Saturday, May 24, 2008

Love that Song!

Ugh -- I just clicked on the Kenny Chesney song, "Don't Blink" and my slideshow post was running right next to the music player and while I'm sure that you will not get as choked up as I just did listening to the song and watching the pictures of my children scroll by -- sniff, sniff! It was quite touching! I just love that song -- that one and the Trace Adkins "You're Gonna Miss This" song -- both really put things in perspective for me, especially on days when my patience is in short supply!

Alright, I'm off to get a tissue!

Overcoming the Language Barrier

Finally, the switch has flipped! After months of my youngest daughter constantly saying, "Lulu bus!" mixed in with some indistinguishable baby babble and a lot of pointing and frustration, all of a sudden this past week she is beginning to speak our language! It is amazing to me to realize that children just soak up everything around them and when they are ready, they will surprise you with either their grasp of language, or a new skill, or whatever else they have up their sleeve!

Within the last week, my baby (she'll be 2 in July but she will always be my baby!) went from "Lulu bus!" to "Mommy, where is Daddy?" and while playing with her babies this afternoon, "Ok baby, nap time!"

Now, she isn't just speaking in full sentences, but her vocabulary has expanding considerably in the last week or so! She is able to tell us "Ha cog" (which actually sounds a lot more like Hot Dog when she says it), like at dinner tonight when her sister begged to have pasta for dinner and we gave them both pasta, and my little one ate a few bites and then handed her bowl to me and said, "Ha cog, Mommy!" Ok, that is communication! She put forth a message, I received it and was able to understand it and address her needs -- excellent! We had salad with our dinner tonight, and she likes grape tomatoes and cucumbers, and I thought I'd throw in some romaine lettuce. She picked up a piece, put it in her mouth, and then took it out and put it back on her plate. I said, "Oh, you didn't like that?" And she shook her head no and replied, "Sorry, Mommy!" Ok, I understood that, too!

Now, we try to speak clearly in front of her and she also hears her sister speak (all the time!), so I'm sure she is gathering all of this up for later use. Some of the things she says, we think are so cute and we don't always correct her -- like ha cog. But pretty soon we will get to the point that we did with her older sister, where we realized as cute as it is to hear her say, "Pack Pack" instead of backpack, we can't very well have her carrying her high school social studies books to school in a "Pack Pack." So, when she would say something incorrectly (and this still happens, but with tougher words) we would say, "Oh, do you mean ______ ?" And fill in the correct pronunciation. It really helped build her vocabulary tremendously!

But for now, I'm excited that my little one learned the word "Hunry" (hungry) and could actually come up and tell me when she was hungry for lunch today! Communication -- it's a beautiful thing!

My Music!

You may notice a new addition to the sidebar of my blog -- My Music! After a few trials and errors, I was able to add this music player in -- just a short list of songs for now, but I will add to it as time goes on. I thought I would add some of my favorite "parenting inspirational" songs -- songs that help pick me up when my patience wanes, or songs that make me think of my daughters.

I chose not to have it automatically start playing when someone opens up my blog, but you can click on any of the songs to start playing them, or scroll down the list to check them out. And please, if there is a song that you feel would be a good addition, in keeping with the theme of this blog, please feel free to let me know and I will try to find it!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

I thought this was a great way to share some of my favorite pictures and I look forward to adding to it and updating, as time goes on! Enjoy!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mom's Day Out!

Two of my very best friends from work and I have started a new Mother's Day tradition this year! This is the group of friends that we had over recently and their husbands came along and my one friend brought her daughter, who is the same age as my older daughter. We had had a great time just hanging out and talking and we got to talking about taking a wine tour together sometime. My husband's work schedule is just crazy, to say the least, and so it turned out that the best time for him, would be this past Saturday, the day before Mother's Day. I talked to my girlfriends about it, and at first I thought, maybe it would be too hectic for them, maybe they wouldn't want to go on Mother's Day weekend. But, in talking about it, we decided, hey! We're all mothers, why not go out and do something special for ourselves for a change!

So we did! The six of us headed out in the new mini van, armed with a picnic lunch, cheese and crackers, soda and water -- we were probably stocked for a weekend, not just a day! But we drove to Seneca Lake and we visited about 7 different wineries and had a really great day! My husband and I used to go to the wineries quite a bit before our first daughter was born, and we haven't been back since then, so this was a real treat for us. Our friends had never gone wine-touring before and they had a great time -- it was the perfect mix of good friends, good wine, and great weather! At one of the wineries, we pulled out our lunch and sat at a picnic table in the sun, enjoying the nice weather and the view of the vineyards and the lake -- you couldn't ask for better ambiance!

The wineries close at 5:00pm and at the last winery we went to, we again found a picnic table, this time near a pretty little pond, and we pulled out the cheese and crackers and sat around relaxing, enjoying the conversation and having a few laughs. It was the perfect day!

On our way home, we stopped and picked up my friend's daughter, and we brought her back to our house. My kids were there, after a fun-filled day with Grandpa and Gramby -- they went to The Indoor Sandbox, out to lunch, and my girl even had an ice skating birthday party to go to.

Everyone had brought something to contribute to a bbq, and so we threw some chicken and sausage on the grill and had a nice dinner together. My daughter and my friend's daughter even pulled themselves away from playing to have dinner with us. It's so great that they have become such good friends -- from the moment we walked into the house, the two of them disappeared up into my daughter's room and they played Barbie's and listened to music on her cd player. They really play very well together.

We had such a great time that day that we decided to make this an annual tradition and to try to do the same thing every year as part of our Mother's Day celebration. It's wonderful to honor all of the Moms in your life and to spend the day/weekend visiting them and celebrating with them, but it's truly a special treat to get to do something a little indulgent for yourself too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Flower Pot Pens

I have to tell you about the great Mother’s Day gifts that my daughter and I made this year! I actually got the idea when I was visiting some co-workers who had moved their offices to a new building. Scattered around on desks and tables were cute little pots of silk flowers, and on closer look, I saw that each flower was actually a pen! My co-workers told me that these cute crafts were actually made by the individuals who live at one of the homes that our agency operates (we provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities).

Anyway, I thought this was so adorable, that I decided to make these for Mother’s Day gifts this year. This was a pretty, yet functional gift -- easy to make, inexpensive, and everyone we gave them to seemed to really enjoy them!

All you need to make this craft is:

- Silk flowers (I used 10 per pot)
- Green florist tape
- Glass “stones”
- Small pots or buckets (I used 4” pots which worked well!)
- Ballpoint pens (I used 10 per pot)

I went to the dollar store and purchased the silk flowers ($1 per bunch), green florist tape ($1 per roll -- I bought 3 rolls, but 1 roll was more than I needed for 4 of these pots), and bags of glass stones ($1 per bag). I bought the pots at my local garden store for $ .99 a piece – you may be able to find them cheaper – and I bought a 2 boxes of 20 pens for $1.99 each (again, you may find these cheaper).

Now, my intention was for my daughter and I to do this project together, but I ran out of time, so she helped a little, but I did the majority. My girl took the pots and filled them with half a bag of the glass stones (pebbles, marbles, whatever!). I cut the flowers off of their stems – leaving about 2 inches of stem on each flower “head.” Then I put the flower at the bottom of the pen (end opposite the cap) and I used the florist tape and wrapped it around and around, adhering the flower stem to the pen, and completely covering the pen with the green tape (leaving the tip uncovered and the pen cap off). Then I just put about 10 of these “flower pens” into the pot with the glass pebbles and voila! Very cute gift!

Now, if your child is having a hard time wrapping the tape around the pens and you want another way to get them involved in the project, how about having them decorate the pot itself? If we had had more time, I would have loved to have my girl paint the pots -- I think that would have looked great!

I wasn’t really looking to spend such a small amount on gifts this year – I just thought this was such a cute idea, practical, useful, and it won’t die it a few days (like real flowers -- not that they aren't beautiful!)! But as a bonus, the whole thing probably cost me about $4 for each! And my girls just loved them – my little one watched and kept saying, “Fower, peas!” (She’s working on her words!) And my older daughter wants us to make some to send to both of their Godmothers.

This worked out great for us for Mother’s Day, but I also thought it would make a GREAT teacher’s gift!!

Maybe She IS Listening!

Cleaning out my daughter's "take home" folder from school today, I found this week's packet of First Grade Word Work. One of the things they do each week at school is they have to write different words out 6 times and then use them in a "super sentence." One of this week's words was "minute" and the super sentence? "One minute of pashants (patience) please." Alright! So she does hear some of what I say! :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

On this very special day, I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite things about being a mother... My two wonderful girls!

I wish you all a lovely day, enjoying your favorite reasons for celebrating Mother's Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Kid at Heart

Ok, so all day yesterday I was in panic mode over all of the things that I needed to do to get ready for the busy (but fun-filled!) weekend we have planned. Last night my daughter had dance class, tonight we are going out for a Mother's Day dinner with my mother, tomorrow my husband and I are going on an all-day wine tour with two other couples that we are good friends with, our daughter has a birthday party to go to (Grandpa and Gramby are watching the kids and taking our girl to her party), and then everyone is coming back to our house for a bbq tomorrow night! And then we have a bbq for Mother's Day on Sunday, at my uncle's house. And I needed to get errands done, Mother's Day gifts made (they are cute! I'll show you after I give them out!), oh, yeah, and the house cleaned!!

So, last night after we put the kids to bed and my husband went to his hockey game, I went downstairs to start cleaning up the family room -- and what did I do instead? I played with my daughter's Loving Family dollhouse! I couldn't help myself!! It's an adorable dollhouse and she has rooms full of beautiful furniture for it -- and yet, it looks like something out of the '70's tv show "Sanford and Son" -- just a mish-mash of pieces from Barbie, Polly Pockets, Lincoln Logs -- you name it! It looks like the Loving Family is having a chaotic estate sale. Anyway, I thought, "I'll just pick up a little." Uh huh. An hour later, I'm sitting on her little, tiny Little Tykes desk chair, in front of the dollhouse, painstakingly arranging the furniture, setting the dining room table -- I even set up the dog's house and an off-site campground with the tent, firepit, sleeping bags... She never lets me do that when we are playing!

I did finally get a grip and pulled myself away long enough to get half of my Mother's Day crafts together (this was supposed to be a joint effort with my girlie, but we ran out of time!).

So that left today to get the house cleaned -- no problem! I was cruising along, being fairly efficient (except when my father called to check in and I was rearranging the books on the bookshelf -- a real necessity when you are having a bbq!), until I got to my daughter's room. My little one was napping in her room, her sister was at school, and so I went in to clean her room. Well, of course, she's got her big Barbie house in there... Yep, again -- about 30 minutes sitting in front of that, arranging the kitchen, the grand piano, flower vase on the coffee table, toothbrush and towel in the bathroom...

And now I'm here writing about it on my blog! What is the matter with me? Ok, break's over -- back to cleaning!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

An Afternoon of Culture

As I mentioned in a previous post, my daughter and I were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the ballet this past weekend. We went with my daughter’s friend and her mother, who I have become friendly with (through our daughters’ dance class last year and now through school activities). They had 4 free tickets to see the Rochester City Ballet’s performance of “Cinderella” and were thoughtful enough to invite us to join them. The girls both looked so cute, all dressed up to go to “the theatre!”

I have to say, for a 2-1/2 hour show that was all classical music and ballet dancing, with no talking or singing to explain the story, our girls were VERY well behaved! Aside from my having to tell my daughter once early on, “Please stop fidgeting in your seat!” To which she responded, “Why?” and I answered, “Because it is very distracting to me and to the people around you.” But that was it, so I was very proud of her! (My poor children -- manners are a big thing with me -- I'm sure they'll find me to be quite a drag!)

I think it is so wonderful to expose your children to different types of cultural events. It is so important to broaden their horizons and to show them that there is a world beyond Gameboy and the Disney Channel (not that those aren't wonderful things, but...). I feel fortunate that my parents raised me to have an appreciation of music, in particular, classical. And I have wonderful memories of getting dressed up at Christmastime and going to see The Nutcracker at the Eastman Theatre with my grandparents.

Offering your children the opportunity to experience a cultural event does not have to break the bank! Check out your local high schools - there are a lot of talented kids performing in school concerts, musicals and plays. Or check your local paper or entertainment guide for free or inexpensive concerts and performances - my town has Gazebo Concerts on Sundays at our town hall, and there are Concerts by the Shore down at the beach, just to name a few! And, don't forget your local history museum or art gallery - there are so many options for opening up new worlds to your children.

Who knows, maybe one of these will inspire your child to be the next Georgia O'Keeffe or Mikhail Baryshnikov? I know that after the ballet, my daughter went to school and drew a lovely picture of herself in a tutu and labeled it "Me as a Famous Dancer!"

Friday, May 2, 2008

By the Way

Oh! By the way -- during this shower, my daughter came up with an interesting idea for keeping soap and water out of her eyes -- she put on her swim goggles that were hanging in the shower (she likes to sometimes wear them in the bath to look at her Polly Pockets and things underwater...)! If you put the elastic underneath your child's hair so that you can still wash it, it actually works pretty well!

Keeping Up With The Jetsons

A thought popped into my head as I was giving my daughter a quick shower before heading out to some function the other day.

Normally, she takes baths and loves them, but sometimes when we are in a hurry and bathing is necessary, I will give her a quick shower. It is somewhat torturous for me, because, as happened this particular day, I was standing outside of the shower, reaching in and trying to wash her hair. I was getting my clothes soaked, the bathroom floor soaked, and she was VERY crabby -- it was not pleasant for either of us!

So, as this was going on, and she was getting impatient with me, and I with her, I remembered the cartoon "The Jetsons" that I used to love to watch when I was little. For anyone who ever watched that show, do you remember how they had this WONDERFUL bathroom where the Jetsons would step on a conveyor belt looking terrible with "bedhead" and the conveyor belt would move them along through an automatic shower/hair salon/toothbrusher and they'd pop out on the other side all clean and coifed? That would be a dream come true in our house!! Aside from the time that it would save, it would be such a pleasant way to start the day, instead of our usual battle with our 7-year-old over hair brushing, teeth brushing - you name it!

What I would like to know, is how is it that no one has designed and marketed this miracle machine that was depicted on a children's cartoon in the 1960's!?! (I watched reruns, by the way...) It's been nearly 50 years since this show was on -- why can't I get this for my bathroom?!? Maybe someday, but until then, I can dream!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Phew! We FINALLY bought our new mini-van last night and now we can back to our regular lives! This has been such a project -- I won't even bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, we are now the proud new owners of a Toyota Sienna, and we are all very excited to have a mini-van again! The four of us and all of our "stuff" piled into a Dodge Stratus and driving anywhere for longer than 30 minutes -- not a good time!

For a family on the go, this has a huge amount of storage area, a plethora of cup holders (the saleswoman said to me last night, "If you have a powerful thirst, this is the car for you!" She was joking, I think, but seriously there are at least 8 cup holders in there...), a ton of overhead lights (that will allow my daughter to read in the car without waving her little flashlight around and blinding the rest of us), power sliding door with a sensor to detect when fingers are in the way, and a bunch of other wonderful things that we are excited to discover.

Of course, now we have a new problem to deal with... Our older daughter was apparently throwing a small temper tantrum tonight on the way to dance class, because my husband was driving her there in the "old" car. Apparently she no longer likes the other car and does not want to drive in it any more! Ah, 7 -- it's a delightful age! I'm sure she'll grow out of this by the time she hits her teenage years, right? (Yeah, sure...)