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Saturday, November 29, 2008

thank you, thank you

Some recent highlights:

1. Frosty and Elmo are officially up (as in the 8 foot blow up Christmas decorations).

2. Maya has started to walk! She takes 3 steps here and there just as a tease and then shakes her head vigorously no if we encourage any more. (And when she gets mad, she bites- great.)

3. Sandi had two hair cuts in the past week- one professionally and one from Ella. Yup, a routine "pretend" hair cutting session ended in near disaster when Ella left a distracted Sandi in search of new child scissors. Sandi's attention returned abruptly when she heard the unmistakable sound of her own hair being sliced off her head. Luckily, Suzi the professional hair dresser, was able to repair any damage (as well as provide some kicky new highlights Sandi didn't quite trust Ella with.)

4. Thanksgiving was wonderful, albeit somewhat bittersweet since we were apart- Sandi so kindly taking care of those needy ICU patients while the girls and I had a lovely day with my family at my sister's house.

5. The Weekly question last week (you all remember what the Weekly question is, right? The newspaper polling question...) what are you grateful for? Eight of nine people answered family. I could think of nothing more compelling. It sums it all up. I am eternally, undeniably, inextricably, unwaveringly grateful for my family and my friends that are like my family.

6. I have been very emotional lately - kind of that raw edge that makes you feel a little crazy, a bit weepy, a little energized, very in touch and completely alive. My sister sent me this link and it made me cry (again, not SO hard to do these days) but I wanted to share it. Plus I wanted to see if I could post a web link.

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?cl=10849410

Lastly-
7. On the way home from Mindy and Charissa's tonight (Sandi is at work and they so lovingly made me dinner and provided some much needed company this afternoon) Ella told me, randomly, "The clock is ticking, Momma." Oh my, is she ever right.

And p.s. I don't really get the whole "Black Friday" thing. When did shopping become a competitive sport??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Ella!

Ella had her 4th birthday yesterday. She had ice cream with every meal, told us she could do challenging things now because "I am four now- not three", accused Tia of stealing all of her birthday dessert at Pizzaria Uno (to which Tia almost cried and then went out and bought her Dairy Queen), looked stoically at the wait staff as they sang the Pizzaria version of Happy Birthday, donned multiple fancy outfits, learned how to get herself up on the low bar at gymnastics, told us she had "magic in her hands", got the "piano" she had asked Tia for (a keyboard) and played it all day long, and went shopping for a new fish tank. Phew! What a fun day it was!

Opening up a new fancy, twirly dress from Gramma. (She wore the tiara out to lunch.)


Ella and Gramma putting together a huge floor puzzle (another birthday gift.)



Ella, dressed for the fish-tank shopping occasion, pushing her own little cart. This made her so very proud.

The fish can't come home until the tank sits for few days so more pictures to follow about our newest pets. On the way home from the pet store she said (telling me she picked up on a conversation we had a lunch where the adults spelled all the pertinent words) "Momma, maybe Adora will die soon and we can get a new kitty!"

What did Maya get for Ella's birthday? Conjunctivitis. We go to the doctor this morning.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here comes the bride

If you have a taste for slightly ridiculous and incredibly sentimental, stop reading now.

Okay, either you are just curious and will scoff at me later or you yourself can be ridiculously sentimental and will understand what I'm going to write.

This morning Ella was dressing up (for the aforementioned Princess Dance Along Studio) and had on a very over-the-top and adorable pink, pink, pink fairy dress when she asked me for help putting on some head gear to go with it. Turns out it was the veil, which flows from a jewel studded headband, that my sister gave her last year for Christmas (in the context of other dress-up clothes.)

With a flourish, I swished it over her head, her eyes wide with anticipation as I secured it on her head and my life flashed before my eyes. Suddenly those gentle curls of a child were the sophisticated locks of a woman as I imagined her all grown-up, requesting assistance to get her bridal veil placed just so. And as I pictured her as a woman, my mind was latched on to this image of her as a little girl playing dress-up and me, her mom wondering how it all went so fast.

Then she said, "It's like I'm getting married, isn't it?"

My breath caught and all of sudden my heart ached, missing all the moments in between my little girl and the grown-up woman- all the moments we haven't yet had but yet I pine for just the same.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two in tutus

Ella got a birthday present tonight from Aunt Twyla (a very close family friend of the Carver's Sandi grew up calling Aunt) and it was all the rage at our house.

The gift - the one that Ella came and whispered to me was "the best gift ever" at which point Trish grumbled that Aunt Twyla had trumped the gift-giving before the actual birthday- is a princess dance along set. It has a DVD of girls dancing around in tutus to all the Disney princesses favorite songs and a mat with foot positions for the little girl (or boy) to follow along. It comes complete with a wand (the costumes were provided by Ella's dress-up treasure trove.)

Oh, and did I mention that Brevan was spending the night tonight?












For those of you who don't know I used to perform in my back yard to the musical Annie and blackmailed audiences to support me. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this gift.... In fact, I think I need to go practice right now.

Polar Opposites

Martha Stewart meets Martina Navritolova.


Here is Maya. Climbing on everything- easily scaling end tables and soon the couch. She has recently found her way to the big table.



And then there is Ella. Dressed in as a self-titled "scary princess," donning an apron and helping me cook for the Zonta craft fair bake sale.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

round and round the mulberry bush

I shouldn't have gone bragging about our heat. Yesterday I broke the auger on the corn stove. Big (chilly) mistake. Smoke, swearing, the whole futile nine yards. Sandi was at work and I told Ella I was going to try to fix it once Maya went down for a nap.

"Maybe Mommy should fix it when she gets home."

"Well, Mommy is at work and we might like some heat so I'm going to try to fix it now."

"Yes, but Mommy is really good at fixing things."

"Momma can fix some things, too."

"But Mommy is the best worker."

Me, a bit perturbed now: "Momma's a good worker too."

"Okay, how about if when Mommy comes home she helps you fix it?"

Am I a useless housewife???

Ella and I were (trying to) clean the house the other day and I asked her to throw something away for me. Big mistake. I had recently thrown a toy in the trash that no longer worked (but was very new- sometimes I just can't take the mess!) She came around the corner holding it in her hands.

"What is this doing in the trash?" she accused.

I explained. She looked at me very sternly and then said slowly, like a parent speaking to a child, "This. Should. Never. Go. In. The. Trash. Again."

At breakfast the other day she asked me, "How does the food get to your belly if your heart is in the way?"

Yesterday we went to the library, Ella toting around a fluffy pink Sherpa bag with a pregnant kitty (stuffed and fictionally knocked up) and her beloved yellow blankie. She was set on lugging this with her. We ran in to two of her pre-school classmates at the library which excited her greatly. When we were at the circulation desk, almost out the door, one of the little boys came running up, pink bag flying, heroically returning the gestating cat to its mother.

I was just relieved we hadn't left yellow blankie. The world has perhaps not seen a disaster of those proportions before.

As we left, Ella talked on and on about what a wonderful thing Hendrik had done for her. Her gratitude, propelled by the fresh fear of her near-loss, was immense. She was very excited about my idea to make a thank you note for him. It read "Hendrik saves the day!"

Then that afternoon we went over to hang with the Manharts. As we were leaving, Skyler who was about to partake in a chewy fruit snack bonanza, hurriedly thrust a packet into Ella's hands. All the way home I heard her say over and over again, "Two nice things happened to me. Hendrik saved the day and Skyler gave me fruit snacks!"

I'm telling you, people, we've got a lot to learn...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Those silly girls

Maya is lucky that she has Sandi for a mom. Sandi totally gets Maya's need to move and her overpowering desire to figure things out. In this way, the apple has not fallen far from the tree. (And Ella, in her choosing a new outfit as a birthday gift from Aunti Di instead of a toy, didn't fall from her tree either.)

Maya has figured out how to crawl to the edge of our guest bed (a mere 3+ feet off the ground), spin around and lower herself to the floor. I would NEVER have even come close to letting her experiment with this maneuver. Sandi let her climb up a small rock wall at her grandparents house, fly down a slide solo (with Sandi spotting), and crawl up and then back down our stairs. Although she took one very tentative step the other day, she doesn't have so much interest in ambulating as she does in scurrying, tumbling, climbing and romping. As I said, she is lucky to have a mom that gets her otherwise she would just hear "no! no! noooo!" being uttered from me every other breath. Mindy and Charissa bought her a onesie that says "Born to be wild" and they couldn't have been more on target.

Ella, gearing up for her birthday week, has been gracing us with her ever interesting and unintentionally witty one-liners.

We were talking about how lucky we are to have such warm heat in our house with our corn stove and wood stove. She says, "As high as a giant we would be so lucky."

I was unpacking groceries last week and Ella was playing grocery store, retrieving items for me, the customer, by taking all the things out of our kitchen cabinets. "Here you are ma'am," she'd say. I was looking for a utensil in a drawer and she says to me, "What are you looking for ma'am? I can help you. I DO work here, you know."

My country 'tis of thee..

I have been on a roller coaster of emotion since last Tuesday's glorious victory (an official landslide?) of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But thrown in there with weepy joy, excitement about revolutionary change and a general disgust that we wait until January 20th for inauguration, there was a feeling I could not identify.

Perhaps because I had, sadly, never felt it before.

Patriotic. Love for my country. Could even hang from my house or proudly wave an American flag. Wow. Even after 9/11 I felt awful about what had occurred, haunted by it, but I felt that we just continued to act in a conceited, short-sited manner. Last week I heard the current "president" finish a speech with "God bless the greatest nation in the world."

Huh? And we wonder why people despise us. I think we've taken the whole super power thing a bit too far...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Phew...

If you could see me now, you would see me doing my happy dance. That is in between the tears I can't seem to stop shedding.

He won. We have elected a black president only 50 years after the civil rights movement. And, just to put a little kick in my step, he won by a landslide.

This is the president that my children will grow up with. They will see a very important black man on their TV for (hopefully) 8 years. This is the generation of change - starting with the young voters who turned up yesterday down to my little ones with hands too small to fit into winter gloves -they will change the world.

Sandi says she wonders if Tina Fey was rooting for McCain just so she could keep up the Sarah Palin skits. Sorry you had to take one for the team, Tina. I will miss you.

Not wanting to miss this historical moment, Maya decided to stay up and watch the election coverage with me. She didn't feel well and was a boomerang, standing in her crib crying every time I set her back in there. She stayed up until after the announcement, playing on my lap, me hoping the Tylenol was going to work its systemic effect at some point before dawn.

Ella watched the Grant Park rally and Obama acceptance speech this morning and commented about all the people: "There are as many of them as pine cones in our yard." Not too far off. Yesterday, in preschool they were teaching the kids about voting and had them cast a vote for their favorite Teddy Graham. Chocolate chip won by a landslide.

In his acceptance speech Obama was promising our country we could pull ourselves out of this mess, that we would all work together with set backs and false starts but that we could and would do it. The crowd cheered, "Yes. We. Can."

And here come the tears again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sign of the Times

Maya, baby genius that she is, has started signing. I think this is funny because I love the second year for all of its two-way communication and the whole word explosion thing. And here she is not even a week into her second year and she is telling us all about the lights in our house, the fan, asking for milk and more of something to eat. We always said we did baby sign language with Ella partly for the communication factor and the whole brain development thing but also because it was so stinking cute!

Ella has been cracking us up again lately. She has such a new and complex perspective of life and sometimes she says things that just catch us off guard.

We were talking about the months, the seasons, the leaves falling off the trees around Halloween and the impeding winter. She says, thoughtfully, "It's like the trees are barefoot."

I was cleaning ash with the little fireplace broom yesterday morning and she says, "It's like you are brushing the stove's teeth."

She apparently is the child of metaphor.

She was playing with her puppets, entertaining herself very well, and I asked her what they were doing. "Pilates," she answers.

I have managed to pique her interest in Dancing With the Stars by pointing out all the beautiful costumes and now she will sit and watch a few minutes with me (on DVR). She was looking at Susan Lucci and commented, "She is old." And she is right. Susan looks kind of frail. But I thought, you should have seen Cloris Leachman last week honey.

But my absolute favorite was this one:

We were all sitting at the table eating when Sandi commented about something she had tried. "I can't say I'm a fan," she remarked.

Ella, no hint of sarcasm and without missing a beat, says, "But you are a fan of wine, Mommy."

Okay, it's election day. I've been up since 4:30 a.m. and I wonder if I'll be able to stay up tonight to see who wins (not that I don't already know.) Go VOTE now (for Obama!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obama Momma

I managed to convince Sandi to allow me to put Obama signs on both the cars. Sandi detests bumper stickers the way an architect detests a pre-fab building- she just thinks they're ugly. (I had to PROMISE to take them off on November 5th.)

I have never been so obsessed or hyped up over an election. I didn't think it was possible for me to care more about an election than I did 4 years ago when I couldn't imagine a world where John Kerry couldn't beat George W. We all moped around for days after that election- Ella just about to come into a world that gave that man another chance.

There is something about Barack Obama- I can feel it when he talks. It's the sound of hope, of possibility, of real change and even a new paradigm lifting up and spinning like they just caught the breeze.

I know our country's elections have always employed the use of the negative, and even flat-out untrue, campaigning tactics but what amazes me is the things that smart people will believe. Calling him a terrorist because he served on board, unintentionally, with someone who was a domestic terrorist in the 60's when Obama was a child. Come on people. They are funneling all their hatred toward an erroneous label "terrorist" because they can't come out and hate him for being black.

A client of mine told me this story:

She and her husband, registered independents and avid Obama supporters, were having lunch with their equally convicted McCain/Palin loving friends. They agreed not to talk politics, each aware they couldn't and wouldn't change the other's minds. All was unspoken until the end of the meal when the republican husband said, "I did well. I didn't say anything bad about Obama."

My client, having already decided on an approach to this, answered, "What more is there to say, he is a socialist, Muslim, terrorist," thinking her sarcasm and irony would keep the mood light.

The republican wife turned to her and said, "You know all that and you're still going to vote for him?"

Oh. My. Goodness.

I saw a swastika grafittied in downtown Bangor a week ago. I simultaneously marvel at the fact that we are about to elect a black president, an incredible human being, and that people are still that racist.

My vote is in, I already did my absentee ballot. My mom is out canvassing neighborhoods right now for the democratic party, talking to undecided voters. You go mom.

Thankfully it's almost over because I can't really afford more time spent watching Saturday Night Live skits where Tina Fey almost makes me pee my pants.

I think it is incredible that our country is in such a tough spot and that we have called forth one of history's best presidential candidates. Now we just have to have the brains to elect him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three little mice

Halloween on Beals Island. It is so much fun. Well, I'm not sure if it was so much for Maya. Often during the day we would recollect what last Halloween was like. We had a very similar photo taken with the three kids in the same chair, Ella and 2 day old Maya in Zebra costumes and Brevan in the best polar bear suit ever made. Maya wasn't thrilled in that picture either. You know, the general just leaving the womb/no one has started making any milk for me crankiness. This year's walking on egg shells temperament was (due to extenuating circumstances) our starting 30 minutes before her bedtime.




Ella and Brevan walking up to their great-grandparents house. Gotta love Old Navy and the super warm Halloween costumes. Note the glow necklaces Patti provided for them to wear for safety (and fun.)



Warming up a bit after her first taste of a kit kat (wouldn't that cheer anyone up?) and an exuberant fluffy white dog who was preoccupied with licking her face.






Adorable... I wonder how many years they will agree to matching costumes. (For the record, they choose it this year, not us.) It was hard to tell them apart.

When we were getting them dressed, Ella said, "This is going to be such a fun night!"


This lobster dressed up as Mr. Potato Head for Halloween.

No one can say we don't have any fun...