Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One of those days

I know the day is far from over. But so far it's been one of those days. Not one of those days... but the good kind! I find myself most often sharing when the kids are frustrating me, driving me to tears, leading me to question being a stay at home mom. I figured a good day deserved as much attention!

Most of our days, one of them - Catherine or Ella - ends up being in a mood about something, having a tantrum, whining, getting hurt, not getting their way - and so on and so on. So while one is happy and playing nicely, the other is not. I find this to be the case most often - not all day long or even most of the day - but when they have meltdowns, it's usually not at the same time. Thank you Lord for that. But then there are the dreaded days when both are upset and crying and whining for an extended period of time at the same time. I had a day like that a few weeks ago and when Matt called to ask a question I just started crying. The kids were both crying and yelling about something and I just wanted to get dressed without someone pulling on my leg. He came home 20 minutes later - I was already going out to get a haircut so it was on the schedule, but he knew I needed a break was able to give me 20-30 minutes to compose myself before I had to go. Honestly - I thank God every day that not only is Matt able to do that, but he does it willingly. I try my best to make sure Catherine and Ella know what a wonderful father they have.

Ok, back on track here....
Today was one of those rare days when both children were happy and content (I think it's hard for a 1 year old who doesn't talk and is always wanting what her sister has to be content for too long) - not just for a little bit but from morning until naptime. To me that is amazing! Throw in a 2 1/2 hour trip to Ikea and I call it a miracle! I wasn't sure if I wanted to take both of them because when we go as a family it usually ends up with Ella running away from us in the Marketplace and then screaming because she wants another treat (sticky bun, ice cream cone - you name it, darn you Ikea for having pictures of everything so there is no mistake that you sell ice cream cones). That leads to revoking her TV time and then she is upset the entire car ride home. But before the meltdown, she loves playing in the ball pit and running around in the children's rooms and playing with the toys. Of course Catherine loves everything her sister loves so Ikea is really a great place for us to go.

Today the three of us walked- no cart, no stroller - all through Ikea, played, visited the bathroom via the baby care room (Ikea is so family friendly despite having tempting pictures of food and toys all over the place) ate lunch and perused the Marketplace all without a tantrum, without me yelling, without any tears and with lots of smiles. The Marketplace is the most dangerous part for us because 1. everyone is worn out by then 2. it's very easy for Ella to run off and get lost 3. it's very easy for me to get lost in the maze of glasses, rugs, candles, you name it..., and 4. the carts are so darn hard to operate -every time we go around a turn I have to practically run to the other side of the cart to avoid knocking over a display of some sort (can I get an AMEN on that - can anyone relate to how frustrating those carts are? I feel like I'm pushing the cart on ice). Today Ella decided, for I swear the 1st time since she could walk, that she wanted to ride in the cart and stayed there peacefully while I searched for and found the very random and specific piece of hardware we need to hang curtains, waited in a long line and finally made our way to the car. Catherine was starting to lose her patience by the end of the trip, but even that wasn't too bad.

For some reason Ella decided she wanted to watch her Thomas the Train DVD - she hasn't watched that in months. Of course when we got home I couldn't find it anywhere. For someone like Ella, little things like that tend to be her undoing. But in keeping with our day of happiness she agreed to watch Diego without fussing. And then they both napped, giving me the chance to accomplish all the important things I had to do today - like write this post!

So that's it. Just had to share that there are days that I love being a mom and often times I don't slow down enough to realize it. Thanks for listening...

edited to say....sorry for the all the typos and errors - I know it must have been painful to read! I tried to fix some that stood out but I'm sure there are plenty more....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Fun

Welcome to the 2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate - you know I'm not sure I've ever had egg nog. I'm sure I have but I really don't remember when - I am just pretty sure I don't like it.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I haven't had much luck with the Santa thing with Ella thus far- she's a bit scared of him so we don't talk alot about Santa. She's getting a bike and we won't wrap that so I guess that will be from Santa. If she's not into Santa I won't force it - I guess this year will be telling.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White on the tree and house
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Don't have any
5. When do you put your decorations up? the sooner the better, but it's usually a process that begins after Thanksgiving.

6. Favorite dish? Our Christmas dinner was never real traditional for some reason. Every year my mom does something different so I don't have a favorite. But we always have the same thing for Christmas morning brunch - and my favorite is this yummy homemade cranberry coffee cake.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child. I really can't pinpoint one moment. I remember waiting at the top of the steps every year with my brothers until we were allowed to come downstairs. It was such an exciting moment to come around the corner and see the stacks of gifts and have the tree all lit up and the Christmas music playing (same song every year, my fam was big on tradition!). That overall experience is a favorite memory.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Don't remember. I think I played along for awhile because I like the idea of him more than I actually believed.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Currently - no. But growing up I exchanged gifts with my brothers. Even now when my family celebrates Christmas together the siblings and spouses exchange gifts the night before our "family Christmas".
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? white lights, gold and deep red balls along with tons of ornaments I had growing up and then the wedding and baby ornaments we've collected over the years. I still have my baby's first Christmas ornaments!
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love the idea of it - it seems so fun to be snowbound. But practically speaking it's not very fun trying to get kids into the car without standing in piles of snow. Also, the Philly area is not really good with snow removal and driving in it. So I've become a nervous snow driver. All through high school and college I never thought twice about driving in snow storm. Of course I lived in central PA and went to school in Western PA. People didn't freak out about snow as much as they do here.
12. Can you ice skate? yes, but hardly ever get a chance to. If I could pick one snow sport it would be snowboarding - haven't been able to do that since I had Ella.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I got a hope chest when I was a senior in college. Right before (weeks, not minutes) I got engaged. Pretty cool.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? family and food, getting to give the gifts I bought people and getting Christmas cards and updates from friends and family.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I love my mom's Christmas cookies.
16. What tops your tree? Angel (from Target, nothing sentimental)

17. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
18. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I guess yum - not super passionate either way.
I thought this was a fun holiday version of the email that gets sent around so often. It's always fun to share Christmas memories and traditions.....so (since this is the way I happened upon this one) ...if you're a blogger, consider yourself TAGGED and you're obligated (not really, it's just fun to do - I want to read your answers.) to copy this to your blog for your readers to play along!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

To Run or not to Run

Which month of the year do think would be the worst time to start a new exercise regime? I'm betting you all answered emphatically and without having to give it alot of thought - December! I'm not sure why I decided to get back on the ball with exercising - I never really stopped, I just wasn't making it a priority - running once or twice a week. So of course I feel inspired to start working out five days a week two weeks ago. That is in the midst of all the baking and cooking and shopping and parties that make up the month of December. Not only is it a month with lots of temptations that make you feel like exercise is pointless, but there just is not alot of time. I've made it through two weeks and often I find myself excercising at 8:30 or 9:00 at night after the kids are asleep. I really don't want to. Take tonight for instance. We had a long weekend. My parents were in town for a few days and there was lots of shopping and running around. Saturday was Ella's little birthday party (I did squeak out some time to run in the afternoon) and then tonight we hosted a group from church at our home. I haven't been sleeping well lately (and Ella has randomly decided to come visit us in bed at night - anyone with experience with this - kind of frustrating) so I was tired this afternoon. I had a hard time staying awake during a very good sermon at church today. I just wanted to lay on the couch all afternoon and watch football in a daze. Of course that doesn't happen - Ella decides not to nap, I realize that the giant frozen lasagna I am planning on serving needs two hours to cook - and it's less than two hours until people will be arriving, and I remember that we never fully cleaned up from Ella's part the night before. So I got about a half hour of relaxing and alot of busyness. Fast forward to 8:15. The kids are in bed, the kitchen is clean - at this point all I have to do is run. Because if I don't run tonight I will have to exercise five days in a row and I like to take a break in the middle of the week. So I got on the computer and checked my email and fantasy football leagues. I played a game of free cell. A half hour later I trudged downstairs and watched a bit of the Sunday night football game with Matt until I finally got myself on the treadmill.

I'm not writing this to make myself look like this great and dedicated exerciser. I'm not. I have to exercise because I like to eat. Also I spend so much time complaining about how I look that I figure I need to do something about it. In January I am going to do something about the eating habits. I like the way I feel when I work out. I like the feeling after a good work out and the way my muscles feel. But I don't particularly enjoy the act of excercising. I really have to convince myself to run - and sometimes two minutes into I want to quit. On Tuesday nights I do a "bootcamp" video with a bunch of friends and even though I enjoy it I anticipate how I'll feel in the middle of a million squats and fun stuff like that I don't want to do it. Even when I was playing sports in high school and college and was in pretty good shape I really hated the conditioning runs. So what I wonder - does it ever get easier? I've always wondered if I exercised regularly long enough - would I become one of those people who loves to exercise and enjoys it so much that they can't imagine their day without a good 5 mile jog. Or when they are stressed they just to unwind with a run. I read about people like that in novels and I even know some. But not me. When I'm stressed I want to lay on the couch. Sure I feel good about running but if someone came up with way to bypass exercise to get that feeling I would be all for it.

For everyone who checks in with blog I would love some feedback. Are you a current excerciser who loves it or one who grins and bears it? If you love it, have you always or did it grow on you (basically are some of us always going to hate working out or is their hope?)? Also for those of you lapsed exercisers - why and for how long - do you ever plan to start again? And, for those of you who never work out and don't plan it - are you just super disciplined eaters? I have more luck doing the exercise thing than I do that the diet thing. My failed attempts at that are a whole other post. For now I would to hear from you!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ella turns three!

Some pictures of the birthday girl - more below.....

The birthday girl at Chuck-E-Cheese

Catherine hanging with Barney

Matt was having alot of fun jet skiing. I think we need to come back on his birthday!

Ella had fun attempting to play air hockey with Kelly and Mackenzie

So today is Ella' birthday. She turned three. For the longest time I couldn't believe she was actually going to be three, but we've been anticipating this for so long that I'm pretty used to the idea. How do I describe Ella? It really depends on the day and her mood. That in itself should tell you something! She is highly emotional - whether happy, sad or mad - there is no mistaking how she feels. She is also very sociable. She loves to play and have people to play with. She's at an age where she'll go to someone's house and go off and play and I won't hear from her unless there's a problem. Ella also loves to interact with adults - she knows all my friend's names and loves the attention that she gets from them. She is full of love - she hugs me and tells me she loves me. Catherine also gets lots of hugs and kisses from Ella. In fact, Ella is very free with the hugs. I love the feeling of her little arms wrapped around my neck - not wanting to let go. She loves to cook. Helping me make breakfast is a must for her - whether cracking the eggs, pouring the milk, she is quick to inform me "I don't need you." In fact that is something we hear pretty frequently in regards to all areas of Ella's life. She loves to do everything on her own - except of course when I'm trying to get something done. She loves imaginary play and I often hear her talking to herself and her babies (anything from an actual baby doll or stuffed animal to her Little People). She loves to sing - if she is in a good mood she spends alot of time in the car singing. It's highly entertaining because it's usually to the tune of one of her favorite songs (Away in the Manger) but with her own lyrics -which are based on recent events in her life. I'm sure you can imagine! She loves to dance, she loves to draw, she loves to read. She loves her tv shows - so much so that we have to limit it greatly. I think the current favorite is Diego. She's taken to using some of the Spanish phrases she hears on the show in her every day conversation - in the correct context of course! She loves her special blankie and doggie. She loves macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and pancakes.

Those are the things that Ella loves - there are a lot of them. But there are many things she doesn't like. Most of the food I make, for instance. Not getting her own way is a biggie. Ella doesn't take anything lightly and little insignificant frustrations or issues become monumental with her. Not being able to have pancakes for breakfast for the third day in a row has the potential to really put a damper in our day. As does attempting to brush her hair. Or not having the right socks on. Or me not being able to wrap her up in a blanket the exact way that she wants. You catch my drift....I'm hoping it's just a stage that she'll grow out of. But from what I hear the three's are rougher than the two's. If so, I don't know if I'll make it! Overall she is a sweet, tenderhearted little girl who is also stubborn and strong willed. I think she gets the sweetness and tenderhearted qualities from me...I'm not sure about the stubborness and strong will.....? Just kidding! :)

For her birthday we took her to Chuck-E-Cheese - it was her first time and she had alot of fun. Of course getting there was tough. I prepared her that there would be a big mouse there (remember her fear of "characters"?). Not sure why I thought that would help things. After that was very much against going there so we told her we would go to another pizza place with games. I know, I know, not good to lie. The whole way there she would randomly say "I don't want to see the big mouse" and I would reassure her that we wouldn't. So we pulled up into the parking lot and she gasped "mom, this is Chuckecheesus!! (that's the way she would say it, almost sounded like ChuckeJesus)" How did she know? I think the giant mouse on the sign out front must have gave it away - I was suprised she put it together that quickly! We made it in without incident when I explained the the mouse was just like Mickey Mouse and that really made everything alright. So we spent a few fun hours playing and eating and of course not wanting to come home at the end. We're having a little party for her on Saturday - alot of her friends that she likes to play with can't come (that's what I get for not planning too far in advance and doing it the second weekend in Dec.). I feel a bit sad for her since this the first year that's she's been anticipating a party (or I probably would have just had a small family party). But I think presents and cake will make everything okay!

Thanks for taking the time to read my long tribute to Ella. For those that know her, know that she is a special little girl. I can't believe it's been three years!

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