Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Don't Have Time for That...



So, it has been snowing non-stop for the past couple of days - and the girls are beside themselves with zeal. There has been quite a bit of sledding in the yard, and the snow is literally waist-high on the babes. (Rather entertaining for adults too.)
We've been enjoying it as well. I think having kids adds to the excitement of the first great snows. I'm still in the 'romantic' stages of winter... (In about another week, I'll be ready for spring again!)

This morning, daddy mentioned to Myla that it might be fun to go play outside. Once it got warmer out, the snow became heavy and thick - perfect for building snowmen! 
To our astonishment, her reply came as such: "No no no, Dada. I don't have time to go play outside today. I have to play with my babies...." 
Oh. Well. I see. (Sounds like the story of my life at this stage with the girls!) At least she's prepared for the responsibility of having children when that time should arrive. Many years away yet - but it does go by quickly. Before we know it - I'll be blogging about the joys of being a grandparent! (Our reward for going through parenthood!!)

TIP: If the snow is too deep and the kids just keep getting stuck and/ or falling, you can shovel a little zig-zag path around the yard. Before you know it - they will be running and throwing snow and laughing again :)
A QUOTE: "Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough." ~Earl Wilson
WHIDFML: Savored some cookies. I figure, if I give in to this weakness once per year, I can live through the mini-gluten-attack... It was worth it! 

Christmas Crabbies



The way Addie's nature has been lately - I wasn't surprised that she was crabby in general throughout much of the celebratory weekend... I was, however, a bit staggered to witness her tears as she unwrapped gifts on Christmas morning. WHAT? Seriously? Really....... Not what you were hoping for this year? Me neither! Thankfully, the deluge of sugar-laden treats and the continuous attention from various family members as the celebrations commenced, brought about a sense of contentment in her. 
So, all in all, it could certainly have been worse ;) They were both really excited for Christmas this year - and Myla was absolutely thrilled with every minute of it! I guess if one isn't crabby, the other one must take over, huh? Her teeth are almost through now, so we should be getting a more 'normalized' Addie back again shortly. She has been coming back around gradually. 
Still just can't understand how one could be happy about her gifts, yet crying at the same time. But then again - - pain can do that to a person! So I can't really blame the poor girl. The post-stress migraine I got to endure following the holiday happies, reminded me just how living with pain can affect a person. I suppose I may have needed that reminder in this case.

TIP: Baby pain relief: Don't leave home without it! (Sometimes you just have to administer the pain meds...)
A QUOTE: "Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!"  ~Hamilton Wright Mabie
WHIDFML: Lazy lazy day-after-Christmas this year!! :):)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Live, Love, LAUGH Some More!!



Been a stressful few weeks - and it all came to a close with a fabulously well-spent birthday celebration: No kids for over 24 hours... Nothin' quite like a 24+ hour date with the hubby! Yay grandparents!! 
I was feeling refreshed after all of the quiet, the spontaneity, the music, the wine, chocolate, fire ablaze, card-playing, & fun-having... The perusing where we pleased with no time constraints, arguing with unruly toddlers, or wishing we hadn't bothered to leave the house in the first place. And of course... the staying up late and the sleeping-in :) Marvelous dinner for 2 at the Sample Room... and just plain ol' good times and new memories for Joel and I to revel in.
Of course, reality set back in pretty abruptly after retrieving our over-tired, under-slept, sugar-crashing babettes. (Something to look forward to as a grandparent one day, eh?) 
Taking it all in stride... (after outing some frustration via loud noise and use of profanity) I realized this is a short week... a little hop, skip, & jump on our path to the celebration of CHRISTMAS! Joel will be home from work for 4 whole days. We will eat, drink, share some love with the fam, and be oh-so-merry. 
This morning (and throughout the day) Myla was nothing less than angelic! (Thank you Lord!) Perhaps she (in her strife over the need to adjust to change while sleeping in a less-familiar locale) found herself rather appreciative of her daily (boring) routine with her good ol' mom. (I plan to mix it up once they are a little tiny bit older! Right now - Addie's going through a phase, and it truly isn't worth attempting any new and exciting "projects" with the girls at this juncture. Trust me on this one.) Maybe this newly-spun enjoyment of mommy will last?? We can hope. And hope we must!
Addie, on the other hand, is still her crabby, clingy, attention-requiring not-herself-self again... The whining. The screaming. Today - I did a remarkable job (2 days, 2 days, 2 days... Wednesday is Grandma and Grandpa day... then we're on to the weekend!!! Ohm.) of staying unfathomably calm during the continuous riot, while also ignoring all outbursts and unnecessary whimpering. She is nearly 2. She is NOT an infant... not even close. She doesn't need the coddling she thinks she does. It's hard. I mean - she is the baby. AND, she's seen too often how Myla has been able to maintain her daddy's coddling via similar means leading up to just recently. Joel and I have really turned a new leaf in the way of upholding a like-minded and consistent approach to child-rearing - together. This (combined with her recent new-found appreciation for the day-to-day) are conjoining to provide a fab and well-deserved reprieve from her previous typical, regular drama. SO BE IT. (Whoot!)

Now...  It's play time! I'm served a cup of tea, and when asked what flavor, Myla's response came as such, "It's Strawberry-WATERMELON!!!" (Pause... begin to walk away, and return to conclude...) "WITH chocolate-sauce with blueberries and WATERMELON!" Mmmmm. How could I refuse?! She was quick to follow-up with a warning, "Um. It's kind of spicy... It might be too spicy for little mamas... " Upon hearing this - Addie decided she'd better step-it-up a notch if she wanted to remain part of this restaurant's service. She turned to the "cabinet" and extracted the little red "bottle". "Ketchup?!!?" She asked enthusiastically, while "pouring" some into a cup for me. Sure, why not? It will probably only enhance my strawberry-watermelon tea with blueberry and watermelon chocolate sauce. 
Just when I started giggling, and didn't think it could get any cuter or funnier... it was bed-time for me (according to baby-watches, that is.) Okay! (This is my favorite game! I get to "pretend" to snooze... Yeah. I know. Best game ever.) But... this time I had a serious case of the giggles - as I lay there thinking about all of the personality and imagination just mixing away in these little, growing people... I was reprimanded without delay, "It is BED-TIME mommy! You have to be quiet and go to sleep now." This only turned up the intensity of my laughing fit (now officially a fit, indeed), because it was just too damn ironic!!!! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! (I just got a tiny sliver of revenge, and I didn't even have to try.) Hmmmm. How's that medicine tasting there little lady of no-sleep-ever-if-she-could-help-it?? Hmm?? Kind of tart? I decided it was best to use this open window and elaborate. "What happens to me if I don't listen to you and sleep?? What are you gonna do?!" She placed her hands on her hips, gave me sly-eyes, and said without hesitation, "I will put you in, um, mommy and daddy's - wait - in YOUR - okay in YOUR room by yourself!" (She seemed to realize, as she stuttered, that when we separate her from her sister by placing her in our room - that this might not be the best form of "punishment" for me... as it is in fact, MY room.) She also said I don't get an ice cream cone. (Dang. Now that one I might have to give into! I am a sucker for ice cream.) But, nonetheless, the laughter ensued, as I had completely lost all control. (Man - it felt really good to laugh that hard - even though no one around me at the time understood.) I think the mere fact that Myla wanted me to be "sleeping" during this laugh-fest, made it that much more enjoyable - despite the fact that she was in no way whiny or dramatic at all today - [aside from this hands-on-hips sternness she'd acquired for the purpose of making sure I get my rest - like a good mommy should.]  ;) 
A friend had dropped by with a b-day and Christmas gift for Joel and I (his b-day is just a couple of weeks away as well...) We received a TJ's G.C. - which means none other than - MORE WINE! (We enjoy trying the different wines, and it really is just a relaxing thing to sip on during the weekends. Also happens to be good for you in such moderation. Hey - we have 2 toddlers, and we don't get to get out much right now... Therefore,our "going out" is often a matter of trying new wines when we can!) I expressed this to Myla as we opened our respective gifts. So fun!!
Daddy came home shortly thereafter, and Myla showed exuberance over the newly acquired goods. She held in her hand the venerated gift card while Joel asked her, "What do you have there?" (She was really excited. This is a direct reflection of my exclamation of joy earlier.) She stated in reply, "A Trader Joe's card for WINE!!" Joel and I just laughed until we cried. If only you could have heard her!
So begins a new week, shortly following a new moon, and leading up to a new year... And I too have a fresh new perspective on the day-to-day :)


TIP! We gotta stop "babying" our babies! (You know - the youngest one... the one you can't let grow up too quickly because they are your last baby.) It will catch up with you if it hasn't already. Ignoring the outbursts did result in eventual (spurts) of quiet with each occurrence, accompanied by a sudden willingness to eat meals where appropriate. I kind of like this approach. We have to be a little bit more diligent now - to reverse the trend. Seems to be helping gradually. Every bit helps when your kid is throwing tantrums!
A QUOTE: "A perfect example of minority rule is a baby in the house." ~ Milwaukee Journal
WHIDFML: Celebrated my birthday just the way I wanted to - with just the hubby and me - and a little flying by the seat of our pants into pure relaxation.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The "A" List



 Here is Addie's (growing)  list of "funnies" & follies...

Addie: (Every time a timer goes off...) "Pizza's done!"

Addie: (Every time a toaster pops...) "Waffles done!"

Addie: (Every time a phone rings...) "Phoooooone!"

While daddy was rocking Addie before bed time one night, she whimpered, "Tummy Ache" - and then forced out two incredibly audible digestive noises that just shouldn't be possible for someone so little and cute. ;) After passing the gas, she attempted to pass the blame, and accusingly stated, "DaaaaaaDaaaaa!" 


More to be added over time, I'm sure!


TIP! Laughter is great medicine - and cures pretty much everything :)
A QUOTE: "I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries." ~Theodore Issac Rubin
WHIDFML: Started working-out again - on the stationary bike. Feels FAB!


Friday, December 11, 2009

T is for Toddler...



Or rather, TEA is for mothers-OF-toddlers!! It supersedes all that I've tried thus far: Cookies, chocolate, alcohol/ wine, vitamin-D - - even hot baths, music, and adequate sleep! Nothing has compared to the great comfort - physically & psychologically - of sipping some hot, delish, nutrient-filled, (and mildly caffeinated) TEA! WHAT did I do before Teavana?? :)
"Tea" is for Energy, Calm, Serenity, Comfort, Peace, Clarity, Creativity, JOY! I really do relish life's simple pleasures.........



Tip & WHIDFML are obvious in this min-post :)
A QUOTE: "There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea."  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"My Spanks Went Away!"



OH my Lordy-Lord. Today - the spanking needed implementing yet again. Myla was being stubborn (X 2 - as she acquired this from both parents!), refusing to listen/ obey, and sass-talking... (Seriously - sometimes I think the kid is already a teenager... I have to remind myself that she's only 3.) However, I seemingly didn't apply this particular rearing with enough vigor - since she stood back, one foot forward, hands on hips with one leg bent, a gleam of defiance in her squinted, glaring eyes saying, "Hmf! My spanks went away Mama. Hmf!" So, round two... DANG! Same response from her....

So now I'm thinking, "Well SHIT. WHAT do I have to do to instill the fear of repercussion into this child!?!" I thought back to my own childhood. Many a "wooden spoon" (though cheaply made and collected by the dozen for this reason) were broken over our asses as kids - and we turned out pretty darn okay -- I think (despite the "crazy" in me!) ;) So anywho...
I pulled out the biggest rubber spatula I could find, held it up, gave her back her "glaring eyes" and asked sternly, "Maybe I'll need to use this??" She looked as though she'd just been defeated again, backed away slightly, eyes now drooped and pleading. She shook her head meagerly while uttering this reply, "No mama. I'll be good." To that I say, "Hmf!" (And THANK GOD! SERIOUSLY. What am I gonna do with her?)

TIP! The idea is really to 'scare' the kid into realizing that there are consequences to their actions... Not to physically hurt them. But apparently in my case - I have to induce pain to get my point across! HELP. (If I'm lucky - just the threat of it will do... I can hope.) Taking away the opp to watch vids, and play with dolls didn't work either! What else can I "take away" from a 3-year-old?! Can't take away food, for crying out loud!! We are in TROUBLE. Maybe if we're REALLY lucky, she'll get it out of her system now, and be a good girl in Jr. High/ High School. (Hey - like I said, I can hope! And actually, if she takes after me, this will likely be the case. If she takes after her dad - we're screwed.)
A QUOTE: "When we teach ourselves and our children discipline, we are teaching them and ourselves how to suffer and how to grow." ~M. Scott Peck
WHIDFML: Yesterday - on my day off - I ran a few errands (2 fun ones besides!)... Then, I ran a hot bath with Aveda bath salts, read a magazine by candle light, lit a fire in the fireplace, more candles, and wrapped gifts - all to the tune to Christmas music, while sipping wine! What a rejuvenating day!! I needed that!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Myla Moments... (To Be Continued, I'm Sure!)



Myla (Upon hearing that it is snowing outside): "Oooooh. We can go SLEDDING!!! Yay!"


Myla (Upon hearing that we'll soon be able to go out and play in the snow): "Oh Mama - You're the BEST mama - - EVER!" 

Myla (Randomly out of the blue), "My dada is my favorite boy!" (heeheeheeehee. And he'd like to KEEP it that way - until you're 30!)


Myla (While watching a new Disney Christmas show on ABC) "Hey - that's really Santa!!! He's riding on those silly creatures..." (Aka: reindeer!) Hahahahahahaha! Kids are funny.

Tonight while supposedly falling asleep in bed... 
Myla:(on the monitor) "Mama... Mama. Please come here. My eye is hurting. I need you... Pleaase.." 
Me: "What's wrong?"
Myla: "Addie poked my eyeball..." (whimper)
Me: "Hmmm. Let me tell you something here. If you stayed in your bed, Addie wouldn't be able to reach your eye, and poke it in the dark! Why don't you try staying in your bed to fall asleep?? Here. Now let me kiss it." (Smoooch.)
Myla: "I need Dada to fix it. He is stronger and he can make my eye feel better!" 

Myla: (During a crabby-melt-down after some much-needed disciplinary action was taken) 
"I want my dada to come home and get rid of your CRABBIES! Hmf!" (hands on hips.) lol - Sometimes he can do that... other times, he adds to 'em! Ha!

Myla: (Telling her dada this upon my exuberance over her beautiful "letter" created for me while at Grandma & Grandpa's house one day) "See dada. I know how to get rid of mommy's grumpies!" LMAO as I write this!

Myla: "Can we go outside and blow bubbles today?"
Me: "I think it's supposed to be pretty windy & cold today... I'll have to check the weather on the computer and see." 
Myla: "Oh. Okay. I can tell you how the weather is going. Look! (pointing out window) See?? (with a very matter-of-fact tone) It's not cold outside."



TIP! Memories are what matter most :)
A QUOTE: "Experience: That most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God, do you learn."  ~C.S. Lewis
WHIDFML: Had a major heart-to-heart fab talk with the hubby, completely reconnected, and laughed - a lot - outloud! 

Reintroduce the Spankings!



Kind of funny. A friend with a son who is now 12, advised me that I should "hang onto them while they are still babies". Her reasoning was that he is testing them, and has been challenging everything they say. My MOL recently said, "...now you have your hands full. When they get older, the head-games begin..." 
I'm wondering what in the hell they are all talking about - because my 3-year-old is already acting like she's 13! Time-outs have not been working... and for a while now. (Surprisingly, they still deter the near-2-year-old!) The back-talk, sass, and pure disobedience have been increasing in valor and frequency. 
We had attempted spanking them both initially - when discipline was due. However, that seemed to backfire. Every time they were angry with us, or each other, or didn't get their way - they would hit us/ each other. Not good. So we ceased and desisted - and went another route with the old "time-out". That worked incredibly well... and for quite some time. Sadly, it is time to move on... Before I throw something through a window!!
So - the other day, Myla had me stretched to my very limit. Blood boiling, and ears smoking, I grabbed her arm to position her for an all-out smack on the (diapered) arse! This took her aback (thank GOD, I'm running low on ideas with her ~ in her late-stage terrible-two's)... She cried out, "Mama... that HURTS!" I bellowed, "It's supposed to! It's called a SPANKING. And, it's what you're getting from now on every time you refuse to listen or talk back to mommy or daddy!!! By the way - this can be accomplished anywhere we go; The store, the credit union, grandma & grandpa's - ANYwhere!!! So I suggest you be GOOD and listen." 
Today, she decided to test me on that theory... I don't think she believed me. So I made sure this time. She didn't listen, and caused her sister great pain and agony. I spanked her. She cried again, and expressed her discontentment with this new ploy. In doing so - she decided to give me some sass... Stating that she was NOT going to listen to me... Hmmm. Well let's see about that then. SPANKING #2 ensued. A few tears (seemingly more out of frustration that she wasn't going to out-do me in the dual this time...) followed-by  - ah huh... more sass. So, Spanking number 3 ensued. More tears followed, when suddenly - she had on a halo. She was now "promising" mommy that she wouldn't do it again, and that she wanted to be a good girl. (Ahhhhh. The sweet smell of victory. Hmmm.... or is that a poopy-diaper?) PLEEEEEEEEEEASE Oh planets,keep this trend of successful discipline ongoing. Perhaps, if I'm a very good girl, Santa will grant me the ability to merely threaten the ominous "spanking" response in order to keep little sassy-pants in 'order' herself. 
Amen. (Wishing on stars, belief in Santa, and Prayer... Together, they have to get me somewhere!)

TIP! Sometimes, tough-love is necessary. If you had lived in my shoes for even just one day out of roughly the last 3 weeks, you'd agree. Maybe you agree anyway - as is probably the case for most parents who care about their children's well-being and their own level of sanity. In any case - I did what I had to do. When I told her "Mommy is in charge here, NOT you..." She responded by saying loudly and with vigor, "NO YOU'RE NOT! I AM in charge. I'm going to put you to BED!" [For the full effect, visualize arms folded and a "hmf!" to follow these words.] 
A QUOTE: "Loving discipline encourages a child to respect other people and live as a responsible, constructive citizen."  ~Dr. James Dobson
WHIDFML: Planned few errands for my "day off" this week, so as to allow adequate time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Ahhhh. Looking forward to that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Upswing...



Seems like the girls were on a much better behavior pattern today. They both slept during naps, which helps in that regard (sometimes Myla just won't sleep...) I'm hoping this trend will continue. 
Perhaps it was all the cheer of Jolly Old St. Nicolas that put a more positive spin on the mood today. (Or, the fab music he delivered. Mommy received a new Christmas CD - Yule Swing! I LOVE Christmas music - especially all of the unique stuff out there now... and the romantic stuff... I know, I'm a sap.) He visited our humble abode last night, and left all kinds of wonderful goodies for the whole family! The girls were particularly excited about the dual-matching sets of baby bottles, sippy-cups, bibs, and pacifiers for their collection of dolls :) They love being mini-mommies. 
They also enjoyed presenting Bailey (the family dog) her chew toy and dog biscuits. 
The best gift of all, though, seemed to be the stuffed dog (the size of Addie!) who sings and dances to Christmas carols. He also shivers (even though he's adorned with a hat & scarf), and barks. It's rather cute, I must admit ;) Addie, however, thinks it's the best thing to come along since ice cream! I pressed his paw to begin the performance, and she squealed and pulled him right out of my arms and into hers. She squeezed him, then held him out in front of her. Looking him in the eyes she nodded knowingly and said, "Hold you." Then she hugged him again - all asmile, and began to dance along with him as he sang! Made my heart melt and my belly shake like a bowl full of jelly.
Many oohs and ahhs followed, while I unveiled each of the many wonderful treasures that spilled out over the rim of the giant red stocking. The puppy came wrapped separately - he didn't quite make the cut for stocking-stuffer. It did make for a rather enjoyable start to a much more pleasant day. 
Now If I can just survive this week, the rest should be nothing BUT enjoyable!! Six more days and couting.  :) 

TIP! Trying something new can be all it takes to get the babes' minds off of their crabbies. Maybe I need to mix things up a bit around here. I smell boredom ;) We will be indulging in the new activities, games, shows and books, compliments of St. Nick. Kudos!
A QUOTE: "In order to live freely and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice." ~Richard Bach
WHIDFML: I got to re-connect with some friends of the fam... Though "squeezed-in" - it was great to see them! The kiddos are growing fast :) 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Don't You Wish Everything Was Made, Like Rubbermaid?



Thank GOD that kids are made of sugar and spice, and rubber and resilience. I had one of the greatest scares thus far as a mom... My baby girl fell down the stairs :( 
It was horrible! I even 'had my eye on her'. Ha. So much for eyes... they don't have go-go-gadget-arms. 
I was putting some things away around the house when I was surprised to hear a squeaky little voice excitedly squeal, "Hi!" as my near-2-year-old made her way to me from the top of the stair case. 
"Hi to you! Hmmmm... Why isn't Daddy corralling you down there? Has he not noticed you're MIA?" At this time, she began to work her way backwards down the stairs again... one at a time, on hands & knees... "She's doing great!" I told myself, as I watched. She ran around the corner, so I assumed (that is, made an "ass" out of "u" & "me") that she had made her way back into play-land downstairs. After all, I was doing nothing nearly so exciting! 
Suddenly, I heard her again, and she appeared to be trying to close the door at the top of the stairs. (She is QUICK! This should have been a red-flag.) Before I could react, I heard the dreaded sound of a slip-thump, clump-thump. I darted to the staircase, my heart pounding, to see her tumbling sideways down the last of the 4 or 5 remaining stairs. She landed on her back. Crying ensued immediately. I screamed for Joel, and I don't think my feet touched the stairs before I reached the bottom. I hesitated for a mere instant while considering "Is it bad to move her? What if she hurt her neck/ back?" I felt a sense of confidence that she had rotated like a jelly-roll for at least the majority of the distance to the bottom of the stairs. And, she NEEDED me! So I scooped her up, and of course Joel and I were both angry at ourselves for 'letting' it happen. Finally, we concluded that it was an accident. I was thinking just prior to the incident, "Wow. She's getting big. She goes down the stairs so well now - and needs to practice that anyway..." Perhaps we both were a bit too over-confident. It was a harsh reminder that no matter their age, size, ability, or level of achievement... you can't stop accidents from happening. But perhaps an ounce of prevention? Yeah - like maybe allowing her to "practice" while standing about a foot below her with each step? Exactly. Now, if only my heart and psyche were made of rubber...
TIP! Doors. Baby-Gates... And don't let 'em out of your sight. They aren't teenagers yet, so they don't need to "learn the hard way". You haven't yet had the opportunity to "teach them to the best of your ability, and allow them to make a few mistakes while they put those teachings into practice..." When they are 2, you just have to follow them on the stairs, not matter what. And doors. Close 'em. Had I done that before running upstairs in the first place, she'd not have made it to the peak of her 'mountain' in the first place, before tumbling back down to it's base. Oh - hindsight. You cruel, cruel trainer. So many little things... That "ounce" of prevention... Life can be distracting, but remember your priorities. And also - accidents happen. Just make sure you learn from 'em. That's the point of the 'training' part. There's no reason to beat yourself up if you are learning. 
A QUOTE: "I am learning all the time.  The tombstone will be my diploma."  ~Eartha Kitt
WHIDFML: Sometimes if I feel like I'm "mothering poorly" (ie: they fall down the stairs!), or simply worried about their well-being/ health/ protection - I just pray about it. Then, I trust that He will protect them when I'm too unlearned, distracted, unable (ie: illness), or unavailable (ie: when sitters are with them, or over time as they increase their levels of independence) to do so myself.

God knows our needs. He'll provide. Then I can rest those worries (at least for a while!) 

What Was I THINKING?



You wake up... you try to fumble around getting ready - hurriedly, but also quietly - when the 3-year-old decides to join you in your efforts. (You know how quiet and patient 3-year-old children can be.) Dang. Of course she woke up! You spill something on the floor, and in the process of cleaning it up, you create a bigger mess by spilling the water... Now, you're explaining your issues to the inquisitive child, who thinks she can "help". We all know how "helpful" 3-year-olds can be too, don't we? And they always help quietly. 
It was one of those days - where everything I touched seemed to blow-up in my face. I would have been better off staying in bed. Some day, I'll do just that. But with 2 toddlers in the house, not really an option. Plus, Kimmy (sis) and I had to spend our "free money" from Kohl's that we earned on Black Friday this year!! (One week to use it.) 
Addie has accomplished 3- #2's and 2- #1's on the kid-potty now... (are you confused?!) - and we needed a special toy of celebration and further encouragement.  So, I stumbled my way through breakfast and corralling kiddos into jackets, shoes, and car-seats, and we were off. (Off our rockers, that is!)
There was a certain calm that did come over them initially - while taking in the new sights and surroundings. That lasted a good 5 minutes. After that point in time, we were "those people". You know... the ones who everyone is looking at with glaring eyes and frustration over their inability to work up the nerve to come over and smack me - for my unruly, bossy, screaming brats. In between chaotic moments of Myla crying over not getting a toy (though she was promised one if she, too, decides to be the "big girl" she claims to be, and use the potty as well), Addie crying over not being able to hold and touch or open EVERY toy, both girls screaming because they want "out" of the stroller, and the back-talk from Myla, we managed to pick out something to reward Addie for her 'achievements'. Had we not met Kim and Gracie there - I'd have been running out the door approximately 10 minutes beyond arrival, empty-handed, but still somewhat sane. But because I didn't have that luxury in this case, we quickly gathered the last of our needs/ gifts, and scurried to the nearest, shortest line at checkout. 
After all was said and done, I was met in the parking lot by an 'older' gentleman, parked next to me, who was asking his wife very loudly with irritation in his voice, "How am I gonna get into the car?!" I had 2 doors open on the truck, one screaming 2-year-old in her seat, and I was now attempting to get the writhing, screaming 3-year-old securely into hers... It's cold. I have a double-stroller parked behind the truck to be loaded. I'm thinking, "Really. NO - REALLY??? Can you HEAR? Two children. Screaming. Merry effing Christmas to you too, jerko!" (See what these crabby kids bring out in me?! College seems so far away still...) I SLAMMED the door, and then my door too... and proceeded to pack up the giant, useless stroller, while old man and his wife entered their vehicle. I slid sideways past his open-door, to get into the truck, now thinking, "NERVY! Perhaps you should close your door once you get into your car, hypocrite." (Seriously, I'm generally one to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially the elderly. But by now it should have been evident to any onlooker that this was no time to mess with Mama Bear. The steam coming out of my ears, and the tint of my skin, the furrowed brow... these things should have been plain as the nose on my face by then.) 
I'm thinking that this has to end -  soon... (Or my head might explode!) But no. It was one of those days, remember? They continued to cry and whine and scream the ENTIRE drive home... a good 20 minutes straight. I learned a valuable lesson that day. When the day starts out like that... you don't leave your house. The bills, the free money, whatever is looming on the other side of your door... it can all just wait. It's so not worth it, trust me on this one. I also learned that very loud music on the radio helps drown-out the unstoppable bellowing and bawling coming from the back seat.

Today - I need a TIP! Suggested appropriate form(s) of discipline in public locations (when simply leaving isn't an option...)?!? Next time... I'll apologize to Kim, and simply leave. She plans to have another child in the next year... She'll understand one day, if not now. 
Now I know why so many people our age who are having children have stopped after 2. A cousin intended on 6 at one time in her life. They have stopped after 2. We have friends with more, and we've asked, "How did you do it?!?" To which they replied without hesitation, "Lots of beer." I've had a few friends mention alcohol as a part of their every-day attempts at relaxation during the early child-rearing years. Maybe I need to reconsider this option? ;) 

A QUOTE: Taken from the Peanuts Treasury, by Chalres Schulz "Linus: Oh oh! Lucy's got her mad face on! No matter what I do or say today I'm going to get slugged. I might as well get it over with. (He walks to Lucy. And gets slugged.) Now I have the rest of the day to myself!" 
WHIDFML: Spent far too many hours during my last 'day off' to prepare and organize all of our tax information. It had to be done. It's complicated this year. But it is, in fact, DONE! (This is a huge weight off.)  Now all we need to do is schedule our meeting, and we're good! The rest is up to the accountant. TIP: Candlelight and music make tax-prep much more tolerable. Parenthood too ;)

What Did Christmas Mean to YOU at Age 3?



Myla and Addie's Great-Aunt Debbie (my auntie too!) purchased an adorable, kid-friendly, soft-sided nativity-Advent-Calendar. Super cute. We've been reading about Christmas with Myla since last year at this time... She's very intrigued. But she just can't seem to understand why we can't go visit that "cute little baby Jesus"!  (Awwww.)
I tried to explain that we believe he is now all grown-up, and in Heaven with God. "In HEAVEN??" came her reply... Yep. "Plus," I continued, "Look all around you - and you can see Him anytime... The trees, the flowers, the sun, the water, the snow, the animals, people.... He's in everything!" As smart as she is, I'm not so sure whether the more abstract idea of seeing 'someone' in these physical surroundings is sinking in... but I'm guessing she'll surprise us yet. 
I surprised my family at age 2, by expressing my 'Happy Birthday Jesus' wishes aloud during a quiet moment at a church service on Christmas Eve that season. I've said it before - they absorb more than we give them credit for! 
We make a point to remember that we are giving gifts and celebrating because we are honoring the day that Jesus was born. She gets that. But now we have to remind her about how long ago that was - and that we can't take the "long trip to go visit her"...  (She calls most babies "her" - as she's been surrounded by primarily other little girls thus far in her little lifetime.) I don't argue, since God is all-encompassing. "He made 'man' (as in HUman) in His image..." male & female. 
So now, she turns her focus back to Santa... And we try to remind her that if she doesn't listen to Mommy & Daddy, Santa is only going to bring Addie presents. This year, Myla will ask Santa for something for the first time! She plans to ask him for a pink baby (dolly) bed. Then I guess she better not pout, better not cry, better not shout... (Or I might freak, I'm not gonna lie!)



TIP! It occurred to me, during this especially stressful time of 3-year-old limit-testing, that it may perhaps be in my best interest to write to Sir Santa, and inform him of this recent and enduring,  naughty behavior. Maybe he'll be willing to write to Miss Myla in response, and encourage more appropriate conduct? This couldn't hurt! Next writing project: MOMMY'S letter to Santa!!!!!!!!!!!!
A QUOTE: "Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
WHIDFML: We cleaned the basement carpet (with sis's machine! WOW. Impressive.) Then, we rearranged much of the basement.... SUCH better use of space! Twas a bit of an undertaking - but SO well-worth it. Very happy with my new basement feng shui! Now, there is room for that refrigerator in the kitchen down here too. (Bonus.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Live, Love, Laugh



Kiddos are fun to play with because they are always good for a laugh. They are so innocent - and they never cease to crack me up! (Or, perhaps I'm just cracking!) But either way - good times!
Today I've had the girls all to myself - ALL day. Joel had to work, followed immediately by an annual meeting (and a free turkey!)... But it's amazing what you realize when you play "single parent" for a night. Like, how much patience you really do have... But even more importantly - how much fun you can have by just hanging out with your kids. (I make a point to do so everyday, but today there was a great deal of 'extra' time to fill - especially since Myla lost her privilege to watch any shows today.) 
So - at one point I decided that, since while we were playing house, I was instructed to go "night-night" - I'd take it upon myself to play the part of the "baby" of the family this time. I curled up on the spare twin bed, sucked my thumb, cuddled my stuffed animal, and drank from the pretend baby bottle, and cried when she took it away (hee hee). Myla kept insisting that I wasn't a baby. I just kept playing the part to see how she'd react. When she reached a point of near-frustration, I decided to just make light of the fact that I was pretending to be a baby - just like she does sometimes. It was then that Myla blurted out these words, "NO mama - you're not a baby... You're my MAMA! You have BIG hair! You don't have little baby hair...." All I could do was laugh.

We moved on later to playing with the Fisher Price Little People Camping set... (One of my favorite toys!) There is a radio in the little camper, and when pressed, it plays music, the sound of a crackling fire, crickets chirping, and frogs croaking... (LOVE it!) Upon the mini-cooler is a rendition of an even-more-miniature inch-worm. Myla says to me, "Hey - there's a centipede on this cooler." I said, "That's an inch-worm." She suddenly repeats something she had seen the previous night on a TPT program involving dreams... "I saw a bug saying, 'Hamburger, Hamburger'!" (It's close to what was described in the program anyway - but hilarious in any case.) I cracked up about 10 minutes straight - and the girls just acted like I was - well - a little bit nuts, and continued to play and just pretend it wasn't happening ;) 
Not sure if it's as funny as what I witnessed. Perhaps you just "had to be there" (as with most of my 'funny stories', actually.) But I about bubbled-over with laughter. When you combine the innocence, the surprising level of intellect, the memory capacity, the cute little squeaky voices, and the unexpectedness of it all - you just can't help but to enjoy the moment(s) with belly-laughter. (My favorite kind.) :) 


TIP! Today I had to be more stern than ever, and consistently so. I was on my own all day. The 3-year-old chose not to nap until the little one awoke - at which point she woke up the big girl too soon - and on the wrong side of her bed, (of course). There was some sibling rivalry, followed by some whining, crying, back-talk, refusal to eat dinner, begging to be held... But tonight after the drama concluded, while we played some more, Myla said to me during a spontaneous hug, "I'm so glad you're my mama." [Insert smile here!] Consistent boundaries are good for all :)
A QUOTE (or 3!):
"When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other."  ~Alan Alda
"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."  ~Yiddish Proverb
"Laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life."  ~Hugh Sidey
WHIDFML: Ate some of the freshly baked (gluten-free) brownies that are to accompany us on our journeys to Familial Thanksgiving feasts tomorrow. :) (shhhhhh)
Happy Turkey Day! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bartering...



So... Dinner around our house, is usually a bit challenging. I mean, for some reason, the girls tend to eat less and less as the day gradually turns back into night. I feel like I'm nearly force-feeding them on most occasions. The other night, Joel and I were sitting at our pub table, and the girls were in their high chairs. We had some meat, a side, a veggie - typical cuisine that evening. Of course, Myla was "pecking" slowly at her food, and basically playing with it more than anything else. She decided she was already "all done", and that she now wanted to have some blueberry Puffs (a cereal-like toddler-food.) Daddy agreed with her that she could indeed indulge in these tasty little morsels, if she first finished the meat on her plate. She tried to avoid the inevitable negotiation, but finally caved. 
Upon finishing her designated portions, she reveled in the fact that she could now, truly, be... allllll done! With a knowing smile, she announced her status, and handed off her plate to her dad. He exclaimed, "Good job! Now you can have your blueberry puffs!!" 
To this, Myla raised her chin, squinted her eyes, and pointed a finger at him with an up-and-down motion, stating, "No no no.... CHOCOLATE." 
Joel and I looked at each other - reading one-another's minds and expressions as we surely were both thinking something like, "Oh MY God. This child! She seriously is already 3 going on 13. How can we compete with this?!?" ;) Joel just placed his head into his hand, and looked at me with eyes that pretty much expressed the above. I uncontrollably bolted out in laughter! She's too smart, I tell you. But she did eat (finally.) So, she was awarded her beloved chocolate for her troubles. 

TIP! We figured out that they actually can be bribed into eating more of their meals - even with healthy to semi-healthy "treats" acting as the select special reward(s). Fruit snacks, yogurt, puffs, "Crunchies", apples, and even bread (yes, bread. I know... weird!) have all come in handy for just this purpose. Now of course, she's begun to understand that she has some power to barter... and will often opt instead for cookies or chocolate. Well, it was good while it lasted! 
A QUOTE: "It kills you to see them grow up.  But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." ~Barbara Kingsolver
WHIDFML: Met 2 new people at Elsie's during bowling with the gals last night! Fun times :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Can Be Bribed with Chocolate!



So - today was the big day... Myla's flu shot became available at the clinic. The only time of day in which they were offering it, however, was during the morning, or mid-day. I was hoping I could leave the little one at home, and just be ready to handle the drama that surely would ooze from Myla, given the situation. But things don't work that way lately. SO, deep breath, and positive thoughts... and I brace myself as the subject inevitably broaches discussion.
"Mama. Where are we going today?" Myla asked intuitively, as she usually does each morning. She likes to have an idea for the days' agendas. I thought to myself... there isn't much sense in dancing around the subject with her... she's too smart. Maybe I'll leave out the word "shot", and see where it leads... "We are going to the doctor today - so we can make sure you don't get the icky-bad flu and get real sick!" She looked at me like I had just spoken pure evil. (Uh Oh. See. Too smart.) "But Mama, I don't want a SHOT!!" Hm. Okay then... now that the elephant has been outed... "Sweetie, it'll be super fast, and you'll hardly know it's there. Addie didn't even cry when she got hers! Can you be a big, brave girl for mama today?" She retorted, "But it might HURT, mama." I tried to be as reassuring as possible without lying to the poor thing. (I'm terrible at lying anyway - since I just don't do it - unless there is some absolutely necessary reason (usually only justifiable to me when I'm protecting others - and still rare... This case does not apply!) "Well, it might sting a little, but it'll be very fast! I can promise you that!! Addie didn't even cry!!" (One more try with the little "baby sister" NOT crying!) Then I decided to add, "PLUS. If you're a brave girl and get your special shot so you won't get sick, I'll give you some CHOCOLATE." Now her eyes brightened again, and she smiled a small smile. (Yes!) "Can we bring it with us and eat it in the car?" Sure!
Every few minutes for the remaining couple of hours that led up to the big event, Myla would inquire about it again. It was clear that she was afraid, but that she was actually focusing more on the positives... like chocolate. (God bless chocolate!) 
In a desperate attempt to avoid the other bugs and viruses that surely lurk in the waiting-area, I clung tightly to Addie and forced her to stay on my lap (or Myla's - which gave them each a sense of comfort.) I used the chocolate bribe on her too. "If you are a good girl and sit nice on mommy's lap, I'll give you some chocolate!" To my amazement, she sat completely still, and pointed out the decorations that adorned the unfamiliar walls around her. I reminded Myla not to touch anything. Ooops! Hey - hand-sanitizer. God bless hand-sanitizer! 
We're on time for once, and so of course, we wait 20 minutes for the "nurses meeting" to end. While we sat, my girls and I bonded. They sat remarkably well for that duration, and I was beyond pleased with this unexpectedly relaxing experience. Myla winked at me and did my little "tongue-click" that I perform with my winks-at-them. I reciprocated, and she hugged me saying, "Mama. I LOVE you. You are my BEST mama." What a memory! 
Myla was becoming anxious and began to ask, "When is it our turn?" - Just then, her name was called. We made our way back to the room, and that's when her apprehension suddenly settled-in. She realized some things at this juncture: This is a stranger. She is being too darned nice. That's right - I'm getting a shot, and this is it! AHHHHHHH!
Poor thing began to literally tremble, and tensed every muscle to avoid being 'pried' apart and placed into any shot-injecting position. She cried, and I tried to reason with her, reminding her about that yummy CHOOOOCOLATE... Now, she screamed - and wanted nothing to do with chocolate. Drat. My plan was foiled by this exceptionally nice nurse bearing a needle and a band-aid. The nurse held her legs down, and I hovered over her - talking and singing into her ear while holding her hand. About 2 seconds later, when it was over, she bellowed, "But I don't WANT a shot!!" Hm. That's funny - because you don't have to have one anymore... You already did! I then reminded her that - because she got her flu shot - she also gets to have........ CHOOOOOOCOLAAATE!! Her eyes widened with wonder again at the realization that the scary part had ended, and the part she'd been waiting for all along had finally arrived. I didn't even care that the mess was something to be reckoned with by the time we pulled into the driveway at home. That messy, goo on everything-Addie, and on some-parts-Myla, made this ordeal really only about 2 seconds long. That - I could live with! Hmmm.... Now I need some chocolate! 


TIP! Chocolate is actually good for you! (In case you hadn't heard.) So why not use it for an occasional (regular!) bribe when necessary. I mean, when you have to pull out the big dogs... you might as well go with it. I think I can be bribed with chocolate for the most-part myself! (Shhhhhh.) If you can convince your little one that the fear is scarier than the shot, it could work to your advantage as well.

A QUOTE: "Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small."  ~Ruth Gendler
WHIDFML: I kicked-butt bowling last time! Not sure whether is was pent-up stress, pure luck, or some newly attained muscle mass (rock-hauling, anyone?) - but I'm looking forward to trying again tonight! [No Fear!] ;) 

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Art of Creative Problem-Solving

Been trying to instill in my little Miss Myla that there isn't a need (at least not always) to break down, cry, and panic whenever something doesn't go quite as planned. This has been the incessant trend for a while now. Aside from my need for the repetitive whining and crying to cease, I also feel it would benefit her greatly if she could, even (if not especially) when frustrated, stop and give it another thought. Come at it from another perspective, and tell herself, "Hey. I'm smarter than this... I can figure this out. Let me see here..." 
If someone were to 'measure' my intellect (at least in the way of "book-smarts") - I'm actually not so sure what the numbers would come out looking like. (And I shudder to think about it, actually!) I have been so far away from school over the past decade-plus, that even watching "Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader" was beginning to make me feel down right uneducated! The way I have always seen it, I'd rather be learning about life... Sure, some of what was taught formally in school was beneficial... But for me, most of it was - memorize what I need to for this test, and then - quite frankly - it was forgotten again.
Common-Sense... now there's something that cannot be 'taught' to an individual. You either have it, or you don't. We all get a little flighty or forgetful in moments and at times... but there is a difference between blanking-out, and really lacking common sense. (Too bad it isn't more common than it is!!) Myla surely is loaded with it, and now I want her to make appropriate use of it! She doesn't yet realize how blessed she is to encompass such a trait. (I worked in an incoming-call-center for 5 years in my early 20's - and that was my first realization at just how blessed I was as well!) 
I used to be very worrisome, and really tried to be in 'control' at all times... (Or at least feel like it! I now recognize that this isn't possible, and how healthy it is to just let go. You can't predict or prevent everything that might go 'wrong' in your lifetime. You have limited control - yes - and you do what you can with those limits. The rest requires faith.) I think that's where she's struggling. She has a set vision for how things should go... and when she expects something to go a certain way and it doesn't pan-out, it's melt-down time. So, seeing as I can empathize, I also hope to help her see the benefits of choosing her battles accordingly at an earlier age than I figured that out. 
We each have varied strengths, and when we work together, we can combine those and make just about anything happen! So... I'm trying to teach her this: A) First consider whether there is some other approach that might make this work... And then B) If you can't get it on your own, [calmly] ask for some assistance. 
I actually enjoy an occasional challenge to overcome. We encounter little ones every day. I have a prime example that occurred just recently. We were completely out of milk. We were short on food too - due to grocery shop that very evening. I was starving. I decided to go ahead and boil some water for the gluten-free mac-n-cheese we had remaining. I have to precede the rest of this tale by informing you that this wasn't the best mac-n-cheese I'd ever tasted. It's not bad, but not so good either. It's kind of just plain/ bland/ blah, really. It's soupier than I'd like, and not quite the consistency or flavor-punch I was so used to, pre-gluten-intolerance. It's still a comfort-food, and I was already having a bit of a stressful day. I forgot that we were out of milk, which you normally would utilize to reconstitute the cheese sauce. I remember thinking - as I realized this - "Great. It's already pretty darn bland with milk in there... Can only imagine how much more bland it can become by mixing with water instead..." But then it occurred to me. Let's get creative about this! What other dairy might be on hand to give this a little kick? Not much. But lets just see what it comes out like... So. I added JUST enough water to create a thicker cheese-sauce. Then, I added about a tablespoon of butter, and some remaining crumbled feta. I mixed it all together with the piping hot noodles.... And, would you believe this turned into the absolute BEST macaroni & cheese I'd ever laid taste-buds upon?!? I literally CRAVE that stuff now! It was exactly what I needed. Had we not been out of milk that day, I bet I wouldn't have thought to experiment with this during my already-busy schedule. NOW - I have a new favorite lunch! It's such a great lesson to remember to just think outside of the macaroni-box, and try something a little risky and creative more regularly! 
Now, if we can just get Myla past this need for full 'control' (BEFORE she's a teenager?!) 


TIP! Already included today - wouldn't you say?
A QUOTE (my new fave!): "Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."   ~George Lois
WHIDFML: Tried some new frozen, gf, entrees at TJ's that came in recently. Great for quick lunches when needed, and actually healthy (real food) too! Fun to try something new.  :)





Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kid-Free Zone



Every aspect of our lives is literally 'permeated' by kids when they arrive... Before that occurs, it always seems so innocent. So ga-ga. So 'little storks with dainty towelettes bearing those tiny toes, noses, and dimpled hands...' Ah. In many ways - this does depict how you might feel about the actual child you've welcomed into your life... But the act of parenting, even in those very early stages, is much less flowing ribbons and silken blankets... Not so much graceful instant adjustment and automatic scheduling, but rather, a hazed, sleep-deprived, I can't figure out what you need right now, OMG- what do I do? blur - It's a haze of "what just happened to my life?" which just so happens to include a deep, profound and indescribable love for that new, amazing little soul.
Pre-kids, you become used to some predictability... waking up, using the restroom, taking a shower, readying yourself for the day, and probably eating a little something to get you going. You may consider things like, "Do I need to stop for gas today?" "Should I pack a lunch or grab something nearby later?" "Oh. Maybe I should thaw something for tonight's meal." "I have to remember to add that to the grocery list..." You know - normal everyday types of survival thoughts, in amongst the fun things - such as a good read, a movie you've been meaning to see, perhaps some chatting on the phone with a friend... 
THEN, a beautiful baby arrives. And, you realize, you no longer have the luxury, actually, of thinking about yourself much at all any longer (especially in the beginning). Now, you wake up so many times throughout the night, that the lines between day and night become hazy. A calendar becomes necessary to even gather your bearing any more! Peeing is a true luxury... but you won't have to go very often, since you'll forget to drink anything anyway. Groceries? I think I've heard of those somewhere before... Do we HAVE food in the house? Oh, cool! I think I might need some of that... I can't even think, let alone concentrate on a book... or movie. Perhaps a movie would be a good opportunity for a nap? OH - HEY! That's right - I might like a nice shower... Maybe I'll even wash my hair. Cool!
Then, there is the fact that you are so busy thinking about the needs of your child, that it becomes easy to forget your own altogether. (Yes, I've been there. I have come a long way - and hope that this blog inspires all mommy's to remember to take care of YOU too!) Now, it's more important that you remember their diapers, wipes, blankets, pacifiers, # of bottles needed for any outing - depending upon its duration, and pretty much anything else that might possibly fit into your vehicle. (Just grab half the house - it should be enough to get you by.)  
Your living room now consists of a few familiar articles - perhaps a sitting place... some lamps... and a baby swing, a bouncy seat, a tummy-time activity blanket, the Bouncer-Roo, a multitude of toys and oodles of other baby paraphernalia. The bathroom: Taken over by the baby-size tub, rubber duckies, hoodie-towles, and pastel colored wash cloths. The kitchen: High chair, bottles, bottle brushes, bottle racks, and all of the necessary feeding utensils. Your bedroom: A bassinet, a spare blanket, burp cloths, monitor, and the faint smell of stale milk. 
Somehow - you still can't bear to take your eyes off of that precious little person. And understandably so. This is actually the shortest stage of all of their stages in life... infancy. It does go by rather quickly. Thank goodness I kept up with their baby books and a family blog all of that time - or I'd have forgotten quite a bit already! (Hmmm... I should probably update those books further again...) 
As they've grown, I've been able to weed-out many of the aforementioned objects of baby-affection. (And quite frankly - as new parents, we love having that stuff surround us too. Those constant little reminders of the new life that we now embrace!) But now - I'm really grateful that I can kind of better-consolidate the babe-belongings to select locales throughout the homestead. I still love my girls with wild abandon, and couldn't imagine my life without them in it. But I do enjoy having one or two "mommy-spots", just for me. It's a kind of sanctuary. That place that brings me a sense of peace, and a feeling of clear-mindedness, and summons creativity. It makes me feel - like ME again. I'm made whole by the presence of my children in my life... but I'm also rejuvenated when I get to just revel in my own little world now and again as well. It's that whole balance thing again. It's the Yin to my Yang... They complete, support, and each enhance the other - offering something that the other could not otherwise take part in. (Again, sort of the whole basis of and inspiration behind this particular mommy-blog!)
I have selected 2 rooms that encompass this 'me-space'. It's not necessarily JUST about 'me'. It can be 'us-space' too - as in when Joel and I have time to be together - uninterrupted - to just have a normal conversation, think, dream, cuddle, and laugh together. The upstairs living room is one of these settings. There is also no TV in this room. There IS a wood-burning fireplace! And candles, and music, and a live pine-tree that is nearly of ceiling-height. (Not sure what to do when it reaches that peak!) There are windows all around, one of which faces our woods & water out back. Very peaceful. I intentionally selected a couch with a built-in chaise. (I had a vision for this room - even well-before children came along!) There are photos of the kids that depict memories and happiness. There are a few children's books - but they remain stashed on the shelving hidden below the slate coffee table. No longer are there any remnants of the numerous contraptions we feel we need for infants early on. It's essentially a kid-free zone (particularly at night!) 
The second such place of harmony is in our room. The papasan chair has replaced the bassinet, and there is no longer a need for a monitor in this particular room. (We are within earshot.) Again, a few strategically placed photos - allowing for us to gaze lovingly at the girls in days gone by at our choosing, but not obtrusively projected. Cozy blankets, pillows, candles, a dimmer switch, a deck, and the creek below, dancing among the trees, as is visible through the sliding glass doors. We keep the photos there - because the goal isn't to 'block them out'. Rather, it's just a place to recharge and relax, and to revel in taking part in adult socialization and interaction. I think it's good to have a kid-free zone. It also must be a work-free zone, and a chore-free zone, and a place of reprieve from all of life's responsibilities. Think of it as your charging-pod, but for you - rather than your electronics. I love my girls. I also appreciate my sanity ;) ;) Yin--Yang. 


TIP! Creating a you-space isn't complicated. Just scan the room that appeals to you most for such a purpose. Remove anything that distracts your mind and draws you toward anything that is work, chore, or kid-related, and keep it serene and calm. You just need a space that isn't going to pull your mind in multiple directions while you remember to do something to take care of yourself. This will enable you to feel energized and motivated while also continuing to care for those around you. Not selfish. Self-CARE. (Very different!)
A QUOTE: “Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul.” ~Christopher Forrest McDowell
WHIDFML: Added the down-comforter to the bed! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. It's calling to me now :)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hungry Girl...



ME, that is! OMG. I finally sat down to eat my first meal at about 1:10pm today. First sip of water (or anything) today at that time as well. It was another one of those days. Something is up with the planets' alignment... or lack there of. I'm ready for 'em to re-align themselves already! I'm dragging a bit, but life gets like that sometimes... and I still believe it's all in how you deal with it. I'm making it work, one way or another. Would like to just - sleep pretty much! It causes a bit of fatigue. That sets me back and only exacerbates the issues at hand. I opted for more sleep this morning. Haven't been able to fall asleep well lately - so I chose to allow myself to sleep until baby #1 woke me up. She hasn't been sleeping enough lately, though, herself. She lies awake at night until well after 10/ 10:30pm... Then, she wakes up between 7-7:30 usually. It'd be plenty for an adult, but not enough whatsoever for a 3-year-old who clearly shows in every way that she needed many more ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz's than she has attained. She loses patience incredibly quickly. This afternoon, when her sister wouldn't oblige when she requested (or demanded, rather) that she refrain from turning their bedroom light off (from atop the changing table - little monkey), rather than calmly seeking me out (while brushing my teeth in the next room), she took it upon herself to push her little sister off of the changing table. Yeah. Lovely. Did I mention it's several feet from the floor? So now, it's nearly 1pm, and they had anticipated going on a nice walk today (as had I). While the screaming, crying, and fighting ensued, I determined that only 'good girls' could enjoy a nice pre-nap walk, and that babies this tired were destined for bed - immediately. (PLEASE!) So. I convinced them that they wouldn't be acting that way had they not been so tired. The nuks are always a helpful motivator as well ~ (they only get their pacifiers at nap and bed time now.) The usual routine ensued, and I placed them in their respective beds for nap. Silence. They were O. U. T. Uhuh... I KNEW they were tired. Mother always knows... I fed myself (finally), finished up some networking and caught up with some email communication... and then - got my butt outside for some sunshine before it lowered itself beyond the horizon for the day. Thankfully, the girls pulled a 3-hour nap today! THAT was much needed (for them, and for me!) I've omitted many a detail about the goings on of the day... Every little thing was a struggle. It's like your head and legs weigh about an extra 20 lbs each, and just walking is a chore. You don't know if you should even bother! Something might happen. Kind of that "one-step-forward, two-steps-back" theme goin' down today. Excuse me a moment while I catch my breath. Whew! I don't think it's too much to want one day to myself per week, do you? Today would have been that day... Perhaps in another couple of weeks that will be reinstated. In the mean-time... I can at least look forward to a short week for the hubby in the one upcoming, for the TG holiday. And so, I'll continue to do just that - keep my eyes facing forward. This too shall pass. (RIGHT?!?)

TIP! Exercise feels good - but also actually produces those lovely endorphins that tell our brains that we are happy :) Need. More. Regular. Activity... physical - (no more mental) - activity! 
A QUOTE: "Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories."  ~John Wilmot
WHIDFML: Ate 2 small 'smiley-face' wrapped chocolates... Then, I got my butt outside in some sunshine - and I hauled a bunch of rock down to the brook shoreline again. Must have been about 8 loads, plus a bit of 'organizing' the remaining fragmented rock into 'scrap piles'... Not bad. Got to do so in that 'extra' hour of baby naps! YES.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mother-Daughter Bonding...



3:00 O'Clock - A.M. - I awoke to a 'thud' and a tugging of the covers. I sat up to face the end of the bed, and found a tiny person standing there looking at me. I asked, "What's wrong Myla?" To which Myla replied, "I don't like to go night-night anymore." I pondered this for a moment... "Any more? When have you EVER?" I picked her up and sat down with her in my lap. "Myla, it's very early - it's the middle of the night. You need to get some more sleep and so do mommy & daddy..." She retorted, "But there might be a dragon in my closet." Groan... not again. Dang dragons! She continued, "When I was a little kid, (since you know, age 1-1/2 was so long ago) I was scared of dragons in my room..."  I took advantage of that open window and expressed to her how proud I was of her that she was a big kid now, and didn't have to be scared of dragons anymore because she knew they were (no longer) in her room. Ha. Bet you think I got somewhere with that, huh? Well, in some senses I did - because now that dragons were determined to be so age-2,  we moved on to other scary creatures... These creatures included bears, wolves, loons (No, not lions... loons), sharks, and now - even moose. Hm. That's a new one. 
SO. We chatted quietly about all of the reasons why she didn't have to be afraid of those things at this time, while in this location, a mere 20 minute drive from downtown Minneapolis. That didn't seem to make all that much sense to her. But she was reveling in my compassion - though fogged by my desire for more sleep. 
We continued to discuss all the reasons why such animals weren't within range, and how we'd always protect her regardless, for about another 15-20 minutes. We practiced a hushed, whispered version of a fierce lion's roar... She felt sure that this would be sufficient in an 'attack'. At this point, an inevitability that I had been dreading, finally unfolded. The teething, almost-two-year-old lying in her crib approximately 6 or so feet from Myla's bed, awoke - and launched herself into an immediate standing position. "Hold you..." came her plea. Argh. I might as well take a shower and get dressed. 
Myla was understanding and content lying under her covers (that were to also protect her as she hid from all of the lurking evils surrounding our home) while I tended now to miss Adelyn. I picked her up, and covered her, while swaying side to side... Her eyes rolled back into her head, and so I figured I could keep to the pajamas, as this was a promising sign. 
I lay Addie back down in her crib, and she willingly accepted that it was by far too early for play. Whew! That wasn't so bad. Back to miss Myla now... Okay - I'm ready for bed. We need good sleep so we can be strong enough to protect each other from the bears if they should decide they like the city-surroundings that encompass our humble patch of the north-woods within city limits. 
Somehow, I don't think Myla took a single breath after that - as she proceeded to reassure me that when I get little, she would 'hold me' if I get scared of bears. "You just call me in your room when you get scared of bears, and I will carry you, okay? I will even give you a bath when I get bigger and you get little!" OKAY. I agreed. NOW, can we get some sleep? "Sure mama. I'm sorry I woke you up." Ooooooh. How sweet! I assured her that I understood that she was scared and needed to talk to me about it, and that it was certainly okay. I do enjoy an opportunity for some mother-daughter bonding... but preferably when I'm a bit more lucid!

AH yes. WARM BLANKEY. BED. ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........  

A TIP! Sometimes you can actually reason with a 3-year-old. I've found that on many occasions when trying to explain a reason behind things to her, she much more readily embraced the answers provided. When I didn't offer valid reasons, she was more likely to fight it... Interesting. But true. Worth a try! They pick up on more than we give them credit for. 
A QUOTE: "A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to."  ~Robert Brault
WHIDFML: Laughed with friends! 

My Progression With Regression



Seriously! I don't know sometimes. What is the DEAL with the 3+ year old girl who wanted so badly to be a 'big girl' when it meant she could pick out her clothes, eat suckers, have a rail-free bed, and drink milk from a cup (non-sippie-style)? When suddenly, she morphs into this needy, clingy, little crabby-pants monster who insists upon being carried everywhere, requests to be fed by me (to which 'me' says, "help yourself girlie!"), claims that she can no longer put on her shoes or socks by herself... whiny, nuk-fiendin' little babette. Do you suppose it has something to do with seeing her little sister being more 'babied' lately - since she's been her own version of crabby-clingy-whiny due to the next stage of teething? (When is teething over, btw?!?) 
When it comes to regression, there is more! We were once at a place of peace when we put those two to sleep together in their room... The routine was well orchestrated. Hmmm. Or so we thought. Now it seems, they both are fighting sleep fairly regularly (okay, mostly regularly) again. What the??
I also (mistakenly) thought that we were beyond our previous middle-of-the-night wakings. Not so! Teething. Need I say more? And once we figured out the trick to proactively battling that nuance, the 'big girl' again decides it's in her best interest for a mommy-bonding-moment in the middle of the night. Lovely. I like the bonding idea... but could we re-schedule for a more lucid time of day for me, by chance?
Sometimes... I just... don't... know anymore. Any tips?!?! Feel free to leave 'em in the comments section :) Ha! 
One step forward, two steps back... Stress is not good for me! (or anyone) Need vacation sans-babies. Love 'em, but need reprieve. Regular re-boot of the system required. Wouldn't trade 'em for the world, but would like to see more of it ;) I must remind myself: All in good time. (As in, once current financial goals are met, and the girls are able to communicate more readily to the family-based sitters!!) 


TIP! If you know the babe will wake in the wee hours due to teething pain, preventative measures make for a better night for all; A dose of infant IBuProfen (sp?) before bed = lasting pain-relief. (Seems to help prevent headaches for me as well - what'd'ya know!) 
A QUOTE: "Waking up in the morning is my favorite extreme sport."  ~Loesje
WHIDFML: Left early for bowling last night. Got to sub... which meant I got to actually bowl! I bowled better than ever after a full day of stressful-baby-rearing. (VERY crabby children yesterday - ALL day.) Yay bowling! Guess I got to take it out on some pin-heads. ;) Kudos.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kids Are Funny!



Myla: "Let's watch a show!!!"
Me: "Hmmm, let's play first... You can watch a show before lunch after you've played for a while."
Myla: "NO! I don't want to play. It's hard work!"
Me: "What??" (Uh Oh.)

Myla was prudently trying to put her socks on all by herself today. While she struggled to get them over her perfect, dainty little toes, in a huff she spit out these words: "Ahhh. C'mon dude, what are you DOING?!" Hahahahaah! (Sounds like her dad.)

Addie trying to get my attention today: "Hey Enise! (Denise)"
Me: "Hahahaahahaha, Hey WHAT? What happened to 'mommy'"?? 
(Sounds like her dad. Hmmmm. Dad better be especially careful) ;)

TIP! Watch what you say around 'em. At about 18 months +, they can repeat much of what you say... They tend to remain partial to the things you'd rather not hear from their precious, innocent little mouths. We lucked out with these particular funnies :)

A QUOTE: "Children seldom misquote.  In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said."  ~Author Unknown

WHIDFML: I'm up to regularly shaving my legs again - around 3 times per week! (I was opting for more sleep instead for a [long] while there while the girls were younger....) I'm enjoying my wardrobe now that it all fits again... Especially my short skirts and long socks (knee-high/ thigh-high)+ boots = My fave being my authentic western boots, perfect condition, $6 at Good Will!) 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fresh...



Our second time at the "Apple Patch" (orchard) this fall, and Myla's excitement was marked. It unveiled itself through squeals, arms & legs all awhirl, and giddy phrases such as, "We're HERE, we're HEEEEREEE! It's the Apple Patch, Yay - I'm so excited! SQUEAAAL!" (You could safely guess that baby Gracie had officially woken up at this point.) 

If only we could all get this excited about things - even those things that we have done before, even recently, like - spoken to or hugged our sig-others for example. Little things make life's big picture come together... they not only matter, but they matter big. I really appreciate the little things. I always smile to myself when my little people do too. It's like it's built-into children! Too bad that goes away so often for many adults... I'm going to try to make a point to keep that momentum up and encourage that in them for life, regardless of age! 


A TIP! Keep the mindset that it's always amazing - to talk to friends, your partner, to see the sun rise, to see it set, to watch the leaves fall, to smell fall in the air, to feel the breeze... (Ummm, I could pretty much go on forever with this - so I'll just stop here! Hopin' you got the point!) If you think about it like it's your first time, and really take it in, it might just feel like the first time all over again (but with even greater appreciation perhaps?!) Thinking about your sig-other like you did when you first started to fall for 'em, will keep that spark alive too. (Well, it works when they reciprocate... you can only do your part. They have to meet you in the middle by doing theirs too. At least you can try... And then say you've tried too!)


A QUOTE: "Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything."  ~Giacomo Leopardi

WHIDFML: Spent the day with my sis and her baby girl, and my girls, and enjoyed fall at the Apple Orchard. It was fab & relaxing.  :)