Sunday, September 30, 2012

Never Second Best!


Mr. M has been working a lot of hours. I know I always say that, and well, it's because it's true. I don't talk about it as much as I used to because I have become very used to it. It is the truth of our lives that he works very hard - and I am very proud of him for that! That leaves me alone with the kids most of the time, and well, it's a big responsibility. I know it must seem like all I do is flit off to park trip or playdate, or swimming...but the truth (as any person who has raised small children can attest) is that there is so much more that goes into it than that!

My days are so full from the moment I wake up in the morning, well into the night, and begin early the next day.  I never have a moment off-duty.

 I really do love this stage of my life and it is something I prayed I would get to do for so long (there was a time when all I prayed for was to have a baby). And here we are.  Times three!

 I do love my life. But, oh my, it is so very stretching! ;-)

I don't have time to talk on the phone with anyone, no time to answer emails, no time to do much of anything (except occasionally update this blog). My days go by in a long blur most of the time, and by the time night falls, the morning seems like it was a decade ago.


I kind of laugh because on the days when Mr. M is home, something will happen and he will be so flabbergasted by it, and act like it is just a huge deal (like if still-un-potty-trained Ginger has a massive blow-out in her pull-up and it gets ALL over the carpet, for example). I just look at him like, "Are you kidding me? These things happen to me all day, every day, 7 days/week!"

I am careful not to complain about my life or the messy diapers, constant feeding, needing, caring, cleaning...all those things...because I know that this is my choice. I have always wanted a big family. I chose to leave my exciting career to stay home. I do not delegate childcare to anyone else (I have trust issues, people!) - and well, it's the life I've made.

Every six months or so, I revisit the choices I've made (never the choice to have children - only the choice to be home full-time) and wonder if I'm doing the right thing. It's usually after viewing Facebook or and hearing about how friends and acquantances have gotten a big book deal or a movie deal, or are jetting off to Switzerland for a year. Things that don't really matter in the long run (and don't really make you happy anyway), but for a moment, they make me pause (especially when I am knee-deep in the sh*t) and wonder about the choices I've made. Then, invariably, someone starts screaming in the background and I am whisked back to reality and to the wonderful but overwhelming symphony that is my life at the moment!


I know that many times I look like I have it all pulled together in a neat little package, and the reality is that I am constantly figuring it out...just like everyone else. With every year that goes by, every child, every experience, every meltdown...I always try to learn something from it.  I am always trying to improve as a mother, and I know I don't have all the answers.  But at least I am learning!

I have learned how to streamline choices to maximize efficiency....that has been key in maintaining my sanity.  Do you ever notice how I am almost always wearing a blue shirt and gray yoga pants? Well, that's not by accident. A few months ago, I decided to figure out what outfit looks best on me, is the most comfortable, and practical.  I have to be able to bend down, lift heavy children, nurse, it has to be wearable for 20+ hours/day, not be scratchy to children I'm holding, wash easily, and fit a changing postpartum body, and not fade after a bazillion times in the wash.  And thus, I came up with "the uniform" - which means that I wear the same thing every day.  Old Navy yoga pants and a blue  T-shirt.  Sometimes I mix it up and wear a green T-shirt.  Gettin' crazy!

Now, it's not the SAME pair of pants and shirt.  Ewww.  I went to Old Navy and I bought 7 pairs of the same pants.  Yup, the same ones.  They're my favorite.  And for the past 6 months, that's what I've worn.  And then I have a bunch of v-neck T's in rotation.  I think of my job (stay at home mom) as very athletic - and so, like an athlete, I have to be as capable as I can be to do that job.  So, what I wear has to fit the bill for my job.  It's not about me and my personal expression.

5 years ago, this would have seemed preposterous to me.  And least a little sad. 

But, it's actually been oddly freeing.  I know that my life won't (probably) always be this way.  Or maybe it will.  Who knows.  What I do know is that when I wake up in the morning, I have about 15 seconds to get dressed.  And when I go to my dresser and use 8 of those 15 seconds to find clothes, I no longer pick the "second" or "third" best outfit.  I always pick the outfit I like best. The outfit that will work best.   ;-)

It is often said that this stage of life is a Season, and that if you blink, you will miss it.  I guess if I am going to err, it will be on the side of being more available and present for my children.  Even if some days, I do look over the fence at the other side and wonder if I'm making the right choices.  Yoga pants and all.  ;-)
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Disneyland Day!


On Wednesday, Paprika had the day off school for Yom Kippur. Since we're not Jewish, it seemed like a great day for Disneyland! We thought it might be a little crowded, but we had no idea HOW crowded it would be.

Every school district in Los Angeles was off for the day, so it seems like every other non-Jew had the same idea. We pulled up to Disneyland and there was an enormous line just to get into the parking lot. Oh boy!

But, we made it. First stop was our brick. We always say hi as we walk into the park:


Then we went to the Pirates of the Carribean ride. Ginger was excited about it, then she got scared when we were waiting in line. Here is her "I don't think I want to do this" face:


I'm happy to say that once she was on the ride, she loved it and asked to go back again! Haha. They had a little Fall-themed petting zoo. The girls got to pet this horse. He is one of the horses that pulls the horse-drawn carriages down Main Street:


The little goat arena was practically empty. Ginger was so sweet with the goats. She wanted to pet them all.


Paprika loves to pet goats...even to this day. Remember this trip to pet the goats?! I won't ever forget it. ;-)


Ginger had to pet just about every goat in the place. But, when it was time to go...the girls were fine with leaving. I was so glad I didn't spend six hours petting goats (although that wouldn't have been so bad either, I guess).


Violet had her first ride on the Carousel by herself. I've always sat on the horse with her before, but this time, I decided she was big enough to ride. She was so excited. Then the horse got going, and the combination of the horse jumping (going up and down) while the Carousel was spinning was just a little confusing and too much for her. She looked at me like she was scared and then started to cry. So, I had her down from there in about 2 seconds and I held her the rest of the ride. She let out a big sigh of relief. I guess she IS only 10 months. Let's not rush things!


Even though it was crowded, we still were able to go on all the rides we wanted.  Next up, we rode It's A Small World. I snapped a pic with my cellphone, just before it ran out of batteries!

small world

So, right after I took that picture, my phone completely ran out of batteries. I forgot to charge it before we left. So...long story short, that made things much more complicated because I had no way to communicate with Mr. M.

Violet fell asleep in the Ergo, so I wanted to find a quiet place to hold her while she napped...but then how would I find Mr. M and the big girls again? Also, there are some rides that Violet is too little to ride on, so while Mr. M and the big girls would go wait in line (20-30 minute wait)- I would have to find something else to do.

It became kind of a Where's Waldo for me because I would time how long they were in line, then go to the exit and wait for them...and try my best to pick them out of the crowd of hundreds (thousands?) of people! It was kinda stressful and from now on, I will never forget to charge my phone before a trip like this! (Okay, I probably will forget- but I will try not to!)

Paprika wearing my sunglasses:


The girls have never been big on "Character Encounters" - but this trip, Paprika really wanted to meet some of the characters we saw. So (even though we were soooo hungry for lunch), we waited in line to see Merida.

It was awesome and worth the wait. She played a little game with the girls of Peekaboo with the Bears, and overall, I was just so impressed. You can see how excited Paprika was by that big smile on her face. She can't stop talking about meeting Merida. I think we know who Paprika wants to be for Halloween! ;-)


They had a cool little bow and arrow station where you could practice archery. Even Mr. M got a turn!


Paprika and Ginger LOVE Chip and Dale. Actually, I think Ginger likes them best of all. She is always wanting to watch their old cartoons on YouTube and in general just can't get enough of them.

She was so excited to meet them. We waited in line, but at the last second, Ginger got too shy and hid behind Mr. M and wouldn't come out. So, Paprika went and met them by herself. Again, can you see how happy she is? She said next time she wants to bring an autograph book to get their autographs.


Then we headed over to Calfornia Adventure. Here we are on the caterpillar ride. I got to ride with the big girls while Mr. M watched Violet.


After that, we rode Monster's Inc. and then went home! Mr. M had to work that night, so we just made the day of it. We ran into one of Paprika's friends from her class last year - and then we found out after we got home that a BUNCH of people we know were also there that day.  About six kids from her current class, as well as kids she knows from preschool.

I would say I'm surprised...but then, I do think half of Los Angeles was at Disneyland on Wednesday. Even a crowded day at Disneyland is still a good day, and the crazy thing is - I don't think the kids even notice the crowds. Just us parents! ;-)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Far Back Can You Remember?


Paprika had "Picture Day" last week at school. She was so excited to dress up "extra fancy" - so I snapped a few pictures before school. Ginger wanted to get in the picture, too. How could I resist? ;-)


Paprika has a memory like nobody I have ever met. Seriously. Last week she started talking to me about something that happened when she was ONE. There is no explanation for it other than that she remembered. I never blogged about it and have never discussed it with her.

Basically, when I went into the hospital to deliver the twins, she watched the movie The Sound of Music. Last weekend, we were at the park, and I started singing the song: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? And she started crying and said that was the song that was playing when I was in the hospital and it made her so sad. We haven't seen that movie since, and it is true that she watched it when I was in the hospital when she was one (almost two) years old.

The other funny thing that happened this past weekend was that Paprika did a little art project on her own - she got out paper and made a pair of pants and drew pictures on them of all her friends and family.

Well, that is a craft she did back in "Two Cool Two's" when she was TWO years old in preschool. The same craft. (It was a pair of "Family Jeans" - a play on "Family Genes").

I said to Paprika: "What is this?" And she said, "I did this in Miss Doreen's class at my old school.  I wanted to make a new pair!" It is wild what she remembers. She remembers everything.

 Not to get all crazy on you, but when she was 18 months she told me that she remembered what it was like to be inside my tummy and she made the SOUND of it. Makes you think, right?

Anyhoo... This is my view at swim lessons every day (Paprika and Ginger are both in the pool):


And this, too. Little Miss Violet is quickly becoming Little Miss Troublemaker! ;-)


The End.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Park It and Crash!


I spent much of this past weekend going to parks, or driving around looking at parks.

 Mr. M had to work on Saturday, so I took the girls to a park by myself (or so that was the plan). But, every park that we went to was completely crowded with soccer!

 Soccer games, soccer kids, soccer parents, and soccer siblings. So, I started making drive-bys before we got out of the van, and eventually we ended up at a park and no one else was there! We had the whole place to ourselves. Score!


Ginger is big on dressing herself now. So, you may be seeing her in swimsuits, outfits that are inside out, backwards, and upside down. 


And of course, shoes on the wrong feet. But she's wearing shoes and wearing clothes, so what do I care! She has her own style, and it really does match her personality.

Here is the ensemble she came up with for yesterday! Inside out, but hey...that's fashion! ;-)


Mr. M was home on Sunday. He got up very early to go buy some window blinds on Craigslist and was in a car accident.

When he called me to tell me he'd been in an accident, I just knew.  I knew it before he said a thing.  He thought I would be mad, but I was really so happy.  Because if he was calling me, it meant that he was fine.  And, thankfully, he is fine. The other driver was also fine. The van has seen better days, but it rolls and it can be fixed.

As my dad always says, any accident you can walk away from is a good one. ;-)

So, by the time the kids got up that morning, it had already been an eventful day! We decided not to let the accident spoil our day because, well...that would be foolish. It was a gorgeous day, so we took the kids to the park. We went to one park and again, it was overrun with a soccer game. We got back in the car and went to the same park as the day before, and once again, we had the whole place to ourselves. :-)

Deja vu!


The girls had a great time playing with their daddy. They played Wicked King, and another game they made up (Hooobly Goobly, I think it was called?)


There were lots of spider webs at the park, and Paprika found this one. She declared it was the most perfect, symmetrical spiderweb she'd ever seen and asked me to take a picture so she could draw it later. Sweet little spider. ;-)


Then we decided to go to lunch, but Violet fell asleep in the car, so we drove around for about 40 minutes listening to music while she slept. When we thought the girls were just about to burst, we stopped at Rubio's, and Mr. M had lunch inside with the big girls while I stayed in the van with Violet.

Never wake a sleeping baby (if you  can help it) - that is my motto!

After that, we went home, scooped up Daisy, and took her to the dog park. The girls had a great time playing with Daisy and the other dogs at the dog park. Daisy made a "friend" named Kona.  Daisy had a great time and when we got home, she wanted to take a long nap!  I forgot my camera in the car, so this was the best I could do (Instagram):


The End!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Daisy Doodlebug!


I realized that I haven't posted much about Miss Daisy lately!  She is now 17 months old - almost a year and a half!  She is fairly big - probably about 65 pounds?  She used to be so crazy, but I am relieved to say that she has calmed down A LOT. 

I am sooooo glad to say that she is pretty much out of the puppy phase.  She still has a lot of energy, but she's manageable.  I swear, for about nine months there I thought she was going to send me to the loony bin.  She was a typical puppy (chewing on everything in sight, nipping the kids, potty training, etc.) and well, she was a lot for me to handle - especially with three teeny kids and being pregnant for a lot of her puppyhood!

We sent her to intensive obedience training when she was about ten months old, and it helped so much!  She has real manners now, and she is much easier to be around because she understands what's acceptable and what's not.  That is something I am sure I could have taught her myself with a lot of time and patience, but like I said, I was kinda busy!  ;-)

She knows all the basic commands like: sit, stay, come, to walk well on a leash, how to heel, and then she also has a "place" command.  So, if you say, "Daisy, go to your place," she will walk over to her little doggie bed and lie down and not move until you tell her to get up.  She likes to push the boundaries on the "place" command by inching all the way off her dog bed until just her toe is touching. ;-)


Of everyone in the house, the person who loves her most is Ginger. I didn't expect that at all. I expected her to be Paprika's dog and that they would have some kind of mystical, amazing connection that would bond them for life. Paprika loves all animals - she is so nurturing. Well, it turns out that the kind of animals she connects with are much smaller - like insects! Haha. So, while Paprika loves Daisy in her own way, the person who actually wants to love on Daisy and play with her is Ginger!

Daisy loves people.  She is so happy just to be included in the action, whatever we are doing.  She thinks she is a teeny lap dog, even though she is full-grown now.  She will try to climb up on your lap if you let her.  She is very affectionate and has a super sweet temperment.  She is very gentle with the kids especially.


We have a very big, fenced backyard, and so a lot of the time, Daisy is out there because if she gets wound up (as Ginger loves to get her wound up), I worry that Daisy will trample Violet.  It is tough because as much as I want Daisy inside all the time, our house is tiny (1200 square feet), we have three little kids, and Daisy can accidentally knock one or more of the kids over when she's excited.  I have to watch her every single second to make sure she doesn't knock over the kids - so I always feel a little tense when she's in the house.

I wish it weren't that way, but it is what it is.  After the kids go to bed, she is always inside, and she sleeps in our bedroom.  So, it's not like she's out in the cold (not that it ever gets too cold here - ha!) 

I have the back window open (no screen), so whenever she's outside, she comes up to the window, puts her paws over the door, and begs to be petted.  Did I mention she has the biggest heart?!


The good news is that someone is pretty much always home, so she's never lonely in terms of us being gone a lot.  She has a family who adores her, and she gets to grow up with three kids who think she's the best dog in the universe.

I can only imagine that as time goes on, the kids get bigger, and Daisy gets more mature, that things will continue to get better and better with her.  Already I am so happy to say that I survived her puppyhood (haha!) and that we have come out the other side in one piece.  ;-)

So, that's the update on Miss Daisy Doodlebug!  Love her!


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Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 Months Can!

Dear Violet,

You are now 10 months old. I am amazed at all the things you can do.

You can stand up all by yourself. You can crawl up onto our mini trampoline and bounce yourself (with supervision, of course!) You love to stand in the doorway when I have the refrigerator open. If I let you, you will stand there and take ALL the food out of the fridge. You think it's the best thing. You love to unfurl all the toilet paper in the house and make big messes wherever you go. I think you are becoming a toddler before my very eyes.

You have six teeth (four top, two bottom) and by the way you've been sleeping, I'd say you have a few more on the way! You love food and are big food moocher. You will eat anything. The other day, when you were standing there at the fridge, you took a mixture of spicy peppers out of the fridge and ate them all up. You love any and every kind of food, as long as you can feed yourself. You will NOT allow yourself to be fed by anyone but YOU.   But as much as you love real people food, you love nursing most of all! 

You love being in the sand, in the grass, and as far as I can tell, you have zero sensory issues! You are happy with whatever.


You love your family, and are especially attached to your mama. If I am out of your eyesight for even a split second, you start crying and get really upset. I don't think you quite understand yet that when I leave, I'm not really gone. I think you think that I've disappeared entirely. So, I never stay gone long. ;-)

When I put you down, you always crawl right over to me and tug on my pants and beg me to pick you up (which I do). Your favorite place is riding on mommy's hip.

You only fall asleep in the Ergo or in your carseat when we're driving someplace in the car. Once you're asleep, you like being held. I always hold you for your naps still, and sleep next to you at night. When you wake up in the morning, you are always so happy. There is nothing quite like holding you. It's pretty magical.


You are a very fast crawler, and when you want to get something, you put your mind to it and get there fast! You will be walking any day now, I just know it. It's kind of funny, but I think one of the reasons you are so physically advanced (compared to your sisters at this age) is because you never wear shoes! With your sisters, I always had them in shoes (Pediped) and I think that those shoes just got in their way. You have a big shoe wardrobe but you don't like anything on your feet, so we just go barefoot. It works!

You are starting to talk. You say: Yes (sounds like Yeth), Mama (Mamamamamamama), Dada, and then a lot of bibbly babbly that you understand but is not quite English. ;-) I always know what you want, and you are a pretty great communicator.

You are always so smiley, and you love to wave to people and point and smile at them, and then hide your face and be shy.

You love your sisters and your daddy, and you get SO excited when you see them. Your favorite person to play with is Ginger. You two play kitchen together - Ginger makes you "food" and you throw it around the room. Or Ginger and you build with blocks - Ginger builds, you destroy. ;-)

You love music more than anyone I've ever known, and already you toddle over to the piano, put your fingers on the keys, and start to play.

I love being your mom and cannot imagine my life without you in it. You have been in my arms for just 10 months, but it seems like you have always been here.

  Love, Mom

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cool and Refreshing!


It was crazy hot here last weekend. Record breaking, in fact! We don't have air conditioning in our house, so by 10am on Saturday, it became clear that we all needed to go find somewhere air-conditioned before we all melted.

Our first stop was the park. Not air-conditioned, but close to the beach, shaded, and outdoors. :-) We just stumbled upon this park, and this weekend, we actually went twice - Saturday and an encore on Sunday!

It was nice and breezy, and fun!


In other news, I got food poisoning this past weekend, which made me feel a lot like I was on one of these swings, except without the fun. ;-) Thankfully, I am feeling better now!


Baby Violet had a great time just hanging out. She soooo wants to play with the big girls and do everything they do. I think it's a little frustrating for her. She will be walking before we know it and then boom...she'll be right there in the mix with them!


After the park, we had lunch at Rubio's - inside because it is air-conditioned! Then, I tried to think of the place that would be the coolest, with the least number of people, and preferably cost the least amount of money (free).

And, of course, you know where that is? The library! Nobody goes to the library on a least not around here!

So, we went to the library. It was refreshing and cool!


We actually visited the library about a week ago, and everything went great. I had been nervous about going because all the times in the past I've gone, I've gotten yelled at by the librarians. First, when Paprika was about a year to two years old, she pulled books off the shelves with wild abandon everytime we went. Then, when Ginger was 18 months to two years old, she climbed the bookshelves like a wild banshee.

But last week, it was so perfect, I could hardly believe it:


Even Violet had a good time:


The big girls were coloring and reading to themselves. It was like a dream:


Well, I got too comfortable with that, and this last weekend when we went, Violet had her own plans. All she wanted to do was crawl around and pull every dvd off the shelf! Then if we moved her to the baby toy play area, all she wanted to do was dump the toys on the floor, and then crawl off and rip the magazines from the bookshelves.


Then, while we were chasing Violet, the big girls plugged themselves into the library computers and just wanted to play Dora games! No reading books, no coloring! Just plugged in to the computer games, and Violet was destroying the library in the background. Ack!


So, I ended up taking Violet for a little walk by the beach while the big girls and Daddy chilled at the library.


I am so ready for Fall...for cool weather, pumpkin patches, and toasty drinks. Bring it on! ;-)

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