Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Prep, Week 2

To Make:


2.  Lovely letter E.... Ella is close to spelling her name.  

3.  And to make for dinner on Wednesday when we have late afternoon swim lessons

4.  and a side dish for a cook out 

It is going to be a busy week.  Once again we have two swim lessons, two play dates on the books, two parties, and a possible dinner date.  Call me crazy, but I am hoping to get to the library and the park too.  
Plus, this momma is getting back into a gym routine.  Wheeee!  Bring it, week two!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Almost One Week In

While staying home I envisioned updating my blog nightly highlighting my triumphs and tribulations.  However, I have been consumed, and tired, and busy, and exhausted.

We are in sleep hell.
I could write a book on this, but for now I will choose to ignore this subject since Ella went down tonight like a dream.  Therefore, I have a huge amount of hope that we turned a corner.

My house is a sty.
In a moment of delirium I called the cleaners and canceled them on Thursday afternoon.  Then I had a moment of clarity; I called her back and told her to keep coming.  Sure, I'd like to do everything myself.  I want to be super mom/ super wife, but the hubs is traveling a lot right now, Ella is not sleeping,  both kiddos are still young enough that I need to keep a careful eye on them, and we are home now more than ever so the house is dirtier than ever.

Busy, busy, busy
The days do seem to fly by.  I had no idea that I would loose track of the day of the week.  But, all the shuffling to swim class, the library, activities, and errands makes the day fly (and Ella snooze in the car).  I have not yet gotten into "my groove", but I am working on it.

Not long ago I blogged about my PLANS for my first week staying at home.  I am happy to say that we made the cookies today and the weather chart.  The cookies were good, but not my favorite.  We will probably make them again because they only require 3 ingredients. Of course, Ella wanted to eat the entire batch of cookies.  She was very proud of her effort and contribution.  In fact, she did most of the work except cracking the egg.  I must say, the Kitchen Helper has been a great purchase.  She even used it to help me dry dishes this week.  Abby was very cooperative during cookie making.  She happily read her DOG book.

Best picture we got, folks.  

 Ella was not interested in helping with the weather chart since she was too busy playing with glitter glue.  However, she was more than willing to look out the window and position the arrow to sunny.  The arrow has since been torn; it lived a very short life.

I always knew staying home was the hardest job in the world.  It is.  Yet, the days are pretty rewarding.  I actually was able to sneak away for a few hours on Saturday and leave the girls with the hubs, and I found myself RUSHING to get back to them.

OK, off to bed I go.  I promised myself I would be in bed early tonight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Fish That Refused to Swim

My little fish swims in the outside big pool, no problem.  She slides down the water slide and begs to go "faster."  

Ella LOOKS like quite the serious swimmer in her fancy pants wetsuit, but looks can be deceiving 
Deep in thought. 

 because this fish refused to step in the water for swim class.  

Little Fish in a Big Pond

Oh well, there is always Wednesday's class and I have a feeling that this big fish will be joining the little fish in the water. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Abby's Last Day

Abby is having a tough time coping with her emotions.  Saying goodbye to her teachers and to school was no easy task.    

Weekend Fun

Lately our weekends have been busy, busy, busy.  Mom says that I have been really great for her social calendar, and I have to agree.  I have been invited to FIVE parties in the span of four weekends!  Rumor has it that it is not a party unless I am there;  ain't that the truth!

Meanwhile, momma is transitioning into her "Stay at Home" role.  Because of this I know she is feeling the need to figure everything out~ dinner, cleaning, daily schedules and such.  You can see the Kitchen Helper she ordered for me in the picture below.  Here I am making Ants on A Log.  I must say, I am quite the cook.  I love eating my own culinary creations.  

Sister is getting really big and we are becoming pretty darn tight.  Mom took this picture as she was eating baked beans.  She liked them, but then had enough and began throwing them on the floor.  It was so funny, so I joined in too.  Mom did not think it was so funny.  She has no sense of humor.  Geez!

This is a picture from one of my shin digs.  It was quite a party and the weather was perfect.  You can see my body guards in the background.  Daddy hired them to "watch" me, as he was worried.  Apparently, I proudly swaggered towards three boys and said, "Hiiiii booooys."  Daddy was NOT amused.

This weekend we also celebrated Father's Day.  All the important men in my life were there except for Grampy.  However, I will celebrate him in August.  Daddy and Pa took us to the zoo.  It was such a fun, fun, fun day!

Unfortunately, Mommy did not bring her camera to Eleanor's house.  Gosh, if she just had an Iphone that wouldn't be a problem!  I will keep working on her!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Prep, Week 1

Today is my last full day of school with students, except that I am home with Abby.  I'm sad not to be with my class, as they are exceptional kids and I have had a terrific year with them.  However, I am lucky (and happy) to be home with my sickie.

Ella has been at school today so it has been a pretty quiet day.  Abby took a two+ hour nap this morning, and now she is taking her afternoon nap.  So, I have decided that this would be an opportune time to prep next week's activities.

To Do:

Activity 1:
Use masking tape to write their name and then let the little finger paint to their heart's content.  Viola!

Activity 2:
I guess this is more of a learning activity, but I am sure Ella will love moving the arrow each morning.

Activity 3:

Source: via Jamie on Pinterest

The reality of completing all three activities next week is slim since the girls are going to school for a full day on Monday, Ella has swim lessons twice next week, and she is going to morning camp until Thursday.  However, I figure it is better to be over prepared than under prepared, and I must say, I am getting so excited.

Strawberry Fields, Picking, Shortcake, and Wine

Our big weekend might have started with a parade, but it ended with a party at a farm.  

Self portrait on the hayride.  Notice the perfect sky.  

The rare strawberry making it INTO the basket. 

Most strawberries were consumed by Ella.  Who can blame her?  They were DELISH!

Daddy and Abs lent a helping hand too. 

Just pretend Ella is wearing a barrette and you can see her profile... Perfect Picture!

Hard at work.  


One of Ella's many besties.  

Abby has a thing for strawberries. Check out her dirty mush!

This party was incredible: climbing hay, antagonizing chickens, staring at Matilda the pig, picking strawberries, a cook-out, baseball, and a pinata.  It rounded out our weekend of wholesome family fun. Already I am planning our next outing at the farm, which I can guarantee will be soon.

You might ask what one does with fresh strawberries.  Well, you make strawberry shortcake, of course!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Parade Day

This weekend we lived.  And when I say we lived, I mean we had good ol' family fun!  And it was great, it was memory making, it was tiring, and I would do it all over again!

The girls were incredible.  It meant leaving the house early, rolling with it, a little bit of junk food, a Dora Ball from a parade vendor, a doughnut (or three), and naps in the car.  However, they were TOTALLY flexible and very adaptable.

On Saturday we went to the Grand Floral Parade with Grandma and Aunt Lucille.  Grandma and Aunt Lucille arrived earlier, staking out a parade viewing spot on the bridge.  It was perfect.

Hot stuff sitting on a big girl chair. 

Abby and Daddy patiently waiting for some action 

Our front row seats!

My little family of four

Aunt Lucille, Ella, and Grandma

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pearly Whites

I have a definite fear of the dentist.  I am sure that my fear relates to the mouth full of metal I earned pre-middle school or maybe it is due to the straight up drilling I endured.  Truth be told, I don't think the laughing gas was ever turned on.  (Mom, what kind of dentist did you take me to?)

Anyways, bound and determined not to expose my daughters to my fear of all things dentist, we went to a pediatric dentist on Wednesday.  It was like taking a trip to the zoo and tooth-fairyland all at once.  There were reptiles and amphibians (in cages, of course) and the toys were everywhere.  Abby had a blast roaming around.

Ella, on the other hand, was a bit reluctant.  She happily sat on my lap while the assistant explained everything to her in the most cheerful of ways.  She was so sugary sweet I did not think she could maintain her enthusiasm the entire visit;  she did, but I almost did not.

Would you be surprised to know that we utilized both assistants?  One did the work while the other cheered Ella on.  She would make an excellent cheerleader. 

Teeth cleaning with "strawberry ice cream."  I like strawberry ice cream too!

Every opening of the mouth received oohs and ahhs and "I am so VERY proud of you (clap, clap).  One more time and you can get a PRINCESS STICKER.  Don't you want to be a good girl and get a Princess sticker?"  

Apparently she did because we left with 12 stickers, 2 tooth brushes, 2 tooth pastes, a princess wand, and a pocketful of toys that have already been "lost".   The only thing I ever remember getting from my dentist was a toothbrush and the dreaded question, "Do you have a boyfriend, yet?"

Ella making her last sticker selection. 

Even Abby got a princess toothbrush. 

Some of Ella's stickers. 

The dentist happily reported that she was cavity free!  I felt like dancing a jig right then and there.  All the brushing teeth battles paid off.  And now she has a new found interest in getting rid of "Sugar Bugs"  so flossing is on the daily agenda.  However, the dentist was a bit concerned about Ella's bite.  Apparently her upper jaw is small and has impacted her bite.  Hopefully it will remedy itself, but for now I should just count the small blessing that we survived the dentist without any cavities.  

*** Not 24 hours after visiting the dentist Ella took a mouth dive into the coffee table and tore her frenulum (skin that connects upper lip to mouth).  Luckily, she will be okay.  Unluckily she has a fat lip and hanging piece of lip tissue.  Luckily, she still has all of her teeth.   Phew!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


On the 24th of May my adventure seeking, highly spirited, book loving, Dora watching, violin playing, art crafter, hamburger eating, independent daughter turned THREE!

We celebrated, and celebrated and celebrated.  We had a party suited for Ella with her many friends at PLAY BOUTIQUE  .

On her actual birthday we began the day with one present and a party hat.  The party hat was a bit of a struggle, but the present was a hit.

Over the course of the year Ella has become more interested in baby dolls, so we gave her a ridiculous assortment of baby doll supplies complete with diapers, powder, bottles, and a potty.  It was a big hit.


 For dinner we celebrated at The Spaghetti Factory where Ella basked in the glory.  Of course I insisted she wear her birthday hat, and she did happily for .8 seconds.  

Then silly Ella made her appearance. That was the end of the birthday hat. Oh well, I managed to get a handful of hat wearing pictures between her party, breakfast, and dinner.  Well worth the expense in my book. 

The hit of her birthday was her Dora cake.  Although it looked fabulous, it was quite disappointing.  This is when I miss Carvel the most.  Baskin Robbins, at least our branch, does not offer cookie crunch.  #disappointing

Of course, Ella had to have Diego, Boots, and Dora on her slice. 

Happiest birthday, Missy Moo!
I can't believe you are THREE. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pretty Soon

In a mere 9 school days I will be joining the ranks as a stay at home mom.  I am genuinely excited and a bit apprehensive.  I know that staying at home is the toughest job in the world, it is 24:7 constant work.  However, while the work is tough, the reward is numerous and paid in laughter and love.

Yet, I  enjoy working.  I have defined myself as a teacher for the past 11 years and before I had Ella, it was the most defining of my roles.  I have grown up teaching.  Just out of college at the age of 22 I had my first job and I poured myself into teaching.  I was a teacher; It was who I was.  Soon Ryan and I got married and I was a teacher AND a wife.  As time passed, I had Ella and I became a mother and a wife who taught.  My role as a teacher became less of who I was.

Now with Ryan's new job and unpredictable schedule, it seems to be the right time to stay at home.  Giving up my job, even temporarily to stay home with the kids, is not easy.  I still enjoy teaching, but I enjoy my kids more.  The idea of staying at home with them seems like a new adventure, a new challenge.  I know there will be days where I will want to trade in the Play-Doh, tantrums, and string cheese for paper grading, lesson planning, and assessment.  Surely I will miss my co-workers, my sense of accomplishment, and my quiet lunches.

Don't get me wrong, I have always wanted to stay at home, but I have always worked.  In fact, most of my life I have worked multiple jobs.  I have a lot of expertise working, and like I said, I like to work.  Besides, having my income does not suck.  Yet, staying at home is something that I have always wanted to do.   And there is my confliction: I want to work AND I want to stay at home.  This will be a defining year for my work vs. stay at home internal battle

In the meantime, I have big plans for staying at home.  Ever the teacher, I have a ridiculous plan in place.  I have been pinning art projects so I can have art activities up my sleeve for when the boredom hits.  To be honest with you, I joke around about having a weekly "planning period" at Starbucks.  I envision selecting crafts to replicate, menu planning, and locating recipes for Ella and I to bake.  I think the hubs just might go for it considering he does most of the cooking.  Plus,  I just placed my daily Amazon order and it consisted of this handy contraption:


When Ryan got the e-mail confirming the order his response was, "What did you order TODAY?"  Once I assured him it was a necessity for safe cooking and baking with the girls,  he was more than happy.  I guess that idea that I actually intend to cook is very appealing!  But the question is, when will I find time?

I do mean business.  I want to make sure that this time spent with my kids is magical, stimulating, and nurturing.  I want to do things with them. I want to make things with them.  I want to engage them.   After all, I am a mother AND a teacher.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Time Flies

Note:  I am feeling sentimental as a result of my moment watching Ella eat cake (see yesterday's post).  As you can tell, it greatly influenced my post today.  I hope I don't come across as whining, that is not my intention.  Instead I'm aiming to reflect upon how far we have come in a year, how much change has occurred, and all the while, how much I have cherished the early days despite the struggles. 

It is hard to believe that my babes looked like this 365 days ago.  

We were just beginning our lives with two babes.  
I was trying to regain my strength (click HERE). 
Ella just entered the terrible twos while transitioning to life as a big sister. 
Days were long and sleep seemed impossible. 

I remember these days fondly although they were not easy.  
We did not leave the house much.  
I was exhausted.  
Life consisted of play time in the back yard or nursing in the yellow rocking chair. 
Thank goodness for my friends who would come over with coffee and their littles for play dates.  

Many nights I woke up ravenous.  
I'd eat Raisin Bran or Shredded Wheat.  

We have come so far since last year.  
My post from yesterday speaks of a different kind of struggle, but it is easy to see that what is hard for a short time is soon replaced with a new parenting challenge.  When it is replaced, you forget the old challenges.  

Looking back I know I will never again have to deal with night time wakings, nursing, or having two under the age of two (only for 5 days, but still) and while I am thankful for that,  I'm also nostalgic.  Last summer was special.   

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just Me and The Girls

Sometimes weekends are harder than weekdays.  Admitting that makes me feel like a horrible mother, but it is the truth.  Today (and last night) we were daddy-free.  And when that happens there is no break from a long work-week, there is no Saturday morning long lingering shower, and there is no sleeping in past 6:15 am.

This is the first time I have rested all day (unless you count a car ride, I might) and I have already been interrupted three times since Miss Ella is playing the procrastinator's version of Time To Go To Sleep.  This game can test the patience of a saint.  And let me tell you, I am not a saint.

However, even though there was no break from the long work-week, no long lingering shower (in fact, no shower at all today), or no sleeping past 6:15 this morning, by all accounts, it was a great day.

We painted some toesies.  

We practiced cutting, and from what I can tell, she is advanced in this skill set. 

We played Play-Doh like it was our job. 

And THEN we went on an impromptu play date with one of Ella's besties from school.  
This was all done in lieu of a long lingering shower and sleeping in from the stress of a long work week.  

 While I was cleaning up the kitchen I felt an incredible sense of fulfillment.  Abby was already in bed, fast asleep.  She was worn out from our adventures.  Ella was sitting outside, winding down while eating the last of her ice cream birthday cake (from last Thursday).  I was tired from giving the girls 110%, but as I stared out my kitchen window looking at my little love bug, my heart was happy and content. I know these are the most precious moments of my life. 

Note:  Poor Abby was asleep both times I broke out the camera today.  However, let me assure you that she was engaged, stimulated, and loved on just as much as Ella was today, although I have no concrete proof.

Friday, June 1, 2012

To the Doctor's We Go!

This year we have been to the doctor's office for a gazillion sick visits.  I guess that is what happens when your children first enter daycare/ preschool.  We have been there for rashes, ear infections, high fevers, urinary tract infections, more ear infections, more fevers, and hand, foot, and mouth disease.  Funny thing is that we have only been seeing this doctor since October and I feel like I know him better than any other doctor I've seen in my life.  And that is because we are there ALL. THE. TIME.

One benefit of visiting the doctor weekly is that my kiddos, Ella especially, enjoys the doctor's office, even while sick.  I attribute her love for the doctor due to his sticker assortment (Dora, Spiderman, and just yesterday, a skateboarder) and his never ending supply of Dum-Dums.

Luckily yesterday was just a check-up.  Unluckily, Abby had to get three shots.  Luckily, Ella is up to date on her shots and will not need anymore until Kindergarten.  Unluckily, Abby is behind on her shots (due to an insurance and doctor switch) and will need yet more shots in August.

Anyways, the girls are fine and healthy, growing and growing.  Life is good.

Abby weights in at 25.18 pounds (96.88%) and she is 33 inches long (99.98%).
Check out Ella's first year Well Baby visit HERE.
And, ummm, Abby is just a bit bigger than Ella at this age.

Ella has slowed down a bit.  She currently weights 36 pounds (89.75%) and has hovered around that weight since February.  I am not surprised since she is on the go all the time.  She is one busy bee.
As for height, she is 38.5 inches tall (83.44%).

Yay! For happy and healthy girls.