Thursday, June 10, 2010

things i looked down on before i was a parent

i was a perfect parent before i had kids.
i just knew that i would never commit these horrible 'sins' that the families i nannied
for were flagrantly committing on a daily basis.

now is my time to repent & share my overly judge-y and oh-so-hypocritical thoughts
with you... because my sins have come back to haunt me in a very real way!

(please don't think i even BEGIN to think these thoughts about your families- this is my way of telling you that i learned my lesson!!)

these are the things i (unfairly) judged parents for before i had kids:
1. children with un-brushed hair

2. children with food or snot on their faces
(to be fair, i should have far more pictures of this occurring in my family. however, caroline is paranoid about having stuff on her face & will use any part of my body as a kleenex in order to keep her face clean.)
(it's not the dirt that i'm showing you... it's the dirt that's stuck in the SNOT. cute, though, right??)

3. mis-matched clothing
(i still have some control over julia's clothing, so not too much fun with her yet... and i can't find half as many pictures of caroline's clothing adventures as i should!)

4. baby-leashes
(this deserves a post of it's own, but who am i kidding? i'm doing good to blog at all!)

i must give some background on this... i have ALWAYS (even after having 2 children) thought that using a leash on a child was ridiculous. i mean, really? just get some control over your kids, right? here were my actual thoughts (i'm so ashamed): "if you were a better parent & would discipline your children, you wouldn't need a leash."

i can't even tell you how much i have EATEN THOSE WORDS!
julia is the exact definition of a child that needs a leash.
except she won't wear it- she's that crazy about running independently into crowds, dense forests, huge bodies of water and traffic.
we tried the leash at the airport for about 20 minutes. there was so much laying down & shrieking & snot flying & hideous flailing that i was forced to remove the leash & place her in the stroller.

i am that parent.
she is that child.
i accept this.

sort of.

5. unhealthy eating habits in children.

this is my daughter hiding behind a box of candy... given to her by her father, of course!
and below is her drinking a soda- also given to her by her father. : )

this also bears some explanation. when caroline was a baby, she ate pretty much anything we offered her- green, purple, orange, red, yellow, fruit, veggie, meat. she was pretty open to new things and i took great satisfaction in my parenting skills. when parents would tell me their kids only ate macaroni & cheese, i would smugly think, 'well, i have always offered my kids a variety of healthy foods & they eat what we eat. no junk, no trash, no fillers, no exceptions.'

then they became toddlers & got their own opinions.
they will still eat enough 'good' foods that i'm not completely worried about their future, but i'm certainly not taking great pride in their macaroni & cheese, french fry & pizza consumption.

and finally:
6. dirty homes
for real! can you believe my arrogance? i really thought it was ridiculous how much dirt was on the floors & in the corners of the homes of families with children.
i think we all know that i've gotten over that.

if i was a really good blogger, i would go take a picture of my coffee table right now- it's covered in 'Mr. Yuk' stickers, christmas card stickers, and paint.

okay... feel free to judge me now for my judgmental, critical nature.
just be gentle with me- i've learned my lesson.
i promise i'm better now
(not perfect- i still have a lot of judgements to be broken of, i'm sure)!

i hope i didn't shatter your illusions of my perfection.

happy thursday, friends!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the big 4!

waaaaayyyy back on march 18,
my beautiful little caroline turned 4!
(told you i'm a horrible blogger... but i'm an even worse scrapbooker, so this is all we'll have to remember this party!)

i would say it's hard to believe that she's already 4...
i would say that i can't understand how the time went so quickly...
i'd say she's growing up so fast...

but really?
it feels like 4 years.
at least!

i LOVE caroline.
and i LOVE being a mother.
but it's not like the years just rush past while we pick daisies in the sunshine and gaze happily at our lovely children.
we've had our share of tantrums & screaming fits.
we've had our puddles of urine & other bodily fluids.
we've had plenty of concerns & worries along the last 4 years.

would i trade it for anything else?

she's amazing.
beautiful inside & out.
i LOVE this stage of her life, and as she learns to interact with us & with the world as a person (and not a baby), i'm looking forward to getting to know her better all the time.

so the birthday party?
what else:
A Fairy Princess Tea Party!
(she wanted mermaids, too, but i had to draw the line somewhere!)

here's the invitations (from Hobby Lobby):

and the poem i wrote for the back of the invite...

my favorite thing about the invitations is that it assumes that i'm the queen... it's good to be queen, i'll give you that! : )

on her birthday morning, we had the traditional cinnamon rolls for breakfast & a mini-celebration with just the 4 of us.
(she likes sitting in the booster seat still... no complaints from me!)

opening a few small presents... she got lots of princess dolls, which gave her GREAT JOY!
(and this is the only picture i can put online because she chose nakedness as her birthday outfit)
we let julia play with some balloons so she wouldn't feel left out... she thought that was fantastic!

then we got ready for the actual birthday party!
once the girls hit age 3, we begin inviting one friend per year that we're celebrating.
so caroline got to choose 4 friends from school and church, and she could NOT stop talking about them as we got ready for the party! she knew where they should sit, what they should eat, what they should play with... super cute!

we made princess wands as our main activity- 2 per girl.
everything was from Hobby Lobby- inexpensive & fun!
i would say that i went way overboard on the decorations, but we've used all of that stuff up making art projects & crafts since the party. we love sparkles!
and by we, i mean caroline...
i painted the 'wands' white so they would show the pastel colors better.

the dining room- all ready for the party!
the birthday banner- we use this one every year.
it's just watercolor stencils on postcard size paper, then a grosgrain ribbon in coordinating colors strung through the letters.

each girl got some tacky plastic princess stuff... i mean, they got their own place setting of princess jewels & fairy princess napkins to wipe their hands.the candy necklaces were a gift to caroline from her grandma- my mom. they were a BIG hit with the girls, and they added at least 10 minutes of happiness to the party!

i use these floral 'splat mats' for everything... table cloths, floor covers for art projects, picnic blankets. love them!

julia was not impressed with the decor, but she did continually try to choke herself with a balloon string!

caroline waiting for her guests to arrive...

i was SO busy helping the girls with their wands that i didn't get pictures of them creating them! we have some video, though- it's really cute!

the finished product:
this is snack time- popcorn, grapes, lemonade and then the birthday cupcakes.

the cupcakes were really simple this year... no crazy towers or ice cream cones!
white chocolate cake with pink vanilla icing- beautiful & really yummy.

happy birthday, my beautiful 4 year old!
we love you more every day!

tuesday thoughts vol. 4

i'm a pathetic blogger.

there. i said it.

i love to write & process my thoughts 'outloud,' but it's somewhat time consuming for me.
i have perfectionist tendencies (shut up, matt), and i dislike publishing my thoughts if i don't feel like i've been clear.

being clear is hard.
i would like to be random & just put stuff out there & leave it.

no over-thinking about the people who read this blog.
no worrying about how my words will be perceived.
no editing to sound more kind and gracious- to seem like a better wife/mother/friend.

that seems dangerous...
you'd be surprised how much judgement is out there. well, maybe YOU wouldn't be surprised. it's just always amazing to me the things that shock/disappoint/anger people. it's never the things i've fretted over & worked my hardest to 'fix;' it's always the things you assumed were okay.

not that i'm not judgmental. it's one of the top 10 things i dislike about myself.
i won't be posting that list- seems counter productive. : )

okay- enough deep thoughts.
i'll either keep blogging or i won't- how's that?
i'll give randomness a concerted effort.

okay- random.

it's officially summer here in terms of heat & free time, which is fun!
i'm trying to institute a loose schedule for our summer days so we don't end up wasting our days on princess movies & veggie tales. we were SO busy through the Spring, and i want summer to feel less programmed & more relaxed. for now, our schedule involves art projects, the community pool, the zoo, the botanical gardens and long walks to all the playgrounds in our community. i'm sure we'll be stir crazy by August & be ready for school (or wish we had signed up for a camp or two!), but for now i'm enjoying these days of taking it easy!

may was a big month for matt- he officially graduated (even though he was done in december) from Covenant Seminary and was ordained as a Pastor of the EPC (evangelical presbyterian church) all in the same weekend! what's really funny about it all to me is that his job remains EXACTLY the same now as before... it's just the officialness of it that changes. well, that & some tax stuff. but his day to day ministry to the men & women & families in webster groves? the same.
which makes me happy.
i love our town & our church & the people here.
i know there is no guarantee that we'll be here forever- or even for a very long time,
but any amount of time we get to be a part of this community is good.
i hope it's a long time- it has very much become our home, & these people are our family.

flylady? still making it work in my own way. i've embraced the 15 minute rule, which makes my home seem much more manageable. i don't have to finish a task in my perfectionist way (vacuum every room down to the last corner & then mop & polish until shining). i can vacuum for 15 (sometimes 20) minutes and then do something i WANT to do.
it's very freeing- and my house is cleaner because of it!

menu planning has fallen off this month, sadly.
i suppose that's just the passive way of saying i have stopped effectively planning menus!
we're still eating, though. so that's good. : )
a new farmer's market opened in WG last week, and i wasn't able to go. can't wait to hit it up this week!

sorry no pictures- i'll upload the most recent ones as soon as i get the motivation.
still have plans to post about Easter & Caroline's birthday...

happy tuesday!