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


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


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.  :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Myla: "MOMMY! LOOK!! Look at how BIG I am!" 
Me: "Yep. You are getting big, aren't you?"
Myla: "YEAH... I am big already.... Now I can play with KNIVES!!!"
Me: "Did you just say, ' with knives...'??" 
Me: "Um... No, actually. You still can't play with knives... Sorry."  (???)
Myla: "How about in my KITCHEN???" 
Me: "Sorry hon." 

TIP! Spoons... Spoons are good! 

A QUOTE: "A child is a curly dimpled lunatic."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

WHIDFML: Spent the day entirely for me. I was gone almost all day - but it was good. Got to see a friend whom I've missed chatting with, and get my spine all back in order at the same time :) Got to shop for an Operation Christmas Child donation... so fun :) Got to visit Unique Thrift Store for their 50% off day - found the exact v-neck sweaters I had in mind - $1.50 to $2.50 per shirt! :) Dropped off some outgrown toys at Once Upon A Child for some $$ :) Even got my Target run in there! And, I didn't have to rush today. Wednesdays are so groovy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Call of the Wild...

So - if you've been following my blog fairly regularly, you may have already learned that the vicious roar of the stealthy lion (or lioness) will frighten away scary, night-time, closet-dwelling dragons. 
This was very useful in eradicating the issues involving said dragons. However, it has since morphed into a whole new breed of purpose. I can't wait for the first time it happens while in public - because the reactions of passers-by will be well worth it! To be honest, even when it happens at home, I have to stifle the laughter! 
Any time we have a 'disagreement' now, Myla takes it upon herself to conjure up her most fearsome, raucous, perilous "ROOOOAAAAAR!!!!" When it has been deemed that there is no other option, she apparently feels there is perhaps a slim chance that this vivacious roar will instill fear into her fellow man as well. Even with all of the disappointing episodes lacking any reaction at all from me, she musters up that tiny glimpse of hope from the hollows of her belly, and I really do think it has become more strident, more concentrated, and more enduring with each attempt. And, it becomes more and more difficult for me to hold back my amusement. 
It occurred to me on a few of these occasions, how FUN it might be to take on this mode of effort when things don't go MY way! 
ME: "Wells Fargo, I've been on the phone with you for over an hour, and you cannot seem to answer my very simple question. Could you please just answer my question already???" 
WELLS FUCKO (I meant FARGO, sorry!): "I'm sorry Ms. Mack, but we are too busy trying to fit our heads in our asses, and we cannot help you. We just have this call center to pretend we care..."
ME: (in a great moment of satisfaction) "RRROOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!" Man, that would have been great!! Probably would have gotten somewhere - as they may have, in fact, feared that this INSANE person might just go postal on 'em at some point. 
I might just employ this useful new tool for something. Because I can tell you - there have been days that I have wanted to do just that! I think next time I'm going to try it! Hasn't yet worked ON me, but just maybe it'll work FOR me!? ;) If nothing else, it'll be great for reaction... and perhaps turn the mood around via laughter where necessary!

TIP! USUALLY (or so they say) if you ignore a toddler 'tantrum' - it will go away over time. The theory is that they learn that it doesn't do them any good, so they stop trying. But there is nothing written about how to handle an adult tantrum!!! Hahahahahaha! ;)

A QUOTE: A little girl is sugar and spice and everything nice - especially when she's taking a nap.  ~Author Unknown

WHIDFML: Heading out NOW - (during babe-naps) - to sit in this unseasonably warm November SUN!!!  The "wild" is calling to me too - the woods outside, that is! Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssss. [The laundry will still be there tomorrow, I'm sure.] ;)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Too Tired... to Sleep?!?

You ever notice how tricky it is to get your kids to sleep willingly?? Of course you have! No parent has ever completely headed-off such evils entirely! But, there is this super-fine, fine line... it's almost transparent - nearly impossible to see. It's the line between a child who is tired enough to actually want to sleep, and a child who is now past the point of no-return and well on his/her way into over-tired-land... (Great evil lurks on that side of the fence. I'd prefer to err on the side of not-yet-tired-enough, myself!) Both offer their share of strife... It really is a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils when you don't find yourself regularly hitting the tiny little mark in-between. 
I lucked-out today! I thought I was nose-diving off of the fence into dark territory when they both put up rather unusually fierce fights about what they were willing to eat (or not eat) for lunch today. I've never seen such an outcry over the fact that the yogurt cup had unwittingly been slightly dented-in near it's base during transit from Trader Joe's to Home-sweet-Home... I will remember this for the future; Treat yogurt as you would treat eggs... 
I thought to myself, "Damnit! (Wait - I mean - dang-diggity!) I should have done this a half-hour ago... they'd be sleeping by now... Maybe...." The day had started off so wonderfully! It was one of those days where I was finding myself dreamily reminiscing to what I had originally envisioned motherhood to be :) I thought, "Yeah! This is what I signed-on for... Nice. Keep it comin'." So quickly the evils that pounce just when you least expect... 
However, I must say - by some miracle... I must have JUST made it in the nick of time! They have been soundly dozing now while I consumed my lunch and caught up with this here blog. The timing couldn't have been better. It's GORGEOUS outside! It's FRIDAY, baby! I'm completely and utterly caught-up with myself and life... so very organized lately! And now. NOW, I get to have some true, unabashed, well-deserved and hard-earned ME-TIME! Yay! Have a fab weekend y'all! ~Cheers!

TIP! When you DO happen to hit the nail on the head directly with timing naps/ sleep... pay close attention to the time. I've noticed that 2:00 seems to be just right. I can dig that! I'm going to aim for that as regularly as possible. I've never liked to keep 'strict' schedules. Life's too messy for that.... But, I will try to be as close to 'good' with naps as I can - since this will undoubtedly make 'good' for everybody involved! 

A QUOTE: "The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher." ~Robert Brault

WHIDFML: Heading out to do some reading down by the babbling brook in amongst the trees and the sunshine... THIS is peace. I don't know how I'd 'cope' without this yard! It is truly a means of stress-relief, rejuvenation, relaxation, and energy - all at once! ~Peace!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


One emotion remains steadfast - I ALWAYS love my little ladies :)

But these 2 quotes sum up the experience of mothering them daily, quite well:

"You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing.  What!  Is it nothing to be happy?  Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long?  Never in his life will he be so busy again."  ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

Worry, and 'busy, busy, busy' - it's so intense when they are little... They just have to be on the constant move, and you have to keep up! And, we have to sort out the good advice and "studies" from the bad and/or irrelevant. Kids learn through play! 

 Next Quote: "There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seriously -  Love 'em... But I do need that reprieve. That balance... That -- QUIET ;) [insert deep breath here.]

TIP! Don't worry if your kids' play-time isn't always laden with the alphabet, math equations, and scientific data... Imagination is just as (if not more so!) important to their development and ability to adapt/ solve problems. One less thing to worry about!

2 quotes already included today!

WHIDFML: Went outside during nicer weather, and did my 'work-out' out there. I'm always happy when my 'exercise' can be productive.  I put a slight dent in our current outdoor project... What's a better work-out than loading rock into a wheelbarrow, carefully bringing it down 2 hills, running back up again, and repeating the cycle? Strength-training and cardio in one, plus sunshine :) Not sure it can be beat!   PS: If you're noticing different varieties of FONT in these posts - it's because I have decided that I have better things to do with my time than repeatedly try to correct this - as the "new & improved" blogger won't seem to allow! Bite me blogger! ARGH. I'm a mom - with small windows of time - cut me a break and MAINTAIN the font I change it to!!!!  

Who Needs Cable TV....

When you have 2 toddlers at home!?!?

Often times, it's all the entertainment you need. Just the other day we turned up the radio and danced our hearts out together... I could watch those little mimes dance all day. TOO funny! And the best is when they stop mimicking your moves, and just let the beat carry them. Addie is especially great for this. Her arms move as though she has no control over them, but in slow-motion. It's kind of like a baby-version of the robot! I really need to get this on video :)

Now that the girls are interacting regularly, I try to just 'spy' on them a little - because they are fun to watch. This is, of course, when I'm not taking those opportunities to get something done! Even then, any time I check up on them, I'm usually in for a good laugh and some inspiration! 

TIP! Dancing together is good exercise for everyone! (And fun too.) 

A QUOTE: "Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music."  ~William Stafford

WHIDFML: It's usually my 'day off'. Not this week though... so once the kids are nappin' - I'm going to have a glass of wine while I finish up some things.  Wine & Music... Ahhhhhhh. Mommy-time!