Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Safety scissors can indeed cut hair

I like to believe that I don't take much in life too seriously. I try to find humor in everyday occurences. I like to laugh at the craziness created by life with two little ones. Let me emphasize ... I LIKE to do that. Just because I try to do this, well, it doesn't mean I am always successful.

See, there are some days the chaos of living in a house that I can never seem to keep clean drives me up a wall. There are some times when just looking at another load of laundry to fold and put away will put me over the edge. There are some days when the whining and fighting in the backseat of my car makes me yell, "STOP FIGHTING!" in a voice that is entirely humor-free.

Then, there is a day like today. A day, when I simply could not find an ounce of humor in the situation. When I called Cory sobbing so hard he was sure an ambulance was on its way to the house to pick up a critically injured child. I am sure, one day, far in the future, I will laugh about this. I'm sure, one day, this story will be told with hilarity around the dinner table. I'm sure, one day, this story will indeed be reflective of the title of this blog. Oh, but today is not that day.

Today, I discovered that turnaround is a bitch. Or something like that. Remember when Charlotte cried inconsolably at her first hair cut? Today, I was the one to turn on the waterworks.You see, today, my four and a half year old decided she wanted to play "haircut lady." I will pause to let you imagine how that sweet plan could have possibly backfired. Doesn't take much imagination to figure out how it all went wrong, huh?

It all started so innocently. I was busily cleaning up the chaos of Christmas, and the girls were quietly playing in Molly's room. I, naively, assumed they were playing Barbies or baby dolls. (They had received quite a few of those for Christmas, so I thought that was a safe assumption.) I'm vacuuming away when I hear Molly calling to me. She proudly paraded Charlotte to the top of the stairs. "Mommy, do you like Charlotte's hair? I did it." I glanced up and thought she had just been brushing it (It never occured to me that she would cut it!). I absentmindedly nodded and continued vacuuming.

A couple minutes later, I hear Molly calling to me again. I'd finished vacuuming, so I turn off the machine and wheel around to face my two precious daughters. Immediately, my eyes land on the right side of Charlotte's head, and what used to be her adorable little bob haircut. Only, now, her hair is laying in multiple different length chunks all along the side of her head.

"WHAT?!?!?!" I screamed. "Did you cut Charlotte's hair?" I question Molly.
"Did you cut Charlotte's hair?"
"Don't lie to me, Molly. Did you cut Charlotte's hair?"
"I cut Charlotte's hair."

At this point, I promptly burst into tears. Then, of course, Molly starts crying. She knows she's in trouble now. Charlotte, of course, is blissfully unaware of the tragedy that has befallen her head of hair. She is smiling and happily playing with Barbies and baby dolls.
The side view of the hatchet job.
And, front on.
It was right about then that I tried to call Cory and explain what had happened. Apparently, my blubbering wasn't exactly understandable because he thought I said Molly had cut Charlotte. He had images of bleeding and ambulances. Once he finally figured out I was talking about a hair cut, he was immensely relieved. And, not offering the sympathy needed in this moment of familial tragedy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Overload

The other day, while driving in the car (where all the best conversations happen), I got a stumper of a question from Molly.

"Mommy, how many Santas are there?"

I panicked for a second, then calmed down enough to ask her why she was asking. She explained, "well, we saw Santa today, but the one that Penelope is sitting on in her Christmas card has glasses like Papa, and the other Santa had glasses, but Santa today had a different kind of glasses."

Well, first off, I was impressed that Molly had those keen powers of observation. I'm not sure as a 4-year-old, I would've noticed that some Santas wear certain glasses while others wear a different kind. And, second, I really hope we're not overexposing Molly to Santa. I don't want to give her too many opportunities to second-guess the very existence of the jolly old elf. I'm sure it's easier to not catch the inconsistencies in Santa when you don't actually see the man all the time.

As it is, Molly's already seen Santa from far away once, sat on his lap twice, and talked to him once on the phone. She's told him what she wants three times, and explained that she's been a good girl three times. She probably thinks that Santa is having lots of "senior" moments, forgetting that he's already been told the same thing over and over and over.

The first time we saw Santa was back right before Thanksgiving when we went up to the Legends Christmas Tree Lighting. Santa flew in on a helicopter. We already had to do some quick thinking to explain the helicopter vs. sleigh phenomenon. But, luckily, he was far enough away that you couldn't see if he had glasses, or what type of those glasses they were.

The next time we saw Santa this season was at Molly's Christmas dance show. She actually danced really well and loved being on stage. Then, the surprise guest at the end of the show ... Santa!
Molly explaining that she wants a desk and a Barbie car.
Yup, Charlotte was terrified. Molly took over and told Santa that Charlotte wanted a baby doll.
Then, we had Molly's preschool Christmas performance. All the precious little preschoolers sat on the chancel and sang adorable Christmas songs, complete with hand movements and bells. Made me cry just thinking that she was going to be too big for it next year. Or, it could've been the fact that 50 preschoolers were ringing bells, trying to stay on rhythm. Anyway, she did a great job singing, and the surprise guest at the end of the show ... Santa!

After explaining (again) that she wanted a desk and a Barbie car.
This Santa got bonus points because he gave her a gift right there.  A new book!!!
So, for now, Molly accepted my explanation that Santa just has different glasses and outfits, just like Mommy wears glasses sometimes and not other times. She seemed to take that at face value. We have one more time to see Santa at Papa's Rotary breakfast on Friday. Who knows what kind of glasses that Santa will be wearing?!?

 Let's hope the sweet, innocence of believing in Santa lasts for a while longer. And, hey, at least she doesn't have an older brother to ruin it for her like I did. That's gotta give her one or two more years, don't you think?

PS. I have a video of her talking to Santa on the phone that is pretty darn funny, but I cannot figure out how to get the video from the camera onto the computer. We're keeping our fingers crossed Santa drops a new flip cam down the chimney along with the desk and baby doll.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Top That

The other night at dinner with some friends, we started talking about movies of our childhood. I'm not really sure how the conversation even began. What is it about movies or TV shows from childhood that can bond people and bring up such happy memories? Everyone immediately starts sharing which shows they loved or which movies their parents wouldn't let them watch. Which ones they watched continually and which ones they were forced to watch by their sister.

So, we were drinking, talking and reminiscing about which 80s movies we had or hadn't seen. It soon became clear that I have seen every girly 80s movie made. Well, the good ones anyway. Apparently, I'm a connoisseur of girly 80s movies. Is there such a thing?

I don't know if there is, but I do love me some classic 80s movies. Nothing can put a smile on my face faster than flipping through the channels and finding a showing of Dirty Dancing. Especially the dance lesson montage scene. Or 16 Candles? Who didn't want to sit with Jake Ryan on their glass dining room table and blow out the candles on their 16th birthday? Um, I know I did.

One of my friends hadn't seen Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Are you kidding me? I do believe that is sacrilege. How can you not have seen that bastion of 80s awesomeness with Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt and Shannon Doherty? Classic.

But, one of my favorite movies from the annals of 80s moviedom is actually a lesser-known Hollywood production. Shockingly, despite the awesome singing, dancing and rapping throughout the movie, not one actor "broke out" after the movie. And, not so shockingly, only one of my friends had seen it. Here goes, with full confession, one of my favorite 80s movies of all time is ... Teen Witch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vintage style

So, a few months back, I got a phone call from a girl who works at my old company. She prefaced the conversation with, "I know this seems weird, but ... " She then went on to explain that for this year's company Christmas party, the owner of the company had an idea. He wanted to invite some former employees to attend the party. The theme of the party was "vintage" both for dress, and, apparently, for guests. Seeing as how I am already having a tough time with the whole getting older issue, I had to gulp a couple times before accepting that I was considered "vintage." But, once I got past that characterization of myself, I thought it could be pretty cool.

Considering it has been 4 and a half years since I worked there (I just have to add one day to Molly's age in order to figure out how long I've been gone), I wasn't sure if it would be weird or awkward. But, Cory and I both worked at PlattForm, and we still know people who currently work there. So, we thought it would be fun to get a chance to catch up with some of those people. Cory's company doesn't have a big holiday party, so there was no competition there. Plus, it was free food and drink, so you know Cory was on board.

Now, because my current job involves changing diapers and finding lost blankies, I don't get a whole lot of chances to get all gussied up. Every once in a while, it's nice to put on some heels and sparkly jewelry. And, there was the added bonus of the party having a theme. Vintage. I could totally roll with that. I love me some vintage style. Not that I wear it on a regular basis. I am definitely not hipster enough to do that. But, give me the right opportunity, and I am all about it.

Luckily, I had a connection. But, it's a secret connection. So, I can't tell you where I got to borrow my gorgeous dress from. But, it is truly vintage. 1958 Dior. Yes, you read that right. Amy got to wear a designer dress. Considering The Gap is about as designer as my everyday wardrobe gets, this was pure heaven. And, don't worry, I avoided the red wine and marina sauce. There was no way I was going to risk spilling anything red on the cream silk.

Cory went for the Mad Men vibe with a skinny tie. And, yes, that is a hat on me. I LOVED it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Running from traditional Thanksgivings

I've always loved Thanksgiving, even if it does sometimes impede on my birthday celebrations. There's just something about the colors of fall and the warm and fuzzy feelings of walking into a house with the smell of turkey and rolls wafting toward your nose. And, even though I love the traditional meal served at my mom's house, most of my childhood memories of Thanksgiving are not all that "traditional." My dad was in the army, so we spent many of our Thanksgiving meals eating in the cafeteria on post. They would decorate the whole place, make it all festive, and serve a TON of food, buffet-style. Nothing says Thanksgiving like an army cafeteria, right? Well, I really loved the food, anyway.

So, my childhood memories of Thanksgiving weren't "traditional," and now I get to make up more traditions for my own girls to remember when they are all grown up. This year, we actually started what I hope will be a new tradition. We got every runner in the family out to run in a Thanksgiving 5K on Thanksgiving morning. Obviously, running is a huge part of my life, and it's always fun when you can get a huge group out for a race. We even met up with the Rahimian family, who were also there for the race. We got to see tons of people in costume and got a little exercise in before the big meal. We all had a great time. Ok, I had a great time. I'm hoping everyone else did, too. And, I'm hoping we will continue it every year. I guess it's not "traditional," but I have good memories of the army cafeteria, so hopefully the girls will have good memories of the Thanksgiving Day 5K, too.

The whole family crew.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Non-Grimm Gingerbread Houses

I've never been a fan of the Grimm fairy tales. Molly received a giant book of them when she was little. While reading them to her, my mind is constantly spinning, trying to figure out an easy way to change the endings so everyone doesn't die. I know, I know, I'm sure I'm being an overprotective, sheltering mom, but I just can't get on board with reading my 4-year-old daughter stories about her favorite princesses complemented with gore, blood and death. I just can't stomach explaining why Cinderella's step-sisters would cut parts of their feet off in order to fit in the golden slipper. I already have a hard enough time answering the "Where's Nemo's mommy?" question.

One of my least favorite stories is Hansel and Gretel. I mean, really. Two starving children are abandoned in the woods and lured to almost certain death by the appeal of a giant gingerbread house covered in candy. They do manage to escape the evil witch's plans, and instead push her into an oven, but still. The entire premise is just disturbing. First the children are abandoned by their parents. Then, a house made of candy is turned into a torture chamber while the witch prepares to EAT the children. I mean, sure there's a lesson about not touching what doesn't belong to you, or not taking candy from strangers, but really, must the story be so graphic?

Maybe I'm particularly bothered by this story because, throughout my whole childhood, my family has made gingerbread houses during Christmastime. My mom would make the houses, then each child would decorate their own house with candy galore. We invited our friends and had every type of candy, marshmallows, cookies, crackers, and frosting to choose from. Each house ended up looking completely different, despite pulling from the same pile of decorating goodies. I always loved to decorate the yard, best. The teddy graham fence was a favorite of mine. Personally, I never chose to eat the candy off my finished house (I spent way too much time creating a masterpiece), but I don't believe that children who do eat their candy should be punished by being pushed into an oven by an old witch. My own, humble opinion.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Christmas Buzz

Santa Claus is coming to town, Santa Claus is coming to town ...

Ok, I know that it is still November, and that it hasn't passed Thanksgiving yet, but I am in the Christmas spirit. Sue me. Judge me. Ridicule me. Do whatever you want, but I'm not giving up that Christmas buzz. You know the one. The buzz that makes you tap your toes and hum along with Christmas music. The buzz that makes your eyes shine as you stare at lights strung on trees and houses. The buzz that makes you snuggle close with your loved ones while the wind whips outside your home and you watch Christmas movies. It's here. And, I've got it.

Now, I used to be one of those people who insisted that you shouldn't even start seeing anything Christmas-related until after Thanksgiving. My birthday is always right around Thanksgiving (sometimes on the actual day), and I think my distaste for pre-Thanksgiving holiday cheer stemmed from my birthday getting lost in the shuffle. However, as I've grown older, I've changed my tune.

Remember when you were a little kid counting down the days until Santa came? I used to open one tiny door on my advent calendar each morning and couldn't possibly imagine that the 25th would ever arrive. Now, being older and having children of my own, I feel like the entire month of December flies by in a blink of an eye. In fact, you can toss November in there, too, because it's over pretty much right after Halloween. Entire holiday seasons would be over before I really had enjoyed them. In light of this apparent fast-forwarding of time, I've decided that I'm going to get over my previously stringent rule on pre-Thanksgiving Christmas cheer. I will welcome that Christmas buzz when it floats my way, even if we are a week before Turkey day.

Tonight, a full five days before the 4th Thursday in November, we fully embraced the Christmas cheer. We bundled up the girls and went to see the Legends Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Now, different cities have different lighting ceremonies. You've got Rockefeller Tree Ceremony in New York with Al Roker hosting and Justin Bieber singing. Here in Kansas City, the big lighting ceremony is the Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving night, hosted this year by meteorologist Gary Lezak and the awesome Eric Stonestreet (a KC native aka Cam on Modern Family). The one time I remember going to the Plaza Lighting Ceremony was on my 16th birthday. It was cold, ridiculously crowded, and we didn't get anywhere close enough to see anything happening on stage. It's not worth braving the crowds to see that again, as amazing as I think Eric Stonestreet is. So, we went with the low-key, closer-to-home Legends, hosted by meteorologist Brett Anthony and Santa Claus.

On a side note: Seriously, what is with weather guys hosting lighting ceremonies? Is there some kind of correlation between TV weathermen and Christmas? An unwritten rule of which I was not aware? It's just baffling to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Girl time with Aunt Amber

A couple of weeks ago, Cory's sister came up from Ft. Worth, Texas, to visit. (I used say she lived in Dallas, because I thought it was all in the same. Plus, Dallas was the more well-known of the pair of cities. I've since been informed that there is a HUGE difference, and a certain person from Ft. Worth does not want to be mistaken for someone from Dallas. So, now you know. Feel free to take that little nugget of knowledge and run with it.)

Amber was actually in town for her high school reunion, but we got to steal some time with her. She flew in on a Friday morning, and was able to help pick up Molly from preschool. The minute Molly saw Amber sitting in the car, her face broke into a giant grin. Molly's face, that is. Well, probably Amber's, too, now that I think about it. And, you could just tell that Molly had been talking the teacher's ear off all about it as she beamed and pointed excitedly to our car. Having your aunt come into town (on an airplane!) to visit can cause quite the hullabaloo in a preschooler's day (in a good way, of course).

When Amber comes to town, you can guarantee the activities will be girl-centric. The last time Amber was in town, she took Molly out for an afternoon of shopping with Joan (Cory's mom). Molly came home with a brand-new ballet outfit, complete with sparkly skirt. You tell me, what little girl doesn't want a pink, sparkly ballet skirt? Not any living in this house, that's for sure. And, on top of that, Molly got to skip her nap. She thought she was pretty hot stuff.

This visit, there was no shopping excursion, but Molly did get something she never gets with Mommy. She got her hair french braided. I'm not quite sure how I missed learning that skill growing up (especially considering I always had a braid in my hair), but Aunt Amber is awesome at it, so Molly had her hair braided while I watched and tried to learn. Amber said I needed to practice on a Barbie to get the hang of it. So, what do you think Molly's been having me do when we play with her Barbies now? I'm getting better, but still not great on a live human child. I think they're too squirmy.

On Amber's last night in town, we were able to bust out the dance moves and boogie down in a Molly-style impromptu dance party. Cory's parents are re-doing their kitchen and getting new carpet in their house, so they had taken out all the furniture for the workers coming the next day. You take a huge empty room, big windows reflecting as if mirrors, a basket full of dress up clothes, and a hyped-up 4-year-old, and what do you get? Why that's right! A dance party.

Just wait, the pictures are as awesome as you think they are:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween time (a few weeks late)

I really wanted to be creative this year for Halloween. I know there are not too many years left where I can have absolute say or at least much persuasion over Halloween costumes. Therefore, I wanted to take advantage of this and pick out absolutely adorable, coordinating Halloween costumes. I thought and thought and thought. For some reason, my creativity was non-existent this year. I simply could not come up with anything I thought would suffice.

So, this year, the girls were witches. I know. Completely out-of-the-box, no? And, truly, Charlotte refused to wear her hat, so she didn't even really look like a witch. She was supposed to be a candy corn witch, but without the hat, we just called her a candy corn. And, Molly did insist that she was a good witch, not a scary witch whenever someone asked. So, those are kind of different. Right? Maybe?

One thing about Halloween, it's not just one day. The girls actually get several wearings out of their costumes, which thrills Molly, and it makes me pretty happy, too. Better to spend money on a costume if they can wear multiple times. And, yes, I did buy their costumes. I have friends who handmade their children's costumes, even down to the trick-or-treat bag. (I'm looking at you Sarah and Ella!) We've already discussed my distinct lacking of traditional housewife skills, so I'm sure it comes as a surprise to no one to discover that Molly and Charlotte were store-bought witches. In fact, they were online store-bought witches. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Memories made at the pumpkin patch

Several weeks ago, we took a family trip to the pumpkin patch. If you know me at all, you know I am a sucker for a good photo-op. I look at a situation and think, "Oooh, I have the perfect scrapbook paper for the page I'm going to make with that picture." I have years of pictures and memories dutifully bound in scrapbooks, sitting on my bookshelf.

If I were to psycho-analyze myself with all the psychological insight earned from years of watching characters go to therapy in tv shows and movies, I might go so far as to say that I love pictures because my own memory is so bad. Seriously. You could fly a fleet of jumbo jets through the holes I have in my childhood memories. Halloween? I remember exactly two costumes. Princess and punk rocker. Two. That's it!

Well, I really hope my own children remember more of their childhoods, and I definitely don't want to forget a minute of it myself, so I try to document every single possible photo-op.

Thus enters the pumpkin patch. If you can imagine, my yearly scrapbooks are not complete without the requisite fall pictures with pumpkins. Now, I'm not saying that I only take the girls to a pumpkin patch in order to get a good picture. I mean, I hope they have fun while we're there, but I also really hope I get some good pictures!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Molly the Negotiator

There are so many careers I imagine for Molly's future. She could be a doctor like her papa. She could be a teacher like her two grandmas. She could go into finance and make her dad ecstatic. She could become an artist, which is what she says she is going to be. There are just so many ways her life could unfold. The world is oyster.

But, lately, I'm starting to see signs that Molly might make her way in this world by becoming a hostage negotiator. Or, a UN ambassador. Or, a corporate lawyer. Pretty much anything that involves the act of negotiation, actually.

My little future hostage-negotiator?

I know you're wondering why I would think my darling, sweet daughter would be venturing into this life. Well, all you need to do is sit with us at our dinner table on any given night. You do that and you will see her sharpening those negotiating skills to a razor-like point. You will understand what I'm talking about.

Take the other night. We are trying to be healthy, so we serve chicken, vegetables and some bread. (Yes, I do realize that sounds like a dinner out of the 50s, but give me a break, I'm still new to this whole making dinner thing.) So, what on the plate does Molly want? Only the bread, of course.

And with that back-story, let the drama unfold:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Adventures in Ballooning

Now that preschool is back in session, and we only have one year before kindergarten, Molly and I have been working a lot on her reading. So, in honor of all books we've been reading lately, here is last week's adventure written as a children's book. Enjoy (or not):

Adventures in Ballooning

Molly was 4-years-old and loved to imagine what it would be like to fly. In fact, every night she dreamed that she was flying in the sky. And, each morning Molly told her mom all about her dreams and what she had seen while she was flying.

Sometimes, she saw squirrels packing away nuts and acorns for the winter. Sometimes, she saw trucks and cars racing super fast through the streets. And, some nights, she even saw zebras running and playing tag with elephants. Molly always started her stories to her mom with, "Last night, when I was flying in the sky ... " Her mom knew that Molly was just dreaming and using her imagination, though. Molly wasn't actually flying through the sky every night.

But, that didn't stop Molly from wishing she could fly. Every time she heard an airplane, she looked up and followed its path through the blue sky. She watched as it played hide-and-seek with the white, fluffy clouds. Molly taught her little sister, Charlotte, to watch for airplanes, too. She even taught Charlotte how say the word "airplane." Molly was proud that she was able to teach her baby sister things like that.

One day, Molly looked up in the sky and saw the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen. It was round, soft and the red, yellow, blue and green colors were so bright it appeared as if someone had painted them on a bright blue canvas. It looked like a giant balloon was floating in the sky.

And, it turns out, that's what it was. Molly asked her mom about it. "That is called a hot air balloon, Molly," her mom replied. "Those balloons are so big that people can ride in the baskets underneath. They can travel all over the world in them."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Celebrating 30 in style

My birthday is coming up in a little over a month. And, no, I'm not sending out a giant hint to all my friends and family. See, I'm turning 31. Blech. At least 30 was a big deal. 31, you're just in your 30s. Nothing special and not even deserving of a big party. I've always had a love-hate relationship with my birthday. Not that I've generally had a problem with getting older (that is a recent life development), but it is when my birthday takes place that causes me such consternation.

It is November 28th, and most years, that places it smack dab in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday (American Thanksgiving that is). Sometimes, it even lands on Thanksgiving day. As a child, this meant my family mercilessly teasing me by putting four candles in a turkey and insisting that it was my birthday cake. When I got a little older, I could never have a party around my birthday because all of my friends were celebrating with their own families. Even my 16th birthday, which, of course, was on Thanksgiving day, was a total disaster. Think massive snow storm, people not being able to come, and others getting into crashes trying to drive to my house. Just a mess. Do you have a mental image of a sad girl sitting alone with a table full of uneaten food, trying not to cry? If you do, then you are remarkably intuitive, 'cause that's pretty much what that night looked like.

Anyway, all of that back story to say that I've become adept at having very low expectations for my birthday. Last year, when I turned 30, Cory told me that he was going to plan it all. That was fine with me, because then I didn't have to worry about things not turning out right. He far exceeded my low expectations. He surprised me with not one, but two amazing parties. AND, he arranged for childhood friends and family to come from around the country (North Carolina, Oregon, Minnesota and Texas) to surprise me. It was literally my best birthday ever, and totally made up for my disaster of a sweet sixteen party.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The search for precious medals

Lately, a lot of our weekend hours have been spent in pursuit of one thing. It's round, shiny and hangs around your neck. Nope, it's not a diamond necklace. (Though, I wouldn't turn up my nose at a sparkly bauble should someone offer me one.)

I've been spending many hours these past few weekends running in races around the city, and I'll let you in on this dirty little secret of mine.

I like to win medals.

I know, I know. I should say I run for the sense of accomplishment I gain from all the hard work. And, that I run in races to raise money for worthy charities. And, that I run for the camaraderie of the running community. And, all of that is true. I do love crossing the finish line, even if I don't place. And, I even enjoy the training. Most of the time. But, I've gotta tell you the truth: I really like to get medals, too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's in a neighborhood?

Tonight, our driveway was covered in chairs, tables, people, food, and children laughing and running. Tonight, we played host to the neighborhood block party.

When we first moved into our house 8 years ago, we had no idea what we were getting in to. And, I mean that in the best possible way. We were young, had been married less than a year, and had had only lived in apartments. We went house hunting with the concrete knowledge that we would only live in our starter house for 5 years. Tops. Ha! I laugh at our silly younger selves. Because we weren't planning to stay that long, we didn't really look into the schools that much. We didn't care that the house was on a cul-de-sac. And, we definitely didn't consider what kind of neighbors we were getting. Man, did we luck out.

In good weather, people are almost always outside. Kids run up and down the street. Molly and Charlotte have lots of other children to play with. We've gone to block parties, Christmas parties, pumpkin carving parties, Easter Egg Hunts, and wine tastings. My running partner lives right across the street from me. It's been 8 years, and frankly, we are scared to move. I can't imagine moving to another neighborhood. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Circus Ringleader

I've written before about how the boys in our neighborhood can be mean to Molly. She is a really tender-hearted girl, so it kills me when I see her try desperately to be included, only to be shut out. I know, I know, I'm going to die when she gets into school. But, this week, it happened again. We were playing outside, enjoying the beautiful weather, and she really, really wanted to play with some neighborhood kids. When the boys next door finally came home, she was ecstatic. She ran over to them and asked them to play with her. They were incredibly uninterested, as they were busy playing Ben 10. (I have no idea what Ben 10 is. Remember, I have two girls. Apparently it is some cartoon TV show about a boy who fights aliens or something.)

Anyway, Molly tried to play along, but wasn't really getting it. So, she kept asking if they would play camp-out, which is what we were playing on our driveway. We had sticks and were roasting pretend marshmallows over my amazing chalk-drawn campfire, and we were pretending to sleep under the stars. She really wanted to have some other kids play with her. The boys were not having it and just kept ignoring her. She finally gave up, came over to me, sat in my lap in front of our "campfire" and cried. And, then I wanted to cry.

But, have no fear. This isn't a poor-me blog post about my daughter getting left out of the boys' games. Because although Molly wasn't allowed to play with those little boys, she does have an amazing knack of getting adult boys to do what she wants. Enter into the story: a friendly barbecue at our friends Emily and Ryan's house. Now, among the group of people there, Cory and I, well, we have a little more life experience than the others. Or, as Cory says, we are the old-farts they allow to hang out with them. I personally prefer my terminology. Potato - Potahto.

Friday, September 2, 2011


So, my precious, adorable, beautiful darling daughter has been giving me quite the headaches lately. See, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to have some professional pictures taken of my two girls together. I know. Completely bonkers, right? And, I wanted the pictures to be taken outside. I am a lunatic. Certifiable. Lock me up now.

We tried first, about a week and a half ago. I got up early, ran in the gorgeous clear weather, got the girls ready. Did their hair, put on their cute dresses. Made sure they were cleaned and pressed. I even had checked the weather that morning. I got Charlotte down for her morning nap early, and she woke just in time for us to leave. Problem? By the time we drove the 10 minutes to the shoot, it had started raining. And, not just sprinkles. Massive, torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Well, that day was out.

We tried again a couple days later. Only this time, Charlotte refused to go down for her morning nap. So, when we showed up, she was tired, cranky and clingy. And, I don't mean your garden-variety clingy. The girl, literally would not let go of my neck. I tried to run around with her or get her to chase Molly, and all we got were giant, gulping-for-air screams of terror. After an hour, we decided to try again another day.

Cut to Monday morning. We decided to go super early, before her morning nap. We even had Cory bring the girls so Charlotte wouldn't cling to me. We packed bubbles, balls, bats. Whatever we could think of to get her to be comfortable. As soon as Cory turned into the parking lot, Charlotte started crying. She didn't stop crying and clinging until they gave up and drove home again.

So, lesson: Charlotte will have no 18-month professional pictures. Luckily, we got some good ones of just Molly. Check out those here. I really have to hand it to Kelly, our photographer, for trying over and over and over again. I will blame Charlotte when she comes asking why she doesn't have any pictures of herself from this time in her life. Little stinker knows how to push her momma's buttons.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ranting about "diet" book and "pretty" shirt

Rant #1

So I posted a link on Facebook to a book that I'd heard about recently. It's a children's book, aimed at children aged 4 to 8 according to Amazon. The book's title is "Maggie Goes on a Diet." Molly is 4.

No, I am not making this up. And, no, I am not the first blogger to voice her outrage at this. I got several comments after my posting on Facebook, and I could not get it out of my mind. The whole concept was bothering me so much all day, I actually missed three turns while driving. So, instead of typing a huge, long response on FB, I decided to rant on this here ol' blog. Lucky readers, huh?

The gist of the story is that a 14-year-old girl is overweight. She gets teased and made fun of. Quote from the book: "She was called fatty and chubby and other names that were very cruel." Then, she decides to go on a diet, eat healthier foods and exercise. She loses weight, joins the soccer team, and "More and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name. Playing soccer gave her popularity and fame."

Lots of the comments were about how parents have to be proactive in making sure their kids eat healthy and get exercise, etc. Of course, I agree with that. I've written many a post about that very thing.

My main issue with isn't about all the being healthy stuff. My huge problem with this book is that it is saying that it is ok to judge or be judged on your appearance. I know girls have a hard enough time with body image. Experts are saying they are seeing 5 and 6-year-olds diagnosed with anorexia. Why, oh, why would anyone read a book to a child that says it's ok for kids to tease other kids based on their looks, and you can only have friends if you are skinny and good at sports?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

End of summer purging

What? How in the world is it the end of summer already? I swear the month of August just started yesterday. Geesh. Anyway, as you can tell, I've been MIA on the blogging front. It was that darn month flying by thing.

One thing that I have been doing in this amazingly fast month is trying to organize my house. Does anyone else get these tendencies? Whenever spring or fall come around, I feel the urge to purge. My house, I mean. I think subconsciously I am gearing up for winter, my least-favorite season. We're stuck inside all winter long, so I get prepared by having my insides cleaned out. And, again, I'm talking house. Then, in the spring, you have to clean out all the junk that accumulated over that long, cold winter. Have I mentioned how much I hate winter?

Anyway, with that in mind, I decided I would try to tackle Charlotte's closet. Now, keep in mind, I've had Charlotte's closet pretty much the same since before she was born. It needed a bit of an overhaul. We don't really need a boppy pillow anymore, nor do we need bottle liners or seven empty wipes containers. Yes, really, while cleaning, I found seven empty wipes containers. I'm sure I kept them because I thought I could use them for something at some point. I blame that train of thought entirely on my mother. But, being in a purging mood, I finally tossed them. (But, don't worry, Mom, I did actually put them in the recycling!) I also recycled like 423 empty plastic hangers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Torture at the hair salon

With the sounds of screams and wails still echoing in my mind, I am sitting down to write about the horrific experience of Charlotte's first hair cut. Or, if she were telling the story: the day my parents tied me down and tortured me while they took pictures and ignored my screams for help.

I've been pondering Charlotte's first hair cut for a while. I know you shouldn't compare siblings, but some things are just obvious. Molly has curls. My curls. They started showing up before she was 1, and we were able to delay her first hair cut until she was about 3 and a half. With curls, you can't see the unevenness of hair growth. It just looks cute and curly. Charlotte has more of the Lafferty hair, because, with the exception of a couple of cow-licks, it is stick straight.

Now, being a curly girl myself, this straight hair business baffles me. When Charlotte's hair appeared to be headed in the straight direction, I started thinking what we should do with it. (I say "we," but really it was me. Cory, I don't think, put one iota of thought into Charlotte's hair style, unless it was me asking him what he thought of my idea.) My mind immediately went to the adorable little girls with their cute, straight bobs. (Think Suri Cruise when she was younger.) It was settled. That's what we were going to do. But, I didn't know at what age to do it. I didn't want to make her grow up too fast, after all, she's still my baby. However, her mullet in the back was starting to drive me absolutely crazy. I waffled back and forth for quite a while.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am a Warrior

I've got to set the scene for you. Are you ready to turn on your internal soundtrack? 'Cause, to read this post, you really need to be hearing Pat Benatar's "I am the Warrior" in your head. You getting there? C'mon, "shooting at the walls of heartache. Bang, bang. I am the warrior." Got it? Ok, let's do this thing.

Months and months ago, I heard about this crazy run called the Warrior Dash. For some reason, I thought it would be awesome to run a 5K with obstacles interspersed and a guarantee to get dirty. So, because I thought it was such an awesome idea, I also tried to convince almost everyone I know to do it, too. Hey, spread the misery around, right?

I wasn't fully comprehending the whole concept until about a week or two ago. Then, I became convinced that I was crazy for signing up for this thing. Really, who runs an insane race with obstacles at 1pm on the last weekend of July? The heat was really freaking me out. I am strictly a morning runner. I am always finished running by 8 or 9 in the morning, and those are late mornings. Most days, I'm home from my runs by 7:30am. So, the thought of running in the middle of the day on July 30th was really quite daunting to me. And, well, frankly, the thought of jumping into a mud pit was also weighing on my mind.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A trip to the animal park

I've been a little reticent with the blog postings lately. I'm just going to blame the heat. It seems like a likely cause of my laziness lethargy, ok let's just go with lack of diligence on the writing front. Plus, the heat is a scapegoat that can't talk back, so I'm safe to cast my aspersions without fear of retribution.

So, to rectify the situation, we're going to do a little retroactive blogging today. Here goes:

A couple weeks ago, we made a road trip to Wichita to visit with Cory's grandfather and the whole McCrillis side of the family. (Why is it every single time I drive to Wichita, The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" plays in a loop in my head the whole time? Does this happen to anyone else?) If you can believe it, Wichita was actually even hotter than Kansas City. Although, the difference between 98 degrees and 105 degrees is really quite negligible in the grand scheme of things. But, despite the heat, we decided to go explore the Tanganyika Wildlife Park. It's smaller than a typical zoo, but you get to see the animals much closer up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Heat Wave

Wahoo! It's only supposed to be 92 degrees today! Break out the parkas.

Ok, so under normal circumstances, 92 degrees would be pretty darn hot. But after the last couple weeks, it feels like a much-welcomed cold front has graced us with its presence. For those of you readers not in the KC-metro area, it is hotter than hell here. Well, I've never actually been to hell, but I'm pretty sure we're giving it a run for its money lately. Actually, from what I've been seeing on the news, it's like that in about 75 percent of the country, so chances are, you know what I'm talking about. Unless you are in Seattle. My aunt lives up there and is actually looking forward to coming to KC to get some summer heat. Apparently, it's been cooler than average up there lately. Clearly, that rain and cool weather has messed with my aunt's brain. No one should be looking forward to coming here this summer.

Anyway, back here in KC, it's been close to 100 degrees for so many days, I've lost count. Only about half of my hanging baskets are still alive. Weird thing, though, I'm not talking about 3 out of 5 hanging baskets. I'm talking about half the plants in each hanging basket. Don't ask me, my thumb is about as far from green as you can get. What would that be? Red thumb? Oh well.

So, what do most normal moms do with their kids when the heat gets unbearable? If you screamed out "Go to the pool!" well, you'd be right. You would also be crazy for screaming at your computer, but right nonetheless. Ok, so most normal moms take their kids to the pool. Two problems with that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My precious little petri dishes

Petri dish #1
Petri dish #2

When you are pregnant or a new mom, everyone loves to give you advice or warnings about having children. There are few things in life more annoying than these so-called "helpful hints."

Well, actually, it was also incredibly obnoxious hearing, "Wow, your belly button has popped, you must be done!" Like I was a freakin' turkey ready to pulled out of the oven. In fact, my belly button popped out at like six months, thankyouverymuch, I still had a long time left to cook.

Yes, my belly button had popped out and I still had over 2 months to go.
Anyway, my least favorite helpful hint was "enjoy your sleep now, because you won't get any for 18 more years!" Really?!? I was huge, uncomfortable and getting up to pee every hour during the night as it was. And, there was no going back. The kid was coming, so why would you purposefully make the parents-to-be dread their baby's arrival? It's just cruel, that's what it is.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Curious monkeys for an adorable baby

I know all of you dear readers have been dying for another edition of my theme party planning a go go. Well, maybe you aren't all dying for it, but you get to hear about it anyway. Here's the thing: I'm pretty sure Cory's ready to drop me off at theme rehab. Is there a 12-step program for theme overload? I should probably start it, but I'm not ready to admit I have a problem. Themes are still my friend. I have yet to hit rock bottom. So, what is my latest theme? Curious George!

Yesterday, I threw a baby shower for my friend Sarah. Everything was super last minute because they got all of four hours notice before they became parents to baby Jack. So, the shower was also thrown together in less than three weeks. Talk about cutting it close. It did not help that I started reading The Hunger Games trilogy a week before the shower and could not put the books down. There were many times I should've been working on stuff for the shower, but instead, I was reading. It's a problem of mine. If there were a Hunger Games rehab, I probably should go there, too.

Anyway, it turns out that Curious George was Sarah's favorite childhood book. I could tell you that was why I chose the theme. Of course, then I'd be lying. But, it was an enormously happy coincidence. Or fate. Let's go with fate. I like that better. However, there was only so much I could do with Curious George, so I had to expand the theme to include other monkeys as well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 4th done right

I love the 4th of July. I probably should say my love stems from admiration of the founding fathers' lofty ideals and patriotic vision. Wouldn't that sound noble? Well, not that I'm not grateful to the founding fathers, but I'm not sure my love has all that much to do with the document signed 235 years ago.

I'm not certain at what point the 4th of July became one of my favorite holidays. It may have something to do with the fact that it was the first holiday we celebrated after Molly was born. Or, maybe it's the simplicity of it - it's a holiday, but it doesn't require major planning, family organizing, or huge time commitments. Or, it could be that the 4th makes for some awesome scrapbook pages. You can't beat the red, white and blue colors, or the quality of all the outdoor shots you get. It could also be the fact that you get to spend the majority of the holiday outside. See, I really like warm weather. You'd think that my pasty (right, I mean porcelain) skin heritage would draw me to cold, chilly, cloudy weather. I have ancestors from Norway, Scotland and English, after all. Those aren't exactly bikini hot spots. But, no. I love warmth and sun. Well, I enjoy sitting in the shade on a sunny day. So, as much as I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, they are indoor holidays. The 4th? It's an outdoor, warm weather, sunny holiday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Golf the Lafferty way

Ugh. I really dislike golf. I mean, nothing personal to anyone who likes it, but I just don't see the appeal. Especially on TV, it ranks up there with baseball on TV, if you ask me. But that is an entirely other blog posting.

Despite my disdain for the sport, I've never held it against Cory that he liked to play. Back in our newlywed days, when we were but wee babes, our apartment complex gave out passes for free golf every week. Ahhhh, good ol' The Crossings. Cory played with both our passes and with passes he finagled from non-golfing neighbors. With golf, you know, the more you play, the better you get. So, with Cory playing multiple times a week, he got pretty good.

Back to my not liking the sport. Obviously, I didn't play. At all. But one time, in our newlywed naivete, we had the deluded idea that it would be a good idea to go up to the driving range, and Cory could teach me how to hit some golf balls. The problem was, I'd never even held a real golf club before. So, we spent hours at the driving range. He tried me how to hit the ball. I tried to hit the ball. One ball. Seriously. No matter how many times I swung that stupid club, I never hit my one ball. Cory hit the entire rest of the bucket while I was still chopping, slicing, swinging wildly at that one darn ball. It did not make me happy. It was not a rosy picture of newlywed bliss.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boys vs. Girls

I love our neighborhood, or more specifically, our street. We know almost all our neighbors. We talk to them. We have wine tasting parties. We have block parties. We run races together. Our kids play with each other. When it's nice weather out, you are almost always guaranteed to see people out playing and talking. It's wonderful.

But, and you know there has to be a but, we have been having a bit of a problem lately. Here it is: Boys can be mean!

I guess that's a little harsh. You probably want a little back-story to the wide-reaching derision of an entire half of the world's population, so here goes:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stage Mothering

As longtime, loyal readers of this blog know (Ok, maybe longtime and loyal are slightly exaggerated expressions of the dedication of my audience. Let's go with anyone who has read a couple of my posts.), I have a love-hate relationship with the girly-girl princess culture. I love it, but I hate that I feel guilty for loving it. Stupid psychologists and child-development "experts" with books to sell.

Anyway, this past weekend, I put all that guilt and hate into a tiny little box, locked it up tight and threw the key into Potter Lake. On Saturday, we participated in the epitome of all girly-girl culture - the dance recital.

Now, here's where everything gets a little tangled. Because, as uncomfortable as I was with the prospect of putting stage make-up on my little 4-year-old's face, I used to do it myself. Here's a secret for you all: I was a dancer.

Well, maybe "dancer" is again too much of an overstatement, but I used to dance. When I was younger. Much younger. Much, much younger. I was in dance recitals. I had the costumes. I had the make-up. I had the pointe shoes. I had it all. So, as much as it weirded me out to put lipstick on Molly, I was also excited that she was getting to do something that I had loved doing as a child. And, just to prove my former life to you, here are some embarrassing pictures of me from my dancing period.

Although embarrassing, I did purposely leave out the pictures of me dancing with my giant glasses. Ah, early 90s eye-wear is oh, so stylish. But, luckily for both me and you, you will never see mine! 
Life came full circle, and last Saturday, I was on the other side of the stage. More technically, I was not on the stage at all. I had become the (dun, dun, dun) Stage Mother. Let's clarify: not the negative connotation of the term, a la Dina Lohan, but instead, just the mother of one of the dancers. The youngest dancers (Molly) need help changing costumes, so the mothers of said dancers were allowed backstage to help. Thus: Stage Mothers. It's not as if I was enacting my own episode of Toddlers and Tiaras by pushing my sick child onstage while she was crying about wanting to go home or something ...

Ok, well, maybe something like that did happen. Again, let me clarify (I feel there's a lot of that going on in this post.). Molly has been sick. She had thrown up a couple times and occasionally had a fever. But, when the ibuprofen kicked in - she was perfectly fine. We've been working for this recital for months. We've been going to rehearsal after dress rehearsal after rehearsal. We've tailored the costume. We've bought the tickets. Hell or high water, Molly was going to go to this recital. Well, that really does make me sound like a "Stage Mother." Yeesh.

The thing was, we had to get the timing just right on the dosing of the ibuprofen. If we did it too early, the effects would run out before Molly had to be on stage. If we did it too late, the effects wouldn't kick in until after she was off stage. It was a risky game of chance. There was a chance it could all go wrong.

It definitely started off headed in the wrong direction. Molly woke up from her nap and was not doing so well. Cory's sister, Amber, had come up from Ft. Worth to watch Molly's recital. She was over to help get her ready. We started curling her hair and putting on the aforementioned make-up. Molly started whining that she was cold. That darn fever was rearing its ugly head. Then she started whining that she wanted daddy to hold her. Yikes, this was going to be a long day.
We tried to double-team it in order to get her ready as quickly as possible and minimize the whining.
Trying to coax a smile out of Sicky McGee.
It did not work. Is that not a pitiful-looking girl?
Ok, so, I know you are all ready to vilify me for forcing Molly to participate when she looked like this. But, keep in mind, when the medicine kicked in, she was perfectly fine. So, off to Lawrence we headed. Yes, the recital was 45 minutes away in my college town. Not sure why they have it up there, but the auditorium and stage were huge, so maybe that's why. We decided to give her medicine on the way up there.

First up was the dress rehearsal. It's the only time we could take pictures or videos of the performance. We got there just in time to change Molly backstage. We saw the performance, then I went backstage again to change her into her next costume. When I got back there, she was crying. Apparently, the dark of the backstage area scared her. Long night. 

When the dress rehearsal was over, Molly was convinced that she was finished. When I explained that we still had to go through with the actual recital, she looked at me like I was crazy. She wanted nothing to do with this "second performance." It took a bribe of ice cream and two TV shows to cajole her to go back for the recital. And, no, I'm not above bribery.

And, finally, FINALLY, the ibuprofen kicked in. Just in time for the performance. Check out my little star! Whoops, that didn't sound too Stage Mother-y, did it?

Seriously, the cutest costumes ever.
Look at those angelic faces.
Charlotte was a good sport throughout the whole ordeal.
Ballet performance.
We did it!
So, after the "second performance" was finished. Molly was completely perked up. She was thrilled to see her adoring fans come to greet her after the show.

Delighted by all the flowers she received.
The whole gang came out to cheer Molly on.
Amber, my partner in crime in the whole make-up/hair debacle earlier in the day.
Me with my girls in front of a Jayhawk.
A star and her proud Daddy.
So, all in all, the recital was a success. She didn't cry onstage and was happy when she was finished. She even did a couple of the actual dance moves while onstage. And, when the little girl in front of her fell face-down, Molly told me that she stopped to make sure the little girl was ok. For some reason, of everything that happened at the recital, the fact that Molly was concerned about the other little girl made me the proudest. Maybe I'm not such a Stage Mother after all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

True parent moments

Last night, my deep slumber was interrupted with cries. Poor Molly has been fighting a bug for a while, and it was getting the best of her. So, at 1:56 this morning, while holding my feverish and puking little girl, a thought slowly (my brain doesn't exactly move at lightning speed in the middle of the night) dawned on me. Sitting on the bathroom floor, cradling Molly, it hit me: This was one of those times when I truly feel like a mother. It's not to say that I don't always feel like a mom, but there are just those moments when the feeling is crystallized and so clear. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Cory was not having this revelation, being too busy cleaning up the puke from the floor. Props have to go out to him for that. But cleaning up puke is exactly what I'm talking about. Only a parent would be cleaning up someone else's puke from the floor at 2 in the morning. (And, I'm going to say college doesn't count, because no one actually cleans up the puke until the next morning.)

Being a parent is about so much more than just creating and delivering a baby. It's about all the other stuff you do to bring these crazy kids up in this crazy world. So, in honor and celebration of a dear friend of mine who, just this week, was finally able, through adoption, to open her arms to a little boy and call him her own, I've compiled a list of the top times I've felt like a parent. Times that have had absolutely nothing to do with actually giving birth.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rearranging our plates

A couple weeks ago, I was in the grocery store with Molly and Charlotte. I'm pushing the cart around. I was actually picking up food with plans to prepare meals at home. This is a big deal for our house. I'm feeling pretty good about myself as a mom. So, we reach the bread aisle. I need to pick up some bread for sandwiches. I'm standing there and another mom comes up with a girl, a little older than Molly. Our girls wave to each other and smile. I give the other mom that "Aren't our kids so cute?" smile. Just a normal, Wednesday morning interaction in the grocery store. I reach down to pick up our bread. The other little girl reaches to pick the same kind. All of a sudden, I hear it. The other mom saying, "No, no! We don't eat white bread at our house, little miss Sally Mae goody-two-shoes."

Ok, so I added that last part about Sally Mae. But, I was annoyed. And, the rest was true. I'm going to go with the assumption that the mom didn't know I had my hand on that exact same type of bread when she said such a condescending thing in such a loud voice. And, I know, I know, everyone from Joy Bauer to that Eat-This-Not-That guy says that you don't eat white bread. I just cannot get on board with wheat sandwich bread. I don't like it. And, to be fair, I always get the whole grain white bread with lots of fiber and no high fructose corn syrup. That's gotta be at least somewhat better. Right? Maybe?

After being made to feel like a fairly horrible mother right there in the grocery store, the government decided to pile on. Has anyone else seen this new food "pyramid" that's out there? It isn't actually a pyramid. They've changed the shape. It is now a circle. Or, a plate, as it were. I've got to admit, it does make a lot more sense for it to be a plate. I mean, that is the vehicle from which we actually consume our meals. Well, most of the time. Unless it's from a bag (Chick-Fil-A), box (Noodles), aluminum foil (Chipotle), or chinese take-home container (Pei-Wei). What? Am I revealing a bit too much about my food consumption habits? Anyway, here are the new food recommendations, on a plate:

Great. Now I have a very visual, very colorful guilt trip.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sharing a run

I love to run. I'm not sure how else to describe it. Non-runners often think I'm crazy when I say that, but it's totally true. I love the feeling after I'm done, for sure, but I also love when I'm out there, on the road, just me and my running shoes. Well, and my Garmin running watch (but, more on that in a minute).

It hasn't always been that way. I didn't start running until college. Ok, that's not technically true. I was actually on my high school track team my sophomore year. I was on the sprint squad. Really?!? Me, a sprinter? It was truly ridiculous. This squat, stocky body is not a sprinter's body. I'm pretty sure the coaches just saw absolutely no potential, so they didn't even bother figuring out that I would've been so much better running longer distances. Or, at least, not at bad as I was at sprinting. I'm pretty sure I finished either last or second to last in every sprint I ran. I was awesome, clearly. And, that was my last year of track.

When I got to college, I started running as a way to stay in shape. A way to ward off the freshman 15. A way to rationalize being able to eat dessert every time I went to Mrs. E's (our dorm dining hall). What? It's not normal to have ice cream as a topper to every single meal? I have no idea how much I ran back then. It was before the days of GPSs or even Google Earth (heck, I'm pretty sure it was before Google was around), so there was no way for me to figure out how much I was running unless I drove the distance with my car. I ran routes where that wasn't really possible, so I just kind of guesstimated all my runs. This is about the time the obsession started.

It became a habit or obsession that I had to do almost every day. I would run in the cold and the heat. If I had a week with more than two days off, I would be annoyed. It was a stress reliever, but also, I really started to enjoy it. If you look at my wedding photos, you can actually see the sports-bra-shaped tan lines on my shoulders: the result of all those runs. Why, oh, why did I not figure out a way to cover those up? They still bother me in pictures. Anyway, after we got married, Cory and I started doing races together. We started with one: the Lenexa Freedom Run 5K. Then, we started running more races. I started doing 10Ks. If you've never tried a road race, I highly recommend it. It such a fun, party atmosphere. Everyone is so nice; the camaraderie is awesome. And, well, there are usually donuts at the end. That's Cory's favorite part of every race.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that before I died, I wanted to run a marathon. I kept putting in far away, in the distance, way down the road. Then, one day, I just decided I was going to go for it. I think doing a lot of running on the treadmill caused it. I like to look at concrete numbers about what I'm doing. When I was on the treadmill, I was constantly telling myself, "just one more quarter mile." Somehow, all those quarter miles turned into a marathon. After that first marathon, Cory got me my precious Garmin running watch. I could see, in real time, the distance I was running. Oh, it was glorious. I could be even more obsessive during and after my runs. And, I loved it.

Then, Molly came along. I know a lot of runners run way far into pregnancy. But, it was very hard for me. I was sick with both girls (Charlotte much more so), and it was just not fun to run with a giant belly. I ran a lot after Molly was born with her in the jogging stroller. But, running with two kids in a double jogger is significantly harder, though still not as hard as running with a giant pregnant belly and constant waves of nausea.

Nowadays, running is such a social experience for me. I get up and go for a run with my neighbor Sarah before our husbands leave for work. It's our time to talk without children interrupting every other second. No one's nose to wipe except our own. Actual, real grown up conversations and running. Perfect. And, even though I love running without my kids, I've always dreamed that one day I'd be able to run with my girls. (Turner family girls, I'm looking at you guys!)

Molly's seen me go out every morning for runs. Cory takes her to a lot of my races to cheer me on. I was hoping that by exposing her, someday she would want to run, too. And, this week, I got my wish. She had been saying that she wanted running clothes because at a couple of my races, they have kid fun runs. She's decided that to run those races, she should be in running clothes. Oh my little princess, she needs to be properly dressed and accessorized even to run. So, for her birthday, she got two sets of running clothes.

On Wednesday, she decided she wanted to go for a run with mommy. I went for my normal run, then came back to get her. She was wearing her new running clothes, of course. We went out on the road. She was pretty fast (she hasn't learned pacing, clearly). She went all out as long as she could. She started doing the runner's breathing, which had me cracking up. We talked about her birthday, the bunnies we saw, the weather. It was just like I had dreamed it would be. It was truly perfect.

Showing off her muscles after the run.

After we got back from our run, Molly said she had "so much fun running." Then, she promptly sat on the couch and ate a bowl of cereal. I have absolutely no idea where she was modeling that behavior from. She sure has never seen it from me. Or ... maybe I've done that a couple times ... or every day. The things they pick up on. At least she learned the running from me, too.

On a side note, please send good thoughts my way tomorrow. I'm running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, and it's supposed to get to 90 degrees. Yuck. I'll let you know if I survive.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Superheros love rain!

Yesterday, Molly turned 4. My baby girl turned 4 years old.

Somehow, somewhere, someone started telling Molly that though she wasn't big enough for what she wanted to do, she could do it when she was older. Namely, once she turned 4. (I'm not naming names, but I'm pretty sure the guy who sleeps in my bed is on the top of the suspect list.) This reasoning was given for any number of things: climbing a tree, having a sleepover, doing the monkey bars. I have no idea why such a close age was chosen, especially because the girl has the memory of an elephant. Seriously, she remembers trips that we took two years ago, she remembers who lives in what neighborhoods we drive into, she remembers tiny parts of toys that were left here six months ago by friends. Of course she's going to remember she is allowed to do certain things when she turns 4.

Because the 4th birthday was such a big deal, it was a huge decision on what kind of birthday party to have. I've talked before about the guilt I feel from the anti-princess faction. I know Molly would love a princess birthday party. She would love a make-over party. She would love any kind of girly party we could come up with. But, I just felt so guilty. So, when we went to a Sesame Street show in January, and Elmo and his friends were Superheros, an idea dawned on me. Molly started running around the house pretending to be a superhero; wanting problems to fix and capes to wear. That's it! We could have a superhero/supergirl party. She could still dress up (with a cape), but I could feel less guilty about the princess factor. Of course, I did do everything in pink, so that might have undercut the whole point, but, well, I never claimed to be perfect.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tornado sheltering

Whenever I'm traveling and people ask where I'm from, I say Kansas City. Notice the City on the end of that. First, no one would ever know where Olathe, Kansas, was, so I can't say that. And, if, instead, I say simply Kansas, I will inevitably hear any of a number of The Wizard of Oz references. "Where are your ruby slippers, Dorothy?" "Well, you're not in Kansas, anymore!" "Did you follow the yellow brick road to get here?" It goes on and on and on and on and on. It's annoying, quite frankly. Especially when each person thinks that they are the first person to have thought up said reference. Even when we were traveling in Australia, people we met from everywhere in Europe and Australia all knew The Wizard of Oz references. Because, unfortunately, all over the world, Kansas appears to be most known for a 1939 movie about a pigtailed farm girl and tornadoes.

The interesting thing is that while Kansas is known for tornadoes, it has always seemed to me that other states get more tornadoes and more damage. While tornado warnings and watches are fairly common here, actual tornadoes never really get that close. Well, unless you count Greensburg, Kansas, which was completely flattened by a EF5 tornado in 2007. Oh, and now we've got Joplin, Missouri. While not in Kansas, it is right on the border, and only about three hours away from here. Scary stuff. At least for me. Cory often laughs at how serious I take some of the warnings. A lot of my friends who have grown up here don't treat warnings with all that much significance. They are fine staying at the bar or restaurant while the sirens are wailing. I'm not. I'd prefer to be in a basement. Perhaps it is because, while I have lived in Kansas for the majority of my life, I spent many of my formative years tracking hurricanes in North Carolina. An entirely different natural disaster to be wary of, but one you could track for days in advance. None of this 20 minutes notice crap.

I have to be careful now that Molly is getting older. I often forget how much she picks up on. The other morning, while watching my standard Today show, Molly caught sight of the devastation of the Joplin tornado. I didn't even know she was paying attention. She asked me what happened, and I had to explain that it was a tornado. I don't think she even understands the concept. She just thinks that a tornado is a big mess, because that's all she saw on the TV.  "We don't have tornadoes at our house,  Mommy, cause our street's not a mess like that." She sees the result, not the actual storm. And, I was fine leaving it like that. I didn't think she needed to be scared about thunderstorms. Next thing you know, she'd be terrified any time there was thunder and we'd end up with another person in our bed with every thunderstorm. So, I didn't explain further.

Fast-forward two days. She's at dance class and the tornado sirens start blaring. We were hearing reports of tornado touching down mere miles from where we were. We stayed in the basement of the dance studio waiting for it to pass. She heard me on the phone to Cory talking about how he was in the stairwell at work. Now, she started understanding it a bit more. She came and sat in my lap, scared. Everything turned out ok, and we were able to drive home safely. I haven't discussed it much further with her. If she asks about it, I'll have to figure out what to say, I guess. I have never mentioned anything about people dying in tornadoes. Then again, I've never even broached the subject of death with her, so I guess that's a whole other beast to tackle. Yeesh. So, I guess we'll see if she starts sneaking into our bedroom at night the next time there is a thunderstorm. I do know one thing I won't be doing. I won't make her watch The Wizard of Oz. Those flying monkeys are creepy and the witch on the bicycle is a little terrifying. If those don't make you scared of tornadoes, I don't know what will.

Which is scarier?
The Witch and Flying Monkey.
Or this?
Downtown KC on Wednesday. Photo credit.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pretty Preschool Princess

We have reached the end. The end of Molly's first year of preschool. And yet, I still cannot erase the indelible mental snapshot from the beginning of the school year. It is a picture of me, crying, sitting in my car after dropping Molly off for the first time. I just could not believe that my baby was old enough to be going to school. She looked so adorable in her big ol' backpack. And, she jumped right out of the car and walked away from me with nary a wave.

First day of Preschool. How cute is she?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rain in Maine in May

A week after I ran my marathon in November, I get a text from my little brother. "Wanna run a marathon in Maine in May?" it asked. "You're crazy," I said. "I just ran one. No way am I ready to run another one." For me, running a marathon is kind of like giving birth. Both are horrible and awful, and the only good thing is crossing the finish line/holding your baby. You swear you will never do it again, but later, as the memories of the pain fade, you get it into your mind that maybe it wasn't so bad, and maybe you could do another one. It was this reason that three years passed between my kids and four years between my marathons.

So, because years hadn't passed, and I could still very much remember the pain from the marathon, I was not ready to sign up to run another one in six months. But, I did tell William that I would consider running the Sugarloaf Mountain 15K instead of the Sugarloaf Mountain Marathon. William proceeded to recruit people to run the marathon with him. My dad. My uncle. Cory said he had always wanted to visit Maine, so he agreed to run the 15K with me. We signed up. We got plane tickets. My mom agreed to watch the girls while we were gone. It was set. It was planned. Then ...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thirteen for Thursday

I have a friend, who will remain nameless, who told her husband that all she needed for Mother's Day was a heartfelt card. Turns out, her husband took her at her word. Silly man. She later said, "Didn't he know that I was just saying that to seem noble?" Well, I make no pretense at nobility. I've been wanting something for quite a while and have been hinting at it for just as long. Luckily, my husband took the hints and got me what I'd had my eye on.

A new and improved camera.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cleanliness is next to childlessness?

Today, for lunch, while making the girls their chicken nuggets and fruit, I seriously contemplated just grabbing one of the beers in the fridge and calling it a day. It was 5 o'clock somewhere, right? Granted, probably in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but still. I know you can picture the scene now, can't you? Molly and Charlotte chowing down on chicken nuggets while I gulp down a brewski. A Michelob Ultra Pomegrante Rasberry, to be exact (I know it's a girly beer, but I'm a girly girl, so deal). So, while I didn't actually go for it, I really, really, really wanted to.

Now, let me be clear, I know it was just Mother's Day, and I'm so grateful to be able to be a mother, I love my children, they are my world, my light, yada, yada, yada ... But ...

Keeping the house clean with two children is driving me insane. Sometimes, pretty literally. Thus, the almost-beer for lunch.