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Monday, January 25, 2010

Full of it

Ella has been absolutely full of witty one liners lately.

Here are a few for you:

"Has it already been 1,000 years since I was a baby?"

"She does look like a princess. Princess Jasmine wears pants." (when Maya had a toy camera tell her she was "as pretty as a princess.")

"Hey guys, I'll be a little late today after school." (to Coconut and Mochy as she fed them - we were giving her new friend a ride home from preschool.)

This from the friend when she climbed into our van: "You are right Ella. Your car is messy." (To which I said, "You know why our car is messy? Because we have kids!" Ella found that funny.)

"You know Momma, things don't talk when you leave the house. I thought they did at one point but now I don't." (in reference to a commercial she saw about a talking toothbrush)

"I could use a little of that!" (regarding the teacher on the cartoon "Clifford the Big Red Dog" saying something about people doing things to feel good about themselves.)

"This dress is for parties that I go to. This one is for parties that I have at my house." (on outfit #3 getting ready for a birthday party)

"Maya did you know that you didn't used to be alive? And before you were, you lived inside Mommy's belly?!"

"I used to live in your belly, Momma, but I didn't like it in there. I was squished by your food but it was okay because sometimes I ate it."

"All of the things in the world make letters and shapes." (as she was watching the world go by out the car window)

And just one from Maya, but a good one: "Chickin' milk!" Translation: chocolate milk.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One fell off and bumped her head

Maya recently moved into a toddler bed (as in her crib without a front on it so she can get in and out herself.) It is perpendicular to Ella's bed and they sleep so their heads are a mere 2 feet apart.

During the first few nights, Maya was a bit unsure and wanted to sleep with Ella. So Sandi tucked them both in Ella's bed and came downstairs saying, "I wonder where they will be when we go in to check on them. I hope Ella doesn't push her onto the floor."



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

....to be continued

My morning got worse, for those of you who want the truth.

(For those of you who don't, I will tell you the girls and I made homemade beads and then strung them on hemp twine and decorated our hair with the woven jewelry, all whilst singing "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" by Peter, Paul and Mary.)

Thank goodness Emilie and kids came over to rescue me from my own bad mood. Prior to their arrival I attempted to exercise with the girls (rather than take Ella to her most unhappy place.) Picture me doing push-ups with Maya going over me head to toe with her toy vacuum or me doing walking lunges while she squirted my shirt with water and wiped my abdomen with a sponge.) This was followed by a brief but meaningful screaming episode on my part when I had had it with the girls yelling at each other over who uses the stool to brush their teeth first. Calm yelling with yelling? And then my overly optimistic friend Ange told me to use my angry, poor-parenting moment to be a better person for the rest of the day. Like I wasn't trying?

Showered, drank 2 cups of coffee, felt slightly improved and made lunch for us all. The kids jumped in the bounce house which, inflated, took up the entire living room. It was a total zoo. Then I heard Ella say, "this is the best party ever" and I was so glad that kids forgive so easily and that I don't rely on my own skills as a human being to parent our children alone all day. I also patted myself on the back for embracing the mess, the chaos, when deep inside I want to yell, "Stop! Restore order!" If anyone wants some deep, personal growth, I'm telling you- have a child. Or two if you really want to dig deep. (I don't know what's up with people who have more? Do they hope to be the Dahli Lahma?)

Then we went to Tia's house for an impromptu, snow day tea and Wii party which turned out to have many other guests, a lot of laughing, a coveted chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa for the girls and some mean dancing to the Just Dance Wii game that has us all busting a move. And a gut.

Some more levity from the girls:

We got out of the house at Tia's and Maya said, "I walk in the snowman!!"

Ella asked me the other day, in a not so stressed moment, "Momma, do you like having kids?"

We toss the girls towels in the dryer so they are warm when they get out of the tub. Now we throw in the bathrobes too. When they get out, Maya yells, "Warm bathroom!" and won't even use the towel anymore.

And tonight, after a 25 minute supper prep that consisted of Maya crying at my feet, I said, "It is SO frustrating to make supper while someone cries at you the whole time." To this, Ella replied, "Tell me about it."

A confession: We are going to Burlington, VT next week to see Brandi Carlile in concert (happy sigh). We are going to be there two nights and because our childcare lives 2 hours away on Beals Island, we are likely going to be without the girls a night on each end. Did you do the math? That is 4 nights! I have had 2 good friends ask me if that is going to be "hard" or "too long." I have to wonder if I'm a bad parent that I think, hallelujah...
I feel I am riding that line again. That schizophrenic line between loving my job as a parent and wanting to flee the scene.

Here are some things that provide me with relief:

Maya thinks that everything snow is a snowman." When she walks through a parking lot, boots sticky with snow, she says, "snowman." When it falls from the sky? "Snowman." As in, "Coconutty is out in the snowman. Ha! Ha!"


Ella asked me if we could please go to Florida someday. I told her yes we could. She said, "Yeah, but not yet because we all know that Maya got lost in the elevator at the hospital."


Maya was acting delirious in her exhaustion when we put her to bed last night. Sandi, giving her a mini-mental status exam, asked, "If you throw a stone into a lake will it sink or float?" Maya replied, "I tooted."


Ella asked yesterday if she can control the words that come out of my mouth or if her brain does that.

Maya LOVES the word no. These days she walks around the house saying, "no, no, no, no, no." We read books and she tells me all the things the characters are not doing or not wearing, "No dance. No hat. No run." She scrunches her nose up at us and accusingly says "No!" even though we might just be sitting sipping tea. Maya said to me, "Cereal (seal-e-ul)," which had been sitting in milk for half an hour, "Crunchy. No."

Ella told Maya to stop pushing buttons on my insulin pump. "Maya stop touching that! Momma needs that or she will die." Ummm... maybe I was a little to specific in the explanation?


I heard myself say this morning to Maya, "No! We don't put our forks on people's feet and then put them in our mouths!"

This is the zoo I am living in today while Sandi had the nerve to go off to work and take care of those pesky critically ill people and it snowed, and they cancelled school and Ella has developed an aversion to the day care at the gym. ("It is my most unhappy place.") Who stole my good mood and can I have it back please?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A visual

Day 4 of food bootcamp consisted of Sandi feeding Maya her broccoli in the bathtub just so she wouldn't go to sleep starving and get us up at 4 am.

Tub or no tub, she still refused the avocado.

You gotta do what you gotta do right?


Saturday, January 16, 2010

rehab.

Food rehab.

It's bootcamp at our house.

We are recovering from about 4 years of being too relaxed with food and meals in conjunction with the "nutritional wasteland that is the holiday season." (quoted from Runnner's World editor)

No more snacks, except for fruit. You come to the table hungry and eat what is served. You try EVERYTHING. At least one bite. You sit during meals and when you leave you are done. (Except for me, because if I did that I would be skinny as a rail. I get up about 50 times during a meal.)

It had gotten out of control! We were making really nice, healthy meals for our kids and they were eating one cucumber (drenched in ranch dressing) and asking for dessert. There was crying, seat hopping, indigestion (on our parts) and general discontent.

Time for family meal makeover.

The pediatrician had told us before Maya was born to not give the kids choices about their meals. They will learn to eat what you eat, she said. She promised they would not starve. Did we listen to her????

I heard my friend Meredith tell her kids the other day (when one of them said he didn't like corn), "well that's what's for dinner." He ate it. All of it.

Emilie has removed chicken nuggets and other processed foods from her house and no one even misses them. She came up with alternate, healthier versions of some of their favorites. It's working.

And I finally got it! If we don't serve it, they can't eat it! And if they are hungry enough, they will eat what we feed them!

So here we are 6 days into food rehab and I would like to report is going well. With the help of Jessica Seinfield's sneaky cookbook on putting vegetables in regular food, our kids nutritional intake has gone THROUGH THE ROOF. Last night they snacked on carrots before dinner, ate cucumbers (with homemade ranch dressing consisting of white beans, a little sour cream, buttermilk and spices), steamed broccoli and these yummy rice balls that had sweet potato, squash, brown rice, potato all rolled into a ball and tossed in bread crumbs and browned up. And we are no dummies... they can have a reward for eating like champs. Last night it was a healthier version chocolate chip cookie. The day before, 100% fruit roll-ups.

And we won't make them eat anything. They can leave the table hungry if they want. No force feeding happening here. BUT...if you want to try those yummy cookies...you can choose to eat that homemade macaroni and cheese that has pureed butternut squash in it. Or not. Up to you.

And you know what? It's working! Now when I say, "Who wants dried apricots?" they shout, "Yeah! Me!"

Who wants to come to our house to eat?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh what a night!


We had an overnight.
Alone.

It was heaven on earth.

We had coffee and read magazines at Border's.  We had a leisurely trip to the gym, a quiet supper at home and then out to the pub to hear a band play.  In bed late, but who cares? We got up when we wanted.  To a quiet house and (cheer!) a quiet hot cup of tea.

Do you feel the quiet?



And then hit the woods to snowshoe.  As in, brush the dust off, it's been 5 years.




Chick Hill, calling.




A thermos of steaming hot chocolate...















Sunshine, blue skies, happy girls.








Hopeful.








Thanks Matt and Ange from the bottom of our now quiet hearts.  We can't thank you enough. 

Who wants them next weekend?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

heeelllllooo insanity!

I'm not sure I can quite believe it, but have committed myself to run a marathon in May.

As in 26.2 miles just for the fun and challenge and craziness of it.

I am actually incredibly excited but wonder what the catch is. How can one be this excited for something that is sure to be so very difficult, demanding, and blistering?

Emilie made up a training schedule (this is Em at her shining best.) It is 18 weeks and it starts on January 25th.

Swallow.

Starting with a reasonable 6 miles, this schedule climbs with the confidence of a flag being raised, up to an alarming 20 miles in week 15. Another swallow. And a surprising flip in my stomach that this will be me in the beginning of May.

Anyway, the funny part of the story is that I had a dream last night that someone called me up and said, "Hey, there is a marathon this morning at such and such a place. You up for it?" And I said, "Yeah!"

Followed by, "How hard can it be?"

You just keep running right? Even when it gets hard, you just put one foot in front of the other?

I think I might be in for it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmasy

We did a LOT for Christmas. Here is my attempt to win the award: Christmas in review in under 100 pictures.

We definitely did some baking:































And attended Ella's preschool holiday soiree:














(Ella took this one!)







A visit with the big man:






And his elf:

We watched for the inflatable Elmo each and every twighlight:




Enjoyed some muchly needed wine:










Enjoyed the lights in the quiet when our kids were nestled in their beds:







We made some yummy eats:




And tried to be filled with as much love as possible which was sometimes tricky when there is a lot of crying and screaming:
(and your two-year-old cops THIS attitude!)













Carver family photo.
















Me with my sister and my mom. (This is where the cost of the late nights of Christmas spirit begin to show under my eyes...)




My niece Michaela and nephew Braeden.





Ella putting on a little show with the gift we gave Michaela, a standup microphone. Sooo glad this lives at my sister's house!




























hum..mumph...THE MANTLE.





And my favorite picture from Christmas...Sandi's grandparents who have been married over 60 years:

After all, this IS what it's all about, right?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Casa de Carver-Kenney- Beals, ME


As promised...pictures of the amazing house Sandi's mom built for her sister Kristi and her family.

We went to Beals a couple of weeks before Christmas to celebrate Kristi's birthday. What did she want as a gift? To clean up her house and get ready to move in.

It was quite a party.


The view from the upstairs.


Trish and her boyfriend Brock (the consulting carpenter on all matters hardwood.)


The builder extraordinaire at work.



Trish and her mom discussing something important. Probably arguing over who took the last piece of friendship bread made special for the occasion and a huge family favorite.



Maya doing some light mopping.



And some heavy bossing around.



Ella was more a fan of the feather duster. Of course.


Kitchen...



all ready for a party.





The birthday girl and new homeowner.





Mochy, contemplating the craftsman staircase. A family friend of the Carver's is an expert custom staircase builder. I believe he built a staircase for Jerry Seinfeld.



We brought the bounce house for the occasion.



Still time to be a grandmother AND a home builder.


Goodness gracious, Patti Carver. You amaze us.