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Tiaras and Trucks

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fraying Rope

In the lottery of life, I have been blessed.  Complaining seems ridiculous when I think about some of the heartbreaking stories I hear, some of the agonizing hardships I see.

Yet, each day, I've been facing my own little demon, and that demon is sleep.

Nighttime is tough in our house.  Abbey and Dylan fool me into thinking it's going to be easy each night, snuggling into their pajamas, listening to stories, singing songs, closing their baby blues, and settling to sleep.  Then they wake up.  And wake up Ryan and me. 

And once or twice a night doesn't sound terrible until you multiply it by two rooms and realize you're waking up every hour. 

Every night.

Of course, there are exceptions, and Abbey slept well for a long while.  Yet between teething and colds and undetermined reasons known only in their little baby selves, we've been in a rough stretch for a while, and it's getting worse instead of better.

Since beginning the weaning process with Dylan, napping has become an endless power struggle.  Getting him to sleep takes Olympic-caliber mothering gymnastics.  Keeping him asleep proves basically impossible.  I've obviously lined his soft crib sheets with invisible barbed wire, and even the trusty couch has been a no-go for the last couple of weeks. 

Sleeping on my chest was fine when he was tiny and new, but now it's becoming a hindrance and I feel this immense load of guilt that I am failing both of them.  He needs to sleep and they both need a mommy that isn't sleep deprived.

Crying it out is on the list of parenting tasks that leaves an unwelcome taste in my mouth.  I've read books and tried methods that stress gentle, non-crying techniques.  I can honestly say we've tried to steer clear of "sleep training", but the lack of sleep is wearing on us all.

Unfortunately, there will be tears.  Some of them aren't going to be mine, which hurts my heart, but hopefully we will come out on the other side with better sleepers and a happier, healthier family.
he won't let me put him down on the couch or his crib, snuggled in a blanket
yet when he falls asleep in the car, I can move him to the stroller
and into the science museum where he was promptly awoken by
"the wildest dinosaur alive" (to quote Abbey)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Staying Warm


They might not be the cutest things.

They're probably out of style, since I own a pair.

But warm feet are happy feet.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Calling Star Search

My singing voice has the potential to shatter glass, and I don't mean in a diva hitting a high note kind of way, but thankfully no one's mentioned that to my kids.  Lots of singing takes place in our house during the week; we sing children's songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and lyrically-appropriate adult songs like the Glee mash-up of Halo and Walking on Sunshine and completely made up songs like the one I sing when changing diapers.

Abbey sings and dances her way around the house and the car, sometimes admonishing me to stop singing, because "I'm singing it by myself, Mommy".  Dylan chatters and hums and squeals along with the music.  Our neighbors contemplete calling the police about the noise ordinance (ok, not really, but they might if they could hear inside on a regular basis.)

One thing that Abbey cannot let slide is changing the words to a song that she knows.  Just try to change a lyric to personalize it with her name or Dylan's name, and she immediately stops the attempt, "That's not how it goes!"

Of course, she recently informed me, "But I can change the words, just not you."

I guess it's time to work on diplomacy.

playing the piano at Grandma and Grandpa's
singing Happy Birthday to Dylan
the candle is alternately a candle to blow out and a microphone


Monday, January 24, 2011

When Kids Get Sick

She asked to snuggle on the couch at eleven am and was asleep moments later, so I wasn't too surprised when the thermometer showed a temperature that made me reach for the medicine cup.  Never one to let an opportunity pass her by, Abbey bargained her way into some chocolate ice cream by taking her medicine without (much) fuss.  Unfortunately, the rest of the week wasn't quite as sweet.

Abbey's fever was up and down over a few days, accompanied by the usual runny nose, slight cough, and all of the general symptoms of a cold in the dead of winter. 

Ryan was the next victim, trying to deal with the cold on top of seventy-hour work weeks.

Even Dylan joined in on the fun with a little fever.

Winter doldrums are nothing to shrug at in any condition, and facing them with a household of sick people carries its own particular challenge.  One moment I think the kids are fine, and the next finds one of them collapsing into tears for no real reason.  Cabin fever hit late in the week, but their little bodies hadn't quite caught up with their minds, and getting anything at all done was an exercise in extreme flexibility (on which I pride myself) and patience (on which I don't).

Spring can't come to this house soon enough, but there are long winter weeks looming ahead before I can even consider packing up hats and gloves and thermometers and cold medicine.

Cross your fingers for a healthier week!
even during dreary moments, she's always good for at least a little sunshine

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Stress? What Stress?

I've written about the whole preschool decision stressing me out, and people have both empathized with and good-naturedly mocked me about it, so I'll save you anymore of my back-and-forth thought processes about it.  We'll make the decision soon, and I know one person who will be thrilled with whatever decision we make.

Abbey really wants to go to school.  She consistently puts on her Hello Kitty backpack (ignore the fact that it fits less than the average wristlet) and pretends to "go to school".

Unfortunately, her version of school includes riding a big, yellow bus, despite my best attempts to explain that Mommy will drive her to school next year.  She even knows where she wants to sit (the VERY back seat) and who will drive the bus (Dylan.) 

I guess I need to make sure that whichever school we choose has a liberal view on imaginative play, because we're obviously into our own little world around here!
all dressed up for school
sunglasses and no tights
she must think we're moving somewhere with a humane climate

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Year's Eve 2029 Preview

manis and pedis 
party dresses 
good tunes 
good drinks
party til you drop

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New School New Year's - Part Two

Kids change your life.

(not a revelation, right?)

Still, kids change your life.

There were days when we spent vacations dancing on tables*.  Now we have babies crawling under tables.

Back in the day, we wouldn't have frolicked in a hot tub with cuties like this hanging out by themselves on the other side of the sliding glass door!

And we weren't interested in spending New Year's Eve with our moms!

*Disclaimer - I still have some groove-shaking left to do in my lifetime!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

New School New Year's

New Year's Eve is a holiday that comes with a whole year's worth of expectations.  It's actually shocking that the Waterford ball doesn't come crashing to the ground under the weight of unfulfilled hopes and partially realized plans.  Yet, skipping it altogether doesn't make sense, either.  A holiday that's synonymous with champagne can't be all bad, right?

When our friends brought up the idea of renting a house for a long weekend over New Year's, it sounded like a perfect way to redefine the holiday for our redefined lives.

So we packed up (Who are we kidding? That makes it sound like we threw a few things into a duffel bag.  I was an overpacker before kids; now I worry that we're going to need a tractor trailer to cart all of our gear on a vacation, even a short one!) and drove to the west side of the state for a weekend in a giant house with a hot tub, lots of rooms, and a woefully understocked "fully stocked" kitchen.

As with many New Year's past, there were some unrealized expectations.  We pictured snowshoeing but got rain and wind instead.  I pictured Dylan sleeping through the night due to days filled with fun; well, at least he slept in the pack and play.  We pictured Michigan State winning their bowl game, but that didn't happen.

Unlike past New Year's, there were countless moments that I couldn't have planned (but would have). 

Watching Abbey play with Molly and Lainey and having a little glimpse into her future with girlfriends. 

Laughing at Dylan crawling around and around the house and picturing him walking soon, all Frankenstein-wobbly-new walker-Gerry style. 

Remembering I'm not very good at Yahtzee but kind of rock at Boggle (don't underestimate the fun that can be had playing 40 year old games in cardboard party hats.) 

Facebook purusal via passed phones, packed together on a couch.

Hello 2011

I know it's late.  I haven't been on time to much since I became responsible for getting two additional bodies out the door.
party hat - check
bottles on the bar - check
toy duck on the bar - um, check?
Joe doesn't like his tiara
I didn't want to take her on, either
Amanda was a Yahtzee dominator

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Party

I had big plans for the cake
I wimped out
the Cake Boss can keep his job
boo is (kind of) his newest word
still no "mama"
a little cupcake with a little candle
far, far away from little fingers
(he's a grabber)
Abbey exclaimed, "A beard like Grandpa!"
the big kids playing with the train table
this is the closest Dylan got to his gifts all night
Abbey and Madison opened them for him
the boys checking out Dylan's new ride
thanks Aunt Col!
Abbey's lucky he doesn't mind sharing
checking out his future girlfriend working on her crawling

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Frosting - The Gateway Drug

Our little family celebrated Dylan's actual birthday with cupcakes.  Much like his sister, he was unsure about the whole thing at first.  What happened next is better captured in pictures...
it's my brother's birthday! 
I'm not sure about this 
notice the cupcake on the edge of the table 
I'll just have my water
hmmm, what's this soft stuff?
it's pretty sweet 
I might like this
I like it!
I really like it! 
and this is the end of his frosting bender
the cupcake remained untouched
we thought he devoured it, because it was just gone
I later found it near the train table, discarded and unwanted 
Abbey has no shame
she wiped Dylan's face with her fingers
then licked her fingers
such a helpful sister

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Not Supposed to Be Here

this is not just an empty cupboard
our GARBAGE goes here, and it's his favorite 

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time to Hang Up the Stockings

Best intentions and all that jazz meant that I planned on doing due diligence to our Christmas celebrations with a variety of posts and photos and some touching anecdotes about time spent with family and friends.

But it's January.

And I have a backlog of Christmas photos that are now joined by New Year's photos and birthday photos and all sorts of thoughts swirling around in my brain.

So Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

(Until next year!)
another Christmas Eve pic 
what else is in there?! 
train table (gift from Grandma and Grandpa) 
so excited! 
hanging out with Grandma 
thanks to Aunt Jessica for her "very own special little purse"!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas with Grandma Pat

coloring (thanks Aunt Dana!) 
reading one of his favorite books
socks off as usual 
opening gifts
look at Laura's pretty dress! 
he didn't really get the whole opening gifts thing
Abbey, of course, was happy to help

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas with Friends

It's no wonder that Abbey was surprised to find out Christmas was over this year.  We were lucky enough to have several celebrations with different friends and family, which meant that "Christmas" really lasted over a week for our little ones this year.  That means a lot of pictures, so I'm breaking them up into various posts over the next week or so.

I believe I've made my love for Christmas abundantly clear, so I'll let the photos (mostly) speak for themselves.

Brendan and Abbey

Abbey modeling her Cinderella costume from her adorable princess dress-up chest
Thanks Brendan and Lainey!

Dylan ignoring his new truck in favor of the real truck outside 
well, I did call my little piece of the internet "tiaras and trucks"

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