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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Visit to the Dark Side

Truth is, I’m a Target girl. I wish I could say that I was a Lilly Pulitzer girl or a Jimmy Choo girl but, alas, my budget is a little much smaller than my wish list dictates, so I spend more time in Target than I do in many other stores. I hadn’t stepped into any other big-box discount stores in who knows how long until last week. However, I had an unused gift card, and free money is always a good thing, so I journeyed over to another store, one I’ve always thought of as the dark side of discount retailers.

It was wonderful, and we all lived happily ever after.

Just kidding.

Before we even got out of the car, I witnessed a man scream profanities at a women in a car who had the gall to attempt to back up her car too closely to when he wanted to back up his car. Thankfully, Abbey was still in the car for that, or I’m sure she would have added a few new words to her vocabulary. Yet, I slid Dylan into his stroller, gift card tucked into my wallet, and guided Abbey into the store.

Something about it reminded me of Ikea when I first entered (maybe the mass quantities of each items stacked neatly in rows), so I thought that I might have to reevaluate my Target bias. After all, I love me some Ikea. However, after traipsing through the giant store, questioning two not-so-helpful employees, and finally finding the right aisle, I realized this was not Ikea. I found some of the layout confusing, but maybe that’s just me. What’s not just me is getting to the right place, and finding the hanger for the 30 Day Shred DVD completely empty.

This had to be a mistake. There were at least eighty of every other thing in the store. How could the one thing I came into the store to find be sold out? No mistake. I was able to get Abbey two games and a couple packets of stickers, because I never want to go back there.

A successful trip to Target the next day allowed me to move on to Level 2 of the Shred (my on-demand only has the first level available.)

Am I a Target snob? Can someone who spends so much time at a discount store be a snob? Why does Ikea inspire happy thoughts and the unnamed-discount-store elicit a cold sweat?*

*I won’t even get into the issues the store has had with discrimination and poor treatment of employees.

And some pictures from our latest visit at Grandma & Grandpa's!

playing in the new sandbox
watching his idol big sister
talking to Dylan
cooling off
doesn't every kid love drinking from hoses and sprinklers?
(please say it's not just my child)
sweet boy
hanging out with my buddy Honeybear

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Lovely Lainey

Our good friends welcomed their little girl to the world on August 17th.  Elaina (Lainey) Ann is beautiful and perfect, and we love her already!  Brendan is going to be such a good big brother to this little sweetheart.  Dylan is going to have to fight for her heart if she stays so absolutely adorable.  And no matter how happy I am with our family of four, put a newborn in my arms, and I go all baby crazy.  (Then I wake up every forty-five minutes with my almost-eight-month-old and realize that our little family is perfect just the way it is!)
cutie patootie sleeping
check out her little dimple (just like her mom!)
Brendan's Grandma Patty being such a great playmate for the "big kids"
Abbey was shy at first but was soon won over
Dylan striking a George Costanza pose
there's no keeping him on a blanket with the big world out there
Abbey loves the little car at Brendan's house


Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Budding Picasso

Art projects are fun, and I think they offer a great opportunity for Abbey to work on some fine motor skills. However, art projects are messy, and Dylan has that super radar for anything he is not supposed to have. We color on tables and during naps, but since our go-to painting spot is the kitchen floor, we don’t paint as much as she would like. Thankfully, we were able to recently spend a morning at Artrageous, which is a little studio for kids in Royal Oak. For a small fee, the kids are allowed to paint, draw, and play with clay to their heart’s content. They also hear a story and do a related project (we made seashell prints on napkins.)

This is one of the really cool places I discovered through my MOMS Club. I don’t know if I would have heard about it any other way, and it’s definitely a place that Abbey, and lots of other kids, enjoy. The owner, Jenn, is really patient and involved with the kids while they’re in the studio, so I feel comfortable bringing Dylan along to check things out and crawl around. My girl is pretty shy around new people and people she doesn’t see very often, but she even let Jenn put a paper flower in her hair the last time we visited.

rolling out clay (it's made in the studio)
there's clay on her hands
she really wanted me to know that
Dylan hanging out near the clay table with the big kids
he's sitting because he had two cookie cutters and wanted to clap them together
he forgot he can't stand without holding onto something - yet
painting a picture for Grandma Sharon's birthday
such a masterpiece!
by the time she was finished, the paper was completely covered


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Zoo with Daddy

With Ryan's studying in full swing right now, we don't have a ton of weekend time together as a family.  This past Sunday, Ryan took a little break, and all four of us went to the zoo.  Despite being a little tired, Abbey managed to run through a great portion of the zoo; things are a little more fun when Daddy joins in.  Even Dylan joined in the good times - I am pretty sure this is the first time he really noticed the animals.

looking at ducks swimming in the fountain
Dylan checking out the ducks
and laughing at Mommy's goofy quacking noises
he was saying duck, for sure
ok ok so dadadadada is his favorite babble and not exactly duck, but close

filling up and dumping out and filling up her cup
this is the fountain where the rude lady incident occurred
geese are pretty interesting

this is one of the things that A requested to see
many times
sleeping during the walk to the "turtle that you sit on"

look at all the peacocks!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Flip-Offs

For those of you who are uninterested in my annoyed rant, there are pictures of the kids at the end!

I’ve never felt compelled to participate in Friday Flip-Offs before (although I get a kick out of reading them here,) but this week I have a couple and need to share them. Also, for those of you who have seen The Breakfast Club, they remind me of one of my favorite scenes, when Molly Ringwald flips off Judd Nelson.

A big flip-off to the person in a certain big-box discount store parking lot who was screaming profanities as a result of a perceived driving error. Although I wasn’t personally involved in the incident, it made me more certain than ever that there are some places I shouldn’t enter, no matter what prices may lurk behind the doors.

A bigger flip-off to the Michigan housing market. Values keep falling, and so many honest, hard-working people are finding themselves in difficult situations regarding their homes. I have lots of personal theories about whom and what bear responsibility for this free-fall, but I’m not an economist, so I will just say that the market, in general, is a mess.

The biggest flip-off of the week goes to the road crew working on our curbs and road this week. First of all, it’s ridiculous that you would break up all of the concrete at the end of our driveway without notice. A letter at the beginning of the summer does not count as notification, especially when it stated that we would be informed when work would begin near our specific houses. Second of all, don’t come to my door and say that my driveway will be in working order first thing in the morning if it is still going to be torn up days later. I wouldn’t have a problem putting the kids in the stroller and walking home, except the sidewalks are torn up, too, which means I need to use my giant double stroller. Putting two sleeping babies into a giant stroller in the dark and pushing them over broken up sidewalks results in a sobbing infant. That’s not the way I want to put my little ones to sleep.

And because I was taught to always end on a positive, lots of smooches to Vera Bradley for my birthday card. I am now the pleased owner of the medium cosmetic bag in a new fabric (Very Berry Paisley). Perfect for my wallet, lip gloss, phone, and keys, so I can transition easily from diaper bag to purse. Thanks Vera!

Abbey rocking her sparkly flip-flops
custom made by Nan
since Abs loved Madi's so much in NY
everyone needs a Nan in their lives
Dylan quickly mastering his new favorite trick
we never gated the stairs with Abbey
something tells me we won't be so lucky this time


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Little House of One's Own*

I can remember liking to read under my bed.  That might be a little weird, I don't know, but I think it's just an example of kids liking to be in little places.  In Abbey's closet, there is a little cubby/ledge that she loves to climb onto and look at all of her clothes.  That game involves yelling at me to "Get me down Mommy, please!", so I'm happy to find that there are other little spaces that can be just as fun.

We're working on getting some pen marks out of her "own special chair", so the inserts for the chair are being stored in Dylan's room.  They were good for all sorts of jumping games and also "kerplopping", but Abbey and I discovered that they make simply fabulous walls.  Playing in her "little house" has quickly shot up to somewhere near the top of her favorite games list.  She will actually do that by herself, and she doesn't play very well by herself lately (I think it has to do with not wanting to miss anything that Dylan and I might be doing, but that's another post.)

Seeing how much she loves having somewhere to play on her own makes me think more about enrolling her in some sort of class this fall.  We're not sending her to pre-school this year, but it might make sense for her to take a little class that she can do on her own.  She's been asking about dance class, which might work.  A lot of classes like that want the kids to be three, but she's potty trained, which is a point in her favor.  I am hesitant of pushing her into something so young - she is so shy - but it also seems like it might be helpful for her to do something not attached to Mommy or Dylan.  Decisions, decisions.
the first house
so happy to have a blanket in her house
and this is "my little roof"
reading with Grandpa Don's little flashlight
while she's in there, I have the rest of my room to myself!
coming to climb all over me
the second house
notice that she even needed her Twilight Turtle in there

*A little hommage to Virginia Woolf, because she really had something to say to women writers, and one day I hope to describe myself as such.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Kids in Jammies

Ryan works late on Wednesdays, so the kids and I spend lots of Wednesday evenings hanging out at my parents and having dinner.  Lately, I've been bringing their jammies with them and getting them ready for bed before we leave.  My original intention was to have them fall asleep in the car on the way home, but that generally doesn't happen.  Bedtime is a lot easier when we get home, though!

There's something about kids in their pajamas that is so unbelievably sweet.  They seem a little extra cuddly like that.  Put feet on the jammies, and I'm toast; my heart swells all up in a sappy sort of way!  I can remember a few occasions where I had on pajamas in the car, and I can remember it being such a cozy feeling and absolutely loving getting carried into the house, since who wears shoes with pajamas?

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday to my Mom
There are no words to express how much my mom means to me (and I'm into words, if you haven't discerned that yet!)  She is loving, generous, caring, and patient in ways I can only hope to be.  Anyone who kept calm and patient through my adolescence deserves special kudos, and my mom never hardly ever lost her patience with me and always made me aware that she loved me and had faith in me.  I used to think she loved my brother and me more than the whole world, but seeing her with Abbey and Dylan makes me realize how much love she truly has to give.  She is magical with them.
doesn't Dylan look shocked to find out how many candles Grandma will need this year?
ha ha ha ha ha
I guess I'm not quite through that snotty teenage phase yet

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Saturday, August 21, 2010


dress, skirt, and rainboots
it wasn't raining, but what's new?
rolling on the floor and trying to get Dylan to join her
he's way less interested in clothes
there are legos to eat & pillows to climb

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Boots, Bubbles, and Little Boys

You never know when it’s going to rain.

I’ve been saying that a lot lately, because Abbey is pretty intent on wearing her new rain boots everywhere. We went for groceries the other day, in the sun. Abbey wore her boots and danced through the store. We went outside to play, with one or two clouds in the sky. Abbey wore her boots, chased bubbles, picked flowers, and finally, finally felt three or four raindrops while wearing the proper footwear. She was thrilled and ran until she was too tired to finish the walk and rode home the rest of the way next to Dylan.

Dylan is such a great sport and just watches her play, play, play. He’s generally sitting in his stroller or on a blanket on the grass, trying to wait for the proper moment to make a break for it and shove some dried grass or sticks into his mouth. He’s been crawling for a little while now, but he’s suddenly a crawler, if that makes sense. When he sees something he wants, he is off like a bullet. Unfortunately for me, he has contraband radar; anything that he shouldn’t get his little hands on, he quickly spots and hones in on. He finds remotes, phones, little toys that shouldn’t be on the floor, crayons, old pieces of play-doh – all of the things that prove I need to be more diligent in both child-proofing and cleaning.

Rain boots aside, I have a little bit of sunshine in my life every day when I look at their little faces.  I am blessed. 

Writing this and looking at these pictures was exactly what I needed right now.  I am exhausted from Dylan's sleep issues and both kids were a little cranky, knocking me off my equilibrium a bit.  Just taking a few minutes to reflect and regroup is almost like sleeping for more than an hour in a row.  Almost.   I know one day they will sleep more than I can imagine (I remember sleeping in past noon and annoying my parents to no end) and be embarrassed to be seen frolicking in the yard with me.  Soaking in those moments of unadulterated silliness counteracts the exhaustion.  Well, a little bit, at least!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sunday Visitors

Ryan's Uncle Larry and his wife, Mary, visited us this Sunday from Washington D.C.  We had them over, along with Grandma Sue & Grandpa Ray for a Sunday luncheon.  Listening to Uncle Larry is always fascinating; he has a lot of wonderful stories from the past, both personal and about anything under the sun.  Hearing him talk with my father-in-law really showed me where Ryan gets his excellent memory - they all remember so many little details that would just fade out of my mind after a week, let alone years.  I think Abbey is on the way to follow in Ryan's footsteps; she is constantly amazing me with the things she remembers.