2 1/2

Today is Natalie's half-birthday.

Me: Natalie, you are 2 and a half today.
Natalie: Yeah!
Kim: Do you know what that means?
Kim: Tomorrow you will be closer to 3 than 2.
Me: That means you should go pee-pee in the potty! (I am plugging that a lot these days.)
Natalie: Yeah!! Do I get cake?


Yesterday Natalie and I went to see Rocknoceros, a local kids band. Whatever this says for me, I found myself enjoying it and Natalie had a great time. For those of you who have children, I recommend their music. It is fun, clean and very punny! At times I felt I was in an alternate universe, who else spends their time doing things like this? Mommies like me.


7 Years

Today Kim and I celebrate our 7th anniversary. I can't believe we have been married for 7 years. We were so young!!

Being married to Kim has been wonderful. He is my dearest friend. He is my constant encouragement. He believes in me. He loves me unconditionally. He is the love of my life.

I do not deserve his love. He is intelligent. He is one of the hardest working and dedicated people that I know. He is fun.

We have had some bumps in our 7 years together but we are a better family for it. Our love is real. Our love is special.

Big Bird's Lullaby

My mom used to sing this song to us when we were little and now she sings it to Natalie. Natalie has been requesting it lately but I didn't know the words until today, so here we go...

Sleep my baby
Softly rest
Like a nestling
In a nest
Though you are too small to fly
You'll be a big bird, by and by
Though your song is still a peep
Soft your feathers
Small your beak
Tuck your head beneath your wing
Hear the guardian angels sing
Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep
Sleep my baby
Go to sleep.


Fun way to start the day

Me: Bye, Natalie, I am going to Curves.
Natalie: Wait Mommy, I need a kiss!

She sweetly grabs both my cheeks and gives me a kiss.

Natalie: Another one!

Another sweet kiss for me.

I love my little girl!

Meet My New Nephew

My brother, David, got a puppy. A rat terrier named Don Vito. The name is a reference to something in pop-culture that I am not cool enough to get. Anyway, Dave has wanted a dog for a long time so I am happy for him. I hope he knows what he is in for. He says that last night he got two hours of sleep, on the bathroom floor, with the dog. I did better than that with an infant. Happy "fatherhood", Dave! I can't wait to meet him!



Sunscreen in the eyes, bad idea!

Better Days (a brief update on us)

So, life with Natalie has been wonderful the past two days. She is back to listening, being kind, and speaking kindly to others about 85% of the time which is about what you can expect from a girl her age, I guess. I wish I had a better grasp on what is developmentally normal and what is being a brat.

Wednesday finished up well. After nap, we went with Kim to another amazing park in the area and Natalie had a great time. It was fun for me to watch Kim and Natalie together at the park since he rarely gets to join us. Then we went on an explore to find dinner and found a great new wings place, yummy. I keep thinking to myself, this is what normal families do on weekends, but we never seem to have weekends to play like this with Kim's schedule so it was nice. We came home, got Natalie into bed. Kim spent the rest of the night preparing for conference the next day and I worked on my quilting project, it was a perfectly nerdy and fun night.

Thursday Natalie went to school and from all reports had a fun day. I am so thankful that Natalie loves going to school! After nap time we went for a long swim in the pool. Natalie is getting to much braver in the pool. It is amazing to look back on what she did in the water last summer and compare that to what she is willing and able to do now. She comes running to me and says "I want to go swim, Mommy!" That means she wants me to take her to the deep end of the pool and float around with her, let her go under the water, and let her "jump" to me from the side of the pool. I think she is going to be a "water-bug", as my mom used to call me.

Today when I asked Natalie if she wanted to go to the park she told me that she wanted to go see the cows and sheep at the barn (a true country girl at heart). We went to Frying Pan Park and saw lots of cows, not so many sheep. She has historically been very afraid of the animals once we are there but was so brave today. There was also not as much whining to be carried instead of walking (probably related to not being afraid). It was a hot and smelly but joyous day at the Farm. We had a picnic on the living room floor for lunch because I was too wimpy to eat outside. I don't do 90 degrees very well.


Do-over Morning

Do you ever have one of those days/mornings/events where you wish you could go back and start over and see if it turned out better? I had one of those this morning. It isn't that anything terrible happened, our morning at the park was just not the fun time with friends that I had imagined it would be.
Natalie and I joined several friends on an adventure to a new park in the area. I had visions of my child gleefully running around the park while I enjoyed the company of the other mothers. Well, that is not what happened. Instead, I spent a lot of the morning "talking" to Natalie to try to improve her seemingly rotten behavior. Some hard lessons were learned like if you spend time in timeout, then you have less time to play and you will be sad when we leave.

Looking back, it was not all her fault... I should have given her a snack before we got the park (keeping the blood sugar levels up is always good for the attitude). I should have let her play at her own pace instead of trying to keep up with the other kids and moms. I should have listened more to my little girl. These are the reasons I want a do-over.

Having said that, there were some lessons learned, I hope. Lessons like, she will listen to mommie. She will share with others. She will speak kindly to others.

Instead of a gleeful morning I was left doubting my ability to parent my daughter, wondering where I had gone wrong and created this beast. I was wondering if I place expectations on her behavior that are too high, if I should just be more passive with her. I was wondering if I had already been too passive with her. Mothering is tough!
After a therapeutic ride home with my dear friend, a peaceful lunch time, and a nap for Natalie things are looking better. I may not get to do-over this morning but we have lots more times to try to make it better.

We did manage to get some cute pictures!


Kim gave me my anniversary gift early. He got me a sewing machine. I have sewn together all the blocks for my first quilt now I just have to piece them together. So much sewing, so little blogging.


The concept of God

Last night Natalie was trying to procrastinate bedtime my telling me, "I want to pray for more." As a side note, we had already put an end to prayer time which she was not interested in at the time, we had sung songs and now it was time for bed. So, not wanting to discourage my daughter praying but also not wanting to get pushed around by a manipulative two year-old, I said "You can talk to God in your bed." She got into bed and this is roughly the conversation that followed...

Natalie: I want God in my bed.
Me: God is in your bed, God is everywhere.
Natalie: I want to hold Him.
Me: You can't hold God. God is a spirit. He does not have a body like man.
Natalie: I want to hold God.
Me: You can't hold God but you can talk to God.
Natalie: I want God in my bed.
Me: God is in your bed, He is everywhere.

This circle continued for a few more rounds. Maybe I would do better with questions like this before bedtime has passed.

FYI: I got inspired again.

Observations from the pool

Yesterday afternoon, after nap, Natalie and I headed to the pool. Three quick observations from that outing...

  1. I have arrived at a stage of motherhood that I dreamed about last summer, I kept my butt planted in a chair at the side of the pool for ten solid minutes. It was as heavenly as I thought it would be.
  2. Some people need to discipline their children more at the pool or not be surprised if I do it for them, especially the five year-old girl who repeated took Natalie's bucket out of her hand. I still don't know where this child's mother was the whole time this exchange happened so she might not be upset if I disciplined her child.
  3. I must have a sign on my head that says either "I'm friendly, come tell me your troubles" or "I'm lonely, tell me your life story" or their are more people out there who need friends. After a random conversation (mostly one-sided) I know that this complete stranger: just moved to the area from NJ because her husband's job (as a white-collar mail fraud investigator [who knew there was such a thing]), has rheumatoid arthritis which causes her great pain while she climbs all the steps in her town house that she bought for 500K, is trying to conceive a child this month so that she can get back on her medication for the RA. I could also tell you the details of the life of the woman who gave me her life story at the park two days ago. Don't get me wrong, I love talking to people and the thought that I am friendly but does anyone talk about the weather anymore?


Fun Random Picture

In light of the previous, downer-post, here is a fun picture of Natalie and her dear friend, Daisy. They are playing with poker chips and a cooler. What else do classy girls wearing crowns play with at the beach?


Today has been a whiny day...

It started when Natalie went postal because I threw her banana away at breakfast after she told me three times that she was all done. Sure, I had another banana to give her but I didn't. I could just hear the grandparents in my ear telling me how mean I was being. She told me that she was done. I think she thought it would be a fun game. She has been into that a lot recently. Making a choice and then changing her mind. Two year-olds!!! She whined for 15 minutes about the silly banana.

Then, nap time.
Me: Natalie do you want to read on the bed or in the chair.
Natalie: On the bed
(So, I make a place for us on the bed)
Natalie: I want to read in the chair.
(So, I make a place for us on the chair)
Natalie: I want to read in the bed.
Me: No, you choose to read in the chair.
Natalie: I want to read in the bed (in the most whiny voice she has).
Me: No, you choose to read in the chair. You can stop whining or you can go to bed without stories...

No need too bore you with the rest of the details. I hope a nap gets some of the whines out.



So, Natalie just went to take a nap and I have time to blog but I am uninspired. A lot of things have happened in the past couple of days that made me think, this would be good for the blog but at this moment I can't think of a single one. Oh well, I am sure inspiration will come again.


Whirlwind Tour of New Jersey

My mom came into town last Thursday. We got up early Friday morning, loaded the car and headed to New Jersey to visit family. When the trip started we thought we would just visit with my grandparents and maybe a few aunts and uncles. By the end of the trip we had seen 35 people! Natalie was great. We had a wonderful time being together and got some really special time with our family.

Like I said the trip was originally intended to visit with my Chief (my dad's dad), his lovely wife Fran, and my Grammie (my mom's mom). Chief and Fran are doing wonderfully. It was so fun to watch Natalie interact with them. We had not been at their house for five minutes and Natalie had made a new best friend in Ms. Fran. She had Fran pushing her baby's stroller around and changing her baby's diapers. Natalie had so much fun watching Chief feed the birds, helping him take the trash out and leading him around the house. Like I said, a joy to watch. The other really fun part of staying with Chief and Fran was watching Natalie run around a house that I treasure from my childhood. We always spent Christmas time in New Jersey at my grandparents' home. Natalie was playing on the stairs that I remember coming down on Christmas morning. What a joy! She was running through a house that I ran through so many times. What a delight for my heart.

We also visited with my Grammie, who is not doing so well. She is 91 years old, nearly 92. She has lived a long, wonderful life but her time here on Earth appears to be running out. She is still able to be in her home with the 24 hour care of an angel named Zoya. She is an angel. She takes such wonderful care of my grandmother. She provides the care that I wish that I could provide. She lovingly feeds her and cares for her every need. Even though my Grammie is often mean to her (Grammie's mind and personality is not what is used to be) she is so incredibly patient and kind to her. My Grammie is still in the only home that my mom ever lived in. She is still in the bed that she shared with my Pop-Pop for over 60 years. She is still able to snuggle with her beloved cat Susie (who is the meanest cat ever!) who never leaves her side. My mom got to spend good time with Grammie. I got the few brief moments that Natalie would allow me with her. I got to kiss her and tell her that I love her. Natalie kissed her and told her that she loved her. So sweet! Grammie may fool us all and go on living for a while but even if she doesn't we all got to give her kisses and show our love. It was worth the trip for that!

Now, here are the more upbeat and fun highlights from the trip:
  • Pizza night at Chief's house with my Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Gary, Uncle John and Uncle David
  • Playing shuffle board until 1:30 in the morning with my Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Gary and Uncle David (Uncle David and I won)
  • Taking Natalie to Verona Park (another childhood memory of mine)
  • Real NJ bagels
  • Dinner with Aunt Joannie, Uncle John, Johnnie, Anna, Gary, and Jessica
  • Watching Natalie play in the pool with Anna (my 16-year-old cousin)
  • An afternoon with my maid-of-honor, Jen, who took the bus in from NYC to visit with me
  • Visiting with my Aunt Barb and cousins: Joey, Kristin, Jessica, Keith, and Kristine
  • Feeding the ducks at Verona Park
  • A pool party at my Aunt Pat and Uncle Ken's house with lots of cousins and friends that I hadn't seen in many years. Some of them I hadn't seen in four years, some probably 10. I got to meet their children and briefly catch-up. So fun! Here is the list: Aunt Pat, Uncle Ken, Robin, Anthony, Samantha, Kenny, Laura, Caroline, Little Kenny, Kevin, "Aunt Joyce", Tammy, Morgan, Shelby, Sidney.

We arrived home safe and sound at 7:30 last night. We had a great time. Again, not enough pictures were taken! So many fun memories. My mom, Natalie, and I are a mean road-trip team!


Mussers and Greenes

I can't believe that my blogging life has made it this far without a mention of our dear friends the Mussers and Greenes. These two families are so special to us. It is not often that you bring six people and their children together and have them click so well. These families have cared for us in so many ways. Tim and Lindsay, Heath and Andrea welcomed Natalie and I into their homes countless times when Kim was working his crazy hours. We lived in Heath and Andrea's basement for a month! We have shared so many late nights together talking, playing Cranium, cuddling babies, crying, laughing till we cried and sharing life. These people are family. Chosen family but family none the less. I miss them all like crazy and can't wait till we live close to them again! I love you guys!
The picture is from their visit last September (Lindsay, Daisy, Olivia, Me, Natalie, Ashlyn, Andrea and Elli in Andrea's tummy)


Meet Snuggles

Yesterday, after nap, Natalie and I made Snuggles. We gathered up all her passies (She has them all named and would know if one was still outside the bear!) and headed to Build-a-Bear. She picked out Snuggles, lovingly stuffed her passies into her, and chose some pjs for her. As you can see, it was instant love!

When we put her to bed last night she asked for her passies and I reminded her that the passies were in Snuggles (I am surprised she didn't ask me to open the bear up!) and that she could hold Snuggles but could not have the passies. That one gentle reminder went over well (Kim mumbled under his breath "If I have to go to Target in the middle of the night to get a pacifier...")

Our first night without the pacifier was great, not the drama that I imagined that it could be.

For all of you out there who are thinking this was a bit elaborate, I agree. Just tell the kid no more pacifiers and be done with it. I agree! But where is the fun in that? My dad ate my pacifier and I am still in therapy for it! Who knows, maybe Snuggles will journey with Natalie to the ends of the Earth.....


My baby

Today i cried as I explained to Natalie that "Little Girls" don't have passies. I told her about all the fun things that little girls get to do that babies don't. She got it. She understood. She didn't cry. She didn't ask for the passie when I laid her down for nap. I am still crying. She is not a baby anymore, she is a little girl. She is growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Don't get me wrong, there are some times when I am ready for her to grow up and not be so dependent on me. Some things about her getting bigger and older and more independent sound really fun but I will miss her being a baby. There is something so innocent and pure about a baby. It is so easy to fix her hurts with a nice long hug. Her world is going to get so much more complicated and painful, but also more joyful and exciting. I know that she can't be a baby forever but some days that sounds like a much better option.

34 years...

Today is my mom and dad's 34th wedding anniversary. Amazing! What an example of love and faithfulness they are to me! My mom and dad love each other deeply and it shows. Congratulations! I love you both!

P.S. Today Dawn and Andy celebrate 7 years of wedded bliss! Congrats to you,too!


Vacation Recap

After over a week of being on the road and away from home, we are back safe and sound. Here is a brief recap...

First we drove to Emerald Isle to chill on the beach and spend time with our dear friends. We shared lots of good food, drink, conversation, and time catching up. I don't think there are 11 other people in this world that I could share a three bedroom condo with! Our children had a great time playing together and so did we. The sad news is that I didn't take any pictures. I was so busy enjoying the time and chasing a toddler on the beach that I didn't get around to it... A bonus of the trip was that Kim's brother and his family were at the beach at the same time we were. It was great to see them too. We enjoyed a round of putt-putt and Kim got some time fishing with his brother. Good times!!

We drove home on Thursday and flew to Alabama on Friday. My aunt and uncle have a house on the Gulf coast in Alabama. After some delayed flights for bad weather, 17 of us were able to gather together: my mom, dad, brother, brother's girlfriend, 3 aunts, 2 uncles, uncle's girlfriend, 4 cousins, husband, daughter, myself and two dogs. It was quite a crowd. We had a blast playing games, swimming in the pool, riding jet skies, fishing off the dock, deep sea fishing on Dreamin' On (my aunt and uncle's boat) and just being the big family that we are. Can't wait for next year and maybe even more family members can join us.

So, after surviving long road trips and plane flights with a toddler it is back to real life. I seriously need vacation from vacation.