Sunday, December 20, 2009

Letters To Santa

It is that time of year again. Time to write our letters to Santa. I just hope they make it to the North Pole in time for him to receive their sentiments before he takes off on his magical flight.

I'm not sure these letters top last year's classics (especially Lauren's exclamation of needing a fresh diaper!), but nevertheless, they are timeless treasures.



Lauren's Letter

Dear Santa Claus,

I want a Bubba. I want a Christmas tree. Umm, I want, umm, a necklace. I want a Band-Aid. I want a stroller. I want Santa. I want cookies, apples, umm gumballs. A helicopter, umm, I want an ice cream cone. I finish my milk. I want Play-Doh, licorice.

I saw the reindeer on the roof of your shop at the North Pole. I was nice. That's it, let me write my name. I'm not Lauren, I'm Ord.

Sincerely,

Lauren



Abigail's Letter

Dear Santa Claus,

I like Play-Doh. I like M&Ms. I like Santa Claus. I like reindeer. I like snowmans. I like cards. I like Christmas trees.

What is Mrs. Claus doing at the North Pole? Dying?

Where is your bed? What is Mrs. Claus doing to the vacuum?

It was nice to see you at preschool. Everyone was being naughty upstairs, and Santa was downstairs.

Santa Claus, I want you to eat my apples.

Your friend,

Abigail


The Best Christmas Gift Ever.... Opened

The best Christmas gift ever lived up to it's name. Because we will not be celebrating Christmas at our house, but instead traveling hundreds of miles to be with family, we decided to open up our gift here this morning. What Geoff and I got in that special little package is sure to be treasured for the rest of our lives each Christmas season.


Thank you, Abigail!


Friday, December 18, 2009

The Best Christmas Gift.... Ever!

The best Christmas gift I've ever gotten is sitting under our Christmas tree. It isn't open yet. I don't even know what it is. But it is from Abby. Delicately wrapped with a handmade card; the first of many special school treasures I'm sure. No doubt it is something only she could deliver.

But then I think the best Christmas gift might be at home, back in Minnesota, sitting in their chairs. My grandparents.

For me the real treasures of the season are being with the ones I love. I never could have appreciated these gifts fully if I didn't know what Christmas was like without all of them. But this Christmas I will have them all. What a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Book

I'm not really sure where the idea came from. I do know that it came to me when we were stationed in Florida. Perhaps it was my need to get out of there, out into the real world. Maybe it was being cooped up in the house with two babies that gave me the brilliant idea. Nevertheless, the concept was born. And once we moved to Ohio I set the books in motion.

There are two books, really. And the notion is simple. I chose a topic, two, because they were two topics that I just can't seem to get enough of. One book is about September 11th, the other about life lessons, life experiences, and/or advice.... personal stories.

I did the first page of the September 11th book. The premise of the book is to gather the stories of America into one book I could give to my young daughters who were not yet alive on that beautiful Tuesday morning that forever changed our country. I wrote of where I was that day and how it affected me. I included a picture of me with my grandmother standing on the Jersey shore (ironically, my grandmother was born & raised in New Jersey, which made it even more personal) with the Twin Towers looming behind us just one year before they fell. And that was it. I passed the book to a friend with direct instructions for her to do the same, complete one page about where she was on September 11, 2001, then pass it on to someone whom she thought had a story to tell and would do the same. When each page is complete there are instructions on where to send the book; back to me.

The second book is a little more open-ended. This time I did not start the book, just left instructions. I'm looking for a book of wisdom. Advice, if you will. Everybody has some, and everyone's experience tells a different tale. I sent the book off asking the recipient to document on one page a special life experience they would like to share. I have no idea what direction this book will take.

And I have no idea where these books are. I'm hoping whomever is fortunate enough to be in possession realizes that they hold the book because they have something important to share. And I'm hoping that people from all walks of life get the chance to add their own touches on the book. Because if they do, my children will be in possession of one of the greatest gifts I could give them.... A unique perspective created just for them.

I don't know how long it will take, or if I will even get my books back. I don't think they could ever be published, even if I do. But there is no doubt in my mind that if I do gain possession of these treasures there are lessons the lovelies and I can share for years to come.

Reading really can take you places.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread Houses & Sugar Cone Trees

Gingerbread Houses
6 graham cracker squares per house
icing
candy decorations
1 small plate/foundation per house

Using four of the squares as the base, use the icing to glue the edges together to create a box that is open to the top. Use the remaining two graham cracker squares for the roof, gluing the edges and place on top of the open box.

Allow several hours for the icing to dry and the house to stabilize before decorating.

Decorate the houses by using the icing as glue to hold the decorations on the house.


Sugar Cone Trees

1 sugar cone per person
icing
candy decorations
1 small plate/foundation per tree

Dip the open part of the cone in the icing and stick to the bottom of the plate. This will help hold the cone in place. [This does not need to be done in advance.]

Use the icing as a glue to hold the decorations on and, if desired, around the tree.



Candy Decorations can include, but are not limited to:

-gum drops, sliced in half to create flat side for sticking
-Lifesavers
-sprinkles
-marshmallows
-M&Ms
-candy canes
-striped chocolate chips
-pretzels
-frosted animal crackers

It is best to use light-weight candies. Anything too heavy will have to be held in place until the icing hardens or placed at the bottom to rest on the plate.


Royal Icing Recipe

3 egg whites, room temperature--unbeaten
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Beat all three ingredients on low speed until well blended. Beat on high speed for several minutes, until icing is light and fluffy.

I like to use a my large Pampered Chef batter bowl to mix the icing. This way I can slip the cover back on and use the rest of the icing to decorate gingerbread houses a few hours later, when they've had time to set.

The icing is safe to consume, but I don't recommend over-indulging since it is made with uncooked egg whites.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Worst Toys of Christmas

If you know my kids chances are pretty good you know what toys they have. If you really know my kids, you know what they like. So instead of composing a wish list this year, I put together a list of the worst toys to give kids this Christmas. I'll throw out the disclaimer now.... this list is in no way meant to offend anyone's economic, sexual, professional, or genetic orientation. It's simply a list of 'what were they thinking?' items. The toys themselves are entertaining, but in many cases the write-ups on the links are priceless.

No. 12 Sugar Daddy Ken Doll
http://www.geekologie.com/2009/10/palm_beach_sugar_daddy_ken_now.php

No. 11 The Face Bank
http://www.strapya-world.com/categories/2331_3173.html

No. 10 Dr. Drill 'N Fill Play-Doh Set
http://www.drtoy.com/2000_b/hasbro_playdoh_2000b.htm

No. 9 Garden Zombie
http://laughingsquid.com/zombie-garden-sculpture-by-alan-dickinson/

No. 8 Yodelling Lederhosen
http://www.hoppinglederhosen.com/

No. 7 Blippy in the Box
http://www.systemwars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35794

No. 6 Squirrel Underpants
http://www.squirrelunderpants.com/

No. 5 Breast Feeding Baby Dolls
http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2009/07/babyglutton.html

No. 4 Giant Mutant Cockroach
http://www.mcphee.com/shop/products/Giant-Mutant-Cockroach.html

No. 3 Japanese Toilet
http://www.cartoonleap.com/2009/07/30/i-want-that-japanese-toilet/

No. 2 Shave the Baby Doll
http://v11.www.urlesque.com/2009/01/27/omg-shave-the-baby/

And the No. 1 item on my item on 2009's worst toy list:

Hermaphrodite Dolls
http://www.weirdasianews.com/2007/03/12/chinese-hermaphrodite-dolls/

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Ungrammatical Period

There comes a time in every young girl's life when she discovers she will be a woman. First she fantasizes about what life will be like with boobies, a husband, babies.... And then one day the fantasy is squashed by glimpses of reality. Today was Abby's day. The day she learned the truth about periods, and I'm not referring to the grammatical kind. The following are three statements she actually made to her dad:

"I don't want a crotch."
"I'm not gonna take care of it."
"I want it out of me."

Ironically, all three end with a period.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Food For Thought

I try to be very honest with the girls. While their innocence is cute, I try my best to arm them with information, teaching them about life and the world around them. We talk about everything from the nutritional value of the food they eat, to sewers and septic tanks. It is obvious to me from Abby's comments today that she is making connections, and it is sinking in....

"Poop comes from lunch." And after a little more thought, "And pee comes from lemonade."

You get the idea.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lauren's Thoughts on the Moon

I've been keeping a journal of special quotes; things the girls have said that for one reason or another were noteworthy. And I've noticed a pattern.... Lauren has been thinking a lot about the moon.

August 25, 2009
"Nobody's in the moon. It's just the moon."

November 30, 2009
"The moon is following us!"
"The moon is watching us."

Whether it's just another one of her fascinations with space or a great imagination at work, I look forward to her future discoveries.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day of Thanks--The Grand Finale

We set out to record what we are thankful for for fifteen days. Technically today would be day sixteen, but it's Thanksgiving.... We had to include today!

Brooke: "I'm thankful that we are upright this Thanksgiving, and no vomiting to speak of; okay, the night is not over, but there was no throwing up at the Thanksgiving table this year.... Can you tell I'm a bit scarred from last year's Rotavirus?! I'm also thankful for my precious little girls' independence. They got their jammies on and their teeth brushed without being asked or told! Yippee! But perhaps most of all I'm thankful that we were invited to someone else's home for Thanksgiving dinner. Not that I mind having it in my home, but more so the fact that we are actually invited to go somewhere. I'm pretty sure it's because they like us, and not just a pity invite. We had a great time. And since this is our last day of registering an official thank you post I feel I've earned the right to babble. I'm done."

Abigail: "You can't write what I'm thankful for. I'm just thankful for you. And I'm thankful for having Thanksgiving at the Thomans'. I'm just thankful for those things."

Lauren: "I'm thankful for you." That's me!

We hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Fifteen

Brooke: "I'm thankful for my hair. It sounds trivial, but I really am thankful for my hair. I'll be especially thankful when I get home and get it cut and colored!"

Abigail: "I don't want to tell you. It's a beautiful surprise. You're asking lots of questions. I don't want you to ask the questions. I had a hard day, I don't want to be thankful."

Lauren: Asleep

Lets Say Thanks to the Troops

Many people want to send messages of thanks to the troops, but just aren't sure how to get in touch with them. The website http://www.letssaythanks.com/ allows you to pick out a card from many online selections designed by American school children, and write a personal greeting. There is even a section titled, From the Troops, where troops post messages to you, their supporters.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Fourteen

Abigail: "Mommy, do you know what I'm thankful for? For being in my jammies. What are you thankful for? Think about it. Did you decide what you're thankful for? What are you thankful for? I need you to be thankful for something."

Brooke: "I'm thankful for a day at home, not going anywhere. Just me and my girls."

Lauren: "A frog, and a penguin, and a blankie, and a finger, and a picture."

If you are looking for literature on the subject of being thankful: Thank You for Giraffes by Vivian Husnik. Thank you, Shawn, for the recommendation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Thirteen

Brooke: "I'm thankful for having my chores done so I can relax tonight and nurse myself back to good health."

Abigail: "I'm thankful for you; just you."

Lauren: "You know what I'm thankful for? Pizza.... and pop!"

Something to be Thankful For

Today Lauren and I picked Abby up from preschool and she came running down the hall declaring, "London was nice to me today!" Pleased, but slightly embarrassed, I quickly changed her train of thought. She could hardly contain her excitement, and continued to tell me about London on the way to the car, "I was a good example to her. I didn't punch her. I picked a leaf off her jacket and she was nice to me. Both London and Kyla were nice to me today."

I'm thankful Abby hears what we are telling her and continues to set a good example. I'm also thankful these girls were nice to Abby. But let's be honest, this is likely not the end of London & Kyla's blatant bullying. While I would like Abby to get along with these girls, I do not want her to pick up the bad habits these girls have previously displayed. So for Abby gaining a new friend, I am thankful. And for a week away from school and Abby's new BFF, I am especially thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Twelve

Brooke: "Tylenol."

Abigail: "Not anything. I'm thankful for taking a shower."

Lauren: "I'm thankful for flowers and Thomas the train."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Eleven

Brooke: "I'm thankful for having friends in Ohio. Finally! And yes, I count the ones who come and stay with me, too."

Abigail: "I'm thankful for one thing. Flowers. I'm still flowers, too."

Lauren: "I'm thankful for a video."

Avry: "I'm thankful for my Hello Kitty video and for flowers."

An update on the penguin fire.... There is indeed a penguin humidifier at Target. I whole-heartedly feel this is the object of Lauren's gratitude. And I will express gratitude each and every night that she has not found fire; real fire.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Ten

Brooke: "I'm thankful for our parenting coop. Alex & Mindi, when do you officially move in?!"

Abigail: "I'm thankful for flowers."

Lauren: "I am thankful for candy."

Avry: "I'm thankful for flowers."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Nine

Brooke: "I'm thankful to have someone else cleaning up my kitchen tonight. Thanks, Alex!"

Abigail: "I am thankful for my little flower." I'll be thankful if she keeps that little flower for a long, long time.

Lauren: "I am thankful for my baby."

Avry: "You (her mommy) and flowers."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Eight

Brooke: "I am thankful for being able to attend the play Abby's class went to on their field trip today; for taking Abby out for lunch on a special Mommy date, and for Mindi for taking Lauren so I could do it!"

Abigail: "I'm thankful for you (mom). I'm thankful for Avry. I'm thankful for Mrs. Earnshaw, and for my Barbies. Is that enough?"

Lauren: "My leotard."

Our special friend, Avry: "I'm thankful for my mommy."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Seven

Brooke: "I am thankful for a house filled with three lovely ladies with great attitudes and fabulous behavior today!"

Abigail: "Flag. Probably not that. I'm thankful for an airplane. Just that. Can I have something to eat now?"

Lauren: "I don't want to do this. You cannot make me."

Okay, they DID have great attitudes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Six

Brooke: "I'm thankful for Mrs. Hart and all of the great things Abby is learning in preschool!"

Abigail: "I'm just thankful for my elephant."

Lauren: "I don't want to. I told you I don't want to. I'm getting out of here. I told you, I'm not coming over there."

I can tell you what she won't be thankful for tonight.... missing dessert because refuses to follow directions! And I'm not just referring coming up with something to be thankful for. Oh, Lauren.

This just in....

Lauren: "I'm thankful for my friends, and Miss Kim (her gymnastics coach), and for Abby's teacher, and Rock."

I guess someone didn't want to miss privileges.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Five

Brooke: "I'm thankful for good friends. The kind you meet on your journey through life and take with you. The kind that make you laugh no matter how ridiculous the situation."

Abigail: "I'm thankful for paper, coloring, crayons, hair...."

Lauren: "I am thankful for the fire, and Cookie Monster, and Elmo, and the radio, and the light bulb, and books, and Kleenex, and a dress...." This went on for several minutes. I knew she was full of it when she said she was thankful for a dress. She doesn't like dresses.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Four

Brooke: "I'm thankful for the fabulous weather, even though I wish it would either just snow, or they'd stop playing Christmas music."


Abigail: "I am thankful for Lizzie Elephant and coloring."


Lauren: "I'm thankful for candy and for fire."


Determined to get to the bottom of this fire Lauren is holding so much gratitude for, the girls and I made a special trip to Target, which I am always thankful for. Lauren took us around the entire store, meandering through aisle after aisle and not once did she point out the penguin fire. By the time we nearly completed our loop I was dizzy and full of frustration. So it was time to get down to business and pick up the few items I'd drawn up on my list. I completely forgot to check the pharmacy area, where we had been on Monday.... I believe this to be the sight of the infamous, are you ready for this, penguin humidifier. I cannot say with 100% certainty that this is the object of her thanks, but I am almost positive this is what she is referring to each and every day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Three

Brooke: "I am thankful for our beautiful home."

Abigail: "A stove."

Lauren: "I'm thankful for the fire and for a nest, like the duck has on Word World."

Okay, time to get to the bottom of this obsession with fire. I assumed she was referring to the fireplace in our family room. After all, she does like to stand in front of it with her daddy and toast her little buns. So finally I asked. Her response, "The penguin and the fire, at Target. I will show you." That's it! Any excuse to go to Target is good enough for me. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day of Thanks--No. Two

Brooke: "I am thankful for a good night's sleep."

Abigail: "I am thankful for you." Awe, thanks, Abby!

Lauren: "I am thankful for Tiger. And fire."

Should I be worried about that one?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kicking Off Fifteen Days of Thanks

Fifteen days and counting until Thanksgiving. Someone said that finding something different each day to be thankful for is harder than you think, so we're putting it to the test. Here is the first of our fifteen days of thanks....

Brooke: "I am thankful for my healthy & happy little ladies."

Abby: "I am thankful for my baby, Lizzie Elephant."

Lauren: "I am thankful the flag and the fire."

I have no idea what fire Lauren is thankful for. I expect more of her random confusion in the days to come.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

We never did run into London's parents at their preschool's Parents' Night. And when Abby attended a birthday party for one of her classmates, there was no London there either. But London is at preschool each and everyday, and her presence for better or worse plugs directly into Abby's day.

A conversation with a parent at the birthday party confirmed my line of thinking: London has not singled out Abby, this is just who London is. There have been other run-ins, and I mean literal ones, with other children in class and outside of school. From swing set assault to kicking girls out of the exclusive Long Hair Club, London seems to be that girl that takes pleasure in making others miserable.

As hard as it is, we try not to ask Abby directly about the class bully. But like the elephant in the room, she's there. When Abby & Lauren play school or gymnastics class there is always a London. And it is healthy; she's dealing with her on her terms in her environment, and she is very kind in relating to her. Wooh. BUT from time to time, particularly the time that comes after being with London at school, she acts like her. Okay, she acts like she has told me London acts.

In an effort to get to the bottom of things I confronted Mrs. Hart about Abby's behavior in school. Mrs. Hart, the true professional that she is, disclosed that she could not be happier with Abby's behavior in school. She did not bring up other children, so I pushed a little harder. "Abby mentions London and Kyla a lot, and how they are not nice to her and some of the other children," I emphasized. Again Mrs. Hart brought it right back to Abby, "Abby doesn't really play with them, she keeps her distance. Perhaps she is taking the behavior she sees at school and is trying it out on you at home to see how you will react to it." Bingo! That is exactly what she is doing.

So Geoff and I are keeping our heads high, knowing that these troubled times too will pass. We will continue to teach her the value of walking away from situations that make her uncomfortable, doing what she knows is right, and continuing to set a good example for those whose behavior is less desirable. And while the behavior of the "nasty" girls may not change, we can only hope that Abby's doesn't either. The good behavior that is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's Just Like Wiping Off a Table

As Lauren is standing in the family room removing every article of clothing she has on, she announces to her dad that she is off to go poop.

Geoff responds, "Wipe yourself off this time. You've got to learn to do it. It's just like wiping off a table." [Insert my laughs from the kitchen.]

Lauren struts to the bathroom in nothing but a ponytail, "For me it is like wiping off the wall."

I'm not even sure I know what all of this means. And as long as I don't have to deal with it, I'm okay with that.

Time Out, Two Minutes

I strolled into the kitchen to find Abby sitting in the traditional Time Out spot saying, "Time Out. Two minutes."

So I asked her, "Who is in the Time Out?" knowing full well the only answer could be her since there was no baby or doll in sight.

She responded, "I am. I said a bad word, it was inappropriate. So I'm in a Time Out for two minutes."

Wow! I must be doing something right. Not only does she know when she's done something wrong, but she is now imposing her own punishment. While I don't expect this model behavior to last, I am filled with pride just knowing she's thinking about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The London Bridge

It started about a month ago. I was blindly taking Abby to preschool every other morning thinking all was well with the world. Little did I know a disease was casting it's shadow on her school days. Every child encounters them, that dreadful classmate. The one who makes others miserable to feel the gain of victory. Abby's is London. I was enlightened one Friday afternoon when I arrived to pick Abby up; London was complaining that Abby hit her. It turns out Abby had indeed hit this girl because she would not play with Abby. No doubt Abby just didn't understand why. We said our apologies, but the conversation I had with Abby's teacher stung; Abby wants to play with London, but London wants nothing to do with Abby. And honestly, it bothers me a thousand times more than it bothers Abby.

The usual thoughts ran through my head. Why doesn't she want to play with Abby? Is Abby unsociable? Is Abby not pleasant to be around at school? Is Abby mean to the other kids? Is Abby an outcast?

When I presented the situation to Geoff that evening I didn't need to get far into the story to figure out what was really going on. In fact, I needed to say just one word, London.

About five and a half years ago Geoff and I had lunch with a woman who had just arrived at Hanscom AFB. Geoff was her sponsor, so we took her out to get to know her and get her acquainted with the base. That fall she gave birth to a baby girl. You guessed it, London. She and Geoff worked together for six more months, London's family even passed outgrown diapers our way when our baby girl arrived. But soon it was time to part ways. We were off to Florida when Abby was just three months old; our babies had never met.

But in this small world of the Air Force, they did meet up, at a little preschool in Ohio. In a class of just fourteen kids, our girls are together. Ughhh.

Since that heartbreaking afternoon I have been relieved by several things. First, that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Second, that this was bound to happen to Abby at some point in her career as a student, it was just happening a little earlier than I'd expected. Third, that Abby isn't the one mistreating her classmates, at least not to my knowledge. And fourth, and in Abby's own words, "London is nasty to the other kids." Ahhh, it's not just Abby!

As far as I know London has no idea of the bridge that links her to Abby, and I'm guessing, neither do her parents. Though Parents' Night at their school is coming up this week. It should be interesting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Two Long

I know it's been too long since I've written an update when Geoff has changed jobs twice and we have welcomed two babies into our extended family. Yes, I said two jobs.... more on those babies in a bit.

At the start of spring, Geoff left his job as a contractor at MCR (the job we moved to Dayton for) and rejoined The Circle of Trust as a gov't employee, known in the gov't world as a GS-13. He was excited at the places his spreadsheets could take him, since the KC-X program he had been working on was tied up in a legalities. With a new boss and a new cast of characters at work, Geoff was looking forward to a new challenge, but it was short-lived. Within the last few weeks, Geoff was more less hand-selected to take a job where he will be working directly for a general, amazing the high-ranking officer with his spreadsheeting wizardry. It's a fantastic opportunity for Geoff; within six months he was promoted to a GS-14. Now he will have his own office and be supervising other analysts. He has also been told his job will require him to give briefings at the Pentagon. Geoff is in Excel heaven. Of course the job will be more demanding and require longer hours. The biggest immediate impact this job will have on our family is that I will have to give up my job.

Yes, I too, have been employed; for a month and a half. I had been talking about it for some time, but finally made the decision this summer that I was going to actively seek a tutoring job. Nothing too intense, but something to get me out of the house and back into the field of education. Much to my surprise I was offered a job almost right away at the tutoring center just down the road. It was a perfect fit! About 15 hours a week, tutoring great kids, working with a girl I really enjoy. And it was good for my family, too. Geoff took on a stronger care-taker roll around the house, which in turn created a whole new dimension between him and the girls. While the girls were always a little sad when I left and always psyched to see me when I got home, they were really into their Daddy Time. Though my time as a tutor was short-lived, it gave me two valuable gifts: a chance to be a part of the professional world again, and even more importantly, it gave me great insight on what I can and should be working on at home with the girls to help them succeed in school. Of course I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say that planning for and preparing three less meals a week wasn't a nice break, too.

It has been a very busy last eight months around here. At the end of March we took a road trip to Illinois where we stayed with our friends, Clint & Michelle, and met up with fellow O'Town natives to watch Owatonna's junior A hockey team. A short, but enjoyable little family trip to the Land of Lincoln. Our spring trip to Minnesota came a little sooner than expected with the passing of Geoff's Grandpa Beardsley. We packed up the car and ventured to Duluth where had a great time with family and celebrated his grandfather's life; no doubt he was smiling down as we really enjoyed ourselves and our time together. From there Geoff flew back to join The Circle of Trust, and the girls and I went to join our circle of family & friends, where we spent a busy two months going to the cabin for spring cleaning, then back to Owatonna for my nephew Max's birth, making weekly trips to Rochester for my grandpa's radiation treatment at Mayo, and we even managed to sneak in a trip to the Minnesota Zoo, a few hockey games, a concert, a prom, and a high school graduation.

Had it not been for our impending family vacation, I probably would not have left home. But we had our first ever real family vacation on the horizon. And at the end of June we traveled to Washington to visit our family there. I am not exaggerating when I say we had the time of our lives! Geoff golfed nearly every morning at courses in the valley, and in the mountains. We took road trips to various places near Wenatchee where we were staying, we ate fresh cherries right off the tree, but most of all we just enjoyed the company of family. The trip would have been perfect, had it not been for the isolated evening the girls devised a plot to turn their grandparents' house into a canvas of chaos. You can read the full depiction, photographs and all, on my blog under the title Night of the Naughties in the July folder. It's worth the read!

Our eldest naughty started preschool this fall, and both of the girls are now actively pursuing gymnastics. Abby loves to learn, and jumps at the chance to write her letters and practice cutting and gluing. Both girls have turned our house into their personal gymnasium. Anything they can flip off of, they do. And if they could spend all day in their leotards, they'd do that, too.

Right now we're just living the Ohio life. The fields are starting to brown, there are pumpkin patches around every corner, and big red Os everywhere we turn. But are we still rooting for our Minnesota teams? You Betcha!

Oh, and as for that second baby... my cousin Luke and his wife, Molly, welcomed a baby girl into the world on Saturday, Oct. 10th. We're looking forward to seeing Mya Ann Hartle at Christmas. Congrats to Luke & Molly, and to my Aunt Vicky & Uncle LeRoy who are now beaming grandparents!

happy autumn.
*brookie

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Color of Innocence

Snuggled into my bed, Abby and I were enjoying some alone time together watching the Twins game. Abby says very little when asked about preschool. But get her alone with a little snuggle time and she opens wide up.

The following is a snip-it of our conversation Thursday night.

Abby: "Kyla is chocolate."
Brooke: "What does that mean?"
Abby: "What color is chocolate?"
Brooke: "Brown."
Abby: "Kyla is brown."

And that was it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I Love That Dirty Water

When Abby & Lauren get a song in their heads they lose control and turn it into the dance party of a lifetime.

Here's what I found my lovelies doing when they thought no one was looking....

I Love That Dirty Water

(Remember to pause the playlist on the right side of the screen.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turning Thirty-Two

Each morning of my birthday since I can remember my first waking moments are spent thinking, "Today is my birthday!" When I was younger it was always a feeling of excitement.... the special cards, happy birthday wishes, gifts. All for me. All about me. The milestone birthdays were especially important, packed with new privileges that only that magical birthday can bring. And then some time in my mid-twenties the realization that the big Three-O was creeping up began to cast a cloud over my birthday. When the day of the big Three-O arrived it was filled with clouds. And rain. But it was also filled with family & friends who gathered to wish me a happy 30th, a happy golden birthday. It was a great day.

But turning 32.... I guess a mother of two preschoolers should expect nothing less than what I got on my 32nd birthday. I was awakened at 4-something by the word, "Mommy!" No time to even think, "Happy Birthday to me." I ran to the bathroom, grabbed the puke bucket, and cleaned up my lovely. The rest of what should have been our sleeping hours was spent either catching the projectile or waiting for another round. I woke up on the floor of our family room, our traditional staging area for the ill. Lauren crawled into our make-shift bed with Abby & I when she awoke, and the girls and I snuggled, watched a little Good Morning America, I fielded a few early bird birthday calls, and then the best gift a 32 year-old mom could ask for erupted around me. My girls serenaded me with their misstepped version of Happy Birthday To You. It couldn't have been more perfect!

Thank God for that moment. The day just went downhill from there. Oh Abby felt better, and there were no more vomiting episodes. And Geoff did come home at lunch with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. But there were countless behavioral issues, followed by burnt take-out and a homemade birthday cake that was short on frosting. And I did receive several phone calls, e-mails, cards and Facebook birthday greetings, which in themselves truly helped to salvage my spirits. I've certainly had better birthdays, but I'm quite happy to be walking in my shoes.

So how do you follow a day like that? Well, if you're a mother of these two lovelies, you start the next day with a peaceful walk so early the sun has not even begun to rise wearing those comfy worn-in shoes. You admire the clear skies and vibrant stars, and then you become a casualty of the darkness, and step in your own dog's steamer.

I'm still quite content to be walking in my own shoes.... I just keep them out of the house. At least until I can be sure all of the poop is off.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snack Confusion

Tonight Abby questioned, "What does Mrs. Hart say, 'Sit like a pretzel' for when she reads us a story?"

Trying to reinforce Mrs. Hart's policies I replied, "So you keep your legs under your body and to yourself. Do you like to sit like a pretzel?"

"No, I like to sit like a Dorito."

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Mean Mom. The Bully.

Life with Lauren has been trying, to say the least. If life in the twos is terrible, life in the threes is far from a breeze. It is one thing after another with this young lady, and today was really no worse than usual, it was just put on public display.

Twice today I had to remove Lauren from a store by hauling her carcass out over my shoulder. The tantrums escalate to a display worthy of an Academy Award. The first came in Target, the result of not getting an Icee. Out we went. The second was on a much grander scale, this time I paraded right through the food court with my naughty just as the patrons were flocking for lunch. Only this time I wasn't just accessorizing with Tiny Tot over my shoulder, I was also wearing the crustiest glare I could muster up.

After we enjoyed a nice mid-morning snack, I told Lauren she could spend some time playing in the kids area. She was having a ball, running, climbing, and bouncing about. That is until she ran into Long Hair Boy. Lauren had climbed up onto a delivery truck and perched herself onto one of the sides. What Long Hair Boy had against Lauren I do not know, but he was bound and determined to take her place and never give it back. Ever. She moved on for a while, but when she went back, there was Long Hair Boy. Eventually Lauren ran to me in frustration, "She is stupid," she proclaimed with her eyes full of tears. We took a few minutes to gather our good graces and I reminded her that the perpetrator was not a girl, but a boy with exceptionally long hair. With just a few minutes until it was time to bug out I wanted to leave on a high note, so I encouraged her to give it another shot. Well, you can about guess what happened next. When Long Hair Boy saw her coming, he reclaimed his post at the top of the mountain. If I had a mirror, I'm sure I could have seen the smoke coming out of my very own ears. There was no way around it; this kid sucked. His grandma was oblivious. Does Long Hair Boy not know that the slightest thing sets off Lauren, and as a consequence, I have to deal with the wrath? I wanted to pull his scraggly long hair and point out how much I loathed him in that moment, but that would not solve anything. It also would not set a very good example for my young daughter. So I did the next best thing. I stared him down. It was a piercing stare. And several times I broke from it, only to stab him again and again with my angry mommy eyes. He may have won in his battle with Lauren, but in this Mommy vs. Long Hair Boy playground rumble, I was the queen of the mountain.

I'm not particularly proud of my behavior. But I have this to say, it is a classic example of a gift mother nature has given to all of its mothers. Don't piss off a mom.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Paradise

Abby left the dance floor twice at Bob & Cassie's wedding dance.... Once to go to the bathroom, and another time to get a drink, and only because I insisted. That's it. She was dancing before the dance even started, and when it was over asked, "Why is everybody leaving?"

This video pretty much sums up her evening.

Abby In Paradise

(Remember to pause the playlist on the right side of the blog to hear the video.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Preschool Day II

Day two of preschool is now in the books. Abby arrived at school and joined her classmates in the art room again, like she will each morning. Today she chose to do a chalk drawing that she informed me are vegetables.... oh to have a peak inside of her mind.

Because my dear Lauren is still suffering from a severe case of Bad Attitude, I opted to go home instead of out and about while Abby attended school. Nothing special, just a day of tending to chores for me, and play for Lauren at home.


When Lauren and I arrived in the Language Arts room to pick up our dear preschooler, we were greeted by Mrs. Hart with a big smile on her face, "Whatever you did worked," she exclaimed, "because Abby followed the directions perfectly." Of course, I'm sure it helped that Abby also got to be the leader, so she felt quite honored and special. We are going to have to practice making Lauren the leader at home in the days between now and day III of preschool so Abby is well aware that other people, too, enjoy the privilege.

Abby herself was also pleased with how the day went. It was obvious being the leader was the highlight, but she was quite proud to share her caterpillar, butterfly, and chalk art with her sister. She did choose to have a snack today, something she informed me she passed on her first day because it upset her stomach.... crackers & juice, really Abby?! But whatever. Today, she enjoyed it. After a little poking I also discovered that she made a new friend today named Lexi. "She's a girl and she wears a pink shirt," is about all she had to say about that.

We're getting this preschool routine down and its only the second day. Kudos to us, but mostly kudos to Abby. She's taking her role as a student seriously; what better start to her career as a student could I ask for?

And let's not forget, kudos to Mrs. Hart and all the preschool teachers of the world. Enjoy what you've got this year, because next year is a whole new ball game....













Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Abby's First Day of Preschool

The day Abby has patiently been waiting for has come; her first day of preschool. She was ready, and anxious for this day to come, and there was no separation anxiety to speak of.
Our saving grace actually came in the form of our little friend, Avry. To make a long story short, Avry and her family are staying at our house in Ohio, as they have several days of appointments in Cincinnati. Avry and the girls hit it off, and Avry has been hanging out with us doing projects, activities, etc. The anxiety of leaving Abby was lessened by the fact that we had a new member of the gang here to keep us busy.

Dropping Abby off was smooth. She found the tag with her name on it right away and placed it in a pocket effortlessly. Her class starts out in the art room in the morning, and while I filled her teacher in on Abby's habit of putting things into her mouth, Abby jumped right into painting. And with that, Lauren, Avry and I were off.

We spent our Activity Day at the mall.... first stop: The Food Court. Here we were greeted by scores of senior citizens enjoying coffee and breakfast. Heads turned as we walked through the group (the closest I've ever come to feeling like a supermodel or A-list celebrity), each of the elders with a smile on their faces as Lauren & Avry pranced through the crowd, hand-in-hand, ready to dig into coloring with their school supplies packed in their bags. After coloring and a snack, the girls played for awhile in the mall's play area. We also did a little shopping, and before we knew it, it was finally time to pick Abby up from her first day at preschool.

The girls and I arrived before Abby's class had returned from the playground. Lauren's eyes were frozen to the window, and when she spotted her sister she yelled out her name, and then filled with disgust as she realized Abby was walking through the parking lot without someone's hand. They're sticklers for the rules.

But apparently there is one rule I did not arm Abby with: staying to the right when you go down the stairs. In fact, according to Abby's teacher, Mrs. Hart, Abby was so upset about having to stay to the right and hold onto the rail that she burst into tears. What?! My child not like to be told what to do? Never! Oh, that kid is just like her mother. But all was smoothed over when the class made it downstairs for snack time and it was Abby's turn to share something special she had collected over the summer. Her choice, a picture of her with Aunt Heidi at Lake Wenatchee in Washington. According to Mrs. Hart she did a thorough job of telling about her trip (sorry, I forgot to ask if she included the details of the chip-throwing and middle-of-the-night floor art), and by then she had forgotten all about the stairs.

As we were driving out of the parking lot I asked Abby, "So what did you think of your first day of preschool?" "It was great," she replied. And I truly think it was.

We capped off the special event with a trip to McDonald's for lunch!

I'm lovin' it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Cover-Up

By now you would think I'd have learned. But apparently, I did not, and left the goods in Tiny's reach. They were too much of a temptation, and desire got the best of her.

She fooled no one with the Kleenex Cover-Up. And I am happy to admit that I was also not the one left to clean up the mess. Not this time, at least. This time, it was Daddy's turn. Of course this time the mess was significantly less than the two cups reported in "How Do You Measure Naughty?" But it doesn't quite compare to the monster inscriptions they left on their grandparents floors in "The Night of the Naughties".... See a pattern here?!


Covering up

This:


What are we going to do with her?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cooking Up Sunshine

Abby's cooking up sunshine & sending it your way.....

(Don't forget to pause the music display on the right side of the screen when you play the video)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The ABCs of Sisterhood

Take after take, I tried desperately to film Lauren's precious version of The ABCs. By our final attempt Abby was feeling a bit neglected and decided to join in on the action. This 33 second video captures their personalities perfectly.

*You'll need to pause the music display on the right hand side of your screen.

Like it or not, your sister's always there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

With Sprinkles on Top

This morning we invited our neighbor, Olivia, over for breakfast. The perfect excuse to put that bottled creativity to work with our Cézanne Pancakes! I wasn't sure how it was going to go over.... how creative were my little lovelies going to get? They engineered some beautiful creations! All three of the girls a ball decorating their pancakes; more fun, I think than they actually had eating them.

Inviting Olivia to join us was perfect for three reasons:

1. The girls adore her and love just spending time with her. It was good for Olivia, too, who wasn't too thrilled with being up so early, but needs to get back into the swing of things, since school starts for her tomorrow!

2. The girls could watch Olivia decorate her pancakes and follow her lead, since this project is brand new to them! Though it turns out they have quite industrious minds all on their own.

And...
3. They won't ask me to put sprinkles, whipped cream, chocolate chips & marshmallows on their pancakes every time we make them; its reserved for special occasions.

Our pancakes ranged from a bowl of spaghetti, flowers, a butterfly, a cat, a tea pot, an elephant, ice cream cones and an airplane to the different states we lived in. It really didn't matter what the shape, the girls loved it! And that makes me a happy mom.



Abby, Olivia & Lauren pose with their pancakes.

Lauren puts the finishing touches on her airplane.

Abby, as pretty as a flower.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nostalgia Unhinged

I'm dabbling with a new project that I'm prospecting could pay off: nostalgic pencil boxes. They don't make them like they used to, and neither do I! I've taken this novel idea to a whole new level. Each is hand-crafted and unique, and easily personalized to be used as a child's pencil box, a gift box, a stationary compartment.... the list goes on.

Pencil Box No. 1: Go Your Own Way
Embellished with a number two pencil, designed in an alien/transportation theme that screams little boy.
Measures 8 3/4" x 5 3/4" x 2 1/4"
Pencil Box No. 2: Ice Cream & Polka Dots
Decorated in ice cream & polka dot patterns and tied with a ribbon. Its sweet & cool and plays to any little girl's fantasy.
Measures 8 3/4" x 5 3/4" x 2 1/4"
Pencil Box No. 2: Ice Cream & Polka Dots
The Inside

Pencil Box No. 3: Whimsical School Daze
Lavishly papered in whimsical school days paper, embellished with a 6" ruler and a flower-power punch.
Measures 8 3/4" x 5 3/4" x 2 1/4"

Pencil Box No. 3: Whimsical School Daze
The Inside




Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Gift

While I have not yet been ambushed with direct questioning about the birds and the bees, Abby has been very curious as of late about who made her and where she came from. I typically answer the question simply by stating, "Mommy & Daddy made you." Often times I follow up by telling her that she was a gift. And inevitably she asks who gave us the gift, to which I answer, "God."

For days, weeks maybe, she has been going about her business with these thoughts in her head, when today she asked me, "Did you unwrap me when I was your gift?"

"Sort of," I replied. But we'll leave the extent of that explanation to the birds & the bees.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Magic Erasers

I found a cheap and easy way to remove scuff marks from counters, floors, table tops, etc.... Used dryer sheets! I was reading last night in my Parents magazine about a mom who uses them to remove crayon marks. Since all of my crayon marks had previously been removed by my handy, dandy Goo Gone, it was up to me to make my mark.

Very sneakily, I went about the house drawing on various surfaces. And while the dryer sheet worked, it didn't remove the crayon marks with the precision of the Goo Gone. It did, however, remove other misc. marks left behind on my counters.

Voilà! Yesterday's trash is today's secret weapon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cézanne Pancakes

We spiced up breakfast this morning with a punch of Cézanne; giving a whole new meaning to the art of food. By pouring the pancake mix into a simple squirt bottle (you can use an old ketchup or salad dressing bottle.... I picked mine up for 97 cents in the kitchen department at our local discount store) it takes nothing more than a little creativity to bring your pancakes to life.

The girls LOVED them. Next time we'll really get creative with chocolate chips, sprinkles, whipped cream, you name it!
Move over, Cézanne!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who Lives in Wenatchee?

Per usual, Lauren was the first one up this morning. And per usual, she got herself dressed and woke the rest of us up with her little chatter. Before long, both girls were in our bed snuggling. Lauren, dressed in her freshly-laundered classic blue Wenatchee shirt, plopped herself on her daddy's chest, prompting him to ask her, "Who lives in Wenatchee?" And before she could get out an answer Abby shouted, "Uncle Kenny does!" Uncle Kenny, the recipient of all of Abby's affection.... never mind that he is on the upside of seventy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Drinking it In

It seems like just yesterday I was walking across the stage at my high school graduation, and afterwards by my side were my sweet little cousins; emphasis on the little.

Fast forward thirteen years. Wow, its been that many?! Now I have two sweet little girls of my own. And while I love what each stage & age has brought them, I often find myself thinking, I can't wait until....

But tonight, it was as if time stood still; I found myself drinking it in. The way the girls circled their daddy on the deck as he tended to the grill. The giggles at the supper table. The tiny fingers wrapped around my full-grown hand on our evening stroll through the neighborhood, even though she didn't have to hold my hand on the entire journey. The way Tiny ran ahead of the pack, sneaking through neighbors' sprinklers, gasping with pleasure. The way the sidewalk chalk crumpled in our hands as we gave the driveway a touch of flair.

Not so long ago my evenings were spent perched on the couch feeding, snuggling, soothing & reading stories. Now my evenings are graced with a sweet little angel voice reading the stories to me. I smile as she innocently interprets the illustrations into stories. And hold back tears as she emphasizes that 'Boston is old; very old.'

Abby has been very attached to me lately. I could be annoyed, but I am going to drink it in. Because if I don't, I'm going to miss the good stuff. And before I know it, she'll be the one standing proudly in the graduation gown.





Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Night of the Naughties

It was our first real family vacation, and up to this point, it was perfect. Geoff and Dan had been golfing nearly each morning, we went swimming, shopping, visited with friends, dined on great meals, and spent countless hours sitting on the deck eating fresh cherries from the trees in the yard & enjoying great company & the mountain view from the valley.

But life as we knew it with our lovelies was about to come to an abrupt end. In the middle of the night, two little creatures crept from their beds and destroyed their grandparents' house. Destroyed! The pictures don't even do full justice to the damage they caused.

I was first clued in when Lauren woke me up crying because she had chips in her bed. Strange I thought, but it must have been the dog. Before I knew it Abby was up with the same issue.... she, too, had a bed full of crumbled chips and crackers. That is when I found it: the writing was on the floor. I would discover a few hours later that it was also on the hard wood floor and the wall. And just today I was informed there was yet more writing on the bathroom wall.

Thrust with anger, I lay in bed in the middle of the night trying to conceive of how this could have happened. Surely it wasn't my angels. Could it have been Heidi? We did have a lot of wine the night before. Would they think it was me? I joked about being wasted, but was certain they wouldn't blame me for the destruction. There could only be one reasonable answer. The old orchard house we were in must be haunted! Yeap, it had to be. Someone was irritated with the little girls visiting the estate and set them up. After all, the dog doesn't have opposable thumbs, so he is no longer a suspect. And then I was scared. I did the only thing I could think of to get to sleep. I prayed.

Unfortunately, my prayers were not answered. To the best of my knowledge, the house is not haunted. The culprits were my offspring. It didn't take long to figure how who done it; Abby was sitting in the middle of it all when I got up. Guilty was written all over her face, and the floor beneath her.

Abby is smart enough by now to quickly pass the blame to the little one. But in the end we derived the truth. Abby fessed up to the dining room creations, and in Lauren's words, "I threw the chips." It still makes me laugh every time I say it, but I won't tell her that. Tiny was also responsible for the kitchen etchings, and we all believe is the instigator of the entire operation.

The punishment went a little something like this: All art work must be cleaned up by the artists before breakfast; they didn't like it, but they did it. All swimming suit, leotard, and bra privileges were also revoked. Since these are privileges, they must be earned back with good behavior.

I am happy to report, that after almost a week following the destruction, they are back on track with their behavior, but it has not been easy. Grandpa & Grandma were not thrilled about seeing their house turned into the Smithsonian over night, but they handled it a lot better than Geoff & I did. And I think there is a grandma somewhere in Wenatchee, Washington who will think twice before spoiling her two little lovelies.





Monday, July 6, 2009

Potty & Puberty

"Does Olivia have puberty?" This is Abby's latest inquisition as she is determined to find out just who has the boobies she so desperately wants. We took some of our Washington cherries over to the neighbors last night who watch over our house for us when we are gone. Its summer, and Abby noticed Olivia is sprouting into a young woman. And she doesn't forget anything, so no doubt the day is coming when she confronts the future sixth grader with her discovery. Poor Olivia. If Abby doesn't bring it up in passing outside, I'm sure it will come up at the neighborhood party next month. Stay tuned.

In other news, it was a big night for Tiny. We all struggled to get to sleep last night as we are still on Pacific time. Just as I was relaxing into slumber Tiny began to cry in frustration. Unaware what the problem was, I waited, only to meet her in her doorway without her pajama bottoms.... she had to go potty, and woke up to take care of business. She's a complete bear when she wakes up, an issue I try to curb with over enthusiasm, but she got her little body on the toilet and relieved herself. Yeay, Tiny! This does not mean, however, that we are giving up diapers at nite, but we're another step closer. Now if I can just convince her that the tie-dye shirt she is wearing does not exactly coordinate with her multi-colored polka doted shorts!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lessons From Grandma

"When you have diarrhea, you need to drink your water."--Abby

"Where did you hear that, Abby," I asked.

"From Grandma Bendorf," she replied.

If my mother has ever doubted whether or not she taught her anything, rest assured, she has.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

About Last Night

Our time in Minnesota is quickly winding down. It is always hard to leave home, but this trip is especially difficult because its been filled with a host of life's milestones for a lot of special people in our lives.

Yesterday it really hit me. And while I'm pretty good about keeping my emotions in check, yesterday it all came out. Fortunately for me, I've got two sweet little girls who know just how to add a little sunshine to my day.

This is a conversation we had last night:

Abby: You were crying last night on the phone, Mama. Why?
Brooke: Because I am sad.
Abby: You're sad? Why?
Brooke: Nikki's leaving Owatonna.
Abby: Nikki's leaving Owatonna? Where's she going then? Ohio?!
Brooke: No. She's going to Colorado.
Abby: She's going to Colorado? I need to go to the store then & get fruit snacks.
Lauren: I need to get fruit snacks, too, for Rock.

I'm not sure if there will be any fruit snacks for Sugar/Carol (the newest blanket/baby), but there will be some for Abby, Lauren & Rock. And Nikki, you will be missed!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More of Miss Matched

Miss Matched is at it again. Dubbed The Queen of Clash, Lauren displayed a frightful evening wear ensemble Friday night. I am uncertain of her inspiration. My closest guess would be that she is creating a new line of "theme wear". And it makes sense, after all, the Boston Red Sox do play just a hop, skip & a jump away from the frog pond at Boston Commons....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nobody

Last night, while relaxing at Mom & Dad's, the discussion of the hot sauce sampling resurfaced. When Aubrey asked aloud, "Who wants hot sauce?" Abby promptly replied with gusto, "Nobody!"

I take it she was not a fan.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hot Sauce

"I want some," the girls echoed one another with excitement throughout my sister's house. The hot sauce they want is my nephew's ultimate punishment for the use of bad words.

The girls love chips & salsa, so why not add a little hot sauce to spice up their lives. As Jackson reformed his behavior to avoid the dreaded sample, Abby & Lauren geared up for their spicy treat.

Like friends lined up at the bar to throw back shots, the girls stood anxiously with their spoons in hand, ready to sink their teeth into this highly talked about delight.

Abby went just a few seconds ahead of her little sister. A quick quiver from her shoulders to her feet was all she had to show for her taste of Louisiana's finest. Tiny was not deterred, and sunk her lips around the small red dot on the spoon. Her face, frozen blank, was suddenly stuffed with her chaser-- a bottomless glass of H2Oh-I-Can't-Get-Enough. Abby, still unsure what to think, was met with Jack over her shoulder offering a sympathetic drink.

Aubrey & I could not contain our laughter. And while part of me feels like a mean mother for letting them try something I know is so offensive, the other part of me hopes they will think twice before next time desiring the unknown.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Hole Story

During their nightly play and tickle session, Abby found herself positioned in her papa's chair fanny up. When out of nowhere she proclaimed, "Cover it up, its loaded." She continued, "With germs!" Papa laughed in agreement when Abby finished, "And it has a hole in it."

Oh the things they know.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Crying

Today the girls assisted me in taking my grandpa to his radiation appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It was a really nice day. Grandma went over, too. The appointment was short, and when it was over, the fun began. We walked through the clinic and all of its tunnels, rode the escalators, walked through the sky walk, and capped off our trip with lunch at Red Lobster. It wasn't a lot of dwelling on illness or sick people, just a beautiful day full of sunshine and flowers, and best of all we got some quality time with our (great) grandparents.

But tonight Abby was crying. When asked why she was crying she replied, "I am crying about the people in Rochester."

"Which people?" I inquired.

"The old people," she replied without hesitation.

I turned around to see if my mom had heard her answer, and we gave each other a collective smile. You know the one, "Awe."

But in true Abby fashion, that sweet moment was soured when she finished her thought, "I was ticked off. They were walking behind me."

Awe, Abby.

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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.