Tuesday, July 31, 2012

40 by 40

My blog has always been dedicated to the adventures of my children, but today I have decided to write a post that is all about me. The best way to teach my children to be goal-oriented is to show them my successes and failures as I strive to achieve goals of my own. I am 32. This is my 8-year bucket list. Wish me luck!

1)      Ride in a hot air balloon.
2)      Build a home: This should not have a literal interpretation. Those who have seen me with a hammer know that would be dangerous to all involved. I’ve lived in 5 states and moved countless times and would like to feel “home” in a place where I am surrounded by friends and family.
3)      Take a photography class
4)      Photograph a newborn session
5)     Go on a girls trip-NO KIDS ALLOWED!
6)      Take an art class with my husband and immerse myself in his world for a few hours
7)      Sing karaoke solo and sober (think Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding)
8)      Do a 5K fun run: mud run, color run, or one of those runs where they throw MnM's at you (I've never heard of this one either, but hey, ask and you shall receive, right?)
9)      Take my children to a drive-in/outdoor movie
10)   Go to the Grand Canyon
11)  Take a helicopter ride (combining 10 and 11 would be awesome)
12)  Whip out my boobs on Bourbon Street. Ha! I'm totally kidding...about the Bourbon Street part.
13)  Take a writing class
14)  Get something published
15)  Learn to drive a stick-shift
16)  Drive a Maserati, if just for a minute in a parking lot
17)  See Cirque Du Soleil’s "O" in Las Vegas
18)  See a show on Broadway
19)  Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible
20)  Take my children and husband to Oregon to meet my family and see my birthplace
21)  Buy a nice DSLR
22)  Learn to use Photoshop
23)  Go on an airboat tour in the Everglades
24)  Take my princesses to Disney
25)  Go to Greece
26)  Learn one awesome culinary skill involving fire, other than making Flaming Dr. Peppers (crème brulee attempt likely)
27)  Have a picnic on the beach
28)  Conquer needle fear and donate blood
29)  Send birthday cards (envelopes, stamps, mailbox) instead of text messages
30)  Go camping in an actual tent in the wilderness
31)  Visit Ice Structure (official Ice Hotel in Sweden, Minus5 in Las Vegas as slacker goal)
32)   Help my children volunteer at one charity event of their choice each year.
33)  Take a cross-country RV trip
34)  Go on a minimum of 2 dates per month with my husband
35)  Take a cruise completely for free (hint, hint to my family on the Oosterdam)
36)  Ride bikes with my kids across the Golden Gate Bridge
37)  Turn on the grill and grill a perfect “medium” steak by myself
38)  Join a church and give my children the gift of faith
39)  Add one pair of Louboutin's to my collection by whatever method necessary (beg, borrow, steal).
40)  Pay off credit card debt (difficult with #39)

Friday, January 27, 2012


I have spent many hours trying to convince myself that my almost two-year old is still my little baby and not a dreaded “toddler”, but I cannot pull the wool over my own eyes any longer. Tonight, Abby came into the kitchen and sweetly requested “chicken nuggets?” It was a little early for dinner, but I figured that she rarely wanted actual food, so I would definitely submit to her request. I reached into the freezer and before my hand had even grasped the bag of frozen “meat”, Abby had melted into a tiny writhing puddle of tears on the floor.

I picked her up and asked her what was wrong. She cried “chicken nuggets!” and pointed at the pantry. I walked over to the pantry and she reached in and grabbed a box of fun fruits (also called “fruit snacks” by people who don’t like things that are fun). I pulled one of the packages out of the box and handed it to her. A smile spread across her face and she again said “chicken nuggets”. Obviously, she has been confused by the “tastes like chicken” method of deception that we frequently use.

I opened the package and set her down. She said “No”, handed the package back to me and pointed at the pantry again. “Abby, what do you want?!?” She grabbed the box and pulled out another package of fun fruits, which I proceeded to open and hand back to her. She then threw herself on the floor and began screaming as if I had handed her a package of broccoli. Okay, I am seriously losing my patience now. “Abby I can’t take any more. What do you want?!?”

She flailed on the floor for a few more minutes before finally retrieving yet another package of unopened fun fruits. She walked over to me and said “Open it?” I opened the package and handed it to her. She smiled, said “Thanks, Momma” and walked away happily, as if the past 10 minutes had never happened. Finally, she had found the one that was “just right”. I guess I’ll tell her that we’re having fun fruits for dinner when I pull the nuggets out later.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Make a wish

We were playing in the yard the other night when Audrey spotted the first sparkling star in the dusky sky. She looked up at the star, wistfully, and said “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. Wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.” This may seem like a mouthful from a three year-old, but this sweet poetry has been successfully committed to memory after watching the “Little Star” episode of Dora more times than Audrey can count (and she can count to 20 in English and 10 in Spanish-go figure). After she finished serenading the star, she puckered her lips and blew into the sky, as if she were blowing out birthday candles on a cake or blowing dandelion petals into the summer sky. I tried not to laugh because she was taking this whole wish business so seriously. In the end, I always want Audrey’s wishes to come true and I really hope that they don’t blow.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

8 lbs. 6 oz. Baby Jesus

We took out the girls’ Nativity play set a few weeks ago when we unpacked the rest of the Christmas decorations. The girls have had more fun with the set than we could have imagined. The biggest challenge for me has been keeping track of all of the people who belong in the manger.  Knowing the location of all pieces of every toy is essential, because you never know when you’ll need a bargaining chip.

I was trying to convince Audrey to get in her car-seat the other day and in desperation I said “Audrey, I’ll give you whatever you want”. She hopped in her seat and said “Can the fairy come?” I had no idea what she was talking about, so we went back inside and she plucked an angel (fairy?) from the Nativity for a travelling partner. Our set is currently short one angel, one donkey and Joseph. My husband used to loudly exclaim “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” whenever he walked past the Nativity set (which is funny every time, really, it is), but losing Joseph has taken the emphasis out of the whole statement.

Yesterday, we were heading to the playground and Audrey grabbed baby Jesus “Baby Jesus wants to come slide”. I wanted to tell her no, because we could not lose the star of the Nativity, but she was very insistent. She had a great time at the playground, tossing baby Jesus down the slide and pushing him on the swing. There was one point when Abby was attempting to dive headfirst off of a playground apparatus and I had to run to catch her. In the process, I had to take my eyes off of Audrey and in those short few seconds, baby Jesus was lost in the playground mulch.

I know that many people spend years searching for Jesus, but I never thought it would be so literal for me, as I crouched on the ground, digging through mulch while muttering “Baby Jesus, where are you?”  After an exhaustive search, I found him, just laying there peacefully, as if he had been right in front of me all along.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rules of engagement

Audrey and I were walking up the stairs when she spotted the framed print of me and my husband on our wedding day.

“Look Mommy, that’s you and Daddy on the beach.”

“Yes, that picture was taken on the day that we got married.”

Her face dropped and her eyes filled with tears “I want to get married.”

“Audrey, you will, don’t worry. One day, you will meet someone that you really love and you will get married.”

She brightened and immediately responded “Opa”.

“You want to marry Opa?”

“Yes, I do.”

They say the girls marry men that are like their fathers, but in Audrey’s case, I think she might marry someone that is like her grandfather.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

History repeats itself

I was cutting up a head of cauliflower before dinner and both girls were at my feet. I gave them both a piece and shooed them away so that I could finish making dinner. A few minutes later, Audrey was tattling “Mommy, Abby made a mess.” I walked out of the kitchen and easily found my way to the living room by following the path of chewed cauliflower littering the floor. I sighed and painstakingly picked up the tiny pieces.

I returned to my task of breaking up the cauliflower when both girls reappeared. I handed Audrey a piece and she frolicked away happily. I narrowed my eyes at Abby as she quietly asked “More?” I told her that this was the same thing she had just spit out on the floor. She looked at me pleadingly and tapped her little fingers together while she said “More?” She can verbally ask for most of the things she needs now, but she knows that baby signs are a weakness of mine. “Fine” I grumbled and handed her another piece of cauliflower.

She ran into the living room, and as anticipated, chewed up the cauliflower and spit it all over the floor. I cleaned it up again and went back to finishing dinner preparations. I added a few cauliflower florets to Abby’s plate because parenting guides all state that you may have to offer foods as many as ten times before a child will eat them. I also reflected on the fact that insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yes, parenting is insanity.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stop and smell the roses

Tonight, I was changing Abby’s dirty diaper when she suddenly decided that she no longer wanted to be changed. I was completely unprepared for this mood swing and was therefore not even holding her legs. She began kicking and flailing in a way that literally caused the sh** to hit the fan. Each move that she made caused the disaster to spread. First it was on her heel, then she kicked me and it was on my hand (gross). She continued kicking and it spread from my hand to her leg. Then she rolled and it spread to the carpet.

Finally, I picked her up and tried to clean her while she bucked against me in the air. I set her down once she was clean and didn’t even bother putting a diaper on her. Things really couldn’t get worse, could they? The whole house reeked, or was it me? I went to the kitchen to wash my hands and decided to wash my arms and completely discard my shirt, as well. I was searching for the dishtowel, which had been used as a blanket for a sleepy stuffed animal earlier, when I spotted Abby crouching in the corner. Of course, she was peeing on the floor. Why not?!? When she finished peeing, she proceeded to do a little jig in the puddle while giggling maniacally.

There was so much disaster around me that I wasn’t even sure what to do first. I picked Abby up and brought her into the kitchen. I sprayed her off in the sink and put a diaper on her, because she wasn’t going to fool me twice. I grabbed some stain remover and went to attack the carpet. I smelled something terrible and no amount of scrubbing was improving the situation.

I was finally satisfied that all remnants of the previous thirty minutes had been eradicated, but something still smelled awful. I checked Abby’s diaper again and asked Audrey if she had farted while I walked around sniffing the air. I went into the bathroom to scrub my hands again and saw my reflection in the mirror. There, on the side of my nose and a small portion of my cheek, was a brown smear. The mystery was solved with the realization that I am a brown-noser.