Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kids say the darndest things, IX

Nadia finds friends everywhere; ever kid we encounter is her "new friend!" The little girl we met at the water park was no exception. She spoke no English, yet the two of them hit it off and scampered through the water and climbed the jungle gym together.

Monkey girls!

After a while, Nadia came running over to me and asked "What's her name, Mama?"

I told her I don't know, but what do you think her name is?

Nadia barely even paused to consider the question.

"Her name is Thomas."

Of course it is. I should have guessed.

Lately everyone in Nadia's world is named Thomas. Boys, girls, kitty cats, monsters in books -they're all Thomas. Where she got that name is a bit of a mystery since we don't know a single Thomas....

Prior to Thomas, the go-to name was Veronica (or 'Ronca as she says it). At least I know where that one came from: the Archie comics. She shares her Daddy's love for them, with a special adoration for Veronica. Well, that's fine so long as it stops there and she doesn't try to emulate that snobby girl.

-----
I think Nadia has worn a dress every day this week; she wants to be a princess. But every once in a while she'll take it off in favor of her little pink ballerina leotard. And then as she dances and twirls around the house exclaiming "I'm a Halloween-a now!"

Gosh I love that kid and her mispronunciations.

-----
One of the high points of Nadia's day is checking the mail. Finding a mailbox full of credit card offers and circulars is especially exciting: junk mail is Nadia's mail. A few days ago she hit the jackpot, and she eagerly sat down to go through the brightly colored pages. She carefully examined one page after another, eyes tracking back and forth as if she were truly reading.

Suddenly she looked up, a delighted smile creasing her face. "Oh Mommy, good news!" she exclaimed, "I got a check for a million dollars! It's from Aunt Jenny!"

Unfortunately, when we called to thank her aunt, we were told the check would probably bounce. Bummer.

But that was okay, since the next piece of mail was equally exciting -maybe even more exciting in a 2-year-old's mind.

"This one says 'go to Chuck E. Cheese!' "

-----

"Mommy!" Nadia's voice rang out, punctuating the late night - again. "This is so cute, come see!" she cried. "TedBear was so tired he did just fall asleep on the floor!"

Hmmm, evidently she's overheard me talking to Daddy about her conking out in odd spots.

----
Nadia has two favorite arguments when asked to do something she doesn't want to do.

First she tries "it makes me sick."

When that doesn't work, she moves on to the next one.

"I can't! I don't know how!"

But I'm just not buying it that she doesn't know how to take a bite of carrot....or take that crayon out of her mouth....or stay in her bed.....or stop mauling the cat....or any number of other skills mastered long ago.

"A" for effort kid....but you'd better come up with a more believable excuse.

Are you watching, Mom?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Finding my happy mommy spot

I have been at the end of my parenting rope lately, extraordinarily frustrated by my child's antics.

I have felt defeated. I have lamented that everything is a battle and every day she raises it to a new level. Nadia is a very stubborn, precocious kid with boundless energy - too much like her Daddy, as my mother-in-law says - and these last few weeks have been especially hard. I have been worn down and demoralized. I have been expecting problems - and with those expectations, she delivers. I have been snapping at her and yelling way too much. I have not been the Mommy I want to be. I have lost some of the joy of motherhood.

And then yesterday I stumbled upon something that was like a breath of fresh air. Yesterday was the first time I visited Corey's blog, and I was immediately taken by the beautiful photography and sweet stories shared.

But it was this post that really got to me - and I'll stop now so you can go read it.

Okay, are you back?

That post is the third in a series of discussions on parenting, and everything she said resonated with me. As I read, I found myself nodding and thinking "yes....YES, this is right!" What's communicated there is exactly how I want to parent my daughter...it's what I strive for, but have been falling short. Truthfully, there's nothing there I didn't already think and feel - but the way Corey wrote, it touched me deep down inside and I felt a sense of peace and purpose steal over me. It has given me new perspective and invigorated me; I feel much more at peace with how to approach this amazing thing called motherhood. I've let myself become too worn down, and I've been seeing and responding to the negative too much. But now I am motivated to get myself back on track and do better for my girl.

And the last 24 hours have gone beautifully. With me keeping my own emotions in check, Nadia has been been a happy, compliant child. Each small issue that came up was calmly dealt with, and not once did it escalate into a tantrum. There's hardly been any whining or yelling. I've met with surprisingly little resistance all the way around and she has been SO affectionate and full of good humor.

It's amazing.

I am glad to be back in control of myself as a mother, and to have rediscovered my sweet girl.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The night shift

So it's been a full week now since the crib came down, and it's been....well, it's been pretty much what I expected.

Not a whole lot of fun.
A whole lot of frustration.
Not a whole lot of sleep.
A whole lot of late nights.

And some pretty darn funny sleeping positions.

Sunday: the first night she slept in the bed.

Monday:
Monday
Yes, I moved her. I think it was about 11 when she conked out.

Tuesday:
Tuesday
All her sheets are horribly stretched out...she has a thing about climbing under them. Calls it her "cave."

Wednesday:
Wednesday
See the mess we have the tackle each morning? I am giving serious thought to removing everything but the bed from her room. This was the worst night yet. After hours of frustration, she finally called out to me, "okay Mommy, I'm going to sleep now!" It was after midnight. I was just about in tears, ready to haul the crib back out.

Thursday:
Thursday
There is hope! This was the best night yet! It is 10:00 and she is fast asleep. There was no fight. No frustration. A perfect little angel. Thank you, God. Thank you, Nadia. And thank you to my new parenting inspiration, which I'll share tomorrow.

Theme Thursday: Flowering

As soon as Stacy announced "flowering" as today's theme, I knew what I wanted to share.

Every year I look forward to the blossoming of the tree in our backyard. I don't know what type of tree it is - I've been told before, but I have no memory for such things - but I love it. The white blossoms are beautiful, and so fragrant. We may not get snow here in Texas, but in the midst of summer all the white blossoms transform the tree into a giant snowball.

I hope that time would be on my side, and the tree would flower in time for me to share it with you today.

It did. Sorta.

Too high

See those tiny white splotches at the top of the tree, to which the arrows point? Those are the blossoms. The tree did indeed flower, but so far only the topmost blossoms have opened up. Well out of the camera's reach. The rest of the tree is covered in tiny buds, so my Texas Snowball should be here in all its glory soon!

I did manage to pull and tug the branches low enough for me to grab this shot. Such pretty little blossoms!

Blossom

And a bonus: a rose from the secret rosebush hiding behind the shed. I want to transplant the bush, but with my poor record with plants, I'm afraid it'll die...and surely hidden roses are better than no roses at all.

The metaphorical rose

See what else is flowering today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Upgrades

So, it's been a while since I posted a tutorial. Sorry 'bout that. I've just been too busy with my new toys to find the time to write anything.

What new toys? Well, I have two:

Photoshop CS3!

I am really excited about this. I have yearned for the full version of Photoshop from some time, and thanks to a friend I got it about 2 weeks ago! I know I have just barely scratched the surface of what it can do, but I'm already loving it.

I spent the first week+ just getting comfortable in the program. Since I'd been working with PS-Elements I thought the transition would be a breeze, but the learning curve was a bit steeper than I'd anticipated. But by now I've learned how to do almost everything I did in Elements, plus more. It feels intuitive and natural; it fits me.

I'm enjoying all the little features Photoshop has tucked into itself, stuff that I didn't even know to miss in Elements. Like heal? Love it. And fading the last step preformed? That's great, cuts down on the need for duplicate layers. Lots of other little tidbits too, which probably thrill no one else but me.

But the best thing of all? Actions! The ability to use actions was the #1 reason I've wanted PS, and they haven't disappointed me. After working so long without actions, I had allowed myself to become intimated by them, building them into some complex, intricate process that requires a master's touch. But nothing could be further from the truth! They are easy! And fun! Finally last night I dove in the world of actions, and just like that I'm an action addict.

Pioneer Woman's actions, which I've had downloaded since long before getting CS3, were my first actions to explore, and they're great! I had planned to go on patrol for more freebie actions to try out, but then I hit the jackpot today when Anna surprised me by sharing her collection of favorites. She did all my legwork for me! I am having a great time playing with all the actions, and now I just have one problem: with so many wonderful processing options, how am I ever going to chose what to do with each photo?!

Look for a post soon with some examples of the fun effects I'm getting with actions!

I must say, although I've been anxious to have the full Photoshop for a long time, now that I do have it I'm glad I had to wait a while. It helped me to learn how to do more myself, without the aid of actions, and gave me a broader base of understanding. I still have a lot to learn, but now when I watch an action run, I know what it's doing. I think it's good to have that understanding of the science behind the magic.

And, my second new toy:

Lightroom!

Seems like the photography world just can't get enough of Lightroom these days. The program has quite the loyal following and I hear about it everywhere I turn. Everyone that touches it loves it.

Everyone, that is, but me.

I downloaded the 30 day free trial about a week ago, and I've messed around with it a fair bit. But I'm just not sold on it.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great program. The scores of talented photographers singing its praises can't be wrong. But it's just not ME.

I can't put my finger on what exactly I don't like about it, but I don't feel at home in the program. Granted I've only been using it for a week so that could be due to unfamiliarity with it's ins and outs, but my instincts say "no" and I'm trusting that. We'll see if that changes over my next three weeks with it - altho I find it doubtful since I feel little desire to use it.

That being said, it does amazing things with light. The pictures in the Bookworm post a couple days ago were all processed using Lightroom's "aged" preset, and the lighting effects are crazy cool. I also like how easy it makes it to process a batch of photos the same way, to create a cohesive set.

And lots of other people like it! So don't let me dissuade you; go try it out for yourself. I'm probably just a weirdo, and probably one day I too will be a Lightroom convert and I'll look back on this post and think "how could I say such blasphemous things!"

---
One more quick thing, and then I'll stop with all this photo talk.

Remember this photo? I had a few requests to share the details on it.

Statuesque bw

I took it with my nifty-fifty lens (50mm f1.8 prime) , which I use 99% of the time. I love it's sharpness and clarity, the bokeh it gives, and its compact size. ISO 200, f1.8, shutter speed 1/2000 second.

Unfortuantely, I no longer have the SOOC version; I'm bad about saving over the original when I just make small changes. If I remember correctly, all I did was my standard processing followed by my standard b&w conversion. I love it that my SOOC images are getting better so I don't have to do much! Here is the color version.

Statuesque

She just looks so grown up in that picture. *sigh*

Fun in the Sun

Spray!

That's my girl, running through the water at the splash park yesterday morning.

In case you didn't grasp the magnitude of that statement, let me repeat it.

Little Miss I-Freak-if-my-Face-Gets-Wet ran through the water. Again and again. And she laughed.

This is big, folks.

Of course, it's probably only big to me since she's my kid, but still....it's big in my world.

Nadia has loved baths since she was a tiny wee thing, yet they've almost always ended in distress. She didn't want her hair washed. She didn't want to lay back in the water. She didn't want water over her head. She didn't want to look up. So I'd end up ruthlessly dumping a few cupfuls over her head before gathering my quivering, dripping wet bundle of tears into my towel-wrapped arms.

Pools and sprinklers weren't much better. She liked them only as long as the water did not come above chest level. Last summer we spent a lot of time at the sprinkler parks, me encouraging her to actually get wet as she skirted around the edges of the spray.

But yesterday? She ran right in.

I actually wasn't too surprised by this, as we've recently discovered the secret to tear-free hair washing as well. Or rather, she discovered it herself. All this time, I've been telling her to look up and cover her eyes; then one day she looked up and covered her ears, and she's been fine with water over her head ever since. I fact, she now loves it and begs for it again and again long after her hair is rinsed clean. Who knew, she just had to plug her ears!

It's gonna get me!

Yesterday at the park, she laughed at the water spraying everywhere. At first she gingerly backed into the water bottom-first and dashed away as it spurted around her. But before long she was eagerly dashing through, every pass followed by an exuberant "I did it, Mommy! You say "great job" now!" She was pretty proud of herself and so was I.

in the ring

We're fortunate to have such great splash parks around here - free, always on from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and lots of fun. One of the best parts is when the water starts to die down, and Nadia gets to restart it by rubbing her hand over the black pillar top. Again, "I did it Mommy! You "high five" now!"

I can do it!

All that playing in the sun and water worked up quite the appetite. Goldfish hit the spot. (It also made her tired - she took a great nap, something which has become increasingly rare. Score!)

*munch, munch*

Little Miss Formerly-Known-as-I-Freak-if-my-Face-Gets-Wet is now known as Little Miss I-do-it-Myself. So she had to put her own shoes on, on the wrong feet. You'd think she has a 50% chance of getting it right, but nope, she gets them reversed almost every time.

Putting shoes on

I hope you enjoyed these water park pictures, as I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot more over the coming months! I have a true water baby now.

Chubby cheeks

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Animal vs. Vegetable

Together my husband and I gaze at the bounty of salads, soups, pastas, breads, pizza and desserts surrounding us.

I smile. This is my kind of place.

He frowns. "There's absolutely nothing to eat!" he laments.

I load my plate high with fresh, flavorful goodies.

He comes to the table morosely carrying a plate with more bacon bits than baked potato and a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

This was yesterday's lunch. We had planned a nice relaxing, do-nothing day, and it was off to a great start. We had lounged around the house in pajamas for hours before heading out for lunch.

At my suggestion, we were at Sweet Tomatoes - a soup-and-salad bar that recently opened around here. I knew salad wasn't Vasily's idea of a satisfying meal, but I argued that with a kid who wants to eat and want to eat now a buffet is our best option, and I had a BOGO coupon. He grudgingly agreed.

So we got there and he made it down the salad line in record time, meeting me and Nadia back by the carrots and cucumbers, shaking his head.

"There's nothing to eat!" he said.

Okay, so he doesn't want salad. "There's more oven there" I told him, pointing towards the soup/pasta/bread/potato stations.

Again he returned empty handed.

"What do you expect me to eat here??" he demanded. "There's no meat!"

Ahh, my meat and potatoes boy.

For the record, it wasn't meatless. There just were any giant slabs of animal flesh for him to sink his knife and his teeth into.

"We could make a sit-com out of this!" he quipped. "The wife drags the husband to a restaurant with NO MEAT!"

So it was that I enjoyed my lunch while he sat across the table, laughing at the ludicrously of me thinking he'd deign to eat rabbit food.

And then we got in the car and drove to the Chinese restaurant, where he got 4 pounds of Shanghai chicken and Mongolian beef takeout.

So much for eating lunch together. And so much for my BOGO coupon.

Surely I'm not the only one with different eating habits that my spouse? Tell me your stories!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bookworm

Hi. Here I am for my daily post.

I'm not feeling up to a "real" post at the moment, but it seems to have become habit for me to post (at least) once a day and it'd just feel weird to miss it

So today all you get is pictures.

But that's okay, all you really want it pictures anyway, right?

DSC_0004-2p

This series is from our trip to the library the other day. She sat there reading for the longest time, the pile of books at her side steadily growing. And, she's reading big kid books now too, not just board books.

DSC_0012-2

It's a new development that she sits and listens to an entire storybook, never losing interest, as I read the actual words rather than "can you find something blue in the picture?" I have a deep love for kids books, so this makes me very happy. Of course, I'm now quite so happy about it as I read the same book for the 10th time in a given book, but at least we have the library to refresh our reading material frequently.

DSC_0016-1


After reading for a while, Nadia wanted to play on the computers. This was her very first time ever playing on the computer, and she got a kick out of it. We had a hard time finding a game basic enough for her, but then I found the "read to me" feature on the Arthur game.

DSC_0025-1

I've gotta say, I got a kick out of seeing her perched on the edge of the chair, feet dangling, big ol' ear muffs dwarfing her head, randomly clicking the mouse as her eyes never left the screen. She thought she was cool stuff.

DSC_0022-1

The librarian saw me clicking away and asked "are you documenting her first trip to the library?" I laughed and said no, she's been the the library dozens of times - I've just always got the camera out. So then she said she's a shutterbug too, but she's given it up since she has no one to share her pictures with anymore. That's sad. And it makes me glad I have all of you to share with!

DSC_0029-1

So here I am, sharing.

And writing, even tho I said I wasn't going to tonight.

What can I say, I'm a hopelessly addicted Mommy-blogger!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fourth night's the charm

I am totally doing the happy dance right now - but very, very quietly.

What's the cause for my rejoicing?

My daughter is asleep. In her big girl bed.

Fourth night's the charm!

Yes, she's sleeping with her feet on the pillow, but still - she's IN the bed!

This is the fourth night with the big girl bed, but it's the first time she's slept in it. It's also the first time she's fallen asleep without 3+ hours of drama.

I knew it would be different tonight as soon as I tucked her in. She stayed there burrowed under the covers, reading her books. And half an hour later, she's in dreamland. Ahhh, sweet success.

I am a very happy mama.

And I'm crossing my fingers that we'll have a repeat performance tomorrow, and the next night, and the night after that, for all eternity.

G'night now. I am going to bed myself, to enjoy the sounds of silence and dream of a tomorrow with a happy, well-rested toddler.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's a small world

This is one of those "what a small world" stories.

About a month ago I got a comment here on the blog saying "want to visit Texas and take pictures of my kids?"

I laughed and fired back an e-mail. "I live in Texas! Whereabouts are you?"

Texas is a darn big place. So I couldn't believe it when it turned out that we live in the SAME TOWN!!! Seriously, how cool is that?!

That's how I met my new friend Elaine virtually. Today I got to meet her and her family in person.

She wasn't kidding about wanting me to photograph her family, not even when I said it would be my first time. So we set up a photoshoot, and today was the big day.

Like I said, this was my first time to do a real photo shoot. I was nervous. But Elaine and Tim put me right at ease. I flubbed it up...missed some shots...knocked my head on a pole...stepped in a mud puddle...but we also go some great pictures! Of course, it'd be hard to miss with such a cute family.

Elaine, I loved meeting you and feel like I've found a new friend. Let's plan a playdate!

Here's your sneak peak!

Family swings


The B Man and all his expressions crack me up! This kid is a riot. And he earned his Thomas train for being such a good sport - yeah!
Mr Drama

Little G turned one last week! I just can't get enough of his sweet, wispy, crazy baby hair. Ahhh, little ones this age give me baby fever.
It's all about ME!

Rocks - it's a boy thing

Love this capture of the adoration that comes part and parcel with motherhood.
Adoration

Take my hand

Elaine and Tim, thanks for working with me! I hope these images of your sweet family make you smile.

Friday, May 23, 2008

One night down....how many to go?

Well, we did it.

I'm declaring the first night with the big girl bed a victory...although I'm not sure that it technically can be called a victory since she didn't actually sleep in the bed?

Oh well, we all survived the night and that's what matters.

Her protector

Nadia got home from Baba and Pappy's house yesterday afternoon and ran straight back to check out her new big girl room. She was super excited about it and played night-night all evening long. She kept declaring "it's dark for me, time to sleep!" and then reappearing a mere 2 minutes later. And little miss happy-to-be-a-baby no longer wants to be called a baby...or even a little girl. She insisted on being called a BIG girl. Her Daddy almost broke down in tears over that!

So the bed was an enormous hit, but by the time bedtime rolled around she was over it. Nope, she didn't want to sleep there. She also didn't want me to take any pictures, but being the mean mommy I am, I snuck one anyway.

big girl bed!

And then began the, oh, three and a half hour ordeal of getting her to sleep.

For the first hour, she played back there pretty contentedly.

She entertained herself by turning the room into a disaster zone by pulling everything off the shelves and out of drawers.

For the next half hour, I somehow crammed both myself and her onto that tiny toddler bed to snuggle.

For another hour she wailed and complained and called for me to come back.

And I caught her trying to escape her room, having scaled the gate blocking the doorway...uh-uh, Little Houdini, this is not allowed!

For the next while, Daddy joined her before going to bed himself.

For another half hour she continued her campaign to be rescued.

And she started crying for her crib to come back.

For the next half hour we sat and rocked together. I must admit, that was kinda nice. She's not much of a smuggler anymore these days, so I cherish that time with her head against my shoulder as we sing one song after another.

I thought she was about to drift off....but then she popped up and said she wanted to read. I left her sitting in the middle of the floor with a pile of books.

And that's where she fell asleep.

Sprawl

Notice the swim diaper on top of her pajamas. She's got style, huh?!

I was afraid to wake her by moving her, so I let her spend the night sprawled in the middle of the floor, surrounded by books and toys.

Conked out

---
I started this post this morning, but it's now 12 hours later and we're 1.5 hours into bedtime. She's still awake. I've already done the snuggle session with her, so she'll just have to wear herself out. Maybe she'll actually sleep in the bed tonight???

----
I have a very exciting morning tomorrow. It's an important first for me, and I'm both very excited and very nervous. That's all I'm going to say about it now, but I can't wait to share it with you. I am crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that it's successful!

Kids say the darndest things, VIII

Nadia and I are making cookies, and I let her sample a bit of the dough. Raw eggs or no, I've given up on keeping it entirely out of her mouth. So I tell her "just one little taste" and we leave it at that.

She enthusiastically dips a finger into the dough and them into her mouth, and I ask her "Is that yummy-yummy in your tummy?"

She looks at me as if I'm crazy and retorts "No, Mommy, it's yummy in my mouth!"

-----
Ther girl never stops talking. Even simple things must be explained in great detail. Case in point, this is what I hear almost ever time she eats something.

"I will put it in my mouth and I will chew it up and eat it and swallow it down to my tummy, and it will be good."

Yes, almost every. single time.

-----
There is a trick for getting Nadia to eat fruit: don't call it fruit. She insists she does not like fruit. But she does like fruit-for-a-snack. Don't ask me what the difference is, but one she likes and the other she doesn't. So while she'll refuse a banana, she will say yes, she does want banana-fruit-for-a-snack. Weird kid.

-----
A toddler's life is so full of important decisions. Such as, whether to take the alligator box or the alligator stairs at the mall. In case you're not familiar with Nadia-speak, this is elevator vs escalator.

------
We've had a bit of sickness in the house lately. But at Nadia likes to tell me, she's not sick anymore; now she's happy. I'm not sure if "happy" is her way of saying healthy, or if she's just happy to be feeling well again....but either way, it's pretty cute!

------
We had some sweet conversations while snuggling last evening.

"Mommy?"
"Yes, sweetie."
"When Daddy was a little boy, he was Baba and Grandpa's little boy."
"You're right."
"But now he's not. Now he's all grown up and he's my Daddy."

"Mommy?
"Yes sweetie."
"I want you sing ABC's. But they not your ABCs, they're mine, okay? At end, sing "now I know Nadia's ABCs," okay?"
"Okay. A-B-C-D....."

Soft & sweet

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another step towards growing up

I think I need to call BPS (Bear Protective Services). Poor TedBear looks like he's been beaten up. The lip gloss did not wash out too well, and while I'm sure it will fade with time right now he looks horrible bruised.

The sheets didn't fare much better, and unfortunately they are my good new ones. Also my only ones.

Oh well, I guess that's just one of the costs of having kids.

At least it wasn't paint....this time. A few days ago she did get into paint and part of my bedroom carpet now matches the walls. I like the green, but I really didn't want it on the floor, too.

Today had been disaster free so far...largely because Nadia isn't here. It's her day with Baba and Pappy, and I was happy to let her go wreck up their house for a change! We'll see what mischief she has planned for this evening.

Whatever drama the evening holds, I hope it's out of her system by bedtime. I am crossing my fingers and hoping a praying for a smooth bedtime tonight, as it will be her first official night in the big girl bed.

We've tried the big girl bed in the past, but with little success. After hours of playing and crying, I finally gave in and put her in the crib and she was asleep within minutes. What can I say, the kid loves the familiar security of her crib. After several nights of that, I finally gave in and decided to delay the transition. But now it's time.

Last week I put her in the crib for a timeout, and as I walked back down the hall I thought to myself, "boy, it really sounds like her cry if following me." So I turned around, and there she was. NOT in the crib. She'd climbed out of there quick as can be, and she's done it twice more since then - oddly, always to escape timeout, not when she wakes up. I've known for a while that she has the ability to climb out of the crib, but that was the first time she's actually done it.

So, we decided it's time to move to the big girl bed. And today while Nadia's out of my hair, I took the crib down. I'm hoping that with the crib entirely gone, we'll have better luck getting her to sleep in the bed.

I must admit, I'm more apprehensive about this transition than anything else we've faced with her. I just have it in my head that it's going to be a huge fight.

Here's hoping she proves me wrong.

Statuesque bw

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What next?!

I've figured out why The Kid stays up so late at night.

That's when she plots the next day's mischief.

Every day it's something new. Every day she raises it to the next level. It's almost to the point I'm afraid to imagine what the next day will bring.

Today it happened during nap time. Or rather, what should have been nap time.

We had a wonderful morning, sitting side by side reading books at the library for over 2 hours. With 2.5 years of motherhood under my belt, you'd think I'd recognize this as a sign of BAD things to come. But nope, I went on my merry way oblivious to what was to come.

Nap time rolled around and Nadia was unusually agreeable. I told her "five more minutes," but she jumped right up and ran to my room, saying "I nap now, Mama!"

And still I just thought, today's my lucky day!

Five minutes later I peeked in and saw her calmly lying on my bed, blanket pulled up to her chin, flipping through books.

Another ten minutes passed, and I took the quiet to mean that she'd fallen asleep. I went to check on her again, expecting to smile at her slumbering form.

It took all of 0.2 seconds for me to realize it had been the other sort of quiet. The bad kind.

It was the smell I noticed first. An odd scent of.....mint? Then I saw her, sitting up in the middle of the bed, stark naked, covered in red. The sheets and my pillow were covered in the same red sticky stuff. TedBear, too. And the culprit lay on the floor: a now-empty tube of lip gloss. My favorite lip gloss. Lemme tell you, that small tube can hold a surprising amount of lip gloss.

Nadia greeted me with a much too cheerful "Hi Mom, I'm painting!" Then she saw the smoke billowing from my ears, and changed her tune. She covered her face and wailed "I sorry! I make mess again!" Sorry, kid, it's too late for that. In stony silence I scrubbed her down, put a new diaper on and dumped her in the crib, ignoring her wails while I stripped the bed.

The sheets are in the washer now. But whatcha wanna bet that it won't come out very well??

I suppose I have no one but myself to blame. After all, what was I thinking to leave my kid alone for 5 minutes while she was supposedly sleeping?? *sigh*

BTW, I do recommend that lip gloss, CO Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint from Bath & Body Works. But please, learn from me; don't let your kids get ahold of it.

Ever the photojournalist, I did take pictures of the crime scene...but believe me, they don't do justice to the magnitude of the offense.

DSC_0033

DSC_0035

DSC_0038

DSC_0040

Now please, pray with me for a disaster-free tomorrow!

Wordless Wednesday: Ready, Set, Go!

Don't look down!

Ready....set....go!

There she goes!
(Her latest playground craze is to go down the slide on her belly, feet first. I love how she watches her fingers as she begins to slide backwards)

More Wordless Wednesday here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lazy summer days

Yeah, I know it's only May...but it sure feels like summer!

Growing up, I knew my cousins mostly only in pictures; I saw them at most twice a year, they were all several years younger, and mostly boys. So it brings me great joy to watch my own daughter grow up alongside 6 (soon 7!) little girl cousins, loving them almost like sisters. Sometimes loving them a little too much like sisters, with all the fights that break out...but hey, I'll take the good with the bad.

My sister and I have a standing Tuesday get together. So here it is (very late!) Tuesday evening - time for another edition of park photos.

It won't be much longer until the Texas heat forces our weekly playdates indoors, but for now we can still meet for a picnic at the park. Sunscreen was necessary today, and we discovered that it, watermelon juice and dirt are a very messy combination. Very messy. And sticky. It was a two-baths day.

Watermelon

But messy or not, sweet watermelon juice trickling down little girl chins is a pleasure that cannot be denied. It's one of those perfect carefree summer day activities.

A taste of summer

Well, except for the woolen Strawberry Shortcake toboggan that they all took turns wearing. Their hair lay plastered to their dripping-with-sweat heads when the hat came off, yet they still clamored for another turn. Kids are crazy.

Miss LuLu

This little lady may be the baby of the group, but she really does think she's one of the big kids. I know I've gushed about her before, but I just can't help myself. I wanna eat her up. I'm trying to figure out a way to kidnap her away from my sister and keep her forever. Or until at least until she starts displaying those terrible twos, which she's practicing for already at 13 months.

In the light

Oh, and photo friends - those eyes are for reals. Her eyes are super blue in person, but the camera always seems to make them even more incredible. I swear I didn't touch the eyes - why improve upon perfection? She is a dream to photograph. No wonder I have so many pictures of her.

window to her world

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pickin' Strawberries

Swim suits and sunscreen. Air conditioner. Watermelon and strawberries. Those are some of the first things that come to mind when I think of summer.

We officially kicked off our summer with a trip to the strawberry fields on Friday.

Row upon row

We'd had a strawberry outing scheduled a couple weeks ago, but then the day-of turned out so hot and sticky that not even the thought of red, juicy morsels of sweetness enticed us. So we skipped it, with the pledge that we must visit before the season ends - which will be very soon here in Texas. Friday was cool and breezy, and Daddy only had a few hours of work that morning; it was the perfect day for strawberry picking!

Pickin' berries

We picked strawberries last year too, but it was a rather different experience this time around. For one, Nadia's just grown so much; I see it all the time, but looking at the pictures from almost exactly one year ago made me realize just how many changes that year has brought for my girl. See for yourself - she was just a baby!

Strawberries!

Curls weren't the only thing to grow in that year; her understanding of strawberry picking grew too. She was quite the little harvester, and each berry was met with such enthusiasm. "Oh! Look! It's a strawberry!" she exclaimed over and over, cradling the fruit like a precious treasure. And then, "there's a good one!" she'd cry, pointing to a berry 3 rows over rather than the ones right by us.

What a team

She and Daddy made a great team. It was fun to just sit back and watch her race up and down the rows.

Strawberry Nadia-cake

The girl can eat strawberries, lemme tell you. We picked a little over two pounds, and they were all gone within 24 hours. That's not even counting the ones she ate in the field. Most of them made it into the box, but plenty made it into her belly, too.

My little strawberry gal

I would have expected to have a hard time dragging her from the fields, but not so; the sink was beckoning her. Nadia is a kid who loves to wash her hands - many, many time a day - and she couldn't wait to try out the outside sink. Cool stuff indeed.

Daddy's helping hands

I've been in a bit of a photographic rut the last few weeks - I just been feeling uninspired and haven't taken many pictures...but on Friday that energy was back and I was clicking away. I took tons of pictures, but out of all of them this is my favorite.

The comfort of Daddy's hand

My little girl and her Daddy, walking hand in hand. Pure sweetness. Definitely my Best Shot.