Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kiddie Gaga

We went to a friend's house on Saturday night. There happens to be a drum set and microphone in their music room. Somehow the microphone and stand found it's way in to the kitchen. 

This is what ensued:

2011-06-25 19 53 52

I could barely get her to stand still long enough to snap a photo with my camera phone. She was singing and twirling and acting like the rock-star that she is.


I do think that a make-up lesson is in order when she turns 16, although the trip back to 1986 was delightful.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Generations

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in your body. 
You are the continuation of each of these people."
~Thich Nhat Hanh


When we were in Illinois a few weeks ago, we finally connected with my grandfather.  He was doing yardwork when we pulled in to his driveway and he immediately put down his leaf blower and pulled up a chair.

We spent nearly an hour talking
and sharing that afternoon. 
And what a blessing it was,
to spend that time,
four generations together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Something Good - Cuteness

I am linking up with LeeAnn today over at The Life of Rylie and Bryce too.  If you feel like sharing something good, and spreading some good cheer, head on over there and link up!

The Life of Rylie...and Bryce too!

For the purposes of this post Good = Cute, so let's just go with it, mkay?

My something cute for the week happened early Monday morning.  If Chloe is going to wake up at night she always seems to do it between 3 and 4 am, and usually it's exactly at 3:45 am that I first hear her begin to stir.  Lately, though, she hasn't been calling my name, or crying...she's been singing. 

Last night at 3something in the morning (I did not reach for my glasses so I have no idea what time the clock actually read) Chloe started her "usual" on the monitor.  I listen for a moment and roll over.  She continues, over and over, and over again.  About 10 mintues later, Hubs turns towards me and mumbles "What exactly is she saying?"  Me: "You can't understand that?  She's singing, "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." Him:  "She is even cute in the middle of the night."

She sure is!  I have no idea when she stopped singing, but at some point she did and she fell back asleep.  That child makes me smile even when I sleep.

Oh...and we have Pig Tails y'all!  Real Pig Tails!  It only took her 2 years and 3 months to grow them, but we did it.  She still doesn't really like to wear them, but when she does, it's hella cute! 


Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Gotta Feeling

That Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night...

Nearly a week ago Camdyn graduated from pre-school.  The children wore the shirts that they tie dyed a few months ago, and they wore their smiles, and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

The teachers lined them all up on the stage while cameras flashed and moms waved.


Then a little voice boomed "Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance."  My girl commanded every one's attention.  She projected her little voice and spoke with authority.  I was so proud of her.

Her teacher told me that this is the last year that they will be allowed to say The Pledge of Allegiance and being that this is the last time it will be spoken at a graduation, she wanted to make sure it was done right.  She is disheartened about that, I think, and I am too.  Our pre-school is at a church, you would think that The Pledge would at least have a place in church...

Then the big class performed their song and Camdyn sat and waited patiently until they finished.


Then, it was her class' turn.  All six children stood, the teacher turned on their music, and they began singing their song about the colors of the rainbow and they had sign language for the entire song.  Cam looked so cute as she concentrated on all of the signs.  She didn't miss a single one. 

Then the two classes sang a song together that they wrote themselves to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas...only it was called the Twelve Days of Summer.  It was really cute! 

Then it was time to receive their certificates or "cer-tif-li-cates" as Cam called it. 

And in less than 30 minutes, the sum of 5 years spent learning in pre-school, came to a close.  I got choked up a few times...and it was mostly just pride that was lodged at the back of my throat.  But, really, I was happy for her.  Happy that pre-school has been such a positive experience for her.  Happy at how much she has learned and grown, and how loved she has always felt at school over the past 5 years. 

We then went to the church courtyard and had cake, cookies, and juice.  Cam wore her corsage that I bought her to mark the occasion, but she by-passed on the cake.  She just wanted to run around with her friends.

Then, most of the parents packed up their kids and we headed down the road to a pizza joint that also has a mini arcade and an ice cream shop.  The kids played games, ran around, ate pizza and played, all while the adults lamented about the Pre-School years over a beer. 

As much as Cam will miss the teachers and her classmates as she heads to Kindergarten in the fall, I think I'll miss the friendships that we've built with the families in her class.  We'll still get together, though, I think I'll have to host a "reunion" party once a year. 

At about 8:45 I headed home with two very sweaty and sleepy little girls, who bypassed the tub, and went straight to bed and didn't bother to wake during the night. 

I couldn't imagine a better to close to this chapter.

I gotta a feelin' that tonight's gonna be a good night...

PS:  V - Thanks for running my video and helping me watch Chloe.  This night wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable without your help!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Next Chapter

"I hope your dreams take the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known."
~Author Unknown

She graduated from Pre-School yesterday.  In eight weeks she will be an official Kindergartner.  I don't know what exactly I was doing when she did it, but she grew up this year... a lot.

If I could re-live yesterday, like Ground Hog Day, I would.  Everything about the day was wonderful.

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Reason For Our Trip

I wrote last week about our experience coming home from our trip, but I never got around to writing about WHY we went on our trip. 

We went to Illinois to help Gramma celebrate her retirement.  She spent 20 years teaching mostly 3rd grade.  Whew.  And.  Hip Hip Hooray!  Camdyn and I flew in at 3:30 that afternoon, and by 6:30 I was dolled up and enjoying adult conversation in an upscale banquet room.  And for the first time ever, Camdyn was enjoying one on one time with her other set of grandparents.

Here Mom is beaming after receiving her certificate of excellence, or completion, or both!  I like to think that she is smiling because she knows she's going to get to spend more time vacationing at our house now.


I hope she doesn't kill me for posting this blurry photo, but I had to.  She is looking at my Stepdad and just finished reading the card he gave her.  I don't know what it said, but it must have been pretty sweet, cause Momma's about to cry.  He then followed that up with an Ipad 2, so she wasn't teary for long.

Then we woke up to a Saturday morning, with a wide open schedule, and chilly temperatures.  We didn't know what we were going to do with the day, but we did know that we wanted doughnuts...and coffee.  Well, the local Dunkin Doughnuts was closed, but as we were driving aimlessly in search of another doughnut shop we happened upon Dandy Doughnuts.  We pulled in and thought we would give it a try.

It turns out that this is no ordinary doughnut's special.  Special in that it serves Mini-bite sized doughnuts that are virtually calorie free.  I'm not lying here...only 185 calories for a half dozen of these scrumptious little bites of heaven.  And that's not the only bonus, they are fried in soy bean oil, so no trans fats or cholesterol.  Can you hear angels singing?  I can. 

So, we bought a dozen and grabbed a table toward the back of the shop.


Each table has a game on it.  Cam grabbed a deck of cards are we started playing Go Fish.  I didn't even know she knew how to play Go Fish with a deck of cards, but she does, and this game took us nearly 45 minutes.  45 minutes that I got to spend sipping coffee, nibbling angelic doughnuts, and enjoying the company of my 5 year old who is growing up faster than I care to think about.

The doughnuts can be pre-dipped with cinnamon sugar, or you can buy a sauce and dip them yourself.  Cam was a big fan of the chocolate sauce.  She's totally my kid.

We spent about an hour and a half in that little doughnut shop that morning.  It was the perfect start to a day that had nothing but unscripted good times lying ahead of it.  Don't you just love it when you do something unexpected and it turns out to be so much more fun than you had ever thought?

That was this particular Saturday...and it started at Dandy's Doughnuts.


~if you are ever in the neighborhood stop by and support this family-owned small business.  There is no better way to spend your hard earned dollars than in support of the American Dream of the small business owner.

Our next stop was to the local museum...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Father's Day That Wasn't

It's odd having Father's Day and not spending it with the Hubs.  It's a Sunday, like any other Sunday, we went to church, and to Target, we fingerpainted, baked cupcakes, went to the park and swam in the pool...I took a moment here and there to text Hubs photos of the is Father's Day afterall, but it just didn't quite feel like it. 

Although, we didn't get to spoil him with breakfast in bed, or give him bear hugs in appreciation, I hope he knows just how much we adore him.  If I had to pick one quality about him as a Dad that I appreciate the most, it's this:

He is present. 


Present in the little moments like showing the girls hermit crabs in a bucket at the beach.  He is home just doing the the daily thing with us far more often than he's not.  He knows that the impact that we have on these two little lives will be our greatest accomplishment in life.  He makes us his priority. 

So, I'll write in his card tomorrow, and put the last few touches on his gift, and we'll celebrate soon. 

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, my Husband, and all the worthy Dads out there who enjoy the gift of children. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordish Wednesday - Horse Love

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact
with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.
~Sharon Ralls Lemon

On Sunday afternoon, Gramma, Cam & I made a spur of the moment stop by the local history museum. "The museum campus consists of a Victorian village with 26 historical buildings filled with artifacts of the era as well as several beautiful 19th century gardens that depict life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910. " (Midway Village website). 

The paper said there would be a Wild West Show at 2:00 and....horses.  We all know how my girl loves horses.  We stopped by with no expectations and the "We'll just see what's going on" attitude.  We ended up spending hours there.   

After the Wild West Show which featured a dozen horses and cowboys shooting balloons, Cam was allowed to pet the horses.  There was a boy giving pony rides on his Shetland Pony, but she wanted none of it...she wanted to ride a Quarter Horse.  Well, she didn't get to ride around on one, but a very nice cowboy who recognized her love for horses let her sit on his beautiful horse. 


This made her day.  More photos and details from this event to come.

**Thanks to all who commented on my post yesterday.  Although I know I should not have let that lady bother me so much, she did.  I appreciate the supportive words and the humor. I am putting it behind me.  Much love to all. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

True Story: An Elderly Woman Called my Child a Brat on an Airplane

We are back from our quick trip up north.  We spent a lot of time with family, met up with my childhood best friend, and managed to squeeze in quite a few activities.  We had a wonderful time.  I have photos to share and stories to tell, but not before I share this one.  The one that weighs on my soul like a paperweight.

It is 4:00 pm when we board the Allegiant flight headed south from Rockford to St. Pete.  We didn't purchase seats so we board toward the end when they open the seating up to families flying with small children.  I am happy to find seats toward the front of the plane, close to the lavatory making us the first people off of the plane.  We sit in the third row and Camdyn selects the window seat.  We settle in, we color until we are instructed to put the tray table up.  When we are at cruising altitude Cam takes out her DVD player and she watches a movie, while I delve back in to Water for Elephants, it would be awesome if I could finish this book before we land. 

About an hour in to the flight Cam announces that she has to go potty.  The lavatory is occupied so I instruct her to go up there and wait and I'll come up when it's her turn.  She's standing just two rows ahead of me.  She begins to tinker with the woman's armrest who is sitting on the aisle in the bulk head row.  I instruct her to stop, and she does, and then she waits her turn, doing a mild version of the potty dance while she waits.  When it's her turn, I get up and help her in to the rest room, I wait outside the door to help her when she needs it.  I notice that the woman in the middle seat of the bulk head row is staring at me.  I smile warmly.  I figure she is curious about Cam, or is interested in how we are juggling the bathroom routine.  She stares the entire time I am standing there.

We take our seats and Cam watches her movie until we are instructed to put the DVD player away and prepare for landing.  At this time Cam notices that there is a little girl sitting directly behind her.  They start talking and laughing and playing an "Eye Spy" game.  On one occasion I remind Cam to use her inside voice.  They continue to giggle and shriek and Cam announces that she just can't wait to see her Daddy.

We land.  I begin to get my bags together and I realize that someone is yelling, so I look up, just in time to connect eyes with the elderly woman who was sitting in the middle seat in the bulk head row.  She says, "You have the most annoying kid on the planet."  My heart starts racing, my mind begins to swirl.  Is she talking to me?  I look at Cam, her dark almond eyes are wide, but she says nothing.  The woman turns around, so I try to dismiss it.  But, she wasn't done.  She turns around again and declares, "Oh My God.  She has 3!"  What?  She begins chattering with the women next to her, apparently mistaking other children in the aisle for my children.  My heart is thumping.  I'm not good with verbal confrontation, but I feel a need to stand up for myself and my daughter.  Everyone is watching.

She connects eyes with me a final time.  She lifts a crooked, gnarled finger, and points it at Camdyn and says "Your child is a Brat.  A Brat.  That's all she is.  A Brat."  I have a lump in my throat and tears welling in my eyes.  When I finally speak my voice is an octave higher than it normally is.  I manage the words.  "She is a child."  And, that's the best I can do.  I offer no apologies, I do not ask questions, I do not berate her, I can say nothing more.  I look at Cam and her eyes are wild, there is fear behind them.  The woman retreats off the plane.

I feel a warm hand on my shoulder, "Don't let that ruin your trip, doll."  "I won't" I say, but it already has.  I know me.  I know this will weigh on my heart.  I know I won't be able to shake this off.  This was a direct judgement on my parenting skills, or lack of.  My mind is swirling.  How did we manage to make this woman so angry?  We were sitting 2 rows behind her and across the aisle - How did this happen?  Was everyone annoyed by my kid?

We gather our suitcases and head down the Jetway.  Another woman approaches me and says "it's hard to keep little ones still and quiet the whole flight."  I know she was trying to help, but it didn't.  She was still and quiet for 90% of the flight.  She was only talking for the last 15 minutes.  My stomach churns.

When we are back at the car, I pull Cam in to a hug and tell her that she did a wonderful job on the flight, and that she was well behaved.  She said, "Momma.  That lady was mean to you.  She was a bully."  You know what, she was a bully.  For some reason pointing fingers and calling a 5 year old names made her feel better.  Maybe she felt validated by her judgements, or more important.  The whole spectacle must have given her some sort of perverse pleasure.   I explain to Cam that some people don't find children's laughter enjoyable, and that some people have hearts made of stone.  "It's not our fault, Love." 

We have an hour car ride home and I replay the situation over and over in my mind.  For a split second I wish that Cam wouldn't have gotten so excited toward the end of the plane ride.  I wish she was a quiet, demure child and I almost wish her exuberant energy away.  Immediately, I hate myself for thinking such thoughts, even for a split second.  Those are the qualities about her that I adore.  That is who she is, and I love her bubbly energy and her zest for life.  And, then I start tearing in to myself, why can't I stand up for myself, why can't I think on my feet in a confrontation, why do I slink down with my tail between my legs unable to offer a defense.  Why am I so averse to confrontation? 

And then I realize, although God did not grant me the gift of verbal eloquence, especially in a confrontation, he did grant me the gift of composure.  After a call to the Bestie and a few tears later, I realize that I set a good example for my daughter.  Caught in a hard spot between being a role model, respecting my elders, and standing up for myself, I did the best I could. 

Looking back, I realize that woman was glowering at me while Cam used the restroom half way through the flight.  She had it out for her then.  She wasn't looking at me out of curiosity or because Cam was dressed nicely, she was giving me the evil eye.  At that time, the only thing Cam could have done to set her off was tinker with the arm rest on the aisle seat (it wasn't even her arm rest).  Her reaction to that slight disturbance was uncalled for and unjustified, and I don't care what a child does, there is no room for name calling.

I prayed for that woman last night.  I prayed that the Lord would soften her heart, that he would ease her pains and her frustrations, and whatever ailments she is facing that make her world such a dark and hurtful place.  And then I prayed for myself, that God would lift these judgements from my heart, that he would give me peace and restore my confidence in the human race and my own parenting skills.  And, then I offered thanks for the fact that my husband was not on the plane when the incident occurred.  As deficient as my verbal skills are, my husband makes up for it ten fold.  He cares not what people around him think.  His words are quick and on point.  Had he been there, it would have gotten ugly.  The woman would not have gotten the last word, and I'm sure that the Hubs would have ended up zip tied to a chair and Camdyn probably would have been terrified by a confrontation of that proportion. 

I expect after incidences like this one, and the one at Chick Fil A last June, I will eventually find my voice. 

No one ever said it would be easy.

Friday, June 10, 2011

And We're Off...

Chug-a-Chug-a-Chug-a-Chug-a-Choo Choo


Well, actually, it's more like Vvvvrroooommm, cause we will be traveling by airplane instead of by train.

But, nonetheless, we are off to Gramma's house.  Well, actually, half of us are off to Gramma's house and half of us are manning the homestead.


I'm going to miss this Sweetpea while I'm gone.


(Love how her wittle toe is curled under in this photo)

But, she's going to have a great time with her Daddy.  They'll swim, they'll eat out, and she'll get to play with whatever toy she wants without the threat of a 5 year old tearing it from her grasp. 

And the TVs will be all theirs.  He'll get to watch as much ESPN, SportsCenter, and Basketball playoffs as he wants.

And she'll get to watch Dora over and over again without having to stop so Sissy can watch one of her her shows.

I imagine that they are just as excited about our trip as we are.


Cam and I will be having a similar amount of fun that is entirely different.  We'll be busy, on the go, eating out and visiting family and friends.  We'll spend just 3 nights away from our own beds, it'll be a quick trip, but a fun one. 

Just me and my oldest girl jet-setting north, making memories and enjoying each other's undivided attention. 

We'll be seeing you on the flip side of the weekend.  Have a great one!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One more time...

My kids are getting older.  Now, they aren't old by any means, but the moments spent rocking and soothing children to sleep are few and far in between. 

I always cherished the times when Chloe Belle would fall asleep in my arms in the rocking chair; the sounds of her baby breath, the rise and fall of her chest, the heaviness of her toddler weight as I lifted her in to her crib.  Those moments are now a rarity.  More often then not, I'll start to rock, I'll kiss her cheeks, and close my eyes, and before I completely relax a little voice will say "I go bed now." 

And it's over. 

I sit her up, lay her down, whisper my Love You's and Good Nights, and shut the door. 

In the blink of an eye the hallmark of babydom became a memory....until she got sick.  This past Saturday Chloe caught a bug which resulted in a few vomit episodes and a tummy ache.  We spent most of the day at the house watching Dora and relaxing.  And for about 20 minutes, she snoozed on my chest before she woke up and asked for more Dora. 


Not that I would ever wish a tummy ache on a child, but it sure was nice to have that feeling back, even for just 20 minutes. 


(note: The hubs picked up my camera and snapped the first photo.  It was set on manual and came out horribly, so I had to edit it back to decency.  The second one he took on Auto and I had a hard time getting my edits to match...this irks me.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Ocean Love

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on,
long after our footprints in the sand are gone.”
~Author Unknown 


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Something Good - Gymnastics

Camdyn has participated in gymnastics a handful of times.  We tried it at the local YMCA when she was three, and then we took a break, we tried it again about six months later, and then we took a break.  We tried when she was  4 1/2 at a local (and expensive) kid's gym and then we took a break.  Each and every time Camdyn would get bored after 2 or 3 lessons. 

The child has a natural ability and the circuit style classes were a breeze for her.  She would get impatient waiting for her turn.  She would jump off the beam and bypass kids who were struggling with balance.  The classes didn't move quickly enough and didn't offer enough variety to keep her intrigued.  Of course, this resulted in her not doing what she was supposed to be doing.  Suddenly she'd morph in to a T-Rex in the middle of class and she'd be stomping around with her short arms, and two fingered claws out and Rrrraaarrr'ing at everyone.  It was a struggle for me to watch and definitely a struggle for the teacher.

After begging to do gymnastics again, I thought we should let her try and so I signed her up (again) for a class at the YMCA.  Much to my surprise, this class, filled with older pre-schoolers, clips along at a pace that keeps Cam interested.  The circuits are harder, and once one skill is achieved a new one is presented.  They don't wait for the whole class to get it, they teach more to each child....ahhhh.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching my nearly 5 1/2 year old beam on the beam as she accomplished a forward roll (with help of course).  I smiled from ear to ear when she waved at me for my attention and approval and when she would shout "Watch this Momma!" from across the gym.

In the car on our drive home she said, "I am so proud of myself."  "As well you should be, you did a fantastic job!"  I don't know if she'll want to continue with gymnastics for the longer term or not, but for now, I'm celebrating the fact that she loves it, and that she looks forward to her classes, and that she is proud of herself.  There are few gifts greater in life than self-esteem and self-confidence.

Feel free to link up your Something Good for the week with LeeAnn.

The Life of Rylie...and Bryce too!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fifteen Minutes to Paradise

Which is pretty much how long it takes us to drive from our front door to The Number One rated Beach in the US.  Says Who?  Says Dr. Beach...and I'm guessing since he is a doctor of beaches, then he pretty much knows what he is talking about in his infamous Top 10 Beaches of 2011 List.

So, there the beach sits, and we rarely visit.  The thing matter how nice the beach is, it's sandy and it's messy, and this time of year it's really hot.  I drag my feet about going to the beach...but when I get there...

It's a slice of heaven.


It's clear blue water.  Water just cool enough to refresh, but warm enough to enjoy.

It's powdered sand between your toes and time spent looking for shells and hermit crabs.  It's sunshine and giggles, saltwater, and fresh air.

It's God's best antidote for stress. 

On Saturday evening, we spent time together as a family at the beach.  The girls were content to dip their toes in the water for about 20 minutes before they both begged for swimsuits.  They combed the beach for seashells and sharks teeth.  They went with their daddy out to the sand bar about 20 yards off the beach.  We enjoyed ourselves.


As we piled back in the car, I declared again, for the hundredth time, that we really need to do this more often.  The sand, the mess, the slight inconvenience of driving over the draw bridge to get all worth it.  It's worth it to hear the giggles of delight as my girls run from waves.  It's worth it to see their eyes alive with anticipation and wonderment.  It's worth it to connect as a family.
And, I'm fairly certain that we'll be making the fifteen minute drive to paradise a tad more often.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

SOOC Saturday - Breakfast Time

My Little Girl has her favorite things for Breakfast....yogurt and a handful of pacis.


Dancing in the RainIf you'd like to participate in SOOC Saturday, please click on the button and link up your straight out of the camera shot with Sassy!