Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Penelope is 2!!!

Here are some pics of my birthday girl. She is so beautiful.

It's hard to believe that two years ago, about this time, she had just been born and I was all doped up on morphine.

I think I should get that experience every year on her birthday. The morphine, that is, not the birthing.

And even though it IS Penny's day, Carolyn had her first swim lesson at her fancy-shamcy swim school today (I say fancy even though, and I swear this is true, a centipede attacked me in the locker room) and I can hear Penelope, a 28-year-old art student shacking up with her loser boyfriend as Swimmer Carolyn wins her fourth gold medal...

"I might have been something too if you had cared enough to let me get into the pool on my second birthday instead of making me watch my sister have the time of her life swimming."

Kids. They're never grateful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful for non-hill dwelling

The family and I had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I especially enjoyed my fourth annual Black Friday shopfest accompanied by my sister-in-law Monica. It was the most fun I ever had shopping at 5 a.m., in part because Monica didn't seem to mind my tunnel-vision attitude toward nonsensical purchases.

About 6:30 at Macy's. Monica: I saw you looking at kid's stuff and then you were gone. The next time I saw you, you had an arm full of towels.

On the way home from Tulsa, Steve, the girls and I did a little hiking to stretch our legs. Returning to the freeway, we got lost on top of a Missouri hill where little boys with guns roamed freely. It made West Virginia look like New York City. We escaped without squealing like a pig, thankfully, and came home safe and sound.

Here are some pics of our outdoor adventure, along with the girls and their cousins, the beloved Jeremiah and his sister Isabella.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A swimming lesson foretold

You may remember such fantastic Carolyn-terrifies-parents stunts from such videos as this:

So today, when we missed the bus and instead walked over to the nearby swim club to check out what all the fuss is about. All the parents who go there rave about the program, despite the fact that it looks as though Freddy Kruger might jump behind one from one of the creepy rooms at any moment.

We went in and haggled about the day and time. At first, I got the not-so-hot Mon/Wed night class, but the owner was there and she said somebody had just backed out of the Mon/Wed morning class.

So if we had made the bus, none of this excellent timing would have happened. And Carolyn starts on Wednesday!

I know I'm one of those parents who are like, "Kids today are in too much stuff. Just let them be kids." And now I have Carolyn in activities Monday through Thursday. Yes I know, but did you see the video?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rock stars

My girls are rock stars. They're not going to let the quality of their music interrupt their mojo.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Carolyn picks a toy

And I'm totally not buying it.
It's from the Little People collection, from which we have eight billion pieces. It's a Fisher Price, made in China item. It's at Toys R Us.
But none of those are the reason I'm refusing to buy this perfectly good, cheap toy that she asked for specifically.
No, the reason is this. She picked out the toy in the Toys R Us ad today, the same ad that displayed a sale for Aqua Dots, a toy recently recalled because it contains the same chemical as the infamous date rape drug.
Toys R Us didn't think enough to yank the ad? Steve pointed out its the equivalent of the "F" word getting through in a headline and the copy editor's shrugging their shoulders and saying, "Oh well."
Oh well. I guess Toys R Us is off our Christmas list.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Do this... NOW!!!

Carolyn has a bit of a bossy streak. I imagine it comes from having a little sister.

"Penelope do this. No, not like that. Like this. No. Do this in here. Come here Penelope. No. Walk faster Penelope. Now do this, like this."

Whatever. But she's started bossing me around a bit and momma don't play that.

The other day, we had this exchange.

"Mommy. Come here and pull my pants up."

You'll have to wait, I told her. I'm helping Penelope put on her shoes.

"MOMMY. COME HERE and pull my pants up."

I told you to wait.


Silence. I was finishing with the shoes. Then I hear this little voice coming from the bathroom.

"Uh oh. She can't hear me."

Here are some pics of Penelope today on our twice-weekly trip downtown. Today: post office and Coffee Hound for latte and muffin.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The 2-year-old on the bus goes, "fun, fun, fun"

If you have a 2-year-old, take her on a bus.

I can't think of a birthday or Christmas present for Penny, who changes her desires roughly every 2.3 minutes, but I do know this:

She always, always, always wants to ride the bus. We've started a new Tuesday ritual of taking the bus downtown while Carolyn is in school. Penelope, who can go from monster to angel in roughly 1.8 seconds, and I are like best friends out for coffee. It is so nice to spend that time with her, she's always thrilled by the bus ride and I feel like she's learning so much just by wandering around (saw a bulldozer in action today!).

Today, we went to breakfast, to get my watch repaired and to the library, and still would have had time for the post office had I had something to mail.

Thinking back, Carolyn had the same sort of love of public transit when she was 2. She likes it now, but it's no longer the love of her life. That's why I vow to take as many bus rides as I can before Penelope starts causing noisy scenes, which might get us all the way through winter.

Hey, it's fall by the way

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quick update

We have been so full of vim and vigor during the last week, I forgot to tell everybody about it.

The weather here is amazing. It's in the 60s and 70s every day. This has proved to be a tiny bit of a problem because I'm pretty sure our neighborhood has been invaded by termites (ewww)... IN NOVEMBER! We went for a walk last night and found them all over the place.

But mostly we're having fun.

Like last week, Penelope and I dropped Carolyn off at school. We were standing outside when I said, "Hey. Let's catch the bus downtown for coffee." She was like,"That sounds like a plan" so off we went.

It was the best time ever. I sat and sipped my latte while Penelope ate a muffin and flirted with construction workers. Ever since then, she's been all about the bus.

What's kind of funny is a mom asked me if I walked all over with Penelope while Carolyn was in school. Before I could think, I answered, "Oh, yeah."

Why I didn't tell her I took the bus downtown in the most awesome quick trip ever is beyond me. Steve said I'm secretly embarrassed because of the social-economic stigma that goes along with riding the bus, and maybe he's right, but I still love that the girls and I can get to Target without a minivan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dangerous driving

Driving must be one of those things that if you don't do a lot, you start sucking at. I used to be a great driver, especially in the city. I have amazed people with my parallel-parking talents. I had the ability to put on mascara and talk on the phone while merging in between semis. I had an uncanny ability to find Dr. Laura at any time of day.

Well, that's no longer the case. Yesterday, when I drove to Plano, Ill., for my friend Dana's baby shower (pics below. Seriously, nobody should be that pregnant AND that skinny), I crossed a bridge with some construction and I was unable — that is, not physically able — to look to my left or right or go more than 40 mph.

"Carolyn... Shhh... Mommy's trying not plummet over the bridge.

It made me feel just slightly better that Steve tried to take one of my shortcuts with the bike and trailer yesterday while Carolyn and I were gone, and he found the space so tight he had to get off and walk the bike through. I won't mention how I flipped the trailer a few days ago (girls are OK) and realized city driving (i.e., cutting off slow old ladies) only works in a car.

Anywho, Carolyn and I had a lot of fun getting all dressed up and having a mommy/daughter day sans Penelope, a.k.a. Oh, Screaming One. Here are some pics from the day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rock on All Saints Day

Last night, the family and I had a great time trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. The weather was perfect (a little chilly, just like it should be). The girls loved going up to the neighbor's houses. There was this one block with everyone dressed up and a scary haunted house, one that Carolyn did not care for.

All in all, a Halloween success. Only Penny still refused to put on the Lion costume. I told a bunch of people that a leopard was as close as we could get to a cowardly lion. In fact, I couldn't even get Penelope to wear the ears at first and I was never able to get on the tail.

Oh well.

What Penny should have been was a tiny little monster. We wouldn't have even needed a costume.

These pics are actually from the night before Halloween at the downtown Normal trick-or-treat thing. There's one photo the girls waiting for the bus and then Penelope on the bus, going a little overboard on "CHEESE."