Monday, April 28, 2008

Birthday Party Expectations

Reagan turns two on Sunday. Originally I planned a huge blowout party along the lines of her first birthday party. But time got the best of me and I decided instead to do a small get together with a few friends and family members that will be in town for Bailey's blessing. I figured she's two, she won't know the difference anyway. I'll save the big all out party stuff for next year.

I don't know how or why I continue to underestimate her, but I do. Yesterday she told me, "It's going to be my birthday. I'm two (holds up her hand trying to only put up two fingers)." She continues, "It's going to be MY birthday party, Barney." I don't know where the Barney thing came from. Didn't know she even liked Barney considering she's never seen a single episode (I will sacrifice my life for my children. But sit through 30 minutes of Barney, now you are asking too much of me). But my not quite two year old just told me she was expecting a Barney birthday party for her second birthday. I figured I had years before I had to give in to character demands. And how does she know her birthday is coming up and that act entitles her to a party held for her?

Isn't she a little young to be having expectations? I'm so doomed.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I was only gone four days. But somehow when I come back both my girls look older, Reagan is talking more and acting more grown up, and I feel like I've missed out on months rather than days.

I'm glad I don't go out of town often. I'm afraid years would pass by me.

12:00 and all is well

I'm back from my business trip. Although I actually had a great time, I missed my family terribly and I'm happy to be home. I want to go wake up the girls and hug them and talk to them. Before I left, I spent a lot of time cleaning the house, doing laundry and laying out outfits, scrubbing bottles, and most importantly making sure all necessary grocery supplies are on hand.

I came home to a organized, clean house with the children tucked into bed and Bill hanging out on the computer. I'm glad things went well; but secretly I had hoped a disaster similar to this would occur so that he'd experience some of my pain and validate that the disaster was due to Reagan being the common denominator, not that I was in charge. Is it wrong to wish such things on my poor, sweet husband? Never mind, don't answer that.

On another note, Reagan fell at school today. She was walking with a pail in front of her and tripped and fell. She gave herself a bloody nose and scraped up her face. Her outfit they sent home was just covered in blood. They said she was quite the champ though. They were amazed at what a tough girl she is. They said she picked herself up, touched her face, looked at her hands covered in blood, and shrugged it off. They were far more upset that she ever was.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I think the bottles are multiplying

There is nothing I despise more than washing then remaking bottles. It is a never ending task. Seven bottles a day, seven days a week for a year. That comes to 2,555 bottles washed, dried, put away, reassembled, and filled with milk in one year. Part of the reason I despise doing the bottles is because it is the only mandatory thing we really must do every day.

I mean, think about it. If you don't do a load of laundry, eventually you run out of clothes. Is that the end of the world? Nah, you can always recycle and claim the stain on the front of your kids shirt occurred in the car on the way to school.

You didn't take the trash out at night. Will that bring things to a standstill? Your kitchen may be filled with the not so fresh aroma from the diaper stuffed in the trash that is filled with the black beans you regret giving your two year old the day before, but you've smelled worse. You'll just open a window.

You didn't make up your bed. Big flippin deal. No one is going to see your bed and you'll just mess it up again tonight anyway. The way you see it, you are just saving a step for tonight.

You didn't wash dishes. That's what that stack of paper plates in the pantry is for.

You didn't go to the grocery store. Well, that works ok since you don't have any clean dishes to cook or clean off of. Which to do tonight--Chinese or Mexican? You quickly decide on Mexican since there are no frozen margaritas with the cute salt rim at the Chinese restaurant.

You didn't mow the grass. You'll just pile the Homeowners Association love note with the others and call someone to come mow it in the morning.

The kids didn't get a bath. You'll just throw them in the swimming pool tomorrow. That should knock off some of the dirt while they get out some energy. Heck, you might even try to get some sun so that people stop screaming of horror when you wear shorts and your legs seem to be a radioactive shade of white.

You didn't dust. Have you ever dusted? Why did I even put this on the list?

You didn't do the ironing. You mother ironed. You aren't even sure where your iron is.

Seriously, I went through every "chore" that we could possibly have to do in a household and the only one that is a "you must do" is making a bottle. Everything else is just a "nice to have." But bottles, you have to have clean bottles, prepared bottles or your baby goes hungry or sick. This is a non negotiable task. This must be done at all costs. Anything else can wait.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reagan's first swimming lesson

We saw a video that really struck a cord with us. Watch it here:

The video was produced by ISR, Infant Swim Resource. They have specific techniques that teach a baby not only how to swim, but how to survive. They teach them to find the way out, swim, float when they are tired, and swim again.

Since we have a pool, we really wanted the girls to learn this technique as opposed to just learning to kick and blow bubbles at the side of the pool. It is a pretty intense program with lessons five days a week for just ten minutes a day. Bill gets daddy of the year award for having to leave work by 4 to make a 5:50 lesson half way across town. This goes on Mon-Fri until they can swim, no matter how long it takes. They say it usually takes about 6-8 weeks. I hope she's on the faster end, but we'll see.

Reagan's first lesson was Monday. I thought they would start out pretty slow. Instead, the instructor took her into the pool and within minutes she had Reagan swimming about three feet from her to the step. I couldn't believe how well Reagan did and what a trooper she was. I originally thought ten minute lessons were ridiculous but midway through Reagan announced, "all done." The instructor told her "just five more." So Reagan would do another one and announce, "all done." But she endured to the end and was rewarded with a mini snickers bar that she popped in her mouth in one bite. Maybe that candy that she is normally forbidden to have will help incent her to get in the pool tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fun with GIMP

No, GIMP isn't a term of endearment for my husband or heaven forbid, my children. Rather, GIMP is a freeware likeness to the ever popular Photoshop. Photoshop is one of the most widely used applications for graphic design and photo enhancement that has amazing powers. Of course, it also comes with an amazing price tag of $650. Knowing not everyone needs a $650 program, Adobe attempted to reach a wider audience by offering a scaled down version of Photoshop with some of the more basic and popular functions for $120.

But I'm going with a lower cost solution, a no cost solution actually...GIMP. GIMP is free and has many, many comprable features to Photoshop. You can download it at the GIMP main site:

I've been using GIMP for a while, but never really used many of the features. Just never really took the time to learn it and didn't have a vision for what I wanted to do with it. But after a little inspiration from Mommazilla, I am now all about GIMP and photo enhancing.

In Photoshop, you can record a series of "actions" into basically a macro to repeat over and over so that you can recreate your same desired effects again. People are kind enough to save these actions and you can Google and install them and run them so that you can get the same great effects without all of the work. I tried to figure out if GIMP also had recordable actions and the answer is, they do not. But you can write scripts for GIMP (if you are way smarter than me) that will basically record your actions and you get the same end result. I found a repository for GIMP scripts at

First I played around with the effects the hard way. All but the very first picture below I did the effects myself. For the first picture I found a script that created a beautiful effect. I think this is my favorite picture of Reagan right now. You'll be seeing more of all of these effects from me. I love how they turned out and I'm wondering if I have started to wander into an addiction territory.

Here are some of the pictures I have taken in the past week with their various GIMP effects and/or scripts to enhance the photos. For comparison, I have included the originals of all of the photos at the bottom of the post.



Wet Pants

Come with me to a third grade classroom..... There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, 'Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat.' He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.

As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap.The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord

Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful.

But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else - Susie.She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. You've done enough, you klutz!'

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus,the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, 'You did that on purpose, didn't you?'Susie whispers back, 'I wet my pants once too.

I heard this story given in church today. What a simple, sweet story of charity and self sacrifice.

Bailey Milestone and "B for Bailey"

Bailey seems to have all of the sudden woken up this week and decided she wanted to play along. A few days ago she starts to laugh and today she began rolling from belly to back. I am so excited! I'm starting to get my first glimpse of my beautiful little baby becoming more of a baby and less of an adorable non-reactive lump.

I came from a family of five kids, the youngest two 12 and 16 years younger than me. When they were growing up, my other sisters and I used to refer to the milestones as "tricks" like they were little puppies that we taught to fetch. "Look at Nick's new trick, Mama! He can crawl now!"

I have to admit, I was starting to wonder when Bailey was going to start to do some "tricks." I can't wait to see what comes next.

Unrelated, here is a photo I took recently of Reagan reading to Bailey. She was telling Bailey, "See Bailey, it is 'B' for Bailey." Maybe it is just me, but I don't think Bailey really cares just yet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

This isn't Kansas, Toto. Hey, you aren't Toto!

Today was "dress as your favorite storybook character" day for the girls' school. Since I waited until the last minute to do anything about it, Reagan's favorite storybook character was whatever costume I could find in a store in April. Not an easy task, but my search finally took me to Reagan's favorite storybook character, at least for the day: Dorthy. It was either that or a Yoda. Should I admit I considered it for a brief moment? Probably not. I'll just go ahead and set aside some therapy dollars now for when she reads this as a teenager.

So here is Reagan as Dorthy. Yes, I do understand that "ruby" slippers are in fact, ruby colored. At least they are sparkly. And yeah, I'm pretty sure Toto wasn't a pink poodle with a zipper down the back to carry a lipgloss, but then again we aren't in Kansas either. This is how we do Dorthy down here.

See my shoes?

Oh, mom. Please stop taking photos already!

And no, she didn't look like this when we picked her up. I neglected to take the "after" photo but she was a mess as expected. The braids lasted until almost before lunch. About three hours longer than I expected them to last. The costume was covered in paint. When I inquired, her teacher said that during finger painting today when she had both hands covered in paint she pulled the "Home Alone" pose and put both hands to her face, splashing the paint all over and creating two giant hand prints on her face and into her hair. Wish I had gotten a photo of that! That is our Reagan. This sweet little perfectly presentable Reagan above I hardly recognize.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update on the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon

Yesterday was the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon at the girls' school. Reagan participated in memory of Ethan Powell. We were running a little late today so it was already in progress when we arrived. They had little cones set up all over the school and were running the kids in laps around the school. When we walked in, Reagan ran right past me and up to the center of activity. She spotted a girl in her class hesitating to get on her ride along so Reagan snatched it right out from her and hopped on and took off before I could even stop her. A kid came up from behind her and bashed her. Reagan responded by turning it into a demolition derby and laughing her head off as she bashed back, much to the dismay of the supervisors and many whistles going off. When it was time for her to stop their first round, she refused to get off her ride along and drove it right into the classroom instead. I'm not sure how they finally removed her from it, but I'm glad I left before that happened. You'd think something like that would be pretty easy. She's (almost) two and weighs 25 lbs, it's not even a fight. But that's 25 lbs of some mighty fury and spirit when she doesn't get her way.
I don't know the final total yet, but Reagan raised over $300 to help St. Jude, all in the memory of Ethan Powell. Thank you to April and Michelle for your very generous donations!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bailey Milestone

Bailey hit a milestone yesterday! She laughed for the first time. It was a short sweet little giggle but the best sound to us. She's going to be in for a lot of zerberts until we can get her to do it again.
Here are some pictures I really like that we took at her birth. I can't believe she's almost four months old already!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More spring flowers

Bill called me from another room saying, "come here for a minute." This is what Bill had been up to...He was looking around for something and came across this old costume of Reagan's and couldn't resist putting it on Bailey. I'm not sure she was too impressed, but she sure looked cute.

Spring photo fun

We've spent the last two weekends working in the yard. Here are a few pictures I've taken to confirm spring is actually here.

As a side note, I need to work on a template that allows my pictures to be a little bigger in the blog entry. A lot of the quality of the pictures is lost when they become so tiny. Click on some of these pictures to get the full effect. I love my camera!

Here is Bill spreading the mulch around the flowers I selected and partially planted around the mailbox. I like to think I'm pretty good at decorating an interior. But when it comes to exteriors I am clueless. This was actually my first attempt at designing and planting something. I wanted to add a lot more flowers. Bill tells me I already completely over planted and in three weeks I'll have to start pulling stuff out of there. I do have to confess I also planted some seeds in there, but I don't think he's right. I'm going to take another picture in three weeks and compare so I can prove it. He has planted a thing or two before and I haven't, and I still think I'm right. I'm not sure what that says about me but I think I've over shared. Go to the next picture and forget what I just said.

Reagan helped plant too. Mostly she kept busy picking rocks out of the bed and dumping them in the wheelbarrow. Digging up the dirt and piling it outside the bed and on the driveway was also a hit.

Pretty tulips. Looks cooler (in my mind) if you click on the picture so that you can see it bigger.

Classic azaleas in bloom.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The return of the carpenter bees

Spring is here, and with that is the inevitable return of the carpenter bees emerging from hibernation. If you've never experienced carpenter bees before, consider yourself lucky. I on the other hand, have considerable experience with them and have made myself a bit of an expert over the years. I actually don't mind snakes, lizards, frogs, and many other creepy things that would make people many jump. But carpenter bees? No thank you.

I took a few pictures of the bees yesterday. To the untrained eye, one might think this is a bumble bee. Look again, my friend. See the shiny black abdomens? Those are carpenter bees. Bumble bees would have hairy abdomens and some kind of yellow markings on it. Of course Reagan thinks they are bumble bees. Every time she sees one she makes the "squishing" motion with her hands and starts singing (while skipping about every other word), "I'm squishing up my baby bumble bee. Won't my mommy be so proud of me."
So how do I know this odd bit of trivia and why would one care? Well, carpenter bees can be quite a nuisance. I've been plagued with them at several houses now. Our latest house is no exception. Carpenter bees make their nests in the wood of fences, decks, rails, or any bit of wood that suits them. Once they have taken residence in your house, beware. They can be quite tricky to get rid of and can actually do pretty extensive damage if left to nest year after year. I had rented one house where the bees were literally taking down the car port. I would come out to my car in the morning with little mounds of sawdust all over my car where they had burrowed new holes above. There were so many bees they would swarm me when I got out of the car. I got to the point where I parked the car as far back to the street in the driveway as I could. I hate those things!
Female carpenter bees are the ones that make the nests. They dig the holes in the wood and lay their eggs with a nice deposit of pollen for the larvae to eat off of when they hatch. Female carpenter bees have stingers, but are rarely seen since they are usually in the wood. Male carpenter bees on the other hand, are usually the ones that you see. They hang out around the nests doing their best pickup lines for mating to occur. Males bees can be very territorial and can swarm the heck out of you. The good news though is they have no stingers. The bad news is they are very big and loud and the buzzing can be enough to psych you out to the point that you don't care that they don't have stingers. You convince yourself somehow these things will cause harm to you.
So how do you get rid of these things should you be faced with an infestation? The easy answer is to call an expert. But even they can't guarantee that the bees will forever be gone. They guarantee more like three months and charge a pretty steep price. Nice, huh? Because of that, I've often taken carpenter bee removal into my own hands.
One day I sat out on my front porch with a tennis racquet. As the bees buzzed by I swatted them with a force that I'm certain would have given Chris Everett a run for her money. Instead of dropping dead to the ground as I expected, they instead bounced off the racquet with a rather satisfying and amusing "boing" sound. The racquet merely tossed them a few feet. They then regained their composure and came back to tell me "what for" in the fiercest buzzing and swarming they could muster. Yeah, that was a failure. No bees were harmed during that experiment, most unfortunately.
Another day I went out there with an industrial strength can of wasp spray that a friend had given me. He was also plagued with the bees and bought an entire case of the heavy duty stuff that if given the proper spray and arc, would shoot a stream of the poison thirty feet. Apparently my aim isn't so good. I did manage to take down a few bees, but mostly I killed the plants, grass, and trees that got caught in the line of fire. I think I also killed quite a few of my own brain cells that I really didn't have to spare from inhaling the fumes. I also managed to take a bit of paint of the house and shutters. Good thing it was a rental.
Another time I got a ladder and plugged their perfectly round nest holes with little dowels and wood glue. While this seemed to be more effective than my first two attempts, most of the bees just dug new holes and went on their merry way. It also looked a bit unsightly as I had uneven nubs sticking out of the holes everywhere. Not to mention it was very nerve wracking to be up on that ladder with a bunch of angry bees nearly forcing me off it it.
So my final assessment for the most effective method to rid yourself of pesky carpenter bees? Pack up and move.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Reagan leaves an offering for Buddha

I don't know what to make of it, really. It appears to be an random offering of a sippee of milk and a mostly eaten cereal bar.Oh, and no, we aren't Buddhist. I got this coveted piece of art after a near brawl with one of my Aunts after my Grandpa "Pop" died. No one ever knew where it came from, but we all had memories of it being in his house all our lives, often sporting some baseball cap with some raunchy saying or the ever classy fake bird crap hat. He had traveled far in his life and so did his family so it was anyone's guess in what Far East country he might have acquired such a piece.

I got Buddha home and showed Bill my score. Without me even getting to tell him any stories about Buddha or fantasies of where he might have come from, Bill picked it up, flipped it over, and read out loud, "MADE IN MEXICO." Pfft.

Duckies need oral hygiene too

Reagan was in the shower today brushing her teeth (yes we are one of those multi-tasking families that brushes teeth in the shower). She has two rubber duckies she keeps in the shower. Once she finished brushing her teeth, she lined the duckies up in front of her and took her tooth brush and then began brushing their teeth (or bills, really).

Once she finished brushing their "teeth" she laid them on their sides and said, "ni-night duckies." Only one duckie is more like a weeble wooble and kept popping back up. She would immediately lay the duckie back down and say, "ni-night" with increasing authority and impatience. She finally yelled, "No duckie! You go ni-night now!" and with that she sat down, swung her leg on top of the duck and held the duck down underneath her with the precision of a professional wrestler. She grinned at me and seemed pretty proud of her clever problem solving technique.

I swear she didn't get those parenting moves from Bill or me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reagan tidbits

"Catch it!"
Reagan has a new favorite game. She likes to throw things at you and yell, "Catch it! Catch it, Mommy!" It would be a cute game if she stuck to throwing balls and stuffed animals, preferably when I have my hands free. Instead, she usually chooses to play this game while I have my hands full feeding Bailey and I am dodging and blocking board books, puzzles, remotes, and anything else handy. She has tossed the Bumbo my way and has even tried to chuck my laptop towards me. Hmmm, that might explain why the laptop is dead now. I wonder how many other times she's tried laptop toss?

"Pajamas? I don't see any pajamas."
Last week when all of Reagan's cousins were here Reagan was too busy playing and didn't want to go to bed. I told Reagan it was time for ni-night and asked her where her pajamas were. Noticing that her pajamas were on the floor just in front of her, she ran over and picked up the pajamas and as quickly as she could sat back down while sitting on her pajamas. It was as though she figured if she didn't have any pajamas she couldn't go to bed. I asked her again where her pajamas were and she didn't say a word or break a smile. She just reached back and readjusted her pajamas to ensure no bits were sticking out from under her bum. Note to self, Reagan already has a much better poker face than I do. I'm going to have to watch that when she's a teenager.

"What happened?"
Most kids at this age have a favorite phrase, "What is this?" They begin to understand that everything has a name and they want to know what that name is. It is cute to see them understand a new label for an object and as they do, their vocabulary exponentially expands. Reagan though, has a different favorite phrase. She isn't content in just knowing that a flat surface with four legs is a table or that a furry thing that meows is a cat. She very inquisitive and wants to know how that table or cat fits into her environment and interacts with things around her. As a result, her favorite phrase is, "What happened?" She probably asks this two dozen times a day. For example, during my ill fated trip to the grocery store the other day, when the Cheerios came crashing down she said, "Oh, what happened?" My response, "Gravity and a two year old. That's what happened."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dear Diary...

Today was a much better day.

Bailey slept until 4:30am. She did wake up Reagan with her and Reagan refused to go back to sleep, but at least we made it to 4:30. Today was a good day.

I only got puked on at my shoulder and in my hair. I didn't have to change my whole outfit and the puke in the hair just acted as styling gel (There was a time when that statement would have made me throw up in my mouth. My how times have changed). Today was a good day.

I got the kids to school before Reagan's lunch started. So what if it was way after breakfast and she had a fit because she didn't get her lemon poppy seed muffin and she missed half her classes. Today was a good day.

I did laundry yesterday so Reagan had a clean uniform to wear. So what if by the time she got there her face was covered in snot and she had wiped it in her hair (oh the curse of the allergy season). At least her uniform was presentable. Today was a good day.

I even managed to get a few hours of sleep last night. We'll overlook the fact that I was still so tired I walked out of the daycare wearing the blue surgical booties required to walk into the infant room. I think the booties will make great dress up items for Reagan later. Today was a good day.

I even got a shower today. Yes I had to share it with Reagan because she was running around outside and looked like she had been painted head to toe in yellow paint and was coughing from inhaling so much pollen. Today was still a good day.

Most importantly my dear husband came home today. It doesn't matter what else happened today. Today was a GREAT day!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

You couldn't pay me to try that again

Let me first start with a disclaimer. I know there are many women (and men) who often successfully do what I attempted today. I admire those people greatly because clearly I am not one of them. Bill and I both work and the kids go to daycare. When they are home, we equally share the parenting duties. Bill being gone this week has had me going in uncharted waters. I think after today I'm taking my 22 month old and my four month old and heading back to the kiddie pool.

So what is this amazing feat I attempted today? Ready for this?...Going to the grocery store toting the girls without Bill. Yeah, I told you many will guffaw at me; but it was my first time attempting it. It was a complete disaster. It was only out of the kindness of strangers that we all made it home in one piece.

My mistake today was that I decided to put Bailey in the Baby Bjorn so that there would be room in the basket for the groceries. Her infant seat would have taken up the whole basket area. Reagan is also very honed in the senses. She's like a dog. She can sense fear and vulnerability and pounces at that precise moment when you've just become a cat with only three legs. I must have been giving off something that said, "I'm a cat with two legs, one bad eye, no tail, and I can't meow." She was at her peak of performance today. So here's the story...

The parking lot
As I said, I put Bailey in the Baby Bjorn. I was wearing her and holding Reagan's hand while walking in. Reagan decided she didn't want to hold my hand in the parking lot and threw herself on the ground. That forced me to pick her up while Bailey was falling forward and started crying. Reagan was on my hip pitching a fit and I was trying to keep her from hitting Bailey. I ended up putting her back down and picking her up in a football carry under my arm with her arms and legs flailing in protest. I should have just gone back to the car, but I carried on.

The cart
Once I finally got Reagan into the store, I was trying to get her into the cart. She again pitched a fit, this time because she wanted the Thomas the Train cart that plays cartoons while you shop. We had to cut her off on those carts several months ago because she figured out how to get out of them through the windshield then roams free in the store. I wasn't about to deal with that so I was trying to get her into the boring, standard cart. She was kicking and pushing back so that I couldn't get her legs in and in the meanwhile she was getting Bailey in the crossfire. Bailey started to cry so I put Reagan down to regroup my strategy on getting her in the cart. Fortunately, a lady took pity on me and picked Reagan up and endured the same kicks and protests and plucks her in as only a parent could do. She even got Reagan buckled in. I thanked her profusely. I should have just gone back to the car, but I carried on.

Reagan of course wanted a cookie and we couldn't get there fast enough for her. She got her free cookie from the bakery and we were set. She was quiet and I was shopping. Things started to go awry when I stopped to get cereal. Of course the cereal was on the bottom shelf so I had to kind of hold Bailey while I bent down to get it. I made the mistake of parking near the shelf so others could get by. While I was getting to the shelf on the bottom, Reagan cleared out a shelf of Cheerios at her level. About ten boxes came crashing on my head and on Bailey. She looks at me innocently and says, "Uh, oh! What happened?" Oh, don't get me started on what happened, kid. Bailey started crying and I kept trying to hold her to keep her head supported while picking up boxes off the floor. Again, another stranger took pity on me and helped me put the boxes back in order.

While I was busy doing that I hear, "Eeewww, it's yucky Mommy!" I look to see what Reagan is talking about. In all of the chaos, she reached behind her and got a hold of the pot roast I stuck in the cart. She was standing there with her thumb still stuck through the pot roast and the package ripped open. So off to produce I went to grab a bag to put the open pot roast in. I should have just abandoned ship at this point and headed to the car, but i didn't.

I had semi recovered from the fallen cheerios, had the open pot roast in a banana bag, and was headed for the dairy when Bailey's reflux came back to haunt us. Bailey had just eaten 30 minutes before that and had a five ounce bottle. The first three ounces sprayed straight ahead, right into Reagan's unsuspecting path. It hit Reagan directly as though a demonic spawn had taken possession of Bailey's body to exact revenge upon Reagan. Reagan looked in horror and then pointed to Bailey and shouted "made a mess! made a mess!" It was then the next two ounces came up and they went all down Bailey and all down me. Did I mention I left the diaper bag in the car to save room? Why would I need it for a quick little shopping run? I headed to the baby section and opened a pack of wipes and tossed about a dozen to Reagan to fend for herself while I cleaned myself up and the now very happy and smiley Bailey.

The departure
At that point I was finally ready to cut bait and head the heck out of there. I started to unload the groceries on the belt and at that time Reagan decided to remove her shoes. Off went the first one and she managed to give it a hefty toss that put it into the next checkout's magazine rack. Of course I didn't know that right away. I spent several minutes in that checkout line looking for the lost shoe and about the time I found it the other one came flying my way. The nice lady in line ahead of me seeing all three of us covered in puke and me close to tears hunting for shoes, helped me unload my cart. I think if the cashier could have given me my groceries for free without losing her job she would have, just to get me out of there. I must have looked like a beaten puppy because all kinds of baggers came to help bag the groceries and take us to the car.

The Goods
I had two important things I needed to buy: milk and formula. The rest was incidental. I forgot the milk and I forgot the formula. We will make do without.

Wanted Poster
Well, count another store I'll never be able to step foot into again. I'm pretty sure if I ever step foot in that same Publix again I'll find a picture of me, covered in puke and cheerios, carrying my two screaming kids, with a caption that reads, "If you see this woman, promptly escort her out and lock the door. Her baby is capable of spewing up to six feet and the toddler is as destructive as termites to wood. Both are considered highly dangerous."

Accents Y'all

Reagan has a cute little way of saying ok. She says it with a sing-song "okaaaaayyy" that is so reminiscent of Forrest Gump we call her Forrest when she says it. So far though, that is her only hint of an accent. I started thinking about her "ok" and started wondering if she'll have an accent and where she would develop it from? What plays the biggest influence how you speak? Is it possible one of my children might develop a Southern accent and one develop say, a Canadian accent?

Do they develop their accent from hearing their parents speak? Bill and I are not originally from the south, but we have both lived in Georgia over 20 years. I am originally from the Midwest, Bill from southern California. My parents don't have any accent to speak of and Bill's mom has the endearing North Dakota Scandinavian "okey dokie" accent straight out of the movie Fargo. Yet we both have slight southern accents, with mine being decidedly chameleon like. I'll explain.

I have several Midwestern words that I will never lose. I cringe when I hear myself say "bagel" or "gold" or "boulder." The vowels are quite over exaggerated and in the case of "bagel" quite nasally (is that a word?). Even though I am highly aware of it, I can't seem to change it. Then I had several years where I probably spent at least nine months out of the country. That will remove your southern accent in a hurry. I have to admit to being a bit like Madonna or Gweneth Paltrow and starting to sport a bit of a wannabe British accent after being around Brits for any period of time. And after being around some of my true southern friends sporting the deep south accent I've been known to throw out the occasional, "bless her heart" or "I tell you what" in a draw that would make Jessica Simpson proud. For those of you not from the South, I should point out that, "I tell you what" is not an introduction to a story where they are actually going to tell you something. "I tell you what" is the complete statement. It is the beginning and the end of the story. When I first heard that phrase I kept waiting for what it is they wanted to tell me. It took me a while to understand they already told me what they wanted to. But I digress.

So what does our accent mean for Reagan? Will she be sporting the chameleon Midwest/British/Southern accent because that is what I have? Even though we didn't develop the same accent as our parents? Or are there others that influence her accent as well?

Take for instance her teachers. Do they get their accents from their teachers? They do spend a lot of time with them. Reagan has many teachers and I think at least half of them speak English as a second language. But the primary language is different for all of them and they all have very different dialects and accents. What kind of accent might she pick up from hearing such a hodge-podge of speak all day long? Does it all cancel out and you develop no accent?

Then there are friends. Reagan has developed quite a kinship with several of her little friends at school; some of which I have already noticed have a decidedly southern draw. Will she want to talk like her friends so she feels more included?

Or maybe she'll change her accent when she gets married. One of my sisters has developed a very southern accent after marriage. She has even picked up some of her husband's grammatical nuances like putting an "s" at the end of words such as "nowheres", "somewheres", and "underwears." She actually teaches English and her grammar is perfect otherwise, but that "s" has just permanently attached itself to the end of words that just don't deserve it. Her children all add the "s" too. This is despite my frequent promptings and pleas to ditch the "s" when I hear it. My request has so far fallen on deaf ears. I wonder if she marks it wrong on an essay if one of her students writes "somewheres"? I'll have to ask her if she even notices.

So what makes an accent decidedly yours? Where did your accent come from? What have been the biggest influences on how you speak today? Do you have distinct regional phrases you've picked up from somewhere? I'm interested in hearing your stories. Give me your feedback and tell me who you talk like.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Reagan gets a haircut

I have a lot to catch up on but with family here and a dead laptop, I'm just going to start with recent info and work backwards.

Reagan got a haircut today. It was her first haircut since she turned a year old. I was trying to let her bangs grow out but she is so bad about yanking out her hairbows or pigtails and it would end up in her face all the time. So I gave in and decided to go ahead and give her bangs.

Reagan's school has a little barbershop in it. You just sign up for an appointment time and what you want done and when it is time they get your kid and plunk them in the chair. It makes things pretty convenient and I have no excuse for the mess of a head of hair she's been sporting lately. When I came to pick her up today they told me when they first put her in the chair she screamed her head off. She was screaming so loudly one of the directors heard her from his office and ran to see what was wrong. Turns out it was just Reagan pitching a fit in the chair. I'm wondering if she was having flash backs from the recent ear piercing. The chair does have the same feel to it.

So after watching Reagan pitch a royal fit, the hair stylist then tells her, "It's ok. We are just going to make your hair pretty." The stylist then gets the brush and water bottle and starts on Reagan's hair. Reagan immediately perked up and started smiling and laughing and asking for hairbows. It was like she was thinking, "Oh, this is for hair? Why didn't you say so? I love a good hairstyle. My mom is always dorking it up. Surely you can do better."

Here is the little barbershop in her school...

I plunked Reagan in the chair when I went to pick her up so I could get some photos. She wasn't too excited to reinact the moment. Notice the snazzy new Converse All-Star hightops. They have pigs and cherries on them. These are the only shoes on the planet she can't remove so the daycare begged us to send her in more of these shoes. This request was heightened after Friday's incident where she burried her shoes and socks in the sandpit and the teachers spent 30 minutes digging them out. I'm now on a constant search for fun patterns of these shoes. Baby's still gotta have some funk and style even when wearing a uniform!

Still a crank...

And this picture I had to throw in. Bill is out of town for the next few days. Reagan is a total Daddy's girl. Tonight she asked for him about 50 times and here she is looking out the window looking for her Daddy.

I'm sorry, baby. I miss Daddy too!

My Spidey Sense tells me...

this can't be good.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ethan Powell and the St. Jude Trike-a-Thon

Last week the girls got permission slips from their school to participate in the upcoming St. Jude Trike-A-Thon. I was thinking, "Bailey is three months old how much triking will she be doing, exactly? Ok, just make sure she hydrates between laps and don't let her pull a hamstring." But apparently they let all the children participate by using the wagons, bye bye buggies and any other mode of transportation so they can all do laps for an important cause.

My interest in the St. Jude Trike-a-Thon has been completely renewed today. I not only want my children to participate, I want them to raise all kinds of money for St. Jude. It is all because of one special little boy named Ethan Powell.

Ethan Powell's mom was a fellow BBC mommy where I have posted since I was pregnant with Reagan. In February of last year, word traveled quickly to my board about a sick little boy that they didn't expect to live a week. That sick little boy was Ethan. He had leukemia and he was only two months old.

To everyone's surprise (except his very faithful parents) Ethan did live that week. And he lived the next week and the week after that. Ethan had many ups and downs and many close calls while going through two bone marrow transplants and countless other therapies. I watched him grow up as I followed along every day getting to know him as though he was family. Bill and I would cheer when he got better and cry when he got worse. He captured our hearts and we carried many prayers to God on his behalf.

Today Ethan's fight to live ended. He died peacefully in his parents arms. He is now in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. He lived 424 days longer than anyone expected him to. I am comforted in knowing that his body is no longer his enemy and his spirit is free. I am comforted in believing that he will see his parents again one day. But I am sad for his family and I am sad he is no longer with us to inspire us and to bring us to our knees. I know that God has a plan. But I admit to wavering in that faith and have a hard time understanding why God would take such a precious baby from his parents. In my heart I know that Ethan was such a perfect soul that he didn't need to be here on Earth as long as the rest of us. He was here to teach us and his work was done. He is needed in Heaven more. But it still hurts and my heart is broken.

Ethan went to St. Jude at two months old and that is pretty much all he ever knew as life. He and his parents basically spent all of Ethan's entirely too short life at St. Jude. I've been incredibly impressed with St. Jude after learning much about it over the past year. All of their care and services are free. Their services are top notch. And they never gave up on Ethan. Most hospitals would have sent Ethan home to die a year ago. St. Jude did everything they could to save his life and to give him more time with his parents and with us.

So my girls will be riding, biking, triking, "wagoning", whatever they need to do. But they will participate in the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon and they'll do it in memory of Ethan Powell. Maybe they can help save the next Ethan. If you would like to help by sponsoring the girls, you can email me at and I'll give you details.

Rest in Peace, Ethan Powell
We hardly knew you yet you touched all of our souls

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hanging with the cousins

My sister's three of four children (yes, that is a correct total number- I know, I know!) are here with us this week along with my mom. The kids have spring break, my sister doesn't, so my mom agreed to watch the bringing them my house. Did I mention there were THREE of them?
I work from home so I holed myself up in the only room in the house that seemed to somewhat escape the shrieks of three elementary aged children- my bedroom while the kids entertained themselves for a while.We had a freezer delivered yesterday and that box made for a great play fort today. Here is Shelby putting her artistic touch on the walls and moving her stuff in.

And no clubhouse would be complete without a sign. Here is Shelby's special sign.

In case you can't read her sign, it says "No boys allowed unless Shelby says." Poor Bill, being the only boy in a house of girls I can't help but think this isn't the only time he'll see a sign like this. Oh, wait...I just used one last week. Nevermind.
We let the kids play in the hot tub after dinner. We aren't heating the pool yet so we just had the hot tub (aka "kiddie pool" to them, I'll leave out what Bill and I call it *blush*) set fairly low. Reagan decided it was too cold and stayed in about a minute. She had a better time throwing the beach balls around.

Good to see my $90 scuba mask is going to good use...

We had a couple of daring, thirsty birds join us.

Just before bedtime the kids decided to read Reagan a story.

Most definitely no need for CIO tonight, but Reagan has been great every night anyway. Reagan was so worn out she carried herself to bed, crawled in, and passed out. I don't think she has even so much as twitched since she collapsed in bed. I think I'll go do the same. Oh wait, there's bottles to wash and assemble. Crud.
But at least my mom is here to help. My mom agreed to take Bailey on the night shift last night. Bill and I were so excited because she's still getting up two times during the night and we haven't had a good night's sleep since before she was born. Bailey went down at 10pm and my mom slept in Bailey's room so that she'd be right there when Bailey woke up. Bill and I did have a good night's sleep, it just wasn't long enough. When Reagan woke up at 6am this morning I took her downstairs to get milk and there was my mom heating a bottle for Bailey. I asked, "How did she do last night?" My mom said, "Great! This is the first time she's been up."

Can I get a big ol' WTF y'all? Bailey never sleeps more than four hours and then my mom takes her and she sleeps eight? What karma am I reaping now?