Archive for February, 2011

What a gorgeous weekend!  We were busy, of course, but made some time to spend in the sunshine.  Molly loved swinging in her swing and figured out how to climb up her little slide and then get her feet under her so she could sit down and slide down the slide the right way.  Once she figured that out, it was a constant up, down, up, down.  She loved being outside and made sure to let us know that she didn’t want to come in.  She did learn a new word this weekend:  dirty {although it sounds more like “dooty”}.  She would fall and her dirt or grass on her hands and she was quick to say, “dirty.”  At one point, she was swinging and she pointed to the porch light filled with bugs and told Jim, “dirty.”  {That’s my girl!}  The daffodils and crocuses have bloomed, so Molly got a good lesson in being gentle with the flowers.  She had fun walking to each one and saying “ye-yo” and “pu-ple.”

Jim had to work on Saturday, but when he got home, I was determined that we were going to start at least one project, so we recovered the dining room chairs.  I loved the fabric that the chairs were covered in, but after five years, a dog, and a toddler, the silk was looking a little worn and there were water stains on all of the chairs.  My mom found this purple velvet fabric on sale over a year ago, so we finally got around to the using it.  I missed the stripe at first, but think the solid looks great and will hopefully be easier to care for.  And that just means I can incorporate a pattern with some new drapes!


Old fabric - that I found out Jim didn't like!


Like new!



And finally, on Sunday afternoon, a years-long search for a new television ended.  {You think I’m kidding about the years part, don’t you?  Well, I’m not.}  So of course Jim wanted to hook it up right away, but we haven’t decided if we’re going to wall mount it or find a console with drawers or cabinets underneath and we haven’t gotten rid of the old tv.  Lucky me, I’ve got TWO tvs in my one family room.  But I’m excited about the new tv – it is not near as bulky and visually-imposing as the old one and I know in the long run {once the old one is gone!} the family room will seem much larger!

All in all, it was a productive weekend.  I can’t wait to tackle a new project next weekend!


This kiddo just makes my day!






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My friend Kim has said for years that a child’s second year of life begins when she turns one; therefore, the “Terrible Twos” actually begin at that point.  I am a well-read mom and a good listener, so I know from friends, doctors, and magazine articles that toddler temper tantrums are widespread and expected.  I have been known to throw a bit of a hissy-fit myself when I’m tired or hungry, and I actually have the ability to communicate my tiredness or hunger.

Therefore, it’s not like I am shocked by the events of the past few weeks; it’s more like I am completely exhausted and can totally see how becoming a pushover seems like a really good idea sometimes.

Example #1:  The other day, I mistakenly said the word “bar” outloud in front of Molly, referring to a gymnastics bar at My Gym.  She immediately perked up and expectantly said, “Bar?  Bar?!  BAR!!!!”  Trust me, the girl did NOT want to play on the bar at My Gym.  Rather, she wanted one of her beloved cereal bars.  Silly me, I didn’t pack a cereal bar and plan to pull it out in the middle of our gymnastics class, so she had to wait until we got home (more temper tantrums ensue, just ask my mom!).  After a tearful drive home, she finally makes it into the house and has not forgotten about the cereal bar.  I am happy to fix her a snack and she has another meltdown as I am getting it out of the cabinet, opening it and running to the table with it.  I mean, can’t she see that I’m working on it?  She happily gobbles the cereal bar and begins – in her sweet way – asking for more.  Now I’m not opposed to giving her multiple cereal bars in one day, but two at one snack?  If I did that, what in the world was I going to give her for lunch?  So, in a calm and cheerful voice, I simply tell her no and offer her some fruit.  Cue the screams and wails.  She throws her cups and the plate in front of her.  I get  her out of the high chair so she can have a real fit on the floor, like a real toddler, and I watch from a respectful distance so she can get it all out safely.  When she finally realizes that she is in fact not getting another cereal bar, she brings me a book and settles into my lap.

Example #2:  Today I picked her up at school and she immediately requested milk.  I told her that she was out of milk but that she could have some water.  I guess she didn’t want water, because she immediately melted to the ground and in dramatic fashion howled, “MIIIIILLLLLKKKKK!”  I tried to not laugh.  Her teachers tried not to laugh.  The four other moms in the room didn’t bother hiding their giggles.  I again told her if she was thirsty, she could have water now or wait until we got home for milk, but that it was time to leave. “Do you want me to carry you or do you want to walk?”  “NNNOOOOOOOO!!”  So I scoop her up, along with her jacket, backpack, and lunchbox and we head to the car.  I sit with her outside the car for a few minutes, trying to distract her with The Itsy Bitsy Spider, the trees, the birds, anything.  I finally wrestle her into her carseat, drive the three minutes home being serenaded by her pleas for milk, and when we pull up to our house, she immediately perks up and starts talking away.  Whew, I think.  Until I walk around to her side of the car and she doesn’t want me to unbuckle her from the car seat.  What??  So I explain to her as I unbuckle her that we will play outside for a few minutes after I get her some milk (she DID request that, remember?  And I planned to give it to her!).  That’s obviously not what she had in mind because she starts arching her back, kicking her legs, and sliding out of the seat.  Except her left arm is still in the strap.  But that doesn’t bother her and she simply hangs halfway out of the carseat, screaming about Lord knows what, and pushing me away. I remind her that we don’t hit Mommy, leave everything on the ground, and carry her inside.

As we sink into the rocking chair in the nursery, the wailing subsides and she looks at me, touches my face, and says, “Mommy.  Nap.”  And then she grins.  Seriously, don’t we all need to be hugged and listened to sometimes?

I love that girl and am so grateful for her daily lessons in love and patience.

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On Monday, Molly and I met our friends Mandy and Devin at the park to catch up.  We haven’t seen each other in months because of work, distance, and the holidays so we were happy to get out of the house Monday afternoon to enjoy a spring-like day.  However, every other mom in Charlotte and the surrounding towns had the same idea because it was packed.  So we ditched the park and trespassed in a nearby neighborhood playground.  Molly spent a good deal of the time at the playground having a temper-tantrum because I wouldn’t let her out of the gate, but she recovered and was able to enjoy the swings and watch the doggies with her bud Devin.  


Tuesday, we visited our favorite doctor for Molly’s 18 month well-visit.  She’s growing like a weed and is right on track with all of her developmental milestones.  She had fun identifying her body parts for Dr. H and chasing a tennis ball around the office.  We even found out MJ has a double ear infection!  It’s her first one – that we know of! – and other than a little trouble at naptime, we never even knew she wasn’t feeling well.  So now she’s on her first antibiotics and hopefully is already feeling much better!

This spring-like weather is certainly making the afternoons a lot easier.  I love that we can spend some time outside after nap.  Yesterday, we saw Jessica and Graham and Sue and Cam at the park and ran into two other moms out for walks on our way back.  There’s just something about sunshine that puts everyone in a great mood!

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I love a day that celebrates love, don’t you?!  Jim and I learned a few years ago that going out on Valentine’s Day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so we’re going to make dinner at home tonight and save our date night for another night.  But I’m still looking forward to some cheesy fun with Molly – we made Valentine’s for her class party today and who knows, maybe I’ll use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for her peanut butter sandwich.  Having a kiddo of my own brings new light to these kinds of holidays – now I’m one of those suckers at Target that is totally lured by the heart-shaped pot holders and place mats and hand towels covered in pink, red, and purple hearts.

Happy Valentine’s Day from our home to yours!  I hope you get to spend the day with someone you love.

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Have I told you about Mission:  Organized?  I am working hard to get our cozy house organized and functional, which often means a bigger mess is created as sorting and purging and moving of stuff take place.  Our upstairs office space is a constant work in progress, as is the kitchen.  Last week, I took everything out of the “pantry” cabinet (yes, cabinet; no, not a closet) and threw away the stale crackers and out-of-date baking supplies.  Then I reorganized the items by type and put them in nifty baskets.  Sweet Birdie’s Nest purchased a laminator, so I’m going to make and laminate labels for those baskets, too!  This week, I tackled the refrigerator and freezer.  I did NOT take pictures before or during the task, because, well…I just didn’t want to expose myself that much.  Believe me when I say it was not pretty.

I felt like we had SO much in the fridge and freezer, yet we could never use the items while we were cooking.  The first thing I did was take everything out of the fridge (well, almost everything – there is one drawer that doesn’t come out without the help of a sumo wrestler, so it stayed), wipe off the shelves, wall, and the door and the purge the out-of-date food and restock the fridge with what was left.  Then, I did the same with the freezer.

I may have found the following items in my fridge or freezer while completing this project:

-frozen french fries that expired in January of 2010

-a frozen pie crust that should have been used in January of 2008.  {Yes, that’s an 8}

-1 box of Girl Scout cookies, unopened; 2 sleeve of Girl Scout cookies, unopened; and 1 sleeve of Girl Scout cookies, opened

-peanut butter pie filling from ???  {I can’t remember when I made it last, but it was for someone’s birthday}

-6 bags of frozen berries, 4 of them opened

-4 bags of frozen corn

-2 bottles of open vodka

-random frozen chicken breasts in multiple Ziploc baggies, none of which were dated

-ground turkey from 2009 {I tried, but just don’t like it unless it’s in chili}

-something in a disposable casserole dish that was dated Aug/2009

-2 opened loaves of garlic bread

-mayonnaise and multiple salad dressings that expired in 2008, 2009, and 2010

-corn dip from Jim’s birthday party {I was relatively excited about this find because it’s from just two months ago!}

Instead of being embarrassed about this confession {I know I should be, but I refuse}, I am going to move forward with the knowledge that when I see “clean out fridge” on my weekly cleaning checklist, I should really just clean out the fridge and throw out anything past its prime.  I did find some beef stew that we can still eat, frozen mangoes that MJ might enjoy, and frozen garlic fries that we bought last month that I forgot we had.

{Oh, and I kept the unopened Girl Scout cookies and the vodka.}

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I mentioned yesterday that Peaches loves to carry her own bag. Today, when I told her it was time to go to school, she ran to get her backpack and her lunchbox out of the chair and marched straight to the door.  {It sure does make my heart happy that she loves to go to school.}

We walked to the car, Molly carrying her backpack and me following along with my bag and her discarded lunchbox.  {She set it down on the steps as I guess it got too heavy for her.  However, it would be a sad, sad day to forget lunch.}  In route to the car, Molly lost her shoe and dropped her bag.  She glanced at the shoe, stole a look at the bag, and started walking through the very wet grass mud in the front yard to rescue her bag.  I reached her as she was picking up the bag and helped her brush the dirt and mulch off of the bag; she was very distraught over the condition of her bag.

And I got a kick out of the realization that the shoe v. bag dilemma is a common one. Welcome to the life of a woman, MJ.  You’ll be choosing between a bag and shoes for the rest of your life…


On a completely unrelated note, I LOVE this hoodie from Anthropologie.  I first saw it on Facebook where it’s marketed as cozy enough to be like pj’s but stylish enough to make a mid-morning coffee run.  I’m pretty sure that most of us working at home in the mornings have to choose between the mid-morning coffee run and the $100 sweatshirt.  Or maybe not.  Either way, maybe I’d be more productive if I wore this while grading papers?  What do you think?

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No…I didn’t forget MJ’s 18 month day…I just didn’t get around to finishing my letter or taking a picture of her yesterday.

Dearest Molly,

Our life is so much more fun with you in it. I know I’ve said this before, but seriously?  What did we do before you? I love how you look at me and grin when I turn on the music in the afternoons, and most days it doesn’t take much prompting to get you to dance with me. You love to identify your body parts, and are always so proud to add news ones to your list (this month was eyebrow, elbow, back, shoulders, and forehead). Last Monday, you carried your bag into school when Dad walked you in and were SO proud of yourself. So proud, even, that on Sunday at breakfast you wanted to wear your backpack while you were sitting in a highchair.  I just love, love, love your grin when you know you’ve done something to make us happy or proud. {Which you do quite often.}

Your vocabulary is growing exponentially.  I can barely keep up with all of your new words, but you have uttered a few phrases so far, including “Mommy car,” and “Milk peas {please}.”  We started going to My Gym on Saturdays this month and the first time we went, I left crying because you did not want to be there.  Each week has gotten better {yes, we took you back!} and we’ve actually signed up for two more months. You love to brush your teeth, which if you’re anything like me and your aunts, will become a lifelong obsession.

Last night, we went to Aunt Bev’s house for a SuperBowl party and you finally walked away from me long enough to play in Addison’s new playroom with her kitchen and dolls.  You two sure were busy in there and paid no mind to Jackson and Benjamin and the other older kids running around.  You love to play with your dolls now and will let each of them have a turn in the highchair eating and taking stroller rides.  You are finally starting to figure out puzzles, but get so frustrated when the pieces don’t float right into the right spot.  You still enjoy books, but won’t sit still very long to listen to stories like you used to, but that’s ok because I know exploring and talking and running are equally important.

You still won’t eat anything of substance. One day last week, you asked for a “bar” at every meal. Being the crazy mom that I am, I tried to give you a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and you threw it and exclaimed “BAR!”  So, you had your third cereal bar of the day.  Other days it’s Ritz crackers, a banana or some berries, maybe some cheese, and a waffle with syrup.  Every day.  However, I used to eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day – your dad actually got sick of making my lunch at one point because he had made a peanut butter sandwich every school day for three years – so I can’t blame you:  You like what you like and that’s ok.  I just wish you liked something kind of healthy.  You know, like with nutrients or protein.  We will go see Dr. Holladay next week and I know he’ll reassure me that this is just a phase and that you are perfectly healthy.  Until then however, I will continue to be concerned.

But my favorite thing so far? You give hugs and kisses freely and I never tire of you leaning in for a kiss.  When I’m fixing my hair in the morning, you run into the bathroom to hug my leg. If I’m getting clothes out of the dryer, you hug my back. When I leave for work in the morning, you say “buh-bye!” and blow me kisses. I store up each hug and kiss in my heart, knowing that one day you’ll be embarrassed by me; when that happens, I’ll have a stockpile of your toddler love to see me through to the other side.

You’re amazing and we love you so much!

All my love,



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