Thursday, April 28, 2011

Now & Then

Then ....

Now ....

And no signs of stopping.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fairly Forgetful Easter Bunny

I bought the goodies for Easter nearly two months ago. Matching baskets, fake green grass, plastic colorful eggs, candy, stuffed animals, a couple of small toys. I was really on top of things.

Which isn't usually my style. Normally I wait until the day before the event before I buy the gift. Or sometimes, the day of. What can I say? I'm a procrastinator.

But I really want to be the person who's prepared. The person who has Christmas gifts wrapped by early December. Or better yet, before December.

So, this year, I bought the stuff for Easter early.

Unfortunately, not only am I a procrastinator, I'm also fairly forgetful. It wasn't until mid-way through breakfast Sunday morning that I remembered all that stuff was still in the shopping bags tucked inside a closet.

Mom fail. Err … I mean, Easter Bunny fail.

After we shooed them in the other room, and I quickly threw together their baskets, they came back into the living room and were so delighted to see their stuff, they didn't even give me any lip about it being late. Probably because they can't talk yet. And they don't know what lip is. Minor details.

Later in the day, we did an Easter egg hunt, which after the initial "Huh?" they got really into it. And it didn't hurt that they figured out there was yummy stuff inside the eggs.

Good times.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fury of a Thousand Redheads

We all know the stereotypes about redheads being feisty, easily-angered, quick to retaliate.

For some redheads, I'm sure it is an annoying stereotype to have to hear your whole life. For Grace, it's right on the money.

When she doesn't get what she wants, she can throw some pretty intense fits, especially for a one-year-old. She bites. She hits. She throws her whole body back as she lets out an ear-piercing scream.

A couple of weeks ago, Claire took a toy from Grace. Now, to Grace's credit, Claire has been stealing her toys since infancy. There's a history of resentment. But when Claire yanked it out of Grace's hand, a fire exploded in Grace's eyes and she immediately, almost instinctually, before I could stop her, chomped down on her sister's arm.

She left a bruise. And teeth marks.

And just today, she wanted me to give her the pen I was using. I told her no and offered her a crayon. She took the crayon and smacked me in the face with it. After I took the crayon and calmly told her that we don't hit, she came at me with both arms swinging.

The kid's got spunk.

She is your stereotypical redhead. And there will be moments that I'm sure I will feel at my wit's end, but I have a weapon that I don't think she's counting on.

I'm a feisty, easily-angered, quick-to-retaliate redhead, too. And I've been doing it for nearly three decades.

Editor's note: As the mother of this child, it feels wrong not to also let you in on Grace's other side. Although intense at the time, these "redhead" moments are a rarity. In fact, most of the time, she's a total sweetie. Just a few days ago, I was putting her down for nap, giving her a hug, telling her I loved her when all of the sudden, she wrapped both arms around my neck and rested her cheek on my cheek. It was one of the most adorable, heart-warming moments she and I have had.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Working From Home: Drawback No. 1

I wake up at 4 a.m. every day.

And stay awake. That's how early my job starts.

It was almost a deal breaker. I'm not really what you would call an early bird. But when working from home with your kiddos, it helps to knock out half of your work day before they even get up.

So, anyway, I wake up at 4 a.m.

And I go to work in my PJs. I don't put on makeup. I don't brush my hair. Or my teeth.

Normally this is no big deal.


Last week, we had a man from the heating/cooling place out to look at our air conditioner. I was in the office working when I heard him come in to explain to Scott what the problem was. I think to myself, "Ugh, Scott is so bad at relaying details. I better go listen." I jumped up and hightailed it into the living room.

At this point, you'll want to keep in mind what I said earlier. PJs. No makeup. Crazy, out-of-control hair.

I walk into the living room and stop dead in my tracks. It takes nearly every ounce of self control not to turn immediately around and run back to the office.

I know this man. His daughter was in my after-school program at my last job. It was the kind of job that you showered for every day, brushed your hair for, put on something other than plaid pajama pants.

So. Completely. Mortified.

There was a hint of recognition in his eyes, but he just kept on explaining the problem, ignoring the fact that some crazed lady just came storming down the hallway in her pajamas. Maybe he was just being nice. Maybe he was distracted by my hair sticking up in the back. Or maybe he didn't recognize me in my current state.

We'll go with that.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day Two

We are now on Day Two of cutting out our evening bottle. And it's ... knock on wood ... going OK.

They slept through the night last night and didn't wake up until about 7:45 this morning, which is fairly normal.

Grace cried a little tonight during our book, but once we put her in bed, she stopped.

Early results are showing that this transition may be worse for me than for them. I already miss the quiet, calm, sweet feeding.

My little babies are growing up.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Life of a Parent: Panic, Heartbreak and Guilt

I am in a small state of panic.

And I have been for about two hours now.

Tonight was the night. We had it all planned out. The menu included all of the favorites: pizza, mac n' cheese, honey dew melon and grapes. Not the healthiest, but we knew they would chow it down. We knew it would fill them up.

That part wasn't scary.

They ate like champs, and I was able to hold off the panic through dinner. I kept glancing back at Grace to double check she was eating. She's been known to be a finicky eater (as if you didn't already know that.) But she was eating, and I was grateful for that.

But the time had come. We were cutting out our evening bottle tonight.

And yes, we are still doing bottles. Twice a day. One before nap and one before bed time. They don't take them to bed with them, but it's ingrained in our routine so much that I've been dreading this day.

The breakfast bottle and the mid-afternoon bottle were easy. What possible damage could cutting out those bottles cause? A hungrier baby? Easy solution. Just feed them a little early or give them a snack before the next meal. Cake.

But these last two bottles … these are the doozies.

I love my children to the moon and back, but I get two breaks a day and I desperately need those breaks.

Taking out either of these bottles jeopardizes my sanity.

It jeopardizes the light at the end of the tunnel every day.

It jeopardizes the peace we have struggled so, so hard to achieve.

So, you can understand my panic. My fear of going back to the days where one or both would scream before falling asleep.

Yesterday, after the bottle, after the diaper changes, after the PJs, after the book, they giggled. And giggled and giggled. Then laid down quietly and drifted off to sleep.

Today, Grace cried. She cried during the diaper changes, during the PJs, during the book and while we laid her down.

It broke my heart a hundred times over as I had to walk away, leaving her wondering why we forgot to give her the bottle.

Then she cried and cried and cried.

And my panic and my guilt and my heartbreak sat in my stomach until about five minutes ago.

She has stopped crying (Claire never did show signs of missing the bottle, for the record) and it sounds like they are both sleeping.

My panic has subsided and now I'm just hoping we make it through the night and wake up at a relatively normal hour.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Claire and the Great Outdoors

There are few things Claire likes more than going outside.

I think the list goes something like this:
1. Goldfish crackers
2. Ham
3. Going outside
4. Books
5. Mom & Dad

Hey, at least we made the top five.

We usually try to get outside once in the morning and at least once in the afternoon/evening. But there are some days that life is too busy or the weather is icky, and we can't make it out on those days.

These days are especially hard for Claire.

She understands that in order to go outside we have to put on our shoes. So, about every 15 minutes she'll bring me a shoe, usually one of mine. She'll shove it at my foot and grunt at me until I put it on. Then she goes to fetch the other one. Once, she brought me a flip flop back and I told her that it didn't match the shoe she already brought me. So she went back and got the match. She gets her genius from me, I think.

Anyway, so she'll bring my shoes, insist I put them on and then her arms shoot straight in the air and her eyes fill to the brim with desperation. Pleeeeeeeeease, take me outside, Mom.

Most of the time, we oblige. Her sweet eyes and delightful smile are truly hard to deny. But on those icky days where going outside just isn't in the cards, we replay this scenario at least a half dozen times. Each time, I pick her up and tell her we can't go outside because it's icky. About 15 minutes later, she brings me my shoes again. She gets her stubbornness from her father, I think.

P.S. Grace says hi, too and wanted me to tell you not to worry, that soon there will be a post about her. And then she bit her sister. Foreshadowing, anyone?

Monday, April 18, 2011


There are times that words are the best way to tell a story.

There are times that drawings are the best way to tell a story.

And there are times that pictures are the best way. This is one of those times.

Needless to say, Claire loves hats. She'll find one, plop it on and wear it the rest of the day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Grand Finale

When my Mom got to the end of the first post in this series, she said "Oh no! Not a continuation! I hate continuations." And then I went and made ya'll wait the weekend. So, without further ado, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

We had four different colors going on in the basement, so we decided to give it a more unified look. We chose Biscuit.

Although our basement has a tendency to flood, we really wanted carpet in the bedrooms. It just makes it feel more homey. The carpet expert we talked to recommended that we ditch the carpet pad. If it does flood again, he said, then we won't have to pull up the pad, we can just shop vac the water right up.

This was, by far, the hardest decision. We couldn't decide between ceramic tile (expensive!!), peel-and-stick tile (may pop up if it floods) and painting the concrete (may bubble if it floods). One day we were chatting about it with Cassie's BF Trent, when he suggested VCT (vinyl composition tile). It turned out to be the perfect choice for our budget and flooding concerns.

Two weekends and a lot of sweat later ...

What kind of blog would this be if it didn't feature some cute babies?

Thanks to all who helped! And those who woulda if they coulda! (Looking at you, Johnny and Carrie!)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Crew

It was late Friday night and we just put our lovies down for the night.

I was exhausted, starving and ready to relax with some mindless TV.

But Scott had other plans. Plans he had been working on for months.

You can imagine my surprise, when my family started showing up one by one.

They brought with them work clothes, ladders, tool boxes. They were prepared to take on the huge job of redoing my basement. All in one weekend. I can't begin to express my gratitude for the all their hard work.

Team Captain: My older brother Tim
Although he had never laid tile or carpet before, he took charge of the operation and didn't look back.

First Mate: My Dad
As Tim's right-hand man, he jumped in wherever needed and did it with a smile.

Top Secret Project Coordinator: Scott
He put this whole project in motion months ago. Gathering the crew and supplies without even hinting at his plans.

The Professor: Scott's Dad
As a man who has redone a basement a time or two, he brought to the table knowledge, expertise and advice.

The Young Gun: Cassie's boyfriend Trent
He didn't even blink when asked to help his girlfriend's sister's husband redo the basement. And even after a back-breaking day of laying and cutting tile, he still managed to take my lil' sis out for a movie. What a guy.

Super Awesome Badass: My Mom
I could have sworn she was in three places at once. She was always there to find a tape measure, vacuum a room or hold a baby.

The Apprentice: Our friend Gage
Gage watched our basement go from riches to rags and was more than willing to jump in to help bring it back to life. (Not pictured: his lovely wife Joanna who so very kindly helped me care for babies while the work was going on downstairs.)

Documentarian: My lil' sis Cassie
She photographed the whole weekend, helped me with the girls and could be found occasionally watching Glee on my computer.

Uber Cuties: Claire & Grace
They were my responsibility. I may or may not have had the easier job this weekend.

Lazy bum: Izzy
She spent the whole weekend doing this. I think she was just bummed that she couldn't use the basement as her bathroom any more.

This is the second in a three-part series following our shock-and-awe basement remodel.