Monday, February 28, 2011


If I wasn't already a stickler for car seat safety, one who annoys her friends with blog posts about the topic and unsolicited recommendations and one who even writes the occasional letter to the editor on the matter, today would've made me a stickler. Friends: PLEASE keep your babies buckled snugly in their car seats and keep your toddlers rear facing for as long as you possibly can. Please don't text and drive, for Pete's sake don't email and drive, definitely don't change your pants while driving (I saw this happen once on I35, notevenkidding). Because you know what? Even when you're doing everything right driving-wise and nothing at all wrong, accidents happen. See?

That's my Tahoe. The one my kids and I were in this afternoon, minding our own business and heading home to play toys, taking a curve slowly and with both of my hands on the wheel (10 and 2, baby). And as we came around the curve, we got hit, hard. I'm not going to get into assigning blame, I'll just say it was totally the fault of the guy going a little too fast on a curve well known to be tricky to maneuver, and not the fault of the cautious mom mindful of her two tiny, irreplaceable littles in the back seat. So one minute it was a regular Monday where "bad day" meant I was annoyed that my husband forgot to take the garbage out and Bug wouldn't leave his pants on .... and the next, it was the kind of day that has me on my knees with thanks and puts regular old "bad days" into silly perspective. My only consolation in that hopelessly vulnerable split second as I gripped the wheel and braced for the crash was that we'd done all we could to keep those babies safe - safe seats, installed correctly, Miss V remaining rear facing past her first birthday (and now, probably until college), Mister A's straps tightened a little tighter than he'd like. They were protected and as safe as they could possibly be in a very unsafe situation. And my babies are fine. I'm fine. (The other driver is fine, too.) I'm shaky and achy and will be checking on the babies a few more times before bed and kissing their little foreheads in grateful relief .... but we're fine.

Thank God. We're fine.

And thank you, Chevrolet, for being a tank.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

oh, brother

And this, my friends, is why you should be glad YOU don't have a big brother. Unless, in fact, you do have a big brother. Then, I offer you my sincerest condolences.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

sappy mcsapperstein

Today, I was a one-man show. I got the babies up (after they got me up approximately one hour before the acceptable household wake up time of 7am). I changed, fed, dressed, changed, played, cleaned, changed, fed, cleaned .... you get the picture. Then I did everything else that every other mom does all around the world all day long, then on to dinner, bath, and bed. Solo. And people? I've got renewed appreciation for those of you who do this often or every night or more than just once a month or so. Because that was my life back in Austin, on my own from wake up to bed time during those emotionally and physically draining "newbie 2u2" days where someone always needed something and I was never quite able to get that something quite quickly enough for anyone's liking, leaving me feeling frustrated and deflated nearly every night. And that alone is reason enough to erase any pouty feelings I was having this morning about 72 degree ATX while we sat here at a snot-freezing 20. I like the daddy help, so I'll take the cold, because the cold is where the daddy job is that allows the daddy help. I like daddy walking in the door as the kids are eating, lightening the mood in an instant, taking the baby spoon from my hands, and then marching the food smeared kids up to bathe them all on his own while I relax. (Hahahahaha. By "relax" I mean "clean the kitchen and collect the 845 toys that have migrated all around the house since wake up time", obviously.) Anyway, whoa. That was a lot of work, those 12.5 hours. And I'm tired. But here's what I really wanted to say tonight: as I wrapped up bath time, I did so fully expecting to plunk each toddlerbaby into his/her crib and run straight downstairs to pour a glass of Riesling. Instead? I put them into their cribs one by one, walked to the top of the staircase, and just sat there, listening. To Bug chatting sleepily with his "woof", to Vivi humming herself off to sleep like she does. And then teared up a little. It was a wistful moment, sitting there at the top of the stairs. Part of me was really glad the day was over and the wine was chilled, but a bigger part of me felt breathless about how fast it really does go. How I put them to bed tonight just as they are, my little littles, but I'll get them up in the morning and they'll be .... changed. A little teeny bit bigger, a little teeny bit more confident, a little teeny bit closer to going off to preschool and school and college and wherever it is they'll go after that to chase their dreams while I sit at home collecting shelter animals to fill the void. You know what I mean? The day might have been long .... but it was the only today we'll have and it was done and that was kind of sad.
For the record, no, I'm not all sappy and emotional because I'm: a) PMSy, b) drunk, or c) pregnant. I promise, the correct answer to that one would be: d) none of the above. I'm just feeling all too aware tonight of how fast this is all going. Maybe because I thumbed through my hot-off-the-press blogbook #2 (Vivian's first year) and watched her go from new and tiny(ish) to big in the span of those 365 teeny days. Or maybe because we went to the library this afternoon and Anderson was not only well behaved but social, ditching baby sis and mama by the board books to play cars with some elementary aged boys. Or maybe it's my impending birthday. A big one, yall. Starts with a three and ends with an oh. (Oh, mah, gawd.) I don't know. All I know is my babies are big and in the morning they'll be even bigger and that makes mama's heart hurt a little.

(For the record, I do not ACTUALLY plan to sit around collecting shelter animals when my kids grow up, I plan to travel the world with my handsome husband and shop and nap a lot, because by then we'll have won the lottery. Just FYI. But there might be a few more animals, and by "might" I mean "duh, have we met, there will be".)

All right. Now that I got all that out, I'm going to go have my wine and watch Glee and wait really impatiently for Teen Mom 2/The Barbarasaurus Rex Show to start. You bettah get a LAWYAH, Janelle!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

oh, saturday

Even on a day like today, when I didn't make it quite early enough to get a set of drumsticks (or even through the studio door) to rock out in the Power Beats class (AFTER I ran around like a crazy person getting the three of us up and fed and out the door and into the car and down the road and into the Y), and when my work assignments were long and tedious (think 187 reviews by gamers, gamers who wouldn't know a piece of punctuation if it smacked them in their zoned out gAmErRRr face), and when my kids BOTH woke up exactly 10.2 seconds after I completed those assignments leaving me 0.0 seconds left over to read UsWeekly/chug another Diet Dew/take a breath in peace and precious quiet, and when I was really (really really) wishing it was my husband's Saturday off because after they woke up, nobody stopped whining for more than ten seconds until about five minutes ago when I finally poured a bowl of Goldfish, piled the three of us onto the couch, and turned on Thomas the Train (and forfeited that "mom of the year" competition for the day) ....

Even on a day like that, this is a pretty sweet little life we're living, and I can't lose sight of that no matter how hectically exhausting the day/week may be. A photographer friend recently posted pictures and the story of a family whose baby girl is fighting a brain tumor. She's 12 months old. (If you'd like to read Raina's story, send her prayers/good thoughts/what have you, her parents' blog can be found here.) Her story broke my heart and reminded me that every blessed second we get with these kids is a gift. Screaming, not sleeping, wiping boogers on my walls, whatever. Just let them stay healthy and let us never take that for granted.

And now, on a lighter note, our day. Our day beyond the missed class/mind numbing work/short nap/TV as a babysitter, that is.

Anderson steals iPhone, takes pictures and screenshots. I don't even know how to take screenshots on my iPhone, but Anderson (apparently?) does. He also knows how to turn on an iPad, locate the Talking Tom Cat app, and scream things like "poop" at that poor kitty.

Anderson raids my bag and finds my Zumba skirt, insists on wearing "zooma stirt". Rocks it. Dog is alarmed and barks. Shocker.

I snuggle baby girl. Resist urge to nom nom on her cheeks. Love, love, love.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Dear Anderson,
I'm sorry you were displeased at the molasses speed at which the Taco John's drive through guy was operating. Really, dude, I'm sorry, and I get it, because even mama was starting to wonder if he'd gone off to a field to pick the potatoes for the potato oles or something, and cursing your daddy under my breath for sending me to make this lunch run with two kids in tow when all I really wanted was a Mountain Dew. But you know what? Screaming "GO PLEASE GO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GO MAMA GO!" isn't really going to make this process move any faster for any of us. You know what else won't make us move faster? You removing your boots and chucking them at the back of my head. I mean, really. Ten cool points lost, homeboy. However, you're gaining back those cool points by continuing to sleep long past the anticipated 2pm nap wake up time, so keep it up. You sleep until 3, and we'll call this day even AND break out the watercolor paints this afternoon. Oh, and smooching your sister like this (as opposed to scratching her on the head/shoving her when she touches your toys)? Surefire way to gain mucho points as well. So. Sweet.

Dear Vivian,
How cute are you in the new skirt my crafty new friend Katie made you? Um, SO cute. As if we didn't already like Katie a whole lot .... this skirt making/crafting thing she does seals the deal. Especially since we're a bajillion miles away from my other crafty-things-making friend, Sara. Anyway, Vivi? You are so cute I want to squeeze you. And I don't know what it is about turning one, but it totally made a little girl out of you. Like before nap time when I caught you pulling your baby doll out of the play oven (who put her there? Mystery!) and giving her a big smooch and a back pat? Or how this morning when the cat meowed at you and raised a warning paw, you laughed in his face and meowed back? Sweetness.

Dear February,
Are you spring or are you winter? Kindly make up your mind. I don't actually care that much which one you want to be, but just make up your mind and be ONE thing so I don't go to the Y in leggings and a hoodie and get out of my car to discover it's like 20 degrees and rather Decemberish.

Dear Zumba,
You are my favorite thing EVER. You're the wind beneath my wings. I think if I enjoyed you any more it might actually be problematic.

Dear Noise I Heard In The Woods Last Night,
Thank you for ending up being a neighbor's muffler exploding (whatever that means), and not, say, a gunshot from a mass murderer like I once feared. And by feared I mean I was shaking and crying and about to crawl under the bed and call 911 before my husband talked me out of it because I guess gunshots in the woods aren't all that strange? (Really?) I'm new to this whole 'country living' thing and the city girl in me is conditioned to believe gunshot noises in the night mean the cops should be called because someone's dead. Anyway, I'm really glad you were a false alarm and not a mass murderer.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

looking sharp, a

And by sharp I mean like a Sharpie fiend.

Let me back up. Way back to last week. One day, I looked high and low for a Sharpie to address a package I was sending off. My search was fruitless. The next day, I was putting on my makeup, which these days is a twelve second hack job where I cover up my under eye circles, jab myself in the eyeball with my mascara wand, and brush on some bronzer that I pretty much always forget to blend in. Anyway, so I was doing that and Vivi was "doing her hair". Which means she was rubbing her bald head with a pick and smiling up at me, which is about the cutest thing ever. And Anderson was making laps around the main floor on his Buzz Lightyear rocket toy. Until it got kind of quiet, and we all know quiet in a house with a toddler (or two) means RUN AND FIND THE TODDLER(s), QUICK, BECAUSE SOMETHING IS DESTROYED. So I do, and I find him in the laundry room with a Sharpie, a striped face, and a marked up sweatshirt. And a big cute smile, the superspecial one he uses when he knows he did something naughty and would rather not get a time out. He looked like this:

No huge deal, lesson learned, hid the Sharpie above the fridge (and secretly felt thankful that he found me a damn Sharpie), checked the drawers and found no more Sharpies. Good to go.

Two days later. We're rushing around trying to vacate the premises by 8am to go pick up my mom and drive to Wausau (where my sister was flying in). Where there's also a mall and restaurants (BIG HUGE DEAL), so I wanted us to look presentable. I'm dressing Vivian in my bedroom, and I can hear A in the next room on that rocket (again). Until he comes rolling in and I about had a heart attack. Because his face? Sharpie city. It was bad, yall. I start scrubbing at his face with a diaper wipe (half naked Vivi on my hip) ... then it dawns on me that he's still clutching a capless Sharpie in his left hand and looking at me like I maybe haven't seen the worst of it yet. My heart sank, because if he'd done THAT to his face, what else had he done? I ran out into the kitchen and you guys? I almost DIED. It was like a horror movie. The fridge. The hardwood floor. The wall beside the fridge. The stair rail. The console table. In the 3.5 minutes it had taken me to get Vivi's diaper changed and pull a onesie over her head, he'd whizzed around the room on his rocket doing a LOT of damage. So I took him to Wausau looking like this:
The kids at the mall playland were looking at him like he was a leper, but his auntie sure thought it was funny when she got off the plane. I didn't even notice until we got home that evening that he'd also tagged the fireplace stone and his Fisher Price house. In under four minutes, so clearly, he was a man on a mission. And I still don't know where he found that Sharpie. He's got a stash somewhere, I swear he does. He is so, so lucky he's so, so cute.

And just so you know, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work on Sharpie. Make note of it, because even if you're pretty sure you don't have Sharpies within toddler reach, you probably do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

vivian has a party

So, the birthday party was last weekend. It was pink. And sweet. And then there was more pink. And there was family and a fun group of friends there with us to celebrate the first year of our Princess Sparklepants. Really, a perfect day that reminded me how very fortunate we are to have so much happiness and love in our lives. And cupcakes in our lives, too.

The party setup.

Vivian came downstairs after her nap and checked out the party decor with Mommo (aka grandma, grandma in toddlerspeak = Mommo).

While we waited for her party guests, we played "pass the birthday girl around and take pictures with her".

Auntie Megan and birthday girl.

Mommy and birthday girl.

Uncle Michael and his favorite nephew (the baby was unavailable).

Grandpa, Mommo, A & V. Doesn't Anderson look SO HAPPY to be taking pictures?

Daddy and birthday girl.

Tutu buns!

Great grandma and birthday girl.

Great grandpa, Auntie Megan, babies, and the Talking Tom iPad app that A's obsessed with.

Anderson and Auntie waiting for "fwens".

Cupcake time!

And now, she's one. With the last of the family departed (sniff, sniff), real life resumes tomorrow. And DVR viewing resumes tonight. Bachelor time! Even if I already know what happens because some people don't get the whole "don't post Bachelor spoilers on Facebook ten seconds after the show ends" thing.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

happy birthday, vivi!

february 12, 2010.
a baby girl is born.

february 12, 2011.
a big girl emerges.

Happy birthday, Vivian Jenae. We love you times one million.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a year ago

One year ago today, I took Bug to story time on a "cold" Texas Wednesday morning. We "bundled up" (read: I put a scarf on top of my long-sleeved tee shirt and wore my thicker leggings) and I drove to the library feeling tingly with emotions of all kinds - excited that the day I'd meet my baby girl was so near, nervous about the c-section, petrified of 2u2, relieved that my days of throwing up every time I laid down were nearly done, and truthfully, kind of sad. This was the very last story time of "Bug and mama". I knew, after this, it would all be different. He'd have to share my lap and my attention and even tougher to imagine ... he would have to share my heart. And so, as we sat there at story time (back when he still sat at story time) with my belly huge and Bumblebee pounding at my ribs, I fought back tears thinking about how his little life would change in 48 hours and feeling guilty about what my A was losing - his only child status, his babyhood, my undivided focus.

Fast forward 364 days.

Yesterday, I took the littles to a friend's house to play. When it was time to go, I decided to load the kids into the car one by one - take Bug out, buckle him in, run back inside for little sis. And as I carried my boy out the door, he was kicking and screaming something unintelligible and when I finally deciphered what it was that he was screaming, I had that same overwhelming urge to cry, right there on the frigid street. He was reaching his arms back toward the house, crying "baby! Sissy! Baby, mama!" Because he thought we were leaving his sister, his "babyvivi". It's amazing how he loves that baby, how he'll never know a life without his "bubbis", how he doesn't even realize there was a time where his life and hers weren't lived side by side. She didn't take a thing away from him, and she gave us all more than we ever could have imagined with her spunky, cuddly, giggly little girlish ways. I always knew we'd love her. I had no idea we had this much love left to give her.

Baby Vivi's birthday weekend extravaganza is upon us. And we're all so very excited to celebrate our sweet little girl.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

on the issue of the baby clothes

In most regards, I'm not big on hanging onto things. I picked up that anti-clutter trait of my mom's I detested so when I was a teenager and my Sassy magazine hit the trash because I let it sit on the kitchen counter for longer than three minutes while I went to puff up my bangs. "MOOOOMMMMMM!!!!! I WAS GOING TO REEEEEEEEEAD THAT!!!!!!" But I got older, the house became my domain and any clutter my own problem, so I too grew to feel a sense of lightened-up satisfaction in tossing/donating/recycling anything that might collect dust. (Exclusion: The Junk Drawer. No house is a home without a drawer full of defunct pens, keys to doors unknown, ten rolls of tape, and coupons I'll never use/that expired five months ago.)

Ahem. So, I'm anti-clutter. Unless we're talking about my babies' clothes, that is. I just can't/couldn't let go of the teeny tiny things. Well, I can, but it doesn't come easy. So as the months went on and each baby grew and grew, so did the piles of boxes of outgrown baby clothes. Sure, I tossed the poop/baby food/mystery stained items and donated what I could bear to say goodbye to forever (and only a couple of times did I stand at the back door of my SUV yanking a few beloved pieces out of the box as the Goodwill guy stood waiting for me to hand over my stash). And surprisingly, I've done (marginally) better with Vivi's outgrown things. #1: because second time moms aren't as sappy about every single moment (I guess because we subconsciously know the really good stuff is just ahead? Maybe?) #2: because Ayla and Alice were born, and passing things down to pretty baby girls I love makes the giving up more fun, less torture. But Anderson's stuff? OMG, yall. Mountains of handsomely striped BabyGap onesies and little carpenter jeans and outfits with puppy dogs and dump trucks on the front. But then came our move, and faced with the task of moving a family of four cross-country, I confronted this hoarded stash of baby clothes head on. I got it down to one (humungous) rubbermaid container per kid. Okay, the lid didn't exactly fit on A's green bin (didn't exactly = not even close = needed a big garbage bag to stash the overflow = or two garbage bags) and V's pink bin only snapped shut when I sat on it (and, uh, it was only months 0-6). But I did it! One container (sort of) per kid.

Now, I'll occasionally eye the green bin (and accompanying contraband bags) in the kids' storage closet and pull it all out intending to man up and pare down. Except, every single time, I get distracted by the ghost of babyhood past. The little baby blue pajama gown he wore for his newborn pictures! The navy and white striped outfit he had on at his post-baptism party, the one grandpa said made him look like an inmate! The red and white onesie he had on the day he first visited great grandpa and great grandma's farm! So every time I take out the green bin, I end up teary eyed at all the memories of first-time motherhood and with no less clutter than I had when I began. Or marginally less clutter. I did make some progress today, with a neat little stack to send off to J's cousin who just had a baby boy and another small bag for Goodwill. But I'd only gotten halfway through when Bug came over to see what I was doing and grabbed from the green bin one of my very favorite things - the little plaid hat- and yanked it out. "Babeeee hat!" Then he put it on his head and then I cried. Because it didn't fit. Because he's a grown man and not a baby and wasn't he just a baby like TEN SECONDS AGO wearing a little plaid hat on the beach, the one that matched his little plaid snappy baby pants and now he looks like a GROWN MAN in a baby hat?

Sniff, sniff. So away (again) went the green bin. On top of the pink bin, which now also contains months 6-9 and doesn't actually snap shut, either, and only sort of closes when I stack the heavy green bin on top of it. And the bigger problem is, as well-fed kids tend to do, my babies keep growing. And so does the pile of stuff around the bins that would go in the bins if there were room in the bins. Pretty soon, A&E's going to come calling. "Episode 76: The Lady In The Woods With The Baby Clothes."

I can't be the only mama with this baby clothes hoarding problem, can I? What are you supposed to do? What do you do? WWJD? Do you hang onto all the stuff just in case you should ever have another baby of that sex? (Which is what I tell myself I'm doing with these bins- keeping it for my hypothetical future baby.) Get rid of it all? Share it with friends until you need it back? Dip it all in gold and mount it on the wall? WHAT?

Monday, February 7, 2011


Did you hear the news? WE ARE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS! It was a proud night to be a Packer fan. And the babies, they did their Packer backing part in their finest green and gold. And pink. J protested that pink isn't a Packer color and doesn't match green or gold, but hello? She's hair-challenged and wearing a jersey. So unless he wanted people complimenting his handsome baby son, she needed some pink.

The headband lasted all of 5.5 seconds.

See? There's big brother coming in to assist with the removal. Which was okay, because she'd already yanked at it and made it stick up all funny.

Speaking of big brother. He was in 'a mood' yesterday. And by 'a mood' I mean drove us to the brink of insanity by 2pm. He saw me making cookies after lunch, and had a big huge dramatic meltdown over said cookies. Think screaming and kicking and sister shoving and absolutely no words that sounded like "mama, cookie, please". So obviously, no cookie. So obviously, he spent most of the afternoon screaming and kicking and sister shoving. And when I did talk him into sitting (begrudgingly) for a picture, instead of saying "cheese" he mumbled "cookie" and pointed off toward the kitchen cabinet he'd seen me "hide" the cookies in.

But then, for a few seconds, there was sweetness.

Until he remembered the cookies hiding in the kitchen.

No fear, Bug-pitying readers, he did eventually get his cookie fix. We took him to a Packer party where he ate cookies, chased girls, and won mama some money on the slots.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

go pack go!

Today, I will dress my kids in green and gold and watch our Green Bay Packers play football. It's a family tradition.

My family, circa 1996, risking our lives in green and gold outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Don't be too jealous of my stonewash Girbauds. You know you wore them, too.

Anderson's been chanting "go, Pack, go" all afternoon. Vivi fits perfectly into the Driver jersey handed down by her big brother (with a jean skirt and pink babylegs ... obviously we need to girl it up). And we'll go to a party with our friends and try not to be TOO jealous that my dad and brother are actually AT THE GAME. At the SUPER BOWL. (Not-being-jealous: fail.)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

it's vivbruary

In the grand tradition set by her Auntie Megs, birthdays go on for weeks and weeks. A month, even, if you really milk it. It's Vivbruary, baby, and you're turning ONE. And your mama? Loving you more and more with every passing day as you grow spunkier and funnier and girlier, and do things like push your dolls around in a play shopping cart while holding a spatula to your ear like a phone. Little mama.

So last Sunday, we kicked off Vivbruary with a birthday photo session. My girl. A tutu. Our boys sent packing. Our friend Jen of Ruby Photography working her magic with her camera. A pile of Puffs. Result? A whole lot of Miss V adorability. Here are a few of our sneak peeks:

Cupcake onesie by: The Paisley Store on Etsy