Sunday, December 30, 2007

Superior Parenting skills

The family enjoyed a nice leisurely Sunday. We spent some quality hours at Sea World, where we have a season pass, and then hung around the house in the afternoon. One of the best things about Sea World is that we can go for hours without a peep from Brooke. Literally, she doesn't make a sound, wet/dirty diaper or hungry. Sweet silence.

Zak and I know "when to fold 'em and when to walk away" at Sea World. If we push just one more thing, Maddie could melt down and we fear that Brooke will remind us that she is indeed with us. We always go in the morning stay just long enough to get them good and tired and ready for a long nap.

As I was looking at some pictures from today, I discovered that Zak and I are excellent parents as evidenced by:

An unsupervised baby, who is now very quick on her knees to find anything to use to pull herself to standing. "Zak, where's the baby? I dunno. Oh, there she is behind the couch..... What's she doing back there?"

"She's playing with the electrical socket. I think she's trying to get those plastic things out of it."

Here are two sock-less kids at Sea World. I don't know who they belong to, but you'd think their parents would put some shoes on that's 60 degrees outside! (I think it warmed up to 70 in the sun...)

I did remember to put little shoe/socks on Brooke, but she took them off and threw them overboard when we weren't looking. We even checked at lost and found after getting multiple dirty looks from other parents. She rode half the day with her dawgs propped up all gansta style like that. Yo.

And the parenting award of the year....goes to Zak who said, "Look, I can feed her like a baby goat!" as she gobbled up some milk standing up, while he simultaneously read the manual to the TV and watched football. Apparently, it would be just way too much multi-tasking to, I don't know, hold the child while she drank her milk.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007

On Christmas morning Maddie and Brooke awoke to discover that Santa paid them a visit last night, ate all the cookies but left some presents for them in return. This wasn't quite the reaction I was expecting after the excitement of Christmas Eve, but I think Maddie was a little overwhelmed with what she saw:

We spent Christmas day with my dad, PaPa, and Zak's mom, Grandma, playing with all the new presents. We fried up a turkey ('cause we're from Texas y'all!) and lounged around in our PJ's all day.

There were an obscene amount of presents to unwrap. I think it took nearly two hours to get everything opened because the Girls stopped to play with everything along the way.

Brooke decided that she was going to take her first assisted steps on Christmas morning by walking 20 feet across the foyer into the family room! Not bad for a first try, girlfriend! Mama's so proud:

We're grateful that Christmas at our house is not just a day or two, but usually three or four days due to the flow of family in and out of the house. It actually works out pretty well for us, giving more one-on-one time (and a bed) for each visitor. The Girls love it because they get to see so many people over the course of several days. When Maddie woke up on the 26th and I told her what was in store for the day, she excitedly said, "It's Christmas, AGAIN!"

Grandpa and Grandma Mary, Great Uncle Scott, Aunt Terra and Uncle Marcus came over the day after Christmas for more fun family time (and more presents!). I made a huge pan of lasagna, garlic bread, and salad since everyone had their fair share of the traditional holiday food.

Brooke does a fantastic impression of King Kong. She makes the perfect monster noises, bangs loudly, and drools all over everything (and everyone):

Uncle Marcus is always a popular visitor:

Zak's Grandma Lawanda is going to LOVE this picture of all her boys (and Brooke too!):

Merry Christmas, 2007!

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas

Maddie was more than excited because Christmas was finally about to arrive. She left out some cookies for him, and a sippy cup full of milk. You didn't know Santa liked his milk out of a sippy?

After the Girls went to bed, Santa and his helper put out all the gifts. A little tip from Santa: spend some time before Christmas putting everything together, inserting batteries, and taking those damn wire holders that secure the toys in the ridiculous amounts of cardboard packaging out (what's up with those?) him on this one!

By the way, in case you were wondering, Santa ate all those cookies and left a note and his hat behind:

Friday, December 21, 2007

3 years old

Dear Maddie,
You are a whopping three years old. Dude, I CANNOT believe it. Just two weeks ago we finally cut the wispy baby hair off to give you a cute (albeit thin) little blonde bob. You said you wanted "short hair like mommy" and that is what you got!

When you turned one, I wrote about your birth. When you turned two, I wrote about how much you changed and all the cool things you could say. Now that you're three, you say some very funny things.
Well, you know you have some serious verbal skills, but did you also know that sometimes you talk like a trucker? Not an R rated trucker, but a PG-13 kinda trucker. One of the parents of your classmates told me that you taught him about boobs by using a Barbie doll to explain your point. His name is Conner, and he's your boyfriend. When you see him you get all shy and smile-y. That explains why you would tell him all about boobs.

Yesterday you told your dad you were "going to kick him in the nuts!" Your dad was so shocked (but I'm not sure why because you learned it from him) that he burst into laughter and could not get it together. Since you made him laugh, you thought this was funny and you ran around the house saying to anyone who would listen and to all your baby dolls, "I"m gonna kick you in the nuts too!"

We've also noticed that you are stuttering quite a bit just in the last few weeks. It was enough to make me call the doctor, and they suggested you to see a speech therapist just to have it checked out. We know it is a normal part of your verbal development, and are still waiting to see how it goes. Your dad thinks that your brain works faster than your mouth, and you are just waiting for the rest of us to keep up with YOU.

We are about to switch pre-schools again for the second time this year because your current school announced it was closing. We are very sad, and we know you will be too. We found another place for you and your sister that we hope we will love as much as your current school. You were ready to move to "The Big Girl class" also known as the 3 year old room at your current school. We are just going to tell you that you will move to another "Big Girl School" since you're three now.

And, speaking of parent tricks, "because you're three now" works on lots of things. Stop sucking your thumb because you're three now. Stop whining because you're three now. Stop being sassy because you're twenty-five now. Be sweet to your sister because she's just a baby and you're three now. Go make me a Margarita because you're three now.

Your third birthday was a big deal because it was a real party where we invited other real kids your age. We went to the same place where you take your gymnastic class on Saturday with Coach Elaine.

You loved it! I knew it would either be great or terrible. You and your friends ran around and played some silly games. You flirted, kissed and hugged your boyfriend, Conner:

You were very sweet to all your friends and thanked them all for coming and for all the presents you got. You even were impressed with your homemade chocolate cake (it was soooo tasty!).

You are extraordinary observant and notice anything that may be different. If I have on a new pair of earrings or an outfit you've never seen, you notice it. If your teacher at school got a haircut, you tell her how much you like her new style. You often tell me how pretty I am, how much you love me, and your dad, and your sister all the time. In fact, when you wake up in the morning, you almost always ask where Brooke is so you can give her a good morning kiss and hug.

Happy Birthday, big girl. Boo-Ya, Peace Out, I love you.



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The anticipation of Christmas may be better than the day itself

Maddie is so excited about Christmas, and she doesn't even know what it is all about. When you ask her she says "Santa will bring me PRESENTS!" And, I swear to God that I did not teach her that. She will get some presents, mostly from her grandparents who spoil her rotten (as all G-Parents do).

This is the time to start some holiday family traditions, and I have a few in mind. We did buy an advent calendar this year with a little chocolate behind each door. Maddie promptly asks for "my chocolate" every night now. I tell her that the calendar is for counting down the days until Christmas, but she's more interested in her chocolate (and trying to convince me to give her another).

She loves loves loves outdoor Christmas lights. Yesterday, she told our neighbor to turn on his lights because he hadn't done so yet. She thinks the colored ones "look like candy" and squeals with delight when she sees some sort of Santa, deer, or snowman decoration.

This year we put our tree in the formal living room instead of the family room. We don't have that much room anymore (with all the plastic crap toys we have) in the family room, and I didn't want Brooke to be able to get to the tree for safety reasons. We rarely go into the formal living room, and I miss seeing the tree lit up every night (from my kitchen and couch) so I decided to decorate the mantel a little more this year so I could see some lights.

Our tree was up after Thanksgiving and we went a little light on the decorations. My dad and Susan came for Maddie's birthday party, and they spent quite a bit of time decorating the tree. Susan let Maddie put them wherever she wanted, and this is what happens when you allow a three year old to hang ornaments:

They all end up on the same branch! Susan would move them around when Maddie wasn't looking. Then, Maddie would go back and put them all together again. She still goes to the tree every night to move some around, and she brings her little stool with her so she can reach "way up high" even thought it's only about a 3 inch stool!

I want to take the Girls Christmas carolling (organized by our home owners association every year), maybe make a gingerbread house, and set out cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer on Christmas Eve. What other Holiday traditions do you and your family do every year? I need more ideas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Robert Horry is better than Santa

While out an about a few weeks ago, we ran into Santa. A very tall Santa, towering well over six feet. I guess he was out doing his holiday shopping. Maddie was VERY excited to see him and started screaming for him, until he came over to see her. Then....the screaming stopped. She was all smiles, but wouldn't go any closer than three feet.

Today, while out and about, we ran into Robert Horry.

Who is ROBERT HORRY? Did you just say that? He's a San Antonio Spur player also known as "Big Shot Rob" due to his ability to come through for his team in tough situations. He's also played for the Los Angels Lakers and Houston Rockets. On those three teams, he has won SEVEN national championships. Let's just say, that if I were a player in the NBA, I'd want Horry on my team because he attracts those rings like a magnet.

When we saw Robert Horry (at a little cafe where we were eating lunch), we told Maddie to yell, "1994 Rockets! Yea!" just to see if he'd pay her any attention. She yelled it, but probably not loud enough for him to hear her. He was signing autographs at this little cafe for their grand opening, and Zak, being a life long Rockets fan, had him sign his 1994 Houston Rockets championship T-Shirt.

So, Maddie isn't too scared to sit on the lap of a 6'10'' stranger, but she won't go anywhere near Santa.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taking the long way

Maddie's favorite song is "The Long Way Around" by the Dixie Chicks from their gazillion selling, multi Grammy winning album Taking the Long Way. It's a fantastic album, and my favorite song is the infamous "Not Ready To Make Nice" that was written about the way the Dixie Chicks were treated after saying they were not proud that George W. Bush was from Texas during a London concert. I am not a country fan, but nearly every song on this album is worth the $11 dollar CD.

Maddie requests to hear this song EVERY time we are in the car, which means that we hear it TWICE (coming and going) every trip we take. She knows most of the words, and makes up the words she doesn't know. One of the things that I like so much about the song (and the entire album) are the messages behind the lyrics. If you were to ask Maddie what the song was about she would say, "It's about being a strong and smart girl, and I am too." I wonder if this song will foreshadow who Maddie will become when she grows up. I always get a huge kick out of hearing her sing the song, and Zak decided to record her singing it while driving somewhere. The video is long, but worth it towards the end. She was obviously aware she was being taped, and her performance isn't quite as rambunctious as it usually is:


Words & Music by Emily Robison, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Dan Wilson

My friends from high school
Married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses
In the same ZIP codes where their parents live

But I
I could never follow
No I
I could never follow

I hit the highway
In a pink RV with stars on the ceiling
Lived like a gypsy
Six strong hands on the steering wheel

I’ve been a long time gone now
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
But I’ve always found my way somehow

By takin’ the long way
Takin’ the long way around
Takin’ the long way
Takin’ the long way around

I met the queen of whatever
Drank with the Irish and smoked with the hippies
Moved with the shakers
Wouldn’t kiss all the asses that they told me to

No I
I could never follow
No I
I could never follow

It’s been two long years now
Since the top of the world came crashing down
And I’m getting’ it back on the road now

But I’m takin’ the long way
Takin’ the long way around
I’m takin’ the long way
Takin’ the long way around
The long
The long way around

Well I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I
I could never follow
No I
I could never follow

Well I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found

Takin’ the long way
Takin’ the long way around
Takin’ the long way
Takin’ the long way around…..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rachael Ray Show (more details)

Maddie, now known as The Superstar, instead of The Girl will be on the Rachael Ray Show on December 18. I have no idea how much of the video they will use, but I'm hoping for some free pots and pans out of the deal!

Set your TiVo!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

10 months old

Dear Brooke,
You are ten months old. For the first half of the month, you were pretty much suffering from one ailment or another. This last week you've been healthy (teething doesn't count), and so much more fun. When you feel better, you are more independent which means I don't have to hold you every waking moment. If you're sick, tired, remotely hungry you REFUSE anything other than being held. And by held, I mean your dad or I STANDING up and walking around. You do not permit us to sit and hold you, or look at the TV or computer while holding you.

When you have something on your mind, you are determined to make it happen. This could be a toy your sister is holding, or a Christmas ornament that is probably covered in lead paint. You have no patience for waiting or being told no. Here's a photo of you getting into the snacks in the pantry. We had to pull you out multiple times until I figured out that I could just shut the door. Then? You screamed.

On the Go. That's you. Crawling, pulling yourself to standing, cruising, are you main modes of transportation. I can find you by following the pools of drool that you leave behind. Kinda like a snail. You basically just try to follow us around. God forbid if we all leave you alone in one room. It results in screaming and rapid crawling after whomever you last saw.

The drool is no doubt due to the top right tooth coming in. It's been pushing through for the past month, and it is just about to break the gum to saddle up to the left front tooth that's been there for a few weeks.

Even though you have 3.8 teeth, you are not interested in using them. Most babies your age are readily eating solid foods, and I think you want to but you can't get over the fact that they are SOLID and requires some chewing (or gumming). Every time you get some solids in your mouth, you hold it, seemingly interested, for a few seconds, then promptly spit it out. Like, "God, what the heck is that doing in my mouth?" You are still on breast milk, some formula mixed with breast milk, baby foods (now including the meat kind), and puffs. You don't even want to eat Cheerios for goodness sake! Cheerios are a staple food for babies, but you must not care what the other cool kids are eating. You do find the core of an eaten apple very delicious:

You weighed 17 lbs at your doctor's visit this month, which is not been much of a gain, but still within the normal limits for your age. Every single 17 pounds of you seems to really dislikes bath time. We can't figure out why that is, but 90% of the time you scream until the second we take you out. Once we put you in, you're usually okay, but once the water starts to TOUCH you, it's over. We really hear the complaints when we dare to wash your hair and face.

I'm still very sad that you've never said my name. I do know that once you say it, you will never stop saying it. So, I guess I can wait a little longer because sometimes when your sister says it one trillion times a day, I want to poke my ears with a stick. "Dada" is still the word of choice, with an occasional "ba ba ba" in the mix when you're feeling a little crazy.

Speaking of your sister, you are really, really into her. Maddie can easily make you laugh by running around screaming or making silly faces at you. She still calls you Brookie, and now "Brookie-Cookie." Two other names that's she has been calling you is "Mama's" and "little Jesse." I have no idea what "little Jesse" means, but "Mama's," she tells me is because you're "mama's baby." It is most definitely a term of endearment, and is always uttered when she is trying to soothe you or is very happy to see you.

At the end of every work day I look forward to walking into your classroom to find you happily playing and then once you get a glimpse of me, you often do a double take. Then, you yell out with excitement, smile and clap your hands. I feel the same way, baby girl. The same way.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Santa pictures 2007

Here is a picture of Santa:

and a photo of some kids that I don't know:

Here is the picture of Maddie and Brooke with Santa:

What? Really? You don't see that last photo? That's because there ISN'T one! I cut to the end of the line with Maddie to show her Santa. When she asked if she could sit on his lap (you know she wouldn't anyway) I told her that only babies do that. Ha!
"Mother of the Year" I come!

The line to sit on the jolly fella's knee was over 45 minutes long. If you think I am crazy enough to wait that long with a toddler and a baby, you're outta your mind!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rachael Ray Show

I got an email from the Rachael Ray Show asking my permission for them to air this video (or portions of it) on an upcoming episode.

What's more shocking than anything is just how much Maddie has changed in the eleven months since this video was taken. The subsequent phone discussion with the producer caused me to go back to my You Tube site and watch some videos of both Girls and, once again illustrates, just how incredibly fast time passes by. IN. A. BLINK.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Police

Zak and I saw The Police in concert last week. They rocked. I'm not sure if it is okay to say that a man, Sting, who is nearly the age of my father, is HOT. He is, and I'm not embarrassed to say it. (Okay, I am a little bit. )

We bought the tickets several months ago, and lined up our babysitter shortly after. The concert was in the middle of the week, so we were worried about that. The next day, we both took a vacation day, took the kids to daycare, and spent the day together. We haven't had a WHOLE day alone in way too long to remember (actually I recall exactly when it was, and I think Brooke was a result of that). We ate breakfast out, we saw a movie, we went shopping, we ate lunch out all while trying to not talk just about The Girls.

I give all my concert attending credit to Zak. He is always looking into shows for us to go see. If it wasn't for him, I'd have missed out on some pretty awesome bands. We saw a LOT of them when we lived in Chicago (what band doesn't stop in Chicago?). This was pre-baby, of course. In the past three years I have only (only?!) seen Coldplay and Prince. In the years before I was pregnant/a mother, we went to tons of concerts (Rolling Stones, Wilco, Jewel, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews Band, Black Crows, U2, The Cult, etc). I think we saw The Rolling Stones three times in one year (and the cost of those tickets could have covered AT LEAST two mortgage payments). When The Rolling Stones come to town, YOU MUST go, and we simply couldn't resist. It was worth it. We actually saw several of those above bands more than once.

The rest of Thanksgiving weekend just blurred together in a "what should we do today to keep the girls entertained" train of thought. It rained all weekend and was cold, so that ruled out playing outside. We did super fun stuff like, grocery shopping! Got some haircuts!! Watch hours and hours of Shrek! We had to leave the house at least once per day in order to not lose our minds.

Zak's mom drove down from Austin and stayed with us for a few nights, and we did the Thanksgiving dinner together. It was a very quiet, not very bloggable week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Family Christmas photo 2007

Do you have ANY idea how difficult it is to achieve a semi decent Family Christmas photo with a baby and a pre-schooler?

Oh, you do? You must be a parent (a mom, actually) with 2+ kids.

Last year, I got this beautiful photo Christmas card from my friend, Amy. In the picture, she and Brian, with adorable Mason (who was three or four) and Maya (who was two) smiled adorably while posed next to a fireplace. Not a blond hair was out of place, and no one decided to not smile or blink. Ever. I stared at this photo for a very long time wondering how in the world it turned out like pure perfection. She even sent it right after Thanksgiving! I actually called her about it and she told me about Portrait Innovations. They are magicians. She also said they take their photos in October. I actually thought it was her living room (all decked out for the holiday).

Years ago, Zak and I would just send a photo card with the two of us smiling, casual, drunk and tan while vacationing on some beautiful beach. We usually asked some other tourist to take it for us, and it always turned out really well. Oh....the good 'ole days.

After we had Maddie, we tried to dress her up in something Christmasy, and take her picture while she did something Christmasy (like eat the ornaments) in front of our tree. After taking 100+ photos, we'd find something cute to send out. There was no way possible for all three of us to be in the same photo. Smiling, that is.

After seeing the beautiful possibilities in Amy's Christmas photo last year, I vowed, I AM GOING TO DO THAT next year!

So, we did. I'm not going to post that photo here because then you'll have nothing to look forward to in the mail. Ha.

The funny thing about getting your Christmas photo taken, is that the kids are supposed to have "Christmas outfits." As you may know, we're not fru fru dress kinda family. We don't own fru fru dresses for either girl. Or dress shoes. We're a lie-around-in-your-PJ's-all-day kinda family. I actually suggested to Zak that we take our family photo in our PJ's and he thought I was crazy. I mean really, WHO CARES if we're all dressed up, anyway?

So, we went shopping (at I said, WHO CARES?). Dresses, tights, shoes. Two outfits (cause I'm stupid). Check.

The appointment was for 8:15 a.m. (AM!) just so I could torture Zak. It was the only appointment they had for the next few weeks, and the girls are usually in the best mood that time of day. Even though I spoke with Maddie for days about this "Picture Day!" and told her that she may have to wear clothes with buttons, it would only be for a few minutes. I was trying to avoid this:

My apologies for the video being so short because this was a doozy of a tantrum. My battery died, but you get her point (and our pain). I wish you could have seen it in all its glory.

After the tantrum, we made our way to the photo place where they did a FANTASTIC job of making the girls smile and laugh to capture some really great shots. Even though Maddie's shoes were uncomfortable, and Brooke's shoes were so tight they didn't even fit on her feet we faked it enough to convince everyone that always look like this on a Sunday morning. We even managed to change them into outfit #2, but they quickly began to fall apart. Brooke, actually.

So now when you get our Christmas card in the mail, you can appreciate how hard it was and this post is actually here to guilt you into keeping it up all year long...not just toss it in the garbage in January.

Okay, since you really want to see a is a picture that we didn't choose for the Christmas card, but it is still super cute because they're real smiles.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

You're invited!

Dear Friends and Family (and not the entire Internet, sorry I can't afford that much cake!),

You are invited to Maddie's THIRD birthday party! Come and watch all the action as she has her first b-day party with OTHER KIDS! We're having it at a local gymnastics place (where she takes lessons) so I don't have to clean my house because she loves it there so much.

Will Maddie:
a.) have a great time and be sweet to all her friends?
b.) crumble into a crying mess insisting on being held the entire time?
c.) stand, stare, and suck her thumb while the other kids run around and swing like monkeys?

Who knows what will happen, but I can guarantee that I will talk about it here the next day!

Saturday, December 8th
1:30-3:00 p.m.
Wear comfortable clothes so you can tumble too!

RSVP to me via a comment or a private email if you are going to come on down to San Antonio for Maddie's big day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A conversation about gummi bears and butts

Maddie is obsessed with her vitamins. I never have to worry about forgetting to give her the twice daily gummi bear because she asks for one all the time. She gets one in the morning when she wakes up and one during bath time at night.

I have always avoided giving her real gummi bears in fear that she would confuse the candy with the vitamin. I worry that one day, she'll get a hold of the vitamins and O.D. However, her Halloween candy contained packages of gummi bears. When she first tried it I told her they were another type of candy, and she immediately said, "Hey Mama, they're just like my vitamins!"

Tonight, in the bath tub, Maddie asked for her evening gummi bear vitamin. I opened the container, took one out, and began to put it in her mouth. She abruptly stopped me and said, "Turn it around, I don't want you to put his butt in my mouth."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two Maddie things

Yesterday, while sorting through the mail, I made my usual piles: recycle bin, bill drawer, look over later. Maddie picks up the recycle pile and says, "Mom, I'm going to put this in the motorcycle bin for you."


Maddie was playing with a ball, and she threw it up in the air. When it landed, it rolled away from her. She immediately scolded the ball and said, "Hey BALL! Don't roll away from me! You need to take a TIME OUT!"

After we told Maddie that that's what balls are supposed to do... they roll. She sighed, carried the ball to the time out area, and said, "TWO MINUTES!"

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Job = Kicking my butt

My God, do I really want to work? This new job is seriously kicking my ass, and I am just barely able to keep my head above water on all three of my major responsibilities (wife, mom, employee).

It's been over a year since I had a job, 15 months to be exact. I am a master juggler. I can usually keep all the balls up in the air, or at least I used to be able to do that. Two kids literally makes it TEN times more challenging.

Zak says that I'm just in the transition mode. Actually the term was "valley of despair" from a change management class he teaches. He says things will get better, we will all adjust, etc. Blah.

Sometimes I really enjoy my new job. I get to work from home (which is actually a big fat lie because I spend my days driving all over the LARGE state of Texas) and make my own schedule (which is another big fat lie because my trainer has been making my schedule super crazy these last three weeks).

I also bought some very cool gadgets (that I cannot figure out how to use effectively and efficiently) like a GPS navigation device, a new blackberry, and a laptop (work issued).

We struggle with getting the girls to school at a reasonable hour (i.e. not the first kids there) and picking them up at a reasonable hour (i.e. not the last kids to be picked up). They usually get dropped off at 8:30 and picked up by 5:30. That is not terrible. Maddie would stay at Tippi's house in Chicago sometimes from 6:30 to 6:30. Can you spell G-U-I-L-T-Y ?

On top of that, Brooke, Zak and all have ear AND sinus infections (knock on wood for Maddie) this week. This is the THIRD time poor Brooke's been sick this month since starting day care (first ear infection apparently never healed). It's the second illness for Zak and I this month. Now we have to decide who misses work to take care of the kids. We basically decide by determining whose day is the most critical to our work, and right now that is me (since I'm new). No boss wants to hear about their new employee who is sick and has a sick husband and a sick kiddo.

And, oh, in my new job, I am not the boss. Weird, I know. I am really, really having to work on adjusting to that. For those of you who know what I used to do in Chicago, you are either very jealous that I am no longer supervising anyone, or can empathize about my "control freak" ways when it comes to work. I LIKE it that I don't have as much responsibilities, but I HATE it that I don't know what's going on above me. I'm now a worker bee, and I liked being the thinking bee better. Okay, some of you would say I was the bossy bee.

So, friends, climb out of my "valley of despair" and remind me (often) that life is pretty damn good, I wanted a job again and got one, and the family will adjust to this new schedule very soon. And also, I can't blog as much as before!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

9 months

Dear Brooke,
You were born nine months ago, and have grown so much in such a short amount of time. Never again in your life will you develop as quickly as you just did! Kudos for all your hard work.

Crawling has been accomplished! Just two weeks ago, you would go from all fours, then stretch out an arm just willing your legs to move. You'd fall right on your belly and could only go a few exhausting inches at a time. Since you've taught your legs how to cooperate with your brain and the rest of your body, you have made great progress. You can also pull yourself up to a standing position, and I am equally impressed when you go from all fours to downward dog. Nice yoga moves, girl.

Speaking of pulling yourself up to can't really figure out how to get back down without completely crashing. Hard. Every time you get up, you hang out for a bit, then cry for someone to help you sit again. This past week, we walked into your bedroom in the middle of the night to find you screaming, standing, and about to tumble out of your crib. I nearly passed out when I saw this for the first time. That very night we lowered your bed from "non-moving baby" to "watch out world, here I come baby." I just know that the next few phases of your life will continue to fly by, and if I don't pay attention it will go just as fast as this sentence from toddler bed, big girl bed, teenager bed, to dorm room bed.

Maddie is always amazed when you accomplish a new task. "Mommy, Brooke can feed herself!" she exclaims with pride and excitement for you. She's impressed with your ability to get around, but not so much when you go towards her drink, snacks, toys, or her long blond hair. You two get into screaming/grunting matches these days. You'll yell at Maddie for something and she'll dismissively swat her arm in your direction and grunt at you, like, "be quiet, and no you can't have my milk, SISTER." When she does this, you think it's a game and you screech back. Ultimately, Maddie is the one who gets scolded for egging you on. She hates it when you scream in her face (so do I), and often cries when you're doing this.

"DA DA DA DA DA DA" continues to be your favorite phrase. I try and try to get you to say something else. New noises are coming out of your mouth all the time, but nothing that we can decipher yet. We are teaching you baby signs and consequently, Maddie knows all of them and will frequently practice using them. You don't use them yet, but I am pretty sure you understand eat, more, all done, mommy, daddy, sister, cereal, and milk. We are ready for Volume Two (Christmas gift suggestion!!). The hardest part of teaching you baby signs is that Maddie and I are the only ones who use them with you, and more people (like your dad) should use them to help you learn quickly. And by the way, he continues to be your most favorite man on earth, and I think that's an excellent choice.

You started to attend daycare this month. I had the chance to stay home with you for 8.5 months, and although can't say I enjoyed EVERY MINUTE of it, I was happy that we got to hang together for that long. You've adjusted well to your new environment. Your daycare teacher said you were very quiet and didn't like it when any of the other kids came near you. Now, after two weeks, you are smiling and laughing, but still not sleeping very well in such a noisy in there. You have had a perpetual runny nose and were the first participant in Vomitpalooza 2007 (we blame you), but that is unfortunately what happens at a daycare.

Your teachers also tell us that you have a very good trick to make sure they hold you as long as humanly possible. No, it's not your big brown eyes and long black lashes that win their affections, well maybe it is, but they say that you hold perfectly still when drinking your milk. You do everything possible not to move, to pretend that you are sleeping, and nuzzle up. Unfortunately, you don't do this to me and your dad. With us, you just yell if you want to be held, and yell louder if we don't listen.

I'm not sure if my returning to the work force has been harder on you or me. Since you're still nursing, I've been pumping if and when I can. Sometimes I go the entire day without being able to pump (due to the nature of my job), and my colleagues are probably wondering how my boobs can grow two cup sizes in just 8 hours. It's magic, folks, magic.

Being naked is one of your favorite past times, and it's a good thing we live in warm San Antonio! If you can't be naked, you're happy just in a diaper. It's like you think you're getting away with something and it makes you laugh hysterically. Both you and Maddie love bath time together because you both get to run/crawl around without clothes for a few minutes after the bath. You are very silly girls. This is also the favorite part of the day for your dad and I mainly because it means just a few more minutes before you BOTH are asleep and there is peaceful silence in the house. Ahhh.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

30+ readers!?

Wow! Who knew that more than 30 people read my blog? Shocking, and I don't even know many of you! That's cool, but also puts pressure on me to write. More than than the junk I write about. And more frequently. And, I should prolly use proper grammar (and spell check). Ha.

Maybe this is just a cruel joke that Zak is playing. I'm sure he just spent his days thinking of fake names like, PaPa and Holly B just to screw with me and increase the votes.

So...who is the big winner? HAPPY !! I really didn't count the votes because it's my blog, and Happy would have won no matter what because THAT WAS MY PUMPKIN. And, did I mention that it's my blog?

Funny thing happens when you carve a pumpkin and let it sit for four days in the 80 degree Texas style fall weather. Ummm...pumpkins rot. Yea, with MOLD and STINK. Guess who likes stinky moldy things? BUGS!

Please also note that 4 day old Happy lost her pupils and her teeth. In the daylight, she looks like an old lady who took out her dentures, and you can actually see mold in Scary's nose and mouth in this picture:

So, the loser of the Pumpkin Carving Contest of 2007 (ZAK!) gets to throw out the moldy stinky, shrunken headed pumpkins. I also win some other prizes that I will tell him about later. Hmmm....

Oh, and also, Halloween was SUPER fun with the little monkeys. Brooke was a Texas Tech cheerleader and Maddie was a "ballerina princess." We went around the neighborhood with our neighbors who also have two kids around the same ages.

Maddie carried the same "pumpkin purse" that she used last year. It's pretty small, and after just 5 houses it was very full. Knowing this, we took an extra bag to transfer the overflowing candies into our mouths the larger bag. Well, the ballerina princess wasn't having anything to do with anyone touching her pumpkin purse or her candy. As she continued to stuff it with more and more candy, it began to fall out every time she didn't hold her pumpkin purse perfectly still. Zak begged her to let him put some of it in the larger bag to no avail. I ended up picking her up (to trick and distract her) so Zak could swipe her candy. She screamed, "NO MAMA! DON'T TAKE MY CANDY! THAT'S MY CAAAANNNNDDDYYY!" Everyone stopped to stare at us and many parents burst into laughter.

After about an hour, she said, "I'm done 'trickin' treating' and want to go home, eat dinner, take a bath, and go to bed." I don't think that phrase has ever been uttered by a child in the history of the universe. In addition, she was perfectly fine with the fact that I allowed her to pick just ONE treat to eat after dinner. She happily ate some Skittles and was ready for bed.

The best part? Today, when we got home from school, she didn't ask for any candy. Maybe she forgot, or maybe it was because we hid it for ourselves.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007