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.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The beauty of aging?

Remember when I said I was often overdue on haircuts, thus leading to lots of hat wearing? Well, for the past couple weeks, my head has been covered in hats about 85 percent of the time. Yup, I was super late scheduling my trip to the hair salon. So, yesterday, I finally got in to see my fabulous hair dresser, Kerry. We're chatting away about our lives, how long my hair had gotten, the Royal Wedding. During this discussion, I mentioned that I had been finding some (gasp!) white hairs lately. She swore she saw none. We continued chatting. About our kids, the crazy weather, summer plans. All of a sudden, Kerry says, "Oh, there's a white hair. Oh, and another. They're all up here on the top of your head." Heavy sigh. Yes, I know. We then proceeded to have a "color treatment," which entailed Kerry plucking all those blasted white hairs right out of my head.

This experienced unfortunately served to remind me of all the ways I am creeping up there in age. Along with that whole "turning 30" thing, I have started noticing a lot of things that, while taken individually, wouldn't be too big of a deal. But, when you start listing them out together - apparently they indicate that I am getting old. I am no longer that high school dork. Make no mistake, I'm still a dork; just not a teenage one. So, in hopes that I can make you all feel old, too, here are a couple signs that maybe, just maybe, I'm not such a spring chicken any more:

  • Because I had been freaking out about the whole "30" thing for a while, I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday by running a marathon. I'd run one before, back at the baby-girl age of 25. And, back before I had completely ruined, wrecked, changed my body by carrying and delivering two kids. So, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. And, I did do it. I finished. In a much slower time than my previous marathon. And, somehow during the process, I jacked up my knee. It hurt for months afterward. The only thing that eventually healed it was the horrible winter. There was so much snow on the ground that I couldn't run for weeks at a time. I guess there was one positive from this winter. But, I'd never before had a running injury. The irony of it happening mere days after I turned 30 was really too much to handle. Stupid 30. 

After I finished the marathon and before I realized how messed up my knee was.
  • One thing that will really put you in your place is seeing where your former babysitting charges are in life. High school, college, married, with kids of their own. Yikes. How is that even possible? Heck, one of my very first babysitting charges (and adorable ring bearer) has now signed a letter of intent to play football in college. I am now one of those people who can say, "I remember you when you were knee-high to a grasshopper." Yes, I am that dorky. 
  • Peptides, Retinol, Q10, Hydroxy Acids, Green Tea Extract. What do all of these have in common? They are all common ingredients in anti-wrinkle creams. Yes, that's right. I've gone from buying anti-acne products to anti-aging products. When did that happen? Oh, yeah, right about the time I learned how to Photoshop wrinkles out of pictures. Not that I would ever do that. Nope, never. Now, here's the thing about anti-wrinkle creams. I have no idea if they do any good whatsoever. I clearly can't afford to spend the thousands of dollars on creams like celebrities do, so I have to make do with my normal method of choosing products. By the label. It's the same way I buy wine. Show me a cute label, that's the wine I'm taking home. So, who knows if the cream is actually working? I try to tell myself that laugh lines are evidence of all the laughter of my life. I'm still trying to sell my mirror on that one.

  •  If you know me at all, you know that I am a Target aficionado. Seriously, I love that store. I know my way around my local Target like it's a second home. Cory would agree, though he is none too pleased by my intimate knowledge of all things Target. So, here's the thing, at some point, I started drifting into the Merona collection instead of the Mossimo collection. If you aren't a complete Target fiend like myself, this is like moving from Juniors into Misses. From teenage to old woman. But, here's the thing,  I swear Merona has really cute stuff. The clothes aren't completely see-through and actually cover my behind. Which, brings me to my next point ...

  • I have actually uttered the phrase "I have underwear bigger than that girl's skirt." On more than one occasion. And, it is no exaggeration. I know I sound like a prissy, pearls-and-twin-set lady, but seriously? I'd be scared to sit in a public place in some of the skirts and shorts I see girls walking around in. It probably also has something to do with having two girls of my own and trying to imagine their teenage years. That thought just sent shivers down my spine and made the hair on my neck stand up on end. I'm scared. Very scared. (PS. I will not put a picture up to illustrate my point, because it frightens me to think of my blog popping up when someone searches for "girl short skirt image.")
  • Now, I'm not sure when this next transition happened. And, I'm admitting to a bit of an embarrassing guilty pleasure here. Ok, a very embarrassing guilty please. So, no judging. Here goes: I like teen movies. And teen shows. And teen books (hello, Twilight anyone?). But, somewhere along the way, probably when I had the aforementioned children, I went from empathizing with the main characters (in almost every case, a teenage girl) to the adults and parents. What I used to find "independent," I now see as "rebellious" and in many cases, "stupid" and "ungrateful." FYI: It is not a wise decision to turn yourself into an blood-sucking undead creature, no matter how much you love another blood-sucking undead creature. That being said, I will still be seeing the newest Twilight movie when it comes out. Remember, I said no judging! (Becca, if you're reading, I'm looking at you!)

So, if you are among some of my younger not-yet-30 readers (Bible study girls, I'm looking at you), I hope I haven't scared you too much. I should probably try to wrap up this post by swearing that I'm so happy in my 30s and that I'm sure the best is yet to come. And, logically, I know that. Sometimes, between buying anti-wrinkle cream and kvetching about the clothes on "kids these days," it's just hard to remind myself of it. But, I guess there's really no other option. I'll take getting older over the alternative. And, truth be told, I'd rather Molly and Charlotte look back on their childhood and remember me laughing, no matter how many laugh lines I get. But, be warned, white hairs: I will be fighting you bastards until the day I die!

Special shout out to Anne, who helped inspire this post!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day of a thousand 'vites

The law of Lafferty land dictates that during the winter, the Lafferty crew will be huddled within the confines of our four walls. We will have no plans. Nothing to do to occupy our days except keeping warm and trying to find ways to entertain two small girls. Then, winter slowly recedes and gives spring a chance to creep in. (As I write this, it is 45 degrees, cloudy and rainy, so spring is moving at the pace of schizophrenic turtle -- cold, cold, warm, cold, hot, cold, cold, warm, cold again.) With spring attempting to make its debut, the law stops belonging to Lafferty land, and starts belonging to Murphy. Some form of Murphy's Law that is. Because, it seems, Murphy's Law would dictate that all things that could possibly happen, will take place on one day, preferably at the same time. So it was in our household on April 30th.

Throughout the last month or two, we've been receiving invitations to many a various thing. I know, you're probably thinking I sound pretty annoying bragging about all these invitations. I'm not, I swear. Remember, for almost all of winter, we are stuck at home inside with nothing to do. Plus, I can't really brag, because truth be told, I never did receive my invite for the Royal Wedding. And, I checked my mail every day. Sometimes twice a day. Some might call it delusional. I prefer the term optimistic.

Well, back to the invitations that did come in the mail. It seems unlikely, but true: They all landed on April 30th. At the final tally, we had plans or invitations for two races, one baby shower, one birthday party, and two weddings. In one day. Really? How is that statistically possible? Considering I never made it past Math for Jocks in college, I guess I'm not really qualified to comment on statistical probabilities. But it sure seems highly unlikely. Unless you're dealing with Murphy's Law. Which, evidently we are.

Have you heard the theory about introverts and extroverts? The theory goes that being an extrovert or introvert doesn't have anything to do with how much you enjoy being around other people, but more about where you draw your energy. I love being around people, but it tires me out, and I definitely need down time to recharge. Cory: he thrives on being around people and doing things. The more he does, the more energized he is. If you can see where the slight detour in the post is leading: Cory thought we could do it all. I was less sure. Finally, after laying it all out, and reminding Cory that we owned neither a time machine nor a vehicle that could instantly transport us from one place to the next, Cory was forced to admit that we could not do everything on one day. And, we would even have to split up, each of us attending certain things separately.

So, without further ado: photographic proof of our insanely busy day.

First up, was the Run for Mercy. A 5K/10K race that raises money for Oceans of Mercy. Cory brought the girls out, and I ran the 10K.

Clearly, the hard work of watching me run made Charlotte very thirsty.

Charlotte and her friend Olivia were having fun playing with Tessa in the stroller. Both Olivia and Tessa's moms ran the 5K race.

Molly got to run in the Kids' Fun Run.

This is right before Molly burst into tears after being trampled by the bigger boys in the race.

Sarah and I ran our little behinds off and were rewarded with medals! 2nd and 3rd place in our age group. Yes, now that I'm 30, Sarah and I are in the same age group. We are now direct competitors.

Despite the tearful breakdown, Molly did earn her very own medal.
We didn't get pictures of the baby shower and first wedding of the day. Next up, was Cory's race. The Martini Mile. I did not attend this race, as I was attending the baby shower. It was a relay race with four team members, each running one mile.

Cory getting passed the baton by Jason.

Nikki passing along the baton to Quinten. She would probably hate this picture, but she doesn't read my blog, so she'll never know it's up here. I'm evil like that.
Cory didn't get to stay to enjoy all of the post-race vodka (it was Martini Mile, afterall), because we had to get ready for the last event of the day. Mike and Paula's wedding. Between the race, the baby shower, and the wedding, I had three outfit changes. I felt like Molly on a regular day, constantly changing clothes. She did help me get dressed for the wedding, though. She told me I looked 'very stylish.' Not sure how a 3-year-old envisions stylish, but I'll take it.

Cory and I all gussied up. For parents, a night out without kids, dressed up, with free wine and dancing is pretty much the equivalent of going to Vegas or Monte Carlo for normal people. Those adorable paper dolls we're holding are the happy couple.
I used to work with Mike, so his wedding was like attending an class reunion, only with ex-coworkers instead of ex-classmates. This is me with Monica.

And, this is me with Becca. If you'll notice, I did not wear a hat or fascinator a la Royal Wedding. But, I did get as close as I could without appearing totally insane. A leather flower headband. I loved it.

So, it is now Sunday night. I had a fabulous time at everything I attended. But, back to the whole introvert/extrovert conversation. I am exhausted. Does anyone want to watch two little girls tomorrow so I can sleep all day. No? You sure? Ah, well, it was worth a shot.

PS. Big thank yous and shout outs to Leigh and my mom who watched the girls at various times throughout the day so we could attend everything.