Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Visitors!

Hello all!

There will be lots to post soon, but right now we have out of town friends visiting. One of my college roommates is here, from St. Louis, with her three little girls (ages 3, 2, and 10 months) and all of the kids are out of their minds with excitement. I will share photos of the bunch later this week. While we do have out of town guests now and then (mostly my mom) this is the first time anyone with small children has come to visit and spend the night. I LOVE it. You should all come and stay with us.

I'm mostly posting today for two reasons:

1) To let you know we're still alive over here.

2) To gently nudge anyone who is still thinking about donating to our March for Babies team. Matt and I have ended up with a little friendly competition over whose people are going to donate the most money to our team. My relatives count for my side, Matt's for his. Friends who knew Matt first count for him, mine for me, and so on. There are probably only a handful of Matt's friends and relatives who read here, so if any of you readers donate (And some of you HAVE! Thank you!) it totally counts for my side of the contest. I'm just saying. And there is a month left to donate - all you have to do is click on the box on the right! Every little bit helps! No amount is too small!

Oh, and if you buy a March of Dimes dress/top from my friend Liz, that helps (my side!) too. Here is my friend Emily's post about the dress she bought her daughter, Katy. So cute!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Can't I?

Here, in no particular order, are things I feel like I should be better at by this point in my life:

1. Checking to make sure I have all the ingredients I need before I'm four steps deep into cooking/baking something.

2. Ironing.

3. Frosting a cake.

4. Wrapping presents with wrinkle free results.

5. Wanting to eat/liking fruits and vegetables.

6. Planning ahead for events like the kids' birthday parties.

7. Formulating comments ahead of time so I don't spend a good 30 seconds blathering incoherently when I call somewhere to ask a question - particularly if I'm calling the pediatrician or the kids' schools.

8. Time management.

9. Keeping my emotions in check.

10. Prioritizing (see # 8).

11. Making pork chops without setting off the fire alarm.

12. Not losing my temper (see #9).

13. Keeping the house clean.

14. Waking up to my alarm. (Sorry, honey!)

Many of the above are things I feel like my mom is really good at and I thought would sort of come naturally once I turned 18 or maybe 25. No dice.

Were there things that, when you were little, you assumed you'd be good at when you grew up? Are you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Double Knotted

Harper learned to tie her shoes today!

I have been meaning to teach her, really teach her, forever. I have certainly tried to show her more than once, but it kept coming up while we trying to get out the door, so you can imagine how well that went.

I'd temporarily forgotten an important element of teaching kids to tie shoes - you need to be on the same side of the shoe as they are. Long laces help too. I was in an education store the other day and picked up a set of shoe-tying lacing cards (like these). That was all it took - Harper learned in about three minutes and then switched to practicing on her actual tennis shoes.

Shoe tying is a little accomplishment that feels like a game-changer. Harper can now officially tie her shoes, count by 2's to 100, get herself a reasonable breakfast, and set the DVR.  This evening she retrieved a load of laundry from the dryer while I was getting Michael ready for bed. I will teach her to fold a fitted sheet and I anticipate she'll be in her own apartment before the end of the year.

*****

One other quick Harper story-

Yesterday Harper made me a lift-the-flap book. She used the school directory to find the first names of some of her friends' mothers. Then she glued a bunch of flaps into a book and put a question mark on the outside of the flaps. Under each flap was a drawing of a woman, labeled with the name of one of my friends. How sweet  is that?

Incidentally, do you think children are equipped with some kind of meter which signals them to do something sweet/kind/lovely just when we're ready to throttle them? I'm beginning to have my suspicions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homework

Last week Harper came home with the March kindergarten newsletter which included some homework instructions. Each kindergartener was to take the provided piece of paper and draw a map of his/her bedroom. We discussed the assignment just enough for me to be sure that Harper understood what she was supposed to do and then I let her go and do it. Here is the result:


If you click the image you should be able to see it much better. In case the spacing/handwriting is throwing you off, here are the things she labeled: door, closet, book shelf, love seat, doll house, books, chair, basket, radio, dresser, me (her), Kit (her doll), Max, (her stuffed dog), bed, and lamp. She also drew a quick Michael's room, though some of that is cut off, as is the road she drew outside her window, because the paper was a little larger than our printer/scanner thing. 
It certainly isn't the neatest work a kindergartener has ever done, the scale is off, there's lots of smudgy erase marks, some of the perspective went a little awry, and yet I LOVE it. I love it so much. I feel like it looks pretty much like the essence of kindergarten work. I can tell how hard she worked by all the detail she included and the fact that everything is carefully in its correct place. And she was so proud that she did it all by herself. 

I have no idea what the teacher's goals were for this assignment, other than the obvious one of making the children think about how maps are a spot/space viewed from above. I don't know if she will be expecting something neater and cleaner, maybe with more parental guidance. I do know that this is one of the mountains of papers that come home from kindergarten that I will be saving. She'll enjoy looking back on it one day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bummer

The first time we sat down to eat ice cream together as a family I cried.

It was the first time were able to go out for ice cream together. Because of Harper's peanut allergy most ice cream places are completely off limits. Then, a few years ago, a seasonal place opened not far from our house. It sold ices, frozen custard, and was nut-free! I will never forget the first time we sat at one of those tables with Harper and enjoyed our treats.

For several weeks we've had the opening day (this past weekend) marked on our calendar and have been gearing up for the first visit. Of course that was before we found out we could no longer go there. Yesterday we found out they've added all kinds of peanut containing products to their stores and it really isn't safe for us even to walk in any longer. Boo.

Now I'm not going to jump up and tell people to send angry letters or boycott the store (you'll notice I haven't even mentioned their name), but we are so, so disappointed.

There are very few places where we can enjoy a meal or snack out with Harper and it is really too bad when we have to cross another one of off our list. Being able to take your kids out for ice cream in the summer is such a simple pleasure and one we really enjoyed, at least for a couple of years.

I will admit that I shed a few tears yesterday when I found out about the menu changes. I know it is silly to cry over something as inconsequential as not being able to go back to an ice cream place, but I think my tears were more about the barriers Harper's allergy represents for her, for us as a family. There are so many normal things that we have to think twice about doing. And I worry often about the ways Harper might be limited as she grows. I know that having this allergy doesn't mean that she won't have a full and happy life, but it is difficult not to feel discouraged now and again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Deal, a Way to Help

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who struggles with what to do about large tragedies like the one in Japan. Or even what do to about small tragedies. The truth is that a lot of bad things happen a lot of the time and for the most part we can't do a whole lot about them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of doing the things we can do. Maybe it is volunteering, fundraising, writing your own check. Maybe it is praying or meditative breathing or switching to cloth napkins. We acknowledge what's difficult, do the things we can, and then try to let it go.

And here's another thing, even though there are so many difficult things happening, there are lots of great things happening, too. I believe it is okay to feel joyful even in difficult times. Maybe especially in difficult times.

We can choose to do good things, try to shine our light into the dark places in front of us, make our ripples positive ones...

As many of you know, when I started fundraising for this year's March for Babies, I emailed pretty much everyone I know to ask them to contribute to our cause. Shortly after I sent the email my friend, Liz, (who I met in high school, TWENTY years ago, old much?) responded with a fantastic idea for a way to raise money.

Liz is creative force (and workhorse) behind FrayBabyBibsandMore and she makes adorable clothes for little ones as well as other goodies like environmentally friendly reusable sandwich bags. She is, in a word, awesome.

Liz offered to make two special March of Dimes dresses and sell them with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Michael's team. And here they are(!):



I love the dresses! And I love that she used purple themes - a perfect fit for March of Dimes dresses. Here are some of the nitty-gritty details:

The dresses are available in sizes Itty Bitty (newborn) through 4T. Any sizes 5T and larger will be made as tops. If you want smaller sizes as tops I can absolutely do that as well. The houndstooth dress is a fit and flair dress - the top part of the dress is narrower and more fitted and the bottom part of the dress flows out. The pillowcase dress is a uniform width, with sizes 24 months and smaller being narrower for a nice fit.  The dresses are $20 each with 100% of the proceeds going back to the March of Dimes in your team name.

Liz will take orders for the March of Dimes dresses until April 1st. The best way to view and order these dresses (and her other work) is on her Facebook Fan Page. Don't worry, you don't have to have a Facebook account to view the page. Once you are there you can use the "Contact Us" button or email her directly to order.

Please help us spread the word. Link to this post from your blog or send friends to Liz's Facebook Fan Page. If you're on Facebook you can share a link to the March of Dimes dresses.

Now those are some good ripples!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In My Own Kitchen

Today, around the kitchen table, my eldest child complimented me on:
  • My read aloud skills
  • My singing voice (ha!)
  • My ability to draw fairy shoes
Can I count that as a positive performance review?

If so, where's my raise?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Playing Pollyanna

So - I am super cranky tonight.

I am cranky for two reasons:

1) I am tired.

2) I have children.

Numbers one and two just don't mesh well... 

I subbed today and a lot of the time when I work I am sort of energized and happy to see my own kids at the end of the day. Today - not so much.

Now I realize I have NOTHING to complain about. And while I know the familiar feeling of wanting to kick in the teeth a person who suggests someone having a bad day just needs a little perspective, I also know that it is true that I might just need a little perspective.

I'm asking you to indulge me while I actually make a list of things I have to be thankful for in the hopes that it will improve my mood:

1. I am thankful we met our March of Dimes fundraising goal so quickly that I am raising it. Several people who only know us through this blog have donated and that is incredibly awesome. Thank you.

2. I am thankful we don't struggle to meet the physical needs of our family. I don't know what it is like to watch my children go without food, or shelter, or clothing, or medicine, or love, or books, or even toys. I know what a privilege that is.

3. I am thankful I get to meet two different friends for coffee tomorrow. This is possible because of nearby friends and an understanding husband.

4. I am thankful that, for the time being I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home-mom, mostly. It is difficult and I'm not always thankful about it, but I know this time spent with my children has not been time wasted.

5. I am thankful we have a DVR. I am sure that sounds like a silly thing to be thankful for, but I really, really love not programming VCRs any longer.

6. I am thankful that my family is happy with simple meals. 

7. I am thankful I can type this from the comfort of my own bed. Seriously, what do I possibly have to complain about when my life is so cushy I can sit in bed and use a laptop while watching shows from the DVR?

8. I am thankful anyone reads this - while a main function of the blog is the fact that I am able to look back and remember what was going on with us - it is a lot more fun with the feedback and support that a handful of readers provide.

9. I am thankful we are not experiencing anything even remotely tragic right now. I am thankful I have the ability to recognize that being tired and cranky is not tragic.

10. I am thankful for friends, near and far, who are there to listen and share their own stories.

11. And then there's this:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Visiting

Harper and I put nearly 1,000 miles on the car this weekend.

I wish I was exaggerating.

On Friday we drove from Ohio to my parents' house in Sussex, Wisconsin.  On Saturday we drove from Sussex to Waunakee (near Madison) for a bridal shower, then from Waunakee to Chicago, Illinois.  We drove to Chicago to spend the night with a friend so we'd be a little closer to home when we drove back to Ohio on Sunday.

Whew, I feel tired just typing that.

It was a lot of driving for one weekend, especially since only one of the travelers was old enough to drive. On a weekend like this, I make no apologies for the use of entertainment technology in the car. (Or maybe I do make apologies, hence the rest of this paragraph). Harper made use of both the DVD player and, despite my distaste for children playing video games, the Nintendo DS. I feel like we do a fairly decent job of limiting our children's screen time and, more importantly, what they are doing during that time, but I still feel really defensive about letting them zone out in the car. I feel like I need to repeat for you that we only do it on LONG trips, and that the children know it isn't an option during our daily driving or on most trips less than two hours, like driving to Cincinnati or Columbus. And I KNOW that we all survived road trips when we were kids without DVD players. We DID use portable tape and CD players, read books, and eventually in my family we had a couple of Game Boys to fight over. So it isn't as though I spent all my childhood car time in a jovial family sing-along or playing endless rounds of the license plate game, did you? Do you think our parents wouldn't have used a DVD player to shush us if they'd have had the option?

The point is, I was very, VERY thankful for all that tech this weekend. Especially since I kept myself entertained/distracted from the many, many miles by seven Wait wait... don't tell me! podcasts. (And now your picture of me as a pretty big nerd is complete. And accurate.)

WHY would we do all that in one weekend you ask? Well the bridal shower was for my little brother's fiancĂ©e, thrown by the aunts on both sides of my family. The travel was worth it to help celebrate Molly joining our family and to see many family members that we miss being so far from my original home. Harper had a blast playing with my cousins and, after some initial shyness, enjoyed the attention from the adults who were happy to see her, some of them for the first time in years.

The night in Chicago was kind of a last minute decision, but between the time change and the time zone change we were set to lose two hours on Sunday - it seemed a good trade off to drive them on Saturday and be that much closer to Ohio on Sunday morning. We stayed with a dear friend of mine from college (who feels like a friend I've known my whole life) and Harper enjoyed her first taste of Chicago.

Saturday night Harper kept leaning over the back of one of my friend's chairs and I had to repeatedly remind her to stop. Eventually she said, clearly exasperated, "I'm just not used to living in the big city!" She was fascinated by everything about the city and Cindy's condo. She loved looking at all the storefronts as we drove into the Chicago and she kept exclaiming over how busy and crowded it was. She was surprised by all the cars parked along the street and how we had to be buzzed into the building where Cindy lived. She was irritated by the noise from the upstairs neighbors and worried that she wouldn't be able to sleep because of the cars on the street (it wasn't a problem).

On the way out of town Sunday we drove right along the lake. Harper gawked at the huge buildings, Navy Pier, Soldier Field, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the list goes on... We even got to see the Chicago River, all in green for St. Patrick's Day. Harper has decided she'd like to live in Chicago when she's grown up.

It was a good weekend and I'm glad we went. I'm also glad we don't have plans to drive anywhere until Easter weekend - it will take me that long to recover!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Three

Dear Michael,

Today, dear boy, you are three years old. I will pause for a moment to let this sink in...

THREE!

I am not sure how this happened. It seems like yesterday that I was propping you up on our bedroom chair, taking a monthly photo. I couldn't take a monthly photo of you these days - I doubt you would stand still that many times in a year.

So who are you at three?

You are inexplicably sweet Michael, heartbreakingly so. You nature is mainly gentle and kind - so much so that it always comes as a little bit of a surprise when you act like a normal preschool boy and tell us, "No!" or throw a tantrum. It seems so...contrary to your personality.

Right now you are a complete mama's boy. Your father and I have developed a theory that you cling to whichever parent drops you off at school. Last year you were in daycare, dropped off by Daddy, and you couldn't get enough of him. This year I am the parent who takes you to school and right now you prefer me to handle your care in almost every instance. Nearly nightly you look at me during dinner and say, "You doin' me tonight?" That is your way of asking me to put you to bed and you are always disappointed if the answer is no.

You are HAPPY Michael, and very content. You love to follow me around the house and help with little jobs: unloading the dishwasher, sweeping with the little hand broom, putting items in the recycling, throwing wet clothes into the dryer, making the beds, as long as you can be where I am you are more than happy to lend a hand. When you aren't helping around the house you like to, "play basketball," which means throwing/kicking a little ball around the house and running after it shrieking like a wild thing. You especially like to do this in the kitchen when I'm making dinner - I am not such a fan. Other favorites of yours include puzzles, books (you love the library!), and whatever Harper happens to be playing with at any given moment.

In typical three-year-old fashion you like to do most things on your own, "Me can do it!" is a common refrain in these parts.

You have made many strides with your speech in the last year. You are still difficult for many people to understand and you very rarely speak at all, or above a whisper, to anyone but the family members you see regularly. Your articulation isn't very clear and you have an odd way of phrasing certain ideas, yet you are so much more capable of expressing yourself than ever before. Today you were supposed to have school pictures taken and you were not too happy that your teacher couldn't stand next to you for the photo. When I asked you about it you said, "Me cry yitta bit becat me sad some yitta bit." Which means you cried a little because you were a little sad. Even though you are difficult to understand the way you speak is completely adorable and I know that I will miss it when you are older.

In the past year you have started to recognize characters beyond Elmo. Your favorites are Cars and Thomas the Train. You also like the Trucktown characters, which, for now, are not on TV, only in some of your favorite books. It is only recently, as you've approached your third birthday, that you've been even remotely interested in watching television. Now you will snuggle up with us on family night and pay attention to what is happening if we watch a movie, and you love to get Thomas videos from the library. I must admit I appreciate this change, especially if you are sick and all you really want to do is snuggle; it is nice to have something that can distract you!

It has been a wonderful year in so many ways and I can tell that you are poised to do and learn all kinds of new things in the next year. I find it nearly impossible that your life began in such an uncertain way. There is nothing uncertain about you now Michael. You are a delight and I'm so honored to be a person who gets to help you learn and grow. I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

I love you sweet boy.

Love,
Mama

Monday, March 07, 2011

Cleaning Out, Growing Up, and a Request

We live in a relatively old house. One thing lacking in many older homes is storage/closet space and in this regard we are actually very lucky. With the possible exception of the master bedroom, most rooms in our home have large closets. The children's closets, for example, aren't walk-ins but they are deep and wide. Both children have the type of closet with two sliding doors. Harper has one long hanging bar that runs the width of her closet and two full length shelves across the top. Michael has two hanging bars (one higher than the other) that run about 2/3 the length of his closet, with shelving on the other 1/3, and one long shelf across the top. 90% of their clothes, for both children, hang in the closet which is great because it cuts down on the amount of furniture necessary in their rooms. Of course there is a small downside to having those large closets - it is too easy to just accumulate stuff in them! 

I do a fairly good job of keeping up with the hanging clothes, rotating out and packing away/donating items that become too small, but the shelving is another story. Which is why I was able to stand on a stool in Michael's room today and take down the old crib mobile, the bassinet fittings for the pack-n-play, two Boppy pillows, and several other baby items we haven't used in years. The things our siblings might want will be placed in tubs and transferred to the basement; other items will be donated. One of the items I found that really made me pause was a double insert for the infant car seat.  We needed it because Michael was way, way too tiny to fit in the infant seat the way it came.  I got a little misty, standing in Michael's bedroom, holding that insert, because it is so difficult to believe he was ever that small.  

Do you remember how small he was?


So tiny!  I actually find it kind of difficult to look back at the pictures from when he was an infant.  

I remember blogging when he was very little and things were very difficult and one of you commented that before we knew it he would be this big boy running around the house making us crazy and all the struggle of his infant-hood would be just a foggy memory.  How right you were!

I am so fortunate to have the luxury of occasionally forgetting the difficulty of those early days.  I know how blessed we are that we have a happy ending.  And while I do sometimes forget, I do not forget to be grateful.  Which is why, for a third year, we are going to walk in our local March for Babies.  It's also why, for a third year, I'm going to ask and then gently remind you that you can support me and the hope of healthy women and babies everywhere but making a small donation to the March of Dimes.  There is a not so subtle reminder over on the right!  If you are local person and you want to join our team, fund-raise, and walk with us that would be terrific.  If you are unable to donate or walk (or maybe you are supporting another walker, which is equally awesome) then please spread the word about the March for Babies and send us lots of prayers and positive thoughts for a successful campaign and walk.  

Can you think of a better way to celebrate this little guy turning three?


Me either!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Day is Done

I should begin by telling you that I am convinced I grew up going to the very best summer camp in the world. I will fight over this. The name of my amazing camp is Camp Minikani and it is still a magical place for children from Wisconsin (or children willing to travel to Wisconsin) to spend part of their summer. Not only did I adore attending camp as a camper, I went through the Leadership Training program and spent six summers as part of the Minikani staff.

Tonight our camp alumni community participated in a camp dinner around the world. Camp alums held dinners in cities across the United States and even internationally. We hosted the dinner in our part of the country but unfortunately weren't able to find any other camp alumni in our area.  Not one to be easily discouraged I made the members of my own family participate.

We modified the idea a bit, as our time zone was supposed to begin dinner at seven.  That's a little late for my kiddos so we ate a regular dinner and followed it up with a living room campfire.  We turned out the lights, turned on the fireplace, and sat on the living room floor singing camp songs.


The children also ate sunbutter bars and drank Capri Suns... these are not part of a traditional campfire but Harper made it clear that she did not care very much about my traditions.  She also insisted Kit attend the campfire; there are very few American Girl dolls at a typical Minikani campfire.  Michael also didn't care much for some of the traditions - one of the songs we sang had several repetitive verses and by the middle of the song he was telling me, "No do dat anymore!"  There's a reason that three-year-olds don't go to overnight camp.



Tonight's festivities were Matt's first experience with my camp tradition.  When I was working at camp there was a part of me that couldn't imagine marrying someone who wasn't also a Minikani alum.  I'm sure that sounds silly, but I just couldn't imagine sharing my life with someone who didn't understand that experience.  Of course this idea shifted over time and now it is enough to know that my camp experiences are large part of who I am. I do wish Matt could go back in time and see me in action at camp.  Given my distaste for spiders and having dirt under my fingernails it is sometimes hard for him to imagine that I spent many weeks of the year living largely outdoors.

Our Campfire
Even if they were a little lacking in enthusiasm, my family members were good sports tonight.  I won't be surprised if Michael and Harper request campfire family nights in the future.  I like to think I have done a small thing to keep the Minikani Spirit alive in my corner of the world.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

How To Get Vaseline Out And Something Else I Want to Remember

So back on Tuesday, when I was tearing my hair out, one of the things frustrating me was that a child had once again gotten into Vaseline and it was all over some clothing.  At least this time I wasn't getting a full tub out of a child's hair...

Here's how I got Vaseline out of various types of clothing:

1) Use plastic knife or flat edged scraper to remove as much Vaseline as possible.

2) Saturate fabric with Dawn dish soap, scrub into clothing (I used the same technique/motion I'd use with a stain remover).

3) Soak heavily-Dawned clothes in cool water for a while.  (I didn't have the patience for overnight, but they soaked most of the day.)

4) Rinse and ring out clothing. (I used a LOT of Dawn and I was worried about that much of it going in the washer.)

5) Wash as usual. Check for residue, then dry.

Viola - no Vaseline stains on the clothes!

*****

I don't think I've written yet that Michael refers to night time as "dark time."  I am afraid this will either change or cause significant problems once the days get longer.  For now I find it completely adorable.  Here's an example - if I'm going out in the evening he'll ask when I'll be back.  If I tell him that I'll be home while he's in bed he'll say, "Oh, you come back at dark time?"  Or if I try to get him in his p.j.s early he'll say, "No! It not dark time yet!"

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Blow the Stink Off

There is a chill in the air but it is gloriously sunny here today so between lunch and Michael's nap we went for a good long walk. I swear I could feel myself lightening with each step (though I might actually need some new tennis shoes). We walked for what turned out to be only about two miles, but it still felt good to stretch the legs. I forgot how long two miles can take when one of the walkers is six and the other walker is pushing about 50 pounds of stroller/preschooler. STILL we walked and it was good. I wish our neighborhood was friendlier for walking (slightly flatter and with sidewalks would be nice), but it was nice to realize that post lunch is a pretty good walking time as far as traffic is concerned.

I was in such a good mood I suggested we stop off at a friend's house and bring her son, who is in Harper's class, back to our place to play for a bit. Michael is napping, the kindergarten duo are tearing up the rec room in the basement, and I am off to try to finish my book club book.

Do you know that today is Dr. Seuss' birthday?  I can't help but link to this tribute from five years ago (Yikes! I've been doing this for a long time!). If you aren't interested in my attempt at Dr. Seuss' style that's fine, but it's worth the click just to see what Harper looked like five years ago.  Sigh.

P.S.  Someone asked about how to get Vaseline out of clothes... the Internet already has a wealth of information on this topic, but tomorrow or the next day I'll post about how I did it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cuts Both Ways

Right now, in this moment, I am having that feeling of being driven straight up the wall by my children. I am ready to tear my hair out with the frustration of how long it takes them to eat, the degree to which they argue about everything, the fact that I am going through the process of getting Vaseline out of clothing again... There are moments when I would happily accept a one-way ticket to just about anywhere but here. My skin is crawling with cabin fever, or something.

I know this feeling is fleeting (thankfully). I know that I might feel this way now, tonight, even tomorrow, but eventually this unrest will be replaced by profound gratitude; with awe that my job right now is to be with these miraculous creatures every day and to witness the wonder of their growing up.

Parenting is a constant ride on that pendulum swinging between joy and madness, gratitude and despair...

I just have to remember to hold on.

Winner!

Bluedaisy of Sugar and Puppy Dog Tales... is the winner of a signed Katrina Kittle book!  Woot!

Sorry I can't send one to all of you, maybe when I'm a published author someday (What? A girl can dream!) I'll be able to give away more copies of favorite books!