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!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rainy Friday

Another rainy day here, but no complaining from me! We need as much rain as we can get. I had planned to do some much-needed cleaning this morning but a headache and two little girls prevented that from happening.

We all began to get under each other's skin. Analese wanted to just play by herself, Mara wanted to play with Analese and I just wanted the yelling and crying to stop!

So, I came up with a solution: Outside time. It was raining pretty steadily, the perfect kind of rain to jump around in and look for puddles.

I announced my plan to the girls and their eyes just lit up. We got some sweaters and jackets on, rain boots and raincoats, Mara and her winter hat...we were set!

It was cold outside, but the girls didn't mind. Mara held her arms out slightly as she walked due to the bulge of her sweater and jacket, but her smile told me it really didn't matter.

We walked around looking for puddles, and ended up on the street to watch the water flowing down the curb. Analese suggested we follow it, so off we went. We got to splash and jump as we glasses were completely speckled with raindrops. Analese found a leaf and put it in the water, gently encouraging it to "swim".

We followed the water all the way down to the storm drain, where we listened to the echo that the water made as it flowed into it. Analese found her leaf and shoved it through the holes.

We walked back to the house and ran around out back for awhile. We were soaked. Once back inside, the girls had a nice warm bath before lunch.

Turned out to be a great day!

I couldn't take photos outside, as Greg would kill me to expose the camera to water and humidity! Here of some photos of the girls getting ready....Analese would make a silly face just as I took the picture :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


When you try to post a comment on a blog, you'll notice a new feature. You can now click on a feature which lets you receive by email any follow-up comments. In other words, if you want to know if someone responds to your comment, you click the box and it will email you...

Sounds simple enough, but when I first noticed it, I thought my email address was being displayed for everyone to see! I will admit to flipping out a bit, trying to figure out which setting I had messed up, trying not to think of all the spam I could get or the fact that my last name has been posted....

So, I thought I would spare you all the drama I just went through and let you know in advance.

Have a great day!

Our Busy Day

We have had a busy morning! Analese had a "formal assessment" done for her speech-a little more involved then the last one. We got to go to the elementary school that Analese will be attending if we decide to do public school. Analese was so excited! She woke up around 5 this morning, and when Greg went in there she told him she was ready for school :) She kept asking me if she could sit next to Ms. Renee (the therapist), and then wanted to know where I was going to sit. All morning she asked me this, over and over again. On the way to school, she suddenly got nervous, and told me she was scared. I kept telling her we were just going for a short meeting, Greg and I were not leaving her, etc. but she still had her "worry-face" on the whole time.

The assessment went well. Analese had to look at different pictures and just her what she saw. Simple enough. Analese sat on my lap and answered them all without hesitation. We now have to go back November 8th for a meeting to discuss the results from today's test. Once we have that meeting, we can then set up therapy. She discussed the possibility of either having her in a group session or we'll see what she thinks about what would be best for her.

After the assessment was over, we had to hurry home and get ready for dance class. Today they were celebrating Halloween, so Analese got to wear her butterfly princess costume...boy, was she excited! She floated when she walked, she was just beaming. She had a heart wand that went with it, but the heart fell off on the way to class. So it was just a pink stick, but surprisingly she did not seem to mind! Class was full of princesses, fairies and witches. One little girl was a dinosaur-it was adorable! The class itself was chaotic, as the girls were too preoccupied with costumes to actually dance. Analese actually did very well, because she loved looking at herself in the mirror. (I had forgotten my camera again, so no photos to show just how cute they all were!)

Analese got a piece of candy at the end of class, which did not go over too well with Mara. We had been contemplating what to do about trick-or-treating this year. We do not give the girls candy, but do not completely restrict it either. I have seen way too many "restricted children" go completely nuts over it and become obsessed....when I taught preschool I had one little girl who would search everyone else's cubby looking for sweets! So in my opinion, moderation is better. Plus, this year Analese is older and will probably realize that candy is being put into her bag (we were able to get away with just taking the bag last year). So-I think we decided to put one of Mara's safe lollipops in her bag and pull it out as her treat to eat (they'll each get to eat one thing when we get home). I think that will work this year......our fingers are crossed that it will.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Hat

Mara wanted to pick out her own clothes to wear today (like her big sis) so I told her to go ahead!

She brings me this hat.

She wore it for 2+ hours, until her head was so sweaty I insisted she take it off :)

Her sister, of course, chose the complete opposite, in her summer dress!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Recycled Slippers

In keeping with my post about environmentally safe things, I wanted to show you these great slippers that a friend of mine makes. She uses recycled wool from sweaters and things, and gets the soles from leftover leather pieces from factories and upholstery stores....very cool! The shoes are adorable too.

So check it out....Polliwogs Shop

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Love Hurts....

So...while giving Mara a BIG bear hug, my zipper causes a nasty cut right below her eye.

I guess this is truly one of those times where love really does hurt

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Smile: Top Ten

I mentioned this before, but it has been a rough week. Midterm exams and crying, emotional children are tough to deal with at the same time!

But, rather then dwell on the things that are getting me down, I thought I would dedicate this post to the things that made me smile today.

  1. Mara, waking up as usual, full of energy. She ran down the hall this morning and stops at the kitchen in this "ta da" pose, waiting for Daddy to notice her. She gives him a huge, toothy grin and runs into the living room to find Analese and do the same thing.
  2. The girls were playing doctor this morning, with Mara being the doctor. I was cleaning up breakfast, and suddenly I heard Analese screaming and crying...I found her running around the room with Mara right behind her. Analese was screaming "NOT the tweezers!". Mara had a big grin on her face, and tweezers in her hand.
  3. Analese began screaming and crying because she said Mara was thinking about taking her purse. Mara was standing in the doorway just watching her.
  4. Driving to dance class, listening to Cat Stevens...."Peace Train" comes on and Analese screams "TURN IT UP!!" and begins to sing along.
  5. While watching her sister dance, Mara suddenly turns around and gives me a big kiss on my mouth, and then turns back around to watch some more.
  6. At the end of dance class, the girls sit around a circle and each one takes a turn in the middle, doing "heel, toe, heel, toe, clap, clap, clap"...Analese swung her toe out so far she came so close to hitting her teacher in the head. She then does this long bow, making all the parents giggle around me.
  7. While trying to nurse, my super-sleepy Mara had the giggles and would laugh anytime I looked at her.
  8. Watching Greg dance around the room with the girls while I made dinner.
  9. My personal favorite: Today Analese came up with names for each hand..."Lucky" and "F*cky". What can you say to that? I smile every time. And last but not least.....
  10. watching Greg's face when she told him these names!

So what made you smile today?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spooooky Ghosts

It has been a rough week for Analese and I.

I am not sure what is going on with my sweet girl, but she seems to be going through this emotional turmoil that causes her moods to go back and forth like a ping pong ball-and its been hard to keep up!

Her sleep has been affected as well. Yesterday we had a play date to go to at 9:30. We were going to make some chicken soup while the kids played-lots of fun! Well, Analese ended up sleeping in until 9:30, and I decided to leave it up to her as to whether or not we go. I told her it was "Analese's Day" and it was up to her to make our plans.

She loved the idea, and decided we were going to go to the park, go for a walk, and make a spoooky ghost. I said yes to every suggestion she had, knowing realistically we really wouldn't do them all.

Soon we just settled on the ghost....a "spooooky ghost", as Analese would correct me if I didn't say it right.

We made our ghost, wait- our spoooky ghost outside, as it was 82 degrees outside! The girls were completely overdressed, but Mara has a hard time taking off her clothes once they are on. So much for layering :)

We made a ghost family: Mama, big sister, baby and other baby. Daddy ghost must have been off at work today!

Once our ghosts were complete, they needed to fly! The girls spent close to an hour just running around the yard with their ghost trailing behind them. Analese was beaming, and that made my day.

Afterwards, our spooooky ghosts got a new home in our tree out front (in order to scare Daddy when he came home!)

I wish I could say that there were no tears, tantrums or angry faces on "Analese's Day", but I cannot. I can, however, say that not one tear was shed during the making of our ghost family.

I consider that a success!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Greener Christmas

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Today is "Blog Action Day", which was created to help bring awareness to issues concerning the environment. Thousands of blogs have all signed up to talk about this one issue today, which I think is pretty cool!

With all of the toy recalls going on and the probability that there is more to come, I have begun to do my research on earth-friendly, non-toxic, not totally expensive toys for the girls this Christmas. Sounds simple, right? I wish. But I am up for the challenge, and am determined to choose quality over quantity this year.

So here's my checklist so far:

  • The toys must be earth-friendly, so they must not be made with PVC plastics (labeled as PVC or #3). Plastics marked #1 or #2 is easier to recycle and do not have all the toxins that PVC plastics do.
  • Make or buy handmade. I would love to make a bunch of stuff for the girls, as I have a ton of ideas and truly love the process...BUT realistically my time is so limited right now. I may try a few things and see how it goes. I have also begun browsing on Etsy, where I can buy cool handmade things from people who do have the time!
  • Open-ended toys. Toys that allow the girls to use their imagination, use in many different ways and be able to expand on as they get older.
  • Toys that the girls can use together. Toys that promote-or allow sharing, so they must be age-appropriate for both.
  • Affordable. As much as I would love money not to be a factor (who wouldn't?) it has to be.

I am sure as I continue to research, I will find more to add to my checklist! There is still so much more I need to educate myself on keeping my family safe from all the toxins out there. I feel like Greg and I have come a long way since Analese was born, no longer just trusting that if its a toy, it has been made safely for kids. These recalls have only reminded us of this fact.

So here are some of the things I have found so far that I am excited for!
  • Plan toys: I LOVE these products! They are made from discarded rubberwood that is processed naturally (no preservatives). They use recycled packaging-another plus! I also found that all of their toys use vegetable dye for color.

    • Here is what I am looking to purchase from them for the girls this year:

      • Creative Blocks: These look really neat, and adds some different elements to block play.
      • Unit Blocks: I have been looking for unit blocks, and these may do the trick!

      • Chalet Dollhouse: this may be Mara's birthday present in January, or a toy for the playroom. I love that it splits up into 2 sections (fulfilling my need for the girls using it together!)
  • Cherry Tree Blocks: I love these and have found a couple places to get them.. Magic Cabin, or Blueberry Forest.
  • Fairy Family and wood furniture. This will be for the cherry tree blocks, as I can see Analese spending hours building and playing. I am still debating whether to make a family or buy one.....

  • Hide & Seek Safari: this looks REALLY neat, and the girls would love it! Their favorite game is Hide n Seek. You can buy either a monkey or a tiger, and one person hides it while the other one uses the wand to find it! You can also purchase an extra wand so more then one child can look at the same time. Very neat! I still have to look and see what kind of plastics are used yet...

So that is my list so far. I'll continue to keep you updated as I find more neat and earth-friendly products!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh my have you changed...

So I thought it would be fun to see our pumpkin photos of the girls over the years...just a little trip down memory lane! Hope you enjoy them!

October, 2005

Analese and Mara
October, 2006

Analese and Mara
October, 2007

The Pumpkin Farm

Today was our annual trip to the pumpkin farm. We had been postponing it until we had some nice Fall weather, as it just wouldn't have been the same if we had gone with the 90 degree temps we had been having. But today was a perfect 60 degrees outside...Fall has finally arrived!

This is one tradition that I can claim to be ours. I think every family needs that, and I try my best to come up with simple ways to celebrate our own little family while also incorporating the traditions we both grew up with. This can be difficult at times, as Greg's family has many, many traditions (did I say many?) and as much as I want the girls to have them, I will admit that it is tough at times.

Since we have gone every year since Analese was born, it is interesting to see the changes in the girls from year to year. This year, Mara did not like the hay ride at all, and became very upset on the ride back. The driver actually came over and asked her what was wrong, and she kept pointing to the steps he had just put up, and humming her words to him quite loudly. Even though she was not speaking words, there was little doubt to anyone what she was trying to say!

The girls were not too interested in our annual photo session, but we did the best we could. Analese was only interested in seeing the animals in the petting zoo this year, and cried until we got there and then cried when we left :)

Overall, it was a fun day and we'll do it all again next year!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Enjoying the weather

Quietly Please

As I have mentioned many times before, Analese has such sensitive ears. Even as an infant, she could not handle gatherings were often a nightmare for us because she just wasn't comfortable. Toys that made noise were a definite "no-no"-but that was a blessing to us. We learned to adapt in order to keep her comfortable.

As she grew older, she was able to tell us that certain noises "hurt". Fireworks, parades, music bands...they all "hurt". It is painful to watch her-her eyes blink uncontrollably and her whole body tenses up, until eventually she just wants to be held and have her ears covered.

I have always hoped that this would be something that she'll eventually outgrow. As she has gotten older, she clearly wants to take part in loud activities, and enjoy the parades and other events, but I can see that it is still very painful for her. Oh, how I wish I could take it all away for her, but I can't. We do what we can to make her comfortable, always giving her the option of leaving if she needs to.

So now we have dance class. In her class, she has ballet, tumbling, jazz and tap-in that order. The girls wear their ballet shoes for ballet and tumbling and then come out and switch into their tap shoes. The last couple of classes I have noticed that Analese seems to shut down after tumbling. She just stands there, doesn't participate or even notice her teachers at all. Last week I assumed that she was tired after having been sick for so long. This week, she turned towards me a couple of times and looked like she was going to cry. Again, she just kind of shut down, no longer paying any attention to anything in the classroom. At one point another girl came over to her and waved her hand in front of Analese's can imagine how that made me feel to see that! I started to wonder if perhaps the hour long class was just too much for her right now.

So after class, she came out and as she was putting her shoes on, I asked her what was wrong. "The shoes. The shoes are too loud. It hurts my ears" Ugh, what do I say to that? " I don't like loud noises, Mom. They hurt my ears".

So once again, I am torn as to what I should do. This class is supposed to be fun, and often I feel like it is anything but. She does love it, she loves going....but she also has meltdowns after every class and goes home and sleeps for 2-3 hours. It just may be too much. Last week, as we were driving home she told me "being a ballerina is HARD work".

We have already paid this month's tuition, so I figure I will see how the rest of the month goes. If she continues to shut down, I am going to talk to her teachers and see what they think about switching her to the pre-ballet class on Saturdays. The last thing I want is to have the joy taken out of dance.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"P"s and "S"s

As I mentioned earlier, Analese had her assessment yesterday for speech. She has been switching all of her "s"s with "p"s for some time now, and we're somewhat concerned that it was becoming a habit for her. I will admit to getting a smile when I hear her refer to Mara as "her little pisser", or when she tells me that there is something in her "poo".

I will even admit to smiling about it right now.

But as she is becoming more social, I can see how it affects her when the other children cannot understand what she is saying. All of us adults have learned to just switch her letters around, but that is not something you can explain to another 3 year old.

So our appointment went well. The speech therapist was very nice and Analese warmed up after about 5 minutes, and began talking away. They made a "flower garden" with paper cut-outs and glue sticks, and I pretended that it didn't bother me that she was more interested in making it look "perfect" then to let Analese do it the way she wanted to. They read some books, and Analese would tell her about things on the page. She was reading a book about pumpkins and mentioned that pumpkins have a vine...Analese became all excited and said "Oh! Monkeys love vines! They swing on them and then eat some bananas!" After that, every time the book mentioned vines, Analese would again throw out a tidbit about monkeys. That's my girl!

I found it interesting all the assumptions that were made. Mara was trying to show her a toy and she naturally thought she was pointing to the television, and said "oh yes, is it time to watch more TV?" And she kept bringing up "Disney Princess", assuming that Analese knew what she was talking about! One of the books she chose to read was "Beauty and the Beast" which I have never let Analese watch because of her fear of monsters, so last night that is all Analese wanted to tell Daddy about.

Ok, enough of me ranting.....I just found it so funny that there is this expectation that all girls are into all of the Disney princess stuff. Granted, Analese probably would be if I let her, but I am just not ready to expose her to all of that just yet-if ever!

She taught Analese how to put her top teeth onto her bottom lip in order to make an "ffff" noise, because she also switched all her "f"s for "p"s as well yesterday. I had mentioned this to the therapist on the phone that she occasionally did, it was the whole time yesterday!

Analese really enjoyed it and was sad when she had to go. As she was walking to her car, Analese said "Wait! I didn't get a chance to show her my room!"

So the verdict is that yes, Analese does need therapy a couple times a month. We will be starting as soon as we have a meeting with the therapist. Hopefully it will be soon.