Friday, December 26, 2008


The other night I dreamed that I had another baby. It was a girl with straight blond hair.
Is this an omen, or was that Kit Kittredge in my dream?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One of Those Moms

Since Daniel's parents now live in the same area as us, and my parents still live in the same area, our kids were blessed with an overabundance of Christmas presents this year. Really I mean too many presents. I now realize that I could have just bought nothing, and they still would have had too many gifts between Grandma, Nana, and Santa.

So, we have decided to break up all the present-opening festivities by starting Christmas yesterday. The kids got about a quarter of their gifts yesterday, and they're actually very happy with that. But we still have lots to go.

One of the gifts that Abby opened up last night is Kit Kittredge, an American Girl doll. Now, some of my family already knows how badly I wanted one of these dolls when I was little. I would carry around the catalog, look through it all day, and dream about having my own American Girl doll with all the accessories. However, they are somewhat expensive, and I never got one.

Don't you see how cute she is? Anyway, now that Abby has one, I find myself wanting to hold the doll, fix her hair, help change her clothes... I really, really like this doll. Every time Abby plays with the doll, I watch to make sure she's careful. If Avery grabs the doll, I tell him no and take it away. I think I'm obsessed with this doll, guys.

The problem is, when my cousin was younger she had expensive dolls. Her mom kept them in her closet, up on a really high shelf, or in a box. My cousin was not even allowed to play with these dolls, because they were so "special." My mom always thought that was wrong, and commented on it to me a lot. I agreed at the time - that was weird.

But... Now I feel like I'm starting to become one of those moms. You know, like I'm compensating for my lack of an American Girl doll by over-protecting this one. I even suggested that we keep poor Kit Kittredge in her little doll casket (Daniel's words for the box she came in), and put her in the closet until Abby is older. After all, Abby didn't really like the doll that much until she saw how much I like the doll.

Now I'm fighting my urges and actually letting her have the doll in her room. She's still in the box, under the pretense that "the boys might ruin her." Abby has already changed Kit's clothes once, dressing her in a more Christmas-y outfit. I already had to re-fix her hair.

*sigh* Having a daughter is a great way to get all the toys you once wanted but never got, but it's so hard to remember that these are her toys, not yours.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Brief History of Daniel and Sara

Okay, since many people do not know the whole story of Daniel and Sara, here is the quick version:

We met on the Internet, in the Yahoo! teen chat room called Grovespace. This was before eHarmony and, and we weren't even looking for romance. We were just two 17 year olds chatting in a chat room about deep things such as music, life, and probably how oppressive our parents were or something.

We chatted for a while, and then started talking on the phone, writing letters (the old fashioned way to communicate), and eventually Daniel bought a plane ticket and flew to New Mexico to meet me in person. I wasn't an old man, he wasn't a stalker, and we really were who we said we were. It was great, and we decided at that point that we did, in fact, love each other.

Next, he flew home and we kept up the long-distance thing. I visited him in Louisiana, and then he flew to Ohio to visit me at my college. During that trip, we figured, "why not just get married?" And so we did.

We found a minister that would marry us the next day, bought a marriage license, stopped for a drink at McDonald's, and got married. The ceremony was in the minister's basement, which was decorated nicely for Christmas. We forgot the rings in the car, and Daniel had to go get them in the middle of the ceremony. I was wearing a grey sweater and jeans. We didn't know we had to pay the minister, so he gave us a discounted rate. I know it sounds awful, but it was really the best day of my life.

Daniel and I moved a lot during our first five years of marriage. Every time a lease was up on the apartment we were living in at the time, we would move to a new city. Oh, the things you can get away with when you have no children! We lived in at least 7 different apartments/ houses that I can remember before we found out in February 2003 that we were expecting Abigail Horizon. Our favorite was when we lived in the "big city" - Columbus, Ohio.

Right before we had Abby, we moved to an apartment in the Dayton area and actually renewed our lease after a year. This is something we'd never done before - parenting was really changing us. We celebrated our 5th anniversary 3 months after Abby was born. We were a happy family of three for 15 months, and then found out we were having an Avery Ellis. We decided to buy a house at that point, and that's where we live to this day.

We were a happy family of 4, living in our own house, and driving a mid-sized sedan. We then found out we were expecting Ethan James. So, we brought him home to a our house-made-for-four and our car-made-for-three, and realized we needed more room. Too bad. We're still in the same house, but now have a minivan.

So, we are still writing the story of Daniel and Sara, but that is the background behind the ten years that we've been married.

The Importance of December 21.

Ten years ago yesterday (December 21) was a big day. A huge day, actually. That's when Daniel and Sara became Daniel and Sara.

Well, unfortunately, I don't feel like we actually celebrated our 10th anniversary. Yes, we ate out twice. But still, is that really an adequate way to celebrate the fact that we have been married for 10 years, and are still happy?

What I would have liked to do is a lot different from anything we could have really done. We do have three small children, after all. I would have loved to make the day a huge production. Renew our vows, take a trip away with just the two of us, fly to Europe - whatever. But we can't afford any of those things, and we would have arrange for childcare for the kids, etc. So, we ate out for lunch and dinner, and then went home.

I know, some people who have been married for more than 10 years probably think, "what's the big deal? It's just 10 years." But really, according to everyone else in the world, Daniel and I had everything going against us when we married in 1998. We were teenagers, we met on the Internet (more about that in another post), we hadn't finished college, we had no money, we had only known each other for a year, we had no plans other than being together... The list goes on and on. But, we made it 10 years. If I put 10 years into something, I plan on sticking with it to the end. Hence the reason I'm overloading myself with college classes lately - I've been doing that for 10 years, too.

So, December 21, 2008 was the day that Daniel and Sara have been together for 10 years. No family members told us "Happy Anniversary" (that I recall), no gifts were exchanged, no vows were renewed. but you know what? At least I was with Daniel yesterday and I know I'll be with him today and tomorrow and the rest of the days that we have. I no longer have that dread that comes when you realize that, eventually, one of you will have to go home. Now home is Daniel and Sara.

Thank you, Daniel, for 10 nice years. Okay, they were actually 10 awesome years. I love you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Out of Hand

So, I did decide to send Abby to a private school for Kindergarten, after all. I paid the (what I consider) big bucks, and paid the fee for books and the fee for school supplies and bought the uniforms, etc.

Guess what? I'm not done shelling out cash to this school. Abby has at least two types of fundraisers a month - and what parent wants their kid to be the only one in the class that doesn't have any funds raised?? She has had school pictures that cost a small fortune, she has had class parties that I have to "donate supplies" to. A letter was sent home last week requesting paper towels, on top of the treasure chest prizes I donated and the wrapped candy I also donated.

This certainly isn't the first time I've complained about this, and I doubt it will be the last. But really, why do we pay tuition and then have to pay, pay, and pay again? I'm sure this would be the same for public schools, right? Except you don't have to pay for the actual schooling part. Oh well. This was my choice, to send her to a private school. I'd better quit complaining.

But guess what? It turns out that just having kids cost money! I know, right? Well, it's Christmas time here (and probably elsewhere), and of course I'm buying presents for the kids. It seems that when kids get to age 5 or so, they start to realize that their friends have things that they do not have. And what do you think they do? They ask for those same things, of course! Or if that doesn't work, then they beg or cry or throw a tantrum. It really depends on the kid.

Since I really am not into buying everything my kids ask for (unless I find a good enough bargain!), I'm now thinking about how to get them to understand this. I guess there are many different ways to go about this. Some parents just drive all over town and spend excessive amounts of money to get everything on their kid's Christmas list. Other parents try to compensate for the amount of presents with fewer but better quality or more meaningful gifts. Some parents do the three wisemen type gifts - one material/expensive, one spiritual, and one for the body.

I've also heard stories where the parents go ahead and buy what the kids want, but first they have the kids go through their rooms and fill a big box with old toys to donate to needy children. This is a good idea, but what happens when they start to fill up the box with toys that you stood in line for an hour to get, got up at 5 am on Black Friday to find, or paid a fortune for? What if the toy just has some sort of sentimental value to you, but not to your kid? Then how do you teach them give to others before they receive from you?

Sometimes it can be really hard to part with material possessions, money, or time. But we all make these sacrifices for our kids anyway, don't we? The question is, do we teach them that this is the most important part of Christmas, or do we send out other Christmas vibes to our kids?

After all, can you imagine a 5 year old Jesus begging his mom for more frankincense for Christmas? **

**Yes, I know Christmas was not celebrated then...**

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Kids Need Grandparents

So I can get a break! Just kidding....

Now, I know lots of kids do not have grandparents. I don't want to upset anyone who is in that situation. However, since Daniel and I had kids at a fairly young age, our kids almost have too many grandparents. Lately I've been realizing how nice it is to have them around.

My kids have a Nana, 3 Grandmas, a Mamaw, a Grandpa, and a Hairy Grandpa (he's the one that's not bald). Three of those grandparents are great grandparents.

Well, earlier this week Avery spent the night at his Grandma's house. She took him to Chick-Fil-A, the library, and Target. She bought him one of those spinning light/snowglobe/thingies that I refuse to waste money on. She let him run around Chick-Fil-A's playground - which I would never do if Chick-Fil-A wasn't so darn yummy. She even let him in a library. That I do not do, because Avery is still at the too loud-too hyper-too much of a pain stage. Plus, he tends to tear up books that we do not already own.

Then today my mom and I took the kids to Big Lots. She is much, much more lenient about letting the kids freely roam the toy aisles than I am. She is also much, much more likely to buy them stuff than I am.

So, there's one reason kids need grandparents. To let them do things they normally do not get the chance to do, even if it is only because they have a little brother just 1 year younger and a sister just 2 years older and that's too much for Mommy to handle in public. *phew* What a long sentence!

Another reason is to buy them things. I'm kidding, of course, but I sure do appreciate it when Grandma or Nana shows up with new jammies or jeans or sweaters for the kids. I also happen to know that the kids appreciate the toys that Nanas and Grandmas buy them.

But really, I think the main reason that kids need grandparents is just to have someone other than their parents that loves them and lets them hang around their house a lot. For some reason, this is just immensely fun to my kids. Any trip to Nana's house or Grandma's house is the greatest thing ever. Even if it's just to drop something off for a few seconds. Also, every toy at Nana and Grandma's house is better than the toys at our house. Even if they're the exact same toy.

There are lots of other reasons that my kids love their grandparents. Nana has about a million pens and innumerable scrap papers on which to write and draw. Grandma always has hard candy stashed away in her pantry, and she gives the kids soda (which they are not allowed to have). Another Grandma has stairs that are fun to climb up and slide down. Mamaw has a real cat and a dog statue.

Whatever the reason, grandparents are great!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Killing Time

Well, I have a 12-15 page paper due in 2 days. I guess I should be writing it, but instead I am searching the Children's Book of the Month Club for Christmas presents.

Everytime I search for books, I tend to forget the names of the authors that my kids like. There are certain books that have become classics in our house, and we (especially me) tend to like most of the books that author writes. You know, like all those "If You Give A ______ A _______" books? All very nearly the same book, but funny every time!

But, since I am now writing this post and no longer searching for books, my memory has returned. So I would like to share some of these "classics" with you:

  • Olivia by Ian Falconer
If you ever wondered what Abby is like at home, read this book. The whole story is eerily similar to Abby's life. We especially like the ending.

  • If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
All of Numeroff's books are hilarious. Apparently, having a mouse in your house eating all your cookies is not always a bad thing. My kids particularly like his underpants.

  • Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child
The first time Daniel read this book to Abby, he told me, "you have to read this!" It's a very funny almost re-telling of classic fairy tales. I really like the upside down parts.

  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
Never, ever let the pigeon drive the bus. He'll beg and try to trick you into it, but remember - no, not even your mom would let him.

  • My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
An elephant, a piggie. Best friends. But what happens if one of them is sad? My kids like to act this one out, and we have a couple videos of them doing just that. Be prepared to act like a cowboy and a robot when you read this one.

  • No, David! by David Shannon
It may as well be called, "No, Avery!" Ethan can now read this book, even though he is only 23 months old. It's that good of a book.

These are probably the most read books in our house, although you can substitute practically any other book by these authors, and still have a great book in your hands. For example, Mo Willem's "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog," Laura Numeroff's "If You Give a Moose a Muffin," or Ian Falconer's "Olivia Saves Christmas". Basically, the thing to do is remember the author's names, not necessarily the book titles.

Even though we especially love these authors, we're always looking for new finds. Does anyone have their own "classics" list? Leave it in the comments section if so - I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Little Too Far?

So, maybe no one noticed, but I've been quite silent lately. No posts since the week before Thanksgiving. Well, I'd like to think AT&T wireless DSL for that. And busy-ness, not to be confused with business - I do not make money being busy.

Anyway, I decided to come back to my dear blog today. I first checked my e-mail, and found this:

Ummm... Okay. Apparently, this commercial has become quite controversial, and even considered offensive to many mothers who wear their babies. I myself wore Ethan in a sling (and still do every now & then), but I never needed the Motrin. The commercial has been taken off the air, by the way.

What do you think? Is this anger directed towards Motrin unfounded? Is it simply some babywearing mommas overreacting? Or is it really worth the grumbles it has caused?

If you wear your own baby (or did), do you find this commercial offensive? After all, why did you chose to use a sling? Some do it for convenience, some do it for the bonding, some do it for health reasons... But is it really something that should be used to sell pain medication?

What about these lines from the commercial:

"Babywearing seems to be in fashion."
"Supposedly it's a bonding experience."
"Babies worn close to the bod tend to cry less than others."

Interesting, don't you think?

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