Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Jersey Moms Blog

I have a new post up on New Jersey Moms Blog. You can read it here.

Monday, September 29, 2008


So I usually write very nice things about Rob on this blog. Rob really is a great guy who helps out around the house far more than most other husbands I know. All that said two things have happened recently that just need to be aired...

1. This weekend, I had some work to do so Rob offered to play with the girls while I worked. Lovely, right? Does more than the average husband, right? Except that while he did play for quite a long time, he also managed to take a nap on the couch while the girls played on their own, not interrupting him. Really?

2. And then, Monday morning, Rob was sitting at his computer drinking his coffee and watching a clip from Saturday Night Live. I said something implying my jealousy over his ability to watch SNL while I was busy working to get our day going in the kitchen. Rob replied, "Well, I have to do something while I drink my coffee?" Really?

I decided to make a list of what I did while I drank my coffee yesterday: wash breakfast dishes, pack lunch box, fill waters, change Katherine's diaper, wipe down the counters, check e-mail, vacuum kitchen floor.

Somehow, I never did manage to sneak in that SNL clip. Maybe I can do that while I make dinner. Really.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What a difference

a year makes, again.

Last weekend was the annual Village School Family BBQ. A year ago, we arrived at the same event, with one month in NJ and one week at school behind us. I was anxious to meet people, see who Caroline was spending her days with, carve out playdates and meet new friends. As soon as we arrived, Caroline was ready to go. Groups of children ran past us, holding hands and laughing. Caroline couldn't navigate the scene. Understanding, as we were feeling a bit the same way, we left and went to a nearby playground.

Fast forward to last weekend. We arrived at the same location and Caroline was gone, out of our sight before we had gotten our name tags. She was off with a small group of friends, running, holding hands and laughing. We tried desparately to keep up with her throughout the night. There was a small pond on this picnic site that the children graviated to and we just weren't comfortable letting them play alone. Perhaps this was really an excuse to keep following. Was it possible that my baby, my clingy and needy baby, didn't need us? That she wanted to play on her own?

At one point, the group was dancing to a DJ who playing loud music in a small picnic pavillion. Rob and I, amazed at the strength that genetics plays in dancing ability (or in our case, lack of dancing ability), stood close to the circle. Caroline kept looking over her shoulder. Not, as usual, making sure we were there but instead it seemed, wondering why we were still there.

A bit later, Rob came back to our table. I had sent him off to check on Caroline. He was smiling and shaking his head. As Rob watched her play, Caroline had moved away, saying, "Dad, I don't need you. I want to play with my friends."

And so it begins...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Our current sleep issue revolves around the ever teething Katherine. We are awake all the time. We had finally planned to take the tough love approach this week and let her cry for longer periods of time in hopes that she will re-learn that whole self-soothing thing. Of course, last night, she developed a cold. Tough love- on hold.

We do though have a glimmer of hope to hold on to through the long hours of night. While Katherine is the tough one now, Caroline has had every sleep issue in the book. She has had prolonged problems going to sleep, staying asleep and waking up too early. It is really pretty recently that we haven't had one of the above going on in some manner.

And then... last night, I heard her door bang open followed be her loud feet on the hallway floor. I began to sit up, prepared. Instead, I heard her turn into the bathroom. I stayed up figuring she would use the bathroom and be in our room momentarily, awaiting an escort to her room. Instead, I heard her feet pound toward her bedroom and her bedroom door close. And then I heard nothing. Nothing at all.

My big, big, girl...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book club

Blog suffering as I rush to complete my book club book. Waited too long to start. Too little time to finish. Surprised that I enjoyed the book. Thought I would be ok to go to the meeting without finishing. Really want to finish. More to come...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Halloween, Part II

Halloween is driving me nuts. A few weeks ago, I wrote this post. Silly me to think that I had Halloween all set...

Last week, Katherine's Elmo costume arrived and it was huge. We returned it and orderd another. Elmo arrived again today. As we were attempting to try the costume on, Katherine began running laps around our house. This is a new trick for her but one she pulls out of her hat often. The Elmo costume came equipped with a little button that made Elmo laugh. I pushed it, thinking Katherine would be so intrigued, that she would come running. Again, silly me...

She was terrified. Instant tears. Lots of shouting. "Elmo, too small!!", she kept shouting. I suppose she realized that when Elmo was too big, he got put in the box and sent away. By the end of the evening, Katherine was refusing to take off her cheerleader costume.

Go figure and stay tuned.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Growing up an only child, I was lucky to have the greatest babysitter ever. She really was part babysitter, part big sister, part friend. She was only four years older than I so all that really was possible.

She is now a mom to a beautiful baby girl. She and her husband are in the process of adopting Maggie from Columbia. This process is typically a long one but now the Colombian government is on strike. Duncan has returned to the states and Joanne remains behind with Maggie for an indefinite amount of time. She is writing a wonderful blog about their adventure. Please read and send your thoughts (and comments!) her way. Today's post is cheerier but she is complaining and she is not a complainer! I think any positive thoughts would be greatly appreciated- she deserves them!

Friday, September 19, 2008


After eating our Chinese take out tonight, Caroline decided to read the fortune cookies. For some reason, we haven't done this much so she really doesn't have a great idea of how the fortunes usually sound. She also doesn't read at the fortune cookie level so her reading was hers alone.

She cleared her throat, straightened out the tiny piece of paper and said, "Joy is for peace for everything."

As I wiped the tears, Rob said, "Caroline did you hear that somewhere before?"

And I swear, she said, "In my heart."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We have always known that Caroline and I are extremely similar and we now have a new example- a shared love of homework.

Caroline is having a bit of a tougher transition to school than we had expected. She is loving the Extended Day portion of her Montessori day. The curriculum for this part of the day is a kindergarten curriculum and she can't get enough. Most schools in our area continue to use a half day kindergarten model so her afternoon is spent in a Montessori primary classroom. This class is multi age with children ranging in age from 3 to 6. Academics are tailored to the specific child. She has adored this same class, in the past so we are still trying to solve the mystery of her dislike this year. For future reference, her afternoon class is called the 'Orange Class.'

Yesterday, Caroline came bounding out of school holding a black plastic box, shouting, "I have the Mystery Sound Box!" In Extended Day, the children take turns bringing this box home. They must find an object that matches a given letter sound and write three clues that will enable their classmates to guess what object they have brought to school. She was beaming. She had real, big girl homework.

On the drive home, I asked her how things went in afternoon. She replied, "I was so excited to bring home the Mystery Sound Box, that I forgot to have a bad time in the Orange Class!"

Nothing like a little homework to resolve your dissatisfaction!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Smart girl

Our family went to the most wonderful birthday party this weekend.

The birthday girl was turning 4 and the theme was princesses and pirates. There was a large guest list and an elaborate plan. There were arts and crafts, games, a treasure hunt and yummy food. There were even hand sewn princess costumes. And wands. And tiaras. The grown up company was great and all the kids had a fantastic time. Really not much more you could ask for... except learning that your child has what it takes...

One of the games was musical chairs. Because the party throwers had left no stones unturned, however, there would be no tears among this preschool population. No one would walk away without a prize. If you were the one left without a chair when the music stopped, you would walk a hand made plank, into a blanket of water and claim your princess or pirate prize from a basket. The children played a few rounds before the dad reminded the children of the rules. No chair=a prize.

I watched the next round with pride. Children fought over chairs, running, screaming, pushing gently. Caroline stood a foot from a chair and just stared at it. The dad pointed out the chair to her and I swear she looked over her shoulder and whistled. You could almost hear her saying, "Chair, what chair?" A second later a little guy, ran in front of Caroline and snagged her chair. He looked triumphant as did she.

One walk of the plank later and the princess diary was hers.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So I somehow forgot to post about our first day of school. We began school last Monday and continued a slow phase in for the rest of the week. Today both girls spent their full amount of time at school.

Last Monday, though, was the first time that both girls would be going to school. Caroline had been so anxious to get back and Katherine could hardly believe that she would actually be going to school herself. When we talked about school, Katherine kept saying "my school?" as if she couldn't believe her luck.

I somehow managed to get us all ready early. Yes... even though we wake up at the crack of dawn around here, I am often late getting out the door. We were so early, in fact, that I figured we could take first day of school pictures before we left. Apparently, I have a 'one in/one out' policy at work in my brain. I brought the camera which meant I left the keys. At 8:40 we were standing in the front yard with no keys and twenty minutes to get to school. Rob was in the city (which means it would really be hours before he could be home) and my mother-in-law was 20 minutes away, not exactly sure where the key was.

We ran across the street to the one neighbor who had a key. I couldn't see any cars in her driveway so I was certain that I was going to quickly be out of options. Thank goodness, our neighbor was home and a crisis averted but it was close...

I am so glad that the girls did not miss their first day of school because Mom locked them out of the house!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last weekend, I finally crossed Halloween off our list. The girls had been pouring over catalogs for weeks. They would choose a new favorite on each page. Or Caroline would decide that she just wanted to be a bumble bee like she was last year because a bee is yellow.

Last weekend, Caroline found a Barbie cheerleading costume that was just the ugliest thing I had ever seen. I had a brainstorm that the girls could be University of Richmond cheerleaders and as least be cute. The ordering process was much more difficult than it needed to be and the costumes were not inexpensive but I was done. Checked off. Ready for October 31st.

You can guess where this is going...

The costumes arrived tonight. Caroline loved hers and proceeded to run around the house, pom pom in hand.

Katherine looked at the costume and said, "No. Elmo. Elmo on my feet. Elmo on my head. Elmo on my tummy. Elmo"

I guess she wants to be Elmo...

Monday, September 8, 2008

What a difference

a year makes! Yesterday we went for Orientation at Caroline and Katherine's school. Caroline will be returning as an extended day student (this is Montessori's equivalent of kindergarten) and Katherine will be beginning her toddler year.

We went to this event last year and Caroline was an absolute bundle of nerves. We had moved only weeks before and school would mark yet another new and unfamiliar activity. We stayed, last year, for all of 5 minutes. Yesterday, we closed the place down... they had folded up the welcome tables, teachers were walking to their cars, doors were locked... and we stayed. Caroline will be in two classrooms and we went to each twice. We went to Katherine's classroom twice and her playground three times. Over the hour long period, I watched Caroline's mood visibly shift. She was calm but excited. She was confident but shy. But above all, she knew what she was doing. She knew where she going and she recognized people. What a refreshing change for all of us.

Katherine too, sensed the excitement. As we stood in one of Caroline's classrooms, she said, "I want to go my classroom too!" She ran right up to her teacher and shook her hand- after watching Caroline do the same. She walked around the classroom saying, "my fish", "my chairs."

As we pulled out of the parking lot, Caroline was beaming and Katherine shouted, "That was fun!"

You really can't ask for more than that.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Jersey Moms Blog

IMPORTANT EDIT: I don't think I can edit a New Jersey Moms post once it's up so I have to just put my edits up here- a closely reading reader called me out on two really important things... 1. Caroline turned 5 in July not August :) 2. I didn't clearly explain in this post that Caroline will do her Kindergarten year at her Montessori school- for those not familiar with the Montessori curriculum, they provide a three year cycle that includes a full day kindergarten program. It is quite typical for children to finish out a Montessori program with kindergarten and then go on to their public school for first grade. I am actually not a huge fan of holding children back unless it is really necessary so we will certainly send Caroline on to first grade next year.

I have a new post up on New Jersey Moms Blog. It is a topic I imagine I will revist often in the year to come... schools. Click here to read about my current dilemma.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Responsibility Project

For a long time now, I have been struggling with the commercial side of blogging. I have been accepting review copies of books, games, towels- you name it- and then wimping out. I started my blog to keep an on-line journal for my family. Not to post reviews. In this world of blogging, however, there are also many great opportunities to meet and get to know lots of great people. Many who did not know you before you began blogging. Many of these people come to blogs by way of reviews and give aways.

I can't fight the trend any longer so I came up with a pretty simple solution- two blogs. One for my life and one for my reviews. I have been waiting to launch Love Bug Reviews until I can get it looking pretty (with the fantastic help of Shera at Sweet n' Simple Design) and until I can finish a post summarizing all the great stuff I have received over the past month.

Recently though, I was invited by the great women at Mom Central to blog about Liberty Mutual's Responsibility Project. This is such a noble endeavor that it seemed worth discussing on both of my blogs. A while back, Liberty Mutual ran a television ad along the lines of the movie, Pay it Forward. They received such positive feedback that they launched a campaign to help teach children the importance of personal responsibility.

The site includes a blog full of interesting discussions, videos for children and parents to watch together and discussion questions. Caroline and I watched two of the videos together- The Lighthouse and Dinner for Two. Each highlighted the wonderful things that can happen when people come together to solve a problem. Both videos contained next to no dialogue which enabled us to talk about what was going on in each of the stories. I have also been able to refer back to the films when the girls have had disagreements this week- needless to say, as the long days of summer draw to a close, I have had plenty of opportunities to discuss personal responsibility!

Part of the Responsibility Project site reads: "We believe the more people think and talk about responsibility, the more the world becomes a better place." Hard to argue with, right?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Boss

In my mind, I make the dreaded comparisons between Caroline and Katherine every day. Their personalities are just so different it really is impossible not to do it. When I am out with Katherine alone, people will often comment on how active, social and busy she is. "You must be exhausted!" they say. I truly look over my shoulder to see who they are talking to because I am out with my "easy" one. Exhausted? Because of Katherine? No way! Whenever I hear this, I always am amazed by relativity. I suppose, if I were to look at Katherine, she is pretty active. She doesn't always take no for an answer. She can be pretty loud. But in comparison...

Slowly but surely, though, Katherine is exerting her personality, even here at home. Yesterday, I had a tough day with both girls. We have a had good summer but a long one. We don't get back to our regular routine fully until September 15th. We start a slow phase in to school next week. The girls and I are ready for our schedules and yesterday everyone was a bit grumpy. I had complained to Rob about that feeling of being ignored all day- no one was listening, no one was doing things when I first asked them to... On his way out the door, Rob said, "Remember to listen to Mommy today. She's the boss!"

Katherine looked up at him and said, "No! I boss!"

Perhaps, I will just go back to bed...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Do it myself!

Katherine turned two in April. She has shown signs of it on and off but nothing too serious. Recently though, three words have dominated our lives. "Do it myself!!" She is showing rage never seen before. Our happy little girl can get thrown into a flurry of screams and flailing limbs if a grown up or big sister is to do something that Katherine would prefer to "do herself."

This morning's antic were my favorite so far. I was quietly changing her diaper after she awoke for the day. She is often pretty mellow at this point. She does not go from 0 to 60 in the morning like her sister does. She will often lie on her changing table with her eyes closed, waiting to wake up. Suddenly, I hear the high pitch scream of "Do it myself!" It took me a minute to realize what she could possibly be refering to... It seems I had lifted up her bottom to slip a dry diaper underneath. Silly me not to realize she wanted to put her own bottom in the air.

Perhaps I can use this to my advantage and Katherine can do the laundry, empty the dishwasher and make dinner "by herself" today!