Thursday, March 29, 2012

Over Halfway

Our week of spring break is now past the halfway point.  Seven at home days with a mile long to-do list that will likely never get done because we want to have some fun.  After Disney, we are back to making the most out of the small pleasures of home.  The week began by clearing out the living room and tacking a white sheet to the wall in an attempt to make a movie night with friends just a little more exciting.

We were thrown a bit of a curve ball after movie night as Lexi developed a cough that could not be ignored.  She actually earned herself a nights stay at the hospital with her mom close by her side.  Lying there with your baby in isolation gives a girl a lot of time to reflect.  Lexi had a nasty chest infection that put her into fits of coughing that consumed her entire little two-year old body.  I would hold her and rub her back saying, "I got ya, babe.  It's going to be okay."  All the time thinking, as parents do, that if I could take this from you I would. In some way offering ourselves as sacrifice like we do from the moment of conception.

 Saying the words, "it will be okay," with confidence because I knew it would be.  This infection was not life threatening but as I held my fragile baby in my arms I let mind imagine what it must be like for the moms and dads who can't whisper those words quite so confidently.

We made it through our hospital stay and now have a small pharmacy on our kitchen counter which has been very helpful at getting Lexi to rejoin some of our spring break fun.  And so you know, Lexi is an expert patient.  She takes her medicine without complaint and sits tall for the doctor as she listens to her chest for the millionth time. 

Sister's been experimenting with new looks this week.  We never now what's next. 
And now that little sister is on the mend we can get back to our original spring break plans. 

Making the most of the small things at home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Battle

The seasonal shift is upon us.  But Winter never goes down without a fight.  Winter is strong and powerful.  A bully of sorts.  Winter is always throwing his weight around.  He forces Fall out of the way early and endlessly wrestles with Spring giving everything he has to steal time from this next quarter.  To show Mother Nature who's boss.  Boasting to all of us that he will continue to reign as the longest season.

The skies have been the greyest of grey. The girls were witnesses to this ongoing battle between the March lion and lamb as the heavy sound of thunder rumbled from the sky declaring that spring showers will prevail.  The girls were nervous as they felt the rumbling in their chests...cautiously looking up to the sky wondering what they were in for as they played in the backyard.

Since we continue to be in the middle of this struggle between Winter and Spring, I took the girls to Walmart to pick out their rubber boots as our way of supporting the Spring underdog in the fight.  Callie tried on almost every style they had in size 11.  She narrowed it down to two contenders...Princesses or Lightening McQueen.  And the winner...

And Lexi, she settled on the first pair that she tried on that fit.  But I will confess, I did not draw her attention to the Dora ones on the top shelf.  She became quite paniced as she sunk into the deep snow with her new boots while trying to escape the sound of the rolling thunder.  I love being the one to rescue her and soothe her worries. Not because I have any special skills or training but simply because I am her mom. 

The rain came.  Spring had a small victory before winter wrestled her back down and that rain turned to hail.  And eventually snow.  This battle isn't over yet.  Happy Spring.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wish Upon a Star

When I was young I remember my brother and I would have our routine Sunday night bath. After we were squeaky clean and covered in fresh jammies we would sit in front of the wooden floor model TV and wait for it... the castle, the song, Tinkerbell tapping her magic wand, and then a swirling collage of all the characters.  I always hoped it would be a cartoon and not a movie. 

I dreamed of going to Disneyland, even though I don't really think I knew what it was.  I just knew that it must be someplace good.  So when we told our girls that we were going to Disneyland, they were silly- excited.  And I'm imagining that their little brains were working much like mine, thinking "I'm not sure what this Disneyland place is all about but it must be good because everyone wants to go there!"

But unlike my childhood, my girls don't have to wait until Sunday night to experience the magic that is Disney.  They have it PVR'd, on DVD, on iPad, and 24-7 on Disney Junior.  And we've always known that we would take them to Disney someday, maybe when they were a bit older.  We had mentioned to Callie once that we would possibly go when Lexi was five and she was seven. 

One day Callie was telling her dad about a commercial for Disneyland that she seen on Disney Junior somewhere between Higglytown Heros and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  "...Dad, I seen a baby at Disneyland, so if babies can go I think Lexi could go to Disneyland. "

Our trip to this magical, man-made, wonderland was beyond anything a five year old could imagine.  Beyond anything her mama could imagine too. 

When Callie was just two years old she discovered Mickey Mouse.  For some it was Dora, for others it was the Princesses or Elmo or Lightening McQueen.  But for my Callie, it was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that became her first obsession.  It was the theme of her second birthday party.  And I can't even tell you how many times I have done the Hot Dog Dance. 

In the past three years Callie's repertoire of shows has expanded, thankfully, so we can all keep our sanity.  As of lately, a green and purple guy named Buzz has caught her fancy.

We posed for the photo opps with character after character...because that is what you do the first time you're at Disney.  Mickey's Toon Town was one of Callie's favorite places.  She said, "Mom, it looks like we are inside the TV."  Toon Town is where we weaved in and out through the corridors of Mickey's house to the private back room where we got to meet the Mickster himself.  No picture though.  Because Mickey was the first celebrity that we met, the photo has Jon and I each carrying a girl with their heads buried deep in our shoulders.  

Mickey is a lot bigger in real life than he is on TV. 

When I was going through the thousands of pictures of our vacation, deciding which ones to edit, crop, and perfect, I declared these two of my favorite...

...because these two photos display what going to Disney meant for me.  Not the big castle or the rides or meeting the Mouse.  It was being together.  As a family.  Having our moments. Making our Memories.  It just so happens that we were at the Happiest Place on Earth.  And the fact that by looking at these two photos and thinking that they could have been taken anywhere is the exact reason I love them.  Because I know that we didn't need to travel thousands of miles from our home to make our girls happy.   I, and many others, didn't have the opportunity to go to Disneyland as a child and yet we managed to survive to adulthood completely intact with buckets full of other good memories.   

But when opportunity knocks, with something big, I say go for it.  And it was awesome.

When we got off the airport shuttle in front of our hotel, the girls' Nana and Papa were standing amidst the Mickey and Minnie statues at the front entrance.  We knew they would be there but we kept that information to ourselves as a little surprise to the girls.  And their reaction to seeing their Nana and Papa, after missing them for the past several months,  was how they greeted most things at Disneyland.  Not with screaming and jumping and uncontrolled excitement like they show on TV. 

They were quiet.  Wide eyed.  Biting fingernails.  In awe.

And I was in awe because I love the details.  The costumes in the parade, the pristine paintings, the immaculate streets... overwhelming visual stimulation.  I see why people go back time and time again.  Each time you would see something different even though nothing had changed.  Except maybe your perspective.

It's quite possible that the girls won't recall the details from this experience in the long run.  Lexi won't remember how she loved the Disneyland rental strollers.  Callie won't remember swimming in the pool until the moon shone brightly in the sky.  They likely won't recall how the headboard in our hotel room had
fireworks and played When You Wish Upon a Star.  Or how we played eye spy for all the Mickey shapes.

They may not remember all the details.  But they will remember that this Disneyland's something good.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Something Big

For the most part, the joy in our house come from the small things.  The little details. It comes from the attempts at making the ordinary into something special.  Like instead of going for a walk, we will go on an adventure.  Or we will drink our juice from a fancy glass.  Or we'll put our bathing suits on for a good game of beach and bask in the afternoon sun shining though the living room windows. 

But every once in a while something big comes along. 

And when we told our girls about this something big, it was crazy exciting.

Sometimes you just need to answer the door when opportunity knocks.  And usually that knock comes when your in the middle of dinner or just getting out of the shower or when you're already running late. 

Opportunity rarely knocks at a good time.

So after several weeks of planning and arranging and weighing the pros against the cons...we jumped at the opportunity.

And this something is what dreams are made of.

Can you guess?