Friday, October 26, 2012

Earning my stripes

I am having one of those days. 
One of those days where I can't believe the words that come out of my mouth.  In the midst of a fort building afternoon (which proudly leads me to believe that Julia will be an amazing architect who will design me a house with a view one day), I heard a muffled cry from Charlie.  Since my hands were full with wet towels mopping up an, "Oops, I didn't make it to the bathroom because the fort holds me captive" potty moment, I realized that I didn't have the resources to save Charlie, so I simply shouted, "Julia, can your brother breathe?  Just make sure he can breathe!"  She assured me that Charlie could breathe and in a few moments he came toddling toward me for the added piece of mind that he was freed from the fortress. 
While I don't promote trusting a 3-year old to look out for the wellbeing of a 15-month old, I realize the daily need to triage much of what's going on around me.  It's the reason why nothing in my house gets put away, it just gets placed somewhere else while I have to throw it to the side to grab Charlie from his summit on top of the dining room table.  It explains why Julia's new phrase is, "Will I have to ask you again in 5 minutes?"  The bottom line is that most of the time I see the tasks ahead, but I can't get out of my own way.  Life feels like an obstacle course right now, the kind that you look at from the outside and think that it's simple but once your doing the army crawl you realize that you weren't quite cut out for this. 
Sometimes it takes a phrase you never thought you say coming out of your mouth or a humbling scenario that makes you wonder who is in charge.  These precious cherubs fill me unlimited joy and a dose of hair-raising reality.  Well, today I have earned my merit badge.  The one that involves Tent Making, Teaching Children to Follow the Rules, Home Organization, the ever so coveted Baking Badge (for multiple Halloween parties), Potty Training 101 (when I thought we had accomplished this one months ago), Teaching a Teething Toddler not to Bite, and How Long Can my Dog Last before I have to Pack Everyone Up to Take Her for a Walk? Badge.  The ones I never cared about or acheived as a trusty girl scout.  On days like this I wish I'd focused a little bit more on that Survival badge years ago.
Don't let these little faces full you parenting is not for the faint of heart.  :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The world according to...

Along with bath, books and brushing teeth, we have added some storytelling to our bedtime routine.  Julia is not afraid to let me know that Daddy is so much better at this than Mommy.  I'm okay with this reality most of the time.  Other times I am told mid-story how the rest must go and how Daddy would have done it better.  Yes, I take my direction from a three year old. 
When I let Julia take the lead we are often in for quite a fairy tail.  It ALWAYS begins with "Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named Julia Claire Gray..."  Julia is ALWAYS joined by her best friends, which vary between her many "real" friends, a pet squirrel, and sometimes Jesus.  This is where I jump start into the story, but I have to be careful to say the right things.  I have quickly learned that Julia must ALWAYS be strong, the scary parts must quickly be remedied, and Julia ALWAYS wins in the end.  Without that framework these stories become "horrible" in Julia's eyes.   As we have dreamed up incredible feats for Julia, I am struck by her very own storytelling skills.  Since this has become such a big part of our routine, Julia's imagination comes alive as she slays the fire breathing dragon with the "King Daddies" and realizes that the dragon was always very nice (he just talked funny) and he comes to live with her in the castle where he eats popsicles to fix his fire breathing problem. 
Needless to say, bedtime is always entertaining. 
There are so many outlets to treasure these moments with my children.  About a year ago I wanted to extend beyond the blog and create a keepsake that is more personal for Julia and Charlie.  I found the perfect way to do so when I was searching for Christmas gifts on  I found personalized journals that were a perfect way to jot down some notes to Julia and Charlie on special occasions and on regular days when their personality shines through and I want to capture their reaction or statement.  I have been writing periodically in these journals - one each for Julia and Charlie.  When they are older they can enjoy the emergence of their personality inked with insights about parenting, prayers, and pieces of advice along the way.  After every entry in Charlie's book I find myself telling him to never let go of his kind heart and soft affection. His latest involves his refusal to say many words so his "yes" is a huge giggle.  I look back on my notes for him and I see such a sweet boy unfolding.  I wonder how that sweet boy will take in these words when he reads it years from now.   I am often laughing when I look back on my notes to Julia.  She is the only 3-year old I know who can be fiercly feisty, yet incredibly nurturing and in tune to the needs around her at the same time.  Life for her could be an ongoing musical in which she is the main character and singing permeates each scene.
Whether our days are filled with phrases that cause Charles and I to laugh uncontrollably, stories of the latest and greatest from Princess Julia, or tender moments that can never be replicated, my hope is to take a small piece to preserve this time. 
And as of tonight in the world according to Julia, her prayer is that everyone should love pink and glitter and live happily ever after...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

C is for....


and coughing
and cloudy days
and cinnamon bread

When it rains, it pours. Not only were we stuck inside most of last week due to the weather, the children's colds evolved into a hearty case of bronchitis for me. Here are some of our outtakes from our week inside. My sanity remains intact thanks to a quick but well timed visit from my mom!
I can usually take on project that requires 10 minutes or less due to the overlapping of naps that occur in our house.  As Julia becomes easier to occupy, Charlie rarely sits still.  His latest accomplishments?  Climbing on TOP of our dining room table, spreading powder throughout the house, and becoming a fearless flyer on top of the couch.  He requires constant supervision and if I could grow an extra set of hands, they would be dedicated solely to him.  Here is my latest "10 or less" project.  The inspiration came from the simple fact that I'm not a huge fan of my child being a billboard for a brand of clothing.  Therefore, I added own twist to this cute little romper.  The letter "C". 
He wears it quite well. 
"C" also stands for "climber".  Crazy climber.
With my mom's help, I was able to steal a little time to bake bread.  It is honestly one of the easiest tasks since you can leave it to rise and pay attention to it in shifts.  Bread is my latest baking obsession and I am justifying the unlimited carbs filling our house with the fact that all of this 1/2 marathon training needs some fuel.  These little adventurers need quite a bit of fuel too!

Given the simple fact that "powder play" occupied about an hour of their time today, it's an understatement to say we need to get out.  
"C" is also for Counting down to can't come soon enough!