Friday, July 29, 2011

Goodbye July!


Another week gone by! We have been busy, busy, busy.


The girls have had a great time playing "campout" in the backyard. They set up their own little campsite with a play tent, a woodpile, and even marshmallows on sticks. I think this weekend we might even have a little campfire out there. Fun!

Their favorite part is having pretend sleepovers in the tent and whispering spooky stories to each other. I wonder what they're talking about?


Every day is a good day for a musical parade. I am not sure if the neighbors would agree...haha...but it sounds great to me! :-)


Our lawn is a mess and has been occupying far too many thought cycles for me this summer. I have learned more about horitculture and lawn maintenance than I ever wanted to know (mostly from Google!) and we are taking steps to make our yard better.

We have a major infestation of Burr Clover, which when it dries out (as it has in our yard), causes nasty, thorny, dry prickles everywhere. It's been nearly impossible for us to use the yard.

We have turned over every option on what to do about it. Our landlords pay for weekly gardeners, but they are pretty useless when it comes to doing anything above and beyond mowing the (non-existent) grass.

We got some quotes on how much it would cost to get a pro to take care of the lawn for us, and it was very expensive, so that's out.

Then, we read online that the best way to get rid of Burr Clover is to burn your lawn. So, we tried that, but it was so smoky and when we heard sirens, we figured our neighbors had called the fire department...and that was the end of that! It's probably something that works in West Texas where there's lots of wide, open space...but here in the city, probably not such a good idea.

One night, we were inside our house fishing all the burrs off of Daisy, and noted how again we were going to have to vacuum the burrs off our carpet. Then we started joking that what we really needed to do was vacuum our lawn.

Sounds nuts, right? But we tossed the idea around, and the next day I went to Home Depot and got us a wet/dry shop vac, and we've started vacuuming the burrs off the lawn.

It is a really slow process, and we are trading off on it...but it is working! We are vacuuming up all the burr seeds from the lawn and it is slowly but surely making the lawn soooo much better.

I even got this hat for when we are working in the yard. I think it adds to the total effect! ;-)


The bright spot of our yard is Paprika's sunflowers. Second year in a row she's grown them, and they are doing so well! I think some of them are about 15 feet tall. I hope our neighbors like them, too, because they peek into their yard!


The other yard change we've made is that we are (gasp!) watering the lawn. We are really big on conserving water, so all along we've just thought of lawn watering as an unnecessary luxury. But, I guess if you want to have a lawn that is not brown and dead (at least in this neck of the woods), I am realizing that you have to water it!

Paprika and Daisy love the sprinklers, and want to play in them like it is raining outside! Ginger...not so much. She puts on her lifejacket when they come on, and then stands nearby and kind of glares at them! She is not such a fan. But her big sister? Yea, she's having fun with them!


She says: Come on, Mama! Please let's make it rain! :-)


I can't believe we are already through July and just about to start August! What a summer it has been! I have a 5th Birthday celebration to start planning for someone...just two weeks away. Eeek!

Hope you have a great, fun, and relaxing sunny weekend!


Monday, July 25, 2011



Ginger is what I'd call a typical two year old. She is lots of fun, lots of smiles, lots of love, and lots of trouble!

She is changing so fast - and every week I look at her and realize just how much she is growing up right before our eyes. Literally growing...we measured her tonight and she has grown over an inch in the past two months.

She is talking up a storm, and we can understand everything she says now. She is speaking in real sentences, having real conversations, and has a big sense of humor. It makes me very wistful for the days (not too long ago) when Excuse me was pronounced Dukes Me! Not any longer...

One of her favorite things to do is boss everyone around. I say: It's time to go to bed. And she says: 5 more minutes. Or: Not now, I am busy, mommy. Or: Shoo, shoo, go away!

Ginger is a pretty picky eater, but compared to her older sister who eats very few foods, I feel like I've hit the jackpot with Ginger's eating. She really loves strawberries, pretzels, cheese, turkey, and "walk around" tortillas...but she will eat lots of other things, too.

A "walk-around tortilla" just means that she walks around while she eats it. This is very different from a "sit-down" tortilla, which she does not like at all. ;-) In fact, she much prefers all food "walk around" and will tell you: Walk around bagel, Please! Not a sit down bagel. Walk around bagel, please! Sitting still is not really her strong suit.

Her favorite thing in the whole world to eat is what she calls Chocolate Easter Bunny...which just means any kind of milk chocolate. She got her first taste of that back when she got her Easter basket, and ever since then any and all chocolate is called: Chocky Eassie Bunny.

Her favorite places to be are the beach, the park, and the pool. She wants to go, go, go all the time and is not really scared of anything.

Her favorite stuffed animal is still her brown puppy, which she cannot be without...ever! (Mental note: start checking Ebay for a replacement...just in case!) She also loves all other stuffed puppy dogs, and wants to feed them and give them naps. When Daisy is not looking, she sneaks into her crate and will often fill Daisy's whole crate with her dolls.

She loves to climb, and if left for even a moment, you will find her on top of the washer/dryer getting into the upper cabinets.

She wakes up each morning with a big smile ready to run head-first into the day, and she is always ready to go.

She always tells me, her daddy, and her sister: I love you so much. I miss you so much. Love so much. That stuff melts my heart and makes me forget about her getting into the upper cabinets. ;-)

And that's what two looks like so far. I just have to write it all down because before I know it, she'll be on to the next thing and our Chocky Eassie Bunny days will all be just a sweet memory...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Enjoying This Moment...


Last week, I pulled Paprika out of her summer preschool. It was just a summer session (4 weeks)- but it was just too much. The decision was pretty sudden- it all kind of came to a head when I felt like we had too much going on, and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (for real!)


Plus, there was this little issue of one of the girls in Paprika's class bullying Paprika "mean girls" style. So, Paprika wasn't having such a great time with it, either, so it didn't really seem worth it to stick it out.


Now I have both girls with me all day, every day again, and I have to say I really love it. Although not every moment with them is perfect, they really are the best of friends and they have the most wonderful, magical, enchanted times together.

Over the past few days, they have sprinkled "fairy dust" (glitter) all over themselves, our house, and tried flying through the air together.

They have made "snow" out of Pirate's Booty.

They have danced together, played dress-up, bounced in their bouncy castle, made magnificant works of art, played with Daisy, and pretended to be babies together in Ginger's crib...just to name a few things.


These days are very fun. Very busy and tiring, yes. But so very fun. I know that when Paprika goes to school in the Fall, it will be over once again. But for now, I am so glad to have these two with me every waking moment and drink in their zest and vigor for life.


Even with their penchant for mischief, I am still so smitten and in love with these girls. No, Ginger, I wasn't really planning on eating those cookies! Help yourself! ;-)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Who Am I To Judge?


We are in week 4 of daily swim lessons for Paprika. I think that means we are halfway done. Last week she didn't want to put her head under water, and now she can dive down to the bottom of the pool. Last week she could not swim at all, now she can keep herself afloat with her head under water and kinda move (not quite strokes, but getting there).

There's this little boy who also takes swim lessons at the same time as Paprika. Last week, she was in his group (they were both in Level 1, the lowest level - there are four kids per group). This week she moved up to Level 2, so she doesn't have to be right next to him in the pool. Thank goodness!

Basically, he screams for the entire lesson. The entire lesson. 40 minutes. This is his second week of swim lessons, and he is in a group of 4 kids, and he really makes life miserable for every single person around him. He just turned 3 (probably a week ago)- and it is just so heartbreaking (and mind-numbing) to listen to him scream every day for the whole freaking lesson.

His mom just sits there smiling, watching him crying and screaming his little head off in the water. I am not a judgemental person, but I really want to give her a piece of my mind and tell her that while I understand that her son needs to learn to swim, she needs to figure something else private lessons, or survival swimming at a different pool...because he sure as heck is not enjoying himself and he is making it really rough on the rest of us.

Last week Paprika had a horrible week of lessons because of him, and every day at the end would say, "Mom, that boy is giving me such a headache!" I have tried talking to the lady who runs the lessons, but she just kind of shrugs about it.

Am I crazy? I am the person who when their child starts crying in a restaurant, I take the child outside. I don't make everyone suffer! Okay...I just had to get that off my chest. LOL.


Ginger has gotten much better about being patient while Paprika has her lesson. Some days she still wants to run the entire park, but now I have given in and am letting her nurse (under a towel) at the she is just happy as a clam to do that for the whole 40 minutes of the lesson. It's a little tricky because towards the end of the lesson, like a gazillion summer camp kids crowd the pool and I am not so comfortable with 14 year old boys watching me nurse. Ya know?

Paprika nursed for 23 months (I weaned her when I was in the hospital for four days following the birth of V&A)...with Ginger, I keep meaning to wean her, but she is just sooo not ready to let that go, and I have to admit, sometimes it is very convenient. So, we just keep going. I never thought I'd be nursing a 25 month old in public- but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to stay sane.

After today's lesson, we stayed for open swim. Mercifully, it was a little less crowded than yesterday. But I used a new sunscreen on my face, and when it mixed with the chlorinated water, it caused some sort of diabolical chemical reaction on my skin. It got in my eyes, and felt like hot acid, and I thought I might be blinded for life. So, we only swam an hour and then I somehow made it home with one eye cracked about half a centimeter.

I am so glad these girls are enjoying their pool time and I am glad I am mostly surviving it. Haha!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Swimming Daze!


I guess our new hangout is the pool. Paprika has her swim lessons every day, and after that there is open swim, so we've been sticking around for it. Over the weekend, Mr. M and I took both girls to the pool for open swim, and it was a hit! Paprika learned more on Saturday and Sunday (we went to open swim both days) than she did in 3 weeks of daily swim lessons!

Yesterday after swimming, Paprika had a little playdate scheduled so I took her there right after lessons. Well...that did not go over very well at all. I guess since we had been at open swim on Saturday and Sunday, she thought we would be staying for open swim every day.

So, today I decided that after swim lesson, I would stay by myself with Paprika and Ginger for open swim at the pool. I was really nervous about it- being that the pool is 4 feet deep at least, and neither one of them can really swim, and I am 6 months pregnant. Oh, and there's like a gazillion summer camp kids there during open swim.


But, it actually went okay. You can rent Coast Guard approved life jackets at the pool (we have tons of lifejackets and swim stuff, but none of it is Coast Guard approved...which is all they allow). Ginger kind of rode on my back while I helped Paprika with her swimming. I don't know that we'll do it every day, but today it kinda worked! And they were both soooo happy!

I can't say enough good things about how helpful swimming has been for Paprika. The things most helping her right now are her occupational therapy, bouncing on the mini trampoline we have (joint compressions), and now swimming. All that physical feedback is really helpful to her- and I think it would be for anyone with a lot of sensory issues. Of course, a crowded swimming pool is not the best sensory wise (lots of noise and splashing)- but we do the best we can and that's all we can do, right? So far so good!


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ides of July!


Somehow, we're over half-way through July...which means over half-way over with summer break. Next month, someone will be trotting off to "real school" - I am so not ready for that!

Last weekend, we went to the beach. Ginger's favorite place is the beach, probably tied with the "Wimming Poo" - that's swimming pool in her dialect. ;-)


Right before we went to the beach, I got my hair cut at a salon right on the ocean. It was a I thought I'd try it out and bring Paprika with me. Paprika had been talking for weeks and weeks about how when she grows up, she wants to be a hairdresser in a hair salon. Of course, she has only had one haircut in her life (at a kid's place in Indiana) I was wondering how she got that idea into her head. I decided to take her with me so she could see if it was really for her. About ten minutes into the experience, she looked at me very seriously and said, "On second thought, I think I'll grow up to be a mermaid instead." Ha!


Not the most flattering picture of me...but here I am in all my pregnant glory. ;-) I am now 23 weeks pregnant- in this pic I was 22 weeks (since it was taken a week ago). I am really starting to feel pregnant now. I am loving feeling the kicks and the little reminders of our baby girl growing inside me. Next week (24 weeks) is the viability mark- I am looking forward to that milestone the most. :-)


I am craving lots of fruit and chocolate. The girls and the puppy are keeping me busy, so I don't have a lot of time to rest and ponder this pregnancy, but I carve out special time. The girls are soooo excited about the baby and talk to her all the time. Ginger likes to kiss my belly and say, "Pavenzia, come out!!!" I knew Paprika would bond early with the baby, but I had not anticipated how excited Ginger would be about her and how much she "gets" even though she is just two years old.


The summer is just gliding by. The construction noise has been driving me bonkers - we have had a few really bad days of constant noise (half of our neighbors are either building new houses or doing major work). I have pulled out the map of Montana more than once this past month and checked real estate prices on big pieces of land with no neighbors! Ha! That's just the reality of living here...this community is undergoing a pretty big change - it used to be middle/working class and now people with more money are coming and tearing everything down. We live in one of the last little original beach bungalows - our house is dwarfed by McMansions all around us, and it makes me a little nostalgic for the "old days" (even though I wasn't really alive in the old days- ha!)


We are the second family to live in this house since it was built in 1949! The last family who lived here had it built in 1949, raised four kids in this house, and then sold it to investors in 2010 - the mom moved to Arkansas to be with family. We are living here basically until our landlords decide to tear it down. I feel connected to this house and have an odd pride that our house is one of the last of its kind!

I love living so close to the beach, and some days I pretend I am living back in 1950...a simple little beach life. Nothing about this house has changed since it was built, so it's easy to feel like I'm in a little time capsule. Ha!


In other news, our little ball of fur turned three months old on Friday (July 15th). She was born on Tax Day (April 15th), so it makes her monthly birthdays really easy to remember!

She is adorable, and yes, kind of a pain in the rear, too. ;-) Overall, I can't complain. The only thing driving me really bonkers is when she nips at the girls- just puppy playing stuff, which I know will get better. I would say her good traits far outweigh the annoying ones, and I love having her in the house. The girls love her and every day Paprika says, "Please can we keep her forever?" She's a member of the family and I am excited for the girls to grow up with her!


And last, but definitely not least...we had some friends out visiting us from Illinois a few weeks ago. My friend Liz came out with her family, and it was so awesome getting the kids together! We met online when we were pregnant with our first babies, and we've been close friends ever since.


That summer Mr. Mustard worked for Oprah and we lived in the Omni on Michigan Ave., I spent a lot of time with the mall, at her house...she really put up with me a lot! Haha! She has been out here to visit three times and everytime it is just awesome. I am so grateful for technology - it really makes the miles so much shorter...doesn't it?


We had an awesome time hanging out with her family in our 'hood, and just catching up on life. Like these two babies who weren't even born the last time we saw eachother!


And these two, who declared one another "best friends" 5 minutes into hanging out.


I did get a picture of all of us hanging out, is not the most flattering picture of me at all. So, I will have to save it for another day! Haha!

So, that's our first half of Summer! Time is really flying so very fast. I am enjoying our lazy days, and being home with the girls. I know my life will not always look like this, so I am making the most of each moment with them while they are little. It is too precious for words!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thank You SOOOOO Much!


I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who read my last post in Google reader before I deleted it, and to everyone who responded to it. After talking with Mr. M last night, we decided to take down the post because even though much of what I wrote concerns me and the support I need, it also isn't just about me and my needs.

As our kids get older, they have their own lives and their own rights to privacy, so that is why I took it down.


The truth is that I really do need the support - I have a big job to do raising these kids, and I want to make sure I do it right, you know? And as we navigate into some very unfamiliar waters, I just love having you guys to throw me a life preserver every now and then.


Every person I've talked to about this has been so supportive and helpful. I never regret reaching out. So, I hope to be able to do that in the future here on the blog, as well. Just the outpouring of support from the few of you who read that post was just so uplifting to me. So, thank you!

I even had one reader (Chris) who shared with me the name of a doctor who is in our insurance network, who could be a great resource for us! Just this one tip alone may have saved us thousands of dollars - because up until now, all the providers I've found have not been covered by our insurance.


I really do want to share because I feel like I get so much support and helpful ideas from you guys. On the other hand, I just don't know how much to share. It is hard not to feel alone with this, unless I can talk about it, you know?


So, thanks for being patient with me! Hopefully I can repost that blog post someday soon...I guess I just need to think about it a little more before I press "Publish." ;-)

Have a great weekend, and again, I love you guys!!!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Down At The Beach Last Night


We all went down to the beach last night after Mr. M got home from work. During the day, the beach is swarming with tourists and day-trippers. But in the evenings, it's all ours.


I didn't expect the 12th to hit me so hard this year. But it did. It was just really a hard couple of days for me. Maybe it has something to do with me being pregnant and more emotional. Or because the world has (understandably) moved on, and sometimes I feel alone holding this grief. Or because it was also my cousin's birthday, and I was thinking of his mom, dad, and brother, too.


I just don't know. I do know that I got through the 11th and 12th, both really hard days for me. The 11th is the day I found out Vivian and Annemarie had passed away in utero and I went into labor. The 12th is the day I had Vivian and Annemarie, after 18 hours of labor. It is the day I held them and saw them, and really when we said goodbye to them. So, both those days are just really rough.


I really do appreciate all the emails and calls, and even thoughts from far away. I am part of two online groups of moms - you know who you are - and honestly, they just blow me away with how amazing and supportive they are. I met most of these women when I was pregnant with Paprika, and it is just incredible how our friendships have evolved over the years into something really unique and beautiful. I am also so appreciative to the readers of this blog, who have stuck with me these past three years. Thank you for being there for our family through the good times and the bad.


I guess three years later, I am still trying to make sense of it all. What does it all mean? What was their purpose? Why did I get pregnant with them, only to have them taken so soon and so suddenly? I just don't understand and I don't think I ever will.

Out of their lives, a lot of beauty has happened. But I don't think that if they had lived, life would be less beautiful. You can choose to find the beauty in anything, and likewise, the dark side, too.

So, I count my blessings for what we do have, and never forget the little girls who kissed our lives for such a short time.


Three years later, I am amazed at many so things. One is how incredible this man is. I don't know how I lucked out, but man, if there is one thing I did right, it was marrying him.


And this little girl, who was not yet two years old when Vivian and Annemarie went to Heaven. So many mornings she was my reason for waking up, getting dressed, and getting on with my life. When I look at her, all I see is love.


And this baby girl, who was so prayed for and loved even before she was born. Here she is, everything we could have ever dreamt of and more. Not taking the place of Vivian and Annemarie, but carving out her own unique niche in our family that is 100% hers. I always whisper to her: You are my dream come true. Because she is.


So, the 12th has come and gone. We are still standing. Weak but strong. Happy but a little sad, too. I guess that's just life and we'll keep going on, because that's all we can do.

Our trip to the beach last night was spur of the moment, and I threw my camera on my shoulder as we walked out the door. I wasn't planning on taking any photos, but somehow the moment just overtook me. I caught a moment with Mr. M and Ginger that made my heart swell, and made everything seem just right for that moment. Here are the photos...I couldn't choose just one, so I am posting them all. :-)

Peace and love, and until next time...