Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Sweet Serenade

I got a sweet serenade at bedtime last night. Here's the photo:
Yes, that's Maggie on guitar and Gracie on the music box. They were too cute! They need a band name, so if you have any great ideas, let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Last Day

Today is the last day of school. Only 85 days of summer vacation until the girls go back to school, not that I'm counting (okay, maybe I'm counting.) I love my girls, but 85 days is a long time when you've got them all day! Last summer, when I was in New Mexico with the girls by myself I hired a babysitter for an afternoon a week to give myself a break. This year we'll have visits to Grandma's house to keep me sane - I'm so lucky!

We kind of pre-started our Summer Vacation this weekend. They opened the city's pool for Memorial day, so we went as a family. Gracie has a nice scrape on her face just below her nose where she attempted to swim too deep in the shallow end and managed to scrape her face on the bottom of the pool. Sometimes I swear my kids are just walking advertisements for Band-Aids. Maggie is also pretty banged up right now due to an incident last week.

Jerry was out of town from Tuesday to Saturday last week, so I declared a holiday from cooking. The girls and I ate out every night while he was gone. The first night was Gracie's day to be leader, so she picked McDonald's for dinner. We got some happy meals at the drive through and went to the park to enjoy our meal 'al fresco.' When it was time to go, Maggie made a mad dash for the van, and just as she got to the sidewalk, she tripped. She landed on the shin of her right leg and skidded across the pavement, giving her a skinned ankle, knee, elbow, and a nice case of road rash all up and down her shin. She was not seriously injured, but true to her Drama Queen soul, you would have thought she broke her leg. I dropped my stuff and scooped her up to carry her to the car, and realized I dropped my keys with everything else. I was trying to direct Gracie to get my keys and open the van, and this lady pulls up in her van, and sees us in distress.
She opens her door and asks, "Do you need help? Is she okay?"
I reply, "She's okay. . ." and before I can say anything else, Maggie interrupts,
"I am NOT OKAY!" I look at her and say,
"You are going to be fine. . ."
"I am NOT going to be FINE!!!"
I tell the good Samaritan that it's just a scraped knee, and that Maggie is just upset. I get her to the car and pull out the first aid kit, but Maggie is wailing so loudly that everyone in the park thinks she's dying, so I have her hold a tissue on the worst scrape and head for the house, which is only a few blocks away. The whole time I am trying to be soothing and calm, but more I try to reassure her that she will be okay, the more emphatically she insists that no, she will NOT be okay. We get to the house and I start to clean her up. One last time, I say,
"Maggie, you are going to be fine." She replies,
"I am NOT going to be fine!"
Exasperated, I answer, "Your probably right. You're going to die from this skinned knee, don't you think?"
She looks at me like I'm crazy. I ask her, "Don't people die from skinned knees?" She says,
"Then calm down! You are going to be fine!"
She finally calmed down. As I washed and bandaged her, she said, "You know what Mommy? You take good care of me." I gave her a kiss and thought, "Well, sweetheart, I try. I try."

The rest of the week was rounded out by every fast food joint in town, although we tried not to eat the same thing every day. We did chicken, pizza, burgers and even tacos. I did cook several items this weekend though. The first item I tried was Runsas, a German-Russian dish that was in a magazine that I like. Jerry was not too keen on this recipe at first, because it has cabbage as one of the main ingredients, but they were very tasty. It's a bun that has a beef/cabbage/cheese filling in it. The dough turned out great, and was easy to work with, so I had a very enjoyable time making it. The dough calls for 1/4 cup of condensed milk, so there was quite a bit of the can left over. I couldn't just let that go to waste - it's kind of pricey, so I tried my first attempt at fudge after adjusting the recipe on the label for the 3/5 of a can that was left. I my math homework in for the day! It turned out really tasty. So tasty that I knew I needed to get it out of the house before I ate it all, so we gave it to the girls teachers for the last day of school. The last thing I made this weekend was potato salad, to go with our Memorial Day burgers and hot dogs. Jerry and I agreed that we like summer holiday meals a lot. They are so easy! I suggested that this year for Thanksgiving we try hamburgers and hot dogs instead of turkey and dressing, but I don't think it was very well received. Oh well, I tried!

The last week while Jerry was away I began experimenting with digital scrapbooking. I like it! It is very compact - no getting out paper, stickers, photos, etc. I can be a lot fancier with a lot less mess. It's very nice. Here's an example. . .

See! There's ribbon, a tag, stitching, the photos are matted, and I didn't have to get anything out to make this page! It's all on the computer! When I'm done with the pages, they get bound into a slick, full-color, coffee-table type book. What's not to like?

So, this is how I've decided to catch up on my Scrapbooking, by scrapping all of 2007 on the computer. This could be challenging, as I found that I took 2,247 photos in 2007. Wow! In fact, 820 of those were in November, but 745 of those have already been scrapped in our Disney Vacation book. Sometimes I think I take way too many pictures. . . Nah! Here's a few for your viewing pleasure:

Chef Maggie creates a pizza

Cowgirl Gracie all dolled up!

The next few weeks promise to be a flurry of activity as we close on our house and get moved. Hopefully summer will mean plenty of shorter updates, as I'm sure these are as exhausting to read as they are to type! We'll keep our fingers crossed anyway!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Sweet Mother's Day

This was one of those years where our anniversary fell on Mother's Day, so it was a doubly special day for me. At the end of it, I gave a contented sigh, and said, "Well, that was a great Mother's Day!" I'm not sure Jerry was so impressed, as he thought I might be being sarcastic, as evidenced by his comment, "Are you serious?" but I thought it was perfect.

The girls came in to our room in the morning, laden with presents, and I opened them all. I love the things the girls made - Maggie made me a picture with an essay of what her favorite memory of her and I was, and Gracie had made me some miniature cards that she had written things in - I love to read her phonetical spelling! Maggie picked out a Willow Tree Mother and Daughter statuette to go with her essay, and Gracie got me a bracelet with the many hats of Mom charms - a chef hat, chauffeur hat, nurse hat, etc. on a bracelet. I wore it to church.

After breakfast, church and a little nap we called all the other moms in our family, then headed out to the backyard for some planting, playing and dinner al fresco, then went on a walk and got ice cream from Cold Stone. It was a simple day, but fun and cheery, and spent with my favorite people in the whole world.

One of the highlights were the cards the girls got me. They are in love with those cards that when you open them up, they play music. The girls each got me one, and they had rehearsed dances for when I opened each of them up. Watching their excited, smiling faces was possibly the very best part of the day, so I wanted to share them with you:

Can you believe that's Gracie's Easter dress from March? She's sprouted up lately! I hope they don't grow up too quickly - I know the time is coming all too soon where they won't want to spend a whole day with mom. For now, I'll cherish these moments.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Most Powerful Force in the World. . .

First things first - for those of you checking this blog for health updates, my ultrasound came back completely normal. I now start taking Actigall (cue trumpets: Da-Da-Da-Dah!!!) and see how things are in a month. Thank you all for praying for me - please continue!
Okay back to the most POWERFUL force in the world. . . What could it be, you ask?

"Love!" Think the romantics.

"Lust!" Say the realists.

"Kryptonite!" Say the folks a few cards shy of a deck.

No! None of these! All the mothers in the world, shout it out together: "It's Mommy Guilt!!!"

Yes. Today I am suffering from Mommy Guilt. Why? What awful thing did I do today? Beat my kids? No. Send them to school without benefit of a good breakfast, coat, or washed face? No. Here it is - my confession - I Took A NAP! That's right, after the school bus left with my little darlings, I went back inside, ate breakfast, read the paper, and headed back to bed.

Now all of you guys are scratching your head, going, "So what?" Well, see, I am a lot less productive when I sleep. Mind you, I know that a well-rested mother is better for my kids and all that, and it's not the actual napping that induces the guilt - It's the time away from doing things for my family.

This is mystifying to me. Why do we do this to ourselves? How many of us want our spouses to work 24 hours a day? How many times do I tell Jerry he's working too much? Why then do I feel guilty if I don't work on something to benefit my family every minute of every day? It's not because anyone else is pressuring me to do so. Jerry often tells me to take time for myself, especially when the girls are in school, because let's face it, when they are here, they are pretty demanding. So, why do I feel guilty for taking a nap / going shopping for myself / reading a book / scrapbooking?

Perhaps it's the early mothering experience that gets us into this mindset. With the feeding, changing, and care that infants and toddlers need, you have your ultimate 24/7 job, with the most annoying pager ever - "WAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" By the time they head off to school, you just can no longer imagine doing anything else, even though you've been dreaming about it for years by then. Oh well. Another of motherhoods ironies.

Well, I've gotta run. Now that I've blogged, I've spent another 30 minutes away from my chores! Oh, the agony! :-P