The Sweetest Time of Day

A parent’s day typically starts waaaaay before one would naturally like to be awake.

The good thing about being awake that early is that I was up alone. With my cup of coffee, lamenting the fact that I was awake, trying to get the lunches made in time to get the littlest up, dressed and out the door before traffic snarled and made me late for work.

Of course I would wait until the very last minute possible to get out of bed and start this whole process, requiring that things needed to run like clockwork in order to get out on time. No room for error, no time to stray from the routine.

Then, Sweets decided she wanted to get up and watch me make her lunch. She will get up and come in my room, sometimes mistaking 3:30am and 4:30am for my wake up time,  to make sure she doesn’t miss me going to the kitchen. I would then either 1) be wide awake and unable to get back to sleep for that last coveted hour or 2 before I NEEDED to be up and be a walking zombie the rest of the day or 2) finally fall asleep 15 minutes before it was time to get up and sleep through my alarm and be a walking zombie for the rest of the day.

Sweets was putting a wrench into my routine, all but ensuring my mornings would be chaotic and stressful. All of a sudden my fine tuned, running like a well oiled machine routine was getting disrupted. I was not amused. I was, on average, getting out the door 15-20 minutes later than my ideal time of departure. I was cranky. I had no patience. Many mornings resulted in Sweets in tears and me spilling my coffee.  It was not a happy routine.

I will be rushing everyone out the door, juggling all the bags and snacks and my coffee, and Sweets will be complaining that she was cold and to hurry up. This made no sense because SHE DIDN’T NEED TO BE OUTSIDE, she wasn’t going anywhere! She was only coming outside to watch us drive down the driveway and wave as we went around the corner. It was 35 degrees out this morning and she was sitting on the porch chair in bare feet. I expect Child Services to come calling any time.

And then THIS happened (a slightly contrived rendition, but you get the picture):

 

I started to see the morning routine in a whole different light. Sweets was getting up to spend time with me. She was coming outside in the cold to watch as her sister and I  left, standing on the porch waving until she couldn’t see us anymore. I would say, “Have a great day at school! I love you!” and she would respond, “Don’t worry about me, I always come out on top!” ala Pippi Longstocking. The routine now included more time spent with my girl.

But the sweetest, the now most anticipated part of my day, is watching her and her sister say goodbye. Sarah won’t leave until she gives Sweets a hug, and now a kiss, good bye. She’s just recently started giving goodbye kisses, and it is the cutest thing on this planet.

kisses

 

So now, while the morning routine is still the bane of my existence, the good-bye ritual is one of my favorites of the day.

Good thing for coffee.

Have a great crazy day!

All Kinds of Crazy Wrapped Up In 2

My life has been all kinds of crazy for quite some time.

But crazy was redefined on December 5, 2012.

SJ

In all her sweetness

In all her sweetness

Enter Sarah Jane. She looks like a cute little bundle, but don’t let that fool you!

school picture

She is rough and tumble and she will tackle you when you are down. She is not to be messed with.

Words that come when mind to describe Sarah: spitfire, feisty. Nicknames she has so far accumulated: The Wrecking Ball, The Hippopatamus, The Tornado.

She’s my handful. She’s my mom’s “karma is a bitch”. She’s payback for my own wild youth.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. For all her stubbornness, for all her pig-headedness, for all her strong willed “you are not making me do this-ness!”, she is one of the sweetest, most loving- albeit it a touch bit prickly- girls.

She is the one that will bring you your shoes. She is the one that will make sure everyone has a plate at snack even if it means emptying out the entire contents of the Tupperware drawer. She is the one that will make your belly ache from laughing.

She is the one that says, “Thank yooooooo!”.

She is the one that won’t leave for school without giving her big sister a hug and a kiss.

She is the one that makes our family complete.

She is 2 today. Hard to believe. And if the “terrible 2’s” are indeed a thing, then we are in for it.

She is reserving the right to cry if she wants to on her birthday. And throw a good tantrum. Or 2.

Bday song

Our Happy Birthday Song was apparently not up to par

 

 

Have a great crazy day!

 

 

Hosting Thanksgiving Seemed Like Such A Great Idea….

I love Thanksgiving. The traditions our family have built around my favorite holiday is what has made it my favorite holiday.

Sitting on the couch at the beach house, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, snacking on pre-meal goodies, taking a walk down on the beach, watching football all day….

>sigh<

It’s awesome.

This year though, they’ve gone and screwed up tradition by deciding to sell the beach house, so I am hosting Thanksgiving at our house.

For the first time ever, I am responsible for getting the meal together. For a good long time I have flown under the radar and have never been responsible for putting together the Big Meal.

Then it hits me, as I look at my sparse living room and empty fridge- oh my gosh, there is no piddling around, folks, there is work to be done!

I realized this weekend just how much work there was to be done. Like, we didn’t have a coffee table or end tables in the living room. We moved in 5 months ago and still don’t have major pieces of furniture. Also, the dog ate a corner of one of the dining room chairs. Pi was all, “We’ll never even notice it unless we have guests.”

Um, yeah! Like on Thanksgiving THIS COMING WEEKEND!

Then we looked around the house and at first glance it’s not so bad. Then you rub off your “we live in a house with 2 young kids” glasses and realize that there are fingerprints and dirty smudges on EVERYTHING. There is not an inch of the house- under the 3 foot mark that is- that doesn’t have some sort of smudgey dirt on it.

One thing I was happy about is that we had way enough wine glasses. But upon further inspection, we have 1 white wine glass and double bazillion red wine glasses and 0 “this is Thanksgiving we need nice water glasses”. I was surprised too about the 1 wine glass, what with all the white wine consumed over here, but the more you think about ALL.THE.WHITE.WINE. consumed over here it starts to make more sense. There have been many broken wine glasses. As in, I am on my third round of white wine glasses.

So I buy a 6 pack of white wine glasses and water glasses in the box so I don’t need to bother getting those damn sticky price stickers off the bottom. Imagine my RAGE, and that is what it was, RAGE, when I opened up the boxes and every single glass had a sticky price sticker on the bottom.

JUST PUT A PRICE TAG ON THE BOX!!!!!

But moving forward….

I spent days weeks painstakingly creating the menu and making my grocery list. I am AHEAD OF THE GAME I tell myself. Then this past weekend I realize nothing on my list had been bought, none of the tasks completed…I AM LAGGING BEHIND!

Panic set in. Wine was opened. Panic subsided.

I vented my woes to my Facebook peeps and a friend said, “good thing about Thanksgiving is that it is spent with people that love you and don’t care about your half eaten dog-chair!” Okay, that may not be a direct quote, but you get the idea. Another friend said, “just give them Tuaca and they’ll never notice”. That is a direct quote- he knows me well.

I am now more relaxed. I spent the evening making a cheesecake (from scratch, yep, that’s right- even the crust. FROM SCRATCH PEOPLE!!!), drinking wine and doing ridiculous celebratory “I made a cheesecake from scratch” dances in my kitchen which my husband looked on thinking to himself “I married a loony”.

In any case, this was a somewhat rambling mess of a post about why I’ve been too busy to regale you about tales of my crazy life. I hope to get back on track after the holiday’s.

On a more serious note, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I am excited to have my family and friends over to celebrate. I am blessed to have so much in my life and not for one minute do I forget how fortunate I am. Through the trials and struggles of the past couple years I’ve got a wonderful husband by my side. I’ve got healthy, albeit crazy, kids. I’ve got a core group of loyal friends that I can count on for ANYTHING, except for that time I dropped my keys at the Aerosmith concert and called one of those said “loyal friends” to come let me in my apartment because he’s the one I trusted with my spare key and it took 15 calls and sitting outside in the freezing cold for 3 hours (that may be an exaggeration) for him to show up.

To my crazy family, my crazy friends, and all the people out there that take time to read my post because perhaps you can relate- I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Hug your loves super extra hard this holiday!

Have a great crazy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Your Daily Dose of Awesome

There are some stories you hear about that just make you believe in humanity again. That in between Miley dancing around scantily clad and sticking out her tongue some more (because apparently that makes news) and all the political crap going around this time of year, there are still some stories that make you wipe your eyes and say, “damn, that is awesome.”

The story I am talking about is Lauren Hill. She is an athlete, a basketball player. All she wanted to do was play college ball. That became a reality when she joined Mount St. Joseph’s College team. Only thing is that shortly after, she found out she had cancer.

Brain cancer.

DIPG, more specifically.

For anyone that has followed me here you know that my family has, unfortunately, intimate knowledge of DIPG, the brain cancer that took my nephew, Evan.

Despite her declining health, the fact that she could barely move on some days, Lauren practiced. She persevered. She continued to play not only because it was her DREAM to be a college basketball player, but also because she didn’t want to let down her team.  She forged on, but DIPG did, too. Amazing- to be facing the most daunting aspect of life, the end of it, and her focus was on others.

Time was running out for Lauren, and here is where the story restores my faith in humanity.

The NAACP moved up their basketball schedule by 2 weeks to ensure she would be able to play.

This means the opposing team had to agree. They did.

Given all the attention Lauren was getting from the media, they needed to get a bigger stadium to fit all of Lauren’s supporters. 10,000 to be exact.

This meant the opposing team giving up home court advantage and pretty much support that the stadium would be filled with people cheering for the other team. They agreed.

The day before the game, Lauren’s team hosted the opposing team to dinner. Sitting down and sharing a meal with your opponent. They accepted.

The day of the game, the stadium was packed. The first shot was made by Lauren. A time out was called and Lauren’s team took time to celebrate on the court. The stadium cheered and here is the thing- the players from the other team, they were wiping away tears and cheering, too.

A lot of making Lauren’s last wishes come true relied on her opponents. And they made it happen. And that, my crazy friends, is what kindness and humanity is all about.

Cancer is all kinds of sucky, so it is reassuring to know that when things are all kinds of sucky, there are still good people around.

 

Hug your loves people, and have a great crazy day!

 

The Party Hat

Every parent has found themselves in a power struggle with their kids. Sometimes it’s over when to go to bed, what to wear to school, not being able to do something before their room is clean/they brush their teeth/set the table, not being able to have a bowl of sprinkles for breakfast and a cupcake for dinner.

The parent draws the line. The kid digs their heels in. You are at a standstill. Sometimes ending in a win/win, sometimes ending with the parent at their wits end and the child in tears.

Yeah, it happens.

For me, the power struggle was with a party hat.

party hat

That’s right, a party hat. The cone shaped birthday party hat with the elastic that goes under your chin. That kind of party hat.

Having a birthday hat means we had a really fun day at a birthday party, including a lot of cake. Naps and quiet times were missed. Fuses were short. Patience was thin. Ability to tolerate anything that revolved any type of effort was at 0%.

And let’s not even talk about how the kids were doing.

Enter the party hat. Mahlie had brought a few hats home and she came up to me and asked me to put it on for her.

“Oh Sweets, you can put that hat on yourself!”

“No I caaaaan’t….It’s toooo haaaard!” This is paired with dropping down onto her knees and burying her head into the couch.

“Just let me see you try. C’mon.”

“Noooo….just do it for me!” she whines, flailing her arms and legs as she rolls about on the floor.

That is a lot of drama over a party hat. I should just put it on for her and we’ll all move on with our afternoon, right?

Except that is not what I did.

“Sweets, why don’t you try yourself first.”

Enter spawn of evil, red face, fists clenched at side, speaking in a voice I can only imagine came from the bowels of somewhere unpleasant: “I already TRIED in the OFFICE like A MILLION TIMES, you JUST DIDN”T SEE ME!!!!”, fists pounding the sides of her angry, angry body.

Okay, let’s just get that hat on her and end this angry little tirade.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Instead:

“Well, how about you try one more time with me and I will help if you can’t do it.”

Well, that about did it. She took her little hand and whacked that party hat clear across the room.

“That’s it, party hat is finished and you need to go to your room.”

And that is how my daughter ended up in time out for not being able to put on a party hat.

Worst. Mom. Ever.

Except here’s the thing. It’s not really about the party hat. It is about me knowing my child and KNOWING she can put that damn party hat on by herself.

I know, I know, I know- perhaps not the time to teach a lesson on persistence and never giving up, when one is low on reserves of energy and coping skills.

BUT….

Around 5 minutes after her time out was finished, kisses and hugs had been given and all was forgiven, Sweets is skipping around the kitchen, smiling from ear to ear.

“Hi momma!”

She keeps coming into the room, skipping around with a huge smile on her face.

Finally I notice: She’s wearing the party hat. The party hat she put on all by herself. Which is why she had the huge grin. Which made me have a huge grin.

Because really, it was about a lot more than just a party hat.

 

Have a great crazy day!

 

Where Does The Time Go?

I got Mahlie’s school picture back this week.
I looked at it, sat down, looked at it some more.

Gone were the pudgy cheeks.
Flyaway hair was replaced by hair pulled back in butterfly clips.

My little girl was…. just that. A little girl. No longer a baby or a toddler.

There are boxes of clothes to be handed down to her sister. Cute outfits, dresses and leggings barely worn, outfits she wore to Christmas and school pictures.

I reluctantly put them in a box, labeled and stored in the garage until her sister can fit into them. I am consoled with the fact that they will be worn again.

And then I look at the boxes and boxes of 12month-18month clothes. They are labeled and stored for….. who?

Every time I go into the garage, I ask the same question, “are you sure we should donate these? We don’t want to hold on to them?”

It is a different answer in my head every time. For my husband, it is unwavering. There was a time when 3 was the magic number. But time isn’t slowing down and unfortunately my birthday’s keep coming. I was no spring chicken when I had my first and second. And while Halle Barry has shown everyone you can rock being an older mom, there are definite set backs.

We now sure our magic number is 2. Most days I am fine with this decision. Other days, the finality of it strikes at my heart and I waver. And I go out to the garage and look at the boxes of clothes and ask the question again.

I think of the sleepless nights and evening tantrums. Yes, donate.
I think of the weight of a sleeping baby on my chest, the smell, oh the smell! of that small baby head. Maybe just hang on to them a bit longer.

Then the girls run out, Mahlie scoots by with her sister closely behind. They are laughing and screaming as only little girls can.

Pi comes running out, chasing them.

Things are pretty perfect. 2 is a great number. I get back to sorting and arranging the growing number of boxes with baby items in them.

The bassinet that I kept by my bed with Sarah until she was 4 months old. The dress she wore for her first day of day care. The Halloween costumes for Mahlie’s first and 2nd Halloween. The Christmas dresses. The musical crib toy. My eye tear.

“Hey Pi, come here, I have a question for you…..”

At this very moment, there is a shriek. Mahlie comes running and screaming. Sarah is running around to the back yard, Mahlie’s lovey firmly in her hands, squealing in laughter. The dog takes this moment to breach the front door and go running towards the neighbor’s yard. Pi looks at me, looks at each girl, to the dog, wondering where to go first.

“Never mind!”

I get out the tape and seal the boxes.

 

Have a great crazy day!

“A Book With No Pictures?? NO WAY!”

“NO WAY! That’s BORING!!!”

That is the response I got when I showed Mahlie the new book I got her, “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak.

She loves, loves, LOVES books. We read together EVERY and I will find her asleep next to a pile of books in her bed in the morning.

She also sees ME reading every day. Not on my iPhone, not on the computer, not on a kindle or nook, but real books, the ones you hold in your hands and turn the pages.

One evening she asked me, “Doesn’t reading books with no pictures make your brain tired?”

While reading at night does often result with me falling asleep with a book open on my lap, that is more the result of kids running me ragged all day.

So when I got out this book with no pictures, she was skeptical.

But then I started to read it, and the response from her was gut-busting laughter.

Not believing your kid will like a book with no pictures? Watch below:

B.J. Novak is brilliant. And this book is FANTASTIC. I urge anyone with younger kids to run out and get this book or order it by clicking on the picture below.

The Book with No Pictures

 

Enjoy every last one of the 1,000,000 times your kid will make you read this.

Have a great crazy weekend!