Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And We're Off!

PHEW! I have spent most of last night and all of this morning packing and repacking and consolidating and reconsolidating so that we could fit practically the entire contents of our house into the back end of our minivan... Because -- we're going camping! We are off to Lake George for a long weekend with our extended family! Catherine thought I should take a picture of the back of the van, all packed up, and put it here on the blog saying, "See you next week!" but alas, the camera is in some bag, somewhere in the back of the van... Use your imaginations!

Have a great weekend and we'll catch up next week!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Battle of the Fussy Eater

Sigh... We had such fun plans for tonight, my girl and I. We've had the premiere of Disney's "Camp Rock" written on our calendar for at least a month. Movie night with popcorn and the Jonas Brothers -- what could be better?

We had a busy day with my girl off at school, my husband and I both home and running errands all over town in preparation for our family vacation this coming week. We got home late, with a minivan full of bags to unload and sort and put away. I began to make dinner - one of my hubby's favorites - pan-seared tilapia. When I made it about a month ago, both of the girls tried it -- my older daughter tried it begrudgingly, but then admitted, "Ok, I liked it!" So after a week of thrown together meals and take-out, I thought it would be nice to make a good dinner and I didn't anticipate any problems with this one.

Well! Who knew? My girl sees me getting dinner ready and she asks what I am making. I tell her, and she grimaces and I remind her that she tried it last time and liked it. Doesn't matter -- she is turning her nose up at it tonight. I decide, fine, I will make our stand-by, chicken nuggets, for the girls but they can each have a small bite of the fish. This is what my grandmother famously (in our family) called a "no thank you helping." You could dislike whatever you wanted to, but you had to at least take a small bite, just to try it. And actually, I have read recently that it is a good idea to keep introducing things to your child to try and get them out of the fussy-eating rut. Anyway, we sat down to dinner, and I was already being much easier going about dinner than I was in the mood to be -- it had been a long day, and it was a very involved meal to make, and I really have no desire to be a short order cook and make different meals for everyone. But, to keep the peace, out came the chicken nuggets. I put a small piece of fish on both girls plates, and my little one munched on everything on her plate without argument. Her older sister, moaned and groaned her way through dinner -- to the complete annoyance of both of her parents!

My husband, wonderful man and father that he is, is very tired lately, and he is more inclined to give up the fight (in irritation) so that we can move on with our lives. I, on the otherhand, am tired of giving in, especially when I don't feel that the request is unreasonable -- like taking one bite of the dinner that everyone else is eating. After much fussing and drama, my husband told my girl that if she did not eat the one bite, there would be no popcorn (part of the movie night). So, she sat for another 10 minutes (we were already 10 minutes into her huffing and puffing over the one bite of fish) with the food on her fork, held up toward her mouth, her nose plugged because she was complaining that the fish smelled funny (it really didn't) and finally, my husband had had it and he took the fork out of her hand and dumped the piece of fish in the garbage and told her "No movie - time for bed!" Of course, then the real drama starts -- her jumping up and saying, "No, I'll eat it!" but it's in the garbage -- no turning back from there! And he's telling her to get ready for bed and she's crying, and frankly, I was practically crying, because this was supposed to be such a fun night that she and I had looked forward to, and I never like to see my girl disappointed. She went upstairs and I said to him (when she was out of earshot, of course), "Why did you have to do that?" and he said, "I wasn't going to have her sit there ALL night with her nose plugged, whining about not wanting to take one little bite of her dinner!" I told him, "I feel bad -- the night's ruined, all over the fish! But really, she liked it last month -- I didn't think one bite was unreasonable!" And he reassured me that no, I was not being unreasonable. Still, I felt terrible.

I went up to her room a little while later and we talked and she was really pretty good about the whole thing. I explained that I was disappointed because it was such a simple request, and she could have easily done it and we could have been downstairs snuggling with a bowl of popcorn and watching her movie.

I taped the movie and on Tuesday night, after her last day of school and the night before our vacation, she and I will have our movie night together.

It's hard to be the parent of a fussy eater. I feel like it's a constant battle not just to introduce her to new foods, but to make sure that she is getting healthy, well-rounded meals. This is a child who will only eat grapes, apples, and bananas for fruit. That's it! And even that is iffy. The other morning I got her to have a banana with breakfast (I started this game about who gets the first bite of the banana -- we both think that's the best part!) and there was the teensy-tiniest little brown spot about 2/3's of the way down and she wanted to throw the whole thing out -- didn't want to touch it! I convinced her to at least at down to that point... Her idea of veggies are cucumbers and corn, which both have about zero nutritional value in them. I have tried a ton of different ways to get her to branch out and try different fruits and veggies -- it really is a tiring battle! Sometimes you have to pick your battles, and maybe tonight was not the best time for mine.

What ideas do you have for getting a fussy eater to try new things?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sister, Sister

I must admit -- I am a little jealous of my girls... I am an only child, and while at times it was great not having to share my things, and getting all the attention from my parents, sometimes it was a real bummer, not having someone to share my things with and getting ALL the attention from my parents! ;)

I think my girls are SO lucky to have each other, and each day I see them growing closer together and having more opportunities to do things together. With the age difference (5-1/2 years), I always worried that they wouldn't be able to play together, but as our little one grows they seem to enjoy each other's company more and more. Except when they are getting on each other's nerves, of course... But that's a sibling thing, right? Yesterday afternoon when my older daughter got home from school, she decided that she wanted to get into her jammies and snuggle up on the couch with Mommy (who was home sick from work) and her 10 Webkinz... Well, the little one saw this and she wanted in on the fun, too! So she came over with her own blanket, and hoisted herself up onto the couch and snuggled in with her sister. A few minutes later, she reached over nonchalantly, picked up one of her sister's Webkinz, and hefted it over her shoulder and onto the floor behind the couch. "KIKI!" my older daughter shouted, "NO, NO!" And she got up, walked around the couch and the end table and the chair, and went behind us to pick up the fallen Webkinz. As she was on her way back to her snuggly spot on couch, Kiki picked up another Webkinz and tossed it over -- all the while keeping her face totally expressionless, not turning to look where she was dropping the stuffed animal, all just very casual. So her sister gets back to her spot on the couch, sees that yet another Webkinz was missing, shouted again, and got up and went back around the couch to save it. And once again, while she had her back turned and was on her way back around -- you guessed it, another one was tossed. I watched this whole thing for at least 5 or 6 turns and finally my little one started giggling and her older sister caught on to the game and they played this back and forth for quite some time. I was cracking up -- it was quite entertaining!

Later, the two of them were sitting side by side at the kitchen table trying to share the Little People house and the Little People -- they had their moments, but sharing is a relatively new concept to both of them, so there were some conflicts! Enter Mom with the patented, "If you can't share nicely, then no one will play with it!"

But for the most part, they are sweet, loving sisters and I couldn't be more thrilled with the special relationship that they share. When we were at our daughter's dance recital last weekend, I thought the most touching moment (caught on the dvd that we purchased, thankfully!!) was at the end of the first performance, when all the girls took their final pose, and my girl had her arms up in the air in almost a circle over her head, fingers touching gracefully (if I had gone to dance class, I might be able to tell you what that position is...). Our little one, completely excited about seeing her sister on stage yelled, "LULU" (really, my daughters have beautiful first names, I'm not sure where they got these nicknames from...) and Lulu, hearing her little sister, gently waved the fingers on her one hand - not breaking her pose - to show her sister that she heard her. It was SO sweet, I thought I would about burst!

On Father's Day, my oldest daughter said to me at bedtime, "Mommy, I wish there was a Sibling Day, like how they have Mother's Day and Father's Day. So we could make a cake and make cards and show our siblings how much we love them!" Well, my dear, you can bet that Mommy will be implementing that new holiday in our house! And of course, I'll be happy to tell you all about it! :)

A Belated Happy Father's Day!

A belated Happy Father's Day wish to all the great dads out there! And a special salute to the two great dads in my life! I am blessed with a wonderful father of my own, who has been there through thick and thin with me, and who is now an irreplaceable figure in my daughters lives. I couldn't ask for a better father and grandfather to my girls!

And the icing on the cake for me, is that somehow I found a wonderful husband who is an equally great father to our daughters! I may act like I can do it all and like I have all the answers -- but I wouldn't and couldn't do it without him!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

By the Light of the Silvery Moon...

If only! I love that the nice weather is here, and I love summer, but... If only it didn't stay light so long! I know, I know, that's a good thing -- except when I try to put my children to bed! Last night and tonight my oldest has told me over and over, "But it's still DAY out!" Um, no, it's just still a little light out. It's 8:30 -- bedtime!

(BTW - thanks to for this great FREE moon graphic!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

My, How Time Flies...

So as I mentioned, my girlie had her dance recital this weekend, and her dad and I couldn't have been more proud! In anticipation of the recital, we watched our dvd of last year's recital with my mother-in-law and her sister, who came out for the weekend. They had not seen last year's recital, and it was fun to watch our girl again. It's always shocking to me to go back and see videos or pictures of her (or her sister!) from previous years -- I see my girls every day and while I do notice changes in them, there is more of an impact when I look at older pictures of them. I can't believe how quickly they are growing up! This is a picture of my girls from last year's recital. My oldest daughter looks so little to me -- she was in kindergarten, I have to remind myself! And my baby was still in a rear-facing car seat!

And here is my girl from this year's recital. What a beauty she has grown into! (I'm little biased, I know...) She and I had a great time getting ready -- beauty shop in the bathroom! She got her costume on and then she sat in the chair while I curled her hair and put it up, and then because it was a special occasion, I put a little make-up on her. She felt very grown-up and couldn't wait to "get on the stage!" I love that she has the confidence to get up on that big stage with only a small group of her friends and dance her little heart out in front of that audience! She's much braver than I was growing up -- I hid in the band behind a music stand with my clarinet! I think it's wonderful that she seems to be growing into a confident little lady -- I hope that confidence and security stays with her always.

After her recital we had the family back to our house for our girl's favorite dinner -- Chinese take-out! And we had a cake and my husband and I gave her a sweet little bear named "Tippy Toeshoes" as a memento of her big day. I know I can go a little overboard at times with the celebrations, but hey, if your mom doesn't make a big fuss over you, who will? That's one of my favorite parts of being a mother -- making a big deal over nearly everything my kids do!

Keeping House

My mother-in-law and her sister drove out from Long Island on Thursday to visit for the weekend, partially in honor of my daughter's dance recital (this past Saturday). This past week has been a blur of work, watching the kids, and cleaning the house -- not that my mother-in-law or aunt-in-law would care at all if the pictures were not dusted (as my husband reminded me all week). But for as much as I may complain about cleaning the house for company, there is something about it that I enjoy -- I kind of think of it as a way of making our visitors feel extra special and welcome -- that our home is their home. The other thing I like about the preparation for having guests, is that I get to check some things off my long, mental wishlist!

For example, we spent last week re-doing our upstairs bathroom -- not just in honor of our guests, mind you! We have been in our house for five years now, and our bathroom has looked the same this entire time. Perfectly lovely, I thought, but apparently my husband is tired of all the white and pastel. I recently found a new shower curtain that I loved and that sparked a whole week's worth of redecorating! (And I could use Mom & Aunt Nancy's impending visit as an excuse to do it so quickly!) This has been my pet project for the past week -- so much so, that I did not have time to sit and play Barbies -- I mean, CLEAN the Barbie house, for our guests! ;)

And this little project in the bathroom has sparked my interest at working on other areas of the house -- for one, my oldest daughter's bedroom! It has dawned on me, that while she has a lovely room, we decorated it for her 3rd birthday and this year she will be 8 years old! I think it's time to redecorate! Bless her heart, we were looking at bedding sets online the other day, and didn't she LOVE the Pink Toile bedding set?? And I showed her all sorts of different options -- fairies, dragonflies, bright geometric shapes -- you name it, and she picked the toile! A girl after my own heart!

As much as I would like every room in the house to follow the style that I have grown to love, I will be happy with whatever she picks out -- I think it's important for her to get to develop her own style and to have a space that is all her own (as long as she helps keep it clean!) ;) But this will be a fun family project for us to do -- perhaps we'll even get it done this summer before school starts again! I wonder what style the 2nd graders are decorating in this year...?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Two Quick Tips

Well, it's been another crazy week in our household, so I have been a little lax in posting this week - my apologies! I have lots to write about, but at this moment I am clearing the "rubble" out of my guest room in preparation for my mother-in-law and her sister to come out for a visit this Thursday. But, I wanted to share these two little tips that I wanted to share while I was thinking of them!

First, while I am cleaning out our guest room, which has literally become a catch-all for everything that we don't know what to do with, I found a pile of birthday gifts that my oldest daughter received at her party in January. Her birthday is less than a month after Christmas, and between those two special days and the generosity of her family and friends, the amount of gifts she receives can be a little overwhelming! This particular pile was probably moved from our dining room table to the guest room in a straightening frenzy before having company over. Looking through it today, there are a lot of great craft projects like friendship bracelets, scrapbooking materials, stickers, glitter glue pens, etc. Instead of trying to find a place for all of this in her room or in the already overflowing two-drawer cabinet that we designated for our girl to keep some of her toys and art supplies in, I decided to make a "rainy day tub." I am filling one of my many 20-gallon tubs with some of these craft projects, some puzzles and games that my mother just gave us, and a few other things that I have found, including a pile of magazines that we can cut up for special projects. This way, when my girls are bored on a rainy day, I can pull out a new project to brighten their day!

My second tip came about during a "quick" trip to the grocery store yesterday. My mom had invited the girls and I out for a special lunch, and after lunch we decided to run a few errands, including stopping at the grocery store for just a couple of necessities. We got in line to check out and although the store was busy, we found a line with just one person in it, with not too large of a pile of groceries. My mother went in first, then I unloaded the things from my cart (of course a little more than I originally went in for) and then my oldest daughter was standing beside me. Unfortunately, the lane we chose was full of candy - all within reach of my littlest ones arms - AND, I have no idea what was taking so long, but our "short" line took an eternity to get through! My little one was overdue for a nap and she was grabbing candy bars off the shelf and tossing them into the cart - not because she wanted to eat them, she's never had a candy bar, but because they were colorful and accessible! I kept putting them back and telling her, "No touch!" to no avail. My patience was waning and I literally felt trapped in this line. I said to her quite sternly, "Stop it!" and then I turned to my older daughter and told her she needed to back up so that I could back the cart up. As I turned to do this, there was a woman behind me with her cart and she looked at me like, "OK! I'll move out of your way too!" It was one of those moments where I didn't really know what my next step was - I hadn't noticed the woman behind me, and I think I was thinking of just moving out of the line until it was my turn, but that was not an option with the other customer behind me. So I just sent my older girl up to stand with her Nana, and then I decided, "I'll just get back in line and hold my little girlie's hands!" Well, I quickly realized that that was only going to irritate her and make her more wiggly, but I got my senses back and I remembered her favorite song "Wash" (aka "Itsy Bitsy Spider"). She always holds my hands while I do the motions for that song, so in the check-out line I took her hands and we sang two rounds of "Itsy Bitsy Spider", then we sang "Wheels on the Bus" (still holding her hands) and "Old Mac Donald". FINALLY, it was our turn, I was able to move her away from the candy, and she was happy after getting to sing some of her favorite songs -- PHEW! Saved myself and my little girlie from having a total meltdown in the store!

Ok, so those weren't really "quick" tips -- but I thought you'd appreciate the grocery store tale! Back to the guest room...