Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Pennies

I have these two pennies sitting on my dresser. They've been there for, oh, a couple of weeks. As fate would have it, my dresser is clean these days (or at least cleaner than it used to be), so I actually get to see these pennies every day as I'm getting dressed. And every day they remind me to slow down and take time for my daughters.

You see, at Meijer (the local grocery/department store), they have a mechanical horse named Sandy. Sandy only costs 1 cent to ride. A penny gets you a minute or so of toddler heaven. (This, along with looking at the fish, the lobsters, and the free cookie at the bakery, is what allows me to grocery shop with 2 kids. Without these crucial stopping points, it couldn't be done. I'd go insane.) Sometimes Sandy is out of order; for a while Sandy wasn't even in the store. But when she's there, I generally allow my girls to have a ride.

One day I was in a bit of a hurry, and Julia asked if she could ride the horse. "No, I'm sorry honey, we are in a rush, we've got to get home." The woman behind me in line said, "Oh, how long could it take, really? Two minutes?"

I'll admit, there was a part of me that was thinking, "HI! I'm The Mom! I get to make the choices about how much time we have. You are A Stranger! You have no say in my life. Shut your yap." But then I got thinking about what she said. And honestly? We usually have 2 minutes. We might be 2 minutes later getting home for lunch, but that is 2 minutes where my kids are happy, where they are wearing smiles and enjoying life.

I decided then and there that if the horse is working (and we really aren't pressed for time - sometimes appointments can't wait!), we will ride that horse. There was one day I had already gotten my pennies out of my wallet, only to find that the horse was out of order. I shoved them in my pocket and we headed home. That night, I set them on my dresser.

And there they sit. Reminding me that, really? You have 2 minutes. Slow down. Make them smile. Let them be happy, and not always rushed. Because those are the moments that make motherhood worth it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Predictions and Resolutions

Most people make resolutions for the new year. And we have at least one of those. Facebook friends (of Clark's) will note that we also have resolved not to leave the house a dump all the time. I may or may not take umbrage to that. But my family has a better tradition, if you ask me: we make predictions.

It all started years ago when my mom heard the idea somewhere, so she thought we'd try it out. We put on our thinking caps and made a lengthy list of all our predictions for the upcoming year. They ranged from serious (Shannon will pick a major!) to kooky (Dad will wear a tweety bird tie!). And then Mom tucked the list away, to be opened in one year. It was really quite fun to make the list, and even more fun when we got to read it in a year. It's become one of my favorite family traditions. We get silly, we get introspective, we think about current events and global issues. It's delightful.

We did it again this year, with the Blockburgers phoning in on Skype. I wish we could have been there in person, but I am SO glad we have the technology to allow us to video chat. We had a great time, and got some good stuff in there.

Would you like some examples? Here are a few predictions from 2011, with the results:
-Julia will eat a Popsicle this summer (This didn't happen. HOW DID THIS NOT HAPPEN? I've failed as a mother.)
-We will go to Canada (Check!)
-Julia will learn to ride her trike (Check! Well, after we bought her new bike. . . poor trike. . .)
-Ella will be snugly (It took until December, but we did it! We have a snuggler!)
-We will move out of this apartment (Not yet. Sigh.)
-We will sell our house (YESSS!!!)
-Julia will have a tea party (Check!)
-We will visit Chicago (Not yet. But soon.)

I'd write up some from this year, but they are already packed away with the Christmas stuff. I'm pretty sure Julia eating a Popsicle was on there, as was moving out of this apartment, and going to Chicago. Also, that we'll have a new niece or nephew (fingers crossed!!), that Ella will become the littlest goof, and that Dad will wear a Tweety Bird tie. Because we always predict that Dad will wear a Tweety Bird tie. It's tradition.

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve is an odd holiday, if you ask me. Sure, it's good to celebrate a new year beginning, to look back on the old year and reassess where we are and where we want to be. But staying up until midnight to do so? Meh. It's a holiday for the young and single. When you are a kid, you just fall asleep. When you are a parent, you just fall asleep. And when you're young and single, you stay up past midnight all the time, what's the big deal? It's never been a favorite of mine.

So. Anyway. Julia informed us that on New Year's Eve you are supposed to watch spooky movies. Maybe she got that from "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?" (You know, the song.) Who knows. She also declared that she wanted to sleep in her tent that night. We decided to humor her, at least with the tent. We pitched camp in the front room, sent Ella to bed, and watched movies. Julia stayed up until about 11. Clark and I went to bed shortly after our midnight Martinelli's toast. Wooo! Happy New Year!

Monday, January 09, 2012


You know, no matter how old I get, I still have a hard time sleeping on Christmas Eve/Christmas morning. I just get so excited for the magic that happens on Christmas morning! This year was no different. I was up at 5am, laying in bed, so excited for the girls to wake up. I swear I was awake for at least another hour, tossing and turning. And then the girls finally woke up! And it was 8:00! I have no idea how that happened, but I'm glad I got an extra bit of sleep for such a busy day.

I think I pretty well captured Julia's reaction to Santa's offerings at our house. Unfortunately, I didn't get Ella's as well as I'd have liked. She was enamored with the 2nd thing Julia noticed, so she remains off camera for a good portion of this video. But she still makes a happy appearance.

That's right, we got a fish. Inherited a fish, actually, from some friends who moved. He's a little beta we've named Winston. Julia calls him Winnie-boy. Or "Whipston." In case you didn't catch it, her first reaction to having a pet was, "He needs some food." She is VERY diligent in feeding that little guy. Of course, her one true desire is to get a snake, but I'm not sure anyone else in our family wants a snake. We're hoping the fish will be good enough for a while.

The rest of Christmas morning was a whirlwind of presents, hot cocoa, Skype, and baths. We were all spoiled, in the best sense of the word. Then we went to our 1 hour of church (which was lovely). After naps, we headed out to a friend's for dinner and games. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and came home feeling full and happy.

All in all, it was a great day. A full day. Merry Christmas!