Super Hero Night!

We love our local Chick-Fil-A.
They always have something fun going on.
Last week they had super hero night.
My girls and I spent the afternoon cutting up an old sheet to make capes and masks.
Then when we got there they had free face painting.
It was basically awesome.
Olivia wanted a rainbow mask.
And so of course Abigail also wanted a rainbow.

Oh hai Jody in the background! What up girl?

See the silver "necklace" under her cape? It's just some random string she found, but it looks like my Vintage Pearl necklace that I wear all the time... and so she wears this all the time. It makes me smile.

Please ignore the overflowing closet behind her!

In unrelated news -- I was talking to Nanny (what I call my maternal grandmother) on the phone Friday night at 9:00PM. Know what she was doing? Vacuuming under her mattress, and under her bed. There is no room to put the mattress, and she can't lift it all the way up so she rests it on her back. She told me she looked like a cavewoman, hunched over with the mattress on her back. Did I mention, she's 80?! Does this mental picture make anyone else crack up? I am young and able -- and I have never, not once, ever vacuumed the space between my mattress and box spring. When I told her so, she couldn't believe it. It's probably a good thing she lives 450 miles away, because I think if she saw my laundry room right now she would literally fall over. I hope this doesn't sound like I am mocking her. There is no one I respect more than Nanny. I wish somehow mattress vacuuming was genetic, and that I somehow got the gene, but I did not. Instead, I have to try to just follow her example, and do my best. Truth be told, I am a horrible housekeeper. It's a daily struggle. I pretty much wait until everything is so horrible I can't stand it any more, and then I clean like a maniac for a day or two. And I swear, this time I am going to stay on top of it. I will never let it get super messy again!.... and then it does. And I don't have energy to clean it... until it gets so bad I can't stand it anymore so I clean like a maniac... and this cycle repeats. Today is a clean like a maniac day - as Mondays usually are. Something about weekends... Anyway, today when I get too tired to finish cleaning, I will think of my 80 year old grandmother vacuuming her mattress and it will give me the motivation to keep going.



My kids help me cook dinner almost every night. Last night we had baked potatoes. Olivia washed the potatoes, wrapped them in foil, pushed the buttons on the stove, and even put the potatoes in the oven. She frequently stirs pots, adds ingredients, and recently has even helped chop vegetables (highly supervised!).

I know a lot of people would gasp at letting a 4 year old touch the stove. Or a knife. But really she's quite capable. She is learning. And yes there have been a few burns, and cuts along the way, but I think she's the wiser for them.

My goal is to have her completely cooking dinner by the time she's 7.

Kidding, kidding. But seriously, I love our time cooking together. I like to think we're creating memories. And a love for cooking. And building confidence.

.....and now this lovely blog is interrupted by Olivia yelling, "MOM! Abigail just poured her own milk and spilled it!"

... perhaps I've created a little too much confidence.


crazy momma.

This morning I fell asleep (yes, this morning. It was about 4:00am) with the comforting that thought that in the morning I would go check into the psych ward of our local hospital. I am not kidding you, that this thought brought me comfort and peace. I was literally at the point of thinking that maybe I could go in there, and tell them to commit me for 48 hours or something -- and maybe then I would get 8 hours of sleep. And when I woke up maybe no one would be whining at me for something. And I could just sit and think. Alone. But then I started thinking about movies I've seen with psych wards... and those movies scare me. And then I couldn't really fall asleep. So then I thought about going to the police station and confessing to some random crime, and seeing if they would put me into solitary confinement for a few hours - at least 10. What kind of crime has that punishment? 10 hours of solitary confinement is exactly what I need right now.

Yes - I am crazy right now. And yes - it has a lot to do with my last post about bye-bye binkies. And yes it has a lot to do with the fact that I've become the little old woman who lives in a shoe (ya know the one with too many children she didn't know what to do...). I used to think that poem was so mean. It made me sad to think about her "whipping them all soundly and sending them to bed". Now it sounds about right.

When I was in college my roommates got me a doll. Little Walby. Because I wanted a baby in the worst way. I had these idealistic images of motherhood. I longed for the days I would hear little people call me "mama". I used to walk the baby aisles of super stores and just smell the sweet smell of baby lotion. At church I was always looking for a baby to hold. I made a majority of my income from babysitting. This was all before I was married! Once I was married the desire for children was SO intense I spent many nights crying because my dream wasn't yet fulfilled.

And here it is. 7 years later... 1:05pm... I am in pajamas. I can smell the pile of dirty laundry next to me, that I've been putting off getting done for officially over a week now.  I hear the pitter-patter of little feet that should be sleeping. By my feet are baby toys, and a dirty diaper that hasn't found its way to the trash can yet. I haven't slept for 8 straight hours since the middle of my pregnancy with my now 4 month old son. The same son who I love to pieces - but have never been away from for more than 3 hours since his conception. Those dreams of motherhood seem so... naive now.

But I imagine this is how a lot of people feel when they realize they are living their dream. Like - really... this is what I was longing for so badly?? And at moments it can seem like maybe this isn't what I wanted after all. But those are just moments. What matters are the moments at the end of the day when I realize, Wow I am living my dream. And it is incredible. I am shaping these little people. Helping them find their way. Taking care of them. Loving them. And they love me. Oh boy do they love me. So unconditionally. They teach me more than I ever could have learned in any other way. As hard as the days can be... and the nights... it really is all worth it.

And for those of you worried about me - I got a good 4 hours of sleep after imagining solitary confinement. I woke up ready to face the day -- and not drive myself to the mental hospital or prison. And tonight Aaron has promised me 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I am going to sleep in our playroom at 9:00pm and no one will wake up me up until at least 6:00am. I am giddy at the thought of this.


Bye-Bye Binky

It's been a rough day. For Abigail anyway. If you know Abigail, you know she has an undying love for her binkies. All of them. Most nights she goes to sleep with no less than 3. Abigail came to our little family sooner than I ever expected to have another child. She was born into a lot of chaos, run mainly by a high maintenance older sister. Many times I was so busy taking care of that high maintenance sister, that Abigail was left in a bouncy chair, crib, the floor, anywhere really, with her binky. She never grew attached to any blankets or toys, but oh boy did she love that binky. She's always gone right to sleep, at night, in the middle of the day, whenever I put her in any bed at all... as long as she had her binky. Long car rides are a breeze - as long as Abigail doesn't lose her binky. So getting to the rough day part... this morning Abigail woke up like any other day. She had her precious binky in her mouth, and we read some books. But then she couldn't find her binky. She had a major meltdown. She put it down somewhere and couldn't find it, and she just flipped.
      Now see, the binky and I have had a love-hate relationship. I love the way it calms her - I hate having to find them a million times a day. We tried letting her have it only in her bed. But that got too difficult since she's no longer in a crib. She would constantly sneak binkies out of her room. And then lose them. And then come bed time or nap time I became a frantic lunatic trying to find binkies. After the meltdown this morning, I had just had enough. We need less things to throw fits about around here. So I told Aaron, "I think this is it. I am DONE with binkies." I am sure Aaron didn't believe a word of it, since I have probably said that 100 times in the past six months. And really when I said it, I wasn't sure I believed myself. But I thought about an idea I had heard from someone somewhere. They told me that they took their child to the store and let them pick out a toy, and then to pay for the toy the child gives the cashier the pacifier. And that's it. No more pacifiers ever.
     I told this clever idea to Abigail. I asked her if she'd like to go buy a new toy with her binky. I was expecting a big fat no, but was pleasantly surprised that she agreed. I emphasized the fact that this was it. No more binkies, ever. I think we said it enough that she really got it. So we got to the store and she picked out a Webkinz lion toy and a Dora book. I let her pick two since... well did you read my first paragraph about this girl's love affair with rubber and plastic?! She happily handed over the binky to the cashier. The whole way home she talked about how she was a big girl like Olivia now. And not a baby like Nathan. I was really impressed that she really seemed to get it.
        Well then came nap time. I talked a lot about how she wouldn't have any more binkies. And she was still okay. She hopped right into her bed and said, "No more binkies, Mama! Night night!"
        If only the story could end right there.
        I couldn't believe it was that easy. But I hoped. So I went downstairs and started cleaning and entertaining Olivia when I started to hear some quiet sobbing. That progressively got louder. I went into Abigail and she was just sobbing into her pillow. I scooped her up and put her on my lap on the rocking chair. She didn't say anything, just cried. I stroked her hair and told her it was okay. She pulled her little body away from me, and looked up at me with tear filled eyes and said between sobs, "Mommy... I want... my... binkyyyyyyy."
      My heart broke. I wanted to run and search to the ends of the earth to find her a binky. But I didn't want to teach her to set a goal and then give up the moment it gets hard. I wanted her to learn she could do hard things. And I wanted her to know I knew it was hard. I shed a few tears myself as I stroked her hair and told her that I knew she wanted her binky. I told her she could do it. I told her she could do hard things. I reminded her of yesterday, and how she climbed this really high rock wall all by herself. How scary and hard it was at first. But then she did it. I told her that falling asleep without her binky was just like climbing up that rock wall the first time. It is hard. But she can do hard things.
      So she never took a nap. She had quiet time for an hour, but never fell asleep. I was okay with that. And I hoped it would mean an easier bed time tonight.
       We took the kids to the park tonight. Back to the rock wall. Abigail proudly told a friend that we saw there, "I can do hard things!". It made my heart do a little happy dance. She knew she could do something hard. I had been wondering if maybe she was too young to learn this lesson. Maybe I should just make life easier for everyone and give her the darn binky. But what message does that teach her? Life isn't easy. And she can do hard things. I felt like her exclaiming this at the park was confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
        Again tonight she was okay going to bed. It was a few minutes later that she started to cry. She didn't even ask for her binky, she cried and told me that she missed it. I reminded her again that she could do hard things. She wiped her tears and nodded. I stroked her hair and prayed with her that she would feel comforted. I sang her a few songs. She asked to wear my necklace. I gave it to her, along with a million kisses.
        And then it was quiet. She fell asleep. Without her binky. My baby girl can do hard things. And she knows it. By letting her overcome this trial I am teaching her how strong she is. I am giving her confidence that no one will ever be able to take away. Not by telling her how amazing she is. But by letting her experience something hard. Right now it's a binky. In a few years it may be mean words from friends, and a few years from then maybe a broken heart from some stupid guy. Hopefully the message she will continue to learn is that she can do hard things.

Finding time

It's been hard to find time to blog lately. I'm sure you can believe it with three kids, the youngest becoming more demanding and active every day. Every time I sit down at the computer my children begin to climb all over me and beg to watch videos on Youtube, or they turn into destructive little beasts tearing through the house destroying everything in their paths.

We spent a week in NJ. We were there for Easter. Aaron drove me halfway, where we met my mom, and then he drove home. So it was me and the kiddo's on our own in the Garden State. But not really on our at all. My mom was able to take a couple of days off work, and my dad had a day off as well, and my grandmother was almost always there willing to hold a baby or two, and my aunts were also on Spring break and able to help. Seriously, it's been a rough adjustment getting back into the swing of things around here. The first Monday we were home, I realized Aaron had to leave and I was going to be alone, ALL alone, with three kids! How did I do it before?? It seriously seemed so overwhelming and hard. But we survived. And each day has gotten a little easier. My kids had a serious Nan and Pop hangover that has finally seemed to go away.

And we're (well I'm) already trying to convince Aaron that a trip back in two weeks isn't all that crazy. Who doesn't travel 1800 miles in less than a month? But soon we will be moving back to AZ, and so I want to get as much NJ time as possible before we go. We've always made it a priority to visit my family as often as we can, and we will continue to do that. But traveling seems to get exponentially harder with each child we add to this little family. Plus - Aaron's break from school overlaps the limited-time-running, Newsies on Broadway. Anyone else think that's fate?

Alright well I hid down here in the playroom for 17 minutes to write this post... I can only imagine the destruction I am going to find waiting for me upstairs.


I can always count on Olivia for a laugh.

Last week I bought the pre-sliced, individually wrapped slices of American cheese for the first time in Olivia's life. Having never seen anything like it before, she was a bit skeptical. I told her it was just the same, American cheese she was used to. She said okay and gobbled up a slice. Then she said,  
"Mmmmmm!! This tastes just like America!"


Feeling better.

I'm not quite as grumpy as I was for my last post. But still haven't found that happy place ... I think I will find it once I can close my eyes and not open them again for 6 hours. Srsly. It's been too long.

Or maybe when my house figures out how to clean itself. That might cheer me up a bit.

Or maybe I should just tell you about my horrific dental experience?

So I'm petrified of the dentist. Always have been. Don't know why. But even at the age of 8 my mom had to give me liquid Valium just to get me out the door. So now as an adult I avoid the place as much as possible. But the time came where I just can't avoid it anymore. I need to get my wisdom teeth out. So I had to start with a check up. Honestly just scheduling the appointment inflicted me with digestive issues. So you can imagine how actually driving myself and walking into the dentist's office effected me. I was pretty much a wreck. I told the receptionist about my anxiety. I told the hygienist. She spoke rather coldly and told me it was just a cleaning and there was no reason to be stressed about it. Not in a comforting way, but more in an annoyed kind of way. Anyway my legs were shaking the entire time, and I could not stop the tears from streaming out of the corners of my eyes and pooling in my ears (due to being reclined). It was also one of the most painful cleanings I've ever experienced. And she lectured me about flossing and regular dental visits pretty much the entire time. Then the dentist came in. I asked what he was going to be doing, and told him I had some anxiety. By this point I was no longer crying, but still shaking a little. He looked at me and told me flat out, "We can not handle your level of anxiety in this office. You're going to have to go a sedation dentist for your fillings. Good luck finding that with your insurance."  I was kind of flabbergasted. My level of anxiety?! Dude, you haven't seen anything. Talk to the three other dentists who have witnessed me vomiting, kicking, punching, and having full blown panic attacks. I honestly thought I had handled myself fairly well. Apparently not! And the good luck finding that with my insurance?! How rude. Yes we have crappy state health insurance while Aaron is in school. We are not moochers, or liars, or lazy scum of the earth type people, this guy was treating me like. Ugh, it was awful. Then he walked me up to the receptionist and told her not to schedule me for any future visits. I was so shocked! He never even talked to me about the cavities I apparently have, but did give me the referral for my wisdom teeth. So now I just need to find the courage to do that. Someone tell me how it's not so bad to get them out. Tell me how it's relaxing.Or something, anything! They have been getting infected a lot lately, and I know they need to come out. But living with a lifetime of infection honestly sounds better than having someone dig four teeth out of my skull.

... this didn't help with my grumpiness. Oohh well. Oh by the way I lost another EL BEE so I'm down 15. I'm really excited, even though I'm not even close to winning the contest.