Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Week Gone...

Yep, another week gone. And good riddens, I say. This week was a rough one. Actually, it started out really well, and it happened to end really well, but the middle? Ugh. My week was riddled with emotions, from delightful to deflated. Let me just say: there wasn't nearly enough chocolate in the house this week.

So, rather than do my usual dialogue of events, I'm just going to share some of the emotions we encountered, and save the activities for another time. Enjoy the show!

We celebrated:

We explored:

 We indulged:
We worked:
We got ourselves into some sticky situations:
 And some really big messes:
 There were surprises:
 And fun:

There were moments we needed a hug:
 And others we needed a beer:
 We got tired:
And sometimes felt alone:
But at the end of the day, there were always cuddles and hugs:
 Which, in hindsight, made everything okay because we have
wonderful friends and family who are always
there to give us support.
Thanks to everyone who gave me so much encouragement this week. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family.

A special thanks to my sister who gave up her day to come and clean my house, watch my kids and give me some time to reclaim my sanity. Also to my niece who gave up her weekend to help out with her cousins. To my husband, who listened, labored and supported me through my meltdowns, and to my best friend, who made me laugh and encouraged me to order the dessert.

I love you all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forget Tiger Mother, Here's Bear Mother

Today, of all days, I just need a little break. And a laugh. My mom and aunt both sent the following to me via e-mail this morning, so instead of publishing my original post for today, I'm taking it as a sign that I should pass this on instead:

In My Next Life....

In this life, I'm a woman. In my next life, I'd like to come back as a bear. When you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that too.

When you're a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping, and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly, cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.

If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat. And you know what? He deals with that.

Yep, in my next life... gonna be a BEAR!

*I wish I could give credit to whomever originally posted this, as it was not me. It has made the rounds on e-mail and internet, and just reached me today - and boy did I need the laugh!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Week Gone...

Do you think mom realizes that almost every picture
was taken in the kitchen this week?

Well, we are pretty good at making messes in here!
Mommy did spend a LOT of time in the kitchen this week. I finally cooked the remaining three turkeys I bought at Thanksgiving markdown prices, as well as cleaned up after the two Munchkins incessantly. Mark is moving on to more foods, such as banana and toast, and that translates to more cleanup.

Did I do that?

Oh yeah, I guess I did!

Don't worry, I'll help clean up!
Grace also has her food eating habits that keep me busy in the kitchen. While she knows better than to purposely drop any food on the floor, she is quite enamored with putting food on the table. Or windowsill. Or anywhere she can reach from the high chair, which has resulted in her being an "island" in the middle of the dining room, in an effort to keep food (and cleaning) from spreading out of control.

I had to take a picture of her goldfish line up however, as it is so typical of Grace and her obsession with lining things up and organizing. Here she is taking the fish out of the cup holder on the highchair, and placing them on the table:

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish...

Here they are, all lined up and ready to be eaten!
And when she ran out of goldfish, she didn't mind... she just kept putting "pretend" goldfish down!

Here's another one for the line...
uh, I think we're out of goldfish!
Moving out of the kitchen for a moment... I finally was able to successfully put Grace's hair in pigtails! Unfortunately, she wouldn't stand still long enough for me to get a good shot, so I had to settle for this.

Yes sweetie, a crooked part is in vogue right now. Promise.

Well, I actually did get a picture when she was relegated to being locked behind the gate while I returned (once again) to the kitchen:

Really, this picture needs no caption.

I didn't feel too badly (just a smidgen) about taking a picture of her crying, because I felt like crying too. Two minutes prior, I had been doing the dishes, and when I turned the water off, I heard the slight crinkling of plastic... not a good sign. Sure enough, Grace had been sitting in her toy stroller, casually taking things out of the pantry (which she knows she's not supposed to do!) and I found she had opened and emptied an entire bag of nuts onto the floor:

And now you know why things never quite get
finished around here...
Luckily, Mark had been right by my side, so he didn't get close enough to eat anything. And Grace? Well, I can tell you that she doesn't appear to be allergic to walnuts. In case you were wondering.

Speaking of Mark by my side... he's going through the same stage that Grace did at this age. He wants to be right next to me, especially if I'm trying to empty the dishwasher, cook dinner, or do anything else that requires me to take a step. He will hold onto my pants for dear life, and I will slowly walk from one place to the next while he attempts to keep up. It's not very efficient, but it does entertain.

He also likes it when I wear pants that have a pull string, as he can combine his two favorite activities: standing and chewing on strings.

Don't worry, I'm a pro at this.

Not quite as tasty as the string on the pull-along
dog toy, but it will do.
Lastly, I picked up Mark's professional pictures that I told you about a few weeks ago. As promised, here is an adorable picture that would make it to the front of any baby catalog in the country... if they knew it existed.

Oh yeah. Future GQ model right here ladies!
I hope if you spent lots of time in the kitchen, it was enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor. If not, at leat you know you can come here to commiserate. Have a wonderful week and try not to go nuts!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Boo-Boos and Buzz

Gracie is still pretty non-verbal. She gets her point across when she wants to, and she can say quite a few words... some of which are even decipherable. But sometimes, you only know what she's saying when she repeats after you. Such as "Sorry" (usually directed at her brother, at our insistence) or "I Love You" - which so far has been reserved only for Grandma Dee Dee and Daddy. Sigh.

So, you can imagine my delight when Gracie decided to honor me with her first kiss for a "boo-boo". Yes, she knows how to say "owie" and she knows that many of her bruises and bumps can be fixed with a kiss from mommy. When I left for an early morning shopping trip on Saturday, Gracie was still sleeping. I came home to a great big hug (yay!) and then she noticed: Mommy had an owie! She pointed, said "owie" very clearly, and gave me the cutest little kiss - right on my chin. My owie? A zit. Sigh.

In other news, apparently Elmo and Gracie have ended their love affair. I'm glad I gave her sage advice last year about how to handle relationships. It must have been one of those "let's be friends" break-ups, because she still wears clothing bearing his moniker, and she even asks to see him from time to time. However, it's pretty obvious she's moved on. Maybe she found out he'd also been seeing Cate over at Uno,Dos, Tracey (it's rumored he even told Cate "Elmo loves You!" around the same time he was courting Grace).

At any rate, Grace has moved on to a more, uh, mature man. He's quite a bit older, and even has a job that requires a high degree of training and skill. He's very optimistic, and always ready to help out a damsel in distress.

Just three weeks ago, Grace would call me to her room each morning with a "Mommy! Mommy!" and then leap into my arms for a big morning hug saying "Mommeeee...!" Now when I walk into her room, she stands up, grabs her blankie, and says "Buzz?"  Sigh.

Luckily for Gracie, we have three entire movies devoted to her new love.
And I hear he has thing for redheads. *wink*

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Week Gone...

This week has been... exciting. You'll probably get to the end of this post and wonder if you missed the exciting part. You didn't. It's just that my sense of accomplishment has definitely been skewed by my new status as SAHM. I'm coming up on the one year mark in a couple months, and I'm finally getting the hang of it. I think.

Last weekend, I was DONE. FINISHED. Tired of living in a disorganized house that seemed to be messy all the time, and took twice as long as it should to do the everyday tasks of life. So, I pulled up my mental bootstraps and determined that this was the week. And you know what? I did it! I organized my kitchen cupboards, medicine cabinet, bathroom storage, and hall closet. And it feels goooooood.

I also made a MAJOR score at the Target season end toy sale. This is just the kind of thing that made me jealous when I was a working mom. When a great sale or event was taking place, I missed out because I was tied to a desk. I still sometimes wonder why I gave up the comfort of that desk... but for the first time ever, I have birthday and Christmas gifts for the kids ahead of time - and the savings cut our gift bill for the year in half.

Yeah, it's been an exciting week.

As I was doing all this shopping, I realized this is
probably the last year I will be able to throw toys in
our cart without my kids realizing what is going on...
Okay, so I know you only come to the blog on Friday to see the antics of two redheads, and occasionally their parents, so here goes:

Mark must have read my last blog post, because not only did he repeat his "Daddy" performance Monday night, he also said "Mamamama" at me. Twice. As I sat on the floor with Grace this morning, he said "Mama, mama, mama" from the time he left his lookout at the fireplace until he had pulled himself up onto me - using my hair as leverage. I didn't mind the whole hair pulling thing too much. *beams*

On Monday, my readers voted that yes, Dada was Mark's first word, but Mama is definitely second. (No matter what Grandma DeeDee and Papa say...)

Mark also threw in this milestone for good measure:

Oh yeah, I'm standing behind the toy
all by myself....

...and walking! Look out world!
He's going to be walking on his own before the end of the month if I don't find some way to tie him down more often.

Gracie was a big helper in the kitchen:

See Mommy? The sponge holds enough water
to wet the kitchen counter AND floor!

It didn't take me long to realize allowing a two year
old to hold a ceramic spoon holder over a cast iron
sink was probably a bad idea...

Mom, I'm not going to get anything done if you
keep asking me to look at the camera...

And she helped herself to the hat drawer:

You hafta pull the strings here to pop it
on your head just right!

Mark: "Are you sure it goes on this way?"
Gracie: "What can I say? It has no strings!"

We have lots of cute pictures of Grace at bathtime or in her bath towels, and I wanted some cute ones of Mark as well, so I asked Daddy to grab the camera and take some shots:

Peek a Boo!

Okay, enough with the puppy on my head...

No, seriously. How do I get this thing off??

Mark wasn't as into the bathtime photo shoot as much as Gracie was at his age. He also wasn't into as much as Daddy was. I swear the man took forty photos. He thought he was a fashion photographer on a supermodel cover shoot. I had to put my foot down.

This is my "Thanks for taking photos of the baby. You're really annoying me now. Put the camera down before I do something I'll regret" look:

"Trying to be nice even though I want to strangle you
with the camera strap right now..."

It didn't work. So I moved on to my "You are a dead man if you snap one more photo. STOP. NOW." (through clenched teeth) look:

Mark added another word to his repertoire that night: "Whoa."
(And he was thinking: "My Daddy sure is brave!")

We don't have a photo of what happened next. Evidence like that is always erased before it falls into the wrong hands.

Hope your week was exciting too, and you didn't have to do any talking through clenched teeth. If you did, I hope you erased the evidence!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Confession

Okay, remember the post where Mark's teeth came in, and I chastized family members for casually remarking on it without bringing it to my attention? I believe my words were: "I BLOG people! If you don't see it here, I missed it!" Well, it's time for me to eat my words. Or, at least renege a little.

In November there was a post about how Mark was making the "Ma Ma Ma" sound and I thought he'd say his first word soon. Well, he did. And I didn't blog about it. In fact, I have been mulling the event over in my mind, wondering if it was actually his first word. I'm trying to decide if it was just a fluke. Maybe I'll let my readers decide.

It was early December. Mark had been babbling for quite a few weeks. He often would say "Ma Ma Ma" while trying to chew on the trash can or attempting another round of sock eating. To my chagrin, he began trying out other sounds too. So when he "said" his first word... it wasn't "Mama". Which may have something to do with why I didn't report it right away. Or, er, ever.

Photo taken Dec. 9th, date of the "alleged" event.

My little guy had started the "Da Da Da" sound, as well as "Pa Pa Pa". I told my husband that if he said "Papa" before he said "Mama", I was going to have to sit him down and explain which side his bread was buttered on. Luckily, that didn't happen. Well, not yet anyway.

Alas, here is the account of my son's first word. Or not. (I'm anxiously awaiting your vote.)

It was a dark and stormy night... (Not really.) Robert was home helping to take care of the kids and I after we all had a bout with what I suspect was the flu. He had been home pretty much all week, so the kids had lots of face time with daddy. As my son sat on my lap, daddy walked by. As soon as daddy passed, Mark turned his head, looked right at Robert and said "Dada".

I immediately dismissed it as coincidence, since he says Mama all the time; the fact that he's ten feet away pulling his sister's hair when he says it is not really relevant. When Robert walked by a second time and Mark looked at him and said "Dada" again, I was afraid I had a turncoat on my hands. Little stinker! You see me all day, everyday, and don't say my name. Yet you spend one week home with dad and get his name down in no time flat?

In my defense, he has not said any words since (at least not with any sort of recognition... just babbling). We spent lots of time with daddy over the holidays with nary a peep from Mark suggesting he recognizes family members by name. If he had a grasp of language, wouldn't he have used it again? Especially if he could call out to his loving, wonderful, caring mother?

Right. That's what I thought too. Hence the neglect in mentioning it. I wouldn't want to steer you wrong.

Realization dawned as I wrote last Friday's post about Mark waving at the woman at the photo studio that I might have missed documenting my son's first word simply because it wasn't the word I was hoping for. After all, if I was so sure he waved at that woman because he did it twice, wouldn't it then stand to reason that he said his first word a month ago?

So there is my confession. I eagerly document the slightest new events as evidence that Mark comprehends the world around him, yet I let a major milestone simmer in the background of my mind.

Therefore, in true social media style, I put the question to you. Are we still waiting to hear from Mark, or do I have selective hearing? Survey says?!?

Do I get a vote? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I was there
when this whole thing went down...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Another Week Gone...

This week went by very, very quickly. I think it was due to avoiding all the laundry that's been invading. I am happy to report that there are only two small loads waiting to be done. And one in the dryer. And one clean load front of the dryer. (Shoot, that's four loads isn't it??? I'm never going to win an award for Best in Laundry, I can tell.)

I did manage to get the living room looking all spiffy (even the slipcovers on the couches were smoothed out). That's why a clean load of laundry was left in the garage - because the rest of the house is a disaster. When I want to pretend that I'm good at this whole SAHM thing, I sit in the living room and avoid looking at the rest of the house. A load of unfolded laundry on the couch would burst my bubble, no matter how clean it was.

All this blathering is to tell you that the camera was neglected a bit this week due to all the energy I put into talking about cleaning rather than actually doing it. What we did do was this:

Gracie finally got to play with her PlayDoh set. This was the big gift she opened before Christmas when she snuck behind the tree barrier. She can only play with it when Mark is sleeping, so I heard a lot of "Baby Sheeping? Baby Sheeping?" this week.

Mommy showed Grace how the "spaghetti" tool worked.
Wow. This cooking stuff is serious business!
Fresh pasta takes some effort!

All that spaghetti PlayDoh helped Grace find her inner chef, as she busied herself with various kitchen duties this week. She chopped up vegetables (very serious work):

We may need to work on the knife skills
a bit. Your fingers go on the handle
sweetie, not the blade!

Um, okay. We're getting there...

She spiced up the kitchen table (and sneezed afterward - it was classic!):

Okay, that ought to do it!
Well, maybe just a pinch more...
She set the table:

Plates, glasses, spoons... mommy will be so proud!
Mark got in on the action a little late...
no plates left! He can't reach the table anyway.
I don't know who she invited, but based on the number
of plates, Grace had better make more spaghetti...

On Wednesday, Grandma Dee Dee came to help mommy learn to use her new sewing machine! I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I did manage to thread the needle. All by myself. (Insert pride here.)

Dee Dee then took Gracie to stay at her house, and apparently they worked on sewing techniques there too:

Don't worry Grandma Dee Dee, I'll help mom when
you're not around to give her sewing tips.
Mark took his nine month photos yesterday. He is adorably cute in every single picture, so you can expect that I will be posting a ridiculously long gallery of photos any day now... oh wait. You get those every week anyway!

He continues to learn new things each day. Yesterday he waved at a shopper passing the photo studio. At first I thought it was a fluke, but he waved twice in response to the shopper, so I'm guessing there was something to it. He also has his two upper teeth poised to make an appearance at any moment. You can actually see the white of the teeth, but they haven't decided to bust out just yet. Stay tuned. (Aren't you glad I keep you updated on all this exciting news? PlayDoh, cutting teeth, laundry... just fascinating, I'm sure.)

I hope your 2011 has started off with less laundry than mine, and that your little helpers are discovering new ways to help around the house - or waving people down to come in and help. *wink*