Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two Long Days

Yesterday and today have been two very long days. Actually, yesterday was probably the longest day of my life—or at least it felt like it—with numerous activities crammed in from sun up to sun down.

Yesterday I took Meredith to the OB with me. It was the first time I’ve taken her. She was surprisingly good. She stared with wide eyes as the nurse took my blood pressure and she held onto my foot the entire time I laid on the exam table. She glared at the doctor and absolutely refused to share her fishy crackers when he asked for one. I gave her three jelly beans as a reward for being good. Unfortunately I did not have an orange one (only green, purple, and red) and she was very upset by that.

The day ended with friends coming over—most of them were at our house to talk about starting a movie-discussion outreach program with our church, which Kevin is going to be involved in.

Today I took Meredith to our MOPS group’s end-of-the-year picnic. In addition to the playground equipment, “fun stations” were set-up for the kids—drawing with chalk, “fishing” for magnetic fish, bubbles, beanbag toss, face painting, balls and bikes, etc. Needless to say, Meredith had a grand old time.

Midway through the picnic, the Chick-fil-A cow showed up. Meredith liked the idea of the cow but was terrified of him when we got closer.

The funny thing is that, turns out, I am acquainted with the young man who was inside the cow costume! Such a small world! Of course, he was not allowed to speak to me or anyone else since cows aren’t supposed to talk. [Note for future reference: I would never make a good Chick-fil-A cow since I can never shut up for very long.]

Tomorrow should be much calmer. My weekly work deadline is over and I think me and the kidlet will be hanging out at the pool for a few hours with Aunt Megan.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beauty and Serenity

We decided to be tourists in our own town and visited the Lilly Mansion grounds on Saturday. The property is so lovely and serene. Because of the formal gardens and French Chateau mansion in the backdrop, I told Kevin it felt like we spent the day in Europe, except that it was only a ten minute car ride ... and free.

Because of the numerous stairs throughout the gardens, we chucked the stroller and let Meredith walk (except that she preferred to run). She had a blast with her newfound freedom. By the time we put her in her stroller again, she was so tired that she fell asleep instantly. This worked out perfectly because we went to the art museum next (also on the same property) and Meredith slept the entire time, allowing for uninterrupted art-viewing by the adults. Nice!

What is really nice—the new director of the Indy art museum decided to make admission free. So we didn't feel pressure to "get our money's worth." We look forward to going again soon in order to explore some other exhibits.

Conversation with my daughter:

Me: "Where is baby sister?"
Mer: "Mommy's tummy."
Me: "When is she coming out?"
Mer: [silence]
Me: "Remember? She's coming after your birthday."
Mer: "Cake!"
Me: "Yes, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday? Chocolate or Strawberry?"
Mer: "Strawberry. Um, no ... cinnamon cake!"

What is amazing to me about this is the fact that I don't think Meredith has ever had cinnamon cake. Nor do I ever really give her other cinnamon things. I have no idea where she learned that cinnamon exists in cakes. We’ll see if she still wants one for her birthday, come July.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Don’t let your summer go by …

… without fun!

Here are some fun ideas to do with kids this summer that are free or nearly free. If you guys have any ideas to share, I’d love to hear them.

Have a theme for the day: A “color” day where everything is green, for example. A “backwards” day where everything is done backwards (wear your clothes backwards, walk backwards, eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner and, of course, eat your dessert first).

Have a family hunt to find the best chocolate milkshake in the city.

Have a special craft day.

Have a campout in your backyard or living room, with a tent, etc.

Make a list at the beginning of the summer of all the fun things your kids want to do before fall and work at checking them off (make a fort in the basement, make chocolate chip cookies, etc.)

Give each child a day of the week that’s their day to choose a special activity.

Take a trip to the dollar store and fill up a bucket—kids can choose one item each on those days when boredom starts setting in. Apparently, from what I'm told, a roll of scotch tape can provide hours of entertainment.

- Go berry picking
- Free concerts in the park
- Free movies in the park (a lot of cities have kid-friendly movies)
- Splash Cinema (swim and watch movies)
- Squirt parks
- Library reading programs
- Bike rides / rollerblading on a long walking trail
- Vacation Bible Schools
- Free museum days

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reality Strikes

Behind on everything. Trying to keep my head above water. And then …

A dose of reality.

My life is going to be so much more hectic come August. I just finished reading a book about having a second child. At the end of the book are all these testimonials of women who explain—with no holds barred—how much more difficult it is with a toddler and a newborn and how tired they were all the time after the birth of their second child. I almost wish I hadn’t read it. Ignorance is bliss, right?

And, here’s the worst part. All the women in these testimonials were SAHMs who don’t have a side job (like me) and a husband who is absent evenings and weekends with school and study, in addition to work (like me). If they could barely survive those first months, what are my prospects?

If I’m already feeling behind with just one kid, how am I ever going to do it with two? “What were we thinking?” I asked Kevin last night, only half joking.

Not to mention that the book also mentions that, statistically, the most difficult year in a marriage is the year following the birth of a second child. [Pause for further dark meditations.]

I really don’t want my fears to get in the way of me fully enjoying the welcoming of my second child into this world and relishing every moment of her precious babyhood.

I know it’s only a temporary time. It’s only one more year and then life will become less complicated as far as our family schedule is concerned. But can I survive this coming year? Is there any hope that I can be a good parent and make good memories with my kids in the midst of the sheer chaos?

(Yes, I know … God’s grace.)

Speaking of which [making memories with your kids] … today’s MOPS topic was on having fun with your kids. I’ll write more about that later …

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day 2007 came and went. Honestly, it still feels somewhat awkward to celebrate it. Mother’s Day (no offense) is for older women. It’s really weird to have a holiday that I never celebrated—until just two years ago—suddenly thrust upon me.

I did get breakfast in bed, though. That was nice. And Meredith rushed into the room to wake me up, with a homemade card in her hand, yelling “Happy Dirth-day.” (That’s how she pronounces “birthday.”) Kevin then burst out laughing because he had coached her for the last five minutes to say “Happy Mother’s Day.” In her excitement to wake me up, Meredith forgot the right thing to say. Hmmmm … I love my family.

Earlier I asked Meredith, “Who is your mommy?” She said, “Mommy.” Then I asked, “Yes, but which one?” She then yelled at the top of her lungs, “Amy!!!”

The other night Kevin was going to take Meredith to run errands. They were going to look for exciting things like ink cartridge toner. When I told Meredith she was going to go shopping with daddy, her eyes lit up, she gasped, and she asked, “New shoes?” She has learned early in life the meaning of true shopping.

Lately Meredith has been referring to herself as a dolphin, her new favorite animal. She always says things like, “Dolphin’s knee is hurt. Kiss it.” And “Dolphin sit on daddy’s lap.” And “Dolphin eats chicken. Yum!” It’s so funny that she imagines herself to be a sea creature. She also pretends to be a puppy and a lamb, at various times. Cute.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Planting Time

I wish I could say that I have a garden full of a variety of things but, while in our rental house, a bunch of potted flowers—and hopefully a few herbs—are going to have to do.

We got some flowers planted over the weekend and it makes such a big difference! I love it!

We are trying to enforce the "one finger rule" so Meredith can enjoy touching the flowers without destroying them. She picked a Gerbera daisy today so she's not always very obedient.

Kevin gets the credit for this "arrangement" and I get the credit for keeping it alive (presuming I can).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

“Elmo is so proud of you!”

Aaaaaahhhhhh!!! The potty talks!!! It says things like “Elmo is so proud of you!” and “You did it! Way to go!” and “It’s potty time with Elmo!”—in both English and Spanish.

We finally went out and bought the Elmo potty for Meredith—the one that she has been asking for about ten times per day for the last two months. She was ecstatic, of course. She hugged it tightly to herserlf in the car on the way home.

Since I am totally unprepared to begin potty training—and I have my doubts as to whether Meredith is even READY to start potty training—I started reading a potty training book in the car on the way to Toy’s R Us to buy the potty. (I know … I can’t stand it either … I’m such an advance planner.)

My suspicions were confirmed that Meredith probably needs a few more months. I hope we didn’t jump the gun. It would be ideal for her enthusiasm over the potty to peak around the same time that she is ready to begin her training. Oh well.

Kevin and I both had a big chuckle over this paragraph in the book—which our experience shows is entirely untrue!

[In speaking about the tools you will need to purchase to begin potty training, the chapter starts with the obvious one, the potty chair itself.]

“New chairs start around $10.00 and go up from there depending on how many bells and whistles you desire. The ‘you’ in that last sentence refers to Mom and Dad because your child really doesn’t have a preference at this early age what her potty chair will look like or what fancy sounds it can make.”

Ha, ha, ha!!! Very funny.

Okay, well maybe not when I'm hearing the “Elmo is so proud of you!” mantra in my sleep.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One Year

It suddenly dawned on me, as I was sitting behind the steering wheel at some nondescript intersection waiting for the light to change, that today is our one-year anniversary of moving to Indiana. It was one year ago today that we left our hotel in the Wisconsin Dells, drove through Illinois, and crossed the border into Indiana to begin this most recent chapter of our life.

Like many things in life, it’s hard to believe it’s only been a year, yet, at the same time, it’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year. Do you know what I mean?

When I remarked to Kevin that today is a one-year marker for us, his first reply was, “Can you believe you still haven’t been to the BMV yet to get your driver’s licensed changed over?”

Some of us, unlike the Kevins of this world, aren’t perfect. Some of us don’t rush in the week we move to take care of all the necessary business transactions.

Also, to be perfectly honest, I’m kind of scared to take the test. I don’t want to do it cold turkey but, at the same time, I haven’t felt like reading the driver’s manual. There are so many more interesting things to read, don’t you agree?

Isn’t that ridiculous? I took the California bar exam without batting an eye but every time I think about having to take the BMV test, I run and cower.

I know I’m going to have to do it eventually ...

My California driver’s license expires in 2009.

[Just kidding—I’ve already promised Kevin that I’ll take it next week.]

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


My friend Kristi called this morning and invited Meredith and I to go to the zoo with her and her three kids. I took a speed shower, got Meredith ready, packed a lunch, and we flew out the door. We had a great time, except for the fact that a lot of the animals were missing from their cages! I felt sorry for little Levi who talked excitedly about seeing the kangaroos … until we got there and they were mysteriously gone. Fortunately Kristi has a pass and we all got in free! But we still had fun visiting and seeing the animals that we did see. Meredith was very happy to see the giraffes, elephants and monkeys. She’s getting to the age where she really appreciates the zoo.

I think spontaneity is important. It’s important to be willing to chuck the prearranged plans at the last-minute and do something new. If you always stick with your Plan A, life rarely has any surprise or adventure to it.

It was fun to hang with Kristi because she is the type of friend who inspires me with her endless energy and love for life. She has twins who are three and a 15-month old, yet she never allows having three toddlers to get in the way of family fun! Everyone needs a “sure-why-not?” and “let’s-do-it” friend. I’ve found that in Kristi.