Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Card Itch

Oh how I've been dying to get my Christmas cards done. Honestly it's more because I just want to KNOW that they're done; that I got a picture/pictures of my kids that are decent enough to send to family and friends.

Last year's were pretty awesome. But I kinda lucked into them. Granted, I did dress them in the super adorable handmade dresses my sister-in-love brought back from Africa. And I did pick a perfect fall day for picture taking. And I was fortunate enough to borrow an amazing Nikon camera from my friend. But actually getting the photograph of both of my children looking the same direction with pleasant expressions on their faces.... I had nothing to do with that.

So now I've got to follow that up. (no pressure) And I've been really, really, really wanting to take pictures of the girls at Longwood Gardens for our Christmas card this year because we've had SO much fun and made such great memories there this year. Longwood's Christmas displays opened on the 26th, so now all that's left for me to do is get my kids and myself out there and snap away.

Once the photo taking chaos is behind me, I'll be moseying on over to and adding pictures of my oh-so-beautiful (yet hard to get to sit still for pictures) girls to one of these cards featured on their website for 2010:

Aren't they all so cute?! I don't think I can pick the perfect one until I have the pictures of my girls downloaded so I can see what photos I have to work with. I'm hoping I'll get enough cute shots to use one of the multi-picture cards. :)

I've ordered countless photo books from Shutterfly over the past few years to document my girls' lives, but this year I'm excited to get my Christmas cards from them as well! (The photo books make excellent Christmas gifts too.)

Did you know: Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ohhhhhh Myyyyyyyyyy.....

*Alright people. This post will be on the disgusting side. I'm just sayin'..... read at your own risk.*

Early this evening we arrived at Highland Orchards for a birthday party for two adorable little friends of ours. The kids were SO excited to be at a pumpkin patch for a birthday party.

We had only been there for maybe fifteen minutes and the kids had just began to explore the hay maze when Kyra told my hubby that she needed to go potty. Being in the maze and not having a direct lock on my location, he grabbed Kylie and hustled Kyra to the outdoor portable bathroom trailer. It was the kind that was one "room" with 3 partitioned stalls and a couple of sinks. There were two sides, one for men and one for women. Jim, noticing that the women's side was empty, took both of the girls and went inside to help Kyra use the potty. Other than the fact that Jim was in the women's bathroom, everything was fine.

Fastforward through a pizza party and cake to the moments just before the hayride. I was putting gloves on Kylie when Kyra again announced that she needed to potty, so I had Jim take her once again. Everyone began to make their way to the tractor for the hayride, but Kyra and Jim were still at the bathroom so I went to check on them. As I approached I saw Jim standing outside the trailer. He explained to me that Kyra had run to this side since that's where he had taken her before only this time there were other women inside, so he couldn't go in to help her. As I was about to go in to check on her, she emerged.... with poop on her hands.

I handed Kylie off to Jim and took Kyra to an outdoor sink to wash up. The sink didn't work, so we quickly ran back to the picnic tables where I "washed" her hands with antibacterial wipes. It got the poop off her hands, but I knew she was probably far from clean. Not wanting to hold up the hayride and not wanting Kyra to have to miss it either, we went ahead and ran to the tractor to join the rest of our group. Kyra was in perfect spirits and immensely enjoyed the sunset hayride. I, on the other hand, was getting wafts of an aroma that I kept hoping was fresh manure on the fields around us.

After the hayride, we followed the kids back toward the picnic area, but after only a minute or so, Kyra again had to use the bathroom. This time I took her.

As we were running toward the bathroom trailer, I realized that it was now dark outside and rationalized that surely the trailer would have a light on inside. It did not. It was nearly pitch black inside, despite the fact that one woman was holding the door open in an attempt to let some light in for her own child. By feel I got Kyra's pants down and sat her on the toilet. I then remembered that I had my camera in my pocket and the little digital screen could at least provide some light. I pulled it out, turned it on, and held it up close to Kyra. Oh how I wish I hadn't......

She was covered in poop. Diarrhea to be exact. Her panties and jeans were loaded. Her bottom and legs were coated. I had nothing with me but a camera. So I put the camera strap in my mouth and went to work. I removed her shoes, jeans, and panties and began to unravel wads of toilet paper to clean her up.

That's when I realized it wasn't all fresh. Some of it was caked on and was most likely what was providing the pleasant aroma for our hayride. I began pulling handfuls of paper towels (thank GOD they didn't have air hand dryers instead) off the wall and wetting them in the sinks. I did my best to clean her off with the cheap paper towels in the dim light of my camera screen, but I soon realized it was in vain. Even if I got her totally spotless, I'd still have to put the crap-caked jeans back on her. So I wrapped her panties in a wad of paper towels, shoved them to the bottom of the trash can, put her jeans and shoes back on, and called it a night.

In a stupor I plainly stated to Jim that we needed to leave and began dragging Kyra toward the car. It wasn't the fun ending I would've expected for the night and I felt like a mean mom for making her leave the party (even though I think everyone else was headed out too), but it was necessary. Jim took her straight to the bathtub when we got home and I threw her clothes (and some of mine, just in case) in the wash where I finally saw in bright light exactly what I'd been up against in that tiny, dark bathroom. Ugh. I'll just say it was as gross as it smelled.

So as not to leave you with the unpleasant mental pictures of a kid covered in poop, here are some not-so-crappy pictures of our evening at Highland Orchards:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Snuggle Buddy Graduation

For the first two weeks of preschool, Kyra was allowed to bring her favorite stuffed animal "Big Bear" to class with her. The teacher would have the kids "teach" their "snuggle buddies" all about preschool. How to sit during circle time, where to put their trash after snack, etc. Then at the end of the two weeks, the class had a Snuggle Buddy Graduation, complete with handmade mortar boards and diplomas for the stuffed friends. The graduation signified that the snuggle buddies had learned all they could about preschool and now were to stay at home so the children could now do more "big kid" things. For children who are super attached to their stuffed friends, this is a great way to ease them into going to school.

In my opinion, for Kyra, (who once was EXTREMELY attached to her bears) this wasn't really necessary. Before she started preschool she had become very accustomed to leaving her bears at home or in the car when we would go places, but I still thought this would be fun for her to actually be allowed to have Big Bear at school. Never though did I think that this would cause her to regress and suddenly really want to have her bear with her at school.

The day after the graduation, Kyra was almost in tears as she begged to bring her bears to school with her. I tried explaining that "Big Bear graduated, so he can't go to school anymore", but that meant nothing to her. My heart was breaking for her as I saw the confusion on her face, so in a moment of enlightenment I asked her if I could take her bears to the grocery store with me while she was at school. She lit up. "You'll take Big Bear and Little Bear to the grocery store with YOU?!" she said. "Sure!" I replied thinking that tomorrow she'd forget all about it.

She did not forget. In fact, it was quite the opposite. As she was getting dressed for school she stated, "I'm going to go to preschool and Big Bear and Little Bear are going to the grocery store with you mom." "Yes, that's right!" I said. And then she proceeded to remind me that her bears were going to the store with me for the next hour until I dropped her off at school, including one final time as she got out of the car. She turned to her bears and told them, "I have to go to preschool, but you're going grocery shopping!" Oh man.....

I had a feeling she was going to ask me about her bears trip to the grocery store later. And I seriously considered just making some stuff up because I never really intended to take the bears with me INTO the grocery store when I offered that suggestion the previous day. She's 3 1/2. She'd never know the difference if I told her a little white lie....

But I would know. And I felt ill just thinking about lying to my super adorable, extremely sweet little girl. Especially because she was just so. stinkin. excited. about her bears going to the grocery store. So, as I pulled into the Wal-Mart (I shop here for convenience, not because I like to) parking lot, I determined that the bears were coming in. Even in spite of the fact that it was currently POURING rain.

I stuffed them into the diaper bag as best I could to keep them dry and then ran/walked into the store with Kylie on my hip and the diaper bag on my back. We got a cart and instead of putting Kylie in the seat in the front like I normally do, I put her in the actual cart basket. I then proceeded to pull out two well-loved little stuffed bears, seat them in the child seat, and do my shopping. I even snapped a few pictures to show Kyra later, because I knew she'd ask about the grocery store.

And I was right. Before we even made it out to the car she asked about the grocery shopping trip and immediately I whipped out my phone and showed her the pictures. She grinned and giggled at the sight of her bears in the cart. And in that moment I was so happy I didn't just leave them in the car.

I must say though that I have not volunteered to take her bears on any other outings while she has been at school since this, but at least it seemed to put an end to her wanting to take them to school with her.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Meet the Teacher"

Kyra's friends have all been in school for a while now. Some started a few weeks ago, others a few days, but both have had me itching to get Kyra to her first day of school. I've seen all the super cute first day of school pictures on Facebook from all my friends and have been eager to post my own in response. I mean, afterall, this is Kyra's first day of school EVER. Not to mention my first time having a child in school. It's a big deal for us both. So like every good parent, I've been planning it out weeks in advance: what she'll wear, which camera to bring, what to pack in her backpack, what I'll do afterwards, etc.

This morning I took Kyra to her Pre-school for what was posted on the school calendar as a time to "meet the teacher". It was only to be an hour long, so I figured it'd be just like an open house type thing where you get familiar with the school, the classroom, meet the teacher, ask questions, and leave fully prepared for what to expect on the first day of school.

Apparently I was the ONLY PARENT who was under this disillusion.

As we arrived I slowly began to notice how all the other children had their backpacks and "snuggle buddies". (We received a letter saying that Kyra was supposed to bring her favorite stuffed animal with her for the first two weeks of school.) And all their parents, cameras in hand, seemed to know exactly what was going on. I, on the other hand, felt nauseous. And the churning feeling in my stomach only got worse as the hour progressed and this so called "meet the teacher" day actually took the exact shape of a scaled down version of a typical school day.

I couldn't wrap my head around it. How in the world was I the only parent who didn't get it?! With all my anticipation, all my mental planning, how in the world was my view of today so off from everyone else's?! I spent the first half of the class trying to answer that very question as I watched the other parents snapping proud pictures of their children at school.


I wanted to faint at the realization that I didn't have a camera. That is until the class was almost over and I realized HELLLLLLOOOOOOOOO! I have an iPhone. It takes pictures. duh. Oh thank Jesus for technology that compensates for unsuspecting, unprepared parents on the first day of school!

Once I snapped a few pictures on my phone, I began to breathe a little easier. I also thankfully had allowed Kyra to bring her "Big Bear" in the car this morning, so I was able to run out and grab it just in time for Circle Time with the snuggle buddies. So, by the end of the class, I didn't look like the totally clueless parent that I actually was.

I'm still baffled at the preparedness of every. other. parent. Though it may have something to do with the fact that I was unable to be at the parent meeting last week. Then again, it may not. Either way, Kyra had her first day of Pre-school. Though as to not let all my weeks of planning for this day go to waste, I will be treating Thursday as if it were her first day of school. It will at least be the first time she will go without me. ................sigh..............

Kylie got her first taste of Preschool today too. Literally. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kylie's Birthday Party

Yesterday we celebrated Kylie's 2nd birthday with a fun Abby Cadabby and Elmo themed party. It was a slightly hot day but at least most of the kids stayed cool playing in the kiddie pools, running through the sprinkler, and jumping in the bouncy castle. Here are some pictures from the day:
Kyra was such a good helper getting ready for the party.
Kylie decided "Baa" needed to join her for a swim.
Kylie wondered if cousin Emeline would jump with her

Kylie tried twice to sneak inside and open her presents.

Birthday hugs from Kyra.
Yes, I made the cake. It only took 5 hours.
Seeing Kylie shove it down made it all worthwhile.
Kylie wearing her Abby headband.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kylie's Birth Story

Since I only started blogging a little over a year and a half ago, I don't have a written account of Kylie's birth story. I decided I'd like to have it written down before the details get fuzzy and so that I have something to refer back to when she's older and wants to know how it all happened.

Two years ago today I woke up, dropped Kyra off at Pop Pop and Mom Mom's house and went to my OB/GYN's office. They told me I was really close to having my baby girl. In fact her exact words were, "If I broke your water right now, you'd have this baby today." And I remember thinking, "Well, okay then, break my water!" But she didn't. And I felt kinda sad.

July 15th was my due date and as Jim was getting ready for work that morning we talked as if I were going to have a c-section that day because we spoke as if we were absolutely certain we'd meet our baby later in the day. I called him after my appointment and told him I'd keep him posted if anything happened. I then went to my in-laws to pick up Kyra and as I sat on their patio, I could feel mild contractions every so often. I ignored them and took Kyra home so I could finish painting the mural in her "big girl" room.

As Kyra took her nap, I hauled my 9 month pregnant belly up a ladder in an attempt to add the final butterflies to the mural. After an hour I found myself hunched over on the ladder, breathing through an intense contraction and I remember thinking, "Okay, Keshet, you have to stop painting now." I put away my paint brushes and laid down on the couch. The contractions didn't ease up, so I called Jim at work and told him we would need to be heading to the hospital soon.

He came home and immediately began his husbandly duties of timing my contractions as I tried to get last minute things together for our stay at the hospital and for my sister to take care of Kyra. After a while he informed me that my contractions were actually coming much closer together (every 3-5 minutes) than I had assumed they were, so we took off for the hospital.

He dropped me off at the door and I sat in the lobby as I waited for him to park the car and join me. As we walked together toward the maternity ward, we ran into someone who knew Jim. She began chatting us up and I did my best to seem pleasant despite the intense pain shooting through my abdomen. I remember thinking, "Hello people! I'm sort of in labor here!"

Finally we made it to the desk in the maternity ward and I signed in. The ladies at the desk sent me to triage and assumed I wouldn't be admitted as they had a hard time believing I was actually in labor. After about an hour in triage, the L & D nurse admitted me and escorted me to my room...right past the ladies at the front desk. They all stared as I walked past and finally one of them caught up to us to ask what time I had come in. They failed to fill out their records as they assumed I wouldn't be staying. (You know what happens when you assume.)

My OB came to the room to check on me and then decided she'd just hang out with us because she figured it wouldn't be too long before I was ready to push. Around an hour later she checked me and said matter of factly, "You're a ten. Let's get ready to push." When my L&D nurse wheeled in the delivery cart she told me that the ladies at the desk asked her, "Is that for the lady that just came in 3 hours ago?!" She said she grinned as she told them that it was.

Everyone got prepped quickly and now the time had come for me to push. It felt so casual in the room. We were having pleasant conversation between pushes. Nothing about the scene made me feel like I wasdelivering a baby. But after only ten minutes of pushing, she was here. The L&D nurse said she looked like she would be a red head. I was baffled at how she could tell through all the "gunk" covering her, but I completely hoped she was right.

I was so happy to hold her, my little Kylie Joy. I loved her so much from that very first moment. I remember wondering what she would be like. How she'd differ from her sister, how she'd be the same. There is something about holding your child for the first time and knowing that their entire life is yet to be written and it is full of amazing possibilities.

As I reflect on that incredible day two years ago, I realize again that I could not have asked for a better experience. The whole day, the entire extent of labor, the delivery process... it all went so smoothly. If I could perfectly design my future birthing experiences, this is how I would want them all to be.

Happy 2nd Birthday Kylie!

Today is a celebration of you, Kylie Joy.

You are my super bouncy, fun loving little girl. You jump everywhere, on everything, and off everything.
You LOVE your Baa, especially rubbing her fraying tail on your nose.
You hum/sing (because you don't know all the words yet) Jesus Loves Me, the ABC's, and the theme to Elmo's World.

You drag me by the hand, skirt, shirt, whatever you can get ahold of to show me what you want or where you want me to go.

You love to climb. Most likely so you can jump off whatever it is you're climbing.
You want to keep up with your big sister and get frustrated when you can't do all the things she can. Like climb the rock wall at the park or go in the Toddler class at church.

You give the sweetest kisses and you're very generous in giving them.

You have the cutest little sing-song voice. Daddy and I especially love hearing you say "I don't know" and we often ask you questions we know you can't answer just to hear you say it.
You are fearless. You jump in the pool, even if no one is there to catch you. You love to dive and tumble and get tossed around. I pray your guardian angel has reinforcements!
You love Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Mickey (and friends), Pooh, Bob and Larry, and many more fictional characters. You can spot them from a mile away.

You are talking SO GOOD. You even say full sentences sometimes and blow me away.

You get really excited and love to point out things you recognize like balloons or the moon.
You always stop to smell the flowers. Even if its just a picture.
You are unique, precious, fun, energetic, and exactly who God created you to be. But most of all you are LOVED!