Friday, May 28, 2010

the longest 10 minutes

One fun thing about having a second kiddo is that it's interesting to compare and contrast. "Oh!" I say to myself. So, all children aren't like that ... And, sorry, Lizzy, but that's usually been said with some measure of relief. Certainly not always, but often.
Maddie, as it turns out, is, and has always been, a water baby. Even before she could sit up, she's been bathing in the bathtub on her big sister's lap, and she has never minded being doused with water when it comes time to rinse her hair (what little hair she had back then). I've almost never seen her complain about it in the least. In fact, she's taken to leaning back in the bath and attempting to float, occasionally letting her face sink deeper and deeper, just to see what that's all about. I joke that she and Lizzy are on about the same level, in terms of bravery in the water.
Lizzy, who is 5 1/2 years older, started her young life being absolutely terrified of the water. I eagerly anticipated her day care's first 'water play day,' where they fill inflatable pools with about three inches of water and set the young'uns in there to splash a bit and enjoy the sunshine. (She was probably about 8 months old.) I even left work and took my camera to the day care to witness, and record, the event. What I got were priceless pics of her screaming her little pink head off, wearing a ridiculous baby bikini (I hadn't yet realized that it's best to buy swimsuits early in the season, if you're the least bit particular about what you get). Since then, she has been quite clingy to Mommy in the pool. It's only been the past three years or so that I've been able to talk her into being more interested in pool-type activities. Now, though, she's hit her stride. She loves 'lazy rivers,' and modest water slides (if they're straight, and uncovered -- nothing crazy, now!), and jumping in the pool doing 'cannonballs,' if I will catch her. This year, for the first time, she can touch the bottom of the pool in all parts of our local rec center, which is a serious plus and boost to her confidence. She officially loves going swimming.
And Maddie, oh Maddie -- you can imagine her glee. She gives not a second thought to slipping completely under the water, or crawling out of the pool and hurtling herself into our arms, fully confident that we will catch her. I'm not sure whether to be flattered, or horrified, at her utter trust that we won't let her fall.
There's a little circular slide in the shallowest part of the rec center pool where Maddie can truck around under her own power. She marches her sturdy little legs up those slide stairs and slides down, where we have to catch her because she goes too fast and can't stop at the bottom before going under, again and again and again. She cannot get enough.
The pool, as do many I've been to locally, takes a break at the top of every hour. I'm told it's in the hopes that the kids, if forced out of the pool for 10 minutes, will actually go use the facilities and "keep the 'p' out of our ool," as a sign I saw once said. I wish them luck with that fantasy, but it's a nice thought.
Try explaining this to a toddler, though. All that Maddie knows is, I'm dragging her away from the most fun she's ever had in her little life. And there doesn't seem to be the slightest reason. We're not leaving; we're still poolside, for goodness' sake. So, why can't she go charging back in? She wrestles herself to the ground, out of my grasp, but I still won't let her back into the water. I try to walk her around the perimeter, one eye on the clock to see how much longer I have to deal with my impatient toddler. Time goes soooooo slowly.
But, oh, the fun of going back in when our 10 minutes is up. We just earned ourselves 50 more minutes of fun!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

you know it's been a long time since your last post when ...

You can't remember the Web site on which you blog. :) Whoopsie!

We visited the 'free zoo' last weekend (not this past, but the one before that) -- we saw the doggies and the kitties and the birdies and the mousies and the things that are reptilian and the fishies. Even some that were called 'Mickey Mouse' fish because of the markings on their tails!
This particular free zoo is called PetSmart. I suppose in D.C. it's just called the National Zoo. But ours is called PetSmart.
Maddie loved the doggies. She was freaking out, but in a good way, when we stood on the other side of the glass, watching them play (they're not for sale, but there either for obedience class or doggie day care). Lizzy wanted to go in and play with them. But I said we weren't allowed.
Then Maddie cleaned the floor some by crawling around a lot. That girl can scoot! And she is not afraid of much. Except for being torn away from Mommy or Daddy. That's about the only thing that makes her cry. Except for going 'bounce bounce SPLAT' at the bottom of the stairs. But we try not to let that happen more often than once a week or so.
We saw two wee kitties that particularly caught our eye. They were brothers, and really cute. One was a whitish yellow tabby, and one was a gray/black tabby. Matt said we could perhaps adopt them if we allowed him to name them after (cartoon) ninjas. But when I said okay, he changed his mind.

Lizzy had a birthday party this past Saturday. On the way home, she said, "Mommy, why don't WE have a pet? (the people hosting the party have a 120-pound pony -- er, golden retriever). We must be the only family that doesn't have a pet."
"I don't know, honey," I said. "I wish we had a pet, too. But at least we have Maddie!"
That answer doesn't seem to satisfy Lizzy.

In all seriousness, though, little Maddie reminds me sooo much of having a puppy. I even call her 'puppy' sometimes. She smells better than a puppy, though, I think.
She has a little dish that we put food in and put on the ground (sometimes -- hey! We can't hold her ALL the time, and I'm just talking about dry snacks, not dinner or anything), and she started yesterday kind of falling forward and putting her face into it to eat.

Perhaps it's time to find a different term of endearment for her.

Friday, July 31, 2009

opinions, please.

Okay -- so, sales parties have been, and are, pretty popular these days.
I'm fine with that. They're a fun excuse to get together, and sometimes we even want/need the products involved.
But what do you do if a friend invites you to one that you aren't really all that interested in? I guess the obvious answer is 'politely decline.' Oops. I should've done so, I suppose. But even that feels a little rude, if I have no other reason not to go.
My real question -- is it rude, at this point, to go anyway, if I'm not really intending to buy much, if anything at all? And God forbid I be persuaded/browbeaten (by the visiting sales person, not my friend, I hasten to say in this hypothetical assumption) to get more. We really can't afford it, and we don't strictly need (or even want more of, particularly) this product.
I like this friend -- I'd like to show support for her, and I'm happy to hang out with her in this girly-type fashion for a couple of hours -- but I'm feeling guilty, as if by accepting the invitation and showing up, I'm tacitly suggesting I'm going to shovel some money her/their way. Is it taking some sort of advantage to go to the party and buy very little? Especially at this point, when I've said, 'yeah, send me an invitation'?
What say you, friends? How do you handle this?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

quick blast

I was reminiscing on the way to work this morning about how, this time last year, I stepped out of the shower, sneezed, and realized that my water had just broken and we were ready for ACTION!

And now, here we are, a year later, Mickey Mouse cake pan ready for use (black frosting, though? Someone wasn't thinking through that very well. Oops) this weekend, big girl who took her first few steps last week and insists on practicing and growing, big sis who is really excited about her sister's first birthday, etc., etc. Don't tell Maddie, but we got her a couple of Mickey (and Pluto) stuffed animals for her b-day, and Grandma Connie bought her the coolest pair of shoes EVER -- first big-girl pair! They're pink and sparkly and really flexible and, gulp, really expensive. Thanks, Gma Connie! -- and Grandma and Grandpa Williams sent some beautiful clothes (I assume -- they're still wrapped), and I also picked up yet another Baby Einstein video for Maddie last night at Target (the packaging says all over it, 'intended to be watched WITH your baby' -- har! So, it's NOT just baby crack, for when you're trying to load the dishwasher in peace?), and we're going to bake some cupcakes for her 'class' for tomorrow (though almost none of them is old enough for solid food. Eh, whatever -- the teachers will enjoy it). I'm especially amused by how the Mickey and Pluto have been sitting in our front hallway all week, undisturbed by Maddie.
All in all, we'll enjoy our little girl's special first birthday. I can't believe it's here, and I wish it weren't, but it is, so ... we'll do our best.

Coming soon: Stories from the 'gee, now it's time to wean. I wonder how that's done?' zone...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

officially losing my baby

Well ... a week from tomorrow, Maddie turns 1.
Oops, sorry ... okay, I've composed myself again. Mostly.
To add insult to injury ... the lady at day care told me yesterday -- the one who is apparently like a second mother to Maddie, she loves her that much -- that Maddie took a step on Tuesday, and two steps yesterday. As a friend said to me today in consolation, though -- these milestones don't really happen until you SEE them happen! (sniff) (thank you, Liz.) ;)

This child ... is so adorable, and so huge, and such a big eater, and just all that is precious and joy-inducing. I love her so much. I have to say, I have truly enjoyed just about every baby-type bit of the past year. I would even do it again, if I could. (with Maddie. Not with a fresh baby. Too risky! I might not get a nice little mellow one that time.)

We just couldn't love her more.

I can't believe, when Lizzy was this age, I got her only half the time that I now get Maddie. Matt and I were apart, and passing her back and forth. How miserable THAT was. I am so grateful that things are so very, very different this time around.

Monday, July 06, 2009


They're so cute! Here they all are during our recent visit to Spokane:

If I were more on the ball, I'd include other photos that I actually took, and perhaps some commentary on the trip, even!, ... but I'm afraid I had only enough will and way to spread them to Facebook, and no farther. Alas.

And one more cousin to come! For the first time, my brother and sis-in-law have let on that it's a girl before the baby's born. So -- eight girl cousins here pretty soon! We love girls. (good thing.) :)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

for pop-pop

Matt's dad sent us a package for Lizzy a few days ago -- some really cute outfits from the Philippines.

Since he's so far away, and the blog is often the best way to impart visual informaton, we'd like to post some photos for him of Lizzy in her new tropical finery.

Monday, June 01, 2009

penny for your thoughts

You know those moments when you or your significant other does something, and the other person reacts strongly, and you think, "Hold on, now -- am I nuts, or is he?"

We had one of those moments this weekend. I would love to know what others' reactions are to this scenario.

It's pretty basic, and we've all been there -- you see a penny on the floor. Or perhaps you drop a penny, though that's slightly different, so let's stick with, you find a penny on the floor.

Do you pick it up, or do you let it sit there?
There are variables, of course. Is the floor in your own home, or is it on some nice clean carpet in your office, or is it on the floor of a bathroom (eww), or some other sticky, high-traffic area (a sidewalk, a gutter, a coffee shop)? These might be determining factors.

All I can say is, the specific scenario I was in occurred at home, in our kitchen. We were cleaning the house for a church meeting there the next day.

I saw a penny on the kitchen floor, and I pitched it in the trash. I might've put it on the counter to be dealt with later, but it was kind of gooped up -- had some gross sticky stuff on it, the way coins do sometimes. So, I pitched it.

There's some backstory here with my husband commenting previously on 'people who throw money away' -- and he did mean literally -- but I guess at the time I didn't think he meant mere pennies. I mean, who cares that deeply about A (singular) penny?

So I thought to ask him. I baited him with something like, 'are you gonna get on my back about throwing a penny away just now? It IS money.'

He looked horrified, and stricken. 'DID you???' he said. He then dug around in the trash until he found it, and stuck it in his pocket. To be forgotten about and washed sometime this coming week, no doubt.

I dunno. I find that odd. I mean, is it worth my time to pick up a penny -- a mere penny! -- and walk over to my wallet and put it in? Especially if it's goopy?

He's got change sitting around all over the place, as well. Is it really going to ever get taken somewhere and turned in for 'usable' money? To be determined.

I do use pennies. I do keep a few in the coin area of my wallet. It's quite satisfying to pull out exact change now and then, after all.

I think my time in Germany affected me in this way, a bit. The military has deemed it not monetarily sensible to ship pennies overseas, so on base, they round up or down to the nearest nickel during transactions. I LOVED that. I'm so on board with the folks who want to do away with pennies. Let's do away with dollar bills, while we're at it, and go to dollar coins. (I know we have them, but no one uses them ...) I'm all for that.

So. What do you think? Am I insanely wasteful and unappreciative? Or is Matt just a touch psycho here?
Go ahead and cast your vote. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

parental mistakes, part (however many)

I had a horrifying realization yesterday.
We've got our one trip of the year coming up next month -- my cousin is getting married in the Houston area, and I had the brilliant idea of talking those heading up the 20-year high school reunion into tacking it onto the next weekend. Two vacations in one! So we'll be gone for 10 days in mid-June. Anyhow, it will be fun, and Lizzy is looking forward with great anticipation to seeing her cousins again for two or three days. I think we could probably leave her behind, and she’d be fine with that, except for missing her sister.
So yesterday. I’m sitting down with my calendar, trying to figure out the two-parents-working nightmare of what to do with one’s school-aged children over the summer, when I realize: I am pulling Lizzy out of the last six days of her first grade school year.
I had no idea they’d still be full steam ahead in the third week of June. Really? Really??
And then they’re not starting up school again until the second week of September. Which, if you ask me, is how it should be, but I was working on the assumption it was to be the tail end of August, as it seems to fall typically. There's two weeks where her whereabouts will be unaccounted for. I've been warned by other working parents that this happens at the end of every summer -- the school-sponsored summer program ends two weeks before school begins. Hoo boy.
I’ve just been feeling not up to the task recently. Things have been falling through the ever-larger cracks in my brain with frightening regularity. Last week, I had to leave work early to get Maddie because, the night before, I’d forgotten to put the milk I expressed at work into the fridge. Yes – I remembered to take the pump to work (check!), with bottles in the container (check!), took the breaks at work (check!), remembered to bring the pump/milk home from work (check!), brought it in from the car (check!), and LEFT IT ON THE COUNTER to go bad overnight. But, lo and behold, Maddie did make it through the day, mostly by compensating by eating ever-larger amounts of ‘grown-people food’ – they feed her WELL at that day care! Pancakes, Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes, etc. – and after I picked the girls up, we ran into our neighbors on the way home, who invited us for a fun bike ride. So all turned out well, aside from me once again losing yet more stock with the good people I work with who must think me mentally challenged at that point. (and my point here is, I don’t think they’d be far wrong.)
I just almost don’t trust myself any more. This weekend, we had a complex ‘birthday party for one hour, then leave for soccer game’ schedule worked out, and I remembered all elements necessary (stuff for baby, drinks and snacks for Lizzy, birthday present wrapped, etc., swimsuit, soccer gear) EXCEPT for shinguards. Which I am told by those who play soccer, one should not be without. So we just skipped the soccer game, which was probably just as well, but I felt awful about.
Life with a full-time job and kids is just too much, too much, too much. I know I am among millions of other parents in this same boat. But I still reserve the right to whine about it. :)
Tomorrow morn will mark another attempt to get up at 5 a.m. to register Lizzy for a Fairfax County swim class on Saturday morning for the summer. (which, by the way, she’ll miss the first class of due to my reunion in Washington state.) Then I will get myself and girls ready, drop off Lizzy, and take Maddie to the doc for confirmation of suspected ear infection, and medicine. Here’s hoping I remember all the stuff I need.
Who remembers way back when this blog used to be fun to read? (show of hands) Again, my memory’s foggy, but I seem to recall that it once was.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Folks, it's that time once again -- Tent Caterpillar Season.
Last year, Lizzy had a blast collecting 'pillars with friends in the neighborhood. She's really excited that the wee guys are back!

We have a tree on the side of our house that we're not wild about -- if it was even planted intentionally, it's outgrown its aesthetic quality, and is just rather tall and weird-looking. Our friendly neighborhood arborist told us what it was a few days ago, and I already have forgotten -- some sort of cherry, I think? In any case, the caterpillars are wild about it. They have set up their little tents all over that tree, and right now the tents are a mass of squirming little fuzzy dudes. It's actually kind of gross. I've very little understanding of the tent caterpillar life cycle, so I'm not sure what they're doing. Not quite big enough to leave the, er, hive yet? We've seen a few that have ventured beyond the tree, but not many. Any day now, though.

Two evenings ago, we managed to find two adventuresome individuals, and Lizzy excitedly had me stick them in her insect keeper thingie that we got her last year. She named them Friday (her 'favorite day of the week') and Chuck ('a cool guy's name'). We swapped out the first Friday and Chuck for a second Friday and Chuck last night so that they wouldn't die during their stay in our house. Or that was the idea.

It's so weird how the driveway/house exterior/fence/etc. is crawling with them for a couple of weeks, and then ... they go away. Where, I'm not sure. But now I know that they're certain to come back next year. Er, unless we do get rid of that tree.

The other thing Lizzy is longing to collect this week are 'kooky pens.' It's the sudden rage of her classroom. They're these stubby little pens that I've seen sold at Borders for four bucks apiece (I now see online that they're everywhere -- who knew) that have a clip -- her classmates clip them onto their belt buckle loops -- and rubbery fuzzy hair and individual names on the back. She borrowed one called 'Romeo' from a friend last night. If I don't come home with a kooky pen tonight, I'm not sure I'll be allowed in the door, as far as she's concerned.