Friday, March 27, 2009

Tour stop 1: Superbowl sleeping

A couple of bedrooms in our house have recently undergone redos. We've changed things up ... stripping off nursery wallpaper and painting over baby-blue walls.

A little updating and transforming has been implemented to better suit current tastes (read: Trace has ditched his white and green gingham lamp shade and lost the little sheep valance; and what was once a nursery intended for Alena has become Alena and Alysse's shared girly room).

No one would be more anxious to see the new looks and compliment the kids on their new digs than my grandma. Although she's only 20 minutes away, she doesn't have the luxury of hopping in a car, driving across town and bolting up our stairs to check them out.

As such, the kids have agreed to host tours via our digital camera so she can have a peek (and a visual when she hears tales of free falling kids and Fatheads on walls).

Today's stop ... Trace's pimpin' Steelers pad.

"Welcome," he says, "to my little piece of Steeler Nation."

Yes, the football helmet is twice as tall as he is. However, he can point out the face mask and knows its intended purpose. Can you tell by the smile he's not missing the "wish upon a star/twinkle twinkle" room theme of a month ago?

Next is Trace looking minuscule next to Steelers #43 Troy Polamalu. He's on a first-name basis with the player, calling him "Troy," and frequently points out his shoes.

Who knew Big Ben could look even bigger? Standing next to Trace, however, the Big Ben reputation takes on a whole new life (a giant one).

(The mysterious white circle next to Big Ben's head doesn't exist. Just a little something extra our camera added.)

And there ends Trace's tour of his new "boy room," as Alena refers to it. Steelers, puppies and tickles reign supreme, and little girls are always ultimately chased from it screaming.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


*Be forewarned: This post is a total downer. If you're having a great, happy day, please skip over and stop back again soon. Up shortly (after I finish just a couple more projects) will be fun, new tour posts which will better fit your happy mood.

A baby gone 20-weeks in utero whose mother will never hear its cry. A 59-year-old grandmother of three who will never see the full potential of her grandchildren. It all seems unfair.

I often tell the kids, "Sometimes things aren't fair," when refereeing a fight or handing out discipline met with distaste. That's what we teach our children ... life sometimes isn't fair.

However, sometimes the unfairness has a way of being really unfair, to the point that it becomes difficult to justify or gain perspective on in the greater scheme of things.

There is, after all, a reason for everything, isn't there?

I'm struggling, though, to find some reason.

A reason that a loving, committed couple can't be granted just one baby to love when there are so many less deserving parents to be found.

A reason that a young grandma couldn't be spared in exchange for someone ready and waiting to pass on.

It's all fleeting. A game of trying to take as much of it in within the time restraints we're given. A challenge of finding the joy in cleaning up pooped-in underwear or snot-puking kids when we've been granted the gift of their presence and love. Forgetting, in the not-so-great times, that the laughter and love overshadow the rest of it.

Sadly, in my self-centered, crying-at-the-drop-of-a-hat state, I'd like to pack a bag and go. Go somewhere where no one can find me. Wallow a little bit in the sadness, and not have to say "please don't hit your sister" for the three dozenth time in a day.

In reality, though, I must remember it is all fleeting. Time getting away from me. Time better spent on the positive, less tearful things in life; and hope, that in time, some semblance of understanding can be found in the face of unfairness.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oooooh, la-la

Sometimes treats just ring your doorbell. Totally unexpected, asking nothing in return and completely cool. That's a treat!

It's an even a bigger thrill when you're three and four, and the treat is an uber-friendly hairstylist carrying a huge bag of hair gear wishing to give you unbelievably glamorous hair. Can you see the smiles in your imagination?

As a work project, our (former) neighbor needed willing heads of hair agreeable to getting a fancy do and having a few photos taken. Yes ... fancy, happy hair and pictures to document said hair ... the girls were in.

She did a beautiful job on both girls, and they were so delighted with their resulting looks that tears were shed in protest of getting into the shower, threatening complete ruination of their locks.

Newly aware of how glamorous they can be and knowing who can provide the goods, Alena and Alivia are now seeking flower girls positions within the tri-state area.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Poo are you?

Right after our dinner time discussions about the troubles facing Ireland and President Obama's upcoming Jay Leno appearance, the topic of poo fights came up. And so it goes at our dinner table ... never quiet, never a dull moment.

Alysse's after-dinner treat involved melted chocolate which was smeared all over her face, thus beginning the poo fight conversation. She's dangerously cute and unbelievably messy. She also can't be swayed.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Show me that smile

God bless Beth, our dental hygienist. We are kind of scary at the grocery store; we're really scary in a restaurant; but, we're over-the-top scary as all six of us descend upon the dentist's office.

There are so many possibilities for meltdowns, and you can't really ask the hygienist to "hold on a minute" so you can smooth over a tantrum. Much less, imagine your odds should the need arise to convince a three-year-old to open her mouth for the twirling tooth polisher should she not want a cleaning.

All the dental issues aside, you then have the abundant opportunities of the dynamic duo running amok during a two-hour office stay. Ahh, the frightening outcomes.

However, our semi annual visit came off better than one could wildly wish for (I'm still not fully believing it). Alena agreeably climbed into the chair first, pleasantly obliging Beth's every request to open wide, select a toothpaste flavor and sit patiently while each of her 20 teeth were cleaned and flossed. We even learned which baby tooth will be the first to come out, as it already has the slightest wiggle to it.

Nearly halfway through Alena's cleaning, Alivia asked why Alena was getting such a long turn, anxious to get her rear in the chair. Before Alena's behind imprint vanished from the chair, Alivia had hers in its place. She sat through her own teeth count, cleaning and flossing, which was lengthier than Alena's, as Beth had, by that time, acquired an apprentice who asked endless questions and would have taken over the whole procedure herself, given the opportunity.

As the preschool teeth cleaning was going down, Trace succumbed to nap time sleep on dad's chest in a nearby room during Jason's cleaning, and Alysse, while not quite sure what was going on, read our popular "Llama Llama" books alternating glances between the books' illustrations and Alena and Alivia's teeth cleaning procedures.

In two hours we were all headed home smiling, cavity free, and loaded down with new toothbrushes, Disney princess temporary tattoos and an appointment card for four October appointments. Longer lasting than their tattoos, though, will be the positive experience they had going to the dentist and the great fun they had with Beth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Catching up

So much happens in two weeks around here: a twinkle, twinkle nursery transformed into a pimpin' Steelers pad; a registered 2009-2010 kindergartner amongst us; and yet another saga in the potty chronicles.

Now that everyone and everything is up and running again, we've got lots of catching up to do. Sooner or later we'll get to it all, but first ...

The world must be wondering what tunes we're singing and dancing to. After all, Taylor Swift was a hit in this house long before she became country music's best-selling artist of 2008, and our quartet was singing Sugarland's "All I Want to Do" before the song's album hit the top of Billboard's top current albums chart. I'm convinced there's something to these eight tiny ears.

So what's hot now? Actually, it's what has been a hit for a bit ... the Zac Brown Band and the group's first album, "Foundation."

We listen to the CD almost daily and Trace can't hear the "Chicken Fried" track without saying, "more, more" upon its completion. After three or four "more, more"s, he gets cut off and we move along with our listening. And each time we're in the car and the song comes on the radio, Alivia can be heard belting out "a cold beer on Friday night" from the backseat.

The entire CD gets not only play time, but listen time amongst our reviewers. There's "Toes," which is reminiscent of Aunt Mandy and her beach excursions with toes in the water and ass in the sand; there's "Whatever It Is" which Alena puts her stamp of approval on; and there's "A Different Kind of Fine" that could quite possibly sum up Alysse in future years.

The music gets little booties shaking, and the songwriting is to be admired. Who can't appreciate lyrics that include "Ain't it funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most?"

Kudos to the Zac Brown Band for making an album all six of us enjoy, encompassing vast differences in tastes and opinions. Love it.