Sunday, September 29, 2013


I don't know why, but for some reason, the Oktoberfest in Miami, Ohio has quickly become one of my favorite fall traditions.  We were invited to go in 2011 by our friends Ann and Andy.  We had just moved to Northern KY, we were living with my parents, and we had started new jobs at new schools.  Things were up in the air, to put it mildly.  But at this little riverside celebration, we were able to sit with friends, drink good beer, eat cheap food, and let Sylvia color the heck out of a pumpkin.  We had a great time in 2011...

Two weeks after that Oktoberfest, we found out we were expecting li'l miss Margot!  Which means Sylvia was roughly the age that Margot is now when we found out I was pregnant.  Mind blown.  It's seriously like a black worm hole in time, when your second child catches up to your first child and you realize that life doesn't implode upon itself.  Things just keep going, the way they're meant to be. 

Last year, in 2012, I sat on a blanket and nursed a 3 month old Margot at Oktoberfest, drank good beer, ate cheap food, and watched Sylvia, Cici, and Ayla run around, play games and color pumpkins.  We had a great time again in 2012....

This year we almost didn't go.  It's Sunday.  We've been busy.  It was drizzling rain and Sylvain was working.  But when the girls woke up from their naps, I decided we really had nothing better to do, and I kept imagining the previous two pictures in my head and remembering all the fun we had sitting on a blanket, drinking good beer and eating cheap food.  So I loaded up the kiddos and off we went!  The rain stopped, the polka music was rocking, the girls piled leaves at the bottom of the slide and kept themselves busy for hours while Margot and I sat on the blanket and ate and ate and ate.  We had a great time this year....

And no matter how hectic or overwhelming life gets, I can look back at these pictures and remember this tradition as a time of friends and fun.  Look how much Sylvia has changed!  Look at Margot - she wasn't even THERE in 2011!  I am so blessed to have these girls and our sweet friends, The Reynolds, who are expecting Cici's younger brother in December!  Next year is going to be awesome!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Her Crazy, Tiny, Wonderful Brain

I thought Sylvia's "Why" phase was annoying when she was two, but I knew how important it was to address her "why's" as legitimate questions that need to be answered.  For the longest time I was able to give her very reasonable, detailed answers to her questions, but I always had a limit - usually four questions, sometimes five if I thought the fifth one was useful or cute.  She outgrew that phase and I thought the questions were over, but here are TWO conversations we've had in the last six hours that would suggest otherwise:

Sylvia: Mommy, what's tuna fish?
Me: It's a fish that people eat.  Usually on a sandwhich, but Daddy eats tuna fish right out of the can, which is totally gross.
Sylvia: Why does Daddy eat tuna fish?
Me: Because he thinks it's yummy!
Sylvia: Why is it yummy?
Me: I don't know, yummy is just one person's opinion.  Daddy thinks it's yummy but you might not like it.  It just depends on your taste!
Sylvia: But why does Daddy think it's yummy?
Me: I DON'T KNOW!  Why does anyone think anything is yummy?!  Why do you think pizza is yummy?  You can't explain it!
Sylvia:  Yes I can.  Pizza is yummy because it has bacon on it.

Sylvia got out of bed at 9:30 for a million stupid reasons and while she was walking down the steps she saw a picture of a friend's daughter on my computer screen.  She fired off the following line of questions and I, being tired and fed up with the day, gave her very brief answers:
Sylvia:Who's that girl? 
Me: My friend's daughter.
Sylvia: What's her name? 
Me: Sudie.
Sylvia: What's her whole name? 
Me: Sudie Bell ****
Sylvia: Why does she have all those toys? 
Me: Because she's a kid.
Sylvia: Why can't I have those toys? 
Me: You have toys just like those.
Sylvia: Are those Ariel covers? 
Me: Yes, I think so.
Sylvia: Why can't I have Ariel covers? 
Me: I don't know.  
Sylvia: Is her teddy bear wearing a dress? 
Me: Yes.
Sylvia: Is her hair like mine? 
Me: Sure.
Sylvia: Why is her hair like mine? 
Me: Because it's the same color...?
Sylvia: I haven't ever been to her house so where does she live? 
Me: Louisville
Sylvia: Louisville?! With Uncle Jordan?!
Me: No, not WITH Uncle Jordan, just in the same town.
Sylvia: Why doesn't she live with Uncle Jordan?
....and then I walked away.

When I stop to think about it, I find it fascinating that her questions have gone from "Why?" to "I haven't ever been to her house so where does she live?" in a year's time.  Talk about verbal development!

Don't forget all the stories she makes up...
"Once there were a bunch of cats and they went to The Museum.  They saw Captain Hook.  They ate him.  Then they didn't see him anymore."

...and the scenarios she drags us into...
"We're riding the carriage to the ball.  It's a really fast carriage, as fast as Daddy's car.  We're going to dance all evening here (points to her ornament of a castle which is still hanging in the playroom), then we're going under the ocean in a submarine.  Then we're sleeping at the castle because we'll be tired from dancing and from the submarine ride.  Okay?"

For real, people.  She wears me out!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thoughts From My Rocking Chair

Seriously, what is it about rocking chairs that make one think such deep thoughts?  I don't do nearly enough pictureless rambling on here anymore, so....

Margot's bedtime routine has become clockwork.  Bath.  Jammies.  Allergy meds.  Chew on a tooth brush.  Sleep sack.  Then we climb into our rocking chair and she snuggles her dou-dou bear while we read books.  I turn out the light, stand next to her crib, and sing her a song.  The same song every night.  We sway back and forth until she dives into bed.  Nine times out of ten, she dives in before I finish the first line and by the time I get to the door she has rolled over onto her belly, tucked her knees up underneath her, stuck her little butt up in the air and closed her eyes.  Every once in a while she dives into bed, grabs her other dou-dou bear, sits up and cries for a while until she finally falls asleep.  Either way, once the diving happens, my job is done.

It's been a long week with Sylvain working every night.  I usually rush the bedtime routines but tonight was Friday night.  No papers to grade or lessons to prepare, so we took our time to play and eat well and enjoy each other.  By the time we were in the rocking chair, Margot was showing some serious signs of fatigue.  We read a few books and since I was so tired, I decided to stay in the chair for our song.  That's when Margot did something she hasn't done in many months.  Usually she wants me to stand up and sing.  To get a little closer to the bed.  To move on to the next step, but tonight....

She snuggled her dou-dou bear and fell asleep on my shoulder. 


I finished our song and then....I rocked.  And for the first time in....I don't even know how long...there was no TV.  No noisy three year old.  No air conditioner humming.  No refrigerator running.  For the very first time in my entire life, I actually noticed SILENCE.  Complete.  Glorious.  Refreshing.  Full.  I almost cried.  It was amazing.

While I sat there in the beautiful silence of our sweet little house, I forced myself to pay attention to Margot's growing body.  Sometimes she tries to nuzzle her entire upper body into the corner of my neck, which I consider to be the ultimate snuggle.  Tonight her face was turned away and her breathing was slow and steady.  She was relaxed.  She was almost asleep.  I had this moment where I realized.......

I'm her Mother.

I spend so much time thanking God for giving the girls to me.  My kids.  My daughters.  My Margot.  Tonight I closed my eyes and realized that she's not just mine, but I'm HERS.  She calls me Mama.  She sleeps on MY shoulder.  She smiles and claps when she sees ME.  She cries in the morning until I show up.  I'm totally hers.  I belong to her.  She owns all of me, completely.  And that just blows my mind.

What did I ever do to deserve her undivided love and favor?  The ways in which she loves me are so pure and complete...they are nothing short of the best evidence of God's love.  With all of my faults and all of my worries and all of my nonsense...she loves me.  She wants me around.  She feels safe enough to lay her head on my shoulder and sleep.  I remember laying my head on my Mom's shoulder.  I remember feeling safe.  I know what it feels like to love your parents so much that the thought of being alone in the world without them is terrifying.  I still feel it.  It's a powerful love. 

I thanked God for giving me my sweet, vibrant Margot.  For letting me be the recipient of all that love.  For choosing me to be her Mama.  He could have given her to anybody, but he gave her to me.  What a lucky, blessed woman I am.

I laid her in bed and closed the door. My heart was so full it hurt.  I wandered into the kitchen to find Sylvia coloring a "prince crown" for her Daddy - one she had been working on for hours.  She looked at me and said, "Daddy is really going to love this when he gets home!" And there it was again.  That unconditional love from a teeny tiny kid.  That flip flopped feeling that she's not just ours, but we are HERS.  She wants to make him happy.  She wants to produce something FOR him, something he'll be proud of.  What a miracle!

Two tiny girls. 
Two unworthy grown ups.
Earth shattering love.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Margot's on the Move!

I didn't want to post this video last night at the end of a super Sylvia post for fear that Margot's news would get buried under her big sister.  This one deserves a post all it's own!  Check it out...

I thought it would never happen, and she still has a long way to go, but in hindsight, she's really not that far behind Sylvia at this age at all.  Margot is starting to show lots of interest in practicing her new skill.  All she wants to do is push her walking toys around and toddle from one piece of furniture to the next.  She also likes to push herself up to standing from a sitting position and just....stand there!  In the middle of the room.  Like a tower.  It's adorable!

Despite the fact that she's getting bigger by the second, Margot still prefers to snuggle and get cozy in our arms instead of venturing out into the arms of any other family member.  In the early morning and at bedtime, we have the world's greatest snuggles.  I will cry on the day she climbs out of my arms and starts her day without me!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"I Won't Cry"

Today was Sylvia's first official day of preschool.  Lucky for me, she's already been to her preschool a handful of times because those experts really know what they're doing.  They've had an Open House, a Meet The Teacher Night, and a play date, all in the last few weeks to get the kids ready to be in a new place.  She was so excited to go to school today and I was able to stay home for a little longer than usual so I could help her get ready and take the obligatory photos.  I must say, it was a delightful little photo shoot.

She is our sweet girl.  A ball of energy and enthusiasm and wit.  She still asks me almost every day if she's big and I always tell her she's getting bigger.  But when I looked at these pictures, after thinking about her all day and wondering how she was doing at school, it hit me like a ton of bricks - she's so big.  When I used to lay awake at night, wondering what my kids would look like, what my life would be like, I never dreamed, in a million trillion years, that it would look as beautiful as this.  I have a preschooler.  She's mine and I'm hers and we get to spend this life together.  Mind blown.

When Sylvain dropped her off this morning, he followed her into her classroom to take some pictures. 

I know, her backpack is huge.  But she chose it and she loves it, so it'll probably last until middle school!

Taking care of business.

When Sylvain told her he was leaving, she gave him a hug and said, "It's okay, Daddy, I won't cry."  He wasn't expecting her to cry at all, but she tells me there were two boys crying in the morning because they "wanted their Mommies and Daddies!"  I guess she wanted her Daddy to know that she was going to be O.K! 

When I got home I asked her to tell me all about her day, and here's what I was able to gather:
*She doesn't know her teachers names, but they are nice and they are pretty and they make all the kids close their eyes when they pray.
*They had animal crackers for a snack.  She spilled her water.  She helped clean it up.

So....teachers and snacks.  That's about all that a three year old cares to remember on the first day of school!  She loved her first day, and I  hope she loves every single day of school from here until eternity!  Way to go, Nugget.