Showing posts with label Ellie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ellie. Show all posts

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday's List: Super Heroes, Captured Souls, the Energizer Bunny and Eiffel Tower(s) in New Jersey

1. Art and Photography:


Leo recently completed his best to date (in my humble opinion) family portrait. (Left to right): Mommy (Wonder Woman), Leo (Spider Man-OF COURSE), Lucy (Super Man), Harry (Bat Man), Ellie (The Flash Girl), Mama (Green Lantern) and flying high above is of course our dear, sweet, beloved Ruby the Super Dog.


Meanwhile Lucy mastered her very first face.

Ellie's first grade "spring portraits" came home. I never order these and consider them to be somewhat of a scam-- (I'm a traditionalist and normally just do fall).

But then then they had to go and CAPTURE HER SOUL. I mean, really.

2. Food:

The Nutella obsession continues. Every day, post-nap.

Is there anything better than Nutella? Well. No. And by the way, we are now the family that goes through three to four loaves of bread. A week. (Did I mention I finally realized in the midst of last Friday night's "pizza night" that we have officially graduated to needing two pizzas? Thanks Lucy who eats just the cheese off of three slices).

Speaking of Lucy and food, she and Harry have switched places when it comes to their eating habits. He used to be the "easy" voracious one, willing to try anything (Seasoned tofu! Dried seaweed!) and almost always cleaned his plate and asked for more. Now he pushes many of his former favorites away. You know what else is fun? Aside from macaroni and cheese, neither of them like to eat the same thing. Wait. Do Goldfish count?

This morning Lucy ate three pieces of toast and asked for more. Growth spurt? Perhaps. I mentioned this and Ellie piped up, "Maybe she's getting ready to hibernate! That would be relaxing for you, Mommy!"

3. Lucy:


Hello my name is Unadulterated Joy!

It's such a cliche but I have to use it. Lucy is the Energizer Bunny. She makes her presence known at all times, from the moment she awakes at 6:15, softly singing "Let It Go," (it quickly builds to an urgent, pressing crescendo of "MOMMYMOMMYGETMEOUTMOMMYMOMMY!"). Much of the time she is full volume, going 110 miles per hour while the rest of us are strolling along around at 25 (or if you're Harry it's closer to 15). She is insistent, demanding, unreasonably verbal and often hilarious. She does almost everything with a smile on her face, including pouring a cup of water on the floor or taking her pajamas off right before bedtime, making it difficult to get too angry with her, even if her behavior is ridiculous.



 The other day I overhead Harry and her playing together. She'd injured some body part and began pleading with Harry to "KISS IT! KISS IT! KISS IT!" That's when Harry piped up with "Relax."

I don't think any conversation in the history of conversations has better summarized the personality of two little people.

And yes, I MIGHT tell Lucy to Relax! oh, about 97 times a day.


I read something recently that said that said when you start to lose patience with your mind-numbingly impossible almost three year old (OK those were my words), you should look at their tiny feet, as a reminder that they aren't this small for very long. In short: Yes, I lose my patience every once in a while  And yes, I'm an incredible sap.

4. Harry:

Harry's speech continues to explode. He's starting to have little conversations (with himself and others) and it's SO nice that he's finally able to TELL us what he wants and needs and likes (no surprise there: Super Man, dump trucks, garbage trucks, police cars...) He repeats everything (See: "Relax!" and has picked up some adorable little expressions like "That was a close one!"



Harry and Lucy now mostly have free reign of the house. I've pretty much given up on keeping the upstairs gate closed because it never fails that right when I'm in the middle of making scrambled eggs, Harry decides he HAS TO HAVE HIS RACECAR, the one that's in his crib. Oh sure I could send a big kid up to open the gate but it's much easier to let them go up and down as they please. The same now goes for the basement playroom which is VERY EXCITING. Things can get a little too rambunctious sometimes when all four of them are down there but often during the day I send just the twins down while I make lunch or prep dinner. Invariably Lucy spends more time marching up and down the stairs to "Show me something" (Can you say Social Creature) but they still enjoy a bit of independence. As do I.


They love to "hide" in our bed. Or Ellie's. Or Leo's. And pretend to be "sleeping." Trust me they are SO not sleeping.

5. When the Past and the Present Come Crashing Together in a Beautiful and Heartbreaking Way:
A few days ago I drove into the city with the twins and as we sped along the New Jersey turnpike Harry kept pointing out the "Eiffel Tower" (also known as cell phone towers and verrrry tall utility-type towers? I guess?).  Poor kid. (By the way, he knows about the Eiffel Tower from books, "101 Dalmations" and a small Eiffel Tower pendant that I wear on a chain around my neck-he's not that well traveled yet).

Today on our way downstairs from nap, a photograph caught Harry's eye, it was one of my mom and me, almost fifteen years ago, standing in front of, yes, the Eiffel Tower. He'd never noticed it before but was immediately ecstatic and repeated "Eiffel Tower! Eiffel Tower!" over and over again. That's when I crouched down and pointed at my mom and said, "That's Grandma Eleanor. And that's Mommy." Again, Harry repeated. Lucy, standing just a step below Harry on the stairs, looked on with equal interest.


My mom and me, 1999. 

And then just like that the moment passed. Lucy took Harry's hand and said, "Come on Harry, I'll help you go downstairs." They proceeded to scoot down on their tushes as they are apt to do. But this time they were holding hands. Holding. Hands. "Here Harry, I'll help you," Lucy said.

And as I looked down at the backs of those two little heads, Lucy's a wild mess of untamed blonde curls and Harry's, a ruffled, chocolatey brown and growing out little boy haircut, that's when, just for a brief few seconds I felt so overcome with grief that it almost took my breathe away. I was once again reminded: She's missing this.

And then we had to get sweatshirts and shoes and a race car to hold and just the right My Little Pony to carry. It was time to pick Ellie up from school.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February Notes (So Far)

Yes, Harry. That's a lot of freaking snow.



Ellie, on Harry: "Mommy, I don't want Harry to grow up. He's too cute."

She may be a bit biased.


And Harry may have a slightly unorthodox approach to watercolors. Ahem.

It's been snow day, school day, snow day around here lately.

The kids even had school on President's Day, which is usually a school holiday. But we are evidently way out of snow days.


Somewhere in there, is our driveway.

But March is on the horizon and with it, spring will come. Or so I've heard.


Two weeks ago, I swear we woke up in Colorado.


Watching big sister build a snow man.


It is pretty.


"Mommy! I like eating!" Lucy announced the other day. I have NO idea where she gets that from.


Leo came home from school last week with music homework. He had to sing several verses from blues songs. He decided to illustrate his favorite (see above). Naturally it was "Hound Dog."


Ellie has introduced Lucy to the art of dress-up. These girls can entertain each other for a long while. Not going to lie. It's pretty awesome. And based on the garb and styling of these two, it probably comes as no surprise that the other day as Lucy (and Harry) and I strolled the aisles of our local Target, Lucy leaned over to me and said "Mommy, let's buy something fabulous!"


Friday, January 31, 2014

Never Alone and Who's Going to the Sing-A-Long?

I had a rare day at home with "just" the twins this week.


Hey Harry. Whatcha doin? Yougonnaeatthis?


FORTHELOVEOFALLTHATISGOODWOMAN,LEAVEMEALONE.

I mean, I can only imagine that's what Harry might be saying.

Lucy woke up from her nap before Harry (which is why he's eating his lunch in these pictures and she's already finished), so we had a rare thirty minutes just to ourselves.

Lucy spent most of that time walking around the house asking "Where's Harry?" and "Is it time to go pick up Ellie?"

She asked about Ellie all day long actually.

"Where's Ellie? I want Ellie."

These two. Oh my.


"Mommy! Look at us!" they called to me, from the living room. (Ellie took her shirt off. So Lucy did. Because, of course.)

At this moment, in these days, Ellie can do no wrong in Lucy's eyes.

"Where's Ellie? What's Ellie doing? I want to go see Ellie."

I look at them playing Barbie Fairies or dress up, I watch as Ellie gives Lucy "pony rides" around the kitchen table, knocking into the back of my legs as I slice carrots for dinner. Two little girls. In my house. And I still can't quite believe it, that I get to witness this all as it unfolds.

Ellie is phenomenally, unshakably patient with the twins but it's Lucy who tries her the most (wrinkling Ellie's drawings just as she completes them, overturning her perfectly placed tea set. And yet. Ellie is unflappably calm with both of them. They destroy, she shrugs and laughs: "Oh Lucy!"

These days Ellie is a key player in bedtime for the twins. They wait for her to "tuck them in."
"Ellie! Come give me a kiss," Lucy calls, as Ellie climbs the stairs.

Some of Ellie's techniques are more effective than others: "If you don't lie down I'm telling Mama, Grandma and everyone I know!"

I think that I spent my whole early childhood pining for a sister, wondering what that relationship would be like, that constant companion, the never ending play date (not that that word existed in 1978). Of course I completely idealized it--there was never any grief about sharing or resentment about who got more attention. It was just, fun. All fun, all the time. Because I knew with a sister I would never be lonely.

Sisters or brothers, you can certainly say that much about our house. No one is EVER Lonely.

***

We were brave and left the house with all four kids last weekend. We even went really nuts and took them to a restaurant, of all places! I know!

The food seemed to take forever.



So we passed the time making silly hats. Butter packages and mini creamers, of course.



Classy. That's us.



Luckily the hot chocolate (and my coffee) hit the table right away. Lucy has a newfound love for hot chocolate (and by hot chocolate I mean barely warmed chocolate milk topped with whipped cream).



I think it's fair to say she approves.



I like to call this look "Cocoa Drunk."

***

It's finally here!



I'd like to take the big kids this weekend. I mean, they can't stop talking about it. They won't leave me alone, it's just "When the Sing-A-Long Frozen, Mom?" All. The. Time. In reality they have no idea it's happening and it's really me that wants to sing all the songs from "Frozen" in a darkened theater, resting only to put away a large tub of popcorn with extra butter.

OK so I might be more excited than they are.


We showed Harry and Lucy some clips from "Frozen" last weekend and Lucy was completely riveted. Part of me thinks she might actually enjoy the sing-a-long version but another part of me is also afraid that she of the Many Opinions will not appreciate all the singing and will, in true Lucy "I'm The Boss Style" order the audience to "STOP SINGING!"

I've long been plotting to get the kids the "Frozen" plush dolls (damn you Disney store for being so close to my office and directly in my path every single day). Leo and Ellie were easy: they are both smitten with Elsa (did I tell you that Leo has decided he wants to be her when he grows up?). Lucy likes Anna. When I asked Harry who he liked, Anna or Elsa?


He answered, "Olaf."

I swear that Olaf is totally for Harry. Completely.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Loss in the Fog and Invitations

Ellie's last soccer game this past Sunday ended ominously (see below) and a bit violently.

Last soccer practice.

Ominous afternoon at the park.
I couldn't get enough of the moody weather.

I can't get enough of this moody weather.

She lost her front tooth! Although it didn't happen the way you probably think it did. One minute she was goofing off (yes, when she should have been cheering her teammates on), the next minute she was running toward me, blood trickling down her soft, pink cheek and tears pouring down too. No, it wasn't knocked out by a ball in the midst of a heroic save, it was pushed out on the sidelines, during horseplay with a teammate. We never did find the tooth (although the guilt-stricken mother of the little girl who accidentally "helped" that little loose tooth did make a sincere effort, looking for it on her hands and knees in the grassy field). I thanked her but said that was really unnecessary (while assuring her that Ellie's tooth had been quite loose). Which it had.

"Do I look like a princess doing something very important?" She asked.
Earlier in the day we made turkeys to decorate the house. You can just never have enough turkey decorations this time of year, that's what I say. "Do I look like a princess doing something very important?" Ellie asked me, as she drew.

Ellie's prime concern, of course, was the Tooth Fairy. Would the Tooth Fairy still come if there was no tooth to leave her, Ellie wondered. I assured her that of course she would come, and not only that, she was sure to find it in the field after everyone went home. Fairies have magical powers, you know. Magical Tooth Finding Powers. I bet she liked the challenge! I offered Ellie. Most of the time teeth are just under a boring old pillow, not lost in the grass.

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Pre-lost front tooth smile, otherwise known as first grade portrait from a few weeks ago.

So I suppose you could say that extra care was taken in writing this particular Tooth Fairy note.

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"If you want to, you can stay here. I have a bed and everything. I have friends."

The next morning, Ellie wasn't too disappointed to find that the Tooth Fairy had not, in fact, decided to stay. She did leave a note, in addition to a cherry Tootsie Pop and a $1 bill.

For Ellie, that was enough.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On Autumn Leaves, Daisies (the Organized Kind), Toddler Escapees and Misbehavin' (Charts)

1. I forgot how much fun leaves are.

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Teammates.

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They are great for burying, throwing, piling onto toy dump trucks...really the possibilities are endless. We broke down and hired the yard crew to help out this year but they didn't come until this week, while everyone was at school and work (and obviously, after these pictures were taken). As well intentioned as I am, neither Erin or I have the time. I tried to rake a little on Saturday while the kids were playing outside and, well, if that's not the definition of a Sisyphean task, then I don't know what is. Someday, we'll have quite the little built-in work crew, but that day is not today.

Bliss.
Leo might enjoy the leaves most of all.



2. Ellie joined Girl Scouts. Well, Daisies. No pictures yet but I'm currently on a mission to purchase the  requisite vest (see above). The store where it can be purchased is only open for three hours two Saturdays a month. I know! I am pretty sure if I do make it to that store I will also need to know the secret handshake. She had her first meeting last Friday and I had to got to leave work early to attend the first parent meeting. There was a lot of squealing and giggling going on at her meeting, which I peeked in on, but that's about all I know of Daisies at this point. Also, there will be cookies to sell (and eat) later in the year. A lot of cookies, so that's something to look forward to. (I had to laugh at one mom at the meeting who made a point of saying she could not be a "cookie helper" because she wouldn't be able to trust herself with all those cookies in her house--apparently "cookie helpers" are required to store the ordered cookies).

3. Did I tell you the babies climbed out their cribs? I didn't? Well, The babies climbed out of their cribs. It happened last week during nap time. I was at work and the babysitter called to tell me she found Harry and Lucy sitting outside of their room, smiling and laughing. And apparently, quite pleased with themselves. Yes, the moment every parent fears, finally happened. I guess this should also be the time that I admit that I believe all children should be in cribs until at least age 20.

Mind you, I would be way less concerned about this if we were only talking about one baby, but two babies? Free reign? In a room with just each other? Oh goodness, NO. I am afraid to even talk about this out loud because I fear that our "solution" (threatening the babies that if they don't stay in their cribs they'll have to go to the doctor and get a shot) will stop working. I'm just not mentally ready for toddlers in beds. Just, no.

4. Ellie is suddenly very focused on behavior charts.


"Behavior Chart," by Ellie
It took me a while to realize the guy on Ellie's behavior chart? Is totally flipping us off (Ellie claims it's supposed to be a thumb's up, but I'm not so sure).


There seems to be a ton of talk about behavior in first grade. Several times since school has started, she's told me that she didn't get to do computers or have free time because of bad behavior (not hers, but someone or "someones" in her class). She is frequently adding and subtracting stars to the above chart and even has Harry and Lucy in on the action. "Do you think I should take one of Lucy's stars away?" Ellie asks (The answer is usually, yes-cough, cough-wait, did I just say that?).

A two year old's best attempt at a "thumbs up."
Lucy's version of a "thumb's up." And yes, it makes me laugh, every single time.

Columbus Day, by Leo
Columbus' ship, by Leo
Columbus Day, came and went. I don't know about you, but I did not get the day off.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Appreciation

"I want to make a card for my teacher," Ellie announced after dinner a few nights ago.

"Do you think it would be appropriate if I told her that I loved her?" she asked.

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"You are the best techre (sic). I love you! Love Ellie."

I told Ellie I thought that would be just fine.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Art Camp, Rare Treat


Last week Ellie went to art camp. I was pretty sure she would enjoy it. And luckily, she did.


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Just plain proud. As she should be.

On the last day of camp, they invited parents to attend a "show," exhibiting all the campers' work. The theme for the week was "Art Time Machine."
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Inspired by Medieval coat of arms shield (guess which one is Ellie's).

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Ellie's, bottom right.

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Inspired by Egyptian Hippo, watercolor

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Inspired by Monet

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Colisseum, pastel

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Kandinsky circles, oil pastel

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Byzantine paper mosaic

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Matisse collage, tissue paper (originally reported by Ellie, to be "toilet paper"). Ha.

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After the art "opening," I took Ellie out for frozen yogurt at one of those shmancy places where "top it yourself" Swedish fish and Sour Patch Kids reside alongside chopped strawberries and plump blueberries.

It was a rare treat, a little Mommy and Ellie only, outing. And yes, I even sat next to her in one of those tiny chairs (see above). Per her request, of course.

I remember my mom seemed to always take me out for a treat after events like this. She used to joke, "It's not complete unless we go out and eat a little something afterwards!"

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Ellie's topping motto: Never Enough. And the more gummy bears (or gummy anything, really) the better.

The girl knows what's good.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

One

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I will always remember the grief and fear I felt when I learned we'd be having two babies.

Four kids. Two parents. Totally outnumbered.

The grief was for the loss of our so-called "easy" life with just two kids.

My biggest question stemmed from fear: How would I ever be able to give Leo and Ellie the attention they needed?

Growing up as an only child, some of my sweetest memories are of the things I did one on one with each of my parents. With my dad it was building circus lions out of Legos and drawing aliens and giant, Technicolor flowers on enormous pieces of paper and going roller skating on Friday nights at Oaks Park. With my mom it was getting picked up from school early to have bagels and hot chocolate, shopping at the Lloyd Center Nordstrom ("This one's on me"), meeting in Laurelhurst Park for a walk after walk, (that went on long my twenties.)

The twins must have been about a week old when I sat on the little striped love seat in our living room, to begin the long, exhausting stretch of evening that was tandem nursing newborn Harry and Lucy. It was bedtime and Ellie was crying exhausted, overtired tears "But I want Mommy to read to me. I want Mommy to put me to bed."

"Mommy's busy. She has to feed the babies. She'll come see you as soon as she can."

The words stung. And the hormonal, post-partum tears flowed. Oh did they flow.

The guilt. For as long as Ellie could remember, I had effortlessly put her to bed untethered. Oh sure, the little bedtime ritual had been known to stretch out much longer than it needed to and yes, my patience had been known to wear thin a time or two (or seventeen) but I was there for her when she needed me.

Suddenly, overnight, because of the babies, I wasn't there.

Experienced and encouraging friends and family assured me things would get back to "normal" again someday soon. The babies wouldn't always be so needy and they too would have a bedtime, allowing those treasured evening rituals to return. But it wasn't just bedtime that changed at our house after the arrival of the twins (by the way, everyone was right, the bedtime routine returned to normal after a few months). But just by virtue of there being two babies, it's not uncommon for me to bring one baby with me on an errand with Ellie (or Leo) that before, would have been just us. Things are crowded. Boisterous and fun (Life-y Chaos, anyone?) but one-on-one time? We strive for it, but it's not always possible.

Which is why last Friday was so special.

Ellie's school invited all the parents to chaperone their children on a field trip to the Land of Make Believe, a theme park in western New Jersey. Aside from the fact that a more appropriate name for the place would be the Land That Time Forgot, (there were some old rides there) we had an amazing time. It's a sweet little place.
NativeRide
World's Most Un-P.C. Ride
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Clearly Ellie was unaffected by the politics.
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Ellie rode her first roller coaster. Luckily I escaped that one (I was not so lucky when it came to the Tilt O'Whirl--she was too short to ride that alone and all I can say is Holy Motion Sickness--I felt so nauseas it was like being ten weeks pregnant all over again). I really did try to go on as many rides as I could with her but I will be the first to admit I am pretty much a ride wimp.
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Did you know that Ellie is quite the dare devil? Because I did not. She marched up to nearly every ride, ready to go it alone but delighted of course, when I did join her. Sidenote: the one ride she was too afraid to go on? The ferris wheel! ("Too high," she explained.)
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She was (forgive me) thrilled when she found out the roller coaster had a name. All afternoon and into the evening she kept asking me, "What was the name of the roller coaster I went on, Mommy?"
LandOfMakeBelieve
There are many hard things about being a parent to four young children, but I think one of the most difficult is multi-tasking and keeping your head when you are trying to do several things at once and also meet the needs of many little people.
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Somebody almost always needs something. It's enough to make me very tense and grouchy sometimes. When I was home on maternity leave with the babies and Ellie, I couldn't get impatient with the babies, so I know that I sometimes lost my temper with Ellie. There were many times when we couldn't do what she wanted to At That Moment (not that there's anything wrong with that). But so often I felt like the words "I can't do that right now," came out of my mouth.
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Which is why, to have a whole day of Yes you can do that and Yes you can go on that ride and Yes you can have more cotton candy...
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...felt so special. I felt light. Relaxed. I could be completely present and there for just Ellie.
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I believe this is right before Ellie announced this was "the best day EVER Mommy!"

As the day drew to a close I asked Ellie if she wanted to get an ice cream cone on our way out. Because, why not? The sun beat down on our heads as we waited in line. The weather was wonderful-unseasonably warm but comfortable and the vanilla soft serve would be the perfect conclusion to our day.

We took our cones and found a spot on the hill overlooking the park. We talked about all the rides we'd been on and Ellie told me how she loved the lemonade they'd served at lunch and she was so glad she got to sit by Sid on the roller coaster. We talked without interruptions or cries from a baby monitor, without having to make compromises about what to do next, without having to ask Leo to take turns with Ellie, or vice versa.

And then a man with a scraggly beard and wearing overalls approached us and caught my eye and I thought He's going to offer to take our picture. He knows what an important day we're having, he can just tell. He wants to help us preserve the memory. How nice.

"Ma'am? The park is closing," he said.

I looked at my phone. Right. 2:30. That's right when they said the park was going to close.

But I wasn't ready to leave.

I took a deep breath and reached out for Ellie's small, sweaty hand. We made our way to the parking lot.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn Walk

Late this morning, the babies got fussy. Lucy, bless her, is not such a great daytime sleeper. She is the happiest baby I've ever had, ever met, but she seems to get bored. I think she likes to do stuff. She's an out and about kind of girl.
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So we took a walk. It would be hours before Ellie's dentist appointment (the main activity of the day). Ellie kept asking "Now are we going to the dentist?" I've never met anyone that excited about the dentist. Only a four year old.

Just as planned, just a few blocks into our walk, both babies passed out quickly, one after the next.
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Unfortunately, the nap was rather short-lived. But Lucy woke up cheerful and refreshed.
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Lucy, as usual, cracking up at something her big sister said.
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Or maybe she's just happy because she's sporting the most adorable pumpkin hat I've ever seen.
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Harry seems disappointed by his plain, non-fruit oriented hat. Sorry buddy. You can wear it next time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A "Room" of My Own and Some Bullets

We did a bit of furniture rearranging this weekend. You can imagine with four kids, two of them babies, our already not spacious house is feeling oh, just a tad crowded. Part of it is all the stuff. Two swings, two bouncy chairs, two car seats. You get the idea.

We turned our old office, which used to be the dining room, into a nursery, which...the babies aren't technically sleeping in yet. That's a post (snore) for another day. In any case, my "writing" desk moved into the living room. We tried two different locations and it just didn't quite work in either one. So in the midst of yet more furniture swapping, Erin floated the idea of putting my desk in the mud room.

"It will be just like that movie!" she said excitedly.

"The Towering Inferno?" I asked, slumping into a puddle of exhaustion on the couch. Because that's what life's been feeling like a little bit lately: major disaster movie.

"No! That one with Diane Keaton, the writer, you know!" she said.

Oh righhhhttttttt.

Yeah, this is totally my new office (see above). HAHAHAHAHA.

And I tried not to take offense that the room where in theory, I'm to do most of my writing is also the room the dog is most likely to poop in.
***
There's so much to cover. I think it's time for a bullet post.

-Lately I vacilate between moments of What's the Big Deal? I Can Totally Do This Four Kid Thing to OH MY GOD WHAT WERE WE THINKING I AM GOING TO LOSE MY MIND. I will say that we laugh a lot. Mostly at the ridiculous absurdity that is our life. One of the best comments anyone ever left on this blog was "If you're going to laugh about it some day you might as well laugh about it now." Yup, that really sums it up.

- Leo is set to start private speech therapy soon, which I'm very excited about. Just getting the time to make the phone call to the insurance company, finding a therapist, gathering the materials, all of this was so daunting in the face of everything that's going on right now. But the paperwork is in, the appointment is made, and I'm breathing a little sigh of relief that we are on this path of something that feels really important.

-To backtrack a little, I spoke with his school district assigned therapist who expressed concern about Leo's speech. Of course this was both validating and depressing. She noted that he's regressed in several speech areas, is unable to make a few letter sounds that he was making as recently as spring. "What happened over the summer?" she asked. "Did he go to summer school?"

YES.

Gee, this summer? Oh, not much happened. Not that I'm blaming the birth of the babies on Leo's speech "regression" or whatever you want to call it, but Speech Therapist certainly poured salt in my guilty mom wounds. It is what it is and we're moving forward. So.

-On a positive note, speech-wise? Guess which word Leo can suddenly say clear as a bell? Ellie. Up until about two days ago, he pronounced it "Eh-yee." Now, he can say the "l" in her name perfectly.
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In babies news, I'm pretty sure Lucy noticed Harry for the first time this week. They were getting ready for bed and Lucy was just staring a hole through her big brother. He of course was oblivious, ravenous and wiggly and staring a hole through me, so impatient was he to get his next meal.
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Doesn't Harry look about 45 years old here? By the way, The little dot on his nose is a scratch. I'm awful about cutting their little finger nails. Sorry guys.


-Speaking of Harry, in the last week or so he seems to have caught up with Lucy in the smiley/chatty/cooing department. He has a deep little voice (for a baby) and suddenly has a lot to say. Leo and Ellie have always gravitated toward Lucy because she is so smiley and gregarious. Poor Harry's had a bad rep for a while--I think Leo and Ellie hold a bit of a grudge against him for all that newborn screaming in the "early" days . "Put Lucy by me, put Lucy by me!" Ellie commands to me as she climbs into the back of the mini van. Hopefully Harry's new found friendliness will put some marks in his court.

-Lucy, is doing these little "baby push-ups." She's pushing her little head forward from her car seat like she has somewhere to go. "She's trying to get out! She's trying to come to me!" squeals Ellie.

-Ellie loves her classes. She says things like "I'm so excited I get to go to gymnastics/swimming/ballet class" at random times throughout the day. She's also started asking me, on an almost daily basis when she is starting kindergarten (I pointed our neighborhood school out to her on a recent walk). The concept of time to a four-year-old is both annoying and adorable.

-Ellie's big realization this week? That it's a good thing we don't have three babies. Why? Because then I would "need three boobs."

Three boobs. That's one we can definitely laugh about right now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Promise

LucyLookingAtEllie
Ellie: "She's gonna be happy when she grows up. Because she's always gonna be my Lucy."

That expression on Lucy's face? Reserved for one person, and one person only.

Monday, March 14, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours

You know it’s bad when you look at going to work as relaxation.

I’m hoping this week is better than last. Leo was up and down illness-wise. Thank goodness it was nothing serious, just enough to really just inconvenience and exhaust us all, so I really can’t complain (although, watch me!). He was home from school Monday and Tuesday with a stomach bug, returned Wednesday and Thursday. Then, Mom of the Year got the email from Mrs. L on Thursday afternoon. I knew it was bad before I even opened it. The subject line was: “Leo’s cold.”

Uh oh.

Yes, the boy apparently hacked all over everyone on Thursday. He was taken to the nurse’s office twice for a temperature check (normal). His sweet classmates reportedly "pat him on the back with each hack," according to Mrs. L., who never came right out and said it but the message was clear: keep him home on Friday. And so I did. I honestly didn't know it was that bad. Thursday morning I assure you, he was bouncing off the walls and seemed more than ready to be back at school. He practically skipped to the bus.

I worked from home on Friday (always an interesting endeavor). It was then that I also discovered that our dry-since-last-year-finished basement (yes, yes, we have carpet, I know, who has carpet in their basement when they live in the flood zones of northern New Jersey? Answer: We do) was no longer dry. You may have heard, we had a bit of flooding.


GROAN (with the obvious caveat that it could have been much, much worse). And obviously, in light of Japan and everything that’s going on there, well our little basement woes seem mightily insignificant.

But still. We all know what we did this weekend. And by “we” I mean, Erin. Ripped out wet, heavy carpet and moldy wood. Scrubbed basement floors. Hauled wet carpet and moldy wood to the street. Yes we have a sump pump. And a French drain. Isn’t home ownership just awesome sometimes?

I miss our cozy little soft carpeted basement but really, that carpet had to go. We’ve already had it professionally cleaned once, when a pipe burst last spring. We’ll (I mean, Erin) will paint the basement floor a cute color (we’re thinking maybe red?) and get a few more area rugs. It’s going to be fine.

***

In other news, you know how they say that the reason you don’t sleep well during pregnancy is it’s mother nature’s way of preparing you for all those middle of the night waking newborns? Well, I’m thinking, if you’re pregnant, and you already have small children who don’t sleep well, shouldn’t you get a pass on the whole “waking up in the middle of the night for no reason” thing? Most nights I’ve been waking anywhere between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. for a good solid hour. And I just can’t get back to sleep. And it’s a real drag. True, many nights, someone (small) wakes me. Leo kicks me in the head or crashes his tiny skull into mine (he’s fond of sitting up while completely asleep and then tipping forward, often onto my head). Or Ellie arrives bedside, whispering, “Mommy, can I get into your bed?”

But the waking up for no good reason at all? Just seems cruel. And no amount of Stumptown seems to be helping.

On a lighter note, we had a fun play date yesterday (I think the kids were thrilled to be out of the house after Saturday's full day of flood repair). Leo was loving a little toy tool bench and after some assistance with the tool belt, figured out all by himself how to put the tools in the little pockets, looking like a lost cast member from "This Old House." Ellie, upon noticing my interest in Leo's play, announced from across the room, "I want to be a tool!"

Sometimes? It's just really hard not to laugh at your kids.

leosdragon
This picture has nothing to do with this post (and it's terrible quality) but I love how it illustrates Leo's wonderful imagination. See how he's hung his dragon from the Lego tower (which is apparently on fire)?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Move Over Beatles

Ellie has a new favorite “band.”

Yesterday the note from her Pre-K teacher recounted this:

“Ellie had a great day! She led all the girls in a sing-a-long to “Do-Me-Mi” from the Sound of Music. They all loved it.”

“Do-Re-Mi,” or “Do-a-Deer,” as Ellie refers to it, is the new favorite car song. My favorite is how she even sings it replete with English accent. She even requested I sing it to her before bed the other night (usually she tells me "Mommy! Don't sing!")

I have to admit, this is one of my prouder parenting moments. My daughter is spreading the gospel of Broadway show tunes.

As she should.

Let's just not talk about how I also downloaded "Baby" from last week's episode of "Glee" (Yes, OK, fine it's a Justin Bieber song) and encouraged her to shake her little hips to "Justin Beaver" (her word, not mine). And we really won't talk about how she exclaimed "I love Justin Beaver!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clicking My Ruby Slippers

More and more, Portland feels like home.

The afternoon of our arrival, Ellie running into the arms of Grandpa at the airport.

I don’t know what it is. The older I get, the more I am learning what’s really important. What really matters (if you need any more convincing, see above photo). Finally. I know it’s such a cliché. And I know that no city or place is perfect and that no matter where you go, there you are. But.

Recently, Ellie and I had the privilege of traveling to Portland to attend the opening of my dad’s one man show. Unfortunately, Erin and Leo didn't get to make this trip and it would be an understatement to say that Portland certainly isn't the same without them.

Oh, Portland.

With your lush, ripe, greenery.

Your explosions of spring flowers. Words hardly do it justice.

Ellie and I were up and out before 8 a.m. most mornings.

Destination: Stumptown.

Ellie (poor girl) associates coffee with Dunkin Donuts (the closest “coffee shop” in our New Jersey neighb) and therefore “going to get coffee” equals Munchkins. So when I told Ellie we were going to get coffee, her first question/statement was “I want a donut.”

And donut she had.

Voodoo Donut, to be specific. And in case you were wondering, yes, those are Fruit Loops on that donut. Thanks for asking. I am lucky Ellie didn't explode with joy.

Meanwhile, I had Thai every chance I could.

It reminded me of when I went to Paris for the first time and had my first “real” crepe. Thus began a one week crepe binge. Sometimes I would have two or three a day (cheese for lunch, followed by Nutella for desert) just because I could and just because I knew when I returned home to the states crepes would not be sold on every street corner.

It was great to see old friends.

I was finally able to meet my dear friend Elizabeth’s children in the flesh. Facebook photos only go so far.

It was a dreadful, stormy, bleak day when we met so we gallantly (stubbornly? desperately?) trudged our whimpering children to a nearby coffee shop in the Pearl District. While ordering, I overheard Elizabeth ask for tea, and I worried for a minute that she'd become one of those people who can wake up at five a.m. and still be cheerful with her two and four year old at noon without caffeine. But then I realized the tea was for her two year old. She ordered a triple latte for herself and I breathed a sigh of relief. Pfew. We could still be friends.

That coffee shop was also the scene of one of my favorite Portland Moments. It was when Elizabeth tried to convince her four year old to ask the barista if her empty cocoa cup was "compostable." I'm sure the Oregonians reading this are shrugging their shoulders. Compostable? Sure, why not? Let's just say things are not quite this way in the old NJ.

Later, the short people explored Tanner Springs Park, a sweet little oasis in the heart of the Pearl District (not that the Pearl District exactly needs an oasis). (We later realized we probably shouldn't have let the kids, um, tromp all over the ecosystem. Sorry about that.)

Later the girls enjoyed the view, high above industrial Portland, while we waited for the elevator.

Oh Portland, with your embarrassment of riches at the famed Portland Farmer’s Market. You are glorious, even on a raw, wet April day.

Flowers for sale (It's only April!)


Ellie boogying in the mud.

Oh Portland, with your food carts. (By the way, that little cart? Sawasdee Thai Food? BEST PAD THAI EVER. Oh and $6. Take THAT Yucky New York City $12 Pad Thai. I spotted it on our way home from the Farmer’s Market and literally yelled, “Stop the car!”

Ellie adored the park of my childhood, Laurelhurst, and all its riches (Hey, I think my two-year-old bottom rode that same teeter totter!).

Oh Portland, with your funny little pieces of “found art.”

Someone stuck this funny little duck (?) in the tree outside my dad and stepmom's house. Because that's what people do in Portland.

Oh Portland, with your wisdom:


Oh Portland, two words: Waffle Window.

Genius. (Pictured: caramel with fresh bananas and pecans)

And only a grandma would be in possession of a certain two and a half year old’s dream come true:

a Pink umbrella. Yes it’s true.

And I know we’ve covered this, but I couldn’t resist one more shot.

Beer and peanuts.

Don’t worry. Before we took Ellie to the brew pub she had a nap and a sufficiently kid friendly afternoon at OMSI.


Of course, it’s tempting to romanticize a place when all you are doing is going from family member to family member, friend to friend, shopping and eating Thai food and drinking Stumptown and Mirror Pond. That’s not real life. If we lived there, there would still be bills to pay and jobs to work and kids to ferry to and from school and day care.

Sure there would be the usual drudgery. But with family.

Grandpa and Ellie playing their favorite game of this trip: "Grandpa's rocking, Ellie's rocking, let's touch feet!"

There would be many friends.

And much, much better scenery.