Friday, September 24, 2010

Cafe Au Lait Birthmark

My husband was assisting in our little one's preschool class the other day, and her teacher came up to him and said she had the absolute sweetest story to share with him. She said that during the previous day's class, one of the kids went up to our daughter, touched her cheek and said, "What's that on your cheek?" And without missing a beat, our sweet girl said, "It's my birthmark. I was kissed by God!" Her teacher thought that was just the best thing she's heard!

Our sweet girl was born with a "Cafe Au Lait" (named for their "coffee with milk" color) birthmark on her cheek. They are very common -- 1 in 5 children are born with them -- and are generally harmless, although if your child is born with 3 or more of these it is recommended to have them checked out by a physician, as this can be a sign of neurofibromatosis.

Our girlie just has the one on her cheek, and while it is quite large it is part of her beautiful face and we do not even notice it on a daily basis. For a couple of years, she did not even notice it or comment on it. In the past year or so, she has become aware of it and points to it on occasion and asks us about it. When she has asked me why she has it, I have taken to telling her that I think that before she was born, God kissed her on the cheek. Obviously that resonated with her, and I love that she pulled that answer out when someone at school asked her about it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Out of Jury Duty and Into the Autumn Spirit!

I'm still here -- I've been wrapped up with jury duty this past week, serving on a trial and hopefully Tuesday (fingers crossed -- the word "sequester" has been used...) I will be able to put it behind me! I'm all for doing my duty, but this has been a really tough case and it has been wearing me down this week. I had a great day with my girls today though -- my husband was working, I took the girls and my grandmother to church this morning, it was a beautiful day today and the girls got to play outside this afternoon. My 9 year old and I played a round of her favorite game, "Harry Potter Clue" which was a lot of fun. My little one started out as my partner, rolling the dice and moving our figure, but she tired of that quickly and moved on to her own entertainment. We also pulled out the Halloween videos -- a little earlier than I usually like, but we're getting in the mood over here! I filled a large basket with my autumn decorations and tomorrow I plan to decorate! I am also putting a roast and carrots into the crock-pot for a yummy dinner for my little family tomorrow night, and I have promised my girls that I will bake them a homemade apple pie.

If I haven't mentioned it a hundred times on here over the years, fall is my absolute favorite time of year. This time of year just says family and home to me. I love the cozy feel of the house when the temperature is starting to dip and the glow of candles and the smells of comfort food. I love to decorate and make my home feel as warm and welcoming as I can for my family and friends. I love the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season being around the corner -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. It's a wonderful time of year -- my girls are both in school (middle and preschool) and they are excited about making new friends and learning new things. My eldest is at a new school this year and it offers so many wonderful opportunities for her -- she's going to learn a new instrument, she wants to join the newspaper and the yearbook staff. My family events committee and I are busy preparing for the pasta dinner at my little one's preschool. We're excited that Nana will be coming up for a visit in a couple of weeks and she'll get to come with us for the pasta dinner, which is such a treat for my girl to have Nana at her school! Girl Scouts is starting up again soon (and Girl Scout cookie time)! We'll be heading out to the farm to get our pumpkins, apples and mums. The girls have already picked out their Halloween costumes -- the little one wants to be a "ballerina butterfly" and my older one wants to be "Link" from the video game Zelda (think Peter Pan -- very similar looking...). We even made plans this weekend with our friends who come over to trick-or-treat with us -- it has become a fun tradition, since their daughter was born a few years ago. This year with Halloween being on a Sunday, we are planning to have a little Halloween party for our kids with a potluck dinner and then we will head out to trick-or-treat together. We were also happy to find out that my brother-in-law is coming out in November to celebrate his 40th with us.

It's a wonderful time of year, we already have so many plans that I am looking forward to, but I am also looking forward to snuggling in the house with my little family. Maybe it's the 50 or so times that I have read the "Little House" books (which I plan to re-read this fall / winter!) but this time of year gives me a feeling of preparing for winter -- getting the house in order, making sure that my family has a cozy place to live, and preparing meals to keep them healthy and well-fed as the weather turns colder. This is what "home-making" means to me. I am surely giving thanks for my family, my home, and my favorite time of year!

(The picture above was one that I took in the fall at the Genesee Country Village -- a great place to take the family in the summer, but even more beautiful in the fall!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

May we never forget what happened on this day, may we never stop appreciating what we have, may we always remember those who were lost and the families and friends who lost them, and may we always show gratitude for the men and women who serve to protect our freedom and our lives.

God bless America!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's the Problem?

So, we have been doing so great with the potty-training (and by "we", I mean my youngest daughter...) -- within one week of her starting to go to the bathroom on the potty, she was out of pull-ups at night. And no accidents! She had one a couple of weeks ago when she was sick -- had nearly a 103 degree temp, so I chalked that up to the illness. Then two nights ago she had an accident -- when she woke up yesterday morning, she called me from her bed and said, "Mommy, I tinkled a little in my underwear, but I don't think it got on my bed!" Um, yeah, it did. It had already been a rough morning with her sister (big issue over wearing a camisole under her shirt -- she didn't want to, I wanted her to...) and so I was probably a little less patient than I normally am with my little one. I reminded her that I had tried to get her on the potty the night before (right before bedtime) and she had said she had just went and refused to try again. Well, last night she went right before bed, but again woke up this morning and had had an accident. I was getting ready for work and she was still in bed when I went to leave. I went in to kiss her goodbye and she was saying, "Hi Mommy, are you going on the computer now?" and I said, "No, I have to go to work, why do YOU want to go on the computer?" And she said, "No, I think YOU should go down and go on the computer." Finally I decided she was trying to get rid of me, so I went over and said, "Sweetie, did you tinkle in bed again?" Yes, she did. So I told her that it was ok and accidents happen and she doesn't have to be afraid to tell Mommy. So, we got up, changed, I said goodbye and passed her on to Daddy :) and I headed off to work. My husband and I were talking this afternoon and I said, "What are we going to do about the tinkle problem?" and he said, "Um, take the bottle of WATER away from her bed?" I knew she had a water bottle in there, but I didn't realize how much she's been drinking during the night!!

At dinner tonight, I mentioned to my little one what Daddy had said about the water. Her response? "But Mom, the water is not the problem! The TINKLE is the problem!!" That kid just slays me -- she is so funny! I did take the water away, so we'll see what happens tomorrow morning!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Update to Bedroom Makeover

As I mentioned the other day, we decided to give our 9-year-old a bedroom makeover to start off the new school year. She had had her previous wall color and room setup since her 3rd birthday, when we gave her her first "big girl bed" as a present. Unfortunately, I am realizing that I don't have any "before pictures", which is too bad because the room has undergone a huge transformation! One of the best parts about this big transformation? It only cost us the price of the paint! We got a lot of bang for our buck simply by moving her furniture around and painting her room! When Grandpa and Gramby were getting ready to move, they gave my girl their old bedding including sheers and swags for the windows. We were using them in her pink room (the bedding has a light yellow background with pink, purple and blue flowers that have green leaves and stems) -- it did have all of the same colors as in her room, but it just wasn't working for me... Somehow in this new arrangement, with the new wall color and the new way that I used the swags on her bed -- it's a huge improvement!

In her "old" room, we had a wonderful, large, wooden dresser with a hutch (free find from our dear friend Michael!) that was on the wall to your right when you entered her room. By moving this over to the left of the door and replacing it with a little vanity table / desk (handed down from Great Grandma!) it really opens up that part of the room and gives the illusion of more space. Over her desk we hung a photo collage of family pictures -- every picture has my girl in it with her family members! I found this beautiful frame a few years ago at the Christmas Tree Shop -- for $20! We just relocated it in her room and now she can look at her favorite pictures when she is at her desk. The cube shelf under the window was purchased at Target a few years ago -- I believe for around $30. With the purchase of the fabric "drawers" ($8 at Target?) it gives her some extra storage space and the open shelves are great for storing her books.

So, we are still working with the kelly green plush carpet, but it somehow seems to fit in better with the new wall color and it's in good shape and my girl likes it, so we'll go with it! And it's hard to tell in this picture, but the new furniture arrangement gives her a huge amount of space! There is enough room to easily accommodate at least a queen-sized air mattress, which is great for sleepovers and visits from our extended family. And she loves to lie on the floor with her big drawing pad and her art set and draw pictures for her stories. She can lie in bed and watch her tv which is at the foot of her bed now -- her sister loves to come in and lie on the bed to watch tv, too! Removing the Barbie house and huge tub of accessories and dolls also gave her a lot of room. And her dad contributed a couple of his old Beatles albums to help decorate her wall (and help show her newly acquired love of the Beatles).

Just a can of paint, some furniture rearranging, and some de-cluttering gave our 9-year-old a much-needed update for her room, and it's helping her to start the 4th grade on the right foot!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What I Did This Summer

Tomorrow is the first day of school in our school district! At the beginning of this week I was feeling quite sad for my girl that she only had 3 days left of summer vacation. I was having pangs of regret for letting the summer just slip by without feeling like we did that much. So I started to think about what we did and I decided that I would do my own blog version of our annual “What We Did This Summer” poster board! And as happens with my girl every time we do one of these together, I was surprised at how much we did do this summer! These are just the things that we either did as a family or that the girls did this summer:

- Took a trip to New Hampshire to visit family
- Took my eldest daughter to play miniature golf (the little one fell asleep in the car – we took her back to the house!)
- Trip to the beach where my girl and I built her first sand castle
- Took a trip to New York City (ok, technically this was during her last week of school, but still it was at the end of June!) – the girls got to ride in their first taxi and visit FAO Schwartz!
- Took the girls to see “Mamma Mia!” on Broadway
- Went to visit family in Long Island and attended our niece’s graduation
- My eldest went to Girl Scout Day Camp for a week (which she loved!)
- She also stayed over at Girl Scout Camp for one night (which she loved!)
- She took a one-week writing class at Writers and Books (which she loved!)
- Both girls went to the yacht club for two weeks of swimming lessons (thanks, Gramby!)
- The four of us went to see Toy Story 3 at the movie theater
- Went up to the Town Hall for our town’s annual 4th of July festival
- Had a 4th of July gathering at our house and watched the fireworks from our backyard
- Swam in the pool
- Tended our new garden
- Played on the “new to us” swing set
- I took the girls to my friend Christine’s house for our annual “Laura Ingalls Wilder - Preparation Day” where we churned butter, harvested veggies, and made biscuits and Johnny cakes for Laura Ingalls Wilder Day
- Went to our 3rd Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Day where my girl and I met Dean Butler (Almanzo on the tv series) and biographer William Anderson – a BIG event for my girl who is an aspiring author herself!
- School clothes shopping
- Went to the music store to lease a clarinet for my girl to take lessons in school
- Took the girls to the library
- Took the girls to a charity hockey game for a friend of my husband’s, where we got to see Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione from the 1980 US Olympic hockey team (ok, so the girls were probably as excited as my husband was to see Dean Butler from “Little House”…)
- COUNTLESS phone calls between my girl and her cousin Julie and two of her friends from school (seriously thinking about Mr. Brady’s pay phone idea from “The Brady Bunch” – remember that episode?)
- Several movie nights at home – I believe we rented “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Alice in Wonderland” 3 times each this summer!! (Those will be on the Christmas wish list…)
- Inadvertently kicked off another wave of “Beatlemania” in our house – our 9-year-old is now their newest, biggest fan!
- Painted and redecorated our 9-year-old’s bedroom to accommodate her maturing self – no more pink, no more Barbies – she even has some Beatles’ albums on the wall (thanks to her dad!)
- Did some rearranging in the house, reclaimed the living room for the adults and made the family room more of a play room including the train table and the Barbie house
- BBQ pool parties with friends and their families
- Had a “Princess & the Frog” themed birthday party for my little 4-year-old
- Play dates with friends – at our house and theirs
- Our eldest spent a fun-filled afternoon at Bounce-It-Out with her best friend and her family, which coincided with the fun-filled afternoon that my little one and I spent –
- Potty training!! What a rock star my girl is – and what a wonderful thing to be done with diapers and pull-ups!!

That’s all that I can think of off the top of my head… Gosh, is that all we did? What did we do with our time this summer? ;) Why am I feeling like we didn’t do anything this summer? It’s always good to take a moment to reflect on what you’ve been up to – sometimes we are moving so fast and we are so busy that we don’t have time to stop and appreciate all the great things we have going on in our lives. Before you jump back into the swing of the school year, take some time to stop and take a breath and think about all of the great memories you made with your children this summer!