Monday, March 31, 2008

Old friends are the best friends

So, Saturday evening we had friends over.


And by "we" I mean hubby and me. Real adult socialization not built around a certain little someone...wow, what a novelty! Of course, that certain little person was still there and part of the evening, but still - it wasn't a play date. And that, my friends, is a rare thing in this Mama's life.


We lost contact with these friends a few years ago, and just reconnected a couple weeks ago. If anything, they're even more fun (and funny!) than before. Like kindred spirits, I'm telling ya. We laughed all evening long.

And Nadia, who's been going through a scared-of-strangers phase, took to them right away - maybe the bubbles they brought her are partially responsible?? At any rate, she loved them so much that Miss Nina was re-named Grandma, and re-purposed as a jungle gym.


With Nadia in such high spirits, we let her stay up with us. Really, there was no way she'd ever get to sleep with the raucous good time going on in the living room. Except for a few tearful moments, you'd have never known it was 2+ hours past her bedtime; she was lively and energetic and full of joy. So she didn't go to bed until nearly 11 when they left. I hoped she'd just sleep later the next morning to make up for it, but nope that didn't happen. Which is why Sunday was such a rotten day with a whiny, tired, cranky, irritable toddler.

It was still worth it though.

Unbelievably, no pictures of the evening. We'll have to change that next time - you hear that, Nina???

BSM - Viewer's Choice

We've had one heck of a weekend: a great day Saturday followed by a not-so-great Sunday. I want to tell you at least about Saturday, but for now I'm just doing a quickie BSM post.

Okay, so I have 4 photos to post. But since I'm too tired to decide which is my Best Shot, I'll leave that decision up to you. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

An "awww" moment. Daddy and Nadia sleeping together. One good thing about her sleeping in our bed so much lately is a lot of sweet moments like this. I'll watch over you



Nadia and the new big-as-her ball. She loves the thing. And yes, it's pure coincidence that they match.
That ball's as big as her!


Did you notice the tree stump in the background? That's the tree that used to hold her swing and then got struck by lightening last year and we lost half of it; the remaining half was cut down this week as it just wasn't safe and storm season is starting. There was another one cut down in the front yard, and while I miss those big ol' shade trees I have to admit all the open space is liberating. At least, that's what I'm trying to convince myself.

So here she is watching the "monkey men" - her name for the guys cutting down the trees. It really was pretty impressive to watch them swing around from branch to branch like it was nothing, wielding the chain one handed and using ropes to direct where the branches fell. Yikes! She was actually watching them cut a tree out of a neighbor's yard this time, but she watched in fascination the entire time they worked on our trees too. These guys heard her call them "monkey men" and laughed, then showed off for the little lady.

that's one happy kid

And finally, from a blossoming tree. Just because it's pretty.
Blossom

So, there they are...which is your favorite?

See more best shots at - where else? - Best Shot Mondays.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Breakfast

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Breakfast 2

Breakfast 3

Breakfast 1

Breakfast 4

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kid's sat the darndest things

Just a few of the things my girl has said lately to make me laugh. Dang but the kid is a riot! I wish I could remember more of her funny sayings.

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Me: Nadia, are you a big girl or a baby today?
Nadia: No.
M: Then are you a little girl?
N: No.
M: Then what are you?
N: I just ME, Mommy!

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Walking through the store, Nadia says with great excitement, "Mama, LOOK!!!"

I look in the direction she's pointing but see nothing remarkable.

"What is it?" I ask her, "What do you see?"

"That man! He's wearing clothes!"

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"Hey Mommy! We are both mommies. You are my mommy and I am TedBear's mommy. We match!"

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The one is from just a few minutes ago.

Nadia wanted to take her nap in my bed this afternoon, but when I went to check on her she was sitting up at the foot of the bed, trying the reach the magazines stacked on the floor (technically not breaking the "stay in the bed" rule!).

"Nadia," I said in my best Stern Mommy voice "you have two choices: lay back down in Mommy's bed right now, or we'll go to the crib."

"Ummmm" she appeared to think for a minute. "Actually, Mommy, I think another choice. I think, get up and play."

(she's now asleep, in my bed)

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And here for your listening pleasure, is Nadia serenading the cat. Singing is a new favorite thing of hers, and I just love it! Watching a toddler sing "tinkle tinkle little star" complete with hand gestures is seriously cute! But most often she sings the alphabet - the ABBC's as she calls them. She used to end with "now I LOVE my ABBC's" and I must say I'm a little sad she'd graduated from that.




Since the video never seems to embed correctly for me, here is the link.

Friday, March 28, 2008

There's no fooling Mom

She can deny it all she wants, but I'm just not buying it.

Her manic energy doesn't fool me.

One look at that face, and I know that's one seriously TIRED kid!

Sleepyhead`

This picture is from a few mornings ago, immediately following her early morning artistic expression, but I just now really looked at it for the first time. And it cracks me up so much I just had to share it. So, there's your laugh of the day. Well, it's my laugh of the day, anyway.

And? Anyone else's kid totally obsessed with "washing dishes?" I swear, she'd be happy to do nothing but that all day long. Too bad her attempts to "clean" end up with much messier surroundings than we started with. We struck a deal tonight; I told her she could only wash dishes for the umpteenth time today if she promised she'd still willingly wash dishes in another 10 years. She cheerfully said okay....and I'm gonna hold her to it. She owes me for all the water I've sopped up from her "washing" extravaganzas.

washing dishes makes her happy

Weird me

The good ol' "7 weird things about me" meme - is there any blogger that hasn't done it at least once? I have...twice, I think. But Shutterbug Mama tagged me, so here I am to do it again! Is it weird that I had trouble thinking of 7 "weird" things about myself. Not because I'm not weird...I'm just lame weird. But anyway, here we go.

1) I am a nail biter. It's not a nervous habit for me, it's just because I can't stand any jagged or uneven edges...so I try to even it out a little. Of course that ends up making the other side uneven, and it just keeps going until I have virtually no nail left at all...I've tired carrying a nail file with me, but for some reason I still never used it. I'm better about it than I used to be.

2) I always eat around the edges of sandwiches first, saving the middle for last. The only exception to this is sub sandwiches.

3) I am an obsessive lotion user - I have to use it every single time I wash my hands, and at least a dozen other random times throughout the day. And while I couldn't care less about brands for most stuff, the only lotion I'll use is St. Ives.

4) I tend to tackle "easy" things first, so that they're out of the way and I can focus on the more important things. The thing is, more little things are always cropping up, so I never get to the big stuff.

5) French fries dipped in honey mustard - SO GOOD! I ate sweet potato fries that way for lunch.

6) I'm not a learning by-the-books type of preson. I prefer to learn through trial and error, on my own. In other words...I actually choose to learn things the hard way.

7) I take my shoes off everywhere I go. I even slip them off and stand barefoot at church. My feet get hot, thus the reason I almost never wear closed-toe shoes.

Now, don't you feel so much more complete, knowing those little facts about me? Yeah, I didn't think so.

No tags tonight!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A day at the park

Just posting a few pictures from a trip to the park last week, since I didn't write anything else today. :o)

Waiting oh-so-patiently....let's GO already!
When can we GO?!

Penny for your thoughts, little princess? Where did she get that pensive, far-off look? She's too little for that!
Penny for your thoughts

The monkey at play.
Before

During

After

Daddy doesn't fit through that tunnel quite so well!
It's a tight fit for Daddy

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And a couple of updates:

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We figured out why Nadia's sleeping so much better in our bed. Yesterday when she woke up from her nap, I asked how she'd slept in Mommy's bad. She smiled and said "good...not scary in Mommy's room! Scary in my room!"

This surprised me since she's never said anything about being scared in her room, and she hasn't acted scared either. This is a kid with very few fears. But apparently to her little mind, her room is scary. First she said it's because "the cars are coming" (which doesn't make any sense to me!) but then she said it's because it's dark (which, it's really not since her nightliht is pretty bright). Poor kid, I had no idea that's why she's been sleeping so poorly!

Well, honestly I'm not 100% convinced it's genuine fear; it might just be an attempt for more Mommy & Daddy snuggles. But that's okay, we'll go along with it since we like having her there in the bed with us. Sleeping with her used to be a nightmare since she was all pointy elbows and flailing legs even in her sleep, if and when she finally fell asleep...but now, she'll quietly lay down and drift off to sleep snuggled into the crook of your arm, and she stays pretty still through the night. Sweet.

So anyway, she started out in her crib last night and she did okay for an hour or so...but then, just as the sun set she began crying that she was scared. So we let her come in our bed and she slept peacefully through the night and into the fully-light morning, which is a great victory.

So, we seem to have solved the sleeping problems for now...just hopefully we won't have a new set of problems in a few weeks/months when we can't get her out of our bed!

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Update #2. Well, not really an update, more like a comment. I found it funny that my painting-before-dawn post received so many "mommy of the year" awards, since my allowing her to paint was totally not about being a fun, interactive mommy. It was more like, "I'm tired and really don't want to chase you around the house, so maybe you'll sit still for a few minutes if I let you paint." So, it was really a lazy move. But it worked. And she had fun. So it was a success.

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And now - I bid ye good night, friends of Blogland!
(apparently, being tired makes me talk wierd)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Terrible twos, terrific twos

Two years old.

It started out rough for us. As much as I wanted to defy the "terrible twos" stereotype, we quickly learned firsthand where that phrase comes from. Everything was a battle. She challenged even the simplest things, and our days were filled with more frustration than fun. The tantrums and defiance, the stubbornness and ugliness - it was enough to make me want to tear my hair out...and then go sit in the corner and weep for the loss of my sweet girl.

But in the last few weeks, we have turned a corner. Nadia has been such a joy! Infancy was sweet...babyhood was wonderful...toddlerhood was fun...but this little girl-hood is the BEST! She is just ever so sweet and silly and smart and FUNNY! She keeps me laughing all the time, and she's constantly surprising me with the clever things she comes up with. I have decided I want to keep her 2 1/3 forever - so let me know if you have the secret for how to do that???

As I reflect on the time since Nadia's second birthday, I see how much she has matured in those few months. Her ability to understand and reason has increased dramatically. Her patience is much improved. She has the vocabulary now to tell me what she wants/needs. She is learning to accept disappointment without flipping out. She seems to have realized that things are more fun and she gets what she wants more often when she doesn't buck the rule. She really wants to do well and seems genuinely upset by my disappointment.

But the growing up Nadia has done recently isn't the only thing responsible for the easy times we've been enjoying these last few weeks. My own growth as a mother is just as responsible. I have learned better what does and does not work with this child of mine. I have learned to pick my battles before the battle begins (because by then, it's too late -I have to stick with it!). I have learned to recognize the signs that she is reaching her limit. I have learned to give her options so she feels more in control. I have learned to include her in everything I do so she feels a part of it. I have learned that she responds to my mood, and if I can "fake it" even when I'm upset and frustrated things will go more smoothly. I am still working on learning to let it go when we have a bad morning/day, and start fresh!

Motherhood is such a roller coaster, with amazing highs followed by shattering lows. Since we're currently coasting on a high, I know there must be a major dip coming up soon. But for now, I'm not gonna worry about it and just enjoy the good times while they last.

(and I'm desperately hoping that I'm not tempting fate by writing this! crossing my fingers that it doesn't all come crashing down tomorrow!)

My Little Star

Sweet

I admit, nap time is one of the sweetest parts of my day.

But today, it's even sweeter:
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That's my girl right now, snuggled up in my bed with TedBear clutched in one arm and Baby - the new love of her life - clutched in the other. Ahhh, it's sweet.

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She has never before napped in my bed. She has asked to many times and I have agreed to it with one condition: she needs to stay in the bed. It never lasted - she always climbed off the bed after mere seconds and ended up back in the crib. But today when I tucked her and her buddies in, she was quiet and still....and when peeked in to check on her two minutes later, she was asleep.

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After two weeks of early wake-ups, she slept until 8 this morning. The only thing different about last night was that, following a tearful 3 a.m. wake-up, I brought her into bed with us. And she slept late. And woke up in a great mood.

I foresee a lot more co-sleeping in our future.

Wordless Wednesday - Juicin' it UP!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday morning

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Who says 6:45 in the morning isn't a good time to paint?

(ME, that's who says!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday morning

Honey Bunches of Oats with fresh strawberries....and raw carrots.

That's what she requested for breakfast.

Yes, she really ate it.

She's a weird kid.

Reading over breakfast

Oh, and her reading materiel?

That's "The Joy of Cooking."

Nothing like a little light reading over breakfast.

Yes, she really read it. Well, "read" it anyway.

She's her Daddy's kid.

Breakfast reading



Did I mention this was at 7:10 in the morning, after a bath and two episodes of Curious George?

Yeah.

Some days, it's a rush to make 10:00 playgroup.

Today certainly wasn't one of those days.

I just wanna know - what's her secret for limitless, bouncing-off-the-walls energy at 6 in the morning?!

And, can she please NOT make use of that knowledge tomorrow?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best Shot Monday

I bet you came here expecting an Easter photo as my Best Shot Monday this week, huh?

Surprise!

A little case of nerves

Way over yonder

I love the sense of freedom in these images!

And if you're looking for Easter pictures....I'd guess plenty can be found at Best Shot Monday. :o)

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, my friends!

We've had a great day - church followed by family movie time followed by a yummy salmon dinner.

What, no big family ham dinner? No Easter egg hunts?

That's because it wasn't Easter for us.

As Orthodox Christians, we follow a different method of determining Easter's date. Sometimes the two dates coincide, often they're only a week apart - but this year they're separated by an entire month! We'll be celebrating our Easter - or Pascha, as we call it - on April 27th.

I actually really like it that we get to have two separate Easter celebrations; this way we can enjoy the fun of Easter bunnies and egg hunts without it overshadowing the real meaning of the feast.

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Friday afternoon we went over to Baba and Pappy's house to take some pictures of the three cousins in their matching Easter outfits. Aren't they cute?! The girls are, anyway; I'm not too thrilled with the photos. Seems like I always bomb when there's something important to capture, and this was no exception. We stayed inside which limited the options, and I just couldn't seem to get good exposure, proper focus or sharp images. So much for thinking I'm starting to get the hang of exposure....I don't want to blame the camera, but I swear it was doing funny things! Anyway, I did get some sweet images at least - alltho I feel badly that there aren't any of the younger cousin by herself. Oh well - Baba, that's what you get for having faith in me! ;o)

Three cousins

So what's in your basket?

My Fair Lady

Such a little lady!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sugar high

Nadia seems to be working toward giving up naps - she's only napped two days this week. But she's been out for an hour and a half now, and I expect it'll be a good while yet before she returns from dreamland. All that fresh air and sunshine wears a kid out!

We joined Baba, Pappy and the cousins today for an Easter egg hunt hopping around town from park to park.

three little easter egg hunters

It's amazing the difference a few months can make at this age; last Halloween, Nadia didn't completely get the idea of collecting candy. But now? Oh boy did she get it! It was pretty funny to watch her frantically scramble for more, more, more. But I was proud that whenever she and another kid went for the same piece, she generously let the other child have it. She played by the rules, too; I can't tell you how many times I heard "wait until they say GO, and then get more candy!"

chow time

Daddy generally doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, but today he did. And Nadia was only too happy to share her bounty with him.

sharing with daddy

She also wanted to share with the Easter Bunny. She ran after him offering up a pink marshmallow bunny rabbit - so if he eats it, does that make him a cannibal???

kisses for the easter bunny

As far as I'm concerned, the more candy she gives away the better - we've got enough to keep her on a constant sugar high from now until Halloween.

The good thing? It's not the kind of candy I like, so no temptation for me to help it dissapear faster. :o)

***Update*** She woke up two minutes after I hit publish. So no record-breaking long nap today.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reminisce

We've been spending a lot of time at the park lately. Almost every afternoon when Daddy gets home, we got for a golf cart ride to one of the nearby elementary school playgrounds. I've got tons of photos from these excursions to share, but there's one in particular that is special to me.

Playing with Daddy

It's a sweet Daddy-Daughter moment...but more than that, it takes me back in time almost exactly 6 months. It makes me think of another very-similar photo...a photo with with strong feelings associated with it. I'm not going to share those personal associations, but it gives me a sense of closure to have captured such a similar image in happier times.

~ Follow the leader ~

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Laughter, joy and love

Can you hear the laughter?

Can you see the joy?

Can you feel the love?

Pure joy