“What?…When?…How?!”: A Mother’s Revelation

Do you ever have those moments when you suddenly notice something new about your child and you find yourself in a sudden state of disbelief thinking, “When did this happen? How did this happen?” Well, that was me last week, and something tells me that as the years go by, those moments are going to be rapidly increasing!

So I already told you all that my youngest, Kenley, was a bit of a sad sack last week with a nasty cold. Well, one morning after dropping her big sister off at preschool, I returned home with what can only be described as a completely miserable child. The poor thing was inconsolable! I pulled out all the stops…an offer of milk…juice…a banana (her favorite)…”Me Too!” (a book with babies that always makes her smile)…and the response? Utter devastation! And then it dawned on me…the computer keyboard. She LOVES the computer keyboard! She would give anything, including her last bite of banana, just to touch it! Yes! Could this be the solution? Could this be my saving grace in a time of total mind-exploding weeping and wailing?

Now, before I continue you need to understand that this would be a rare treat for Kenley. My somewhat type-A personality always makes me slightly freaked out that something will go terribly wrong if I let her have control of the keyboard, but in this moment I was desperate and I suddenly thought about an inspiring post I read on another blog. By all means, check it out! And I thought, “You know what? Why not!”

So I threw my type-A-ishness temporarily out the window, sat down at the computer with her on my lap, opened up a blank document, and prepared to let her go to town. Of course, I had my hand on the mouse at all times to avoid any disasters, if need be. (Okay, some maybe I didn’t COMPLETELY surrender the type-A) And you should have seen her! The faucet to her eyes was suddenly turned off and she looked at me like I had just shown her a huge fruit bowl over-FLOWING with bananas! I tried to encourage her that it was okay, “Go ahead…type!” It was hilarious! Do you know how many times I have caught her on her tippy toes, trying desperately to reach the keys and now I’m offering them right to her and she’s so overcome with excitement that she doesn’t know what to do! At first, she would just lightly touch, using only one finger at a time…not even hard enough to actually make a letter appear. So I took her tiny fingers (Oh, how I love those little hands!) and helped her. When characters started popping up on the screen she looked at me with that unbelievably infectious smile and gave a little giggle. It didn’t take too long for her to let loose and have fun, pressing away on the keys.

I just sat with her there and could literally feel the edges of my mouth curling up. What a cutie! I ran my fingers through her dark blond locks and THAT’s when it happened…that thing I mentioned earlier…that moment when you suddenly realize something new and you think…”What?…When?…How?” It was the moment I realized THIS was possible…

My Baby!!!

 

That’s right, pigtails! My baby’s hair is long enough for pigtails! When did this happen? How had I not noticed? Now, you may be thinking what’s the big deal? But this is a VERY big deal. This is yet another piece of evidence that my baby is growing into a little girl!

After the moment of disbelief passed, I realized there was no need to panic. It’s inevitable! This is GOING to happen. She’s going to grow and there are going to continue to be even bigger moments of “How?…When?” But for now, enjoy the moment, Elizabeth Ann. Just enjoy it! Don’t picture her sixteen years old, telling you about a boy she likes or imagine her packing her bags for college and get all teary-eyed. Just enjoy who she is right now…an adorable, banana-loving, hug-giving, warm, squishy-handed little monster! =)

In all her pigtail glory!

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Fine! It was me!

So last week this mommy was under the weather and so was my littlest, Kenley. Each day was a test of perseverance!  We took one hour at a time, trying to make a very sick, fussy baby as happy as possible.  When all else failed, the tub seemed to work!  The kid loves water…not soap so much, but water, yes!

So after several days of napping on mommy (which she NEVER does…she’s my “cuddle often, but not long” kind of kid), snotty noses, and squirt after squirt of hand sanitizer, I think we’re just about completely recovered. Woo-hoo!

However, as I told you, we took one day at a time. I considered it a personal success that each day we made it through fed, clothed, and happy…well, as happy as you can be when you’re sick…but beyond that, I wasn’t attempting to accomplish much more and as a result, some of my weekly to-dos got put on hold.  One of those things would be…laundry.

So end of last week when yes, I admit it, we were still germy, I went to the library. I’m sorry!  I know I probably shouldn’t have gone into public while being diseased, but our library books were due, and I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but libraries are pretty hardcore nowadays about due dates. So if you ask me, they brought our germs on them themselves!  Anyways, we dropped off our books, quickly grabbed a couple others (trying not to breath on anyone), and proceeded to the checkout line, where the following conversation took place…

Nice Librarian Lady (knowingly to my 3 year old, Layla):  My what a COLORFUL outfit you have on! Did you dress yourself this morning?

(Layla looks first at me, then back at the “Nice Librarian Lady”, and shakes her head “no”.)

Nice Librarian Lady (skeptically):  You didn’t?!  Oh, sure you did!

Layla (confused as to why the woman would INSIST that she dressed herself, responds adamantly): I didn’t!

Me (finally lifting my head, ready to confess, but secretly wanting my daughter to take the fall):  Actually…Mommy picked out her clothes.  I’ve been sick and well…I need to do laundry!

(At which point the “Nice Librarian Lady” became the “Helpful Commentary Lady”)

Helpful Commentary Lady: Well, they’ll definitely see you comin’!

Ha! I didn’t know whether to bust out laughing at her “not-so-tactful” way of saying, “Pull it together, Mom!” or whether to be deeply offended.  I went with the bust out laughing, but I did manage to wait until I walked out the library doors! So awesome…so…very…awesome…

So here it is…my adorable little girl in the outfit Mommy picked out!  Yes, it was me! I did it! But I mean, come on…it’s not that bad, right?! Besides, she can make anything look cute!

Colorful Cutie!

 

 

 

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Signs You Are a Mom #19

19) A relaxing, peaceful shower? What’s that?! Now it’s a mad dash to wash and rinse before a child does bodily harm to him/herself…or a beloved sibling! =)

I don’t know about you, but I love a good shower…absolutely love it! However, my idea of a good shower is NOT having my 15 month old hold the shower curtain open to play peek-a-boo or listening to her exercise her lungs from her crib until I rescue her. Nope, sorry, definitely NOT my idea of a good shower.

So pretty much as often as I can, I wait until the girls are in bed and I can finally enjoy an uninterrupted, relaxing escape…that is, if I haven’t completely crashed from exhaustion.

A word of advice for Mommies-to-be: PLEASE!…Enjoy those showers while you can…and the rest of us will live vicariously through you! =)

*For the ongoing list, see Signs You Are a Mom.

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November Library Pick: “Pots and Pans” by Patricia Hubbell

So my girls and I have a weekly tradition of going to the library and picking up a half dozen books to read over the following week. Sometimes we end up with some really great stories and other times I’m left wondering why I didn’t become a children’s author! So I thought I would start to share some of our favorite finds. If you like ‘em…great! If you don’t, well…FINE, be that way! (I’m sticking my tongue out at you!)

And my first library recommendation…(drum roll, please)…Pots and Pans by Patricia Hubbell!

Recommended Reading Level: Ages 1 & Up

I LOVE this book! One…it is totally realistic! What baby doesn’t love to go in the kitchen and discover what’s waiting for them behind the cupboard doors?! With each page, I feel like my daily dinner-making routine is being played out. I’m desperately trying to get dinner on the table while Kenley is totally underfoot “reorganizing” my kitchen. At least she has the courtesy to create lovely background music with the measuring cups, pans, and her favorite, my wire whisk! (Can’t say I blame her…it makes that cool vibrating sound when you whack it on the floor!) =)

So while this book gives a nice little wink to parents, it’s also a fun, rhythmic read for the kiddos. In a song-like fashion, the hectic kitchen scene unfolds before you with great use of sound. I love a little onomatopoeia (wham, bam, cling, clang!) and Ms. Hubbell uses it very effectively to create a catchy rhythm and story. Even though it’s been a couple weeks now since we returned the book to the library, my three year old is still quoting it! (Okay, and Mommy is too…”Scoot, Baby! Scoot, Baby! Scoot, run, leap!”) Oh, and that’s another thing…because of its rhythmic nature, this book was great for my 15 month old that doesn’t have much of an attention span, but still very entertaining for my three year old that wouldn’t mind being read to all day long! This book just might be a welcome addition to our personal library!

As a side note, I will say some of the illustrations were not my favorite, but the last picture of the baby and dad on the kitchen floor surrounded by food and kitchen paraphernalia was priceless! So check out your local library for Pots and Pans by Patricia Hubbell! And if your family ends up liking it as much as mine, you can find it on Amazon! Happy reading!

 

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Making Vegetables Fun for Kids: Veggie People

Okay, so here’s the deal…I signed up to bring veggies and dip to my daughter’s fall preschool party and then had this sudden fear that I was the “so-not-cool mom” bringing VEGETABLES to a kids’ party!

I had to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to show my daughter that veggies could be cool…fun…exciting even!

So I began to think…driving, of course!  And then it hit me…veggie people! Yes, veggie people!

I could do this! Yes, peppers for faces, olives for eyes…shoot, broccoli for hair!

I could start to envision it. But wait…

How do I bring fall into the mix? Hmmm…

A pumpkin, YES!

But do WHAT with a pumpkin??? Think, Elizabeth, think…

Ah-ha! The pumpkin could be the dip bowl!

And alas, we were on our way. I COULD make veggies fun and exciting to a three-year-old.

It was a mystery as to whether or not she’d actually eat them, but that was BESIDE the point. The point here was FUN, people!

So we headed to the grocery store and in Vanna White-like fashion I presented my idea to Layla.

Holding various produce in the air, I gave my best sales pitch…

Silence.

I tried to decipher her ever-changing facial expression…was it confusion?

Boredom?

Consternation?

Excitement?…Give me somethin’ kid!

And then…

Her mouth began to open…

Slightly cringing, I awaited her response. And with great conviction she announced…

“We need carrots!”

Woo-Hoo!!!  VICTORY!

 

Lo and behold…our veggie people! =)

POINTERS:

1. Before purchasing your peppers, make sure they “sit” well and won’t fall over.

2. Hollow out your peppers and line the insides with plastic wrap or press n’ seal to keep their flavor from altering the taste of the other veggies, especially if you’re prepping ahead of time. NOTE: Save your cut pepper tops to make eyes, noses, etc. I left one pepper top untouched so it could be used as a hat. Also, the green pepper stems make fun noses! =)

3. Hollow out your pumpkin and line it as well. You can use plastic wrap or a cup or container to actually hold the dip inside. I cut down a large plastic cup and it fit great!

4. Use toothpicks to attach eyes, noses, and mouths (I cut my toothpicks in half). Then gently fill your peppers with your cut veggies for dipping to look like fun hair.

5. Enjoy the “veggies” of your labor! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

P.S. For those of you who are art fans, my husband says that Layla’s and my creation gives Arcimboldo some competition. Not bad, eh?!

 
Linked to Fun Stuff Fridays

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A Fall Family Favorite: Iced Pumpkin Cookies

So today on the spur of the moment I decided to tackle some pumpkin cookies with my kiddos. These are a fall favorite in our household. And best of all, they make the house smell FAAAB-ULOUSly fall! The intoxicating aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves…(I have to tell you the first time I typed this I put gloves instead of cloves and it wasn’t until about the third or fourth read-through that I actually caught it…wow, the intoxicating aroma of…gloves! Anyways…) they totally send me into a wonderland of falling leaves and lingering walks through the woods. I love it! And suddenly this otherwise ordinary Monday is something special! And considering that I don’t usually bake without a reason…no upcoming event or commitment…it was something special. Layla was my trusty little assistant pouring the ingredients and making a delightful mess with the canned pumpkin (a “mountain of pumpkin” as she called it), while Kenley (15 months) decided to graciously reorganize the kitchen for me, making everything more “accessible” by spreading as many things as she could all over the floor. By the end of her little project, even though I had only used two mixing bowls, some measuring cups and spoons, I had a dishwasher full! But in my fall-like wonderland state of mind, I didn’t mind a bit! Gee…maybe I should bake more often!…Either that or just grab items from my spice rack and sniff ‘em! Is that bad?

Oh, almost forgot. Here are some pictures and if you want the recipe, you can find it here (Thank you, Allrecipes.com!):

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/iced-pumpkin-cookies/

My reward! Cinnamon dolce coffee and iced pumpkin cookies! Ahhhh...

 

My little cuties! Do you know how impressed I was that Kenley actually waited for me to take a picture before swiping a cookie?!!!

 

Enjoying the flavors of fall as a family!

 

Do you see that stinkerish smile? I love that kiddo!

 

 

242 Comments

Here, Girl!

Okay, so is it horrible that I’m kind of training my daughter to fetch her own diaper like a dog? I mean really I’m just giving her an age appropriate responsibility, right?

I guess I just feel a little funny when I suddenly hear myself in that same high-pitch, babyish tone people use when telling Fido to go get his squeaky toy, saying, “Kenley, go get your diaper! You can do it, girl! Go get it! Get your diaper, Kenley!”

And upon her arrival with diaper in hand, I greet her with a “Gooood girl, Kenley! Good girl!”…and a rub on the back.

Hmmm…yeah, not weird at all! Right?

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Signs You Are a Mom #18

18) Bodily functions are not nearly as gross as they use to be.  Don’t get me wrong…they’re still gross, but there’s something kind of cute and endearing about a toddler tooting. Don’t believe me? Enjoy the following dialogue…Oh but before we begin, let’s pause for an official message! OFFICIAL MESSAGE: Names (and possibly gender) have been changed below in order to protect the involved party from massive amounts of embarrassment during his/her fragile teenage years. Thank you. =)

Mom:  (in a whisper at the top of the stairs)  “Gracie, come upstairs, please. We need to get you dressed.  We have to be quiet though because Grandma’s sleeping!”

Gracie:  (in a loud declaration at the bottom of the stairs)  “I tooted!”

Mom:  Shhhh!  Sweetheart, we have to be quiet…..

Gracie:  (thinking Mommy must have not heard correctly because SURELY Mommy would have responded with a hearty congratulations or an enthusiastic hooray, Gracie shouts even louder, with more emphasis to announce her great accomplishment)  “I TOOOOOOT-ED!!!”

Mom: (Half smiling, half shaking her head with the knowledge that Grandma is now undoubtedly awake) That’s great, dear…Come on up. (Gracie, feeling affirmed, beams with pride and begins her ascent up the stairs).

See? Cute, right?

Hugs,

Elizabeth =)

234 Comments

Making Life Easier #4: Baskets & Bins

4) My Beloved Baskets and Bins! Okay, I admit it…I have an addiction. I am addicted to having a bin or basket for everything…but only because I’ve experienced the alternative (and still do)…having random toys, books, and games scattered about desperately crying out for a place to call home! Oh, but now I have discovered the joy my dear baskets and bins provide. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a place to quickly throw things at the end of the day and tuck them away! And the best part is the kiddos can do it too. (And you can get some really cute baskets and bins for rather cheap at most craft stores.) Oh the glorious wonders!
I also use this idea for my pantry. Too often I couldn’t see what grocery items we actually had because they were always ending up in the wrong place…little elves, I’m sure! Plus, some items just kept falling over, making it look cluttered and totally uninspiring for any sort of meal preparation =). So I did a major overhaul on the pantry (and by major overhaul, I really mean a little organizing)! I bought a bunch of clear 16 qt. plastic bins, stored most of the lids away for later use, and labeled my bins with different categories (I just used Scotch tape and a Sharpie). I will say that making my categories took a little thinking and I imagine they would vary, depending on what things a family keeps stocked. The categories may also need to be revised from time to time. For instance, when I first began this little project, I had a couple bins for baby foods. That’s no longer a need for our family so I switched those out. Also, since Layla (my three-year-old) is becoming more independent, I moved my bin of healthy snacks (okay, semi-healthy…okay, they’re just snacks) within her reach so when she receives permission, she can help herself. I also made a bin of kiddie cups accessible to her so she can get water from the frig when she pleases. (See? That’s healthy!)

Behold...the pantry!!!

It may all sound a little crazy, but I DO…I LOVE my bins and baskets! At the end of the day, when the kiddos have gone off to bed and its time for my husband and I to wind down together, I prefer not to look out onto a sea of toys. And when I need to throw together a grocery list, I like to be able to look in my pantry and easily make sense of what I need and already have. Maybe I’m just a little too in love with this whole idea, but for me its a major stress reliever. My beloved baskets and bins really have made a difference in taming the chaos in my home. Oh, don’t get me wrong…there’s still chaos! In fact, I’m pretty sure there will ALWAYS be chaos…and to be completely honest I’m not sure I would know how to function without it, BUT…little by little…that chaos is learning to behave =)!

Hugs,

Elizabeth

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Signs You Are a Mom #17

17. Quiet was once peaceful…now it means trouble! (especially if you’ve got toddlers…or teens =))

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