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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Fun and Basket Misfortune

So Fall has officially arrived around these parts. Well, if you call 80 degrees and sunny and running through the sprinkler "fall-like." I know these warm days are coming to an end, and I'm more than ready for it.
We've still been doing our traditional fall-day activities, but we just do them while sweaty and wearing flip flops.
Lena does whatever Charlotte does.


We recently went to a nearby orchard to pick some apples. When we arrived, I got the feeling they weren't offering U-Pick, but the owner had mercy on me and my sweet children and allowed us to pick from a few trees. She handed the girls their baskets and they promptly stuck them on their heads. Well. Lena had the brilliant idea of hooking the metal handle under her chin, which resulted in the basket falling forward and covering her eyes. If you know two year olds, you might understand that they might freak out. If you know Lena, you know she will set the world on fire with her shrieks of terror. That basket was so wedged on her head, the owner came over and tried unhooking the handle from the basket. Lena was screaming with her mouth wide open (eyes covered by basket), and the wider open her mouth was, the more impossible it was to get that handle from beneath her chubby chin. Eventually I got her to relax and we popped it right off without having to butter her head like DJ Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler did to that Brian kid they babysat in 1990. 




Fortunately that didn't scare her enough to get right down to apple pickin business. Which to her, mostly meant  throwing them to the friendly dog that was following us around. 





Over the weekend we also visited a farm near our house. I love this place because there's never a crowd (unless there's a field trip!), no entry fee, and you can feed and pet animals. It's such a funny old farm and sort of creepy, but we saw a hipster couple show up so we felt like it was probably a cool place to be. 


lil squirt

Charlotte got to feed a baby goat! (So did I, and I was WAY more excited.)





That's the small update for now. I'll share more later when it hits the fan....which inevitably will be very soon. :) 

What's your favorite activity to do with your kids in the fall? I want to do a hayride or the Coopersville Pumpkin Train, but I'm not sure it's worth it. If you've gone, let me know! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Toddler Birthdays and Losing My Ever Loving Mind

You know that feeling when you wake up and you're all "I have absolutely no idea what day it could even be." Like it feels like it's a new day of the week that's never even been invented. A brand new unknown day of the week that has no assignment. No work, no church, no school, no sleeping in. Just strange and confusing.
That was this morning.
My husband leaned over and gave me a smooch goodbye while I was still sleeping this morning. I never even woke with his alarm. I was all "Where are you going?!" Like accusing him of having plans on a day that doesn't even exist.
Then I snapped back into reality and realized it was Monday, Lena's 2nd birthday.

Under most circumstances, I would not forget it was my child's birthday. But then again I've only been doing this mom thing for not even 4 years. I have plenty of years ahead to forget about birthdays. But so far, I haven't forgotten any. In fact, I usually have a good plan as to how we'll celebrate.  Today was different. We've had a crazy 5 days with Lena getting super sick, Charlotte had a really high fever and was stumbling around like a drunk and I almost brought her in. Between dealing with clingy, sad, pissed off little kids and cleaning up vomit, losing sleep and canceling Lena's birthday party because of hand, foot, and mouth disease, my brain has been in a bit of a fog. Maybe I also have the virus and have lesions on my brain.

This never happens


They give me so much love


This REALLY never happens

Once we got the day started, it was fairly normal but out of our normal routine since I couldn't take the girls to the gym KidZone. I made the traditional birthday pancake and it was actually well received despite their normal attitude when I present them with a delicious meal. Maybe I should serve more meals with whipped cream from a can.




After doing awesome mom stuff like changing gross diapers, I decided it was time to call the doctor about some interesting #2s Lena's been having since she was sick. Her dukes are straight up black. I know that that can mean blood, but I wanted to wait it out to see if it cleared up. It didn't. So I called and they wanted to get her in asap. I stayed calm, but was still pretty concerned about the outcome - it could be so many different things.  It tested positive for blood and the doctor said it's not typical, but it could be that she has the hand, foot and mouth lesions down the bottom of her throat. It's common to have the sores inside the throat, but usually not down into the upper GI. He did not seem overly concerned, given that Lena was in good spirits and eating and drinking normally. We just need to give it more time at this point. What a fun way to spend her birthday!

Then we met up with my husband for a birthday lunch and also to spread germs to as many strangers as possible. He was on a conference call and ended up being almost 30 minutes late and my debit card was declined because I apparently I am scum. So I waited with two cranky kids at Culvers with no food because I didn't have the funds to pay for it. We had a seat while we waited and they brought out a huge box of crayons and some coloring pages for the girls. So nice!!

Once Marcus arrived and was ready to pay, they brought our food out and said "don't worry about it. It's all taken care of." I almost lost it blubbering like a fool, but I kept it to a general "eyes misty with gratitude." It had just been such a crazy morning, I was really taken aback at their kindness.

The main reason we chose Culvers is because CUSTARD.  What better birthday treat than frozen custard with sprinkles!

Focusing on what's important here.


I got the kids home and they both took killer naps, I even snuck one in too because I'm ultra productive. 

Since it's Monday, Charlotte now has ballet in the evenings. I knew ballet began at 6:00. So I got Charlotte dressed, fixed her ponytail and loaded both her and Lena up. We arrived with a few minutes to spare so I responded to some texts in the parking lot. Once we got to the classroom, I was surprised to see all the little kids prancing about. I asked another parent if it indeed began at 6. She confirmed but then looked at me quizzically and added "it's 6:25 right now."
And in that moment, I had that very same feeling I had upon waking this morning. This strange time vortex where I was left bewildered and like I was only one left out of this new way of counting days and time. Everyone else seems to know what's going on but somehow I missed the memo of how time works. My forehead literally hurts from having a confused look about where those 25 minutes before ballet went. These are serious problems, people.

Related: I'm also confused about how my iPhone is autocorrecting "yes" to "Myra." It makes me look even crazier via text. 

I'm looking forward to everyone being healthy and me feeling much less insane. Is this even a possibility?



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Preschool Begins!

Today Charlotte had her very first day of school!
I woke her up before her cow started dancing ( This is what I'm referring to ), and she would not drop the subject until after she had eaten breakfast. That clock, by the way, has been a real helper in getting her to stay in bed longer in the morning and taking a nice rest in the afternoon. We had been struggling for a couple of weeks with tantrums, and since she's better rested, she's much happier.

I woke her up with plenty of time to spare because it seems like when I head to the gym at 9:30am (school begins at 8:15)  it's basically a shit show for an hour and a half getting those kids ready. Well, I gave her too much time because she was able to ask "is it time to go to school yet?!" one million times before I even woke Lena up.

This is what we call her "school smile" where she tries to look at the camera and stand still at the same time. It's very challenging for her.

And one with her umbrella because it was POURING all morning.

On Tuesday we had a visiting day to get a feel for what the day would be like and I was given instructions to bring 1/4 cup of goldfish crackers to contribute to  a special "friendship mix" with her classmates on their first day. I knew I had some goldfish crackers at home but when I went to portion some out, they were staler than styrofoam packing peanuts. So...I just didn't send anything. I felt okay with that choice because....how would they notice that something was missing? I saw a bunch of baggies with goldfish and pretzels and raisins on the counter when I dropped her off, no one would know that my kid didn't bring one in.

1) It's the first day of school. How am I already doing this??
2) I didn't feel too bad about it until I was recounting the story with my husband and realized...what if each kid poured in their own little baggie into the friendship mix and Charlotte just sat there. Chin cradled in her hands, just watching her classmates enjoy mixing a big snack to share.
3) I should have just packed the stale ones. No one would know they for sure came from my house. I mean, if they ever got to know me, they'd probably be able to piece together that puzzle, but whatever, right?

Anyway.
Charlotte did so great at drop off. 

She's always happiest not looking at the camera


I think her teacher is a special woman. Charlotte doesn't too freely hug someone she doesn't really know. (thankfully?)

ok mom. go now.

This is before she learned she doesn't get to stay

Lena helped herself to a spot at the table with all the confidence in the world. She waved and said hello to everyone and when I said it was time to go, she looked at Charlotte, looked at me, and was like "come on Charlotte. Let's go." (in so many words.) 

I headed home with Lena and realized that 2 hours feels like 15 minutes when you're at home doing basically nothing. So I need to plan out those mornings a little better and get something done like get groceries when I only have to take one kid. This is a learning experience for me. 

So that's that. My first born's first day of school in the books. Or on the blog. I don't do books.

Please tell me a story where you had a basic mom fail. Make me feel better.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is This Thing On?

Hello? Anyone out there still check this thing?

It has been MONTHS since I last posted anything here, and to be honest, I haven't really missed it. For a few years I really enjoyed getting my thoughts down. I liked being able to look back on the stages of my life and my kids' lives. And then I stopped liking it. Well, I didn't stop liking memories, I just stopped caring about documenting it all. And I regret it.
It's been 10 months, and a so much has changed.

Charlotte! 3.5 - starting preschool next week! 
Charlotte is growing up! She has always been a pretty sweet kid. Easy to get along with, goes with the flow, and overall just good. But something has changed in the last couple of weeks. She's stopped napping most days, and is basically bipolar. She will be sweet and affectionate one moment, and the very next she'll be having a fit about a mosquito, an invisible owie, or having to eat dinner. I'm taking any tips and suggestions I can to get through this phase (it is just a phase...right?!) She loves the color purple...like the actual color. She did not care for the film. She choose the most random things to be her favorite things because they are purple. It's really a great way to bribe her, actually. We are both excited for her to start school next week. It's only a couple of days a week, and only for a couple of hours. But she's such a little sponge and I really think she'll do great. 

Lena! 2.5 weeks shy of 2 years old!

Lena is growing up even more. She is getting to be much easier. Yes, she still has her moments, but overall, she passed her tantrum torch to Charlotte, and when Charlotte's done, she'll pass it back I'm sure. Lena is hilarious. She loves getting a laugh, and is very expressive. She talks a ton, which is so strange for me since Charlotte had a bit of a speech delay. She's also bigger than Charlotte was at this age and at this rate, Charlotte will be getting Lena's hand me downs. She still loves to cuddle which is one of my favorite things, but if I bring her someplace to play she can't wait to get away from me. The farther away, the better for her. I'll catch her watching me but if I make eye contact with her, she goes even farther. 

Darby! Such a regal looking hound.

Darby. She's still around and kickin'! Darby is 6 and even with the progression of her mast cell tumors, she is still doing alright. I really had no idea how much time we would have with her after last summer. But very little has changed. And we love her still the same. :)

and my main man Marcus is still hanging around too. :) 

I will attempt to blog more often in the next year. With Charlotte in school, I might have a little more time here and there where I can sit down to update. I know I'll want to look back on some of the notable things that are bound to happen while our children are young. 

That's my lame update for now. I do frequently share on Instagram and you can find me here: http://instagram.com/ering82 I do keep it private, but don't hesitate to request me!


Stay tunes for more thrilling shenanigans. 
I don't think I've ever spelled shenanigans correctly on my first try.









Friday, December 20, 2013

Blog Hiatus/Life Update

I took some time off from blogging, I've been stressed out! Oh, silly stay at home mom, what is there to be stressed about?!

Well basically, I have a baby/toddler who just never stops crying and whining. I took her to the doctor a few different times and she's always fine, so basically I was scraping by each day, completely burnt out by evening. But of course, it's in my nature that once she gives me a smile (or goes to bed), I forget all about the day's challenges and feel like I can face another day.

However. I just took her to her pediatrician for her 15 month well child visit. She, like many kids her age, is not a huge fan of strangers sticking their face inches from hers and poking and messing with her. So when I was explaining that she's very cranky, not walking, not cruising along furniture, and will only stand up on her terms, the doctor tried to get a look. That didn't go over well, and I joked that maybe if she came to our house, on Lena's turf, it may go better. That's when she recommended a home visit from Early On to have someone assess her and hopefully get us in the right direction.
She can get into things...but can't always get out.


I put in a request at Early On, and as soon as I clicked submit, Lena started cruising along the couch. Taking just a step or two. That was 3 days ago. Today, she's climbing the stairs (just a set of 3), crawling to the piano, standing by the bench and reaching for the keys. She's climbing into Charlotte's little chair, and today I taught her how to scoot down the stairs! You guys. Since she's been moving around more, she's been SO much happier! I feel like a new woman, and I'm sure she's happier too.

I may not be able to get up here on my own, but I've already composed 2 sonatas.
When Charlotte was Lena's age, she was doing all kinds of crazy stuff, and I was 3 or 4 months pregnant at the time. She seemed like such a big girl to me. The thought of having a baby 5 months from now is quite horrifying to me, but if she keeps getting happier...perhaps a new conversation will be had. :) or not.

If she keeps up with this easy-to-manage streak, I may just update a little more frequently. or not.






Monday, October 7, 2013

It All Balances Out

Yesterday was my birthday (Hint: my age rhymes with schthirtybun) and I had a fabulous weekend celebrating!

On Friday night, Marcus threw a wonderful party it was so great to see so many friends in one place! Some highlights include a friend trying to convince me that she ate her placenta and another friend accusing me of having a conversation with my Latin lover right in front of my husband. The assumed lover was my brother. I also discovered that many people are vehemently against taking selfies.

Saturday night I headed to the casino with my neighbors and was somewhat of an 11th wheel, because my husband stayed home with the kids so we didn't need to get a babysitter 3 nights in a row. I sat down to play Family Guy slots and within a couple of minutes I won a bonus game!
I chose Chicken. And won $75!
Since I won right off the bat, I just walked around awkwardly, waiting for my friends to win/lose enough to be done.

And to cap off the exciting weekend, Marcus took me to see Jersey Boys on Sunday night. We saw it in Chicago when I was about 4 months pregnant with Lena and I was so tired from shopping/growing a human, that I dozed off during the show for a little bit, so I was glad I was given a second chance! I loved how I could tell Marcus was trying his darndest to keep from singing the songs out loud. It's not so much that he's such a theater nerd, he just likes Frankie Valli. 

But like all good things, they must come to an end. And that brings me to today. I needed to get groceries. It's normally not that big of a deal. I don't love taking the kids, but it usually goes just fine. But today? Murphy's Law took over and was determined to crush my spirit.
Everything was just pissing me off. From the drivers in the parking lot, pulling out in front of me and taking the spot I was driving towards, to Charlotte getting out of the van and splashing into a giant puddle.
We walked in the store to grab a cart with the attached bench, but the woman in front of me with her seemingly capable 5 year old took the last one. *deep breath.* So we walked to the other side of the store to see if there was one there. There was not. We walked back. Every single regular cart was dripping wet from the rain. I wipe it down with my shirt sleeves. 

As I'm trying to navigate the produce aisles, it feels as if there was maybe an retirement home's day out because all these octogenarians are standing around shootin the shit like what else would you be doing by the grapes, pears, berries, and bananas. 

Ok. I get it. It's not everyone else, it's totally me. I know I'm the one with the problem today, but I don't think I was looking for things to be annoyed by, the annoying things were pushed up into my face.
Parallel walkers down the aisles? don't set your cruise control and just putz along beside me. Either pass or stop. Am I the only one who finds it really awkward to be walking carts side by side in the same direction? Just STAHP IT.

Then. THEN. This. Everywhere. 


Had I known that Mondays at 11am were the times when every shelf is being stocked, I may have reconsidered my timing. 

The one redeeming and slightly embarrassing factor of the trip was Lena trying to keep things interesting by going wild.
One of the more inappropriate versions of "Where's Lena??"
Since she doesn't like to be "messed with" I often don't bother with a onesie beneath her outfits, but I guess if we're going out in public, maybe I should consider it next time.

Over all, the kids behaved pretty well even though we didn't have the bench for Charlotte to sit on. She rearranged the salad dressings and would sit down on a shelf or the floor anytime I took a little too long deciding what to pick out. And to end the trip, we always have to ride the penny pony. Fortunately that was in working order, otherwise we all may have ended the trip with tears.

Oh, and as we're walking out, Charlotte starts whining because look:

Carts with benches. Charlotte's fave.
Of course it was pouring as we were leaving but I ran out of all craps to give while I was shopping. Lena kept slapping her own face with delight when she was getting rained on and Charlotte prancercised all the way to the car, so we all made it through just fine.

So what it comes down to is that if I have a *too* wonderful weekend, it will indeed balance out for me.







Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Fun

The weather here has been so nice the past few weeks! They say it's "unseasonably" warm, but the last several years it's stayed warm into October. The polar bears love it.

We've been trying to take advantage of the warm weather and smaller crowds now that everyone's kids are in school, so our schedule has been jam packed.

I'm trying to just accept the fact that I have an uber cranky baby and just move forward with my life, but each day poses as an opportunity for Lena to spaz for no reason. I've found that taking her out and getting into the nice weather is usually the solution to this problem. I've also learned that if things are going well, I just need to let sleeping dogs lie and not call attention to myself by taking pictures of her or letting her know that I still exist.

There's a little farm down the street from us that has some fun fall activities and animals that you can feed. They have a little shop in their barn that is mostly creepy but I got a bunch of honey crisp apples for way less than the grocery store, so I guess I can handle this watching me as I shop around:

She has reverse vitiligo on her face. 



We also visited the zoo, had lunch while we watched airplanes take off and land at the airport, checked out Art Prize, and had the time of our lives at the Grand Rapids Oktoberfest.


Lena surprisingly loved the loud music and dancing!

Lottie made friends on the dance floor and they copied whatever the other was doing.

Charotte was so excited about "going dancing" and she danced for close to 2 hours. When it was time to eat, she would boogie with tears streaming down her face saying "just wanna dance!" It was awesome.

In unrelated fall fun stories, this morning Lena was wailing about nothing in particular when I realized she had called a neighbor (and friend - so it's not completely absurd) on my phone. I grabbed the phone from her and promptly disconnected without checking to see if my friend was on the other end. Well of course, she immediately calls me back. Since it was morning and I hadn't yet had my coffee or whatever other excuse I can find, I was having a hard time putting words together as I tried to explain that my shrieking 1 year old didn't dial her because of an emergency. But it probably wasn't that convincing  because I couldn't form a coherent phrase. I believe the first thing I uttered was "sorry she called me."
I hadn't gotten much sleep because of the unknown metamorphosis my baby is undergoing so I sounded like an idiot. Imagine getting a phone call at 7:30 am and hearing a baby shouting at you on the other end. That's no way to start the day. So for that, Kim, I apologize. And also welcome to my life.

Okay really. Will the crabbiness ever stop? We've had a couple good weeks here and there, but she is persistent in letting me know that this will be her personality for the rest of her life. 
Did you have a cranky baby that morphed into a gentle butterfly of a toddler? Make up a story if you have to.