Sunday, June 30, 2013

June favorites

June, June, June. What a nice month you were. You were so nice, in fact, that I was light on the phone photos, which seem to be the only kind of photos I take of late. I'll take the lack of documented fun as a good sign.

 [banging away at the botanical garden]

[country road walking, with feeling]

[ready for the return of Wet Wednesdays at school]

[smile if your friends invited you to their country club]

[look apprehensive if the water was really cold]

[proud smile, pageant wave]
[sliding high above Highland's main street]
[second birthdays aren't too bad]

[made with love by Nana, Aunt Sherri and good old mom]

[baked by nana, decorated by Aunt Sherri]

[celebrating dad]

[cousins throwing caution to the wind]

[smiling on the sidelines]

More June photos to come in a separate post.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A danger to herself and those around her

Have I mentioned that Mary Clare has my grace? New scratches, bruises and bumps are a daily occurrence. A few weeks ago, while we were at a friend's house, she nailed the corner of their mailbox, taking a good chunk out of her head about 1.2 seconds before we were supposed to go swimming.

Her exuberance for life means that others around her are in constant peril as well. Last night, as I took her out of the bathtub, she jumped up at the exact second I was leaning down to wrap the towel around her. Wham! She nailed the underside of my chin so hard I thought for sure the scar from a 32-year-old injury had opened. I may have gotten tears in my eyes. And let out a "Dammit!" Not directed at her, mind you, but a dammit nonetheless. And then I felt bad, because she kept apologizing so profusely it broke my heart.

Fast forward oh, say, 15 minutes, and I am putting on her pajamas. She is lying on the bed and her foot completely nails me in the forehead. Again, a complete accident—she wasn't even horsing around or trying to kick me (because, sadly, that does happen some nights).

When I let out another "Ow!" she turned those brown eyes on me and said, "I'm really sorry, mommy. I just don't know what's wrong with my body tonight."

Poor thing. She was genuinely confused as to why these "ackshidents" keep happening to her and those around her.

Speaking as someone with 37 years of accidents and excellent falls under her belt, all I can say is own it, baby. And learn to laugh at yourself and offer genuine apologies. Because you'll be doing a lot of both. You inherited a few too many of your mommy's genes, I'm afraid.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rollin' with the homies

Ah, country life. Where the riding toys are plenty, the paved surfaces make an excellent circular route and if your legs are too short for your new tricycle, you can count on your sister to give you a lift.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Out of my way

When Charlie sports his backpack (pack-pack, if you're Mary Clare), he is all business. And if he's wearing his backpack, that means it's Wet Wednesday at Childgarden. And that means he's not stopping for no stinking pictures.

There are cars to drive through sprinklers! Puddles to stomp! Water to splash in his friends' eyes!

Make way for the Bird!

Alex on songs, shoes and sweets

While we're talking shoes, I've been hanging on to this little nugget of funniness for close to a week now:

Sherri also told me that if a song comes on the radio that Alexandra doesn't like, she demands that Sherri change the channel. So Sherri scans through the stations until Alexandra deems something worthy of her golden ears. Dang, I love this girl.

Speaking of whom, Alexandra and Brennan are spending this week at my parents' house (aka our house), so I have had the chance to experience the spirit of Alexandra firsthand. Now, you know I love me some A. And she loves her Aunt Dobby. But after spending a few solid days together, I can see that girlfriend has some strong opinions. And she is not easily swayed. Except by food.

The other day Alexandra started missing Sherri, and after a few minutes of crying for her mommy and a refusal to be soothed by any words or gestures, Nana picked a pretzel stick out of a bowl of Chex mix and offered it to her. Boom. Tears dried. A second pretzel, you say? Definitely. Now, what's this talk of a mommy? I have no mommy. Let's go outside and play.

Of course I was delighted by a pretzel being a substitute for my sister, so I made short work of relaying this tidbit to my sister. Her response? "Oh, yeah. Not surprised. You might want to get some mini marshmallows, too. Those are magic."

Oh, they're on the grocery list. I don't want a shoe chucked at my head.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Forsaking fashion

Okay, so I'll admit it: Mary Clare has a lot of shoes. In my defense, her foot has not grown for close to a year, she has some hand-me-downs shoes, and with the exception of a few styles that I buy year after year, the majority were bought at a deep discount on end-of-season clearance and stored away until it was their time to shine. So, there.

Oh, and shoes bring her such delight that I cannot help but indulge her my habit. I mean, come on! Remember this? It is an enduring love affair.

Despite having a decent selection of footwear, 90 percent of Mary Clare's shoes are extremely sensible. Most shoes are closed toe so she can wear them to school, and her sandals all have an ankle closure and can also be tightened across the toe. Safety first, you know.

The exception to this rule are her pool flip flops (a girl has to match her footwear to her suit, people) and a swanky pair or two of shoes that were so inexpensive and delightful in their colorful sparkly goodness, that they could not be passed over. I thought once summer started, I would spend every morning cajoling Mary Clare to pick sensible shoes over the sparkly numbers that were for home and special occasions.

Au contraire.

You see, we are into running! Jumping! Playing! We need to go, and our shoes cannot hold us back.

Now every time I present her nice white or red sandals (again, still very sensible Stride Rites and Saltwaters, thank you), she says, "No! I need to run! I can't play in those!" And sometimes she cries for good measure.

Never mind that we are going to church. Or a party where there is no room to run. Or a place where she will likely take off her shoes the second we arrive. The girl needs to move! She has things to do!

Part of me is really happy that she wants to be so active and in the mix. The other part of me just really wants her to match and look cute. It's vain, it's terrible, but come on. Nikes with a smocked dress is not a good look on anyone, no matter how quickly they're running, jumping and climbing.

And so the negotiations begin. It's all good training for what lies ahead. Today's shoe troubles are tomorrow's slinky dress horrors.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The best

Happy father's day to my sweet husband, who, I must say, is one heck of a great dad.

Naturally, I cannot help but roll my eyes when Mary Clare declares, "My daddy's magic!" (Especially since he's the one who told her he's magic.)

So, while the magic thing might be a smidge questionable (even though I love, love, love that our kiddos truly belive Chip can do anything), I will concur that he is pretty darned great. And that we are very lucky.

Thanks for being such a wonderful husband and father. We all love you bunches.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Charlie, two years

Happy second birthday to our beautiful boy!
Oh, Charlie. You really are something special. You are full of feeling, stubborn as all get-out, louder than loud and as cute as they come. The hair, the dimples, the cheeksthat devilish laugh ... they are too much. They are also your saving grace, as dang it if you don't drive us up the wall with your determination to do everything when you want, the way you want.

You are a man of many names, the George Charles Lindh IV who goes by Charlie, but is routinely called Charlie Bird, Bird and even Bird-Bird by your classmates. I don't know how it happened, since I don't particularly like birds or jazz, but you are our Bird, and we love you.

I feel like I don't even know what you all did this last year. I just looked at your first birthday post and was shocked at how little you were. I mean, you were a baby. And now you are running everywhere (with flair!) and making your demands in a fashion that I can best liken to a skipping record. "Dada! Dada! Dada! Dada!" plays on repeat until you get his attention. "Wa-wa! Wa-wa! Wa-wa!" is shouted at a piercing decibel until you get your drink. I would like to say that we don't negotiate with terrorists, but we totally do. To your credit,  you usually say "peesh!" and always throw in a "TANK TU!" once your demands are met, and I'm guessing that terrorists are not so unfailingly polite.

You are still a good sleeper, a relatively good eater and an exceptional pooper. You refuse to sit in the same restaurant-style high chair that your sister occupied until she was three, you like to remove your own diapers (sometimes on the changing table, sometimes in the crib, sometime wherever you damn well please) and you want to buckle your own car seat. Basically, if there is something to be done, you want to be the one doing it. Or at least voicing your opinion on how something should be done. Between you and your sister, it is clear that we are not raising any shrinking violets.

You're not so much into growth, and are wearing 18-24 month clothes and size 5 shoes. Your nana is convinced that if your feet don't grow soon, one day you will just topple over. So maybe it's a good thing that you always—always—remove your shoes and socks the first chance you get. Even your teachers have given up on the shoe removal issue. Apparently Miss Betty and Miss Cynthia negotiate with terrorists as well.

You love cars, trucks and tractors—oh, how I love to watch you push cars across the floor and get down flat on your belly to play! And I must say that it is utterly fascinating to see how differently you play than your sister. It is also utterly amazing to see you play with your sister. Hello, heartwarming city.

But even as you charge ahead into the toddler years, you still have moments where you want to be held. Your hesitation when presented with a new setting usually requires a pick up, and while it can get old carting you around the MoBot Children's Garden, I do so love the fact that you still look to us to protect you from the big, scary world of play sets and carousels. And you are always good for a nighttime snuggle between books and bed. With each passing day, I squeeze and nuzzle you more, knowing that one day you will protest when I want to rock and sing to you.

I don't care if I sound like one of those moms. You are my beautiful boy, and you make my heart sing. I love your curls, your dimples and  your funny little personality. As your papa said just the other morning, "Charlie, you are charming and you don't even know it." It's those dimples, I tell you. They're killers.

We love you, our sweet, spirited and stubborn boy, and can't wait to see what the next year brings. Happy birthday, handsome.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Allow me to introduce myself

For those of you not up on children's television, let me just say that while nothing beats Sesame Street in my book, there are some good shows out there. And they are way more focused on education and reinforcing positive values than say, Tom & Jerry. They are also way more engaging than what I watched in the 1980s. Every single show invites the kids to count things, answer questions, do various movements, etc. It can be annoying at times, when Mickey Mouse stands there, waiting for you to tell him which item Toodles should select, but there are other times, like when your child suddenly bursts from the couch and starts breaking it down, that it is unbelievably cute.

As you may have guessed, Mary Clare is now one of those kids who really gets into responding to the shows she watches, namely Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, Super Why and Jake & The Neverland Pirates. (We are Disney and PBS Kids people, yo.) And Charlie, usually sitting there alongside her, is game for whatever sissy (schti-shee) is doing. So he bobs his head along, claps and nods in agreement when Mary Clare declares that yes, Jake, there are in fact five gold doubloons!

Well, the other day as I made them lunch, I heard Super Why introduce himself and all of his friends, and then he asked the viewers to introduce themselves as well. And I heard a quiet little voice say, "My name is Mary Clare Thole Lindh, and this is my brother, Charlie Lindh."

I mean, come on! How cute is that?

So, thank you, PBS Kids for that sweet moment. And yes, I will be more than happy to pony up during the next Channel 9 funding drive. Sold.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How it's going

First, let me apologize to my five readers for my absence from the blog. I have no real good excuse. Sure, the new schedule, the commute and house hunting are taking up some extra time, but mostly I think I was in a blogging funk. Those have happened a lot this year, it seems. I'm not sure why.

Oh, screw it, I'm just going to blame it on the house selling, moving and searching and call it a day. No need to think about such things too hard.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to pop in and give an update on Highland life. I saw my good high school friends this weekend, and after slipping in some anecdotes here and there and answering some questions about how we've transitioned to living with my parents, Chelsey eventually cut to the chase: "Okay, Deb. Tell me how it's really going."

I responded, "Really well, actually."

And I was telling the truth.

It really is going well. Obviously, my parents are the best for even letting us bunk up with them for an indefinite amount of time. And obviously, their house set up is ideal. Everyone has their own room, and we have the entire (nicely) finished basement to ourselves. Even though Chip is keen on watching the news upstairs with my parents, despite having a TV in our lower living room, it is really nice to have our own personal space.

Mom and I are in a good routine as far as dividing up cooking and cleaning duties, grocery shopping and dedicated laundry time, and there is nothing better than having a retired dad who, even though he is always busy, can nevertheless make the time to help with the kids or any other request.

Most importantly, the kids are handling it like champs. The first week or two was a bit bumpy. The kids would wake up at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. and not be able to settle back to sleep. At one point, Mary Clare popped up at 2:30 a.m. and started reading books, completely convinced that it was time to wake up and go to school. Thankfully, they are now back to their normal sleep routines. The three-times-a-week commute to school is also going well. It takes more preparation on our part (books, snacks, small toys, CDs, etc.), but their complaints (about the drive time, at least) are few and far between.

So, yes. It really is going well. Whew.

Granted, we are only a month and a half into it, and my parents did book a two-week vacation (hint taken), but considering it is a complete lifestyle change for all parties, it's been a pretty smooth transition.

We might just stay indefinitely. At least through tomato season.