Dec 29, 2011

2011 Comes to a Close

Our year in review.

Hope turned 3

Sisterly Love

My Little Irish Ladies

Paige turned 1

Bears at the zoo

Happy Father's Day, Daddy

4th of July Parade

Popsicles on a hot day

School started

Visited my sister in New York


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Today I am linking up with Jessica from Four Plus an Angel and Ashley from My Front Porch Swing for

Dec 27, 2011

Let Her Eat Cake

My daughter is turning four this week.

We have been trying to decide on a theme for her birthday.

When asked what she wants on her cake, Hope told me, Elmo.

(What!?  Elmo?  Child had an Elmo cake when she was two.  She then got so caught up in Dora and her exploring that she did not show interest in the little red monster again.  Elmo, really?)

So I asked her, "Hey Hope?  Why do you want Elmo on your cake?"

"Because Paige likes Elmo, Mommy," was her sweet reply.

"Aww, honey.  That is very nice.  But it is your birthday.  We should do something that you like."

"But I like Elmo."


A few days later I tried again.  Her reply?


"Hope, we are not doing an Elmo cake for your birthday," says the mean mom that I am.  "What else would you like on your cake?"

"Um, dinosaurs."

(Are you kidding me!?  This child has exactly two plastic dinosaurs that get played with maybe twice a year.)

"Hm, why would you like a dinosaur cake?"

"Because Noah [her cousin] likes them."

Again.  Really?

"Hope, why don't you chose something that you really like?"

"But I like dinosaurs, too."


We tried many different suggestions (some even with visual aids), all shot down by my almost-four-year-old daughter.  It was not until after Christmas, and her new toys, that she finally found a theme we could agree on.

(You know, one that she actually has shown an interest in the past year or so of her life.)

Let's just hope I can pull it off....

Dec 24, 2011

A Magical Moment

Yesterday, it snowed.

I think mother nature heard my plea.

It was just a light dusting, and is pretty much gone today, but for a few minutes the girls and I ran outside to enjoy the winter magic.

Yes, I just put them in their boots, hats, and mittens.  It's been that kind of winter.

And then we all went inside.  Some willingly (Hope was the first in the door -- I think the lack of coat was getting to her), some not-so-willingly (that would be Paige).

But everyone was happy when I pulled out the mugs and whipped up some hot cocoa, with marshmallows of course.

To be honest, it's been one of my favorite "holiday moments" this whole season.  More happy and delightful than any shopping, movie watching, present wrapping, or even holiday baking.

The girls were so excited and joyful.  I was so excited and joyful.  And not just because of the snow.  It was the feeling we all had.

I did not worry about the girls getting snow on their clothes, how much cocoa they drank, or filling their stomachs with marshmallows before lunch.  Yesterday, it was only about the relaxed and fun memories we made.

And I wish the same for all of you.

May this holiday season and weekend, be filled with many happy, joyful, fun, and relaxing memories and moments!

Dec 22, 2011

Let It Snow, for now

I miss the snow.

(Shoot.  Did I say that out loud?  Please don't tell anyone.)

But I do.  It just doesn't feel like the holidays without snow, darn it.  Heck, it hardly even feels like December.  I mean, if there isn't going to be snow, I might as well be enjoying a sunny December 22nd in 82 degree Orlando.

Don't get me wrong.  As much as I love having snow in December, come January 2nd I'm pretty much ready for a thaw and spring.

(I know, I'm not a true Minnesotan.  But don't worry, I never claimed to be.)

Oh sure, snow is wonderful and beautiful.  I loved playing in it when I was younger.  And I love watching the girls play in it now.  I like the big bundled up look of snow pants and coats, the rosy noses, and the pure delight in their faces.  And especially the drinking of the hot cocoa after coming in from the cold.

There really is something magical about snow.

And I think that's why I'm whining about the lack of it right now.  Yes, I know all of the appropriate December holidays will come whether there is snow on the ground or not.  I know that Hope and Paige will still feel the same amount of excitement come Christmas morning if it's brown outside instead of white.

But I want the snow.

I want to sit inside my cozy, warm house, sipping peppermint cocoa, and watching big, fluffy flakes turn the world into a winter wonderland.

I want to ring in the new year, and celebrate my firstborn's birthday, with the magic of snow on the ground.

And then, I'm fine.  I give Mother Nature permission to cut winter short and give us a nice long spring. (I'm generous like that.)

But for now, I'd appreciate a little of the white stuff.  You know, for the kids.

This is not what our yard currently looks like.  I just wish it did.

Dec 19, 2011

Feeling the Season

I am sitting in the living room, just the glowing Christmas tree lights the space.

It is quiet.  A very welcome quiet.  A quiet the surrounds me with softness and warmth.

I close my eyes and listen.  I can hear the heat humming through our vents.  And the faint murmur of the TV upstairs.

Everyone is is bed.  The girls are snuggled under blankets, (hopefully) dreaming of baking cookies and new memories made.  Adam is unwinding, most likely in front of a news or sports show.

And me.  I am here.  I am taking this quiet moment for myself.

I take a deep breath in and smell evergreen.  I love having a real tree.  I study the tree, the lights, the ornaments.  And I think, this is good.

I have felt my holiday spirit has been lacking.  But maybe I have been too preoccupied to see it, to feel it.  I thought that squeezing and cramming in as many holiday traditions as possible is what I needed to experience the season.

But this, this is what I need to soak up some holiday magic.

Just a quiet moment.  Followed by a feeling.  That reminds me about the peace and love I am surrounded with.  In my living room.  In my home.  In my world.


Dec 15, 2011

Away in a Manger

The mother is on her knees, one hand over her heart.  The father stands above, leaning on his staff.

The baby is apart from it all, face down, his bare bottom exposed.

This, is our nativity scene.

Two sheep are laying on the floor, the others piled high in the pen.  There is a camel in the background, looking amused.

And two children sit precariously close to the edge, ready to fall off the table.

An angel looks over them all.

Our nativity scene.

Jumbled up, mixed around, unorganized.  Loved by little hands.


I love our Fontanini Nativity.  I'm not exactly sure what the characters are made of (plastic?), but they look nice, not cheap, and are child-friendly.

We have this set because we want our kids to be able to play with our nativity scene and not worry about a sheep losing a leg, Mary losing her arm, or baby Jesus losing his head.

Another bonus?  We started a tradition of getting a new figurine each year.


Linking up with Mama Kat

Dec 12, 2011

The Case of the Missing Cheerio

My daughter stuck a cheerio up her nose this morning.

Not the little one.  The one who will be four in less than two weeks.

Cheerio.  Up her nose.

I could not even see it.

Every time I had her blow her nose, she blew hard and then proceeded to take an extremely big sniff, IN.

Because I am a (sometimes) cautious parent, I called the nurse line.  Had it been, say, a bead, uncooked noodle, peanut, or marble (can kids actually get marbles up there?), I would've known for sure to see a doctor, but as a cheerio gets soggy in milk, I figured it might also do the same in, uh, snot...

After asking if I could see the cheerio (again, I could not), and then a good little chuckle (ha, ha), the nurse told me that yes, we should come in and see the doctor.

I'll spare you the details, but after a few blows into a tissue while in the waiting room, it appeared a cheerio exited Hope's nose.

We still went in to see the doctor.  He checked her nose, listened to her chest, and gave us the all clear.

On our way out I had a little chat with Hope about how nothing goes into any hole in your body, unless it's food, you know, going into your mouth.

And that was how my week started.  Happy Monday!

Dec 10, 2011

Making Time for Me

Yesterday I wrote about being nice to myself, and pretty much dropping everything for the girls.  It was necessary for me on that particular day.

I do, however, firmly believe that most of the time it is important for me to make time for myself too.

In order for me to be the best mom I can be to my girls, I need to feel like I am an individual and that my needs are a priority too.

Not only does it help me be a better mom, but I also think it is a good example to set for the girls.  I am always their mother, and I will almost always put their needs before my own (such is the life of a mom, no?), but it is healthy for them to see me take care of myself and to know that it takes work to run a household.

Part of being nice to myself, is also allowing myself to have a break, to take time just for me, to sometimes be a "just a minute" mom in order to get something done around the house.

Here are a couple ways I do just that:

* Meet a friend for a chat
* Snuggle into bed with a book
* Take a shower
* Write (journal or blog)
* Catch up on my favorite blogs during nap time
* Get at least one thing crossed off my To Do list during the day
* Watch my favorite TV show
* Go window shopping

How about you?  How do you take time for yourself?

Dec 9, 2011

Being Nice to Myself

Today I am trying.

Trying to be better, trying to be grateful, trying to be nice to myself.

It has been a bad morning.  Actually, it has been a rough couple weeks, and it all boiled over this morning.  In all honesty, if you asked, I don't think I could even explain why it's been rough.  It just has.  And I have not been very nice to myself because of it.

So today, I am trying.

I am taking deep breaths and focusing on patience instead of frustration.  I am looking at my sink full of dishes and trying to have this positive mindset from Four Plus an Angel.  I am congratulating myself on every victory, no matter how small.

Because it is hard.  Some days, it is really hard.

I feel overwhelmed and exhausted.  Meeting all the needs of the girls before my own.  Having two girls hanging on me both physically and emotionally all day.

Being present all day.

So instead of trying to squeeze in something for myself and then being interrupted by a poopy diaper, a hungry mouth, a need other than my own, I am letting go.  I am turning away from the computer when Paige and Hope want to snuggle onto my lap (even if I am in mid-sentence).  I am shutting off the water and looking at the pictures the girls colored (even if I am in mid-dish).  I am leaving a basket of half folded laundry when someone wants to read a book.

Today, I am not "let me finish this up first" mom.  I am not "just a minute" mom.

I am vacuuming, if I can.  I am folding laundry, if I can.  I am doing something for myself, if I can.  But today, I am not going to be frustrated and irritated if it doesn't happen, if I get interrupted.

Some days I have to be "just a minute" mom.  Because things need to get done.  It is important for our household and for the girls to know and see this.

But today, for my own mental health and happiness I am letting everything else go.  Today, anything extra is a bonus, not a necessity.  Today, I am being nice to myself.

Today, I am accepting that my needs often have to come second.

And today I'm going to be okay with that.

Dec 7, 2011

The Plight of a Christmas Tree

I think our Christmas tree is feeling neglected.

In much excitement, and some new snow, we got our tree last Saturday.

She then stood naked in the tree stand.  For three days.

Finally, I got around to putting on the lights.

And ran out.

Instead of running out to get another strand of lights (believe me, the thought crossed my mind).  I decided it would be easier (ahem) to just restring the lights on the tree.

We started decorating.

And then it was time for bed.

(Notice the arrows.  They point to the six ornaments the girls put on.)

At this rate, we might have it fully decorated by Christmas.

Well, for sure by New Year's.

Dec 3, 2011

4 Lists of 5

I am a list maker.  Sometimes it's a good thing (like when I need to remember what to buy at the grocery store) and sometimes it's not so good (like when I make lists of all the long-term things I want to get done, and then end up feeling more overwhelmed).

Today, it is (hopefully) a good thing.

5 Things About Me You Don't Know

1.  When I was in middle school I laughed so hard I peed my pants after trying to sell baby carrots door-to-door with some friends.

Christmas 2010
2.  Sometimes I am over-sensitive to noises.  As in, when I am having a moment, I can't even stand to hear my daughter chew her cereal because the crunching bothers me.  (I don't understand it, I don't like it, but that's just the way it is.)

3.  Every year at this time I start to stress out about the quantity of toys the girls already possess and how that will be significantly increased after the holidays.

4.  I don't mind that the holiday season starts before Thanksgiving.  (I don't like when it starts before Halloween, but hearing Christmas music on the radio the week before Thanksgiving?  Yes please.)

5.  Sometimes I feel like something is missing.  Even though my life is filled with wonderful blessings, I feel like I am missing something too.

5 Things I'm Knowledgeable About

1.  The art of napping.

2.  My children.  Shocking, I know, but aside from my husband, I'm pretty sure I know my children better than anyone else.  (For now.)

3.  Over-using parentheses.  (Haven't you noticed?)

4.  Children's television, children's music, children's movies.

5.  Cooking and baking.  (At least, I am knowledgeable to the degree that I can find and follow a recipe.  Just don't ask me to make something without one.)

*I am discovering that there doesn't seem to be much I actually feel "knowledgeable" about.

5 Things I Know Nothing About

1.  Cars and car maintenance.  I can fill up the tank, fill up the wiper fluid, and that's about it.

2.  Plumbing.  I flush the toilet, the water goes down, when it doesn't I use a plunger.

3.  Raising boys.

4.  Fashion.  (This I am currently trying to change, with a healthy dose of "People Style Watch" and some helpful friends.)

5.  Using my camera in anything other than the Auto Mode.  (But this, too, I am working on changing.)

5 Things I Believe

1.  Compassion is one of the most important qualities a person can have.  And if everyone had more compassion the world would be a more peaceful place.

2.  Forgiveness is crucial for a healthy soul, but sometimes it's a fight to find it.

3.  Having children and helping them grow up is the biggest joy (and fear) in my life.

4.  In order to be the best mother to my girls, I need to have time away and for myself.

5.  Each day, each moment, I am doing the best that I can in that moment.  And on the days I feel like I could've done better, I need to cut myself a little slack.  And hope that the next time "the best I can" feels better than the last.


This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt:

2.) Five Things. List 5 things we don’t know about you, 5 things you’re knowledgeable about, 5 things you know nothing about, and 5 things you believe.


Dec 1, 2011

Another One Lost...

This is how I feel when I get my haircut.  Every.  Time.

I can not find a good hairstylist.

Honestly, each time I get a haircut I have to try a new stylist because the previous cut (and stylist) did not work out.  And each time I feel like I've wasted too much money on something I am unhappy with.

Once.  Once in my life I found The One.  She was my haircutting soulmate.  She was cute and funny, chatty but not too chatty, and best of all gave me the exact cut I didn't even know I needed.  And six months later when I called to schedule another cut --

(yes, that's right I get my hair cut about twice per year)

she was gone.  Gone.  Without a word to me.  No call, no letter, no this-is-where-you-can-find-me, here-is-my-forwarding-information-for-your-hairstyling-perfection.  I mean, we shared one beautiful and wonderful haircut, the least she could've done was given me her social security number for my "following her anywhere" convenience, right?

As you can see, I am still devastated. And have been left to wander aimlessly amid a sea of Not For Me hairdressers.

Now, as if this three year long search has not been hard enough, today I find out my doctor is leaving me.  My fabulous, really-listens-to-my-concerns-and-takes-them-seriously doctor.


I'm not sure I'm going to be able to manage the search for a hairstylist AND a new doctor.

And once I do find them, if I ever do, what then?  After one haircut, or a couple of physicals, they could leave me too.

Does anyone else find it hard to find and keep a hairstylist, doctor, dentist, or whatever else?