Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Motherhood Thing is Really Kicking My Trash

Score Yesterday
Bella: 5
Emilee: 0

 I promise that at one point yesterday, Annabel:
1) did not require a band-aid on her cheek
2) had a clean, non-chapped, non-boogery nose
3) was dressed in something other than her sister's dance class leotard
4) was pink-faced
5) had straight, neat pigtails (with a little braid, even.  She looked pretty cute.)

However, in the epic daily battle that is me vs. my two-year old, she definitely got me yesterday.

I would like to be able to demonstrate that yesterday was an isolated incident, but here's what happened today.

My two oldest children are delightfully responsible.  They really are.  They get themselves up to an alarm at 6:45 every morning.  They get themselves dressed.  They put their lunches (from the fridge, where I try to place them after packing them the night before) into their backpacks, next to their homework.  They get breakfast started (cold cereal for Olivia--her favorite, toast or applesauce or both for Naomi), and I show up at 7:15 or 7:20 after nursing Madeline for the 7000th time out of my precious 8 sleeptime hours and retrieving a demanding, yelling Bella from her crib.  Then I do their hair and kiss their cute cheeks and send them off on the bus.  This indepence occasionally leads to some . . .ahem. . .creative outfits, but I figure their teachers know that they are getting themselves dressed and they are developing an individual sense of style.  Plus, I kind of like the hotchpotch look.

This morning was no different.  When the girls came down, I did have a fleeting thought cross my mind that their looks were even more eclectic than usual, and I even verbally expressed that although their drawers were a bit barren, there was a stack of clean clothes for each of them in the laundry room.  They both expressed surprise that I would consider a change necessary.  I let it go, quickly tossed some pigtails in each of their roller-bump-ridden hair, and sent them off with a hug and a kiss.  Let us pause for a photo.

Olivia's look is comprised of a race t-shirt, some a-line capris (which I love), some brown floral knee-highs, and her favorite sneakers.

Naomi sports a free grey-and-red elementary-mascot tee, her favorite navy-and-pink running shorts, ankle socks, and her red boots.  
 At 9:22 precisely, the phone rang, and I answered it to hear the voice of Naomi's teacher, Miss K, who informed me that Naomi was very upset that today was picture day and she was not ready.  PICTURE DAY!  Picture Day.  She also was sobbing because when she had opened her backpack, she hadn't found her lunch.  At this point, I glanced near the front door and spotted the lunch where I had placed it this morning, having not remembered to pack it last night AND having not remembered to inform Naomi of the change of location.*

I win "Bad Mother of the Day", and I am certainly still in the running for "Bad Mother of the Year."
So nobody thinks Bella was left out of the Sweet Outfits Competition today, I present her in the ensemble she has been wearing since naptime.  I think polka-dot diapers are underutilized in fashion as a whole.  And yes, she has been playing outside with her sisters since school got out. (Actually, for most of the time, she's also been wearing a tutu. It's nice outside.  Does anyone have a problem with this?  Take it up with Child Protective Services.)
*In my defense, so no one thinks me completely heartless, I did walk with Bella in the stroller and Madeline in the wrap to the school to deliver Mimi's lunch to her and offer her a hug of consolation.  By the time I arrived, her mercurial little self had completely recovered, and she was delighted to show her class her two baby sisters.  Thank heavens for a kindergarten teacher who already knows me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Maddie at Night

The other night Madeline was wide awake and delightfully content, so I took some pictures of her.  I should have dressed her up and set up a backdrop, but my energy extended only to her pj's and the old plaid couch.
She often looks like a hobbit.
Or one of those kids with the aging disease.
Or just a little bit goofy.
We love her anyway.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do you remember lemonade stands?

Do you remember the last time you had a lemonade stand?  My mom used to help us set up the best lemonade stands.  She would make a huge batch of her famous and delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a couple gallons of lemonade, and we would set up shop at the top of the street, trying to catch the eyes and quarters of passersby.

When my mom was here, helping us survive our first week with child #4, she helped my girls set up their own lemonade stand in the front yard.  They had grand visions of earning big money.  "Mom," Mimi gasped, the night before the big event, "Nana says that sometimes her kids could earn a whole 10 dollars."  An unimaginable sum.

I was gone for the first half of the sale, but when I came back, I was assaulted with memories.  Memories of making signs and finding the best place to stand for advertisement purposes.

Memories discussing our earning potential.
The joy of the first customers.  (Our bishop is a compassionate soul.)
The need to relax after an hour of hard work in the hot sun.
And the thrill of counting the money once it's all over.
In the end, they earned $17.  Not too shabby, eh?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Recent Photo Shoot

It is almost impossible for me to get a good picture of all my girls together.  It would help, of course, if I would ever do their hair.  Or if Bella would contemplate the possibility of cooperation.  But those are pipe dreams, so this is as good as it gets.

Seriously, Bella.  Can't you sit up one time?
And seriously, Em, can't you brush their hair?  Just brush it?  
It's a good thing they're cute anyway.
Roll over.  Good Bella.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bella!

Annabel turned two last month, which is almost impossible to believe (except for the fact that we have another tiny baby living at our house, so she darn well better be two, right?).  We were lucky enough to have my mom fly in for the day on her way back from visiting Mike, Kelly, and baby Ruth in North Carolina.

When a crazy little girl turns two, she get to wear her swimsuit while she eats pancakes for breakfast and opens baby dolls from Grammy.

She gets to pick orange "cacakes" and chocolate "I-beam-tones" as her one request for the party.
She gets to have her sisters decorate the house with orange balloons, orange streamers, and orange scraps of paper because orange is her favorite color.
She gets to have so much help opening her presents.

She gets to blow out two candles in one tiny cupcake.

She gets to dress up in whatever she likes.

And best of all, she gets her own "mu-ic", a CD player and CDs to listen to all day and all night long.  (Completely unrelated side note:  How many times can a mom listen to "If You're Happy and You Know It" without losing the last shred of sanity she's clinging to?)

My favorite things about Bella:
*She is almost always happy, and when she's not happy, a minute in time out is all she needs to chill out.
*Our family calls Puff Pancakes "Hootenannies".  Bella calls them either "Auntie Boos" (what my girls call John's sister Rebekah) or "Poopy Panties."  Either one is good for a laugh.
*She loves to swim and she loves to wear a swimming suit even more.
*She's perfectly sweet to her own babydolls and Baby Maddie.
*She chatters happily to me all day long, and when I don't understand what she's saying, she smiles, slows down, and says it all over again.  Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't.
*She goes to bed like a dream.  (That maybe should be the first thing I listed.  It's the thing that makes my life the easiest.)

I love you, Bella Boo!  I can't believe I've already known you for two years!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Day of School

Madeline and I arrived home late Tuesday night, and school started early--too early--Wednesday morning.  Luckily, Nana (my mom) was here to assist the girls with the night-before-the-first-day-of-school rituals of picking out an outfit, packing up the school supplies, and getting together a delicious lunch.

Mimi started full-day kindergarten, and she loves being with Miss Kobb, Olivia's old kindergarten teacher.  She chose her favorite dress (a Lilly Pulitzer jumper I got from Once Upon a Child), some sweet red cowgirl boots, and a snazzy hairstyle from this website.

Olivia was nervous about second grade.  Our neighbor, Simone, who is one year older than Liv, had spent the bus rides home last year telling her how hard second grade work was.  But she picked her favorite dress as well (another great second-hand find) and faced her fears with style, if not courage.

They were ready WAY too early, so John had an impromptu photo shoot on the front porch.  Bella joined in, of course.  Who could miss out on this much fun?

Simone caught the bus (with a big third-grade smile) when it came,

. . . but I drove the girls to their first day.  I wanted to see who Olivia's teacher was.  (Our school waits to sort the kids into classrooms until the first day.  I have no idea why they prefer that chaos over an orderly Back to School Night before school starts, but they've made their choice.)
Mimi found her teacher and her classmates (and even an old preschool and church friend) immediately and excitedly.

Olivia was nervous, repeating to me with a quivering chin that second grade was "really, really hard."  However, when we found the second grade line, we found these familiar faces. . .

. . .and Olivia realized it was going to be just the same as first grade, only one year later.  Phewsh!  Crisis averted.

They've both adjusted to the school schedule beautifully, and now I'm the only one floundering in disbelief that I could actually have two kids in school.  When did they get so big?