Friday, November 28, 2008

Kicking off the holidays

Step 1: Prepare a fresh turkey for deep frying with a marinade of white wine and Italian dressing, followed by a rub of salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne pepper. The bigger mess made, the tastier the turkey.

Step 2: Enjoy said turkey with your hands. Tackling a turkey wing in "shotgun" fashion makes for crazy faces and giggles.

Step 3: Smile when your belly is full. Although, remember the fullness must subside when Thanksgiving themed cupcakes make an appearance.

Step 4: Stare in awe at the Christmas tree that miraculously made its way up despite the 2,000 lights, boxes and boxes of ornaments and four hours of much-aided work it required.

Friday, November 21, 2008


That would be, "thank God it's finished."

The latest in a long line of crazy projects I really have no time for, but insist on undertaking any way is a set of metal bunk beds for Alena and Alysse. They replace Alena's full-size bed and Alysse's crib in an attempt to gain some space in their shared room.

Approximately 20 years ago I puked (retainer and all) over the side of these bunk beds. Tonight Alena and Alysse quietly went to sleep in them. Only this time instead of the shiny red paint that witnessed the horrific hurling episode there's a princessy, yet chic coat of petal blossom pink.

It's taken about four months for the makeover to occur. Not because of the difficulty involved, just a product of my procrastination and lack of discipline in finding the time needed to sand, prime and paint (with double coats of each). There has been birthday party planning to delay the project; an entire month dedicated to watching election coverage on MSNBC; and the typical laundry, dinner and cleaning chores that suck up major time.

I vowed earlier this week the girls would be sleeping in their new beds by Friday night if it killed me. The job didn't kill me, just left us with baskets of unfolded laundry, dirty bathrooms and an unvacuumed living room. Trade offs.

The christening of the vintage beds was Alysse's move into a big girl bed. Always a "how's this going to go" venture, she didn't require any back patting or coaxing to stay in the bed and go to sleep, she was out within minutes of the bedroom door being closed.

Alena had no problem drifting off in her elevated place of slumber. She was thrilled with the notion of "climbing" into bed. Beautiful. (I did momentarily wonder what course to take if we managed to get old beds removed, new beds in place and dissatisfied sleepers, gasp.)

And, as with most of these crazy projects, one leads to the next. The mismatched quilts are already my newest annoyance, as I dream of crafting some matching little patchwork numbers of pink and chocolate colored polka dots, stripes and solids. Oh yes, then there's the wallpaper left over from Alena's original nursery that will have to go next.

I'm slating the entire room makeover to be completed about the time Alena's packing for college. Until then, T.G.I.F.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From this day forward?

Admittedly, we've had our fair share of toy love affairs. From the flirtatious to the long-term commitment kind, we've run the gamut in personal relationships with things of play.

There have been the one-night-stands of sorts. You know, toys that have sent our children into gleeful shrills at their first encounter, but are left laying by the next day, never to be played with again.

There have been on-again/off-again relationships. Our Parents Mini Monet art center, for example, has been around for two years. Some weeks it's out daily, with markers, chalk and magnets flying, then it disappears under the loveseat and remains there for two months. It stays around because it continues to be used, but isn't one of those day-in and day-out kind of toys.

There have also been those that are loved dearly during certain ages, but slowly lose their appeal as one birthday or another rolls around. LeapFrog's Learn and Groove musical table is great for little ones pulling themselves up and beginning walkers. Once they reach that competent walking stage, however, it's as if they outgrow the relationship.

This time, though, it's serious. We're all head over heels in love with the latest addition to our toy/entertainment arsenal. Old school desks ... hand-me-downs from second cousins, these are the real deal.

Alena and Alivia adore them. Jason and I are wondering what we did before we inherited them. Metal desks with wooden, flip-up tops. A place to doodle, glue and create. A place to stash, store and keep up from smaller hands. A place to think, pretend and learn. A. Place. To. Slow. Down.

The desks have the makings of a commitment we've seen in only a few instances before here in toyland. While only time will tell just how long-lasting this could be, I'm leaning the way of an engaging, ever-changing, enduring love affair.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dimpled duo

This was a bottom-of-the-barrel type of day. A fights over doll strollers, bloody nose, tantrums, peas all over the floor, spilled lemonade kind of day. Quite honestly, there was little that went right. Until ...

we saw this tonight. Baby butts are the best. And baby butts with baby hand holding is the best of the best. Made it all worth it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The vote squad

We had our votes cast with only a 20 or 25 minute wait ... much better than what most have experienced over the course of this election. Our polling location was busy, but didn't have the crazy-long, hours-wait lines some have seen.

For the record:

  • Alena cast the vote in the Butler County Auditor's race between appointed incumbent Roger Reynolds and challenger Jack Zettler. A county government run for years by a monopoly of the same political party is never a good thing, and Zettler is the strongest candidate the Democrats have slated in recent memory. Note: Alena's choice for president was John McCain and "that lady that chatters" (her words not mine), which wasn't happening on my ballot. Thus, in my opinion, she got the vote for the second most important race in our community.

  • Alivia cast the vote for Barack Obama. She's a supporter, but questioned why she couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton. Should he prove victorious after the tallies are made tonight (tomorrow?), the pixie played a part in one of the most significant elections of this country's history that I would have never dreamt to have witnessed in my lifetime (yes, call me a cynic).

  • Trace and Alysse attended the polls during the first presidential election of their lifetimes. Regardless of the outcome, the excitement and anticipation of this election won't likely exist again for years to come. They were a part of it too - rice cakes in hands.
Now ... let's hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our newest school girl

Alivia is officially a school girl. She started today in Miss Tina's three-year-old preschool class, and will attend Monday and Wednesday mornings throughout the rest of the school year.

She was so excited to start school, she was nearly popping. It was her turn to have her own teacher, classroom and school friends, and she couldn't wait. Dressed in record time, teeth brushed and backpack on before I even had to ask, she was ready to bust the door down.

Alena was excited for Alivia too. As big sister, she was encouraging and supportive, even offering advice during the ride there about not picking her nose at school.

Jason signed her in and had to call her back from the classroom's circle for a goodbye kiss before he left. She was ready.

When I picked her up, I asked Miss Tina how she did. Apparently there were tears shed after the morning got underway, as she wanted her mommy or daddy to pick her up. Although she was upset, Miss Tina said she was quickly quieted and her attention swiftly redirected.

I asked her while buckling her in the car if she wanted to go back on Wednesday, and got a quick, definitive "yes." And during lunch, she talked non-stop about her artwork, the playset and the new songs she learned.

Alivia's smile after school as she was buckled in her carseat.

The rest of the day, she flitted around the house showing off her artwork, the letter "G"s she had written in school and practicing other letters as well. She's thrilled about learning and soaks up every chance to do so.