Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy fourth birthday Caroline Cat

Dear Caroline,

Today you are four. All of the things you told me you would like when you turn four (pickles, spinach, scary movies) have now turned into things you will like when you are six.

You are so smart. I rarely brag because I think it must just be motherly pride. When talking with your pre-school teachers, I think I can boast that yes, you are bright. Your attention span and focus puts many adults to shame. You may come across as quiet and soft spoken, but the teachers have assured me that you do not back down from an aggressive playmate.

You are so smart and logical that I often fail to recognize that your are only four! You are an old soul my dear. I think we knew that after your first year, always so serious and inquisitive. Its why I"m always trying to get those deep true belly laughs. I believe that is what will keep you young my dear.

You are also at the age when what comes out of your mouth is surprisingly sharp. The other day I asked you to pick up your things and you said "I can't", when I inquired as to why not, you replied "Cause I don't have three hands".  I feel you girl.

The toughest part of your life is sharing with your sister. The best and most amazing is when I see you taking care of her despite any adult encouragement or praise.

You started Pre-school this year and it is probably your favorite thing in the world. I have no problem encouraging you to get dressed and complete your morning routine on school days. Getting you to do those things in a timely fashion is another story...

We closed out the year with your first Xray the same week as your first concussion. The two were unrelated. On a related note, you learned not to ride the dog.

Today we'll be spending the day decorating cookies with Audrey and Jenna as it combines your two favorite things, painting and sweets. Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!

Family Pictures 2015




Thursday, November 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Moo


Margaret Maggie Moo, Magster, Maggie Moo Moo, The Moo,

 Happy birthday my baby girl. I was lying in bed last night trying to remember you as a little baby and I can’t. It seems like you were always this wild, determined, social, hilarious toddler.

Birthdays always give me the chance to reflect on how awesome you are RIGHT NOW. Especially because I know how quickly this will all change and there will be new things to love and obsess over. These are the things that make my heart sing when I think about you, two-year-old Maggie.

 I love the way your nose scrunches up when you laugh really hard. I love when you surprise me with the pronunciation of a new word (currently my favorite is 'owl', said with two syllables, the emphasis on the second).  I love how much you love to hide. I love that hiding means burying your face in the closest person or piece of furniture. I love that when you hide, you are the stillest toddler that ever existed. It really makes you a good hider, until I walk past and you giggle. I love that you like to be scared. If I jump out and scare Dada (which I’ve been known to do) I know you’ll come running with a giant grin, eager to be the next victim. I love your enthusiasm and excitement over noticing new things. Even if it means I have to "wook momma" at each and every pumpkin you see on our drive to work.

There are times I feel guilty that we don't get enough one on one time, but I’m grateful you get the advantage of having a playmate – someone to follow around, learn from and fight with.  Your big sister is so patient and kind with you (mostly). This morning for example, you were crying and she came into my room to ask me if you were going to be ok.
Just when I think you don’t need me much, you surprise me with big hugs and cuddles. Your smile and laugh is enough to make all my troubles fade to the background.

Just last week I had to take you to backup daycare at work. The shift in your routine was a hard one. They had to peel you off of me kicking and screaming when I said I was going ‘bye-bye’. It broke my heart and reminded me that as social and happy as you are, you still need Momma.

And as I often do during my space between meetings and calls, I’m sitting at my desk just wanting to come surprise you with hugs and kisses.


I love you "high to the stars" as Caroline would say. Happy Birthday my baby girl!


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Friday, October 2, 2015

Official end of Summer



Well, Summer is officially over. For some people Summer ends with Labor Day, pool closings and book bags. Personally the summer doesn’t end until that last trip on Mellow Yellow. Labor Day was a month ago, we had our last pool day with Nana, Caroline started her first day at preschool and football is in full swing. But it wasn’t until last week that we officially said goodbye to summer,  spending one sunny day (and a couple rainy, cool days) on the old yellow boat in the Tennessee Valley.  

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Caroline’s first day of preschool was more eventful for me than it was for her.  It was just one of those mom milestones that signals your baby is growing up. Her eagerness to experience what’s next is just the kind of enthusiasm I want her to have. On the contrary, I know it is the first milestone step away from me and towards her own future. Excitement for her, sadness for me.

In true Marci fashion, those thoughts took me down the slippery slope of what’s next. Before I could blink away the tears that were gathering as I drove to work, she was already eagerly on her way to college, with Maggie Moo Moo right on her heels. And here I am crying about how empty my nest will be.  

I park my car in the giant lot and shake it off by reminding myself that The Moo is STILL IN DIAPERS, and to GET A GRIP CRAZY LADY, because there is a lot more living to be had.

After my brief bout of empty-nest depression - it was time to go on vacation! The best way to detail our trip is to illustrate the best parts from both my and Caroline's perspective:

Below is Caroline’s list of the best things about vacation:
5. Throwing rocks in the lake
4. Driving the boat
3. Swimming
2. Finding a frog (it was actually a toad) and watching it hop away really fast. “That was really cool mom”
1. Bubby’s super bubble bath

Dale hollow 2015

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My favorite things about vacation:
  • Seeing my girls sleep in that same cubby on the old boat where my sister and I often found comfort: shade on those days when there were no clouds in the sky and our skin was crispy from too much sun; warmth on a chilly day as we wrapped ourselves in a over sized beach towel, the comfort of the only dry spot during a rainstorm, respite from my family in the event of a spat or temper tantrum, isolation to focus on a good book, and always a place to relax with a full belly as the hum of the engine and the bounce of the boat lulls tired muscles and minds to a deep sleep. 

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  • Spending time with my parents and watching them spend time with my girls

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  • Doing nothing but going on long walks

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  • Being so deep in the Tennessee hills that there is no cell reception 
  • Falling asleep with the windows open to the white noise of crickets, rain, birds and wind in the trees

The worst thing about vacation
  • My sisters weren’t there
 Maggie's favorite thing about vacation
  •  Whatever Caroline is doing
  • Eating


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer and Swim Lessons



Summer is half way over, and it is just now getting hot. Weather-wise it has been a cool, wet summer. This means the grass is very green and the mosquitos are feasting. 
It’s our first summer in the new house and we are enjoying it. The first 4th of July party was a success. The big back yard proved the perfect setting for all that is expected; yard games, eating, drinking, playing and general debauchery. Jonathan even surprised me by renting an “inflatable babysitter” or bounce house. 

Right now the girls are currently taking mid summer swim lessons. This was not a well planned or thought out event. It was all brought on because Caroline freaked me out. Each and every night, right before she’d close her eyes to go to sleep, she look up at me worried and say “Momma, I don’t want Maggie to go under the water.” Well neither do I! The first night I thought it was a fluke, but it became as regular as nighttime prayers. Seriously kid, what are you doing to me? Each night I have to reassure her that Maggie is safe in her own bed and no where near water.
She got into my head man. I had to DO SOMETHING. 

So here we are, in the only lessons that had availability for both of them at the same time. They are every night Monday – Thursday for two weeks. Here I am, week two, telling all of you working mothers, THIS WAS A BAD IDEA. I’m going to skip through the normal every day routine and just focus on what we now have crammed into the short two hours after work but before bed time.

The bell rings at and I’m off – bolting from my desk to fight 12,000 employees all of whom are also trying to get somewhere equally important. I’m cursing traffic the entire way to the sitters house, weighing the idea of racing home for a bite or giving in and getting fast food. I ensure I have a bag packed with their swimsuits, swim diaps for Mags, towels, my swimsuit and appropriate pool attire (flip flops, not the heels I wore to work). Once I wrangled the children from the sitter into their car seats, we are back in the car, cursing more traffic and settling on fast food. At every red light I’m slinging french fries and nuggets in the vicinity of the back seat. We arrive at the pool and I try to gather ALL THE THINGS before I unload the two children. They continue to fight with me as I insist they eat the APPLE SLICES TOO. Backpack on, still in heels I sling the little one on my hip and hold tight to the other one’s hand as we weave through the parking log and toward the pool bathroom. Once inside we all change clothes. One child undoubtedly escapes to run around the pool bathroom naked with NO SHOES ON, busting in on a poor soul trying to use the curtained room to change. My naked children do not understand your sense of modesty lady, can’t you tell? Finally everyone is changed. Then Caroline has to pee. wah wah

Finally we are dressed and ready to swim. We go find a bench and wait. For them, this is the hardest part. I mean, the pool is right there. But guess what? The class hasn’t started yet so we wait. I’ll get the timing right by the last day of class…  

Once class does start, I make solid eye contact with Caroline’s teacher. You see this one? I’m leaving her with you now. You see her right? I have to walk away and you are now responsible for my BABY.
I then proceed to the mommy and me class, strap the unwilling youngest into the floatation device and reluctantly get into the pool. I make happy faces and noises to try and encourage her despite the “no, no, no, no, no” coming from her mouth. Listen kid, you’d better get used to this cause your sister is having crazy premonitions about you and water! After she gathers that the barrage of emphatic no’s are being ignored the hitting and scratching ensues. Here’s the thing with Maggie. It isn’t the water she’s objecting to, it’s that this swim lesson is not what she wants to be doing at this exact moment in time.  

Finally – after what seems like an eternity, but has only been two minutes – Dada arrives.  Maggie cries with joy and relief. I echo her sentiments.  I tag out and wrap a towel around my translucent skin. Then I take my perch where I can see both classes keep my maternal watch.
By the end of swim lessons, we are all worn out which results in a usually a tantrum or two (only one has been mine so far). The children and bundled up like sausages in their towels. We carry them to the car and get home. Once they go to bed, I fire up the washing machine, repack the bag and prepare to do it all again the next day. 

OMG, don’t do it this way!

I will admit that Caroline is doing great and she is being stretched outside of her comfort zone, sometimes crying the whole time, but hopefully feeling brave and accomplished when it’s over.  UPDATE Last night Caroline was pushed way beyond her comfort zone. She was hysterical the majority of the class. I practically had to restrain myself so as not to intervene! But I totally trust the instructor. When we got home she said “Momma, I don’t do swim lessons anymore”. Then we had to have a talk. We’ll see how tonight goes…

Maggie on the other hand is missing the point. Don’t forget that her well being is the whole reason I forced us all into this hectic schedule. Ce la vie

But look at all the happy pictures that disguise the anxiety and stress…..

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Friday, May 22, 2015

My girls


Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve only been a mom for less than four years. I can’t imagine these little girls not being a part of our lives. I have a hard time even remembering when it was just Caroline. What a great balance these two souls are for each other.
My introverted Caroline is so studious and fiercely independent. She is such a small little thing, overwhelmed by her waist-long poker-straight blond locks (I really should get her hair cut!) She may be quiet, but she is fierce. She reminds me daily that she “can do it myself, momma!”  She’ll scream at me to LEAVE when I attempt to open her closet and help her pick out a dress. And OHHHH the dresses. I can’t figure out why she loves certain ones more than others. Jonathan bought her a new pretty dress at Target, and it has become an ongoing negotiation to get her to put it on. The winning compromise was “just try it on and see if it fits. If it doesn’t fit, I’d take it back to the store.” Well, it fit (and was so pretty), but she didn’t stick to her side of the deal and is insisting I take it back.

Maggie is as social as they come. When we have people over, she will scream bloody murder when its time for bed. Many a guest have looked at me sideways when I say over her wailing, “she’ll be asleep in two minutes.” Sure enough, I rarely get down the stairs before she’s out. She just is experiencing FOMO at a very young age.  Her politician ways extend to the grocery store. As I push her in the cart, she waives at every shopper, ignoring their disinterest, saying “Hiiiii” in her own singsong way. She is also much more of a daredevil than her cautious big sister. She’ll plummet down the slide face first with big grins and giggles before I can catch my breath.  
She has the same golden blond locks as her sister with a mischievous curl haphazardly thrown in. It is just at the length where it looks wild all the time, or maybe that’s just her normal expression.  She is so tall in contrast to Caroline’s petite stature that I get asked if they are twins.
Its not to say that this isn’t a tough age – they are both very demanding.  Every other sentence out of Caroline’s mouth is “watch dis momma”. And I want to give her my undivided attention, but dishes, laundry, dinner, the dog, the cat and oh yeah, Maggie is off having an experiment somewhere with a waffle and the dogs water bowl.

Maggie is also at the age that she is always frustrated that I don’t know what she wants. She can’t communicate, but she understands. There is a lot of pointing, grunting and guesswork on my end. I usually guess wrong (sometimes intentionally because NO you can’t want that giant can of shaving cream…) which results in full on meltdown, head on floor and screaming. All the while, Caroline has mastered the task of ignoring her sister, and is all ‘watch dis momma’ as she spins around. As someone who works hard to give everyone undivided attention, I’ll admit, it’s a daily struggle.
But on the days when I can forget all the stuff and really not care....we dance! And we rock.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter

After this awful winter, we were so lucky to have a beautiful Easter Sunday. I got to host the big egg hunt in our new house.

But first we woke up to a visit from the Easter Bunny. The tradition continues with the Easter Bunny Clan leaving baskets on the porch, eggs hidden in the yard, and hilariously illustrated notes.

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Caroline, the chocolate fiend, ate nothing nutritious all day, which of course resulted in a naptime meltdown that a blind man could have seen coming.

Maggie, not to be outdone, gnawed her way through plastic to get to some Reeses Pieces and ate a peanut butter cup, wrapper and all.

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Later that day, we had a full house and a full yard. At least Casey's looking at the camera.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring = End of worst winter ever



Someone, cough..Anna…cough, recently called me out on my lack of blogging. Oh the irony… there once was a blog that she wrote, years ago...

Well here I am, blogging again. It was a really tough winter, too many funerals and not enough joy, too much snow, work and sickness, not enough sunshine and merriment. Lucky for me, Spring is coming to the rescue. It will take all the warmth, sun, bunnies and blooms to pull me out of the pit that was this past winter. 

So I’m going to help. I’m going to start running again (it’s been years people). If I can’t find the time to run at least 2 miles, I’ll do yoga. You read it here people, ON THE INTERNET, so it must happen, it WILL happen, right???

Yeah, right. Those are the things I'm going to TRY to do. I will not be mad at myself if either of those things don’t happen on a regular cadence.  I mean Maggie has GOT TO go back to sleeping through the night…Like NOW. The screaming at 2 AM is drilling holes in my brain, teeny tiny holes that don’t heal because I haven’t had an appropriate amount of sleep to rejuvenate. Teeny tiny holes that build on each other until I think there might be little bugs running around in those holes that turn me into a crazy woman in the middle of the night.

Oh yes, back to spring, happiness, positivity…. I will take better care of myself so that I can take better care of those around me. Here's to spring!

BTW, happiness is the slo-mo video function on my phone. Check it out…

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Caroline is Three!


Caroline, what do you want for Christmas?”

“My birthday. And presents”

Caroline has been waiting patiently for her birthday to arrive. I keep telling her that it is after Christmas. So for a while, Christmas became just one more hurdle to get to her birthday.
It started back in September, when birthday season was in full swing. I told her after Maggie, her birthday is next. Oops forgot about the arrival of my new NEPHEW. You should have seen the look on her face when I said Arlo’s birthday was that day. Not happy.
(Welcome Baby ARLO! We were wondering if the Y chromosome was ever going to make an appearance. Two generations of X’s winning out until Arlo’s triumph)
Luckily we are close enough to Christmas that the lights, holiday music and general merriment of the season have her distracted.

BUT NOW, we can officially turn our attention to the big day. We have already updated the chalkboard with the number 'free'.

"Number one is for Maggie and number free is for Caroline!" as she would tell me.

 
 
Shopping for Christmas presents with her was the best. She knew just what she wanted. When I questioned her choice I got a firm response "NO, DIS ONE MOMMA!  Keep going."
Then when we got home, I asked her to tell Da Da what we bought for Maggie.
She promptly responded, "Da Da, we got you a tie."
DOH
 
On Christmas morning, she was emptying her stocking and when she pulled out a package of gummy bears. she thought that was hilarious. "Gummies?? Momma Santa is silly" she laughed. Who knew gummies were a ridiculous gift?
 
She brings me so much joy that I can barely stand it.
 
Happy Birthday Boogs!