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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Trails

Seriously, has the month of September really come to an end? We have had nothing but gorgeous, sunny days with just a slight undertone of fall mixed in for good measure. I know that I have mentioned the weather so admirably before but it just keeps on getting better and better. And it's fall, for Pete's sake! My favorite time of year and my favorite kind of weather. Loving it!


Wanna' know who else I'm loving? Elaina and Lincoln are simply the best! We had such a fun weekend. After our wagon sat in the garage all summer with very little attention, Elaina happened upon it, climbed right in and said, "Let's go for a wide, Mommy!" And so we did. I stuffed Lincoln's butterfly play mat in the bottom to act as a pillow and padding as he lay in the wagon facing his sister and away we went. Both Saturday and Sunday, we paraded a trip around town and even a stop at the playground. Lincoln is so perfectly content to sit in the baby swing and will laugh and smile whenever he gets close to me. SO cute that boy!
And did I say laugh? Oh yeah, Lincoln has begun to laugh. Gone are the days in which his throaty, little gurgle would catch in his throat, so near an audible giggle, he is laughing! Eric and I crack up every time he gets all fired up with laughter. At one point, Elaina was playing peek-a-boo with Lincoln and he laughed the loudest I had ever heard. And after his bath one evening, Eric was putting lotion on Lincoln and rubbing his hands and Lincoln busted out again with hearty belly laughs. My trick to get him rolling is playing up-down and wiggle with him. I stand him up sooo big and then sit down (on my lap) and then wiggle him back and forth until the broad smiles give way to laughingggg!! Did I mention that I love that boy? Oh, melt!
And let's just talk about his big sister for a minute. At 27 months (exactly, on Tuesday) Elaina talks like she's 15. In fact, we ask her how old she is and she replies "Two." When asked how old she's is going to be, her answer varies between 15 and 16. And she says it as plain as day. And I beleive that she will be 16 next year. What a little silly! The things that she comes up with just floor me these days. While we were eating breakfast the other morning, she told me that grandma makes her cinnamon rolls and that she wanted grandma and pop-pop to come to her house. Apparently, she was over the bacon and eggs that I was serving. Cinnamon rolls were what she was after!
More Elaina funnies:

* Pulling out of the driveway next to the trash cans: "Mommy, watch out for trash. Whew, it's close." (with the back of her hand against her forehead for dramatics!)
* Just a week ago, we were walking to visit her friend Ali at her house. Elaina told me that Ali fell out of bed. Since we were still about 200 yards away, I figured she was just pretending to think that Ali fell out of bed. I asked her more questions about Ali's fall and with her answers, I realized that she had remembered that Ali actually did fall out of bed when we were at her house for her birthday party. Elaina remembered that her friend fell because Ali cried, but she was okay.
* Speaking of pretending, Elaina has an awesome imagination. It's just the reality check that I sometimes need to not take things so seriously. When she pretends and we play a game with imaginary kittens and crocodiles, it makes me remember to appreciate the small things. That she doesn't need all of the most high tech toys and devices with 8 levels of music and sound and 38 light up colors, she needs some attention and someone to help her run from the crocodiles.
We had a great weekend together, just sitting back and enjoying the small stuff!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Structure

It's quite possible that I may have mentioned that I am slightly anal when it comes to doing things a certain way and trying to constantly be organized and efficient about everything I can control.

Since becoming a mom, most of that has just gone out the window. The only thing that I don't waiver at any level is anything that involves the spread of germs or washing hands. I just don't budge. Often times, I surprise myself at how many things that I let slip through the cracks while I try to rationalize some prospective in not sweating over the small stuff.

One thing that has become clear is that Lincoln is in need of a better schedule. Now that he is almost 5 months old and has proven to be big and healthy, we need some structure.

Our night went something like this: come home, play, drink bottle, giggle, cat nap in swing (while the big people eat dinner), bath time, lotion massage, play, wiggle and smile and then rice cereal.

I like it. Well, all of the one night that we've tried it so far. I just know that I need more sleep when my eyeballs hurt throughout the entire day because they haven't been closed long enough (for SLEEP) and when I'm falling asleep as I try to blog a simple little post and then have no idea if it is even making sense and then look at the clock and realize that it's already past 11 and I haven't gotten a thing ready for tomorrow and then I have to go back in my post to remind myself what it is that I'm rambling about....

We need a change.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

11:00 ? Hmmpph!

So much for my planning. An 11:00 bedtime. Hah! Ha-ha-ha!

It seems as though I just like to read about all of my favorite blog-kids just a little too much and just maybe I like to check out the latest deal websites a little to frequent that I just can't seem to back away from the computer when I should be going to bed.

Last night we got dumped on with a huge thunderstorm. Shake the windows-rattle-the-foundation-huge-thunderstorm. It was just 11:00 and I was brushing my teeth when I hear a little shriek from down the hall. I stopped brushing immediately to then hear the pitter- patter of little feet racing down the hall. The thunderstorm had woke Elaina and she was scared. I held her close and we looked out the window together and searched for the moon (which we had been in awe of earlier; it was a full moon). She made it clear that she wanted to sleep with Mommy and Daddy and I was really okay with that too. It does great things for my ego knowing that my daughter knows that Mommy and Daddy keep her safe and that we can make everything better for her. I love that part about being a mom!

Soooo, Eric and I both had an early start to our morning. He, because he had to teach an 8:00 class an hour away from home and me, because I then had the two kids and myself to get out the door all on my own. Unlike myself, Eric didn't happen to have a whole lot of rest last night. He reported that Elaina tapped him on the shoulder all night long asking for her lunch, her sippy cup, a trip to the potty and she cried about wanting to go to a Steelers game. Seriously child!?!? A Steelers game? Oh, you are such your Daddy's girl! He deserved to be the one to be poked just to hear that!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Phenomenon

1) I mopped my kitchen floor last night. I know, I know, it doesn't sound monumental to some, but to me, this is huge! Come over for a visit! You're feet won't even stick to the floor! See what can be achieved with two parents home at the very same time?


2) Lincoln isn't a kitty anymore. (Shouldn't that really be Number #1 on my list?)
3) We put Lincoln to bed last night without his late night bottle which we would feed to him between 10-11:30 p.m. and he didn't even miss it. He slept all night and woke at his usual time! Hooray! No more falling asleep trying to feed him at midnight!
4) I have written the very final thank you note on behalf of baby gifts to Lincoln. I thought I was done a few other times and then "Ta Da! Look what so-and-so sent in the mail!" Certainly not complaining because "Hello!" We love baby gifts and baby clothes and big sister gifts and everything that comes with having a new baby but seriously, tame down the generosity folks, you're spoiling us!
5) Elaina went to tumbling class tonight and did great. She only paid me a visit back at the parents' table two times in the whole 45 minute class. Didn't complain the whole time and didn't even whine. She watched and followed along with the instructors and even tried to mimic the actions of the other kids.
6) Lincoln sat in the high chair for the first time tonight. He didn't exactly eat his rice cereal in the high chair like I had planned, but his butt made an appearance. He is still very interested in his new soft food within his mouth and ate a fair amount. I'm determined to give cereal to him on a more consistent basis. He's only had it on one other occasions, that being his first. (Slap my wrist!)


7) It's not quite 10:30 p.m. and I'm challenging myself to get to bed before 11:00. This will make the first time in ....in.... I don't know the last time I went to bed before 11:00. I need to just put the blinders over my eyes so that I don't notice the laundry mountains which have taken over the love seat and NOT. LET. MYSELF. SURF. ANY. MORE. BLOGS. Notice my refined restraint? 11:00 People! Have a good one!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Super Reader to the Rescue!

It's moments like these that make me want to plop Elaina in front of the t.v. all day long. Is that bad?

We've discovered a new show on PBS that airs at 7:30 in the morning. The show is called "Super Why" and is completely awesome! "Why?" you may ask. Because from the very first episode it stopped Hurricane Elaina in her path of destruction, tearing up our bedroom in her boredom as we were getting ready for work one morning. And the next morning, the very same thing occurred. She was fixated on the characters, the content, the questions, the story, everything about this program is awesome! They really should be calling it "Super Awesome!" instead of "Super Why." Umm, have I mentioned that it's "awesome" more than once?

The show is about a group of kids who are super readers instead of super heroes who find problems in fictional stories (Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.) and change the story. They help early readers to recognize letters and piece together words. Just about the entire content of the show teaches a lesson in one way or another. I am hooked on Elaina being hooked!

It's become evident to me that she's grasping some of the fundamentals of the show when she is pretending. When we were at the playground yesterday she told me she was going to get her cape and "Super Reader to the rescue! I change the story." She cracked me up! Often she will walk around the house announcing that she is a super reader and waving her magic wand (from Grandma W.) she says "Abba-cadaca, I change the story!" Just like in the show.

With all of her imagination running wild and being creative, I'm not sure if I should be worried that she decided to turn Lincoln into a kitty this morning. She waved her magic wand over him and said he was now a kitty. In fact, when it was time to leave for the sitter's house, she became worried and said, "Bring my kitty, my kitty!" She of course was referring to Lincoln.




Does this look like a kitty to you?



So.... other moms with "Super Readers" let me know you're feedback if you come across this show sometime!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunny Sunday

Original title, huh?

Oh, I can hardly believe this beautiful sunny weather we're having with just the perfect combination of bright, warm sunshine splashed lightly with a gentle breeze with just a hint of the smell of fall. When you live in Ohio and you can experience 3 seasons worth of temperature changes, all in one day, you already know what I'm talking about.

Last night, Eric had a buddy of his stay overnight so they could get up at the buttcrack of dawn to begin tailgating at Heinz Field before the Steelers game. Let's just say that when Eric's alarm went off at 4:30, this non-football fan was barely conscious. Seriously, 4:30 a.m. for a 1:00 game? We only live ONE hour away from Pittsburgh folks! Since Lincoln has begun to sleep through the night, the only time I want to see 4:30 a.m is when I arrive at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving! Hey, he doesn't make me go and I don't make him go. That seems to work for both of us.

Along with the gorgeous weather today, our town also hosted a walking tour of the historical sites and homes in our neighborhood which are over 100 years old. Our house just happened to be on the tour with a little podium set out front telling the story about a dentist and his wife who lived here in the late 1890's with their two children. (Yeah, our house is pretty old.) There were about 50 other sites highlighted on the self guided tour with little vignettes and activities throughout the town. I was thoroughly impressed how they had residents dressed in 1900's period clothing who appeared to walk through the streets so naturally as if it were really 100 years ago. All that kept going through my head as I was pushing Lincoln in his 2006 Costco stroller, while the super stylish Elaina bounced along next to me with her sunglasses and backpack on was, "Good God, if it really were 100 years ago, I'd probably be smoldering in a super long dress, dog tired from beating my laundry on a rock to wash it and hang it dry while I had to fetch water from across the street and still remember to stir the stew over the fire and not let my 2 year old throw bread on the floor that took me three days to bake!!" Whew! Sounds like I have it made in 2007! No more complaints here!










Look who took his first solo ride on the swing!!!

End of Summer, 2007 - Elaina finally succeeded climbing this ladder and stepping up onto the base, all by herself!! Good Job, Big Girl!

Blogger; My BFF

Could this really be? Blogger? Are you really my new best friend?

Are you kidding me? Is it really possible that you made uploading a video that incredibly easy?
Now that I have my other friend, Camera, back in my life and you willing to take on all of our needs in an instant, I love you more than ever! BFF For-eva Blogger!

As if that weren't enough, you've hooked me with this...

For you non bloggers, this link is addictive. It is a running scroll of random pictures of absolute strangers as they are posted to their own blogger sites. It's worth checking out and definitely hard to stop watching. You never know who's going to pop up next. Just remember to stop back to see me once in a while. Give me a shout out when you do!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What's dinner without some dancing?

So how does our family kick back to relax after a great evening out with friends and a delicious dinner? All four of us flopping around on Mommy and Daddy's bed, of course. This is Lincoln's absolute favorite position. He's a "hanger." He and we both discovered this favorite flop of his when he was only a few weeks old. I would try to cradle him in my arms and he would kick and shove to push the back of his head just over the bend of my arm. And hang. Weirdo. Here, his big Sis tries to see if the "hang" is really all it's cracked up to be.
And just how about some fine, country pickin's of oldies but goodies brought to you by Daddy and the Hillbilly Network. Welcome to the hoedown and the makings of a very dizzy darling girl!

More Custom Made Miracles






This evening we joined some close friends of ours and their family for dinner. Mind you, this isn't just any group of friends, it's 3 generations of a family who Eric practically grew up with.

(Doesn't it look like Lincoln is reading the menu over Jenni's shoulder? )

In high school, Eric's best friend was Trent. Trent and his whole family pretty much accepted Eric as a part of their family all throughout high school and still continues to today. Trent has since had a family of his own and is living in North Carolina. His older brother Troy and his wife Jenni however, live less than an hour from us.
Troy (and Trent's) parents were in town this weekend and were kind enough to extend an invitation to dinner with them. Talk about a fun group! Troy's parents, Jake and Suze made me feel like a part of their family since the day I met them. It's always a guarantee for a good time when we are with all of them and not ever a dull or quiet moment.
The additional pieces to this family tree that make them so special to us is that Troy and Jenni have adopted their two children also. Tyler and Olivia are biological siblings and are their Custom Made Miracles and awesome, gorgeous kids to boot! I'll never forget the very first time that their kids met Elaina. They were so excited to know that she was adopted by us and they were able to see another example of how a family was made for one another as part of God's plan. In a way, I feel just as important to them because they can see the way our love pours out onto our kids and realize that although they didn't become a part of their family from birth, but this is the mom and dad that God intended for them all along. They can see that it's the same kind of pure, true love that their mom and dad have for them.
Awhile back, I asked Tyler and Olivia if they would be willing to be Elaina's special friends as she grows up and asked them if they could talk to her if she ever has questions about adoption. They were both all smiles and happily agreed as if they could feel the special bond already growing with Elaina. They already know what an important role they will have in her life and now Lincoln's too and are excited to have another Custom Made friend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lovin' Lincoln

Now, who really wants to hear about my evening spent cleaning the house and doing 97 loads of laundry when I can give you this?



God, isn't he cute?
This single, little boy makes me so incredibly happy that I often run out of words. He still makes my heart melt and then swell with joy with his sweet face and cuddly self. 100% miracle!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why It Will Never Be The Same

Guess who got her camera back?

Guess who got her camera back?
La- la, La-la, lala!
Wahooey!After weeks of withdrawal, do you even know what this means for me and my precious blog? Updates!! Pictures!! Videos!! At LAST!
And just what if I did kiss my dear camera upon it's safe return to my home? It's home now capturing unforgettable moments with me and my kids. Between you and me, I think that Camera even missed us too. And just as a welcome home present to Camera, Eric got a super, giant memory card so that Camera will never have to go hungry again. As you are about to see, I've been doing my personal best to see just how many pictures I can stick onto one card and to make up for lost time.

My Camera is home!
Now we can resume the all-important update pictures. Remember our patio project?
It's done! The big 'ol ring off the patio just happens to be out newly built fire pit. We sent our stand-up, rolling fire pit home with my parents since they had gifted it to us a few years back and now we can both enjoy campfires in our own back yards.
As happy as we are about the end result of such a huge project, my favorite feature by far is the corner of the house which a small square was reserved for our kids' hand prints. It's funny to look at this giant slab of concrete and know that what I am most happy with is that 16" by 16" square in the corner which will forever preserve my kids as a part of this house as a part of history.

It really is all about the little things in life, isn't it?

Weeks Like This

As I mentioned before (and then deleted) this week at work has been nothing but pure stress and irritation. The situation itself really isn't even worth the recap, however it did beckon me to do some soul searching and fine calculations with much consideration.

Since this blog is mostly dedicated to Elaina and Lincoln, I have tried to refrain from talking about my other job. You know, the one that takes me away from my little darlings from 8 - 5 each day. I haven't mentioned it before but I work for the county court system. I've had my same job since November, 1999. Just in case your not particularly familiar with county employment, let me share some highlights.

++ County perks = 12 paid holidays per calendar year.
++ County perks = Actually working only 7 hours with one hour paid lunch (30 min. commute, each way)
++ County perks = Awesome benefits, retirement, eligible for some retirement benefits after 10 years employment (after age 65)

-- County pains = Same as in any other job, just tack on a bonus 5 pains for the crap I dealt with this week.
-- County pains = I will never become rich working here

So back to my calculations. I took a closer look at the money that I earn verses what we pay out in child care. With the two figures spelled out in blue ink, I began to wonder why I go to work each day at all. If I stayed home and watched our kids and an additional two, I could just about break even with my current income. Suddenly my mind began to race. Excited ambivalence about being home with my kids all day, the thrill of not having to drive to work, sadness about missing my work friends, eagerness to take on a new challenge, doubt over my abilities, my kids becoming bored with me and missing Nancy, joy about leaving politics and other ignorant minutia behind me and all the while, feeling a sense of relief. A relief as in knowing that if I ever did want to leave my job, I always have a better offer waiting for me at home. The way I look at it is that working in or out of the home, I'm still going to get pooped on one way or another.

I like to have the feeling of the better offer still waiting for me at home with sweet smiles and tight hugs. I've put the idea in my back pocket for now. Just knowing that it's there is a pretty good feeling itself.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reluctant Tumbler

It’s tumbling time again!

This evening I took Elaina to the late summer session of toddler tumbling class. She had a good experience in “tumbing” when she was enrolled back in the winter, but hasn’t been enrolled since. When Lincoln was born, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself or have a standing Tuesday night commitment, so we took the summer months off.

I knew that we had missed the first class of this session, but didn’t exactly realize that they were already into their third class already. The session is half over! The instructors were kind enough to discount the rate, proportionate to the only three classes remaining. Based on Elaina’s behavior tonight, that’s probably a good thing.

Miss Thing was so excited to go to “tumbing” as she bounced through the house, smiling and gathering her jewelry to wear. She didn’t even mind that I made her take off all of her gems before leaving the house. We arrived at class and she immediately left my side to play with some new friends. As soon as the instructors beckoned the kids to the other end of the room, I was impressed how easily Elaina followed. “This is going to be a good class,” I thought to myself with pride in my daughter’s social skills. The minute the instructors clicked on the music and asked the kids to begin floor stretches, Elaina turtled around on the mats and wandered to the back of the room to dangle herself off of the balance beam before she ran back to Mommy. After a little pep talk from mom and some encouraging words from the other moms, Elaina ran back to the class with a fresh attitude. Which lasted all of about 3 minutes before she broke from the pack once again. After 3 more times of her boomerang behavior, I took her by the hand back to the middle of the gym and sat with her just behind the class and tried to motivate her into joining in. The whole time she hid behind me, saying, “Mommy, I can’t do it.”

Part of me wanted to take her home immediately and save my baby from failure while the more perserverent side of me wanted to push her hiney onto the exercise mat and make her pay attention and put forward some effort. It’s at this point that I realized more than ever that she absolutely did need to be in a structured class afterall. Once the floor stretches ended, and the class moved onto something new, her interest peeked and I was able to take my seat in the back of the class once again.

Guess who is going to be a regular in this class from now on.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Well Traveled Babysitters

(***Note of apology: I used Eric's borrowed camera while ours is on vacation and apparently took all of the pictures with the nigh shot feature on! Too many gadgets, buttons, switches and lights for this dummy but I'm posting the gray-green pictures anyhow!)

Lucky for us, another weekend just happened to pop up when we needed it most. Even luckier yet was that my parents came to town to visit. Wahooey!
Since Eric is on the volunteer fire department and since they have a work day once each fall and since he's missed it for the past 3 years, Eric felt obligated to spend most of his day Saturday lending a hand to the maintenance of the fire department and the trucks. Since my mom and dad were visiting, we had no problem leaving him to his work while we went chasing through the town bargain shopping. No treasures were found, but it was a nice way to spend a gorgeous, crisp September Saturday. No complaints.

As we settled in at home for a late lunch from Subway, my mom held Lincoln on her lap while she ate her sub. My dad was the first to notice that with each bite that led my mom's sandwich to her mouth, Lincoln was following the path of the sub and opening his mouth like a little bird awaiting his supper. Since my mom was oblivious to his intent glare, Lincoln tried another approach. He began to reach his hand out in the direction of her sandwich. My dad began rolling in his seat from laughing so hard while my mom and I began to watch his noble attempt at getting his hands on some grub. Hysterical!

What a better indication that he just might be ready for some rice cereal. Some "real" food! I couldn't stand to see my baby starve and whipped up Lincoln's first taste of rice cereal which he loved! There was no question if he knew what to do with it once it was in his mouth, he pushed it back with his tongue, swallowed and opened up for more. He appeared as though he's been eating cereal for all of his four months. He ate most of a tablespoon of cereal before his belly told him he wanted more. NOW! Bottle time came before he even had a chance to scream. I think I'm getting good at this appeasing-my-kid thing.
Later in the evening, some friends of the firemen hosted an appreciation dinner / bonfire for all of the volunteers who had spent their day working and their dates. As for lame-O Eric and myself, we considered this a date! My mom and dad were watching the kids and we went to a grown up dinner where nobody threw their steaks on the floor, no one whined about not wanting to eat what was served and everyone ate with a fork. I didn't even have to cut up any one's food! It was a good date, indeed!
So, when our long distance babysitters come to watch the kids, let me just tell you the order of things. Pop-pop walked Elaina down to the local restaurant for ice cream sundaes after dinner (I hope), Grandma read Elaina approximately 17 bedtime stories and tucked her into bed about 3 times, and this happened to my kitchen table:
My mom had spent the intermissions of her evening folding all of Elaina and Lincoln's bigger sized fall clothes that I had pulled out and sent through the laundry. Now that's something to come home to! Thanks Mom!
Sunday brought us another gorgeous almost-fall day with lots of sunshine. We went out to a nice restaurant for lunch and stuffed ourselves until we had to be rolled out to the car. Why don't I know better? When the promotion is "endless shrimp" why don't I know that it's going to have to end after only one plate? What am I thinking? Talk about misery. ugh.

Although our meal was good, our 2 year old was not. She wasn't the worst I have ever seen, but by no means good. During dinner, we kept reminding Elaina that she needed to use her quiet voice because we were indoors. The child had a cry fest while whimpering, "I wanna be loud. I wanna be loud Mommy." We all made it through dinner without anyone getting too loud or too whiny or having to leave the table, but the drive home was a whole different story. We witnessed the meltdown power of a strapped in toddler for 30 minutes. As I recall, the demand was "I wanna get outta my seat. I wanna get outta my seat. I wanna get outta my seat. I wanna get outta my seat." Over and over and over.... Crying and crying. The child was a lunatic! For 30 minutes. This is the evidence of a too-late-of- night and a too-early- morning and a too- little-nap. Recipe for disaster. As I was pulling her "outta her seat" when we got home, I told her how much Mommy disliked her behavior and her whining and that Mommy wasn't happy with her for acting like that. Immediately, the tears shut down and in her very calm-non whine voice, she says, "Okay Mommy."
Oh dear Lord, what am I going to do with this girl?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Should've Set a Better Example

Apparently, I’m in a little bit of a funk lately. You could even say I’m in complain-mode-overdrive.

So here it is, let me just lay down the cold, hard facts of my latest gripe.

It’s all about the laundry. I’d like to get my hands on the very first person who decided that their cotton blend shirt would appear to look better if without wrinkles. The very first person who heated a metal object on the stove, hovered over a stool and worked like a dog to smooth out every stinkin’ last fold and wrinkle as a result of drying on the clothes line. And that same person paraded around to their friends showing of their crisp, smooth shirt as a masterpiece of their grueling effort. Why would someone do this? And so was the beginning of peer pressure. Thanks alot ancestors, four score and seven years ago.

Is it possible for you to handle a little more? How about the person who decided that placing your clothes neatly in the most tiny, individual drawers was the very best idea? What kind of standard was that? Just imagine if some genius carpenter would have constructed a bookshelf of sorts with a door on front, lending the user the convenience to stuff their clothes onto shelves and nobody would see them! Brilliant you say? Absolutely! Dresser drawers, be damned. And even a step further, a standard for every bedroom would be a whole wall of shelving exclusively for storage; sweaters, jeans, wrinkly pants, wrinkly shirts and unfolded underwear!

Who’s with me on this one?

You may not have guessed that I spent nearly my whole evening doing laundry. Oh yes. I. Did.

Lincoln at 4 Months

Here's your first look at Mr. Handsome!
I get to pick up my final prints that I ordered this Friday. It seems as though I'll have an entire weekend ahead of me at that point to get them in the mail to some very important Grandma's and Grandpa's! Aunts and Uncles better check their mailboxes too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whine; Party of Three

Whiner #1: Me
I may as well get used to it. Again.
Bowling season has officially commenced and Eric is a bowler. Since this is like Eric’s 10th year, you’d think I may just decide to accept this as fact. That every Wednesday evening for 30 weeks I will be a single mom. Then again, the nagging, resentful and selfish side of me wants to nag him to quit every minute that leads up to bowling night since he’s already put in his DECADE. And let’s not overlook the fact that he just happens to have 2 kids at home now. That’s entirely a different scenario from when he first signed up. And while I’m on my rant, one very important point not to overlook is that Eric also attends his weekly fire meeting every Tuesday evening. He is a little bit more lenient on attendance for those, but still. Husband gone 2 evenings a week; wife gone zero. Okay. Rant over. Now my children.

Whiner #2: Elaina, scheduled to whine from 6-7:00 p.m.
So, Eric leaves for bowling at 6:00. And mind you, it’s not like I have ever felt “put out” to watch my own children, but tonight was different. From the beginning, Elaina was desperately tired and acting out by whining and breaking down into full blown drama queen-mode. Nothing made her happy, if I even thought the word “NO” she held her hands over her eyes and began to fake cry and whimper, thinking she would get her own way. Unfortunately for her, Mommy wasn’t in the mood to play her game tonight. I exercised every bit of my patience tonight as I resisted her tears for nearly an hour.

Whiner #3: Lincoln, taking his turn on the whine shift from 7-8:00 p.m.
And then there is Lincoln. Baby Lincoln is always such a good boy that there is rarely ever an instance that I have anything but positive to report on my little love. And wouldn’t you know it, tonight was different for him too. I’m guessing that Elaina’s temperament was a little bit contagious. Most nights I can count on Lincoln taking a nap in his swing for at least an hour or two, most times overlapping the same time I am putting Elaina to bed. Not tonight! Lincoln woke from his ONLY 20 MINUTE NAP and began to cry. Umm, did I say cry? I mean wail. Like someone was pulling out his toenails out. One at a time. And since he rarely cries, I do find it alarming and immediately begin to wonder what in the world could be wrong with my Little Sweetums. Trying to soothe him and ultimately feeding him early took the better part of an hour.

Let the Party Begin!! The Whine is flowing!!
Going into the third hour of our evening, just when I think I may finally have a handle on my cranky kiddos, Elaina starts with her Oscar-worthy performance of fake crying over going to bed, Lincoln begins to belt out a few cries of discontent because he can't put himself to sleep and I want to wrap a pillow around my head to cover their noise while I pound my head into the wall. Both kids are crying at the same time!

So here, mother's of multiples are faced with a crossroads of sorts. I can choose either to let myself give into being overwhelmed with this crappy evening and cry too, or I can step it up and take command. If you know me personally, you'll know how bossy I can be and know that I opted for path #2. It's time to take charge! I popped a fussy Lincoln into his swing, which he put himself to sleep within 2 minutes and hauled the drama queen off to her bedroom. Her very last request was for Mommy to lay down with her. Considering the night I had, I just so happened to oblige her last request. We snuggled down, cozy and tight in her bed about 8:50 and the house was quiet at last. Everyone was content and there was peace in the land. Just then, I heard Eric come home from bowling to a quiet, peaceful home full of FAKERS!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Laundry day

Do you know what I like? I like yellow sleepers. Yellow baby shirts. And yellow bibs.

Wanna know why?

They hide nasty formula spit-up. Makes spot-treating laundry a whole lot simpler.

Now if I can only convince myself to think for a moment that I would be okay with Lincoln dressed in yellow all day, every day.

Can't see it happening.

Baby Boyfriend

Aahhh, my boyfriend. My sweet, little boyfriend. Anyone care to hear about my little guy?

His name just happens to be Lincoln, or Winkin’-Dinkin-Do, if you care to be technical about it. My baby boy. I still find myself in awe that this lovable little guy is a part of our family. Somebody pinch me. I am just in love with him.

There is nothing like holding my baby boy in my arms. I can’t get enough of the way his little chub-chub body melts against mine like he was born knowing how to give hugs. The way he snuggles his head against me when he sits upright on my lap. How his eyes lock onto my smiling face and he knows to smile back because he knows how much I adore him. And there’s really nothing that can compare to him falling asleep in my arms while we’re holding hands. This boy really has a good, tight grip too. Even since he was only weeks old, he would grab onto my fingers, arms or my shirt and cling on, showing his might.

Last night we shared one of “those” moments. Those special, quiet times that you share with your baby that wipe out every bit of stress from your day and make you feel like there is no one else in the world except for the two of you at that moment. It was right after Eric fed him his bottle and there he lay, wide awake. Usually the little stinker barely finishes his bedtime bottle because he has fallen asleep. Not last night. He drank, I hugged on him and he wanted to stay awake to watch t.v. with his dad. I surely didn’t mind to take him to his room to rock him to sleep. I watched as his eyes grew sleepy and smiled when he yawned and repeatedly smacked his little pout lips. Oh the sweetness. I think I even got a cavity from soaking in all of his “sweet.”

We held hands, I stroked his soft arm, his eyes fluttered as he tried to hold my gaze and he drifted off to sleep. My boy. Love. Love. Love! I slowly moved us from the glider to put him to bed and URP. My little loverboy yacked spit-up right down my shirt. That’s my boy. Stinkin’ little Lincoln. Moment is over.

On a side note, I did take Lincoln to have his 4 month pictures taken on Sunday just like I had intended. It seems as though we just never made it for 3 month pics. Since he had just woke from a car-nap, the photographer and I really had to work on getting some smiles out of him this day. Most of his pictures turned out nicely and will be ready for pickup next week. Really, how many ways can you pose a 4 month old?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Got Milk?

It's not very often anymore that I actually find time to read a grown-up magazine or even a book these days, yet I happened to come across an article in this magazine about switching your toddler to regular milk after age 2. With this in mind, I began to think about all of the milk fat that whole milk contains and began to wonder if this could be the reason that Elaina has such a little appetite. She does love milk and water just the same and we give her very little juice. So why does she never have much of an appetite for anything other than Cheetos and donut holes? (Not that she gets these every day, but she would like to.)

From this point, I decided to switch her from drinking whole milk to our regular 2% to see if her appetite would increase. Do you know what? Picky Pickerson is more hungry!! Hooray for my hungry girl! Now let's not get overly excited, she's not to the point that she's actually trying new foods, but she's actually eating all of her favorite food on her plate and asking for more. We still keep offering her new foods, which she politely declines with, "NoSankYou Mommy."

So the experiment is working! Elaina wakes up hungry in the morning and she's hungry at dinnertime too. I am thrilled! As if this isn't good enough already, the icing on the cake is that I no longer have to buy 2 different gallons of milk since the price of milk has almost doubled in the past 6 months! That's happy news all around!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Two-Too Party

It's really all about being two. Elaina is two. Cousin Colin is two. Many of my blog friends' kids are two. And now, Elaina's friend, " Ahh-Wee" is two.

Happy Birthday Ali !

(Ali is the daughter of one of my friend's and Elaina's playground and tumbling class buddy.)

Lucky for us, we made it on the invitation list to be guests at Ali's 2nd birthday party this evening. For the past couple days, I had been talking to Elaina to let her know that Ali was going to be two and we were going to her party. I kept telling Elaina that Ali is going to have a party and open presents and have cake and friends and we're going to Ali's house and that Ali was turning two. Every time, I was met with Elaina's same reply, "I two too!" Oh yes, you Clever Little Bug, you are soo two! The next thing that stuck in her mind was cake. She never lets the word cake slip out of some one's mouth without having them pay it forward.

Ali's party was mostly family, few of which we knew. We were fortunate, however, that Ali's whole family made us feel welcome and her grandma's even shared plenty of hugs with Lincoln while Mommy and Daddy ate dinner. Speaking of dinner... holy smokes alive! We enjoyed our very first southern-style shrimp boil. Whoa, let me just tell you that it was incredible! Wait, unless the word "fantastic" holds more meaning than "incredible"-- it was to die for! Shrimp, sausage, red potatoes, corn on the cob, carrots, artichokes and whole lemons, all seasoned and poured onto a slab of a makeshift table which everyone wallered around and ate with their hands. Basically, a whole mess of good!

So the party wasn't all about eating, although it easily could have been, Ali had a really nice birthday party. There were about 4 other little girls there and I was barely able to catch a glimpse of Elaina as she bounced from the little pink piano in Ali's room to the outside playhouse with some trampoline jumping and tricycle riding thrown in the middle- just for good measure. Elaina had such a great time that she tried to run all around the house and the yard to play with every single toy just one last time before we left. Those two year- olds sure know how to party!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Please NOT

another project.


So, do you want to know what's been going on at our house lately?
Here's a hint...

See this deck?

Now, it's all gone.

Once we got our stamped concrete work done on our patio last year, (right of this picture) we realized just how raggedy and ruined our deck looked next to it. The torn off plank was Eric's handiwork before I begged him to borrow a camera to document our "before" picture.

Eric spent most of last week tearing out all of the old, rotted wood and making way for our new deck area to be constructed and poured in the next couple of weeks. We're having the pattern stamped to match our patio (since they connect) and we're even going as far to have a fire pit laid in the middle of our yard. I'm still crossing my fingers that it looks as good in our yard as it does in my head at this point.

Since my handyman husband is always tackling one project after another, he's been assisting the concrete layer almost every evening to defray the final cost of this latest endeavor. Eric has always been good about lending himself to labor in a little sweat-equity type arrangement. So now you'll know how Eric will be spending his evenings in the next couple weeks!

I'm too embarrassed to even list the number of projects Eric has lined up for himself, and his wife's list too. I just keep reminding myself that once one is finished, we'll never have to do it again! I just wish I could see the finish line at this point. On something!

Visual Drought

I am just about losing touch with myself over not having a camera.

In fact, it just plain old stinks.

Since I haven't had the capability of posting pictures for too long already, how about if I share with you pictures from Elaina's latest photo session. These were taken just a few weeks after she officially turned 2.

And just for fun, let's see if I am able to keep my tentative plan of taking Lincoln to get his picture taken this Sunday. Since he is only going to be 4 months old already!

As for getting some of these pics in the mail to our family, well, you obviously know how my track record has panned out so far with actually ordering and attempting delivering pictures of my children. Guess you might want to pull for me to get Lincoln's pictures done soon and then I can just mail Elaina, Lincoln (4 months) and birth announcements at the same time.

Ooohh, I just realized how ridiculously lazy I sounded. Ouch.

Just remember to check your mailbox from time to time and one day you may be surprised!

I may surprise myself.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Love

Here's something you may not have known about me. I tell Elaina and Lincoln "I Love You" about 7,00 times a day. It's true. There's not a second in their lives that I ever want them to doubt or think twice about how much their Mommy or Daddy love them or forget those spoken words.

Tonight was really no different. I was getting Elaina ready for bed and telling her that I loved her. At that moment, I began to question if, at two years old, does she really know what that term means? Seriously, I tell her all of the time, she hears us talk about love and I know she reciprocates the words back to us, but does she really know what love is?

Let me share our special moment with you: (Grab the tissue.)

Mommy: Elaina, do you know that Mommy loves you?

Elaina: Yes Mommy! (Swinging her arms around my neck.)

M: Do you know what love is?

E: Yes Mommy! (Now climbing me.)

M: Love is special, warm hugs that you can feel in your heart and makes you feel good all over. (Squeezing her in a tight hug)

E: Oh Mommy!

M: Love is also kisses on your face and your neck and tickles too! (Demonstrating same)

E: (Squealing with laughter)

M: Love is also when Mommy smiles at you because you make Mommy so happy.

Elaina and Mommy hugging at this point.

M: Elaina, can you tell me what love is?

E: Cows!

Seriously, what's not to love about this girl?
(And cows. I guess.)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Getaway!

Well, it's finally here. A three day weekend. A small miracle for an hourly employee. Labor Day couldn't have come too soon. Three days of R and R.

Not.

Rest and relaxation? For who? Not us! We have visiting to do!

Saturday afternoon we got on the road, heading for Eric's grandma's house in West Virginia. It seems as though we've made it somewhat of a tradition to go there for the three day Labor Day weekend to spend time with Eric's grandma and enjoy the annual Sternwheel Regatta Festival held at the state capital on the river walk.

Unfortunately for us, we didn't happen to be in very forward motion come Saturday morning and didn't leave the house especially early. By the time we had driven our three hours to get there, it was already close to dinner time and we had wasted almost a whole day. Lucky for us, in true Southern hospitality, grandma had dinner on the table waiting for us.

Sunday brought us gorgeous, hot weather for a planned cook out with much of the family coming by for a big dinner. We spent the day visiting and overeating while Elaina played with her 2nd cousin and Lincoln was passed around for his share of hugs. After dinner, I took Elaina for a walk down the lane to see the resident horses and cows belonging to the neighbor. It seems as though every horse is her friend and asked to take one home. Good luck sweet- talking your Daddy into that one!

Once all of the family began to head their separate ways, we started to get ourselves ready to go the Regatta downtown. Although we are accustom to taking both of our kids pretty much everywhere we go, Eric's grandma and aunt kindly offered to keep Lincoln at home and take exceptional care of him. Since it was getting later in the evening and we were going to attempt to stay late enough for the fireworks at 10, we happily accepted their offer and headed out as a family of three. The evening's events included a performance by the Gin Blossoms, plenty of fair food and kiddie rides galore. Not to mention crowds that could suffocate an elephant and wall to wall teenagers with their pregnant bellies and two kids in tow. (Sorry, this isn't just a West Virginia thing, I saw the very same instances at our local fair without even looking very hard.) We had made the decision to leave the stroller in the car since we had packed the double stroller and therefore, we took turns carrying Elaina much of the time we were there. Being perched up on her daddy's shoulders or on her mommy's hip, she hardly minded as long as one of us remembered to share our ice cream with her and not miss any rides along the way. Judging from the crowds, I was actually happy and grateful that we did decide to leave Lincoln in a nice, clean, quiet home and that we didn't even attempt a double stroller through the chaos of the crowds.

We ended up with plenty of time to take in the sights, sample the junk food and let Elaina fish in the makeshift fish pond, pull a duck from the duck pond and ride several rides on her own. And for all of that, she even won herself 2 valuable prizes to take home. A 5 inch stuffed turtle and a glitter baton that has already lost it's streamers. The real excitement came as the first firecracker lit up the clear night sky. Directly over the Kanawha River they entertained the crowd with the most spectacular fireworks display I have ever seen. We were so excited to see Elaina's reaction to the sparkling night sky and the pounding and crackling of colors that cascaded endlessly over the river. And after about 5 minutes of Eric and myself "Oohing" and "Aahing" over the intense light show, Elaina cuddled up onto my shoulder and said, "Mommy, I tired. I take a nap." Oh my sweet child. Whatever in the world am I going to do with you?

*Note to self for Regatta 2008: DO NOT park in the parking deck unless you have a spare 35 minutes that you would like to spend sweating in the car, listening to other cars honking their horns non-stop in an echoing dungeon of doom.