Thursday, May 20

In 'n' Out

Over the last couple of weeks, my house got so messy that I just couldn't face it anymore.  Consequently, in my refusal to deal with the disarray, I became addicted to the TV show LOST (via HULU on the computer, since we 'gave up' TV).  Watched an entire season and almost a half in less than a week.  Also, in spite of seeing myself in a photo and wondering how my friend Shannon had access to pictures of me while pregnant, only to realize she took it of me on my birthday 2 months ago and I only look like I'm pregnant (which I am not), I ate a lot of really bad-for-me food.  Like, oversized s'mores made with oversized shmarshmallows, Abby's birthday gift to Ellie, that I used to bribe the girls with as "dessert" if they'd eat chicken and brown rice devan for the fourth night in a row.

Stated simply, I was not in a good place.  And so, having become rather overwhelmed by the state of my inner house, I decided to focus my efforts on the outside.  Remember my washer/dryer-turned-nursery from, oh, March?  Well, I decided to live on the wild side and plant the seedlings that actually survived to plant-hood a whole 2 weeks early.  Tradition holds that in Buffalo, one doesn't plant before Memorial Day, as the risk of frost extends until then.  But...hey.  Everything went fine until a doe rabbit decided to hop the chicken wire and...miscarry? in my cucumber section.  Seriously???  Nonetheless, I plugged on, the gardens were planted, Abby and Ellie collected an entire "worm family" as new pets, and I then decided to pull weeds in the flower beds in order to further avoid cleaning my house.

Now, I suppose one could look at the state of my flower beds in various ways. For one, they show what great potential for growth Buffalo offers its flora and fauna - weeds included. Another...well...they suggest pretty plainly that I have one serious dandelion problem.
Yes, those are dandelions.  So, I weeded.  For hours.  With my $7 dandelion trowel.  However, continuing to face the monstrosity of the weeds that have overtaken my flower beds became just too daunting.  So, instead of facing them again, I decided to clean house.  The inside.  

We're not ready for the home show, but I got a good three rooms in this morning.  I've put the brakes on LOST.  AND, inspired by what I hope will flourish into many many vegetables in those garden beds (okay, and seeing that blasted photo), I've started a healthful eating plan that has been deliciously satisfying.  Recipes shared upon request.

 You know, you just can't underestimate the value of falling off the wagon and hopping back on.  (Over and over and over, in my case.)  For now all that really matters is that I've re-found myself - in a pretty good place.


Abby: "Everyone else's houses are not messy.  Just ours."

Abby: "I found Ariel, Mom!  The Little Wormaid!"

Me: "Oh no! That bird is in our garden."  Ellie: "We need to make a stop sign for the birds."

Abby handed me a drawing. "Here you go, Mom.  It's an agenda."

Ellie: "I'm not nevuh nevuh going to bed."

Me, stroking Abby's hair as she drifts off to sleep: "Abby, I love you.  I know sometimes I get grumpy and it might not seem like I do, but I love you."  A: "I know.  And I make you calm."

Abby: "I don't know how to say rediclius. I try and try and try and try and I never can say rediclius."

Abby: "Today at school we had a dentist hygenal come!" 

Ellie, running in from the backyard after Abby: "Hey Ab!  Wait up, Ab!"

Abby, trying to get Ellie's attention in the car: "Ellie!! (x8)" Me: "Abby, she's not responding, so give her a minute." Abby: "Ellllllie!" Ellie, stoically looking out her window: "Abby, I'm not e-sponding.  I nevuh nevuh nevuh am sponding."

Tuesday, May 11

Celebrating 3

So, aside from the general craziness of the last week or so...        

 Abby making an "obstacle course" in front of the staircase and front door

Ellie depleting my make-up supply

And Kitty reappearing from the dead - i.e. whoever "found" her at Disney read Abby's name on the (new) tag, washed her "in a special washer" to get her softer and cleaner than ever, put a heart-shaped beanie babies tag on her ear and sent her wrapped in a special box back home to Abby.  Talk about a joyous reunion. (What would we do without grandmothers?)

... we were extra crazy since Ellie turned THREE!!!

The celebrating started a day early, when packages started showing up addressed to Miss Eleanore.

(Again, what would we do without grandmothers... who send fake hair and shot glass necklaces? ;)  )

The party continued on Friday - her real birthday - with a feast fit for a princess at Cheeburger Cheeburger (aka-the "fancy milkshake restaurant").

Since Abby wasn't quite as cheery at dinner as Adam and Ellie and fell asleep on the way home (thank heavens), we waited until morning to open presents and sing.

Ellie had requested a "giant pink princess cake" so, we did the best we could with Sleeping Beauty Bathtime Barbie and Polly Pocket Prince Navine.  Abby invited the other princesses (and their wardrobes) to celebrate as well.   


After 3 days of partying for our 3 year-old girl, Mom, Dad and both princesses were wiped out.


Me: "What would you like for lunch?" Abby: "Some South American food.  See, Minnie here (her spinning Minnie Mouse from Disney) is from South America." Me: "Really?  Does she speak Spanish or Portugese?" A: "Spanish and Portalese."

Abby: "Mom, this Diet Coke is all dried out. Can I drink it?"

Abby: "Okay. I'm goin' out there (to the car) to get all the money.  All by myself.  Because I'm brave and no one will take me.  I'm serious."

While lining up her coins, Abby: "George Washington sure is a good, cool president."

Abby: "Spending time with money is a lot easier than playing toys."

I asked Ellie to go help Abby look for a toy. Ellie: "I can't because...I'm old."

Abby: "Mom, did you know some bikes can even go in the grass??"  "Really?" "Yes! Wherever they don't have a sidewalk.  Like in South America.  They only have buckets and wagons down there."

Sunday, May 9

Great Expectations

Why is it that I still hope...yes, even expect...4 1/2 years into being a mom... that Mother's Day somehow entitles me to respite from my duties as Mom, Mommy, Mama etc?  Even just like an hour? Even as I try to make this very blog entry at this very moment (with Ellie climbing over the back of the chair to get to my lap)?

I should have known.  I should have sensed when I went grocery shopping yesterday and was surrounded by witchy women who decided they were entitled to first pick of all the produce, and frazzled dads who were obviously not used to picking out foodstuff for Mom's big dinner with children in tow to "help," that the storm clouds were only gathering.  I should have accepted when I saw the large fluffy snowflakes falling this morning, that today wasn't to be sunshine and roses.

So why is it that on Mother's Day, the children are extra argumentative, demanding and temperamental? Why is it that one child finds the single, hidden special yogurt Mom bought for a special breakfast treat and helps herself to it, becoming enraged when Mom tries to sneak at least one bite?  Why is it that the nursery child insists on coming up with Mom to lead the Primary children in singing "Mother Dear" only to play steam roller back and forth the entire time across the front pew?

Why is it that on this day, Daddy doesn't feel well and Mom has to bring lunch upstairs to have a picnic that only ends up in smeared PBJ and spilled milk on the bed?  Why is it that 20 min into Snow White (aka Mom's attempt at a nap), it turns out to be scratched and Mom, cross-eyed, grumpy and incoherent has to pull herself out of what might have been sweet slumber to debate not only that Snow White is in fact unwatchable, but that it will be replaced with Sleeping Beauty (aka the first dvd she sees)?  Why is it that when Mom decides that laying in her child's bed, since Daddy is snoring too loudly to try to go back to sleep next to him, isn't doing anything for her as far as napping goes, she 'awakens' only to find chocolate cupcake smeared into the carpet?

I guess it's because life is life and Mom is still Mom - even today.  And somehow I've got to accept that expectations just really can't come with this job - even on Mother's Day.  Funny enough, aside from being shaken from my sleep this morning by Abby - far too eager to bestow her gift of hand grenade water balloons and four mini squirt guns, I will have one especially sweet memory of this Mother's Day; Ellie snuggling up to an ailing Adam and, while tenderly stroking his hair, saying "Daddy, I love you."


At dinner, Adam asked the girls to say one thing about me for which they're grateful.

Abby: "I'm grateful for Mommy to make my bed (I never make her bed) and when she lets me help her... when things break and Mommy and Daddy don't know how to fix it so she asks me to do it."

Ellie: "I'm grateful when she makes the food soggy."

So good to know I'm making an impact in their young lives.

Monday, May 3

Wishing Upon a Star

We're back.   It's over - even if I refuse to allow myself to accept the fact.  5 days home and the suitcases are still at the back door where we sat them when we walked in, albeit exploded all over the place.  (As justification, I offer that our new washer was supposed to be delivered last Wed and I refuse to use our leaky one ever again. Chances are everything will stay there until tomorrow, when they say the washer will come.)

We had a crazy fun time at Disney - perhaps more crazy than fun at times, with my two "princesses" who didn't think they should have to be subjected to wait times in line, nor any rule for that matter while on Disney property.  In fact, it seemed oddly as if Melificent and Ursula and all the wicked step-mothers beckoned Abby and Ellie to them even before we entered the gates some days.  But, even considering the lines and crowds and heat and altered sleep patterns (none of which the girls do very well with singly, to say nothing of all factors put together) we managed to have a very fun trip.  Thank heavens Nana and Granddad and Aunt Vicki and Granny and Uncles Dave and Brad and Aunt Jen and Cousin Cole were all there to help us have so much fun.

Here's a little peek at some of our favorite memories:

Aunt Vicki saved us all by patiently toting Abby around Disney on her scooter.  We cannot thank her enough for that!

Our waiting spot for the shuttle outside the "ho and tell" in the mornings.

Little bathing beauty would have spent every day at the pool if we'd have let her.  This photo just after a yummy lunch.

Keeping the girls out of fountains was worse than trying to get them to smile for pictures.  Of course Abby was usually fishing out all of the money... This particular fountain (not the "lost and fountain" where Ellie was determined we could find Abby's lost kitty) was in Morocco in "Apricot" (aka Epcot).

One of the more exciting meet and greets, with Belle and "Beauty and the Beast," as Ellie refers to the Beast. (She would have nothing to do with him, though, and only consented to stand in the photo on the far side of Belle.)

 Thankfully Daddy was able to join us for the last few days.  We got one last shot before bidding Disney a final farewell.

So, it is now all a memory.  Hard to believe it has come and gone.  And perhaps my subconscious refusal to accept it being over has something to do with the mayhem that seemed to pick up as soon as we walked back into this home.

One morning Ellie decided to check out my aged balsamic, which spilled down each shelf, the cupboard door and splattered all over the wheat grinder.  I admit to being slightly amused by Ellie's attempts to cover up the mess - the pudding box and nail polish almost doing the trick.

While replenishing the groceries, I was lured into buying Nilla Wafers with the free bunch of bananas that came with.  Neither lasted long.  I found Abby's spread atop her bed later that day.

And so, here we are.  Plugging away with dreams of another get-away.  Any suggestions?


Abby's prayer: "...Thank thee for all the things.  Please bless me so I can give Mom sweet hugs and be her helper and give her all the things she needs...Amen.  Oh, one more thing - Please bless when Ellie is doing bad things and she says all the stupid words and she calls me a tattle-tale and she will go to time out...Amen"

Bracing myself for a moment of truth, I asked the girls if I am a nice mom.  Abby: "Yes.  Especially when you burp." 

Abby: "I want a milkshake tonight." Adam: "Okay, how do you earn a milkshake?" Abby: "By being very respectrubble of you parents and saying nice things.  Really, I don't want to earn one.  I just want it."

On our way home from dinner tonight, Abby: "Mom! Ellie's eating money!" Adam: "Ellie, spit it out - 1,2,3" (She spits out some small black object.) Abby: "What is that?"  Ellie: "I don't know. I found it on the road."

Heading in the door with their milkshakes, Abby raced to be first into the kitchen. "I get the tallest chair...I mean, I get the cleanest chair!"

Ellie, sobbing in her bed: "Daddy hurted my feelings." Me, "What happened? E: "I don't know."

The girls and I pulled up to Chipotle for some lunch and I could see the line almost out the door.  As we walked in, I gave them a stern talking to: "Girls, the line is super long.  You stay by Mommy, no funny business, no getting out of line, no shenanigans. Do you hear me?" Abby: "Oh yes Mom. We NEVER do those things."

Abby: "Do you like my cool drawing?"  Me: "Yeah - what is it?"  "It's a fish container mix."

Nana called while we were eating dinner and asked what we were having. Abby: "Noodles." Nana: "You always eat noodles!" A: "No. Just sometimes." N: "What else do you eat besides noodles?" A: "Macaroni and Cheese."

Abby decided it was her turn (surprise) to say the prayer this morning.  After the requisite "thank thee for this day" and "please bless the food" I interjected "please help us to love each other." She took the bait, pausing at first.  Then I tried "please bless Daddy at work."  Abby, in a forceful whisper: "Everybody's prayers are different!!"

In attempts to reprimand Ellie for being aggressive in word and deed, I put her in her room.  Abby, sitting right at Ellie's door as I shut it, looked up and with a smile said: "Good work Mom."