Monthly Archives: January 2012

Second Child Episode

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I am calling this an episode, not a syndrome, because I try and be VERY aware and not let the “happenings” of Tatum become routine.  But sometimes we have episodes and last night was one.  Last night it was time for bed and we just couldn’t seem to find the pacifier.  Both of my girls were very attached and this would be Tatum’s first night without it.  When Piper gave up her pacifier it was very planned.  A letter came in the mail telling Piper that her “papi” went to a new baby.  We took her to the mall to buy any toy she wanted.  Seriously, I was going to buy her this wooden scooter, but no, she picked out a popper.  Do you know what a popper is?  One of those bowl-shaped little pieces of silicon or plastic that is not much bigger than a quarter.  You flip it inside-out and it flies up.  Yep, that’s what she picked out.  Oh, and a balloon, not even blown up. I couldn’t handle that those were the things she wanted so, I picked out a new outfit for her doll too.  Believe it or not, we still have the popper.  It made the move from Germany back to the U.S.  Why is it that you don’t lose the things that aren’t important, but then game pieces and doll shoes get lost all the time!

With Tatum there was no preparation, just a lack of backup pacifiers which is mom and dad’s fault.  But she did it and we were so proud of her!  She woke up at 6:45 this morning, earlier than usual and I whisked her out of the house with me before she could wake up her sister.  I took her to Target to buy her a present, and low and behold it was closed.  Not surprising, but for some reason, 7 am didn’t seem like an unreasonable time for Target to open, but it opens at 8.  How quickly I can get accustomed to the hours of stores here in America!  After living in Germany where stores are closed on Sundays and open late and close early, I began to think of how ridiculous it was that stores were open so long here!  Who needs to go grocery shopping at 1am?  And now look at me, hitting up Target at 7!  Of course, we found the papi, actually we found three last night, after she already had cried herself to sleep, and so we are sticking with it and she is sleeping now (after 30 min. of crying, but I expect it will be less tonight).  Maybe when she wakes up we will have to try Target, again. 🙂

I’ve always thought my girls looked like Maggie Simpson with their Soothie pacifiers.  Don’t you think?

Crazy days and lazy days

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I love when things just work out.  Last night was one of those spur of the moment dinner with friends that was just what I had needed.  The grandparents were coming over, and though I had intended to hang out with them, Brian said we should take advantage of the free childcare and see if our married without children friends were free.  They actually had dinner plans with some of our other friends which we hadn’t seen in forever, so we crashed their dinner plans and had a blast!  And Adam, who is not really the warm fuzzy “I love kids” kind of guy, but some how is still very wise when it comes to parenting, warned us that we had better be careful with Piper.  Adam reminded me that I had commented at one time that I would be sad if Piper ever tatted herself up and died her hair and had a mohawk.  I have nothing against those punk rockers out there, but if it were my own child, I guess I would feel that she was so beautiful and yet, she was covering her beauty in all of these piercings, ink and hair dye.  The captain of the cheer squad sounds more appealing that a punk daughter.  Adam had seen the post about Piper taking pictures of herself, and figures that if she is so independent as a 4-year-old, what will she be like in a decade?

Well, the good news, Piper is very much a rule follower.  I went on a run last week while she rode her bike and about a mile from our house she realized that she forgot her helmet (and so did I, forgot that is, I don’t wear a helmet when I run).  She would not ride her bike home.  She walked her bike all the way home!  She complained that she was tired and that her arms were tired of carrying her bike, yet she would not ride it.  I said that it was okay because she was with her mommy, but no.  She absolutely would not.  I don’t see punk rockers as big time rule followers, so I told Adam, I might be okay.  Piper, might be a teacher’s pet instead.

But that was yesterday.  Today, Piper dressed herself and wanted to surprise me.  She came out in a very colorful and layered outfit and then she went back to the room, came out again, and this time she had her “ears peered”.  She put flower stickers on her ears and one above her lip.  I asked why she had one on her lip and she said very matter of fact-ly that it was a lip ring.  Okay then!  My 4-year-old is pretending to have a lip ring, and to top it off, her black and fuchsia plaid skirt and dark purple nail polish flash forwarded me 10 years and I thought, OMG Adam’s right!

Sometimes I feel like she’s fourteen, and other times she seems four.  And I am trying to just cherish those moments as a four-year-old because next month she will be 5 and when I blink again, she will be a teenager.  Today was a rainy day where I just got to enjoy the fact that we didn’t have anywhere to go and we got to just be home.  After the lip ring came off and the kids were beginning to itch to go outside, we pulled on the rain and snow gear and headed outside.  I really didn’t feel like it, and at first I told them I would watch from the doorway.  But then, I guess, I wanted to join in the fun and I made my way outside too.  We saw some super long worms and I told Piper that when I was little, my sisters and I would go out after the rain and collect worms.  Then, of course, she wanted to do that too.  I was really disgusted by them at first, but I had to remind myself that this what four-year-olds like to do, and she won’t want to when she is fourteen, so what the heck.  The slimy little suckers ended up offering more entertainment than the puddle jumping.

getting bundled is half the fun

Tatum spotted a worm!

totally gross, I know

Here is a little video that isn’t the best quality, but I love Tatum’s little feet as she marches in the puddle and her cute little laugh that follows.

<img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-mj3s1Iw1Vbc/Tx411I5GuBI/AAAAAAAACDs/JsGxBm7aLX0/s144/MVI_1066.jpg” height=”108″ width=”144″ />
From raining day

paradise ponderings

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I am sitting in this beautiful beach house right now in Rincon, if you are a surfer you might know it and if not, then it is enough to say it is about 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara.  The sun is so warm coming through the massive glass windows and I am feeling pretty darn cozy on this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  Piper is watching T.V. right now, because hey, it’s a vacation and and we don’t have a T.V. at home, so watching a few toons is okay with me.  Tatum is napping, and Brian is trying to turn a nice golden bronze outside on a lounge chair.  No just kidding.  I think he is trying to warm up after going for a surf.  Piper and Brian went out today on a paddle board and I was so proud of my little munch for braving the water in her spring suit on this January day.  And as for me, I am just pondering my MLK Jr. 6 years ago.  What a horribly. long. draining. weekend it was.  Today marks 6 years that I said goodbye to my dad.

My insanely unique dad.  My dad and mom got married when they were 19 and 17.  My mom was a wife when she graduated high school, crazy!  Shortly after, they started a family and by 22 my mom was a mother of 3 girls in a total of 3 years and 3 months.  While I didn’t think it was weird when I was living it, I look at my life now and I think, how busy my mom must have been!  When my mom was my age, she had a 10, 11 and a 13 year old.  And though, I am sure that if you asked my mom, she would say that she would do things differently the second time around if given the chance,  I am so glad things turned out the way they did.  Two weeks after my dad’s 50th birthday he left this earth.  He was so young to have his life taken.  But in that short time, he lived a full life.  His girls were grown, and even got to know three of his grandchildren.  And while he never met my children, he was able to walk me down the aisle which was the one thing I remember journaling about after his diagnosis with cancer when I was in high school. 

I think about my dad often, and while it is easy to think about how much he has missed, today I am thinking about all the memories we have shared and thinking how lucky I was to have had my dad in my life for 26 years.

The Transforming Question

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Last year I wrote about a love that transforms (click here if you didn’t read it), and when I thought of today’s title, I really didn’t want to use the same word, but I couldn’t think of another one that worked, or fit the same way as this one.  Changing doesn’t work.  Life-altering?  Well, I wouldn’t go that far.  And so, we are just going to stick with transform, I figure it’s been close to 50 posts since I wrote transform in my title, maybe it’s okay to reuse the word now.  Okay, I’m going to get back on track now.  When Brian and I took our parenting class in the fall, there were a few things that stuck with us that we have been implementing in our house.  I loved the idea of the mission statement that I wrote about in Identity Crisis: Part 2, and there was the topic of story-telling that was really great too.  And then one week we focused on responsibility.  While I don’t remember everything said that evening, I remember learning about the magic question, What needs to be done?  So. very. simple.  It offers the children a chance to take a look around and answer the question, make a decision on what they are going to do about it and tackle it.  I do not want to be a nagging mom.  Currently, I am not, but maybe it is just the age of the kids.  Maybe I just haven’t had the need yet.  If that is the case, even when the time comes, I want to avoid repeating myself to the point that my kids tune me out and don’t even listen.  Instead of saying, “Clean your room!”  You could walk into the room with your kiddos and say, “Let’s take a look around and ask ourselves what needs to be done?”  The overwhelming sense of cleaning the whole room suddenly isn’t looming over them.  Now, they can break it down into smaller doable tasks like, the dirty clothes need to be put in the hamper, my bed needs to be made, the Barbies need to be put back in the bag, etc.  It is such a simple change in what we might normally say, yet it seems to make a world of difference.  I felt that it helped us look at maintaining the house a joint effort.  If you see dirty clothes on the floor whether they are yours or not, pick them up and put them in the hamper.  It brings about action instead of waiting for someone else to do it.  It has the ability to take the focus off of ourselves and to look at the big picture, even globally, really.  Instead of your son or daughter saying, “that’s not my job”, we look it as a job that needs to be done and whether or not we are able to take care of it.  When we are at the park and we see trash on the ground, we can teach our kids that something needs to be done, and why don’t we pick up the trash so that the place looks nicer for all of us who enjoy this park?

Sometimes, I just want the kids to be entertained with something so that I can clean up and feel like I am making progress.  But recently I have tried involving Piper (and Tatum sometimes, mostly I still don’t make any progress until nap time)and have used that question.  For instance, one day we were having some friends over for dinner and I told Piper that we were having friends over and that we were going to eat outside and I told her what we were having.  I wanted her to know what the plan was and then I asked, “What needs to be done?”  She said, “the dog poop needs to be picked up and I’ll clean the water table.”  I really didn’t see a need for the water table to be cleaned, but I let her clean it, anyways.  She wanted to and she decided that it was something that needed to be done.  Besides it kept her busy!  I was so happy that I didn’t tell her what I thought needed to be done, because do you know what?  The kids played in the water table that night and I was sure glad it was clean!

Choosing Joy

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We are only 9 days into the new year.  So I’m thinking it’s not too late to write about resolutions.  I have been hearing a lot about joy being that we just got over the holidays and all and I have decided that I am going to choose joy this year.  I have no reason not to, really.  I mean, look at this

the faces of joy

I have 2 beautiful girls that keep me smiling and laughing, and sometimes cause me to pull my hair out and cry too, but they are entrusted to me and I am so grateful for that.  I have a husband who looks just the same as the day I met him, pretty darn cute if you ask me (and my opinion is all that matters anyway).  We are all blessed to have our health, which is huge.  We have a dog, a house, a yard, and we live in a place where there are sunny days year around and beautiful sunsets.  Life is good, not perfect, but more than I could have ever asked for.  And so my goal this year is to focus on these things, to know them so well that they are at the forefront of my mind when I get bent out of shape over the small things.  Joy is not a feeling, or an emotion, it is a state of mind.  It is a choice and despite the circumstances, you can choose to look through the lens of joy, or pity, or envy, or bitterness.  I am choosing joy.

Yesterday I was talking to my cousin who was just reflecting on her life and how content she felt, how blessed and fortunate her and her family were.  And then life threw a curve ball and the next day hubby was laid off.  After the tears subsided, she realized that she is still blessed and fortunate.  I want this year to be marked by a year filled with joy.  Not because everything is going my way, but because I am going to choose to have joy whether things go my way or not.  This is my resolution and my hope for you too.  Change your glasses.  Take off the envy, take off the pity, and start looking through the lens of joy.  We have been given so much.

Photo booth funnies

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We fondly think of the new year as a time to reflect on the past year and make resolutions and goals for the coming year.  But it also seems to mark the end of the busyness of the holidays.  Christmas was a success in my mind.  We seemed to mellow out on gifts this year compared to years past on both sides of the family which was nice; Nice for me, the one needing to find all the new clothes and toys a place in our house, and nice for the kids who are still young enough to not remember how much they got last year and make comparisons.  We stayed the night and opened gifts Christmas Eve morning with Brian’s family and then with my family on New Year’s Eve while we were all in Arizona.  I actually really liked just having our stockings to open on Christmas.  We went on a family run, Brian went surfing and I took a nap, Tatum napped as well, and Piper did her usual nap time activity and snapped a gazillion pictures of her and her new doll on the photo booth application on the computer.  Then we headed over to my sister’s for some dinner.  Low-key, yet enjoyable.

Okay, seriously, I just scared myself.  I opened photo booth and up pops me on the screen.  I have a turbie twist on my head and look absolutely dreadful with the bulge effects that was on.  I just had to take a picture, or four.  Apparently Piper figured out how to take 4 pics, I didn’t even know it had that feature.

YIKES!

And here are a handful of the 2+ dozen pictures that Piper took.

The "I love my new doll" expression

The serious look

The "I'm super excited" expression

Trying out a new look with puffy cheeks.

Samantha by herself without a hat

Samantha by herself with a hat

And that is what Piper does when I am napping.  There are 160 pictures on the photo booth and numbers 48-160 are pictures of Piper in the last few months since she has discovered how to use the program.  Here are just a couple more for laughs.  She cracks me up!

seriously?

Now this is not at all what I intended to write about, but the idea of New Year’s resolutions just doesn’t seem appropriate after this picture.  And so, I just changed my title and will have to write about resolutions later.  I hope you find this as ridiculous as I do. 🙂