Thursday, March 29, 2007

Short List

In my professional opinion, whatever it's worth, there are few things in life that can even hold a candle to a hug from your child.

I'm not talking about a grab-'ya-'round-the arms-hug, either. I'm referring to the sweetest, most tender hug given to me tonight by Elaina just before bedtime. We read stories together before she began telling me, "Bed. Night,night." She crawled out of my lap and began to walk to her crib. I asked her if she could come back to say our prayers together. She easily came back to me, climbed onto my lap and swung her arms around my neck and hugged me for all she was worth. The better part was that it wasn't a flash-in-the-pan hug either. She kept on hugging me until she finished with a kiss on the lips and asked to go to bed.

Melt. Melt. Melt. These are the times I wish I just had a freeze button to make time stand still. Did I mention how much I love that girl?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How to Torment Your Child

Take her to the playground for an hour of complete and utter playtime and enjoyment and then make her go home to take a bath.

Whahhh!! Whahhhh!!

Enough said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The toast, the teeth and the Indian

Random, huh? Not so creative with a title to summarize our day any better than stated above.

First off, The Toast.
So, you all know Elaina right? The child of my dreams, the one I could squeeze into pieces? And did I ever make mention of how she rarely eats? Oh, yeah... that one! This morning, baby girl's belly must have woke her from her slumber as when I picked her out of her crib, she wanted to eat. Usually, I'll be the one to retrieve her from bed with kisses and hugs and proceed to lay her down next to Eric to cuddle up and watch Noggin with daddy in bed for a little while. This morning she didn't want anything to do with daddy, Noggin or cuddling. She made it perfectly clear that she wanted to eat and she wanted toast. Well ookayyy! Now, if she could just wake up hungry for some vegetables one day!

Moving on, about The Teeth.
Eric and I were scheduled for our regular 6 month cleaning dental appointment this evening. Promise not to fall out of your chair, but I really love our dentist. He's really a good guy and his staff is about as personable as you'll ever find. Eric's former boss had recommended him when Eric worked in Cleveland and Eric has since persuaded me to see him too. The deal went something like this: Since we're driving an hour away to get our chompers cleaned, we'll be making a date night of it and going out to dinner afterward. Deal. This has been the agreement for almost 6 years already and I'm guaranteed a dinner date with my husband at least every six months. It works. We took Elaina with us so that we'd be able to enjoy some time with her today and staggered our appointment times to be with her in the waiting room. (She wasn't a patient tonight.) Elaina was so well behaved the entire time. She played in the kid's clubhouse area for over an hour and even held her own while playing with a 7 year old boy. I was impressed to see her comfort level with another kid whom she's never seen before and that she acted so grown up in all of her 20 months.

Finally, about The Indian.
That's Indian food by the way. Upon finishing our dental appointments, we decided upon an Indian restaurant for dinner. Elaina ate her standard rations of applesauce and Indian onion and garlic bread, with a chaser of Goldfish crackers. The cutest part about our dining experience is when Eric and Elaina took notice of the rhythmic Indian music playing in the background. Eric showed Elaina how to bop her head up and down and shake her fists in the air with her elbows bent to rock out to the beat. Only writing about it hardly does justice to how insanely cute it was.

If one were inclined to ask how Elaina enjoyed her family date out and this would be my response:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pimp my Trike!

The Bike: Daddy is too big.

Pick up your feet Daddy!
A much better fit!
Elaina's first bike lesson from her dad!

Did anyone notice Elaina's chunky, silver pedals? Oh yeah, Redneck Daddy hooked her up with some blocks on her pedals to make Elaina's feet touch. How funny is that? The best part is that it worked! I love that man! He was so careful in creating his duct taped masterpiece of block pedals. No joke. There wasn't a crease or crinkle to be found in his tape job and every square inch of the wood was completely covered. What a pair!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Higher Mommy!

Oh that's all I heard this afternoon, "Higher, Higher! Higher Mommy!"

The day was gorgeous and we went swinging! At the park, that is, and even had a playdate lined up. My friend Charity had brought her daughter, Alison to the park for a big girl and little girl playdate. While we all had a great time, I guess that neither one of us had counted on having to chase our little busybodies headed in every which direction as much as we did. While Elaina wanted to slide, Ali wanted to swing. Elaina wanted to climb and Ali wanted to slide. The girls' activities rarely coincided with us being in the same spot very long to do much mom talk. That hardly seemed to matter with as much as the girls enjoyed being out and active at the playground. Elaina and I stayed over 2 hours and outlasted every other kid that made an appearance. Once we had the playground to ourselves, I pushed her on the swingset and we sang the alphabet song together and counted to 12. Elaina has been asking to sing "ABC's" lately and she chimes in every now and then with the correct letter in the right part of the alphabet. I'm impressed. Her other requests include the Itsy Bitsy Spider and E-I-E-I-O. Not that the song is important, just the part when she gets to say "E-I-E-I-O!"

I see many more play dates and trips to the park in our very near future. Also, what a great way to tire out a toddler to guarantee some time to catch up on putting away my winter snowman dishes! I'll see you 'men in the winter!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Let the rain fall

With the weather finally beginning to change and Elaina growing like a weed, I thought it would be a good idea to begin rummaging through her inventory of size 2T clothes that I had stashed away. Many of these have been passed down from friends of mine, while others I found at a steal and couldn't pass on a sale.

One such item was the cutest pink raincoat with blue butterfly shapes as pockets. As an added bonus, I came across yellow rain boots that had been handed down from another mom friend. Great! Elaina was all set for a rainy day and the crazy spring weather ahead. I just happened upon these items as Eric was giving Elaina a bath, so when she returned to her room, she was ecstatic to find the jackpot of outerwear just for her. My dear husband then proceeded to put the crinkly, plastic jacket and rubber rain boots on our child at her begging with nothing more than her diaper. A flasher in the making. Way to go Eric. After the three of us enjoyed a laugh at Elaina's expense, he dressed her properly and she begged once again to have her raincoat and boots put on again. In fact, she was so enamored with her new digs that she had to sleep in them. Oh yeah. Crinkly, plastic coat and rubber boots. In bed.

A noon nap like no other!

And guess who forgot to snap a photo.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Note to potential houseguests:

The bed in our spare bedroom is extremely warm and cozy. I could barely peel myself out this morning!

Eric's sickness isn't exactly the flu, it's more of a devilish cold with fever and chills. He can keep those germs to himself. I'll be down the hall!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Get me outta here!

Immediately this morning, Elaina made it quite clear that she was feeling much better. Whew! (Mommy's doing the happy dance!) She was back to her sweet, smiley and giggly self right when she woke up. Her forehead and little body felt a healthy normal-warm versus the baby-sitting-next-to-the-fire-hot. What a relief to us both!

So, silly me, I'm at work and beginning to think of all of the great family things I want to do over the weekend since Eric's coming home tonight. With just one phone call, my plans are crushed like ants under a boulder.

Eric: Hi Honey. I think I have the flu.

Would someone please give me a break? Seriously. Eric hasn't even been around Elaina since Monday night and he never gets sick. Aack!

Anyhow... I left Elaina in his care for all of 90 minutes before he put her to bed and I went to enjoy a children's book party at my friend's house. (Another home party! Gotta love 'em!) Knowing I wouldn't be able to isolate Elaina from her daddy anyhow, I just let him fill in the driver's seat for tonight and I went over to enjoy some girl time, reading and buying books for Elaina.

No sense in all three of us having a rotten day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Observations of a Couch Potato

The good news is that Elaina had a quiet, restful night. Mommy on the other hand, slept only lightly and minimally since I made the decision to leave Elaina in her own room while being sick. My initial thought was to bring her princess pull out bed upstairs, next to my bed so that I could be within reach of her. My second, more practical thought, was to leave Elaina in her crib to guarantee her comfort and security, knowing that if there was to be a vomiting incident overnight, I would surely hear her cry. She's big enough and old enough now that she would be awakened by something such as that. I just know my kid.

By the morning, she seemed obviously better, yet worn out and groggy. Typical flu symptoms. Her temperature ran between 99 and 100 degrees most of the day and her activity level seemed to improve as the day progressed. She enjoyed her first meal in nearly 18 hours of oyster crackers. To her, that was a meal. I wanted to start her back slowly into eating until I was able to gauge how her body would handle food intake. With a successful breakfast under her belt, we moved onto some play time.

Since the temperature was a breezy 60 degrees, I dressed her warmly enough and we even went for a stroller ride! She was eager to get out of the house and I thought the fresh air would do us both some good. Elaina was hilarious! She pointed out every single doggy, kitty, slide, swing, car and truck she saw. Strangely, she pointed to the post office and said, "mail." How does she know that?

These are just a few highlights of my day at home with my sickly, little sweetie.

* Elaina was playing with her babydoll and grabbed the doll's feet to her nose and said, "Boooo. Stinkee feet." Much in the same manner her daddy does to her and she giggles like a loon.

* She has begun to tickle back! I use a single finger to creep under her chin or under her arm and her belly and she eagerly laughs with anticipation when she sees the "Tickler" coming after her. She squeals with laughter once the Tickler is upon her. She has decided that she can now tickle back. She comes up to my legs (since they are her eye level) and squeals, "Tick-cole!" as she moves her fingers about my legs.

* Elaina loves to play games on the computer. We watched blog videos of her and then Colin and then Isaac over and over and over.... (We're waiting for a Wesley video!) We were finally able to move onto Noggin! The child loves Noggin music videos from the website and the games from Sesame Street and Fisher Price (dot com.) They mostly consist of keypad hide and go seek and letter and number counts. So very cute!

* Lastly, it was just interesting for me to watch Elaina play. Just in the manner that she wandered through the living room, scoping out her toys making up her mind as to what activity would suit her for the moment. (i.e.-- From the mind of Elaina: " Would it be more fun to dump my crayons all over the floor or should I just stick with scattering all of my coloring pages on the floor and stomp on and roll in them? Would it be more fun for mommy to clean up splattered water from my sippy cup or should I just press the cracker crumbs into the carpet? Maybe I should scream out loud and pout for a binky for each hand and my mouth, rather than be satisfied with the one I already have.)

God I love that girl!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

End of the season clearance

Let's hear a collective sigh of relief to know that cold and flu season is finally coming to an end. Aahh!

Count on my little pipsqueak to round out the season with her final bout with the flu. As you may well remember, Eric is once again out of town for work and I'm running the show as a solo act. Nancy called me at work this afternoon to let me know that Elaina had gotten sick and was running a fever. Since it was already close to the end of my work day, Nancy assured me that she was doing fine and just get there when I could. When I arrived an hour later, Elaina had already been sick again and cuddled next to Nancy on the sofa in a crazy mismatched outfit since her spare one was left dirty.

I hurried Elaina home to cuddle her myself and get some Tylenol in her pronto. Over the remainder of the evening, Elaina dry heaved twice more as she had nothing left in her little belly. The poor child had eaten nothing for most of the day and resisted even drinking the all important fluids she needed. I've already called off work for tomorrow and hope that this is the tail end of her sickness for the season.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Come Hungry!

Has everyone heard of Tastefully Simple products by now? Yes, it's another home party where you drag all of your hungry friends over to pig out on their yummy food samples and encourage them to dig deep into their pockets, forking over their cash to enjoy the products over and over again.

It was good.

In fact, good is somewhat of an understatement. I'd have to say that most everyone had a really enjoyable time tonight. Back when I was a newlywed in a large house for entertaining and no kids, I had hosted just about every type of home party out there. Twice. Some, three times. You get the picture. Admittedly, I have loads of Pampered Chef, Longaberger and Mary Kay products to show for it. I guess that just seems to be a winter hobby to some of us in the north. You get to enjoy an evening sitting around with a group of friends, munching on hors'doeuvres and spending your cash as the pretty new items that you can't resist, filter through your hands. Yep. That's a home party.

So after all of this, I really thought that my home party hosting days were behind me until I attended a friend's party last month and booked from her show. The consultant is a friend of mine whose husband has been laid off and so, in a sense, I felt as though I was lending her a hand in her home based business. And as luck would have it, I really do enjoy the products from Tastefully Simple as well.

My guest count was a whopping 15 ladies at my home tonight with the guest of honor being Elaina's babysitter, Nancy. The reason that she was the guest of honor is because she has been caring for Elaina for over a year now and I have yet to have found a reason to just invite her over without feeling too awkward. Eric was occupying Elaina in her highchair playing with play-doh when Nancy made her grand entrance. Upon seeing Nancy, Elaina's face lit up and she demanded to be out of her seat at once. For the next 10 minutes, Elaina paraded Nanna around our house by her hand, showing her all of her toys, her play kitchen and provided demonstration of each. Needless to say, we started our party a little bit late.

The presentation and taste-testing went well and my efforts in preparing all of these fantastic sample dishes at 10:00 last night paid off. Once everyone was through rounding out their final orders, Nanna, once again, was lead around our upstairs by our 2 foot tall tour guide. For the second half of the tour, Elaina presented her bedroom and her favorite window in mommy and daddy's room where she likes to look at the cars passing on the street and where her toothbrush is too! No bones about it, Elaina is a goofball!

My story wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention how Elaina cried when Nancy had to leave. In fact, Nancy's sister, Mary (who often helps watch the kids) had come along too and Elaina was sobbing for her to stay also. It was heartbreaking as tears rolled down her cheeks and she cried out for "Nanna" "Mai-wee!"

It's just more evidence that our little girl knows how to love those who love her best.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sleeping Beauty

Yes, I realize that is none other than Cinderella that Elaina is pointing to, but more importantly, look who has a new pillow! We were just testing out her new bed pillow on her fold out sofa, just because it matches so well and I'm a little bit anal like that.

Within the next 6 months we hope to begin transitioning Elaina to sleeping in her toddler bed. At this point, she squirms and flops every which way in her crib to the point that we never know which corner to look for her when we check on her before we head to bed. My hope is that with the introduction of the new pillow in her crib, she may find that resting in the same longitude overnight will be the first step in nixing the corner hugging she does at night.

Incidentally, notice the stone that Elaina is proudly showing off in the air? Yeah, that's her new favorite carry along these past few days. It's a basket of stones. Yes, in a house full of toys and activity, my child has discovered a basket from the back foyer which has been home to a half dozen decorative pebble stones that never worked their into any portion of my decor. So there they sit. Just waiting for their next ride along with Elaina.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


How do single parents ever do it? Could someone just tell me? I love our daughter to pieces, yet, to imagine juggling a child, a household, a job, meals, and your sanity at the same time? I don't know.

Eric is great to me. He helps around the house, answers to Elaina's beck and call, and just makes life easier for us in general. His work schedule, however, has been consistently wrecking havoc in my otherwise well-balanced lifestyle. He had been away last weekend working a gun show in Pennsylvania for his "supplemental job," followed by 3 days last week that he was away from home for his "real job." That brings us to this weekend which he is in PA once again followed by 3 days away from home for "real-job-work." Did you follow all of that? In a nutshell, we're talking about Eric being home only 3 evenings out of 14. Not only do I miss him, but it's nice having a break every now and then to actually go to the bathroom all by myself and things of the sort.

*I painted Elaina's nails for the first time! They're sparkly glitter pink!

Putting my whining aside, let's talk about Elaina! She's coming down with a slight fever as of late. It's called spring fever and Keegan has already been stricken and is suffering. It's true that one lovely day last week the temps hit near 70 degrees with gorgeous sunshine and pure, fresh air. And living in Ohio, that all went to pot only 48 hours later. The weekend met us with snow and temps below 40. Regardless, I wanted to get Elaina and myself out of the house for a break in our day and decided on going to the library. There, she was unbelievably great. She used her soft voice, she stayed close to me, she didn't tear every book out of place and she helped to load our basket with books. Unfortunately, I didn't happen to bring this sweet little girl home with me. No. The moment we walked in our back door, she began to whine and cry to go "ow-side, ow-side, ow-side!" I'm here to tell you people that 34 degrees and gusty wind doesn't constitute much enjoyment from this mom to go "ow-side." Only because I'll do just about anything for my little girl, I was willing to risk windburn or frostbite- which ever came first- to take her for a stroller ride. (okay, it just felt THAT cold) She hung from the doorknob and sobbed and whimpered as I tried to offer a reasonable explanation to my one year old that mommy would take her for a walk if she was just patient for a minute. Knowing that my reasoning was lost to the same subject, I ran upstairs as fast as I could to put a second pair of pants on and some boots as Elaina lay on the kitchen floor at this point, losing touch with herself. I hurried down all of two minutes later to find Elaina still on the floor in her fit with her face leaking with tears, snot and slobber. After wiping her face three times, getting my coat and hat on and trying to bundle Elaina a little bit more, I told her that we would go as soon as she stopped her crying. ( I was afraid that her tears and snot would actually freeze to her face!) To this, she only began whining for her binky with more tears to accompany her demand. By this time we have reached the absolute-no-turning-back-meltdown phase. She got to me. Trip cancelled. I peeled her hat and coat off of her and carried her quickly to her bed for her to finish her rant. I had lost my cool and needed a break too. Did I mention that my psycho dog had been bouncing at the back door and pacing for the duration of this fit? He thought he was going too and proceeded to be an absolute pest. I did let him outside and told him it was okay if he ran away. (Since he doesn't know the way to grandma and grandpa's house, I was still stuck with him.) Welcome to the Meltdown Trio on the homestead! Eric!!
After only a few minutes and much deep breathing, I went to console leaky-face and make up with her. Apparently she was just getting overly tired and her fit only enhanced her sleepy-cranky mood. She took a time out snuggled in my lap as we rocked and calmed down.

*Since she had already cried her eyes out... replacements!

Seriously, spring can't get her soon enough! Please don't let us have any more "teaser" days running around without coats and the sun shining brightly until we're in for the real thing! See what happens?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Speak Up!

What an unfortunately convenient time for Eric to be away from home. His wife has laryngitis!

AHEM!! Yep. No actual speaking voice to be heard. Just crackling and coughing.

Over the past few days, my vocal cords have been threatening a stike and Friday morning, they made good on their unspoken word. It stinks that Eric had to travel to Pennsylvania to work at a gun show this weekend, but luckily, it wasn't too many hours away that he was able to leave a little bit later in the morning. The beauty part of this was that he fed Elaina breakfast and got her off to the babysitter's house as I called off work and went back to bed. I felt a little bit bad about sending Elaina off to the sitter's house until I realized that it would be even more detramental to her that her mother wouldn't be speaking to her for the majority of the day. At least there, she had her friends to play with and lots of fun and noise, versus being at home with a sickly, quiet mum.
When Elaina arrived home, I was much more rested, both physically and vocally and we enjoyed our evening together. It was a pretty good plan for the both of us. By the end of the day, I had a little bit more steady tone crackling through my hoarseness and was still able to read Elaina her books at bedtime and tell her how much I love her.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Year of the BLOG

So what's a "blog" anyway?

Who blogs? Why is it called a "blog?" I never became particular partial to that word- it's just silly and you sound funny saying "blog." (Example: "Honey, I have to go write my blog now.") Not that I've spent even more than a second thinking up a better, more descriptive word that could redefine the world of blogging, but seriously, is "blog" the best they could come up with?

My first invitation to blogging was through my sister-in-law's ever-entertaining "Mommy Files" where I was able to peek in on the life and times of my sweet nephew from 150 miles away. Since our entire family was soaking in their share of Colin cravings, when Elaina was born, my family was on me like the mafia to begin sharing Elaina's life. Some people wait until the beginning of a new year or new month to begin sharing their life, and me; well, I started on a random Tuesday night all of one year ago. It's my blog-o-versary! Hurray!

(That was just pretend excitement, just in case you felt the same "hurray!" bubbling inside of you!)

Honestly, I am excited about having an entire year of Elaina's life and memories just a click away; forever memorialized in pictures and print. An entire year of Elaina's life that I was able to share with those who love her dearly, both near and far. I love my blog!

More importantly, I love Elaina! I love Elaina more than words could ever express. I write my blog for her. Having friends and family peek into follow along is a great bonus, but this is my gift to her for the rest of her life. It's true that my family, specifically Elaina's grandparents and great- grandparents, strongly urged me to begin her story, but I've always been a record-keeper of sorts. I value history and making memories. My beautiful baby will never again be a cuddly, round newborn to kiss and cradle and she will never again have her first birthday party. But, for me, I don't have to worry about trying to remember "the way she used to be, " I can simply click on a given day and there she is! Learning to crawl across the floor, deciding to walk just as mommy gets on the phone and her visits with her extended family who love her so much. That's pretty worthwhile if you ask me.

Like I said, I write for Elaina. Some stories just pop up randomly, but what a better way for Elaina to get the feel of who her mom was that one crisp day in October or how she felt over the most mundane of circumstance. I have visions of snuggling down with Elaina when she's only a few years older and reading her my journal entries from that same day, years ago, as her bedtime stories. And wouldn't it be incredible for Elaina to read these same stories to her kids while tucking them into bed? How about a reference for Elaina to use as she raises her children in the same loving way? This is a story of our journey together as a family and the struggles we faced to get here.

Upon Elaina's adoption, some people had asked, "How and when will you tell Elaina that she is adopted?" Well, the answer is simple. She'll just know. See how this all works into my blog entries at bedtime? Her adoption isn't a secret. It's nothing that we're embarrassed about or afraid to admit. Elaina's adoption is a miracle! For this reason, I feel a certain sense of duty to share it with anyone interested in reading about it. Elaina will know about her sisters in heaven who have become angels and her adoption story in how our family united and made the commitment to love her until the end of time. She will know that there hasn't been a single day in her entire life that she wasn't loved more than anything. We fell in love with her the moment we heard that she existed. Not so much different than an biological expectant mother. This is and will always be her story.

With this said, I will admit that in pretty much all of postings, I rave about my dear sweet daughter. And for that, I make no apologies. I never will. If you can't be your child's biggest fan, who should be? I can assure you that I don't fabricate, re-create or sugar coat any of her adventures. What would be the point? This is her history unfolding, not just a pretty picture of what my wishes would be. If it seems as though all I ever do is "brag" or "boast" about my girl, well... it's probably true. Most assuredly, I always will. Next to her daddy, I am Elaina's biggest fan. And I'm PROUD!

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted a little girl. After many years and too much heartache later, my dream finally came true. Elaina is everything I have always wanted and more. You may ask, "How is she 'more?'" Well, simply put, she is my heart. Yeah, it sounds kinda mushy, but seriously, for not giving birth to this child, she is all mine. She was custom made for Eric and me. She is incredible, amazing, intelligent, sincere and silly. As I sit back and look into the eyes of my 20 month-old daughter, her purity and innocence overwhelm me. She is pure and utter joy!

So now you know my sappy emotions over loving my daughter and my infatuation with preserving memories for her. My blog is a written collection of loving stories, achievements, favorite activities and the ups and downs that come with being a kid and a mom. My intention would never be to indirectly criticize another's parenting skills or pass judgment upon their activities and never to try to create a "standard" of what every other kid should be doing. This is Elaina. Every kid is unique by design. This blog isn't my soapbox to proclaim that my child is the greatest in the entire world. She is just the greatest thing in my world!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Elaina in Motion!

I just have to say that my brother is 'da bomb when it comes to technical support! Thanks to his guidance via a 30 minute phone call... we have video!

With this said, I have to give additional credit to Kate since she has served as my personal technical guru for the past year. Even when I decide that I think I know what I'm doing trying to manuever new formats on my page and screw everything up beyond recognition... Kate always manages to fix me up without even a hint of irritation!

Thanks guys!

So sit back and enjoy Elaina in motion, courtesy of Uncle Greg standing in as the producer and mommy as the director and cinemaphotographer.

** Warning: Please don't be disappointed as this video was shot at Elaina's bedtime tonight and she only wanted to be on the other side of the camera looking at pictures! In other words, the binky was a must for her partial cooperation!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Picture Pages

Is it wrong that we have been calling our daughter "Radio?"
Lately, everything has been going into the cart. Binkies, books, sippies, banana chips, everything!

Just a little sunshine to brighten our day.

I wish you could have seen the expression on her face! She loves her slide! Belly flops are pretty cool too!

Do you see Elaina?

Elaina with her slumber party friend. Grandma dressed up one of Elaina's bear's in her pajamas! Elaina laughed and laughed- that Grammy is pretty funny!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Weird day on Speed

Thanks a lot daylight savings time! You have our entire family's internal clocks completely screwed up!

Whoever thought that taking an hour out of someone's day would be a good idea? It's true that an extra hour of daylight is always appreciated, but seriously, skip an hour? And where exactly did that one hour go? Oh the beauty of Midwest living on the eastern time zone. Does that even make sense? I wouldn't be the one to ask.... someone just stole an hour from me!!

Let me just tell you the ill affects on our family when we have to deal with change. Eric arrived home safely last night (actually this morning) around 12:45 a.m. Since Elaina was too wired to rest, she ended up staying up even later than her usual bedtime with or without the hour change. I stayed up too late recapping my weekend blog and was awake to visit with Eric when he came home. Needless to say, our bodies were still used to going, going, going and we were both still up well past 1 a.m. When that happens, 7 a.m. hits harder than you think. Oh, and don't forget that this old lady's body was still telling her that it was only 6:00-- stay asleep!! I had to peel Elaina out of bed and she was a mess of tired most of the day. I did appreciate that when I finished my visit to the chiropractor this evening, I hurried down the the mall and grocery store for some retail therapy and the sun was out until after 7:30! Lovely! It really doesn't seem so late as long as the sun is up. Okay, okay.... so I get that this was the intent of someone's "bright" idea in scheduling daylight savings' time early this year. I get it! It's all about the sunshine. Still, I don't know that I was ready to forfeit an hour of my day. It's not like someone came to me and offered that one hour to be one less hour I had to be at work or anything. I'd sign up right away.

So it seems as though I'm still rambling about my precious hour.... yep. Blame the brain fog due to lack of sleep. Back to the point I was trying to make about this being a weird day. Just a few, random, oddball, observations I made on this lovely day in March.

* There are still dirty snow piles scattered throughout the towns, despite the fact that the temperature was near 50 and it rained and even hailed teensy ice balls for all of two minutes.

* The forecast for tomorrow is calling for temps near 70 and then chance of snow the following day.

* We have muddy yards, muddy streets and dirty cars galore because it's just not worth trying to wash your car and expecting it to be clean for longer than the time it takes you to pass your first stoplight as you drive home.

* Every store is saturated with sweaters, coats, bathing suits and spring attire in the very same aisle.

* Every store has great sales on their winter merchandise that I can't get enough of. I love buying at the end of the season and having special little surprises awaiting me in the fall. It's as if my own shopping fairy crept in over the summer months to hide treasures of new clothes for me. That fairly knows my taste to a "T."

* And finally, you know that spring is in the air because someone stole my hour!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bring on the Hugs!

Eric left Thursday night to work a gun show in Pennsylvania and so I invited my parents to share the weekend with Elaina and myself and keep us company.

I estimated grandma and grandpa's arrival to be shortly after Elaina's regular bedtime and made an effort to keep her busy enough to welcome their arrival late Friday night. Just as she was pointing to a picture of Pop-pop, I saw their van pull into the driveway. We ran excitedly to the door and Elaina was thrilled with her incredible luck of having the real thing awaiting at her doorstep. Magic!!

Elaina was prancing around excitedly, not knowing who to hug first or longest. She happily exclaimed "Grandma! Pop-pop!" as she went back and forth between them nearly a dozen times. Our excited little girl had quite the night as we welcomed our friend Craig over to visit awhile and Elaina did somersaults and passed out hugs until after 10:00!

Saturday morning was the best! Elaina woke up at her usual 7 a.m. to which I hugged her and squeezed her as I carried her downstairs to her grandma whom was happy to do the same as I went back to bed! Yippee! Another 2 hours of sleep for me! For any mom I know, this is a rare steal and a welcome opportunity. We had a lazy kind of morning until we decided to load up our crew and head out to do some shopping. We scoured through only a few stores and went out to enjoy a late dinner. Elaina was surprisingly well-behaved despite the late hour and didn't sleep or even make a peep the whole drive home. Once we were home, it was a whole different story. The child must have been only charging her battery to turn on the wild-child the minute we walked through the door. She was trying to jump and stomp and march through the kitchen and persuaded each of us to join her in individual rounds of "Rosey" (Ring Around the Rosey, that is.) We were all about to drop and Elaina was still going strong until close to 11! Hello! This is daylight savings night tonight people! We lose an hour tonight! Any type of loose schedule we have previously had our child accustom to, is totally out the window! This could make for an interesting week ahead.

That bring us to Sunday. Today. The weather was beautiful and sunny and gorgeous. I would venture to say the temperature reached an all out 60 degrees! A heat wave I should say! A short while after lunch, we decided to treat ourselves to ice cream sundaes for dessert at a new local restaurant down the block. It was such a nice day, we even soaked in the sunshine by walking there. Elaina and I shared a monster brownie sundae with the tabletop and about 8 napkins. We all left sticky, happy and full. At this point, grandma and grandpa had to get on the road to head home. We hugged and kissed and said our goodbyes, but the minute they walked out the door, Elaina began to sob. Granted she was already tired, but this was an all out whining sob and real tears to boot. I walked her out to their van to help Elaina recover and showed them just how much they would be missed already in her tearful goodbye.

Whew... she never gets this emotional when mommy or daddy ever leave. What are you trying to say Elaina? You're giving me a complex, kid.

Friday, March 09, 2007

One Bad Apple

I'm learning very quickly that we need to be so very careful of what we say in front of Elaina already. Her little mind is as sharp as a tack and picks up new words and repeats them at the drop of a hat. Worse yet, she happens to know the meanings of so many words and gets her own little ideas and opinions on what she hears.

A prime example of what I am referring to happened just tonight. As Elaina was finishing her dinner in her highchair, I began to clean up the kitchen and noticed an apple in the fruit bowl that had gone neglected for weeks. Knowing I wasn't about to eat the now softened apple with leathery skin, I promptly tossed it into the trash. I immediately realized my mistake just that quickly. Elaina had watched me. I just taught her to throw food in the trash without even realizing it. She's so good about throwing things away when being asked, I hoped I didn't just confuse her by tossing fruit away so carelessly.

Of course she had been watching and shouted out, "Apple!" "Yes, Honey, that was an apple. It was a bad apple."

Elaina: "Apple. Bad."

Mommy: "No Sweetie, just that apple. It was rotten. Apples are good and yummy. "

Elaina: "Apples. Bad. Apples. Bad."

Mommy: (OMG! In oh-crap-take-it-all-back-mode) "Elaina, Apples are good and yummy. We eat apples, like applesauce. We like apples. They're good. I'll give you a cookie if you forget everything that happened in the past five minutes."

Done deal.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Where is Colin?

As much as I love writing about my little Stinkerbell, I look forward to reading about the daily life of my brother and sister-in-law and my favorite Colin in the entire world! (And with my favorite Colin stories, I get my daily dose of Wesley stories and Andrew and Lily stories and then Harper stories and before I know it, 2 hours have passsed! See why I get no sleep people! Your darned cute kids keep me reading!!)

Since I always click over to check out my Cutie Colin, I nearly freaked out several times today when I saw that Kate's blog showed no posts. And then, it had the nerve to tell me that I wasn't an invited reader! You too?

Before you get all bent out of shape thinking that Kate wants to hoard all of her Colin pictures and stories to herself, let me assure you that it's not the case at all. Kate is currently ironing out some minor details in her archives and will restore it to full capacity soon. She's even promised 10 pictures a day of her little munchkin! Can you believe that? 10 pictures a day and stories to boot! When her site is up and running again, Kate even said that she would be inviting the first 10 readers of her newly constructed site on her cruise with her next week! Isn't that lucky? Yeah, I have a great sister-in-law and my flip flops and suntan lotion are already packed! See you on the ship, Kate!

Not all sunshine and rainbows.

It's true. I'll be the first mom to profess my love for my little girl until the end of time. She is my precious daughter and all of my joy. However... she's one. And with the tender age of "one" you get attitude. Attitude, opinions and feisty, little fits. Most often, Elaina throws out the wild card of her behavior when she's tired. Either we get a cuddly, sweet angel who will fall asleep wrapped in a hug, or we get the world's most intolerable toddler; meaning she won't tolerate anything one minute past her bedtime. While I don't necessarily spend alot of time reflecting or reporting the 'tude sometimes expressed by our bundle of joy, it does occasionally rear it's ugly head and shows it's teeth.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Eric had just left to go bowling and Elaina and I settled on the sofa to look at her picture flashcards together. This is an activity that she most often enjoys. We got off to a bumpy start immediately when she didn't want Mommy to hold the cards or even look at them. She just wanted to throw the pile to the floor in a hasty fit. Since this wasn't the sweet scenario that I had anticipated, I resisted her attempt and held the cards a little bit tighter. Knowing she wasn't about to get her way, she squirmed off my lap, belly first and on her way down, met my forearm with her mouth. CHOMP. The brat bit me!
We've had a few biting incidents in the past (all with mommy, never daddy) and I've always retorted immediately by grabbing her hand and stuffing it into her mouth and pushing her chin up for her to bite her own hand. Pretty good way to discourage the biting, wouldn't you think? She got me good tonight.

On her way down to the floor, I smacked her face and told her that there is absolutely NO BITING! and that it is not nice. I picked her up by her arms long enough to make eye contact telling her this and then plopped her an arms length distance from myself and left her to cry out her fit. By this, I was hoping to convey the message that mommy wants nothing to do with a biter and she would have to get over her anger before she could come find me. She found me in the kitchen all of two minutes later as she walked her soggy tear face to the doorway and stopped to study my reaction to her. I acknowledged her and went about my business as she tried to suck up her tears and came running into my legs, with her mouth closed. (Truthfully, I was worried that she could turn vampire on me again.) With this, I caved into forgiveness and showed her my wound, explaining how she hurt me. At one point, I had to contain my laughter as she was just inhaling and literally just sucking up air with her jaw dropped and full while trying to regain her composure. I asked her if she was sorry for hurting mommy and assured her that mommy still loved her until the end of time with a warm, clingy hug. We were both better instantly.

Let's hope that this is the first and last biting story I'll have to share on her behalf. I think we established an understanding of sorts after the episode tonight.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Reasons to Smile

No more complaining.

I'm renewed, recharged and refreshed. I took the afternoon off from work today in order to take Keegan to the vet. Okay, so his appointment was at 2:45 and I left work at 12:30. I justified to myself that I was worthy of some down time all alone. (Alone, except for our busy sawdust maker upstairs.) Also, I was rewarding myself for the "dirty work" I had to do all by myself. I had to collect a sample of Keegan's pee to take into the doctor. Me? What? And, How? Let's just cross this off of the things- I- never- wanted- to- do- before- I- die list. But, I did it! I'll be happy to share my tip if you should ever find yourself in a similar situation in order to fulfill your list as well.

And this is why the rest of my evening was great!

* Keegan was well behaved at the vet's office. ( He has an enlarged prostate and blood work results coming in soon.)

* I picked Elaina up at the sitter's house and she greeted me with a squealy, surprised, "Mom-Mee!!"

* Nancy (the sitter) showed me a favorite book of Elaina's and asked if we had the same one at home. She thought that would be the case since Elaina is able to identify every one of the animals in the book as if she had seen it before. The only exception was the dolphin which she called a fish. Smarty!

* My entire upstairs was not covered in sawdust, just the hallway!! Which Eric cleaned up!!

* I didn't have to cook a full dinner since Eric had a double meeting night.

* Elaina and I snuggled down and watched Sesame Street of which I remember nothing until she crawled over me when it was over.

* Elaina ate a great dinner of 2 chicken tenders and a piece of string cheese! (It's all relative, folks!)

* As she was eating off her "special plate" she kept saying "Poo. Poo." I found myself wondering why my child is talking about such a topic during her dinner until I realized that she was pointing at Winnie the Pooh and "pig" (Piglet) on her special plate.

* Finally.... if I can force myself to limit my blog reading to only my favorites, peel my hiney away from the computer chair without reading e-mail or scouring ebay for nothing I need and not get sidetracked by the laundry waiting to be put away, I'll be in bed by 11:00!! I'm gonna do it!

Monday, March 05, 2007

In a Cloud

In a cloud of dust and fury.

Yep. That pretty much sums up my evening after Elaina went to bed. Bad days are unavoidable and we all have them. I don't claim to have the corner on bad days. I don't even really want to use my blog space as an outlet for airing my complaints. (Although it happens.) But tonight is a different story. And you, my loyal readers, get to read all about it. (Unless your wise and click right on over to Colin's page right now.... I wouldn't blame you.)

It all started when I took Elaina upstairs to get her ready for bed. (Reminder: the carpenter has still been working daily on installing our doors and hardware.) When I happily reached for the new door knob to open the door to Elaina's bathroom, I nearly lost my breath in the heavy stench of sawdust in the air. There was sawdust everywhere. Eric has been great, no- make that fabulous and terrific about vacuuming up the wood shavings and dust at the end of every workday, but I don't think he had been made aware of what mess awaited us on the other side of this door tonight. I called down to Eric to ask him to kindly come upstairs to take a look at the bathroom. Every inch was coated in sawdust from the carpenter carving out the door locks and fitting them into the door casing. What a MESS! While I'm well aware that home improvement projects always require lots of work and clean-up, I guess I thought it would have been considerate of our carpenter to give us notice to cover some of our belongings prior to the dust storm. Not the case.

Eric was awesome and went right to work taking care of the bulk of the dust in the bathroom while I got Elaina ready for bed. We soon switched roles and I scoured the bathtub, floor, sink and walls while he read and did puzzles with Elaina. Just before she was ready to go down for the night, Elaina came to get me for some hugs and kisses. In front of Eric, I explained that mommy was cleaning like a neurotic freak and that one day, when she's all grown up, she'll get to be so lucky and become the same out of control clean freak that mommy is. Elaina repeated, "Lucky." As Eric was kissing her goodnight, Elaina handed him her binky and said, "Uckie. Wash it." Rolling his eyes, Eric realized his defeat and that her fondness to all-things-clean has already begun. ( Yeah ... high five Elaina!!)

So... moving passed the fact that I ended up cleaning Elaina's entire bathroom and our bedroom coated in dust, (yeah, that was just a bonus!) I drug my bedraggled self downstairs, all ready to begin blogging and make my bedtime goal of 10:00. (Which I haven't done since the flu virus of '06.) As I was stuffing more clothes and linens into the laundry room, I noticed a wet stream on the area rug in the kitchen. The wet stream led me directly into the back foyer where a large puddle covered the bulk of the floor. Yep. That was courtesy of Keegan. He must have a bladder infection. He peed all over the floor. Great.

Without so much as a request to Eric, he pulled out the industrial mop and cleaned the floor while I finished changing the sheets upstairs. Ughh. One bonus on top of another. I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds in store for us. I've gathered all of Elaina's stuffed animals and blanket inventory and stuffed them into her closet and have readied old sheets to cover all of her large pieces of furniture. Who knows when her door will be drilled.... but we're ready already. I've even taken to covering the bedding in the spare bedrooms as well. I guess this is the price we have to pay for wanting the luxury of bedroom doors.

This wasn't the most horrible day, it was just about two hours longer and four complications more than what I really wanted to deal with today. These are the times when I just want to bury my head under the covers (the ones not covered in sawdust) and wake up once the squadron of maids have finished their work. And that, my friends, would be only a dream. This morning, I woke up tired and really just want to be sleeping. So, that's all I ........ zzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Just my speed

Really? The weekend has already come to an end? Tomorrow really has to be 'Monday?"

Oh, what can I say about this weekend? It was nice!

Probably not enough sleep, not enough blogging (according to my parents!) and not enough hours of playtime. Eric had some tactical fire training classes to attend locally on both Saturday and Sunday morning and Elaina and I had some serious, scheduled playtime to tend to.

All of 20 months old and our kid has a sense of humor. A well-developed sense of humor, I might add. It's not funny that I don't have a particular example to share at this moment in time, but the past two days she has kept me laughing. It seems as though Elaina is growing again also. Yesterday morning, we snuggled in bed together until almost 9 a.m. watching Noggin. After finishing her breakfast, she pleaded from her highchair, "Night-night! Bed!" Seriously. The child hadn't even been vertical for an hour and wanted to go back to bed. Since she wasn't grumpy, I redirected her attention and we played for a little while longer until I gave her a bath and she tried to climb into her crib to go to sleep. Her behavior pattern was similar today with being a little more tired than usual. Ironically, her naps were only about 2 hours long- just like usual. Maybe this is her winter hibernation period that we all have to suffer through. If I didn't have a toddler, housework or responsibilities, I'd sleep through winter too! Elaina's mealtimes are still a struggle and there is really no change in her eating habits. PICKY!

On a very superficial note... my leaning bookshelves arrived! Eric stayed home with Elaina on Saturday night for me to run errands and gather up some new frames for my long awaited pictures (which still have yet to arrive.) I'm very pleased with the appearance and the storage, I just don't know if I have quite mastered the decorator's touch when it comes to arranging my "stuff." I found some great storage cases for the bottom shelves which have already been filled with overflow of Elaina books and toys. I knew I would love these suckers! Elaina had already gone to bed by the time I finished filling the shelves and had yet to see the finished product. As I carried her downstairs this morning, I told her that Mommy had a surprise waiting for her to see. Elaina quickly asked, "Present?" Oops. Could this child be spoiled with presents? I pointed out to her all of the pretties that we don't touch and the special surprise were the two cases on the bottom filled with her books. Just for her. Her reaction was hysterical. She made her little "O" face and with her big eyes, said, "Wow! Booooks!"

I do love that we are each other's own fan club! That's my girl!

Now if we could just do something with our antique console TV that refuses to die and works perfectly fine, so that Eric won't buy another. Not something a long handled screwdriver, jabbed in the back can't fix.
(Hee-hee hee evil laugh.)