Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Now that I've laced this post with all sorts of disclaimers, I bet you're totally ready to just dive in and make this non-traditional/could-possibly-pass-for-traditional coffee cake! Really, though, it's pretty tasty.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I did the FlyLady thing for awhile and I did find that my efficiency and productivity increased when I "dressed to the shoes," as suggested. It perked up my attitude too. That whole, "If you look good, you feel good," thing.
So, feeling in a rut lately, mentally and domestically, I decided we would all start getting dressed before going downstairs to breakfast. Here's a little shared dialogue from the other morning:
Me: "Let's get dressed."
Roo: "Where are we going?" [Reason #1 that we usually get dressed]
Me: "Going? We're not going anywhere today."
Roo: "Who is coming to visit us?" [Reason #2 that we usually get dressed]
Me: "We're not going anywhere and no one is coming to visit today. I just think we should get dressed."
Roo: "Yay! I love getting dressed!" [she yelled as she ran off toward her closet]
Hmm...she's sure easy to please, isn't she? The fact that getting dressed is such a novelty around here is a bit concerning. We'll have to work on that.
Wait until she sees Mama taking it a step further tomorrow (which will be: brushing my hair and putting on a wee bit of makeup) ---- she'll think somebody really impressive, like the Pope or the Queen, is paying us a visit (of course, a "really impressive" guest to a 4 year old would probably be Curious George or Thomas the train, not the Queen or the Pope).
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Rascal was happy to sit in the box and kick and squirm, slip and slide around on his bottom. The look of sheer joy on his face was indescribable. He's not one of those toddlers that will sit and stay with one activity for any length of time, so I was amazed that this kept him occupied for so long.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We were delighted to get a couple of packages delivered from distant relatives, for Roo's and Rascal's birthdays. My great-aunt sent a handmade quilt for Rascal in various blues and creams (so soft and scrumptious) and a horse-themed backpack for Roo (also made by hand--she's so talented!).
A day spent in pajamas and playing was part of my plan, "Operation: Fun Mommy." Too many times on too many days, I say "no" more than "yes." I am actively striving to change that. Usually I put the kibosh on the fun because I'm anticipating the mess, or the time to set up/take down the mess, worried the fun will end in tears, or I'm behind on all things domestic (meals, cleaning) and need to put my energy there instead of indulging in what my children consider fun.
Now, I'm not so delusional that I expect to be in fun mode every moment of every day. That's not realistic. I think it's important for the children to see me doing my "work." Cooking meals, cleaning house, folding laundry: these are the things that seem mundane or rudimentary, but are actually the cogwheels of a smooth-running home. A smooth-running home is key to feeling secure and cared for and enjoying time with one another. A hot meal to fill their tummies is one way of saying "I love you." Clean sheets on their beds is another way.
But despite the importance of work, room must be made for fun. A while back, one of my "Something to Think About" quotes was this one: "There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million." So, I guess you could say that our day of "anything goes" yesterday was my attempt to see the seven million. ;)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
"On the night before my birthday, the birthday fairy will fly around looking for letters. She will flutter through my window and swoop down over my head. Girl fairies visit birthday girls and boy fairies visit birthday boys. They don't use sleighs, just Santa uses a sleigh. Fairies have wings so they don't need to borrow Santa's sleigh.
So, after starting her morning off with a balloon bouquet above her bed, Roo rose to start her special day: breakfast and snacks of her choosing; a visit from Grandma; making bug soap while wearing her new bug shirt, naturally! Also on tap: opening presents (some for her, some belated gifts for Rascal), helping Grandma in the kitchen: making and eating birthday cupcakes, reading new books, getting special deliveries from near and far -- complete with "Happy Birthday" wishes and drawings on the outside of the packages.
While feeding Rascal in bed, I was hoping my birthday girl would stay awake until I was finished. But, after the day's excitement, she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. So, after Rascal drank himself into a little milk coma (thankfully! he's teething horribly and suffering so), I tiptoed over to Roo's bedside. She was hugging her new doll and was snuggled so peacefully under her quilt. I glanced at the clock and noticed it was 6:57 pm. Exactly 10 minutes (plus 4 years) past her "birth." I climbed into her bed, wrapped my arms around her, and I was transported back 4 years earlier: to when I held this brand-new life in my arms, stroking her velvet-soft cheeks and downy hair. Now here I was, 4 years later, my arms still wrapped around her and stroking those same cheeks and hair--still so velvety-soft. Waves of emotion swept over me. I said a little birthday prayer:
God to bless this precious life before me. Keep her safe, happy, healthy. Help her to keep You front and center in all that she does. May she fearlessly chase her dreams and embrace life fully. Lord, guide her steps and help her become the person You created her to be. Please, may I be blessed to learn and grow alongside her.
After I prayed over her, my eyes welled with tears. Motherhood has been the most heart-expanding, soul-stirring, fulfilling, and challenging metamorphosis I've ever undergone. I'm thankful. I'm grateful. It's good to be Mom. Definitely the role of a lifetime.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I was pretty nervous about the chocolate scrollwork for the headboard and footboard, but using cocoa melting candies instead of just melted chocolate chips really made it more sturdy. Although, I did resemble one of those chefs on the Food Network Challenge shows (you know the ones that make those fragile, elaborate cakes that run about 5 feet high?) when I carried the cake from the refrigerator to the table, as the crowd assembled to ooh and ahh and keep the path clear of any obstacles.
In the end, I had one very surprised girl (it wasn't easy working on my confectionery masterpiece without her seeing it -- I told her she mustn't see it beforehand). It's important to keep the birthday cake a surprise, I think. So, she cutely covered her eyes with one hand while feeling around blindly with the other, every time she passed through the kitchen -- which happened often because, as I mentioned, this cake took me 8 hours over the course of 2 days to finish. Totally worth it. Thank goodness for video cameras, because I didn't get to see the look on her face when I brought it into the room. I was too busy trying to sing "Happy Birthday" and not drop the towering inferno onto the carpet (no one else wanted the responsibility of carrying it, lest if fall apart from point A to point B).
Roo's real birthday is this week, and we will celebrate with just the four of us on that day. I will be making a second cake for this second party. No, I'm not crazy enough to try to pull off another themed cake. In fact, cupcakes are sounding pretty good (and easy!).
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We celebrated Rascal's first birthday on the heels of returning from our trip. (Note to self: Don't plan on returning from vacation the night before hosting a big party -- especially if you haven't baked and decorated the cake yet, shopped for party food/decorations, or wrapped any presents. Yeah, not sure where my head was on that one).
Despite my lack of pre-planning and a very, very late night of birthday party prep-work, it was a fun day filled with balloons, laughs, family, and the excitement that swirls around children and birthdays. We went with a robot theme, mostly because Roo really likes robots, and Rascal is too young to care. Roo was more than happy to help Rascal open his presents, and play with them for him too.
The robot cake, which Roo helped me decorate. You think you know what a robot looks like until you try to make a cake that resembles one!
Unfortunately, Rascal did spend a good part of his birthday feeling under the weather. He was feverish and congested at the start of the party. By party's end, he was flushed, glassy-eyed, and a limp ragdoll in my arms. Poor guy.
Rascal just doesn't have the attention span for reading books that his sister has (and had, even at less than 1 year of age, she could sit and listen to me read until my voice was hoarse). The fact that he sat completely still and we shared a tender moment reading together confirmed what I had already suspected: he was sick, sick, sick. For the first time in history, he didn't even attempt to grab at the pages or close the book prematurely. And, sure enough, he got sick, sick, sick just shortly after I put him to bed. Literally. All over the sheets, comforter, and floor. Ugh. Not a good way to end his birthday. Fortunately, as my husband said, "At least he won't remember it."
On to some of the "loot":
We have two other books by her, "Katy and the Big Snow" and "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel," which are regular reads around here.
Wooden fire truck from A Toy Garden
(yes, that is the crown I so lovingly and painstakingly sewed for him, tossed aside in the background)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
We were determined not to be deterred by the rain! We drove along the winding roads, always on the lookout for moose--which we were told were everywhere. I really wanted to see a moose up close and personal, so as to snap a picture. But no luck.