On the way to Hilton Head

I attempted to post the below last Sunday from my mother-in-law's computer during a rare moment online this last week, but for some reason it just wouldn't publish. So I'm not sure what the time stamp will be on this post, but we got home from vacation about an hour ago (it's Saturday night), and of course we've been glued to our computers since we walked in the door (ok, since after we put the girls to bed) because we've missed them! Might be time to invest in a laptop, eh? Sensible people who've been in the car all day would go to bed. That's what deprivation does to us.

So, from last Sunday:

When driving up to see my in-laws, the best way to do it we've discovered is to drive through the night. We left at 9 Friday night and got here at 5 yesterday morning. The drive was pretty good, but of course it is long (supposed to be 9 hours, but we were maybe exceeding the speed limit just a bit), and the more tired I got the more my mind wandered. Some of the things I thought were:

"Gotta get around this drunk guy, gotta get around this drunk guy, gotta.... (repeat about 6 times)"

"It is really not fair that everyone is sleeping in this car except me (most likely also thought by David when it was his turn to drive)"

"It's too bad that alligator farm isn't open in the middle of the night"

At 2:30 in the morning we stopped at some sort of gas station/food mart combo. It was super well stocked and it had a spotless ladies room. We thanked the clerk by buying a bunch of junk food. That is what happens at 2:30 in the morning. We left the parking lot with beef jerky, Cheetos, puffed Cheetos, salt and vinegar potato chips, orange juice and Pepsi. Then we proceeded to eat too much of it. Even the girls. Deeeeelicious and the beef jerky kept me awake until 4. David had to do the final stretch of the drive though, because I was done in. When we got to my in-laws' house we realized that we kind of hadn't made any plans with them on how we would let them know that we had made it. So we sat in the car for 20 minutes and we were just about to go knock on the door when my father-in-law, who had woken up even earlier than usual came out to investigate the weird lights in his driveway. So yay!

We had a great day yesterday, and last night David's sister arrived with her son Kai who is just a little bit older than Elizabeth, so all this morning he and Lilli and Elizabeth have been playing. And screaming from all the excitement. And playing some more. And screaming some more. Good times. At any rate, I got online to look up some of the touristy stuff we want to do while we're here, even though the real reason for the visit is to hang out with Nana and Papa, so I thought I'd do a quick blog entry. I can't upload my pictures, but I'm sure I'm sure I'll keep that upload button pretty busy when I get back.

Yay for vacation! And also for a week of sleeping in!


So that was last Sunday. It's funny how vacation in Hilton Head goes. The first two or three days seem endless, like we have all the time in the world, and then we blink and its our last day. I spent my turns driving home listening to music and trying to avoid thinking about all the things we have to do this week. Kindergarten starts a week from Monday, we have both the Kindergarten and Preschool open houses this week, I was able to schedule Elizabeth's EEG and MRI for this week so we don't have to pull her out of school for them, we still have some school supplies to pick up, we've got a violin lesson Tuesday and presumably the new season of dance class starts this week (gotta look into that one ASAP), I have to schedule Elizabeth's dental appointment (she's getting sealants to keep her a cavity free kid as long as possible) and lets not even talk about all the work I have waiting for me at my job. I'm always punished for taking a vacation, but its always worth it. Anyway, no pictures tonight, but I took a ton of them, and even my cruddy little camera can catch the girls being cute every now and then, so I will have a bunch to share. Unfortunately, after looking through them I've realized that you can't tell that I was actually on this vacation, as there is minimal photographic evidence of my presence. But since that's usually what happens to this camera girl, that's just the way it goes.

It was great to be on vacation, but its great to be home!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

While my roast chicken rests...

... and before I head out for girls' night, I thought I'd squeeze in a quick post-doctor visit post.

I can't tell you how happy I am right now. For once a doctor didn't brush off my concerns and is interested in looking into them. Elizabeth has 2 different behaviors and has had 2 different events that all concerned me. I thought they were all related, and it seems not. The behaviors she has been doing (a head turn/eye twitch combo that she did from last September until the end of May, and a fairly new upper body shimmy) are tics. If you don't know what a tic is, it is basically an uncontrollable urge (she calls it an itch) to move a body part, and upon moving that body part you feel instant relief of that itchy feeling. When there is a vocal component you can be looking at Tourette's Syndrome, but Elizabeth doesn't have a vocal component. What she does have is something I can talk to her Kindergarten teacher about this fall. A kid who keeps wiggling is a "bad" kid, a kid who sees a neurologist for tics gets a Tic Break in class. Big difference in perception when the proper label is applied. As far as events goes, she fainted in preschool towards the end of the year, and based on the description of that incident, the doctor feels it was just a fainting episode. The event that concerns him is a spell she had a few days later at preschool in which she was conscious but unresponsive for a period of time and then suddenly snapped out it of with no memory that it had happened and was very tired afterwards. For that she's getting an EEG to see if it was a "partial-complex seizure". Just to rule out anything unexpected or missed by the EEG she's also having an MRI. I am so thrilled that we are going to either rule out some of the options I've worried about or know what we're dealing with (other than the tics) that I could do a happy dance.

Thanks for the good thoughts!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday This and That

One story from the panda party that I somehow forgot to mention is this: When the last two boys (together) whacked the pinata, they actually managed to knock it to the ground. But it didn't break. Pretty much all 17 children looked at me like ".....uh...." so I said something to the effect of "GET IT!" Almost all of them dove at that poor panda head and literally ripped it to shreds in less than 30 seconds. They were crazed. There were INJURIES. I'm not sure if you call that an unfortunate incident or a highly successful pinata.


Lilli is kind of funny. She's been talking a lot about how she wants a baby "brudder". Both girls said tonight that if they had a baby brother they would want to name him "Sid", presumably after Sid the Science Kid. Well, we told them that we have a boy name all reserved if we ever go for a third and it turned out to be a boy. It's girl names that we struggle with. Lilli offered the following choices for a girl: "Mistake", "Trashcan", "Monkey", and "Carrot". I'm thinking she wouldn't react so well to someday having a little sister.


If you would, say a little prayer, send good thoughts to the universe, light a candle, whatever it is you do, for Elizabeth tomorrow. She has her long awaited (by me) appointment with the neurologist and I want it to go perfectly. I want cooperation from the doctor (be willing to test her), and if there is something wrong I want him to find it easy. Nobody knows a kid like their mama, and I've felt for a long time that something is wrong. I don't care what it is, we can deal with anything, I just don't like the wondering and suspecting and the brush offs my concerns have received so far. I want some answers! So wish me luck with that one.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lilli is officially four!

Well! Lilli had her birthday and I think we can safely say that she was well celebrated. Brace yourself, as this is a lengthy post, and here are some disclaimers:

1) Yes, I know my camera is not that great

Oh. Alright, I guess one disclaimer is all I have in me. Let's begin with the recap!

On Lilli's actual birthday, which was Thursday, my mom took them to the splash area at the park down the street from us:

They had a blast.

When David and I got home from work we gave Lilli all but one of her presents (saved one for her party).

Here she is opening her card:

The funny thing about that card (a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic card. MLP: FiM is her current favorite show) is that she picked it out herself. Like as in "pleeeeeease can that be my birthday card, and pleeeeeeeease can we buy it right now". But if you look at the picture she's just as happy as if she'd seen it for the first time. Funny kid.

Here she is with her Dora guitar. Every time we've gone to Target in the last 6 months we've had to visit it, so I figured it would be a good present. I was right. It goes everywhere with us, and she actually asked me to put it in her closet during her party so she could "save it".
She asked for "Old McDonald's (as the girls call it)" for her birthday dinner. Since she could have picked anything, I was kind of bummed that is what she wanted. When I get to pick, I pick Joe's Crab Shack. Or Bahama Breeze. Or MacGregor Cafe. NOT McDonalds. But she was happy.

The other thing she picked (and again, she could have picked anything so she was a really cheap date) was to go to Coconut Pointe (which is a local outdoor mall) and play at the "Castle Playground".

Oh yes, she has a sister, see? One who has always been super supportive about her sister's birthdays and pretty much is just as excited as if it was her day.


Let's talk Panda Party prep. David said something to the effect that when he was little he had a couple of balloons at his parties, and that this was elaborate. But I have to tell you, when I was thinking Pandas, I really didn't think my ideas were that elaborate. I did some little things that I personally thought were very cool, and I think it came together nicely, and I have definitely been thinking about this pretty constantly for the last two weeks, but I was in bed by 12 last night! Elaborate means staying up until at least two. Anyway, here is some of the prep.

Theme: Panda Party!
Colors: Black, white, hot pink
Food requested by Lilli: Bagel pizzas, sour chips (salt and vinegar), Cheetos, potato chips, Capri sun, pink and white cake with pandas on top, chocolate cupcakes
Additional food added by mama because that's a lot of items in the chip family: pasta salad, veggies and dip, soda. Also, I upgraded the cupcakes to Panda cupcakes.
Games: Pin the Tail on the Panda, Bamboo Bamboo Panda (Duck Duck Goose)
Activities: Panda pinata, Panda dance

Tissue balls? Puffs? Fluffs? Not sure, but we hung these from all the light fixtures, and Lilli adored them. In this pic, most of them are still piled on my counter.

Panda Pinata! The "pee-nah-ta" problem as you may remember, was that I couldn't find one under $30. So I decided to make one. In retrospect, I should have researched how to make one, and not just gone for it, but it worked out, and that's the important thing. Oh yes, and it cost me exactly $2. A dollar for a little bottle of white acrylic paint, and a dollar for a roll of white crepe paper (which we didn't even use a third of). The newspaper was free, the balloon was still inflated from my birthday, and we had flour in the pantry and water in the tap. HOWEVER. It took a while. Not in hands on time, but in waiting for things to dry. And as I have problems with instant gratification, I'm not sure I would make one again. Ask me how I feel in September when Elizabeth's birthday comes around though. Special thanks to David for hand fringing the majority of the crepe paper. And if that stuff can be bought pre-fringed specifically for making pinatas, don't tell us, we (and his hand cramp) don't want to know.

Pinata in process:

Pinata soon to be destroyed (and looking worried about it). *sigh*

Pin the Tail on the Panda. Before I filled in the black parts of the panda, my friend asked me if I'd drawn a hippo. I was a bit worried. However everyone else knew it was a panda, so I think she just doesn't know what a hippo looks like.

The board ready to go:

The game nearly done. That's a lot of tails on that panda. And only one that nearly got in the right spot.

Panda cupcakes! I like to call this picture "Pandas in Progress" in my head. I don't know why that is.

Finished pandas. I really badly wanted to do a status update on Facebook that said something like "just finished making 2 dozen really apprehensive looking panda cupcakes".

Pandas ready to be eaten.

Party Day! Lilli is wearing the shirt that inspired the theme.

The girls with their friend Sprite, wearing their panda hats.

Lilli and Papa:

Playing Bamboo, Bamboo, Panda. From looking at the picture it seems like a bunch of the kids found the playroom more attractive than the game, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Here's how that cake turned out:
They only unnecessary touch with the cake was that I dyed the batter so that the inside is pink, white, and black, just like the rest of the party. It also tasted pretty good if I can toot my own horn a little.

Cake time!

Thanks for coming, here's your goodie bag! Ok, I have to toot my own horn again, because this might have been my most favorite thing at the party. I do the hair bow thing, so the bows on the girls' goodie bags (the black, white, and pink ones) are wearable. AND COORDINATE WITH THE PARTY. Yes, that pleases me tons.
Lilli had such a blast, that its no wonder that she had no problem going down for a nap afterwards. But she gave grandma a nice big hug first, since my mom helped put up the decorations and did a fantastic job on everything she did to assist. Thanks Mom!

Anyway, I had a nap, but I'm still ready again for a snooze myself. If you made it through this whole post, you're probably ready for a rest yourself.

I'm glad my big girl (my baby!) had such a good time, and I had so much fun planning her celebration!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Flashbacks and Four Year Olds

Tomorrow my Lilli will be 4.

That just blows my mind.

Partially because I HAVE NO MORE BABIES, I HAVE GIANTS!!! And partially because I have complete muscle memory of her birth and I really shouldn't still be able to feel it after all this time.

I'm not re-posting her birth story or even linking to it, since any time I read it or think about it I get some pretty unpleasant flashbacks. But I will tell you that although she was a surprise baby, and although her birth was PAINFUL, she has a special gift of being really easy to love. And she gives all the love back times a billion. I adore every molecule of her being and there would be a huge hole in my life (although I wouldn't know why it was there) if she'd never been born.

She's chosen "Old McDonald's" for her birthday restaurant and has a laundry list of other activities that she would like to do tomorrow when David and I get home from work.

I'll take pictures.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On my mind

As usual, a bunch of stuff is percolating around in my brain, and it must go somewhere!

I am attempting to make my first ever balloon based pinata. Unless I want a Kung Fu Panda 2 pinata (I don't), there are apparently no panda pinatas in existence for less than $30. I say HAH to that. So me and the goopy newspaper are having fun. One layer down, 2 to go, painting and filling still ahead. But Lilli has her heart set on a Panda "pee-nah-tah" and I enjoy this kind of thing. I can check one thing off my list though, I finished making part of the party favor. Woohoo!

Tonight when Lilli and I were trading our "I love you more/I love you the mosts" like we do, we were going along nicely:
Me: I love you to the top of the trees.
Lilli: I love you to the top of the moon!
Me: I love you to the top of Mars!
Lilli: I love you to the top of JESUS!
Me: You win!

There's this Kindle game I have gotten addicted to. It's called Pixel Puzzles or something like that. It's a logic/process of elimination game and is vaguely Sudoku like, and I adore it. I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of puzzles. I close my eyes and I see the grid in my head. I don't think I've had that happen since Tetris. Or maybe Mario Kart.

Had a girls' night last night that included pedicures and laughing ourselves silly sick at Golden Corral of all places. We took lots of super attractive photos like the one below. And we found every single one of them hysterical. In this one we were pretending to be horrified by the naughty text message my husband sent me. Only my friend on the right turned out to look more intrigued than shocked. So you know, more laughter.

But anyway, a pedicure last night, and I went to see my hair dresser Christy tonight, and I'm feeling all kinds of pampered. Which is nice because we've got a packed weekend ahead of us, and of course next week is the countdown to Lilli's actual birthday next Thursday and the Panda Party on Saturday.

Now I think I'll attempt to boot my hubby off WoW and convince him that giving me a back rub would be much more fun.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Worn out

Anyone else exhausted?

This picture of Lilli watching fireworks pretty much sums up our 4th of July weekend.

ooooooh! Ahhhhhhh! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (that's the lack of 8pm bedtime kicking in)

There was also yard work. And errand running. A Panda birthday party doesn't plan itself you know.

Let's just say that I maybe kind of sort of overslept a little bit this morning. However I still made it to work on time, so hah! But I'm physically pooped, and now the whole Casey Anthony thing has mentally exhausted me. I understand the argument I keep hearing that our system is based on being innocent until proven guilty, the prosecution had circumstantial evidence, but no proof, blah, blah, blah, but GOOD GRIEF. I don't suppose they could just lock her up for being a jerk? Nobody is arguing that point.

*sigh* Bedtime.