Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Little People, Big Girl

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Tonight, Abby broke my heart. It's been coming for a while, but tonight was the end. Over the last few weeks, she's been more and more involved in her babies (dolls). Baby Sally is the current favored child. So much so that Baby Sally not only has her own "huggies", but she also has her own baby doll, who has been named Molly. Abby is not short on imagination. She's also been talking a lot more about being a big girl. But I have been playing dumb and trying to ignore the signs.

Earlier tonight, we finished the cleaning project in Abby's room that we started over the weekend. We put away all of the Barbies and their clothes (Barbies! At three! I should have seen this coming!), and were rearranging things to make room. We got to the top of the dresser, where the Little People play sets were currently being stored and she said, "I don't play with Little People anymore." And just like that, it was over. My little girl is gone. She made me take all of them out. The City, the Amusement Park, the Barn, the Castle, the HOUSE! We swapped the baby doll clothes that were being stored under the bed with the Little People who were prominently stored in the three-drawer unit next to her closet. The Peeps, they are away. It's only a minor victory that they are still in her room and not banished to the garage, as she had originally requested. The play sets were all supposed to go to the garage attic, but a few of those actually made their way back to her closet: "For Baby Lexie." Baby Lexie has been to our house once, but apparently, Abby is stocking up in case there's a return visit.

So now we've left the land of Little People and entered full force into the land of baby dolls and Barbie dolls and Disney Princesses. And of course, she already asks for makeup. God help me.

And I'm guessing that means the Mercado out in the garage was not the smartest early Christmas present I've ever purchased...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Get it?

Dear Andrew & Abby,

A conversation at dinner tonight:

"Dad, did you get the tickets?"

"What tickets?"

(flexing his bicep) "To the gun show!"

I know you'll be shocked to learn that Andrew learned that joke from Daddy. But he wasn't done. Here's another one:
"Why did the tiger win first place in the race?"

"I dunno, why?"

"Because he was the fastest. Buh dum bum!" (Yes, you have to actually say 'buh dum bum')

And another:
"Why did the tiger hop over the road?"

"I dunno, why?"

"Because a car was coming." (pause while Daddy gives a very confused
look) "Get it? He had to hop over the car..." um, that wasn't
one of the best.

Here's the best:
"Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?"

"I dunno, why?"

"Because he didn't have the guts! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..."

That is Andrew's all time FAVORITE joke. He loves that one. He KILLS with that joke! And do you know where he learned it? That's right, from Mommy!

Making sure you have plenty of opening lines,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Over the river and through the woods

Dear Andrew and Abby,

This past weekend, we visited your Papa and Grandma Dottie. It's been a while since we went to see them (July!). We had a very fun time - we carved pumpkins

(Abby's is the frog-o-lantern, Andrew's is the mummy-o-lantern)

Abby's frog-o-lantern Mummy-o-lantern

and went deer-sight-seeing

The first

and Andrew went fishing and then we went to the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur on the way home on Sunday.

You love going to Grandma and Papa's house. Their house is bigger than ours - there's a basement! With a toy closet! And a big TV! And a fun yard! And Grandma cooks yummy food! And Papa takes you fishing! And there are lots of other exclamation points there!!

There were a couple of trouble points, though. First, Mommy got an idea - and you know how those usually turn out. I packed your little mini tents and sleeping bags; you know, the ones you kept up in your rooms for a week. I thought (first mistake) that you would be thrilled to set up both your tents in the basement, and then Mommy and Daddy could actually have the bed downstairs without trying to cram four people into a two-person bed. Well, that was a bust. Of course, you ended up in bed with us Friday night. For Saturday, Grandma stepped in and put you both to bed in your own beds upstairs. I wish I knew her secret, but you both went to sleep without yelling and stayed there all night!!

Andrew got to go fishing on Sunday, but unfortunately, he didn't catch anything. He was NOT happy. And then there was Abby and her issue with the arrangement of Grandma's bathroom. Apparently, there is a BIG problem with the placement of the toilet paper roll. Here it is, in all of its wrongness:

so wrong

Abby asked all weekend to have it moved to the other side of the potty (just like at our house, I suppose). She was very troubled by the whole thing.

In all, it was a great weekend. My favorite part was our visit to the pumpkin patch. Mommy loves going to the patch. I think you get pretty tired of Mommy trying to make you stop for pictures. But mostly, you go along. After all, there are PUMPKINS! Here are some of my favorite shots:
in front of the hay maze:

Abby as the Pumpkin Queen, complete with pumpkin crown:

the coolest scarecrow ever:
Cool scarecrow
Mommy's pretty pictures:

eating ice cream with Grandma:

From now until the end of the year, things are going to be fun...

your Mommy-o-Lantern

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A week in review

Dear Andrew and Abby,

Well, it was another exciting week and weekend in our house. Let's talk about Andrew's excitement first.

The lip.

That picture is about three days in to the healing process. I was a little too...upset...to think about photographing the evidence of the crime until then. You see, I've had a love-hate relationship with day care in general, but one of the staff members in the school-agers class at our current daycare in particular. I won't mention his real name - let's just call him Barney. Barney is some undetermined, but fairly young (19-ish?) age. As such, he is a lot of fun for Andrew, but also not exactly experienced in the care of children, or exactly the most responsible person I've ever met. Over the summer, he showed Andrew how to jump from the top of the play set (he jumped because all of the 8-year-olds were standing below and egging him on). He was also the instigator of the rough-housing that led to Barney pushing another boy and causing him to land on Andrew's toe full force which caused the toenail to turn black and threaten to fall off. Needless to say, Barney has not been my favorite. This week, Barney and the rest of the boys were playing and Barney shoved a plastic basket into Andrew's face to keep him from getting away. The lip looked awful. The best part of it all? Barney wasn't there as an employee - he no longer works at our day care. He was just there visiting. You know, to see his friends. The eight-year-olds. Okay, that's not fair or nice. Barney is a nice kid. I can call him a kid because I'm old and I'm a mom. He is nice and he plays with the kids and actually interacts with them instead of just ignoring them. All of that is great, and I really do like that there are guys who work at the day care. I just, you know, wish there was a little more maturity to go along with all the fun.

As for Abby, she is growing up faster than I can keep up with. She had her first play date at a friend's house this weekend. She was invited to Abi's house (that's pronounced Abby-Eye, as opposed to Abby-Why), along with seven other play mates. I wasn't sure if I was expected to stay or not, but the other parents were all planning to leave. I told Abby that the other mommies and daddies were going, but that I could stay if she wanted. Her reply? "No, Mommy. Leave." And then she turned back to playing. I was dismissed, just like that. At three, she has already learned that it's not cool to have Mom around when she's with her friends. Oh, are we in trouble come junior high...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Remembering bix

Dear Andrew & Abby,

I found something in an old notebook today. It took me a minute, but I finally remembered that this was part of my big Birthday Newsletter plan. I envisioned a newsletter layout full of short news-blurb articles about all the things you two had been doing over the year. It would look great, and be sent out at exactly half-way between your birthdays (Februay 4th). That was just before Abby turned one and Andrew turned six. You are three and eight now. I guess I missed that target date by a little bit. Maybe I should start planning now for your high school graduations, so that I have enough time.

Interview with Andrew, Regarding His Upcoming Birthday

Mommy: How do you feel about turning six?
Andrew: Good.
M: What new things will you learn this year?
A: No pushing, no kicking, no bad stuff; crafts and projects and to make paper airplanes.
M: What were your favorite things about being five?
A: Learning to read the words at the bottom of my Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Taking care of Abby. That was my most favorite thing. And playing with Abby was my most favorite FAVORITE thing.
M: Did you do any fun things?
A: Where?
M: Did you go anywhere?
A: To Grandma Jamie's, opening presents (note from Mommy - that was for Grandma Jamie's 50th birthday). To Grandma Dottie's. I like to play Sorry with her. And to Michael's - you know him, the neighbor? I like playing with him and eating popsicles and watching TV. Can I tell you the poem yet?
M: Almost. Where else did you go that was fun? (whispering: Canoeing)
A: The frog swimming pool with Grandma Dottie. I'm so excited for my birthday party - it's almost here!
M: Yes. Where else did you go?
A: The zoo!
M: We didn't go to the zoo this year.
A: A long time ago!
M: But did you go anywhere fun with Mom and Dad?
A: No.
M: Did you go canoeing?
A: You don't have to tell me! I can think!
M: Okay.
A: The store! I went to the store with Mom and Dad! That was fun. Can I tell you my poem now?
M: Okay.
When I was one, I just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was nearly me.
When I was four, I was just before.
When I was five, I just be five.
When I was six, I was nearly bix.

M: What is bix?
A: It's a name you can just name things. You know, I named one of my show-and-tell things B-B-Bix. You can name things that. Are we done?
M: Yes.
A: Am I still five?
M: Yes.
A: Okay, but just for a little while, right?
M: Right.

the Star Reporter of Your Lives, Mommy

Friday, August 31, 2007

Work Schmork

Dear Andrew and Abby,

Work stinks. I want you to remember that. Right now, you are young and have more freedom than you will understand or appreciate until you are older and lose it. Now, you are both in a hurry to grow up, to get big, to do the things Daddy and I "get" to do. Well, that's just crazy. Grown-ups have no freedom and we don't "get" to do much. Our lives are all about "HAVE" to's. And the biggest one is that we HAVE to go to work. Well, I suppose we don't really. But I do know that you two are both pretty fond of eating and I think the novelty of sleeping under the bridge after we lost our house would wear off pretty quickly.

What I really want to do with my time is play with you two, be able to drop Andrew off at school in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon, take pictures, write down all of the things that strike me as interesting or funny or poignant about you and our lives, and oh about a million other things that do not involve sitting at a desk in a little fabric-covered three-sided box surrounded by a bunch of other (some very LOUD) people also sitting at desks in fabric-covered three-sided boxes with no windows. Oh, sure, going to work sounds fun to you. But that's because you get to just visit here. And then you leave.

Last night, I came home from a quick two-day trip to Texas - for work. When I finally got home and got you two settled down enough to go to bed, Abby and I snuggled for a little bit. I told her she needed to get to sleep so she could get up for school the next day (yes, it's just day care, but we just call it school because it's simpler) and Mommy could go to work. She cried and said she didn't want to go school and she didn't want me to go to work. I was thinking that she wanted us to both stay home all day because she had missed me. Silly, Mommy. When I asked Abby where I should be the next day, fully expecting the answer to be home, she said she wanted me to stay on a plane all day. And when I asked where she was going to be, she said on the plane with me. Believe me, it is not always as fun as you might think! But I asked her where we would go on this plane. Her answer? Pizza Hut!

Clearly this would be so we would not waste precious minutes on driving that could be spent waiting for the cinnamon breadsticks to be put on the Wednesday-night buffet. She is so my daughter.

You might get the sense from my earlier ranting that I'm not very happy with work right now. That's not exactly true. I am very happy with my work. There are things I don't like about it, but for the most part, it's about as good as work can get right now. Except that I HAVE to. Work, that is. And this work is seriously infringing upon all of the other much more fun things I WANT to do, like fly to Pizza Hut with Abby.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It ain't easy being green

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Today, we need to talk about Abby. Abby and her obsession with a certain pair of shoes. I feel the need to document the importance of these shoes in our life now, before something even more dire happens to the shoes. That, or Abby actually moves on to a new obsession.

The shoes, of course, are the green flip flops.

Green flip flops

These shoes were not purchased at a fancy designer outlet. They weren't even bought at the Payless at the mall. Nope, they came from the Wal-Mart in our town. The same Wal-Mart where we, a couple of months later, lost the green flip flops. We searched the store - at closing time - and couldn't find them. There was much sobbing from the Princess over the loss of her special green flip flops. None of the other twenty pairs of shoes in her closet could make her happy. She cried herself to sleep. Luckily, they turned up at the Customer Service desk the next day. I know it was the next day because I had to call as soon as we got home the next day to ask. And then immediately run to get them. I guess it's a good thing they are so clearly "loved in" - they didn't make me pay for them a second time!

This is also the same pair of green flip flops that we accidentally left at Grandma Jamie's house a couple of weekends ago. Because we had taken four other pairs of shoes for our two day visit, their absence was not immediately noticed. It was late when we got home Sunday night and we were all pretty tired. It wasn't until Monday morning, while in a last-minute rush to leave the house that we discovered the green flip flops were not in the house with us. They were not even in the same state! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And then there was much demanding to call Grandma Jamie. Grandma Jamie was kind enough to overnight express the special shoes - in a protective padded envelope to protect them on their journey - back to their home. After Abby hugged them, she put them right onto her feet.

This morning, I went searching for the green flip flops before I asked Abby to get her shoes - I can be taught, after all. I found them forlorn, wet, and forgotten outside in the back yard. They had been drenched in some mighty thunderstorms that came through here last night. I brought them in and laid them out to dry. Abby tended to them like she would an injured bird. And yes, she tried to wear them. But she doesn't like her feet to feel "yucky" - and they didn't match the outfit today, anyway.

You might wonder how it is that these shoes keep getting misplaced if they are Abby's favorites. If she WEARS them all the time, how is it they keep becoming separated from her FEET? Well, my little ones, that's because Abby has a love-hate relationship with shoes. She loves her shoes. Likes to match them to her outfits, to sort them, to stomp in them around the house (LOUDLY), sometimes even to play with them like any of her other toys. And she will gladly wear them when we leave the house to go somewhere. They are lovingly put on her feet and she walks proudly out to the van. And before the van has actually made it out of the driveway, the shoes are off again. You see, she likes shoes. But she doesn't like to wear them.

Raising the next reincarnation of Imelda Marcos,

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Today is done, tomorrow will be another one

Dear Andrew and Abby,

Well, I was very neglectful of our journal in July - only 1 entry! That is terrible! I do have an excuse, and yes, I know that making excuses is bad, but let me explain.

July = Summer.

There, that's it in a nutshell. I could go and try to explain all of the things we've done this month, and I might still do that, but for right now, I kind of want to move on. Thinking about it all just makes my head swim a little. Let's just sum it up with the word BUSY. We packed a whole lot of summer into a short time this year, starting at the end of June when we had Cub Scout day camp, Vacation Bible School, two baseball games, and a dance class all in the same week. I guess that should have been some kind of warning sign, because we didn't slow down after that until this week, when Andrew went back to school.

This year, Andrew is in the third grade. Wow, do I feel old. I think it was just yesterday I was wondering when this little screaming infant was going to ever learn how to walk and talk, and now, well, now I can't get him to stop running and yelling. This year, he only gets one recess and has Social Studies. I think next year he grows a beard.

And then there's Abby. Princess Abigail. Last Sunday Daddy and Andrew went to the Brickyard race and I thought it would be a great idea to have a Girls' Day Out. The original plan was for the Children's Museum, but that had to be scrapped when Mommy's lasagna-making took a little longer than planned. Abby was more than a little upset about the change in plans (she gets that from me - change is bad). I got a little desperate and then I came up with this ~great~ idea. So, we called up My Jody (formerly Fairy Godmother Jody) and My Alyssa and invited them to Libby Lu's with us. And oh. My. Goodness. WHAT have I done??

She looks about thirteen in this picture, don't you think? Well, okay, maybe not. Thirteen-year-olds don't smile. I remember when I was one. Abby had a BLAST at Libby Lu's. That's her personal sparkly lotion she's holding in the picture. On her back is her Libby Lu pack with all of her stuff - lip gloss, bracelets, the makeup they used on her, and the lip gloss that she got to make HERSELF. While she was getting hair and nails done (at the same time!), she had this look on her face that made me a little fearful for all retail clerks and beauticians in her future. It was a look of serious concentration and study. A look that said, 'I'm watching you, and your work had better live up to my extremely high standards, or there will. be. consequences.' And trust me, I've lived through those consequences. All I can say is that the sweet smile in the picture masks a fury I liken to a caged wild animal. And that might be understating it a bit.

It seems this week has been full of little moments when it is suddenly clear to me that my little girl will not be little for much longer. At daycare, they are talking about moving her to the Fours class, even though she won't technically be four until January. They say she can already do the things all the four-year-olds can do as far as counting and writing and colors and numbers and whatever else they are supposed to be able to do at four. So she's a little SuperStar-in-training. That's all fine. But she's not a Four! She's a cute little Three! She can just stay a Three for a little longer. She might be ready to be a Four, but I'm not ready for her to be.

And just to kick me when I'm down, this morning, she stopped wearing nundies. With no pretense, no warning, no discussion. I pulled out her cute flower nundies and when I told her it was time to put on her nundies, she refused. She stopped me and said, in a tone eerily like a teenager explaining that the cool kids don't say 'Bitchin' anymore, "No, Mom, that's my underwear." I tried to argue for nundies a little, but she wouldn't give in. Nundies are dead to her. It's underwear now. Where has my little girl gone? I blame the Barbies.

Hanging onto your childhood by my fingernails,


Monday, July 2, 2007

And your Daddy just rolled his eyes

Dear Andrew and Abby,

Hello my dears! I have been very neglectful of our little journal, but I had a good excuse - we've been BUSY! Last week was Vacation Bible School and wow! did we have fun, but it was also very exhausting. Andrew also had Cub Scout Day Camp at Camp Belzer Monday through Thursday and a baseball game on Monday and Friday. And Abby had dance class on Thursday. And Daddy was out of town on Tuesday and Wednesday. Whew! We're still recovering from being so worn out!!

I have lots of pictures from VBS still to post online, but here are a couple...

Abby and Elijah:

Andrew in the photo spot:

With such a busy schedule, our house has been in a state of disaster most of the week. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if someone had tried to rob us last week, they would have taken one look around and figured that someone had already hit us and left the place ransacked. So I guess it was at least a good crime deterrent. But last night, because we had almost put the house back into its normal state of only mild disorder, we decided to add some more chaos.

Our friend Alyssa, who is almost 9, has grown too old and mature for her Barbie collection. She had decided to sell them, and when her mommy, your Fairy Godmother, Jody, told me that, I promptly made a deal to purchase them. The plan was to keep them for Christmas presents. Well, that didn't work out so well. A situation came up and Jody needed the extra space in her garage that was being taken by the Barbies, so they had to come to our house a little sooner than planned. And there was no hiding them to save them for another six months. So our living room currently has been turned into Barbie Central. Oh. My. Goodness. There are a lot of Barbies. An entire trash bag full of them. And a house. And a bus. And three jeeps. A horse-drawn carriage. A playground jungle gym. Plus some extra non-Barbie bonuses - a kids' table and chairs, a Madeline playset, a ceramic ballet-themed tea set...sigh. These would have been terrific - and cheap - Christmas gifts. Now I have to buy more. (hee hee).

But the best part about bringing in all the Barbie stuff yesterday? When they came in, it wasn't just Christmas in July for Abby. Immediately, both Abby AND Andrew were into the bag of dolls. Fighting over who got which one. Posing them in the Barbie RockStar Van (it turns into a stage). Dressing them. It was the cutest thing EVER. My inner feminist was doing some serious cartwheels watching Andrew play with the Barbies. I was careful not to comment at all about what was happening. I've learned not to draw attention to these things. I was worried that Daddy wouldn't let it go by without comment, but he didn't say a word. Luckily, you didn't notice his facial expressions.

Supporting your well-rounded development,


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All the world's a stage, as long as Mommy is in the audience

Dear Andrew & Abigail,

Just a quick note tonight, a ballet update from last week. If you remember, Abby's first ballet class was a bit short, thanks to a scheduling error. That means Mommy wrote down the wrong time, in case you weren't clear.

So last week, when Mommy was away, we had to make some other arrangements. Andrew had baseball practice at the same time as Abby's ballet class, and Daddy helps with practices. So we called in for backup in the form of Fairy Godmother Jody. She and her daughter, Alyssa, agreed to meet Abby and Daddy at ballet, stay to watch Abby during class and take Abby back to their house until baseball practice ended. Of course nothing happened much according to the plan. I'm sure that's because we did not clear the plan with Princess Abigail before hand.

Daddy ended up staying for the class, after all, and when class was over, Abby refused to go home with Jody and Alyssa. So she went back to baseball practice with the boys.

And what about class? Well, I'm glad you asked. Remember how we talked about dance class for over a month before it started? Remember how Abby practiced dancing on her toes and moving like a butterfly for weeks before class started? Remember how, when we got to the first class 25 minutes late (yes, for a 30 minute class), Abby jumped right in and joined the other girls? Well, apparently, even though Mommy has no skill at getting to class on time, Mommy has some other magic that is what allows Abby to dance. Without Mommy, there is no dancing. None. Abby refused to join. When I got home, she informed me that she would never dance if I wasn't there. Wow. I am humbled by the bestowment of such power from the Princess herself. I will do my best to live up to the station into which I have been blessed.

OH! And I forgot - even though we were only there for five minutes, I did manage to get a couple of pictures from the first dance class. Prepare yourself for all the pink you can stand:

Serving at the will of the Princess,

Friday, June 8, 2007

As if there was really any doubt

Dear Andrew and Abigail,

My life as your Mommy is full of many things. I am full of hope for your future, full of laughter at the things you say and do, full of love for your little mushy squishy faces, full of prayer for peaceful bedtimes. What it is not full of is accuracy. Or awesome displays of my parenting skills. Or, oh I dunno, remembering things.

I have a planner. Daddy actually referred to it as the bible the other day. I thought I was the only one who did that. So, this planner - Franklin Covey, by the way, live above the line, kids (do as I say, not as I do)! - this planner holds all of our activities. Everything from doctor appointments to baseball games to school vacations to grown up nights out. And when we signed Abby up for ballet class, I promptly wrote down on each and every Thursday "Abby ballet 5:30." As the first day of ballet class approached, we talked a LOT about ballet class in our house. Abby has been practicing dancing on her toes and waving her arms like a butterfly since the first day we went and watched our friend Autumn at her dance class, and that was over a month ago.

Thursday was the big day. I left work a little early (but not quite as early as I had planned), rushed home to get the special ballet clothes and shoes, then back to the baseball field to pick up Abby from while Daddy stayed with Andrew at practice. We got up to the ballet studio and I changed Abby into her beautiful pink ballet clothes in the van before we went inside.

When we got in the studio, I noticed that a lot of the kids waiting looked like they were there for the tap dance class, not ballet. I thought that was just a little odd, since tap class didn't start until after ballet. As we went upstairs, I got a few odd looks from mothers. When we got to the top of the stairs, things finally started to click into place in the dilapidated shack I call my brain. There was a cluster of small ballerinas - all dressed in pink, looking like a flock of peeps, all squishy and sweet. They were, um...finishing up the class.

Yep, Mommy blew it. We were 25 minutes LATE to ballet class, which started at 5:00pm not 5:30. I quickly shoved Abby's ballet shoes on her feet and shoved her out onto the floor so she could "leap over the pond" with the other girls. And I looked for a place to hide. Happily, since Abby is three and doesn't yet have much concept of time, and Andrew wasn't there to rat me out by explaining how much of class she missed, I don't think she noticed that she was lacking anything much at all. On the up side, there are about 25 mothers in our town who are feeling a WHOLE lot better about their parenting skills this week.

Daddy and Fairy Godmother Jody will be taking care of ballet class this week. I know I told you that Mommy will be out of town for work, but the truth is that I had to call in some experts to manage this ballet project. Let's hope they do a better job. It shouldn't be too hard, since I've set the bar nice and low. Your mommy is nothing if not supportive of helping other people feel good about their accomplishments.

Your clock-challenged Mommy

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Manic Mommy

Dear Andrew & Abigail,

Today, I come home to you. I left you on Friday evening with your Grandma Dottie who babysat for Daddy and me so we could go to a wedding and to a dinner theater (the Wizard of Oz at Beef & Boards, it was Mommy's birthday present finally!). Then I left Sunday on a plane for Texas for work. While Daddy was picking you up, I was checking my luggage and getting on an airplane in the sky.

We have had a pretty rough couple of months. Mommy has had some struggles within her own head that have not helped. The fighting and screaming at bedtime almost every night has been hard for Mommy to handle. I dread bedtime and have been very frustrated with the situation, my inability to make this work, and your insistence on behaving in a way which makes me want to run screaming into the night. I hate to admit it, but I was not completely sad at the thought of escaping the bedtime battle for a few days. But then you left and then I left and I have missed you terribly ever since I pulled out of the McDonald's parking lot. Okay, actually, I went to the bookstore first and I really didn't miss you too much while I wandered down the aisles in the peace and quiet of the bookstore without chasing you or hearing your voices throughout the entire store. But right after I left the bookstore. Then I missed you.

It seems that Texas also has small children about your age. Amazing, I know! And apparently, they all were out on display for me because I saw them EVERYWHERE. And every time I saw one of those small children, I missed you a little more.

I am sitting in the airport right now, nearly giddy with excitement to get on the plane already and fly home to you. Of course, by the time my plane lands and I actually make it home, you two will probably be asleep. But that will not stop me from snuggling and kissing and smelling your sweet sleepy smells as soon as I get home. And I guess it will be nice to see Daddy, too.

Next week, I'm going to do this again. I will be leaving for Texas very early Monday morning (before you are awake, probably) and coming home late Friday night. And then, hopefully, I can stay home for a while. This trip has confirmed, in more ways than one, that I am not meant to be a traveling consultant. I really am happier in my own space, even if I have to share that space with two small people who do not like to sleep.

miss you like crazy, love you like crazier,

Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's come to this

Dear Andrew & Abigail,

Tonight, we reached a turning point. I have said frequently (usually at bedtime) in the last months that I have seriously considered locking one or both of you in your rooms. Your aunt Audra reached that point with cousin Georgia. To be honest, I judged her for it. Well I am paying the price for that judging now. I tried to understand then how things could possibly reach the point where the only way to control a three-year-old child was to lock her in her room, but I just could not imagine the level of frustration and desperation that would lead to that. It seemed so extreme. NOW I understand. I understand the temper tantrums. The hitting. The kicking. The screaming like a caged wild animal. You think I exaggerate. If I could load audio and video here - and had a camera person from Super Nanny's crew to film it all so I could still have hands free to ward off the blows - I would find a way, just so I could have a record later of what happens on an all too regular basis in this house.

And so here we are.

I know that the reason we are here on this specific evening is because of our weekend. As fun as it was to see our friends in Tennessee, I know that the repercussions of disrupting your schedule so drastically are these fits from both of you, but more fiercely from Sweet Abigail. For Andrew, everything is hard, frustrating, unfair. We're hearing a lot of exasperated pre-teen "GAWD!!!" (ooh, I HATE that!). For Abby, living and breathing is just pure torture. The tiredness possesses her little body like a demon, turning my Sweet Abigail into Screaming Mimi. There is nothing to do but wait it out. But an audience of any kind feeds the demon. Isolation is our exorcist. And so, the lock.

I would much rather be talking about how much fun we had this weekend visiting Patrick and Ainsley and the Dinosaur Bounce House. You both did so much better on the drive than I had hoped for -- thanks to our pre-travel purchase:

You had fun swimming, bouncing, digging, sliding...all the things summer should be about. Bedtime in the hotel was okay each night, with only one major fit-throwing incident when we passed the point of no return with Abby. But mostly, you two snuggled in with Mom, Dad, or sibling and fell asleep on your own without major drama. A blessed change of pace. And Mommy and Daddy got to spend some time with our long lost friends. It was one of the most wonderful Memorial Day Weekends ever. But then we came home to reality. And now our reality includes a lock on Abby's door to keep the demon contained. I am sad, and I'm wishing for a Super Nanny fairy to come and fix this. Clearly, your parents are not having any luck. I feel like a bad mommy. That I am failing you both. That I should be able to make this work. But I have resorted to locking Abby's door. And it makes me sad.

Why can't every day be like vacation?
Updated: Daddy wasn't home when I put up the lock. He is not happy with Mommy, but I think he's mostly angry that I put a hole in the door. He is not seeing the problem. And that is making me even more sad. love, Mommy

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yo yo yo check it out - it be yo Mama's day!

(5/15: edited to insert pictures)

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I know that the gifts you give me now while you're young are going to be by far the best ever. I am treasuring these gifts now so that later, when you're teenagers and you give me a piece of gum or worse, an oven mitt, I won't break down into the sobs of a broken woman. Well, I might, but at least it won't be because of the gifts.

From Abby, I got a hand print in Plaster of Paris
and a calendar with original Art by Abby.

From Andrew, I got a beautiful mug

and this awesome Top Ten list (did you know that David Letterman is from Indianapolis?!):

Andrew's been working on his cursive! But that picture is pretty hard to see, so here's the list (the underlined parts are what Andrew filled in himself):

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My MOM, by Andrew
10. I love my Mom because she reads me a book.
9. I love my Mom because she helps me fix stuff.
8. I love my Mom when she makes me laugh by saying funny things. (Apparently, "It's bedtime" is one of those funny things)
7. I love my Mom because she taught me how to ride my bike.
6. I love to hear my Mom sing rap.
5. I love my Mom because she finds time to play a game.
4. I know my Mom cares because she is nice to me.
3. I know my Mom is smart because she knows lots of things.
2. I love my Mom because she works so hard at home.
1. I love my Mom because she's the BEST MOM EVER!
Wait. Did you catch #6? Read that one again. I'll wait.

Yes, Andrew is letting out all of my secrets. Your mommy is a closet rapper. The coat closet, to be exact. That's where I go to let out my mad rap skilz. I keep my bling in there, too. It's big. And blingy. My bling. Blinga bling bling. See, I can barely keep myself from rapping right now.

the Big Mac Mommy (although I really prefer the fries over the Big Mac)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Andrew's staring problem

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Today I'm going to tell you the story of Andrew's seizures.

One night, when he was about six months old, Mommy and Daddy woke up because strange noises were coming through the baby monitor from Andrew's room. We went in to check on him and when I picked him up, he wouldn't look at me. He was making a bah-bah-bah-bah sound over and over and was pretty listless. Mommy and Daddy didn't know what was going on, so we freaked out a little. We took Andrew to the emergency care center where they told us that what we had seen was a febrile seizure. Andrew had a high fever and an ear infection when they checked him out, and the doctor said that the high fever probably brought on the seizure. But not to worry, febrile seizures were fairly common and children usually grew out of them pretty quickly. Many only have one and never have another. Unfortunately, that wasn't true for Andrew.

Over the next two years, Andrew had several more seizures. Each one was different, but most were not full blown gran mal seizures. The worst one happened while we were out of town at Grandma Jamie's for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we knew that one was coming, but couldn't get the Tylenol in time. It was a gran mal. Andrew convulsed and turned blue. I called 911 for an ambulance and had to stand just out of reach from Andrew on the wall phone while I watched my little boy turn very very blue. Daddy was holding him, but I couldn't reach him and it was horrible.

After that, he started taking medicine for his seizures. I still think that we should have had tubes put in Andrew's ears, but your Mommy just didn't know enough to push our very conservative pediatrician at the time. In my mind, if the seizures were caused by spiking fevers (always), and the fevers were caused by ear infections (almost every time - and if it wasn't ear infection, it was strep throat), then we should treat the ear infections. But the ear infections finally went away. Unfortunately, the seizures didn't.

After Andrew was on medicine and he grew out of the ear infections, he didn't have many seizures. But then he grew (always with the growing!) and the seizures crept back in. Also, Mommy and Daddy let you stop taking the meds. Because we're bad horrible parents. We know. The seizures that showed up without the meds were called "absence seizures." It took us a while to really believe they were seizures because they looked mostly like zoning out - and Andrew is VERY good at zoning out. But these episodes were different. He couldn't hear or remember what happened while he was zoned. And then one of his teachers noticed and called us. It was the validation from another adult that finally convinced us that we were really seeing what we thought we were - we're not the most confident parents. But that's probably because we're so bad at it. So we called the neurologist, confessed that we are terribly inadequate as parents, and Andrew is back on his medicine.

This week, we went back to visit Dr. Hamati at Riley Children's Hospital. Part of me will be just a little sad when (if?) we are done visiting Dr. Hamati, because she is just so wonderful. Even when she's scolding your neglectful parents. But you know, not seeing Dr. Hamati will also mean that Andrew is done with seizures and seizure medicine and for that, I will be very very happy. We will be scheduling another EEG for Andrew in October because it will officially be two years since Andrew's last seizure. We're hoping for a very boring reading. If we get a boring reading, we get to try weaning Andrew off the medicine - this time with permission!

I know we could have it much worse. Andrew has not been diagnosed with epilepsy and his seizures are mild and controllable. He suffers from no noticeable side effects from his medicine (Lamictal). But still, Mommy would be happier if you did not have to take two pills in the morning and two pills at night every day.

Daddy and Mommy also take medicine every day, for various things. We're old, that's what happens. Abby has asked why she doesn't "get" to take medicine every day. The day she asked me that, I almost cried. And then I gave her some gummy bear vitamins. Remember, I'm not very good at this parenting thing.

Mommy (hey, I gave birth to you, that counts for something!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our Very Busy Weekend

Dear Andrew & Abby,

I am afraid we are in for a very busy busy summer. I think this weekend was just a taste of what is to come. It's going to be fun, but Mommy is going to be t-i-r-e-d! The good news is that you two might actually get worn out enough to sleep a couple of times. That would be a nice change of pace.

This weekend, Grandma Dottie and Papa came to visit. They got to our house Friday night. That of course meant that Friday evening was when we cleaned the house like little whirlwinds. We really have been doing a little better at keeping the house from looking like it's been ravaged by an army of litter-bugs and mess-makers during the week, but we still don't really get things completely put back together until the weekend. So when we have company arriving Friday night, that bumps the schedule up a bit. And we wouldn't want to plan ahead and try to do extra cleaning all through the week...no no no. That's just crazy talk.

Grandma and Papa came to see Andrew's very first baseball game of the season on Saturday.

So we stayed up late Friday and got up early on Saturday - it's such a good idea. Andrew had to be at the field at 7:45 (yes, in the morning!!) for pictures, so Daddy took him; the rest of us went up for his game at 8:45. Between Andrew's game and the Little League opening ceremonies at 11:30, we went to the garage sale at our church. While we were there, Daddy helped load the walls that they framed in the church parking lot to be transported to the site of the house our church is helping to build with Habitat for Humanity and we watched the duck family with all their little ducklings (13 of them!).

Then we went to another garage sale and chatted with our friends who live on the same street. Daddy and Andrew went back to the ball field for the opening ceremony at 11,

while the rest of us went home to start the grill for lunch and try to get little miss Abigail to take a nap (now THAT's funny!). Whew. Are you tired yet? Of course you're not. Silly question.

So...while we were trying to eat lunch - Daddy and Andrew hadn't made it home yet - Abby fell over backwards in her chair and her tongue helped her teeth break their fall.

There was blood. And more blood. Luckily, Grandma was there and she has experience with this sort of thing. When Daddy was three, he rode his tricycle down the basement stairs and bit his tongue, too. He actually almost bit the whole thing off and had to have stitches! Abby's was not quite that bad - there were no dangling tongue pieces, thank goodness! But it did take quite a while to get her settled down and for the bleeding to stop. And then? She went to sleep! Huh.

Wow, after all of that, the rest of Saturday was pretty boring. We cooked out again for dinner (Mommy's barbecued chicken...mmm) and sat outside. Then, your Grandma told Mommy and Daddy they could LEAVE. When there were baths to give and dishes to wash. Have I mentioned how much your Grandma likes to clean and how much Papa loves to give you baths? They are awesome. Mommy and Daddy went up to church to put away the signs for the garage sale (because they are big and heavy and we made them seven years ago and so it's always Daddy's job to put them out and put them away. That's just the way it is.) and also to finish tilling the church garden so we can plant some things.

Sunday. Church Day. Mommy and Daddy and Andrew went to Sunday school and Grandma, Papa, and Abby came for the service. Mommy was in charge of the nursery and children's church so I did my best to get all the kids excited for Vacation Bible School. Mommy is really excited for VBS and I'm in charge this year, so I want everyone else to be excited, too. After church, we went to one of our very very favorite places to eat (at Abby's request this time, instead of Mommy's), Parky's. Mmm...barbecue. We like barbecue.

And then...yes, there was just a little more...Grandma and Papa went home. I think we probably wore them out. We went to the fun Tractor Supply Store to look for seeds and stakes and string for the garden and you BOTH had big ol' bad temper tantrums. So we took our seeds and went home and you both went to bed! Abby slept, but Andrew didn't. Sigh. Later, there was biking and Dairy Queen for you two and Daddy while Mommy stayed home in the quietness. Bedtime was...do I really need to say it...rough. Abby slept too long at nap time. Of course!

And that was our weekend. And that will be our summer. Next month looks especially busy - Andrew will have baseball games and Cub Scout camp, Abby will have dance class, and we all will have vacation bible school. I'm both dreading and looking forward to it at the same time. I think we're going to have a lot of fun and make a lot of memories. But I also think it's going to be hard for Mommy and Daddy to figure out how to juggle everything and keep our happy voices. We'll be practicing our patience a lot. And you two are going to have to practice your sleeping. A lot.

Mommy - who will be sleeping for the next three weeks in preparation for summer

Monday, April 30, 2007

One reason to be glad for no recent growth spurts

Dear Andrew & Abby,

You know I write a lot about bedtime here. It's usually a pretty painful process. We also frequently deal with nighttime visits. Sometimes one, sometimes the other, occasionally both. Our bed is not big enough for all four of us plus both cats, but it's been known to hold all of us anyway. Our visits from Andrew used to be every night. Most of the time he didn't come in until about 4am, but sometimes it was more like midnight or 1am. He seemed to learn pretty quickly not to come to Mommy's side. Mommy is a light sleeper and I would usually make him go back to bed. But Daddy would sleep right through the visit, allowing Andrew to snuggle in undetected until the morning alarm clock rang.

So, now we fight to get you to bed, but once you're out, the visits are less frequent. But once in a while, we still get a visitor.

Last night was a visit to remember.

Bedtime came late - it was a gorgeous evening and we stayed outside until almost 9pm - Mommy and Daddy blow the bedtime routine yet again.

**As a side note - part of the reason we were outside past bedtime is that Andrew was practicing riding his bike with no training wheels. I'm thrilled to report that this afternoon after more practice, Daddy and I feel pretty confident that he has it mastered. Yay!! Go, Andrew!**

You two fought and fought and did not finally pass out until after 10pm. Daddy and I were asleep a little after 11pm. And at 12:30, I woke up to a noise I couldn't quite place. And maybe I sensed something amiss?

Andrew was standing next to my bed. And I heard a noise like water running. Uh oh.

"Andrew, are you peeing in my room?"

No response. But now my eyes had adjusted to the darkness. And there was definitely an exposed boy part next to my bed. He took a step back and then walked back to his room. I realized he was sleep walking, so no point in yelling. It's not like he was peeing in my room on purpose. He was back in bed and asleep before I could even get to his room.

I returned to my room and told Daddy to turn on the light. Not only did he pee. He PEED. The floor. The side of the bed. The photo albums next to my bed. Oh dear. And then Daddy started laughing.

As I cleaned up, Daddy laughed and laughed. When he could finally tell me why (after he caught his breath from his laugh attack), he said, "If he had just been six inches higher...he'd have been peeing all over YOU instead of the bed!" And then there was more laughing. I am pretty sure he laughed himself to sleep. After we changed the sheets.

Mommy, whose bedroom is NOT the potty

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Green - it's a family color

Dear Andrew & Abby,

About a year ago, we got more serious about our efforts to recycle. We set out the recycling bins and did a great job at sorting our trash. Until the bins were full. Then we kind of got stuck in a "what do we do now" moment. Getting to the recycling center is a challenge since we are not in town during their weekday hours and they are only open on two Saturdays a month from 8am-12pm. There are many Saturdays when our family is not cognizant of a world beyond our own orbit before noon, so remembering which Saturday it is and getting dressed in time to leave the house with any extra time for a quick stop at the recycling center has proven to be difficult. But for the last few months, we have been doing a much better job. We're doing great with the cans, plastic, and glass. I've figured out that it only takes - literally - two minutes to drop off a bag of cans at 7:30 on our way to day care. If I make you two stay in the van. If I let you both help, it takes - literally - two years. And that makes Mommy pretty late for work.

Our problem now is the cardboard recycling. Have you ever noticed how many boxes of crap we go through in this house?! Wow! We are really going through those trees! I am conflicted about this because I'm pretty sure most of it is my fault. Convenience (ie, boxed macaroni, frozen fish sticks...) seems to come with more packaging. But convenience is also what allows Mommy to feed you more for dinner than your shoelaces on many nights (don't worry, we'll always keep Shoelace Dinner Night - I know how much you love it). And again, Mommy does pretty well at remembering to sort out the cardboard from the trash. Unfortunately, Mommy is short. Um, yes, it does too matter! You see, the recycling center keeps the recycling separated in giant industrial-sized dumpsters. Dumpsters that are about the size of a giant blue ox. Mommy, she's not as tall as all that. They use the same dumpsters for the cans and plastic, but those dumpsters have a lovely set of stairs with a landing. The cardboard dumpster is just sitting all by its lonely self. No stairs. So we have a very large and rapidly growing pile of cardboard in our garage. Mommy's going to have to bring the ladder with us...or find a giant lumberjack who's willing to give us a hand.

So anyway...Last Sunday was Earth Day. You two don't know much about Earth Day, and my feeble attempts to explain it gave me a glimpse into what it must be like for your Daddy to try explaining all the intricacies of automobile seat manufacturing. But you do understand trash. Oh, do you! We are pretty massive trash-generators in our family. Somehow, trash just seems to magically appear all throughout our house. I don't know where it all comes from. Besides all the shoelace boxes. That's a given.

On Saturday, we went to the park for Andrew's Cub Scout Raingutter Regatta. I'm not going to try to explain why he was racing boats in a raingutter right now. Here's a picture, that might help.

You two and I walked home with the wagon. As we were leaving the park, I noticed a soda bottle and asked Andrew to pick it up so we could take it home and throw it in with the rest of our recycling. Something clicked and the rest of the way home, you both picked up EVERY piece of trash you found. Yes. Every. Tiny. Piece. It was a long walk home. But I was so thrilled that you wanted to help keep our town clean. And Andrew especially seemed to get it. I talked about how it helps to keep the earth healthy when we pick up our trash. Before long, Andrew caught on to "saving the Earth" and when I said that kind of made you like super-heroes, well, I hit the gold mine. You two are now the Earth Superheroes, who save the Earth by picking up trash. I can't stop you. You point out trash on the street as we're driving to day care in the mornings, and I think you may secretly be plotting to put me in Earth Superhero jail because I won't stop to pick up the gum wrapper you noticed back there when we turned the corner.

This is our wagon full of trash (Abby had to give up riding and make room for the garbage just over half-way home).

Mommy is going to be much more prepared on our next trip to the park with garbage bags and several pairs of gloves. You two were even checking out the "forest" in our neighborhood commons area. And fighting over who got to pick up the envelope-sized scrap of paper or the near-empty soda bottle. Fighting. Over trash. Seriously, will you two fight over anything?!

And because you are such cute little Earth Superheroes, here are a couple more pictures.

Oh, and Andrew won 1st place in his den at the Raingutter Regatta (4th in the overall pack). He is SO excited about his trophy - his "very 1st trophy in Cub Scouts!!!!" Congratulations, Regatta Champ!



Friday, April 20, 2007

Finding beauty in the two of you

Dear Andrew & Abby,

I've been struggling with what and how to write to you this week. It has been a bit of an emotional week in the world. On Monday, someone hurt and killed a lot of people including himself in a place where they all should have been able to be safe. No one really still knows why, and I think that makes everyone even more upset. Grown-ups like to be able to explain things, especially to you kids. When we can't, it's hard. This week also has marked the anniversaries of two other events where a lot of people were hurt and killed, for barely understood reasons.

I've been sad about these things all week, and wondering what I would say to you if either of you asked about some of the things you have seen and heard, despite Daddy's and my efforts to shield you. I'm guessing it is being talked about at day care and at Andrew's school. So far, neither of you has asked or seems to be having nightmares (Andrew had nightmares about planes crashing after September 11, 2001, even though he was only 2 1/2 at the time).

And then today, I read this quote on my daily quote calendar:

Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be

That was written by Anne Frank, who you will both learn about in school one day. She was a little girl who lived during a very scary time in a place that is not as safe as where we live. She was very brave when it was almost impossible to have hope.

Thinking of her and her ability to still find the good in her world, today I'm thinking about a few things you two have been up to in the last couple of weeks that help me find beauty in life, even when I'm sad for some of the things going on in our world.

Abby has recently been having a lot of fun pretending to be a mom or a dad and assigning the rest of us different roles. Apparently, she has picked up a lot of ideas about what it means to be Mommy and Daddy. One day last week, she announced, "I'm a mom. I need a Diet Coke." Hmm...I wonder where she could have picked that up? Then, a couple of days ago, Daddy allowed her to have one of his fudgesicles. She happily climbed up into the rocking chair and announced, "Now I'm a dad!" She's also developed some pretty strong opinions about things and is noticing the world around her. The other day when pulling in at day care, she pointed out that the car next to us was "cute." "Oh, yes," I agreed, "it's nice." "No," she said, "it's CUTE." Today, she wore a long sleeve shirt underneath her short sleeve t-shirt, just like Andrew likes to do, because it's also "cute." And last night, she fell asleep on her bedroom floor. On purpose. Daddy put her back into her bed before we went to bed for the night, and this morning, she woke up very angry, crying and yelling "I want to sleep on the floor!" So she moved back to the floor for the few minutes before it was time to get up.

While Abby is learning what it takes to be a mom and a dad, and shunning her bed, Andrew is consumed with baseball. He started Little League a couple of weeks ago, and I think Daddy and I are starting to settle into the routine a little better. Games don't start for a couple more weeks, but practice is scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. He's not the best player on the field, but he is pretty good. And he is very optimistic. At the scrimmage game last night, he missed a pop fly, but instead of focusing on that, all he could talk about was, "Did you see that hit I made?!" Even after I said yes, he told me all about it any way. In teeny tiny detail. Reanalyzing and replaying every moment...hmm...I think I know which parent he got THAT from (yes, I'm looking at you, Daddy). Even though he wouldn't admit it in a million years, I think Andrew is struggling to adjust to the extra activity and has been pretty tired. He's alternated between moody, sweet, grumpy, and hyper much of the last week or two. Summer should be fun.

And there is some good news in the Bedtime Wars. While not perfect, or even conflict-free, bedtime has been slightly less of a nightly battle. Mommy has not had any more moments of debate about whether or not to call in reinforcements from down the street, hire someone outright to put you to bed while Daddy and I sit at Dairy Queen and wait, or to just run screaming into the night. This makes for a much happier mommy. And I'm sure you both find it much more enjoyable in the house without the Mommy Ogre making nightly appearances.

I think it has also helped that this sadness about the events going on has helped to give Mommy a little perspective about the truly important things in life. You two are tops on that list for me, and if that means that we have to fight it out a little at bedtime, I guess I can deal with that. To paraphrase something I heard recently, if that's the biggest complaint I have, then I'm a pretty lucky Mommy. We may live in a sometimes scary world, but here at home, life is good.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter recap, new obsessions, and Oh My God, this has to stop

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Well, we made it through Easter. I know! Hard to believe. We actually stayed home this year, which is unusual for us. We usually go to Papa and Grandma Dottie's house, which is also fun. But this was one of the few times we stayed at our house and went to our church and the Easter Bunny came to our house! On Saturday, there was the Easter party at church and I think you two had a really good time. You made hand print lillys and I am still proudly displaying them. Since they aren't relying on Mommy for watering, they will probably do better than our house plant.

Sunday morning, you found the baskets that the Bunny left for you and you were both VERY excited. Andrew said he LOVES Easter!! I think that is mostly due to the fact that there was an umbrella in his basket and he has been pining for an umbrella for a long time now. I've never seen a kid so excited to get an umbrella.

This week, he has been spending a lot of time studying the weather forecast to determine that it might rain and he should really take his umbrella today. On the way home from school today (it was a rainy day and he did take the umbrella), he offered to go and fetch the mail - IN THE RAIN - if Daddy hadn't already picked it up. Of course that offer was rescinded once we heard thunder and saw lightning, but that's okay.

You also both had some other junk in your baskets that cost 50 cents or a dollar or so a piece (the Easter Bunny told me that). Yes, you two are fairly spoiled in quantity, but luckily, you aren't concerned too much with quality or cost (at least not yet).

Church was good and you were reasonably well-behaved. Of course Mommy (and the other Mommies and Daddies involved) did not make the best decision in allowing the Trinity Gang to all sit together in a pew.

It felt like a really long time until Pastor invited all the kids to the front for the Children's Sermon and then you were off to the nursery for Children's Church. We are so blessed to be part of a church that accepts and embraces families with small kids the way ours does. It helps that we all sit where we're supposed to - back left corner. That's the Noisy Corner. Most people know that that's not where you want to sit if you actually want to be able to hear the entire service.

Because we stayed home, and because Mommy likes to go crazy every once in a while, we invited people over to our house to eat Sunday afternoon. Mommy loves to have friends over and to cook lots of food. So it's a good fit. Of course, the problem is that we do not have a large house. And our not large house is not even very well designed for entertaining. But that's never been known to stop us. Also, we have a lot of friends! We are SO popular! Mommy tried to keep it small - so I just invited the Russells (family of 4), the Fishers (4), the Stenbergs (4), the Herrins (4). We're all such tidy two-kid families (for now!!). But even with that, do the math with me...4 times 5 is...20! Very good! TWENTY people. Of course, half of them are kids, so that's not too bad. Oh, and wait! We also invited the Wallaces - there's just three of them. Then I got word that the Russells were also bringing Don's mom and dad - who live in town and who we know. That's cool. And then we also invited the Campbells (4) - because we just really like them and I wanted them to come. And they did. The Herrins and Wallaces already had other plans, but everyone else came. So did you keep track? That's 22 people altogether. It was so much fun! I cooked a Big Ass Ham (over 19 pounds!), and made special Easter Egg Potatoes that I love. Everyone else brought something and we had a great time. You kids got to play, the grown-ups got to talk, and there was lots and lots of food. I don't remember an Easter when I have ever felt more content and at peace, and surrounded by friends, which is all I could hope for you for any day in your life.

And then Sunday night came.

And Monday night.

And Tuesday night.

And tonight.

I don't even have the words to describe how awful bedtime has been. We've had good structure, followed our routine, and Mommy and Daddy have worked together. And yet...

Fits. Screaming. Throwing. Crying. Defiance. Threats. Hitting and kicking. Punishment. Spanking (yes, I said it. Spanking. On. Your. Butt.).

Last night, I actually looked up the application for SuperNanny. That's how bad it is. I guess the good - and bad - news is that I don't think you're bad enough for us to make it on to Jo's schedule. Last night, Mommy was in tears by the end of the night. Tonight, I was afraid. Afraid I was close to losing control. Daddy took over and I mostly hid in the living room. Neither of us quite knows what to do. We've heard it all and we've tried it all. How can I possibly continue to simply put Abby back in her bed each time she gets up when I don't even make it out of her room before she's on my heels? Are we really going to have to throw or give away Andrew's toys before he will give up his stubbornness and stop with the back talk? You two are only three and eight. If it's this bad now, I am really frightened of how ill-equipped I will be to handle either of you as teenagers. I can't even talk about it anymore. We need help. Real help. Not the unsolicited parenting book advice kind of help. We need SuperNanny or someone willing to pretend to be her for us. And I just don't know where to get that kind of help.

If only we had some kind of umbrella-wielding super-hero who specializes in sleep-resistant children. And no, the Penguin is NOT who I have in mind. I think adding nightmares to our already stressful nighttime would finally push Mommy right over the edge.

I love you I love you I love you. No matter how frazzled I feel trying to get you to sleep, once you finally give up the fight and close your eyes, I go in to your rooms, snuggle on you, smell your sleepiness, and kiss your cheeks and heads and hands. I adore you. Now, please.



Thursday, April 5, 2007

1000 pictures are worth a word

Dear Andrew & Abby,

Mommy loves to take pictures. I love my camera and I carry it with me ALL the time. Sometimes I take pictures of random things, just because. It's what I do. I've always like picture-taking, but I kind of developed an obsession when Andrew was born. In his first three months of life, I filled a 600-picture photo album. I've slowed down some since then, but you two are still my very favorite photo subjects. Just as you are my favorite writing subjects and conversation subjects...

I have a bunch of pictures posted on Flickr, but they aren't really connected to these blog entries I write. A few entries have had pictures, but not too many. And my hope is that one day, you'll read through all of this and get a feel for what our life was like when you were little (hopefully you will still like me after you read all of this, but I'll try not to worry about that too much). So, I'm going to try to add more pictures of you to the entries I post. Maybe not every post, but most of them.

To get started, here are a few of my favorites from the year so far...

January - cheering on the Colts:

January - Abby's 3rd birthday picture with the birthday hippo:
February - Andrew's 8th birthday, Crown Royal bag full of "treasure" (coins) - probably his favorite gift:

February - Abby posing before school in one of her new outfits and with her special new pink cowboy boots:

February - Andrew on one of the "King Mountains" of snow drifts after our Valentine's Day snow-in:March - Abby showing her "diva" look:
March - Andrew looking intent during a basketball game with friends:

February - Valentine's Day, showing some sibling love while Daddy shovels snow outside. You really liked each other when you were 8 and 3. One day, I'll show you this picture to prove it:

Your picture-crazy Mommy