Sunday, December 30, 2007

Santa gave the girls an extra special gift this year...

A new baby brother or sister!

Yes, I am pregnant! About 11 weeks along, due sometime in July.

It has been hard not to say anything, especially with morning sickness being especially difficult this time around, but I couldn't get an appointment with my OB until the 26th, and I really wanted to hear the heartbeat before telling the girls.

So Wednesday night, we sat the girls down and read "Welcoming Babies", a great book about how different cultures celebrate the birth of a baby. Afterwards, we just sat and talked about babies, and then I told the girls that at my doctor's appointment, I found out I had a baby in my tummy. Mara hasn't seemed to understand, but Analese sure does! She is so excited, and keeps asking me if its summer yet :) She has already told me that the baby is a girl, and keeps referring to it as such. She asks me a couple of times a the baby still in your tummy? So cute, and makes it so exciting to be able to share this with her.

Last night as we were getting ready to leave my families' Christmas gathering, Analese suddenly remembered and told everyone how "Mommy has a little tiny little baby growing in my tummy". :)

Ok, more details to come, but I had to share the news!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A loving moment between sisters

I found Mara comforting her sister yesterday

Our Christmas Week

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday. Ours went well-a tad bit overwhelming, but that happens every year.
On Christmas Eve, we made ornaments and cookies and had a very special dinner of spring rolls and chicken pad thai. I have had such a craving for Thai food-and Indian food as well, but both are impossible for me to eat right now. My loving husband found some ways to modify a recipe, and it was delicious! A very special Christmas gift to me!

We began a new tradition this year. I had the girls come with me to their rooms and then to the playroom, and we gathered up toys that we were no longer playing with, and then wrapped them up to give to Santa so that he could give them to other boys and girls. A mom mentioned this idea on our parenting board, and I loved it. What a great way to teach the girls about giving! Analese was a bit worried this year, but did eventually find some things to give to Santa. They even got a special thank you note from Santa the next day!

Right before bedtime, we read some Christmas stories and gave the girls a special present- ponys made by my cousin Kaylyn. The girls LOVED them (thanks again Kaylyn!) and the first thing Analese said was "I am going to sleep with her tonight!" She named hers "Princess". They have both been sleeping with them every night since!

Christmas morning was very nice-the girls were excited and loved their new gifts. The horse stable was especially a big hit, and it took Analese some time to understand that it was something that had to be shared. Mara just seemed fascinated by everything-and somewhat confused, like "where did all this stuff come from?" She just happily played with whatever was closet to her :)

Then it was off to Greg's parent's house. Things were going well until it was time for presents. Craziness began! Greg's mother really goes overboard every year, and the girls get sooo much stuff....just too much, honestly. I understand her philosophy-she would rather spend the money on everyone now instead of hoarding and saving it until they die. I respect that. It is just so much stuff that the kids just lose sight of everything.....Mara became a nut and was ripping paper off of anything close to her. As soon as she unwrapped a present, it was on to the next one. Yesterday and today was spent just reexamining and discovering what they did get! I even found a few presents of my own that I never opened :)

Analese got a guitar, which she has been enjoying immensely. Mara received these "Snap n Go Babies", which she has fallen in love with and is constantly feeding and giving a bath. The girls got tons of art supplies, which I am excited for! We go through lots of materials with my two artists in training.

It was a quiet Christmas compared to most family Christmases. Many families left before dinner to go see the inlaws. I hated to see them leave, but it ended up being more my speed....plenty of time to actually sit and visit with those around me. It was quite nice!

It was a long day, but the girls did great. They fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the car seat, and even slept as we carried them in and got them ready for bed. Thats a first! They even granted me another special gift the next morning-Analese slept until 9:30 and Mara until 10!

This weekend we will be celebrating with my side of the family, as well as Greg's mother's side of the family and hopefully spending some time with Greg's sister who couldn't make it from New Jersey this year. Another busy weekend, but one that is full of family, and full of love.

Enjoy some Christmas photos!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Lessons Learned

We have been learning ALOT this holiday season, and I thought I would share two that I have been lucky enough to learn this week:

1) Hiding under the Christmas tree is NOT the best hiding spot when playing hide-n-seek. Especially if you have a real tree! I spent yesterday morning soaking and scrubbing poor Mara's head, trying my best to get out the big glob of tree sap that was dried to her head. We had to use rubbing alcohol to get the last bit out.

2) When preparing a package to be mailed, it may not be the best idea to have your 3 year old help. Yeah, it may seem fun and cute at the time, but if she starts to refer to "the package" as "my package", WATCH OUT! The last thing you want to do is then take her to the post office with you as you mail it out, for screams of "GIVE ME BACK MY PACKAGE!" doesn't really help those around you to remain in the Christmas spirit. ( the 10+ people piled into this hot, tiny post office were so not amused!)

Just two of the lessons I have been lucky enough to learn in the past few days.

Can't wait to see what else I don't know about.........

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas....

Sorry once again for being so absent. I have been taking advantage of not having to be on the computer for school, and enjoying some freedom for awhile! These past few weeks have been rough with all of us being off schedule, so I have been working on just getting us back on track!

Our weekend was a busy one. On Saturday we went to the Christmas Tree farm to pick out a Christmas tree. We did not go with the rest of Greg's family this year, for they all went last Sunday instead. We were going to go then but it was raining and cold-just not worth it for us! Our girls enjoy the whole experience of going-running through the trees, seeing and feeding the animals, seeing Santa. As the cousins have gotten older, getting the tree isn't nearly as fun as all going out to eat afterwards. They always go to the same place, a family restauraunt that would not have anything Mara and I could eat, so we had planned to skip that part.

Anyway, it was cold on Saturday and we were all dressed in many layers. We picked our tree out fairly easily-a smaller tree to accommodate the little space we had to put on this year! Our usual tree spot was taken over by our aquarium a few months ago.

The girls had fun. We pretended to be mountain climbers climbing up the hill through all the trees, and Analese kept referring to us as "mountain climber mommy" and "mountain climber Mara". Mara kept falling in every mud patch there was, so she was pretty covered and got tired quickly.

We got our tree ready to go and walked through the animal part, stopping to feed a baby cow and some goats.

We took the girls to see Santa. Analese wasn't too sure about it, but Mara headed right inside and went right up to him, pointing to him and saying "Santa, Santa" over and over again. We asked her if she wanted to sit on his lap and she shook her head no. Surprisingly, Analese went over and got on his lap! So then Mara did, but she wouldn't look at him the whole time :) Analese told Santa she wanted a pony and a new teddy for Christmas this year. I was proud of her for sitting on his lap, and anytime someone brings it up , the first thing she says is "I didn't cry at all!"

At this point, Analese was starting to lose it so we finished up and headed to the car. She had quite the meltdown outside the car, my drama girl, started screaming "I'm cold!" over and over again. We had her in the car, piled in blankets and coats to try and calm her down. Mara was crying at the same time, yelling "sister!" over and over again :)

On Sunday, we got the tree set up and lights on, but we were not able to decorate it since we had a holiday party to go to. It was at Greg's cousin's house. The girls had so much fun playing with her son, who was 8 months old. He kept dropping his toy and they would scramble to get it for him. It was so cute to see! Mara was obsessed with the babies, and I kept finding her just standing close to whoever had a baby in their arms, just looking up and watching them. It was so funny!

Yesterday we spent the morning decorating the tree. The girls didn't get into it as much as I thought they would. They lost interest pretty quickly and I did most of it. It was fun to pull out the ornaments-we have so many handmade ones from family that we have gotten over the years.

Greg has decided that the girls should not play with the ornaments on the tree, and last night I heard him telling them over and over again to stop playing with them. I am not sure why he is suddenly so concerned about it, and even threatened to take the tree out! I told him later to just lighten up-the whole reason we put certain ornaments on the bottom of the tree was so we wouldn't have to worry about them breaking, etc. They have been taking them off the tree every year-but can you blame them? All this new, shiny, items just dangling there, tempting them. I really, really hope he gives up this battle.....or it will be a long week!

We still have a bit of shopping left to do. We have been finished with the girls for a few weeks now, but need to buy presents for the names we have picked from Greg's family. Greg said he would take a day off this week, but the week is quickly going by.....I have a feeling we'll be out with everyone else this weekend. Not fun.

Hope everyone else is enjoying their week!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Sweet Homecoming Story

Last night on the news I saw a story that completely touched my heart. The story began with two young children, probably around the ages of 5 and 7, sitting on Santa's lap at the mall. Santa asked them what they would like for Christmas this year, and they both said that they wanted their Daddy to be home with them. Santa told them to close their eyes, and wish really hard for their Daddy to be home.

They both closed their eyes really tight, and repeated their wish, over and over again.

Then Santa told them to open their eyes, and right in front of them was their Daddy. You see, Daddy was a soldier stationed in Iraq, and unexpectedly got to come home in time for Christmas. This was how he surprised his children with the news.

The looks on their faces was priceless, and quickly had me in tears. What especially got to me was watching how the little girl just held onto her Daddy so tightly, as if she was afraid to let go.

I couldn't help but think about my own girls and their relationship with their Daddy. They miss him so much when he is just gone for work during the day, and are lucky enough to talk to him on the phone at least once a day. Little Mara was so upset this morning when Daddy had given her kisses goodbye but forgot to give her a hug. Goodbyes always need a kiss and a hug.

The minute Greg walks in the door, he gains two shadows as he goes about the house. Often he is working on some household chore, while the girls will just play amongst themselves. Just happy to be near him.

As soon as chore-time is over, playtime begins. The girls happily bounce on their daddy until dinner is ready. On the nights that Greg cooks dinner, they are on stools, watching.

Every night at dinner, Analese tells her Daddy that she wants to tell him about her day. When he tells her to go ahead, she always stops and says " I can't remember my day. Mommy, what did I do today?"

It's these simple, daily traditions that make up the daily rhythm within my family. It's these moments that we treasure, and find so much comfort in. I am so grateful to have a husband who plays such an active role in our children's lives.

As vocal as I am about how much I oppose this war, I have to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for our men and women over there fighting it. I think about the torment they must feel, torn between the job they must do and the family they hold dear.

This Christmas, my thoughts are on those that are not able to make it home to their families this Christmas.

And for the children who are missing them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, what a day....

We had quite the day yesterday. The girls and I made some Christmas cookies yesterday morning, which was fun. I cheated a little this year and had bought some Mara-safe sugar cookie mix through our buying club. We have 6 boxes to have fun with! As much as I love baking from scratch, I wanted to be able to make many different kinds and it's hard to do that with two little ones with short attention spans.

Anyway- we made snowman, and the girls decorated with mini-chocolate chips, dried apples and raisins. Then we made ornaments, in which the girls used LOTS of sprinkles! Mara is sooo careful spooning them onto her cookie, while Analese also sprinkled the table, floor, and everything else within reach :) ( I think this was mainly because she was trying to sneak as many into her mouth as she could!)

So I thought that was the highlight of our day, until I was cleaning up the kitchen. I happened to glance into the dining room and saw Mara reaching for Analese's bowl of Zoe cereal (which contains both wheat and soy). I screamed hysterically for her to drop it (probably a little too hysterically, but I wanted to get the point across) and ran over to her. I asked her if she had eaten any, and she said yes. I checked her mouth for crumbs, etc. and couldn't see anything so I really didn't know if she had really eaten it or not. All I could do now was wait.

I should say that Mara is usually really good about eating her own food, but two things confused her yesterday. For one, we had just gotten her a box of Perky-Os, which are safe for her. And two, I was out of bowls that I normally use for Analese so I put her cereal in a bowl that Mara sometimes uses.

Anyway, Mara's last reactions to soy occurred about an hour after she ate it. After an hour was up and no reaction, I gave her some lunch (spaghetti and meatballs -what was I thinking?) and then she nursed and went to sleep.

She woke up happy, asking for a snack, and I really thought we were in the clear.

Until she began to vomit EVERYWHERE. It was amazing just how quickly she got sick. She was playing, standing a few feet from me when all of a sudden, she projectile vomited all over the rug. She turned to me and got me covered. She seemed confused and kind of turned again as more came up. I tell ya, our living room floor was completely covered in vomit. I raced her to the bathroom, and had her sit on her potty and calm down. Once she was calm, I had to calm Analese down-who had one drop of vomit on her and needed to be changed immediately (nevermind that both Mara and I were completely covered)

I left the girls in the bathroom and went out to clean up the living room before the dog and cats get to it. After that I went into the bathroom and found poor Mara, who had crawled into the bathtub and was just sitting there. My poor baby! I felt so bad for her. I cleaned us both up, set up the couch with lots of towels and plopped her on it.

It lasted a few minutes before it started again. I'll spare you the details, but Mara continued to vomit nonstop for the next four hours. It wasn't fun. We went through every towel we owned, and Mara ended up on the couch in just a diaper.

At one point Mara just laid her head straight down on the couch-she was so miserable. When Greg came home, he asked her if she ate something she shouldn't have, and she nodded and said "sister, sister, belly" over and over again.

Although it was awful at the time, I feel very fortunate that it only four hours, as her last two soy reactions were nonstop vomiting for 8+. Her last reaction also followed with diarrhea for a week. This morning she had a yucky diaper which appeared to have blood in it.

Soy is definitely a big issue with Mara, and we won't be trialing that anytime soon! Not a fun day at all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vegging out

Sorry I haven't been posting lately. I have actually been spending the past few days just vegging out on the's been really nice! Yesterday I even sat and watched television while the girls were napping, something I never do. It's been very much needed. I feel like I haven't had a nice "break" for so long. This has been a difficult semester for me, trying to balance my school time with kid time and family time. During the day, my time is with my girls. I do not study unless they are sleeping, as I feel that being with them is my "job" and I do not think they should lose that time with me. Plus-to be honest- I wouldn't be able to get anything done even if I tried!

Saturday was a long day. I was up at 5:30, out the door by 6:30. I got into my exam an hour before it began in order to study and unwind a bit from driving. I wasn't in there for more then 5 minutes when my eyes began to water, and my nose became runny. I started sneezing constantly, it was so frustrating! I have been taking Clariton in order to break up the fluid in my ear and to get a handle on my allergies, but whatever it was causing this reaction obviously got passed it! I had brought about a half roll of tissue with me-just in case, and had them all used up within 15 minutes after my test has began. It was awful. This sounds so gross, but I ended up having to squish wet tissues together in order to use them, as my nose was a complete faucet! I had to take my glasses off a couple times and wipe them, as mt eyes were watering nonstop. Fun, fun, fun. Of course, my fellow test-mates had to listen to me sniff every five seconds as well!
I can honestly say that the test did not go so well. It was Algebra, and I couldn't remember formulas, etc. With all that was going on, I just got to the point where all I wanted to do was get out of there! So let's just cross your fingers that I passed the class, as the test was 40% of my grade.
The second test-my Ethnic Minorities class, went much better, and I was in a different room and my allergies didn't bother me as much. It feels so good to be done!

My back is feeling much better now. Yesterday was the first day that I could walk straight and not be in constant pain. The girls have been laying in bed with my in the morning and watching their shows while I ice my back, which seems to be helping (and they love the snuggle time). My back is so frustrating. Greg and I were in a car accident almost 10 years ago, and I really messed my back up. Now I can sneeze and throw it out. Want to know how I messed it up this time? I sat down for breakfast. That's it. As soon as I sat down, I felt pain going up and down my back and when I went to get up, I couldn't without severe pain. Yikes.

Greg had quite the adventure with the girls. I haven't left them in awhile, and I don't think I had ever left Mara for this long. They were quite upset when they woke up and I wasn't there. I had tried preparing Analese a few days before, but she got very anxious, telling me-no, screaming at me, how scared she was going to be without me. She kept insisting that she was coming with me, and even woke up crying one night, telling me she was coming to school with me!
But they got through the day, and were very happy to see me. I knew Greg was stressed when I heard him giving the girls empty threats like, "Put the crayon on the table, or I'll take all the crayons away for good"...things that do not normally come out of Greg's mouth! So it was a good lesson for them all, as he told me I have the patience of a saint. I just think when you don't have the kids day in and day out, you can sometimes forget to pick your battles, let some things slide, and, most importantly, the kids will feed off of your energy. Get stressed and they get stressed.

Anyway, I am off to veg once more on the couch before heading off to bed! Hope your all having a good week!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We got snow!!

Yes, even we got some snow! We were supposed to get 1-2 inches, but got say the girls were excited would be a huge understatement!

I, unfortunately, had thrown my back out a few days ago, and have been unable to move much...with two young kids, you can imagine how tough it has been! I just hope I will be able to walk somewhat normally on Saturday when I go to take my finals. We are also supposed to go Christmas tree hunting on Sunday with Greg's whole family and I really do not want to miss that!

Anyway, Greg came home from work early to take the girls outside, and here are the photos. As they were getting ready to go out, Analese said "I think I am going to go really crazy out there!"
She has never used the word crazy before, so it was really funny! They went sledding, did snow angels-Analese even did a somersault! They had so much fun-and were covered head to toe in snow.

Luckily dance class was canceled this morning, so no place to go!

Now, back to my books...and ice.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Have a good week!

I will be busy studying for my final this Saturday, so I am checking out until then! My goal is to spend lots of time wearing the girls out in the AM so that naps may actually happen and I get some much needed studying in. Wish me luck!

After Saturday, my brain can finally take a much needed rest. I feel like I have been losing brain cells daily with all this studying...yesterday Mara showed me her spoon, and I said "Oh, what color is your spornge?" Translation: I meant to say spoon and yes, her spoon was orange.

Yup, I am losing it.

I haven't been feeling well either, with all the mold in the air, my allergies have been going nuts and really messing with my stomach. Every time I start to gag, Analese says "Ok, Mom let's go to the bathroom", and she rubs my back as I am bent over the toilet. I even threw up on her foot, and my little sweetie goes "it's OK! We can just clean it up...though that was really yucky Mommy"

This morning she came into the living room and asked me if I was thirsty. I wasn't, but she was just too sweet to resist, so I nodded my head. She then asks "Ok, would you like juice or water?" and goes into the kitchen and asks Greg for a glass! She let him pour it but insisted on bringing it out to me, and rubbed my head as I drank it.

All this lets me know I must be doing something right!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A gift for Analese

So I am just about done shopping for the girls....I have put months of thought into it so it has been pretty easy!

I just placed an order for Analese today for this:

Think she'll love it? She has been having a hard time sleeping lately, waking up a couple times a night, and recently told us that she did not like her bed anymore.

Hopefully this will solve it!

(I am so excited to give this to her, and just had to share! Now back to my studies...)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The long weekend

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We had a good time. We went to Greg's aunt's house this year. It was quiet this year, with only one of his four sisters there and one out of his three cousins. Usually we are piled in, clamoring for space! So it was a bit different this year.

I can honestly say I am just not comfortable with other people cooking food that Mara is going to eat. There are just too many variables that you have to look out for, and its hard to explain it to someone who doesn't really understand allergies to begin with. Everyone kept reassuring me that the turkey was "safe", telling me over and over that they didn't use anything on the turkey-only canola oil. I relented and said OK, we would eat it. Imagine my surprise to walk into the kitchen as they were scooping gluten-filled stuffing out of the turkey! Oh- they hadn't thought about the stuffing.... Luckily Greg and I were on the same page and he had them separate the turkey slices that were furthest away from the stuffing so that we could eat.

I worry that sometimes I sound a bit too paranoid with this food thing, but Mara is finally doing well-eating and growing, and the last thing I want is to relive those months where she wasn't. I also have hopes that someday she will outgrow at least some of this, and avoidance is the best way to achieve this so her tummy can heal and her immune system can strengthen.

Anyway- the rest of the weekend was spent studying while Greg ran around with the girls. This is my last week of school, with finals next weekend. I cannot wait to be finished, just to be able to breathe and relax a bit, but these next few days are going to be tough.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

(wish I was home this year!)

Terror Cat

Pebbles has always been a one-owner cat. With me, she is a wonderful, cuddly ball of fur.

When she was a kitten, Pebbles was THE friendliest cat. When we first got to the rescue group, she came over to me and then refused to leave. Yes-she picked me, not the other way around. She had even took to climbing onto a nearby table and leaping into my lap. I was sold.

At home, she was a people cat. She always had to be around people. When I eventually moved to my own apartment after living with two other roommates, Pebbles was extremely lonely. My landlord (who lived upstairs) told me she meowed all day while I was at work.

When Pebbles was around a year old, we suspected that she had a bladder infection had to spend a few days at the vets so that they could get a urine sample. Imagine my surprise to receive a phone call from the tech, telling me that "my cat isn't very nice", going on about all the trouble she was putting them through.

As the years have gone by, this is a side we have come to know well. She is just so unpredictable-she'll rub up against you but hiss if you reach down to pet her. It has to be all on her terms, all the time. With me, she is great.
With others-especially children, she will allow you to pet her but suddenly lash out when she has had enough with no warning given. Many of our friend's children have been scratched, and Pebbles now has a permanent spot in our basement when we have visitors.

Greg and I were somewhat concerned as to how she would handle the girls getting into her face, but I could see a special bond form between Analese and her when Analese was just a small babe.

Still-I have been teaching the girls to be mindf
ul of Pebbles, giving her the respect and space she needs.

Today I walked into the living room and found this:

Poor Pebbles, covered in necklaces by two very busy girls. Although I do not know if "poor" would be the right word, as she appeared to be enjoying every minute of it!

It appears our "terror cat" has developed a very soft heart for two special little girls.

That and a love for accessories!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Our new pellet stove is in! I think we have all taken turns just sitting in front of it. It is amazing how warm our house has become, and I cannot wait to finish the basement off so that we can snuggle up in front of it :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not a Baby anymore...

Can you believe that Mara is 22 months old today?

She is growing up so quickly, and I cannot get a handle on the fact that she will be two in just two months.

She is, however, letting us know. Both her and Analese agree. Mara is not a baby, she's a toddler. They remind me of this every time I call them my babies.

Everything to Mara these days is "MINE!" Everything. From the cats to the television show to the van outside. "Mine, mine, mine"

Her favorite activity lately has been to go through the toy magazines that are bombarding our household. She will sit and point to every other object, screaming-you guessed it "Mine! me me. Mine!" until you come over and comment on it. I find this so funny because Analese has never put the connection together that the toys in these magazines are ones that she could own. Well, she didn't until Mara showed her....

Her language skills are exploding, and every day we are surprised at all she knows. Tonight she was cooking dinner with Daddy, and he was counting spoonfuls with her. He got to seven, and Mara screams out "EIGHT!" We both just looked at each other and laughed.

She has also quickly discovered just how to get under big sis's skin, taking her toy and running like the wind down the hall. My easy-going baby isn't quite so easy going anymore, and Analese does not quite know what to do about it!

For me, it's refreshing to see. Mara is becoming her own person, out from under the wings of her big sister. She is developing her own likes and dislikes, her own wants and desires.

It makes me smile to see her assert herself, to make her opinions known to the world. I will admit to always being a bit worried when it comes to Mara..after the rough time we have had with diagnosing her food issues, it's hard not to worry about her development. I remember her nutritionist telling me that we had to catch Mara up before the age of two, because if we did, chances are good that she will not be mentally affected by the months of malnutrition (in her defense, she was actually telling us this to be reassuring). That comment has stayed in the back of my head, and as she approaches the ripe old age of two, I can't help but she caught up? Have we succeeded?

Every new word, I feel a victory. One small reassurance that my child is heading in the right direction.

Maybe one day I can stop this worry.


Analese's new friend

This morning Analese was sitting on the potty, and she turns to me and says "I have to hurry Mommy. I have to go meet my friend".

We had no plans to go anywhere today, but I played along and asked her what her friend's name was.

"Her name is Analese. Just like me. Isn't that funny?" She giggles, and I tell her that yes, indeed, that is funny to have the same name.

She finishes up and climbs up on her stool to wash her hands.

She turns and looks at me, and gives me this "ta da!" pose.

"Mommy, see my new friend Analese?" She is pointing to herself in the mirror.

I shake my head and laugh, leaving her in the bathroom while she talks to her new friend for the next 10 minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

So I have been tagged....

Being new at this blogging stuff, I wasn't quite sure what being tagged meant exactly. But being the great researcher that I am (hey-can that be one of the seven?) I found the specifics.

Here are the rules:Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my seven:

  • Today we were late for Analese's speech session because I let the girls watch two turkey vultures having a seat on our roof. The looks on their faces were priceless, watching these enormous birds shaking their wings to keep warm. It gave Analese something to tell her therapist! So random fact number one: I will always choose nature over timeliness any day.
  • I am very passionate about helping the weak, whether its families, children or animals. When we lived in the city, I used to feed all of the homeless cats living around us (yes, "crazy cat lady" was me). I even went as far as to set up a box for an old tomcat that never left our porch-rain or shine. When he got sick, I will admit to crying like a baby when we had to put him to sleep. And my new obsession now? Saving our little fish babies from being eaten by their parents. I set up barriers of java moss and check on them often...I need help.
  • I have a hard time hiding my emotions, especially things I do not approve of. When I worked with families and they said or did things that upset me, I used to pinch my own arm to keep myself in check until it was my turn to talk (the last thing you want to do when someone starts to trust you with their problems is look completely shocked or disgusted when they tell you!) I do not know when this habit started...yes, kind of odd.
  • I am always cold. No matter the season.
  • I am happier today then I have ever been in my life.
  • I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 4 years. Wow.
  • I have the worst gag reflex. Just hearing Greg brush his tongue makes me gag. I could even be in the next room, and I still gag.
So there's my seven! Not very original I'm afraid, but then neither am I!

So, now I get to tag some people! I tag:


Participate if you want!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And it's only Tuesday...

Why does it feel like Friday?

It's already been a long week. Analese and I have been butting heads for the past few days, and I do not know why. One minute she is telling me how much she loves me, and the next she is screaming and trying to hit me.


My child is such a passionate and spirited girl. She puts so much effort into everything she does, and when things go the way she envisions, there is so much joy to share. Joy for Mom, joy for little sis. I love her spirit, her excitement, her enthusiasm.

This morning she was a baby bird and I was her mommy (this was my attempt to get some more bites of oatmeal into her-she hasn't been eating much these days). We had a great time, she peeped as I fed her "worms" and laughed as I flew back and forth to each child, doing my best crow impersonation. Analese loved it, and did not want it to end.

Hours later, I called her, only to be greeted by screams "I AM NOT ANALESE!! I am a baby bird, a baby bird....YOU are the mommy bird " She cried for oh, 15 minutes or so, because I had the nerve to call her by her human name.

I am still trying to figure out how to best help her through the roadblocks that come her way, like allowing a fun moment to pass. Other such seemingly simple things, like Mara walking into the bathroom when she is in there, or picking up the same color block, will completely send her over the edge. Tears, kicking, screaming...we get it all.

These episodes last anywhere from 10-20 minutes each. I am so tired. She'll eventually catch on, right? Right?

In some aspect, I truly admire the ability that she has to voice her unhappiness, loudly and dramatically, getting all of her aggressions out with each kick, each flail of her arm. Adult temper tantrums would be wonderful, wouldn't they? And then to experience the calm, when it's all out of your system....

Let's hope that tomorrow is better.

Monday, November 12, 2007

All about Daddy

This weekend the girls spent most of their time with Greg. I had lots of studying to do, as the semester is almost over!

Saturday morning they took a drive up into Pennsylvania to buy a pellet stove for our basement. Right now our basement is only partially finished-and partially heated, so it will be nice to get some heat down there and-hopefully, help us heat the upstairs as well! We originally wanted a woodstove, but the piping needed was very expensive. The pellet stove needs less piping and would only cost us 1/3 of the cost of a woodstove. So we went with that. I am so excited to get it in! It brings us one step closer to finishing our basement, which we hope to do in the next couple of months. We are seriously running out of room, and it will be nice to have a second bathroom down there.

Saturday night Greg and the girls made homemade chicken soup. Mara was soooo excited to help her Daddy. It was so adorable. She was dancing all around the kitchen while he got things set up.

It was so nice to just sit back and watch them all cook. Usually they are cooking with me, so I do not have the opportunity to just be an observer.

While Greg was busy chopping up the veggies, Mara continued to be the "helper", handing him vegetable after vegetable (which most were dropped onto the floor). Analese, on the other hand, had named her vegetables ("F*cky" and "Clucky" again) and had them bouncing and talking to each other all over the counter.

Did I mention how much fun it was to just sit back and watch? Yes-it was difficult to get studying done!

Sunday was spent outside-flying kites and jumping into leaf piles. I hated to miss it, but its so nice for the girls to get some "just Daddy-time" in :)

Last night they snuggled up and watched a movie-great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Speech Evaluation

We had Analese's speech evaluation done this morning. It was basically a meeting to go over the previous assessments and discuss what they now want to do about it. Surprisingly, Analese had about 20 or so "errors" in her speech, although many are very normal at this age. She does substitute p for many letters-s, sh, f, v, th, and f for t, and g for d.

We begin speech therapy next week, and it will be every week for 30 minutes. Therapy will take place at the school and Mara can come too as long as she cooperates. (Let's hope she does! I have no idea what I will do if I cannot bring Mara with me...)

The therapist is very nice and I know Analese will do great with her. So we'll see how it goes!

On another note, we went to a playgroup yesterday where there were lots of children running around. The girls had a great time, but as I was putting them into their carseats I noticed that Mara's face had broken out into a rash. When we got home, I found that it had spread all over her neck, chest and upper back. So who knows what is going on there. I know she didn't eat anything she shouldn't, but my thought is that she had sat at the table to eat her snack and its possible that there was something there we couldn't see.

Sigh...never a dull moment!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Little Peace and Quiet

Things were a little too quiet the other night, so I peeked into Analese's room to see what they were up to. They had dragged Mara's bear chair from her room, and set up their own reading area. They looked through Analese's entire book bin, and I never heard a peep for almost 30 minutes!

Folding Laundry

I used to hate folding laundry. Well, I still cannot say that I love it.

But it has gotten much better.

Before I would wait until the girls are asleep and sit on the couch, folding clothes and placing them into piles all around me. I would then have to gather up all my piles and place them back into the basket to wait until they can be put away in the morning.

But I now have two helpers.

I sit on the floor next to the basket and take a few things out at a time. Fold it up, and place it lovingly into the outstretched arms of one of the two eager girls standing before me.

I give them the command "Pajamas, in pajama drawer" and off she goes.....

As I continue folding, I can hear the loud banging of drawers, and then the swishing of feet coming back towards me.

"Pants...bottom drawer"

Off she goes. We go through all of the basket. It takes awhile, longer then if I were to do it at night. But I have two proud faces staring at me, so proud to be helping mama.

I know that there will come a time when folding laundry with mom will not be a highlight of their day, or fun at all, for that matter. So I will take this time we have and enjoy it.

Plus I then have my own excitement of playing "where did you put your clothes?" as our little Mara has set up her own system as to where she thinks her clothes should go. Sometimes they are just piled into one drawer, sometimes I'll find shirts in the bathroom, jammies in her bed, pants in her with her toys....

And she is just so proud :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Simple Pleasures

The breakfast dishes are piled up in the sink.

No matter, we are on a hunt! We bundle up with sweaters, hats, jackets and head outside. Both girls are excited, because Mama is excited (such an awesome power, isn't it? To have the ability to set the mood for two little girls?)

Clutching their bags, they begin studying the ground. Looking, looking.

Looking for the perfect one.

The wind suddenly whips the leaves up all around us. Analese lets out a whimper, as Mara laughs hysterically.

Truly opposites in every way.

We run around the yard, trying to keep warm. Shouts of "Look at this one!" fill the air. I share in their joy, in their excitement.

Once our bags were full, we head inside. We have work to do.

Two bottles of glue, and one package of googly eyes later..

What was once a seemingly simple leaf has now been transformed into.........


Aren't they delightful?

I hope your day is going just as well!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Analese the Alien

Sometimes talking to Analese is like talking to someone from another planet.

For weeks, every night at dinner, she would suddenly look at me and say "Mom, your supposed to be looking for birds, NOT COOKIES!!"

Oh, how she laughs. We do not get it. We have tried to figure it out, but it appears that it will forever be a joke made exclusively for one.

I am actually reminded of those clips they show you in psych class about the man who developed a language disorder in which the words that flow out of his mouth make absolutely no sense. Just complete jibberish.

That is my Analese.

It is truly so wonderful to be able to get a glimpse of what is going through her mind.

Wonderful and yet.... scary. It's mind-boggling to try and keep up with!

Yesterday at lunch she was telling me about her trip to the store with daddy. I asked her what she saw.
"I saw lots of pumpkins. Mommies, and little babies....but no Daddies! They were all still at work." Oh? What were the pumpkins doing?

"They were hungry and looking for spiders". Huh? Pumpkins eat spiders? She nods her head. Do they taste good?

"I don't eat spiders. PUMPKINS eat spiders. They eat spiders and play games". What games do they like to play?

"They like to play the Ladybug game. Yeah, they do"
She nods to herself. Mara, who had been sitting quietly and listening, lets out a loud growl. Analese growls back.

"Yes, bears. I am not Analese, I am a bear. Can you give me more fish? Us bears have to get ready for the PARTY! The party in the pink van. Mommy, do bears drive?" She cocks her head to the side, as she is now in "thinking mode".

Greg shakes his head which Analese then asks him why he's saying no, and what is he saying no to. I laughed and said "She doesn't miss a beat, does she?"

Analese's eyes lit up. "I AM NOT GOING TO THE BEACH!!"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Friday Highlights

On Friday we had a visit from Leslie and her two children. I had met Leslie and Avery in Gymboree class (along with Staci and Noah) and we formed our own playgroup. Their personalities always meshed well-both were quiet and observant little girls. We all attended a couple more classes together, and they had the special bond of having their mommies become pregnant around the same time. They had lots in common and we were sad when they moved away!

They had moved down to Florida last year, so its been awhile since we have seen them. They flew up for the weekend so that Josh (Leslie's husband) could interview at a dental office in Silver Springs. Our fingers are crossed that it went well!

Here are some photos of our day. Avery and Analese are 2 months apart, and Mara and Camden are just a few weeks apart. It was a fun day, although ALL of the kids were sick and mine were pretty tired. Analese decided that she did not want to share, and let us all know when someone picked up an "off-limits" toy by screaming and crying quite loudly.

Camden was a bit obsessed with Mara, tackling and tapping the top of her head. Now, whenever I bring up Camden's name, she rubs her head and pretends to cry :) Yes, my girls are full of drama!
Avery is still the sweet little girl I remember, and Camden is also very sweet as well.Our visit wasn't nearly long enough, but we are so glad to have seen them!

Staci-we really missed you yesterday! It wasn't the same without you, although you did escape all of our germs :) Be thankful for that!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hide & Seek Safari

I just wanted to let you all know that the "Hide & Seek Safari" game that I showed you in my Christmas list seems to be on the "Hot List" for Christmas this year! (I knew I had great taste :)) My friend Leslie told me that it is about to featured as one of Oprah's favorite things, and are already selling out down in Florida.

So, what I am basically saying is...if you thought about getting one for Christmas, you might want to buy soon! And since I just bought one tonight, I'll make it even easier for you!

I found the cheapest one at for only $25.98. This is for the tiger only. The monkey is $34. 95.

If you want an extra wand, only sells the 2-pack for $18.00. I had originally bought this, but then discovered a single wand for only $10.50 at

I also bought Mara and Analese this for Christmas...I know they are going to love it! I bought the beginner set, as I think Analese would get too upset with
the other set because the pieces do not lock in.

Have a great weekend! I will try and update you all on my visit with Lelsie and the kids (I know your all dying to know!) and share the wonderful photos we got today. I have a ton of studying to do this weekend and Mara has given me her wonderful cold- coughing into my mouth yesterday sealed my fate :) Analese's cough is getting worse, so it should be a fun weekend for us.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a fun day yesterday! Ours was pretty mellow. Both girls are sick, so we couldn't do everything we had planned. Mara became sick on Monday, becoming very congested with a cough. She hasn't been sleeping well at all (so of course that means I haven't either).

We had a Halloween Party to go to yesterday morning, so Greg had planned to come home and watch Mara so I could take Analese. But then Analese woke up congested and miserable, so we thought it would be best for both of them to stay home. She felt horrible, and I couldn't see exposing everyone else to their germs. Analese actually agreed, so I knew she felt bad.

We took it easy yesterday, playing lots of quiet games. etc. When Greg came home, we got them dressed in costume and took them up to my friend's holistic studio for trick-or-treating. Analese looked in the mirror once she had her costume on, and said "I AM SO PRETTY!" They had stations set up around the studio, and the best part? I brought "Mara-safe" treats and gave it them beforehand, so Mara only got things she could eat! I cannot explain how happy that made me! They also only gave out organic, healthy treats which is so nice for Analese.

We hung out there for a few minutes, and then went home. Greg and the girls carved the pumpkin-finally, while I made dinner.

After dinner, we got our costumes back on and went to a few houses. We just hit 3 houses this year, as the girls were tired and it was getting late.

We did not get one trick-or-treater this year! I guess all the kids went elsewhere this year.That made me sad, I love seeing all the costumes!

The costumes are now in our dress-up box, which Analese has already pulled out for me to put on her this morning. I doubt we'll go to dance class today-with Analese's nose and eyes running and Mara's cough, I am sure the other parents would appreciate us staying home!

I have lots of cleaning to do today. A friend of mine is flying in from Florida tonight and coming up to spend the day with us tomorrow. We haven't seen them in 1 1/2 years, Avery was Analese's second friend :) It should be fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


A friend just emailed me this, and wanted to share it. It's pretty powerful, whatever your views....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Abracadabra and Corn Maze

Every Sunday night, I have trouble going to sleep. I do not know why. In the past, when I worked outside the home, the reasons were easy. Starting the workweek always brought a bit of anxiety because I really had no idea what I was in store for. But now? I am guessing it might still have to do with beginning the workweek, but also due to the end of the only hope to accomplish anything these days.

It may be due to the fact that the weekend is over, and I still have so much to do......

Our weekend was a busy one, which is funny since we began it with nothing to do! A friend of mine told me about a Halloween party on Saturday at a local restaurant. They were having a magic show, which I thought Analese would like, and they get to dress up in costumes. I really just wanted to stay home and study, but Greg was nervous to take them himself and the guilt got to me. Once again we also had to debate the whole food issue, as they were having free food (pizza) for everyone. We decided the just skip the food and arrive an hour later-just in time for the magic show! The girls did not even notice the food. The magic show was cute-both girls sat looking like a deer-in-headlights as the kids around them laughed loudly and screamed.
Analese was so sweet to Mara, and kept stroking her back the whole time. This made Mara a bit too relaxed, as she ended up leaning completely back on her sister! So she ended up sitting with Greg, and Analese eventually joined them.
Analese got a huge bag of candy from them when it was over. It was full of the most sugar-filled, yucky candy like wax teeth, etc. Ugh. I let her have the snickers bar after lunch and the rest has disappeared :)

On Sunday we took the girls to a local farm that had set up a corn maze. It was fun! It was huge, and took as a lot longer to get through it then we had originally expected. They also had a petting zoo, so the girls got to feed the goats..another highlight. Mara was so funny-at first she wouldn't come closer then 5 feet to the animals, especially the llamas and the donkeys, waving crazily. Eventually she did come closer to see the ducks-I guess they were more her size! Greg helped show her how to feed the goats, and she did really well.

So another fun-filled weekend! I now have so much work to do this week to catch back up....hmmm, maybe that has something to do with my anxiety?

Enjoy some photos!