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Posted by AVM

You and I?  We’re in a fight.  Why?  Because you lied to me. 

The myth of childhood devilishness is called “The Terrible Two’s.”  Moms the world over (it seemed anyway) told me about these twos that are terrible.  Liars.  The lot of you.  It sounded like a believable story when I was cuddling my newborn, or getting big wet kisses from my one year old.  Then Lovey went through her two’s, and I thought, Hmmm, that wasn’t so terrible. I can honestly say that Lovey’s three’s have been the most challenging so far.  Here she stands on the precipice of her fourth birthday, and I can only hope for calmer waters.  She IS the girl with the little curl.  When she’s good she’s very, very good, but when she’s bad. . . holy hell.  I’m exaggerating a bit, of course, but sometimes I know she’s just disagreeing just to disagree.  I love this kid to pieces, but, man, someone gave her my instruction manual and she’s been stuck on the chapter that tells her how to raise my voice.  All I know is that one of my friends calls this next year “The F@&%king Fours.”  Can’t wait!

It gets easier, doesn’t it?  Lie to me!

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Posted by AVM

My littlest girl turns one today.  Tiny CeeCee is growing up.  I know people say time flies – that it moves so fast, you blink and your children are in first grade, high school, married with children of their own.  I know “they” are right, although in the trenches of tantrums and the nightly bath, it seems like it’s moving at a snail’s pace.  It’s only when I look at photos from the last few years or an old video or something that I really notice it.  Usually, that is.

CeeCee turning one has completely knocked me for a loop.  There is NO WAY that it was a whole year ago that she made her dramatic appearance into the world.  It’s a horrible cliche, but it really has gone by in a flash.  CeeCee is an amazing child.  Different from her sister, CeeCee is the calm to Lovey’s frenzy.  She’s got an easy smile, the cutest giggle and is an utter delight.  My daughters are beautiful, each in their own way.  Lovey is lithe and athletic – a mini powerhouse – strong and built for speed.  She doesn’t walk, she runs.  I admire her determination and energy.  She’s a sweetheart, she roots for the underdog, but do it her way, please, and quickly.  CeeCee is soft and delicious – she tastes life.  Lovey cannot be bothered to waste time on a meal, while CeeCee dines. Often taking forty-five minutes to finish a meal, she carefully chooses each morsel of food, inspects it, and really tastes it.  Yes, this one takes after me. I am baffled at the major differences in personality between two children who were born of the same parents.  And I am up for the challenge of helping the best parts of each of the girls brighten. . . and that’s how we as parents will shine (if we get it right).  Yes, it’s CeeCee’s birthday, but it’s a milestone for all of us   – we survived a year as a family of four, and we’re better for it.

This year has brought CeeCee many triumphs – first words, first stitches, and first steps (not in that order) – but none more victorious than the undying love of her parents and sister.  Happy birthday, sweet CeeCee – you make our hearts overflow and our lives complete.  Don’t grow up so fast, ok?  I love you with all of my heart.

Posted by AVM

I must apologize for the lack of posting on my part.  Summer has been busy and I’ve been home quite a bit as my summer childcare situation is spotty at best.  For me, being at home more means I’m unplugged a lot, and it also means my evenings are spent being too exhausted from watching the girls to care about getting on the computer.  It’s a nice change, and I needed it.  We are on the brink of a much-anticipated extended vacation, and as I figure out how to pack everything in the car for that amount of time, I am also looking forward to great times (I hope!) as a family.  So in the midst of this hiatus I’m taking, I thought an explanation was owed.  And this is it.  I hope your summer has been filled with much joy, family, and relaxation.  See you soon!

Posted by AVM

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we had a great time at our family’s vacation home with my parents, my sister and her husband, and our little brood.  After fun and exhausting days of swimming, chasing our girls around, and wonderful meals, the “adults” would hang out together with a bottle (or two!) of wine after the girls went to bed.  One night, while our husbands looked on puzzled, my sister and I were in hysterics, laughing until we couldn’t catch our breath and tears streamed down our faces about some silly thing we used to do when we were young (and tormented each other).  The details are inconsequential – it was just part of the great and textured history she and I share as sisters.  Growing up, we drove each other crazy sometimes as siblings do, but we were always close because we were sisters, and frankly, my parents wouldn’t have it any other way.  You’re going somewhere? Take your sister.  You have something? Share it with your sister.  You and your sister are fighting?  Work it out girls, you’re family, and family sticks together.  While I found these tactics incredibly annoying sometimes (especially as the older sister), I am so grateful that my parents raised us that way.  It was only until I was older that I realized that not everyone had this innate feeling that family is absolute, and I felt incredibly sad at the revelation.  In our family, you can always go home.  You stick up for your sister, no matter what.  Again, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, but at the end of the day, my sister is my best friend.  I have every intention of raising my daughters the same way.

When I went to bed that night, I  giggled to myself thinking about how my sister and I can still make each other laugh like that.  And I smiled a huge smile thinking about how I hope my girls will do the same someday.  A lifetime of inside jokes and belly laughs together, I can’t wait to watch them grow.

I love you, C.

Posted by AVM

There have been a few products out there that have made my life a lot easier during my second go-round as a mom.  I had to share them with you in case you’re in the market for life-made-easier products.

1. If you’re like me with an early feeder, you clean the floor a lot.  Everything from bananas to rice to the omnipresent Cheerios are all over the floor after every meal thanks to CeeCee practicing her fine motor skills getting food from the tray into her mouth.  I bought this bib and the shrapnel on the floor decreased by 80%.  Check it out.  The Pelican Bib. It’s a catch-all (plus you can toss it in the dishwasher!)!

2. Having a potty trained 3-year-old is great. . .except when you go on long driving trips.  Tiny bladder + too much to drink + a three-hour drive = frequent stops to bathrooms you should wear a HazMat suit to enter.  Come on, people.  Take some pride in your establishments!  There is no need for the bathrooms to be in such horrendous shape.  Are you with me moms in singing the chorus of, “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!” to your sons and daughters when you take them to a public bathroom?  I came across these Potty Toppers that have calmed my anxieties and OCDs a little every time we pull off the highway for Lovey to use a rest stop bathroom.  They have sticky strips to keep the potty topper in place (and they are thick!), they come in all different designs (we have Dora ones), you won’t have to worry about your little one catching some strange disease from the toilet seat, and you just toss them when the deed is done.  They may not be green, but they’re clean, and in this case, that will have to do.

3. While I have been packing bentos for Lovey for about 3 months now, CeeCee has started to need a some food of her own sent to daycare (as opposed to bottles only).  I came across this Nibble Tray and absolutely LOVE it.  It’s great for your diaper bag, to send to daycare, for a picnic or day out, or just to prep food for tomorrow, so all your pre-cutting and planning is done.  The spaces are small enough for early eater portions and the top of the “pineapple” detaches and has gel inside so you can freeze it and keep yogurt and other stuff cold.  This is a must-have. . .and you’ll love the price!

So share with me, moms.  I’m always up for something new to make my life with kids easier.  Share your favorite product with me.  I want it!

Posted by AVM

So much time is spent saying “No” to our children, it’s nice to have a day where you say nothing but “Yes.”  I have a co-worker who took her two children to Disney World and before she left she told me, “I want them to have the best time.  If they want ice cream for breakfast, I’m going to let them have it!”  That always stuck with me  – I just thought that was such a cool thing to do.  I know that in our house it’s a lot of: Please don’t touch the baby.  No, you can’t have cookies before dinner.  No, we can’t go on the swings, it’s bedtime. . .and it’s dark out.  No, you can’t wear a wool sweater today, it’s 89 degrees out there (this was literally last week’s argument).   A lot of that – and I feel bad and guilty that our days go like that sometimes.  I really need to work on that in some way.  But sometimes there really just is no other answer but, “No.”

This weekend we took Lovey and CeeCee to a little local amusement park.  It’s a place I’ve been going since I was a kid.  I’ve been there with my family, as a teenager with friends, in my 20s on dates, with my husband, and now I’m taking my own girls there.  I love this place, even though the paint is a bit chipped and the awnings faded – to me, it still has all the charm it ever did.  When we decided to take the girls, I said to my husband, “I’m just going to say, ‘yes’ all day!”  And so we did.  “Yes” meant that Lovey ate crap all damn day. . .cotton candy, ice cream, a candy necklace, a sugary frozen lemonade, french fries, etc.  We won her prizes, fed quarters into any game she wanted to play, let her get an airbrushed butterfly “tattoo” on her arm, and let her ride the rides as often as she wanted.  It was a great day, and she laughed and squealed all day long.   I know we can’t have days like that too often (plus the sugar will kill all of us), but this weekend, it was just what we all needed.  She can’t wait to go back. . . and neither can I.

Posted by AVM

There are a few moms I need to give a shout out to because they really rock. I am inspired each day by the effort and passion these ladies put forth. If you haven’t heard of these fabulous moms who are starting revolutions, the time has come for you to be inspired by them too.

Anonymously known as Mrs. Q, this mom and teacher started a “school lunch project” where she decided to eat exactly what the students were eating in the cafeteria every day to raise awareness about what garbage we allow the public school system to feed our children in some districts. Each day she blogs about what she ate, and she is gaining notoriety for it. Her project is going to move mountains, and she rocks because of it. Check out her blog Fed Up With Lunch.

New mom Sherry Petersik and her husband moved from NYC to Virginia, bought a fixer-upper (an understatement) and began blogging about their DIY house renovation step by step. What has evolved is Young House Love, a blog that is a breath of fresh air. Sherry’s style, sass, and great writing has become a brand all its own. Check out the incredible before and after photos, how to design with a very limited budget, and the rest of their story which makes you want to be their next door neighbors and best friends.

In 2003, this corner of the world was shaken hearing about the adopted sons of Vanessa Jackson who were starved and tortured for years while the state’s social services agencies did next to nothing. I have thought about those boys for years as their images were in the news constantly when the story broke, and the visions of those poor emaciated children were impossible to erase. Oprah recently spotlighted the story and updated the world about where these boys were now. Amber Parrish and her husband were the angels who took them in and adopted the boys after their many years of heartache. She gave them a home, real parents, and a place where they know they’re safe, loved, and cared for. Since I saw this, I can’t stop thinking of Amber and the love she showed for these boys, and what it took to rescue them from their nightmare. She is what “mom” means. She is selfless. She is a rock. I want to be her. Read all about the boys’ story here.

Tell us about a mom who inspires you. Spread the love!

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