Wordless Wednesday: A Princess Party

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately…mainly because I had a princess party to throw for a very important 4 year old.  That’s right – Greenleigh is now 4 years old!  Like Hazeline’s party, I was too busy enjoying the festivities to take a ton of pictures, but I did want to share the few that I took.

Because Greenleigh loves balloons, I made sure to make them a big part of the decorations.  Geni from Awesome Kid’s Party Rentals did an awesome job on the balloon arch (at an amazing price)!  

The cake was another fabulous creation from Shannon from Cups & Cakes.  It came out way better than I ever expected and was absolutely delicious.

And because princesses on a cake weren’t enough, we invited a few “real” princesses (from Enchanted Fairytale Parties) to stop by.They played did face painting, games, read stories, and even sang.  The kids loved every minute of it and begged for them to stay.  But, you know, princesses have a schedule to keep.

And before I knew it the day was over.  It was a great party and I was a little sad to see it end.  Not to worry though, Greenleigh has let me know that she wants to do the exact same thing for her party next year…I better start planning now.


Moments of Calm

Yesterday around 7:30am, Greenleigh walked into my room.  As usual, she stood by my bedside staring at me (a little creepy, but I’ve gotten used to it) until I asked her if she wanted to get into bed.  It was one of those rare mornings where Hazeline hadn’t woken up yet, so the other side of the bed wasn’t already occupied by a 1 year old screeching “Dora!” or “milk!” at the top of her lungs.

No, this was a quiet morning.

So I seized the moment.  I helped Greenleigh into the bed and she laid her head on Erajh’s pillows.  I rearranged the blankets so they were covering both of us (Don’t take that as an admission that I’m a covers hog, because I’m not going to admit that.  It may be true, but I’m not going to admit it).  For what seemed like forever, Greenleigh and I laid in bed staring at the ceiling.  All was still and quiet in the house.  I could hear each of us breathing.  Then I turned over and looked at her.  She did the same.  “What are you looking forward to doing at school today?”, I asked.  “Playing with my friends.  The slide.  Arts and crafts.  Mommy, can I have your iPad?  Mommy, I want to watch Dora.  No Mickey.  No Dora, then Mickey, then Sophia.  Mommy, I’m thirsty.  Can I have a juice box?  Why isn’t Baby Sister up yet?  Can I go wake her up?”…  And there was more, I just tuned out after a while.  Just like that, the flood gates had opened.  The calm was gone and my day had started.  I got up to get her a sippy cup and my iPad and smiled.

Greenleigh is almost 4 years old and this is what life has become – total chaos with moments of calm.  And after years of total chaos with no refuge, I’m choosing to embrace the calm moments.

Greenleigh is a child that has always needed my 100% undivided attention.  She’s a tough kid and despite what anyone says, she was not an “easy baby” (although she did sleep very well, very early on).  She never played well on her own.  She’s loud.  She cried and whined incessantly.  Her tantrums started well before 1 year and have startled medical professionals.   At one of Greenleigh’s checkups (before Hazeline was born), I begged the doctor to evaluate her for behavioral or hyperactivity disorders.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want her to have them, I just wanted to know why my child seemed to have the energy of 10 little boys her age and the attention span of a goldfish.  “But Doctor, you don’t understand…”, I pleaded.

But with 4 looming, we have turned a corner.  A very good corner.

Greenleigh (finally) has “favorite” toys, like white blankie and “Eh” the Bunny.  She can and will sit and watch an entire television show.  She loves to cuddle.  She’ll tell you when she’s tired.  She can play on her own for short periods of time.  She can tell me what she does and doesn’t want for dinner.  She the loves interactive games that she plays on the LeapPad2 that she got for Christmas.  She is able to sit still and be quiet for periods of time.  She even went to church with Erajh on Sunday and made it through the entire 1 hour service without needing to be “escorted” out of the building.  These are all things that she could not (or would not?) do last year.

I won’t tell you that everything is perfect because her behavior still leave a lot to be desired at times.  She still knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else on Earth.  Her attention span is rather small, so although I’ve toyed with it, I’m still not taking her to the movies anytime soon.  Tantrums are plentiful, and she still cries and whines like a champ…after all she’s has plenty of time to perfect her technique.  It’s almost a sport for her now.

But the point is, things are getting better.  I don’t expect her to be perfect, or anything close to it.  I just want her to be her…and for me to be able to manage her.  And that’s what’s happening right now.  As parent and child, we are in a better place than we were 2 years ago, or even a year ago.

If this is what 4 has in store for me, I’m really looking forward to it.

*Photo courtesy of Karen Lisa Artistic Photography

I Completely & Totally Lack the Hair Styling Gene

Today, my husband posted this picture on his facebook:

So Greenleigh wanted her hair braided, Jen tried. Rat tail ensued.

Called out?  Sure.  And it didn’t help that several people “liked” the picture (with corresponding caption) within seconds of it being posted.  But admittedly not my best work.  Then again not really my worst.  It’s kind of more of the same…bad.

Truth be told, I’ve never been able to braid hair.  Sure, I tried to learn at slumber parties when I was little.  I longed to be able to french braid, but I never could get the hang of it.  Not on my hair and not on anyone elses’ hair.  Even now, I can’t braid my own hair.   And braiding is just the tip of the iceberg because anything other than a basic ponytail or barrette is out of my wheelhouse.  And my ponytails aren’t always the most awesome either…unless you like bumps.  Lots of them.  I guess doing hair is just a “girl gene” that I don’t possess.

But Greenleigh is a girly girl.  Each day she comes to me with a new request for her hair.  Today she asked for a braid because her Aunt Penny braided her hair when she came to visit on Saturday night.  During the week she asks for ponytails, pigtails, and barrettes – all of which stump me.  That’s right, I can’t even get barrettes to stay in right.  And of course, the true test is always the bun that’s required for her dance class on Saturday mornings.  Combine Greenleigh’s normal squirminess, the bizarre cowlick she inherited from Erajh, and a mom who no doubt didn’t get enough sleep and you have a recipe for disaster.  Let’s just say that we’ve arrived at dance class more than once to have other moms look at Greenleigh’s hair horrified, only for me to blame it on Greenleigh squirming in her carseat and rubbing the back of her hair.  Wrong?  Maybe.  But I certainly can’t tell them the truth – that was my 6th and best attempt and it took 20 minutes, at which point I ran out of time and said, “well, that’s as good as it’s going to get”.

Let’s hope that she learns to do her own hair very soon.  For her sake.

Double Occupancy

Every morning for the last 18 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days, Hazeline has woken up screaming.  But who’s counting?  Oh wait – Me.  Okay, there have been a handful of mornings where she’s woken up and quietly played in her crib, but I can count those occurrences on one hand.  So not kidding.

When she was a newborn, I expected the screaming and crying.  In fact, I would have considered it odd (and outrageously lucky) if she woke up happy and cooing all the time.  But by the time she hit 6-9 months I thought it would stop.  By then babies are sleeping more regularly, eating solids, and can play alone for short periods of time.  Around 8 months old, Greenleigh would wake up and spend 15-20 minutes in her crib, happily playing with her toys before I went in to get her in the mornings.  It was blissful.

I’ve waited and waited with Hazeline, but that blissful moment hasn’t happened.  Morning after morning, she wakes up in a state of absolute panic, screaming and crying.  And make no mistake, by “screaming and crying”, I mean losing her ever-loving mind.  Each and every single morning.  In the old house we were all on the same floor, so I’d run to her room on the other end of our townhouse, grab Hazeline from her crib, and bring her back to our room to (hopefully) get some more sleep.  In our new house, the sprint to get Hazeline includes running up a flight of stairs and leaping over obstacles that Greenleigh has put in the way on her late night jaunts through the house now that she can leave her room (thanks, toddler bed) – humidifier water tanks, stuffed animals, books, and occasionally Greenleigh, herself.  All to get Hazeline before she screams so loud that she wakes Greenleigh up.

I’ve tried tons of things to stop the screaming – putting her favorite toys in her crib, taking everything out of her crib, getting her a sippy first thing in the morning, and even waiting a bit before going to get her to see if the crying would die down.  I can assure you that the last one does not work.  In fact, nothing has worked.  Nothing.

But this morning as Hazeline started crying I was downstairs drying my hair and I didn’t hear the monitor.  Greenleigh came running into my bathroom telling me that Baby Sister was up.  She then asked if she could go into Hazeline’s room and see her.  My hair was only halfway dried (and it tends to frizz if I leave it wet for too long) so it sounded like a fine idea.  Over the next 15 or so minutes, I watched and listened to the girls play and laugh through the monitor.  Hazeline was in the crib, but Greenleigh brought her toys and books for them to play with.  There were also lots of knock knock jokes – Knock knock.  Who’s there?  Knock knock.  Who’s there?  Knock knock.  They had an absolute ball together.  When I finally got up there, Hazeline in her crib reading a book and Greenleigh on the floor beside her crib, singing and playing with some dolls.  I reached to grab Hazeline out of the crib, only for her to look at me like I was disturbing her.  She was clearly having fun (and surrounded by a crap-ton of stuffed animals).

And then I had a thought – What if the girls were in the same room?  What if they had the company of the other?  Would Greenleigh feel compelled to leave the room if her baby sister was in there with her?  And would Hazeline wake up screaming if she wasn’t in a room alone?  What if they could play in the mornings together while I get ready for work?  Greenleigh’s room is plenty big enough for Hazeline’s crib.  And Greenleigh seemed pretty excited about the idea when I asked what she thought about Baby Sister sleeping in her room.

If you had asked me last week if the girls were going to share a room, I would have responded with “eventually”.  But now I’m seriously thinking about moving up that time frame.

Lots of my friends have (older) kids that share rooms, but it’s normally an issue of space.  That’s not our problem.  We have the space for each of them to have their own room.  And yet, this might be the only time when they might appreciate sharing a room.  My sister and I shared a room from the time I was 7 until I turned 14, and trust me, sharing a room was not welcome at that point in my life.  We constantly drew lines with masking tape down the center of the room dividing who got what.  Unfortunately, one of us always ended up without access to the bathroom so that never stuck.  But maybe this is an okay time for them to share a room, even if it’s based on preference and not necessity.

Do you have or have you had two young kids sharing a room?  How did it work out?  Did you do it because you had to (due to space) or because you wanted your kids to share a room?

Our Nighttime Visitor

Yesterday morning at about 3:05 am, I was woken up by Greenleigh standing beside my bed saying, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!” in a ridiculously loud whisper.  Looking back on the whole thing, I’m impressed that Greenleigh could achieve a whisper of any level, but at the time, I wasn’t really expecting anyone to be in our room.  I shot straight up in bed and attempted to move away from the noise I was hearing, and in the process I landed right on Erajh.  Poor guy never saw it coming…you know, because that’s the hour we normally sleep.  Did I mention that Greenleigh was wearing nothing but a pull-up at the time all of this went down?  No?  Yeah…  And that the side of her face that was visible to me was being lit up by the red light coming from my alarm clock, similar to one of those horror movies?  Yeah…

That’s right folks, we’ve transitioned to a toddler bed.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been perfectly happy keeping her caged in her crib until she was nearly 3 1/2 years old.  And I was pretty content with the idea (that down the road) I might possibly have the only teenager in the world who would go to her high school prom and then come home to sleep in her crib.  Hell, I happily would have brought her crib to college and assembled it for her.  Who cares what her roommate would have thought.

But no.  In a moment of weakness, I saw this:

And suddenly got very brave stupid.

We’re now in day 6 of the transition and it’s going, um, okay.  I’ve been nervous to blog about it up until this point because I was afraid after one day that it would  be so awful, I’d pack up the bed, for it to never be seen again.  Back to the crib she would go.  Forever.  Then I’d be embarrassed to have blogged about the toddler bed.

While I’m happy to report that it hasn’t quite been that awful, it’s definitely been an adjustment.  On the first night around 5am I heard Greenleigh on the stairway saying, “Mommy, I want to come downstairs.  I want to sleep downstairs.”, but I was able to get her back to her room and into bed without much trouble.  Days 2 and 3 flew by without incident, until day 4 when she arrived at my bedside.  Ugh.  Last night, I was so sure that we were going to get another visit that I slept with one eye open (almost literally).  Not quite restful.

She’s also getting up earlier than she used to, although not by too much.  Regardless, I’m seeing one of these in our future:But $70?  On sale?  That’s insane.  Then again, this mom is tired.  And tired moms do crazy things.  We’ll see.

Oh and for those of you wondering why Greenleigh wasn’t dressed at the time of her visit, this transition has created a new enemy: Feety Pajamas.  Adorable, and yet not practical for a potty trained toddler sleeping on her own.  That morning, she had decided to use the bathroom in our room.  She managed to walk all the way down the stairs, into our room, and use our bathroom without any problem.  It was putting the pajamas back on that she couldn’t quite do (she turns the arms inside out when she takes them off so she can’t get her arms back in there).  So far, all attempts to get her into “big girl” 2 piece pajama sets have been unsuccessful.  And trust me, I’ve tried everything.  Absolutely everything.

I guess we’ll see what tonight brings.  Please, please don’t let it be a half naked child by my bedside…

Let’s File This Under “Things That Will Probaby Give My Kids Nightmares One Day”

I feel the need to preface this post with the fact that at the end of the day, I’m really, really tired.  I’ve gotten up, got 2 kids ready, driven them to school, driven 1 hour to work, worked at my job, then driven 1 hour back to the girls daycare, picked them up, corralled them into the car, and driven home.  I know, I know, boo-hoo me, but it’s exhausting.  And by the time I reach the gate to our community, I’m tired.  And it’s during this time when I’m so close to home (and yet so far), that I find myself agreeing with the things that Greenleigh says.  Mommy needs a little peace and quiet.  And sometimes agreeing with Greenleigh will accomplish that.  Even if it does involve a white lie here or there.

Shhhh...There's a lady that lives in there. But don't worry, she loves it in there.

About 2 weeks ago, we were pulling into our neighborhood when Greenleigh asked who was talking.  You see, the call box at the gate has a female voice that says “Access Granted” when you put in your code.  I tried to explain to her that it was a computer, but that didn’t work.  So I tried to put it in terms that she’d understand, by saying that the gate call box is similar to an iPad – you press buttons and sound comes out, but no one is actually in the iPad.  No luck.  And then I tried to explain that the voice isn’t really a person at all.  Not a chance.  So in the end, I agreed with her that there was a lady in the box.  It was just easier.  If you can’t beat them, join them.  We proceeded through the gate and all was fine (and quiet).  No more questions.

Fast forward to last week, when we arrived home and heard the same “lady’s voice”.  Greenleigh proceeded to ask where the lady was.  Again, I went through the computer bit, the iPad scenario,  and the fact that there really wasn’t anyone in there, to no avail.  Eventually, I found myself agreeing that there really was a lady in the box.  To which Greenleigh responded, “She’s stuck in there?  Mommy, we need to get her out!”  Oh, no, no, I assured her, the lady in the box is really happy.  She likes it in there.  It’s her home.  Except Greenleigh wasn’t buying it.  At all.  Everyday last week I had to calm Greenleigh’s concerns over the lady in the box.  The quiet child I yearned for had turned into shrieking, crying, blubbering mess…we had to get the lady out.

Sure, I’m glad that she’s showing concern for others, but how did this get so far away from me?  Something that was meant to instill quiet has turned on me (viciously, I might add).

But I guess if she has nightmares of being trapped in a box when she’s older, at least I’ll know where they came from.

The Pre-Photo Shoot, Photo Shoot

Today we were lucky enough to get a professional photo shoot for free.  One of the ladies in my mom’s group is a photographer, and in celebration of her anniversary with the group, she offered everyone the opportunity to have photos taken.  The stage she set up was adorable, and I can’t wait to get the pictures back to share them with you, but until then, here are a few pictures that I took while we were waiting our turn [Read: While I was running around like a crazy person trying to keep the girls clean and away from anything that could rip their clothing.].

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

The Lady in the Corner

Today I had to be at a client’s medical examination really early in the morning.  And it didn’t help that the exam was scheduled at a location that’s at least an hour from my house, without traffic.  I quickly got myself ready and then headed upstairs to get the girls up.  I walked into Greenleigh’s room first and told her it was time to get up.  She stirred, but didn’t wake all the way up.  It was then that I realized that I forgot her chocolate milk downstairs and figured I’d let her sleep for a couple minutes while I went downstairs to get her sippy cup.  By the time I returned to her room, she was sitting up in her crib, talking.  She said hi to me and asked if we were heading off to school.  I said yes, took her out of the crib, then started to change her out of her pajamas and into her school clothes.

At that point Greenleigh started babbling about all sorts of things while looking over my right shoulder.  I started talking back to her, but she ignored me for the most part.  After a minute or two of me trying to talk back to her, she said, “No, Mommy!  I’m talking to the lady in the corner!”.  She was so adamant that I actually spun around and looked, thinking there might actually be someone in the corner of her room.

Then conversation went something like this:

Me:  You silly goose!  There isn’t anyone in the corner.

Greenleigh:  Yes, Mommeeee!  Right there.  Look.  The lady in the corner.

Me:  No honey, there isn’t anyone there.

Greenleigh:  Yes there is!

Me:  You mean outside?

Greenleigh:  No, right there.  (pointing towards the corner)

The more I tried to discourage the idea of there being a lady in the corner of her bedroom, the more sure she was.  I even took her over to the corner to show her no one was there, but she continued to point and insist on the lady’s existence.  By this point, I’ll admit, I was pretty freaked out.  But I was running short on time so we agreed to disagree about whether there was a lady in the corner of her room.

I’ll just put it out there – I’m not beyond the idea of ghosts, spirits, or any of those types of things.  Although I have never encountered one myself, I suppose it’s possible.  But I also know that Greenleigh has a very active imagination. She’s the girl who tried to convince my sister-in-law that she saw monkeys in the trees as they drove down the highway earlier this month.  I also know that shadows can look like monsters and all sorts of things in the dark.  And she might be around the age where they start to create imaginary friends.  I know I had a few growing up.  Don’t laugh, I had real, live friends too…I swear…

And yet, there’s something in her tone this morning that makes me wonder.  What did she see?  Who was she talking to?  I know she was wide awake.  It was bright out, so there weren’t any shadows.  And there aren’t any pictures in that corner.  What could it have been?

So the bad news is that our house might be haunted.  The good news is that Greenleigh is perfectly happy to be sharing a room with the ghost.


Greenleigh is Three! {Glittery Giveaway!}

It’s been such a crazy, whirlwind of a weekend I didn’t even have a chance to post yesterday in honor of Greenleigh’s 3rd birthday.  I don’t know who gets more excited about her birthday – her or me – but this year she certainly knew it was her birthday (and still thinks it’s her birthday today).  

To celebrate, I decided that we should do everything that she loves to do.  We went to her gym class in the morning, then to brunch on the beach, took a brief dip in the ocean, then headed out to see the ponies, but they were flooded so we rode the miniature trains instead.  When the trains closed we headed to the playground.  I needed a nap, but she was having a ball.   I still owe her some ponies though and she’s not going to let me forget it.  Maybe this coming weekend.

I feel like I often get overwhelmed by the toddler years, but these are the days that I want to remember.  These are the days that I will miss one day when she’s grown up.

Three generations on the beach, well, four, but I'm behind the camera. The clouds look bad, but it ended up being a pretty nice day.

Not as cool as ponies, but riding the miniature trains was fun.

Playground time!

So like usual, I feel the need to celebrate a little longer.  As if 3 full days of birthday celebration wasn’t enough…I need more.  So let’s have a glittery, birthday celebration right here, shall we?  In honor of Greenleigh’s birthday I’m giving away a pendant in her favorite color – Purple.  One lucky reader will win this beautiful all natural Tanzanite, Amethyst, and White Topaz Pendant in Sterling Silver is valued at $279 (sale $199, but it’s sold out).It was so pretty, I actually picked up one for myself.  I hope to pass my necklace down to Greenleigh one day, but you are free to do whatever you wish with yours!  Just fill out the rafflecopter form for your chance to win.  If you are intimidated by the rafflecopter form (like I used to be)…just try it, you might like it.

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3 Years Ago Today I Got a Phone Call…

It went something like this –

Nurse:  Hi, is this Jennifer?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: Hi, this is Nurse So-and-So down at the hospital.  Are you still pregnant?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: Really?

Me: Yes.

Nurse:  Okay, well you need to come in and have that baby now.  I haven’t talked to someone as pregnant as you are in a long time.

Me: Um okay, but I’m at work and I’m at least 1-2 hours away, can I just finish the day and then come tonight?  I mean, I feel fine and everything.

Nurse:  No, you need to come in now.

Me:  Okay, well do I have time to run home and shower?  I thought I had more time… (you know, because I hadn’t had 40 weeks + 10 days to prepare or anything)

Nurse:  Not really.  You are really pregnant and we are filling the beds for tonight.  I’ve never heard of anyone who doesn’t want to come to the hospital when they are 10 days overdue.  This is a first.

In the end, I grudgingly agreed to go into the hospital to be induced.  It’s not that I was against being induced, it’s just that I wasn’t one of those women posting on Facebook every 5 minutes, “OMG, I just need to have this baby already” when they are only 32 weeks pregnant.  I was very happy pregnant.  I wasn’t uncomfortable or in any rush.  I was the woman who skated in and out of her 40 week appointment without uttering a word about inductions or when the baby would be born.

The urgency in the nurse’s voice freaked me out a bit.  I was scared terrified at the mere idea of child birth, let alone the idea that I was about to experience it personally in the next day or so.  All the classes we had taken, the books we had read, and friends we had spoken to, couldn’t calm my fears.  I’m not exactly good with the unknown.  And then I was going to have to actually raise the child…I wasn’t sure I could do it.

Three years later, I look back and smile.  What an amazing 3 years it has been.

2009 - Just born and a little unsure of her new surroundings.

2009 - Bath time! Two months old.

2010 - Valentine's Day at 10 months old.

2010 - Fourth of July at 15 months old.

2010- Hitting the beach at 17 months old.

2011 - Just under 2 years old.

January 2011


August 2011 - Ready for water day at school!

February 2012

2012 - Last weekend, being silly at Disney.