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!