November 28, 2010

Firsts.............



"F.A.H.F.T.T." Or..... "First Annual 'H...' Family Turkey Trot" !

Thursday was our first quiet family thanksgiving in a few years. Last year our California {friend} Family came to spend the holiday, the year before was right after Lula was born, before that we were with my few few local family members and before that..... I don't know - we were in California and before that Texas and there were always people to help make the day a big festive gathering. And I have ALWAYS loved it!   Truthfully, despite some effort to include a few of our nearest and dearest here, we have been planning a quiet family day, just the four of us for some time. It was all that it's cracked up to be....





 
The plan was to run in a Thanksgiving Trukey Trot or 5K {3.1 miles} but somehow that didn't seem to fit our quiet family theme.  I cannot say for sure who had the idea to map out our own 5K Turkey Trot and run it just us, the "H's" but that exactly what we ended up doing. It was... exciting... a new running route that neither Hubby or I had taken before, a rare, crisp morning, the girls bundled up in blankets, winter hats, wool sweaters and complaining of the cold, hubby and I in much more than running shorts and sweating bullets.  The cold air burning my lungs, and the smell..... I always forget what a glorious smell air has when it's cold....... So 9am, Thanksgiving morning, 3 miles, my family, the sunshine and the road.  31 minutes and 3 miles later this Thanksgiving was shaping up to be a great day!


Add to that the New England Patriots win, the turkey dinner that was prepped the night before and didn't need to hit the oven until 1:30pm {another plus of 'small family thanksgiving'} and then my children, my never eat what and when they are supposed to children who BOTH scarfed down turkey! GREAT day! our first family holiday, our first family turkey trot, the first time my children ate something other than Mac n Cheese, chicken nuggets, or hot dogs without a fight - I AM THANKFUL for days like that!


And in keeping with the my Thanksgiving weekend of firsts.... Gigi had her first dance recital on Saturday evening.  The next town over from us lights up the entire town square Thanksgiving weekend and hosts a fair like atmosphere every weekend from Thanksgiving through New Years.  To kick off the festivities, Gigi's dance school was asked to perform on stage in the middle of the festivites in front of what can only be described as a sea of people.


At the ripe old age of 3 and filled with all the drama of Elizabeth Taylor I had no idea what to expect. Would she perform? Would she stand frozen mid-stage? Would she not dance but ham it up for the crowds? Would she runn off stage terrified upon seeing the audience? I had NO IDEA but what I did know was this.... No matter what she did. Dance, freeze, yuk-it-up, or run I would be proud and it would be okay. She is after-all only 3 and for all of my expectations, I, at 34, could not perform in front of throngs of people.  She. Was. Amazing!

She did not want me to leave her with the stage mother and that was more than understandable. I, in truth didn't really want to leave her. I wanted to stay with her for every minute and watch from the wings and be there as her security.... But life is about growth and... well you can't finish if you never start. So, I gave her the biggest hug of her life. Reassured her that she was among friends and I would be there, center stage, down front and clapping ans cheering the loudest of anyone else!  I promised that when she hit that stage I would be right there watching her!  I was, down front, center stage, calling her name and cheering louder than anyone else!

She hit the stage looking nervous. I called her name a few times, and I know she heard me, but didn't see me. She look around, caught sight of the sea of people and my heart stopped for a moment. Would she panic??  No, as soon as she cought sight of all the people, she smiled, relaxed and looked to be having a good time!  The music started and she hit her first cue, missed her second, but so did everyother girl on that stage. The next few steps she was dead on and one of very few 3-4 year olds actually dancing the routine.  My heart is swelling, shie looks so beautiful, she is blowing my mind and making me the proudest I have ever been in my life... then, well then the poor girl next to her loses her tap shoe. Not just loses it, it goes flying past Gigi's face. The girl who lost the shoe is in tears, Gigi is caught up in sympathetic concern and misses the next few cues... It's okay - she has already performed well above and beyond my greatest dreams and then.... she sneaks right back into line, blows a kiss, waves both hands above her head to the crowd, and she finishes in classic moviestar style. THAT is my little diva! That is my little moviestar! That is my pride and joy and my reason for being. The little girl that can drive me to the edge with her spirit and make my heart swell with pride because of that exact same fire.......


I am still walking on air. Hands down, without a doubt, this was the best Thanksgiving weekend of my life and I cannot imagine another topping it, ever!

November 25, 2010

I am thankful for.....

I am not coping out, I swear, but Darius Rucker simply says it best.... And sometimes, my hardworking hubby needs to be reminded, "It may be a simple life, but that's okay, if you ask me baby, I think I've got it made"

I am thankful for the things that I have.... and equally thankful that I don't get all that I deserve! :)



Don't need no five star reservations
I've got spaghetti and a cheap bottle of wine
Don't need no concert in the city
I've got a stereo and the best of Patsy Cline
Ain't got no caviar no Dom Perignon
But as far as I can see, I've got everything I want

Cause I've got a roof over my head,
the [man] I love laying in my bed
And it's alright, alright
I've got shoes under my feet
Forever in [his] eyes staring back at me
And it's alright, alright
And I've got all I need
And it's alright by me

Maybe later on we'll walk down to the river
Lay on a blanket and stare up at the moon
It may not be no French Riviera
But it's all the same to me as long as I've got you
It may be a simple life, but that's okay
If you ask me baby, I think I've got it made

Cause I've got a roof over my head,
the [man] I love laying in my bed
And it's alright, alright
I've got shoes under my feet
Forever in [his] eyes staring back at me
And it's alright, alright
And I've got all I need
And it's alright by me

When I lay down at night I thank the Lord above
For giving me everything I ever could dream of
Cause I've got a roof over my head,
the [man] I love laying in my bed
And it's alright, alright, alright, alright,
I've got shoes under my feet
Forever in [his] eyes staring back at me
And it's alright, alright, alright
Oh yeah, it's alright by me
~Darius Rucker
"Alright"

November 23, 2010

"They must think I'm a moviestar......."

Long story short and days late {per usual} I took Gigi to the Pediatric Urgent Care Sunday afternoon and had her injury checked out.  She was poked, prodded, pulled and asked to walk the room like a show pony. She was a much bigger trooper than I expected her to be - Although I am never really sure what to expect with this kid! When the doctor said x-rays were needed I was relieved that they were going be sure there was nothing truly wrong with her leg and concerned about how she would handle the process.

Into the radiology room and onto the big, cold slab of a table - How do you make this okay for a 3 year old? An ominous box hanging from the ceiling with large tubes and wires coming out of it... Tell her the truth.... "Gigi, that is a big camera and they are going to tack pictures of your leg with it. This is not just any camera though... it's a super, super special camera. It is going to take pictures of your bones!!"  She asks... "Is it going to hurt?"  No. "It that thing going to squish me?" No. It's just a really, really big camera - it's not even going to touch you!


The technician began positioning Gigi's leg and taking the various views of her hip, knee, etc... She was doing an amazing job! We'd say "cheese" and we were laughing and I was, so relieved, but the moment that made my day, and I would venture to say the technician's day too was about half way through the series of 7 or 8 views. The tech was repositioning Gigi's leg for another shot and Gigi leans her head toward me and whispers "They must think I'm a moviestar...They're taking A LOT of pictures of me!"


That's my little moviestar! I love her to pieces and even when I am at my most overwhelmed, worried or frazzled she can ALWAYS pull me out of it with moments like that!  Her injury turned out to be a sprained knee. I am sure the first of many injuries, sports realted and otherwise.  She's is much better today (3 days later) and expects to perform in her dance recital on Saturday which will, I am sure only reinforce in her that she is, in fact a moviestar!

November 20, 2010

And so it starts.... or continues as it were.



Oh the circle of life... I have been......ahem.....er.....ah......shall we say; 'tough' on my mother about injuries and illnesses from my and my brothers' childhood that were given a "You're fine...." and then turned out to be something rather than nothing. - I now understand................... Don't get me wrong, I still am of the old school "Just rub some dirt on it" mind, but I might now be a bit more empathetic.

If my children are anything like my brothers and I were like, well then.... Not only have there been a myriad of injuries and illnesses....this is only the beginning. Maybe that is parenthood, maybe it's childhood. Maybe kids are supposed to get hurt and fake hurt and always be needing some sort of comforting, healing, attention. But Gigi...... Gigi has drama down to an art form. She is a master at manipulation.... When she is in trouble and about to be punished, I would bet you $1,000,000.00 that before you can do anything she has to stop the world because "I have a scratch" or for those of you that don't speak Gigi, you have to wait while she itches a fake itch on her knee, or leg or arm. When she doesn't want to do something her excuse is ALWAYS "I can't do it.... *whine* my knees hurt.... *more whining*"

So today, in the middle of a naptime war between Her Royal Highness and myself she began screaming that she couldn't "march her butt back into her room" because her knee was broken. I tried to stand her up several times and each time she collapsed in a heap refusing to bear any weight on her left leg. *annoyed* I carried her into her room, put her in bed and told her to TAKE A NAP!

I sat there for a few minutes reviewing her dance/gymnastics class in my mind. we had only just returned from class when this all went down.... But she didn't complain in the car or on the way to the car, in class or after class.  I have no idea when or how she could have hurt herself.

The nap didn't happen-- Hubby returned from golf and granted HRH reprieve from her refusal to sleep. But she persisted in her inability to walk. I return from the grocery store and she is still quite "in character" about this "whole knee thing" --- Her best buddy, Vincent comes over to play for an hour before dinner and for the first half of his visit she cries and whines on the floor that she can't walk, but then..... There we go.... "Ah-Ha! FAKER! I saw you run/walk!!" But she maintains her knee "weally, weally hurts"

Dinner, bath, bed all the same, same knee, same complaint - Although we've looked, poked, prodded, bent and otherwise examined the knee in question. we can see no sign of injury, there is no swelling and shw only complains about pain when she puts weight on the leg.... Someone really needs to explain the whole "Boy who cried wolf" philosophy to my 3 year old. Hubby and I are not sure what to do. It is possible that she really is injured. But she is ALWAYS telling us she's hurt. She's cut, bumped, bruised, this hurts, that hurts, she needs ice.... tears, drama the whole nine yards.... all. the. time.

So Hubby and I decided that sleep will determine real or fake. If she wakes up and is still complaining she needs to see a doctor, if not then.... well..... we were right. 10pm Hubby goes in to her room, gets her out of bed like every night to go potty. Gigi is the heaviest sleeper ever. she could sleep through WWIII.... She always "sleep walks" to the potty, in part because we want her to get used to getting herself up to go and in part, I will admit because she is so darn cute when she's ''sleep trudging" into the bathroom.  Not tonight, she was sleep limping.  Clearly not awake, not awake enough to remember to fake this injury..... Gigi, at age 3 has suffered her first sports injury and we didn't believe her.

I'm torn, like the mother who loses her child in a public place and is SO HAPPY to find him or her but was so beyond terrified that instead of simply embracing the child, screams at him/her how wrong they were to wander off.... I am torn between hugging her close and telling her how very sorry I am that she is hurt and I didn't believe her and eating myself up with guilt..... and shaking her and saying "If you would stop crying all the time and stop complaining about fake injuries and your knees hurting all the time, I would have believed you right away!!!"

Tomorrow we go to the doctor for a look at the knee, but since all I can come up with it s few knee buckling bounces on the trampoline at the end of gymnastics class, for the life of me I don't know how she would have injured herself!

My poor baby.... But I now understand the reaction to every bump, bruise, scrape, stomachache, etc being "You're fine!" when I was growing up. Because as a mother I you are only human, and how many times can you hear "WOLF!" before you stop believing? My brothers and I were always hurt now that I think about it. Funny enough, a lot of my injuries were knee injuries. Altough I broke a few fingers, needed a few stiches and did rupture my apendix.... There were numerous bicycle injuries, river injuries, sports injuries, I was a walking injury and there were two boys behind me in my family. All I can say now is that "I finally get it..." And either way... discovering my mother wasn't really the bad guy when she didn't believe us..... and feeling like the bad guy for not believeing Gigi - It's not a very good place to be. I will not sleep well tonight. But I know, without a doubt, I will be here again. I will brush off another injury or illness only to find out they weren't faking.... I am afterall , only human.

Fell off the face of the earth

Well, I know it might seem as if I have. It also very much seems like I have bailed on my thankful month and that was NOT my intention. I had been keeping track of all my daily thankfuls so that I might "catch up" but at this point... with all of the other things on my plate, I am going to be thankful for the ability to let myself off the hook a bit. I am thankful that I know that I could beat myself up over this and call it a FAIL but I know better and I won't. I will at the very least sum up how thankful I am for this month by the end of the month.

At the moment I am hiding from my kids. "Uncle Mike" {hubby's brother} was here with us yesterday, last night and left us again this morning. This all to brief visit was just the excuse the girls needed to induce jelly knees and flopping on the floor screaming, tantrums all day.  Frankly the wind blows lately and they melt down - So I'm taking a quick moment to explain why I've seemingly fallen off the face of the earth........ Aside from the mass hysteria here at home since Lula turned 2.

Gigi & Lula finally left Etsy and is standing on it's own!  Ive been building a website, filling orders, creating hats, bows, clips and with fingers crossed, getting ready to help out a local team with their hair accessory needs! {woo hoo!}

 Below is the launch message for http://www.gigiandlula.com/
Dear Friends,

I recently turned a hobby into a business. Thanks to the help and a lot of support from some amazing family and friends, I have had a very successful launch. I wanted to get my store up and running before letting my friends see what I’ve been up to and I know there is still a long road ahead. Product lines are expanding and product inventory will continue to grow over the next few months.

With the holidays coming up I thought this a great time to showcase my new venture and ask “This year, why not give the gift of something handmade?” As for me, I would be thrilled if you all could help me spread the word about Gigi & Lula by SOH !

Gigi & Lula started when I became frustrated that Gigi either lost all of the hair clips and flower clips that I bought her or they didn’t survive the rigors of a very active 3 year old. The more clips I purchased, the more I began to realize that I could simply make them myself. With that, a hobby was started and then a business born. I love what I do, I delight in the creativity of it all and it is truly rewarding to see both my girls, their friends and our neighbors wearing my little works of art!

My hats are all handmade, something that was important to me. Because I wanted to provide something special, Gigi & Lula quickly became a “family business” - my Mother-in-Law and Aunt-in-Law are my crocheting team - and thankfully, they have been busy!!

As much as I love playing the “artist” and creating fun and unique hats, clips, bows and headbands, I know that taste and style are subjective. I happily accept and welcome special orders. Taking the time to design your own clips or hat for your special little one, making it a “made just for you” gift… Well to me, that is a gift that says something.

Please check out my shop at www.gigiandlula.com and know that I will be eternally grateful to you for passing this information along to your friends and family. If you have any questions I can be contacted, here, through www.gigiandlula.com and at shelbi@gigiandlula.com.

Thank you - Happy Thanksgiving! and...Let the Holiday Season begin!

November 15, 2010

I 'AM' Thankful...trust me....

Wheew - I am thankful, My life is full. I mean full, full, full, full, full. I have my girls and my hubby{priority number one}, then my friends, stroller strides {which = Me} my blogs and my buisness.  Life is good. I cannot complain.

But..............I am not a multitasker. Oh I do it, but I am not good at it. I have difficulty with time management and I get caught up in details.  So.... My girls, Lula's birthday party, an attempt at a social life, a self imposed project { A Thankful Month } and my business...... A website that needs building {on my own}....... I am behind in my Thankful Month project for a number of reasons, the first of which is of course my family and the second... Somwhere along the line I got caught up in the details of building my buisness and well.... there just wasn't enough time or energy left to write down what I am thankful for - But I am thankful and I DO take a moment everyday to reflect on all of my blessings.... I will be back on track, but for now.... One last push to really get  'Gigi and Lula By SOH' off the ground by the end of the year and well.... I will see you on the flip side... soon.....Before the end of the year, I promise.

November 13, 2010

Yup.....

Yup. I have yesterday's "Thankful for:" post sitting in my "edit posts" as a draft at the moment.... and today's "Thankful for:" isn't even started.  At the moment,  I want to sing from the mountain tops how thankful I am fo the amazing friends I have, both new and old, who were here today celebrating Lula's birthday and helping me take a breath for the first time in my history of children's parties and actually enjoy the party.

Yup -I have a lot that I want and need to say, but.... I'm tired. My baby is two, my hubby and I threw a successful little get together today and I need some sleep. But I am recently very aware and very thankful for my circle.  I have been holding onto my "California Family" for the last 4 years - And to my California Peeps - I LOVE YOU - You still are and always will be my family, but I have unknowingly made another branch of my family tree here and while it took me too long to realize that that's what we are.... I know it now!  So tonight I go to sleep a little happier about where we live. If I have to be stuck someplace..... There really are not many other people I would rather be stuck with!  So to my "besties" from the past few years and to my newly discovered and equally treasured friends, Thank You for making today such a great day for but Lula and me!  I will not take any of you for granted again!

Good Night!

November 11, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 11




Today I am Thankful for: Best Friends

Starting at Stroller Strides this morning and ending with a playground playdate with all of the girls Bestest Buddies, there are people in our life here that love my children like they are family. Daddy may have been on the road and all of our family on the other side of the country, but Lula had no shortage of people who wanted to be sure that she knew that they think she is special.

We have been fortunate to make some amazing friends here. Women I can lean on, laugh with and sometimes at and be unappologetically myself with --  the icing on the cake, their children and my children and best buddies. So playground play dates, birthday parties, and national holidays are just as much fun for me as they are for my girls!  I know it's a rare treat that moms, dads and kids all get along and enjoy each other's company, which is why today I am thankful for Best Friends. 







Happy 2nd Birthday Lula - You are, without a doubt, loved.



Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

~Marcel Proust





November 10, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 10


Today I am Thankful for: Modern Medicine

As I sit here, staring up at the birthday decorations I just hung to suprise Lula tomorrow, I cannot help but reflect on two years ago, the day she was born. A lot went... well Lula's birth story was anything but smooth sailing. She is worth every bump in the road and then some, but reflecting on her birth story always brings me to Gigi's birth story and the relization that without modern medicine, Gigi and I would have been one of those women and babies that do not survive childbirth. For all the "It's a natural part of life." "Millions of women for thousands of years have had babies" "yada, yada, yada" I would have been simply a casualty of natural order, or thinning of the herd. It is thanks to modern medicine that Gigi and I survived her birth and therefore I was around to have Lula.  So today, I am thankful for modern medicine - The world is a much better place with both Gigi and Lula in it!

“If you can't be content with what you have received, be thankful for what you have escaped”
~Unknown

Two years....

Two years ago, right now, I was on my way to bed. My bag was packed, the alarm was set and I would be attempting to get some sleep before my 4am wake up call and the 5:30am check in at the hospital. Lula Kat would be making her big debut the next morning.  November 11th - A date I'd been fixating on for months.....  Sometime in my first trimester that date had been set.  November 11th.... 18 months, to the day after Gigi was born I would become a mother again. On November 11th our family would be complete.   November 11, 2008 feels like a heartbeat ago. I blinked and two years have gone by.

Tonight, I am up preparing for Lula Kat again. Tonight I have a rare alarm set, but tomorrow instead of  a "routine, scheduled c-section" that was anything but routine, I plan to wake my two year old little pumpkin up {instead of the other way around} and sing Happy Birthday. I plan to cook pancakes and eat breakfast outside and see where the day takes us.  And although she is only two.... and will surely sing Happy Birthday to Gigi, instead of understanding that this is a rare, 'all about Lula' moment.... I decorated the house for her anyway.  If nothing more, I'll know that I took a moment, reflected on my baby -my last baby- and tried to do a little something special just for her.

Happy Birthday Lula Kat - I love you to the moon and back!






The balloons will have to wait until Saturday's. I am not sure they would not have survived from now until party....

Happy, Happy 2nd birthday baby!

November 9, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 9

Today I am Thankful for: The fact that I am not alone, not really.


It has been one craptastic day. A seemingly unending string of one-thing-right-after-another with the kids today. That is not entirely true and there were, I cannot lie, good moments. But the "crap" made for a long, exhausting, frustrating day.  But..... thanks to friends, old and new, here and back east, even people I have never actually met before, I know that I am not the first, nor the last to have days like today. My children are not doing things that a million other children haven't done to their parents, siblings, friends, etc. Other's have been where I am or are where I am and are quick to offer words of support and encouragement.  Even when Hubby is on the road and I am here trying to manage the day and face the kids alone, I am not alone, not really.



“If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday, and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful”
~unknown

November 8, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 8


Today I am Thankful for: Pajama Dance Parties

No matter what happens, how the children behave, what goes wrong, gets missed, forgotten or messy... The days that start with my girls and me dancing around the kitchen in our pajamas always seem a bit easier.  Everyday should start with laughter, a light heart and music!

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit"
~Albert Schweitzer

November 7, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 7



Today I am Thankful for: Whispered Secrets

It wasn't long ago that Gigi would say "I have a secret for you" and proceed to put her mouth directly on my ear and half whisper, half spit "Pshhhh, Pshhhh, Pshhhhhh, Pshhhhh" into my ear,as if she had said something.  Cute , but how much of "Pshhh, Pshhh, Pshhh" can you really take? She recently discovered that to tell a "secret" you have to not only whisper, but actually say something.

Tonight Gigi wanted to whisper into my ear what she would like to get Lula for her birthday. She wanted it to be a secret, not because Lula was in the room, but becasue she was on Skype with her daddy and wasn't sure if it would be okay to tell him.  I honestly cannot tell you what she wants to get Lula, because I started laughing as if I were in the middle of a grade school game of operator. The moment she wrapped her arms around my head and face to pull my ear close- I lost it. Then her breathing and whispering in my ear..... I was laughing..... so she was laughing...... and daddy was shouting through the computer screen "Hey you two! No secrets!" How can that not be one of the best parts of anyone's day?   Two girls, hysterical, in the middle of a game of operator. I now remember why that game was so much fun!

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”
~Woody Allen

Bye-Bye Baby........

It has been a very full month - A lot has happened in the past 30 days.... We've been busy- been silly -  been sad -  been surprised -  and been proud.  what we have not been was bored!  A lot has changed around here.  I think it is possible that I have avoided posted anything about our busy month, because each day as been a part of this latest march towards change.


It was not much more that a year ago that I wrote about hating change. That is still pretty much true - I am not a big fan of change -  I have discovered however, that sometimes my problem with change means I stay in unhealthy situations because I am too stubborn or fearful to change or allow change to happen.  But the universe can be funny.... On a day recently that should have been marked with nothing more than loss for me, the universe stuck her foot out and tripped me up with a surprising and headshakin-ly funny, you could even say ironic event. I suppose the universe has to have both a sense of humor and a sense of balance.  Divulging the details of the door that was closed and the window was opened is not important, but in my quest this month to be thankful....And I still do not like change, I can be thankful that sometimes, change is good - and sometimes, change is painful - but sometimes, there are things to laugh about even when something is lost.  Lesson learned universe.... I have no control. Embrace it or fight it, either way I am simply along for the ride. How I spend my time on the ride is up to me.


Don't cry because it's over; Smile because it happened." ~ Dr Seuss
That said, I try to embrace change...... I fall short more often than not.  This past week Lula discovered that she can climb out of her crib. Something that Gigi never learned to do. I am not sure Gigi ever tried to do it.  But in true Lula fashion when she discovered that she can, quite easily, escape her crib she took it as a challenge to get out each time she was placed back into bed. So "Bye-Bye crib!" The LAST thing we need is a night time head injury as she climbs up and over the side rail. To the floor she went until we could figure out what to do.


So now to decide.... get another toddler bed?? Gigi and Lula in matching toddler beds would be ADORABLE! A bit sad to me because it means my baby is growing up to be darling little girl.... But two toddler beds? Would it be a better investment to buy Gigi the twin bed she will be moving into before long anyway, and put Lula into Gigi's toddler bed? But that means BOTH of my babies are growing up.....  I haven't really had to deal with these emotions yet. Gigi was a baby when Lula was born. Only 18 months old the day that Lula made her grand entrance, I've had two babies to focus on for so long.  It had been getting a bit more difficult for me since Gigi's birthday. Lula was 18 months old that day and.... that marked the end of our "baby days". And now.... Well now we are finished with the crib...... another era come and gone.


That brings me to my Mommy FAIL!  And the real reson I am writing this - Accountability.  Admit my mistake, correct it and learn from it. This is now the second year in a row that we are days away from Lula's birthday and I do not have a plan. Gigi's birthday's are planned and set in motion at the very least a month in advance. Lula, well poor Lu, I swear it is not second child syndrome. I am simply sitting stubbornly in denial. If I refuse to plan anything then it's not really happening.  {i wish!} If I don't think about her birthday maybe she won't turn two... {it would be nice... } Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. So here I sit, moments after emailing a few friends a last minute invite to help celebrate Lula's birthday.  I know she is young, and she won't know the difference. I know the few close friends we have here wouldn't miss it.  I know she will have a blast and all she cares about is time with her friends and the cupcakes.... But it's not fair to her. Not fair that I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. 


Trying to find reasons to the thankful that my baby is growing up is easy, but the other side of all of those "thankful" coins is a melancholy goodbye.  

Okay, reasons to be thankful..... The bedtime battle with Gigi and Lula is amplified now that Lu is on a mattress right next to her sister and every night is like a sleepover. She can and does get up to walk around, play and avoid sleep. She takes at least twice as long to fall asleep and keeps her sister up and playing twice as long too. {yes, we attempt to stagger their bedtime, so Lu is asleep when G goes in but.... so far that has not worked out} But I am thankful that the girls are happy to be together. I am thankful that they want to snuggle and play and are not fighting. I am thankful that the older Lula gets the better playmate she makes for her sister. I am thankful that when they finally do fall asleep, no matter how frustrated I have been at the seemingly endless struggle; the sight of the two of them, either both on the same bed or both on the floor or both half on, half off of a mattress is so darling, it melts your heart.  I am thankful that I have my girls and they are getting the chance to grow up. Not every child gets that chance and not every mother gets to be there to witness it.  So.... "Bye-Bye Baby" 

Well, I have a birthday party to plan..... And it's going to be great!! 

"Bye-Bye Baby Lula-Monster. Hello, my darling little girl." 

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."
~Robert Munsch {Love you forever}


November 6, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 6



Today I am Thankful for: Stuff

Uugh, community Garage Sale day today.  I am not a fan. I don't like going and I like sitting in my fornt yard selling even less, but we have a lot of stuff now that the girls are no longer babies that needs to go to both make room for and a few buck to afford the new "stuff". It was a long, slow morning and in the end the $90 I made was barely worth my time and effort, but it gave time to reflect. I am thankful that we have "stuff" to sell. Not stuff to sell because we are that desperate for the money, but because we have stuff. My kids had cribs, and toys and we are able to clothe and entertain them.  So today I am thankful for all the things we have. It might not be a lot... It is likely a lot less than some.... but it is without a doubt more than most.


“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.”

~Oprah




A Month of "Thanks"

November 01, 2010 - Cooler Temperatures
November 02, 2010 - Lula learns how to climb out of her crib
November 03, 2010 - Donuts and Arts and Crafts
November 04, 2010 - Swings
November 05, 2010 - My Zoo Membership
November 06, 2010 - Stuff



 

November 5, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 5



Today I am thankful for: My Zoo Membership

It's my {our} 6th wedding anniversary today and my darling hubby took the day off {which is HUGE!} and spent the it with the girls and me at the zoo! It was truly the best way to celebrate our anniversary! {and about time we put my zoo membership to use!}


A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one!"
~Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings   

A Month of "Thanks"

November 01, 2010 - Cooler Temperatures
November 02, 2010 - Lula learns how to climb out of her crib
November 03, 2010 - Donuts and Arts and Crafts
November 04, 2010 - Swings
November 05, 2010 - My Zoo Membership


November 4, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 4



Today I am Thankful for: Swings

I made it to Stroller Strides this morning!!!!!  And for that I was 'Thankful' to have a great friend like Mel { m.b.r.a.c.e. mommyhood } holding me accountable and helping motivate my butt out the door.  I was also 'Thankful' for Katie who kicked my booty in class today and again for Mel and the rest of my Stroller Strides family for their awesome energy, support and friendship. That's when it hit me.... Being Thankful for your family should be a given. I should have moments all day everyday when I appreciate how lucky I am to have my kids and my hubby. I get that it's not always easy and not everyone is grateful for their family, but I am.... for the most part! :)

For the rest of the month I am going to try my best to keep going with silly "thankful for's" - I have found that if I stop and string together a few small things to be thankful for each day, I feel really good! So.... Today I am thankful for Swings!

After Stroller Strides the girls spent at least an hour on the swings. Laughing and pretending to fly.... It was without a doubt a perfect hour. Pushing both of my girls on the swings was the best part of what would turn out to be a great day! For that hour I remembered what it felt like to swing up "so high" and feel like your feet must be touching the sky! How exciting and a little scary it was to swing to "that high".... I love those moments when the whole world melts away and your kids bring you back to childhood. When you get lost in a moment of sheer bliss..... not  a care in the world....... The best part of being a mother for me, is getting to be a child again with my girls. I live for the silly carefree moments, when I'm more than just mom to my girls. I had that today at the swings!

Today, instead of a "thankful quote", I am going to share an email I recieved a few weeks ago.  As far as "chain emails" go, I thought this was pretty good and worth sharing. I will resume the thankful words of wisdom tomorrow.


I AM THANKFUL:


For the Wife who says "It's Hot Dogs tonight"
becuase she is home with me and not out with someone else.


For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato 
because he is home with me and not out at the bars.


For the teenager who is complaining about doing the dishes
becasuse it means she is home, not on the streets.


For the taxes I pay
because it means I am employed.


For the mess to clean after the party
because it means I have been surrounded by friends.



For the clothes that fit a little too sung
because it means I have enough to eat.
 
For my shadow that watches me work
becuase it means I am out in the sunshine.
 
For a lawn that needs mowing,
windows that need cleaning
and gutters that need fixing
because it means I have a home.


For all the complaining I hear about the Government
because it means we have freedom of speech.


For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot
because it means I am capable of walking ans I have been blessed with transportation.
 
For my huge heating bill
because it means I am warm.


For the pile of laundry and ironing
because it means I have clothes to wear.
 
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day
because it means I have been capable of working hard.
 
And for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
because it means I am alive






A Month of "Thanks"

November 01, 2010 - Cooler Temperatures
November 02, 2010 - Lula learns how to climb out of her crib
November 03, 2010 - Donuts and Arts and Crafts
November 04, 2010 - Swings


November 3, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 3





Today I am Thankful For: Donuts and Arts and Crafts

After Lula's first night out of her crib - and a moderate power struggle to get her to stay in bed - the girls slept until 8am! This is 2 hours longer than their usual crack of dawn pajama party!  No sir, I am not thankful for two more hours of sleep, as much as I do love sleep, and although the sleep set the mornings schedule and change of plans into motion, and despite the fact that it is the changed plans that I am thankful for, I am not going to waste my thanks on sleep....


The extra sleep meant it would be a rushed and a stressful breakfast, attempting to get three of us dressed, fed and out the door in 30 minutes in order to make it to Stroller Strides. The morning started so happy... with extra sleep, rested and giggly children, a beautiful {and cool} breeze.... It seemed such an awful thing to knowingly and abruptly end this blissful morning by running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make the nearly impossible happen. And even if we did make it, would it be worth the stress, high-blood pressure, miserable children and irritated mommy? The answer is a resounding "Nope!"

So day three, no Stroller Strides.... I can embrace it! Downstairs we go, all in our pj's, happy, relaxed, sunshiny... Me: "What's for breakfast girls?" The Girls: {in stereo} "Chocolate milk!" Me: {in my head} Crap! We're out of milk! {aloud} "Okay girls.... Mommy's going to go upstairs throw some shorts on and grab you guys something to wear. We have to go to the store, we're out of milk.... Who wants donuts for breakfast??" The Girls: {jumping and screaming} "DONUTS!!!!"

Home with milk, donuts and a few things for dinner. Wheew.... that was easy!  The store was quiet, no one was over tired or hungry or misbehaving. Why don't I do the shopping first thing in the morning all the time?  {That's a whole other discussion for another time - back to Giving Thanks} It's beautiful out - It will be 90* in a few hours and the breeze if it stays will be hot and not beautiful before long, so to the patio we go .......Oh there are a few brief months out of the year when I am so thankful, so very, very thankful for that beautiful back patio. Most mornings in October and most of November I am so in love with that patio! - Again I digress.... I suppose I should be thankful for Adderall, at least on the days when I remember my afternoon dose! Moving on...

So out on the patio.... the girls... their chocolate milk... me.... my iced coffee.... and our donuts.... sitting at their Little Tikes picnic table, even mommy. Having a leisurely, giggly, and rare, processed sugar and preservative filled breakfast and loving every minute of it! We made pigs of ourselves and each had TWO donuts and it was awesome. To sit and talk and laugh and enjoy breakfast without the stress of looking at the clock...

Who's hair is done? -- We gotta go! -- Who still needs to get dressed? -- Did you brush your teeth? -- We gotta go! --  Did you go potty? -- Where are your shoes? --  Where are my shoes? -- We're going to be late! -- No really... Where are my shoes?  --  We gotta go!  -- Finish your breakfast! -- What do you want for snack? -- We don't have any goldfish! --  You don't need to... I already fed the fish!! -- What do you want for snack?? -- You can feed the fish tonight! -- Where's your sippy cup? -- No I'm not doing your hair over-again, it's beautiful just the way it is! -- We're not going to make it!! -- Where's your backpack, you have school right after Stroller Strides! --  We're late...again! -- Come on girls, finish eating! -- Mommy will finish her breakfast in the car! -- No one is sitting in the pink car seat this time! -- Worry about your breakfast, mommy will eat in the car! -- Last chance, go potty now, we're alreay late!

None of that this morning. Today I am thankful for Donuts! Silly, sticky, sugar filled, glaze covered, chocolate dipped, cream filled and fun donuts!

After donuts, the girls and I pulled out all of the pipe cleaners, {well the 'all' that they know about} and their beads and sat and strung beads on pipe cleaners for an hour. Gigi kept telling me "Close your eyes" and then would "Ta-da" as she showed me her progress!!  Lula kept shouting "I did it!". It has been far too long since we sat and did any real arts and crafts together. Which is sad becuase the girls love arts and crafts as much as I do and I really love it! But between filling my mornings with working-out and Gigi going to school two days a week.... It has not happened nearly as often as it should. So today I am also thankful for Arts and Crafts. I was reminded, that in taking time to do something for myself I cannot forget to still be the fun, messy, creative, silly, mommy I was before. From now on Wednesday is Gigi and Lula Day. No Stroller Strides, no school, no rushing - just three girls, a leasurly morning and fun projects!


 
Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.

~ Alphonse Karr 



A Month of "Thanks"

November 01, 2010 - Cooler Temperatures
November 02, 2010 - Lula learns how to climb out of her crib
November 03, 2010 - Donuts and Arts and Crafts


November 2, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 2


Today I am Thankful For: A child strong, healthy and bright enough to figure out how to climb out of her crib. And that she was a warm, soft bed to sleep in each night.


{Even if her learning how to climb out of be means, no more crib, and bigger bed time battles to keep her in her new "big girl" bed.... In the end, I am simply Thankful for her, no matter what!}



"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
~Rabbi Harold Kushner

A month of "Thanks"

November 1, 2010 - Cooler Temperatures
November 2, 2010 - Lula learns how to climb out of her crib

Reading "Allowed" Part II
{ Circus picks }

These picks, in fact this entire page is From "The SassMaster" over at Don't Come to My Circus and Try to Wear the Top Hat.


Best Kids Books To Read Aloud


Rule # 5 is READ BOOKS EVERY DAY



These are some of my favorites and just a sampling of the great literature that is out there for you to share with the little people in your life.

Reading aloud is necessary to their ability to thrive as learners... There will be mulitple rants in future posts about reading to your children. Just do it. EVERY DAY... Or I'll find you. Uh-huh... think about that for a moment...






Mem Fox is my hero...





Mo Willems!!!



















These are LOUD reads... Get ready to get dramatic!



Rhymes!


























Rhyme! Count! Play with your FOOOOOOD!!


This page can be found on Don't Come to My Circus and Try to Wear the Top Hat under her Best Kids Books To Read Aloud! page





** Don't forget to email me your favorite read aloud books and I will post them along with several other A Mother's Musings, readers' favorites! **

November 1, 2010

A Thankful Month
Day 1



Today I am Thankful For: Cooler Weather.

 I was able to spend some quality time, unplugged, just me and my girls, out in the fresh air.
{Even if it was only on the back patio, because I have a wicked head cold}


"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn  a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die."

~Buddha

Reading "Allowed" Part II
{ My Picks }


I'll start with my list of tried and true Gigi and Lula favorites. Thanks to some awesome readers I have a list of your favorites too! Thanks to everyone who emailed their favorite "Read Aloud" stories and keep them coming "Reading Allowed" is going to be a running theme here on A Mother's Musings.

I must admit that these are likely my girls' favorites in part because they were either a favorite of mine as a child, so my enthusiasm for the story has likely rubbed off or they are a favorite of mine to read {probably becasue of candence, I like books with rhythm} and so by sheer volume of reads the girls love these as well...


Bear in mind I have a toddler and an early preschooler so some of these are young books, but reading is reading and it is never too soon {or too late} to start!




Big Dog Little Dog – P.D. Eastman

I remember this story from before I was able to read. My father had to.read Big Dog Little Dog to me over and over and over. The story is simple, there is not too mcuh to it, but remembering LOVING this book when I was little is why I love it now.  The point is not always what you love just that you love it.  Before Gigi was even born she owned a copy of Big Dog Little Dog and it was one of the first book where she could finish the page from memory if I started it - Eventually "reading" it to herself from memory. {No, Gigi is wicked smart but is NOT reading yet.}





The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown
Just a sweet, story about a mother's love and a little one wanting to test his/her wings.






The Going to Bed Book – Sandra Boynton

I LOVE this book. It's short, sweet, simple, silly and my favorite bedtime book.  I have an "Olivia" {don't worry it;s in my list and will be explained, but Gigi wants 5-12 books a night!} so after the number of bedtime stories are negotiated, I always use this as 1 of the stories and it's always the last book I read. Love this darling little storybook!


The Foolish Tortoise – Richard Buckley {Eric Carle}
Another one of my favorite short, sweet stories. Aside from my love of Eric Carle's illustrations, it's a funny little story about a tortoise who is "Tired of being being slow, impatient to get up and go"



The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
I felt like I couldn't tout Eric Carle without throwing The Very Hungry Caterpillar in there, but while it's a good story and possibly a "must own" if you have very little one's I don't love it like I love the Foolish Tortoise. We own a handful of the Eric Carle books an they are all worth a read!


Let’s Be Polite – P.K. Hallinan
 This book is a "Tag Sale Treasure" back east or at least back home in Western Massachusetts we call Yard or Garage Sales "Tag Sales" - That being said my mother has discovered that when children are involved in the sale of their once loved items the most amazing treasures can be found. This book came from the day she discovered; if you as a child selling their books what they reccomend, amazing stories you might have passed right over can be found!  An all too bright for his age, Smith College Professor's 8 year old son gave my mother detailed reports on a number of his old books. Of all his books- and I now own a number, this was truly a treat! Written as a poem, a sweet book about how "Being polite is the right way to be" - This book mentions God and has mild religious undertones {Very mild!} I am not one for secular stories but I do love this book - GREAT LESSON for little ones!!



 Mouse Mess –  Linnea Riley 

Another Tag Sale Treasure. Darling story about a mouse that takes over the kitchen when the family he "shares a house with" goes to bed.



Mouse Paint – Ellen Stoll Walsh

The white mice discover pots of paint and what happend when blue feet dance in yellow puddles and red feet dance in blue puddles and and so on....



 Olivia – Ian Falconer

I love this book, possibly more than Gigi does. I love Olivia because, in a nutshell, she is Gigi. Right down to bedtime storie negotiations.  Olivia is  good at singing 40 very loud songs and is very good at wearing people out. And scaring the living daylights out of her little brother, Ian, particularly when he copies her every move. She is also quite skilled at reproducing Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm #30" on the walls at home. When her mother tucks her in at night and says, "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway," Olivia precociously pronounces, "I love you anyway too."


 The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
The hippie in me loves this story and has since I was very young. Dr. Seuss was beyond brillinat and wrote some fantactic books with important messages. The Lorax and The Butter Battle Book are my 2 all time favorite Dr Seuss books. Horton Hears a Who! {below} rounds out my top 3 Dr. Seuss Favs!


Horton Hears a Who! – Dr. Seuss
How can yonot love Horton? And his mantra is exactly what the little people in our lives want to hear "A person's a person, no matter how small."



Someday – Alison Meghee
I cannot read this story to my girls without crying. A touching story narrated by a mother to her daughter "Sometimes when you sleep I watch you dream; and I dream too"




Abiyoyo – Pete Seeger
Anothe one that goes all the way back to my own childhood. A folk tale about a boy that plays a ukelele and his magician Uncle who are banned from their villiage only to become the heros whehe stand up to the fearsome Giant Abiyoyo.



Frog and Toad are Friends – Arnold Lobel
I remember being my father reading a "chapter" a night from this book to my brother and me when I was little. This as one of those, "One more chapter, please......" books









Email me your Read Aloud favorites and why; and I will post them, along with several other A Mother's Musings readers' picks!
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