Monday, January 30, 2012

It Takes A Village...To Raise A Child.

Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunt and Uncles, Cousins, and Friends.  My kids encounter relationships with people outside of our immediate family unit every day.  I truly feel that these relationships help shape both kids to who they are today and who they will become.
So Excited to See Barney!
We all have different perspectives on life from living through different joys, hardships, and experiences.  No one journey is the same.  Many family and friends have intertwined journeys, but yours is uniquely yours and mine is uniquely mine.   I am so happy that I am able to offer my children a variety of perspectives on the world through family and friends.
I can see lessons and little habits in my children from our loved ones everyday.   
Dancing at Barney Live!
Jillian’s love for Barney?  I can officially “blame” that on her Nana for showing her an old video from the 90’s.  I tease her about the introduction, but I’m so glad Jillian found love in that big awkward dinosaur.  Myles has a love for fishing and the “manly” conversations that go with it.  Papa can fully claim that one.
Myles has a new goal of being the best skateboarder in the world.  Despite living a dozen states away, his daredevil uncle took the time to give him a few lessons and he and my sister equipped him with all the gear this Christmas. 
Both kiddos have a love for Mexican food.  We are not a bilingual house, but both kids throw random Spanish words in to daily conversation.  Dora and Diego can’t take credit for that.  It’s their Nannie (Grandma) that has Jillian pronouncing quesadilla like a Mexican.
Myles loves Michigan State and can’t wait to attend himself.  Why does Myles want to go to college?  “To meet my wife, Mom.”  Myles has had the opportunity to spend time at MSU experiencing “college life”.  His aunt and soon to be uncle have provided him the dream of being a Spartan himself someday.  After college?  He plans to manage Michigan Tile & Carpet (while also being a firefighter).  He wants to be the big boss, like his Opa.
We love to have dance parties in our house.  The kids’ aunt always makes sure that the CD player in Myles’ room is stocked with custom CDs to keep them hopping and dancing.  From If Your Happy and You Know It to Black Eyed Peas, they love it all.
I could go on like this for days.  Don’t get me wrong, Ben and I still accept full responsibility for raising our children.  We can see the things that we have taught them ourselves in everything that they do.  Yet, I’m so glad to say that they have acquired many qualities from our family, friends, and others that love them.  I love the little people they are and look forward to seeing the big people they will become.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just one of those days...

You know that day where you can’t do anything right?  That was today for me.  No major tragedies, but nothing would roll my way.
In theory, today would have been an excellent day.  It had all the right components… I had the day off work, no pre-school, and a haircut (or at least a bang trim – it still counts in my book).  Sounds like a dream, right?
We started the day off late.  I’m not a late person and I don’t like being late.  From ponytails to shoes and socks, we just couldn’t seem to get it together today on time.  Factor in that for some reason, our phone and internet were down (thank you Comcast.)  No real big deal though…  We finally got out the door and I got to visit with a good friend over bang-cutting fun.  I’ll try not to mention that my hair was dripping wet upon arrival.  No time to even dry it – so embarrassing!  Not quite as relaxing as a usual hair session with both kids in tow.  BUT – I look much better post appointment!  So, it’s time to pay…where is my debit card?  WHERE IS MY DEBIT CARD!!!!  You know that freak out feeling when you can’t find something like a debit card?  My mind immediately went to the seedy guy emptying my account, right at that very moment!  I try not to think of the worst, but hey, sometimes it’s hard not to. 
It was a long drive home.  After obsessing over where I could have left it, I finally decided it had to be at this cute consignment shop here in downtown Richland (I found a cute mirror for Jillian’s room in there yesterday!)  I run into the shop with the frazzled, I’ve lost my debit card look on my face, only to be met with a blank ‘stare from the “new girl” who started an hour ago.
Home to feed the kids, without the card.  Of course, children choose the times when mom’s are at their wits end to act up.  Really act up.  It’s their job, I know it, but it still didn’t stop me from yelling at them.  Of course, this is followed by terrible mom guilt for taking my debit card loss out on them.  Myles follows up with, “Sorry I was not being very good, Mom.”  Insert multiplication of mom guilt times ten.
The kids head upstairs to play by themselves while I make lunch.  Maybe I should say, burn lunch…and the plastic spatula I was making it with…  The kids emerge from upstairs to see what the stink was and to inquire about their lunch.  What did I see?  Jillian in a pink princess dress and Myles...well...Myles was in a pink Minnie Mouse dress.  He was fully equipped with mouse ears and a least ten bows and barrettes peppering his hair.  If you know me, you know I got a picture.  Ben is protecting his son (maybe rightfully so).  I'm not allowed to post it...sorry.
So happy for the laugh.  Kids can put everything into perspective sometimes.  Hours later, I have my debit card, phone and internet working, and all the little things that went wrong (many too stupid to even mention here) are fading in the rearview mirror.  So glad tomorrow is a new day.
P.S.  Baking banana bread covers burnt plastic smell pretty well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday’s Love and I’m Better Off Without Lists…

Love List…
·         Giggles, cuddles, hugs, or anything sweet in the tiny variety.
·         Runner’s high after a long run.
·         Naan bread pizzas.  Kiddos love it and you can’t get any easier!
·         Pajama pants after a long day…or even a short one.
·         Red lipstick.  So glad that in my thirties I have graduated from muted shades and gloss.
·         Homestyle popcorn with M&Ms (warm ones!)
·         Workdays with two or less meetings.
·         Empty laundry hampers.
·         Watching my husband as a loving daddy to our kiddos.
·         Heels.  The only way to make your legs look better that doesn’t require a lot of work.
·         Good friends who can stick by me, despite my quirkiness.
·         Surprise hubby phone calls offering carry-out and avoiding the Dinner Dilemma for the night!
·         Family dance parties – Rockin’ out.
·         My new nail color: Essie’s Midnight Cami (Daaaark blue, almost black, but still blue).
·         Ikea’s playland.  Not sure who loved it more, the adults or the children in our family.
·         Wednesday Wigglers.  An awesome program our Richland Public Library does for toddlers.  Dancing, singing, counting, reading, and learning all packed into a 20 minute punch!
·         My new friends and readers.  Thanks for your comments, sharing, and emails.  You are inspiring.
·         That late night snack last night.  Wheat Thins and Nutella.  Yum.
I’m Better Off Without…
·         Wet socks from bathtub puddles.
·         Mayonnaise…Miracle Whip…Or any other fat in a jar.
·         Toys with tiny pieces…and more tiny pieces…and more tiny pieces.  Oops - -they do occasionally surrender to the vacuum though.
·         Sponge Bob, Phinneas and Ferb, or any other show my kids accurately label as “naughty.”  Hilarious when they yell and run to get me if one of these shows grazes the screen for a second.
·         Countertop clutter. 
·         Toddler meltdowns.  No description necessary here.
·         Stressful television.  Life has enough stress on its own, doesn’t it?  Sorry, Grey’s.  I’m over you.  Although, this season is still saved on my DVR in case I have a change of heart.
·         That late snack last night.  Oops.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Date Night...Sanity Night.

Sanity. That is what date night is about. It is a night that I can leave the kids in the trusted hands of a sitter or family member and we can go out and join the adult ranks for a few hours. Dinner I didn’t make, drinks without sippy cups, and in last night’s case, fun and celebrating with family out on the town. We all need a reason to slather on the red lipstick and squeeze into a tight pair of jeans once in a while, right?

All day, my kids were so excited to have their sitter coming over. The anticipation of playing with her had them jumping up and down as she pulled in the driveway. What a wonderful way to leave; confident that the kids were safe and having as much fun as we were (well, hopefully not quite as much!)

The kids were all set for a night of fun and that left us to our own schedule for the evening, which didn’t include our typical bath, brushing teeth, and story routine. We had a great time out for dinner and drinks. Adult conversation, funny stories, and alcohol-induced giggling are sure ways to round out a fun evening. As expected, the kids had a great time at home with the sitter.

We don’t actually schedule a date night all that often. We are masters of the “staying in” date night, complete with pizza, putting the kids in bed, popcorn and a Redbox movie. Yet, when we do plan actually leaving the house for a date night, we never regret it. Somehow, an evening away offers a renewed patience with the kids and a reminder of what life was like pre-kiddos. It serves as proof that we are still as fond of each other as we were when we met in high school…I am still a light-weight with drinks..And karaoke night at any bar can turn into a comedy show real fast. Don’t worry, I did not sing.

One of my favorite parts of the night though? Coming home and seeing both kids tucked in bed tight, kissing their little faces, and thinking of the day ahead of us tomorrow.

When is your next sanity night? Get it on the calendar. I doubt you will regret it.

A picture says 1000 words (with picture quality only a dark bar and an iPhone could provide).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Using The Magic Word...And It Is Not Please.

Over the years I have struggled with the word no.  I have gotten better as I have gotten older (and wiser??), but it is a still a word that sits on my tongue before spitting it out.  There are exceptions here – “Mom, can we put a bowling alley in our house?” No.  “Mom, can I have another cookie?” No.  Those are the easy ones.  Yet, whether it is in my family, personal, or work life, I would always prefer to please others, despite potential hardship it might cause me.  A personality flaw?  Maybe…at times it certainly proves to be. 
Over the last few weeks, I have been mulling over the idea that if you have clear goals in mind for where you are going and where you want to be, saying no may become easier.  If the decision doesn’t help you accomplish the goals you have pre-set for yourself or your family, then a simple “No” is in order.  Makes sense...right?  Of course, things are not always that easy.
Saying yes at times in my life has certainly brought me many happy things, even when it wasn’t my first choice.  For example, taking a work trip when it was tough to leave the kids, but it helped advance my career…a tough yes, but probably a good judgment call.  Having to stay up really late to bake dozens of specially decorated cookies for preschool class…worth it every time when Myles is excited about his friends liking the snack.  These examples of times when I said yes, but wanted to stay no, still may fit somewhere into my pre-set goal test.
So, if I set a few goals for the different aspect of my life, different decisions may fall into different categories, but I still may be able to apply a goal test.
So…we need some goals.  Here are a few of mine.
  • To raise my children to be thoughtful, caring, and responsible young people.
  • To maintain a mutually loving, respectful, and fun relationship with my husband.
  • To maintain / advance my career.
  • To be a good example to my children.
  • To do something for myself once in a while (to help accomplish the above goals with a smile).
Not rocket-science, right?  So, if a big decision doesn’t coincide with advancing one of these goals, a NO might be in order. 
It is when a decision conflicts with two goals that I really need to weigh out the decision, right?  Different situations may even cause prioritization of the goals.  As a working mom, it is the dynamic of balancing the goals pertaining to the kiddos and the career goals that get me every time.  Want to get real complex?  How about throwing in the goals of my husband and his individual career goals? 
I guess it is oversimplifying to think that a simple goal test will help make these tough life decisions.  I’m hoping that at least defining these goals and thinking through the tough decisions with a pre-set filter, I will have less sleepless nights making some of those tough calls… 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Big Leagues on the Tee-Ball Field

It is such a snowy day today…a perfect day to sign up for Little League, right?  Of course!  It reminds us that just around the corner we will have be having rainy practices, grass-stained baseball pants, and of course, super excited tee-ball players.
Myles played his first year of tee-ball last year and he loved it.  He still wears his participation medal around when he is feeling like an ego boost.  Definitely something to be proud of for a five year old!
As a mom, nothing was more fun than tee-ball.  I could watch my son do something he loved, my husband helping the little players along, and my family (lots of us) cheering on the little Bulldogs.
Myles was not the best player on the field, but his excitement level was definitely up there.  That is what it is all about at 4 years old, right?  He loved to bat, run, and field the ball.  Occasionally, he would “drift off” while playing in the field (not always baseball).  The dirt, grass, glove, or any other distraction could easily take his attention from the game.  My favorite play of the season?  Myles laying on his back in the grass while Coach Ben looked for him.  I had to point out where he was…  He just wasn’t looking low enough to find him.
Myles always had a huge cheering section.  When he was up to bat, we would try to wait and cheer until after he hit the ball, so he wouldn’t run to the fences to entertain his fans.  Always a social guy, many runs through home plate headed straight to the backstop to chat with the family.  “Myles! Grab a bat and go to the dugout!!”  He is already worried about the cheerleading section for this year.  He prefers Jillian to wear her cheerleading outfit for each of his games.  It’s just more official that way.

One stormy night, we weren’t sure if we would be able to get the whole game in, but the game began anyway.  Myles was first up to bat.  With one swift swing, he hit the ball and ran straight to first.  A few seconds after he got to the bag, the first flash of lightning lit up the sky.  The coaches had to call the game, but not until Myles ran the rest of the bases.  A single home run won that game in the eyes of a five year old.  It is something he is going to remember for a long time.
I find it hilarious that the best part of the game for most of the boys is the snack.  A juicebox and a rice krispie treat never tastes as good as does on a ball diamond.  We don’t keep score, so as long as there is a snack, everybody is a winner!
By the end of the season Myles had learned so much. He was able to hit a pitched ball (no tee), field a ball and throw it to first base, and most importantly, had gained many new friends.  Today the sign up for tee-ball was exciting.  I look forward to fun with friends, family, and most of all…watching 4-6 year olds play out their big league visions on the tee-ball field.

Think Spring!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What to Wear Wednesday

I certainly admit that I am not qualified to give fashion advice. Little Miss Jillian Kate on the other hand…is more than happy to offer her take on fashion. She has great guidelines to offer…assuming you are a two-year old girl!

This is the outfit she picked today for our fashion show. It has all the right elements for success,

What makes a fashion show at our house? Well, first you put together your outfit. From there, you must be announced… “Now Presenting… Jillian Kate!!!” Then, you take your turn showing off while the mom paparazzi snaps away. Change and repeat as long as the smiles continue! Myles enjoys this game quite a bit as well. His outfits are...well...a bit more Superheroish.

Anything in pink is the latest and greatest in fashion. Find a dress that resembles what Minnie Mouse wears on the red carpet and you have hit the fashion jackpot! You can also add a pink boa to anything to increase the appeal factor. Notice her nailcolor? Blue. Blue IS NOT the new pink, but it is an acceptable substitute for pink on a spunky day.

Today, Mom got a pick for an outfit in the fashion show.

You can tell how much she loved it in this photo.

Seriously, how does she have longer eyelashes without mascara on than I do with it on?? Seriously!!!

Do you think she might have liked her outfit a little bit better??

She decided my outfit pick wasn't so bad afterall. I guess it's more fun to enjoy the fashion show than to pout. In fact, she wanted to put this one back on after the show was over. Helloooo! Two words. TWIRLY SKIRT.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Dish on Dinner

Why is it that I can make decisions all day, but the “What’s for Dinner?” question is always my dreaded decision of the day? Do I mind actually cooking the meal for my family? Not at all. (Although, I do call dinner prep time “Witching Hour” at our house. It is the time for all children to act up, right?) It’s the act of deciding what to make that truly drives me batty.
In a typical week, I cook six nights of the seven. Despite the numbers, deciding is a drag every night. I have tried planning the meals for the whole week on Sunday night… I guess it just goes against my “style” of cooking. I make things up. Not sure if I’m alone on this one, but I rarely follow a recipe. Cooking is like a science experiment, right? Just add some of this, a little of that, add some cheese to the mix, and viola! It’s ready! Just please don’t ask me to make that one thing from a few weeks ago. I doubt I can replicate it.
I asked Myles if I was a good cook. “Uh-huh,” was his response. This is about as much information I get from my home restaurant patrons if I ask what they want for dinner. “Whatever is the easiest,” is the standard answer from Ben. If you let Jillian decide, we would be living on macaroni and cheese and quesadillas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about “kid food” at lunch – your typical pb&j, mac & cheese, turkey sandwiches, and quesadillas (I love hearing her say this with perfect Mexican flair!) Beyond a fruit and veggie, they can pick what they want for their main dish at lunch. BUT – for dinner, I would prefer the kids eat a real meal, one that an adult would like too! Guess I’m off to decide what is on the menu tonight. Yippee. (Please note the sarcasm.)
Be sure to stop by on Wednesday. We’ll be having a new segment – What to Wear Wednesdays. Don’t worry, I’m not offering any fashion advice. Jillian Kate might have a few ideas for the under three crowd though!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Friday Night Fun

Friday night we took the kids…bowling. They had such a ball, let me tell you! Myles has been asking for a while and Friday was finally his lucky day. I had told him we were going somewhere for a surprise. His first guess was Disney World…talk about high expectations! Thank goodness somehow bowling was a close second. Anytime you add special shoes, a ball, and a scoreboard to a situation with a five and a two year old, it adds up to loads of laughs and tons of fun.

Jillian was convinced that the special shoes were “dancing shoes.” She could jump higher, dance better, and of course, bowl with perfection. Every time it was her turn to go, she would lug her six pound ball to the line (herself of course), drop it, and push it with all her might down the lane. 60 seconds later, it would make it down to the pins and she would knock a few down. She wasn’t too concerned about how many fell, it didn’t seem to matter. EVERY time that it was “Mom’s TURN!!!!” I would go and Jillian would cheer. It didn’t matter whether I got one pin down or a strike (okay – I never got a strike, despite the fact that we had bumpers on the lane), she would yell loudly, “Mom, I’m so proud of you! Give me a high-five! You did sooo great!” It was very adorable and I’m so that glad she has learned encouragement from us, but boy did it bring attention to my bowling skills (or lack thereof) to the people around us. I saw a few look down the lane to see nine pins still standing. Man, I love that little girl.

The highlight of the evening was a spare for Myles in the tenth frame. How exciting is it to get a BONUS turn?!? It couldn’t have ended any better for a five year old. Seeing the excitement on his face and in his little voice is truly contagious.

We all had a great time. Taking the evening to do something fun together as a family is often a priority for us and is never something we regret.

Friday, January 6, 2012

10 Mommy Skills That Can Be Applied at Work...
Negotiation Techniques.  We have to admit, despite our efforts to avoid it; we all negotiate with those little ones once in a while.  “Oh, you want a cookie?  Just finish your dinner and you can have one.”  The give and take of negotiation is used in deals at work all of the time.  Luckily, my counter negotiator at work has never actually cried at my proposal of a price increase!
Listening Skills (or lack thereof).  Most moms have the ability to tune out that annoying kiddie music in the car, another round of d-d-d-Dora, or even whining from a toddler.  How is this skill useful at work?  You have to be careful with this one as not to get caught at the wrong time.  BUT – selective hearing can be very effective in keeping your sanity during a boring teleconference or meeting.  Consider yourself warned, this is a bit dangerous when applied haphazardly.
Presentation Skills.  Performing another round of improv during a puppet show?  How about perfecting your imitation of a silly character to gain the laughter of a tiny one?  These skills have valuable application in gaining confidence during a presentation or speaking in front of large groups of people.  I don’t recommend actually applying any of the impersonations to this relatively more mature crowd.  I doubt it will be well received.
Organization Skills.  You can keep swim lessons, doctors appointments, play dates, and 12:30 Barney to DVR all straight.  Hopping from meeting to lunch appointment at work should be a breeze!
Time Management.  You can find time to ensure clean clothes and dishes for your family, getting everyone to school and work in a semi-presentable fashion, keeping food in the refrigerator and your little people’s tummies.  You have the time management skills of a champ.  Applied to the tasks at work and you will be golden!
Finding Humor in the Unfortunate.  Baby poop in the tub?  Lost pacifier at the Magic Kingdom with a crying little one?  Spilt milk…in the diaper bag…again?  As a mom, you just have to find the ability to find humor in things that sometimes flat out suck.  Otherwise, we would never survive.  Apply this ability at work and no matter how serious the day of meetings, or the account you lost, you can remember that…it’s only work. 
Recovery in Embarrassing Situations.  Singing and cheering for Barney at Barney Live?  Going in a public bathroom and having your child clap and yell, “That was a BIGGGG poop, right Mom?”  These are mom moments that help us prepare for our mishaps at work.  As I have said before, I fall.  Do I do it at work?  Of course.  Somehow, I manage to get up and just laugh at myself.  How about making a mistake in a meeting?  I’m sure it can’t be as embarrassing as your child yelling, “Mommy!!! Can you wipe my Buutttt!” in public.  Embarrassment is relative and children give us many frames of reference for comparison.
Compassion.  Moms know the love that comes with having children.  There is that piece of compassion that children bring to your life.  Applying that at work in dealing with coworkers or employees can help build relationships and keep Zen in the workplace.
Apologies.  If my kids ever get in a tiff, the child causing problems must hug the other and say they are sorry before moving on with our day.  If adult would use those simple words, “I’m sorry” more often in the big kid world, we might all be a little happier.  I don’t necessarily recommend the hug rule.  That may violate sexual harassment laws in some way…
Nagging Friendly Reminders.  “Myles, don’t pick gum from under restaurant tables.”  “Jillian, please use your inside voice.”  Okay, maybe this can’t be as direct at work, but if you ever have led a team before, you know that constant reminders and keeping a task plan on track helps get the goals accomplished.  I don’t recommend using a mom voice in this application, though.
Did you realize how much your kids have prepared you for work?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Multi-Tasking Mom

Okay…it’s confession time. Today was a day off for me. BUT – I still had a teleconference for work that I had to call in to. During this teleconference I…
· Got the kids up from nap and started their promised “Movie Theatre” with popcorn and M&Ms (designed to keep them busy during this teleconference)
· Switched a load of laundry and folded a load
· Unloaded the dishwasher
· Finished up a monthly report and sent it out
· Checked emails
· Got on Facebook
· Thought through the fact that I wasn’t planning on posting today, but decided to write about this
· And…oh yeah, participated in the teleconference
All moms multi-task. It is hard-wired in to us. If we didn’t do it, how would we be able to get everything done? Often I worry though, how effective am I at each of these tasks if I am doing it all at the same time?
Multi-tasking: Screwing up everything simultaneously. ~ Anon
Of course mom-guilt has me feeling bad that the kids were parked in front of the TV during the teleconference. They loved it, but certainly they didn’t benefit educationally, that is for sure.
As for the teleconference…luckily this time I was an active participant and hopefully I brought value to the discussion. There have been times that I have been caught before with, “What is your opinion, Nicole?” when I wasn’t quite paying attention. Shoot! “Well, I think you brought up many valid points. Actually I think you covered it all!” Hmmm. Hope that worked! I also assume there is a certain level of understanding there… at least I‘m calling in on my day off, right?
Certainly, I am not going to solve these issues of guilt today. I’m also not going to stop multi-tasking. How is that even possible? Shoot, I’m stirring our dinner on the stove as I type!
What I will do though… I will make sure that I prioritize important things like our tea party after the teleconference. Not to mention, enjoy every minute of our hide and seek marathon! I will delight in hearing Jillian whisper to me as we hide behind the laundry room door, “Mommy, you are really good at this game. I think you are the best hider.” Most of all, when I do have the time to do just one thing…I will really try to concentrate on being present.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And it is back to work I go...

After a wonderful break for the holidays, today I was back to work. As with any morning that I work, the alarm clock went off too early. Luckily, I have a husband that will make me get up (only after the second snooze – he is smart enough to choose his battles). Otherwise, I would be happy to stay under my comfy covers all day…well, really just until my kids wake up.
Let’s just say today was a ponytail day. That says it all, doesn’t it? It was tough getting ready to get back into the swing of things. I’m sure many of you had a similar feeling. Once I get to work, somehow I can switch into “work mode”. I would never try to deny that I drift back to those kiddies at home playing tea parties with their grandma. I also can’t say I never do goofy things like fall in the hallway, trip over invisible carpet bumps, or say things that come out differently that I heard them in my head (I am just too na├»ve I guess.) Despite this, like all working mothers, somehow I am still able to shift away from “mommy mode”. Potty breaks, art projects, macaroni and cheese, and practicing letters must fade into the background to get down to the task of the day away from home. Today, it was teleconferences, reports, forecasts, resumes, and email after email.

I’m so glad as soon as I walked in the door we could get right down to our important Mommy business of the day. Tag, tickle fights, and reading books were all on the menu for this afternoon. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’m lucky enough to work part-time, so tomorrow is sure to bring many fun moments with the kids.
Sometimes I really feel like I am two different people. One at home playing with my kids, and one at work in a professional setting. I bet many mothers would agree though…some of those tactics we use with our kids apply in some way at work. Hmmm. Maybe a future post on that!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jillian Kate: The Pink Post
What a gorgeous day. Since we didn’t have any snow for Christmas, guess today is the day to enjoy it! The kiddos had an awesome time playing outside all morning. I asked them what they liked the best. They answered unanimously, “Eating SNOW!” Playing in the snow is only worth it if you can go inside for “warm cocoa” and “warm pink cocoa” afterwards.

Jillian is a tiny girl with a big personality. Quite a decisive young lady, she knows what she likes and she’s not afraid to tell you. She is very loving and loves to be a “cuddle bug.” She talks like she is much older than her young age of two. Her latest negotiation… Arms stretched like an airplane going potty, she proclaims, “I don’t need to wash my hands. SEE! I’m good at balancing and I didn’t touch ANYTHING!”
A very independent girl, Jillian can do anything herself according to her. “I can do it. I’m big.” She wants to get herself dressed in the morning, put her coat on herself, clean up her own toys, and zip her own zipper. Her confidence is inspiring. After trying, once in a while she will ask for help. Recently I heard, “Is it because I’m not big enough yet?”
You can see a peek of Foofa's arm here!
She has successfully asked Santa two years in a row for some obscure toy that Santa has to search and search on eBay to find, only to pay more for a “Like New” version of the outdated toy. Guess she likes the classics? That is if you consider Barney a classic. I’m sure some of you that were children from the nineties loved Barney… This year it was a Talking Foofa doll. Don’t know what that is? Consider yourself lucky. She made sure to specify to Santa that she didn’t want her to talk at night and wake her up if she takes her to bed. Only talk when she wants her to talk. Okay, got it.
A complete, neat-nick, Jillian knows where every toy in her room belongs and will fix it if you put something back in the wrong place. Lucky Mom, I know! Need an image pick me up? Just wear a dress or skirt around Jillian. She will be sure to compliment you. “Wow! You look like a princess!” This is quite a high compliment from a toddler who adores princesses. The highest of compliments…being called Sleeping Beauty. Of course, she is the prettiest princess, she wears a pink dress!
Jillian always knows the right time to say I love you. Sometimes, it’s right after she has spilled a box of cereal. You go ahead and try and get upset with those long eyelashes and head full of brown curls looking up at you! Other times, it is just because she is such a sweet girl. In 2011, during many times of loss in our family, Jillian could sense when we needed a hug. I hope her caring and loving nature stays with her for a lifetime.
Thanks for stopping by! Now you know a little about both of the special little people in my life. I’m definitely a lucky mom! Tomorrow I guess it will be back to work. Not sure about that pencil skirt… Thinking I might have eaten a few too many Christmas cookies!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Myles Jacob

Kids are fast asleep, napping after rocking their 8pm New Year’s Eve countdown in style with streamers, horns, and footie pajamas. The Christmas decorations around my house are down and it just looks naked. I figure now is as good of a time as ever to write my second blog post!

Myles Jacob…what a sweet little boy. He is a very independent, happy kid. Sometimes I forget that he’s five. He loves to talk and comes up with the most interesting thoughts. He loves to go recycling on Saturday mornings with his Papa. This week he “had to check his schedule.” Somehow he found the time.

Always interested in how things work and why we do the things we do, he is bubbling over with his observations about the world around him. The kid has an awesome memory. I can say I used to be like that, but now I just wish he would give me a tiny storage bucket of his memory. When he was 18 months old I needed new tires. It was taking forever, so I decided to run across the parking lot with him to play at the McDonald’s play land. If you know me, you know I didn’t let him actually eat anything there, but he had a blast playing. Not too long ago, we drove by the tire place and Myles said, “Hey Mom, when are you going to need new tires again? That was so fun! Remember? It’s right there Mom!” Who remembers anything from eighteen months old? Myles.

Somehow Myles has an amazing sense of direction. I think he got that from his Dad. He doesn’t always trust that I know where I’m going and is sure to say, “Mom, this doesn’t look familiar. Will you be able to get us out of here?” No worries kid, I’ve got this one.

Yesterday, I was getting ready and he brought in a blue heart bracelet that I think he had stashed from his Halloween bucket. He presented it to me in his man voice (where he lowers his voice as much as he can – and when asked about it denies he ever does such a thing). “Mom, this is for you because I love you so much.” I know that mothers of toddlers, preschoolers, school-agers, and teenagers alike all have felt this moment. It doesn’t matter what happened before or after your sweet child did this simple act of pure-hearted love. Nothing else matters. Being cool enough to receive the love of your child is just so special. I’m sure glad Myles is the other man that has my heart.