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Tiaras and Trucks

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween - Take One

Happy Halloween!

I'm going to interrupt my regularly scheduled ramblings for a few days of Halloween picture posts.  We did a lot of celebrating this year, and I don't think I could cram all the pictures into one post. 

Our first Halloween celebration was our MOMS Club party.  It was crowded and crazy and wonderful, with a craft, some music, snacks, and all sorts of cute costumes.  One of my favorites was the tiger from "Ten Apples Up on Top", which was one of Abbey's favorite books when she was younger.

Abbey was extremely excited to wear her costume and for Dylan to wear his costume, but she was a little intimidated by all of the other kids in their costumes at first.  When she warmed up, she loved seeing the different things people were wearing.  Party number one was so successful that adrenaline kept her from taking any sort of nap at all, and I am pretty sure she talked continuously from 1:00 - 6:30, when she went into party number two.  (Seriously.  She was hoarse by the end of the day!)
poor kids
it's crazy windy
they want to go inside
I want a cute picture of the two of them
they win 
Abbey didn't want to get her costume dirty during their craft  
Dylan wasn't sure what to make of the party
it obviously knocked his socks off
ok, so that was a bad joke
by the time we made it to the floor picnic, she was down a pigtail 
one of the moms brought a bunch of little instruments, song sheets, and her guitar to sing Halloween tunes
the kids LOVED it
refreshed and ready to rock
(but done with the costume for the day)
back at home and playing with a "grape" from a friend's costume

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sugar on Top

I cram a lot into most of our weeks, but this week really kicked my behind.  It basically started Sunday when I began prepping for a dinner playdate, followed by said playdate on Monday night, making dinner for a friend who just had a baby on Tuesday, plus going to dinner with some friends Tuesday night, two Halloween parties (including treats) on Wednesday, and Zoo Boo on Friday - all leading up to tomorrow night!  Thankfully, my mom is hosting our Halloween celebration, and her neighbors are hosting our trick-or-treating.

Normally I relish this kind of jammed packed scheduling.  I love checklists and organization and juggling several things at once, but for some reason I'm just beat.  Today, the kids and I ran some errands, and then I roasted pumpkins and squash for soup and a pumpkin spice cake.  The soup is delicious, but unfortunately, the cake didn't bake evenly and completely fell apart. 

I cried, and the kids thought it was hilarious.  Maybe it's time to work on a little empathy. 

(To Abbey's credit, when I couldn't find my hand blender earlier, she kissed me on the forehead and said, "It will be ok, Mommy, you can use this instead."  Unfortunately, "this" was a piece of tupperware, but I ended up finding the hand blender, so it worked out in the end.)

But despite the tears, I'm going to try to focus on the highlights of the week - the fun times we had with our friends playing and celebrating; Abbey's shy little voice asking "trick or treat?" at the Zoo Boo, Dylan snuggled warmly against my chest in his costume in the Ergo, the kids in Abbey's dance class unsure whether to be scared of or laugh at their teacher's costume (Thing One from Dr. Seuss).  There's always time to make another cake (or buy some cute Halloween cookies!), but Halloween 2010 only comes around once.

the dessert on Monday was rice krispies, with frosting and mini chocolate chips
Abbey and her friend Ella were enjoying the frosting by the spoonful, rice krispie treats abandoned on their plates
because when you're young (and adorable, right?) you know to enjoy the good stuff

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Friday, October 29, 2010

My Little Helper?

Abbey has gone through a lot of phases as a big sister.  She has been enthralled, bored, jealous, interested, apathetic, and entertained at times.  Our current phases is a "helpful" one, which is sometimes extremely helpful and sometimes, well, not so much. 

I can say that she is an invaluable resource during grocery store trips.  I don't know how many of you have taken kids to the grocery store, but it has potential to be an Olympic sport.  I thought I had it rough pre-kids, when I just had to keep track of a list and a handful of coupons.  With kids, you do that, while making sure no one a) falls out of the cart, b) eats anything picked up off the floor or licks the cart, and c) starts adding completely unnecessary items to the cart.  During this marathon, Abbey keeps Dylan thoroughly entertained; for some reason, he finds her absolutely hilarious when she's doing things like dancing in the aisles.  I let such shenanigans occur, because they make everyone's life a little better.

There are many moments like our grocery moments, when she distracts him or plays with him or makes him smile and laugh when he's not in the mood for Mommy's funny faces. 

Yet, the helpful stage can be tough when he's in no mood to be consoled, and she doesn't understand.  I try not to interfere too much, because I know how much she likes to help with him.  I appreciate it both for its actual assistance and for what I think it is beginning to represent, which is her growing interest in and love for her little brother.  She's finally beginning to see him as a little person and not a baby doll or an annoyance, and I am so excited to see their relationship develop.  Sometimes, though, I feel like I need to step in, as evidenced in the photo below.  How much help is too much?
he was mad that he couldn't see the big trucks anymore
well, and tired (did someone say nap strike?)
she wanted to "rock" him
and yes, that's last year's Halloween costume, just for fun

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Halloween Begins

We've had such a crazy busy week, so this is all I have for now!  Hopefully back to normal posting tomorrow or Friday!
my little dalmation 
my magic fairy
concept was completely her idea, including the colors and the shape of the wand

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nan Will Be There?

We miss our Nan!  Each time we drive to my parents' house since Nan and Carolyn's visit, Abbey asks, with hope in her voice: "Who else will be there?  Nan will be there?"  I explain that Nan and Carolyn went home to Nashville, but she still asks.  Today she handed Dylan a sand toy and said, "Aunt Carolyn got this for me."  I feel blessed that they have such wonderful people in their lives and that Abbey has the memory to hold onto things like that.

Not a long post but a little reminder to myself to be grateful for my family and friends!

going "round and round" on Daddy's chair
I don't know who got a bigger kick out of it, Abbey or Nan


Friday, October 22, 2010

When Pink Isn't For Kids

I think I've over-documented Abbey's love of pink.  If you've missed the posts or just completely ignore what I write (it's ok, I know some of you are only here for the baby picture fix, I forgive you), I'm sure you've noticed that her wardrobe is a colorful mess that generally consists of at least one pink item. 
With that being said, I was still taken a little aback when we went to the mall this week and she squealed: "Mommy, that's MY store!!"
She was talking about Victoria's Secret Pink.

Now, I'm old enough to remember VS before Pink, then when Pink was simply a little segment of their merchandise.  I actually have to give them giant merchandising/branding props (I don't know the right lingo here) for developing a way to hook buyers on the brand as teenagers/young adults with fun, flirty products.  I mean, maybe I'm a branding llama myself, but there's something about Victoria's Secret that makes me feel a little prettier, a little more mysterious, and who doesn't like to feel like that?

But my little girl isn't even three yet, and I don't need her hooked that young.  Still, she was drawn to the pink and white polka dots on the walls, the colorful bras, panties, and pajama pants beckoning from the windows, the music playing inside.

I tried to explain: "Sorry Abbey; that's a store for grown-up girls."

She was insistent: "Mommy!  It's a store for kids!"

Thankfully, at our mall, Pink is directly across from Bath and Body Works, so she was enticed away from the skimpy boxers and tanks with the promise of sampling hand sanitizers.  I am pretty sure she's forgotten all about it by now, but I haven't. 

How many times will she see that store before she is old enough to shop there? Will I ever be ready for her to shop there? I've mentioned before that I don't think clothes are a parenting battle worth fighting, but I hadn't really thought about it in terms of what she would want to wear under those clothes.

I know I have time before this becomes a genuine issue in our house. Unfortunately, I don't think I have as much time as I expected.

And because I'm feeling a little nostalgic (and just copied some pictures from my parents), here are some old pictures of my babies. It's not even a year ago, but they look so little and different!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Allure of the Tu-tu

Abbey loves her tu-tus.  We have a couple that I made her, a few that came with pajamas, and one that's an actual skirt, and all of them are beloved and well-worn.  Generally we wear them around the house (except the one that's a real skirt), but the other day she wanted to wear one to a playdate. 

I try not to fight about clothes, since there are so many other things to worry about most of the time (like why it's not ok to "push Dylan with my foot"), so the tu-tu was a-ok with me.  And yes, I want someone to remind me of this statement when Abbey is sixteen and leaving the house in something I hate.  I remember how much my dad hated when I would pierce my ears in college (why I thought approximately fifty holes in each ear looked good, I don't know), but those holes are long gone, and those arguments seem so silly now.

When she pulled out the fairy wings?  Well, at least it was a Halloween themed playdate...

Dylan and the monkey don't get the tu-tu

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Thank You Crayola

People without children might question why parents pay a little extra money for the non-toxic, washable wonderfulness that are Crayola products.

Dylan wants to show you why those products are worth the money.
this is what happens when Dylan is left a little too close to Abbey's painted pumpkins for approximately thirty seconds

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Change of Plans

Keeping a pre-schooler busy is a full-time job.  (Also, I guess it's time to take that plunge and start calling her a pre-schooler and not a toddler.  Soon, Dylan's going to walk and be a toddler, and then there will be tears.)  Anyway, it can be tough to know what will capture the interest of a child; they're full of surprises that way.  For example, lately Abbey likes to "show" me things, and that game consists of saying, "Mommy look at me!" at least a hundred times a day, even if I am doing something like driving the car.  Or taking a shower.

Colleen came up with the idea to paint pumpkins last week during our weekly version of Animal House (oh, how times have changed).  She took the time to pick up pumpkins on the way over to our house; I got paints and brushes ready.  One good thing about our outdated kitchen - no need to worry about drop cloths, the paint wipes right off the floor.

It was a wonderful idea in that we both got several lovely pumpkins to use as decoration for Halloween.  Abbey loves showing them to people.  However, the plan quickly was sidetracked, when Abbey discovered that she could paint her fingernails and toenails with the little paintbrush.  Well, she called it painting her fingernails and toenails.  I called it painting her hands and feet, but you say tomato, I say happy little girl.
the project begins 
such neat, diligent painters 
well, this is an interesting side project 
getting beautiful is serious business
Brendan joined in the fun for one fingernail, then promptly wanted it wiped off 
trying to wait for her nails to dry

Since the day we first painted the pumpkins, Abbey has painted them two additional times.  By the time Halloween rolls around, they're going to have as many layers as the Rock on the Michigan State campus.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010


Dylan was born 9 months and 11 days ago, and today I ran a half-marathon!  I know people have run farther sooner (and faster!), but I am really proud of myself this evening.  Not only did I run the whole thing (I had to walk a little during my first half in 2005), but I finished under my goal and ran it in 2:14:33.  I'm still much closer to the tortise than the hare, but I made some progress and just feel so thrilled about the whole experience.

Part of the reason that I'm over the moon about this is that I made it through the training, which is an interesting thing about distance running.  The training is the tough part - staying motivated, running when you'd rather do a million other things, trying to stay patient and uninjured.  I made the decision to do the half-marathon before Dylan was even born, so I've basically been training for it since I was given the ok to run after my c-section (8 weeks.) 

There were times over the past 7 months when I doubted my ability to complete the training; there were nights when I didn't feel like hitting the treadmill and Saturday mornings when I would have rather stayed in my pajamas. 

Yet, once I lace up my shoes, I remember why running is the one workout I stick with over the years; it calms me down and keeps me centered, much in the way that yoga does for a lot of people.  I like the rhythm of my pounding feet, the music on my iPod, the time alone with my thoughts, and the way I feel when I run a little longer or a little faster than I have in the past.

Today was a perfect day for a run.  It was sunny and slightly cool, with little wind (except a bit by the water).  I tried to take in everything as I ran - seeing the sky lighten to day over the Ambassador Bridge, the funny t-shirts on the runners around me, the Detroit skyline over the river, the American flag welcoming us back to the US in the tunnel.  Seeing Ryan cheering me on gave me the boost I needed when things started to get a little painful towards the end.

I'm not going to lie and say it was easy; I ran hard and my body immediately hurt when I was finished.  But trust got me through the difficult parts today.  I trusted my training.  I trusted my plan.  I trusted myself.

So, hooray me! (and tomorrow we'll be back to cute pictures of the kids)
waiting to start 
I know it's not a very good picture
that's why there aren't a lot of pictures of me on here!
I'm the short one in the white 
back at the car 
one last hooray for me!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Zoo Adventure

Stacy and I always talk about getting the kids together, but conflicting schedules, other obligations, and the way time marches on and on all seem to get in the way of us meeting up as much as we would like.  Thankfully, the stars (and more importantly, the sun) aligned last weekend, and we were able to meet at the zoo.  We had a blast wandering through a few exhibits (because three walking pre-schoolers means there's no rushing anywhere!), eating a picnic lunch, and playing on the play structure (since Dylan slept through lunch and needed to eat before going home.)

Abbey and Madison are so close in age, really,  but they are just now starting to seem close together.  Seven months can be an eternity when one of them is one and the other is five months!  Now that they're both running around and talking, it's fun to watch them begin to interact and "hang out".  I hope that a friendship develops between them as they grow up together; Stacy is like a sister to me, and Madison is my god-daughter, so I anticipate having our families share many memories together!

Later, the kids and I went to my mom's to watch the annual Michigan State/U-M game.  Victory for MSU, meaning that the day couldn't have gotten much better!  One day, we'll be able to take the kids to East Lansing for the game, but I don't think that day will happen for a few years yet :)
three frogs, three happy kids
hopefully Abbey doesn't mind sharing with Dylan when he is old enough to care!
surprisingly, they all listened and stayed on the frogs instead of running through the water
it was a warm day, but not warm enough for sprinklers!
one of Abbey's favorite zoo spots
even more fun when shared with friends
the tigers were actually running around
they are normally hiding or sleeping
yet, my girl preferred hanging out with the tiger statue
bonding, pre-school style
they were actually having a little conversation at this point

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Countdown to Halloween

Countdown to Halloween!
Why My Kids Aren't Models
(because they're definitely cute enough, right??? they just don't take direction very well)
notice the Halloween countdown chain in the background
also notice my utter failure to get them to cooperate for a good picture 

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On the Road Again

The kids and I are lucky to have a pretty full schedule most days.  I try not to "overschedule", but I also like to be out of the house at least one time every day, and between old friends, new friends, our MOMS Club, and family in the area, we have many places to visit and people to see.  Needless to say, we are usually in the car at least once a day. 

During our jaunts around town, we tend to listen to music (The Lion King Soundtrack is a major favorite, along with The Fray, and occasionally some of "Mommy's songs") and have chats where Abbey tells me stories about her friends, some of whom are real and some of whom (Mit the Mouse for instance) are wonderfully detailed figments of her imagination.

Ryan and I talk about taking some genuine road trips with the kids when they're older, to places like the Grand Canyon.  I can only hope that those road trips can be as harmonious as these, where we can spend time with A & D, listening to music we can somewhat agree on and have conversations that are both silly and serious. 

Probably what will actually happen is that they will sit in the back, earphones plugged in, and roll their eyes at each other when their goofy parents try to talk with them and play outdated music on the car stereo.  But, for now, I will enjoy our car rides and keep my road trip fantasies alive!
getting comfy in the car
hello kitty (of course) slippers
he doesn't contribute much to the conversation yet
sometimes I like to think that he's singing along

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More Fall Fun

After warming up at two cider mills, we decided to spend the afternoon at an orchard, picking apples, playing in a bunch of straw, and feeding all sorts of farm animals.  Abbey had an absolute blast, and I was half convinced that I was going to have to drag her out of there kicking and screaming.  I rallied as long as possible, but with Dylan in the Ergo and the diaper bag slung across my body, filled with our picked apples and a giant pack of wipes to combat the stickiness of the day, my poor back could only handle so much! 
loving the giant pumpkins
riding the train out to pick apples
apples on the ground
by the way, picking apples with Abbey involved some illicit bites here and there
ready to learn to drive
feeding a cow
llama? alpaca?  I'm not sure, but it was pretty cute
baby goats were a hit again
riding the "pony"
she actually switched ponies so that Dylan could ride one
I didn't even have to ask her to do it
climbing to the top of a giant haystack
(assisted by my friend - I like her to be adventurous, but it was pretty high!)
making her way through the straw maze
watching the band
she was pretty impressed that the horse and cow could sing, too
watching mechanized nursery rhymes
I couldn't decide if they were cute or a little weird
(just being honest!)
Mary had a little lamb
it looked like Mary was taking a nap instead of taking her lamb to school

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