Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Second cousins equal twice the fun

Molly is what I would describe as calendar-obsessed. Perhaps she's learning from my weather obsession. Who knows? Anyway, the following is an example of an all too common conversation in our house as of late:
  • Molly: What are we doing after night-night?
  • Me: Preschool
  • Molly: And after another night-night?
  • Me: Dance class
  • Molly: And after another night-night?
  • Me: Grocery shopping
  • Molly: And after another night-night?
  • Me: Going to Gigi and Papa's house
As you can see, this can go on for a really long time. A really, really long time. A really, really, really, really long time. We've gone for more than a month forward in time before. She doesn't seem to ever get bored of this line of questioning. The one thing that can terminate it has been reaching Easter. That has been the great end game. Molly has been so excited for Easter because her cousin (well, technically second cousin - her mom, Laura, is my cousin) Penelope was coming to visit. And, this weekend, the pinnacle finally arrived. Cousin Penelope had hit the town!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A tip of the hat

With the Royal Wedding coming up, I have been pulled into the vortex that is all things Royal. I really wasn't paying all that much attention to everything until I watched that Lifetime movie, William & Kate, on Monday night. Darnit, Lifetime. You got me with the college sweetheart love story. I was suckered in. You know, there are rumors that our family tree can be traced back to Robert the Bruce, the King of Scotland in the 13th century. And, William and Kate met while going to college university at St. Andrews in Scotland. There's a connection there, can't you feel it? Anyway, of all the things about the wedding circus that intrigue me, I can't help but notice something that the lovely Kate Middleton (sorry, can't get on board with Catherine) and I have in common. Well, other than the obvious rich, stunningly gorgeous and about to marry a prince thing. That goes without saying.

The future princess and I both love hats.

Now, I don't go quite as over-the-top as Kate. None of my hats have feathers. I don't own a fascinator (In the hat world, that's what smaller pieces attached to a comb or headband are called. Consider yourself learned now.). And, I've never worn a hat made out of fur. Perhaps that's because I'm not British and not actually royalty. Small details. Regardless, I do love to wear hats.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Walk this way

Some people might say I'm obsessed with the weather. Cory, more specifically, might say that. I like to watch the weather every morning on the Today Show. I try to watch it every night on the 10 o'clock news. (Truth be told, sometimes I fall asleep before it actually comes on. Ok, truth again, a lot of the time I fall asleep before it comes on. It would be so much easier if it were the first thing on the news.) I even have a digital thermometer telling me the exact temperature outside my back door. It never occurred to me that this behavior was odd. I like to know. I like to be prepared. I like to know if I need to wear my shorts or a sweater. My snow boots or my rain coat. My bikini or my stilettos. Oh wait, that's not me, that's my thermometer's weather girl.

 When I bought the thermometer, I was excited for an illustration of how to dress in the different temps. I didn't realize this is what the makers had in mind.
And this? It's just ridiculous. I've had to hide her away so we're not constantly staring at the cover of Playboy in out kitchen.

Anyway, one summer, in college, I went to spend a week at my grandmother's house in Tucson, Arizona. I kept with my normal routine of getting up and watching the weather. It wasn't until about day three that I realized the habit was ridiculous in Arizona. Seriously, it was 95 and sunny every single day. No variation. Being a weather person in Arizona has to be the easiest job in the world. Being a weather person in Kansas? Not so easy. We all joke that our weather guys can never seem to get it right, but really, it's quite a tricky task. Remember just last week when I was lamenting the unpredictable nature of Kansas weather? I'm sure you all were just dying for a story to illustrate that point. So, here ya go:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Betty Crocker does not live here

The other day, while sitting around the table eating dinner, Molly looked up from her plate. She turned toward me and declared, "Mommy, this is the best dinner you've ever made!" Now, for most moms, this would probably be a moment of great pride. This comment would puff them up (rightfully so), and they could strut around knowing that they pleased their 3-year-old's picky taste pallet.

Me? I burst out laughing.

I wasn't laughing at Molly. She was being completely sincere and earnest. And, I did appreciate that she was actually eating her dinner. I laughed because the meal she was raving about, the meal that was the height of my culinary expertise, the meal that she asked for seconds of? That meal? Yeah, that meal was a pre-made rotisserie chicken from Target.

Yup, pretty much exactly like the one above. I can't even claim that I prepared the thing. It grosses me out to cut the meat off the bone, so I made Cory do it. And, I didn't even make any of the vegetables or bread that went with the meal. Cory did that, too. So, pretty much all I did was pick it up off the shelf at Target, put it in my cart, pay with my credit card and bring it home. But, according to Molly, that was the best cooking I had ever done.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Her Royal Highness, Belle

Remember when I said everything I was reading told me that the princess culture was ruining my daughter's life? That the high heels, constant pink-ness, and emphasis on everything girly would surely turn my independent, strong-minded daughter into a simpering push-over with low self esteem? Well, let's just throw that all out the window, because this weekend I took Molly to her friend Jensen's princess birthday party. And, who was there, but ... drumroll, please ... Princess Belle, herself!

Now, I'm not going to apologize for this day of glorious princessy fun, because Molly had a ball. (Pun intended.)

From the first moment Belle walked into the party, she had all the girls (and Cole, brother of the birthday girl), transfixed. Has anyone seen that Modern Family episode when the princess gets out of character? Well, that did not happen here. She was pure Belle from the moment she stepped into the door until the moment she left.

Belle had several games for the kids, including popping the bubbles with magic wands and trying on silly hats. It was remarkable how well she could get all the kids to listen. I think it was her voice. It was dripping with sweetness, like a syrup-soaked pancake. She spoke with it the entire time. No leaving character, remember? Some of us moms were joking that we'd have to start walking around our daily lives in princess ball gowns, and maybe then our kids would listen to us better.

At one point, Belle asked all the kids what their talents were. There were the normal answers: running, dancing, etc. But, one of the girls answered, "pushing my sister." We were all hoping she was describing pushing her sister on a swing, but I don't think that is what she really meant. Pushing your sister down can be considered a talent, can't it?

Next up came princess makeovers.

Before makeover.

Check out that after shot. 
Now, if you'll notice, Molly's dress is pink. It's actually not a specific Disney princess dress, but Molly is convinced that it is an Ariel dress. When we went to the store the other day, she needed some new detangler spray. Well, I was a sucker and bought her the Disney princess detangler spray. (I told you I was reading about how princesses were bad for girls, I didn't tell you that I was actually following it!) She was so excited about it, and while I thought I understood, I didn't really. She apparently thought that the princess spray would make her hair turn red "just like Ariel's." So, while that's really cute and funny, I also have to note that she said red like Ariel's, and not red like mommy's. Maybe if I were walking around in that ball gown ...

The hardest part for all the girls was when Belle had to leave. Jensen seemed to think that Belle was her actual present. She kept asking when she was coming back. How do you explain to a 4-year-old that your princess is not coming back? Why, that you had 'a lovely time, but your castle is oh so far away,' of course.

Belle with all her mini-princesses.
So, I am not sorry that we delved into the world of princesses once again. The smiles and twirls sealed it for me. I am not going to take away something that makes Molly so happy. She may turn into a weak-minded push-over, but, by god, she will know how to curtsy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The great outdoors

Ah, Kansas weather. What to do with you? Last week, we had snow. This week, it reached 90 degrees. I seriously cannot keep up with it. My closet is a confusion of shorts and sweatshirts and flip-flops and boots. Our house was built in 1986. Apparently, in 1986, people didn't have a lot of clothes. At least, that's the impression I get because the closets are not big. At all. (Although, you'd think with all those shoulder pads, they would've needed a humongous amount of closet space.) I salivate at all my friends' giant walk-in closets. Oh, how I would love to not have to keep out-of-season clothes in rubbermaid tubs in the basement. That would be a glorious indulgence I will not soon know. But, I do dream about it.

Anyway, what's even harder than keeping my clothes straight, is trying to explain to a 3-year-old why we could go outside and play yesterday, but not today. If I can barely comprehend the massive meteorologic changes, how can I expect Molly to? For some reason, the explanation, "but it's cold outside today," doesn't really cut it with her. That being said, we have had some nice days lately. So, when we do have them, we venture outside.

Both girls adore being outside. And, I adore going outside and having real adult conversations with all the real adults on my street. So, it's a win-win.

We have a canoe. Ask me in person why. It's a great story, but not one for this blog. We got it out the other day just to clean and check on it. Molly and Charlotte had a blast playing in it. Molly pretended she was paddling down a river, while Charlotte just kind of bounced up and down while holding onto the edge. Either way, it made me so much more comfortable than if they'd actually been riding in the water. Call me a nervous-nelly mother. I'll take it. I'll admit it. I like them in a canoe on dry land.

Last year, for her birthday, Molly got a big girl two-wheel bike. She rode it for a little while, but then reverted back to her tricycle. Well, this summer, she has been forced into officially retired the tricycle, because Charlotte is now "riding" it. After she saw her baby sister could ride it, Molly told me, "I'm all done with my little bike now, because I'm a big girl!" Good thing, Molls, because your little sister is working her hardest to catch up to you. Now, if only she would walk as well as she rides her trike.

We have lots of kids in our neighborhood. But, the ones most often out are the boys. So, Molly spends a lot of time trying to fit in with the boys. This is when she is not trying to tell them all about her My Little Ponies. They are never interested, by the way. When Jack and Michael needed to take a break from all their basketball playing, Molly decided she needed a rest, too. It's what all the cool kids do.

One girl who does come out to play is Ella, Charlotte's bestie. Well, that's what we call them anyway. Right now, I'm pretty sure Ella is more interested in watching what Molly is doing, but we insist on putting Ella and Charlotte together and taking their pictures. It is our prerogative as mothers of children who are not yet old enough to tell us differently.

And, one last picture that is just too cute not to include. I don't have anything cute or clever to say about it. Just look for yourself.


C'mon! Tell me that's not precious. Go ahead. I dare you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ransacking in the name of the library

I have a love/hate relationship with the library. I know, you're probably thinking, how in the world does someone hate the library? Well, let me explain.

First, I do love the library. I mean, you get to read books. For free! Awesome. And, not just the read-it-while-I-sit-in-Borders-and-pretend-that-I-might-buy-it type of reading. You actually get to take books out of the library and read in the comfort of your own home. Or backyard. Or even car. (I may or may not have, at one time, driven up to Sonic, ordered a drink, and read a book in the parking lot while my mother-in-law watched the girls for an hour in the afternoon. Wait? Should I be admitting that? Oh well. It was a heavenly hour.)

And, I love that Molly loves the library. She gets so excited when I tell her we're going. She goes through the shelves, all willy-nilly, picking up whatever gets closest to her hands. I won't pretend that she picks based on title, author or even the front cover. Nope, whatever her hand lands on, that's the book she has to have. Charlotte doesn't know enough to get excited about it yet, but she does enjoy the toys they have in the kids' section. Whoever thought to put out a disconnected old computer keyboard was a genius. That girl can pound on those keys for hours.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When I grow up ...

For some reason, Molly has been starting almost every conversation lately with the phrase "when I grow up ... " She has said that when she grows up, she wants to go running with me. Or, that she wants to be a doctor. Or a mommy. But, because she's only 3, she doesn't truly understand the concept. So, when Molly grows up, often she's going to be a mermaid.  Or a flower. Or a cupcake. Or Minnie Mouse. The possibilities are endless in her little 3-year-old mind. And, I love to hear her talking with such boundless optimism about her future. Although, I will admit, I have a hard time stifling my laughter when she comes into the room and proclaims that when she grows up, she's going to be mac and cheese. Ok, sweetie, whatever you say.
Molly, you have to beware. If you choose to be macaroni and cheese, your sister will eat you right up. And, you will end up all over her face, just like in this picture.
All of this talk about what Molly wanted to be when she grew up started me thinking about the dreams I had for my own future when I was but just a wee one When I was in elementary school, I just knew I was going to be a lawyer. And, then, I did one of those mock courts and realized that I would have to speak in front of groups of people. Not only that, but I would have to deal with conflict. Yeah, once I realized that, being a lawyer was out.