Friday, December 24, 2010

Care for a Serenade?

You never really know what a kid's gonna do at his or her Christmas program. Will she sing? Will he turn his back to the crowd? Will all the kids run around screaming for Mommy? I admit, I had slightly higher expectations for the little concert this year than last year. This year I had two participating. Twice as much fun, right? And if Miranda ran off during the program, technically, it's not my problem. (Isn't that bad?!) At home Miranda had been serenading us with her own version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." She sang with gusto (read: yelled) and with her very own words! I thought to myself, "Wow! She's going to be one of those kids. The ones that yell the songs during the program." Woohoo! An improvement over the non-participation of Duncan.

But then the day of the program came. And she did a lot of this:

And this:

(Just sitting there looking pretty.)

If Duncan actually participated in a musical program, I think it would mean that the planets had aligned and there would be world peace or something. He is open and honest about how much he dislikes music at school. The fact that he wore his costume made me happy.

He mostly yawned and made this face:

Although, I could tell that every once in a while he did utter a word or two. And he actually secretly did a few of the little hand movements.

When they handed out bells to ring during "Jingle Bells," Duncan examined them thoroughly.

And then the show was over and we left. Barely a note sung. I shrugged my shoulders. No matter. But in this last week since pre-school has been out for the Christmas holiday, both kids are running around the house singing Christmas songs! I hear a lot of "Jingle, jingle jollies" and "Baby boy, baby boy" from both! I ask them why didn't they sing like this during the school program. No answer. A special serenade just for Mommy? So, if you do care for a serenade from one of my kids...don't hold your breath!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Come to The Dark Side...It's Fun!

Maybe it's a little boy thing. Or maybe it's just a Duncan thing. He does have a little bit of a naughty streak in him, after all. To Duncan, Bad Guys are actually the good ones.

A couple of months ago we watched a few minutes of Star Wars: a New Hope. Duncan was instantly sucked in. The robots, the light sabers (pronounced "savers"), the pure epicness of Darth Vader. Wait...what? Yes, that's right. If Duncan were Luke Skywalker, he would have gone to The Dark Side the first time Daddy asked. We spent the next month fighting with our pretend light sabers, and losing limbs all over the place (only to miraculously regrow.) It was fun!

For some reason there's always a bad guy in shows geared for toddlers. The person being mean, the scary monster, the loud dinosaur...yep, these are all favorites.

But Duncan did catch me by surprise this past weekend. We watched a little too much Harry Potter (Duncan calls him "Fairy Potter) over the weekend. I think Duncan liked "Fairy." He began brandishing his own wand (usually a pencil or piece of a Superstructs set) and shouting "Disappeared!" at people and things (with his own sound effects, naturally.) Then he told us, "You're disappeared." Then with some complicated wand action, we were re-appeared. It was great fun. The surprise came when Duncan and Justin had a little discussion at bedtime. "Are you Harry Potter, Duncan?" Usually questions like this are simply answered, "No, I'm Duncan." But this time his response was, "No I'm Duncan Snape." Snape! SNAPE! Oh geez.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recipe for Our Thanksgiving

3 People with a Cold
2 With Snotty Noses
1 Little Streaker
1 Grilled Turkey "Almost" Done
3 Sides that were ready 20 minutes ago
1 Volcano cake, dry ice melted prematurely=no smoke!
0 Guests (I guess nobody wanted our cold)

Add all ingredients together to a ridiculously warm day for November, and you have...Our Thanksgiving.

Oh well. At least, those of us who were sick are starting to feel better.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Notes to Heaven

We marked the 4th anniversary of Evan's death today by doing a balloon release. I really like doing balloon releases, because it's like sending up notes to Evan. We write messages to him and draw pictures. We let go of the strings and watch the balloons bounce and float on their way to Heaven.

We love you, Evan!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Not So Good Time Girl

I remember another mom telling me that boys were harder in the younger years and little girls were easy, then boys got easier and girls harder as they approach the teenage years. And I believed it. But, I guess my little princess doesn't really fit into the good little girl mold. Oh sure, she's cute and sweet some of the time. But she definitely believes in preemptive strikes when it comes to big brother. I'm all for a girl who can stick up for herself. My problem is when she makes something that should be a good time go wrong.

Our county has a lot of really nice parks and green spaces. We can go for walks and playtime and not drive a great distance to get there. Unfortunately, most of the playgrounds seem to approve of free range children. There are no fences! There may be one fence on one side, but it never seems to block out the important the road or the parking lot. Maybe playground developers believe that little kids will be so enthralled by the playground equipment, that they wouldn't dream of leaving. Well, they're wrong. I spend most of our playground visits chasing Miranda back to the playground. She runs to the road. She runs to the parking lot. Evan was also a runner. I remember being laughed at when at 9 months pregnant, I was chasing a little blonde boy around the park. I didn't really find it funny. You ask, "Well, why don't you leave?" Well, we usually do. I'll give her a couple of strikes before packing them up. I do feel bad for Duncan, because he generally stays on the playground.

Playing in our yard is just as bad. I have to be by Miranda's side most of the time, because she'll sneak off. So, instead of having fun at the playground or in the yard, Mommy is stressed! Oh, I think Miranda is having a grand ol' time watching me chase her. But for me? Not so much. I do smack her hand when she runs off. I'll take them inside for punishment. But I guess I haven't found the one thing that will really stop the behavior.

We go to the grocery store, where shopping is supposed to be a pleasure. But even there she acts up. She wriggles out of the belt and climbs out of the cart. She's like a mini Houdini! I put her back in and tighten the belt. It doesn't seem to matter. Meanwhile, Duncan's making the "woowoowoo" siren sound and gleefully telling me how naughty Miranda is. I just want to get the bread and GO! I try to ignore the looks I get from other adults, but it's difficult. I already feel like the world's worst parent, because my kids are going nuts. I just hope it gets better!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Halloween is Over!

On November 1st after a great night of fun and trick or treating, Duncan announced, "Halloween is over." Quickly followed by, "Christmas is ON!" He's been asking for a Christmas tree pretty much every day since then. We've mentioned that people generally celebrate Thanksgiving before Christmas. And the fact that most folks don't get their Christmas trees until then. Of course, then we go to the store, and they have their Christmas lights on and tree decorated. He asks me if I'm ready for Christmas. "No, not just yet." We don't usually get our tree until the second week of December or so. I have a feeling Duncan won't allow us to wait that long this year. Despite my hemming and hawing, I have to admit...his excitement is contagious!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thankful Much?

This is the time of year when many people begin reflecting on thankfulness, as Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I've noticed a few of my friends on Facebook are posting something they are thankful for in their daily status updates. And even a recent suggestion by my pastor was: For each complaint you have, list ten things that make you grateful. It's supposed to change your way of thinking to be more positive. Sounds like a great idea, although challenging!

But I have to admit that when the calendar rolls over to November each year, I don't feel all that thankful. I think about four years ago when my son, Evan, died the day after Thanksgiving. It's been almost four years, and it still hurts.

I may not sit around thinking about all the things in my life that make me thankful, but I do feel blessed.

Duncan was only six months old when Evan died. He was little and needed his Mommy and Daddy, but I don't think he realized how much we needed him. His little smiles and kisses were so welcome. He was our life raft. We clung to Duncan to stay afloat. I was blessed then with a smiley little kissy boy.

And now I'm blessed with...well, a smiley, kissy boy. He comes to tell me about a recent success, just, I believe, to get a hug from his Mommy. He invented something called a "Hug-Kiss," that is a combined hug and kiss. If we're sitting on different sofas, he comes over to sit by me. And not a couple of feet away, but right next to me. He's snuggly and loving, and most importantly, happy.

Even though she's gettin' on my last nerve lately, because she's naughty as the day is long, Miranda is also a blessing. Right now I'm her favorite person in the whole world, and that feels pretty special. It's so wonderful to be loved!

And, of course, Evan was a blessing. A good big brother and friend. He was sweet and curious, but sure knew how to push my buttons. But, like his little brother, Evan warmed my heart with his hugs and kisses.

I've had three beautiful, sweet, happy children. That is a blessing, indeed!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Many Moods of Miranda


Intent (note the "Tongue of Concentration")


and finally,

Just Plain Sad

Evan? Evan Who?

Hey Stranger.
I saw you last week. I thought you might say hello.

Maybe you thought I would.

I remember when our kids used to play together at the park.

I don't remember your name.

I remember your second daughter's birth, and that your husband was born at 32 weeks and turned out just fine. But I don't remember your name. Weird, huh? I don't remember your girls' names, either.

I wonder what we would have talked about, had we actually, you know, talked. It's not like me to not speak to someone I know.

Perhaps I was afraid. Afraid of the awkward "hellos" and the uncomfortable knowledge that we both have. I assume you know that Evan is dead.

Or maybe I was afraid I'd have another conversation like the one with another park parent. It wasn't really awkward. Just the skirting around a certain subject.

Evan? Evan who?

It's ok. I remember him, even if you don't.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pep Talk

Do you ever get tired of people telling you to "think outside the box"?

Or, "You'll never fill so-and-so's shoes"?

And sometimes if feels as though the world is stacked against you.

I say you can have your cake and eat it, too.

And you can just dive right on in if that fork isn't fast enough!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Panda's Panda Hat

My sister, Sherrie, is quite a good knitter. She's made the kids several things (including some adorable Winnie the Pooh finger puppets!) But I think my favorite is the Panda hat she made for Miranda, aka "Panda." But Miranda's got a big head. Not the ego kind...just a big noggin.

So, I tried the Panda hat on Duncan, and it fits! And looks super adorable!

Thanks Sherrie!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And She Ran

Miranda looking like she belongs in this video:

Miranda is what I call "a runner." No, she's not training for a marathon. But she does this annoying thing where she runs off. I tell her not to go somewhere (the road), she can't get there fast enough. I tell her to stay in the yard...she sprints to the neighbor's. Evan was also a runner. But if I told him to stay out of the road, he did. Although, he would go over to the mailbox, stick his toe in the road, and look at me with the, "So, what are you gonna do about it, lady?" look. Miranda skips the scathing looks, and charges ahead. Duncan? He stays in the yard. Don't get me wrong. He likes to explore, too. But I think he likes giving Miranda the "you're a naughty girl" speech even more. So, I typically follow the "naughty girl" fairly closely while we're outdoors.

Yesterday we went to the backyard to enjoy the beautiful fall weather (and a cool new toy from Grandma and Grandpa.) We'd been out for 20 minutes or so, when Miranda goes and hides behind a tree. She's quietly standing there. Waiting. Like some sort of pink ninja. I looked over to watch Duncan for a few minutes. I looked back. I couldn't see Miranda. I walked over thinking I'd find her a little further down. Nothing. She wasn't anywhere.

Trying not to panic, I started calling her name and traipsing through the heavily wooded yards between our street and the next. I stopped and listened. I thought, "If she's walking through the woods, she'll be making some sort of sound." Nothing. That's what really scared me. I ran over to the creek...just to be sure she wasn't there. Then I decided I needed help. (Duncan was calmly playing in our yard this whole time!) I found a neighbor outside who ran back with me. I called Miranda's name some more, and then decided to call the police. Then I called Justin. We were all trying to keep it together, but truly terrified.

I heard a woman's voice on the street behind us, but I wasn't sure she was talking to me. I went back to our yard to keep an eye out for the police officers, and that's when we started hearing more yelling from the other street. She was over there! She had crossed through a couple of yards, gone up the street, and sat down on a curb. Always the ninja. Quiet. Sneaky. And, as Justin says, you never hear about the pink ninjas, because they're that good. After many tears, and my body wanting to hyperventilate, I was reunited with my little girl. She hadn't been crying. She wasn't scared. I think she was proud of her little adventure. I wonder what our next adventure will be?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Girly Girl

Where it all began

Most babies love looking at themselves in a mirror. There's probably some scientific explanation to this. But who cares? It's darn cute! Miranda is no exception. She has enjoyed her own company since she was a wee one, and still does. But all this looking in the mirror business makes a girl realize that she's got to take care of herself.

She needs plenty of water.

And special masks are always beneficial.

Well...almost always.

The right accessories are also a plus. Little bow barrettes are essential in this little girl's wardrobe. She insists on one every day now. I put the bow in, and she runs to the bathroom to look at it, with a quick, "Thank you, Mommy!" I just thought she liked having a bow in her hair, but when I asked her for her choice of color last night, she excitedly replied, "Purple! Purple, purple, purple!" That's my little girly girl!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cool Stuff by Duncan

Taking a photo while looking through a cardboard tube.

Helping Daddy build stuff.

Taking a picture of a huge paper mache giraffe. Why? Because it's there!

Playing, "Look at my new nose!"

Playing in the play tunnel and taking a the same time! This is definitely one of my favorite pics in Duncan's collection.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Curse of the Grammar Police

My son is now enrolled in Speech Therapy through the public school system in our county. Twice a week we drive over to an elementary school for a half hour lesson. When I visited the school for a meeting with his therapists (he's also getting Occupational Therapy), I was told that this school received the School of Excellence Award. And, sure enough, as I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed the "2007 School of Excellence" sign. I thought to myself, "Excellent!" And chuckled. Because I'm like that. We walked into the building to meet with the teacher. She wasn't there yet, so we waited. I didn't have to sign in, because I was just dropping Duncan off. My eyes moved from the sign in sheet to a paper nearby. It was for parents of elementary age students. It was an announcement about purchasing car decals to help the school. It went something like this:

Recieve a awesome decal...

And I didn't even make it to the end of the sentence. My eyes probably glazed over a little, while the chant "I before E, except after C" ran through my head. School of excellence, indeed! When I came back to get Duncan, I corrected "a" with "an." I left "recieve." It bugged me, though. I wondered how this elementary couple of grammatical boo boos made it onto a paper that would be seen by anyone approaching the front desk. Do people care anymore about correct grammar? Did they ever? I know we tend to let things slide in conversation and informal writing (ahem, like blogs!) But I thought a school would get it right. What's next? Misspelling "school" in the crosswalk? Oh wait.

Or perhaps the problem is mine. I had some incredible English teachers in middle and high school. They really hammered in all those rules. So now the grammar radar is always on. The internal editor doesn't take a holiday. I'm not a jerk about it. When Duncan's Speech Therapist said, "Fridays will just be him and I," I cringed on the inside, but said nothing. Because I know that I'm certainly not perfect! When I carried Duncan back on Friday for Speech, the announcement had been corrected. I felt the urge to do a little maniacal laughing. Mwahahahaha! Round one goes to the Grammar Police!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Not much to report

I can't find my camera. So, I can't share the photos I took around the 15th (you know, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.) It's been hot, humid, and miserable for the better part of the month. Although, the last few days have been rather nice. We've had a little rain, but I'm starting to wonder if some things are going to make it. I bought several "Miracle" Heucheras, and it'll be a miracle if they all come back! I'm pretty sure I've lost at least one. Maybe up to 3-4. Sigh. Such a disappointingly (is that even a word?!) dry year. I had such high hopes in the Spring, as I'm sure we all do. I am very much looking forward to some consistently cooler weather. Then the gardening bug will bite again and make me forget all about this summer. I hope!

A Day Out with Thomas! 2010 Edition

In celebration of our 11th wedding anniversary, Justin, my parents, and I took the kids to see Thomas the Tank Engine! Alright, it wasn't really an anniversary trip, but the visit did happen to fall on our wedding anniversary.

Our appointment with Thomas was for 11:30am. We got there, as suggested, an hour early. And basically killed an hour till Thomas came back. But it was a fun hour for Duncan and Miranda.

They both loved playing in the sandbox. (Note to self: get some playsand.)

And Duncan played with the train set. There wasn't much fighting over engines this time, thankfully.

And then we went for our train ride on Thomas!

Duncan and his Grandparents had a great time looking out at the foothills of the Appalachians in North Carolina.

We were in one of the open cars in the very back. Grandpa mentioned how they resembled cattle cars. We rode in the closed cars last time, and decided next time to go closed again.

Miranda wasn't content to sit and watch the scenery go by. She wanted to run along with it. So, there you see her juice box bribe to stay still and hang out with Mommy.

Duncan in his element!

Hanging out with Daddy.

Some of the purty scenery.

Miranda actually staying out of trouble!

After a long, humid day Miranda crashes at the lunch table...

And goes to sleep in her Daddy's arms.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dirty Dog

I had a favorite stuffed animal dog when I was little. His name was Henry. I think I got him for my second birthday. We were inseparable for at least a decade. I toted him around everywhere. I worried about him when he was in the wash (after an unfortunate throw up incident.) I have so many fond memories of that little dog! Now, I'm pleased that my little Miranda has a doggie of her own.

She calls him "Doggie," in the tradition of clever stuffed animal names. He's more of a doggie blanket than a doggie stuffed animal. That little blanket goes where Miranda goes. In the car...

And on the train. In Miranda's mouth. And in the dirt, unfortunately. Doggie has become a very dirty dog! I have to wash him early enough in the morning, so he's clean and dry before naptime.

Sometimes she'll invite fellow doggies over for tea.

I finally broke down and got a "backup" Doggie when I noticed some tearing on the original's nose.

Thankfully, she welcomed the new Doggie with open arms, even though he wasn't her Dirty Doggie!