Monday, February 28, 2011

A Few of my Fav's

At any given stage of the girls' lives, there are certain aspects that I can't wait to move on from.  At the same time I wish (insert behavior here) would stop, there are so many things I want to freeze in time. 

Today, my list of favorite things that I want to bag and cryogenically freeze...just like Austin Powers - Ya Baby

1. Callie's smirk when she trying to hold back her smile.  Just use the old reverse psychology trick and say "don't you smile..."  and she gives the sweetest, tight lipped grin.

2. Our first ever pigtails.  I'm not sure why I waited so long to try these out on her.  Now I'm obsessed with them.  I can hardly wait for summer when they don't have to get squished under a toque.

3. The way Lexi can tell a whole story through her grunting and ooohing and pointing.  She comes running and tattles on herself pointing and uuuhhh, uuuhhhh, uuuhhhing and pulling you by the finger to show you the puddle on the floor that she created by draining the water cooler.

4. All the gaps in her toothy grin which will soon be closed in because today a tooth finally wiggled it's way through her tender little gums.

5. Just as Callie was weening herself of the Mickey Crack addiction...Lexi picked it up.  Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog.

6. Crazy dancing and Gene Simmons tongue.  We love to have dance parties on Friday to kick start the weekend.  Callie's dance moves are similar to Elaine's from Seinfeld. 

7. The way Lexi searches for Callie the moment she gets out of bed to give her a hug.  I have yet to be organized enough to capture this moment on camera but trust me...the purest display of sisterly love.

8. When Lexi puts all her trust in Dr. Callie.  Lexi has seen many different doctors in her little life and Dr. Callie is by far her favorite.  Callie told me Lexi has a fever and prescribed her some antibiotics for her ear infection...oh ya, and she's fussin' because she's growing a new tooth.

9. That Callie asks if Lexi can sleep with her in her bed when she gets bigger.  Callie thinks it would be a great thing to share her big bed and her room with little sister.

10. That they are not too cool to hang out with their mama.  I remind myself constantly that their "always wanting to be where I am" will not last forever. Although there are the days I wish I had the bathroom to myself, at least for a moment, but I will forgo that small pleasure just to have the feeling of "my mom is so cool I'll even hang in the bathroom with her!"

Good Night.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Filling the Gaps

Last night we did something that we don't do very often.  Jon and I went out together.  We went out together with our close friends for a great night of rejuvenation. It was a recharge for our grown-up selves and a much needed deposit to our social life that didn't include work or activities with the kids.  So on a Friday night, instead of slipping into my comfy Lulu's I pulled on my high heeled boots and put on my dangley earrings...the long sparkly ones that I love and I'm always looking for an occasion to wear them.

Eyeing up the blue marker...
 An ode to friends...where would we be in this world without friend love?  The love that fills in the cracks between hubby love and baby's love and family love.  Friends are there to fill in the gaps. Sometimes these gaps are wide and you need to count on a lot of friends to stop the breeze from blowing through and at other times the gaps are narrow and can be filled with a phone call.  Whatever size the gap...we filled it last night with conversation and laughs, with music and trivia (what is a tittle?), with appies and drinks...with close friends.  The kinda friends we've known so long that there is no getting to know you questions or small talk.  The kinda friends who get your humor and can talk about anything.  Daily friends.  Friends who are close both in proximity and relationship.  Friends that you could see daily if you chose to.

The swipe
 Whenever I am out with Daily friends I always have a moment of thought about my Far Away friends. 
Depending on where I am and what activity is happening I have a flash of a faraway friend and think "oh I wish so-and-so was here.  She'd have a blast."  An ode to my far away friends...friends that fill the gaps with phone calls and emails and status updates...with weekend visits and holiday plans.  To my far away friends who at one time or another were a Daily friend.  I miss you.
Proud Swiper.
 Today my gaps are all filled.  Not even a whisper of a breeze blowing through.  And despite our great night of grown-up time...I missed the girls.  Jon and I broke all the rules of couple time.  We talked about the girls to each other, we called home to check on them even though they were in the completely capable hands of grandma and papa, and we looked at their picture on our phone each time we clicked it on to check the time.  But we know we have to keep the gaps filled...  then nothing can slip through. 

Swiper is no match for big sister.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Man Winter

When winter digs its heels in and seems to be dragging on just a little too long I often wonder.."Why do we live here again?"  There are places where people wear bathing suits and spend weekends at the beach all year round.   Places where it's okay to do your laundry and housework on a beautiful, sunshiny day because there is no pressure...there will be another nice day tomorrow.  If home is where you make it...then why don't we go and make it somewhere tropical? 

So yesterday, on Bonus Day, I reminded myself why we live here...

The fantastic view from my brother-in-law's cottage.

And yes, out on that lake is a cleared off skating rink.  With the snow plowed high all around, it is the perfect enclosure to keep the hockey puck in bounds.  And so, I have experienced tropical beaches...the hot sand on my feet, the sound of the ocean crashing against the earth, and the salty taste of seaside air.  But I get to live with the crisp, refreshing air of -30 filling my lungs and the squeaking, crunching sound of snow under my boots.  And yesterday, we felt free and small on the frozen lake's wide open spaces under the blanket of a brilliant blue sky.  The only sounds were from hockey skates cutting their sharp edges into Mother Natures ice rink and the sound of joyous children playing an intense game of scrub hockey with all the energy and drive as if it was for the all mighty Stanley Cup.

We laced up some skates on Callie and she attempted her first skate of the year - her second attempt in her lifetime.  We had taken her skating once last winter but the experience ended in a pool of tears so it goes without saying that we weren't sure what to expect, if anything at all, this time around. 

And I just have to say, I was a proud Mama...

I was torn between cheering and clapping for Callie's skating awesomeness, snapping pictures and taking videos, and keeping Lexi out of the middle of the boys' hockey game.  Jon skated by and scooped up Lexi and was going to take her for a little ride.  I had turned my back for a moment when Jon's skate blade had gotten caught in a deep ice rut and the two of them went crashing to the ice.  I turned only to see them both on the ice and the others telling me about the near miss of Lexi's head skimming the ice.  I am grateful I didn't witness the fall.  My stomach flip-flopped and twisted in knots just hearing about it and imagining all the horrific what ifs...  Lexi was completely fine, unaffected by the ordeal because of her daddy who maneuvered and twisted and protected her from any harm.  Jon ended up with a badly bruised knee that is still a little tender today.  As quickly as the incident was over and we continued on enjoying our Bonus Day.

Old Man Winter is digging in his heels and we are putting our trust in a portly ground hog to tell us when spring will be here.  We could move.  We could relocate to the warm tropics with palm trees swaying in the breeze providing shade from the warm, glorious sun.  But home is where you make it.  And we have made this our home.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I'm writing this post without any idea where it is going to end up...which road it will take.  I'm not sure where to even start today.  I guess I'll start from the beginning.  Today we awoke to the light of the moon.  The Dora Moon that is...

We have been awaken by this glow many times.  It is Callie's lifeline in the night.  And not only does it light the way from her room to ours, it plays a nerve-grating rendition of Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star.

I love the early morning on a Sunday.  The house is still dark and I don't want to interrupt the stillness, the peacefulness of the morning so I make the coffee and get the girls milk without turning on the lights.  Today is one of those days when we don't have to get up and go. 

It doesn't take long for Callie and Lexi to get their morning fix of milk and Mickey Mouse and the peaceful morning fades into "its time for breakfast and daddy's home so that means...sausage and eggs today!"

Lexi is all about standing on things to get a better view. 

Sunday, the day of rest.  And that is what we did.  We lingered in our jammies until it was time for us to pay a little visit to my brother and his family... for his precious little girl also joined the "4 year old club" and we needed to celebrate.

Lexi is leaning in, feigning interest in what Callie is doing...all the while planning how she is going to swipe the camera.

And now I will rest my head on my pillow and go to sleep elated... because I scratched the bonus section of the lottery ticket and it said "You my friend, get to do it all again tomorrow."  Tomorrow is a holiday Monday.  And that means bonus time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Dose of Mom Guilt

Last night was just a foreshadow for today's events.  Lexi has not been well since...let me think...pretty much her entire life. The number of not well days out numbers her well days by a landslide.  So last night when she was restless in her sleep, whimpering, coughing, and crying out at times,  she ended up snuggling into Mama Bear's bed for comfort and love.  Jon had been summoned by a coughing and stuffy-nosed big girl at some point in the night looking for someone to ease her uncomfortableness.

When daylight arrived this morning and we all rubbed the sleep from our eyes and kick-started our morning routine to get out the door on time, Callie asks the question that she asks nearly I'm her personal blackberry and she is checking her schedule..."Is it a school day, a daycare day, or a home day?"

I tell her that it is a day care day.  The daycare that she has been going to since she was 11 months old is like her second home.  And the other children have been there as long as her.  And now she is showing her little sister the ropes.  It is like their other family.  Callie has never fussed or complained about going to the land of kids and toys and games at the daycare.  From the first day I dropped her off she hit the ground running.  I had been prepared by other mom's about tearful goodbyes, toddlers hanging on to your leg begging you not to go...but that didn't happen with Callie. Independent I guess.

So today when I told her it was a daycare day she pondered it for a minute...and then said, "When is our next at home day? I just want to stay home today."  This tiny little plea pulls so hard on a working mom's heartstrings.  And it pulls even harder when it comes from your big girl who has never not wanted to go to daycare before doubled with the fact that I know she is stuffy and coughing and didn't sleep well. 

The thought of staying home today races through my mind...what do I need to do to make this happen...cancel this, reschedule that...oh, it just can't be done today.  So I tell Callie..."just a couple more days and it will be the weekend."  I talk it up.  It's a long weekend... neither Mommy or Daddy have to work for three whole days...we'll have pyjama day and movie other words...just hang in there Babes.  Please?

We continue on with our morning routine without any incidents...just the wiping a couple of runny noses and giving numerous reminders to cover your mouth. The girls run into the daycare and fall right into its well rehearsed rituals and I continue on to the office.

So when I got the call this afternoon from the daycare "mom" saying Lexi is not well my Mama Bear instincts wanted to drop everything and run to my baby.  I wanted to say..."too bad guys, you'll have to handle it on your own, this Mama's gotta go."  And I just have to say that the girls' daycare "mom" has 30 years experience. There is nothing she hasn't seen, handled and taken care of.  And the clincher...she never calls me at work so I know somethings up...and its not good.

As I type this post, both girls are tucked into their cozy beds with their fuzzy winter jammies, wrapped in their blankies, humidifiers pumping, reaping the benefits of their medication...from our trip to the doctor to treat their bronchitis.  And I am going to let myself feel the guilt.  The guilt from dismissing Callie's tiny plea to have a home day today.  The guilt from sending my girls to daycare and having to be called at work to tend to my precious babies.  The guilt from when the doctor asks, with a raised eyebrow, "She's been coughing for how long?"  And I will feel it again tomorrow when I go back for a second round of hugs and kisses from my sweet girls as I head out the door leaving them them to fight of their cold bugs with Grandma and Papa.  Ahh the guilt.  I will feel it.  Experience it.  Wrap myself in it.  And then I will let it go...I will let it go and forgive myself.  I will reapply for the Mother of the Year Award next year.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cake Envy and The End of Birthweek

Today marks the end of Callie's "Birthweek" celebration.  Today was her official Care Bear Birthday Party celebration with her little friends.  Our day started at 6:30am with our big girl stumbling out of her bedroom barely awake, rubbing her eyes, and the first words out of her mouth...spoken with that raspy, scratchy  morning voice that we have when we haven't spoken in a while..."When will my friends be here?" 

I love this this question for the shear fact that she is still so completely innocent and unaware of the societal norms that we must subscribe to...and being oblivious to these social requirements is what makes being a kid so great.  She is completely unaware that we have yet to get dressed, no one has brushed their teeth, there are no snacks made, the kitchen is a mess and there is no cake for the party.  And, not to mention, it is still dark as night outside even though technically it is morning.

So let's talk about cake.  I have to admit that I have deep rooted cake envy.  I have always admired the beautiful cakes that I have seen other moms whip up for their kids.  You know who you are... the Train building, Digger making, Barbie Doll Princess creating moms.  This is one art that I just haven't attempted but have such jealousy for.  Especially the rolled fondant cake makers out there...oh I'm so jealous.  Cake making is on my know that To Do list...or Bucket List...whatever you want to call it.  Someday I will learn how but for now I decided to practice on cupcakes.  My cousin had posted a picture of rainbow cupcakes that she had made for her daughter's birthday...and me...with my cake envy and all..was inspired.  So I headed to the cake decorating deparment at Wal-Mart and voila...they ended up looking pretty good...

She couldn't resit offering her help...such beautiful, bright, enticing colors.
They tasted pretty delicious too.  Callie happily toted them off to daycare and preschool for her birthday celebrations.

But for today...the official Care Bear Birthday Party...we did what has become somewhat of a tradition at our house.  We ordered the Care Bear cake from the infamous book at the grocery store.  And as it turns was good and delicious and perfect just the same as a beautiful rolled fondant cake with tiny little hand-made Care Bears on it would be.  It was perfect for the same reason that Callie was ready for her friends to come over at 6:30am.  The her eyes their is no difference between this store bought beauty and one that had hours of input.

I believe love is in the details.  It doesn't matter what detail you focus your attention.  Just pick the detail you enjoy most and exploit it.  We had rainbow balloons and Care Bear the heart on Love-a Lot and a Care Bear coloring table... treat bags and wall art.  I like to decorate...that is the detail I chose to exploit this time.

Callie loved the helium balloons.  Lexi was terrified of them!  Terrified in that funny kinda way...the kinda way that makes a big sister chase after her with a balloon telling her not to be scared and a little sister screaming with panic. 

There was no way Lexi would stay away from the coloring table.  We finally gave up.
Birthweek is over and it is now time for a rest and time to ween ourselves from the sugar.  We will play with all the new treasures and Callie can proudly say "I'm four years old."  When I tucked her into bed tonight she whispers, "When I'm 5 I want a Buzz Lightyear Party." I won't start planning just yet...she may change her mind.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

4 Year Old Club

Today Callie joined the ranks of the exclusive "4 year old club".  There are not even words to describe her excitement..her enthusiasm...her joy in becoming part of this big girl club.  Bundling up and getting out the door this morning was a breeze since we seemed to be riding the wave of euphoria over the rainbow cupcakes that were going to daycare with her today to celebrate with the other little people that she spends her days with...her colleagues I guess.
Callie's first flower delivery.  Happy Birthday love Nana & Papa.

I relinquish in her excitement as I know I am partly responsible for her over the topness. She dances and spins and shouts to all that it is her birthday. 

Through all of the cheers and party streamers and balloons, I am aware of all the changes in my girl...the things that happen when one joins the 4 year old club.  The obvious ones... like her ankles showing out of the pant leg of too short pants and the new Dora light up shoes that her dad bought for her in size 10.  I see her staying in the lines and not mixing play do colors.  I hear her say words like "actually" and "definitely".  And tonight she declared, "I can wash my own hair because I'm a big girl".

I am proud of her growing independence.  I am over the moon that she can wiggle her way into her snow pants and get her own boots on.  She has finally mastered the holding of the sleeve when putting on the coat...and oh this small achievement has all but eliminated the meltdown that would happen when the shirt sleeve got bunched up in the coat sleeve and how could the world go on when the sleeve just isn't right.

But I have to say in between all the excitement of Callie joining the 4 year old club I have these waves of emotions that I'm having difficulty describing.  I'm not sure if its sadness...or is it grief....  The feeling of "when did she grow up"?  It's like the first night we moved her out of her little bassinet and into her big girl crib. This double dip feeling of relief to have our bedroom back yet this deep sadness that she will never be that small again.

So today my emotions are double dipping again.  The joy and excitement of all the new things she is learning and doing everyday dipped in a little grief that she will never be three years old again.  Do other people have double dipped emotions like this?  And I wonder if it will happen to me with every milestone she reaches?

As quickly as this sadness creeps up it is gone again...lost in the enthusiasm of the birthday girl.  Today she wants to celebrate her day.  And for her special birthday supper she wants to go to a restaurant.  In my mind I toss around the pros and cons of going out on a weeknight.  I decide why not... believing that she will likely want to go to the Golden Arches...which she refers to as the hamburger store and it should be relatively painless with a couple of tired girls and tired parents.  But to our surprise, now that she is four, she does not want to go to the Golden Arches...she would prefer fine dining.

Restaurant coloring.

So we juggle the chaos of a real restaurant with Lexi who is also becoming independent and won't sit in a highchair and Callie who is still dancing and spinning and shouting.  I know this is not a relaxing dinner.  I know that we are probably disturbing the table next to us.  But I see the smile on my big girl's face and realize she is oblivious to the chaos.  She just knows it is her day and she is at a big girl restaurant on a weeknight slurping back chocolate milk... proud as a peacock to have joined the 4 year old club.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Brain Switch

There is  a song that comes to mind when I think about weekends. 

"Everybody's working for the weekend..."  (The 80's classic by Loverboy.)

Especially weekends that are jammed packed full of great stuff that when the dust finally settles on Sunday evening... after supper dishes are done, babies are bathed, read to, and tucked is time for the brain switch.  The switch from "care-free, lovin' life" weekend mode to the "what needs to get done" work week mode.

It's just like when I was a kid and Sunday night would come and Mom would ask, "Do you have your homework done?"  I would glance over at my back-pack that hadn't been moved since Friday.  It was time for the brain switch.

And tonight, after a "lovin' life" weekend, I glance at the laundry that is still piled high and its time for the switch.  But not until we look at what a glorious weekend it was.

We had a big moment.  A moment that has been four years in the making.  In preparation for her upcoming birthday, Callie got her first haircut.  Yes, I said first.  Her beautiful curls took so long to grow that the thought of cutting it was unbearable.  But it was time.  The major bed head coupled with your standard winter static and hat hair dictated that it was time for a trim. 

I had been coaching her all week about what to expect when getting your hair cut.  And each time I was countered with the response "I'm not getting my hair cut".  Needless to say, I was a little nervous about the scene that may be created at the hair salon for this photo op.

But I can tell you...I was a proud Mama.

This weekend was jammed packed full of first haircuts, lunches in restaurants, coffee with friends and play dates for kids.  And we needed get welcome February as a family...

And let it be known, it is Birthday Week!  It is no secret that I like birthdays.  I've always felt that a single day was never enough to give justice to the day we joined this world... so I would like to announce... Birthweek.  And it started today. A celebration with family and cousins and of course cake.

Now it is time for the switch.  I will put the weekend and the blog to rest and I will do the brain switch.  I am entering work week mode...laundry here I come.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Play Time

Watching my girls play is one of my favorite past-times.  The kind of play that involves conversations between stuffies or little people.  Those moments when they are completely engrossed in their imaginative lives they don't even know the world is existing around them.  The kind of play that makes me tiptoe around as to not create any distractions from this fabulous world that they are in.  So careful am I that I fear the click of a camera will disrupt the thought process and the magical world they are in will disappear and then instantly they will come back to reality and start asking for snacks and drinks and TV shows.

I marvel at games that involves chairs and empty water bottles and laundry baskets.

As I go about doing the tedious task of putting away the clean laundry I come upon this sign hung on Callie's door and suddenly my heart melts.  Her person now has more than just one strand of hair standing straight up like a unicorn on its head.  And those letters...they mean something.  They mean something in that magical world of play that she lives is.  And when did she get to be such a big girl?  The kind of girl who makes her people with hair and hangs signs on her bedroom door.

Some days, when I'm in one of those worrying moods, I stress about my girls growing up. When they come out of this safe and protected magical world of make-believe and start real friendships. I ask myself... Am I giving them the tools they need to survive girl world?  Am I fostering self-esteem and confidence?  Am I doing all the things a mom needs to do to prepare my sweet angels for the day they are told, "You're not my friend."

So, on my bedside table I have books like these...

I read and hope that the four steps will be the answers that I'm looking for and put my worries to rest.  I reread and make notes and think maybe my girls won't go through this...yet I know they will.  Eventually the worry subsides and I file the book on my shelf with the others on this topic. 

And now I am back to the present day.  It is Friday.  And we are home after a week of work and day care and preschool.  And my girls are present.  We walk in the door and say goodbye to the week and hello to the weekend. The first words out of Big Girl's mouth...Can I have a snack, a drink, and a TV?...

She found her bike helmet in the garage on the way into the house today.

...and little sister wants to be just like big girl.
Let the weekend begin.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Say Hello to February

There is something about the month of February that makes is so much more enticing than January. Although little has actually changed between yesterday and today...February just sounds better. 

With a flip of the calendar we say good-bye to the post holiday blahs of January and greet February with open arms.  A little extra hop in our step, a few extra minutes of daylight...beautiful, cheerful, bright sun shining daylight.  Today the sun shone so bright across a sea of blue sky bringing with it a very nasty cold temperature.  Today I took a moment to welcome February...

As I was driving today, I actually stopped and got out of the warmth of the truck to get a closer look at February...

My hand was only out of my mitten for a few minutes yet when I got back to the truck my fingers were tingling.  It is for that reason that we rarely stop to welcome February in person.  We welcome it from warmth of the car, the office, or even better from next to the fireplace that is crackling with a REAL wood burning fire. 

I will embrace February because without it I wouldn't have this...

...the rosiest red cheeks to kiss.  Or this...

The most beautiful Big Girl eyes just peeking out.

February has arrived and we will stay warm.  We will heat our house with the excitement radiating from our Big Girl as she spins with enthusiasm over the the party supplies that we have created to celebrate her big day.  Ahh...February.  You have definitely arrived.