Friday, August 31, 2007

Gag me with some PEAS!

I have a problem with green baby food. It just grosses me out. Because of that, I rarely feed it to Brooke. I know what you're thinking...I'm a terrible mother, she needs her greens, and the vitamins, how do I expect her to eat her veggies when she's older....blah, blah, blah.

Not only does green baby food smell disgusting, it's thick and icky. I'm talking mostly about Peas, Green Beans, and Garden Vegetables (which is code for spinach, carrots and green beans).

ACK!

I feed her plenty veggies in the form of sweet potatoes, carrots, squash...anything that isn't green. I will also feed her green veggies in their regular form (i.e. not a disgusting mush) when she can chew.

As evidenced by this video, I tried to feed her peas, I really, really did. She nearly puked at the first spoonful and literally gagged herself. And so did Maddie and I from the smell. Then, I ran for the camera to continue to torture her on video! For all to see! Maddie as my witness, here is the video:


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A typical morning before school

School started! This means really nothing for us because Maddie goes to school year round. Thank the good pre-school Gods. She was such a sassy girl this morning when we were getting ready. I try and try to be patient with her when she behaves like a two year old. Wait! She is two years old! "Two and a HALF" according to her. That explains things...

I walked into the room to the smell of poop...in her PJ pants. G-R-O-S-S. "HI MAMA, I pooped in my pants!" as she points to her butt. She might as well said, "Mama, cause you're lazy, and didn't come to my room at 8am, I decided to punish you by crapping in my pants instead of waiting a half hour and going on the potty which I am perfectly capable of doing."

At this point, Brooke is still sleeping (which is why I was still sleeping), and I asked Maddie to use her quiet voice while we're getting dressed. She proceeds to swing open her door so wildly that it bangs the wall. The wall that is connected to Brooke's room. She smiles. Ugh! After we clean up her butt, I offer her the choice of wardrobe. "Maddie, do you want to wear a dress or pants today?" She always responds with a dress WITHOUT BUTTONS! I hold up two dresses for her to choose from. "I don't like either of those." Okay....too freakin' bad for you. I have three choices here:

1. Offer her another (third) dress that I know she likes, but wears it all the time.
2. Talk up one of the two choices as being "so cute" and "Oh, my you will look so pretty in this dress."
3. Not say a word, and just put my choice of dress over her screaming head.

I opted for a mix between 2 and 3, and lied about the dress not having any buttons. I just had one little on at the back of the neck...NO big deal.

She then must gather a book and a baby/stuffed animal before she leaves her room, and she also added her own accessories of a Fourth of July plastic necklace with stars. Great, she can't wear that to school and I'm sure that will result in some sort of tantrum. Remind self: 2.5 years old. Patience.

Brooke is awake, but not crying. I leave her in the crib so I can brush my teeth and get dressed. It wouldn't be okay for me to arrive to pre-school with my undies and tank top. "LET'S GO!" Maddie demands.

Moments of sweetness: "Mama, what do you want to wear today? A dress? Shorts? Ohhh, this shirt is so cute, mama. Do you want to wear this white shirt or this blue shirt? Oh, mom, you look pretty! Oh no, you have a wedgie! I can see your booty! Does your bra hold your bee boos up? Bee Boos are private! Your booty is private too. Cover your bee boos, mama."

Brooke starts to cry, and I ask Maddie to check on her. She leaves and comes running back, "MOM! Brooke is awake!" Okay, go tell her that I am coming and will be there in a minute. She runs back down the hall, and I hear her on the monitor soothing her sister in a sweet voice, "mama will be here in a minute, Brookey. Don't cry, baby, it's okay, mama is coming."

Brooke is SO excited to see us, she laughs and kicks and jumps around. She especially likes to watch Maddie in the morning. Maddie obliges and makes silly faces and noises at Brooke while we make our way down the stairs.

At breakfast we usually either eat oatmeal or waffles. If given the choice, Maddie will eat oatmeal for every meal. Today, I decided on waffles because I didn't want to deal with an oatmeal mess. She's eating her waffles (with syrup for dipping) at the kitchen table and I'm feeding Brooke on the couch. When Maddie can't see me, or if she's not getting my attention, she "MAMA MAMA MAMA's" me to death.

"Mama, whatcha doin'? Mama, where are you? Mama, are we going to drive in your car? Mama? Mama? Mama, I want more syrup/waffles/milk/napkins/fruit. Mama, I'm cleaning the table with my syrup."

That last one gets my attention and I stop feeding the poor starving baby, and find Maddie wiping the table with syrup.

Fantastic!

Patience. patience. She's two.

I clean her up. I attempt to clean the table, but she keeps putting her newly cleaned hands back on the damn sticky syrup covered table. Re-sticky-fing everything, including her hair that I have yet to pull back out of her eyes.

I get a comb and bow for her hair. I start brushing her hair. She complains as I comb through the syrup. She whines. I manage to make a ponytail and put on a bow (which she will later remove).

I pick out a pair of shoes for her that match her outfit. "I don't want to wear those shoes!" Of course! What was I thinking?! She picks out a pair that are too small. I curse myself for not putting them away. I suggest another pair that fit. She agrees! Horray!

I really, really, really don't care about what she wears. My only requirements are that it is season appropriate, her shoes fit, and her hair is not in her eyes. My problem is that she doesn't OBEY me and follow directions! I think that from now on, I'm just going to let her pick everything. Her teachers must think we're crazy, and I think I am getting there.

We attempt to get into the car. "WAIT!" she says, "I gotta get something." She runs back in the house to probably look for her book and her baby that must make the ride in the car. "MAMA?! Where is it?" Since I'm a professional mind reader, I yell back, "Your book and baby are on the couch in the living room!" I sigh and apologize to Brooke, who is patiently waiting in her car seat, for being the second child.

On the way to school Maddie likes to rock out. I think this is something that she must do with Zak when he takes her to school. Maddie tells me to turn on a "good song" so she can dance. She is bopping her head to the beat and says, "Come on, Brooke! Dance like this!"

I can only find Ace of Base on the radio, and she dances like she's in a Saturday Night Live sketch from the 90's.

"Brooke, Hold your straps, and do it like this!" She grabs her car seat shoulder belts with her thumbs and lifts the up a little, and holds them out so she can rock out even harder.

We arrive to school and I kiss her goodbye, "I'll see you at 4:30! Have fun!" I say as I leave her with her favorite teacher.

I miss her already. Kinda.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fantasy Football and Single Motherhood

So, I'm not really comparing the difficulties of single motherhood with what it feels like to be a wife of a chronically addicted fantasy football player. And by "player," I mean not an actually athletic person, but rather a couch potato, head in a laptop, clicker in hand type of "player" that is my husband.

I love football, I really do! I watch the Red Raiders and their high flying offense every fall Saturday with my chronically nervous and pitty husband. I also enjoy a great Sunday afternoon football game. Notice that I did say "a" football game...not every single one of them.

What's my problem with Fantasy Football? Let me count the ways:

1. First of all there is "draft weekend" which is really code for "let's ditch our wives/girlfriends and spend the weekend together (usually held in Vegas or New Orleans) drinking, playing poker, and drafting our teams." AS IF it would be remotely acceptable for me and the rest of the Fantasy Football widows to leave the kids with the husband for the weekend while we, I don't know, go to a destination spa, skiing, or the beach sans the baggage family.

2. There is the inevitable end of season comment that goes something like, "GOD! I hate this *&$#%^& game! Why do I do this to myself? @$^%*&^@( !!! Please, Amanda, please, don't let me play again next year!" Today, it's more like, "What? ME? I didn't say that? Of course I'm playing again this year!" Incidentally, he is always defeated the same way--his team is usually one of the highest scoring, but during the end of the NFL season, teams in Superbowl contention usually rest their best players....these are the players that Zak has on his fantasy team. When they don't play or get rested, Zak doesn't win. Duh! It happens every year.

3. The endless days upon days of watching football. NOT JUST Sunday's mind you! There is also Monday night football, and the occasional Thursday and Saturday game, and don't forget Thanksgiving and Christmas games. Oh, yeah, there's college football on Saturday. NOT TO MENTION, although I will, are the mindless football shows on the sports channels that can literally be hours before and a re-cap for hours after the entire DAY of football watching. Have I blogged about this before, or is it just me?

4. The computer. In the olden days...say, 1995, Zak would actually use a paper and pencil with a newspaper (and do some actual math) to determine his players and scores for the weekend. NOT NOW, my friends! There are tons and tons of Fantasy Football sites out there that actually give you real time scoring, trading, and the fun addition of a shit talking blog-like sections for them to write articles. Sometimes, the articles they write are crafty and witty, like "You suck, dude." Sometimes they add pictures....I won't elaborate on this one because my grandfather reads this blog. Zak's complete focus used to be on the TV screen, but it's now divided between the TV and his beautiful girls and HOT wife, AND the damn laptop perched upon the couch right next to him.

5. THE NFL TICKET. Do you know what that is? It is DirectTV's diabolical programming. For a mere $300, you can watch EVERYSINGLEGAME! When there are 3-6 games on at the same time, you can flip back and forth between the games during commercials or just whenever your offense or the opponents offense is on the field. Guess what we DON'T have this year? The NFL Ticket. "Oh, Maaannnn!" as Maddie would say.

6. Deadbeat players. You know who you are! DAVID BXXXXN!! These are sad little players with crappy teams that don't get into the playoffs, and owe money to the winners at the end of the season. These deadbeat and jealous players don't pay at the end of the year like they are supposed to, but the money comes in months and months later. The Superbowl winner could earn as much as a grand, and second place earns several hundred dollars! This year, I'm going after the interest from you suckas...10% or I'm going after your kneecaps.

I did offer the "commissioner" (oh, yes, you read that correctly! Dorks.) the brilliant suggestion of collecting trade money as it happens, via the deadbeats players credit cards. Every time they make a trade, they're charged $5. This money should be deducted from the players credit cards via the website, or put into the hands of a responsible party (like, um, I dunno, me?) who will then divvy the money up to the winner. AT THE END OF THE SEASON, not next summer!

7. Two timing. Zak sometimes plays in two leagues; a "work" league and a "Texas" league. Yes, that is correct, he's cheating on his friends. There is no work league this year since Zak works with mostly females in his new job, thank God. It's the Texas league that one should be worried about.

Zak is almost always in the "playoffs" and has been to the Superbowl FOUR times in his illustrious Fantasy career. I recall a cold and snowy December evening in 2004, WHEN I WAS HAVING A BABY, that his line-up was due. He needed to "check the injury report" and the "playoff picture" before deciding who to bench and who to play.

"AAGGHHHG!!" Oh, sorry, excuse me, that was just a contraction. Pardon the interruption while I give birth to your first daughter.

He actually lost that Superbowl, and the one before that, and the two since then. At least he does earn some money, I guess.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Good luck with your draft, babe. Let's go on a tropical vacation after you win it all this year.

To quote Madison, "pick some good guys, dad."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Acceptable Behavior

One parenting move that has always bothered me was when parents tell their children that they are "bad." As in: "You are a BAD boy!" after the child did something wrong. I have a problem with that phrase for many psychological reasons that I won't bore you with, but mainly because it puts a label on the person rather than the behavior. The boy isn't bad, his behavior was. Get it?

I think kids live up to whatever label you put on them, so...don't give them a negative label!

I was getting a much needed pedicure the other day and was sitting next to this lady who had two girls, ages 4 and 5 who were there with her. I always like to talk to other moms of girls who are close in age to get tips, advice, etc. The entire conversation took place well within earshot of her two beautiful daughters: The mom said that her first daughter--who was getting her nails painted--was an angel (she was sweet, well behaved, proper, preppy, neat, clean, girly), but her second daughter--who was playing on the floor--was "the devil." She actually said that out loud in front of her girls. She went on to call her devil daughter "Shrek" because she looked like a tomboy and liked to get dirty and play like a boy (certainly not because she was a green, fat ogre). This mom went on and on about how different her two girls were while (unknowingly?) praising one and putting down the other.

While there is nothing wrong with being a tomboy and being "not girly" it's really all in the way that you label it to your child. She could have called her adventurous, active, high energy, and that she liked casual/comfy clothes.

Most of the time, children will behave like we expect them to behave.

As parents, we also believe that it is our job to teach Maddie what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable by labeling the behavior. Little stuff and big stuff.

"Maddie, that is NOT acceptable behavior" is something that you will hear me say when she does something from hitting me or sticking out her tongue to a stranger. I've said this to her way before she understood what the words meant, but she always knew by my tone.

The other day, she was playing with her baby doll and I heard her say, "No, baby, that is not apepable 'havior!" And she meant it! I'm not sure what that baby did to get in trouble, but at least Maddie didn't tell her that she was a "bad girl!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chores

One of the main reasons we had children is so that they would do all the work around the house and then take care of us when we're old.

Okay, so that is not entirely true, but I have discovered that two year olds can do chores!

We try to make it fun for Maddie so she'll want to play along and help us. We even have songs that we sing when we clean up. I am very patient when it comes to teaching her new chores simply because if she doesn't do them, it means I'll have to do them. It is my sole objective in life to clean as little as possible. Okay, it's not my sole objective, but I don't like to clean. Zak, on the other hand, has limited patience for Maddie because he can do it faster (true) and better (also true). My theory is that if he does all these things for her all the time, she will continue to expect him to be her personal butler. I am her maid, and he is her butler only when she can't do something. Other than that, this chore list will soon be growing and growing.

Things she's done or can do:

  • Pick up her toys and books--she is asked to do this before nap and before bed time, and you can see why we might have some challenges with this one. This is usually her most cranky time, and getting her to do this when she's tired is not always easy.


  • Clean the carpet with a paper towel after Brooke spits up on it--she just started insisting on doing this over the weekend. You'd think I'd be smart enough to have Brooke sit on a blanket or something just in case, but I'm not. She puked on my new carpet at least 5 times in the last 48 hours.


  • Laundry (we have front loaders)--Maddie can put dirty clothes in, move wet clothes to dryer, and put the dry clothes into hamper. She thinks this is fun, and we also name the item, who it belongs to and the color. And sometimes the odor when it comes to Zak's stinky socks.


  • Wipe the glass kitchen table after we spray it with Windex--this is also new this weekend. We've transitioned Maddie out of her high chair (so Brooke can sit in it) to the "big girl table." There are lots more messes (and so far, one broken bowl) to clean. Because the table is glass, she smears her hands all over it. I'm just happy to not be the messiest one anymore.

  • Hang up her shirts/dresses--She sometimes gets frustrated when the newly hung item slides right off the hanger or if the neck hole is too small for the hanger to easily fit.


  • Throw away her trash--like a used tissue. She's been doing this for a while now. We occasionally find interesting items in the trash that don't belong there. Hey, at least it is not the toilet!


  • Help unload the dishwasher--All our pots and pans are stored under the counter, so she can easily put those up. She can also reach the drawers and put away the plastic utensils and cutting boards.

I know, we're mean and horrible parents! When she does a chore, I always praise her and remind her that we do these things because we live together as a family and families work together. I also throw in another comment or two about how when we do our chores together, it's faster, and this speed will allow us to do something fun (like playing and swimming!) sooner and longer if she helps. Other than that reward, we really haven't' discussed actual payment for her labor. The way I see it, she owes US!

And Brooke? I taught her how to scrub the toilets, and no sleeping until she does it!




Wednesday, August 15, 2007

John Denver

Everyone has a singer or band that they secretly love and mine is John Denver.

Yessiree, you read that correctly.

THE JOHN DENVER:

People have said that what Frank Sinatra was to the 40's, Elvis to the 50's, The Beatles to the 1960's, John Denver was to the 70's.

Amen.

Leaving On A Jet Plane, Rocky Mountain High, Take Me Home Country Roads, Sunshine On My Shoulders, Annie's Song, Thank God I'm a Country Boy...go ahead, leave my site and listen to the songs I've linked, then come back. Make sure you've got your volume turned up! It will get you in the mood, I promise.

His music give me the chills. Stop laughing! It does! Why? Well, let me tell you....

First of all, my mom introduced me to John Denver. She is a huge fan, and this is most likely why I love him too. I've been brainwashed. I would even guess that because she was a huge fan in the seventies, and I heard John Denver in the womb. He's the ultimate sing along type of artist and while I don't know all the lyrics, I mumble my way through them BUT I can sing my heart out during the chorus.

The BEST place to listen to John Denver is in the mountains, specifically, while driving on a mountain road. I have listened to John countless times while going up a twisty turn-y hill, with my mother driving trying not to throw up from car sickness up the hill to our snowy destination.

When I was 16 years old, I saw John Denver in concert (!!) in Big Bear, California. I went with my entire extended family on my mom's side. My mom, aunts and uncles have always been a close knit group and it was no surprise that they all were John Denver fans too. The concert was in the fall at a ski mountain, so this meant that John was on the bottom of the hill, and the lawn seats extended up the mountain.

I don't remember much of the night because I was "sipping" my mom's rum and coke all night long. It was the first time I had ever been drunk. I sipped and sipped and danced and danced and sang and sang. My family claims they had no idea how much I had to drink, and accused me of sipping from everyones drink that night.

Later that night, I puked and puked IN MY PASSED OUT sleep. I woke up with vomit in my hair, under my fingernails, and in the bed. I still recall the smell of bacon cooking when my Granma was preparing breakfast. It took years for me to eat bacon again, and I begged my Granma to stop (for the love of GOD!) cooking the bacon. She laughed and told me I deserved every bit of my discomfort. It was also YEARS later that consumed alcohol again. I guess you could say that John Denver kept me from drinking in high school. To this day, I've never had a rum and coke.

Sadly, John Denver died while flying alone in a 2 seater experimental airplane when it crashed 1997.

Now, my love for John wouldn't be a huge surprise if I was in my fifties because John was big time in the 70's. Your surprise singer/band is one that doesn't fit with your generation, or someone that no one would ever guess. For example, if my 80 year old grandfather, Pops, secretly loved Metallica...that would be his surprise singer. Get it?

So...now it is your turn! Who is your surprise singer? Confess, and leave your comment for all to see!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maddie, Maddie Cranky Pants

Showing sweet and fun pictures of your kids is great and all, but what if I showed you the pictures that aren't so sweet and fun. Like these!


I think the phrase "Terrible Two's" is true because you just never know what you're gonna get on any given day. Sometimes when Maddie wakes up on the grumpy side, I ask her if she's going to be 'Nice Maddie' or 'Mad Maddie' when she wakes up.

I give her the 'ole Joe Takash lecture by telling her: "You get to decide what kind of day you're gonna have the moment you wake up. You CHOOSE if you are going to have a great day or a terrible day. Make it a GREAT one."

This is when she looks at me and tilts her head to the side like a confused dog. However, I know she gets it...she totally knows what I mean. Most of the time she chooses to have a great day, but sometimes screams or grunts at me then she gets up and starts whining and complaining right away.

Sometime or another during those kinds of days, this behavior will inevitably land her in a Time Out:


The first step on the staircase is where she takes Time Outs, usually without a problem, but sometimes after the two minutes, she refuses to apologize and requests another time out. You got it, girl....TWO more minutes! We do this over and over until she says sorry for whatever she's done. Can you spell S-T-U-B-B-O-R-N?

On the other hand, Maddie will be having a great day and then she'll have a tantrum for some very bizarre reason. For example, we're having fun playing on this skateboard, then PRESTO BAM-O, something ticks her off and she screams.

"USE YOUR WORDS, honey. I can't understand you. Oh, what's that? You want to scream some more? Okay..."


"Smile for the camera, honey! We're at the CIRCUS! Yippee!"

Parenting keeps me on my toes, causes tears, makes me pull my hair out, and often makes me laugh at the circus of my life.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brooke talks! ...kinda

Last week, Brooke went from screeching and yelling to babbling (and screeching and yelling). The video is super cute.



Since then she clearly says DA DA, but it's not in reference only to Zak. She'll DADADADA it up for no particular reason or to get our attention. She always acts so proud of herself when she gets on a DADA roll and will let out a giant raspberry for her exclamation point. Like, "Ohmygod, mom, did you just hear that story?(!!)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Oil Change

I got my oil changed today at one of those "quickie" places that ain't so quick. After waiting 45 minutes, and asking if everything was okay with my car, a guy finally came up to ask me what kind of oil I wanted .

"Um, the regular kind?"

"What type?"

I give him a blank stare...

"There is a 45739XYZ oil and a 8467ABC oil for high performance driving."

"How about olive oil? I hear it's good for your heart."

He gives me a blank stare...

"Actually, yeah, I need the high performance kind...I know you could tell by ever so sporty Avalon, my two car seats, diaper bag and my mom ponytail that I'm a high performance driving kinda girl."

Fill 'er up!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sisters

Warning: This one is a little sappy...



I tell Maddie often that "sisters are forever and ever," and that no matter what happens in life they'll always have each other. I'm so thankful that the transition of adding another baby to the household has gone so smoothly, and the last six months have past way too fast.


Maddie is a FANTASTIC big sister, and I only hope the love she has for Brooke today will last throughout the teen years when they yell and scream at each other over all sorts of dumb stuff. Maddie asks for Brooke all the time, and brings her toys/hugs/kisses her when she is crying. Maddie tells me what Brooke needs if I'm not paying attention ("Mama, she's hungry/hot/tired/sad/mad/happy"), and she already tattles on her too ("She's taking off her seatbelt! Brooke is spitting! She threw her toy!"). She's never hurt her on purpose except for some over zealous hugs.


Here are some of my all time favorite pictures of Maddie and Brooke together in the last six months that I don't think I've posted here.


2/2/07--the first meeting:


February 2007 (a few days after Brooke's birth)





March 2007




April 2007 (Easter morning)




May 2007


June 2007
July 2007 Here is a video I took last weekend of our silly Saturday morning. Maddie was making monster noises at Brooke to make her laugh.




Sisters are forever and EVER!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bored baby

The ever sleepless Brooke was not interested in taking more than a 30 minute afternoon nap today, so I decided to take her to the pool. So, I...
  • put on my suit
  • put on my sunscreen
  • packed the bag (including a change of clothes for both, diapers, etc.)
  • packed her floaty contraption (that I use as a makeshift kickboard)
  • put on her swim diaper
  • lathered sunscreen on her
  • put on her swim suit
  • got our hats on
  • put on more sunscreen (cause I'm crazy like that)
  • loaded her into the carseat
  • drove to our subdivision pool
  • got out of the car
  • unloaded our crap
  • lugged 23 pound carrier (15 lb baby and 8 lbs car seat) 30 yards to the gate
  • and discovered that.....
THE DAMN POOL IS CLOSED ON MONDAYS!

Friday, August 03, 2007

6 months

Dear Brooke,

Yesterday was your six month birthday!

You are a superstar with bright and shiny eyes and huge gummy grin. Your laugh is contagious, and you bring a smile to all those who see you. When you and your sister get together and act silly, it is a never ending sea of laughter. Not just giggles, but big belly laughs.

Maddie is trying to get you to say her name, and will repeat "MAD-IE" and "SIS-TER" over and over again. You smile and respond to her every time with a big wet, "PBBTH!" as you spit a raspberry at her. I play along with you and say, "Brooke! Your sisters name is not "PBBTH!" it is Maddie!" This causes Maddie to laugh hysterically and then you laugh in turn. We do this about one hundred times per day.

We went to the doctor today for your six month check up and shots. You were a supersweet girl, as usual. You are 25 inches long (33%) and weigh 15.5 pounds (40%). The amazing news is that is a 3 pound gain since your FOUR month check up and growth spurt of 2 1/4 inches. You are growing like a weed! A cute little weed.

The doctor (a new one) discovered that you have an "innocent heart murmur." When she asked me if anyone had ever mentioned that before at one of your checkups or when you were born, I almost fell off my chair. I have no idea what an innocent heart murmur is, and didn't want to know. About the very second before I burst into tears, she said that 65% of all children have a murmur before they reach adulthood. Still not feeling better. She also said you needed to see a pediatric cardiologist "just to check it out" next week. Still haven't regained my composure. I think the doctor sensed my panic and she assured and reassured me that it was nothing to worry about.

I sped home and did what any other Generation X mother would do....I looked it up on the internet. Because the internet is wise and knows everything! I found this from the American Heart Association, and felt much better. We will make an appointment next week and get your heart all checked out.

I love your murmuring heart with all my heart! You will be just fine.

Loves,
Mama

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A big day!

Today, AUGUST SECOND, is the two year anniversary of my blog, our one year anniversary of moving to San Antonio, Brooke's six month birthday, and my 32nd birthday! Big Day!

I started this blog two years ago to provide family and friends with a way to keeping semi weekly contact with us and the ability to watch Maddie (who at the time was 8 months old) grow up. I've always liked to write, and always have things to say, so I thought it would be a good match. I'm not always the best writer and usually have too much to say for anyone to care that much about, but hey, it's MY blog even though it is "supposed to be" about Maddie and Brooke.

I named the blog "maddiethegirl" because I was 90% sure I wasn't going to have another baby, and she was THE only girl to write about. When Maddie turned one, we got that baby itch, and we decided we did want another kiddo. When Brooke arrived and I knew I could no longer call the blog "maddiethegirl," so I changed it to "The Girls" (which is a name that I still really don't like). By the way, I am unable to change the URL on the blog or I will lose it. I am also trying to find a way to print out the blog and put it into a book format just in case this thing we call "THE Internet" won't last but another year or two. There are lots of businesses that can print your blog, but I've heard that blogger (who hosts this blog) isn't/doesn't allow that, technically speaking.

Either way, I've had this blog for about 23 months longer than Zak ever thought I would, and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I think this blog has allowed some family and friends the chance to really see who I am, what I think, and what I believe in. I kinda already thought they did, but people frequently told me that they were surprised about this or that and it made me realize that I may not show my true self all the time. One thing is for sure, this blog represents the true me...the good and bad, the overuse of commas, and all run-on sentences!

I especially love those of you who read the blog and make comments. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is really reading at all. I'm not sure why many of you don't just click that little button that says "comments" and put your two cents in, but I guess I won't take it personally. Just so you know, I do.

One year ago today, we moved from Chicago to San Antonio. I CANNOT believe that it has been one year. The year was equally divided into two parts--pre-Brooke and post Brooke. In the pre-Brooke phase, we were settling into the new house, preparing for another monkey, and getting Maddie adjusted to school and all the new people who were coming to visit all the time! In the Post-Brooke phase, we have been sleepless, busy, tired, and thrilled that we have been blessed with another happy and healthy little girl. It has FLOWN by at mach 10 speed.

Brooke is six months old today, and I will try to post her monthly letter on time this month with photos. She goes to the doctor tomorrow for her well baby exam and shots. I'll report her stats then, you know, like she's a feather weight boxer. "In this corner weighing in at seventeen pounds, with a height of 32 inches and a reach of 4.5 inches, we have BRRROOOOKKKKEEE!"

And last, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, today is my birthday! Horray! Remember the birthday rules? Well, they still apply, but the more kids you have the less and less of the rules stay into effect. That's just a warning for your child-free couples out there!

And today, for my special birthday surprise? I get to go to the dentist! Hey, that was better than what I did yesterday....do you really want to know? I had a pap smear! YEA! Super fun was had by all!