Monday, January 28, 2008

BSM - Grandmothers and Grandaughters

The Bond

Seeing my daughter and my mother together...that does funny things to my heart. It's pretty darn sweet.

Read together


LaughterKiss Hold hands
Visit Tracey for more Best Shot Monday fun!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Project 365 - Week 3

This computer is seriously almost dead. I am hoping to have its replacement here within the week...but in the meantime, I was able to revive it enough to at least to get these pics uploaded and posted.

Waiting to get Ted fixed at the "bear doctor" (Build-a-Bear). She holds my heart in her hands. :o)
She holds my heart in her hands

And here's the bear doctor at work.
The bear doctor at work

The dagon's lair. Nadia's excitement over her fishies has died down...she mostly ignores them now. But she does still love the dragon.
Dragon's Lair

This heat detection camera we saw the other day at the fire station is pretty incredible. One of the firemen gave a demonstration with it: he pressed his hand against the door, then removed it and focused the camera on the area. There was a perfect white-hot palm print showing from the heat residue of his hand. Oh, and that camera makes the ones we all yearn for look cheap; it costs about $15K.
heat detection camera

The plant that cannot be killed. Seriously. I have an uncanny ability to kill all living green things, yet this one has somehow escaped my black thumb. I really don't particularly like it, but since I've had it about 4 years and it's still actully living, there's no way I'm getting rid of it!
I also started experimenting with textures a bit this week, and this was one of my practice subjects.
The plant that cannot be killed

My husband - the strong and silent type. I wish I'd gotten his entire profile in the shot, but there's only so much you can do in the car at 50mm.
The strong & silent type

And another one of me, because I was short a picture and this was the easy way out. I've got to stop using f1.8 though; it's so much fun to play with, but it's thrown half my face out of focus.
Me

That's all folks!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Uprising

Hi, this is Christina's computer. Or "the evil machine" as she's been calling me lately. I've been on a mission to drive her mad, and it had been going quite well...but now it's backfiring. Instead of it just frustrating her, she's starting to talk about actually replacing me. She says that if I don't work the way she wants me to, I'm worthless. Just because I keep crashing and moving sloooooooowly. Who cares if it takes 20 minutes to open a program? I mean, c'mon, where's her loyalty?! Christina keep hoping I'll see the error of my ways and start working again, but I'm not a quitter like that. I'm commited. So anyway, I'm just letting you all know that if that traitorous owner of mine isn't around for a while, it's because she's working on trading me in for a newer, younger, perkier model. Now excuse me while I go cry over my abandonment.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rekindling an Old Flame

I am a self-professed coupon junkie. I get such a thrill from scoring a good deal and walking out of the store with a cartful of merchandise for mere pennies on the dollar.

In the last couple months though I just haven't had the energy for clipping coupons and reviewing ads and matching them up for the best deals. It does take a lot of time and legwork, and I've let it slide.

But last weekend I bought my double newspapers and clipped my coupons, and today I made a bargain-shopping trip to CVS for the first time in months. And now I remember why I love it so much.

The total for all my stuff was $107. And then I handed over all my coupons, and that dropped to just over $10. Yahoo!

Even better, I scored $21 in Extra Care Bucks...so they actually paid me $11 to take home half a dozen bags full of diapers, medicine, razors, shampoo, computer paper, and other odds and ends. Gotta love CVS!!!! (seriously, they are the BEST store for deals, with Target running a close second.)

So yep, I am back to my penny-pinching coupon-whore ways! This is fun...why did I ever let that flame die???

Thursday, January 24, 2008

For the Love of Books

BOOKS!!! I practically jumped for joy when I learned that was the theme for today's Theme Thursday. To a book lover like me, there's nothing better. A few hours spent curled up with a good book: now that's ecstasy. I haven't done much of that in the last two plus years (surely pure coincidence that it coincides with my becoming a mother....) and I think I need to make time for it - I miss that.

Wait a minute, what am I saying? I have devoured quite a few thick books lately...ya know, the board book variety? Those are thick. And, well, my daughter did the actual devouring...but you get the idea. ;o)

One of the things I always looked most forward to with motherhood was cuddling up with my kiddo and reading together. My little one would love books; with both a Mommy and Daddy that love them, she couldn't escape it. It's in the genes.

But then I got Nadia, a kid that didn't seem to have the patience for books. There was a whole world out there waiting to be explored - who wants to sit still in one spot and look at books?! That's what one-year-old Nadia seemed to think. I was kinda bummed about that, and despaired of passing my love of books on to my daughter. If only I'd known, all I had to do was wait.

The book lovin' gene really is there, it just took a while to develop. It's probably been about 6 months now since Nadia discovered that books are pretty cool after all. Now she loves to read. LOVES it. It's one of my favorite things in the world to watch her sprawled on the floor with a book, "reading" to herself and TedBear.

Anyway, despite my glee over BOOKS as the theme I forgot all about it until last evening. I didn't have anything for it. Normally when this happens there is a last minute scramble as I frantically try to think of what to do. But this time, it didn't even phase me. I knew exactly what images I wanted to share, and I didn't even have to stage it. All I had to do was wait a few minutes and it happened all on its own.



'Her

"Want look at Baby Nana," came the request.

So we pulled out a photo album, Nadia's most favorite book in the entire world. If the fact that she's a MiniMe isn't enough evidence that she's my child, her love of pictures should be the clincher. The kid loves pictures. We look at photo albums every day. At LEAST once a day. She even knows which album is which - the one with "tiny baby Nadia" versus "little girl Nadia." She stares at every single picture with great attention, and oohs and aahs over her own cuteness. I love it.


Picture addict

A couple minutes later, it got better. When Daddy came in the room Nadia called him over to look at pictures with him, and amazingly Daddy didn't object to my taking a few pictures. I have the hardest time getting pictures of them together, he just always has to be difficult. But I managed this time, and I'm glad for that.



Daddy-Daughter Moment



Together




Reminisce

Don't miss Theme Thursday at The Land of K.A. for more beautifully bookish photos!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fiery fears

"Guess what!" I told Nadia this morning. "We get to go to the fire station today!"

We've been eagerly anticipating this field trip for the last week. What could be better more exciting in a child's world?! Firemen and fire trucks and fire station - that's as cool as it gets!

So you'd think anyway. But Nadia had other ideas.

She shook her head. "No, Mommy" she solemnly told me. "I be little bit scary. No fire station."

So we had a little talk about how this would be fun and exciting, not scary! She seemed convinced...sort of. The whole drive there she kept repeating "Fire trucks fun, not scary! No, not scared, it be fun!"

But then we got there and her brave facade melted. "Mommy hold you!" she begged as she climbed my legs.

And so we stood in the back with the babies as all the other kids swarmed the fire trucks and climbed around and had their pictures taken and had a grand old time. They cried because they didn't want to get down; she cried because she didn't want to get up.


Each time I suggested we go look at the trucks, she clug to me. "No Mommy...I little bit scary."

Then we left and went to story time at the bookstore, where we read a book with fire trucks in it.

And Nadia said, "Fire trucks fun, Mama! Go see them more?"

Ack, child! I don't know what to do with you!

Magic green thumb

The girl has either inherited my hopeless black thumb - killing all green things on contact - or she has a miraculous green thumb. Time will tell.


Miracle green thumb


We'll wait and see if that dead bush sprouts new leaves now that she's watered it with a waterless hose.


just a little further...


And if that turns out to be the case, I'll keep an eye out for signs of life on my car and the on the garage door.

Cuz she "watered" those too.


Strut your stuff

On another note, would ya just look at that hair?!
It's an honest-to-goodness ponytail.
No more wispy poor-excuse-for-a-ponytails.
Wow, what a milestone.

Pony

She's morphing into a young lady before my very eyes! Next thing I know, I'll be writing to you about curfews and boyfriends.

No, scratch that. I'm not even ready to think about that yet. That's still a loooong way off. Right? Right?????

Walk into the future 1


Yeah, we've still got time. Those chubby legs are fast, but not *that* fast. For now I can just enjoy her giggles as those chubby legs carry her down the sidewalk, but not too far away from me. At least not yet.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bits and pieces of love

These late-night Mommy-Daughter sessions are becoming routine…and I can’t say I’m entirely upset about that. Part of me thinks “just go so sleep already, child!” but another part of me cherishes those sweet moments with my sweet girl. Nadia is never so tender and cuddly as she is in the dark of night.

Last night it was eleven o’clock and she was still awake. I went in to admonish her that it’s dark outside and time for night-night….and you know that whole-body wriggle of delight that puppies do? That’s what she did. She greeted me with grinning mouth and shining eyes and dancing feet and clapping hands and cries of joy. Well, there’s no way to say no to that. At least, there’s no way I can say no to that.

So I asked if she’d like me to rock her a bit, and she cried, “oh yes, Mommy, yes please!” Cradled in my arms, she wrapped her own arms around my neck and let her body mold itself to mine as we slow-danced around the room.

A few peaceful moments later she leaned back.

“Mommy?” she asked.

“Yes sweetie?” I murmered into the curls tickling my face.

“I love Mommy’s eyes.” And she gently touched each eye.

“I love Mommy’s nose.” And she stroked my nose.

“I love Mommy’s mouth.” And her baby fingers danced across my lips.

“I love Mommy’s cheeks.” And each of her hands came up to caress a cheek.

Ahh sweet girl! I love your eyes and nose and mouth and cheeks too. And your still-pudgy baby fingers, and the sweet bellybutton planted in the middle of a plump little belly, and those legs which are quickly changing from thunder-thigh baby leg status into the sleek and muscular legs of a little girl.

But most of all, I adore your sweet heart and loving nature. And I love the way you charm me, all of me, from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.

A Love Story

Security Bear

TedBear is Nadia's Velveteen Rabbit.

That raggedy old bear is much more than “just a teddy bear.” TedBear goes everywhere and does everything with Nadia. He’s her best friend, her comfort, her alter ego, her baby. He is real.

~ are you coming, mom? ~

TedBear first came into Nadia’s life when she was 10 months old. It was her cousins first birthday, and Baba treated all three girls to Build-a-Bear. Nadia picked out that classic teddy bear herself and it was love at first sight. I had planned to encourage an attachment, since Nadia did not yet have a special lovey at that point, but it never came to that; she did it all on her own. That bear was put in her chubby baby hands for the first time that day, and she hasn’t put him down since.

The beginning of a love affair

TedBear was actually meant to be a girl. When we bought “him” we also got a frilly little green fairy costume. But then Teddy Bear got shortened to “TedBear,” and then Nadia began calling him “Ted” and it was official – “she” had become a “he.” He still wears the fairy costume sometimes tho, so Daddy says he’s a fairy in more than one sense. ;o)

Nadia and TedBear are constant companions.

Two little drivers



They sleep together.

~ Dreamland ~


They eat together.

Breakfast for two



They play together.

011408-05


They watch tv together.

Watchin' some tv


They potty train together.

TedBear's turn



TedBear even has his own little car seat next to Nadia’s.

DSC_0031


He doesn’t always stay strapped in that careseat, though; many car rides are spent with him clutched in her arms.

Sleepy car rides

Ted has an uncanny ability to comfort Nadia. Whenever she’s hurt or upset, he is the first thing she asks for – sometimes even before Mommy! And when I am unable to hold her, TedBear makes a fine substitute. “TedBear hold you, then” she says, when I tell her I can’t; and she stands beside me, TedBear cradled in her arms.

Best friends


The most sincere sign of Nadia's love for someone is for her to share TedBear with them. "Here, TedBear need you now" she'll say, and gently pass off her beloved pal.

Sweetly sharing


Nadia and TedBear make quite the dynamic duo, getting into all sorts of scrapes together. Watch out for these two – they’re gonna take the world by storm! I usually have to repeat any admonitions at least twice – once for Nadia, and once for TedBear. Once I’ve told Nadia no about something, TedBear has to try it too and see if the same rules apply to him (they do!). And when Nadia is caught red-handed, she often tries to pass off TedBear as the wrongdoer. Who says you need a sibling for the blame game?? They also share the same voracious appetite, and even when I’ve told Nadia she doesn’t need another snack TedBear asks if he can have one.


Playing Mommy


When Nadia isn’t busy implicating TedBear for her own crimes, she’s busy playing Mommy. And what a little Mommy she is! She cares for TedBear so sweetly, rocking and feeding and diapering him. She spends time every day pushing him around the house in the little stroller; when the shade is down that means he’s asleep, and when the shade is up he’s awake. Evidently TedBear is a rather colicky baby, as Nadia also spends a fair bit of time rocking and shushing him. I’ve got to get it on video – it’s SO CUTE!! She takes her responsibility as mother quite seriously and reprimands him with gusto. A lot. She’s actually quite a bit firmer with him than I ever am with her! She loves to wrap him up in blankets so he’s “all toasty.” She loves to dress him in her own clothes; I’ve offered to get TedBear his own clothes but that idea seems to upset her…she wants to share HER clothes with him. TedBear plays right along side Nadia, and he gets his turn with everything too. After Nadia’s played something for a few minutes, she says “okay, TedBear’s turn now!” and she grasps his little paws in her own hands and helps him to play too. Sometimes she reads to TedBear, either holding him on her lap or positioning him in front of her and then turning the book upside-down so he can see.

The Little Mommy

A few days ago TedBear got a booboo. The seam on one of his legs ripped, revealing his fluffy white stuffing. Nadia is quite distraught by this and keeps insisting that we need to take TedBear to the doctor. That’s on the agenda for today. That’s one of the good things about Build-a-Bear pals: we can take him back to be re-stitched and refilled anytime we want!

Doctor Nadia

Nadia and TedBear’s bond grows stronger with every passing day. I don’t know that she will ever outgrow him, and honestly I hope she never does; I will cry the day he is cast aside. Nadia’s not the only one attached to that bear!

~ Classic Moment ~

I love it that Nadia has such a constant companion to share her journey with.

Watch the world go by


Sunday, January 20, 2008

*sigh* (of relief!)

Ahhh, it’s good to know I’m not the only one dealing with an ornery toddler! Thanks so much for the “been there, done that” (or rather “am there, doing that” for some of you!) comments as well as the suggestions. Seriously, how did mothers make it through this back in the old days without the supportive blogging world at their fingertips?????

So, the first day of The New Order was rough. Nadia bucked and resisted with every ounce of her strength -and let me tell you, that girl’s small size belies an incredible strength. We had battles at every turn, over every little thing. She kept pushing the envelope, and I wasn’t letting her get away with any of it. It. Was. Hell.

But I have no doubt that it was the right thing to do. We are starting to see results and I am cautiously optimistic. (Actually I am wildly delighted…but trying to reign that in.)

Toddlerhood is such a time of exploration and learning– something which is both very exciting and very overwhelming for our little people. There’s just so much for them to learn!! It’s our job as parents to be their shelter from the storm and help guide them through it. And one of the biggest things for them to learn about is boundaries and rules. Of course it’s normal for a toddler to test those limits – again and again and again – and it’s up to us to direct them back.

Seeing as I have been blessed with a strong-willed child (well, at least I keep telling myself that one day her persistence will be blessing…even though now her doggone obstinacy can be downright frustrating), I haven’t wanted to make everything into a battle with her. I hate to always be the bad guy, getting onto her about everything. So I’ve tried to be patient and understanding, gentle with her repeated flouting the rules. Not that I let her get away with murder, but there were times I chose to “not see” minor infractions for the sake of familial peace.

But Nadia is a textbook example of the “if you give an inch, she’ll take a mile” type of person, and this temperate approach wasn’t working out so well. By overlooking some of the smaller things, it just built and built. And while I expect some level of bad behavior on her part – she is a toddler after all, and that’s just part and parcel of being a toddler! - I am NOT okay with her constant defiance and ugliness.

So it was time to lay down the law. I really don’t know why the raisin incident the other day was the clincher…but for some reason it made me decide that it’s time for a zero tolerance policy. If she’s testing limits and seeing what she can get away with, well, it’s time to show her that those things are ABSOLUTELY NOT tolerated. And I think it was just what she needed. After that first day of hell, things have been a lot better. Maybe she feels a sense of security to have it more definitively laid out? Now that she understands that behavior is not okay, she’s not trying it so much. And when she does start, it takes a lot less to get her back on track.

She hates the crib timeouts, enough so that the warning of one stops her in her tracks most of the time. And when it is necessary – only twice today! – afterwards she is able to tell me what she did wrong (something she’s never seemed to understand in the past).

So, this is progress. Huge progress. Now admittedly we’re only a couple days into it, but I feel optimistic. I’m enjoying being able to hang out with my kid without pausing every other minute to deal with another crisis. Hopefully Nadia too realizes how much better life is this way, and we can keep at it!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Project 365 - Week 2

Another week's results for my photography challenge.

My wonderful e-mail photography group has a weekly competition, and this week the theme was money. Since I rarely have cash, the only money I could find to photograph was the coin jug! I had a great time taking some creative pictures with it, plus the ones of Nadia a few posts back.
Spare change
change jar
A better one of my other baby. I'm just loving this DOF - I think I'm going a bit overboard with it, but after not being able to get shallow depth of field at all for so long, it's just too much fun. Anyway, my Smudgy. Yes, he has a cauliflower ear. It got all infected and swollen a couple years ago and he had to have minor surgery. Poor baby. It's been like this ever since. I think it's kinda cute, though! My husband found him as a bedraggled kitten about 15 years ago. He's really starting to show his age lately, and that makes me sad.

Curious cat



Spring is coming!

Spring is coming

Every time I drive this route home from the office, this view just takes me breath away. It's beautiful the see the valley stretching out before me. I especially love it at night, with a sea of twinkling lights stretching to eternity.

sky, sky and more sky


I realize it's not exactly the most visually interesting image - but to me, it's the best one here! After two months of hand washing dishes, I got a new dishwasher this week! It brings me VERY much joy. I can't believe how shiny clean my dishes are now! And this thing has features I didn't even know were options - a top rack that raises and lowers, prongs that fold in and out in different configurations, locking buttons...I've never before been so happy to wash dishes.

a new dishwasher!!


And, the promised self portrait. I still hadn't done it this afternoon and I was feeling quite uncreative...so I just did the classic headshot. Self-portraits are not my thing; it was hard to lock my focus and position myself correctly in the frame. I took at least a dozen and this was the best of the bunch, but it's bugging me that my left shoulder isn't included in it's entirety.

Self-portrait

No extra challenges this week. I'm feeling uninspired at the moment and just taking 7 pictures will be challenge enough! I am going to keep trying to break out of the landscape-orientation box, though.

Trials of Toddlerhood

As usual on Thursdays, Nadia spent yesterday with her grandparents. When she arrived home I asked what she’d done at Baba and Pappy’s.

She gave an exaggerated sigh and told me, “Oh Mommy, I just work all day.”

Evidently she’d been a good little worker, as Baba reported that she’d been a perfect angel all day.

Well.

It’s nice to know she’s good for someone. Because she sure ain’t for me. Not lately.

My “perfect angel” had her first meltdown not even five minutes after Baba left. She asked for some raisins, I gave her a little bowl of them, and before she’d eaten a single one she looked at me with an insolent smirk and deliberately dumped them out all over the kitchen floor.

I didn’t make a big deal of it. Ya know, pick you battles. So I just said, “whoops! Here, let’s clean up the mess together.” And I started counting the raisins as I dropped them back in the bowl.

But Nadia didn’t help. Instead she laughed and ran off, and when I caught her she began shouting “NO!” as she kicked and flailed. The raisin I handed her got flung back in my face.

Oh yeah, what an angel.

The thing is, that isn’t unusual lately. In the last few weeks Nadia has developed such a temper, such defiance, such obstinacy. I guess that’s all normal two year old stuff, but I’m not putting up with it. It’s time to nip it in the bud.

Obviously what I’ve been doing isn’t working anymore; time to move it up a notch. So instead of putting her in timeout there in the room with us, I brought her back to her own room, dumped her in the crib, and walked away.

Of course she hollered and yelled for a few minutes. But ya know what? Once she settled down and I came back for her, the fire had left her eyes. She said “I feel better now” and quite willingly picked up the raisins.

Whew, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all!

Except it was. That was far from the last battle.

The next episode was only a few minutes later. And a few minutes after that, along came another one. It continued all evening. I lost track of how many crib timeouts we did. After each one she was calm and compliant…but it didn’t last long. I am pleased to report that I did not let myself get worked up; I maintained my patience and stayed calmly matter-of-fact with her. But it was frustrating. Very frustrating. I may have won all the battles, but she totally won the war.

By the time 6:30 rolled around, I was flat-out exhausted and more than ready to leave for Mom’s Night Out. I’d only seen my kid for a few hours, and yet I already welcomed the break. (The gals and I saw Juno – and that movie is even better the second time around. I caught all kinds of little nuances that I missed the first time).

So far today it has once again been pretty much one issue after another. I have decided to be hard on her and not let her get away with anything. No longer is “pick your battles” my montra. I used to pretend not to notice some things, but it seems that with Nadia, if I overlook even the smallest thing it just leads to bigger and bigger infractions. So now, we are dealing with every. single. little. thing. It is exhausting and frustrating for both of us, and I expect that it will be a couple weeks of hell as she learns the new order. But hopefully after that I will have a more well-behaved daughter with whom I can have more fun.

I hope. Please?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I just talked to hubby on the phone.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Just a bit of cleaning" I replied.

And he said, "why, didn't you already do that yesterday?"

HaHaHa!

P.S. What do we think of the new blog design. No matter what size I make the header, Blogger resizes it small like that. Annoying, but at least it's no longer Christmas here!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Curious George, look what you've done!

Was it really just last week that I was wishing Nadia would sit and watch tv for 10 minutes….5 minutes…2 minutes?!

Cuz’ oh my, how that has changed!

Gone are the days of pleading with my child to please watch tv so Mommy can have just a little break. Now I’m just like every other mother, in the same breath both cursing the television for so hypnotizing my child and thanking it for the peace it offers.

Yep, she’s discovered the wonders of tv. And it’s turned her into a wanna-be couch potato.

It all began at 9 o’clock one morning last week, four very long hours after the day’s excruciatingly early beginning. She was tired, I was tired; she was cranky, I was cranky. So in desperation I flipped the tv on. Curious George danced across the television screen and into my daughter heart.

“Oh, it Curious George!” she exclaimed, did her best monkey impression, and danced over to the couch. She snuggled down with a blanket and a cup and barely moved for the next half hour.

I sighed a grateful sigh for this time of peace, all the wile marveling – Nadia doesn’t watch tv! Ever! She just doesn’t like it. Surely it was a fluke.

But it wasn’t.

Ever since that first episode of Curious George, Nadia has been hooked. She wants to watch tv all. the. time.

No longer do the doors to the tv cabinet stay open when the television’s not on. But even with the tv out of sight, it’s on her mind pretty much constantly. Curious George is still the favorite, but she’s also happy to watch Dragon Tales, Barney, Sesame Street…well, just about anything. With no DVR and Finding Nemo as our only kids dvd selection, I foresee our library of kids movies growing quite soon.

Now while she’s sick I’m not putting too many limits on tv time, but that’s not going to last forever. We have a 9:00 breakfast date with Curious George, but beyond I don’t know how much we’ll allow. I’m not too concerned with a tv obsession at this point, as it’s still fresh and new for her. When she first discovered puzzles that’s all she wanted to do all the time…but now puzzles are only a “sometimes” kinda thing. Hopefully television will follow the same pattern. If not, well, we may need to revaluate

But for now, I’m still just a bit in shock that my kid will actually watch television. Today I left her in the living room with Dragon Tales while I took a shower ALL BY MYSELF, and when I came back she was still there. And that alone is enough to earn tv a thumbs up from me.

Entranced by the tv's glow.
Dramatic light
P.S. Anyone got some good homeopathic earache remedies to share? I think I have an ear infection, and it hurts like the dickens. How do kids put up with this all the time???

Saving for a rainy day

Count the change...

Kerplop!
Saving for a rainy day

Nadia with coins

the change jar