Friday, December 26, 2008

A different kind of angel

The angel I married.

Did this.

So The Boy could do this.

Thanks Daddy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy, Merry Everything!

From our little monkeys to you.

And yes, it snowed again today. Praying for melting.....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two Thousand Eight

also known as The Year the Snowstorm Caused a Little More Drama Than Usual.

So far, we have survived. Barely. If more snow arrives, we can't promise how Mommy will do.

Bitty Girl asked, "Mommy, what do you want for Christmas?"

Luckily, we had pictures taken before the snow arrived to make our lives difficult.

Thanks to Sara Montgomery, sister of my friend Kaia and talented photographer, for making us look better than we usually do!

Whew! We took one by the tree in case we don't make it for a Santa picture by tomorrow!
And look - they stood nicely together without arguing for approximately 5 seconds!

Someone cleans up well! (makes up for the World's Worst School Picture 2008)

She even managed to capture a real smile, which is elusive these days.

Bitty Girl didn't mind posing....

Especially if she had her favorite dolly.
We are sending lots of love and holiday wishes that you find much peace, laughter, and happiness in your lives in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hold the 's'

We have noticed that 2 yr olds tend to drop the beginning letter "s" from their words.

Bitty Girl's droppage has been a source of much entertainment around here.

"I need a _poon!"

"The Boy _pit on me!"

"I want _prinkles on my cupcake"

"The water _prayed on me"

"That is too _cary" (usually about one of her brother's movies or books)

"My _paghetti looks like a _pider"

"Santa going to put presents in my _tocking"

"I dizzy because I _pin around and around"

"I got a _ticker for going pee on the potty!"

"This ribbon is _parkly"

"Papa _teve pulled weeds with me"

"_top it, Lance!"

"I want to _pread the butter all. by. myself!"

"Twinkle, twinkle, little _tar!"

"At _chool (pronounced cool), teacher Crystal rub my back for nap"

And another random but darling one:

"I want to see Maggie's picture on the ___puter" (computer)

But by far the best one of the day... almost made me forget about the 5 day snowstorm...

Bitty Girl to me as she surveys the living room, trying to figure out the best baby doll napping placement:

"This needs to be a all baby place. Why you put all those toys here?"

(Said accusingly, as she points to her brother's twelve birthday gifts that are under the Christmas tree, for lack of a better place until we sort things out, post-Christmas carnage)

Me: "Where should I put them?"

Bitty G: "In the SAMILY room!"

Samily. A room for hugs. And toys. I should have known. Silly Mama.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trying to overcome my grinchiness

I am trying to be "one with the snow." To not be so grouchy. To focus on the family together time and the beautiful snowy world outside instead of the trapped feeling, the missed work, and the way my kids have morphed into the most annoying children ever.

But I'm struggling. I just want it to stop. I know we're lucky because we haven't lost power, because we are warm and safe and dry. I'm lucky because I have Pat home on vacation too, and am not stuck home by myself with abovementioned children.

Some lovely footage shot this morning...
The view out the front door. Right out the door, under the covered porch.

Walkway? What walkway?

The area formerly known as a driveway, and way in the distance, frozen lumps formerly known as the garbage cans.

A snowy day in the forest... I mean, my front yard

Our covered patio. And by covered, I mean covered in SNOW

Sandbox, you say? Where? (see the lump?)

Crazy boys, including one wonderful, dedicated father who braved the 15-degree evening for some snow baseball

In the words of my sister from Pittsburgh to the cities in and around Seattle:
"It's called salt, people. Use it." I do not understand why we can't salt and plow better for just a few weeks. For the sanity of everyone involved.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I'll admit it. I'm a Snow Grouch.
I just don't like the snow.
It's not the snow itself, it's the disruption in my schedule, the being cold, and the trapped grouchy feeling. And this time, it's the fact that we already had snow and it's super cold and it's not going away anytime soon. I don't live in the Midwest for a reason.
I wish I loved it. I wish I felt peaceful and happy and could just curl up on the couch with a book and a blanket and some tea.
But I have kids. Kids who are just as sensitive as their mama to disruptions in their schedule. One kid who likes the idea of the snow, but who plays in the snow for less time than it takes to get her ready for going out in the snow.

And another kid who loves to play in the snow, go sledding, and never gets cold. Except he's bitter that the snow ruined his post-birthday dinner with his cousins.

At least someone is enjoying himself.

Until June, that is--when he has to make up the 3 snow days.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stone cold Bitty Girl

Yesterday I told Bitty Girl it was time to clean up her dolls in the living room.
See previous references to the group sleepovers that have been a regular occurrence--all of her dolls and stuffed animals, placed neatly face-down on various pillows and each covered with a blanket, COVERING my living room floor.

This is definitely from my side of the family--my sister and I had weekly "birthday" parties, where all the stuffed animals would be lined up on the couch.

Bitty examples:

Who me?
Naptime with the babies

Story time

Aerial view - Daddy says this reminds him of Jonestown

Her response to my request? "No, you clean them up."

I patiently explained that it was her job to clean them up, and if she didn't, the dolls would be put in "time-out" for today and she couldn't play with them.

She looks me right in the eye, 100% stone cold serious poker face, and says,

"I find them. I sneak."

SNEAK? A 2 year old? Who does she think she is? And where did she learn that word?
I stayed calm, masking my horrified giggles, and explained that she would not sneak and that I would help her clean them up. Before she had any dessert.
Mommy has to save her trump for the end.

2190 days=72 months=6 years old

To our 6 year old boy,

I really can't believe it. Six.
Maybe it's because it sounds like SIXTEEN, maybe it's the kindergarten thing, or just that you are so long and tall and grown-up these days.

Every year at this time, I find myself wanting to hold you and snuggle more than usual. When the Christmas decorations come out, and we pull out the Christmas tree snow globe that I got from Grandma and Papa while in the hospital with you, I can remember it all.

That crazy pre-Christmas of 2002, where nothing else really mattered and we got to bring home our best present ever on Christmas Day. That little tiny present who peed through a million outfits that first night, who squeaked and squealed and slept every minute you weren't eating for several weeks. Who we kept sequestered for months, avoiding the germs of flu season and other kids.

Today Daddy was talking to you about the day you were born, and I cried remembering that time between 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm when he was up in the NICU with you before I was cleared to go up and visit you. Those hours I didn't realize I had missed, and that don't really matter now, but they still make me cry thinking about it. And we realized how thankful we were--again--that your sister arrived on time, so that you didn't have to wait 11 days to see her, since they don't allow kids in the NICU.

You, thankfully, have had no problems related to your early arrival. Except the fact that your birthday falls eleven days before Christmas. And it's always crazy busy during that time, we have to schedule around holiday parties and the toy stores are sold out. You are tall and smart and healthy and funny--I think I called you a "delightful tornado" one year. You're still delightful, still a tornado.

Since your 5th birthday, you have played on your first t-ball team, broken your arm, gotten four stitches in your eyebrow (a week after your cast came off), played on your first soccer team, and started kindergarten. It's been a big year. You're this close to reading on your own, and I expect it will click any day. You know all the letters and sounds, but the part of actually sitting still long enough to carefully grip your pencil and focus on forming your letters is usually more than you're willing to tolerate for long. You tend to rush through things so you can be the first one done, the first one to do whatever comes next. You have a brain for numbers, like your Daddy, and can add and subtract numbers in your head, love to count everything, and enjoy number games. We even made an equation cake, with 3 + 3 = 6. Ok, so it was because we didn't have a #6 candle, but you still loved it.

School has been an easier transition than we expected, although I wouldn't call it easy. You are still exhausted from all-day kindergarten, but you have an amazing teacher and have made lots of new friends. You are happy at the new school, and we love being five minutes away. Knowing a few kids from soccer definitely helped your comfort level, and you know lots of kids from your class and older kids from recess and class buddies.

We're just experiencing what we've come to expect as the "annual wave of obnoxious" right before your birthday, so we have high hopes for January. Something about holidays and birthday all rolled into one season is a lot for anyone.

Your birthday party was waaaaaay too big and a bit overwhelming, especially for you. I know it's over and you had fun in the end, but I still feel responsible, like I should have predicted it. But I hope you felt celebrated. And by the way, we'll never do that again. Ever.

It may not snow for Christmas, but you had a white birthday. Two inches of snow.. not enough for sledding or snowmen, but enough for a pathetic Northwest snow angel-where-you-can-see-the-deck-poking-through or two..

Wheeeee! It's my birthday!

Angel #1

Angel #2

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's official.

I am officially insane. But I survived.
The Boy's birthday party was today, and we made it. It got slightly out of hand with the invite list and ended up being 12 boys plus The Birthday Boy. Amazingly, they were great.

An hour of bowling, then pizza and cake and some video games.

See? Insane.

No drama, you ask yourself? Of course we have drama. We ALWAYS have drama.

Mr. Competitive had a slight meltdown during the bowling when he realized he wasn't winning, made a few wild tosses. One of these tosses knocked the bumpers down (they put the bumpers out covering the gutters for the little bowlers) so he managed to throw the only gutterball of the afternoon. Oops. He also threw the ball up onto the bumper, so it rolled down his own private gutter.

But he recovered, and I think the other kids barely noticed. Then it was time to eat and he even survived the candles not blowing out on the first few blows. See the smile?

The secret star of the show? Bitty Girl. No interest in bowling, but she just played around the whole time, sat in one of the riding toy cars, and enjoyed a big piece of cake. Angel.
She was only sad when we got home and she realized none of the presents were for her. Waah.
The worst part about inviting 12 kids to a party? You guessed it. Twelve freakin' presents. And he's 6, so I can't exactly donate them all to Toys 4 Tots. But I can cut back what he is getting for Christmas and donate stuff he doesn't know about yet.
But Mama was amazingly calm, so we'll call the day a success, and never have that big of a party again. At least it wasn't at my house so I didn't have to clean up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Second time around

Since December 12 is a big day in Mama Drama Family history, I'm cringing with nervous anticipation. I think it's supposed to snow. Which would be nothing compared to some of our December 12ths in history.
See 2007 post for details...

But back to my mortification:

Last year I used these words to describe The Boy at 4:
At Nearly-Four, he was just beginning the transformation (to use one of his favorite action figure lines) into a full-fledged, marketed-by-Target-and-Toys-R-Us preschool boy!

Ummmm.. Today I overheard Madam 2 1/2 saying to herself, "Dear Santa, Please bring me some toys. I want a purple horse and some bath toys and a dolly." And every night at dinner, when we're saying grace and what we're thankful for, she says, "I thankful Christmas is coming!"

Transformation complete. 18 months ahead of schedule. Yikes.

It is frightening to see how much earlier younger siblings get the whole television, Halloween candy, Easter candy, Christmas presents, birthdays, toys stores, and treats at Starbucks thing.

On a good note, she also drank from an open cup earlier, can practically dress herself, plays alone for long periods of time, plays with Play-doh rather than eating it, waits patiently at times, doesn't mind if her choice isn't the chosen option, and--please Santa---will be potty trained before she's 3.

I tell myself that 2nd babies will be better adjusted people in the long run, more able to go with the flow, share and compromise, and stand up for themselves. That will help them combat the rotten teeth and early addictions to age-inappropriate cartoons.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good news and bad news

As an alternative to the daily kindergarten journal writing, The Boy's fabulous teacher gave them a news assignment. They picked Good News or Bad/Sad News and had to write two sentences and draw a picture about their story.

The good news is that he dashed off two sentences willingly, with just some help from me sounding out the words. If you've been following the drama around here, you know about the new love of football. (Pssst... I am very close to being off the hook for most of the sports discussions around here)

If you can't see the photo very well (sorry, dark kitchen..), I'll interpret
The Seahawks lost to the Patriots. Their quarterback was injured. That was bad news.
And yes, those are shoulder pads and face masks in the picture. Remember, there are lots of fun activities to do when you get done with your news story, so why spend the whole writing time on your picture??

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Birthday Tale

Today is my-ahem--27th or something like that--birthday. I've stopped counting.
(Note to younger sister: That makes you 25, please take note)

Picture if you will, an evening spent in the company of my lovely husband and beautiful children, phad thai noodles, holiday lights and music, handmade cards and gifts, and a family sweet enough to want to surprise me.

Sounds nice, doesn't it? It was nice, but not quite what you think.

I worked today, and planned to come home early enough for what I expected would be birthday dinner prepared by Grandma, as she often does on Wednesday evenings because she's an ANGEL who feeds her son's starving family.

Little did I know that darling husband had secretly plotted to cancel that dinner because he was going to sneak the kids downtown and sweep me away for a surprise birthday dinner. Except that kind of planning isn't easily done as a surprise. I have been known to ruin surprises, to drag them out of people kicking and screaming--it's not pretty.

So when I said I would come home early for dinner, he got nervous and had to tell me. So we planned for the kids to still think it would be a surprise. And we got realistic about the dinner idea. The kids know about the downtown holiday carousel and they know they ate at McDonald's before the carousel last year. So rather than struggle with tired, grouchy picky eaters who have been away from Mommy and Daddy all day, we gave in to the french fries.

So my lovely birthday did consist of a surprise visit downtown, handmade cards, and I did get Thai food from the food court at Westlake while the kids got McDonald's. We did see holiday lights and hear music while on the carousel. And no fits were thrown about McD's being out of the Madagascar toys and happily accepted the Hot Wheels car. Sometimes they amaze us.
Before you pronounce them perfect angels, the evening also involved drumming with chopsticks, whining about wanting to stay later, and crying in the car about where Mommy would sit since the front seat was full.

But you know, we'll take what we can get. And husband gets full points for planned surprise, thoughtfulness, handmade cards, and effort.

Proof of carousel ride. Some people get holiday card-worthy poses, we just get noncompliant almost-6 yr old attitude. Oh well, at least we remembered the camera...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mama Grinch

I am the Grinch who ruined the Christmas spirit. Partly exhaustion, partly poor planning, but all the way my fault.

We didn't get a chance to get the Christmas decorations out this weekend because we were busy with family gatherings. So today after I picked up the kids at school and we had dinner, I made a bad decision to try some decor unpacking. No tree, just decorations, snowmen, advent calendar, table decorations.

But instead of putting on some music and making it a nice evening, I became the Christmas Grinch.
"Don't touch that! It's fragile!"
"Be careful - that might break!"
"Wait until I'm ready to unpack that!"
"Leave that one here!"
"Hands off!"

Very nice. Great example of the holiday spirit. And all the while, Bitty Girl is exclaiming, "This one is my favorite!" Since she can't remember last year, they're all her favorite!
The Boy was really trying to help, he just got excited. Nothing broke, and so what if it did?

She took all the Christmas bears and dollies and put them to sleep under the holiday placemats and dish towels. Life as usual, just with a holiday style.

The Grinch's heart felt slightly guilty and she vowed to try harder for the rest of the season.