Friday, January 29, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Helps Haiti

My eldest daughter has been nursing two loose teeth (one on either side of the bottom of her mouth -- makes eating fun!) for a while now. I was aware of one of them, but only found out about the second loose tooth at 5:00am on Monday morning, when my daughter woke me out of a sound sleep to tell me about it. Probably could have waited 'til maybe, 6:30? Anyway, we were gearing up for another long bout of agony over these teeth -- issues with eating, brushing, you name it. Well, lo and behold, last night while she was brushing her teeth, one of them came out! No big fanfare, no begging mom and dad to pull it out so that she would be out of her misery, and then when we simply try to LOOK in her mouth, she starts backing away and crying. None of that! Just popped right out -- hooray!!! Anyway, she was SO excited about the tooth fairy coming, so we put her tooth in her sweet little Boyd's Bear Tooth Fairy Bear and I tucked her into bed. Then my girl told me that she wanted to take the money that the Tooth Fairy left her to school to put in the Haiti Fund that the kids have in their classroom! I was so surprised, touched and proud that she came up with that on her own! Sure enough, this morning she woke up and the Tooth Fairy had left her $5 (the value of a tooth has increased significantly since I was a child...) and she put the money into her school folder to bring it in for the Haiti fund. Now, I would like to think that my husband and I have managed to instill a sense of charity in our girl, but I don't think we can take all the credit. She has learned a lot about giving through Girl Scouts (was even excited the other day when I told her the troop was going to go sort canned food at the local food shelter -- actually said, "YAY!"), and seeing kids bringing in loose change to donate to the school's Haiti fund has also helped tremendously. Wherever the lesson has been learned, learning to be thoughtful of others in need is a truly valuable one!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

If Only...

Last night when I was getting my 3-year-old ready for bed, she was standing up on her bed and I was zipping up her footie pajamas. She started to fall backwards on the bed -- on purpose, her favorite new trick! -- and I grabbed her into a hug before she could fall. She gave me a big hug in return, and she said, "Don't worry, Mama! I'll never leave you again!" Oh! If only that were true!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Family Blessings

When I was about 7, my parents got separated and then divorced. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, for about 10 years after that my parents were reasonably pleasant to each other (during the weekly “daughter exchange”) but there were no joint family gatherings, birthday celebrations, school functions, etc. I’ll be honest, it was a difficult time, but I always knew that my parents loved me, they were never hostile or unpleasant to each other, and it just became a fact of life. When I was really young, I thought I was the odd kid out – I did not know anyone whose parents were divorced. When I got into high school, I became aware of other kids with divorced parents, and discovered that my situation fell into the middle of the pack – there were kids with much more amicable situations and kids whose situations were much worse than my own.

Towards the end of my junior year of high school there were signs of a change – I was playing clarinet in the high school band and my band teacher said that I really needed a new clarinet – to the tune of at least $500. I mentioned this to both of my parents (who met as musicians in college) and miraculously (to me, at that time) they talked and decided that they would buy the instrument for me together. By the time I graduated from high school the next year, my mother hosted my graduation party at her house and in addition to friends from school, my father and his family were in attendance and some of my mother’s family had come to town for it as well. I don’t know if (being a teenager at the time) I was able to express to them how much that meant to me and what a turning point that was in my life. That was really the first time in years that I thought, “Wow, if I get married, my parents would both be there!” Again, not that my parents did not love me with all of their hearts, but sometimes divorce and the circumstances following, throw up enormous roadblocks – particularly when there are children involved. That year, my mother was at my dad’s house for my birthday party, and we’ve never looked back from there!

(Obviously) I did eventually get married and there was no question that both of my parents (and my father’s new wife – all three of whom my friends and I began referring to as “the parentals”) were at my wedding – in fact, mom and dad split the bill – a LOT more than that clarinet, huh guys? And one of the most touching moments for me was that they got together at a local recording studio and recorded a cd of themselves playing trumpet (dad) and trombone (mom) which we used for the processional and recessional music during the ceremony. I believe Mom commented to Dad, “Have you ever seen two more indulgent parents?” as they were paying the bill for the recording sessions…

Friday night for my daughter’s 9th birthday, Mom was in town from Florida, she and I went over to pick up my grandmother (Dad’s mom) and Dad and my stepmother Bridgett came over to celebrate. Mom, Dad, and Bridgett all went together with my daughter to her school for Grandparents’ Night, and then came back to my house where we all had dinner and cake together. It was really a fun night! I was thinking later that night how lucky we all are that we are at this place in our lives – this has become the norm for us – we all celebrate together as a family, and my girls would never know that this wasn’t always the case. I am so thankful for that, and I try not to take it for granted. I know others who are not as blessed as we are, and I just encourage anyone finding themselves in that situation to try and find common ground in your love for your children. It will make such a difference in their lives!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy 9th Birthday!

Happy 9th Birthday, Livvie! We all wish you a wonderful birthday, and a wonderful year! Sometimes it feels as though these years have passed so quickly -- it's hard to believe that you are nine already! But, we also can hardly remember what life was like before you came along to love and entertain us!

We are so proud of you, Lulu! Happy Birthday!!

Love - Mommy, Daddy & Kiki

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Great Puzzle for Preschooler

My 3-year-old has recently discovered the world of puzzles -- she absolutely loves them and is so proud of herself when she finishes one. We have been enjoying a collection of puzzles that she received as a gift for her birthday this year. The "20 Word Picture Puzzle" by Infantino is wonderful! Each of the 20 puzzles has a large, brightly colored picture representing a single word ranging from 3 to 5 letters. Each puzzle is broken down into one piece per letter of each word. Right now, my girl can recognize the pictures and put those together, but as she gets a little older, she'll be able to put the letters together to complete the word. All 20 puzzles together would be a little overwhelming for us to focus and put things together, but I found a fun way for my girl and I to complete the puzzles together! I find the pieces to a couple of the puzzles and I mix them up and hand them to my little one and tell her "Here is BEAR and QUEEN" and she sorts them out and puts them together. She gets very excited, every time she completes one -- she gets a "high five" from Mommy and then we line it up with the other completed puzzles.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Picnic, Anyone?

Would any of our friends out there like to come over and join us for a nice picnic on the deck? Nana? :) Just let us know, we'll save you a seat at the table!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pillow Talk

Tonight while putting my girls to bed, my eldest gave me a big hug and told me, "You're the best mommy ever! You aren't perfect, but you aren't dull and you're a lot of fun!" Awww -- I'm going to go embroider that on a pillow! Actually, it really made my day -- I CERTAINLY know that I am not a perfect mom, but I appreciated her vote of confidence!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Quick & Easy Way to Clear a Room

At our family Christmas Eve party at my aunt's house, she came up with a novel way of clearing a house full of relatives out in no time flat! She pulled out her 2-year-old grandson's Christmas present -- a child's drum set!! My father (her older brother) said to my cousin (the child's father), "So, apparently your mother hates you!" (Teasing, of course!) My 3-year-old jumped right into the fun and grabbed one of the drumsticks and she and her little cousin beat away on the drums. My older daughter wanted to play too, and so Gramby, being the helper that she is, went into the kitchen and grabbed a wooden spoon. My littlest one said, "Oh, THANK YOU Gramby, for getting a stick for my sister!" Surprisingly enough, pretty much the whole house was cleared of relatives within 15 minutes! ;)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year - 2010!

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to a great year in 2010 -- my oldest daughter is turning 9 this month, we are anxiously anticipating visits from my mother this month and our Long Island family in February. We are already planning a big trip to NYC for a cousin's wedding in June, and we plan to stay in the city and take the girls sightseeing for the first time. Hopefully even to a Broadway show! Later this year, my little one will move from the 3's preschool class to the 4's -- 1 more year until kindergarten (ugh!) and my older girlie will "graduate" from her current elementary school and move up to a new school for 4th - 6th grade. Lots of great stuff, lots of big changes!

For the most part, for our little family of 4, 2009 was a pretty great year! We got to spend lots of time with family and friends, and took some great trips to Florida and Long Island. Our littlest girl started attending preschool which brought back great memories from our first time there, and it allowed my husband and I the opportunity to spend time with her at her school.

Last night we said goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010 in our new family tradition -- we had a nice little New Year's party at home with the girls and after they were in bed, we had a nice, quiet New Year's dinner just the two of us! I told my nearly 9-year-old that next year she can stay up until midnight if she would like -- not last night though! She was recovering from a birthday sleepover at her friend's house the night before, where she stayed up until 4am! Oh my... Anyway, last night's celebration with the girls included New Year's Eve "tiaras", party horns, their favorite treat - McDonald's Happy Meal for dinner, festive dessert, and our traditional homemade holiday crackers. I also taped "Happy New Year's, Charlie Brown" which they enjoyed watching as well.

Today we are continuing the New Year's celebration with a trip to the movies to see Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" and some of our favorite Chinese food for dinner! It has been a wonderful holiday vacation, and we are going to savor the last couple of days before I return to work and the girls return to school on Monday!

Have you been enjoying your holidays? What New Year's traditions do you and your family share?