Sunday, September 1, 2013

They Were Right

We've all met them. Whether it's your great grandma, your boss, or that old lady at the grocery store, everyone has come across one of them. You know, those people who woo at your little ones while saying, 'Enjoy this time, it doesn't last very long. They're going to grow up before you know it. Off to college in the blink of an eye.' And then there's you: 'Sure thing, old woman...easy for you to say when you're sleeping through the night and don't have to wipe butts and break up fights all day long...' Being a new mom, I never understood why every older person I came in contact with would try and pass some sort of advice onto me, but I know.
It was only a few weeks after I had munchkin #1 that a friend passed on an article to me that I will never forget. It was about cherishing each moment with your child and to not wish away the 'rough' stages of life that they go through. Of course at that time, she was screaming every two hours at night and would wake up every time I would lie her down in her crib (after sleeping contently in my arms) ...then she was 14 months old and still not walking OR crawling...I was without a doubt, about to pull my hair out. But now, a quick five years she is...along with her baby sister...

All grown up.  #1 started sleeping though the night a few months after I read that article, and granted they both walked a few months later than the rest, but have made up for it elsewhere...and here we are, the parents of a first grader & preschooler. How does that happen?  But you know what, we are truly excited for them...excited for what this new school experience brings for both of them and us, for what they are about to learn and for the new friendships they are about to make. Truth be told, I did just stand over their beds a few nights ago and cry because I instantly pictured them as 3-month olds and how I kind of wished they were that old again. Yep, did that. But then I thought about how much we have fully embraced and enjoyed every second of their childhood and how we will do the same with their futures. I don't like that they are not with me all day everyday, and that things come up during the day that I find myself wanting to talk with them about, but that's what's makes you really look forward to the time that you do have with them and that's what I love. They are growing up to be awesome little people who are a blast to hang out with and we couldn't ask for anything more.
On that note, a look back on our super-fun summer...
A big 4th Birthday!

Her first dance recital
...where we spent most of our time...

Camping at Kinzua

First day of school

Those people were right...time does fly. And it flies ten times faster when you have little ones. Granted, when you are sleep-deprived or they are picking on each other every five seconds, those days may seem to never end, but the years will pass by in an instant. Bug now spends more hours of her day with someone else other than with me. It kills me. To no end. Sometimes I wonder if I just kept her home, all to myself, how long it would take for anyone to notice. Kidding. Kind of. She's my sidekick. We laugh together, have inside jokes, and provide each other with pure entertainment...and it is very weird not having her around for the majority of the day. But as much as I don't like it and think it sucks, I know it's part of life, part of growing up and I know it needs to happen. For her, and for me. We're going to grow together and we are going to enjoy this awesome adventure that has already begun.
Embrace the stage that your child is in. Don't wish for them to be younger, older, bigger, faster, or smarter. Don't wish time away, because before you know it, it will be gone and you will find yourself asking for it back because you were too busy wishing it away. You've got it go and enjoy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

9 months

Until baby #3??
That would be really fun and exciting, right?
Everyone's been wondering...
Maybe even a boy this time...
You were really hoping, weren't ya?
Sorry kids, but we are overjoyed with the two fine young ladies we have right now, so no luck on any new little bundles this way my friends, but I did manage to get your attention, didn't I?
For those who have little ones, you know how long those nine months last...for-ev-er.  Just when you think you're done and ready to go, you realize you have two more months to go. It's the longest nine months of your entire life. Ever. (until you're prego with bambino #2 and that time goes at warp speed..)
Jump to your children entering school. Real, everyday, serious homework type of school. Like I've said before, everyone always told me that time would always fly when I had kids, but I never, EVER imagined it would pass by me like this. It was just yesterday (only those 9 short months ago!) that she was sitting on the stoop anxiously awaiting her first day and here we are, her last day of KDG and in 10 short weeks she will be in school for eight hours everyday...please stop time.
She loved Kindergarten. She loved her school, had the best teacher, and made fabulous friends. It taught her lessons I hoped it would, ones I never thought it would , and ones I only dreamed it would. Last year at this time, we went back and forth whether to send her (as she was one of the ones that could have gone either way) and I can tell you that sending her was the best decision we ever made. I have talked to many friends who are currently trying to make that same decision, and it is, by far, one of the hardest choices you will ever make as a parent. The most important question we asked ourselves was, 'do you feel that they as an individual are ready (in every aspect) and can handle what everyday school will throw at them?' The one thing we were most concerned with was her confidence level...after a year of preschool, she was still pretty shy and not very out-spoken (which is crazy to think for those of you who know her dad..hahaha). Her preschool teacher was worried that she would get lost in the classroom...but we took a chance, and I can honestly tell you that sending her into a group of older kids only helped to boost her confidence even more. It was like sending her in with the lions. She knew that she had to put on her 'big girl pants' and rally in order to stay afloat and she did just that. It wasn't about being a leader, but instead, she had to pull from within and tell herself that she could compete with the rest and that made her the strong, independent little girl she is today. She knows she has to work hard, she knows when to ask for help, and she knows that she is a smart little cookie that can stand on her own and fight for herself. She has learned lessons academically, emotionally, and socially. It has been an amazing year for her and we could not be happier and more proud of the kind, caring, intelligent, little person she is transforming into and we are thrilled to relax and soak up these next few months poolside before she becomes an all-dayer!! 
We love you, Bug, congrats!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Look

I knew this day would come, I just didn't realize it would be so soon. On our way to school yesterday, Ali shared a story about how a kid in her class was being teased by other kids. My first reaction (and what I did) was talk to her about how she needs to think about how it would feel if she was the one being teased and to not include herself in that group. I then explained to her how she could step up and be a good friend to the child being teased and tell the 'bullies' that the things they are saying aren't nice. And the next sentence she spoke and the look on her face will forever be locked in my mind...'But mommy, I did say that to them and they gave me really mean looks and said they didn't want to play with me anymore...'
Hurt. Happy. Proud. Furious.  I didn't know how to emotions were all over the place.  My eyes filled with tears (as they do as I write this) because while I was so proud of her for sticking up for her friend, I was also sitting there feeling every ounce of pain that my little five-year old must have felt at the moment she did her brave little act of kindness. I wanted so badly to take it away from her and I tried my best to make her understand that what she did was so right and so awesome, but as a mom you just know that even as little as they are, they store that kind of stuff in the back of their minds and don't forget how they were treated by those kids. My heart breaks for her every time I think about it.
She knows what she did was right and that in the end, those who are kind, caring and brave will be the ones with all the friends to play with while those bullies sit in the corner giving their mean looks to each other wishing they had done things a little differently.

I've always considered myself a pretty laid-back person. I've never been one to rock the boat and I'm happier if everybody else is happy. I was consistently told that I would have been a much better basketball player in high school if I would have been more aggressive and not so 'soft' as they so nicely put it. In the end, all it took was becoming a mom and a few mean looks from kindergartners to say, 'Adios Soft-Sally, hello Don't-Mess-with-My-Kid-Debbie.'

It's too bad kids weren't so mean back when I was younger; I would have been a much better athlete...

Sunday, February 24, 2013


When I think back to when I was five, I consider it to have been a pretty easy, carefree time. I watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I climbed trees and played school with friends in my clubhouse. The most vivid memories of kindergarten I have are playing with the kitchen set in the classroom, sitting on little square pieces of carpet for story time, and stealing a magic wand from the little girl I carpooled with (which made for a few uncomfortable weeks back and forth to school everyday after getting caught...) 
I know we did a lot more during my 181 days in school, but the only things I can tell you that I actually remember learning are my address, phone number, and writing the letters in my first and last name. Luckily, my mom kept a journal while I was growing up (which I do now for the girls and find it to be such a useful tool and know they will too when they have little ones) and she kept track of what I accomplished each year in school. At the end of my kindergarten year, she (who was an elementary teacher herself and knew the ropes) wrote that she was so proud that I came out knowing the facts I listed above and had word recognition of 8-10 sight words.  That was obviously a long time ago.
Fast forward 30 years..(which is crazy in itself to think it has been 30 years since I was 5, considering there are days that I feel like I am still 18...and then of course there are some that I feel like I am 89...)  it's 2013 and Bug is over halfway done with her year in kindergarten. At the beginning of the year, she was given a list of sight words that she was to be able to recognize by the end of the year. Needless to say, there were more than ten...ten times that to be exact. They are reading 10-15 page books. They have weekly sentence homework that requires them to not only compose the letters correctly, but also correct the capitalization, punctuation, and spelling errors. One night while she was working on her sentences, TOH put it perfectly...'When I was in kindergarten I'm pretty sure I was learning how to cut out a circle?!'
I'm sure this is how it goes with every new generation and I am just really showing my age with all of this, but I cannot get over how much different the life of a little one is now. While everyone out there is working so hard on new gadgets to try and make life 'easier' on everyone, I feel like it is only getting harder on these little guys. They have so much competition and so many standards to try and live up to and I feel that a lot of times we forget that they are still these sweet little beings that want to play hide-n-seek, dig in the dirt, and have tea parties. We are really trying our best to keep it as simple as possible for them, to keep them as innocent and worry-free as they are, and allow them to enjoy and embrace this short, fabulous childhood as much as they can...because those first five years go by at lightening speed, and before you know it, they are reading, forming circles of their own friends, and becoming responsible little people right before your eyes no matter how badly you want to turn back time...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Favorites

Candy hearts are on the table, valentines have been sent, and fun plans for V-Day are in the works.  Lots to love this month. And for each day until February 14th, the little ones are waking up to this...

Every day when the girls wake up, they find a new heart on their door telling them something that we love about them. Simple, fun for them (and me), and adds some free decor as well!

It finally snowed here..liked really snowed. A whole 4 inches. The munchkins are over the moon and going out to play in it every chance they get. While they're outside with Dad, I have been trying out some great new recipes. And although I can't promise they are the healthiest, they're definitely amazingly delicious.
I could eat appetizers all day, everyday.  These are two that would for sure make the cut. I've made both of them for parties, and I wasn't the only one who was in love.
Not sure if it was the cheese, the crackers, or what, but trust me...and thank me later.

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Jalepeno Popper Dip

February also brings Awards season, which I have been a huge fan of since forever. The stars, dresses, hair, you name it, I am hooked. My favorite-and also big winner-this year is Downton Abbey. It's making quite a name for itself lately on it's quiet little PBS station, and TOH are proud to say we have been watching since the very beginning. It's not something that would probably catch your attention as you flip through the channels on a Sunday night, but watch one episode and you'll be running to the library to catch up on the first two seasons.
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For the little girls, my favorite lately is Princess Sofia on Disney Jr.  They literally count down the days until Friday (and I really appreciate that it is only on once a week-I think that is one of the reasons I like it so much) and I honestly sit down for those 25 minutes and find myself laughing along with them and loving the lesson that is taught throughout each show.  Winner.
And last, but far from number one for this month is the fabulous app that I found for my new...iPhone!! Pigs are flying, cows are jumping over the moon, and money is growing on trees! I am no longer the owner of a pre-historic, Atari-like flip phone! And as I've been playing with my new toy, I've come across what I can say is the best invention ever. If you know me, you know that I'm a texter. I've never really liked talking on the phone, but texting..I'm a crazy person. Well, my friends, goodbye mass texting, hello Voxer. It's essentially a walkie-talkie app that allows you to send verbal messages back and forth like text messaging, only it doesn't require you to type. Not only is it quicker and safer, but it's way more fun when you hear your friend's voice ask you, 'what are you wearing tonight?' rather than reading it in a text! A definite must-install.
Oh..and there's one more reason to love this month..because it's the month before Miami! Lots of love for February, but come on March!

Friday, January 25, 2013

At Ease

So...the holidays are always full of a little chaos, right? Well, this year between school, work, snow, and schedules, all kinds of crazy made the past three months a little too packed for this mama to shoot out a blog post in any free time that was left.  The last time I was here, Bug was turning five and starting Kindergarten. She is now registered for first grade and Kater-tot is preparing to start preschool in August. Why is it that the older you get, the faster time goes? I was always told that would happen but never believed it. Well, those 'crazy' people hit it head on.

We embraced every minute of the last few months of 2012. They brought birthdays, weddings, dancing, fun in the snow, and holiday visits with family and friends.

4th Annual 'Thanksgiving Before Thanksgiving'
Best Idea EVER.

Congrats Aunt Kiki and Uncle Jordan!
(The wedding was way more fun than we look in this picture...
we were saving up our enthusiasm!)


Never would have imagined anyone loving dance more than Bug.
Enter Kater-tot. She lives and breathes ballerinas.
It's the first thing she puts on in the morning
and we have to beg her to take it off at night.
Love her.

 My little Betty Crockers.

Played in some snow.
(This was our version of 'a lot!'..notice the grass poking through!)

And then of course had to eat some.

And finally, had to try and catch some before Santa came...

They left a key out for Santa this year...they were in full blown 'believe' mode.
It was magical and perfect.
We could not have asked for a more wonderful holiday season.
Our family is so thankful.
So, a new year is upon us, and although we didn't ring it in officially until the next day and with sushi rather than pork, we are for sure it is going to be another amazing one. After all of the chaos and craziness that we welcomed with open arms, we are back into 'relax' mode, and for those of you who may have had a thought that the reason I was so quiet was because I was hiding some 'news'...I can put your mind at ease in saying that we could not be happier than we are with our family of four!

Happy 2013!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A New Perspective

She's five. No more terrible two's or troublesome three's...she has entered into the fighting fives. She doesn't always use her manners, doesn't agree with everything we say, nor does she want to participate in every 'spectacular' idea we have. She has her own thoughts, ideas, and suggestions and she wants them to be heard. She wants to push every button she can and try to see how far she can get us to go. She is suddenly fearless.
This is a whole new world to us...and none of us, including her, are sure how to handle it.  Yet another part of parenting that we have both been warned about...
But despite her new 'change'  as I like to refer to it, months in advance, we promised her a big #5 party...her first 'let's make a big deal about it' celebration. She was given the choice of who she wanted to invite and she decided on a '5 year old only' party (with the exception of her sister). It just so happened that 'Finding Nemo 3-D' came to the big screen at the exact time, so off we went...all nine five-year-olds (thank God for my good friends who offered to help out!!) for a fun afternoon at the movie theater...and was as chaotic as you could imagine, but a blast all at the same time!

~the invites~
~All the girls~

Followed by treats at her favorite spot,
Orange Leaf

This was her perfect day. She had a constant, beaming smile on her face and she did not want the day to end. She was surrounded by so much love from so many good friends that she could not have wished for anything more.  Despite her ever-changing ways and moods, she has been and forever will be the sweet, caring, little Bug that we have raised from day one. We are so proud of the little person she has become and it is evident by looking at the amazing friends she has made over the years that she is one pretty awesome girl.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives to celebrate these special moments. Thank you to everyone who helped to make her birthday (over a span of a few weeks!) so fantastic...she loved every minute of it and we for that, we couldn't be more thankful.