Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I blog

My 2010 new year's resolution was to blog daily. As to why, I'm not quite sure, but I suspect it's partly due to sentimentality (the girls aren't getting any younger) and my need to document what made our days something other than merely surviving. Sadly raising a 4 year old (not in preschool) and a 16 month old, from morning to night, often spares no time for anything other than thoughts of survival. 2 mouths fed X 3 times a day = 6 battles; negotiation; surrender. diapers are changed approximately 10-12 times a day. butts are still wiped at the potty. nursing. nap times. resist temptation to plop them in front of the tv from 9am - 5pm. 2 minute showers. attempt craft activity w/ K only to have S shove buttons in her mouth. get girls dressed to go outside --> [(shirt + pants + socks + jacket + hairclip = S) + (dress + stockings + jacket + hairclip = K)]. run back upstairs to get myself dressed. hear crying from downstairs and run back down, half-dressed. then must pack snacks, water. diapers. keys. iphone. dang, where's my iphone??? once in the car, S, never missing her cue, starts writhing and screaming. turn the dial frantically on the cd player to find itsy bitsy spider. then baa baa black sheep. must sing along. must sound happy, relaxed. must not do psychic damage to the girls. and stop speeding already.

The thing is, even though I yell at J from time to time that motherhood is dehumanizing (come on, 2 minute showers?) and I am often aghast at how incoherent and absent-minded and a enormous nag I am about everything, I understand that I am the luckiest woman alive to be raising these girls. They are magic to me. I've found my pot at the end of the rainbow. It is truly as if I knew them before I birthed them. I supposed that's because when you grow a life inside of you for 9 months, they not only inherit your genes, but a good chunk of your soul. Anyway, there is no doubt in my mind that motherhood is the greatest adventure a woman can embark upon as she is making herself vulnerable to unspeakable grief and yet opening her heart to boundless joy. It is not my place to know why I am so blessed with these girls; rather I can only give thanks daily to God for them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pretend play

There has been so much recent media coverage and public interest in the benefits of play for children's mental and emotional development. And the noncontroversial conclusion is this: idle, creative, unstructured, free play where a child engages all of her five sense in a three-dimensional world (by definition this excludes tv and online games), is a critical part of neurological growth and development. The temptation to overschedule one's child is strong for the modern parent because for most of us, our lives pre-children were on the fast-track to some goal (career or otherwise), meals eaten on the run or in the car, blackberries or pdas full of events, meetings, conferences, dinners, etc. So I could literally hear the brakes screeching and resisting when I had to slow down the clip clop pace of my life to the point where I had to be content just allowing the girls play. Every fiber of my being resists because I love schedules and plans and checklists and something tangible to hold up at the end of the day to show that my existence is not in vain. But of course the task of raising children bears no noticeable short term result (aside from their very survival day to day). And neither does the task of playing. But ever since I read this book and this one , I've become convinced that aside from being a loving and responsive mother, there is nothing more I can do for my young children then let them engage in open-ended play. And if that play involves princess dress-up...

...then I can slap together a princess dress-up corner. The mirror took 3 Ikea trips to score. The peg board was painted by K and myself with Benjamin Moore's newest line of zero VOC paint (Natura. love it! only needed one coat! and dried in under an hour.). The tree is inspired by a wallpaper tree I found online for - no joke - $119.95. I ended up spending $8.00 for 2 sheets of gift wrap that was used for the tree itself and $0 for the fabric scrap which makes up the leaves. Is there anything I love more than dirt cheap DIYs (aside from God and my family and dark chocolate and cheese and an really amazing bottle of Burgundy. oh and a night out with the girls where we drink lots of good champagne while dining on mussels. ah and catching a story on NPR that is so quirky and inspiring that it makes you laugh out loud out of the sheer joy you feel in knowing that the human spirit is indeed the most colorful and indestructible forces in the universe.)??? I digress. Cheap but pretty DIYs makes my world go round.

My only regret is that I didn't get a picture of K's face when she woke up one morning, came downstairs, and saw all of this. But she uses it daily and even more importantly, has finally acquired the habit of organizing and hanging up all her princess paraphernalia. I know. PRICELESS.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What what we eat 4 out of 7 days a week...

Blueberry pancakes. Sometimes I'm low on blueberries because the girls decide they must have blueberries right. now. the moment I return home from the food market and the next morning I have to substitute dark chocolate chips. Recently I've been adding ground-up flax seeds, and yipee, no one noticed! I've tried whole wheat flour twice and the pancakes were noticeably denser and more cakey. But what does it matter - anything dipped in syrup tastes like candy.

Recipe found via one of my favorite crafty mommy blogs: http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2007/10/recipe-cheat-sh.html. They take 15 minutes, prep + cook time. And they come out fluffy and perfect every time!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fishes on a Saturday afternoon

S's first trip to the aquarium where she is awake and not snoozing in the stroller...

Dolphins mama!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

K's 4th birthday party, ie. princesspalooza

Ah K, I know how deeply smitten you are with disney princesses, especially with one particular snoozing princess. And I know I can get you to eat steamed broccoli with promises of Disney world sometime in the remote future. And so imagine my happy amazement at your agreeing to have a 4th birthday party that involved not a drip drop of disney...

the birthday banner with illegible gold lettering (oops!)

colored by you, the birthday girl!

edible candy pearls. yum!

your favorite chocolate bars (kit kats, of course).

preparing for the princess show-down.

tissue paper flowers. 6 hours of folding and sewing. only for my own flesh and blood; you couldn't pay me enough.

favor bags for the fellow princesses.

the royal tea party table.

craft: build your own bling bag

tea time!

baby sister S gets in on the chocolate drizzled strawberry pops action.

blindfolding for the pin the tiara on the princess game.

a tie??

hugs all around!

wishing for more princess dresses??

the way a real princess eats a cupcake - with frosting shamelessly smeared on your nose.

S after bingeing on 5 chocolate strawberries and overdue for a nap by about 5 hours. where the after-party at?

our gracious princess. thanks for coming everyone!

Monday, March 15, 2010


An entire week of being able to finally scamper about in the front yard without a coat!

I can't get enough of S - her personality is so vibrant. She really lives for the moment, this child. And she has such an emphatic response to being outdoors, which I think is common for most young children. That naive enthusiastic curious response to nature. S especially loves to chase down crunch leaves and step on them with vigor. I love nothing more than to peer out into the world through her eyes as she discovers everything for the first time. Much fun and wonder lay ahead...

Jae's baby shower

Something extra special is necessary after having birthed two boys and finally hitting the jackpot with a girl...

modern paper dolls

A very close likeness to the original!

even the fruit fell in line with the shower color scheme

wishing tree for our dear mommy-to-be