Wordish Wednesday: This pretty much sums it up!

Greenleigh – Couldn’t love Hazeline any more than she already does.  It would be impossible.

Hazeline – A little scared that Greenleigh loves her so much.

It’s okay Hazie, I completely understand where you are coming from on this one.

Negotiating with a 2 Year Old

Last night we left the fair a little later than expected, which meant we were never going to make the girls’ regular 8:30 bedtime.  This meant I had a slightly cranky toddler in the backseat, who was adequately hopped up on funnel cakes.  There was pretty much no way to make her happy.  Halfway home, Greenleigh began asking for her new BFF, Dora the Explorer.  The conversation went a little something like this:

Greenleigh:  Want Dooo-aaahhh.  Have Dooo-aaahhh?

Erajh:  You know what honey?  We will all go upstairs and watch Dora together when we get home.  That will be fun, right?

Greenleigh:  Okay!

[30 seconds later]

Greenleigh: Want Dooo-aaahhh?  Ipod?  (Yes, my 2 year old knows what an iPod is, exactly what it does, and that my husband downloaded Sesame Street and Dora for her.)

Me:  No sweetie, the iPod is at home.  We will watch Dora when we get home.

Greenleigh:  Yay!  Dooo-aaahhh!

Me:  How about some yummy crackers?  Would you like some crackers?

Greenleigh:  Dooo-aaahhh!

Me:  Okay, we’ll watch Dora when we get home.

[1 minute later]

Greenleigh:  Dooo-aaahhh?  Ninnie?  Ninnie Nouse?

Me:  Okay honey, when we get home.  How about we sing a song until we get home?  What about Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?  That’s your favorite song.  Twinkle, twinkle little star…

Greenleigh:  Dooo-aaahhh!

Me:  How about we do something else until we get home?  What about itsy-bitsy spider?  You love him, right?  Itsy-bitsy spider went up the…

Greenleigh:  DOOO-AAAHHHH!

She’s a hell of a negotiator.  The art of compromise is lost on her.

The Fair is in Town!

And you better believe we were there – twice.  We had so much fun!  This year Geenleigh could actually go several of the rides, which made it more special for her.  The carousel was still a favorite though:

We also hung out with some dizzy dragons (kinda like the teacups, but in a dragon shape):The train might have been her favorite though:She also discovered the deliciousness of funnel cakes:Hazeline enjoyed the fair from her stroller.  Looking at this picture you would think it was freezing, but it wasn’t really cold.  Please remember that dipping into the mid- to low 60s requires a hat and coat in South Florida.  Seriously.Next year will be your year, Hazie.  You can do all of those rides next year when you meet some of those pesky height requirements.

Weekend Recipe: Perfect Pot Roast

I’m a meat and potatoes kinda girl, which makes it a little strange that up until now, I have never made a pot roast.  I’m trying more recipes using my crock pot, something that went unused for far too long.  I love that I can throw everything in the crock pot that morning, let it simmer all day, and have dinner ready at night.  There’s very little mess and my crock pot dish is dishwasher safe…how awesome is that?  If you are looking for an easy crock pot recipe, I strongly recommend you try this one from Gooseberry Patch.

You will need:

2 cups water

5-6 lbs beef pot roast

1 oz ranch salad dressing mix

.7 oz package of Italian salad dressing mix

.87 oz package of brown gravy mix

6-8 potatoes, peeled and cubed

8-10 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

Step 1 – Pour water in the bottom of the crock pot.  Place roast in crock pot.

Step 2 – Combine mixes and sprinkle over roast.  Cover and cook on low setting for 4 hours.

Step 3 – Open the top of the crock pot and add the peeled and cut carrots and potatoes.  Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.`

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it will leave a yummy smell in your home for a couple days after, reminding you how good it really was.  I decided to cut the amount of roast in half, only using 2 1/2 lbs, which I regret.   I would have much rather had extra for leftovers.

Veterans Day

As I enjoyed my day off today, I couldn’t overlook the true reason for the holiday.  Today is a day to honor those that have served.  Their sense of duty, their courage, their selflessness overwhelms me.

My grandfather was a member of the 106th Infantry in World War II.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, one of the largest and bloodiest battles Americans fought in WWII.  They fought hard, but were outnumbered and injured as Axis forces closed in on them.  It soon became apparent that his unit was going to be overtaken by enemy forces.  Although they didn’t have much time, they smashed their compasses against trees, buried weapons and jewelry, and finished all the food and water they had with them, because the enemy forces would take everything from them if they needed to surrender.

It turns out the reality of surrender was worse than anticipated.  Their coats and heavy clothes were taken.  They were made to walk for miles and miles in brutal temperatures until they finally reached train cars.  The men were then put in train cars and headed to places unknown.  They were given a loaf of bread which was supposed to feed several people for multiple days.  They eventually arrived in a POW camp where they were underfed, overworked, and improperly clothed.  Once they were woken up in the middle of the night, and immediately told to go outside and scatter in a field.  A few minutes later, shots were randomly fired into dark field where the men stood.  The men spent all night in that field that night because every time they thought the shooting was over, it would start again.

After months of torture, Allied forces arrived at his camp and my grandfather was taken to France for several weeks to rehab.  When he could finally make calls, his first call was to my grandmother.  At that point my grandmother had been provided no other information other than that my grandfather was missing.  In letters I have seen, it is apparent that the military had no idea if my grandfather was living or dead.   Thinking it was just a family friend on the other end of the phone, and considering she was running out the door, my grandmother almost didn’t take that call.  It was her mother, my great-grandmother, that convinced her that call “might be important”.

My grandparents were married for 63 years, until my grandfather passed away in 2006.

Before he passed away, I asked my grandfather why he would join the service and know that you are going to be sent into battle.  He said that it just wasn’t something you thought about.  It was the right thing to do.  He felt a sense of duty to his country.

To all those who serve or have served – Thank you for serving.  To the families who are left behind to wait, worry, pray, and continue some sense of normalcy – Thank you for your sacrifice.

Word-ish Wednesday: Best Friends

When Greenleigh was first born, our dog Madison had a tough time adjusting.  We followed all the recommendations to ease the transition, but I think it was just too much of a change for poor Madison.  And it only got worse as Greenleigh grew into toddler-hood.  Don’t get me wrong, Madison has always been very gentle with Greenleigh, but if she had the choice of being near Greenleigh or on the other side of the room, she is going to pick the latter every time.

But Hazeline?  That’s Madison’s BFF.  I catch them cuddling like this all. the. time.  It doesn’t matter how much Hazeline pulls her tail, grabs at her face, or attempts to teeth on her, Madison won’t leave her side.  It’s the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

Greenleigh better hope she is never in a situation where Madison can save only one of them.

Crafty: Turkey Hair Clips

A few weeks ago I stumbled on Happy Hour Projects, and it soon turned into my new favorite craft website.  Happy Hour Projects is full of creative ideas, many of which can be done in a short period of time.  And, as we all know, I am always running short on time.  With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I fell in love with these turkey hair clips and decided to make them myself.  Below is how I made my hair clips (based on her tutorial), but you should definitely head over to her site and check out all of her creativity.  She has such great ideas!

Photo Credit: Happy Hour Projects

What you will need:

1 piece of brown felt

1 piece of orange felt

googly eyes, 7mm size

red ribbon, 3/16” wide

orange ribbon, 3/16” wide

yellow ribbon, 3/16” wide

brown ribbon, 3/8” wide

metal single prong clips, also known as alligator clips (available at beauty supply and drug stores)

glue gun

Step 1 – Cover the clip with brown ribbon using the glue gun, but leave the top (the angled part) of the clip uncovered.  You can cover it if you find it to be easier, but it is going to be covered by the turkey anyway. Step 2 – Cut 2 circles out of the brown felt (4 if you are making a set of hair clips).  Mine were 2 inches in diameter.  To make sure that the circles were identical, I traced the circle on the felt and cut it out from there.  Cut small triangles out of the orange felt.  One piece of each color felt should yield several turkeys, since they are small.

Step 3 – Cut red, orange, and yellow ribbon into 4 inch segments.  Twist segments so they look like this and glue at the ends.

Step 4 – I glued the orange felt beak in the middle of one of the brown circles, and used that as the center point.  I then added the feathers.Step 5 – Add the eyes.  This was the hardest part for me because I really wanted them to be perfectly straight.

Step 6 – Take the unused piece of felt and place it inside the alligator clip using glue.Step 7 – Cover the felt piece with glue and attach the turkey to the top.

These clips are so easy to make.  I think it took about 20 minutes to make them both.  Unlike the original post, I turned the clips to the side, instead of having them vertical, because I think that will work best for us.  I also used different ribbon, but only because I couldn’t find plain ribbon.

I can’t wait for Greenleigh to wear these.  Ordinarily she’s not fond of me putting things in her hair, but if I tell her how pretty she looks (over and over again) she might keep them in for a while…at least for a few pictures.   I hope so, because these are adorable!

Dora, The Potty Training Goddess

One of Greenleigh’s best friends at daycare was potty trained before she turned 2.  It was all her father could talk about.  Every time I would see him, he would ask, “So how is Greenleigh doing with potty training?”.  Of course, he didn’t really want to know the answer, he only wanted to tell me that his daughter was almost completely potty trained and not yet 2 years old.  I, on the other hand, had no intention of potty training Greenleigh until she was closer to 3 years old.  I wasn’t in a rush to get my child out of diapers, even though it almost physically hurt every time I had to open my wallet to purchase one of those big cases of diapers.

Not wanting to potty train was more a matter of convenience than anything else.  We drive to visit family every year at Christmas time and my husband is, um, not the most patient driver.  It’s a 13 hour drive with 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 pets in what you can imagine is a fairly crowded sedan.  He would much prefer that we not stop at all, but will agree to stop for gas because, well, we have to.  There is no way I’m going to be able to talk him into stopping every time a toddler may or may not need to go potty.  Add to that the convincing it’s going to take for her to go potty in a gross gas station bathroom, and I would rather just pass on the experience altogether.  Plus, everyone I have spoken to has told me that they had success potty training at first, but their child later regressed, and they went back to diapers for a while.  I decided I would be smart and not  start potty training until she was older, skipping the regression altogether.  So the plan was set, wait until January.

Silly me for thinking I’m in control of this operation.  ‘Cause I’m so not.  When will I learn?

In June, Greenleigh started asking to go to the “baf-room”.  How could I say no?  Besides being adorable, it took all the guess-work out of explaining to her how you “know” when you need to go to the bathroom.  I had no idea how I was going to put that sensation into toddler terms.  Problem solved.  We ended up getting an Elmo potty seat and making it as fun as potty training can possibly be.  I even made up a song and dance that we would do when she successfully went potty.  Before you ask – No, I’m not going to do the potty song and dance for you.

At first it was a great success.  I thought to myself, “Wow, my toddler is potty training herself!  I am sooooo lucky!”.  Even the voice in my head was arrogant, wondering why every other parent had problems with this apparently very easy task.  I was ready to move her to underwear…until…the dreaded regression.  Yep, it happened.  Regression happened and I wasn’t even trying to potty train her.

But after a month or two of regression, potty training is suddenly cool again.  Why, you ask?  One word – Dora or “Doooaaaahhh” as she says it.  If you don’t have young kids, you may need more information – Dora the Explorer, a famous Nickelodeon cartoon superstar.  When I first bought pull ups for Greenleigh, I figured she had no idea who that character was on the front of them, because we never watch Dora in our house.  We are far too busy with Elmo and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, how could we ever find time for Dora?  Then we got a Dora potty seat and that was the coolest thing Greenleigh had ever seen, because it’s pink.  And some how she learned that the character on the front of those pull ups is named Dora.  She asks for her by name.  And now I couldn’t get Greenleigh into a regular diaper if I tried because regular diapers aren’t pink with Dora on the front of them.  Clearly, Dora is a potty training figure-head, and one that my daughter has latched on to.  Damn marketing techniques.

Now when she goes running towards the bathroom she isn’t saying “potty” she is saying “Dora, Dora, Dora!”  I struggle between loving this new character’s assistance in the potty training process and being a little afraid of this new attachment.

Playtime at the Park

The weather has been so beautiful, we decided to head out to the park and play a little today.  Unfortunately, a freak passing shower caused us to leave suddenly without any family pictures.  I suppose there is always next week…

First time in a “big girl” swing.  She looks so serious, but she loved it.  If we didn’t push the swing fast enough she frantically swung her feet back and forth, subliminally telling her dancing monkeys (us) to push faster.  Perhaps she is going to give Greenleigh a run for her money as the wanna-be boss of us.I’m flying!  Wait – I can’t see my feet!Big sister loved the swings too.That’s it for me.  This mom is exhausted and heading to bed.  I have yet to successfully explain daylight savings time to my kids.  Anyone have any pointers for getting a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old to enjoy that extra hour of sleep?

It’s Happening…