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Saturday, December 31, 2011

What a Wonderful World...

Three years ago today, Marty and I married.

Just the other day, I told him to not to take it the wrong way, but it sure feels a lot longer than three years. He understood exactly what I meant.

In many ways, parenthood speeds up everything. That old adage, "The days are long, but the years are short" rings true.

But, when it comes to marriage, the days and the years have seemed long. I am not complaining or wishing time away or making a statement about the health of our marriage.

It just feels like it feels.

All at once...

exhausting,
frustrating, and
wonderful.

We celebrated our anniversary last night with a dinner at a French restaurant where I don't even think they provide high chairs or a kid's menu. We ate food, like steak tartare and beef bourguignon, that babies wouldn't like. We didn't cut it up for each other or remind the other not to throw sippy cups off the table. We only made two didn't make embarrassing impersonations of the babies. We didn't request the check before dessert in anticipation of an end-of-meal meltdown.

We walked to the movie theater, sans stroller or fussy toddlers with spaghetti legs, where we enjoyed our first full-length movie in a theater since I was pregnant. And, Tom Cruise wasn't the only one who completed an impossible mission last night-- I stayed awake for the entire movie!

In honor of our anniversary, here's the song that Marty and I originally picked for our first dance. The DJ at Margaritaville couldn't find it, so I think (hey, I was a few margaritas in at that point) we danced to the Nat King Cole version of "What a Wonderful World."





Happy New Year, Friends! In 2012, I hope all your troubles melt like lemon drops...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year in Review

2011 was a big year for MaMe Musings. As the babies grew, so did my need for a creative outlet. It seemed I couldn't blog enough to keep up with all of changes we were experiencing both as a family and as individuals. But, boy, did we try...

January

Tonight, as the babies sleep soundly in their cribs and we count the months until we move to big kid beds, it's hard to believe just how far we've come. Relive the crib adventures here with Tales from the Crib Side.

February

For Valentine's Day I spilled the details about How I Really Met My Husband.

March

Forget the Ides of March. I was just trying not to drop the box .

April

Like Extreme Home Makeover? You're going to love the Twin Edition as I take you through the Before and After.

May

Wonder why I call my walking, talking toddlers "the babies"? Learn why They'll Always Be My Babies.

June

June was a big month: birthday parties, Father's Day, and water park adventures. But nothing was bigger than remembering Delivery Day with my husband as my co-blogger.

July

One day, the babies won't need to dig out my old yearbooks to laugh at me. I put it all right here in one place for them as I take a trip back through my hair through the years.

August

I poured my heart out several times in August. This post has it all: wedding pictures, scandal, and self-deprecating humor.

September

In September we tried to kick the sick-cation for a real vacation. Join us as we go Cruisin'.

October

In October I tried to start coming clean by making semi-regular confession posts. I confess...I need to confess more.

November

Sometimes, a picture says it all. Or seven of them...

December

My most favorite posts in December weren't even my own; they were the wonderful guest posts in the "Unwrapping Our Gifts" series. Really, if you missed them, you should go back and check them out. In this post, see how I was inspired by these posts to try my hand at baking and crafting.



I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be a big year here at MaMe Musings. Something tells me time isn't going to slow down and neither are the babies. Guess I'm going to have to learn to type faster...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Christmas in Pictures

Christmas Eve...

full of family...




full of fun...






full of laughter.




Christmas Day...

full of excitement...








full of good food...



full of joy.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

The coolest thing ever

Today's final guest post in MaMe Musings' "Unwrapping Our Gifts" series is from the big guy himself--no, not Santa--my husband and babies' daddy-- Marty. I must confess- I consider the fact that he actually completed this post as promised one of this year's Christmas miracles! Thank you, Santa Baby!

I always knew that beneath his sometimes-gruff exterior, Marty had a soft heart, the kind of heart born and made out of family. Since the babies were born, things haven't always been easy, but I can honestly say, parenting with Marty has been a partnership. He stepped up, jumped in, and moved on--even when we both wanted to fall down from stress and exhaustion. He makes no secret that he never planned on children, but watching him proves to me that a greater plan is at work. This man was made to be a daddy. This Christmas, I thank God for His many gifts--both the ones we pray for and the ones we don't even know we want until we have them.
MaMe Musings




It comes as no surprise to anyone that knew me before I was married that I had no desire to get married. Then I met Melissa, and though our courtship was no fairytale, I knew that I had found someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.



Likewise, anyone who knew me before the twins knows that I never wanted to have children even though I had compromised on the marriage thing. However, as life goes sometimes, fate, luck, and really expensive trips to a fertility clinic took over. I put on the good front, but, in all honesty I felt I wasn’t ready to be a father. I still loved my toys, my sports, and my “me” time and that didn’t leave a lot of room for a baby. But, I knew plenty of guys with one kid, and they still had lots of free time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, we weren’t having one baby, but two. Everyone told me my life was over-- that I could forget about doing anything fun anymore (which turned out to be only partially true). Inside, I was in knots and wasn’t sure how I felt. I could have lived my life out sans children and never regretted or questioned it, but that’s not the hand that fate and Carolina Conceptions dealt me.



As the months passed, my anxiety grew as it became real to me. Most everyone still gave me a hard time about life being over. Though I knew they were probably joking, I wasn’t quite sure. Then, a hockey friend of mine told me that having kids was the “coolest thing ever”. That was the first time any guy had said anything positive about having kids. It gave me a new perspective.



Fast forward to when the twins were born and home for a while-- I still just didn’t seem ready or willing to take on this huge responsibility. I still wanted to play and have fun and pretend life hadn’t changed, but it had. Life was now nothing but work. Work all day at a job, then work all night dealing with babies. It felt like we were feeding, changing, or burping a baby 24/7 and there was no respite. Luckily, we did have babies that slept well and weren’t very fussy for the most part. This was a small consolation to someone who felt his life had gone from fun- filled to bottled-filled. I felt I was doing all of the right things such as playing, talking to them, reading to them, but there was very little return for me, which made it hard to keep up the enthusiasm for those things. I took them out by myself a lot when they were little babies, but let’s not kid anyone. I did that for the attention and because it would give Melissa a break for a few hours.





Then, one day things started to change. Andrew and Emily started staring at me with awe and wonder--like I was some sort of super hero. Then they slowly started mimicking things like opening their mouth when I did, or sticking out their tongue. They were sleeping soundly each night and waking up happy. They were interacting more and becoming more than just formula- eating luggage. They would get excited to see me and had their own personalities taking form. I still questioned if I was doing the right things and if I would be a good father to them, but it seemed to be working.



Then one day Emily gave me her first kiss. I don’t know if there is anything sweeter than a baby girl giving her daddy a kiss. I believe it was that moment that I KNEW I was made to be a father. I no longer liked to take the babies out just for attention or to give mommy a break. I wanted to take them out to spend time with them (and yea the attention didn’t hurt still). I began enjoying them and couldn’t wait to see them when they were away. I was lucky that they were home the first 15 months. I work at home so I was able to see them whenever I needed to brighten up my day.



Now here we are with the year and a half old twins walking, running and starting to talk. The last 6 months have been the coolest time of my life. Yes, they still occasionally wear me out reading books, but it just proves that all of those nights of reading to them before bedtime were worth it. When one of them comes up to me and shows a sign that we having taught them since sign and sing class when they were less than a year old, I know that the hard work was worth it.



It’s now a running joke with Melissa and I that we won’t get divorced because neither of us wants to have to take the twins. The truth of the matter is that neither of us could stand to be without them. Okay, so maybe there’s a little truth in the first statement. Even though I still like my toys, sports and “me” time and often wish I had more time for those things, I couldn’t possibly imagine my life now without Emily and Drew in it. Being their dad is truly the “coolest thing ever.”





Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heirlooms

Come on. It’s okay to admit it. You know you need it. You want it and certainly deserve it.

We all need a little Time Out for Mom and here at MaMe Musings, I want to make at least one of your Christmas wishes come true. So today, I am happy to unwrap the perfect gift for all of us busy parents by bringing you a sweet Christmas message from RoryBore at Time Out for Mom. I must admit the title of her blog drew me in the first time, but it’s RoryBore’s poignant writing, down-to-earth humor, and encouraging spirit that keep me coming back on a daily basis. So sit back, put your feet up, and savor a little time out for mom (or dad or grandma or aunt or…well, you get the picture). And, because we all like gifts that keep on giving, hop on over and check out RoryBore’s blog!

MaMe Musings



The moment I read about Melissa’s Unwrapping Our Gifts blog series, I felt a little thump in my heart. Actually, first I felt a little jealous, because it is such a fantastic idea that I wish I had thought of it first! But then I immediately started thinking about all the wonderful memories, traditions, recipes, crafts, present wrapping skills, and gingerbread house making tips I could share. There are so many things that require our special talents in order to make the season grand. So much we have to do.

Or do we?

Just like the Who’s…..what would happen if we woke up on Christmas morn to discover it all gone? No presents. No trimmings. No tree. No feast. Nothing. Just….us?

My family has been meeting on Christmas Day for as long as I can remember. It started at my grandparents’ old farmhouse, and then moved to their beautiful retirement home nestled amidst a 50 acre sugar maple bush. If there was snow, Grandpa would hitch up the team, and off we went for a sleigh ride through our own winter wonderland. Oh sure, no matter the location, there was a tree, decorations, a huge feast you would have had to have seen to believe, and even when I was married with my own children; I still received a card with money inside from Grandpa and Grandma. But the best part was that we were simply all together on the holiday……all about 50 or 60 of us.

Then, first grandpa was gone and then one Christmas, grandma too. And the beautiful home in the trees. No big picture window to sit at and watch the horses play in the snow in their paddock, or the wild birds coming to the feeder. There would be no marching out to the bush to find the 12 foot Christmas tree. And *gasp* none of Grandma’s legendary home-made buns to go with the feast. Already heart-broken over loss, I wondered: would there even be an “us?”

Traditions may start out as a lovely idea, and then grow into a habit that you either barely tolerate, or look forward to with eager anticipation. If you are really lucky – or blessed as I would say – they became such a part of you, that to lose one, is akin to losing some vital part of your heart and soul. Once upon a time I thought that my grandparents were the glue that held us together. When they were gone, I discovered that it wasn’t just them at all. They passed a legacy on to us that is far more valueable than any shiny ornament, blue ribbon recipe, beautifully adorned tree, or costly gift. The gift of us.

We still meet every Christmas Day – someone is always willing to host our huge clan. Now it is my children who red-nosed with cold swing on the hayloft swing until the call to dinner sounds. Once again we will gather around a big harvest table, bow our heads for Grace, and express our thanks for this most wondrous, miraculous of days. My children will steal desserts, and sweets from the gingerbread houses my cousin made, run and laugh with their cousins, and leave full bellied; but empty handed. They will not even be aware of this.

Many things may change over time. But not the faces of those who are most dear. Nor the memories I hold most dear. I have one teacup of my grandmother’s, one horse show trophy of my grandfathers: but my precious family – like my precious Saviour born this day – are more than an heirloom to me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Noon Year's Eve Party

You know I am not one to rush the holidays, but the truth of the matter is, before you know it, Christmas will be behind us, and we'll all be talking about our New Year's Eve plans (or lack thereof). If you're looking for a fun, kid-friendly alternative for New Year's Eve, you're going to love today's "Unwrapping Our Gifts" guest post from Johanna of The Baker Twins. Johanna is the mom of super-adorable three- year- old twin girls. As one of the first bloggy moms I met, Johanna has always inspired me with her sense of humor, her ability to turn everyday events into awesome learning experiences, and her gift for hospitality and entertaining. Her "Noon Year's Eve Party" is classic Johanna--brilliant, fun, and memorable. Be inspired and then click over and check out more of The Baker Twins!

MaMe Musings



New Year's has always held great appeal to me. The idea of starting over fresh, a chance to look back and reflect on a year's worth of blessings, and let's be honest... the awesome opportunities for decadent parties. I upped the ante in 2005, when I married my best friend on New Year's Eve in a massive white tie event in my hometown. We have held our infamous annual New Year's Eve parties every year since. In fact, the New Year's Eve following the birth of my twins was the first time I ever left the girls in someone else's care. One night out of the year in which I can pretend I am young again.



Since having my babies, it has been a little bit harder to escape into the revelry of celebrating the New Year. Sure, we still host a big party (leaving the girls with their grandparents for the night). But, I wanted to get Camden and Grayden involved in the holiday that is so special to me. Let's face it... New Year's isn't really a children's holiday. They are too young for champagne, resolutions, and staying up until midnight.



My solution came in the form of what I call our 'Noon Year's Eve Party'. I run a large but close-knit mom's group, and each year, we throw the babies (infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) a party. The kids ring in the new year with noisemakers, crafts, and friends. We have a balloon drop and countdown to 12 noon. We even toast with sparkling apple juice. To say that it is cute or that the kiddos have fun is the understatement of the {new} year. Last year, we waited to have our party until a couple of days AFTER New Year's - we were able to stock up on lots of great party favors, hats, noisemakers, and decorations quite cheaply on the sale racks... and really, the babies didn't know they missed the real deal.



Here's to a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous (and ridiculously adorable) 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Being merry with my friends

Does all of the holiday shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and running around have you feeling all out of sorts? Grab your favorite hot beverage, sit back, and re-center yourself with today’s “Unwrapping Our Gifts” guest blogger, Jen, of We’re Living a Full Life. Jen is one of those inspiring women who lives life fully, embracing and growing from its beauty and its challenges. No matter where her travels take her, like New York or Barbados, her heart is at home with her family and friends. Here Jen shares how she celebrates the true gift of friendship each year with her closest girlfriends. Read, be inspired to call up your girls for an evening of wine and good food, and then head over and check out Jen at We’re Living a Full Life!

MaMe Musings



When Melissa e-mailed and asked me to do this guest post for her blog MaMe Musings I was thrilled. Sharing a bit of what goes on around my home sounded like to much fun to turn down!

Our holidays have gone through many changes over the years but one thing has never changed and that's my love of entertaining. I love to have company and I love to cook so I thought that might just share some of that with you all.

Oh! My name is Jen by the way.... I can usually be found over at my blog We're Living A Good Life writing most every day.

I moved down south and settled in Virginia with my husband Bill and our five kids about twenty five years ago. Although not the first to move from New York, many of our extended family has since spread up and down the east coast. I have two brothers who live in two different states with their families. Take it from me this makes the big family gatherings like those my parents hosted every Christmas when I was a child and when my children were little impossible, but a pleasant memory all the same.


Christmas 1987


So there were new traditions to be made for our holidays. Now we always Christmas Eve with very close friends and our Christmas Day with our children who are all grown up now and hopefully not working (please pray) along with our adorable and loving grandchildren and my Mom who lives next door. I love my family and like most mothers and grandma's the weeks leading up to Christmas is a busy crazy time. Cleaning, cooking, baking, decorating, shopping, visiting, attending church functions, social functions, family obligations all seem to pile one atop the other don't they? I sometimes wonder how I did it all with five kids at home, then I remember I was younger then!!


my grandchildren
Jillian-Emanuel-Xavier and Adam


Now that I’m older and maybe a bit wiser, I set aside one evening; sort of my gift to myself. What do I get you ask - what do I do? I give myself one whole night, and have dinner party with my gal pals, no kids, no husbands, good food and lots of wine!

I love to entertain; it's something I inherited from my parents who were wonderful hosts and fabulous cooks. Entertaining is so much more than just putting a meal on the table especially at Christmastime. I like to have the house look just right; but I have a confession to make I’m not a fan decorating anymore. When my kids lived at home I found the task of decorating enjoyable, but now I only find enjoyment in the results. I love the way my house looks with shimmering lights and garlands strung from the balcony add to that, Christmas music softly playing in the background and the tree lights glistening and it just creates a certain mood it this house.



This idea of a dinner party makes for such a great evening. Good food and a little wine, some nice music to get the conversation flowing and before you know it hours have flown by and the evening is over.

I feel truly blessed to have these women as friends they are a delight to spend an evening with. We share a bond; we’ve raised our kids together from grade school through high school to college and beyond. Some of our children went on to graduate school, some married some are still single, and some of our groups still have young ones. But we all share these things in common even after all these years, our kids are either friends or are friendly, we love our community, we have a strong faith and we really enjoy each other’s company.


These are my friends!
Wondering which ones me?
I'm at the head of the table on the right.


Somehow facing all the rest of my Christmas shopping seems a bit less daunting now that I've had my evening with my friends. I rather like the fact that the girls see this as a yearly ritual and look forward to this night every December. And I see it as gift I get to give them and I get to enjoy it too; how good is that!?

I truly believe everyone has something special and unique that they do over the holidays with their family or friends; why don't you share yours in a comment?

Till next time Jen

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dear Drew

Dear Drew,

Today you are exactly 18 months and 10 days old. As I look at the clock and realize that 18 months, 10 days ago at this exact time, you were just being moved to the hospital nursery, I am amazed all over all again at how much you have grown and changed since I first saw your sweet little face.

Of course, I still see a little baby who looks so much like his daddy. We still occasionally see the quiet Drew who still trails his twin by a couple of pounds in the weight department. You still have the faint trace of your stork bite between your eyes, and your cries still get drowned out by Emily’s louder, more urgent ones. Still…

There is so much that has changed. As your daddy said tonight, we watch you learn right before our very eyes. He showed you how to joust with your light-up sword, and the next minute, you were attacking and parrying like an old pro.

(Sure, I realize teaching an 18 month old to play with swords doesn’t qualify us for the Parent of the Year award, but no one has poked an eye out yet).

Our quiet little Drew Bear revels in the action, and that’s such a change from the little Drew who stretched and yawned his way into the world.

You love anything that moves and that you can make move. You love Papa’s four-wheeler so much that we decided to get you one that was more your size. You learned quickly how to push the pedal and make it go.

You love swings and slides. The higher and faster, the more you like it.

You love to run around and around the island kitchen, squealing in delight as one of us chases you and plays peek-a-boo around the corners. You climb everything: chairs, tables, baby gates, slides—with reckless abandon. If you find that you aren’t tall enough on your own you will use your reasoning skills to find a way—pulling anything over and using it as a step stool. Or, you fall back on your ever-expanding verbal skills—asking someone to pull you “UP! UP!” Then there’s the ever-faithful stand-by—looking up at mommy with those big blue eyes and doing the sign for please. No wonder please has become synonymous with getting whatever you want.

Speaking of signs, it finally appears that the signing classes did work after all. Your daddy says you use your signs more because it’s the only way you can compete for attention against Emily. You sign all kinds of things: please, more, milk, all done, fruit, thank you. We really should add more signs since you pick up on them so quickly. Forgive us, though, if we have been more occupied with reading books, chasing after you and Em, and cleaning up the various messes you make.

And forgive us, too, for not really knowing what your first word was or when it happened. Between the intense, twin- speak and random, seemingly unintentional mumblings that sounded like words, it was hard to determine what was really a word. Da-da was definitely an early one; ma-ma a long-awaited one, and sissy a definite sweet one!

Sissy is now the first person you ask for in the mornings. Since you’re usually the first one up, you try your best to wake her up, too. She’s usually the last one you talk to at night since you are still sharing a room. Your daddy and I love to sit downstairs and listen to the two of you laugh and talk back and forth. Right now, the two of you are running in and out of the curtains. It’s a happy moment. Five minutes ago, you were screaming because Emily took your toy. Five hours ago, she was crying because you took her sippy cup. Five minutes from now, you two might be found giving each other a hug or holding hands. With the two of you, every minute is an adventure (in patience, in compromise, and in love).

Knowing how close the two of you are made the switch to daycare much easier for us all. The last time I wrote to you, we were making the big transition from staying at home with Miss Julie to going to daycare for the first time. Those first weeks were hard. I bargained with your daddy so he would take you two in the mornings and I could pick you up. I feel like such the heroine when the two of you run to me when I walk through the door. Despite four months of reoccurring sickness, I think we can finally say daycare has been a good move for us all. Your immune system definitely thanks daycare for helping make it big and strong.

I am sure that daycare has contributed to the learning explosion of the last few months. You understand so much. Just today, I told you to go get the “quack-quack” book, and you walked over and picked up the book with the duck on the cover. You know animal sounds, body parts, and can identify most items in your word book by pointing to them. You love to sit at your table, a skill you learned at school, and since then, you fight to stay out of your high chair. Every time we get to the line in Itsy Bitsy Spider: “he rubs his hairy head and blinks,” you rub your head. Cracks me up every time. Or when we get to corn into your Growing Foods book and you chomp like you are eating corn. Seriously, Bear, where do you learn this stuff??

Maybe you are learning it all while you sit back and quietly observe the world from the safe confines of your car seat. While Emily babbles away in the car, you sit in silence looking out the window. Maybe you learn it when you cuddle in my lap for another story. Perhaps it’s when you take things, like our dishwasher, apart and then try to reassemble it. Or maybe while you are outside playing happily… Something tells me you are always learning, no matter where you are.

As we approach Christmas, we’ve really enjoyed watching you and Emily learn about all kinds of new things: Christmas trees, Santa, trains, wrapping paper…

And even sugar. Yes, Mommy bought you a cupcake for your 18 month birthday!

I know this Christmas will bring new excitement for us all. This year and in the future, regardless of what is or is not under our tree, I will always feel like I have been given more than I ever deserved because I was given the gift of being your mommy.

I love you, Drew Bear.

Mommy

Dear Emily

Dear Emily,

Today you are 18 months and 10 days old. So much has changed over the last 18 months since I first held you in my arms, but one thing hasn’t: how much I love, love, love you.

I still say at least once a day that you are more beautiful today than you were yesterday. I still get giddy as I drive home and anticipate seeing you and Drew. I still love snuggling with you, kissing your sweet cheeks, and tickling your little tum-tum. I still go in your room every single night before I go to sleep just so I can see your faces one more time.

It’s so cool now to watch you return the affection. You give the best hugs, and while you can be stingy with your kisses, when you are in the right mood, you will kiss us over and over again. You can be quite particular about who you want hold you, too. Sometimes, it’s Mommy. Sometimes, it’s Daddy. I’ve learned to not take it personally (although I must say I cried the first time you picked your daddy over me).

You also are quite attached to your brother. You love to hug Drew, and just this week you have started saying his name: “Do.” Today, while we were out shopping, you went through the store calling for him over and over… “Do. Do. Do. Do.” So what if it sounded like you needed a diaper change; I knew what you were saying and that’s all that mattered! You also look out for him like a big sister should. When Drew’s messing with the TV controls, all your daddy has to say is “Emily, go get your brother before he gets in trouble,” and you will go over and start pulling him away. I sure hope this isn’t a glimpse into the teen years!

Let’s not rush things just yet. I think I’ll freeze time right here and now where the best thing in the whole wide world to you is a book and mommy’s lap. You love to bring me a book, and in the sweetest voice possible, say, “uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh.” That’s “up, up, up” for those of you less experienced in Emily-speak. And, I pick you up and we read and read and read and read again. You were fascinated with a Little Golden Book version of Mother Goose. We read that book at least 10 times a day—until in a tantrum, you tore off the cover. According to your Aunt Windy, you stopped screaming and started crying the minute you realized you had destroyed your favorite book in anger. Something tells me that even with the tantrums you have been nice enough this year that Santa will probably bring you a new Mother Goose book.

For the Christmas season, we added a couple of new books: Ten Christmas Lights and Deck the Halls. You make me laugh when you sing along with the “fa-la-la-la-la,” and you make me smile with pride when you press the button to make the Christmas lights come on as we read the story. Of course, we still read the old stand-bys: Itsy Bitsy Spider and Growing Foods. Although I know all the words by heart, you don’t let me cheat by flipping the page before I have read all the words. Oh, no. I tried that this week with Growing Foods and you quickly reminded me to go back to page one. It was okay, though, because I love to hear you repeat the words, especially cheese and banana.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love reading to you, and I never tell you no. But, your love of reading and your brother’s love of a mess make it tough for me to get anything done. I now know how my mama must have felt when she had babies hanging on her leg while she tried to cook or how some days she must have craved the quiet serenity of a padded cell with four white walls.

As much as I joke about missing peace and quiet (and clean and order), I have really relaxed so much in the past year. I am more tolerant of the dried-on food (both on the floor and on my clothes), more immune to the smell of poopy diapers (and rancid milk from lost sippy cups), more accepting of new food choices (including that corn dog you ate at school since I forgot to pack your lunch), more deaf to your ear-piercing tantrums (like the one in the store today over the gingerbread man). I may not make all perfect choices for you, Emily, but I do hope the sum of all my efforts as a mother is way more beautiful than more than my daily, individual, and imperfect ones.

Take dance as an example. I signed us up for a Mommy and Me dance class. I figured you would love it since you love dancing around the house. I also wanted you to do something I was never able to do—learn to dance. The first two classes went great. I bought you a tu-tu and slippers. We ordered you the recital outfit. And, then you decided you didn’t like dance. I took you two more times by myself, and both times, you screamed any time I tried to put you down. I “danced” (and sweated) and you clung to me. I decided to stay both times. You would eventually come around, right? No. Last week, I let your daddy take you. You would definitely do better for him, right? No. He lasted eight minutes before leaving. So now I am faced with a tough mommy decision. Do I let you quit? Or do we keep going and give you a chance to learn to like it again? Like so many things about being a mom, the truth is, I don’t know. Come Wednesday, I’ll make a (daily, individual, imperfect) decision. I don’t know if letting you be a dance school drop-out will set you up for a life time of quitting. Likewise, I don’t know that making you go to something you hate will make you resent and resist trying new things when you are old enough to really know what you like. Something tells me we will be okay either way. And, I want to tell you that no matter what, I always do try to make the best decision for you and Drew.

I feel like there is so much more I could say in this letter to you, Emily, so much I want you to know about yourself at this age. I want you to know how you are so good at daycare, how the teachers think you and Drew are the sweetest babies, how I love to see on your daily report that you were “happy, playful, and helpful.” I want you to know you have beautiful blonde hair that looks adorable in a side pony tail. I want you to know that you frustrate me to no end when you take your shoes and socks off in the car every single time. But I don’t get too mad because I am too busy smiling over the funny songs you sing. I want you to know you do the cutest, most enthusiastic sign for please that I’ve ever seen. I guess you figure even your signing has to be equal in volume to your scream. I want you to know that you “oohed and awed” over Cinderella’s carriage at Disney on Ice. I want you to know you have learned all kinds of cool baby tricks from your daddy like lifting your hiney for a diaper change and tapping your tooth brush after a final rinse. I really could go on and on and on…

Because each day with you is like unwrapping a big Christmas gift—one that I asked for, prayed for—but really never believed would arrive. And, then, when it did, never imagining it could be even more than I ever hoped for.

I love you , Emily Bee.

Mommy

Saturday, December 17, 2011

ABC...easy as 1-2-3

I was so excited when I found this idea during my voyage into the black hole of creativity Pinterest browsing session last Sunday morning.

To make your own big magnet board, you will need:

  • a big metal oil drip pan (I bought mine for $9.96 at Wal-Mart)

  • a set of ABC flashcards ($1.47 at Wal-Mart)

  • magnetic letters (I splurged and bought the bigger letters from a teacher supply store since the babies have such small hands; however, you could use the small ones from Wal-Mart that are $2 a pack)

  • rubber cement for gluing cards to pan

  • velcro hangers (if you want to attach board to a wall)

I started by wiping the board with all-purpose cleaner.


Next, I placed cards on pan to get spacing right before gluing.


Here are the big(ger) magnetic letters I found at a local teacher supply store. I love that they came in a tub that is perfect for storing the letters when we're not using the board.


And, here's the finished product!



It isn't kid-tested yet since I decided to wait and make it a part of what they receive for Christmas. I am so excited to use it with them, though, especially since they are absorbing everything right now.

Have a toddler-friendly Pinterest find to share? An idea for a mommy-made gift? Leave a comment! Then, go check out the other great Mama Loves ideas:
Manic Mother



The whole time I was making the board, I was humming Jackson 5's "ABC"....

"ABC...easy as 1, 2, 3...or as simple as do-re-mi..."


But it's Christmas, so instead of going with the obvious song choice this week for Songs That Make Us Sing, I am choosing another more seasonally-appropriate Jackson 5 tune:



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