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Tiaras and Trucks

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Party Princesses Wear Tutu Skirts

she is three
she saw sunshine
therefore, she decided she doesn't need tights

she's not the only cute one around here!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Photographer Fail - The Flip Side

This is what happens when I am deprived of a cool toy!

Here's the version where I get to hold the (photographer's single) rubber ball.

Thankfully, Jenny and I moved past this moment to forge a wonderful and loving relationship, but neither of our moms have a picture of both of us smiling that day!  And I think we can thank the seventies for the oh-so-realistic photo backdrops.

Never out of style?  Ruffled dresses, little socks, mary janes.  I wish I could say the same for my current wardrobe...

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Neanderthal Not Included

Furnish Your Man Cave* Today!

iPhone 4 - $300

     Black, less than one-month old, near new condition

     Item will be available for pick-up after text messages and inappropriate photos
     are downloaded to establish a pattern of lying, misdirection, poor taste, and
     less-than-stellar fitness habits.

La-Z-Boy Recliner – FREE!

     Faded mocha-colored microfiber, used

     Perfect for use in a garage or a basement, especially for a pet. Previously used
     by an oversized dog, figuratively speaking.

Neon Signs (Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors Light, and Budweiser) - $150 each or $350 for set

     Bright, somewhat tacky, near new condition

     Ideal gift for someone living in a dorm room, fraternity house, or an alternate
     reality where life resembles a Will Ferrell movie.

Poker Table - $150

     Seats eight with cheap beer cup holders, green felt, professional quality, gently

     Regular poker players – do you have a poker-playing friend who never seems to
     Purchase this table and deliver it to his or her home! I can attest that the
     owner of this table will lose his/her money quickly and consistently, no matter
     the skill or intoxication level of the other players at the table.

Price on all items negotiable

Photos available upon request

*Neanderthal not included

This fictional post is brought to you by the weekly writing prompt at the awesomeness that is The Red Dress Club.  It was inspired by my general annoyance at the insipid whinings of the husbands on HGTV who need a "man cave" more than something like an updated kitchen or a front door.


Mr. Fix-It

Gender stereotypes are annoying.  Yet I find myself mentally saying, "he's such a boy!" almost daily with Dylan.  He never stops moving, he's never met an electronic device that he doesn't want to investigate, and he's recently discovered the joys of tools.

Abbey never had toy tools, so Dylan improvises as he goes along, which often means he slyly pilfers a screwdriver that you put down for a moment while working on a project.  While putting together my Bissell Sweep & Steam (love, love, love by the way), he tried to help when I had to take a minute to scratch my head read the directions.  He still smears food all over his face when he attempts to use utensils, but he actually had the screwdriver in the little screw hole and was turning it around and around.  Craziness.

My idea about the "best" part of being a parent changes all. the. time. but I have to say that I adore observing them develop into their own little selves.  My goal is to let them find their own ways in this big world, trying on different interests and passions as they discover new things, with me playing the role of cheerleader, my pom poms filled with strands of love, support, a little bit of wisdom, and hope for their futures.

another project?
helping Daddy fix the sound on the DVD player

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hilarity in the Kitchen

I am NOT letting Abbey cook Dylan in the Crock Pot
he climbed in there on his own
she looks pretty thrilled about it, though

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Farewell to the Crib

I heard somewhere that colleges frown on cribs in dorm rooms, so we decided it was finally time to convert Abbey's crib to a "big girl bed".  Honestly?  I was a little hesitant to do it for a couple of reasons, mainly that she is an extremely light sleeper who still wakes up most nights "needing" something.  I had visions of her getting out of bed constantly.

I might have considered baby-gating her into her room, but it never came to that.  (Did I just jinx us?  I hope not.)

Painting the room pink was an option, but I decided to try to work pink into the decor without completely scratching the purple paint we painstakingly chose (not to mention the rug and lampshade have purple accents and are in perfectly good condition).  I scoured the interwebs trying to find the perfect combination of bedding and curtains and wall decorations to give the room a new feel without any major updates.  There are some adorable things out there, but my no-limit AmEx got lost in the mail somewhere!

Duh-duh-duh!  Target came to my rescue yet again.  While picking up some pillows for her room, I wandered over to look at their bedding, slightly discouraged by my budget constraints.  Happily, I discovered a quilt set, curtain, and wall decals that (in my humble opinion) combine bright shades of purple, pink, yellow, and green in a whimsical way.  I'm thrilled with how it looks. 

Abbey's thrilled with it as well, especially the repositionable decals.  The ones that she can reach are constantly moving around the room.  And that is 100% ok with me.

And people?  That big girl bed is pretty far off the ground.  Between the height reminiscent of "The Princess and the Pea" and the bed rail, she's stayed snugly in bed for over a week now. 

She's growing up.

::breathe in, breathe out::

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Too Bad It's Not Bath Day

Crayola has done a superb job in creating a line of art supplies that are truly washable.  I have such faith in their washability that I basically let Abbey go to town in our itty, bitty kitchen and worry about the floor and the walls and the refrigerator later. 

Lately, I've had enough faith in her to let her paint on our dining room table (it's, unfortunately) getting destroyed almost daily by other things, so I'm not worried about a little pain.

Dylan, on the other hand, is a different creature entirely.  He gnaws on crayons.  He dumps full plates of food onto the floor with glee.  He plows down lego structures in mere nanoseconds.  I've been known to call him "Dylan the Destructor", which fills Abbey with giggles or tears depending on what he's destroying.

So, until this Valentine's Day, I've kept Dylan away from paint.

We started with a brush, but that went straight into his mouth.  Whoops.

Taking a deep breath, I squirted finger paints straight onto paper and let him discover them for himself.  Squishing the paint between his fingers, squealing with excitement, and decorating his legs as much as the paper, he had a blast.

Art critics, take note.  A new face is on the scene.

of course I took a picture
I want a copy when the Lourve takes it to hang next to the Mona Lisa

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In His Shoes

she loves her daddy
she loves shoes
therefore, she loves her daddy's shoes

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do?

A Facebook conversation today left me thinking about girls and body image and acceptance and how all of those things are tangled together with images and attitudes and expectations. Our (albeit brief) conversation concerned a celebrity who may or may not be a little too thin and how seeing that affects our girls.

I’m not denying there are unrealistic portrayals of women in our celebrity-obsessed culture. I also think it’s one of our most important jobs as parents to raise our kids to be true to themselves, in spite of the pressure that is going to bombard them from all sides.

Maybe it’s a devil’s advocate reaction, but I have a problem condemning every tiny body staring at us from a magazine cover, “She’s too thin!” I have friends who are super thin but still healthy, so I don’t think skinny automatically equals unhealthy. Are some of the ultra-skinny women out there unhealthy? Sure. But I also think that some of them parlay a combination of good genes and hard work into that body shape.

Of course, that means that I somehow have to teach Abbey to accept her body and other people’s bodies in ALL shapes and sizes. Despite my own body issues, I’m trying to set a healthy example by eating relatively well and running and staying active. I monitor what I say about my own body. I plan on having honest conversations about it as she gets older.

Will that be enough? I don’t know. Images are powerful motivators and so is peer pressure. Will my efforts fail in the face of emulating the “it girls” of 2023? If I’m still blogging ten years from now, will I be packing mayo-laden sandwiches and sending them off to Hollywood stylists?

a new game at our house
Abbey and I call it "giant Dylan"
he lurks in the back of the dollhouse, laughing
then a little (giant) hand sneaks around the corner
and grabs something from the side where we're playing 
of course, she needs to get in on the action, too

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Photographer Fail

The year was 1978.  My aunt and my mom dressed my cousin and me in sweet, pastel dresses.  They took us to the photographer, keeping two toddlers sparkling clean.  We were perfectly positioned in front of a spring-inspired backdrop, ready to be immortalized.

The photographer only had one rubber ball.
(I'm the one on the left, the bald one!)
there are two versions of this photo
the other version shows Jenny (my wonderful cousin) holding the ball
in that photo, she is beaming while I am despondant and toyless
although I'm pretty sure I still have on those adorable mary janes
(I'll post the other version if I can get my hands on it!)

This post was inspired by Natalie from Mommy of a Monster & Twins, who posted an adorable picture of her twins that reminded me of this photo (and the counterpart where I am the unhappy camper!)  She liked my comment on it enough to mention it on her blog, so go see her modern version of the trials of trying to get a picture of two smiling little ones at one time!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Turning Three

Three years ago today, my world changed forever.

Before that day, I was a woman, a wife, a daughter, a teacher, a runner, a writer, and so many little things jumbled together to define me.

Three years ago today, we welcomed Abbey into the world.

Three years ago today, I became a mother.

Through her eyes, my world has been redefined.  Moments stretch for an eternity, engrossed in a book or crayons or a pinecone, all invaluables treasures.  Years pass too quickly; it's impossible that my first baby can be three years old today.

I told her today that her birthday was special for me, too.  I told her that before her, I wasn't a Mommy.

"I'm sorry you weren't a Mommy before," kisses and snuggles and smiles, "Mommy, I love you."

Happy Birthday to my girl, my first born, my spirit.  I love you, too.

her party is next weekend
but we shared cupcakes and sang Happy Birthday three times
because three years old is a big deal

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Dylan Update

Dylan was an absolute champ yesterday!  I thought not eating or drinking in the morning would set a negative tone for the whole experience, but he was absolutely chipper and charming until they sedated him, when he became loopy and charming.  He was on the move until the sedative kicked in, playing with his little cars, the garbage can, his favorite Clifford book, and one of those handle push-cars (already at the hospital; I don't have a Mary Poppins bag to fit that!)

The waiting wasn't the greatest part, and he was pretty upset when we got back to the recovery area.  He slept on and off for most of the morning and early afternoon, still groggy and medicated.  Around 3:30, either the anesthesia completely wore off or the main medication completely kicked in, because a switch flicked.  He was back to his mischevious, speed-racer self - playing my mom's piano, crawling around, giggling, and trying to climb up the stairs.

Keeping him in "taking-it-easy" mode for 3-4 weeks might prove to be more stressful than the surgery!

I am beyond thankful that everything went so smoothly.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stolen Moments

Running before the sun rises should give me time to shower and start my day before the kids wake up.  Like any change in routine, it's going to take a little while to work out the kinks, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

On Tuesday morning, I crept back into the house, looking forward to a few moments of alone time before climbing the stairs to our bathroom.  Before I even sat down, I heard Dylan start crying and quickly retrieved him from his crib before he had the opportunity to wake Abbey. 

I grabbed a blanket from the hall closet and snuggled him close on the couch.

We dozed together for a while, neither of us minding (too much) my gym sweat.  Holding him tight, I realized  how close he is to leaving babyhood behind.  He's so heavy on my chest now; the soft hair curling slightly against his neck is that of a little boy and not the peach fuzz of his infancy that I can still feel against my cheek.

With all of our sleep issues, I should have soothed him and eased him back into his warm bed. 

Still, the memory of his small fist buried in my hair, his breath warm and even on my neck, is enough to make me so grateful I borrowed those minutes from the chaos of our day.  If he follows in Abbey's footsteps, he'll soon be a squirming, kicking, bed hog, and I'll have no choice but to place him gently back into the nest of his crib when he cries out in the early morning.
send this little guy good thoughts today
his surgery is this morning
(ok, so I took a picture of a sleeping baby
with a flash
he stayed asleep, the sweet boy)

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pardon My Dust

During this past year, I've discovered so many truly amazing blogs (see my sidebar if you're interested in some of the people I find to be so wonderful!)  One of the things that draws me into a blog is its visual impact.  With limited time in the day, the only thing that keeps me reading is excellent content, but I can't lie and pretend that the first impression doesn't matter.

What can I say? I like pretty things.

I've know for a while that my own first impression left a lot to be desired. 

Much like my wardrobe, my little corner of the blogosphere needs some overhauling.  Unfortunately, just like a personal stylist with a high credit limit isn't knocking at my door, a custom blog design isn't on our budget's radar right now. 

Other things hindering my renovation are my woefully poor HTML skills and lack of any sort of graphic design talent.  Again, like my wardrobe issues, I know what I like when I see it but don't know exactly how to go about getting there!

So, please pardon my dust while I attempt to make some visual changes around here.  I'll be trying on some different looks and tweaking and tailoring and trashing various things until I find something that is pretty and comfortable and a good fit for Tiaras and Trucks.

I hope you'll keep visiting during my remodeling!
they're learning and growing and finding their own way each day
what wonderful inspiration!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out with the Old

I am over my diaper bag.

As diaper bags go, I really love(d?) mine.  My dear friend, Kathie, gifted me with a Petunia Picklebottom boxy backpack when I was pregnant with Abbey, and I was so pleased with the design and utility of it that I didn't even buy a new bag when I had Dylan.

Yet, I'm over my diaper bag.  And your diaper bag.  Any diaper bag, really.  I lust after slouchy hobos, satchels with delicate feminine details, shiny patent bags.  I already keep an "emergency bag" in my car with extra dipes and wipes and a change of clothes for both kids, so I'm never completely empty-handed.

As Dylan slides into his second year, I am becoming obsessed with starting to think about making the transition to a lovely, oversized purse* that will comfortably house a sippy cup, a bottle of water, a couple of snacks. 

And a small pack of baby wipes.

*Now I just need to find something I love.  With a practical price tag (that's the hard part, right?)
we visited the Morley Candy Factory with our MOMS Club this week
blissfully unaware of what he was missing, Dylan was just thrilled to roam the store
he chased a gleeful Abbey while I chased him
their laughter made the candy the second sweetest part of the day

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Monday, February 7, 2011

When She Grows Up...

I try not to project future careers onto Abbey and Dylan.  Even when she asked, "Can I go to college when I'm older?" I calmly replied, "I hope you do, yes," because I know there are roads that lead in other directions than to ivy-covered university walls. 

Yet, sometimes her little imagination paints the picture for me.

Introducing Dr. Abbey...
The other doctors in her practice are Dr. Dylan (I like to think of him as a resident, since he mostly chews the equipment) and Dr. Mommy. 

Her most frequent patients are Baby Jess, Mommy, Boop, Baby Cinderella, Baby Dylan (no wonder he gets confused. doctor? patient?), and Sparty the stuffed dog.

Her favorite method of treatment is "I'm going to have to give you a shot today," but she also gives stickers (real or pretend) if you endure the shot bravely. 

There's something so precious about her fanciful imagination combined with the infinite promise of her whole life spread open before her.  In these moments when she invents and pretends and gets lost in her own world, I truly see the enormity of my job.  I've been entrusted with two little lives to nurture and protect and give strength, and the utter responsibility of parenting is awe-inspiring and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Brides?

I was honored to wear my mom's veil when I married Ryan.  Let's be honest, I wanted my own dress, but my sentimental side was thrilled that I could wear something that was a part of her wedding day.

This weekend, Grandma Sue & Grandpa Ray came over to play with the kids while Ryan and I retreated to the basement to try to organize that mess of a black hole.  I read Ryan's yearbook comments, tried on my wedding dress, and took my veil upstairs to let Abbey play with it. 

Maybe she'll wear it one day as well?

Oh, and we bagged a TON of books for our library's used book sale next month and a ton of miscellaneous stuff for the Salvation Army and actually threw out some things that weren't even charity-worthy.  Ryan continued our efforts by carting ten (or so) giant plastic totes up to our attic (including the infamous baseball card collection.) 

Operation Declutter is looking up.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mommy Tears

From the time Dylan's pediatrician recommended we take him to a urologist for a consultation, I had a hunch that we weren't going to get good news.  (That sounds fairly dramatic, so keep in mind we were only dealing with the concern of an undescended testicle.)  Ryan kept reminding me that a consultation didn't necessarily mean that surgery was inevitable.  Still, my "mom instinct" had me convinced that we were looking at a surgical procedure.

Keeping Dylan out of trouble in the doctor's office kept me from thinking too much about why we were actually in the office.  On a side note, I don't understand why pediatric doctor's offices have a billion toys in their waiting rooms and none in the offices, where you actually do most of the waiting.

Even after crossing the hall to the ultrasound room, I played pat-a-cake with Dylan to keep him still, instead of worrying about the diagnosis. 

Even after the doctor came in and started talking about "the procedure", I concentrated on details and dates and schedules (the best day for Ryan? the best day for my mom to watch Abbey?)

Even after the nurse came in to discuss details of prep and recovery, I listened and packed up our diaper bag, tucking the sippy cup in on top, in case he wanted it when we got to the car.

Only when he was safely in his carseat, babbling away, oblivious to the ramifications of our thirty-minute appointment, did the tears come.  Silently and without warning, they fell from my eyes, hot in the cold air of the car.

Because there is no "only" when you're talking about sending your baby down a hospital corridor to receive general anesthesia.  There is no "only" when you try to push away the thought of the moment he'll wake up and see only strangers' eyes.

February 10th can't come soon enough.

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