Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26, 2011

It seemed, for a while, that Halloween was ages away and then it came... and went. And then we waited impatiently for Thanksgiving... which also came and went. And now Hanukkah and Christmas are right around the corner. Which means that before we know it, they will have come and gone and the year will be over and 2012 will be upon us. And then I'll have 4.5 months to plan Lily's birthday party and she will be THREE. Too much!

School is going well still. Trying to shake things up a little and introduce new things. We recently spent some time with an introduction to geography book. It gives wonderful explanations that seem to really pique Izzy's imagination and natural curiosity. I think she's going to be a visual/tactile learner when it comes to things like that. 

Lily is suddenly speaking much more clearly than before. Her favorite things to say right now are "It's not funny, guys," "That's enough," and "Nice to meet you." Her enunciation of 'f' sounds is hysterical to me. I'll irritate her repeatedly just to hear her say "That's enough, mama. That's enough." Her napping is a little out of whack lately but I'm chalking that up to allergies and learning new skills. Surely she can't be headed out of the nap stage already. 

Thanksgiving with the family went really well. We had an early dinner, as usual, with my parents and Anthony's crew. Waaaaaaaay too much good food. :) The kids were constantly digging new holes in the yard, batting shuttlecocks around, or letting flies into the house... I think that's how you know they're having a good time. Actual Thanksgiving day was spent with the boy's family at Joel and Stacey's house. More screaming, laughing kids and lots of amazing food. The only thing missing was Heather but she'll be home soon and then hopefully we'll see her much more often. 

It really bugged me that while Noah was there with us, his daddy was not... of all days to pick the girlfriend over his son! Yeesh. I don't think he realizes how hard it is on many dads that only have their kids for the odd weekends. I get the impression that he feels put-upon to have Noah as frequently as he does, rather than blessed to be able to see him as much as he does. 

Thanksgiving night, Sunny came with me to meet up with Megan and her MIL to go Black Friday shopping. I thought we were crazy for doing so but it actually went really well. Waiting for nearly 2 hours at Wal-Mart was a pain in the rear but being able to get what I was looking for seemed to make it all worth it. I think the kids are going to be happy with what they get and hopefully, not overwhelmed to the point they don't truly enjoy the gifts themselves. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26, 2011

I'm getting use to life being seen through terribly smudged sunglasses. Nothing is my own anymore and while this sometimes frustrates the ever living out of me, in many ways, it's what I've always wanted.

Watching "Blue's Clues" earlier and observing the way Izzy tried to interact by playing with my old Blue, made me think. What seems like many years ago now, we would go to concerts or movies that appealed to us whenever we had the chance/money. We were free to make our own decisions based on our wants and likes and in some ways, I'm sure, we were glad to not have full-time small-child demands on us. On the weekends we had Ben, we did kid things and when we didn't have him, we did more adult things. We saw Steve Burns in concert, once and thought how funny it was that we might 'have' to watch Blue's Clues with Ben one day and here we were seeing the former star of the show in a completely different format and light on another.

These days, I sometimes wonder what we'd be doing if we didn't have to organize our days around what works for the kids and what interests them or is appropriate for them to be around even if it bores them to tears. Our house would be less cluttered, there would be FAR less laundry to do and nowhere near as many things to trip over when walking from room to room. Lunch would much less frequently be comprised of fish sticks or pb&j and there wouldn't be the constant battle over naptime and bedtime.

But my clothes wouldn't have finger paint stains, the refrigerator wouldn't have rainbow pumpkins, no one would be asking if we want to play chess or checkers, and my sunglasses would not be smudged with tiny finger prints.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 13, 2011

Fall officially starts on the 23rd of this month and I could not be looking forward to it more. We had a week of comfortable weather and suddenly, the heat is back. It's 104 degrees today. There's a breeze but instead of cooling one's brow, it merely feels like the venting air from an oven. My poor plants have mostly died. I had put out hostas under our live oak in the front yard and even though they were not exposed to the full force of the sun, they have fried and shriveled. It's very sad. I'm hoping that they'll recover over the fall and that next year will be easier on them.

School is going well. I feel like our lessons are almost too short but by moving from one subject to another before frustration or boredom sets in, I'm hoping to foster a feeling of excitement and anticipation that will last throughout the year. I'd like to incorporate more nature study that we've done the last two weeks... if the cooler weather will come back, we'll have more opportunity to go to the park and spend time watching birds and squirrels at least.

Izzy asked me earlier what 'cracker jacks' are, because we were listening to a cd of hers with "Take me out to the ballgame" on it. I explained what the ingredients are and she said 'oh... like those nuts we have at hockey games?' It never ceases to amaze and amuse me how she holds on to some very random memories or information. We talked about those roasted nuts a bit and she said 'Well, I think we should go to a hockey game and have more on Monday'. I don't care if we have to bribe her with fun treats... she WILL grow up enjoying hockey. I am starting to doubt that she will play, as she demonstrates more and more that she has a very strong girly side but who knows? :)

Dance class this morning went really well. Lily didn't go running into the studio like she did last week and they left the observation window uncovered for the whole class this time. I'm sure the instructor doesn't really like doing that but it did seem like the girls paid attention and didn't get distracted beyond waving at their mommies once or twice. Izzy is very serious about trying to do everything right... for the most part. They all forget to hold their arms up or out when they start dancing around the room but I know that must be the case for the first year or two. All that said... there is one major irritation for me. During class, Lily tries to play with/hug/talk to the other younger siblings in the waiting area. One of the little girls is just quite shy but her mother encourages her to share books/crayons and we make a community pile of things to entertain the girls. One of the other mothers has two children with her in the lobby - one is Lily's age and the other is only 7 months or so. And she makes a point, not of encouraging her child to interact with Lily, but of the complete opposite. She only tells her "It's ok to say no. Just say 'no thank you'. You don't have to play with her." and things of that nature. Who does that? I thought it was odd the first time but figured maybe her daughter was having a rough day and she just didn't want her to get upset when Lily wanted to hug her so much. But we've now been at 3 classes together and every time it's the same refrain. "You don't have to play with her if you don't want to. It's ok to tell her no. Just walk away." Wtf? Why not encourage your kid to be pleasant or kind or even outgoing? Ugh.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8, 2011

September seems to be a month of beginnings. School has started, Autumn seems to be knocking at the door and Religious school has begun for Izzy.

 School thoughts: it's ever so much easier to structure a day on paper than it is to apply that structure to the actual hours and minutes. I had planned to stretch activities out over the entire day but it seems to be easier to condense it into an hour or two in the mornings. Poetry/music time is a soothing way to start the day and them we transition straight into writing practice or math. Neither of these subjects takes long and before I know it, we can cover art and craftwork and be done long before lunch. I think I need to find some more math-related activities. Sorting/counting objects might extend the lesson a bit and give her a better idea what the math lessons are actually meant to apply to in the real world.

 Autumn thoughts: I wish our trees changed colors more noticeably. We spent a week in Colorado just prior to starting school and while the leaves weren't changing yet, there was definitely the promise of beautiful colors to go along with the crisp weather and soft breezes. I told Chad I would bring cooler weather back with us but I never imagined it would actually co-operate. But we went to bed in Amarillo on Saturday night and awoke to temps in the 60's and cool wind. Very nice. Also: you're welcome.

 Religious school: we've only had one class and the Sunday we were out of town, there was no class because of the holiday. She seemed to have a great time and every time I mention up-coming Sunday classes, she is shocked and happy that it will repeat every week. I suppose that's only to be expected... until recently, big events for her have been single-day affairs: birthdays, holidays out with family, dinners with friends.

 Oh! I forgot! We have "pre-ballet" classes weekly, too. We made up the skipped class yesterday and I have to say, I'm so glad I didn't sign up for the Wednesday slot on a regular basis... it was super hectic and Lily was being an anger ball. At least this time we got to watch on the tv in the lobby. The first day, the tv wasn't set up yet and they'd pulled the shade on the viewing window. The second class, we all got to watch for a while through the window but when some of the girls stopped paying attention or started crying, that ended. What I did see of Izzy was super encouraging. She pays very close (for a 4 year old) attention to the teacher and when it's her turn to practice a new bit, she immediately assumes a 'pose' and flutters around the room. I hope her joy in this continues because it could turn into a lifetime love of dance.

 Things I need to work on this week: better time management, scheduling a re-do for Izzy's mikveh bc she completely lost it when I had mine and did Lily's, cleaning off the kitchen counters, putting laundry away faster.

 I miss Megan. Our playdates are probably more for me than they are for Izzy... it's just so nice to have a local mommy friend that I can be open with and enjoy her opinions and insight.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4, 2011

Yesterday, I started the 30 Day Shred. Oh. My. Stars. And. Garters. When I was done, I could barely walk, I was wheezing a bit and dripping sweat.

I've actually been working out for the last 3 months or so. How am I still so out of shape??

I'll blame summer... no one wants to work out when it's day 10,000 of 105 degrees or more. Also, it's hard to work out consistently when you have a child in the house who DOESN'T nap and therefore wants to use the tv during prime sweatin' time. Yeesh. Kids. ;)

Anyway. Today was... let's see... yesterday was day 1... add the 1... carry the zero... Yes. Today was day 2. It wasn't NEARLY as hard as I anticipated and halfway through the third circuit, I found myself thinking "I thought there would be more to do?" So yay! Maybe yesterday was just a shock-day because I hadn't done these specific workouts before? I've been doing Jillian Michael's Upside Down Ab workout for the last 3-4 weeks. Maybe I'll see even quicker results if I do the upside down ab bits in the morning and the Shred at night? Hrm. Worth it?

Anywhoo... feeling good about myself, feeling good about life in general.

Also, I adore my husband. He is THE best thing that ever happened to me and I should tell him that every single day and twice on Sundays. e

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011

Last month, we reached our 7 year anniversary. I find it hard to believe that it's actually been that long since our wedding day. It doesn't seem like it could have been that long ago. But here we are, a 10 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old later.

Some highlights of our 7 years:

Well, clearly, the honeymoon. Never having been to Mexico before, it was quite the experience. Mismaloya, the churches, the coast/bay... all fond memories and examples of the beauty of Mexico. We've daydreamed ever since about having a house there for vacations.

Buying our house. I don't recall it as particularly stressful, but it was certainly an adventure. Seeing all the houses we didn't want and then finding this one, that seemed so perfect... it all just happened gradually and it's sometimes hard to imagine we ever lived anywhere else. I remember the pastel Dr Seuss houses we saw in Mesquite before we found this one... I wonder to this day who lives there and if they are as weirded out as I was.

The girls. I didn't realize how big an impact they would have on our lives. Well, I knew it would change everything but I suppose I didn't realize how much I would change in response to them. I wouldn't say I'm more patient with people in general but I am certainly more understanding of human nature and maybe a bit more forgiving.

Ben. Well, he was 19 months or so when the boy and I started dating. He was 3 when we got married. His growth has been amazing to watch and he's becoming quite the young man. It helps that he's nearly as tall as me... hard to treat him like a child when he can look you square in the eye! He's had his ups and downs over the years. This summer was a really good one with him... we spent time on the water, going random places, hanging out with friends when we could. He's made new friends in the neighborhood and I think that helps him feel more at ease. Peers do wonders for your attitude and general well-being.

Trips to Oregon/Colorado. We've been to Oregon twice and Colorado (together) once. Road trips are still a bit of a struggle with small kids but definitely worth the effort. Oregon has beautiful scenery and where we've visited is wine country. If we could live there, we probably would. Colorado was on the chilly side when we visited my Grandparents. Izzy was just shy of 2 1/2 when we made the first trip and then was actually 2 1/2 when I took the girls up again with my parents and she still remembers my Grandfather, the layout of the house and the snow we saw. Hoping to make the trek again soon so she can cement those memories a bit more now that she's older.

August 1, 2011

I'm trying to be patient and understanding but really, I cannot wait to have my husband back. So much of his time has been taken up by one of two things lately: work or legal issues. I try not to complain about work because it's not as though he can suddenly cut his workload in half and spend more time at home. What has to be done, has to be done, and largely by him. When it comes to the legal stuff, it's a bit harder to be patient. After 9 years, I still feel like that can monopolize his time and attention in a way with which I simply cannot compete. Maybe things are drawing to a close of some sort, maybe they're not. Regardless, it's frustrating to wait it out, hoping for calm, happy evenings.

Related: Ben went back to his mother's house on Saturday. It's a strange feeling, not having him here. The girls periodically look for him and I find myself waiting for him to come down to breakfast. He plays well with the girls and has been trying very hard to contribute around the house.

We introduced a chore/reward system and even though it's only been in effect for a week, he seemed to get the hang of it and was getting quite good at checking his progress himself. I have a hard time delegating certain tasks. The old saying "If you want it done right, do it yourself" is one that strikes home for me. As much as I might complain about doing certain chores around the house, it's very often easier?/less complicated? to do it myself than it is to tell someone else how/when/why to do it. However! if I want help with things, I have to ask, right? So some things are being handed off to the chilluns and they're stepping up admirably. Ben has been taking out trash, keeping their bathroom reasonably clean, making his own bed and the like. Izzy struggles with the concept of chores but likes to dust and help put clothes away so I'm taking advantage of that. Lily has only really mastered feeding the dogs so I can imagine that's gonna get heavy rotation in her chore list.

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29, 2011

This week has been rough. I don't know if it's the heat or their ages or simply my inability to spend all day entertaining but the kids have been driving me NUTS! The constant fighting over every little toy is really nerve wracking for me. We've also cut back MAJORLY on tv time so I'm sure that's part of it. In the long run, I know it does them a lot of good but can the benefits really outweigh the stress caused? Yikes. So much screaming over babies and toy wands and boxes.

We made it to the zoo last Friday but didn't do anything quite so adventurous this week. It's hard talking yourself into a day trip when you know you're going to be battling wills the entire time. Next week will be calmer... I keep telling myself that. Maybe the mantra will work and it will be a breeze.

I've been working on a school schedule for Izzy/Lily. I'm not sure how well it will work but I keep reminding myself that this first year, while important, won't define their entire scholastic career. 10-15 minute periods sprinkled through out the day should allow us to cover most subjects on an almost daily basis.

Izzy starts ballet classes next month. I didn't realize until a week ago that it will conflict right off the bat with our planned excursion with my parents but oh well. I don't know how a makeup class will work out but surely we can do something like that. After all, it's pre-ballet... surely they won't overload them in the first two weeks.

Fighting the green-eyed monster this week. From the peanut gallery comes all the "But I want it toooooooo" and from myself comes the "Why can't I have ________." The cute shoes, the nicer clothes, more nights out... you name it. I don't know what I'd do with any of those things, mind you. But it doesn't stop me from wanting. Working on that, though. Coveting never helped anyone.

Trying to remember to be thankful for the friends I have and the time with family. Having always struggled with feelings of exclusion, it's easy to feel slighted sometimes. Meh.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011

Thursday morning, I meet with Rabbi Dennis to iron out a few last details. Hebrew name(s), any requests for people attending the beit din, congregation membership. I was thinking to pick a Hebrew name that would have the same meaning as my English one but that's more complicated than I thought. I was thinking my name meant 'beloved' but I keep getting things like "from the fortress" or "pure" or "black," depending on the source (Gaelic or Welsh).

Meh. Maybe he has some suggestions....

July 19, 2011 A

The boy's vacation time is over and it's back to the normal routine. Ish...

Last week, we spent most of our days on the water, which was great. It makes the 100+ degree weather almost bearable when you can rinse off the sweat. The girls are rapidly becoming far more comfortable in the water than mama is but that's a good thing. I don't want them to have my fear of drowning. Izzy is browner than brown while Lily, our little paleface, is still, well, lily-white. I don't know how that happens... I must reapply the sunscreen more to Lily. I thought I was slathering evenly but who knows!

Saturday morning started off well, with getting to service EARLY for once. I don't think that's happened before. Maybe we should go out for breakfast more often. ;) The Torah portion was Pinchas - I know I've read it before but I don't guess it stood out as much as it should have until now. During discussion, some new ideas were presented: the necessity of anger and passion, the dangers of inclusion and the awesome burden placed on those in positions of power and respect.

Isobel's birthday party was Saturday afternoon and was a lot of fun. Nicole came over early and gave us massages as part of her class 'home work.' I didn't realize how much stress that would remove from the day until it was all over and the headache kicked in. Better after the party than in the middle of it! :)

Back to the normal routine yesterday, with carting the kids around to the store to drop off cameras and then on to the mall to play in the air conditioning. It makes the day go by much faster when we have things to do... just wish it were possible to find things to do that are entertaining AND free. Seems money is always slipping through our fingers. :(

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011

The boy has more vacation time starting tomorrow... which means BOAT TIME! I think tomorrow is gonna be a crafty day, getting some things done/ready so we can really enjoy the week off.

So this tent is what I'll be trying to work on tomorrow and Sunday. 
As cute as this tent is, I don't think I'll be making it for indoor play use. I have dreams of taking it along on our lake excursions to set it up on shore for the girls to use, either as a play area or just to get out of the sun periodically. Considering using a picnic-type tablecloth instead of plain fabric, just to make it a bit more durable. I'm not sure the tablecloth I have will be bit enough but it's worth a look-see. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 2, 2011

This morning, the girls and I met my mom at temple for services. I wondered how things would go for a couple of reasons. Rabbi is out on vacation and I had both girls with me, not just Izzy. Lily doesn't sit still, she refuses to be quiet and she has absolutely no intention of minding mama. We made it through the first prayers ok but once we started actual reading/discussion, Lily had enough. I walked her up and down the hallway and begged her to be quiet, even for just a little bit. No dice, mama!

When service was nearly over, I thought surely Lily would give in and sit with me if I just didn't give her any options. She was still too noisy though and a lady sitting by us leaned over to inform me that she couldn't hear the girl leading service.

Um. Yeah.

Tell me my child is too noisy for YOU, as if I hear everything going on but am willfully subjecting you to the torture of listening to a 2 year old? *sigh* I wanted to cry. Eventually, I did cry. Nothing makes you feel like a failure like a stranger pointing out that your child is, oddly enough, not easy to control.

We picked up Daddy and met Mom for lunch, where the girls behaved normally. And out of the blue, a lady from a nearby table stopped at our table on the way out to say she enjoyed sharing the dining room with our girls and just wanted to let us know that. Was I wearing a sign? How did she know that I needed to hear that my girls ARE nice to be around, that I'm not failing to train them to behave? I'm so thankful that she felt led to say those nice things. Maybe she needed to hear soothing words when she was a young mother, maybe she has noisy grandchildren, maybe she's just the type to pay forward the little kindnesses she receives along the way. Whatever the reason, I hope she has a wonderful day and knows she made mine that much better as well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

A lot, actually. On the 21st, I have my next meeting with the rabbi and I need to figure out at least a method for choosing a Hebrew name. I'm not sure if it should somehow match my English name's definition (which is "beloved" and I'm not thrilled by "Ahuva", "Chaviva" or "Leeba") or if it should represent a trait I hope to exhibit or what...

I could just 'cheat' and use Avigail, since it was my Grandma's given name and is, roughly, Lily's middle name. At least it's a name I like already.

What to do.....

June 29, 2011 A

Just a few things that are puzzling me today:

How can a boy who is so messy use up ALL the soap?? Seriously. I think he gets lost in the moment and just loves the suds too much. At least it's not bar soap... the scum it leaves seriously grosses me out. 

Why did so many people move to Texas? It's not pretty. It's hotter than Hades. There are maybe 2 natural lakes in the entire region. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Yeesh. When I grow up, I want to move to Colorado. Or Oregon. 

What do car mechanics get paid? I took my car in for an oil change some time ago and they wanted to charge me another $35 to change my under-hood air filter and $90 to change the cabin filter. I purchased both for a total of $40 and did them myself in less than 20 minutes. What on earth were they planning on doing that meant I should shell out another $85?

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Izzy quote: Mermaids don't wear tops. Just bottoms. Like this, a skirt. With flowers on it. They wear skirts in their house, and dance class.

June 27, 2011

Oh, this is taking wall art to a whole new adorable level. :) 

The things we'll do...

... to be entertained! Ben is currently watching Barbie: Swan Lake with the girls. He begged for it not to be put on and has been glued to it ever since. Guess tomorrow had better be a tv-free day! ;-)

There and back again!

This last week is a BLUR! I'll try to recall at least the most important parts...

Wednesday, Chad was hoping to take Ben out on the boat with his dad to do some night fishing. An appointment made the group outing impossible but he still took Ben out to at least spend the night on the water.

Thursday morning, I scrambled around to get the girls ready and we met the boys at the lake at about 10am. The water was so much nicer than the last time we were out. I think the girls were a bit apprehensive of 'daddy's boat' after the last excursion. No wind advisory this time, tho so we made it without getting tossed up and down in our seats. We went to a little cove with a decent shore and splashed around for a few hours. Lily took a little while to get used to the water but once she decided it was ok, it was incredibly hard to keep her out of it. She wanted to try to sit in it with Daddy and dunked her own face a few times. Izzy was running around in the water with Ben, as if she'd always been comfortable in the lake. The last couple of times, it took work to get her to get in up to her ankles!

Friday, we packed up and headed to Galveston. Well, Kemah. It's a little town about 25 miles north of Galveston. They seem to pick up a lot of the 'overflow'... for a town of 1,773 it's pretty busy. They have a boardwalk with lots of carnival type rides, restaurants and little shops. The girls got to ride the Red Baron and Carousel with me - first time on REAL rides, I think. Ben did a whirly ride that I can't recall the name of. Looked like fun, tho.

We drove around for a little bit and seemed to see all there was to see in Kemah. I'm sure if we'd walked around more, we'd have found something intriguing but it seems like it's just a little bedroom community that picks up the extra tourist traffic.

We had dinner at a place called T Bone Tom's (yummy chopped beef sandwiches and fried pickles!) and then called it a night. Well, as I recall, the girls and I did and Chad took Ben back out to the boardwalk for a while. I was so sleepy, it's a bit foggy.

Saturday morning, we headed to Galveston to check out the beach and Moody Gardens. Moody Gardens looked like a fun place to go but SO expensive. Every attraction had separate admission pricing! They weren't just a bunch of rides or anything... they have a Rainforest Pyramid, Aquarium Pyramid, water park, paddle wheel boat, theater, discovery center. And charging upwards of $15 a person for EACH thing. So off we went to the free beach. :) I think the girls were a bit overwhelmed by the speed of the surf, even if it wasn't that high. Lily managed to entertain herself, picking up little clams out of the sand and spitting sand out of her mouth every time she stuck her fingers in. Ben took off and enjoyed the water with Chad.... I think it's the first time he's seen the Gulf. He said the water didn't taste so great, tho. hehe As it was closing in on lunch time, we called it a morning and headed back to eat and lay the girls down. Izzy passed out HARD but Lily had napped on the way back to the room and was just being her normal crazy self. Chad took Ben to the NASA Space Center till it was dinner time and we headed back to T Bone Tom's. (I keep wanting to say F Bone because that's what their sign actually looked like. Choose your fonts wisely, folks!)

Sunday - we went BACK to Galveston, road the ferry around and saw some dolphins. :) Only a few of them actually leapt out of the water completely but it was still cool to spot them. And coming back to the original port, gulls and pelicans were flying right in front of the upper deck so we were able to see them up close and personal. Brown pelicans are so pretty.

The drive home - ugh. So long! We stopped at the Sam Houston statue, where the children were all underwhelmed. It was neat but SO hot outside that they just didn't care for picture taking.

Dinner with Justin and Sunny, who took care of our puppies while we were gone. :) Lily kept stealing my food so eventually, I will have a picture or two of her holding my corn on the cob to post. She was so happy to see her 'nana sunny'. I don't know why she calls her nana at first. Silly girl.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Svenska Turistföreningen - STF Kolarbyn/Eco-lodge - Photo gallery

This looks like it would be a really neat experience. I wonder how long it takes to build one of these little huts? Would be neat to have on someone's property for wilderness time.

Svenska Turistföreningen - STF Kolarbyn/Eco-lodge - 

After the storm

There's nothing quite like crawling into bed sometime after midnight, only to be awoken at 3am by pounding rain and hail. If our room was in the back of the house, it wouldn't be so bad. But unfortunately, the kids have the back bedrooms and the staccato of the rain and hail on their windows is impossible to sleep through.

Lily woke when I went in the girls' room to gather them up. We ended up going downstairs because the wind was howling like mad. Turns out the worst of the storm was right on top of us but at least that meant it was short-lived.

Most normal people, when woken by thunderstorms, can go back to sleep when it quiets down. Our girls do NOT have that ability. I laid on their floor till 7am and probably slept about an hour of that time. Lily was adamantly asking for more drink and didn't understand why I wouldn't schlep up and down the stairs for her. I guess she finally wore herself out at about 5. And then Isobel woke up and came down to the floor to lay down with me at 6. She was so sweet about it, patting my back and trying to tuck the blanket around me.

Thankfully, it appears we escaped any really terrible damage. The hail shredded the trees pretty well but the car doesn't have really noticeable dings in it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Little readers

Something helpful for all mommies, whether you love reading or not. Help your toddler love reading

Beautiful Rubber Stamp Sets | Family Style

Caught this through Beautiful Rubber Stamp Sets | Family Style LOVE these stamps. Makes me long to create this: to enjoy them. If only I had an extra closet, just waiting to be used!

Oh wait!

I totally forgot to put this here. My parents had their beit din and mikveh yesterday. It's amazing how so many years of yearning and 'somedays' can culminate in an hour long event that forever changes your identity. No long 'practicing Jews', my parents are officially members of the Tribe. :)

My next meeting with Rabbi  Dennis will be the 21st of July and we'll make sure then whether the tentative mikveh date of Aug 18th still works. I'm anxious and completely at peace at the same time.

We had a good conversation last night. I mentioned how sometimes it seems I should be doing more or learning more or asking more. As if there should be more changes going on internally as well as just in my general lifestyle. He told me that attending services, keeping Shabbat and the various holidays, having an active prayer "routine" are actually considerable progress and other things can come in time. There are chaverot and study groups that function within congregation that I can become part of eventually. Hopefully, we can meet some other families that we can hang out with and let the kids form some friendships of their own.

How long till winter?

Izzy asked today if it would be a long time till winter. I told her we had to make it through summer first and she said 'well, when it does snow, I will need help with my snowman'. Already lining up the winter activities and it's not even technically summer yet!

Current wonderings:

What type personality are my children? Isobel seems to need to know what's going on to stay on an even keel, Lily is apparently ok with life changing at the drop of a hat. Heck, she doesn't even need the hat.

What should I be reading? I have new books to read but it seems like I'm having a difficult time actually delving into them.

Latest literary acquisition is "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee." My rabbi recommended it as a good resource for finding ways to incorporate Jewish beliefs into every day parenting life. Today would have been a good day to have some insight, as I tried to remember what I had on my grocery list between screams, howls and general mayhem from the peanut gallery. I don't want to be the mom who can't handle a trip to the store but some days, I AM that mom. I want to just sit down and cry with the kids until we're all sorted out.

Redesigned/titled the blog. I had considered trashing it completely and starting anew but that's actually more work than simply importing the old entries and hoping people  I don't mind the nonsense from years past.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wet Wednesday

Making more of an effort to spend time outdoors. It's easy to convince myself that I'm acting in their best interest to keep them out of the heat but ultimately, time outside is important. Our house faces east so the majority of the back yard is in shade till at least noon.

 I have to give up on being a control freak mom and just let the other freak flag fly and let the girls do what they do best - make a mess and have fun. There's actually LESS screaming when I don't monitor their every interest. Crazy, huh?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mundane mundus

When I was pregnant, people would ask me if I was excited or scared or nervous about 'the big day'. I rarely had a genuine response to that because I didn't know what to say. I think I told most of the Curious that I was excited about it or maybe anxious. But I don't think that touches on the truth of it. I looked forward to 'the big day' but not with any real trepidation. Not even the first time. I knew it was coming and nothing would stop it or alter it so I didn't have strong feelings about it. It was simply marching toward me inexorably. Oh, that sounds ominous. But it wasn't that way for me. I just don't get wound up, I guess. I get more nervous about calling someone I don't really know or talking to a person in authority than I did about childbirth. Way to go, huh? Way to embrace the enormity of the moment. 

Change does make me nervous but I think I manage to be more nervous about my lack of excitement than about the actual event. 

On Thursday, my parents are having their mikveh to finalize the conversion process. My father is thrilled beyond words and is likely to jump up and down. No lie. My mother is where I get my oddness, I suppose, as she's simply of the mind of 'Well, of course we're doing this. It's what we've been working towards for the last 18 years.' Why get worked up over reaching the very point of life you've been working towards. 

Thursday evening, I have a meeting with the Rabbi to discuss my own mikveh date. I am a bit anxious about this but I think more because I feel as tho it's happening to someone else. Maybe that's more accurate than just saying I don't feel excited, etc about things. I react as tho it's someone else having the experience. Is this normal?

Lily has started toilet training herself and THAT almost freaks me out. The end of babyhood is upon us. She's speaking more clearly, likes many of the same things Izzy does (books, babies, same movies) and now she's toilet training. And it's all her own idea. Seems to be key with our girls, to getting them to do pretty much anything. 

Life is moving forward in so many ways. 

Things are different here.

Recently came across this delightful blog and haven't been able to get enough of it. She and her family moved to France for a year (I guess they're somewhere in the middle of that year now?) and she posts about the myriad adjustments that have to be made as Americans and an established family (6 children! :) ). It's really quite fascinating. I've been perusing old entries and came across some other wonderful sites... sites I might never have come across on my own. At least, I don't know how I would have. Anyway.

A few:

Got kids? Those kids have birthdays? Dreamy parties
I'm not sure how I've not come here before. So much whimsy!
I want to be her when I grow up. Ambrosia

It's safe to say that I wish I were a designer and lived a more fascinating and creative life. Maybe I just want to live in France tho. Hot cocoa for breakfast, 2 hour lunches are the norm and markets to buy one's dinner, fresh fresh fresh.

Maybe if I let the boy get his tv, he'll get me Rosetta Stone and learning can commence! Speaking the language makes it more likely that we'll visit some day, right? RIGHT?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Much sadder Eeyore.

We went to the store this morning to pick up fruit and yogurt to make smoothies. With nowhere else to be, we took our time, wandering the aisles and looking at all the unnecessary things. A little plush Eeyore caught Izzy's eye and she asked if maybe next time 'could we come back and get the very sad Eeyore' so she could 'take him home and be his mommy'? I said "We already have a sad Eeyore at home, don't you remember?" Izzy's reply was perfect: "But this one is MUCH SADDER!" When did my little 3 year old figure out justification, not to mention degrees?

There's no connection but my little Izzy is going to be a much sadder Izzy when she finds out we are likely to NOT have her brother this summer. She looks forward to his visits every week and while she understands we don't have him every weekend, she knows that he DOES come here and on the weeks she gets a "yes, he'll be here soon!" she is always so excited. The grown up world is difficult to navigate. It's hard on the grown-ups and probably many times more difficult for the little ones. So many arbitrary decisions being made and changes of heart occurring.

I recently changed this to a private blog because I feared too many things could be taken out of context or twisted to mean something they don't but it seems now that no matter what, people can decide what they believe is true and just live accordingly. It doesn't matter a bit what I say or feel if someone else wants to attribute motives or opinions to me. This makes me a much sadder me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hello, Fail.

It seems my attempt at a spending diet is not really working. I feel like I'm spending less bc my grocery trips are between $30-40 each week but the in-between stuff... ugh. The dog food and soda and random 'hey, let's eat ___ tonight' and new clothes for Izzy as she SPROUTS and just random.... STUFF is insane. I talk myself out of so many things and then allow myself to buy something else later and it's just adding up too fast. But none of it feels 'extra'. I've got worn out clothing and too-big clothing and not-age-appropriate clothing... so I've bought a few things that I feel like I deserve. But the cc balance says we should go without. So... yeah. poop.

We do ok cutting back on eating out for a couple of weeks and then it seems like it just creeps back in. We're out late and don't want to cook or he doesn't take a lunch with him so he goes out or friends come over and we order something.

Why is it so hard to budget? Surely there are concrete lists we can adhere to. I suppose making those lists would mean we'd have to actually sit down and draw them up. Which would mean having the time AND the desire to do so.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Texas Spring

Yesterday was overcast but comfortable so we took the boat out for a few hours. I don't think we got near as much sun as the last time and Izzy actually had a little bit of fun in the water. We 'beached' in a little cove and wandered up and down the shore picking up shells. I wish I'd taken more pictures but maybe next time Lily won't be crying the whole time and I'll remember to snap a few.

Today is wet and cold and windy. Aside from the excessive greenery, it looks almost winter-like outside. Soggy ground, grey skies... unhappy dogs, bored kids.

Next weekend is the homeschooling bookfair in Arlington. It runs all day long and I'm planning to go with Megan. I think she'll have Zeke with her but I'm hopeful I can leave both girls here. I can't concentrate when they are with me and trying to run amok.

I'm really hoping to find a line of curriculum that will be as helpful to me as it will be educational for Izzy (and Lily). I have a hard time scheduling school time and establishing a clear demarcation between lazy-chaotic-fun zones and focused-organized zones. The only area I have to set up any kind of bulletin board is the play room and it's nearly impossible to ask the girls to turn away from their toy distractions and focus on 'B is for Ball....'

Mary Kay

I believe I've been invited to try Mary Kay products two or three times and I've never bothered. Principally because I imagined they were far more expensive than I would care to afford. I have to confess I also imagined I would feel extremely awkward and out of place at a Mary Kay party. Me, the frumpy frazzled stay-at-home mom. It just never fit.

However, I'm currently infatuated with shows like What Not to Wear and I long to wear fun makeup so that I can be the cute frazzled mom. (I've decided dropping the 'frazzled' bit is impossible. Who with three kids and two of them GIRLS can help being frazzled?) I spent 20 minutes the other day watching a girl's how-to videos on YouTube and was enthralled by the use of this magical product called foundation primer. I've never heard of this! A foundation for your foundation? What WILL they think of next? I must have it! But I didn't know where to get it or what brand I would like and the biggest thing I abhor about buying face/beauty products is the expense of acquiring things that just aren't quite right. The failed experiment drawer is not pretty.

A week or two ago, I got an invitation from a friend to a Mary Kay party. She's decided to start this as a side business and I admire her for tackling this in addition to a full-time job and full-time mothering. So how could I not attend? A Girls Night, even with girls I don't know, is always to be appreciated. Anywhoo... last night was a great night. I showed up nearly an hour late but hadn't missed the fun parts and for the next nearly 2.5 hours, got to enjoy experimenting with fun facial products and colors.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rained-out Wednesday

Chad is taking a vacation week right now and so far, we've managed to go out on the boat a total of ZERO times. Part of this is due to my not feeling up to it Sunday and Monday and part of it is due to a ridiculous amount of wind and sketchy rain. So, since we haven't been on the water, he's been working on the boat, rerouting some wiring and installing new lights, etc. to get things up to snuff. I know the next big job will be updating the trailer and then painting the boat. When that's all done, it's going to be one sharp looking classic.

Of course, it's also Passover week. This makes finding things to do or places to go a little more difficult than usual but maybe all the enforced family time will do us good?

We had a family Seder Monday evening and then I took Izzy to the community seder with my parents. I haven't been to a group seder before and it was an amazing night. Being part of a larger community of believers is so encouraging. I don't know that I've ever experienced any real doubts that I'm doing the right thing by pursuing conversion but seeing Isobel get involved with the prayers and singing and ritual of Passover definitely helps reaffirm the choice.

With Isobel's birthday coming up in the next few months, I'm feeling more pressure to buckle down and figure out a homeschooling curriculum. I worry that my lax schedule will interfere with teaching adequately but hopefully, finding the right guideline to use will facilitate bringing not only the girls but myself into line.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The wind has been buffeting the house for the last couple of days and I can say, with reasonable confidence, that I am ready for it to go away. There are some days that I love to watch the wind play with the trees, bending them this way and that, like great leafy dancers. But this wind has brought with it a feeling of unrest and irritation. Probably doesn't help that Mother Nature has come to call in more ways than one.

The wind whipping around the house is an interesting sound but it makes for dusty dogs and bored children. I don't think they would mind trading places but I'm not sure that would actually make life any more pleasant for mommy. Not to mention how very like life the wind is. Lately, I feel like I am tugged one way and another and I just go... And then it blows on by me and I'm here, disheveled and unfocused.

This could all just be a mood. I often have days when I wonder what I'm doing with my time and how I could better utilize it. What could I teach the girls that I'm not? What could I be doing, creatively, that I'm not? What goals could I have that I simply... don't?

I feel small. There are mothers who are out there making a discernible difference in their world AND raising children. There are mothers with careers that make an impact on lives or provide a valuable service AND they raise their children. I feel less-than. I'm raising wonderful children and I think maybe I'm the unnoticeable cog that is vital to the machine's movement but all in all, still just a little dusty cog. I don't stand out. I don't have a cause or a goal or a bright and shiny talent.

I hate the wind.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekend already?

This week has kind of flown by. Chad got home Sunday and stayed home sick on Monday. I guess he caught something on the plane. I don't even remember what I did Tuesday and Wednesday... Oh! I took the girls to a local mall Wednesday. We showed up at Barnes and Noble just in time for their Story Hour. I didn't know they did one at all and it was AWESOME! Mr Jeff is very animated and seems to love interacting with the kids. Definitely going to make that a new part of our routine.

Thursday, Isobel had a dentist appointment. It turns out the dark spot I was worried about is indeed a small cavity starting but hopefully it won't take a big filling. She did really well at letting the dentist poke around in her mouth and polish her teeth. It helped that they have this neat Kangaroo toy with TEETH in it's mouth. She brushed them over and over and then held his little paw while her teeth were being polished. So cute!

Spring.... where are you? Some days it's cold, some days it's HOT and I want nice middle of the road weather.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Skype babies

Daddy is in Vancouver till tomorrow and the girls got to have their first Skype call with him tonight. Lily absolutely loved the whole concept... she kept waving to him, trying to give kisses and loved when he would get up close to the camera and make silly faces. Izzy liked it but was more interested in trying to entertain Daddy with hand stands and general silliness. I think his absence has left her a little wound up so hopefully when he's back, she returns to a more calm normality. Yeah right... heh

Before Chad  left, I thought about painting our room/bathroom. It's hard to do stuff like that when we have to have access to the room every night so when he's out of town, it's a prime time for creativity. Tuesday afternoon, we picked out colors and got the paint. When the girls went to bed, I got started on the cutting in process. Oy. I am NOT a fan of cutting in. It's so time consuming! And having to squoosh all the furniture into the middle of the room to have space for the giant ladder? Yikes. At least I got all the top cutting-in done before Lily started waking up. She's been having these wakeful  nights on and off lately... she wakes up crying and then calms down once I check on her. But for some reason, she struggles to go back to sleep and is sometimes awake for 2-3 hours.

So Tuesday night, I ended up penning the dogs in the hallway and sleeping on the girls' floor with my hand stuck in Lily's crib. She finally passed out sometime after midnight. Wednesday night, she slept fairly normally but Izzy woke up a couple of times. Thursday night, Lily had the same wakefulness. Their floor is SO not comfortable. And waking up at the crack of dawn with Izzy and sneaking downstairs so as not to wake Lily is not terribly fun, either.

The painting is done, tho. I painted Tuesday/Wednesday night and Thursday during what was supposed to be Izzy's nap (she just played on the couch in the living room). Friday, I painted the main part of the bathroom and today I wrapped up with the little WC. I was hoping to paint the girls' bathroom as well but I think I'm gonna hold off on that for a little while. Maybe even do it a different color. Our room and the bathroom is a LOT of yellow. ;-)

I miss my honey. His being away on these trips has gotten easier to handle but I still am not a fan. I find myself to be very short tempered the last couple of days. It stinks he can't take off Monday to hang out with us.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

So long, February!

While it seems that New Year's day was ages ago, it still feels strange to already be saying farewell to the second month of the year. Just a little over a month until my birthday and then 6 weeks later it will be Lily's. Ack!!

Ben turns 10 today. TEN! I remember when he was younger than Lily and now he's nearly as tall as me and seems to become more mature every time we see him. He's certainly begun to grasp reality in a way that eluded him just months ago. I hope he stays as positive as he currently is because there's an awful lot of reality to grasp in the next few years.

Today is tax day for us. I'm glad I didn't have to go along for the appointment but I don't like not knowing what's going on or when Chad will be back home. He's planning to check on the other house after the appointment so I'm hoping we only get good news today.

There's a homeschooling book fair in Irving in May and I'm thinking about going. I would love to get some real guidance on how to start homeschooling the girls. With 2 years between them, there's a lot of stuff that I feel Lily wouldn't learn yet but I want to teach Izzy... however, coordinating lessons and playtime for both of them is super challenging to me. Do I let Izzy go without structure a while longer or do I impose more structure on Lily's day? Anyway. If I can get some good info out of the bookfair, I will feel so much more confident about being able to teach them at home, at least through the elementary years.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In other news

I am feeling isolated.

Maybe I missed my chance to go to school and become a child psychologist...

Yesterday was like most days. We played in the morning, made some fun cards, watched a little kid-tv. But Izzy didn't nap. After 2 hours of her not sleeping, I took the girls to the park... it was nice if a bit blustery out there. We did great right up until we actually got  to the park. Izzy stopped watching where she was going and fell down, skinning her leg a bit. Lily played on the slides but didn't want my help climbing on things so I tried letting her just walk around and explore. She belly-flopped onto a sidewalk and chipped two teeth while skinning the bejeezuz out of her chin.

I should have known then that the rest of the day was gonna be a write off.

We went to dinner and Izzy maintained a facade of normalcy. I think seeing her favorite people (Justin and Sunny) helped. But after we got home, it all continued to crumble. She completely flipped out about getting in bed. She usually tells me she doesn't want to go to bed but doesn't make a big deal out of it if I just tell her "I'm sorry but it's bedtime so you have to be in your bed." This did NOT work last night. She refused to take off her shoes, insisting she wanted to sleep in them. When I tried to help her take them off, she resorted to spitting and screaming about it, demanding to do it herself. She wouldn't cooperate when it came to putting on a sleeping outfit or pullup. Scream, scream, scream. Eventually, I think she just wore herself out. She did calm down when I went up after about 20 minutes but then woke up crying again an hour later.

Today, I told her that her nap wasn't optional. We were NOT having a repeat. She agreed and actually went to sleep within about 15 minutes and took a really decent nap.

So I have no clue what has led to her completely flipping out on me tonight. She happily collected a blanket on the way up, asking to rock in a chair with me for a little bit before bed. No big deal, right? We stopped to brush teeth and as soon as I offered her the toothbrush, she yelled that she didn't want to do it so I said "ok, I'll do it for you." That's routine... sometimes she's just too tired to brush her teeth herself. But spitting and slapping at me is very much not a part of the routine.

I'm trying to remain calm. Never discipline a child while angry, etc. right? We rocked and read our bedtime book and then when I said it was bedtime, she started yelling that she wanted to sit in the hallway and be in trouble instead. WTFrick. I figure it's best not to let her control the options so I said we aren't doing that tonight and she needs to stay in bed. Scream scream, slap slap. *sigh*

15 minutes and counting of her yelling that she wants me, wants to hold me, wants to be downstairs, wants to go potty.

It occurs to me now that we'd started breaking up their bedtimes by about 30 minutes and maybe she's just not articulating that she doesn't want to go to bed at the same time as Lily anymore but good grief... could it really be THAT big a deal? They've gone to bed at the same time for months and only been sometimes going to bed at different times for the last couple of weeks.

I may or may not be drinking a margarita in the dark when Chad gets home.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Playground:1 Lily:0

It doesn't look so bad now that it's got Neosporin on it but this is what happens when Lily forgets that not all things are cushioned. She launched herself onto the sidewalk from the playground area. :( Chipped her top middle teeth and everything. This one is gonna be the one that breaks bones.

Is it Spring already?

The sun is out, the breeze is warm. If only we had grass in the yard instead of muddy nothing...

Spending diet is going pretty well so far. We've cut back on eating out and shopping at Aldi is making a big difference in our grocery bill. I don't have a dollar amount for how much we're managing to "save" but I have been keeping tabs on how much I spend each week on groceries and I anticipate comparing this month's credit card expenditures with last month's and seeing a pretty big difference.

Of course, this small success comes when we're facing spending WAY too much on the old house. A pipe burst in the attic and by the time anyone noticed, all but a couple of rooms had caved in ceilings and standing water. All the hard work that Chad's dad and his crew put into to fixing up the house is completely obliterated. Insurance may pick up the tab but it's still a serious pain to have to deal with.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter blues

It's hard to believe that just last week, the weather was decent and we could go OUTSIDE.

Saturday, we wandered down to the park with the kiddos after much begging from Izzy. She doesn't get out much and I know that's my fault but with the dogs and Lily, it feels like it's a hassle to get out for walks on a regular basis. Anyway, she ran and laughed pretty much the whole way to the park. Once we got there, we found our neighbor and his daughter there so Izzy was in heaven. She loves playing with Bailey. Ben walked their dog around the park for a while and the girls tried to rearrange all the shredded bark in the swing/playground area. I don't know what is so fun about it but they couldn't stop throwing it into the air.

Sunday, we went to the park again when our neighbor called to say they were gonna go and would we like to join them? It was considerably chillier but not unbearable with sweaters/jackets.

Monday, we went to lunch with Nicole and that's the last time we've been outside. It wasn't too chilly and it was nice to get out for a couple of hours. The girls love seeing Nicole and talking her ear off. Izzy's always asking if we can go to her house.

Tuesday morning, the ice hit during the wee hours and the way it pelted the windows woke Izzy up. She doesn't like strange noises at all. I laid down with her for close to an hour and we couldn't get back to sleep. Ice hitting glass is probably one of the most annoying sounds in the world! At about 5am, it was just not working to stay in their room so I bundled the kids into our bed. Not a whole lot of sleep going on there. Chad took Lily back to the girls' room and the ice finally stopped long enough for Izzy and I to drop off for about 45 minutes. She woke up and started crawling over me to go to the bathroom so we got up a little while after that.

Today has been fun. The girls woke up at 5:30 and I laid them back down only to be woken up an hour later when the power went out. Rolling blackouts. Yay! It finally came on for good at about 9am so at least the fireplace hasn't been our only source of warmth. I changed my dental appointment... hopefully the roads will look safer in the AM. I'm in such a hurry to get my rootcanal/crown over with, can't you tell? :)

Potato/corn chowder hit the spot for dinner but I think tomorrow might be chicken taco soup day. Thanks to Megan for posting about hers! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Briefly considered.

Last week, I briefly considered going internet-less to see how much more I can accomplish in a day. Unfortunately, remembering to GO internet-less was not one of the things I was able to accomplish. To put it plainly, I forgot.

So, tomorrow? I'm not sure how much this desire is born out of a real need to cut back and how much is born of feeling like I should at least be able to deny myself something like that. Like "millions of other moms don't have an outlet like the internet for taking a break from being mom/housekeeper, why should I?" Self-imposed guilt.

Currently watching Lily shovel huge mouthfuls of peas and carrots into her mouth. She looks so happy and focused when she has food to enjoy. She's even using her little piece of sourdough bread to push the food onto her fork. That's how serious my little 20 month old is about her food.

Today's accomplishments, so far:

baking the sourdough that I started yesterday morning
washing the dog-towels
taking out the trash
putting away a thousand toys

I'm attempting a spending diet this year. I've tried this in the past, with no real plan, of course. And it didn't work. Of course. How can one succeed at something if one doesn't know how one intends to go about it? So this year, I have to have a plan. As soon as Lily is clean and able to run off to entertain herself, I'm making a list of needs/wants and hopefully posting that in a conspicuous place will do the trick. I need the daily reminders or I derail rather quickly.

In fact, I think this speaks to my one HUGE flaw. I do not follow through well. I am easily distracted and easily convinced of failure. As an example, I believe the only reason my children are here is because follow through was inevitable. Everything else I've done has slowly skidded to some kind of ignominious halt.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who needs money anyway?

Time to cut spending to a bare minimum. I am going to admit that I'm a bit mystified about how to do this. When I had no money, it was easy. I looked in my wallet and didn't have anything so I didn't spend it. Since getting married, though, I've always used a credit card and Chad deals with all the financial stuff. I have gotten to the point where I'm starting to forget what money means. I still shoot for low totals and sales and whatnot but it's been a long time since I've had to choose what to buy based on 'can I afford this?'

So this is a new challenge for me. I am sure it can be done because I have a friend who somehow manages to get by with spending $40 a week at grocery stores. I am not sure I can do that but it's worth a try. I think it's going to mean NOT going to Target/Wal-Mart for groceries any more. It's too easy to decide Izzy needs another pair of pants or socks or a movie. Lily is still getting by just fine with hand-me-downs so it's been a while since she's gotten something substantial and new.

This week's goal is to use up pantry/freezer items. I anticipate some difficulty, both in finding new ways to serve things up and finding the time to plan those new ways.

Next week will be harder, I think. I'm scouring weekly ads for grocery stores and it's disheartening because the things on sale are not things I use and the coupons or card priced items are only meeting the price of items I buy as generics. So... I just have to buy less. Argh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Counting down now.

Currently, we have 4 months till Lily's 2nd birthday. This brings a few things up for me.

Any day now, the language and concept-comprehension explosion will begin. We were amazed daily at the things that Izzy suddenly understood. The fact that she could tell us that the dog was outside or that daddy was 'wuk' caught us by surprise. We'd just gotten used to thinking of her as a person, for Pete's sake.

Soon, we'll be ready to start potty training. I think I started at 20 months with Izzy and it didn't click for her till she was 2+. So I'm not rushing anything this time. I'd like her to at least be able to tell me she needs to poop before we tackle that beast.

2 months at the max till I need to start actively planning her party. I don't really have a theme in mind yet, because she doesn't seem to care about anything beyond her babies and 'ye-haw' (Woody). Maybe it'll be a Toy Story theme? She's seen at least parts of all three movies and seems to enjoy them.

3 months or so till we should be able to convert the crib into a toddler bed. We put Izzy in her twin bed a couple of weeks before Lily was born, I think. This seems crazy to me now because Lily seems like such a baby still and surely she's not ready for a BED bed. But I know for a fact we got the bed before Lily was born and moved Izzy into it so we wouldn't be putting her in a new bed AND bringing home a baby at the same time. So... yeah. I have a premonition that if we convert Lily's crib into a toddler bed, we will be finding her in Izzy's bed in the middle of the night. Maybe we should just assume that's the way it's gonna go and have them share?

Argh. The thought of Lily in a big bed is so sad. Soon we'll be getting ride of the crib. :( I am NOT ready to do that. I need baby things in the house or it will feel so foreign!

I'm not counting down to Izzy's birthday yet. It's 6 months away and it'll mean she's 4 and closer to school age and more independent and these things scare me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What's up, Texas??

Since when did snowfall in winter become a normal Texas occurrence? Izzy still talks about last year's snowman so she's already anticipating the same this time. "After my nap, I can put on my real gloves, not my kitchen gloves, and build a snow man!" I love how she differentiates between pretend items and real world items.

Lily has discovered calling people 'honey'. I always wonder how those things click... when and how do toddlers comprehend that a word you're saying actually MEANS something and WHAT it means. About a week ago, she surprised us by crawling into her Daddy's lap and saying 'hi! hi, honey!' Sometimes she calls her babies honey or even 'Nuny', I guess because that's what she hears from us all the time. She's suddenly developed a love of baby dolls and carries them around all the time, talking to them or singing to them. When she puts things on her head or tries to wear something of mine, she breaks into song, always starting off with 'ah-aaaah-ah-aaah'. As if she's mimicking opera. :)

For the last month or so, Izzy has been talking about her next birthday. She's decided she wants a Snow White birthday party this time around. I figured she'd change her mind multiple times, depending on what we watched or did between now and then but she's pretty stuck on this idea. Should probably just be glad to have this much advance warning of what she wants so I can properly plan this time.

 Posing for Hanukkah pictures. :)
 Poking around in Mommy's kitchen.
Practicing round braids. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where did the year go??

It's already 2011 and I don't think I ever got used to it being 2010.

This year, Izzy turns 4 (FOUR!) and Lily will be 2. I am NOT ready for being baby-free. :( I can't even think about it much longer than it will take to finish this sentence because it WILL make me cry. I am not ready for my girls to grow up.

Yesterday, Lily crawled into Chad's lap and started to snuggle into his chest saying 'hi! hi! Honey! Honey!' This was such a sweet moment I started to tear up. I love that she's hit the age of knowing what an endearment means and using it toward her daddy. She absolutely adores him. :)

The time is coming for Izzy to start a class of some sort. She loves dancing and singing and I think she'd benefit from being around other kids in an environment like that. I don't think she's ready to be around a bunch of kids full time, like school or daycare, but she certainly loves being with a group her own age. And maybe a dance class would be limited enough in exposure that she wouldn't learn too many habits? I dunno. She's not a dream child... it's not like she does everything right and never acts out so I'm not deluded into thinking that she's perfect and everyone else's kid is the Bad Seed. But still... as long as she's only around us, I feel like we have a better handle on the moods and crazies.

Winter is HERE. I do not like this for several reasons. My skin gets super dry. My nose hurts all the time. My fingers crack. I have to wear knee highs/leggings all the time or my legs will ache from my pants rubbing on stubble. This is probably the worst part of winter for me. So very sad.

Classes at temple are going well. I think we have a few weeks left and then we get to find out what the next step in the conversion process is. I'm anxious for this. It's becoming more imperative to have a religious identity.