Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fun Day!

What a special day! I know most of the world is still celebrating Kate & Wills, but in our house something else was more important today.
Sesame Place opened! I was told by a friend that Member's Preview Night was awesome last year. Hardly any lines for rides or food, and lots of opportunities to really play with the characters.
What a difference a year makes, because apparently everyone else had the same idea as us! It was a mad house, but I did get a few good pictures!

And this my friends, is why I need a drink tonight?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tiaras and Shinguards

When I was pregnant with Mo, I didn't know that she was a she. I did know, however thanks to some graduate work in gender studies, that I would do everything within my power to prevent her to falling into the Princess trap. Read here or here I did not want her to sit around waiting for Prince Charming, I wanted her to get out there and live it up! In those terms, I guess for me it meant sports. I wanted her to be the athlete, not the girlie girl, cleats over high heels.
Guess what?
It backfired... a bit.
I tried to skip the Princess thing. I cringed when strangers (or some family members) would refer to her as "the Princess". I avoided showing her any of the Disney movies until very recently when Snow White was on the tv. That is easy now courtesy of Pixar. Then somehow "Princess" became part of her lexicon. She HAD to have princess panties, even though she didn't even know who most of the princesses were. She HAD to have the Cinderella book at the dollar store, and begs to use the Princess bowl and plate every day.
What did I do wrong? How did this happen?
Damn you Disney and all your "Happily Ever After"!
I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday. I guess I had always been dealing with absolutes, when in the case of princesses and sports, it doesn't have to be. She can wear her princess panties under her soccer uniform. She doesn't have to make the choice one over the other, especially at three years old. She can wear a tiara one moment and play with her soccer girls the next.
It would be a mis-truth if I admitted that I am comfortable now with all the Princess paraphernalia, I still prefer sports, but I'll be a little less neurotic about it.
Just don't call her Princess in front of me! Why settle? I prefer Queen Mo!

Monday, April 25, 2011


The Topic: recall something in your life that seemed terrible at the time, but looking back, brought you something wonderful. A positive from a negative experience.

I look at the clock
5:40 am.
I don't have to let the alarm go off, because like always, I am up. My body knows the drill. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, throw on a pair of sweats and the Smurf blue parka and walk across the empty quiet campus to the side door of the Natatorium.
The smell of chlorine hits like a punch in the face as I walk across the pool deck. The water lies still, a strangely eerie shade of blue in front of me. Down the dingy stairway into the locker room I walk. Stripping down into my practice suit, I grab my cap and trusty black goggles, and head back up the stairs. My teammates trickle in, following the same path as I and together we meet on deck. Some curl up on the floor, attempting to catch one last minute of sleep, while others like meet, just stare aimlessly into the blank pool.
6:00 on the dot, I dive in.
So goes four long years of college, spent in a cocoon of chlorinated water swimming lap after lap, hour after hour, going no where.
Why did I do this?
Why did I walk on to a Division one team?
Why did I stick with it?
At 16, I remember that moment.
I could feel my heart sink as they introduced Her as a member of the National team. She had always been just a little bit better then me and received the accolades and attention I so desired. I took my hands and starting wringing them into the folds of my blue striped skirt as I anticipated the car ride home, knowing the details on the pending conversation since my mom and I had had it before. I stabbed my pasta with the fork and tried to casually finish my dinner without making any eye contact with my mom. I could have been better, maybe even great, if I had been given the same amount of attention. Instead, I decided at that moment, I was done. Instead of putting any energy into getting their approval, I would wait and see what I could accomplish on my own.
Four years later, I stand on the block, and look to my left. She is there, no longer a teammate, but now an opponent. The 500 yard freestyle, an event I had swam hundreds of times before, but never with the urgency I feel now. My stomach is turning and my legs are jelly. I take a deep breath in, and step up onto the block making sure to glance over at Her one time.
I can do it.
I grab the block and as the buzzer goes off and I dive into the water. The next five plus minutes are a blurr, except for the last 15 yards. I look to my side and she is no where to be seen. My thighs are burning as I kick as hard as I can, gasping with each breath as I come closer to the final touch. I throw my head down, forgoing breath to make it to the end and slam my hand into the wall. Lifting my head I look to my left.
She is not there.
No, she is still swimming.
I beat her.
I beat her well.
It was worth it, all of it was worth it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, Sunny Easter

Dear Jesus,
I apologize for our absence today at Mass.
I know it is a big day, the biggest day on the Catholic calendar and attendance is a must, so I am truly sorry. We decided instead of squeezing into an overcrowded Church to thank you for your greatest sacrifice, we would celebrate this day as a family at the beach. In my humble opinion, the beach is one of Your greatest accomplishments, next to creating Human Beings and then the whole resurrection.
You truly blessed us with a stunning spring day, filled with white puffy clouds and a crisp blue sky, making the time on the boards beautifully breathtaking. This day will be one of those days we will look back upon and remember as being perfect.

Thank you for blessing me with two stunning and fantastically awesome daughters, parents and in laws who truly love and respect me, sisters (yes, you Coll) and a brother who deeply care, extended family and friends that have repeatedly been their for me, and finally a husband who is my soul mate.
We will be back in our usual pew next week, and I promise we won't miss Christmas services and I'll work on the all the other Holy days.
(Though I do think I do get a few Brownie points for handling Palm Sunday with the entire Passion reading with Mo alone last week!)
Your faithful servant,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Light & Fluffy

I know, I write some heavy stuff on here. Being a mother of little girls in this big bad world sometimes gets me thinking those deep thoughts.
That's not today! Today, I'm thinking, more so drooling over my new jeans. Since I've had my second kid, I have had a love hate relationship with my body. I love my body because it has successfully managed to sustain life, twice and not only that, continued to keep life alive for 13 months after birth, a la the boobs.
The hate part, well that's a story I think most women can commiserate with. My body is a train wreck, plain and simple. Stretchmarks on top of stretchmarks + one sagging c-section belly = a royal pain in the ass finding clothes.
I know I don't look like I did in college. I do, however want to look a little more put together and I'm trying.
A few weeks ago a great site Haute Look had a plethora of jeans on for deep discount. Now, if you're like me, bigger then a size ten in need of jeans that cover more then the bottom part of your ass, then your search may be over.
Not Your Daughter's Jeans claim to be the "most uplifting jeans ever" and I have to agree. I bought one pair and am kicking myself for not getting more! My butt hasn't looked this good in clothes in a long, long time!
Between these new jeans and the few new spring shirts I picked up at Banana Republic, Gap, & Athleta (thank you Banana credit card!) I think I may actually have a few outfits to wear in the event we go out somewhere where sweats and/or yoga pants aren't acceptable!
What a great Friday!
Feel Free to Join Me!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Red Writing Hood - My first time!

Dear Fear,
You are banished.
You are over,
No longer will I tolerate your presence in my life.
I have wasted too much of my life on you and too much of her life. That first neurotic moment I permitted you to permeate my brain, the moment she was placed in my arms, I have never been the same.
You are to blame here.
Because of you, I lost the first few months of really getting to know my little girl. Because of you, I was but a shadow of what I truly am.
Why did I think you were right? What lack of faith did I possess in myself? How could I really think I wasn't worthy, I wasn't good enough, I couldn't be there for her?
Why did I let you overtake me?
I am back. My confidence is back, my life is back as my own.
Because I said so and I am in charge now.
I am strong, stronger then I have ever been because she deserves a mother.
Post-partum depression has been this heavy burden I have carried alone these months. The fear that I would damage this beautiful, perfect person became so great that I never got to enjoy motherhood. I would put up the facade with those around me, play the part of the doting mother, while this fear would leave me clinging for something.
I am not alone anymore and I don't need to hide this fear. I have support, I have family, and I have faith.
Good riddance!

The Topic: write a formal complaint letter to your deepest, darkest fear, either fiction or non-fiction Please be kind and use kid gloves! This is my first attempt.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

300th Post- Spring Trip to the Beach

What's better then a trip to the beach with the girls?
A trip to the beach with the girls and grammy.
What's better then a trip to the beach with the girls and grammy?
A trip to the beach with both girls and BOTH grammies!

We all had a fantastic time and it was over way too quickly!

Happy Spring Break to me!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Night Out, A Night In

Yesterday Bry and I went out!
My sister stayed with the girls while we had a neighborhood wine tasting event lined up. Mo could not get us out the door fast enough as she loves "G" so much. I think it has something to do with the fact she tells my sister what to do, and my sister listens.
This sounds like a great plan except:
1. There were torrential downpours the whole evening, making our trek out harrowing.
2. Neither Bry or I really wine drinkers per se, so if someone asked how the red was tasting, my answer "Um, good?!?" probably was not what they were looking for.
3. Out of the over 60 people at the hall, we only knew six.
Have you ever been at an event and wondered, what the hell were you doing there?
That's how we felt. It's not like we were treated like lepers or anything, however it seems that once people have a little too much to drink, in this case Italian wine, they seem to stay closer to their friends.
The problem I think for Bry and I is that we're out of the loop. Our kids are babies, while most of the people there have school age kids, so our social circles haven't yet crossed.
Was it a bad event?
Would it have been more fun for us if we knew more people?
Most likely, yes.
So, at around ten we left.
And we had our own Italian fest.

This is what was left at 7:30 am the next morning when I woke up with the girls.
And what's better the next morning after consuming a little too much of Italian sparkling wine?
Pizza, ahem, Cold pizza of course!

Thanks G and hopefully our next venture out will be a little more socially successful!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Long, Long, Long Trip to Target

Have you been to Target recently?
I have, or shall I say, "we" have. I remember learning in college about high frequency sight words, how children are able to "read" (memorize) words that they see often. How sad is it that Mo can read Target, BJs, & Chick Fil A? What does that say about the frequency she is exposed to these words?
Anyway, two days ago Mo woke up from her nap, and uttered the words she usually does when she first wakes up and sees me.
She say: "Where are we going today mommy?"
Everyday, twice a day, initial wake up in the morning and then when she wakes up from her nap, I have to answer the question. Heaven forbid I have nothing planned or utter the phrase "Let's stay home!"Gasp, it's almost blasphemous here!
We must go somewhere. She suggested going to Target, however the time, nearly five combined with the weather, heavy rain, prevented us from that trip. In an effort to calm her dismay from not getting to go to Target immediately, I promised her a trip the very next day after our weekly trip to our community library for Story Hour.
She first wanted to skip Story Hour and then attempted to barter: First Target then Story Hour. Finally, she agreed we could go to Story Hour and then Target.
Honestly, I did need to make the trip. The weather appears to have finally made the turn into springtime, which means occasional days of nearly 90 degree weather combined with rainy days in the 50's and nice clear blue sky days of 70 and a wardrobe to match. So off to Target we went to start the spring shopping season!
Mo promised me that once she was three she would give up the diapers, and lo and behold the Monday after her third birthday she did just that. She gave up the diapers for the "big girl panties". Yesterday, we were day 9 in. She had yet to use anything successfully except her own little potty and had not had an accident for four days.
I was confident as I secured Maeve and Mo into their car seats that we could make it to Target for our usual forty minute shopping trip with little to no issue. I had a few pairs of extra undies and pants in the diaper bag and had her little collapsible seat in a zip lock bag too.
I should have turned around when she shouted "I have to pee" while we were in line at BJs for gas.
I zipped the car out of line, sped through the parking lot to a space near Target and ran to the trunk to get her "portable potty" ready.
She then said: "Umm, I don't have to go anymore."
I should have went home.
Nope! I decided to forge on...on to Target we went. I piled the girls and the loaded diaper bag into the cart.
No sooner did we make past the dollar spot, did Mo mutter: "I have to pee, Mom".
Luckily, the bathroom was close by. I pushed the actual cart into the bathroom, managing to smush Maeve's fingers between the door, poor baby! As she's crying, I zip into the handicap stall. Out I pull the plastic potty cover, and plop Mo on.
She says again: "I don't have to go".
I respond, "Try! If you go, I'll let you pick something from the dollar spot."
She tries, she goes, Yippee!!
I get excited, give her a high five, we flush, wash our hands, and head out back to Target. She chooses a flower watering can, and off we go.
I'm thinking to myself, "Wow, what an awesome job she is doing! I can't believe that she just was able to use a real toilet. We should be able to shop easily now since she's done! What a relief!"
After perusing the women's clothes, we head to the shoes. We find this little number and as we're fastening the Velcro, I hear
"Mommy, I gotta go potty again!".
I tell her, "No worries" as we zip back to the bathroom again, this time with a few things in the cart.
I watch Maeve's fingers as we enter the door and back into the handicap stall we go.
She pees, I applaud, we wash, and off to shop some more!
She keeps talking about wanting Toy Story Pajamas, so we search the little boys section for those. Not two minutes later, "mom, I have to pee!"
Back we run, but this time apparently not quick enough. Luckily, I've got back up panties & pants so we're set. She finishes in the potty, we wash, and back to shop again.
We are able to shop for clothes, picking out some adorable skirts and shorts and tops,and then we head over the toys. I confess, I am not above bribery- be it lollipops or in this case, time looking at toys. Can you guess what happened next?
Yup, back to the bathroom for round 4.
I decided that four trips to the bathroom was my limit. From there we checked out and headed home.
Once in the door, she screamed "I have to go potty" raced up the stairs while I balanced her sister and the bags in my arms. By the time I got upstairs to meet her, I was too late. She was bottomless, walking into her room to get new pants & panties.
How this child had anything left in her bladder is beyond me.
What a long, strange trip it was to Target. I remember looking at the clock in the car when we piled in to go home and did a double take, not believing we had been in there for over an hour and a half.
I do have to commend Target for their well cleaned and maintained bathrooms.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What to do?

In case you missed it, Mo had a birthday and two parties.
I don't know what to do with myself during nap time now. I guess I could start exercising or reading or something productive, but I think I'm in planning withdrawal. Symptoms include: numerous blog searches, trips to Target and the Christmas Tree Shop for no apparent reason, and long, glances at the dining room. Luckily, the weather seems to be changing and getting nicer which means more time outside. I'm hoping that a dose of springtime can get me out of this mode.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Somewhere Over the Rainbow Celebration

Around Thanksgiving, my daughter watched Wizard of Oz for the first time. Not long after this first viewing, Mo was smitten! Her imaginary play often included herself as Dorothy, Grammy as the Wicked Witch, I got to be Glinda, while her poor little sister, Maeve was stuck as a flying monkey. My mom found a Dorothy dress at a local consignment store and from that Wizard of Oz became a natural choice for her third birthday celebration.

With the help of a few eager preschool hands and my dad, our yellow brick road was the most logical starting point.

From there, we had our cast of characters.

Dorothy, the cowardly Lion, Toto, The Good Witch of the Shore, a munchkin from the lullaby league, the wicked Witch, and Glinda, the good witch

Gathering inspiration from the movie, decorations took on a rainbow color scheme. Using quotations from the movie, I created
DIY streamers,signs, and banners which I hung throughout the house.

Our party guests enjoyed lunch and then it was time for a story. On a recent trip to the Christmas Tree Shop, I found a copy of The Wizard of Oz and since I knew not all of the party goers had seen the movie, reading the book was a great introduction.
The children were all under five years old, so I planned activites accordingly.
Using their brains like the scarecrow, they created rainbow fruit loop necklaces.
Pin the heart on the tin man, took a lot of heart.
Finally, it took courage, like the lion, to hit the pinata. (Even if it was a cupcake instead of the rainbow I wanted!)

Finally, it was time to celebrate our birthday girl. What could be better then rainbow cupcakes, witches hat cookies, and lollipop cookies on a stick?

I like to think it was all the little details that took the party over the rainbow.

Slippers under the house

Flying Monkeys in training

Red Converse Sneakers in place of Ruby slippers, much better for running

For all the brave kids, courage badges

Goodie baskets complete with Glinda's magic bubbles, Red Slipper cookies, an apple, lollipop bouquets, and happy little bluebird peeps

We had a magical day celebrating my little one's third birthday!

Photos courtesy of Ashley Pierce Photography