Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fun with sprinklers!

Finally, I put some more pictures up here. Here are the kids playing in the super duper sprinkler thingie that Miss Sophie B got them for their birthday. Needless to say it was a big hit!

Ain't this a rockin body??
Cheesin in the swing after a long afternoon of sprinkler play!

More tales from Twinkie Land

Ok, no pictures because I had a stressful night. I decided to redecorate the kids' room and remove the suns, moons, and stars that I painstakingly painted and hung (stop laughing, I really did!!). We've replaced it with Dora and Diego, complete with a bed ensemble. Well, we still had the cribs together, and I decided to take down the front of the crib which makes it a toddler daybed, but of course we needed siderails or I'm pretty sure my kids would never sleep, they'd just run around all night. Unfortunately those danged siderails you buy are made for twin, full or queen beds, not toddler sized. Now, first off, that makes NO sense. Who is more likely to need siderails? DUH, a toddler. So we had to geri rig the siderails because the toddler mattress was not heavy enough to keep the rails on. This took no less than an hour. No joke. Michael and I were sweating bullets, the kids were getting cranky, and kept trying to "help." Side note- it's hard to be angry at a toddler who is saying, "Mommy, I help you" but after the 238948 offer to "help" and two toddlers attempting their version of helping, I was about to go over the edge. That's when I tripped over the ottoman and I'm pretty sure broke a toe, or at least stoved one pretty good. Good times, and very helpful on my 1/2 mile trek from the parking lot to my office.

So, the beds go up, and the kids think they are hot stuff. Til they figure out they can get out. I'm sitting in my bedroom on the bed, lights off, trying to calm down after the room catastrophe, and decide for some stupid reason to watch Ghost Hunters in the dark. Well, I'm getting all into it, and I see a little body streak past my door. It about scared the bejeebers out of me til I realized it was Ethan making a jail break. At that time I decided it was appropriate to have a little discussion with Stinker Butt 1 and 2 and tell them that we stay in our beds. Then I gated their little patooties in the room. Yep, gated em in. It worked, they stayed in their beds and went to sleep.

So, for all the rest of you mommies out there, some tips:

1. Find rails that are supposed to go on toddler beds if that's what you have. I'm assuming they make these but they only had one kind at Toys R Us, and they're not the kind for toddler beds.

2. Rearrange and assemble the rails while your kids are somewhere far far away.

3. Do not attempt any of this within 2 hours of bedtime.

4. Move any ottomans or other potential toe breakers out of the room.

5. Have a glass of wine prior to beginning this journey. Better yet, have a bottle. It would have greatly improved my mood.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lipstick lady

As promised, here are the pictures of my lipstick bandit. I was doing the dishes from dinner (a mere 10 minute task) as Ethan and Emma watched TV in my bedroom on the bed. Ethan kept running in and yelling "Emma Emma!" which means he's trying to tattle on her. I thought it was because I kept hearing the door slam, which I was sure was him, and he was trying to blame her. Imagine my surprise when I go in the room and see this:As a dutiful blogger, I ran to grab my camera while laughing hysterically and blaming myself totally for the snafu. Here's my pillow:
And a close up of Emma the Red Nosed Toddler...
And the last of my red lipstick. Oh well, I'm not a red lipstick kinda girl anyway, so I guess it was good for her entertainment. What color of lipstick should a two year old wear anyway? Red's as good as any, right??
I took lots of pics this lovely weekend. Some of you have asked about the new job. So far, it's fabulous! Complete with leaving work in the evening not feeling upset, sad, overwhelmed or fed up! And, as Friday was "sunny Friday," I got to leave ridiculously early for the long weekend! I feel so refreshed with the whole change!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brief update

Ok, no pics, sorry. I'll try to get on that tonight. THe kids' had their second year appointment yesterday, and I was happy that they are at a 3 year old level physically and developmentally. Ethan is 36 inches and 30.5 pounds, Emma is 35 inches and 26 pounds. They dutifully rattled off their colors and shapes for the doctor and ran and jumped for her too. They estimate that Ethan will be 6'1" or 6'2" and Emma will be 5'7" but we think she'll be taller since I'm 5'9" barefoot and most of my family is taller than 5'7".

A few quick stories: Emma is getting super good with her manners, and says Thank YOu all the time now, and says please a lot, but mostly when she wants something - "popsicle pease." It's pretty funny though as she goes through a store, she shouts "Cuse me!" at people as they walk by. Guess we need to work on the appropriate use of "excuse me."

Ethan can now ride the teeter totter by himself and has learned how to climb into his crib if the side is lowered, so we're switching the cribs to daybeds this weekend. We already put the DOra and Diego sheets on them, which was thrilling to no end to both twinkies. I've never seen two kids more excited about sheets. Ethan kept me from forgetting my lunch this morning! He pointed it out to me as I was running out the door. It was kind of funny that he saw it and knew it should go with me.

Well, I'll put some pictures up soon. I have several on my camera that I need to put on the computer. Happy Hump Day to you all, sorry this is such a boring post!

Friday, May 18, 2007

So maybe my kids won't need therapy...

Ok, I have a super cute blog to post soon but once again forgot the digital camera. I won’t spill the beans but let’s say a closed door, Mommy doing the dishes and lipstick were involved.

You know, I hate the Mommy Wars. I read about it all the time, about how I’m ruining my kids, and daycare (which my kids aren’t in anyway but still) makes kids aggressive, etc. (even though it’s like a .5% difference from non-daycare kids according to studies but that’s not what the headlines make you believe). It seems like every childrearing article bashes working mommies and basically blames us for society’s ills. It gets old. There are a LOT of moms (actually the majority) who either choose to work or have to work. So in my wind down of work yesterday, I decided to do some Internet research regarding just how badly I’m screwing up my kids. Now, keep in mind that I’m giving up a higher paying and more career advancing (in civil litigation) job to spend more time with my kids.

What I found surprised me. Basically, working moms spend only about 2 hours less per week in “direct interaction” with their kids, according to three different studies I read. The studies define direct interaction as actually playing with your kids or doing some type of activity directly with them. They differentiate from when your kid is playing in another room, watching tv, riding in the car with you, etc. Here are a couple of quotes from two of the studies…

"Working moms today spend as much time with their kids as the stay-at-home mom
of 40 years ago." - Tracey Deutsch

Instead, mothers with children
at home found the time for outside work by taking it from other parts of their
day. They also worked more overall. Bianchi found that employed mothers, on
average, worked at home and on the job a total of 15 hours more a week and slept
3.6 fewer hours than those who were not employed.

From what the studies said, working moms, when they are home, devote most of their time to their kids, when the kids are awake, pushing all other things aside until the kids go to bed. From my 3 months of staying home when the kids were 10 – 13 months old, I know this is true at least for me. When I was home, I did the laundry, vacuumed, cleaned, etc during the day, mostly during naps but not always. Now I do all that stuff at night or during weekend nap times. Plus, any errand I have to run has to be done on my lunch hour, after the kids are in bed, or on the weekends.

The studies focused only on kids under 5. Now, I’m not discounting those 2 hours a week. That adds up to a lot of time in 5 years. However, it does make me feel better for those of us who do work. And I was so not shocked to learn that working moms give up sleep! Heck, when else do you fit in the dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc? I don’t do that stuff while the kids are awake unless absolutely necessary. In a perfect world, choosing to stay with my kids part time or all the time would make my student loans disappear, and insurance would be reasonable. But it ain’t a perfect world, and I make enough money that it would be hard to quit and still have college funds for my kids, and pay a mortgage and my student loans.

So here’s a shout out to all the mommies out there, whether you work full time outside the home and full time inside, part time outside the home and full time inside, or full time inside the home. Let’s all stop judging each other. Working moms aren’t necessarily selfish and shipping their kids off to be “raised by someone else” (that quote just burns my extra large butt!). Stay at home moms aren’t necessarily lazy or just unemployed. Working moms don’t love their kids any less. Stay at home moms don’t shelter and hover over their kids. We are all mommies in the best way we can be. Throw out the stereotypes and just LOVE your KIDS. I know lots of working mommies AND stay at home mommies, and every single one loves their kid or kids with every fiber of their being, and every single one has struggled with their choice and made the choice that is best for their family. And I respect every single one for her mothering skills and ability to balance life and motherhood. It ain't easy!

I may in fact be screwing my kids up, but don’t blame it on my job.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Super Big E

Here are my baby boy’s pictures. Like I said, he was not having any of the picture taking, hence the ball he’s holding. The only way he would get a picture taken was with a ball in his hands. It made me proud and angry at the same time! The poor photographer tried everything, even trying to get him to throw the ball to Daddy so she could snap a non-ball pic. Ethan was having none of it. So if it appears he has tears in his eyes on the up close shots, he does!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Presenting the newest in toddler supermodels...

Please begin referring to my daughter under her new supermodel name, the Divine Miss Em. (a cookie to anyone who actually gets that reference, but I’m a big ole dork so I’m probably the only one). These are the pictures of Boo Boo from this weekend. She LOVED it (for once!) and kept trying to break into her brother’s pictures, which was good because he wasn’t having any of it. As he’d run off the picture area, she’d run on and sit down, ready for more pictures. We could’ve gotten about 10000 of her. Tomorrow, I will present my future sports star.

PLEASE NOTE: The green and white were the only outfits I could find that they had that somewhat went together. You people know me and KNOW I am FAR from a Marshall fan. I bleed blue and gold and so do my children. In fact, Ethan got a new Nike blue and gold shirt that he has christened his “go go shirt” because everything blue and gold is now “go go.” That’s his term for anything WVU. My heart swells with pride. I guess singing them the fight song and alma mater every day since birth actually did sink in… “Hail, all hail our alma mater, West Virginia U”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Twinkies!

So here are the pictures we had done Saturday morning at Sears. They did a GREAT job, so all hope is not lost. Towards the end of summer I plan to have Anna do some pictures of them, and I’m sure with her talent for wrangling kids they’ll be even better.

Ethan was not up to modeling so unfortunately there are more pictures of Emma, who would now like to be referred to as Em, her model alter ego. I think she would have sit there all day if the photographer would have let her. I’ll put individuals up tomorrow and the next day. Just in case you run across this, thanks Sarah the photographer at Sears for being patient and doing a good job!

She told them to look for bugs and butterflies here. About .3 seconds after she snapped, they both looked up and said, "no bugs!" in an "are you stupid, these are fake flowers" sort of way.

This was an impromptu "hug each other" shot. Great of Ethan, but she snapped as Emma was finishing the hug and Ethan was hamming it up.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Birthday eve...

Ok, I forgot my picture card and the CD with the professional shots that were done Saturday. I’ll promise them for tomorrow. For today, be bored with my ode to my twins on their 2nd birthday eve. For now, go to Kim's page.

To both of my babies…thank you for being patient with me when I’m not always patient with you. Thank you for letting me watch you develop into your own unique human beings. Thank you for being a constant source of entertainment and a constant topic of my conversations (sorry everyone else!). Thank you for the hugs and kisses. Thank you for letting me rock you to sleep from time to time. Thank you for the smiles. Thank you for making me feel like the most important person in the world when I walk through the door and you yell out “mommy!” and run to greet me. Thank you for breaking the bottle habit so easily. Thank you for not being picky eaters. Thank you for at least attempting to behave, most of the time. Thank you for letting me feel like I do some things right when you recite all your colors, or count the sugar packets at Crackerbarrel, or tell me what shape something is.

To my baby boy…You are so smart sometimes it’s scary, but you don’t let people know what you know til it’s convenient for you (like the fact that you can open doors or disassemble any item you find). I love that you can find something yellow anywhere, and I love how happy that makes you. I love that look on your face when you’re trying to stay out of trouble, the one that screams “look how cute I am, you can’t be mad at me!” I love that you can sleep through anything. I love how you sing along with your Elmo book, and dance to any music you can find. I love that you’d rather run than walk. I love that you have perfect little boy hair. I love your clear baby blue eyes. I love to hear you laugh so hard you lose your breath when I tickle you. I love to hear you say “no way!” I love to see you look for Lovie Bear when he’s missing, including on your hands and knees, peering under the couch. I love how you yell “Tada” when you do something impressive. I love it when you give me a squeeze and grunt. I love for you to pretend to be so strong by carrying the milk jug across the room or try to lift up Mommy’s car. I love that you can throw a ball pretty darn well for a 2 year old. I love how rough you are, that you don’t even cry when you hit your head or fall. I love how you yell “uh oh” when you fall off the slide or teetertotter instead of crying.

To my baby girl…I love how verbal you are, and how you can tell me anything you want me to know. I love how cuddly you are, and how you love Mommy more than anyone. I love that you are completely fearless. I love your jellybean butt with the one little freckle on it. I love that you have brown eyes. I love that you have long thick flowing beautiful hair. I love to see you rock your babies, and how you name them all Emma. I love that you can spell your name. I love that you are pigheaded. I love how easily you can figure things out, and that we already can’t trick you anymore. I love how you wink at people in church and then giggle. I love that you ask for pancakes every single morning. I love how you yell “Cuse me” when we go through a store. I love how when you really want something, you always say “pease!” I love how you pretend to clean with your wipe. I love how you can color for hours. I love how much you love shoes and clothes. I love that you want to shoot hoops all the time. I love how you put on my sunglasses and look like a 3 foot tall Nicole Ritchie. I love how prissy you are. I love that you have 2 skinned knees and a skinned side but you never cried for any of those falls. I love that you’re a tomboy who still loves hairbows and the color pink.

Happy birthday babies!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blogger hates me...

Ok, blogger is starting to tick me off here. I had a ton of trouble yesterday posting my pics, it took literally 6 tries. And, I KNOW I left a comment on another blog yesterday and it’s not there, and I don’t think the blog owner deleted it because there isn’t one of those “deleted by the blog administrator” things. Weird. Heather, I really did make a comment telling you about Ethan having to be drug out of Toys R Us on Saturday and how I am now “that mom” that everyone was staring at as he collapsed in the parking lot sobbing over not getting a $300 John Deere ride on Gator that he was too small for anyway. But I guess Blogger ate it. Oh well.

So, I’m going to try another post, we’ll see how it goes. Please note once again that I am NOT a photographer and am not trying to be. My pics come from a point and shoot Kodak 8 mp camera which I love for what it is, but it sure isn’t a big fancy nice camera. So, please forgive the bad shadows, the blur, the lack of centering and all that!

These pics are of last night’s bubble blowing extravaganza. Well, Emma blows bubbles, Ethan chases them and dumps out all his bubbles onto the ground. I remember when I was little we used to have to mark our bubbles because Alaina would always dump hers out and they’d be gone then we’d fight over the rest. I’m thinking I need to institute that, or at least find the no spill bubble thing they got for Easter that our house vortex has sucked in.

Emma looks like she's crying here but that's her bubble blowing face. She's one vicious blower. And I promise they had sunscreen on but it was like 90 when I got home. The red faces are from the heat, not a sunburn!
Ethan telling Mawmaw that he doesn't know how his bubbles got dumped out on the ground, just after he turned the bottle upside down to watch them dump out.
Running through the spilled bubbles seemed to be more fun than blowing at this point. Notice how she's protecting her OWN bubbles from Ethan the Swiper.
Ethan enjoying his handiwork.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


So I’ve had like 8 people so far tell me that the first tropical storm of the season is named Andrea. In honor of having a storm named after me, let me present my Twinadoes…this will probably be the last of the pictures til the non-birthday party this weekend.

Here are my future soccer stars...Emma can even play with a bear in her arms.

Ethan and his Lellow ball.
A picture of Emma actually looking at me and sorta smiling. She's seriously not cross eyed but for some reason this pic sorta looks like it.
Emma and Bear hanging on for dear life on the teeter totter. I guess this is the way you have to ride when your brother is heavier than you.
Ethan finally learning to hold onto the teeter totter. His old method was ride til you fall off, then look up, covered in grass, say "uh oh" and laugh. That kid is indestructible.
Happy Hump Day all!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Playground play

I’ve been trying to go through some of my pictures so I can post and then delete them from my work computer since I’m leaving soon, and I ran across these. This was one of the early pretty days, at my mother in law’s subdivision playground. I’m not very good at taking pictures because I’m generally chasing someone down, helping them on or off something or something like that, but I try. It ain’t easy keeping up with two almost two year olds at a playground.

The sins of our fathers...

You know, I think all parents learn from THEIR parents things to do and how to handle situations. Sometimes you learn how TO do it, sometimes it’s how NOT to do it. By and large my parents were wonderful. I would have requested less fighting, and probably a little lower expectation of perfection at times. But, my parents did some great things for me. They never allowed me to quit anything, and they made sure I was dedicated to everything I did. School- nothing less than an A was acceptable. Sports- I was the first kid there and the last to leave each practice, and I’m probably the only one practicing on an “off” day (hey, the coach’s kid gets no breaks!). Dance- I had to practice my routines on the days that I didn’t have class. The results? I graduated with over a 4.0 and attended college on a full scholarship; I played college softball and received a partial softball scholarship. And I learned what dedication is, and to keep on going when you feel like giving up. They also taught me fierce loyalty, and to stand up for what I believe in. These are things I want to teach my kids.

However, there was one person in my life who was never satisfied. I was reminded of this last night when talking with my aunt about other things, and she brought up my grandmother. Nana was one of those women who, to a child, had it all together. She was somewhat of an enigma; she never had grey hair thanks to Clairol, she worked and traveled for work a lot (which was definitely not the norm for someone in their 50s and 60s), she dressed impeccably from such ritzy places like Schwabe May, Neiman Marcus, Speigal, Talbots, etc. She wore beautiful suits with perfectly matching suede pumps, and beautiful expensive jewelry, and carried designer purses. In my mind she was rich and worldly. She had opinions on everything and stuck to them no matter what. I thought that someday I would be just like her.

But she was a stubborn woman who had a chip on her shoulder because she married young, and had babies (like you were supposed to in the 40s), and never got the education she desired. She also had a chip on her shoulder regarding my dad (and therefore my sister and I) because my dad went to live with his grandparents due to his older sister’s illness and subsequent death and was basically spoiled rotten there. Add all this up- it becomes a woman who could be bitter and nasty, and cutting in her remarks, and slow to give love and acceptance. As a child I didn’t understand it, and I loved her fiercely, and wondered why she didn’t share that. She never seemed proud of her only two grandchildren, and constantly commented that where we lived, we’d never become anything. When I went to college, I’d never amount to anything because it (at the time) was a college, not a university. Never mind that academically Concord is the highest rated school in WV. She never visited; we had to come to her. She never called us to see how we were doing. She never initiated any contact at all; it was all initiated by my dad, and most of the time it was more like we were putting her out by driving 2 ½ hours to visit. Still, I sought her acceptance and love.

Fast forward- she’s finally proud of something I’ve done- I’m in law school and marrying, then married to, a lawyer. She tells all her friends. Finally, I think. I’ve done it, I’ve broken the shell. We actually became closer as at times after the death of my grandfather I’d stop by on my way to and from Morgantown. We’d chat, sometimes she’d cook for me (another amazing skill she had). Then she got sick, and eventually was sent to Morgantown to the hospital. I visited her almost daily, sitting in her hospital room for hours so she wouldn’t be alone til my aunt could make it after work. She promised me a fairly large sum of money at my law school graduation, and told every single doctor and nurse that I was in law school and would be graduating in May. I really thought I had finally made it.

Now I find that the entire time I was spending sitting in that hospital room, and eventually watching her slowly die, she was plotting to leave most of her estate to my uncle and the daughter that he eventually gave up his rights to, who now is probably about 6 years old. My grandmother never really knew her, but yet she wanted to set up a college fund for her. Where was my college fund? Where was Alaina’s? This is a woman who kept over 100k in her CHECKING account. She could have literally written a check for my entire law school debt; yet she never even considered it. She was going to give this unknown granddaughter the gift that should have been mine if it were to be given at all. The same woman who never gave a gift except at Christmas, and for my wedding gave me a clock. It had special meaning to me, yes, but it was a clock nonetheless, while she was paying cash for new Cadillacs. She was actually plotting to give money to the daughter of a son who never once visited her in the hospital, while I sat there nearly every day. And the saddest part? She died the day before my law school graduation, so I never “made it.” And I hate it that this woman can still make me feel not good enough, even though she’s been dead almost 4 years.

So, if you’re still reading, I’ll apologize for this rant. But I want to make these promises to my kids: I will never show favoritism to you, I know what that does to a child, even if she’s 28 or he’s 58. I will never make you think you’re not good enough, as long as I know you’re doing your best. I will never criticize your choices if they are made responsibly. I will give you, and your kids, all that I have in me, both materially and emotionally. I will never make you work for my love.

Rest in peace, Nana. You’ve taught me a lot. And after all this, I still love you, and maybe now you’re proud. But I really don’t care.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Circus fun...

Well, I’m constantly a day late and a dollar short on the pictures on here, so I decided to rewind to our trip to the circus (April 21). The kids had a good time and actually didn’t really want anything they saw, but they still ended up with pictures, an elephant that held a snow cone (which we should have gotten 2 of!), $10 cotton candy, etc. Ethan ended up sleeping through the first half, and Emma through the second. Darned circus scheduling for nap time! But a good time was had by all.

Emma with her blinky clown nose. She actually liked it, contrary to this picture where she looks miserable.
Ethan enthralled by the tightrope dudes.
Ok, here is more evidence that I may never ever have a good picture of them both together again. This would have turned out so nice had they been looking at me. Bright sunny day, nice plant and sculpture in the background. We tried everything to get them to both look but there were just too many distractions around. Oh well.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's official.

For those of you who haven’t heard, it’s official, I am retiring from litigation. At least for now. I’m taking a clerkship position which is, at minimum, a step sideways in the career path. But MUCH less stress than private practice, less hours, more vacation (who gets 4 weeks of vacation a year? Not most lawyers, I’ll tell you. I’m in heaven!)

For those who have never worked in private practice as a litigator, let me tell you. It’s like housework, your work is NEVER done. There really is no start and end. When you go home, you’re either working or thinking about what you need to do or planning your calendar. You don’t just leave work when the office closes and forget about it til the next day when the office opens. Most litigators don’t keep 9-5 hours. More like 8-6 or longer, and most litigators work at least some on the weekends. It’s not “extra work”; it’s expected. I’ve never had a week’s vacation where I wasn’t on a conference call at least once. Even while I was on bedrest while pregnant I was taking calls periodically. And it gets worse as you get more experience.

So, anyway, with all that said, I’m stepping out of it for at least a year, probably 2-3. Then maybe I’ll come back. I really love some parts of litigation, but I love my kids more. What are 2-3 years in a 30-40 year career? Hopefully nothing.

I know this decision has disappointed some people who feel that I should keep going, and who say I’m “too good a lawyer” to do something that doesn’t use most of my legal skills. But I have to do this for me, and now is the time. I’ll reconsider when kindergarten starts for the kids. I feel at peace with this decision, for the first time in a long time.

So here’s to new beginnings, less stress, actual vacation time, and more time with my kids. Oh, and don’t forget state holidays!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Serious mommy wars

Ok, I read this article today and had to share. This is so sad. I cannot imagine my own self worth being wrapped up in how much a group of mothers who I don’t even know like me, and my kid getting into the “cool” preschool or kindergarten. Or my worth being wrapped up in my husband’s job and our “family status.” The saddest part to me is, although this is a story of Japanese mothers, I have MET these types right here in good old America, right in West By God Virginia. But I’m sure it’s worse elsewhere…
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