Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday My Chloe

My Sweet Chloe,

When I wrote the Happy Birthday post when you turned 2, I didn't think it was possible that there was a child in the world that could top the mess you were at the time of that posting. You proved me wrong, as you do daily, by topping yourself at Halloween. I was so excited when I found a Snow White costume for a steal of a deal at a local consignment sale. And I applauded myself when I saw the look of excitement on your face when I unveiled my find to you. Since Snow White is your favorite character, you eyed that dress in my closet from the time I hung it there at the beginning of September until October 31st.. Knowing, too well; that our costume couldn't withstand the wear-and-tear you would normally inflict on such a treasure, I valiantly fought my urges to give in to your begging and pleading to be made over as your favorite Disney Princess before the big night. Our home was a toddler frenzy the day of Halloween as I laid the dress, along with a red sparkly headband, out in anticipation of the fulfillment of its long-awaited purpose. I thought you were going to burst with excitement when the time came to put on that sweet little dress that we had talked and dreamed about for months. You stepped one foot into  the life of being the "fairest one of them all"...then froze, stepped back out, and said, "uh-uh, I don't like it".  I used forward, sideways, reverse and any other psychology I could think of.  After trying every method of child manipulation I had under my belt, I began to offer all the costumes that make up quite a large dress up play assortment in your playroom. You were interested in none of them: not a cat, a doctor, a flapper girl, or Spiderman.  Nor, were you interested in Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake or any of the other Disney Princesses.

Deciding that this particular battle wasn't worth the fight, I surrendered to your suddenly firm opinion and adorably crazy antics, and together we invented the best Halloween costume ever.

You wore your costume with pride as you held that sign up in front of all of our neighbor's faces saying, "I'm a two year old!!! I'm a two year old!!!" 

I  thanked God for an 80-degree, South Carolina Halloween night. Then, for the rest of the evening, I made a mental note of our neighbor's addresses and determined which ones that I would make friends with, based on whether they looked at us like our hair was on fire or if they laughed and agreed that it was the best costume ever.  

Not to worry about the Snow White costume though... We made great use of it when we took our trip to Disney World in January.


We packed enough fun into that trip to make up for the trip we had made the previous year when you brought your stomach virus along with us.

Speaking of Disney World... I remember that while I was packing for us to go on that particular trip, I had to stop to pry a half of a cashew out of your nose. On top of that, I still haven't repainted the bathroom wall, on which you used your unsupervised time and creativity to grace our family with a masterpiece of a mural, drawn with bold strokes in black crayon. How clever of you to scout out the only room in the house that has not yet been painted with washable paint! The good news though is that it appears that you have no nut allergies.  

There are many stories similar to those above that I could write to portray you in a somewhat accurate light but for the most part, you just have to see it to believe it and my window of opportunity for sleep has grown very small these days. But, if you'll read back through this last years postings my dear, you will find that you have seasoned our life with a flavor that leaves us all begging for more.

For now though, I will do you the injustice of trying to briefly sum up your complex, little personality:
You dabbled in the tantrums of the "terrible twos" a time or two, but quickly moved on to tactics that may one day earn you a place in Washington DC. When we realized that there was no method of discipline that could keep you in your baby bed, we converted it to a "big girl bed" and reversed the door knob so that we could lock you in. Yes sweetheart, that's correct. We locked you in your room.  Some children need to be protected from themselves. But, this effort was to no avail. It wasn't long before we heard the click of the door shutting behind you and then your little feet pitter-pattering down the hallway at the speed of lighting. Next, to see you round the corner with an expression of great victory on your face as you cheerfully exclaimed, "I'm supposed to be bed!!!" Your dad and I of course did what any good parent would do: We laughed. We were amazed for a while by your Houdini-like skills. But, when we locked ourselves in your bedroom with you, you willingly and proudly, showed us that you had cleverly learned to unplug your night-light and use it's metal prongs as a key. We had pretty much conceded that particular battle to you and had decided to let it go until the day that your dad and I both jumped two feet out of the bed when we heard the house alarm alert us that you had gone into the back yard. As I type, you are once again locked away in your bedroom with all plugs or anything else we think might function as a key out of reach; (or so we think). Why yes, we did have an alarm installed on your window as well. We figured we'd need that when you're a teenager anyway

You seem to steal the heart of every man within five miles. This development would be a cause of great concern if I weren't so pleased with your choices of  whom you choose to give your affections: daddy, grand dads, and Mr. Lane (from church), topping the list.   

You could not be shamed into potty training. My futile attempt at threatening that you would be called, a "poo-poo pants" at Pre-school, resulted in a fit of giggles and a new nickname that you claimed  for yourself. From that time forward, you have alerted us of an accident by proclaiming, "Well, I guess I'm a poo poo pants!" However, I did find that a few days of having you "go commando" seems to have  done the trick. Still I have to admit I admire your confidence. Speaking of preschool, you start tomorrow and we have been praying for your teachers for a while.  

I think it was said best when someone said, "If I were going to write a cartoon character kid, it would be Chloe". It's hard to deny your cuteness. I'm afraid you're going to need every bit of it. And, I'm a little nervous about what our future holds for us.

At the end of the day, I find myself wondering how a little person can exhaust me so completely and still earn every ounce of my undying adoration. What fun you are my Chloe girl!  

Always and forever, love,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Proof That I've Earned My Crazy Title

I don't think that people understand what I mean when I talk about how active my Chloe is..  So, I decided to provide some evidence.. If you watch this video and wonder what in the world she's saying. She thinks she speaks Spanish.  Actually, she thinks she speaks Dora.. She has a whole language of her own.  She is one of my greatest pleasures.  And, the reason that you're not getting a well thought out blog post.  I'm choosing sleep instead. 

This is an 8 minute video.. I realize you don't want to watch my kid for 8 minutes.  You probably don't want to watch your own kid for 8 minutes... It shouldn't take you that long to see what I mean.  Anyway, this went on for at least an hour.. 



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday's Tips--How to Remove Ink from a Plastic Doll

Before I had children I dreamed of being a mother that would encourage ingenuity in my children by not getting freaked out over things like this:

My six year old wrote the names of her dolls on their foreheads so that she could remember their names while she was playing school with them.   She probably would have gotten off pretty easy as it was really an honest mistake in which she stated that she thought it would wash off easily.  

She would have gotten off easy.... But, the shrug of her shoulders when I told her that ink from an ink pen didn't wash off of dolls landed her owing me the amount of work around the house that it would take to earn the money that these dolls are worth.. My windows have never been so clean!  

When I called my mother exasperated at my daughter's response to ruining over a hundred dollars of dolls.  
This is how that conversation went..

Me:  Mom!  I'm so frustrated with Emma.. She wrote on nine of her dolls with an ink pen! NINE dolls.. She said she was playing school with them and wanted to remember their names. I asked her if she had ever heard of NAME TAGS.. And when I told her that ink doesn't wash off of dolls she just shrugged her shoulders.. DOES SHE THINK MONEY GROWS ON TREES?   She now owes me seventeen hours of work so she will know how much work it took for the people that bought her those dolls to earn the money to do so.. And that really isn't even giving her the real picture because I went with current value, not replacement value..  "How can a kid so smart  do things so dumb"?
Mom: (laughs) I remember a smart kid that did some really dumb things around my house... 
Me: I know, I'm so sorry you had to put up with Denise (my sister) all those years (laugh).  
Mom: But,  it all makes sense now.   That's what Chloe was doing..
Me: What? No, not Chloe, Emma did this.. You know, the six year old that should be past writing on things other than paper!
Mom: No, I wasn't going to tell you this because I didn't want you to be upset but when the girls visited on your anniversary, Chloe drew all over the face of my doll from when I was a kid..
Mom: Well, it's really my fault, I never should have let them play with it.  It's okay.. Really, it's not a big deal..
Me: You've saved a doll for over 50 years and it's not a big deal that my kids ruined it?  It's a big deal to me!

 I bring you the antique that my mom has cherished for over 50 years.  The ONLY doll my mom had as a child.  The one that her parents really couldn't afford and probably sold a kidney for.. I think I remember a story about someone walking three miles in the snow up hill both ways to get this doll!  

(beware of nightmares that might occur from Chucky recollections)


 Have you ever tried to remove ink from a doll?  It is a task that I previously thought impossible.. 


But do not be disheartened my friend, I've discovered a miracle!!

How did this miracle occur?  

I have given a many a dolly hairdo but I never anticipated treating a doll with acne cream.  But, lo-and-behold, it worked!

So, the nitty gritty on how to use this:
1.  Pull back the doll's hair and remove any clothing that is near to avoid bleaching it..

2. Liberally apply 10% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment cream to any areas with ink.
Be careful to avoid eyebrows.. We now have a Barbie without eyebrows... So much for Barbie being perfect.    After removing one doll's eyebrows, I began to use a q-tip to make sure I avoided any areas that I didn't want to be bleached.

3. Lay the doll in the sun..
Emma's dolls took two applications to completely remove the ink.  My mom's took four since Chloe had skillfully and repeatedly scribbled in one spot and it had sat on the doll longer.  Just keep reapplying until the ink is completely gone. 

And, just as it did when I was a teenager, Clearasil saved the day and my mother's childhood memories!


Monday, August 16, 2010

2nd Grade-- I did it with no tears.... Well, Almost..

Today was the first time that I left Emma for the first day of school without crying.. I did get a little weepy when I came home and compared this year's pictures to Kindergarten and First Grade.. But all and all, we were all ready for school to start this year.  After dropping Emma off, I looked back at Chloe and said, "Well girl, it's just you and me now" and Chloe cheered for joy.  Seriously, not kidding... We had a wonderfully fun and exceptionally exhausting summer.. We are in dreadful need of a routine.  And each girl will now get the individual attention that they've been competing for all summer.  It works out since we carpool, that I am able to put Chloe down for a nap about an hour before Emma is scheduled to be home, have some alone time for me, and then some alone time with Emma when she gets home..

Chloe will also go to preschool two days a week this year.  And just in time since I've started  assisting my photographer friend, Mary Beth, with photo shoots.   I will not link to Mary Beth here because it would identify my location to the paparazzi (hey, don't mess with my fantasies.. Since the world doesn't think my life is as interesting as I do, I  make up my own stalkers).  But, I'll just say she's a great friend and a blast to work with.   If you're local and you want some great photos, e-mail me and I'll give you links to our site... But, you better hurry!  At the rate the calls are coming in, we'll be booked for the rest of the year before August is over.    It will also give me a little time to work on The Mom-tage, a collaborative mom blog that my dear friend Holly and I started last year.  I'm excited to get a chance to spend some more time on both of these projects and I'm especially thankful for the blessing of friendship that both of these girls have brought in my life this summer.  For the first time in my life, I have actually succeeded at fulfilling a New Years Resolution (if you're that curious, that post would be in um, January in my archives).    

Speaking of The Mom-tage.. I'm so excited about the book chat we're doing at the end of September with  SHARI BRAENDEL, author of GOOD GIRLS don't have to DRESS BAD.  You can see all of the details over at The Mom-tage .  Click on the Mom-tage Moms tab to get on our e-mail list and to add your blog to our list.  We look forward to chatting with you there!  

And speaking of photos... Please do not take these photos of Emma below to represent my photography skills..  Not only does Emma's school starting at an ungodly hour make me feel like beating the alarm clock with a baseball bat, it also doesn't make for great "first day of school pictures" since it's barely daylight when we leave..

But feel free to weep along with me about how fast she's growing..

Well I must run now.. Though Chloe will not be happy with me for prematurely waking her from her nap, I'm off to get my second grader.  I just can't bring myself to let anyone else pick her up on the first day.  I always like to see her fresh reaction to her first day of school... Oh, and I made her favorite cream cheese danishes as a surprise to send in her lunch and I've been wondering all day how she reacted.. How cheesy is that?  (No pun intended).

See previous school year posts here: 




Friday, August 13, 2010

Fabulous Friday Follow Blog Hop

Okay, I'm sort of new to this blog hopping thing but Laura from Lily's Laundry Boutique and Sarah at 2GiggleBoxes have chosen me to be their guest blog hop host for today so I'm going to try to figure it out.  Yay for me!  Thanks Girls!

If I can pull this off, this should connect you with other blogging mommas and help you find some new "fabulous" blogs to follow and get you some new "fabulous" followers.  And if you can't get to it on my page, skip on over to one of their pages to do it because they clearly know what they're doing way more than I do!

To join FFF we are keeping it simple.

Here's what you do...

1. Follow the LLBB ,  2GiggleBoxes and Thoughts on Life and Dirty Diapers.
(We will follow you too!)
2. Click on the Linky Tool below and add your blog.
3. Check out the other blogs on "Fabulous Friday Follow" and follow them too.

We will pick another person from this weeks Linky List who has a
"FABULOUS" blog to host with us next week.

Linky will close on Wednesday PM and blog will be notified if they win via email!

Happy Following!!

Monday, August 09, 2010

"Brilliant" Parenting Tip Number 203.. When Planning A Backyard Camp Out....

 Adam and I have a theory about parenting... We don't have to be cool and fun parents all the time.. We just have to have some cool and fun moments and make them super memorable and when our kids are adults, it will be those things that stick out and then, we will be remembered as cool and fun parents instead of the big dorks that we really are...

In an effort to prepare for school starting a week from today and to regain the good attitudes that have been lost along with regular sleep this summer,  we will be starting back on our normal sleep/wake schedules tonight.  Since the weather forecast showed absolutely no chance of rain, we decided that a back yard camp out in our fabulous $5 yard-sale tent would be the perfect way to squeeze in a little more family time before we hand our child back over to  the education system..

Please excuse the picture quality.  I have not yet mastered the art of flash photography.

Have I mentioned that Adam and I are the most "non-camping-type" people I'm aware of?  Still, we do want our children to have "normal" childhood experiences and somewhere (obviously in the midst of a sleep-deprived induced hysteria) we decided that normal childhood experiences involve sleeping in a tent on the ground in the South Carolina summer heat, (even though we have a nice air-conditioned house with very comfy beds that I have gone through great lengths to make sure are equipped with optimum sheets with the perfect combination of materials and thread count).

Thankfully, our amazing yard-sale find also has an amazing design and was simple to set up...and, (though I totally picked on him, calling him a sissy-city-boy), I was relieved when Adam caved and ran a box fan from an extension cord to the tent..   We told stories and read the girl's favorite books by flashlight.  Since Adam swears that the story of "The Princess and the Pea" is based on me, I felt very proud of myself as I drifted off into a sweet slumber under the stars..

And then... I woke with a jolt to a familiar sound (though it was much less muffled than normal).

You know those times in life that you have when you have time to recognize that something is about to happen...but you don't have time to stop it from happening?  Well, those are the kind of feelings you get when you are asleep in the back yard of your suburban home in a tent...and you hear the sprinkler system turn on at 5:30 a.m. (a feeling of impending doom one might say).

So I yelled, (waking up all of our neighbors I'm sure),  "ADAM!!! THE SPRINKLER SYSTEM!!!"  And  scrambled to zip the windows only to find the zipper was stuck.   So...I did all that I could do: I grabbed my camera and wrapped it up in my blanket and then surrendered to my unavoidable fate by laying back and laughing while our tent was converted into a screened-in wading pool.  Adam ran through the obstacle course of water grenades firing off around our backyard, and into the house to turn off the sprinkler system.  Emma woke exclaiming, "DAD!  YOU SAID THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE OF RAIN!!!"  And within minutes in true Chloe fashion, Chloe was awake and dancing in the "rain".   And that's when we knew that we had succeeded at creating a lifetime memory for our children:  a memory of their parents being complete and total dorks instead of cool, no doubt...But, it was fun and funny... and that will just have to do.

And as a bonus, I have another chapter for one of the books I keep saying that I'm going to write...but know I actually never will write due to the fact that I will forever be cleaning up the messes that we make gaining the material for these books.  Nevertheless, the events of last night inspired a chapter for my legendary book, Brilliant Parenting 101:  Lessons I learned so you don't have to, Chapter 203: When planning a Backyard Camp Out, check the weather forecast AND the sprinkler system.



Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Emma Seven Years Old..

We're back from Hilton Head and despite everyone's insistence that HH is the cat's meow, and Myrtle Beach is the "party beach", I have to admit I prefer Myrtle Beach.     I think it all has to do with knowing the right areas to stay in.  But, staying at the very North end of Myrtle Beach was much less crowded than where we were in Hilton Head and there's way more to do at Myrtle Beach. More about that later..

Still, we had a great time because we were visiting some dear friends that were vacationing there.  I've got a ton of pictures to put up.. But, before I do that, I wanted to get Emma's seven year old pictures that I finally got while we were there.  Despite the fact that she looks way older than a 7 year old should look in my eyes,  Emma has only lost her bottom two teeth.. Even though it is driving her nuts that her tooth losing isn't maturing as fast as most of her friends, I was thrilled that her seven year old pictures didn't show her snaggled toothed..