Monday, November 28, 2011

More than Happy

Sometimes mornings can be rough.  And usually Monday morning is no exception.  But today... all went well.  I always thought it was lack of time in the morning that caused the majority of the problems but today I realized it is not lack of time that makes for a rough start to the day but rather a lack of cooperation.  Because today every one's clothes felt right, sock seams didn't bother the toes, the too big winter boots didn't cause any grief... in other words, when all the stars are aligned, we have plenty of time to get out the door in the morning.

Some days, though, it feels like the wheels are falling off the parenting bus and I am about to drive it into the ditch. When every request that is made is refuted as though the leader of the opposition party resides right here in my home.  And then I start to sweat the small stuff even though Don't Sweat the Small Stuff has sold  a billion copies.  Because it feels like every small decision has such huge repercussions.

Big sister's second haircut.  Remember her first?  It is so long when it's combed out straight.  Rachel asked if I've ever straightened her hair.  I replied, "Never!  She'll be doing it herself soon enough."

And at the end of the day, after sweating about 20 small things, the big thing is I just want my girls to know that I love them.  And to say that I want them to grow up to be happy is such a cliche and would definitely be selling them short.  I want them to be more than just happy.  Because I can make them happy.  I can buy them that treat, I can let them not brush their teeth, I can let them not clean their messes... and they would be happy. 

My baby's first haircut.  Before.
And after.

Sister tossed her hair around as though she was a shampoo commercial star!

I want more than just happy.  I want kindness and living with a conscious.  I want them to not only know right from wrong but to know when they choose wrong they have the power to fix it.  I want them to know that sometimes hard work pays off and you get the prize but usually hard work gets you the self-satisfaction of a job well done.  I want them to know passion and compassion.  I want then to know love.

Our friend turned five.  Five seems so grown up.  Like when you ask how old they are and they say, "this many," and they no longer have to push any other fingers down.  Every finger on the hand counts.

And all of these things I want for them comes in the form of words like this... "you need to wear a hat it's cold out today,  sit down in your seat we need to be safe, we eat our food at the table,  TV time is done, share and take turns, you can't just grab things from people, use your words, kind words only, try again, please and thank you, put things back when you're done, hands are not for hitting, hugs and kisses only, no banging, fix the problem, inside voices, brush your teeth,  time for bed..."

Cute snowmen craft...thanks to an early Christmas present.  We glued the foamy snowmen to the clothespins on the art clothesline to hold up the pictures the girls made last week.

So when I'm sweating the small stuff and digging my parenting bus out of the ditch I must remind myself of my own wants.  That when I choose wrong I can make it right.  That parenting is hard work and the pay off is the self-satisfaction of a job well done.  

And... I should have wore a hat because it's cold out here digging my bus out of the snow bank.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up on Tuesday

When dad is away, the girls will play.  And play we did.  But not until we got the mood of the house just right.  After swimming in a rather chilly pool for our friend's birthday party on Saturday, I pulled out all the stops when we got home to warm our bodies and our surroundings.

 My dream house has a real, wood burning fireplace with a beautiful stone hearth... picture ski lodge coziness.  Until Mike Holmes shows up to "make it right", I will plug in the electric fireplace for ambiance and light some candles to meet my desire for a flame.  With the lighting in the house just right and a bag of microwave popcorn popped, the girls and I settled in for our first Christmas movie night...with A Charlie Brown Christmas being the movie of choice.

"Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you are the Charlie Brownest!"

We kept ourselves busy with this and that while Jon was away for three days.  I held down the fort, taking care of the things that needed caring for.  And being on my own, taking care of our girls during our at home days, without the dad, is not as stressful as it once was... but we still missed him. 

We passed the time with a hot chocolate tea party and some Dora puzzles.  Puzzles she's done a million times but she still asks for "help" which really means, "sit next to me mom and watch me do it."  And it has me saying things like, "maybe Santa will bring us some new puzzles".  Completely for my own sanity because  I would like a new challenge. Callie, on the other hand, rarely asks for, begs for, or wishes for anything.

If there has to be a bright side to Jon being away,  this would be it... big girl who eagerly fills dad's spot next to me in our king size bed.  She doesn't sleep in our bed very often and I have to say, I liked having her there.  She doesn't flip and flail like a toddler anymore.  We laughed and giggled.  I scratched her back.  Then I listened to her breaths become slow and rhythmic.  Lexi joined us at her usual time, around 5am, unannounced to Callie.  In the morning, I say, "How did Lexi get out of her crib and into our bed?"  Callie spent the better part of Sunday trying to get Lexi to reveal the secret behind her Houdini trick.

And now, "the dad" is home and everyone is back in their own beds. And I am officially off to my own.  Good Night.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Long Week

So I just sat down to my computer and noticed that some little fingers have been pushing buttons and managed to publish this post I've been working on without any words written.  So now I will replace the unwritten post with this one...

It's been a long week.  And this is the evidence...

It started with some whimpering and wanting to be held all the time.  Then she stopped eating and demanding more milk.  Next came the fever and sleepless nights.  And finally, a trip to the doctors office to learn about red, inflamed and infected tonsils.  Lexi is on the mend today thanks to some antibiotics and a continuous run of ibuprofen.

We don't usually wish time away... except when we are sick.  Then the days can't go fast enough.

Today we have a busy agenda.  Complete with shopping, housework, a birthday party, and some extra TLC for Lexi.  Jon is out of town so it's just the girls this weekend.

I will be brief...

Taking care of baby dolls has resurfaced as the thing to do this week.

Hair cuts for the girls are marked on the calendar...

The art continues.  This is Friend Bear...

Callie is still in love with skating. 
Her and her friend are a different as night and day...

A figure skater whose mission is to not fall down. 
A hockey player whose only goal is to be the fastest.

But they both love it the same.

She spends a lot of time here...

The price you pay for being fast, I guess.

So like I said, brief. 
I must get our girls weekend started.
Publish Post. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Snow

We did not go ahead with our weekend road trip plans and my feelings about this are double-dipped.  I am so sad not to be here getting my fix of baby love and enjoying my glass of wine with my dear friend...but on the other hand, watching the the heavy, wet snowflakes falling to the ground from the comfort of my couch, in my red fleece jammies, could not have been more perfect. 

The sky had been warning us all week that it had something in store for us.  And although I wish I could beam myself to my friend's cozy country home, I would much rather be watching the flakes settle in through my kitchen window than through the truck window where I am positive those flakes would not have appeared as beautiful and peaceful from behind the wheel with my hands tightly gripped at ten and two. 

We have had our first real snowfall...not a little frost, not a little freezing rain or a little sleet that melts in the afternoon sun...the first snow that will stay put for the next six months.  If I didn't have a four and two year old, this day would likely have conjured up some ugly thoughts such as winter driving, wind chills, and flu season.

I will be forever grateful for my girls.  Because through the eyes of a child the first snow of the season is greeted with uncontainable enthusiasm, with pure joy and excitement that makes it nearly impossible for ugly thoughts to surface because for them... they only see the good.    

What we know about feelings is that they are contagious.  And I allowed myself to catch their vibe... 

"Do you want to make footprints in the snow?  Ya, I know you're in your jammies and it's almost bedtime.  What do you think?"

Hearing their laughter and their shrills and seeing the smiles on their faces and their joy for life pushed away any ugly thoughts one could have about the snow that was blanketing the earth.

And the next morning, the first words from their mouths...

"Mom, can we do it again?"

Why not.

And I know that there will be a lot of this to come...

But it can be balanced with some of this...

And I know those ugly thoughts will surface eventually because six months for a single season is completely disproportionate for a one year cycle.  But for today, I will see it though the eyes of my girls.

Happy first snow.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The girls' daycare has been closed for over a week.  That routine that we worked hard to adjust to over the past two months has been interrupted. Piecing together people to take care of our precious cargo while we head off to work is a humbling task.  I don't know how we could do it without the endless help from our families. And I am aware that it can be done as I know many people who are living their lives successfully without their extended families being within an arms reach.  But I am so very grateful for Papa and Ozzy and Grandma and Nana because of the ease of mind they provide for me as I kiss my girls' foreheads and leave for work.  And this ease of mind is not only knowing that my sweethearts are safe and cared for but more importantly...that they are comfortable.

So instead of having to get up and go in the morning, the girls have had a weeks worth of at home days with a jigsaw of people fitting together to oversee their playtime.  And what good would a few bonus at home days be if they didn't include some non-hair combing and summer t-shirt wearing days.

 Both girls chose to wear their Pigtail Pals shirts on the same day.  I love this mom's philosophy on girls clothes and when I stumbled across her website a few months ago I thought her shirts were perfect for my sporty little spices. eventually got combed later in the day!
The pumpkins and Halloween artwork have been set aside making way for some snowflake window clings...just  a little warm up for the upcoming Christmas season.  There is presently a little skiff of snow on the ground.  Lexi keeps bending down to touch it as she doesn't seem to remember if from last year and Callie had her ski pants on already, declaring that she can't hardly wait to go go sliding, build a snowman, and make snow angels.

And finally, during this week of unsettled-ness, we celebrated.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful mama!  I let Callie pick grandma's gifts this year.  She picked things she thought grandma would love.  It just so happens that they were things she loved too... a blankie, a pillow, and light up snowmen.  And her reasoning went something like this, "first grandma likes to sew, then she likes to cook, then she likes to rest."  After helping us out with the girls all week, I think grandma can skip right to the rest part.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Red Sky in the Morning

Every day this week the morning sky has been jaw-droppingly beautiful.  The first morning we saw it, on our drive to daycare, I whispered to Callie,  "Look at the sky!  It's Pinkalicious!"  Each morning I said, "I wish I had my camera with me."  And this morning, there it was...

This sky only lasts for minutes and then it vanishes into daylight.  We watched this transformation this morning in our jammies as we stood in the back yard on our tip toes, hopping back and forth, trying to avoid the cold cement on our feet.  If there is any truth to the saying, "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning"  then I wonder what we're in for?  Actually, I don't wonder, I know what we're in for. And if it could hold off just one more week...we will be able to go ahead with our plans.


We successfully made it through the week.  Because any week that begins with the collection of mounds of candy is bound to have a low around Wednesday, then a drag your butt Thursday, and a exasperated TGIF Friday. 

Buzz is still going strong... and she took the show outdoors.

Today I went to the annual community craft show.  And that red sky isn't the only sign of what is coming.... today at the craft show, the sound of carols pumped out of the sound system while I flipped through hand made Christmas linens and I oohed and ahhhed over Christmas ornaments. 

I have been bitten by the holiday bug. 

In case you might not know, I am one of those lovers of the holidays!  And Christmas is no exception.  I like the preparation, the excitement, the family time, the sparkle, the lights, the smells....ahhh the smells.  I can barely get the pumpkins put away fast enough to make way for snowflakes and snowmen and the smell of cookies and gingerbread.

When we leave the house in the mornings,  it is dark as night and we can see our breath.  There is frost on the grass and on the truck windows if I forget to park it in the garage.  Callie takes in a deep breath and says, "it smells like we should go to Grandma and Papa's."  I breathe in. The faint smell of woodsmoke from someones chimney fills my mind. 

Callie can't hardly wait either.  She knows that is the smell of a fire burning and she has been asking for weeks when will it be time to have a fire. She knows that a fire means cozy nights at Grandma and Papas.  She knows that means Christmas is coming.

Come on red sky... we're ready (well, almost).