Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowman, as promised. Not just one...

... But four. We had enough snow to make a whole snowman family. We probably had enough snow to make a whole snow neighborhood, but a family was just fine by us. As Carolyn says:

"Snow! I love snow." From the looks of it, she likes to play with it, but she also kind of loves to eat it.

Morning snow

We woke up this morning to this:

Our first big snow. Of course, today was the first time my family wanted to attend morning Mass with me. So we needed to get the girls dressed to go play outside (because not going out immediately upon waking up to a first snow would be sinful and I knew most any God would totally get that), get ready for mass, get them back inside, get them ready for mass, sweep off the car, shovel the drive, get the boots and coats back on the kids and head out the door.

Since we were obviously way behind schedule, we opted to go to the nearest church, instead of the Franciscan church across town I've been wanting to try. On the way, I told Steve (and I swear this is true): "I don't really want to go to church today."

At that exact moment (and I swear this is true), a car zoomed out of a driveway and came inches from hitting us. I screamed. Steve's quick swerving kept us from getting hit from the car whose driver hadn't really taken too many pains to rid his vehicle of snow and I'll assume hit somebody else on the road to wherever it was he/she was going.

But we weren't hit, and I started thinking maybe church wouldn't be so bad. And it wasn't.

Later today: The season's first snowman.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Penny

Penny turns 3! I'm so happy to be done with the 2s. To be done with diapers. Done with sippy cups and plastic plates. Done with terrible 2 tantrums.

Don't get me wrong, I miss the baby stuff, but it feels kind of nice to have regained some semblance of the "me" I was before birthing babies.

Steve asked me if I feel old today, having a 3 and 4 year old. He asked me if I'll feel old when they're 32 and 33, and I said yes, but I've rethought this. I probably won't feel old. The older I get, the less I'm sure what this so-called "old" is supposed to feel like. Does it feel achy? Does it feel close to death? Does it feel all wise and knowing? Because if the answer is yes, I've felt all those things at very "young" stages in my life. And feeling young is kind of like feeling stupid. And I feel stupid all the time, so maybe I won't feel that way anymore when I'm old.

Anyway... We gave Penny a Tiffany bank today like the one her sister has. I always felt bad that Carolyn had such a lovely bank and Penny had a plastic bag filled with pennies, so I finally got her one. I got it on eBay and saved almost $50 over the price from Tiffanys, so Yeah!

Carolyn got Penny a baby doll, and she is in love. That's all she wants to play with today and I think it's very touching. Here are a few pics, including our annual birthday photos of the girls in my grown-up dress so we can watch them grow into them. Here's how she looked at 1, and at 2, and today...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble, gobble

I'm really happy not to be cooking a turkey this year, because by noon, I'm going to need a nap.

Steve and I found a great deal on a flat-screen television ON Thanksgiving Day. I'm hoping everybody is too busy cooking to worry about getting up at 5 a.m. to snag a television on which we will watch the Lions lose.

After I get home, it's on to the Turkey Trot 5K. It'll be about 34 degrees. Practically a heat wave by Central Illinois standards. By 11, I'll just be getting home.

Whew. I'm just really happy for our family's all appetizer Thanksgiving. I have the best family ever, despite the fact the girls at this moment are arguing about a decorative couch pillow I bought five years ago on clearance at Target.

In the words of Bill Crosby, "Stop touching me."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kids say the darndest things

I think 4-year-old kids are hilarious. They're always coming up with some new way to look at the world. When Carolyn's pool friend Gabe found out she was heading to swim team, he told his grandma she was heading up there (finger pointing up, you know, toward heaven). When she asked what he meant, Gabe said Carolyn would be using the pool on the roof. Carolyn was moving up there. Get it... moving up!

Carolyn does this kind of thing all the time, but I thought this rather disturbing moment was particularly sweet. When I tucked her into bed the other night. She was angry because I downgraded her "choose two books" to "I'll choose ONE book for you" after much dilly-dallying and goofing off. Oh... She was mad.

So when I tucked her into bed, and said I love you, she said: "I love you and I hate you."

When I told Steve the next day, he told Carolyn, "That's not nice to say you hate someone." Frankly, I was just happy for a little love. I'm pretty sure when she's screaming "I hate you" at 13, it won't come with that kind of disclaimer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last lessons

Carolyn ended her swim lessons today.

But don't fret. Our little fishy isn't quite out of the water yet. The owners of the swim school wanted her to join swim team. This means I'm about to become one of those parents that pushes their very young children into a life of discipline, practice and a "only winners in this family" attitude.

Sure she's only 4, but that doesn't mean she has to be a loser.

I'm not really sure what the changes will be. She has more practice time. It does free up our mornings for winter baking and library time, which is awesome. I can't even begin to fathom what weekend swim meets are all about.

Now we need to find Penny's passion. She's going to be 3 next week and I don't want her entering kindergarten without a sense of direction. What kind of parent does that!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Little Mermaid Lesson

"Ariel has breasts."

Carolyn makes this astute observation yesterday while watching the new Little Mermaid, straight to DVD, movie for about the billionth time. At the moment, Carolyn is very into how the body works. Breasts, bones, blood. It's all fascinating.

Uh-huh. "Is she a grown-up?"

Sure. Why not.

She thinks about this for a minute. "Then why does she still live with her father?"

I hate it when she catches me trying to blow her off. Well, I explain, she's a teenager, which means she's still a kid, but much older.

"So teenagers have breasts..." You could almost see the wheels churning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Night and day

I always kind of figured most of the stuff about kids was nurture. If you treated them a certain way, you'd get certain results.

After having two children, I have converted my thinking a bit. Some of the stuff is just hard wired. I really believe some traits are just built in, like whether a kid is shy or not. Not that I have shy kids, but I'm just saying.

One of these little quirks is sleep. With Carolyn, a very sound sleeper, I always thought parents who couldn't get a kid to sleep through the night were just doing it wrong. Even Penny, who woke up once a night for a year, really didn't give me many problems. Sorry sleepy parents. I was wrong.

But now we have a morning/night issue. Carolyn wakes up pre 6 every morning. Every, single morning. That's kind of fine, since I'm usually up as well, but she wakes Penny up. Penny does not wish to be up at 6 and really lets us know. She wants to go to bed at 9 (Carolyn is fast asleep by 7:03) and sleep until 8.

So I've been sending Carolyn downstairs in the morning for the last few days. I let her watch cartoons (I know... I'm a horrible parent... shut up) while I go running or go back to bed. Penny wakes up at her leisure and everybody seems a lot happier.

And happier, even with morning cartoons, trumps fist fights and screaming.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random stuff

There's not too much new to report. It got cold, again, so I'm trying to mentally adjust to the coming winter. I just ran a 5K in 34 degree weather, and set a PR of 27:55, so I guess I'll do OK in the cold. It's just the constant dressing and undressing of little-kid winter gear that I really, really hate.

Penny is finally (and I cannot emphasize that word enough) potty trained. So no more diapers, unless somebody leaves a baby on our doorstep, which is highly unlikely. They would see how disheveled our kids look and leave him/her two doors down.

Carolyn loves the word awesome. As in, Awwww-some. Let's go to the park... Awwww-some. Do you want some candy? Awwww-some. Maybe we should head over to California where she can be both awesome and gnarly, even if those things are opposites and she'll never be blond.

Halloween came and went. I'm sad to report all the chocolate candy is already gone. Here's some pictures. Awwww-some.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

When did I become such a mother

Carolyn spilled some juice on the floor a few mornings ago. I was out running and Steve yelled at her a bit because she was goofing around and not paying attention. I know. How dare she?

Anyway, she was really upset by this and started crying. Then she requested, "Don't tell mommy."

Ouch. Am I really that bad. Steve said he almost didn't tell me because he knew I'd feel bad. But he also thought it was really funny.

Yeah. Ha-flippin'-ha.

I do have a bit of a temper. It's usually reserved for those who know me best, because God forbid a stranger know what a jackass I am. But the other day, I even yelled at a stranger. An election volunteer.

This is so uncharacteristic it's hard for me to explain Steve's glee at my sudden outburst (which, by the way, was completely justified because she was demeaning me and I hadn't even asked for her help), which I guess sent the lady into a series of "Um... well... Um... Wa-wa-wa-what" responses. I have no idea what happened, because all I saw was a white-hot flash of anger and then Steve smiling at me.

I don't lose it very often. Long lines at the grocery store, a rude postal worker or waiting too long for the check at dinner very rarely even register. But I don't know what to say — there are some behaviors I just won't tolerate.

This includes the girls demanding food/my attention/a certain toy right this second. Or Carolyn sticking her fingers in other people's food. Or Penny hitting her sister in the back of the head.

Maybe I'm becoming a real jerk. Who knows. But I do know I'm semi-grateful that Carolyn wants to hide things from me. I think a healthy dose of fear is good for children.

And election workers.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not until it affects me

Thankfully, this whole roller-coaster economy has passed just out of range of our family's radar. We can afford our house. We don't have any car payments. It's unlikely Steve will lose his job.

So gas might be up. We'll just drive less, which is kind of funny since we put roughly 5,000 miles a year on our gold hooptie. Steve's company stops matching 401K investments. Yikes. That totally blows, but it's not going to end Christmas or anything.

We've learned to live on less the last few years, so our changes are not big ones.

But today all that changed.

When I took the girls to Meijer, I went to the bakery to get our free cookie just like I always do. At the counter, I was told corporate has stopped the free cookie program for the time being.

How can this be? I hadn't planned for such devastation, such inhumanity. What would I tell my heartbroken girls about the world around us, a world that no longer provides cookies to quiet restless children? What bribes would be offered today? Would free cookies ever be part of the shopping experience again?

But it's during these hard times we get to see our strength of character. It turns out, my girls are kind of whiny and I'm completely spineless.

Thanks economy.