Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Next Stop, HOLLYWOOD (Just kidding, Jeremy)


Okay, not really, but they DID star in some educational films about milestone moments for two- and four-year-olds. They are up on the Great Start Collaborative of St. Clair County website, and they are AMAZING (if I do say so myself). 

Click HERE to be taken to Genevieve's six short videos. They should play automatically, but are listed on the right hand side if you want to click there.

Click HERE to be taken to Josephine's six short videos.

Seriously, though. I was so overwhelmed when I finally saw these. I assumed they would be cute, but I didn't anticipate how much I would love them. We have pictures of the girls, we have some of our own video footage, and we have our memories, but having someone come with a professional camera and capture their everyday activities -- I was blown away. Our life looks a lot more beautiful than it feels some days, and I have the Great Start Collaborative to thank for that. Thank you for thinking of our girls to star in your films.

[Another shameless plug for Great Start. Take your kids; attend parent meetings; donate time, money, or supplies to the program. You won't be sorry you helped out the lives of littles.]

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Josie Says, Vol. 5 (Preschool & Hygiene Edition)

Josie: "Mom, look! I'm washing the BACKS of my hands, too! My friend Alexis taught me that."

Me: "I taught you that. Years ago. Plus we discussed it last week. In depth."

Josie: "No, Alexis taught me this."

Me: "No, I did."

Josie: "Mom, you've never mentioned this before. Not once. Alexis taught me this to stay healthy."

Me: "I guess it's a good thing I sent you to preschool so your new friends could teach you about proper hygiene."

Josie: "Yeah. Alexis is great."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

Would you even believe me if I told you I still consider this blog a digital baby book for my girls (along with Instagram) even though I have not been here in months? Sad, but true. I've missed documenting so many moments in not only the girls' lives, but the rest of the family. Like, hey, I failed to mention that Jeremy and I went away for the first time in four years. 

Anyway, I figured a big Halloween photo dump was the way to ease myself back into blogging. Hey, all the cool kids are doing them!

Last year was the year of  thousand parties, and this year was the year of one party for each girl, at the same date and time, in separate locations. We made do.

My mom went and helped run games at Josie's first ever class Halloween party, and I took Genevieve to her playgroup party.

Genevieve had asked to be Mickey Mouse every day for a month, and when I went to buy a costume from the Disney store they were all out. My mom paid a ton for one on ebay, and when it arrived, Genevieve took one look at it and ran away screaming. We tried showing it to her for weeks, and she just shook her head and ran the other way. Right before her playgroup party, I took her over to our costume stash and told her to pick. She put her arms out straight in front of her and started running around the room making zooming noises, which I interpreted correctly as a request for a Super Girl costume. Josie asked to be a pink and purple unicorn, and in a month and a half, only wavered once, asking instead to be a car once, so I made her a unicorn.

According to tradition, on Halloween my mom and dad came over before trick or treating and brought us dinner (I REALLY like that tradition), then the girls got dressed and practiced trick or treating with the treats my mom and dad brought them. Genevieve still didn't want to be Mickey, for unknown reasons, but thankfully she chose a dinosaur costume that could fit lots of layers underneath.

It was rainy and cold and there was a wind advisory and it was generally miserable, but the girls had four layers under their costumes, including fleece-lined tights, pants, long underwear, sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, and more. My mom and dad stayed at the house so Jeremy and I could both take them out, and they lasted an hour in the pouring rain before I dragged them home. I was freezing and soaking, but they were fine because of all the layers. The rain had soaked their costumes, but the inner layers were dry, and they were actually a little sweaty.

Last year, Genevieve was still not so clear on the concept of Halloween, but this year she was INTO IT. She showed us every treat she got, and as soon as we left every house she shouted (her version of) "LET'S GO!" to urge us to the next house. They were both pretty peeved when I said we should pack it in.

Next, we headed over to Jeremy's parents' house, and after that, to his Grandma's house, where all the aunts and uncles and cousins gather when trick or treating is done.

We finally headed home, a few hours past bedtime, and for some reason, Josie kept sneaking out of bed and had wide, crazy eyes. No clue as to the reason.

And now, just because I can, all of Halloweens past:

All in all, it was a successful Halloween, even if my feet still feel cold and wet sixteen hours later.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Perspective (Also, a Poll. A Very Important Poll.)

Last night I was at a meeting and they handed around a bundle of pens and told us each to take one. The outside of the pen was white with blue accents, so I smiled and said thank you, but discreetly doodled on my paper just to check, and ... YES! Black ink! The way god intended. 

Suddenly, for no other reason than the fact that I was relishing having a new BLACK-INK pen, I had a revelation about my marriage and life in general (stay with me here).

I have this thing about pens. I write with black pens, and black pens only. If there are only blue pens at my disposal (shudder), I will use anything else (crayon, lipstick, eyeliner) before using that distasteful blue ink. No, I don't really know why (other than the fact that printers and newspapers print typeface in black ink, so why shouldn't I also produce black lettering), but I will defend my choice until the day I die. BLACK INK OR NOTHING.

Jeremy, on the other hand, is a blue ink man. Now, he lacks the flair for the dramatic that I so luckily possess, so unlike myself, he does not report feelings of nausea when seeing the wrong color ink before him. He simply says "Nope. Get this abomination away from me," and finds himself a blue pen. 

Until last night, I always thought this was something that made us incompatible. Seeing as I am the person who does roughly 99% of the buying of household goods, the fact that I can't buy a pack of black pens and know that it will be universally appreciated irks me. I am further irked by the fact that there are blue pens (BLUE PENS!) roaming around my house, and at any moment, I could pick one up and WRITE AN APPOINTMENT ON THE KITCHEN CALENDAR IN BLUE PEN, destroying the beautiful field of black ink, much like I did yesterday, when someone I had been waiting to hear from called to make an appointment, and I was juggling two small monkeys and food on the stove and a dog underfoot, and grabbed a pen and NO! WRONG! EVERYTHING'S RUINED! 

I even thought I should come here one day and ask you "Who's right? What is the correct pen color? Also, take my side." 

But then, last night, as I was looking fondly at my new Great Start Collaborative pen, I realized it was safe. It was all mine. Because Jeremy would never steal it. Because I only like black pens and Jeremy only likes blue pens and WHOA, HEY, I also don't like sharing, and the fact that Jeremy and I each have this strange hang-up about pens actually makes us MORE compatible because we will never have to share a favorite pen or accuse the other of stealing one. 

Perspective. I have it. 

Get this: It goes further.

Perhaps my two favorite foods in the world are pickles and olives (save me the thoughts on whatever deficiency I likely have because of my penchant for vinegar-based foods). I was truly shocked and saddened that Jeremy hates them with the fire of a thousand suns.

But, guess who is never going to look in the fridge and see her husband has eaten the last pickle or olive? ME.

Jeremy's dislike of nearly every vegetable, anything green, and most things healthy makes cooking for my family one of the most onerous jobs on the planet. I often weep while meal planning. 

But, every time we go to a function where there is a plated meal (of which we have been to many, due to weddings and the fact that my father's job has us knee-deep in banquets), I happily eat all the vegetables off my plate while he eats all the red meat off of his (not my favorite, by a long shot), then we happily switch plates and repeat. DOUBLE OF MY FAVORITES. 

So, really, our mismatched likes and dislikes is a great thing sometimes, and I finally figured it out. It only took me five and a half year of marriage. Look who's swift on the uptake.

Now if only he liked the show FRIENDS, our marriage would basically be perfect.

P.S. Okay, I still want to do the poll. I think people fall into three groups regarding pen color, and I would love to get some statistics on the matter. Your response is crucial! It could save all of humanity! (probably)

Apparently I can't add a poll to a post, so if you look over to the right, directly under the lovely picture of me, you will see a poll. Vote! Vote early! Vote often (once)! I am hugely fascinated. Humor me. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Josephine's First Week of Preschool is in the Books


HOLY BUCKETS, we just survived the first week of preschool. 

I'm here to tell you I didn't think I'd make it. I'm also here to share every little detail with you, because that's what I do (and because I want to be able to go back and read this years from now).

DAY 1: Josie was SUPER geeked. Just excited beyond belief. I was praying that I would make it out of the classroom before I started crying. 

She picked out a special outfit, requested an Elsa braid, let me take a few pictures (I didn't bend to peer pressure, so NO SIGN FOR US), and we were off. Thankfully, Jeremy took the day off (unfortunately it was because he was going to be in Atlanta Tuesday through Thursday), and he dragged me out of the classroom when I started getting misty-eyed. Josie was so busy she didn't even look up when we said good-bye. I started sobbing as soon as I got out the door. And all the way to the car. And for the next hour. It was rough.

Her teachers made the parents a little gift, and while the tissues were a lifesaver, it actually made me cry even more. 

I did tell Jeremy a few times that I had made a mistake and was going back for her, but he took my keys from me, so I guess it really was a good thing he took the whole day off. 

When we went to get her, we waited in the little vestibule where parents have to wait to sign kids out, and when her teachers came with the line of kids, Jeremy and I burst out laughing. At the front of the line was Josie, hair standing on end, all glassy-eyed and looking discombobulated. She was worn out. 

Unfortunately, the glassy eyes and confusion were also because she thought she was going to be able to take a puzzle home with her and she didn't get one on the way out, and WHY?!? At the open house, she got to pick out a puzzle to take home, and apparently thought this was going to be a daily occurrence. A crucial part of preschool, if you will. Oops.

She cried about that for a while, and then when she got over it, she told us that one of the boys was calling her names and told her she wasn't allowed to play with the hammer and nails she wanted to play with. That absolutely broke my heart. On the FIRST DAY? Ugh. Luckily, we talked about it, and she was eventually okay with it and developed a plan about what to do if it happened again. We tried to pry details about the rest of the day out of her and got nothing. 

Did you play with toys?
Did you sing songs?
Did you read books?
Did you do an art project?
Did you go outside? 
What did you do?

Okay, got it.

DAY 2: It is sinking in that we have to do this EVERY DAY. Until she's eighteen. UGH. She picked out another outfit, picked out another fancy hairdo, and we headed out. However, as we pulled into the parking lot, she asked "Can I just walk into school without stopping so you can take a picture of me outside the building this time?" Geez. I mean ... I guess. (*puts camera back in purse*).

I still cried, but less today. When I picked her up, the first thing she told me was "No one called me names today!!" She still told me she did nothing at school, but then a few hours later little bits and pieces started coming to her. The highlights of the day were apparently drinking milk out of a tiny carton and going on the teeter totter. She was sad that Jeremy was gone, and I was getting a little nervous about how the rest of the week would play out if she was missing him and still adjusting to preschool, but I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

DAY 3: Another fun outfit, another fun hairdo, another day of me trying really hard not to cry ... and I finally succeeded! Genevieve was a little better today, too. She was sad when we dropped Josie off, but she only asked for her a few times while she was gone, so that was a huge improvement.

When I picked Josie up, she was bursting with excitement about having a fire drill that day, but once I strapped her in her car seat, she remembered something else from that day and started crying out of nowhere. She told me, "My teacher read me this book ... it was called the Kissing Hand ... " and in my head I screamed "OH SHIT!" She had a little breakdown about missing me while she was at school and how she was going to cry all day because she couldn't see me, and I almost lost it. 

Josie is just the kind of kid who doesn't think about things being scary or sad unless you suggest it. She was never scared of anything in her life until one day someone was reading her a book about monsters and told her not to be scared. She was like, "Wait, what? I should be scared?" and we had to deal with her freaking out at every noise, thinking it was a monster. It took months for her to get over. So when The Kissing Hand suggested that she might be sad when her mama left her at school, she got REALLY sad. I was freaking out about the next day. The only thing that had been making this doable had been the fact that she actually wanted to go. If she had been crying when I dropped her off, I don't know what I would have done. 

DAY 4: Luckily, at drop off, she held it together. She asked me to kiss her hand, and asked if the kiss would stay on all day, no matter what. Then she asked to kiss my hand (SOB) and told me if I got lonely while she was at school, I just had to press my hand to my cheek, and it would tell me "Josie loves you." Soooo, yeah, I definitely cried as I walked out the door and pressed my hand to my cheek. 

She was fine when I picked her up, though. Well, she had a blister on her foot from her new shoes (oops), but she told me about reading books and going outside to play, so it seems like at the end of the week she was pretty much settled in and was not so overwhelmed that she could actually tell me a little about her day, which seemed like progress. I was a little concerned that she still didn't know any of her classmates' names, even though a few had greeted her by name that morning, so I told her a nice thing to do would be to ask what her classmates' names were and try to remember them. She looked at my like I had lobsters coming out of my ears. Oh well.

And with that, we had survived the first week!!

This morning while we were waiting in the vestibule, she was walking up to all the other kids and asking their names. Then she was holding hands with one tiny little boy and taking him around and introducing him to all the kids and parents: "This is my friend Henry!" She finally brought him over to me, and after she introduced him, he said forlornly, "My name's CHARLIE." Hey, she tried.

Week two is off to a great start. I can't wait to pick her up today. 
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