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Tiaras and Trucks

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Her Red Shoes

You or your character find a forgotten letter or card from someone important in your life--whether good or bad. What does it say? How does it affect you or your character? What is done with it?

This is the most current part of Greta's story.  If you want to read about what has happened before this, please click on the "Greta's Story" tab on my menu bar.

If she would have just worn the pink dress and strappy sandals, she thought later, none of this would have happened.   

Ever indecisive, she had thought she had settled on one of her favorite dresses, pale pink, a little above her knees, sweetly ruffled.  Looking in the mirror, self-critical to a fault, she questioned the ruffles.  Maybe they were too sweet, better suited to her monthly dinner with the girls than for a first, well, whatever this was. 

Shedding the dress amongst the other discarded options littering her floor, her eye landed on her favorite jeans, snug but not tight on her increasingly toned legs, the perfect shade of indigo. 

Forcing a decision, she tugged on the jeans, pulled a deceptively simple, silky black tank over her head and strode into the second bedroom to find the shoes that had tugged at her memory when she spied her reflection in the full-length mirror. 

Greta sank to the floor in front of the large closet, pulling out a box shoved to the back, spilling with items she hadn’t needed in so very long, monogrammed note cards with a monogram she would never again use, her yoga DVDs that didn’t clear her head like her runs, and shoes she hadn’t worn in ages. 

Her searching fingers found the shoes within moments, the pointed stiletto heal balanced by a towering platform, the supple leather a shade she had once called wine but could now admit was actually red.  She gently placed them on the carpet next to her as another object snagged her consciousness.   

Gently, she lifted the card from the box and pulled the well-creased letter from the envelope with her index finger and thumb, her expression rapidly moving from disgust to regret and back again. 

Slightly shaking hands smoothed the paper over her thighs, her unfocused eyes uselessly scanning the words crammed together in a torrent of emotion. 

The words had once been tattooed onto her heart, until a callous formed over the scar, but even a callous couldn’t erase the memories forever stored in her brain. 

…forever and longer… 

…whatever the future may hold… 

…a love impossible to deny… 

…able to withstand any hardship… 

Promises written in blood and tears and hope, tenderly sealed to be read the morning of their wedding.  

Once, she had read them with tears in her eyes. 

Once, she had carried those promises into the depths of despair, grasping at them to keep her afloat. 

They hadn’t. 

Red shoes forgotten next to her, Greta gingerly replaced the paper into the envelope with the meaningless card, the creases opened and closed so many times that the letter almost folded itself. 

She braced herself for the familiar sting of her tears, the shaking shoulders that always accompanied her sobs. 

But something else was shaking her shoulders. 


Belly laughs, causing her shoulders to heave, a different sort of tear smearing mascara onto her fingers as she gently wiped under her eyes. 

Her reaction was so unexpected that she forgot to drop the card when she heard a buzz from the other room, and she answered the door with the card in one hand and the shoes in her other. 

“Did you get some fun mail?” his voice asked, glancing at the envelope, confusion creeping into his voice when he spotted the worn edges. 

“No.  This is garbage,” she answered with a smile, tossing the card towards her kitchen and pulling on her favorite shoes.   

Drew smiled back and gently steadied her as she balanced on one leg, grabbed her purse, and firmly closed the door behind her.

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Lessons from Abbey

Cringing, I grit my teeth, biting back my annoyance as she digs in her heels, adamantly arguing that she shouldn't have to go inside.  The concept of time is still beyond her grasp, at least when it comes down to the choice between making dinner and playing with sidewalk chalk just a little while longer.  My impatience bubbles to the surface, and I'm hoping that our neighbors aren't listening to her tantrum.

I pause for a moment, remembering that she is just three years old.

Often, I forget how very young she is, and I have to stop and take in the softness of her cheeks and baby fineness of her feathery eyelashes.

Her voice is still childish and small, but her expression is serious when she tells me: "I would prefer to wear the pink shirt."

There's no hesitation as she grabs one of her toys from Dylan's chubby fist, but she is sincere when she reminds me: "Dylan's just a baby; he doesn't know any better."

She shyly answers back when a new acquaintance says hello, but her small hand seeks out mine, holding tightly until she is comfortable again.

At bedtime, she chooses a story we've read hundreds of times, but now she carefully cradles her doll so Baby can see the pictures.

Pushing limits whenever she can, she insists on making a detour through Dylan's side of the car, climbing into her carseat and buckling the chest strap herself.  Yet, when she's sad or tired or scrapes her knee while running in flip flops, she clings to me like a baby monkey, legs and arms wrapped tightly around my body.

Navigating her way from the life of a toddler to one of a child, she wavers back and forth between the two worlds, gracefully and seamlessly mastering some changes while stumbling with frustration on others.  Yet, she remains undaunted, pressing forward, reaching higher and higher.

Chastened, I think of the times I have doubted myself, afraid of moving beyond my sphere of comfort and familiarity.  I think of the times I have given up.

She does not give up.

She has so much to learn.

She has so much to teach me.

She is just three years old.

the prompt was to write about a child that inspires me
is it cliche to be inspired by my own daughter?
because I am, every single day
Mama’s Losin’ It

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Plan was Made...

Do you know Kir?  If not, you should go meet her!  She has the most infectious smile around and somehow juggles about a million things each and every day, including managing to find the time to be a supportive friend.

Since we can't hang out without a seriously long drive or a plane ride, we're teaming up for a little blog project this summer, and we hope that you'll love the idea as much as we do. 

Please come back Friday and see what Kir and I have up our sleeves...

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The Cat's In the Bag

Bonus (one of Joe & Amanda's two cats)
Abbey says "Bonus is friendly!"
thankfully Bonus is also beyond patient with two little people who love him
Abbey likes to play with him aka relentlessly chase him with his toys
Dylan breaks out into a huge grin whenever Bonus enters a room 
it's tiring having so much fun

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Monday, June 27, 2011

S'mores, Rainbow Cupcakes, and Memories

Planning for one night shouldn't have inspired the mixture of excitement and trepidition I felt about our first camping experience with the kids.  I had lists and categories and packing strategies.  Stacy and I studied the campground map (though she is braver and jumped in feet first with two nights of camping!)

Some of my worries?  Absolutely realized.  Dirt-covered fingers ate Cheetos.  Dylan created a five o'clock shadow with lake water, wet sand, and saliva.  Wet firewood demanded an eleven p.m. Meijer run for new wood and firestarters and a quick detour to browse the Goody section for girly-girl hair accessories.

But those negatives?  Those can be easily shaken like sand from a towel. 

Abbey splashed in the shallow water like a mermaid - if mermaids had to wear Puddle Jumpers even in water up to their knees - and built and knocked over sandcastles until her teeth chattered as we wrapped her in our last dry beach towel.

Dylan developed a slight case of hero-worship for the older and cooler Connor, who taught the kids the club version of Happy Birthday, complete with the techno beat "cha cha cha". 

Speaking of birthdays, we all (pretend) celebrated with delectable Play-Doh cupcakes, swirled into a neon rainbow that thrilled the kids and made Stacy's blood pressure rise just a little bit. 

Abbey and Madison hung out and had conversations in our tent, foretelling their teenage years, as Abbey told me, "Mommy, we need privacy!"

Glow necklaces and bracelets allowed for stumbling, giggling games of Ring Around the Rosie, even as we struggled to roast marshmallows on a fire kept burning with pages of coloring books until the kids went to bed, and we were able to drive to get some dry wood.

Well after dark, tired eyes told us what smiling, sticky, s'mores faces continued to deny.  Bedtime, though so very late, happened with minimal fussing, though we may have skipped toothbrushing for the night.

And blissfully, the fire burned at last, warming the adults as we sat and chatted, laughing at old and new adventures, half an ear listening for any movement from the circle of tents surrounding us.

I crawled onto our air mattress, sandwiched between my babies, and realized the dirt hadn't won.

We'll be doing this camping thing again.
a princess tablecloth and a bunch of play-doh
five dollars worth of pre-school heaven on a table 
fascinated by the coolers
he later punched a hole in the styrofoam one 
posing for Connor
they all took turns playing photographer
going for a walk in the woods 
jamming in their jammies with glow toys
snuggles and s'mores
maybe the best part of camping

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Squeaky Kitty

Grandma Rose always let me play with her jewelry and make-up samples, including letting me paint her nails.  And she let me use the red nail polish, which I don't think I truly appreciated until Abbey wanted to paint my nails and showcased how much fine motor skill nail painting really requires.

Nan's house meant cousins, a well-worn copy of Pat the Bunny, and toys that were rectangular cubes with four levels that you had to maneuver a little ball through to get from the top to the bottom.

For Abbey, and now Dylan, Great-Grandma Pat's house means a chance to play with Squeaky Kitty, a battery operated stuffed cat that walks and meows, or squeaks.  From the moment I mention going to visit Grandma Pat, Abbey chatters on and on about Squeaky Kitty.  She immediately asks about SK, and the little striped kitten stays on most of the afternoon.

We owe Grandma Pat some new batteries.
so happy to have Squeaky Kitty to herself 
someone took a nap during the drive to Grandma Pat's

Was there a special toy you played with when visiting your grandparents or other family members?

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Host with the Most and Hostess with the Mostess

Not everyone would be thrilled to hear that Ryan and I planned on rolling into town with Abbey and Dylan in tow.  After all, our kids may be lots of fun, but they do wake up early, like plenty of attention, and really inhibit our ability to have a leisurely dinner at a restaurant, let alone to spend any time at a bar.

Yet, we're lucky enough to have two generous and thoughtful friends that welcome all four of us with open arms, a full coffeepot, and fabulously cooked meals. 

Thank you to Amanda and Joe for their endless hospitality!
they let Abbey make herself at home in the future Baby Cherian's Bumbo 
and allowed Dylan to play in their potted herbs
in his onesie and Crocs, of course
and tired them out enough that Dyls crashed on the couch
(check out the unbuttoned shorts, silly guy)

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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Visit

Ready, set, go!  The RedWriting Hood prompt this week is flash fiction (300 word maximum) inspired by the single word: Life.  This is a little snapshot into Greta’s world; if you like what you see, more of her story can be found on my new page (see the last tab on my menu).
Greta wiped her sweating palms through her hair before pushing open the door to the maternity ward.  She stumbled, instead of stepped, into the hallway, the floor wavering in front of her.  Was it possible that the air was thinner here, four floors above ground level?

Swinging around the corner, she shoved the vestiges of fear into the black ball permanently settled in the bottom of her stomach.  She was impervious to the pain she had expected to feel.  Something was pushing the blood through her veins, but it was no longer her heart.  Her heart had stopped that day in her bloody shower then shattered in this very hospital, when the ultrasound confirmed what she already knew.

Glancing at the numbered doors, she glided forward.  There must have been voices laughing, babies crying, nurses bustling, but the only sound she heard was the whooshing that could have been her breath or the brushing of her shoes against the carpeting.

Her sister-in-law was leaning against the nurses’ station, forehead wrinkled quizzically, flipping through a sheaf of papers.  Silently thanking a God whose existence she had recently begun to question, Greta slid into the correctly labeled door.

Paul didn’t immediately look up, expecting his wife back from filling out the paperwork for his new daughter’s birth certificate, but his head snapped up with Greta’s inadvertent intake of breath.

Drawn forward, Greta moved closer to the simple bassinette. 

Knowing her so well, Paul skipped a hug, instead briefly touching her forehead, a gesture their mother had used to comfort them their whole lives.

Without thought, her eyes caressed the impossibly soft, chubby curve of her niece’s cheek, Greta’s mouth opening to breathe in the sweet air in the space above where her niece, where Elisabeth was sleeping, swaddled and safe.


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Check-Off Challenge

Play bubbles   
   Follow a rainbow
      Take family walks after dinner
         Find a perfect summer lipgloss
            Make some Mod Podge crafts
Shop at the Farmer's Market
    Pick strawberries
       Buy corn at a roadside stand
          Run five times a week
             Catch up on True Blood
Sit on our patio swing and look for fireflies
   Play in a lake with Dylan for the first time
      Build a sandcastle
         Make homemade popsicles
            Run through sprinklers
Have fresh flowers on our table
   Eat dinner outside at least once a week
      Take a walk along the beach
         Go to an outdoor concert
            Visit the Toledo Zoo
See Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (both parts)
   Find (and buy) a pair of flat sandals I love
      Make a little playroom in the basement
         Organize the kids' closets
            Pick raspberries
Watch Singing in the Rain
   Take a spontaneous road trip
      Update my fun jewelry with a cuff or fun earrings
         Decorate Dylan's room
            Make a strawberry pie
Go to the Peach Festival
   Take the kids to an outdoor art fair
      Write something, anything every day
         Find a summer anthem I can happily blast with the kids in the car
            Remember to wear sunscreen every day
Use our grill more than once
   Make a fruit pizza
      Take the kids on the train at the zoo
         Go through Dylan's baby clothes
            Walk to get ice cream after dinner
Eat at an old A & W
    Paint my toenails (ok and my fingernails) bright blue
       Drink some icy cold prosecco on an outdoor patio
          Splash in puddles with the kids after a summer rainstorm
             Sit outside and look at the stars
Take the kids camping
   Go back to Lake Michigan
      Drink enough water
         Drive with the windows down
            Enjoy the heat (it won't be around for long)

Mama’s Losin’ It
50 things I want to do this summer
how many do you think I can get through?
is there anything special you're dying to do before Labor Day?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

He's Full of Surprises

Pregnant, coloring at the dining room table with Abbey, I worried.

Somehow, I had made it through the ultrasound without caving and begging the technician to tell us the sex of our healthy baby.  After finding out with Abbey, Ryan and I had agreed that this baby would be a surprise.

But now, coloring at the table with my relatively calm daughter, I worried.

I was scared to have a boy.

I wanted a son.  A little guy to look up to Ryan and wear preppy clothes and tattered baseball caps.  A grown man to dance with as a mother of the groom.

Still, I was scared to have a boy.

My own childhood was filled with dance classes and days spent at the library devouring books and playing school in my room next to my canopy bed.  I loved skirts that twirled in circles.  I didn't like bugs or dirt.

What would I do with a boy?

Of course, I fell in love with him the moment I met him.

There's nothing sweeter than the ten times a day he stops what he's doing to come hug me and bestow one or two or seven slobbery kisses on me before returning to wreck havoc on the house.

Little plaid shirts and sweater vests and khaki shorts catch my eye nearly as much as tulle skirts and hand-crafted headbands.

Still, he proves daily that my fears weren't unfounded.  He presses every button within reach and loads the DVD player with any CD or DVD he manages to find around the house.  We've strategically positioned three gates and could use at least one more.  Our chosen cupboard locks stop him for approximately eight seconds when he decides to open them.  He gleefully runs anywhere he shouldn't and has an inner device that leads him to drinking fountains and doors he can open himself.

I worry when I take him places, because he's notoriously unpredictable and not quiet about his preferences.

Waiting for Abbey's recital to start, he climbed up and down and up and down the wide steps of the auditorium.  Ryan and my dad were on alert that they would likely spend the majority of the show in the hall with Dylan.  Trying to get him to sit on my lap when the lights dimmed elicited his loudest vocal protests, and even his beloved Cheerios did little to distract him from the thought of climbing those stairs again.

Then the music started, the lights shone on the dancers, throwing rainbows off their sequined costumes, and he leaned against me, mesmerized.  Later, as Ryan held him, snack cup still clenched in one hand, I was amazed.  He craned his head to get a better view.  He spontaneously clapped during performances.  He didn't have to leave the theater until he went home at intermission.

Maybe boys aren't so scary after all.

not scared of Colleen's play structure at all

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Looking for My Mojo

It's a fill-in-the-blank-for-your-own-prompt Prompt
The first time I ________-ed after _________-ing.
I chose to write about the first time I ran after having Dylan.

I bent to retie my shoes, loosening my laces and pulling them tight, though they felt perfect before the tweaking.  My mood wavered between unsettled and apprehensive, my eight-week old at home, without me.
I worried he had woken up.  I worried he would miss me.  I wondered if Ryan would call me if there was a crisis.  I wondered what kind of crisis could possibly arise during the forty-five minutes I planned to be gone.

I bent to tie my shoes again, then abruptly straightened and stepped onto the treadmill, out of excuses.  Sliding earbuds into my ears, I turned on my carefully prepared workout mix, the hip hop jarring after carefully monitoring the child-appropriateness of my music choices during my gym hiatus.

The warm-up walk was familiar, easy in fact without a massive double stroller in front of me.  My stride turned almost to a strut as I contemplated changing speeds.  Inexplicably, I probed at my caesarean incision, testing for soreness, for pain, for a challenge to my plan to get back into shape.

Numbness. The best I could hope for.

I wondered what was happening at home.

I eased the speed up to a twelve-minute mile, thinking back to the hours I had logged on the elliptical during my pregnancy.  My legs fell into a remembered rhythm, awkwardly and tightly, feeling heavy and unfamiliar above my shoes.
My tight sports bras reminded me of the tether that would link me to Dylan for the next year.

Minutes later, my lungs were as heavy as my legs, my breathing labored and forced.

Walking, pre-natal yoga, and the elliptical machine had kept my weight gain within a respectable range, but my body was eager to remind me that nothing could make me sweat like a good run.

Turning up my music so I couldn’t hear myself panting, I forced my legs to move back and forth, slowly waking my muscles from hibernation.  Sweat snaked down my temples by the end of the second song, but I lumbered on, attempting to ignore the discomfort.

Refusing to take a pacifier meant Dylan could be difficult to soothe if he woke hungry from his brief naps.

But as my feet struck the rubber belt, left right left right, I felt another familiar sensation.  Briefly, fleetingly, joy flickered, teasing my lips into a grimacing smile.  Anxiety flowed out of me with the sweat.

Ryan could handle any emergency manufactured by a sleeping two-month old and a toddler.

Muscle memory pumped my arms back and forth, my stride quickening to its accustomed beat.  The bass in the background propelled me along.  I eased the speed up a few more notches.

That lasted for a few brief, glorious minutes before I had to slow back down to a walk or risk keeling over and flying off the back of the treadmill.

Still, those marvelous moments reminded me of why I had a training schedule written, in pen, in my planner. 

Running keeps me in shape and keeps my stress at bay and keeps me from throwing the Glee soundtrack out the window after hearing it countless times.  Running brings me joy.

And now, over a year, and hundreds of miles later, I need to recapture that joy.  Running has morphed into a chore, an item on my to-do list, a burden.

I need to reevaluate my goals or my mindset or my running playlist.  I need to lace up my shoes and turn up my music and follow my feet.

I need to remember why I run.

showing that even though he doesn't have a recital costume, he's still a cutie pie

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bring on the Bare Necessities

In the darkened theater, you could hear the clickity clackity shuffle of little tap shoes and whispers to little shadows attempting to line up in a row; you could see their teacher sliding them into position and a certain cock of a head and elbow that identified one of the little dancers as our girl.

Chuckles and sighs of rememberence echoed throughout the audience as the familiar "Bare Necessities" from Disney's The Jungle Book cajoled the pocket-sized dancers to life.  Proud parents, like us, new to the recital scene smiled around the lumps in our throats, and vetern parents likely thought back to the days that their teen dancers first took the stage.

Abbey smiled and danced alongside the ten girls and one boy she met in September, the little peers she now calls "my friends" with a smile, even when she is still feeling shy enough to smile goodbye instead of yelling it across the room.  Her moves were confident, as were the steps of the dancers next to her, although we'll never know whose "interpretation" of the actual dance was correct, because they were all doing something just a little different most of the time.

In September, I wasn't sure we would make it to this day.  One of the youngest students, I worried she would be afraid of entering the classroom without me, of dancing next to girls her age without the protective mommy-barrier of our familiar playdates.

The first day she gripped my leg, her eyes impossibly wide and blue as an outgoing girl asked her name and tried to hold her hand.

But now?  She asked to wear mascara and looked eagerly for her friends as we walked down the hall to our specified waiting area.  When I went backstage after her dance to see if she wanted to sit with us until the finale before intermission, she chose instead to stay with the kids in her class, drinking juice boxes and huddling around a portable, impossible-to-hear Tangled DVD and some princess stickers.

Seeing her slowly blossom into this little girl over the course of this year means as much to me as seeing her on the stage smiling and tapping.  Well, it means almost as much.

Because, in my absolutely unbiased opinion, nothing that cute has ever graced a stage.
with her eternally patient and much loved teacher 
footie jammies requested at the end of the night
there's still a little bit of baby left there

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

On Father's Day

toddler legs trip quickly, quickly into the kitchen

his smile exploding in anticipation

she insists that I lift her high

or scrambles up on her wooden chair

peeking out the window

chubby fingers grip the gate

they jostle for position

Daddy's home

 Happy Father's Day!
to all the dads, grandpas, uncles, and men that make us smile all year long,
even if they are only in our memories, like my Pap, this day is still for them
there's something about seeing my dad reading to Abbey and Dylan in the house where I still feel so at home that makes me realize how incredibly blessed we all are

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Don't They Already Have Animals?

Picking your battles is a crucial lesson to learn.  This lesson isn't just for parents, but it does become tricky when the battles are being waged with little people whose rationalization skills are still at the preschool level.

It becomes even trickier when those preschool rationalization skills best my grown-up reasoning skills.

We were packing up our things for a zoo trip with our friends Stacy, Connor, and Madison, when I noticed Abbey clutching her current favorite stuffed friend, Grampage Hooligan Ruffie.  I've recently ditched the diaper bag and am enjoying the newfound freedom of only carting around a quarter of my body weight in gear instead of my usual everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. 

I'm fine with Abbey bringing her Lip Smackers, because who doesn't love vanilla chapstick, but stuffed animals?

I quickly formulated my iron-clad argument:

"Abbey, we don't need to bring GHR to the zoo.  They have enough animals there already."

"Not dogs," she said, stubbornly.  And correctly, the smarty-pants.

I switched tactics.

"Well, no, you're right.  But you can't bring dogs to the zoo.  They'll either scare the other animals or get scared themselves."

"Oh Mommy," she sighed, "Grampage Hooligan Ruffie isn't real.  He can come with us."

And that is how I ended up carting around a stuffed dog around the zoo.  Thankfully, he rode in the stroller instead of "walking with his leash," a clever contraption consisting of some ribbon and a fabric measuring tape.
checking out the prairie dogs 
again with the prairie dogs
I never knew they were so interesting 
Grampage Hooligan Ruffie made it out of the stroller for lunch
I'm slightly mortified to say that she PICKED that flower and put it behind her ear
I'm pretty sure last year I commented on a picture about another little girl picking the zoo's flowers
there's a karmic lesson there, a little one, but it's there 
judging how close I actually am and how far he might make it before I catch him

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who Needs Sunshine?

The forecast was dreary, and the high temperature seemed to drop each time we checked the weather.  Still, we had an annual beach streak to continue and a little basket of sand toys in the bed of my dad's generously loaned truck.

We ate before going, so that we only needed to pack snacks and drinks and chairs and toys and magazines, and seriously, the list kept going even without bringing "real" food for lunch!  Amanda and I optimistically threw on bathing suits but made sure we had some warmer layers tucked away.

We scored prime parking.

I've never seen the South Haven beach so empty, seagulls outnumbering the people three to one, in a blanket of white over the sand.  Down the beach a little, a bride and groom were having pictures taken, her dress billowing around her in the wind.

The highest temperature we saw on the electronic ticker was 60 degrees, with an air temperature of 58.

Dylan held my hand as he walked across the sand to our little beach camp, unsure at first about the little grains sliding into his Crocs.  A smile crept across his face, and his steps became more confident, though his grip on my hand never loosened.

Inexplicably, the sand was still warm on our feet, and the cool, slightly damp air meant Abbey didn't have to lug water from the lake to build her little sand castles.  Ryan and Joe tossed a football in their shorts and t-shirts, while Amanda and I pulled sweaters and jackets over our sundresses and wrapped our legs in terry towels.  

Zippered into sweatshirts but bare-legged, the kids played in the sand, laughed on the swings, and didn't notice the lack of warmth or water or sun.

Chasing seagulls with Abbey and Dylan, I marvelled at their innocent ability to find the best in situations, to enjoy each moment, to play on a cold beach and squeal with contented, excited laughter.

We were there less than two hours, but our streak is alive.
sand toys are always a hit 
Dylan pointing at the seagulls - or Daddy throwing a football
Amanda looking cute with our soon-to-be-newest beach club member incubating nicely 
look at that throwing motion! 
so proud of her "little castle" that she made without any help 
I think he only tried eating it once or twice

If you read my review of A Jane Austen Education and think it's something you'd like to read, click here to enter a book giveaway on BlogHer.  If you win, you will receive a copy of A Jane Austen Education AND a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Jane Austen, The Complete Novels.  It's a great giveaway, and all you have to do is comment for a chance to win!  You can comment as many times as you like, and the winner will be chosen randomly on June 24th.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Rehearsal

goofing around
Crocs are NOT part of the costume 
hanging out 
she insisted on staying to watch some of the other dancers practice

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Abbey's Lyrical Analysis

After I scoop Dylan out of the bathtub into his waiting towel, Abbey makes the most of having the bathtub to herself.  She splashes and pours water from her shampoo cup and pretends she's swimming.  Of course, she stretches out and pretends to be a mermaid, "like Ariel".

The other night, she was splayed out, mermaid style, and flipping over and over in the water.  Having never seen those particular bathing moves before, I had to ask her about it.

"Rolling, Mommy," she responded, as though I was blind, because it was pretty obvious what she was doing.

"Like a mermaid?" I probed.

"No Mommy, I'm rolling in the deep.  See..." (more rolling) "...Rolling in the deep!"

In case you've somehow missed Adele's musical smash "Rolling in the Deep", some of the lyrics are at the end of this post.  You can gauge for yourself whether or not Abbey's interpretation is accurate.

She might look like Ryan, but the appetite for analyzing what she hears and reads?  That's all me.

Partial Lyrics to Adele's "Rolling in the Deep"
The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You're gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it to the beat
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
But you played it with a beating
Aunt Carolyn's condo 
it seems that the bathtub isn't the only place to roll in the deep 
more rolling
silly girl

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Monday, June 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Hats

The lovely Liz of a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog recently posted about her daughters and their friendly sibling competition.  When I read the post, I thought, "hmmm, that doesn't really happen in our house."

I think I jinxed myself, because suddenly, Abbey and Dylan are the cutest little poster children for sibling rivalry. 

Too young to compete over grades or athletic prowess, their rivalry focuses on the "I Want THAT!" game.

The rules of the game are simple.

The first player chooses something to play with.  The aforementioned something can be a toy, a kitchen utensil, or a fuzzy cheerio found under the couch.

The second player sees the item in question and absolutely, positively can't live without it.

Sometimes there is an immediate confrontation and tug of war.  Other times, the game is more covert, with the second player waiting until the first loosens their grip on the object or sets it down for even an instant, at which point, said object is fair game.

Before playing outside one afternoon, Abbey expressed her deep desire for Dylan's new hat.  Listeing intently, she seemed to understand when I explained that Dylan needed the hat to protect his little head from the sun.  Little did I know she was plotting a bait and switch right under my nose.

The rivalry has begun.
"look, I brought out this hat instead!"
all part of her plot to secure his hat
I call this move "the distraction" - note the cute smile and shiny shoes 
the coveted hat 
the coveted hat 1.1 second later
he does not appreciate the need for sun protection 
and she swoops in for the grab, her winter hat left in the dust

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