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.