Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An American sweetheart

The big brown eyes; the curly-q pigtails and the smooth button nose. Delightful. She makes the world a more beautiful place ... not because she's pretty, but for her considerate nature and spunky attitude.

She's a book looker and a game player. Sometimes crazy, sometimes timid. She's a patient follower and a caring soul. Sometimes impulsive, sometimes a stubborn mule. She's a super-duper climber and a never-ever-ever-ending talker.

My. Little. Love.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Some days are good, easy and everything falls into place.
Some days are bad, uphill and everything falls apart.

Some days will be remembered always.
Some days will be forgotten before they've ended.

Some days fly by and are almost missed.
Some days drag on and are wished away.

Some days are sweet.
Some days are rotten.

Some days are lost when mom is distracted.
Some days are lived to the fullest when nothing else matters.

Some days are tense and stressful.
Some days are relaxing and uneventful.

Some days are a hug you never wish to end.
Some days are a series of battles and disagreements.

Some days are invigorating.
Some days are exhausting.

All days are their lives.

Monday, September 21, 2009

She's what? She's five!

Five means wondering if it's possible to move into the Mitchell's Salon and Day Spa where you were treated to birthday pampering of a manicure and hair cut (although, this could also be 35).

Five means asking if I could tell her what Grandma Butterbean got her for her birthday, promising that she'd still act surprised.

Five means knowing that Sharpay is the most glamorous girl in the High School Musical movie cast and wanting to be just like her.

Five means having two boys on your school bus who want to marry you, and knowing which you'd pick.

Five means learning to read and write on your own.

Five means saying to your little brother, "I know I do some fancy moves, but you can't do them because you're too short."

Five means being loved even more than you were on the day you were born.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Two years takes you from this ...

to this ...

So much time passed, but so little time lost. Growing up so much, but so much growing still to do. A life made easier by no remaining babies, but life made harder by more difficult questions. Developing personalities becoming evolving personalities. But, always love. Amazing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A let's-do-it-again weekend

Great Miami River Days

Water skiers, games, live entertainment at Hamilton's Great Miami River Days. Fun.

Backyard campfire

Sticky, squishy roasted marshmallows in the backyard. Relaxing.

Happy 5th birthday Claire!

Pin the tail on the cat, pinata stuffed with candy and birthday cake. Family.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Paints, books, slides (and some tears)

She painted, she played on the playground, she counted beads and she listened to her teacher, Ms. Angela, read two books.

She already knows where to hang her backpack, that snack time is before "recess" and that the assistant teacher, Ms. Rachel, wears her hair in a ponytail.

She claims she loves school, is planning what she'll do on Thursday when she gets to go back and has a picture already packed in her bag to take for the attendance chart.

And in Alivia's true yin and yang fashion, she cried. Not when Jason dropped her off for her first day (v. 2009) of three-year-old preschool, but during transitions within the school day (ie. between free time and circle time or when snacks were being cleaned up before going outside to play).

Despite her "I want my daddy/I want my mommy" tears at downtimes, she acted as though the day was a success. There in lies the irony.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My scaled down, unpublished stab at a list

Reading today consists of things of the short variety. A few blogs that catch my fancy, a couple magazine subscriptions and maybe an article here and there in the newspaper.

Even these quick reads don't get read in a timely fashion, as I still have a Parents magazine from October 2007 in the "to get to" stack. We'll consider it vintage at this point.

However, I did recently read one woman's list of 39 things every mom should know. Of course the topic is subjective, and every mom has her own perspective. While there were a few "oh yeahs" in the list, there were also some "are you kidding me?" entries. As my mind wandered to the things I'd replace on her list, I decided to give it a go and compose my own.

So, in abbreviated (and gender inclusive) form, here's my list of 25 things every parent should know. Please note, no judgement is meant to be passed, as I have violated, witnessed, contributed to or experienced each item on my list ... that's how I've learned enough to include them.

1. Mothers can be snobby about schools ... preschool, private and public. Ignore it.

2. After your baby reaches six months of age, swear off Tylenol. Use Motrin or Advil so your child has relief and you haven't wasted your money.

3. The first time a child vomits (really vomits, not the spit up of infants) there's a good chance it's going to scare the pants off of them. Be prepared.

4. Relax during potty training. The more relaxed and patient you are, the quicker you'll find success.

5. On the topic of potty training, pull-ups and training pants are for the birds. Put on cloth underwear, prepare for messes and get the job done.

6. Let your kids fight ... sometimes. At some junctures, they need to work out their own disagreements without your interjected peacemaking.

7. Music can be just as beneficial to a developing vocabulary as reading, if you're willing to answer "What does ______ mean, mom?"

8. Indisputably, children are born without prejudice. Protect that virtue diligently.

9. Trust your instincts when it comes to your children's health. If you think something is up, chances are there is.

10. Kids want to learn. Every minute of every day. They just need someone willing to teach them.

11. Different kids have different ways of expressing their creativity. Let each one discover the method which works best for them.

12. Public tantrums are virtually impossible to avoid. However, nip them in the bud by not cowering when you encounter one. I once walked through Target for 10 minutes with a child screaming loud enough for everyone in the store to hear because she wanted yet another swimsuit. After 10 minutes of public embarrassment she learned the scene she created didn't pay off.

13. Don't judge said mother in Target with a screaming kid. Take heart and sympathize, it just as easily could have been you.

14. No one will ever convince me a child is better in a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants environment than in a familiar, routined one.

15. Don't fret over picky eaters. They will eat eventually ... about the time you stop coercing them.

16. Two dishwashers would be dreamy. A family of five is about the limit per dishwasher. After that point you're facing leftover dirty dishes that have to wait until the next load.

17. A mother's initial bond with each baby after birth is different. Don't expect each experience to mirror the last or the next. Just like kids, every one is unique.

18. Never underestimate a child's emotional capacity or ability to understand.

19. Answer questions from your kids in a straightforward fashion. Give them honest answers on a level at which they are able to process those answers. They then learn they can ask whatever is on their minds, and trust you'll give it to them straight.

20. Take lots and lots of photographs. It's the day-to-day pictures that capture who and what they are.

21. Objectively see your children's strengths and weaknesses, and embrace them all.

22. Realize that kids may prefer one parent over another. They love mom and dad both, but will most likely gravitate to one on a deeper level. Allow them this without your ego getting in the way.

23. When you have a case of diaper rash that no cream, ointment or butt paste will cure, an application or two of an athlete's foot spray does the job. Guaranteed.

24. As tempting as it may be, don't compare a child's intellect, social development or physical attributes with those of others. Instead realize everyone has their own pace and characteristics (this can be virtually impossible in the case of multiples).

25. For all the fancy toys, high-tech baby gadgets and designer baby clothes that exist, children really need only two things to thrive ... food and love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I love this kid. Love her with all my heart. On days when she's the child everyone should experience, and on days when I'm counting down the seconds until I can put her to bed. Love. Her.

The true beauty to be found in her is in all of her dichotomies.

She claims digesting scrambled eggs will make her die, but she asks for seconds while eating goat cheese for lunch. Most days she can be the most rambunctious person in the house, but placed in a scenario where she isn't comfortable and she can't utter a peep. She exudes more beauty than any of those girls on the "Toddlers & Tiaras" commercials, but is more likely to be scouting prey for her praying mantis "Greenie Beanie" than practicing her pageant walk.

She's independent and dependent all in the same breath, and smart as a whip despite being a preschool drop-out (we're going to correct that next week, right Liv?). She's a tomboy and princess within minutes. She possesses a sense of humor years beyond her age, but becomes rigidly serious while discussing tadpoles. The contrasts go on and on.

While I'm convinced she could perform a better late night show than Conan O'Brien, the possibilities for her future are limitless. She could be president of the United States or a clown with Ringling Bros. & Barnum Bailey. Nevertheless, I'll love her either way.