Thursday, April 23, 2009

One more reason I'm the Mom

In our house, we play a fun little game I like to call one million 20 questions.

I'm sure you're quite familiar.

You know, the one where your child asks questions.

Lots of them.

Questions that make sense. Questions that don't make sense. Questions you can't answer. Questions you don't want to answer. Questions about questions.

Questions, questions, questions.

Once a minute in a while, I feel like one more question might just put me over the edge.

On these occasions, I've found that humor can go a long way in keeping me away from the bottle helping me stay sane.

I play a little game of role reversal and answer every question with a question.

Or, on days like today, spend the entire ride home from preschool asking the Mad Hatter non-stop questions, in the exact tone of voice she uses with me.

Since I'm usually so full of patience I only play this "game" once in a while, I always get a kick out of her reaction.

First, she gets all flustered and tries to answer the questions. Then she realizes I'm playing with her and gets a silly grin on her face.

And today, she says something like this:

"Hey! Why are you asking me a million questions? I'm not the mommy!"

Well. At least my role is still well-defined.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not Quite WW - Putting it on Paper

Lately everything she does blows my mind.

"Mommy!" she called, filled with pride. "Look! I drew a mitten! It's orange with a nice purple thumb!"

"See?" she asked, showing me how her hand fit right into the beautiful mitten she had drawn.

And I stood there with my jaw dropped, nodding in agreement.
Yes, she had drawn a mitten.
And it looked just like a mitten.
When does this happen? This ability to think it, and make it come to life on paper?
To really make it come to life - not just in her eyes, but in the eyes of everyone around her.
The most wonderful (and sometimes scariest) part of being her Mom is that this is just the beginning.
There is so much more to come.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recipe for a Fabulous School Vacation

Take one EXTREMELY well-behaved four-year old Mad Hatter who is an absolute joy to be around for over one week straight. (we're talking great listening, minimal whining, the kind of behavior that rejuvenates a Mom and reminds her that this is the exact reason she could not imagine her life any other way).

Add in a few tea parties with some of our closest "friends". (thanks GiGi, for the bear on the right, who MH adores, and who also happens to love hanging out with the bear on the left - a birth gift to MH. Who would have known? Their pearls and hats are just the perfect attire for tea parties and the like, and the songs they sing definitely add a festive touch!)

Mix in some playdates with both new and old friends . . .

Add a good helping of sunny weather and some trips to our favorite playground to burn off some energy and socialize with other moms and kids.

Stir together and proceed with . . .

Finally getting together with this mom and her girls (after being introduced via blog by a mutual friend over a year ago, getting to know each other online, meeting once several months ago at a RI Blogger girls' night out, having precious daughters very close in age with very similar personalities who attend the same preschool on opposite days, living 10 minutes apart - in other words long overdue) and having a wonderful time together.

Such a wonderful time, in fact, that after a playdate at our favorite playground (which also happens to be the same) that turned into a playdate in the car when the weather turned cold, we decided to roadtrip to CT for the day at the end of the week!

Armed with enough gear for an overnight stay, 5 ladies (one of them newly four, one three and a half, and one just two months old) set out on a day-long adventure that involved Dunkin' Donuts, Diet Coke, iced coffee, numerous potty trips, getting to meet her (and 2 of her chickadees), an outstanding children's museum, pizza to-die-for, and a lot of laughs. And yes, we were all still talking (and talking, and talking) at the end of the day! After 4 hours in the car! (I must say I wish Boo could have showm MH how easy it is to just close your eyes and sack out while someone else is driving)

Could Boo and MH (and Tiney) be any more adorable?

Finish it off with Daddy and a friend putting together this beauty for the backyard . . .

This recipe resulted in perfection!

We can't wait for summer!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Daddy the Hero!

When we last left off here, I was slightly worried about the progress being made on the construction of the Mad Hatter's new swingset.

Approximately $45 (and some great deals) worth of goodies necessities from Bath and Body Works, ice cream with Sweetheart and Poppy, a visit to Mimi (MH's great grandma), a stop to re-fuel Mommy's car and a trip to Dunkin' Donuts to re-fuel our hard-working builders later, we arrived home to this:

Yes, it was very exciting (and loud) as we pulled into the driveway and saw the top of this clubhouse peeking over the side of the fence!

MH promptly climbed up and tried the slide a few times. With some help, she got onto the glider and gave that a test run. Unfortunately for me, she's not quite tall enough and needs that help, as when she tried to get on herself, she fell right over it, resulting in a bit of drama.

However, it was only seconds before she was scrambling back up to the clubhouse again and whizzing down the slide.

Yes, Daddy surprised himself (with the help of a very handy partner in crime) and made one little girl pretty happy today. And we're pretty sure for many days to come.

Which in turn, makes a very happy Mommy. And Daddy. A very tired and slightly sunburned Daddy.

And a Mommy who's terrified only a little bit concerned that 6AM will bring a wake-up call comprised of said happy little girl fully-dressed, full of energy, and ready to take on the world.


Step 12

No, I'm not talking about me finishing a treatment program for one of my many addictions intense interests.

I'd be talking about the 12th out of 32 steps required to put together the Mad Hatter's new swingset.

By both my husband and a very handy helper.

Who started at 8AM sharp this morning.

As I currently type this blog post at 12:58PM.

Hubby just informed me that said swingset might not be completed today.

Wonder who's going to explain that one to a very excited 4 year old.

I think the MH and I are heading for the playground and some shopping . . . maybe she'll forget what Daddy and his friend are up to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who's Charlie?

This morning the Mad Hatter asked for eggs for bread-fest.

In this house we have three kinds of eggs - whole (hard boiled), hiding eyes (the mommy-feels-safer version of sunny-side up), and chopped (scrambled).

Happy to oblige, I asked her what kind of eggs she'd like.

Three times. The first two times she said eggs which obviously was of no help, but to her credit, she's got a bit of a cold and is a little off this morning.

She finally clarified that she'd like chopped eggs, and off I scrambled to the kitchen (yep, bad pun intended).

I was about to pour the scrambled mixture into the frying pan when a little voice behind me said "Mommy, I want hiding eyes eggies."

ME: "Sweetie, I asked you three times and you said chopped. I already started them so that's what we're having this morning. Sorry, Charlie."

"Who's Charlie?" she asked.

ME: "Sweetie, that's just a phrase. You know, I was just saying that today we're having chopped eggs because that's what you asked for and I already started making them."

"Yeah Mommy, but WHO is Charlie?"

In the time it took me to try explaining what a figure of speech is, I could have made the scrambled eggs and two orders of hiding eyes eggs.

And I'm still not sure she gets it.

She did, however, enjoy her chopped eggs!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Making Me Happy Monday!

I spent my week in excruciating back pain, but there are still some things making me happy!

1) A visit from GiGi (my grandma, MH's great-grandma), who came from Florida to celebrate Passover with her family. Watching the Mad Hatter interact with her is always such a special treat. In fact, MH wanted to get on the plane with her and go back to "Flor-did-a" today. And when we broke the news that this wasn't really an option, she asked GiGi to come back for dinner tonight. Guess we need to work on our geography a bit.

2) Wonderful family time during the Jewish holidays.

3) Tax season being over for DH, just in time for him to take over Daddy duties while I tried to rest and relax (and sleep - honey, you are the BEST!). I loved hearing about all about a very special Saturday date between my two favorite people!

4) An amazing physical therapist.

5) The 98 degree salt water pool (complete with jacuzzi jets) at my physical therapy clinic.

6) The fact that 6 weeks makes a world of difference (ok, even 3 but I might not have written it then) when you've suffered trauma from a drastic haircut. It really is just hair, even if it doesn't seem that way in the beginning. Luckily, I have an amazing hairdresser who was able to fix the issues I had 6 weeks ago, but it's amazing how quickly it's grown. I did learn a lesson about communication. AND, I am even brave enough to go back for a trim/shaping tomorrow.

7) An amazingly caring, loving, and empathetic husband AND daughter. Major kudos to the daughter, who is just four and so gets it when Mommy isn't up to par. Thank you two for being SO full of love and compassion. Honestly, my words alone could never express what you both do for me and just how grateful I am.

8) An appointment this Thursday with a doctor at a pain management clinic. Hopefully we'll come up with a plan to get me out of this little valley I've been having such a hard time getting out of!

What's making you happy today?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

WW - This Face

This is the face I kiss a zillion times a day.
This is the face that makes me worry a zillion times a day.
This is the face that gets me in trouble a zillion times a day.

Her soft, dreamy eyes. Her perfect little heart shaped face. Her sweet smile.

I could not love her more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm nothing if not honest.

My good friend Elaine over at The Miss Elaine-ous Life passed this award on to me well over a month ago!

I keep remembering that it's out there, but forgetting to actually write a post, so here goes (edited to add: this has been in my draft folder for a week)!

Here's what I am supposed to do:

1). List 10 honest things about yourself - and make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep!

2). Pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap.

This is a very random list, and not in any particular order. And while they may not be especially interesting, they are most definitely true.

1) One of my biggest pet peeves is people not taking the time to write thank-you notes. It's plain and simple - if someone takes the time to make or purchase a gift for you, then you can take a few minutes to write them a nice note of appreciation. Is that really so hard? Besides, who doesn't love "good" mail? I'm convinced that in this age of e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and everything else (which believe me, I am all for, in their appropriate place) the art of letter-writing is becoming extinct, which makes me sad.

2) I have an amazing memory when it comes to people, events, and details. Scary amazing - as in, people rely on me for this skill (oddly this skill applies to song lyrics but not movie details). I'm usually the memory when it comes to rehashing a night out. Want to know what someone was wearing at that wedding we went to 6 years ago? Ask me. I may forget names, but never faces. And when I do recognize someone, I can't give up until I figure out where I know someone from. Sometimes I can remember things with such vivid detail I'm afraid people will think I'm some weird stalker. I live with the secret fear that because I'm the memory keeper, I will end up with early-onset dementia or Alzheimer's.

3) I have very strange and flexible feet. My toes are long and I can bend them over in a way I've been told is completely unnatural (I showed a roomful of friends after telling them my husband brought this to my attention and they agreed). My husband says I could write letters with them. This makes me feel self-conscious and even more insecure about not having cute feet, but does not stop me from wearing open-toed shoes, sandals, and flip-flops for as much of the year as possible.

4) I have a nervous and obsessive habit of picking the skin around my fingernails. To the point of bleeding. I've done it for as much of my life as I can remember. Most of the time I am not even aware I am doing it. My husband and daughter, however, are very aware, and are constantly yelling at me to stop (it is unbelieveably endearing when the Mad Hatter puts her little hand over mine and tells me to stop giving myself a boo-boo). I believe it's a horrible and disgusting habit, but I can't seem to find a way to stop.

5) I have a bad habit of picking up a hobby (primarily crafts), throwing myself into it 150% (read: having to have everything I could possibly need for said hobby right now) and spending lots of money and time immersing myself in it not always for a very long period of time. I end up with lots of half-finished projects and lots of project supplies and tools.

6) If it wouldn't make me feel like complete crap (or make my weight even higher than it already is!) I would do nothing but eat desserts and sugar-filled products ALL. DAY. LONG. Seriously, my sweet tooth is out of control. I would rather give up alcohol than dessert. I'll take cake over chips any day. And don't get me started on ice cream. I am severely lacking in the willpower department.

7) I am notorious for purchasing things because they are a "great deal", then putting them away, forgetting about them, and never using them. Clothes, items from the Target Dollar Spot, craft supplies (remember #5?), you name it. This makes my husband CRAZY. It is a bad habit I am working on, and I think he'd agree I'm getting much better at.

8) I am a hot mess when it comes to organization. There - I've gone and said it out loud for the whole blogosphere to see. I can make things look presentable, but please don't dare open my closets, cabinets, or the door to my craft room (read: spare bedroom, craft room, catch-all for everything). I like to think of my "condition" as organized chaos. I may have messy piles, but if you ask me to find something, give me a couple of minutes and it's all yours. People who really have their shit together completely intimidate me and I stand in awe of them. However, I find my lack of organization to be a flaw, and therefore it is a goal I do work on. Hubby is an over-organizer, which can make me feel inadequate, but I know he appreciates my efforts and I love how excited he gets when I make strides towards bettering myself in that area.

9) I'm almost always late. Even if I'm running early, I end up late. I admit, my time management skills are lacking. Sometimes I get caught up in the wrong things and lose track of time. Sometimes I'm just poorly organized (see #8). I play the silly mind-game of having my alarm clock set 10 minutes ahead of the actual time, even though I'm well aware of what the real time is. Need to work on it. Am working on it. Honest scrap.

10) I sucked my thumb until the summer before 7th grade, when I went to overnight camp for the first time. Along with the thumb came the soft satin binding of my blanket held in hand of said thumb and rubbed against my cheek to fall asleep. I no longer suck my thumb, but to this day must have a blanket with a satin binding. And I still rub it against my cheek when I'm falling asleep.

I'm not tagging anyone specific. This was a lot of fun, so I am encouraging any and all of my bloggy friends who want to get honest to do so, and take the badge of honor along with it. Make sure to leave me a comment so I can come see your honest scrap!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Making Me Happy Monday!

I really need to start writing these posts on Sundays because here it is 9:36PM on Monday evening, and I am just now getting a chance to sit down at my computer! If I want others to hop on the "happiness" bandwagon, I need to get this post up early in the day!

Anyways, I am very glad that I made the commitment to do this post every week.

Last week was a pretty rough one for me. At some point I may choose to write about it, but for now my thoughts are a big jumbled emotional mess.

We'll suffice it to say that this morning, when I pondered what I was going to write about, there wasn't much in the happy column.

After brief pause, I realized that no matter what, if you think hard enough there is always something in your life that you can smile about. So, without further ado, here's my list (yes, there is a list):

1) This past Saturday was the next to the last one for which I'll be a tax widow! AND (fingers and toes crossed), there is a slight possibility that DH might not have to work this . Saturday. Regardless, this means that very soon, we will have normal family weekends again. TWO FULL DAYS at a time! If that's not something to smile about, I don't know what is!

2) The Mad Hatter and I had an action-packed Saturday. A birthday party at the Children's Museum, where she had so much fun! Every time we go there, she experiences things differently and I adore watching her soak it all in. Then, a visit with family from hubby's side who sadly, we don't see very often. It was wonderful to watch MH, the only girl, among all the "big boy" cousins and to have some time to really catch up.

3) My brother, Uncle D (MH's idol) came home to RI after a week of business travel. He was picking up his dog, Shay (also known as ShayShay and Shaybee by the MH) from my parents, and of course wanted to come by to see his favorite girl. I'm not sure what MH was more excited about - spending more time with the dog (who was ours until 2 years ago, which is another story for another day), or Uncle D. Either way, she was over the moon. We got the unexpected surprise of having dinner together (from my favorite Chinese restaurant that we grew up eating at but I haven't had in years) and a chance to hang out and catch up for a while. Even though my brother only lives an hour away, his job is extremely demanding and we don't get to hang out nearly as much as I wish we could. D - we all loved having you here!

4) Yesterday, we celebrated my great-aunt's 80th birthday, again with family we don't see all the time. The get-together was supposed to be last month, and unfortunately she became ill, so her good health and birthday were cause for double the celebration. It was very cool to have four generations of family in the room, catching up on life, celebrating life, and toasting my wonderful aunt. The fabulous cupcakes from a little cupcake bakery in Plymouth, MA didn't hurt either! I love watching my grandmother and her sister together - seeing how similar they are and yet so different. I also love watching MH with her 14 month old cousin C - he adores her and she not only adores him right back, but loves being the "big" cousin and "taking care of" him. Family is so important to us, and again, I was reminded this weekend of how blessed we are to have the kind of family we do.

6) My other grandma (MH's GiGi) is coming home from Florida tomorrow to celebrate Passover. She'll only be here for a short time, but we can't wait to spend some special time with her! Although she spends her summers in RI, we so look forward to these visits because there's so much to catch up on! It also makes me so happy to watch her with her great-granddaughter - I know how much she misses her during the time she's in Florida, and how much she adores being with her and seeing how much she has changed and matured in between visits.

6) The MH LOVES the brand new Disney Princess big-girl bicycle we surprised her with! It's so cute (and pretty tricked-out, if you ask me!). Granted, we had to purchase the smallest one, and adjust it so her little legs can reach the pedals. And, she doesn't quite get the concept that every time she tries to pedal in reverse (which she does on her tricycle to gain momentum) she engages the brakes, but she loves it. Such a rite of passage. So perfect to watch her in our driveway as she took her first spin. So humorous that her Sesame Street helmet finally fits her correctly, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to find a princess one that is small enough (have I mentioned that she's extremely petite? I realize most kids these days have a bike well before they turn 4, but we were excited this summer when her legs finally reached the pedals on her tricycle!).

Suffice it to say that despite the week I had and the things in my life I'd rather forget, it's safe to say that family is the main thing making me happy today.

And isn't that what it's all about?

What are you happy about today?

Friday, April 3, 2009

And there was dancing, and singing, and movin' to the groovin'

I may have mentioned that March was a very busy month for me. Volunteer work was starting to feel like a full-time job.

I learned a lot about myself, working with others, where I excel most, and where I'm most happy giving my time.

By far, the best (and hands-down most fun) thing I worked on (for months) was a fundraiser for our Temple.

It was a huge retro Bat Mitzvah party.

Think groovy to the max and "more bar, less mitzvah".

We put in a TON of work and it was such a high to see how it paid off.

People had a blast!

The DJ jammed fab 70's music for hours. We learned the Hustle (though I have a sneaking suspicion that many attendees already knew how to do it).

When it came to the food, the caterer took groovy to a new level. Can you say mini martini-glasses filled with tomato soup with a wedge of grilled cheese (picture the lime on your cosmo)? Fluffernutter sandwiches. Cheese cut into different sized feet and placed on real patches of grass. Fondue.

It. Was. Amazing.

In all, we had over 100 attendees of all different ages, which was so cool, and we raised over $5000 that will help defray the cost of religious school expenses and other needs.

However. The best part of this event was that theme-dressing was highly encouraged. And how could I, whose name was on the invitation, not show up in some knockout gear.

For women these days, it's fairly easy to find something in a department store - so much passes for retro. But I wanted to be more "authentic".

As a novice "seamstress" I got the brilliant idea to make my own bell-bottoms out of a pair of jeans I already owned. I was pretty sure I could figure it out, but consulted my good friend Google just to be sure (you'd be amazed at how many tutorials exist on the subject). At one point I was thinking that my lofty goal was highly over-ambitious, but I managed to pull it off (luckily you can't see too closely in the pics!)

I pulled a shirt out of my closet that can only fall into the "what was I thinking when I bought this/perhaps it was post-partum psychosis" category. Yes, I carry the torch of having worn it out in public and thinking I looked cute and hip. That's another story. BUT it worked.

My recent haircut (which some of you will remember I initially hated but am now rather enjoying) lent itself perfectly to a rather Velma-ish do (please note: I do NOT wear it like this on a regular basis, and it rather worries me that I can look both the way I do on a normal day AND the way I look below).

Borrowed platform sandals with a cork bottom, some SUPER cheesy gargantuan gold earrings purchased on clearance, one of my mom's "back in the day" necklaces, and some fabulous makeup artistry finished the look.


The Mad Hatter had a ball "helping" us get ready. Check out my flares!

Hubby did not want to get dressed up and I told him he was SOL. When he finally suggested that I get him a wig, I ran with it.

I purchased the shirt from the Young Men's section at Marshalls (40% polyester, right in line with the era!), the facial hair, wig, and chest hair (not that he needed help in that department, but it came with the set) from the party store, and our neighbor who does his own comedy show hooked him up with the bling. He was quite the hit when he entered the room!

Here's our new family picture!

And a full-length shot to show off our complete and utter grooviness

I danced so much ALL night (yes, my back has been paying me back all week) that this is the only picture I have from the actual event! For their protection, I have Picniked the innocent.
We dubbed this trio the Fro Bros. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah reception is not complete without fun giveaways from the DJ. Along with tons of other funky loot, the Mad Hatter was the lucky recipient of the hot pink vinyl pageboy hat and glitter sunglasses (the pom-poms were a great behavior gift from one of our many trips to the party store)

Which she clearly took an immediate liking to . . .
She even insisted on wearing the glasses to preschool both days this week.
Sum it up to say, a good time was had by all.

In fact, DH and I agree, the best night out we've had in a really long time.

If volunteering can provide this much fun, sign me up for the next event!